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Bible Student Baptism Service – How Different from a JW Baptism Service

BaptismWhat is a Bible Student Baptism service like?  How is it different form a JW Baptism Service?  What are we baptized into?  What questions are asked of the candidate?  What requirements are there?

In 1985 the JW baptism questions changed, with the candidate having to announce their desire to become associated with an Organization.  The candidate must answer this question in the affirmative: “Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?”

Bible Students are not baptized into an organization.  We are baptized into Christ (Romans 6), just like in the early Watchtower days.

View a Bible Student Baptismal Service and see for yourself by clicking here.  (Note that each elder elected by their congregation has full latitude to create their own Baptismal Service with not guidelines imposed other than the congregations desire for the elder to reflect the teachings of scripture in his service.)


You can read the text of the Baptismal service by clicking here.

59 comments to Bible Student Baptism Service – How Different from a JW Baptism Service

  • Roger Letsom

    Thank you, Peter. I’ll certainly take your advice to heart. I have been doing exactly what you suggested.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Great Roger. I pray with you that God strengthen you with the joy of the LORD (Neh 8:10) and spiritual growth.

      Psalm 28:7 (ESV) “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”

  • Roger Letsom

    Peter, what is the viewpoint of the Bible Students in regard to baptism by a Protestant denomination? After I left the Watchtower, I was baptized by Protestant Pastor.
    This was by water immersion in profession of faith in Christ. This was about 20 years ago. I was searching for the Truth,but have come find I am still spiritually “famished”!

  • Roger

    Peter, thanks for your prompt reply to my message yesterday! I have sent messages to an ex-JW web site and never got a reply. So, your response was quite encouraging. I’ll give more thought to your suggestion on sharing my thoughts and questions.

    Your brother in Christ,

  • Roger A. Letsom

    I need to make another correction:
    I am not associated with Bible Students. I am acquainted with them, however.

    Roge Letsom

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Hi Roger – I am glad to hear that you press toward “the upward call” (Phil. 3:14). God sees your standing and it is not for other people to judge your relationship with Jehovah and Jesus. In my view, as far as I can see, you are a fellow brother in Christ. You said you are currently examining your beliefs. This site might be a great opportunity for your to share your ideas and/or ask questions. I would be more than happy to respond. God bless.

  • Roger A. Letsom

    (I started a message earlier that might have been sent before complete. If so, I apologize and will try again.)
    I am a former JW and Elder. I was baptized in 1962 believing in an earthly hope. I now press on toward “the upward call” (Phil. 3:14).
    I am associated with the Bible Students, although I am currently examining your beliefs.
    What then, is my standing, as you see it?
    Thank you.
    Roger Letsom

  • Gasa

    Chris, quite true a person baptised is making a commitment between themselves and God, not an organisation. When I got baptised the were just over 1000 baptised in London at Twickenham Stadium in 1973 the baptismal questions were personal, the additional wording ‘organisation’ was added in 1980’s. This international convention also over the 5 days showed, Brother Russell’s photo drama of creation. In a large tent after sessions. I loved the food on trays, one day I wore sandals with socks on, at accommodation I had black feet.

    JWs it is said NT applies to bride class only, Jesus did talk a lot about the heavenly group because he was gathering his disciples the twelve foundation stones of the church. He had to bang on about the heavenly kingdom because his followers though he was to free Jews as political messiah and get rid of Roman rulers. The Jews he taught believed in an future earthly resserection in a Jewish freed homeland. The meek inheriting earth etc. He never told Martha she was wrong about a human ressurection. He always emphasised that those who would rule with him were to be servants of those they rule over. Jesus died to save all mankind, humans not for people to become Angels heavenly ones, the only ones to be spirit persons were those ruling with him.
    Quote wt tying to prove a scriptural point does not wash with me. I am one of Jehovah’s People (witnesses) and the scriptures are my authority. The watchtower is not inspired, it’s a guide only. Why anti witness groups quote wt to prove a point that the watchtower is imperfect, we all know that, but it’s better than the local church rag. It does contain spiritual food, not when the next jumble sale is on. Serving God in these last days is not a bed of roses and yes the best organisation in the world has faults lots but as Jesus said to Peter , ‘do you want to go as well’ and Peter said ‘you have sayings of everlasting life Lord where else would we go’. Peter and the Apostles all felt disgusted when Jesus said you must eat my flesh and drink my blood.
    So I sometimes also feel that way but turning away from serving Jehovah, No

    • Christopher Johns

      I agree the WT is not inspired. However when we claim that only they can interpret the Bible and that we cannot be saved apart from them then that’s the problem. Do you have access to the first volumes of Studies in the Scriptures?

  • Ted R.

    The 1955 July 1st WT has this to say:
    A Christian, therefore, cannot be baptized
    in the name of the one actually doing
    the immersing or in the name of any man,
    nor in the name of any organization, but in
    the name of the Father, the Son and the
    holy spirit. This shows, among other things,
    that Christianity is not a denominational
    affair, that sects have nothing to do with
    it. “Does the Christ exist divided? Paul
    was not impaled for you, was he? Or were
    you baptized in the name of Paul? I am
    thankful I baptized none of you except
    Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say
    that you were baptized in my name.”

    Do you see a contradiction between this and the 1985 change?

    • Lee Anthony

      Hello, I was baptised in 2009 and somehow along the way i became involved with Jw’s and they made me get baptised again as they claim that the other was somehow not valid. Since waking up and coming out this is one of the things i studied and realized, that everyone gets baptised into the organization. Wow! Thanks for posting the old WT, i like to study the older info and look at the contradiction and change that has occured and continues to occur. This website and the brothers n sisters on it have helped me so much. Keep sharing!

  • Ted R.

    In 1970 when I was baptised as a JW I answered these questions taken from the 1968 WT:

    Recognizing God’s Requirements for Life
    THE speaker, one of Jehovah’s witnesses, at the conclusion of his discourse on the subject of baptism asked of those who were about to be baptized:
    “(1) Have you recognized yourself before Jehovah as a sinner who needs salvation, and have you acknowledged to him that this salvation proceeds from him, the Father, through his Son, Jesus Christ?” After getting an audible “Yes” in reply,

    he next asked: “(2) On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for salvation, have you dedicated yourself unreservedly to God to do his will henceforth as he reveals it to you through Jesus Christ and through the Bible under the enlightening power of the holy spirit?” Getting an audible answer of “Yes” to this second question, the speaker informed those about to be immersed that they were eligible for the public ceremony of water baptism.
    In 1985 it was changed to this:
    Decision Based on Knowledge
    Likewise this year many thousands are contemplating the step of baptism during the “Integrity Keepers” Convention that will be held in many locations worldwide. Before reaching this point of baptism, all candidates have carefully reviewed with congregation elders the Bible’s principal doctrines and guidelines for Christian conduct to make sure they really qualify for baptism. Thus the decision to be baptized is by no means a sudden emotional reaction. Rather, each one has ‘proved for himself the good and acceptable and perfect will of God’ and wishes to submit to that will.—Romans 12:2.
    At the close of the convention baptism talk, the baptism candidates will be in position to answer with depth of understanding and heartfelt appreciation two simple questions that serve to confirm that they recognize the implications of following Christ’s example. The first question is:
    On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?
    The second is:
    Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?
    Having answered yes to these questions, candidates are in a right heart condition to undergo Christian baptism

    I never was baptized into an organization. My dedication is to do the will of Jehovah not an organization!
    This information was copied and pasted direct from the 1968 and 1985 Watchtowers. I never realized the change until I was researching the Bible Students.

  • Ken(B.S.)

    It recently occurred to me that Jw baptism is like the way John the Baptist baptized his disciples, except John didn’t “along with” someone else!

  • Ken(B.S.)

    Peter K., do Bible Students who don’t have the heavenly call get baptized?

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Br. Ken,

      Bible Students with the hope of a heavenly call are generally baptized as Jesus body members for the purpose of preparing to bless and help mankind in the future earthly kingdom. However, at a baptism service we do not make doctrinal requirements other than an affirmative answer to three questions roughly stated below:

      1) Do you recognize that you are a sinner in need of a savoir?

      2) Do you accept Jesus as your personal Savior?

      3) Have you fully consecrated (sacrificed) your all (all your energy, time and finances) to the Lord in His service.

      • Ken(B.S.)

        Ok. So it’s assumed that all that are baptized are running for the high calling? BTW, I saw your baptismal discourse…I thought it was really good, so much better than the JW’s baptizing people into an organization rather than Christ.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t think there are many if any that don’t have the heavenly call within the BS. I say this because what we know is spiritually discerned and is for the spirit begotten only. So I don’t think anyone who has been called read the Divine Plan and thought they can’t wait to live on the earth. There is only one calling and it’s to the high calling. The Laymens are said to understand what we do because they believe in the volumes but when I spoke to them it seems as if it’s like talking to a JW. They didn’t understand much.

      • Peter K. (admin)


        Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

        I think it is interesting that the JW Organization believes that there is a diminishing group of anointed that are in the running for the heavenly call. This anointed group is in preparation and training to be earth’s future judges, priests and kings, under their head Jesus Christ.

        Does the Associated Bible Students fit this profile?

        Does the JW Organization allow for the best environment for the Christian liberty and spiritual growth of the New Creation (the anointed)?

        Romans 12:1-2 NÀSB
        “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

        • Ken(B.S.)

          Br. Peter, why did you mention the associated Bible students?

          • Peter K. (admin)

            Br. Ken,

            Bible Students have often referred to our unified ecclesias (congregations) in this way. it is similar to the expression “International Bible Students Association” with the word “International” removed.

        • Anonymous

          Yes Peter I agree. There have been so many times I’ve considered going back to the JW Borg because my old congregation was such a family. We did everything together. Even though I didn’t agree with what they taught. But what sacrifice it is if I learn truth instead of sitting through a KH meeting that is sooo below a kindergarten level with no meat. I miss the people and the big conventions but I was hired to death and I feel like going back would knock me into the GC class

          • Anonymous

            And I don’t meet with my ecclesia here because it’s not an ecclesia. We have no elder and it’s not really bible study and we only meet one time a week.

            • Ken(B.S.)

              Anonymous, have you ever tried the B.S. telephone meeting on Weds night? I find it very encouraging, especially, for new Bible students.

          • Peter K. (admin)


            As you apparently know from experience, the New Creature has a passionate desire and hunger to learn the mind of Jehovah by studying the Bible more and more… deeper and deeper… treasuring every precious gem of truth and insight that the holy spirit begotten mind can absorb.

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