Rebaptism is associated with:
- Anabaptism, from Greek ἀνα- (re-) and βαπτίζω (baptize)
- Rebaptism in Mormonism
- Insistence on believer's baptism as in Baptist traditions
- Some Pentecostal churches.
What is called rebaptism is generally seen not as a repetition of a valid baptism, but as a first baptism: the earlier ceremony carried out on the person is judged to have been invalid. Thus, when a denomination rebaptizes members of another denomination, it is a sign of significant differences in theology. Many churches that practice adult baptism like the Baptists, Churches of Christ and Christian Churches will rebaptise people who were baptised as infants because they do not consider infant baptism as biblically valid.
In the 4th century, controversy was provoked by the Montanist sect's practice of rebaptizing Christians who had renounced their faith under persecution. The mainstream church decided that the lapsi could not be rebaptized, because the sacrament of baptism was irrevocable, leaving an indelible mark on the soul of the baptized.
Later on, rebaptism of Arians was deemed necessary because Arians did not believe in the identical Holy Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicea and their baptism was therefore not in the name of the Trinity as understood by the Council.
While in modern times some Orthodox have rebaptized Catholics, the claim that they did so in medieval times has been dismissed as a Latin slander against the Eastern Orthodox. Greek Orthodox practice, but not Russian, changed dramatically in 1755, when Patriarch Cyril V of Constantinople issued the Definition of the Holy Church of Christ Defending the Holy Baptism Given from God, and Spitting upon the Baptisms of the Heretics Which Are Otherwise Administered; but today even the Greek Orthodox do not necessarily insist on rebaptizing Catholics.
During the Protestant Reformation, the practice of rebaptizing became common because of significant disagreements over infant baptism and the belief that each believer had to be "born again" after reaching adulthood. In spite of this, many Reformed churches have renounced the practice of rebaptizing Catholics and Orthodox because of shared agreements and a common trinitarian theology.
Today, non-trinitarian movements such as the Latter Day Saints, Oneness Pentecostal and Jehovah's Witnesses are among the most likely to practise rebaptism, essentially because they do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity, in whose name mainstream Christian baptisms are conducted. In the case of Latter-day Saints, this is due to their claim of being the only church with the priesthood authority to perform saving ordinances.
- Scott Culpepper, Francis Johnson and the English Separatist Influence (Mercer University Press 2011 ISBN 978-0-88146-238-8), p. 203
- Russel R. Paden, "From the Churches of Christ to the Boston Movement", thesis submitted to the University of Kansas 1994
- Tia Kolbaba, "On the closing of the churches and the rebaptism of Latins: Greek perfidy or Latin slander?" in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, Volume 29, Number 1, 2005 , pp. 39-51(13)
- John H. Erickson, "The Reception of Non-Orthodox into the Orthodox Church: Contemporary Practice" in St Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 41 (1997) pp. 1-17