I've been baptized twice ... first by sprinkling, then by immersion. This is not entirely unique among Christians, though perhaps my particular circumstances are fairly rare. You see, I don't think there was anything wrong with my first baptism.
I was first baptized at age 16 in 1983 by Pastor Allen Moran, the man who led me to the Lord. As this was an Orthodox Presbyterian church, sprinkling was the mode of choice. I was not an infant, of course, so I had made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Eight years later, newly married (to a Baptist) and newly attending a Baptist church in Hawaii, I faced a choice I really had never anticipated. I wanted to join this church as a member, but their by-laws said my first baptism was no good. Meanwhile, I was still a member in good standing with my old church--I merely wanted to transfer my membership. But the old church was uncomfortable with me "denying my baptism" to submit to the rules of the new church, which seemed to say by its stance that the old one practiced an illegitimate form of baptism.
I was at an impasse. I couldn't join the new church without creating controversey at the old one. I had to deal with several issues at once. First and foremost, what did I think about the Bible's teachings on the mode of baptism?
Actually, to this day I'm still pretty wishy-washy on this, though I feel like I see both sides fairly clearly. The immersion camp has been ascendant within the evangelical community in the recent past, and claims the high ground of its particular interpretation of certain Greek words (baptizo="immerse"), lack of a clear biblical example of infant baptism, and the emphasis on baptism as a follow-on to an individual profession of faith, among others. The sprinklers likewise make a compelling case centered on the importance of God's covenant as it extends to the believer's children (reaching back to the covenant of circumcision). They also point to certain examples of baptisms including entire households, and of course to other meanings for the same Greek words (baptizo also means "wash", and perhaps implies pouring, etc.).
I'm sure both sides will feel shorted by the inadequate treatment I give their views above, but exegesis is not my purpose here. Suffice it to say, I was left in a quandry. I remember clearly expressing to the pastor of the Baptist church that my decision was complicated by the fact that I wasn't a Greek scholar. He said, "Well, I am." I told him that didn't help me very much, since there were other Greek scholars I respected at least equally which took the opposite view.
Wanting to join this particular church without creating controversey at the old church, I couldn't square the circle. I was frustrated at both the refusal of the Baptists to accept my Presbyterian baptism on one hand, and the Presbyterians' hard line on the other. Mostly it seemed to me that we just shouldn't divide ourselves over this! Oh, and to make matters weird, my old church was being represented at the time by my father (whom you know as Presbyter). Of course, this further fogged my brain.
In the end, my father wisely recused himself from the process. After several discussions with other authorities within the presbytery, we settled on the idea that I could follow my conscience and submit to a second baptism by immersion without causing great consternation within Presbyterian circles. It was a good end to an awful problem, and I think to this day it was the right conclusion: loving submission trumps strict adherance to theological/methodological purity where debatable issues are concerned.
Oh, and you'll be glad to know that I never even once contemplated baptism by cannonball: