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1.     What are the baptisms referred to in the New Testament?

2. How many baptisms are there?

There is “one baptism” according to the passage in Ephesians 4: 5.   Does this exclude baptism in the Spirit as a present reality?  Some who say, “Yes.”  Does this exclude the baptism of fire from being a future reality?  I don’t think so.  How should we understand this one baptism?  Many of us who come from a heritage that recognizes and emphasizes water baptism have assumed that nothing else could be added to our understanding.  We assume that baptism in water and baptism of the Holy Spirit are two separate events.  We assume that only the apostles were promised the baptism in the Spirit, ignoring the statement of John in Luke 3: 16 and its corollaries.  Such assumptions close the door of understanding, we become unreachable.  Have you noticed that it is only while we are searching and seeking that we find.  A mind that is satisfied that it has the complete truth, is a closed mind.

The answer might be found by considering the new birth; there is one birth, but two elements, water and the Spirit.  John 3:5  Is it possible that there is one baptism but two elements?  We must be born of water and the Spirit.

The one baptism, according to Paul,  is similar to the baptism of Israel; Israel was baptized once into Moses in the cloud (the presence of God; Exodus 13: 21) and the sea (water).  1 Corinthians 10: 1-3.

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  1 Corinthians 11: 12  Please keep in mind that this verse can legitimately be translated “for in one Spirit” or “for with one Spirit.”  My Bible list these as possible alternatives.  We always interpreted this passage, “By one Spirit which gives the word that teaches us to all be baptized in water into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit through the word.”  When you write it out you can see how much we changed the meaning.  This verse is not about the word, it is about unity.  Paul points out that we all were baptized in one Spirit into one body, and we all drank of one Spirit.

Another line of thought about the one baptism is that it may be the “one baptism administered by man,” but commanded by God.

Why should it be impossible for people who believe that God is One, yet three persons, or that a man and a woman become one when married, to consider that there might be one baptism but two elements.  There are many paradoxes in the Scriptures.

3. What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs when the gift of the Spirit is received.  Read these verses carefully. Acts 10: 45; 11: 17; 15: 8  The gift of the Holy Spirit was promised to “you and your children and for all who are far off.”  Acts 2: 38, 39  The Spirit was to be poured out on all.  Acts 2: 17.  John told the multitudes that Jesus would baptize them with either “fire” and the Holy Spirit.  Luke 3: 16 Since these two baptisms are mutually exclusive, we conclude that some will be baptized with the Spirit and others with the fire of judgment. If you are from the Restoration Movement, as I am, it is time to open are minds to the possibility we may have not the last word on the Holy Spirit.  You will not start speaking in tongues, neither must you accept the direct operation of the Holy Spirit.  God gives the Holy Spirit to those that through faith, obey (Acts 5: 32).  I don’t know of any passage that speaks of “measures of the Spirit,” do you?    Measures are a non sequitur from this passage (John 3: 34).

4. Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit?

Jesus Christ. Luke 3: 16; Mark 1: 8

5. To whom is the baptism of the Holy Spirit promised?

Joel prophesied that the Spirit would be poured out on all mankind, sons, daughters, and old men, young men, male servants and female servants. Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the apostles and John the Baptist said that Jesus would baptize "all," to whom he was speaking, with the Holy Spirit. Luke 3: 16; Joel 2:28-32; Acts 1: 5; Titus 3: 5-6

6. What is the baptism of fire?

The baptism of fire is the baptism of condemnation to those who do not know the Lord.  It will be administered on the last day.       Luke 3: 16;  Matthew 3: 11-12

7. What is the baptism of suffering?

Jesus was alluding to his suffering at his death. Luke 12: 50.

8. What are the baptisms or washings mentioned in the letter to the Hebrews?

They are the various washings in the Law of Moses prescribed for purification. Hebrew 9: 10

9. What is the baptism into Moses?

It is the baptism that the children of Israel experienced when they left Egypt. Their experiences typify the Christian experience. The leaving of Egypt represents a person leaving the world of bondage to sin and their baptism into Moses represents the Christian baptism. Their wanderings in the desert represent the Christian sojourn on this earth and their entrance into Canaan represent the Christian entrance into heaven. 1 Corinthians 10: 1-2

10. What was the nature of the baptism into Moses?

They were baptized in the cloud and the sea. There was one baptism but two elements. As you recall, the pillar of cloud was a pillar of fire by night.  This was not mere water vapor; but the Lord went before Israel in the cloud.

11. Who sent John the Baptist to baptize in water?

John states that the One who sent him to baptize in water was the One who said that Jesus would baptize with The Holy Spirit; namely God. God sent John to baptize in water. John 1:33

12. What did those whom rejected John’s baptism, actually reject?

Those who rejected John’s baptism actually rejected God’s counsel or God’s purpose for themselves? Luke 7: 30

13. What did those who accepted John’s baptism actually do?

Those who accepted John’s baptism acknowledged God’s justice or way of righteousness. Luke 7: 29

The Baptism in Water

14. Jesus instructed the apostles to, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit". Where did this instruction originate?

Jesus stated that He came not to do His own but the will of the Father. Hence His instruction to His apostles concerning baptism in water originated with God. Matthew 28:19; John 6: 39-40

15. Would it be logical to infer that those who reject the baptism Jesus commanded are also rejecting the counsel of God?


16. What motives and actions were associated with John’s baptism?

The people came to be baptized confessing their sins and repenting of their sins for the remission of sins, Matthew 3: 5,11; Luke 3:3

17. Why was Jesus baptized of John?

Certainly not to confess sin, repent of sin or to seek remission of sin. John did not want to baptize Jesus because he recognized Him as the Lamb of God, but Jesus told him to permit the baptism because it was proper to fulfill all righteousness. God had counseled the Jews to be baptized of John and Jesus as a Jew, completely did God’s will. Jesus was baptized and received the Holy Spirit at that time.   John 3: 35; Matthew 13:13-15

18. Is the baptism of John applicable today?

No, John’s baptism was a baptism of preparation for the Lord’s first coming and would not be appropriate after his coming. Those who were baptized in John’s baptism knew nothing about the receiving of the Holy Spirit.  Those who only knew John’s baptism were baptized, again. in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19: 1-6

19. Which baptism is applicable today?

First: we accept the fact that there is one baptism. But what does this mean?

Second: let’s consider the new birth. There is only one new birth, but we must be born of two elements. Jesus said we must be born of the water and the Spirit. Two elements, one birth. I believe the one baptism, likewise, consist of two elements. We must be baptized in water and we must be receive the Spirit, promised to those that obeyed Him.  Acts 2: 38, 39; 5: 32

Third: consider the baptism of the children of Israel as they left Egypt and began the desert wanderings. The record states they were baptized into Moses in the cloud and the sea. One baptism, two elements. The cloud was the Lord and the sea the water. Their experience was typical of ours.

Fourth: we are baptized into Christ by water and Spirit. “For by (in, with) one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  1 Corinthians 10: 1-2; 12: 13;John 3: 1-7; Ephesians 4: 5; Galatians 3: 26-27

Fifth: when we are baptized in water, we are made to drink of one Spirit because we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit at that time.  This is the “living water” which Jesus said would “become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  The Holy Spirit is the “living water.”  John 4: 10-14; 7: 37-39

Sixth:  when we are baptized in water, we not only received remission of sins but we also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In the Restoration Movement there has been great stress placed on the forgiveness of sins, and rightly so, but we should have placed equal emphasis upon the gift of the Spirit. The Spirit gives life in Christ and renews. Acts 2: 38; 5: 32; Titus 3: 5

20. Did Jesus baptize with water during His earthly ministry?

Yes, we read that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John although Jesus Himself did baptize not, but His disciples were. John 3:22-4:2

21. After His resurrection and before His ascension, did Jesus command the apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit?

Yes, Jesus had received all authority in heaven and on earth. We find this command recorded in Matthew 28: 18-19.

22. Did Jesus state that belief and baptism were factors in salvation?

Yes, as recorded in Mark 16: 15-16 Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who disbelieves shall be condemned". Clearly faith or believing are conjoined with baptism as factors in salvation. Peter clearly states that baptism saves in appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ is the source of eternal salvation to all that obey Him. Peter 3: 21; Hebrews 5:9

23. Cal Beisner in his booklet, "Is Baptism Necessary For Salvation," argues that because "there is no negation of those who believe but are not baptized. Thus while the verse as a whole does teach that belief is essential to salvation, it does not teach that baptism is." Is this a legitimate critique of this verse?

This remark totally misses the point. Read the record of conversion in the Acts of the Apostles. The scriptures overwhelmingly demonstrates that those who believe will be baptized; hence there is no mention of those who believe but are not baptized because this is not even a possibility unless one is suggesting that some will be saved in one way and others in another way. Mr. Beisner seems to be one of those who approach the Scriptures like you would a buffet or smorgasbord, that is you pick and choose what you like.

24. Where can documentation be found for the Scriptural conjoining of belief with baptism?

Documentation can be found in many passages; consider the following:

25. Is baptism a factor in receiving the forgiveness of sins?

Peter told those at Pentecost to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Clearly repentance and baptism is conjoined as factors in the forgiveness of sins. Saul of Tarsus, later the apostle Paul, was told to arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord, again, making baptism a factor in forgiveness of sins. The Romans were made free from sin when they became obedient from the heart to that form of doctrine to which they were committed. Act 2:37-38; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:17-18

26. Is baptism a factor in becoming a child of God?

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." Galatians 3:26-27

27. What does baptism symbolize?

Baptism symbolizes at least five things.

·        A “washing” or “cleansing” from sin. This washing is the washing of regeneration  Acts 22:16;  2: 38,39;  Titus 3: 5

·        A “death.”  Romans 6: 1-7

·        A “burial” with Him through baptism into death.  Romans 6: 1-6; Colossians 2: 12 

·        A “resurrection.”  Romans 6: 1-5; Colossians 2: 12

·        A “birth.”  John 3: 3, 5; Galatians 3: 26, 27


28. Into what are we baptized?

The Scriptures show the following:

29. What does "baptized into Christ" mean?

To be "in Christ" means to be union with Christ or to be united with Him. Prior to baptism, we are separated from Christ and such alienation is experienced because of sin. In the act of baptism believers are joined to or united with Christ. The estrangement is ended as our sins our taken away. Romans 6: 5; Isaiah 59: 1-2

30. What are some of the blessings to be found in union with Christ?

31. What does "baptized into Christ’s death" mean?

Clearly it does not mean we are baptized literally into His death because one can only participate in his own death. Of course , today, we are nearly 2,000 years removed from the death of Christ. In my opinion this is a figure of speech, a metonymy. For example, we say our radiator is boiling; when in reality, we mean the water in our radio is boiling. When the Scriptures say believers are "baptized into Christ’s death," the meaning is "believers are baptized into the benefits of His death." Baptism is the time when believers appropriate the blessings which accrue to man by the death of the Savior.  The power is not in the water itself, but in God who chooses to work in our lives when we through faith obey.

32. What are some of the benefits of His death?

33. Is baptism of faith or a work of righteousness?

Baptism in water is commanded by God and demonstrates the believers faith in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. Paul states that we are children of God by faith for when we were clothed with Christ when baptized into Christ. Paul also assures us that the washing of regeneration is not a work of righteousness. Baptism does not violate the principle of justification by faith. Please read the Hebrews 11to find many acts of faith. Galatians 3: 26-27; Titus 3: 5; Hebrew 11: 7; Colossians 2: 12

34. What is the rationale for the baptism of infants?

There is no Biblical rationale, as there is no support for the practice in the Bible. Obviously the infant does not have faith and contrary to the doctrine of total depravity is not a sinner. Jesus said to permit the little children come to Him for of such is the kingdom of heaven. There are examples of young children being dedicated to the Lord. Matthew 19: 14; 1 Samuel 1: 28

35. What is the rationale for the baptism, by proxy, for another?

To my knowledge, only Latter Day Saints baptize for the dead. The practice is based upon one verse, 1 Corinthians 15:29. "Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?" This verse when read in context of the entire chapter, is an argument to prove that Christians will rise from the dead. To suggest that the faith or obedience of one can be imputed to another is without warrant. My personal feeling is that Paul was alluding to a practice, which he did not necessarily support; others say he was speaking of baptism for those dead in sin or baptism at the request of those who were physically dying.

36. What is the proper mode of baptism?

This question would seem to imply that there is a choice, but is there?

First: baptism in the name of Christ looks to the baptism of John, not to the law, to establish the mode.

Second: John was baptizing in the river Jordan.

Third: the reason stated is because there was “much water” there.  “Much water” is not needed if you are “pouring” or “sprinkling” for baptizing.

Fourth: the word, "baptize," means to dip or immerse. Compare the Greek word for dip, "bapto," with the Greek word, "rhantizo”, which means to sprinkle or the Greek word, "ekcheo" or "ekchuno."which mean to pour. You don’t have to be a Greek scholar to see the relationship of baptize with dip. The translators played games with “baptism” and some other words.  If they had translated instead of transliterated we would have the word “immersion” in our Bibles.  Check it out yourself.  Its on the net.

Fifth: baptism not only represents a cleansing but also the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Clearly all these factors point to immersion as being the appropriate mode. Matthew 3: 6, 16; John 3: 23; Acts 8: 38; Romans 6: 1-6

Sixth: when Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch they both went down into the water.  This would not be necessary if Philip was sprinkling.  Acts 8: 38

Seventh: have you ever wondered why such words as “baptize” and “church” were not translated and “the episcopacy” was upheld in the KJV?  Why did they follow the Bishops Bible were possible when translating?  There was an agreement that the “Old Ecclesiastical Words” were not to be translated.  If they were, we would have “immerse” for “baptize” and “ congregation” or “assembly” for “church.”  The powers that be had a vested interest to maintain the status quo.

37.  Is this article promoting baptism above faith?

Certainly not!  We recognize faith as the principle of life; the just shall live by faith.  Unfortunately when there is so much misinformation about “baptism,” greater emphasis is needed.  At the same time we recognize that faith is to be a living, active faith; a faith that expresses itself in the way that God has given.

38.  What is baptism without faith?

Baptism without faith (such as the so-called baptism of an infant) is an empty ritual.

To those of us who have heard “baptism” all our lives we need to understand that the Scriptures normally connect baptism with the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We need to rethink our positions. To those of the “faith only” you need to understand that baptism is the natural _expression of our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord.  We are united with our Lord in His death and resurrection when we are baptized.  To those that “baptize” infants ask yourself, “Can an infant believe?”  To our Calvinist friends, read Acts 5: 32.  The gift of the Holy Spirit is not unconditional.

39.   What is the relationship between faith and baptism?

Procreation in the natural realm:        

begotten by man   +     birth   =  a child of man

Regeneration in the spiritual realm:

begotten by God    +     birth of water and the Spirit     =  a child of God

Come to faith        +     baptized and receive the Spirit  =  a child of God

Another perspective:

Those that believe shall have eternal life.  John 3: 16

But eternal life is in Christ. 1 John 5: 11

Faith or believing is our authority, or right or power to become a child of God.  John 1: 12

But we are baptized into Christ through faith.  Galatians 3: 26, 27; Roman 6: 3-6; Colossians  2: 12-14

Faith in God is our authority to be baptized into Christ so that we might receive eternal life

He who has believed and has been  baptized shall be saved.  Mark 16: 16

God bless.  


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Last Update   09/26/12