• Brian O'Kelly

12 – Baptisms

Updated: Jun 5



1. History


1.1. Origins


1.1.1. The practice of baptism emerged from Jewish ritualistic practices during the Second Temple Period, out of which figures such as John the Baptist emerged. For example, various texts in the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) corpus at Qumran describe ritual practices involving washing, bathing, sprinkling, and immersing. One example of such a text is a DSS known as the Rule of the Community, which says "And by the compliance of his soul with all the laws of God his flesh is cleansed by being sprinkled with cleansing waters and being made holy with the waters of repentance."

1.2. Mandeans

1.2.1. The Mandaeans, who are followers of John the Baptist, practice frequent full immersion baptism as a ritual of purification. According to Mandaean sources, they left the Jordan Valley in the 1st century AD.

1.2.2. They were possibly the earliest to practice baptism and may have originated Gnosticism. Today, they are the last surviving Gnostics from antiquity. The Mandaeans were originally native speakers of Mandaic, an Eastern Aramaic language, before many switched to colloquial Iraqi Arabic and Modern Persian. There are about 60,000 Mandeans in the world. Most of them were in Iraq prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Now there are only about 5000 Mandeans in Iraq with the rest scattered worldwide. Sweden and Australia have the most Mandeans at 10K-20K in Sweden and 8-10K in Australia

1.3. Early Church

1.3.1. The Didache (AD 60–150)

1.3.1.1. allowed for affusion practices in situations where immersion was not practical. Likewise, Tertullian (AD 196–212) allowed for varying approaches to baptism even if those practices did not conform to biblical or traditional mandates. Finally, Cyprian (ca. AD 256) explicitly stated that the amount of water was inconsequential and defended immersion, affusion, and aspersion practices. As a result, there was no uniform or consistent mode of baptism in the ancient church prior to the fourth century

1.3.1.2. This is how you should baptize: Having recited all these things, [the first half of the Teaching, "The Way of Life and the Way of Death"] baptize in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, in running water. If you do not have running water, then baptize in still water. The water should be cold, but if you do not have cold water, then use warm. If you have neither, then just pour water on the head three times in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Both the one who is baptized and the one who baptizes should fast beforehand, along with any others who are able, the one that is baptized being told to fast for a day or two

1.3.2. By the third and fourth centuries, baptism involved catechetical instruction as well as chrismation, exorcisms, laying on of hands, and recitation of a creed.

1.3.3. In the early Middle Ages infant baptism became common and the rite was significantly simplified and increasingly emphasized. In Western Europe Affusion became the normal mode of baptism between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, though immersion was still practiced into the sixteenth. In the medieval period, some radical Christians rejected the practice of baptism as a sacrament. Sects such as the Tondrakians, Cathars, Arnoldists, Petrobrusians, Henricans, Brethren of the Free Spirit and the Lollards were regarded as heretics by the Catholic Church. In the sixteenth century, Martin Luther retained baptism as a sacrament, but Swiss reformer Huldrych Zwingli considered baptism and the Lord's supper to be symbolic. Anabaptists denied the validity of the practice of infant baptism, and rebaptized converts.

2. Why plural?

2.1. Isn’t there only “one baptism”? No, there is water baptism and baptism in the Spirit

2.1.1. Eph.4:5 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

2.1.2. I Cor.1:11-13 11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

2.2. Various baptisms in Scripture

2.2.1. John’s baptism

2.2.1.1. Acts 18:25 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.

2.2.1.2. Acts 19:3 3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

2.2.2. Christian baptism Acts 19:4-5 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

2.2.3. Baptism in the Holy Spirit & Fire Matt.3:11 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit [a]and fire.

2.2.4. Baptism of suffering

2.2.4.1. Luke 12:50 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!

2.2.4.2. Mark 10:38 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”

2.2.5. Into Moses I Cor.10:2 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

2.2.6. Baptism “for the dead” I Cor.15:29 29 Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?

3. Christian Baptism

3.1. Why was Jesus Baptized

3.1.1. A clear connection with John the Baptist. John had been announcing the Messiah. This was a validation of John’s ministry of repentance. Jesus didn’t have anything to repent of, but he did what He always did here by showing us His example. Baptism is a public declaration of loyalty to God.

3.1.2. He connected His humanity with ours. He was without sin, but took on the form of a man and identified with our human experiences. Especially since He would later command it of his followers.

3.1.3. It includes the first reference to the trinity. Jesus, the Spirit descending like a dove and the voice of the Father.

3.2. Baptized “into Christ”

3.2.1. Rom.6:3 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

3.2.2. Gal.3:27 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

3.3. Is it Necessary for Salvation?

3.3.1. Yes?

3.3.1.1. Mark 16:16 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

3.3.1.2. John 3:5 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

3.3.1.3. Acts 22:16 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’

3.3.1.4. Galatians 3:27 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

3.3.1.5. 1 Peter 3:21 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

3.3.2. No.

3.3.2.1. Luke 23:43 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

3.3.2.2. John 1:12 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [e]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

3.3.2.3. John 3:16 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

3.3.2.4. John 3:18 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

3.3.2.5. John 3:36 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

3.3.2.6. Acts 10:47 Then Peter answered, 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

3.3.2.7. Acts 11:17 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

3.3.2.8. 1 Corinthians 1:14-17 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. 16 Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

3.3.2.9. 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

3.3.3. It is necessary for obedience

3.3.3.1. Matt.28:19 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

3.3.3.2. Acts 2:38 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

3.4. What Method (Mode)?

3.4.1. Sprinkling? Ezek.36:25-27 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

3.4.2. Pouring? Joel 2:28 28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;

3.4.3. Immersion?

3.4.3.1. Rom.6:3-4 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

3.4.3.2. Col.2:12 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

3.5. In what name?

3.5.1. The Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?Matt.28:19 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

3.5.2. The Name of Jesus?

3.5.2.1. Acts 2:38 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

3.5.2.2. Acts 8:16 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

3.5.2.3. Acts 10:48 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

3.5.2.4. Acts 19:5 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

4. Who should be baptized?

4.1. Whole households, including infants

4.1.1. Gen.17:13-14 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

4.1.2. Acts 16:33 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

4.1.3. Matt.19:14 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.

4.2. Believers only

4.2.1. Mark 16:16 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

4.2.2. Acts 2:38 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

4.3. Should those baptized as infants be rebaptized?

4.3.1. Acts 19:5 4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

4.4. Who may baptize?

4.4.1. Only officials of a local church? (no scripture)

4.4.2. Whoever evangelizes

4.4.2.1. Matt.28:19 19 Go [c]therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

4.4.2.2. Acts 8:12-13 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. 13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

4.4.2.3. Acts 8:38 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

4.4.2.4. Acts 9:17-18 17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

5. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit : The Doctrine of Subsequence

5.1. Who is The Holy Spirit

5.1.1. Personal

5.1.1.1. John 14:16 -16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever

5.1.1.2. John 15:26 26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

5.1.1.3. John 16:13 - 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

5.1.1.4. Eph.4:30 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

5.1.2. Identified with the Father and the Son

5.1.2.1. II Cor.13:14 - 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

5.1.2.2. I Peter 1:2 - 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:

5.1.3. He is God

5.1.3.1. Acts 5:3-4 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? 4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

5.1.3.2. II Cor.3:17 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

5.2. Relationship of Christians to the Holy Spirit

5.2.1. The Holy Spirit with the believer and in the believer John 14:17 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

5.2.2. The Holy Spirit upon the believer Acts 1:8 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

5.3. Interchangability of some terms

5.3.1. “In the Spirit” used interchangably with “the Spirit in you” and “having the Spirit” Rom. 8:9 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

5.3.2. “Baptized” and “filled” used interchangably with the Holy Spirit “upon” the believers.

5.3.2.1. Acts 1:5 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

5.3.2.2. Acts 2:4 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5.3.2.3. Acts 1:8 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be [c]witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

5.3.3. “Receiving the Holy Spirit” is used in connection with the Holy Spirit coming “upon” the believers

5.3.3.1. Acts 8:15-16 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

5.3.3.2. Acts 10:44 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

5.3.3.3. Acts 10:47 47 “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

5.3.3.4. Acts 19:2 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

5.3.3.5. Acts 19:6 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

5.3.4. “The gift of the Holy Spirit” (not “gifts”) used in Acts 2:38 and equated with the “receiving of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15, 18-20), with the Spirit coming “upon” believers (Acts 10:44-45), and with “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 11:16-17)

5.3.4.1. Acts 2:38 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

5.3.4.2. Acts 8:15 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

5.3.4.3. Acts 8:18-20 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!

5.3.4.4. Acts 10:44-45 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

5.3.4.5. Acts 11:16-17 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

5.3.5. On one occasion (John 20:22), “receiving” the Holy Spirit seems to refer to the initial indwelling of the Spirit prior to the baptism in the Spirit at Pentecost. Paul may have had this concept in mind also in Gal.3:14, though the terminology there is “receive the promise of the Holy Spirit.”

5.3.5.1. John 20:22 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

5.3.5.2. Gal.3:14 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

5.4. Simultaneous with conversion or Subsequent?

5.4.1. Simultaneous

5.4.1.1. I Corinthians 12:13 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink [g]into one Spirit.

5.4.1.2. Acts 10:44 44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

5.4.2. Subsequent “Receiving the Holy Spirit” being “filled with the Spirit” and the Spirit coming “upon” the believers are all associated with the laying on of hands subsequently to conversion.

5.4.2.1. Receiving Acts 8:15-19 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

5.4.2.2. being “filled” Acts 9:17 17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord [d]Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

5.4.2.3. Spirit coming “upon” Acts 19:6 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

5.4.3. Repeated and continuous “filling” is normative

5.4.3.1. Acts 2:4 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5.4.3.2. Acts 4:31 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

5.4.3.3. Eph.5:18 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,