Readers Question / Comment -
Has water baptism ceased? Did
Spirit baptism replace water baptism?
I was wondering what your thoughts are on those that teach that
Water Baptism has ceased and was replaced by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?
They’ll say that John the Baptist was looking forward to the
coming of the Messiah who will baptize with the Spirit compared to him baptizing
with water. And they say that the Great Commission was talking about Spirit
Baptism and not Water Baptism since Jesus talks of baptizing His Apostles with
the Spirit before He Ascended, and He gave the Apostles the authority to give the
Spirit to disciples by the laying of hands.
And that there is no record
of the Apostles or even any of the other 120 in the upper room being re-baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ when they received the Spirit on Pentecost.
they’ll point out Ephesians 4:5 that states there is One Baptism. And they
say it has to be Baptism of the Spirit since it’s superior to water
baptism. And throughout Paul’s epistles he speaks of us being united into
Christ’s Body by One Spirit and that we are baptized by One Spirit.
just wondering what your thoughts are on those that teach these things when
it’s clear though that the Apostles did water baptize others, and they were
under the Spirit when they did so.
thanks for the question. I can understand why some people may
think Baptism of the Holy Spirit has replaced water baptism as there is a lack of
water baptism mentioned in the Epistles especially. Some would point to Rom 6 but
I don't personally see this as water baptism. But that aside, in my opinion
the weight of evidence still shows that water baptism is required for believers
today. Personally I don't think anyone reading Jesus' instructions in
Matt 28:19 would realistically (without their own agenda to discredit water
baptism) take this to mean spirit baptism. He is instructing believers what they
should do to those that believe amongst the nations - disciple them, baptize them
in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey
His word. I've never heard of Spirit baptism being in the name of the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. And it is what the Holy Spirit does... not
what disciples do as such.
While it is true that Jesus did go on to
teach the disciples about the baptism of the Spirit (Acts 1:5) there is no
thought that this replaces water baptism amongst the disciples. For example, as
you will be aware...
Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, taught about water
Act 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every
one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you
will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
As did Phillip who was
also full of the Holy Spirit
Act 8:12 But when they believed Philip
as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ,
they were baptized, both men and women.
Act 8:35-38 Then Philip began with
that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus. (36) As
they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said,
"Look, here is water. Why shouldn't I be baptized?" (38) And he
gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into
the water and Philip baptized him.
Peter again later when Gentiles
Act 10:45-47 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter
were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the
Gentiles. (46) For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then
Peter said, (47) Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water?
They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.
Act 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be
baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.'
with Paul in Acts was baptised:
Act 16:14-15 One of those listening was a
woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a
worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message.
(15) When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to
her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said,
"come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
Paul instructed others to be:
Act 19:3-6 So Paul asked, "Then what
baptism did you receive?" "John's baptism," they replied. (4)
Paul said, "John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the
people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus." (5) On
hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) When Paul
placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues
So it is right through Acts. If someone is going to
say it was only for a limited period of time until the Apostles were more
enlightened, then where is the evidence of that? Is there later instructions that
water baptism is not commanded anymore? Nope.
So I believe it is still
asked of believers today. Some go way too far the other way and use some
scriptures to say that if you are not baptised in water you cannot be saved.
Which is wrong as well. But water baptism still has its place as an outward
observance that symbolized what has happened to the believer when they are
baptised into the one body by the Spirit of God.