John’s Baptism

Posted: October 7, 2008 by cthoward in Scriptural Question
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Mark 1:4 says that John was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  In Acts 2:38, Peter tells the crowd that they must repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.  The same language is used of John’s baptism that is used of the Pentecost baptism.

My question is:
Why were the Ephesian believers of Acts 19 re-baptized after receiving John’s baptism?  If John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, which is the same as the baptism preached on Pentecost, why did they need to be baptized again?

  1. Brian King says:

    Alright, this is PART 1 (with PART 2 soon to follow):

    Well, almost the same language is used to speak of John’s baptism and the Pentecost baptism. While the language may seem similar, there are distinct differences that must be noted and understood. Taking note of the differences between these two baptisms would, I believe, suffice to answer this question. Why? Because if there are indeed two distinct baptisms for two distinct purposes then it would fully explain the Ephesians need to be baptized again with the different Pentecost baptism.

    So, what are the 2 baptisms really different from one another or not? Lets examine them.

    John’s Baptism:
    In Mark 1:1-8 Mark records pretty much all that he is going to say about the ministry of John the baptist. Mark says that the good news of Jesus Christ begins by quoting O.T. prophecies from Mal.3:1 & Is.40:3 that both speak about a messenger who will prepare the way for the Messiah. He then explains how John the baptist fulfills these prophecies by “preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” So John fulfills a prophecy of preparing the way for the Messiah by preaching that people should repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.

    Notice though what covenant John the baptist lives under… John is a messenger of God, a prophet, and he is a Jew. John and all those to whom he preaches are Jews, in fact Jesus says that His own earthly ministry was “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”(Matt.15:24). John is a Jew, both under the old covenant, and was sent to those who were still God’s covenant people at that time, the Jews.

    But wait a minute… why would God’s covenant people still need to have their “sins forgiven” by repenting and submitting to this baptism? Didn’t God build into the old covenant law some sort of mechanism to deal with the sins of the people? How did all the Jews prior John the baptists preaching this repentance & baptism for the forgiveness of sins receive forgiveness of their sins?

    BY faith! In Gal. 3:11 Paul quotes Hab.2:4 to declare that God NEVER justified a single Jew by his keeping of the law, but rather by his faith. Since God knew men could not live righteously because of our own weakness in choosing it He, in His infinite wisdom made it possible to declare men righteous, not on the basis of their own righteousness (for if they had it, it would not need to be declared) but on the basis of the righteousness of another.
    I am not going to go any further into a discussion of Justification by faith here… haha. Suffice it to say God has always declared people righteous by faith, which was exactly what was going on in John’s baptism.

    How would a faithful Jew respond to the preaching of John the baptist? He would repent and subject himself to baptism having faith that God would indeed forgive his sins. “What is the reason for this baptism for forgiveness that we are receiving?” a Jew might ask. “It is the Word of the Lord,” John the baptist might have replied. “Obey it!”

    As a prophet under the old covenant, when John prophesied he spoke with the authority of God himself, and those who would not listen to (and obey) the words of the prophet would answer to God!(Deut. 18:19)
    Since John came preaching that people should repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins every Jew was subject to obey the words of John as a prophet of the Lord, that is if they wanted to remain faithful to God.

    So, to remain faithful to God, anyone who heard of this message that John preached would need to be obedient to this message and come and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins!

    But what we have just seen does NOT answer for us the WHY question of John’s baptism! All of the Jews that lived by faith before John came along were still okay without the baptism, so WHY NOW? Why did John NOW start preaching that people had to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins? Well, we already saw the O.T. passages (Mal.3:1 & Is.40:3) that which were quoted to say that John preached IN ORDER TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE MESSIAH. Okay, hold on to that. That is the reason, but HOW does John’s baptism “prepare the way”? Just through the aspect of repentance proclaimed? That was the message of every O.T. prophet! John comes also with something else that is VITAL to “preparing the way” for the Messiah.

    As John is preaching repentance and this baptism for the forgiveness of sins, Jesus, a faithful Jew of the tribe of Judah, comes out to be baptized by John. This is clearly seen by what Jesus says to John in Matt. 3:15. As Jesus approaches John to be baptized by him, John wants to protest, but Jesus says “permit it at this time, for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus was obedient to the Word of the Lord spoken through John the Baptist.

    However, we are tempted to ask, “why would Jesus be baptized, He had no sins to be forgiven of?” Good question, this point will bring out to us what is the greater purpose of the baptism of John the Baptist.

    In the gospel of John 1:31, John the Baptist speaks to what is the greater purpose of his baptism specifically, “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing with water.” John says that not only did His baptism prepare the way for the Messiah by softening their hearts with repentance, but ALSO by revealing WHO the Messiah was! In the rest of the context of John 1:29-34 John the Baptist explains how Jesus was manifested to him through His baptism; an event which EVERY single gospel writer records IN CONCERT with the baptism of John the Baptist. Even Mark, who uses less than a chapter to record everything about John, still thinks it vitally important to record Jesus baptism by John.

    Ah ha! John’s baptism prepared the way both BY bringing the people to repentance, AND also by revealing Jesus as the Messiah of God!!! That is pretty much what we have going on in the repentance and baptism message that is preached by John the Baptist.

    There is, however, one more thing we need to notice about the preaching of John the Baptist before we move forward to examine the preaching that occurs on Pentecost. We find it in Matthew 3:11-12, Mark 1:7-8, Luke 3:16, and John 1:29-34. Even John thinks that Jesus is going to bring a new baptism with him…

  2. Justin says:

    I remember Gerald commenting on this. He believes that people who were baptized with John’s baptism were not rebaptized on the day of Pentecost, that they just received the outpouring Holy Spirit. That is still debatable. I THINK what Gerald said was that since those Ephesians were baptized with John’s baptism AFTER the new kingdom had come about, then they needed to be baptized correctly (it looks like Apollos had taught them inaccurately). In other words, maybe if they had received John’s baptism “pre-Pentecost” then they would not have been rebaptized.

    I’m inclined to disagree with Gerald on this because clearly the baptism into Jesus Christ (Pentecostal baptism) gave someone the Holy Spirit while John’s baptism did not. That is why I believe people WERE rebaptized on the day of Pentecost and why the Ephesians were rebaptized as well.

  3. npulpit says:

    From David Creek (via email):
    “p. 34 and 35 of [Ed Wharton’s] Church of Christ book gives some explanation…”

  4. cthoward says:

    Thanks Justin and Brian for your responses…
    I still have some questions (I see Brian that you are going on to a part 2, so maybe you will hit these questions, but here goes…):
    So, a person baptized by John had their sins forgiven only to have them unforgiven when Jesus died and resurrected? Why wouldn’t their sins remain forgiven?
    So, I figure your response will be because they are under the old covenant and Jesus brought a new…but Paul clarifies to the Ephesian believers that John preached about the one who was to come after him, implying that John baptized those who put their faith in the Messiah, Jesus (even if they did not know yet who exactly He was). So, their faith was to a large degree new covenant faith, based on Christ…after all, how were their sins forgiven? By Christ’s impending death…the same sacrifice that wipes out all sin in all times.

    Next question…when John predicted that Jesus would bring a new baptism what was he referring to, Christian water baptism or the baptism of the Holy Spirit (which Jesus says in Acts 1:5 would happen a few days from that time…and was fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on the apostles at Pentecost)?

    Next question…I know John baptized to prepare the way for Christ…but fundamentally, how are the baptisms any different? Both represent a commitment to God. Both require repentance. Both require faith in the Christ. Both bring forgiveness of sins. Both fulfill righteousness (Jesus was baptized for the same reason you are…because God said to, faith in God).

    Next question…when Jesus’ disciples baptized people (during Jesus’ earthly ministry), was it with John’s baptism, or with Christ’s baptism? In other words, if you conclude that those baptized by John had to be re-baptized because they were under the old covenant and had not received the Holy Spirit, would that not also apply to those baptized in connection with Jesus’ ministry?

    I guess I am really asking why God would establish a baptism through John only to replace it with another baptism, which is essentially the same, three years (or so) later. In fact, it goes back to one of my questions…what is fundamentally different about the baptisms?

  5. cthoward says:

    By the way…I have a different explanation of Acts 19 that I will share later, after we work some of these thoughts.

  6. Brian King says:

    Let’s leave this particular question of baptism for another time… haha:

    “When John predicted that Jesus would bring a new baptism what was he referring to, Christian water baptism or the baptism of the Holy Spirit (which Jesus says in Acts 1:5 would happen a few days from that time…and was fulfilled in the pouring out of the Spirit on the apostles at Pentecost)?”

    I will, however, take into account your other questions in my PART 2. Which is feeling like a novel…

  7. npulpit says:

    Here is something to clarify what Creek said:
    Ed Wharton contrasts the baptism of John and the baptism Jesus introduces. Wharton says that John’s baptism was not to become the new possession of the King (Matt 28.19); it was not a baptism into covenant relationship with God as your Father(Matt 28.19); it was not universal (this is a big one) but was for the Jews only (Mark 16.15-16; Matt 28.19); it was not to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.38); it was not into Christ or his death (Rom 6.3-4); these are just a few of the differences pointed out by Ed, all driving to the fat that the baptism of John was not the NT baptism preached and practiced by the apostles and the first century church. They are fundamenally different, as has been shown above.

    This is why it was necessary for the Epheisans of Acts 19 to be “rebaptized” – in fact, one of the main reasons to baptize these men was to receive the Holy Spirit (see v.2). They did not have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which every Christian receives at baptism (Acts 2.38) sealing them for their inheritance (Eph 1.13-14). This of course, as seen above, was lacking from John’s baptism.

  8. cthoward says:

    I read what Wharton said, as you quoted, Nick….here’s the problem:
    Many of those things are assumptions, and all of them are dependent on faith in Christ, which is exactly why those baptized by John were baptized…he pointed to Christ. There is not a whole lot said about the benefits of John’s baptism…really, forgiveness of sins would be the only “spiritual blessing” given. But, do we then assume that no other blessings resulted? That is a big assumption, especially in view of the fact that those baptized by John were supposed to put their faith in the One to come.

    Let me see if I can clarify a little…We are told by Paul twice that we are baptized “into Christ.” What does this mean? That we are baptized into His death, that we are united with Him in His resurrection, that we become His possession, that we are clothed with Him…and much more. But all of those blessings are summarized with the statement “in Christ.” They do not have to be stated in every scripture to be relevant. I believe the same could go for John’s baptism…all the things Ed says that it was not are assumptions…and rather flimsy assumptions because John’s baptism was still based on and grounded in Christ: who He was, is, and will be; based on His authority; based on faith in Him; based on His Kingship. Paul sums this up in Acts 19 by saying: “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to belive in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” Their faith was in Jesus Christ…see Rom 3:22; Gal 2:16; 3:26; Php 3:9…etc.

  9. Brian King says:

    I must say I disagree with your interpretation of Acts 19 here. The passage Acts 19:1-7 is the one in question here, let’s quote it here (NASB) so we all see what we’re looking at. (Its more important than all us have to say anyway.)

    It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men.

    Alright, so I did not get from this passage what I understand that you got. You said that in this passage “Paul clarifies to the Ephesian believers that John preached about the one who was to come after him, implying that John baptized those who put their faith in the Messiah (this we’ll call Point 1), Jesus, even if they did not know yet who exactly He was. So, their faith was to a large degree new covenant faith, based on Christ (Point 2)…after all, how were their sins forgiven?” (Point 3)

    POINT 3: Just because Christ was the ground of their forgiveness DOES NOT mean that they put their faith in Christ when they were baptized. I already addressed this in my brief discussion on Justification by faith.

    POINT 2: This statement is not supported in scripture. Old Covenant faith was NOT based on Christ, but on God to fulfill His promises. That is the difference between Old Covenant faith and New Covenant faith. We not understand the basis of our (and everyone’s) forgiveness, they never did.

    POINT 1: When Paul found out that they had been baptized ONLY with the baptism of John, that was what prompted Paul to say, “John baptized… telling the people to believe in… Jesus.”
    Why did Paul say this? To affirm that they had already put their faith in Jesus when they received the baptism of John? Not at all, but rather to show them that John’s ministry was transient, it existed ONLY to POINT people towards Jesus, the Messiah, so that they would believe in HIM, and come to HIM. It existed to “prepare the way” for the Messiah. Immediately after these disciples learn that John’s ministry was pointing them to believe in Jesus, RIGHT THEN they were baptized “eis to onoma” (into the possession of) the Lord Jesus. Right in the very next verse they are re-baptized!

    So, either one of two things MUST be true about these disciples in ORDER for them to HAVE to be re-baptized.
    1st) Clint if what you’re suggesting is correct, then they must NOT have understood the baptism of John correctly to begin with, because they had not put their faith in Jesus when they were baptized with it. BUT there is pretty difficult problem with accepting the 1st proposition… that would necessitate that when John the Baptist baptized, that He did so, into the possession of Jesus. If we are to say that John’s baptism was the same as the baptism on Pentecost, we would have to say that it was IDENTICAL in all it accomplished, with the noted exception (which Gerald notes & Justin mentioned) of the gift of the Holy Spirit which John says that Jesus would do when He baptized them(Luke 3:16). If John’s baptism did everything that Jesus’ baptism did, except it did not give the gift of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus would provide on Pentecost and I suppose that is what you are getting at, then what we would have here is some disciples who never REALLY understood the original baptism of John with which they were baptized. Otherwise they had no reason to be baptized again.
    2nd) They needed to be baptized again because the baptism of John was separate and distinct from the baptism into the possession of Jesus.

  10. Brian King says:

    A few typo’s in there… I wish I could delete the post and do it again… ah… It should have read:

    “We now understand the basis of our (and everyone’s) forgiveness, they never did.”

  11. cthoward says:

    Interesting that you should bring up that baptism brought the Ephesians of Acts 19 the Holy Spirit…
    I understans that that probably did take place, but contextually when Paul discusses the Holy Spirit with them he is not referring to the indwelling, but to the empowering of the Spirit. At least, Luke explains to us that they did receive the Holy Spirit when Paul laid his hands on them.
    All I am saying is that contextually the work of the Holy Spirit Paul is asking them about is the empowering, miraculous work….of course they hadn’t even heard about the Spirit at all, so obviously they needed to be re-baptized…but it is out of context to claim that Paul was telling them they had to be re-baptized to get the Holy Spirit…
    I think I am going to have to address Acts 19 to explain further what I mean…

  12. cthoward says:


    Yes, I am getting at the 1st conclusion….
    These Ephesian believers in Acts 19 had to be re-baptized because they misunderstood the intent of the baptism of John. That is why Paul had to explain to them that John was pointing the wasy to Jesus….because they didn’t understand that. That is why when they heard it they immediately were baptized into Christ…because they hadn’t understood that. To me, most likely they were baptized into John…putting their faith in John. This makes the most sense contextually. If they got everything John had been saying then Paul would not have had to explain that John pointed to Christ.

    So, here’s a possible scenario…some folks picked up John’s teaching when he was around and started spreading it…they ended up in Ephesus where the teaching focused on John because they had not heard yet about Jesus…so, as a result, people who heard this teaching were trusting John rather than Jesus….which is why Paul had to clarify that John pointed to Christ…and why they immediately responded correctly, by putting their faith in Christ (presumably rather than John).

    Contextually, this makes the most sense to me in explaining why they were re-baptized.

  13. cthoward says:

    I wanted to make sure and point out in Acts 19 where I got what I got…about John baptizing those who put their faith in Christ… verse 4. That’s what it says…that John told the people to believe (put their faith in…) the One to come after him.

  14. Brian King says:

    You make an interesting point, but I still see several problems here. These are just a few.

    1st – How could people be baptized “into the death of Christ” (Rom 6) before He died, and before they even knew that He was going to die?

    2nd – How could John have baptized people into the possession of Christ?

    3rd – Your suggestion would necessitate that Jesus own baptism was into… His own possession, and the possession of the Father and Holy Spirit… Ummm… yeah…

  15. Brian King says:

    I will say though, if you are correct, it would answer another question that has always bothered me (and which has never been sufficiently answered):

    Why in the world were the disciples of Jesus baptizing people in John 4:1?

  16. npulpit says:

    if the assumptions I use to say that the baptism of John was not for the reasons stipulated because they are absent from the message of John, then your assumptions that the baptism of John accomplishes the things stipulated is equally flimsy for the same reason. And indeed, I think the burden of proof that the baptism of John accomplsihed these things is upon you.

    I think we can safely assume that the baptism of John did not accomplish the above mentioned purposes (which Wharton enumerates) because if they were accomplished, it would have been a part of John’s message. That is to say, John would have preached that a person becomes a possession of the Father (God) in baptism, that one enters into covenant relationship with God, that one is added to the family of God, that someday in the future (Pentecost) they will receive the Holy Spirit (indwelling)…

    But these elements are absent from the preaching of John. Why? Because they were not a part of his baptism. Why? Because it was a fundamentally different baptism than that which was preached and practice by the first century church. It does not make sense that John would preach a baptism concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of the Messiah/Christ when these things had not happened nor were they expected by the people. He di not preach the above mentioned topics because they were not a part of his baptism. And to claim that they were, despite the fact that they are absent in his message and preaching, is a far greater assumption than my own (if mine is an assumption).

    As far as Acts 19 is concerned, I still hold that it was the indwelling based upon the wording of the question in v.2: “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Emphasis on the belief part of that question. What follows belief for a disciple? Baptism (Mark 16.16). And what comes with baptism? The indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.38). Luke clarifies the matter and distinguishes between the two when he mentions Paul “laid his hands upon them”; They received the indweeling at baptism, a cruical part of the salvation of the soul (and Paul knew it, just read his epistle to the Ephesians 1.13-14) followed by the empowering.

  17. Brian King says:

    So are you saying that a disciple of John the baptist, if he had understood him correctly when he was baptized had no need to be baptized again after Pentecost?

  18. Brian King says:

    (Clint that was for you)

  19. Brian Baell says:

    It is an interesting question to ponder. Mark 1:4 and Acts 2:38 baptize for the same reason, but John’s baptism doesn’t receive the Holy Spirit. It also doesn’t baptize in the name of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. It simply was intended to bring the Jews back on track before the coming of Jesus.

    Therefore, John’s baptism couldn’t save people’s souls only if they were still alive after the Pentecostal Day. Of course, if they died before the Pentecostal Day, in my understanding, they would be saved because they obeyed God by repenting their sins and turned their attention to God.

    In addition, if they were still alive after the Pentecostal day, and haven’t baptized into Jesus Christ. They wouldn’t be able to receive the power of the Holy Spirit from one of those apostles through the laying of hands.

  20. cthoward says:

    Brian King,
    I don’t know for sure if those baptized by John had to be re-baptized….I don’t think so…I don’t think it makes sense…but I am definitely saying that Acts 19 does not resolve the question. The passage makes much more sense understood differently…that their problem was that their faith was not in Christ.

    If we are going to get technical about burdens of proof…the burden of proof is always on the negative, not the affirmative. So, I am affirming that when John baptized it was because of faith in Christ, and resulted in all the connected blessings that the NT affirms faith in Christ brings. You are denying that, and must prove it.

    So, let’s put it this way: prove to me that anyone who has put their faith (and you understand I mean fully trusting obedience) in Christ is denied the promises found in Christ.

    Also, regarding the Holy Spirit of Acts 19. Why would Paul ask disciples if they received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? Wouldn’t that be obvious? I think it makes more sense for him to ask if they had received the empowering (from an apostle for example). Then, when they responded by saying they hadn’t heard about the HS Paul knew they needed some more teaching.

    For all to think about…
    Luke 3:18 says that John was preaching the gospel (or good news, but, literally, he was evangelizing). What other gospel is there besides forgiveness of sins through Christ? Paul said there isn’t another one [Gal 1:7]. Paul also said the gospel is the power of salvation to all who believe, the Jew first (which John and Jesus focused on, as well as the early church) [Rom 1:16]

  21. Brian King says:

    Clint you bring up an interesting thought. I’ve never really considered the possibility before, but it is thought provoking. And with what I am about to say I don’t want anyone to think I am dismissing our study in this area, I just want to make sure we all keep our own focus in humility and on Christ.

    All of us have a lot more studying to do until we are going to be able to get a grasp on this, but as we are going along the way I feel I must just restate the obvious.

    The gospel is STILL the power of salvation to all who believe, and there is salvation in no one and nothing except our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Let’s make sure all we are doing is winsome for Christ and for His church.

  22. cthoward says:

    Hey Brian…by the way…
    Do you have a baby yet? I know Melissa was just a little further along than Sara…and Sara is due Oct 25th. So, your’s should be here very soon…

  23. Brian King says:

    Not yet! But we’re so close!!! … we hope haha… I should really say Melissa is hoping. Melissa is due Oct. 18th, but I’m sure you know how sure these due-dates are. Could be a week early… (which is tomorrow) or a week or two late.

    I hear you’re having a girl huh? Have any names picked out yet?
    Everyone seems to think we are having a boy… only God knows at this point, and I’m really excited to find it out.

  24. cthoward says:

    Her name is Morgan Faith (Howard, of course)…

    So, you guys didn’t want to know the gender? That’s living on the edge, my friend. I sure hope our Morgan is really a girl because we’ll have a lot of returns if she isn’t!

  25. Johnny B says:

    Here is a question that comes to mind as I read the discussion. If John was a prophet whose purpose was to prepare the way for the Messiah, did he even know the extent of the cost for the gospel. Was John, like the O.T. prophets, unable to see the requirement of the death of the Christ for the salvation of mankind? I believe that this must be taken into consideration to fully comprehend the “good news” that John preached, and what his baptism purposed.

  26. cthoward says:

    Interesting you bring that up, Johnny…how’s Bryan, btw?

    Anyway, Nick and I were discussing that. And here’s a question I would ask in return. Does the preacher have to know and preach everything about the gospel for the power of the gospel to be effective?

    For your consideration as you think about that question: In Ephesians 3:6-7, Paul says that part of the “good news” is that Gentiles are fellow heirs with the Jews through Christ. However, this important piece of the Gospel was not fully revealed (although it was prophesied, even by Jesus Himself, as well as John the Baptist) until Peter’s encounter with Cornelius. So, on the day of Pentecost, for example, the Gospel was not fully understood, yet men were still saved by it. Could not the same be said of John the Baptist’s preaching?

    By the way…John may or may not have understood that the Christ would die, but he still preached it when he called Jesus the Lamb of God(John 1:29). This makes me wonder…John was a pretty smart guy…surely he knew what lambs were for in the Jewish society in connection with God…for sacrifice.

  27. Wade Bower says:

    Theologian fight!!! The name of this blog is “Biblical Answer’s to Life’s Questions.” I think drawing parallels from John’s Baptism to that of Pentecost really doesn’t qualify as one of “Life’s” questions. You all gave very theological answers that would put anyone but a biblical scholar to sleep. I think that is one of the greatest shortcomings of the Church. We seem to have this incessant need to answer questions that the average man isn’t asking. It isn’t going to change anyones life to grasp the differences or similarities of these two baptisms. Let’s talk answer some questions that people are actually asking. For Example: How do I deal with a child in rebellion?

  28. Alex Flood says:

    I by far am no Bible scholar, but reading these commentaries has certainly not put me sleep, quite the opposite in fact. They have awakened my mind to thinking about interesting questions I haven’t thought about before. I think that many people reading their Bibles everyday would easily have questions about baptism including the diference between John’s and that of Pentecost. I believe discussion of the Word of God definitely has the power to change lives regardless of how one person may feel the topic at hand is relevent or not.

  29. cthoward says:

    Hey Wade,

    Well, maybe we should change the sub-title for the blog…but, on the other hand, the question at hand has developed some good discussion, so it must be one of life’s questions for at least some people.

    I think it is important that we explore our Bibles, and challenge our current assumptions and conclusions in every part of Scripture. The Acts 19 episode is especially important since this precedent significantly impacts our salvation theology (there, I said it…we are discussing theology…but we better be discussing theology every day, because everything goes back to God). Don’t we draw important conclusions about re-baptism from Acts 19 that we then apply to today? And what could be more important than salvation issues, baptism issues?

    And…if we were having a fight I sure missed it. I hope you agree that it is healthy to challenge one another with Scripture as long as it is done in love (Proverbs 27:17).

    Thanks for your critique, Wade, and I do understand what you are trying to get at, but I hope you understand that, so far, this is a forum for the discussion of any question. We feel a need to explore all aspects of the Bible so that we are better equipped to preach and teach… and I am thankful for this opportunity and for the discussion.

    In Christ,

    BTW…would you like your question about rebellious children posted? We would be more than happy to get some discussion on that (I would especially appreciate it since I have a baby girl due in 11 days).

  30. Wade Bower says:


    The Theologian Fight wasn’t to be taken literal. I am not being hostile. The argument is interesting and thought provoking. However, I don’t know anyone that was baptised by John the Baptist. We are not talking about being sprinkled or baptised into a denomination. Those are different questions.

    When we engage the unchurched, I have discovered (in my limited experience) that there are many other everyday life questions we must answer before we get to baptism. These questions are about drug addiction, spousel or child abuse, divorce, homosexuality, depression, poverty, etc… I am sure you get the point.

    I graciously concede the fact that we must discuss the bible. It is imperative that we know and understand the concepts and information that lies inside the word of God. But we must not forget what is equally important, the applicaiton of that knowledge. I haven’t seen much application of this concept in the course of this discussion. Knowledge without application is pointless. That is all I am saying.

  31. cthoward says:

    Thanks for the explanation, Wade. I understand what you are saying about finding the practical application. And, I agree almost completely. But, I believe there is much value in exploring biblical concepts for which we may not know a present-day practical application…the reason is that in studying it we may be able to find a practical application. In the case of Acts 19, we do apply it practically as evangelists, urging re-baptism of those who have not received the one baptism of Eph 4. We could further our discussion on that topic…I sure wouldn’t mind having more input about re-baptism…

    I would also like to address something you said, but it is probably better left to a separate discussion…maybe a future question. Anyway, you commented that there are everyday life questions to be addressed before baptism. Now, I will agree that some felt needs have to be addressed first or people will not have their minds in the right place to make a commitment to Jesus. However, I also believe that the power to solve those problems is in Christ…in order to make any truly meaningful advances we need God’s help through the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16), the gift that is given to us at baptism (Acts 2:38). So, I do agree we need to address those issues, but they are only symptoms of the problem….sin. And it is by the power of Christ that sin is removed from our lives.

    So…..probably most people will not be following this discussion anymore. I will make a note to post this as a future question….but feel free to comment, and at least we can discuss it if you like.

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