Reply Regarding One Baptism

Here’s my reply to “Sword Master Publications” (@SwordMasterPub on Twitter) regarding his Google Doc comments on my One Baptism article.

Already your document fails because there is no evidence whatsoever for “two Gospels” because there is only one gospel message. Since the foundational premise is false, the whole rest of the argument is false.

Well, this is something that has already been definitively proven elsewhere, such as in my What the Bible really says about heaven, hell, judgement, death, evil, sin, and salvation article, as well as in my shorter Things that differ article (which is an edited excerpt of the aforementioned article), so I have to consider the doctrine to be true here until someone refutes what’s written about the topic in those articles.

~~~~ – Pentecostal water baptism (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, Acts 22:16, Ezekiel 36:25): Water baptism for the forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus. This was the same sort of baptism as John’s baptism, but was now being done in the name of Jesus, and was quite necessary for salvation under the Gospel the disciples preached.~~~~

Yes, as is mentioned all over the NT in regard to this one baptism, this was the baptism into Christ after His death, burial, and resurrection because it was into His death, burial, and resurrection, the place where His blood washes us clean (Acts 22:16; Rev 1:5; 1 John 5:6-8; Col 2:11-13) and saves us (1 Pet 3:21).

There’s no basis for the assumption that the baptism into the body of Christ (including what He experienced in His body, such as His death, burial, and resurrection) involves water. To assert it does is begging the question, and is contradicted by the very points I made in the article you responded to.

Except that Cornelius in Acts 11 was not a Jew and this was the comparison that Peter is making in verse 16, that Cornelius and his household received the same kind of baptism (as a Gentile) that the Apostles had received on Pentecost, a baptism no other person in the Bible received. 

I’m skipping over the Cornelius stuff here because I think we’re actually mostly agreed on that, except that I believe he was saved under the Gospel of the Kingdom rather than the Gospel of the Grace of God, as discussed in the aforementioned articles on the two Gospels.

~~~~ – Baptism into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13, Ephesians 4:5, Colossians 2:12, Galatians 3:27, Romans 6:3-4): The immersion of a believer into the body of Christ, which identifies them with what He experienced in His body, including His death, His burial, and His resurrection. 3This baptism is performed by the Spirit at the time one believes the Gospel, and is immersion into the body of Christ, not immersion in water.~~~~

This is what you are asserting, but must show this to be the case.  These references to baptism are to baptism IN water (the element) BY the Holy Spirit (the agent).  You are conflating these with immersion IN the Holy Spirit (He is the element in these cases) in Acts 2 and Acts 10-11 because you have not properly addressed the context that determines which kind of baptism we are talking about.

Water is not mentioned in any of these passages, so to assume that they involve water is begging the question. Remember, the word “baptism” isn’t inherently related to water. It just means to be immersed in or into something, and in this case it’s referring to being immersed into Christ’s body (and what He experienced in His body), with no reference to water at all in any of the passages. And no, I’m not conflating these with immersion IN the Holy Spirit. In fact, in the original article I pointed out that immersion IN the Holy Spirit was a whole other baptism (one the body of Christ stopped experiencing, likely around the time of Acts 28, but that’s a whole other topic). I’m calling this immersion BY the Holy Spirit, not IN the Holy Spirit (two completely different concepts).

Eph 5:26 shows that the baptism of Eph 4:5 is water baptism.  1 Peter 3:21 is also water baptism.  This is the one baptism that remains for salvation at the writing of the NT, after the events in Acts 2 and 10 have already transpired.

Ephesians 5:26 is the only passage I can think of that one perhaps could use in order to defend the idea of water baptism for members of the body of Christ, but I don’t believe it’s referring to baptism at all. What it does refer to, I admit I don’t know off the top of my head (I haven’t actually considered it, so thank you for bringing it up), but for it to refer to water baptism would contradict everything else I know from Scripture I covered in my What the Bible really says about heaven, hell, judgement, death, evil, sin, and salvation article, and since the word “baptism” isn’t included in that passage, I see no reason to assume that’s what it’s talking about. I will have to dig deeper into that verse to try to determine its meaning, however.

~~~~ There are other types of baptism I didn’t include in that list as well, but that should be enough to prove that there are many different types of baptism mentioned in the Bible. So how is it that Paul can say there’s only one baptism when there are clearly so many? Well, by realizing that Paul simply meant there’s only one type of baptism for those among his written audience, meaning for members of the church called the body of Christ (and please either read my Bible study titled “What the Bible really says about heaven, hell, judgement, death, evil, sin, and salvation” or my Bible study titled “Things that differ” if you aren’t aware of the fact that there are two legitimate churches based on two legitimate Gospels, both created by Jesus Christ). He wasn’t saying that there aren’t other types of baptisms which those outside the body of Christ can participate in; just that the ”one baptism” he was referring to was the only baptism for those of us in the body of Christ (and I trust it’s clear that the “one baptism” he wrote about would have to be the final one in the list).~~~~

This is an assumption on your part that you haven’t sustained.  You are essentially begging the question here.  Paul isn’t saying there is only one baptism for Christians.  He is writing to Christians saying there is only one baptism that remains and it is the one that cleanses [Eph 5:26], washes away sins [Acts 22:16], saves [1 Pet. 3:21], puts one into Christ [Gal 3:26-27].  It is not FOR Christians, they already have all this.  It is what Christians should be preaching to others because of what this one baptism does for those outside of Christ, lost in their sins.

We’ve already touched in Ephesians 5:26, but Acts 22:16 was indeed a necessary baptism for Paul, since he was first saved under the Gospel of the Kingdom before having it revealed to him that he was later transferred to the sort of salvation covered under the Gospel of the Grace of God (again, please see my other articles on the two Gospels for the difference between the two Gospels). So no, I don’t believe I am begging the question here, but once again, you’ll have to read one of those two articles to see why I say that.

This is incorrect reasoning.  The context of 1 Cor 1 is division.  Paul doesn’t say he stopped baptizing because he learned new information like what you are teaching.  He says he is grateful he only baptized a few because people were dividing over who baptized them.  His point is not that baptism isn’t essential, but that who does the baptizing doesn’t matter because we are all baptized into Christ.

I’m familiar with the context, but Paul didn’t say he stopped in order to avoid divisions. The reason he stopped wasn’t given in the passage, only the fact that he was happy he’d stopped. The reason can be determined from other passages, however. And if baptism was so essential under his Gospel, I don’t believe he would have stopped.

~~~~ — 2 Corinthians 12:1 4Spirit, into the body of Christ, including into what He experienced in His 3 4 body, such as His death (and he was careful to point out that Christ didn’t send 5 him to baptize at all, which would be unusual if water baptism was necessary for the sort of salvation he was teaching the Gentiles about, as some Christians believe, and if he actually was trying to get them saved). This baptism should not be confused with the various different types of baptisms for Israel that I already mentioned, some of which involved water and some of which didn’t, telling us that not all baptisms end up getting someone wet. This particular baptism, or immersion, is quite dry for us, and happens to us entirely passively at the moment we believe and are saved.~~~~

This is begging the question and is taught nowhere in scripture.  You aren’t teaching using scripture on this point.  You are just repeating what you have heard men claim from the pulpit, but you have heard it so often that you believe it is scripture.  No passage of scripture ever says anything remotely close to this, that we are saved the moment we believe.

It’s not begging the question, though, since we know that there’s only one baptism for the body of Christ, and since that baptism is simply baptism by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ (with no mention of water in any of the passages that refer to this type of baptism), there’s no basis for saying it includes water.

~~~~if we’re interpreting the whole thing consistently, which tells us he’s really just saying that there’s only one type of baptism for us — one which doesn’t involve water at all.~~~~

Again, this is just begging the question, asserting your belief without showing it from scripture.  We know this one baptism is in water because in the very same letter he talks about the church being sanctified and cleansed by the washing of water (baptism) by the word (doing it for the reasons the word teaches).

And, as already mentioned, you’re assuming that Ephesians 5:26 is referring to the same thing that Ephesians 4:5 is referring to, which isn’t an assumption I make, because it contradicts too many other factors related to the type of salvation that Scripture says members of the body of Christ (not to mention those outside both the body of Christ and the Israel of God) experience, although you’d have to read my What the Bible really says about heaven, hell, judgement, death, evil, sin, and salvation article to learn about all those factors.