TYPES OF BAPTISM
There are actually four types of baptism mentioned in scripture– a water baptism, a spiritual baptism, a metaphoric baptism of suffering and a metaphoric baptism into Moses. The main two types mentioned in the New Testament are, of course, water baptism and spiritual baptism.
The first type is water baptism. It is the type that John the Baptist did for remission of sin. It was a sacrament that people did to show they were asking forgiveness for their sins. Water baptism was not something new! Baptism was common with the Jews to abide by the purity laws of Leviticus. A complete body emersion was done for converts to Judaism and is known as Tvilah. Naturally, many evil Jews were theoretically circumcised and water cleansed, but they were not saved.
Even John the Baptist stated he only baptizes with water to show that one is repenting of his sins and willing to follow God. John never said water baptism will guarantee salvation. It should also be noted that John did not forgive sins. Consequently, no Pharisee accused him of that although they did accuse Jesus of forgiving sins. John was only doing a ceremonial washing in conjunction with people publically repenting of their sins followed by forgiveness of sins by God. John realized you cannot be forgiven unless you repent first. That is why John said, “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near.”
Water baptism does not make one spiritually clean. If water baptism grants salvation, (as Catholics believe) then salvation is granted by an action of man. Jesus said he and the Father are the only ones who can forgive sins, and we do not need a ritual for that to happen. So, what did John the Baptist and Jesus have to say about cleansing with water?
1. John the Baptist said in John 1:31........ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel."
2. Jesus said in Matt 23:25-26 NIV....."Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
3. Jesus said in John 15:3 NIV..... You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
Consequently, Jesus did not water baptize anyone, and Paul only water baptized one or two people.
1. Joh 4:1-2 NIV...... Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
2. 1 Cor 1:17..... For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel — not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
APOLLOS KNEW ONLY ABOUT WATER BAPTISM.
Paul criticized the learned Apollos for preaching about Jesus, but emphasizing water baptism and not spiritual baptism. Even today, the Catholic Church appears to teach like Apollos. We see this teaching in the following scripture:
Act 18:24-26 NIV...... Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
The second type of baptism is spiritual baptism, also known metaphorically as baptism of fire. Spiritual baptism is so much more important than water baptism. Water baptism is something you should want to do, but spiritual baptism is something you must do. Receiving Christ is more important than water baptism because it is something God does, not man. Living water is more important than baptismal water. Moreover, a person can be water baptized for selfish reasons and have an impure heart. Water baptism is about as important as being a member of a church or confessing sins to a priest. Spiritual baptism is often separate from water baptism which is an outward act of faith. Just like an alter call: it is not the walking to the altar that saves anyone, it is the faith that assures salvation. Scripture tells us there are two baptism, and only one assures salvation:
1. Matt 3:11-15 11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
2. Jesus said in Acts 1:5..... For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
3. Acts 11:14-18.......14 He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.' 15 "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' 17 So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?" When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, "So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life."
4. Joh 3:3-6 NIV...... Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." "How can someone be born when they are old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water [birthing water] and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
5. Mark 16:16 NIV..... Whoever believes and is baptized [spiritual per context] will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
6. Matt 28:19 NIV...... Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
7. Acts 16:31 NIV...... "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." (No water baptism required.)
8. Act 10:46-47 NIV..... For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, "Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."
9. Mark 16:15-16...... He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized [spiritual baptism by context] will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
10. 1Co 12:13 NIV For we were all baptized by one Spirit [not man] so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
11. Acts 2:38 NIV..... 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.
12. Tit 3:5-6 NIV he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
13. Heb 10:22...... let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
WATER BAPTISM BEFORE RECEIIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
1. Acts 8:12-17.........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. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they [Samaritans] might receive the Holy Spirit,
2. Acts 12L16-17 NIV..... “because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
BAPTISM AFTER RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT
Acts 10:47-48........ "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
BAPTISM USED AS A METAPHOR
1. Mark 10:38-39..... 38 "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" 39 "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, (NIV)
2. Luke 12:49-50..... "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed
3. 1 Cor 10:1-4.....For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
METHOD OF WATER BAPTISM
Many churches worry about when, where, how, and even who is to be baptized. Catholics believe in infant baptism, and Anabaptists believe in only adult baptism. Some believe baptism should only be outside in a natural body of water, while others baptize indoors in a tub. Some believe water baptism gives salvation, other believe it is only an optional ritual. Some believe one should be fully amerced, but others only sprinkle. Some dunk forward, others dunk backwards. Such division gives Christianity a bad name.
I suggest Christians only require what scripture commands, and not what their own deductive reasoning tells them to do. It is false logic to take what Jesus did and change it to a command. Jesus ate with tax collectors, preached to Jewish leaders, and walked on water. How many Christians do that? How many Christians put water baptism right up there with spiritual baptism? How many can even tell the difference when reading a scripture? As long as people enjoy telling others how to do things that are not clear in scripture? I guess that is why we look forward to the Second Coming! I am sure Jesus will judge those who added to his words, thinking they could explain better than Jesus and his apostles.
• John the Baptist said that he only baptized with water, but a Jesus will bring a baptism of the Holy Spirit that will be the new baptism. Jesus never water baptized anyone.
• Water baptism, once called Tvilah, later became the “Baptism of John.” Baptism of the Holy Spirit was called the Baptism of Christ. Water baptism and spiritual baptism can happen simultaneously or at different times. Water baptism is done by man and saves nobody, but baptism of the Holy Spirit is done by God and provides salvation.
• Paul stated that he did not require baptism, and Apollos was incorrect in stating water baptism brought salvation. (1 Cor 1:12 – 2:5)
• Finally, water baptism is done by man and saves nobody because it is only a symbol representing spiritual baptism. 1Pe 3:21....... and this water SYMBOLIZES baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
• Since water baptism is no more important than many other outward signs of faith, one should concentrate on when and where, and how to pick up poisonous snakes. That would be something else all Christians could disagree on.