House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Bruce Woodford bwood4d at
Tue Feb 3 09:30:00 EST 2004

Good Morning Ross,

You have offered a number of reasons why you believe that water baptism is 
NOT a scriptural baptism today.  I will attempt to demonstrate the 
scriptural answers to your claims:

(1) When I commented on Romans 6 and I Peter 3 you wrote:"You have 
introduced a second baptism in Rom 6 which is in direct contradiction to the 
ONE baptism of Eph 4:5!Big problem! "

Dear brother, I did not introduce the practice of water baptism of 
disciples/believers, (an action to be carried out by obedient believers) the 
Lord Jesus, Himself did! I have agreed with you that baptism in the Spirit 
is the "one baptism" of Eph.4.  All of the seven features describing "the 
unity opf the Spirit" in Eph.4 are things which are fully and completely 
accomplished by God: (One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, 
one baptism, one God and Father of all.)  But please notice that "one body" 
does not exclude the existence of "other bodies" such as our physical 
bodies, "one Spirit" does not exclude the existence of other spirits such as 
our human spirits and evil spirits. So too, "one baptism" in which Christ is 
the baptizer of every believer does not exclude other baptisms! He himself 
will also be the baptizer of wicked men "in fire"! He Himself commanded his 
disciples not only to make disciples of all nations, not only to teach them 
to observe all things that He ,Himself, had commanded them, but He also 
commanded them to baptize those disciples. All of those responsibilities are 
incumbent on disciples "unto the end of the age". Matt.28:18-20

(2)You wrote:"John the Baptist preached baptism for the forgiveness of sins 
as did Peter in Acts (Mark 1:4; Acts 2:38). Why doesn't Paul preach that in 
Rom 6? Instead, he preaches a baptism of blood that unites us with the 
death, burial, and resurrection of Christ."

First of all, brother, Paul never taught a baptism of blood as you claim! 
Blood was the medium for the baptism of a number of objects in the O.T., but 
never the medium of baptism of persons!
You are right that John preached a baptism of water for the remission of 
sins, but that is not the baptism which the Lord Jesus commanded, nor was it 
the reason for the baptism of which Peter spoke in Acts 2! Many compare 
Peter's teaching in Acts 2:38 and Paul's teaching in Acts 16:31 and conclude 
that the two were teaching different things relative to baptism! This is NOT 
so! The fact of the matter is that Peter and Paul were answering two very 
different questions!
-Peter was answering the question:"Men and brethren what shall we do?"  But 
Paul was answering the question, "Sirs, What must I do TO BE SAVED?" Peter 
was obedient to the Lord's commission in Matt.28 by informing his hearers 
that they had two immediate responsibilities: repentance and baptism.  He 
also declared that those who obeyed would receive remission of sins and the 
gift of the Holy Ghost.  Was he teaching baptismal regeneration? Absolutely 
not! He was answering a question that required a two fold answer!  Paul was 
also obedient to the very same commission, but was asked a different 
question and so gave a different answer. What must the jailor do to be 
saved? "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thous shalt be saved, and thy 
house." That was all they needed to do TO BE SAVED, but Paul and Silas did 
not leave those new believers with the impression that that was all they 
needed to DO!  No, they spoke unto them the Word of the Lord (instructuing 
them about baptism) and, in obedience, the jailor and his whole household 
were baptized.

(3)You wrote:"Apollos preached only the baptism of John until he was 
corrected by Priscilla and Aquila in Acts 18, then in Acts 19, there are 
some of John's disciples who had not heard of the baptism with the HS and 
were then baptized (not again with water) with the HS."

You claim that the baptism of which John's disciples had not heard was the 
baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is true they had not heard of the Holy 
Spirit at all, but the baptism  which they had not experienced was the 
baptism which the Lord Jesus commanded! The one in which they were to be 
baptized "in the name of the Father, asnd of the Son and OF THE HOLY GHOST"! 
  Had they been baptized with that baptism, they surely WOULD HAVE heard of 
the Holy Ghost!
You also claim that they were not baptized again in water but with the Holy 
Spirit. Not so! When they heard and received the gospel regarding the Lord 
Jesus (Acts 19:4), they were baptized IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.  When 
the Lord Jesus baptizes people in the Holy Spirit, He does NOT do it in His 
own name or authority!  But when men baptize disciples because of the 
command of the Lord Jesus in Matt.28, THEY  do it in the name/authority of 
the one who gave the command!

(4)You wrote:"The 11 Jewish apostles had a strong commission to baptize and 
yet Paul said he was not commissioned to baptize. Obviously, we need to draw 
some distinctions in their ministries. The lack of water baptism is an 
obvious distinction. The Jewish apostles preached water baptism for the 
forgiveness of sins, while Paul preached something else: Eph 1:6-7 ...Blood, 
not water. Col 1:13-14 ...Blood, not water. Rom 3:24-25 ...Blood, not water. 
Can we allow for two baptisms when Paul says ONE? Where does it say we must 
add some demonstration baptism to the work of God when we are now made 
righteous apart from the works of the Law."

Dear brother, you make statements intended to give impressioins the 
scriptures do not, and you also seem willingly ignorant of a number of clear 
scriptural facts!
-Paul did NOT say that he was not "commissioned" to baptize, but rather that 
he was not "sent" to baptize but to preach the Gospel. This was the very 
reason why the 11 were also sent! See Mark 16:15!  But being sent to preach 
the Gosple did NOT mean that that was their ONLY  responsibility! There was 
NOT "a lack of water baptism" in Paul's ministry as you claim, brother! Paul 
  instructed disciples to be baptized and he did in fact baptize them! 
(Lyddia and her household, the Philippian jailor and His household,Acts 
16:15,33;  the former disciples of John, Acts 19;  Crispus, Gaius, and the 
household of Stephanus I Cor.1:16  are a number of specific people that we 
knoww that Paul baptized!)
-The Jewish apostles did NOT preach water baptism for the forgiveness of 
sins! (see above.)
-You say that Paul preached "blood not water" as if to infer that the other 
apostles preached preached a different message than he!  This is just not 
true!  Paul did NOT teach that believers should  not be baptized in water, 
but rather the exact opposite! All of them preached the necessity of the 
blood and the work of Christ on the cross as the basis of salvation! None of 
them taught that water baptism was essential to salvation!
-Baptism is NOT "adding to the work of God" any more than "doing good unto 
all men", or "presenting our bodies a living sacrifice", or "bearing one 
another's burdens", or "praying always" are adding to the work of God!  But 
they are all commands to be obeyed! And the failure of any child of God to 
obey any of these divine commands is disobedience to God.

(5)You wrote:"To water baptize seems like disdaining God's grace to go back 
under the requirements of the Law. Is such binding on us? For Israel, yes: 
1Pe 2:5 WEB You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, 
to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God 
through Jesus Christ. 1Pe 2:9 WEB But you are a chosen race, a royal 
priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may 
show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his 
marvelous light: (Remember that 1 Peter is adressed to the Jewish dispersion 
and not to Gentiles.)Exo 19:5-6 WEB Now therefore, if you will indeed obey 
my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from 
among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; (6) and you shall be to me a 
kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall 
speak to the children of Israel."

Dear brother, you are confusing Peter's epistle with that of James! James 
writes "to the twelve tribes scattered abroad" (James 1:1)  But Peter writes 
to the "STRANGERS scattered abroad throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, 
Asia and Bythinia"!  There is nothing at all in this epistle which indicates 
that it's message is exclusively for Jewish believers and has nothing to do 
with believers from among the Gentiles! There are a couple of references to 
"Gentiles" in 2:12 and 4:3 but Paul and John in I Cor.10:31 and III John 7 
also distinguish believers (among whom national distinctions are done away) 
from "Gentiles"!  You write as if God, after the finished work of Christ on 
the cross, still makes distinctions in the Body of Christ between Jew and 
Gentile! It might be wise to read Ephesians 2 again!

(6)You claim:"Water baptism is part of the old Jewish dispensation in 
preparation for priesthood. After Paul's special commission in Acts 13 to 
the Gentiles and then moving on to see the results of his council with the 
Jerusalem apostles and elders of the circumcision: Act 15:7-29 and 21:25-26 
Even though Paul baptized himself for purification, the Gentiles did not 
have to observe any such rituals and demonstrations of the Law!"

Dear brother, where in all the new covenant scriptures do you find the 
teaching that baptism of believers (Jews or Gentiles)  in water  had 
anything at all to do with "preparation for priesthood"???  If this is, in 
fact, the case -please tell us when the "old Jewish dispensation" and thus 
the need for water baptism came to an end?  If baptism  had only to do with 
Jews, why were Gentiles commanded to be baptized by Peter, himself?  Acts 
10:47 Why did paul and Silas baptize the Philippian jailor? Why did Paul 
baptize Gentiles at Corinth? Were they under some "old jewish 

You confuse two things which scripture never mixes together, i.e. 
circumcision and baptism!
Circumcision was not given just to be observed under some "old jewish 
dispensation", but rather was to be observed by descendants of Abraham 
(Arabs and Israelites) FOREVER! See Gen.17:9,10,27.  But baptism of 
disciples OF ALL NATIONS was commanded by the Lord Jesus UNTO THE END OF THE 
AGE! Matt.28:18-20
While the circumcision of Gentiles was never required by God (this was made 
clear in Acts 15) there is no indication at all in Acts 15 or any later 
scripture that baptism of Jewish or Gentile believers was not required!  Or 
have I missed something?  When did Peter, Paul or any other apostle stop 
baptizing Gentiles?

Your brother in Christ,

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