House Church Talk - Baptising with water

Bruce Woodford bwood4d at
Wed Feb 4 14:22:40 EST 2004

Hi Vanessa!

You wrote:"Remember that baptizo means 'immerse' and doesn't necessarily 
mean in a substance you can feel with your hands and see with your eyes. You 
can be immersed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which would 
mean (in the context and time it was written) that you would live your life 
fully as those names commanded."

Dear sister, you are right that "baptizo" means "to immerse" or "place in". 
And you are also right that, when a person is baptized in the Holy Spirit, 
they are not placed into a physical medium which can be seen and felt.  But 
baptizing people in the Spirit is the Lord Jesus' job, not ours. The 
responsibility that lies upon men is baptizing disciples in water. "In the 
name of the Father....etc" does not describe the medium of the baptism but 
rather the authority!  Neither you nor I could place or immerse another 
person in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!  But we could 
immerse a believer in water and do so in the authority of the Father, the 
Son and the Spirit.

You wrote further:"John CLEARLY says that Jesus baptizes with fire and the 
Holy Spirit. I doubt any of us will enter an oven, but fire has a special 
meaning: think of the chicken with bird fly being burned, and incinerators 
at hospitals which burn all things used in surgery: THEY ELIMINATE ALL DIRTY 
THINGS! Fire is the only thing that can leave you completely cleann, water 
is often dirty itself. And the Holy Spirit comes to us through Christ, as 
the Comforter while we do not have Jesus Himself here... yet."

The purpose of baptizing of believers in water is never said to be for 
cleansing, purification or washing! (See I Peter 3:21)  The purpose of 
baptising a believer is for the believer (who for the first time in their 
life has a good conscience) to acknowledge that fact to God. It is the 
acknowledgment that, in the death of Christ, they died; in the burial of 
Christ, they were buried; and in the resurrection of Christ, they were 
raised to walk in newness of life.

When John said that the Lord Jesus would baptize people in the Holy Ghost 
and in fire, he was speaking of two groups of people!  All those who believe 
in the Lord Jesus are baptized in the Holy Spirit. But all those who do not 
believe have the wrath of God abiding upon them. They will be baptized in 
fire when they are cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev.20:14,15)

But baptizing disciples/believers in water, is one of the very last things 
commanded by the Lord Jesus just prior to His ascension (Matt.28:18-20; Mark 
16:15,16). It was a practice which was begun by the Lord Jesus' own 
disciples. During His earthly ministry more people were baptized as 
disciples of Christ than were baptized by John!(John 4:1,2)  This practice 
continued by the Lord Jesus' own command from the Day of Pentecost right 
down to the present day. This practice will continue by His command until 
the end of this age when he rerturns to the earth. It was practiced by the 
apostles with over 3000 Jewish converts on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. 
It was practiced by Philip in the desert with the Ethiopian eunuch Acts 8, 
it was commanded of Saul by Ananias as recorded in Acts 22, it was commanded 
of the house of Cornelius by Peter in Acts 10, it was submitted to by Lyddia 
and the Philippian jailor and their households in Acts 16 at the hands of 
Paul and Silas, it was submitted to by 12 former disciples of John in the 
presence of Paul in Acts 19, it was practiced by Paul and the Corinthian 
believers (I Cor.1) and it has continued to be obeyed and practiced by many 
saints down through the centuries to this very day. It was practiced by 
Peter among the Jews. It was practiced by both Peter and Paul among the 
Gentiles and it was commanded by the Lord Jesus to be carried out among all 
nations! The Lord Jesus' command to baptize disciples can certainly be 
disobeyed, but it has never been and never will be rescinded or cancelled 
until He comes!

I hope these scriptures might give a different perspective to that which you 
have been taught.
Your brother in Christ,

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