House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Ross J Purdy rossjpurdy at
Wed Feb 4 16:37:03 EST 2004

HI Bruce,

Jumping right in...

You wrote, "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!"

Bruce, I showed that water baptisms were nothing new to the Jews as the Law
had a number of them. Jesus offered the kingdom to Israel and it was
imperative that they prepare themselves accordingly. Water baptism was a
rite through which the initiate into the priesthood underwent. Exodus
29:1-4; Numbers 8:5-7; Luke 1:17; Acts 10:37; Acts 13:24; Exodus 19:6;
Isaiah 61:6; 1Peter 2:9. If Israel was going to be a royal priesthood, they
had to be ritually cleansed. There isn't anything in the New Covenant that
changed that from what I can see. I would like you to show how the baptism
Jesus commissioned is any different from John's.

You wrote, "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 of 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.)"

OK, we have common ground regarding the one baptism of Eph 4, but you don't
see this as excluding other baptisms.

Bruce, you wrote, "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"

Yes, and that age ended with the putting aside of Israel in the first
century. But I don't see your point here with regard to other bodies etc. So
you are saying there are other hopes, other lords, other faiths, other gods
and fathers that compose the church individually??? If it doesn't exclude
these others, what is Paul's point?

(2)You [Ross] 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."

Bruce, you said, "First of all, brother, Paul never taught a baptism of
blood as you claim!"

Let me clarify what I mean when I say a baptism of blood, I mean Christ had
to be baptized with a particular baptism (Mat 20:22; Luke 12:50; Mark
10:32-38) which is referring to His death, burial and resurrection by which
his blood would be shed. Rom 6:3,4 says that our identification with Christ
in that baptism results in new life. Eph 1:7; Col 1:14 says that shed blood
remits our sins. We have been washed in the Blood of Jesus Christ from our
sins. That is the baptism of blood to which I am referring and is the same
one Paul preached.

Did water baptism itself remit sins under John, Jesus, and Peter's Davidic
kingdom ministry? No, I don't believe so, but God said that it was required.
I take it as a matter of obedience then that if one did not get baptized,
then they would bear their own sins without forgiveness. Of course, this
does not hold in this administration of pure grace.

Bruce, you wrote, "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!"

Well, just like John, Peter said it was for the forgiveness of sins, and
just like John, he was addressing the house of Israel. So what is the

You also wrote, "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!"

But it is interesting that Peter preached to Jews saying, "Repent AND be
baptized for the remission of sins," while Paul merely preaches "Believe" to
Gentiles. But as I say else where, water baptism was still required as long
as Paul had to go to the Jew first and an offer of the Davidic kingdom was
still open (until Acts 28).

(3)You [Ross] 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."

Bruce wrote, "You also claim that they were not baptized again in water but
with the Holy Spirit. Not so!"

OK, I'll concede that John's disciples were baptized in water again. So you
are saying that all those who had been baptized in water by John were then
baptized a second time in water in the name of the Lord and then a third
time with the HS? I am guessing that you don't think that people should
first be baptized with John's baptism as was Christ (which would be the
reason we CAN NOT follow Christ in baptism since John and his disciples are
not around wouldn't it?) When did John's baptism cease then? And why does
both John and Peter preach baptism as a requirement for the
remission/forgiveness of sins if it is not the same baptism? If one did not
get water baptized and thus have their sins remitted and thus would still
bear their own sins, did they not join Christ in His death, burial, and
resurrection baptism as your interpretation of Rom 6 logically implies?
Peter did not preach in Acts 2 that Christ died for their sins, he rather
preached that Israel had murdered the Messiah and now having been raised
from the dead, they had better repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of
sins (just as John preached). The urgency of this message lies in the fact
that judgment was imminent for those opposing the Messiah in the soon to be
reformed/restored Davidic kingdom. In other words, kiss the Son lest he be
angry; and you better do it quick as per Acts 2:40; cf Mat 3:6-11! After
Acts 28, remission of sins is a free gift (Rom 3:21-28) not dependent on
whether one is water baptized or not (of course, any believer would have
been baptized out of obedience). Paul never proscribes water baptism in his
letters, rather the carnal ordinances are repealed (Eph 2:15, Col 2:15) in
order that Jew and Gentile believers might be equally joined in one new
group, the Body of Christ, with only one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one
faith, only one baptism, and one God and Father.

Mat 3:11 WEB I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes
after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will
baptize you in the Holy Spirit.

The only difference in baptisms that I can find in this period is not
between John's and the one Christ commissioned after His resurrection, but
rather between John's water and Christ's Holy Spirit!

(4)You [Ross] 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."

You wrote, "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!"

Don't get hung up on semantics brother, "sent", "commission", same
difference! In any case, lets be clear; John, he was sent to baptize; the
11, they were sent to baptize; Paul, he was NOT sent to baptize! Up until
Acts 28, there is a distinction maintained between Jew and Gentile and water
baptism is still performed even by Paul. After Acts 28, Paul teaches that
the distinction is gone and we have no more talk of water baptism, only the
one baptism of the HS. Water baptism was a distinctly messianic sign with an
eschatologic {future establishment of the Davidic kingdom according to the
New Covenant} significance. When that kingdom administration was put aside,
so was water baptism.

Bruce, you wrote, "But being sent to preach the Gospel 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!"

That is not exactly what I said. I would agree with you that water baptism
was indeed part of Paul's ministry up until Acts 28 when Paul had to finally
abandon his "to the Jew first" ministry and turn to the Gentiles. Up until
Acts 28, the Davidic kingdom was still being offered to Israel.

You wrote, "Paul instructed disciples to be baptized and he did in fact
baptize them!"

Paul "thanked God" that he had only baptized a few. He stopped baptizing
them at some point which would be very strange for someone supposed to be
working according to a commission that instructed baptism that was so
important that one would be considered disobedient if they did not perform
it, don't you think? Something changed to cause Paul's attitude toward
baptism to radically change. If water baptism is important, I can't see Paul
disdaining the performance of it to others and I can't understand how he
could be exempted from performing it when the rest were not. Why would Paul
thank God that he had baptized so few when God was the one who commanded
baptism? Why does Paul's priorities seem so out of wack with the Lord's?
Paul seemed kind of confused and unsure of himself in 1Cor 1:14-16 as to who
he may or may not of baptized, why does it seem so unimportant to Paul when
it is a command of Christ? A change in administration as demonstrated in
Scripture is the answer.

Bruce, you said, "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!"

I'll read Eph 2 again but you better study 1Peter again! The way "Gentiles"
is used in 1Peter shows that it is in contrast to the audience of the letter
which were "STRANGERS scattered abroad" and this is exactly the same
"scattered" ones to whom James addressed his letter and they are, in fact,
the "diaspora" or the Jews dispersed among the Gentiles, the same diaspora
of Jews among the Gentiles mentioned in John 7:35. Up until Paul's unifying
ministry, the distinction was maintained between Jew and Gentile. No, there
is no mistake that 1Peter was addressed to the Jews of the diaspora and not
to Gentiles!

In Christ,
Ross Purdy

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