House Church Talk - Baptisms and Administrations

Bruce Woodford bwood4d at
Thu Feb 5 00:29:20 EST 2004

Hi Brother Ross,

You wrote:"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.

My responses to the above comments are as follows:
-Exodus 29:1-4 deals with washing of animals, NOT baptism of priests!
-Numbers 8:5-7 deals with SPRINKLING, of priests, NOT BAPTIZING!  It is the 
Greek word RHANTIZO, from the word RHAINO from which we get our word "rain"! 
  It is NOT the word BAPTIZO, from the word BAPTO!
-Luke 1:17 says nothing at all about baptismal initiation of priests!
-Acts 10:37 is simply a historical reference to John's baptism. Peter does 
NOT claim that His baptism was the same as John's! In fact, Peter, with the 
rest of the apostles had been sent to all nations, not just to Israel!  
Peter baptized Gentiles. John did not.
-Acts 13:24 Paul also said that John's baptism and preaching was to Israel. 
But Paul, from the beginning of his ministry was sent to the Gentiles.
-Neither Exodus 19:6 or Isaiah 61:6 say anything at all about baptism!
-re. I Peter 2:9: It was the Levitical priesthood that had to be sprinkled 
(not baptized!) Nothing of the sort is ever spoken of by Peter or of the new 
covenant priesthood of all believers! The Levitical priesthood came to an 
end and the old covenant under which it had been appointed decayed, waxed 
old and vanished away. Hebrews 8:13

You wrote:" I would like you to show how the baptism Jesus commissioned is 
any different from John's."

Here are a few clear distinctions that come immediately to mind:
(1)John's baptism was preparatory, (i.e. prior to his public introduction of 
the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God in John 1. After John baptized the Lord 
Jesus, we never read of him baptizing any other! His public ministry 
probably lasted no more than about 6 months!  The baptism which Jesus 
commanded was to continue to the end of the age. Mat thew 24 expands on that 
theme and the end is not yet! Mat thew 24 certainly was not fulfilled prior 
to Acts 28, nor has it been yet!!!
(2)John's preaching was to the nation of  Israel. The Lord Jesus 
commissioned his disciples to go to all nations making disciples of them and 
baptizing them.
(3)John's message was that his hearers should believe on the one who would 
come after him. Their repentance and baptism ocurred before Christ had come 
on the scene publicly.  But the baptism which the Lord Jesus commissioned 
for His disciples was in view of the teaching that He, Himself had given 
AFTER He had minstered publicly and had already gone to Calvary and returned 
in resurrection power!
(4)John's baptism was performed by one man alone (John). We never read of 
any of his disciples baptizing.  The Lord Jesus did not baptize, but 
commissioned all of his disciples to baptize. John 4:1,2 and Matt.28:18-20
(5)That John's baptism and that commissioned by the Lord Jesus were two 
different baptisms is demonstrated clearly in Acts 19. If they were the 
same, why would those former disciples of John have to be rebaptized???

You wrote, "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? "

Brother Ross, Paul's point is that the unity of the Spirit comprised of 
Gentiles) is characterized by ONE BAPTISM, THE BAPTISM IN THE SPIRIT.  No 
one is ever commanded to be baptized in the Spirit, because this is a 
baptism that God accomplishesThe baptism in fire is for the ungodly. Water 
baptism is man's responsibility, but not all obey God in it, just as all do 
not obey many of His commands! But that does not affect the unity which God 
has established. I never claimed there were "other hopes, other faiths, 
other lords, other gods", as you have supposed!

You wrote:"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."

Brother Ross, the baptism with which the Lord Jesus was baptized at Calvary 
was not a baptism in blood, but rather a baptism under the waves and billows 
of the judgment of God for our sins.See Ps.42:7; 88:7; and Jonah 2:3.  
Scripture never ever speaks of people being baptized in blood.

You also wrote:"... 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).

Brother, where does scripture say what you have claimed here??? Where does 
scripture say that water baptism was only required "as long as Paul had to 
go to the Jew first??? That certainly isn't what the Lord Jesus commanded 
His disciples in Matt.28!!  Also where do you get the idea that "an offer of 
the Davidic kingdom was still open"??

You wrote:"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?

Ross, I believe that the last person John baptized was the Lord Jesus, 
Himself! We never read of John baptizing any others after he had introduced 
the Lord Jesus publicly and testified that it was he who would baptize 
people with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  I already explained that Peter 
did NOT preach baptism for the remission of sins and that he was answering a 
totally different question in Acts 2:38 than Paul was answering in Acts 
16:31. The message of Peter was no different than the message of Paul and 
neither was there any difference in the baptisms that both taught and 
practiced and which we still practice today. John's baptism only lasted for 
about 6 months!

You wrote further:"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."

Dear brother, Ephesians 2:15 and Colossians 2:15 do NOT deal with baptism at 
all! Ephesians 2:15 says:" Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even 
the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of 
twain one new man, so making peace."    The law of commandments given to 
Israel never ever instructed anyone to baptize anyone else in water!!  Not 
once!  John's baptism was the first time any man of God had preached that 
people should be baptized in water by another. No Levitical priest was ever 
required to be baptized in water! No Israelite prior to John's ministry was 
ever required to be baptized in water! So these texts, contrary to what you 
have assumed, say nothing at all about baptism being "repealed"!!   How have 
you ever come to such a conclusion? Is this really what some dispensational 
teachers teach??

You also wrote:"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."

Ross, the events of Acts 28 take us up to approximately A.D. 67. Would you 
please specify what distinctions you see that were made between Jewish and 
Gentile believers until this time?  How does Acts 15:7-11 fit into your 
dispensational scheme of things in this regard??  "God which knoweth the 
hearts, bare them (the Gentiles ) witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even 
HEARTS BY FAITH.... but we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus 
Christ we shall be savedc, even as they."  These are the words of Peter whom 
you claim preached water baptism for the remission of sins!!! This is about 

You wrote:"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."

Brother, Paul was sent to the Gentiles from his conversion onward! See Acts 
9:15.  Acts 28:28 was not the first time the Gospel went to the Gentiles!!  
While Paul's ministry was primarily to Gentiles all along, he did go to the 
synagogues to also reach his own brethren after the flesh. But he turned 
from the synagogues to concentrate his ministry to the Gentiles in Acts 18:6 
(about A.D. 58!)

You wrote:"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."

First of all, brother, where did you learn in scripture that Paul had 
"stopped baptizing"? That's quite a conclusion!  It was at Corinth where the 
believers were so taken up with following men that Paul says, "I baptized 
none OF YOU (Corinthians) but Crispus, Gaius and the household of 
Stephanus..."  The reason he gives for baptizing so few AT CORINTH was this: 
"Now this I say, that every one of you saith, "I am of Paul;" "and I of 
Apollos;" "and I of Cephas;" "and I of Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul 
crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?  I thank God 
that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; LEST ANY SHOULD SAY I 
He does NOT say that they were the only ones baptized there, but that they 
were the only ones which HE PERSONALLY  baptized! He baptized many others in 
other places!  It seems to me you have jumped to an awful lot of totally 
unwarranted conclusions in order to bolster your "change in 
administration/dispensation" theory! But brother, I cannot accept a change 
in administration or dispensation unless scripture states that such a change 
actually took place!

Finally, you wrote:"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!"

Brother, the ministry of unifying Jews and Gentiles together in one body was 
not postponed until the final year or two of Paul's life  AFTER ACTS 28 IN 
A.D. 67!
In A.D. 37 the Lord Jesus commissioned His disciples to go "into all 
nations" Matt.28:18-20, and to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and unto the 
uttermost parts of the earth Acts 1:8.
-In A.D. 38 Philip went to Samaria  and to the Ethiopian eunuch.Acts 8.
-In A.D. 39 Saul is "arrested" as a chosen vessel to go to the Gentiles Acts 
-In A.D.45 Peter goes to a household of Gentiles Acts 10. After Peter was 
"called on the carpet" in Jerusalem for this action and declared what God 
had done, those who were "of the circumcision"  held their peace and 
glorified God, saying, "Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted 
repentance unto life." Acts 11
-In A.D. 55 Peter declares that there is no difference between Jews and 
Gentiles but they are saved on identical terms. Acts 15.
-In A.D. 56 Paul publicly reproved Peter for withdrawing from Gentile 
believers out of fear of them "of the circumcision". Galatians 2  In the 
same letter Paul declares: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither 
bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: FOR YE ARE ALL ONE IN 
-In A.D.63 Paul wrote the first epistle to the Corinthians in which he 
teaches that there is ONE BODY and that by one spirit we are all baptized 
into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles...! I Cor 12.
-In the same epistle (10:32) Paul describes 3 classes of people: the Jews, 
the Gentiles and the church of God. (Obviously no national distinctions 
separated believers in the church!)

So the very facts of scripture prove that the "adminstrative change in Acts 
28" is purely a figment of the dispensationalists' imagination!  Paul did 
not wait until the last year or two of his life to teach the truth that Jews 
and Gentiles were united in one body! This was a well known teaching 
embraced by all the apostles long before A.D.67!!!  Nor did water baptism go 
"out" when the truth of the union of Jews and Gentiles in one body "came 

Brother, I was raised and trained in dispensationalism myself, but have had 
to personally repudiate the dispensational doctrines which I had embraced 
which were not stated in the very words of scripture.

I hope you too will be willing to take scripture at face value and to 
repudiate any doctrine (dispensational or otherwise) which is not stated in 
the very words of scripture.

Your brother in Christ,

MSN 8 helps eliminate e-mail viruses. Get 2 months FREE*.

House Church Talk is sponsored by the House Church Network.

House Church Talk has been renamed. These discussions, via the web, now occur at the Radically Christian Cafe.