Friday, January 13, 2012

Spirit Baptism—the Historic Baptist View, part 13; the Alleged Reference in 1 Corinthians 12:13, part 4

b.) Does Christ baptize with the Spirit, or does the Holy Spirit baptize?

An examination of the gospel accounts of the promise of Spirit baptism manifest that Christ is He who baptizes with the Spirit;  the Spirit is not said to baptize anyone.  In Matthew 3:11 (cf. Mark 1:7-8; Luke 3:16) John the Baptist predicted, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”  John likewise stated that “he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost” (John 1:33).  These are all the explicit references to baptism with the Holy Spirit in the gospels, and Christ is the agent performing the baptism in every case, while the Holy Spirit is the means or instrument[1] of the baptism taking place.  The fact that Spirit baptism took place when Christ, in conjunction with the Father, sent the Comforter, the Holy Ghost (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7; Acts 1:4-8), to abide with the church at Pentecost (Acts 2) also demonstrates that the Lord Jesus, not the third member of the Trinity, is the agent in Spirit baptism.  In Acts 1:5, referring back to these predictions and forward to their fulfillment on the day of Pentecost, the Lord Jesus stated, “John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”  Again, the Holy Spirit is not the agent performing the baptism, but the medium or instrumentality whereby Christ baptizes.  The record of the gospels and Acts are uniformly against the Holy Ghost being the agent in Spirit baptism.

The Old Testament prediction of Spirit baptism, and their statement of fulfillment in Acts, employing the language of the Spirit being poured out, likewise are uniformly against the agency of the Holy Ghost in Spirit baptism.  Jehovah affirms in Joel 2:28-29, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”[2]  On Pentecost, Peter referenced this text, stating that “God [promised], I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.”  Consistent with the Old Testament, Peter affirmed that the Spirit did not pour Himself out in the action of Spirit baptism.  The Holy Spirit was poured out by the other two members of the Trinity, the Father (Acts 2:17-18) and the Son (Acts 2:33).

The UCD view of 1 Corinthians 12:13 avers that the Holy Ghost is the agent performing the Spirit baptism allegedly under consideration in the verse.  Such a view of the text disregards the Old Testament predictions of Spirit baptism and contradicts every statement concerning the nature of this baptism in the gospels and in Acts.  The historic Baptist view avoids these extreme hermeneutical difficulties by correctly recognizing that Christ was the agent in the completed action of Spirit baptism and 1 Corinthians 12:13 speaks not of baptism with the Holy Ghost but of the immersion in water through which a believer is united to the membership of a local, visible church body.

Note that this complete study, with all it parts and with additional material not reproduced on this blog in this series,  is available by clicking here.

[1] cf. the earlier blog post  “Spirit Baptism in the Gospels,” where the fact that Christ baptizes with the Holy Ghost, rather than in Him, is defended.
[2]             :y`Ij…wr_tRa JKwäøÚpVvRa . . . r$DcD;b_lD;k_lAo ‹yIj…wr_tRa JKwôøÚpVvRa


Anonymous said...

I am still confused as to when we should baptize people unto Moses, or is this no longer done? Why is this mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:2?

Kent Brandenburg said...


The people who went through the Red Sea were baptized unto Moses, that is, they identified through that baptism with Moses. I don't know what you are asking. It seems like you've got to be kidding.