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« Who Is God? | Main | The Spirit of the Restorer »

But, What Does the Bible Say?

baptism.jpg We who believe in Jesus’ name baptism and the infilling of the Holy Ghost as evidenced by speaking in other tongues often find ourselves challenged by those who dismiss these doctrines. I have to say that I am always amazed by such arguments. To me, the glorious name of Jesus, taken in water baptism, is its own best advertisement. The glow on a person’s face as he or she comes up out of the water says it all. And anyone who has experienced the baptism of the Holy Ghost has personal knowledge of the power and glory it brings.

But these subjective experiences do not comprise the main reasons we enthusiastically preach Acts 2:38. A number of solid, strong principles form the basis for what we believe and teach. Take a look:

Clear and simple Bible commands. Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. “ How could it be stated more simply? Also, Acts 10:48 . “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.”

An easy-to-follow scriptural pattern. As recorded in John 3:5, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God .” The water and spirit pattern recurs time and again in the scripture.

Many supporting scriptures. While we cannot list them all, many scriptures refer to the importance of Jesus’ name, water baptism, spirit baptism, tongues, and so on. For example, look at Acts 8:15-16. “Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

Convincing Old Testament typology. Our doctrine is not based upon the Old Testament, but it is foreshadowed there. Check out the references to the Red Sea crossing as a type of baptism. (I Corinthians 10:1-4) In the brazen altar, we see repentance; in the laver of water we see baptism; in the Holy Place , we see the Holy Ghost baptism prefigured. All of these elements of typology point us toward the substance of the New Testament.

Strong Biblical exegesis. When it comes down to actual meanings contained in scriptural passages and contexts, one cannot get around the truth. Apostolic doctrine derives from the preaching and example of the original Apostles, as seen both from common sense and context standpoints. For example, to “call upon” the name of Jesus in baptism means to “invoke,” (Acts 22:16 ) thus explaining why we insist on the name of Jesus Christ being spoken over the baptismal candidate.

The original language supports it. No where is this better illustrated than in the case of baptism’s purpose. Baptism for the remission of sins as mentioned in Acts 2:38 means for the purpose of or in order to. All credible translations, along with Greek lexicons are unshakable on this. Apostolic doctrine enjoys rock solid support in the original language.

Are we making too much of scripture? Shouldn’t we soften our position to avoid being narrow or judgmental? Such characterizations of our beliefs expose the values of the critics own belief system. Once one starts rationalizing away the Scripture in order to accommodate beliefs held by those he is not willing to offend, he enters the murky waters of “nothing matters”. Does the Bible contain other truths? Yes, but not contradictory truths. Let us be careful not to negate the acts of the apostles because we prefer something less demanding.

“But, what does the Bible say?” This question will continue to be the right question to ask. We believe the Apostolic doctrine, not because we are judgmental, not because we think ourselves superior, and not because we locked in a time warp. We believe it because it is what the Bible teaches. We have no better definition of truth.

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Reader Comments (1)

It seems that baptism in Jesus' name was historically the practice of the early church:

Most of the material I've read that defends the Matthew 28:19 formula seems to rest on the doctrine of the Trinity, i.e., the insistence on rejecting Jesus' name baptism seems to stem from assuming the doctrine of the Trinity (

This is, unfortunately, a classic demonstration of what happens when human systems of theology are not seen for what they are: convenient, but fallible, constructions.

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

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