The Question of being Re-Baptized
The questions that need to be answered are: (1) Did the followers of John have to be baptized into Jesus' baptism after the day of Pentecost sermon of Acts 2? (2) Were the apostles baptized into the baptism of Jesus after Jesus' death? (3) Does it matter today whether a person is baptized into any particular name or church or for any particular reason?
The answer to all of the above is Yes. Let us put away the books of man and consult only the Bible. The Bible is the final authority in all things.
Question One: Did the followers of John have to be baptized into Jesus' baptism after the day of Pentecost sermon of Acts 2?
It has been alleged that Acts 19: 1-7 is not sufficient example for re-baptism. The full text of this passage is printed below:
Acts 19: 1 "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.
4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7 And all the men were about twelve."
The question must naturally arise, if the above passage is not sufficient example to show that baptism is necessary for those baptized into a name other than Jesus', or for a purpose other than remission of sins, why isn't it? Is there any figural, symbolic, or mystical language in it? Does the above passage speak of fantastic creatures like that of Revelation 13:1,2 or as in Revelation 1: 13-15? No, there is no such symbolic or mystical or figural language in it, so we must interpret the passage as being literal. Acts 19: 1-7 is a factual example of what people were expected to do in the first century church when they found that they were not scripturally baptized.
Such an interpretation does no violence to other existing scripture. All of the below passages remain intact and with their every-day, common-sense meanings:
· from Galatians 3: 27, those who are baptized into Christ still have put on Christ. This is because the 12 who were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus in Acts 19: 4 were scripturally baptized.
· from Colossians 2: 11-13, those who are baptized into Jesus' baptism are also baptized into his death
· from Romans 6: 1-11, those who are baptized into Jesus' baptism are baptized into Jesus' death and partake of his resurrection to walk in newness of life.
· from I Corinthians 15: 1-4, those who partake of the death, burial, and resurrection are obeying the gospel--and the I Corinthians passage defines the gospel as Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.
· from II Thessalonians 1: 7-10, those who know not God and do not obey the Gospel will be punished when Jesus comes again with his angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance.
· Ephesians 4: 5 remains intact, reaffirming that there is one baptism, not many. The one baptism is the one that saves (I Peter 3: 21)
On the other hand, if we take the viewpoint that the disciples
of John the Baptist were 'grandfathered in', we have to re-write the Bible for
all of those passages, to wit:
· Galatians 3: 27 would have to be re-written to say that those who are baptized into John have put on Christ. This is not what the passage says, and man is not authorized to do any re-writing of the scriptures (Revelation 22: 18, 19)
· Colossians 2: 12 would have to be re-written to say that those who were buried with either Christ or John were buried with Christ in baptism.
· Ephesians 4: 5 would absolutely have to be over-ridden to say that instead of there being one baptism there were at least two. At this point, man is calling God a liar, directly and to God's face. Man then runs afoul of other passages such as James 1: 12 that say that God does not sin and cannot even be tempted with evil. At this point anyone with any degree of wisdom would abondon the 'grandfather clause' theory and go back to 'one faith, one hope, one baptism.'
· Man puts himself in the theological dilemma of trying to say that he is a follower of Christ when he is unwilling to obey the gospel (II Thessalonians 1: 6-10) in doing the death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6: 3-6).
· It is also impossible for man to reconcile that while those who love Jesus will do his commandments (John 14: 15), the disciples of John who were not baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19) for the remission of sins (Acts 2: 38) are still somehow supposed to be acceptable.
Wouldn't it be much simpler to accept the obvious? that as soon as the disciples of John heard about the baptism of Jesus (Acts 19:4), they immediately dropped the baptism that was then from the time before Christ's death and accepted what was now correct? That view can be adopted without violating a single other passage of scripture. Resolved, the followers of John were re-baptized in the name of Jesus if they were living under the New Testament. If they wanted to go to Heaven, they did.
Interlude. Are these distinctions valid about which name to be baptized into and for which purpose and into which church? Do these distinction represent an overly conservative view? See I Corinthians 1: 10-17--" 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12 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. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; 15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. 16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.'
The carefulness of being baptized into the correct name, and with the correct baptism, is not a carefulness of man but of the Holy Spirit, the author of the scriptures Himself (II Peter 1: 20, 21). Acts 4: 12 further affirms that 'Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.' But the 'grandfather clause' would set the name of John alongside Jesus as that of Savior. John himself said in John 1: 27' He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose.' If Jesus' name is at the same level as John's name, God has once again lied, this time in Philippians 2: 9 "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.'
To make the 'grandfather clause' theory work, we have to exalt John's name at the same level also.
Question 2: Were the apostles baptized after Jesus' death?
First of all, this may be an interesting question, but not a very practical one for us today. The scriptural teachings about what the twenty-first century man is supposed to do have already been exposited. But to answer the question:
Answer: Yes. The scriptures do not say on exactly which day, but it had to be after the Friday on which Jesus was crucified and before the day of Pentecost.
There was a fifty day period between the Passover and Pentecost. Jesus was killed on the Friday before the Passover (John 19: 30-33); in fact, the Jews were anxious that the killing be complete before the Passover Sabbath. As the Jews counted days, a partial day was counted as a day. Jesus was in the tomb on part of Friday, all of Saturday (the Sabbath under the Old Law), and part of Sunday, being resurrected on Sunday morning. The resurrected Jesus would be manifested to many for 40 days after his resurrection (Acts 1: 3). So it was that the Great Commission, with its commands for baptism (Matthew 28: 19, 20; Mark 16: 15, 16) and for the teaching of the whole world, was given on the forty-first or forty-second day after Jesus was killed, depending on whether the Sunday of his resurrection is being counted as a day or not of the 40. So the apostles had the command to be baptized for eight or nine days before the day of Pentecost when the big effort for teaching would begin (Acts 1: 5-8). Sub-question, an obvious one: Did the apostles love Jesus? Legend has it that all but one were martyred for him. One can hardly read of persecutions and afflictions of the apostles as recorded in Acts without getting the idea that the apostles loved Jesus dearly, even more than life itself. 'If you love me, ye will keep my commandments' said Jesus in John 14: 15. so they must have obeyed the command to be baptized during the time after the Old Testament was nailed to the cross (Colossians 2: 14) and before the time that they stood before the people from all nations of the earth on the day of Pentecost.
Had the apostles not been baptized into the one baptism (Ephesians 4: 5), the one baptism that saves us--US--not you (thereby including Peter, one of the 12), the baptism by which they would put on Christ, then they would have been the biggest frauds in history. They would have led millions into a servitude of Jesus Christ in which they themselves were never a part. And God would have once again been part of a great lie. The apostles were baptized into the baptism of Jesus at some point between his resurrection and his ascension some 40 days later.
At what point did the new baptism become needed? At Pentecost? No, the Old Testament or will became ineffective at the moment of Christ's death (see Hebrews 9: 16, 17) and the New Testament became immediately effective. It is not immediately apparent how God will handle in the judgment the situation of those who died immediately after Christ's death and before they had the time or opportunity to hear the new gospel. But it is better to entrust their fate to an all-wise and understanding God than it is to call God a liar these half-dozen times in an effort to promote a man-made theory.
Question three: What about man today? Man today is under the full force of the New Testament commandments about what must be done to become a Christian. No matter what might be said about the people of the first century, man today must hear, believe, repent, confess Jesus as Lord, and baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in order to receive the remission of sins. No argument that might reach back 2000 years will remove these requirements.
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