LEAVING THE DOCTRINE OF BAPTISMS 14
THE “FOUNDING”* BAPTISM
BASIC TEXT: “Therefore leaving the [first, Heb. 5:12] principles of the doctrine of Christ, ... Of the doctrine of baptisms” (Hebrews 6:1, 2, KJV)
*founding. adjective. Means “relating to the starting of a particular institution or organization.” Collins Dictionary.
1. “Why weren’t the apostles also ‘baptized’ with the 3000 on that fateful day of Pentecost (Acts 2)?” 2. “Should I be baptized by the baptism of John?”
A prominent denomination’s creed requires one to be approved by the congregation first and then be baptized like John the Baptist taught.i A widow of this prominent denomination wanted to marry an elderly widower of the church of Christ. The man’s family was adamant that she must first be baptized into Christ. She claimed that her denominational baptism should be acceptable. Should she have been baptized?
Some disciples who had been baptized “unto John’s baptism” were commanded by the apostle Paul to believe on Jesus and be baptized in the His name (Acts 19:1-5). “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. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” ( Acts 19:4, 5).ii It would appear then that it is important how and by what authority a person is baptized.
The first Pentecost after Jesus was crucified, buried, and was resurrected, the apostles were immersed in the Holy Spirit by Jesus (Matthew 3:11; Luke 3:16; Mark 1:7; Acts 2:33, “...[Jesus] having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He [Jesus] hath poured forth this...”, ASV). The apostles, in turn, baptized believers in water (not the Holy Spirit) according to the Lord’s commission in Matthew 28:18-20.
However, it is interesting that the Scriptures report of only one apostleiii being baptized in water in the name of the Lord. He was Saul of Tarsus (called Paul). Sent by the Lord, Ananias commanded him, “Arise, and be baptizediv, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). The twelve were never told to do this.
1. Baptism Unto John. John baptized repentant Jews in prepartion for the coming Kingdom. This baptism lasted before the cross for about 3 years.
2. The Cross. Jesus is crucified, buried, and resurrected.
3. Great Commission. The apostles are commissioned by Jesus to teach the world, baptize believers, not “unto John”, but “unto the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teach them to observe all things...” (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; cf. Acts 10:47)..
4. The Kingdom Comes. Jesus ascends into Heaven (Acts 1:9) to sit on His throne at the right hand of God (Acts 2:30-33).
5. Added. “Then those, indeed, who did gladly receive Peter’s word were baptizedv, and there were added on that day, as it were, three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41, YLT).
TO WHOM WERE THE 3000 ADDED?
The first ones to obey the commission’s baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 2:38-41) were “added.”vi That is, those baptized were added to an existing group. This group would certainly have included the apostles. Would it not have included all those baptized by John (plus Jesus’ disciples, John 4:1)? Had they not been prepared by Johnvii for the Kingdom. Would this have possibly included the disciple Apollos?
The object of John’s Baptism Was To Prepare A People
The baptism of John prepared a people for Jesus. John’s mission was “...to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17; compare to Matthew 3:1; Mark 1:3).
1. Prepared For His Kingdom. The kingdom had not come as late as after His resurrection. “When they therefore were come together, they [his apostles, Acts 1:2] asked of Him [Jesus, Acts 1:1], saying, ‘Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?’” (Acts 1:6, 7).
2. Prepared For His Temple. According to prophecy, Jesus was also to be the “Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4). In preparing for a Kingdom, John was also preparing for the new house, the Heavenly Temple of prophecy. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains... for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:2,3; Micah 4:1,2; cf. Revelation 1:5b,6a). “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:22, 23a). According to the book of Hebrews, this heavenly priesthood required a heavenly house for the Lord.
The church is called both the kingdom (Colossians 1:13) and “The Temple Of God”: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? ...for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 1:2).
This church is built of “living stones” and is a spiritual house. “Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5, ASV)
The saints at Ephesus are clearly said to be “stones” built upon the apostles, prophets, and Jesus while growing into an holy Temple. “Now therefore ye are ...of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord...” (Ephesians 2:19-22).
Baptism Readies The Temple’s Building Stones.
There is an analogy between John’s disciple preparations and David’s preparation for the Old Testament Temple’s building materials that Solomon his son would use to build. This typology is legitimate since Hebrews says that the tabernacle/temple was a figure and type (Hebrews 8:5). David’s materials were made ready for the construction of the Temple. “And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death” (1 Chronicles 22:5).
“And the house [of the Lord, v.1], when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building” (1 Kings 6:7).
What About Acts 19’s Disciples “Re”-Baptism?
Apollos was preaching without a perfect knowledge of the Lord’s way (Acts 18). After the cross, anyone that was taught by Apollos would have been incorrectly taught about the cross and baptized incorrectly because Apollos only knew the baptism “unto John.” This indicates how important the baptism into Christ is today. To teach the authority of John’s baptism today voids the Truth that would make us free (John 8:32; 17:17-19). To be properly washed from one’s sins, one must be baptized in the name of the Lord (i.e., in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) and not be baptized unto John or any other authority. It is not a matter of “re-baptizing” but being baptized correctly.
THROW OUT THE LIFELINE
i ‘It is most likely that in the Apostolic ag« when there was but " one Lord, one faith, and one baptism," and no differing denominations existed, the baptism of a convert by that very act, constituted him a member of the church, and at once endowed him with all the rights and privileges of full membership. In that sense, " baptism was the door into the church." Now, it is different’ https://archive.org/stream/standardmanualfo00hisc/standardmanualfo00hisc_djvu.txt
ii On the other hand, the Scriptures never mention whether the “eloquent and mighty-in-Scriptures” Apollos was ever baptized in the name of the Lord. We are told he knew only John’s baptism at the time when he is taught more perfectly by Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:25-28; cf. 1 Corinthians 3:5).
iii Paul was an apostle “born out of due time”, 1 Corinthians 15:9; cf. Acts 1:21, 22.
iv Middle Voice verb: “Have yourself baptized” + “You [yourself] have your sins washed away.” The church members followed this pattern, “But ye [had yourselves] washed” (Middle Voice, 1 Corinthians 6:13).
v Imperative passive verb; i.e., letting another do it to you; it is a bathing; accessed in water (Acts 2:38; 10:47).
vi The term “added” renders the Greek prostithemi, which signifies “to add to something that is already present or exists.” Again, “of persons who are added to a group already existing,” with Acts 2:41 cited as an example; cf. v. 47 (Frederick W. Danker, p. 885). Danker, F.W., Arndt. W.F., Gingrich, F.W. (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago: University of Chicago).
viiJesus Himself did not baptize in water. His disciples did.