THE FOUR BAPTISMS OF THE SCRIPTURES

(Matt. 3:11, 12; Acts 1:4, 5; 11:1-4; 2:38-42; 8:36- 
39; 10:44-48; 19:1-5) 

THERE was no such thing as Christian baptism pre- 
vious to the inauguration of the new institution on 
the day of Pentecost. There is only one Christian bap- 
tism in the entire New Testament (Eph. 4:5). It be- 
hooves us to find out just what this baptism is, in 
order to know whether or not we have fulfilled all 
righteousness. 

There is but one body — the body of Christ ; but one 
Spirit animating the one body; but one Lord over the 
one body; but one faith characterizing the one body; 
but one baptism inducting the individual into the one 
body; and one God and Father of all who are in the 
one body, and in all who are members of the one body. 
Notice the wonderful unity expressed in these passages 
(Eph. 4:4-6). 

What is the one baptism? Is it the baptism of 
John? Is it the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Is it the 
baptism in water? Or is it the baptism of fire, that 
makes us members of the one body, which is the church ? 
Let us allow the Scriptures to answer our questions. 

It can not be any two of these — it must be one only 
— for there is but one baptism. Religious organizations 
are inconsistent and unscriptural that maintain that 
people to-day are baptized in the Holy Spirit — and, at 
the same time, will not allow membership except to 
those who submit to an ordinance which the said insti- 
tution calls baptism, whether it be a few drops sprin- 
kled upon the forehead, a small quantity poured upon 
the head, or a complete burial of the entire body in 
water. It can not be that both baptisms are in force 
to-day — because there is only one baptism. If so, which 
is it? 

1. Baptism of John. It was before the cross — and 
consequently under the Jewish institution, as the church 
was not established until after the coronation of Christ. 
It was not valid after the institution of the baptism 
commanded by Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 
38; 19:3-5). 

a. The administrator. John the Baptizer (Matt. 3: 
5, 6; Mark 1:4, 5; Luke 3:3; John 1:28). 

6. The element. Water (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; 
Luke 3:16; John 1:26). The King James' Version, 
having been produced under the authority of the Epis- 
copal Church, was naturally rendered to support sprin- 
kling and pouring instead of immersion, as the substi- 
tution had been made by the church previous to the 
translation of the New Testament. However, all mod- 
ern translations, and all recognized students of original 
Greek, translate the above passages, "I baptize you in 
water," instead of "I baptize you with water." 

John baptized in the Jordan ; he did not baptize the 
Jordan upon any person (Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:5). In 
like manner Jesus was baptized in the Jordan — the 
Jordan was not baptized upon him (Mark 1:9). 

John's baptism required much water (John 3:23). 
Naturally so ; because baptism is immersion. 

c. The subject. Those Jews who confessed their 
sins, and believed in Him who was to follow John, or 
Jesus Christ (Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:5; Luke 3 : 7, 8 ; Acts 
13:24; 19:4). 

d. The design. Eepentance unto remission of sins 
(Matt. 1:11; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24; 19: 
4). He bore witness of Christ (John 1: 15). The pur- 
pose of his baptism was to prepare the Jews for the 
advent of the Messiah. Hence it was not binding after 
the establishment of the church. 

2. Baptism of the Holy Spirit. See the sermon on 
this subject. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was not 
a command. It was a promise made to the apostles only 
(John 14 : 16, 17 ; 16 : 7 ; Acts 1 : 4, 5) . All the apostles 
could do was to wait for the fulfillment of the promise 
(Acts 2:1-4). 

a. The administrator. Jesus Christ (John 16:7; 
Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4, 5). It was the promise of the 
Father and was administered by Jesus Christ. 

b. The element. The Holy Spirit (Matt. 3 : 11 ; Acts 
1:4, 5). It was an outward manifestation — the sound 
of a mighty wind, cloven tongues like as of fire — some- 
thing which they could see and hear (Acts 2:2, 3, 33). 
It filled all the house — consequently, the apostles were 
completely submerged, or immersed, in this wonderful 
power (Acts 2:2). 

c. The subject, d. The design. The baptism of the 
Holy Spirit was a special miracle for a special pur- 
pose. It occurred only twice in the divine record. The 
apostles were baptized on the day of Pentecost in the 
Holy Spirit, to endow them with power to confirm the 
message which they preached with signs and wonders 
(Luke 24:49; Heb. 2: 3, 4) ; also to bring all things to 
their remembrance, and to guide them into all truth in 
proclaiming the gospel and establishing churches (John 
15 : 26, 27 ; 16 : 13 ; 14 : 26) . The object of this baptism 
was to qualify the apostles for their special work (Acts 
1:8). 

Cornelius and his household were baptized in the 
Holy Spirit in order to convince the Jews that the gos- 
pel was for Gentiles as well as Jews (Acts 10:44-46; 
11:15-18). 

In each case it was the same sort of a miraculous 
outward manifestation (Acts 11:15). These are the 
only two instances on record of the baptism of the 
Holy Spirit. As miracles were needed only in the 
infancy of the church, no one is baptized in the Holy 
Spirit to-day. 

3. Baptism of the commission. This was not a prom- 
ise, but a specific command which the apostles were to 
obey (Matt. 28 : 19 ; Mark 16 : 16) . 

a. The administrator. The preacher of the gospel 
(Matt. 28:19; Acts 8:36-39). History confirms the 
fact that all members of the early churches adminis- 
tered the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. 
We do not read of a "regularly ordained" adminis- 
trator in the New Testament. Any Christian has the 
right to baptize and administer the Lord's Supper. 

b. The element. Water (Acts 8:36-39; 10:47, 48). 
It is a burial in water, symbolical of the death, burial 
and resurrection of Christ (Bom. 6:3-5). 

c. The subject. A penitent believer in Christ (Acts 
2:38; 8:12, 36, 37; 18: 8). This excludes unknowing 
infants, who can neither believe nor repent. 

d. The design. Remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 1 
Pet. 3 : 21). It is the ceremony whereby we are brought 
into relationship with Christ. It is the ceremony where- 
by we are adopted into the kingdom. It puts us into 
Christ (Gal. 3:27). 

4. Baptism in fire (Matt. 3:11, 12). Here John is 
talking to a mixed audience — some of whom were to 
be baptized in the Holy Spirit and some of whom were 
to be baptized in fire. Remember that John's ministry 
was to the Jews only (Acts 13: 24). Of this assembly, 
the apostles were later baptized in the Holy Spirit 
(Acts 1:1-5). Who, then, are to be baptized in fire? 

a. The administrator. Jesus Christ (Matt. 3 : 11, 
32). He shall burn up the chaff with unquenchable 
fire. 

b. The element. Fire. 

c. The subject. The wicked at the end of the world. 
"Water is a symbol of purification. Fire is not a bless- 
ing, but a symbol of destruction (1 Cor. 3: 13; 2 Thess. 
1:7, 8). 

d. The design. Punishment for disobedience (2 
Thess. 1:7, 8). Those Jews to whom John was talking, 
that rejected Jesus of Nazareth, will be among the dis- 
obedient who will be immersed in fire when Jesus comes 
again with His mighty angels (Eev. 20:10-15). 

The baptism of John was to prepare the Jews to 
receive Christ, and was not valid after the institution 
of Christian baptism (Acts 19:1-5). The baptism of 
the Holy Spirit was a special miracle for a special pur- 
pose in each of the two instances when it occurred, to 
qualify the apostles for their special work and to con- 
vince them that the gospel was for Gentile as well as 

Jew. Baptism in water is a positive command to which 
the penitent believer must submit in order to enjoy 
remission of sins and to become a member of the body 
of Christ. The baptism of fire will be administered to 
the wicked at the end of the world. 

Thus we see that the one baptism of the Christian 
dispensation is that of the commission: baptism in 
water, of the penitent believer, for remission of sins. 
We urge all to be obedient to this law.