Bible Q-A: Talking Baptism
Published 6:38 pm Thursday, June 7, 2018
By Norm Fields
Minister, Church of Christ Northside
This Bible Q-n-A “question” was actually made as a statement on a video, not a question. The comment — without editing — was as follows: “The guy who made this video doesnt realize the majority of the time when the Bible is talking about baptism, it means of the Holy Ghost. Jesus baptizes us.” This comment was posted on the video “Let The Bible Speak: Is Baptism Essential For Salvation?” You can find it on my YouTube channel at YouTube.com/NormFields.Let’s see, from the Bible, if that’s true or not.
First, when the commenter claims that “Jesus baptizes us,” he is referring to Matthew 3:11 completely out of context. When John said that Jesus would baptize “you” with the Holy Spirit, he wasn’t talking to you. He was talking to an audience of both disciples and deniers (cf. Matthew 3:7-9). And, he didn’t just say that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. He also said that he would baptize “you” with fire.
So why do people think that “fire” in verse 11 is a good thing? It is also the fire of condemnation. Remember who John was talking to! There were those in that audience at that time there would be baptized by Jesus in the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:1-4; 10:44; 11:15-17). There were also those in that audience at that time that would be cast out into the fire of condemnation by Jesus because of their denial of him (cf. Revelation 20:14).
Yes, Jesus did baptize his messengers in the Holy Spirit to give a visual and audible confirmation that they had the inspired word of God (Acts 2:14ff). He also poured out the Holy Spirit on the first Gentiles to receive the Gospel, again, as a visual and audible confirmation that the gospel was to go to the Gentiles also (Acts 10:47; 11:17; 15:6-11).
Second, if Jesus baptizes us, why did he command his disciples to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?” He didn’t say, “I’m going to…” He commanded it to be done in his name. I’m not sure what Bible the commenter is reading, but when I read my Bible I see the disciples of Christ baptizing believers (cf. Mark 16:16), in water for the remission of their sins to add them to the kingdom of Christ. Of all the numerous baptisms in the New Testament, only two are clearly stated to be the baptism of the Holy Spirit. By far, not the majority of baptisms in the New Testament and absolutely not the “one baptism” that remains under the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.