Who Is Commissioned by Jesus to baptize?
... revised 11/24/2011

Christians love, honor, and serve JESUS CHRIST. The Bible is our guide. It's not Mary we worship, but her Son. We worship JESUS rather than saints, angels, doctrinal systems, or even God's Spirit.
Should Christians Baptize?
Or should baptizing be done by God's Spirit?

Folowing are comments on The Tyranny of the Paradigm (Part 3) by JACK COTTRELL in CHRISTIAN STANDARD for 12/17/2010. My comment started a sequence of exchanges about baptism "by one Spirit" as some translators mistakenly cause the apostle Paul to write in 1 Cor. 12:13. Here is my comment after reading Jack Cottrell's study concerning a baptism other than in water which is supposed to
wash away sin.

By: Ray Downen
Saturday, December 18, 2010, 3:06:47 PM | Ray Downen

Jack Cottrell points out well that faith alone is dead just as James earlier reported. But it seems to me that he misses, and others miss, the mark in claiming that baptism by the Spirit is always done somehow when proclaimers of the gospel baptize converts in water, or some even say there is "baptism by one Spirit" sometimes done when no water baptism is actually performed! Al Maxey, also right so often, has this idea (his Reflections #353) which I think is non-apostolic and incorrect.

Any baptism performed by the Spirit would obviously not be a baptism in water. These are two separated actions. One is performed by humans. The other is not. They are separate actions if indeed there is a baptism performed by the Holy Spirit which I see no reason to accept as apostolic teaching. Where is there any mention of baptism by the Holy Spirit except in a mistranslation of 1 Corinthians 12:13?

The baptism Paul speaks of in that verse is one which all Christians have experienced, and that Paul knew they knew they had experienced. Paul would no more have claimed that everyone's immersion was performed by the Holy Spirit than he would have denied that Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. What could he gain by introducing something totally unknown when his aim was to UNITE all who knew they had been immersed in water as Jesus commanded? And they all knew it was human hands which lowered them and raised them up into the new life!

The translators use a phrase often properly and correctly translated as in one spirit (note NO capitalization) and turn it into “BY one Spirit.” Is there any other mention of a baptism by the Spirit in inspired writings? No. Not one. The baptism commanded by Jesus is performed by proclaimers of the gospel. It’s in water. It’s a burial and a RESURRECTION INTO NEW LIFE, raised OUT OF a watery tomb (see Romans 6). The Spirit is promised as a gift to those who repent and ARE baptized in water in recognition of the Lordship of Jesus of Nazareth. The inspired writers said nothing of a baptism by the Holy Spirit. Not once. Never.

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This is reply #1 to my comment
By: Arlie Reed
Monday, December 20, 2010, 10:08:26 AM | Arlie Reed

Mr. Downen, Sorry for my ignorance, but I am unsure as to what you mean when you say, “But he misses the mark in claiming that baptism by the Spirit is always done when proclaimers of the gospel baptize converts in water. Baptism by the Spirit is not baptism in water.”

Cottrell is one of my favorite authors. I often use his book, “The Faith Once For All,” for reference. He is the most knowledgeable man I have read concerning the Scriptures. I don’t know that I disagree with what you have written, although I only read the excerpt from your book “Raised Into New Life.” I just need a little clarification. -- A. Reed.

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This is reply #2 to my comment
By: Allan Payne
Wednesday, February 02, 2011, 3:39:18 PM | Allan Payne

Mr. Downen: The whole point of the articles on “The Tyranny of the Paradigm” is to point out how our paradigms affect our beliefs. The sola fide (faith alone) paradigm specifically creates a false belief wherein baptism cannot be part of the salvation plan because it supposedly adds to faith, in violation of Ephesians 2:8. Likewise, this leads to the errant assumption that there must be two kinds of baptisms, one in water (Acts 2:38) and one in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13), but this in violation of Ephesians 4:5 which tells us there is only “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.”

You say there is a baptism in water that is “a burial and a resurrection into NEW LIFE.” And, you say there is a “baptism by the Spirit [which] is not baptism in water.” So, here we have two baptisms, one by the Spirit, excluding water, and one in water. But, how is it the one in water can offer a “resurrection into NEW LIFE,” without the accompanying gift of the Holy Spirit? [RAY: The "accompanying GIFT of the Holy Spirit" is promised by Peter and spoken of by Paul in this very passage. I affirm they tell the truth! You suppose I deny it.] New life only comes after the Spirit is given. Thus, if the Spirit is not given in water baptism, as Acts 2:38 clearly states, then there can be no resurrection at the point of water baptism “into NEW LIFE.” [Allan understands the truth, but makes the mistake of supposing a baptism BY the Spirit is the same as the giving OF the Spirit by Jesus.]

You also contend we are baptized “in the Spirit” [RAY: Not true. I do NOT say we are baptized in the Spirit.] but not also “by the Spirit,” referencing the supposed mistranslation of 1 Corinthians 12:13 which says, “We were all baptized by one Spirit {in one spirit}into one body” (NIV). I have done a check of a few other translations — King James Version, Phillips, Revised Standard Version, Today’s English Bible, as well as the New International Version, and they all reference “by [one] Spirit into one body.” There are about 110 English translations in existence and I am sure many or most of these also translate the Greek in the same way. Thousands of scholars have been involved in making these translations. So, where is your rebuttal of their translations with regard to this verse? Are they all wrong? [RAY: Yes, every translation which capitalizes the word "spirit" in this phrase is wrong.]

There is only one baptism — the baptism of repentance, in water, wherein we both receive the Holy Spirit and are baptized “BY the Spirit.”-- Allan Payne

RAY: In the print version of this article I inserted comments which are not in the note as sent by the writer to the web site. I say: I fail to see in the faith alone theory any basis for even one baptism. They simply say sinners are saved by faith ALONE, don't they? What they teach is that baptism has no part in conversion of sinner to saint. I don't see that teachers of salvation by faith alone normally posit salvation through a baptism by the Holy Spirit. You think I've said that water baptism without the Spirit can save. But what the Bible teaches is that GOD without fail gifts the Spirit to every repentant believer who is baptized! That's not omitting the Spirit. But it's recognizing that the Spirit is given as a RESULT of the new birth rather than as the cause of it.

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This is reply #4, my comment #2

By: Ray Downen
Sunday, February 13, 2011, 4:57:58 PM | Ray Downen

I appreciate the questions directed to me. I am surprised that it’s claimed I said there is a baptism by the Spirit. I didn’t say that at all. I affirmed there is ONE baptism for us who enter the Way. I point out that the translators are wrong in claiming in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that Paul there affirms there IS a baptism by the Spirit. No such baptism is ever promised in inspired writings. No such baptism is ever spoken of as having been performed. The only mention of such a second baptism is in the WRONG translation of 1 Corinthians 12:13 where Paul is thought by the translators to be contradicting himself about there being only ONE baptism.

The GIFT which God gives to each new Christian is the Spirit to live and walk with the Christian. This is not a baptism BY or IN the Spirit. Peter speaks of it correctly and clearly as being a “gift OF the Spirit.” If he had meant to call this gift a baptism from the Spirit or anything done at that time BY the Spirit, he could surely have done so. He knew the words. But he does NOT call it a baptism BY or IN the Spirit, but instead promises a gift OF the Spirit. The baptism is by human hands. It’s an immersion in water, from which the sinner is raised up into new life with Christ, who through His Spirit lives now within the cleansed sinner.

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This is reply #5, my comment #3

By: Ray Downen
Sunday, February 13, 2011, 5:09:52 PM | Ray Downen

It is suggested that I contend we are baptized “in the Spirit.” I said no such thing. What Paul by inspiration said in reference to our need for unity is that we ALL are baptized “in one spirit.” The "spirit" is not capitalized. The emphasis is on unity. Every convert has humbly obeyed a command of the Lord Jesus by submitting to baptism, because they now know that Jesus is LORD.

The spirit which unites us is the HUMBLE OBEDIENCE we each bring to Jesus. Since we were EACH baptized in obedience to Jesus as Lord, we should remain in unity, says the apostle. He surely was not basing his appeal for unity on a baptism no one knew anything about unless the apostle now told them they, without knowing it, had been baptized a second time, this time by the Spirit.

The correct translation of what Paul wrote is that we were ALL baptized in ONE spirit, which is the same one spirit now pointing us to unity in serving the ONE LORD. The apostle makes clear that we were also all “made to drink of the one Spirit,” for each upon baptism in water has received the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT who is sent to dwell within the new Christian. The verse should be understood to harmonize with Acts 2:38 rather than contradicting it!

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This is reply #6, my comment #4

By: Ray Downen
Sunday, February 13, 2011, 9:27:16 PM | Ray Downen

A brother suggests additional sources of information about baptism into Christ. He wrote:

Here are some interesting links concerning the subject of baptism:
Jack Cottrell's "The Tyranny of the Paradigm (Part 3) [There are three comments on this article by Jack Cottrell.]

What Is the “One Baptism” in Ephesians 4:5?

By God’s WORD we’re begotten to NEW LIFE! (HS-B02) [by Ray Downen on his web site]

Is Baptism a Work?

The Fullness of Baptism [There is an interesting list at the end of this article on Page 14 of Suggested Reading.]

RAY REMARKS: I suggest that the gift of the Spirit FOLLOWS the new birth of water and spirit, which I see Peter defining as repenting and being baptized. Both remission of sins AND the gift of the Spirit are promised as results of action by the sinner and His Lord.

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This is reply #7 at the web site

By: Jack Cottrell
Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 2:07:04 PM | Jack Cottrell

Of all the things that could have been chosen for discussion from my articles on “Tyranny of the Paradigm,” it is ironic that anyone would choose the brief reference to baptism in the Spirit as a subject for argument. My point was not to present a defense of my view on the subject; I have already done that in my book on the Holy Spirit, “Power from on High: What the Bible Says About the Holy Spirit” (College Press, 2007).

There, on pp. 289-333, I have examined this issue thoroughly and have shown that the best understanding is that ALL CHRISTIANS have been baptized in/by the Holy Spirit (in this phrase the Greek preposition is always the same), and that this is equivalent to being baptized with fire, to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and to drinking the living water of the Holy Spirit. These are just different ways of saying the same thing. Anyone is free to disagree, but to do so without taking account of the Biblical evidence and Biblical reasoning presented in that chapter should leave one feeling quite unsatisfied.


This is reply #8X, my comment #5

By: Ray Downen
Monday, February 21, 2011, 1:31:22 PM | Ray Downen

I studied logic under Seth Wilson at Ozark Bible College many years ago. Logic is helpful in understanding any topic. Jack Cottrell uses strange logic, it seems to me. He defends the importance of baptism in water, but claims that a baptism by the Spirit is equivalent to being baptized with fire (which I think is being thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone), to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (receiving the Spirit is the same as being baptized BY the Spirit?) and drinking of (receiving the gift of) the Spirit. So I hear him saying the apostle repeats himself in 1 Corinthians 12:13 by twice speaking of baptism by the Spirit, the second time following the event. Do I understand? I hear brother Cottrel making these claims.

Baptism BY the Spirit is not a second baptism, according to this teacher, even if performed twice for each convert. But the baptism commanded by Jesus is to be performed by humans, isn’t it? So if a person also receives a baptism or two baptisms by the Spirit in addition to water baptism, what makes this NOT more than a single baptism? Where is the logic that says two baptisms are really one baptism? Have I believed wrongly all these years that two is NOT the same as one? Was Peter wrong in saying that those who repented and were baptized in water would then have sin remitted and would then receive the “gift of the Holy Spirit”? Was John the Baptist wrong in prophesying that baptism IN the Spirit would be performed by Jesus? Do “in” and “by” mean the same? Christians through the centuries have believed that THEY (or their priest) should perform baptism. Was it really all along supposed to be performed by the Spirit?

I think logic takes a pass on the theory that baptism by the Spirit is exactly equivalent to drinking of the Spirit and receiving the gift of the Spirit. Or going to Hell, which is when JESUS will "baptize" unsaved persons in fire?

If there is in fact a baptism BY the Spirit, why would the apostle claim there is only ONE baptism for us in this Christian age? And why would the apostle later claim there was a second baptism that all converts had received without knowing anything about it? And then base his appeal for unity on this unknown second baptism? He wouldn't. He didn't. Paul taught there is only ONE baptism for us in this Christian age.

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