There is much unneeded controversy over this matter of baptism. If the Word of God is given supreme authority
over emotion, experiences, and personal bias; then the truth can be clearly seen.

In the New Testament, only those old enough to believe in Christ of their own intelligent choice were baptized after
they repented and professed faith in Christ. This is called “believers’ baptism” or “adult baptism”, and has always
been the practice of the faithful remnant from the time of Christ. Infant baptism or child conversion and baptism is
a perversion of the ordinance. Child evangelism is the baby of the “easy believism” heresy. Some have put forth
strong arguments for Baptism replacing Circumcision; however, this would have been an easy argument for Paul to
use against Gentiles circumcising their children if it were true — He never used it. If it were true, then we should
baptize babies at 8 days old; but I’ve not been convinced that this is the case.

In the Bible, baptism was initiation as a follower of Jesus Christ, as well as a rite of ceremonial cleansing. It pictured
the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, washing of regeneration, death to the old life, and resurrection to new life, and
the putting on of Christ Jesus. It was initiation as a disciple of Jesus Christ and entrance into the visible church and

In the Bible people were baptized after they were taught the Gospel message, and professed faith enough to
become a disciple of Jesus — thus enrolling themselves in “learning to observe all things Jesus commanded” (Matt.
28:18-21). Some people were baptized, and later shown to have been false professors. This makes it clear that the
water doesn’t save, but is our act of faith to trigger God’s promised blessings to those who believe. Baptism is not
essential to salvation, but willingness and desire to be baptized is essential to salvation. You may not be able to, but
you’d better want to.

The apostles never counted a convert that wasn’t baptized. They never declared anyone a believer who delayed
baptism. They didn’t coax their converts into baptism, they commanded them to be baptized, just like they had
commanded them to repent in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins. Many modern Baptist preachers have an
actual program whereby they coax people into the baptistery — I have the books. This is a perversion of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. The reason they have to do this is because their false repentance and easy believism has not
produced a true convert.

If you will carefully compare verses, you will see that the baptism of the Holy Ghost happens when we believe, and
typically when we are baptized with water. We are baptized with water in faith of God’s promised forgiveness and
baptism with the Holy Spirit. Baptism without true faith is meaningless; but faith without obedience in baptism is
also dead — God’s plan is for us to show our faith by obedience. Follow closely in these verses:

1. Matt. 3:11 John came commanding men to repent, and show it by being baptized with water. John told the
people Jesus was coming after and would baptize with the Holy Spirit — which was promised by God in the Old

2. Jesus told his disciples that AFTER HE LEFT, he would send the Holy Spirit to dwell IN them, not just with them.
(Jn. 14:16,17; 15:26,27; 16:7,8: Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 2:32,33; 15:7,8)
God promised the indwelling Holy Spirit as a NEW COVENANT in the Old Testament; therefore we find Jesus
speaking of it as the “promise of the Father”. Jesus received this promise from the Father after he resurrected and
ascended — Jn. 16:7; Acts 2:32,33

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the
Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

3. In John 20:22 Jesus instructs his disciples about receiving the Holy Spirit, and what would happen after they
received him; but they didn’t receive him at this time. Jesus made it clear the Holy Spirit would be sent after he
departed — Acts 1:4 “Which ye have heard of me” (Acts 2:33). What happened on Pentecost is what John the
Baptist was speaking of; what Jesus had told the disciples about; what the Father had promised; and is equal to the
power in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:8 (Note: Acts 2:33 & 15:7,8)

4. Acts 2:14-17: Peter tells the people that what they see is what God promised in the Old Testament (the New
Covenant). In Acts 2:38 Peter tells them how to get it!

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that
are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

5. Acts 10:43-48: In order to show Peter that God would receive these Gentiles, God gives them the Holy Spirit
before they are baptized. You can see this was a surprise by Peter’s statements in 10:47 and 11:15-17. Cornelius
received the same gift, when he believed, that the apostles did on Pentecost.

6. If you will compare Acts 15:7-9 with Romans 8:9,15,16 and I John 4:13; you will understand that the Holy Spirit is
given as the seal of God’s acceptance. In Eph. 1:14, 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; and Romans 8:23, the word EARNEST tells us
that the Holy Spirit is our pledge from God that He has accepted our repentance. Romans 8:9 tells us that those
without this indwelling Holy Spirit are not born again. Those who repent and believe show it by baptism — when
God sees sincere faith and repentance, He pours out the Holy Spirit upon the believer to indwell and regenerate
him. This is our comfort after our mourning (repentance), our assurance of salvation, and the BAPTISM OF THE
HOLY SPIRIT. He gives us the present help to overcome and endure in obedience to Christ. See Jn. 4:10; 7:38,39.

7. Acts 19:1-6 When these people told Paul they had not yet received the Holy Spirit, he immediately asked them,
“UNTO WHAT THEN WERE YE BAPTIZED?” This shows that Paul saw baptism with water in close relation to baptism
with the Holy Spirit. “If you were not baptized in Jesus name to receive the Holy Spirit, unto what then were you
baptized– or for what purpose?” He then re-baptized them in Jesus’ name so they could receive the Holy Spirit.
Pentecostals like to misuse the question Paul asked here, but they don’t re-baptize like Paul did. These people were
Jews, and that is why they had the sign of tongues.

The case in Acts 8:15 is similar to Cornelius’, in that it was not considered “standard procedure” at the time of the
writing. I believe God opened the doors of the New Covenant to Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost
parts of the world by the Apostles hands; thus establishing their authority. This is seen by Pentecost (Acts 2:14);
Samaria – six years later (Acts 8:14-17), and Cornelius – twelve years later (Acts 10; 11:15-18).

8. Those who erroneously teach that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit has to be evidenced by the “speaking in
tongues” overlook some important points:

A. I Cor. 14:21 makes it clear that “tongues” were for a sign to Israel — It fulfilled O.T. prophecy.

B. I Cor. 12:29,30 makes it clear not all believers speak with tongues, so it can’t be evidence of salvation.

C. Bible “tongues” are natural languages — Acts 2; and I Cor. 14:10.

D. What happened at Corinth was not of the Holy Spirit, or Paul would not have had to straighten it out, set down
regulations, and rebuke those doing it!

Much more could be said, but it will be covered in later publications. [Pastor Mark Bullen]

Click here for the study on baptism in water