Baptism: More than Symbol; Less than Salvific


            There have been few doctrines that Christians have agreed as much and as little as baptism. After all, the views range from baptism initiates one to baptism saves one; these extremes have major implications. Both sides would agree, however, that baptism is something that one needs to do in order to be fully brought into the Christian faith (whether one believes it to be salvific or not). But then there is one really vexing character who shows up on the pages of Scripture; his mere presence seems to castigate our attempts at a theological solidarity on this issue. No matter how much one wishes to get around the thief on the cross; his presence mocks any effort to ritualize baptism.

Jesus’ words in Luke 23:43 are not ambiguous on this matter, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” There is no baptismal act for the thief on the cross, Jesus simply tells him that the minute he dies, is the minute he will be in paradise. Truly, the thief on the cross’ faith and the grace of God are what saved him that day; nothing else could possibly be accounted for. Those who hold both convictions on baptism find it hard to argue around this simple act of mercy by Christ on the cross. It is clear then, that salvation belongs to God and God alone.

The passages examined will deal with two subjects concerning baptism in Acts: the link between water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit and baptism as a component of salvation by faith. The contention of the writer is that the baptism of immersion occurs both in the water and by the Spirit simultaneously but not chronologically, and that baptism is a part of the components that define salvation by faith and must not be neglected. Or to put it more simply:  the baptism of water and Spirit are linked, and baptism is not salvific on its own but is a component of salvation.



            It is clear that there are two sets of baptisms in Acts: water baptism (both that of John and then in the name of Christ) and what is known as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It should also be noted that these two baptisms, as will be demonstrated, are commonly linked together. It is a mistake though to contend that one of these baptisms necessarily follow the other, as will also be demonstrated. Yet, one cannot experience the true saving power of God without having gone through both (unless one is one of the exceptions like the thief discussed previously). Therefore, Luke presents both of these baptisms in a symbiotic relationship that is fueled by one’s obedience as evidence of one’s repentance.


Acts 1:5

Jesus’ promise that, “you [the disciples] will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now,” is preceded by the clause, “for John baptized with water.” Why is this significant?  “John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” writes Mark in his gospel[1]; the baptism of John is a baptism of repentance. So, Jesus is saying essentially, that John has come with a baptism of repentance (which he in no way abolishes) but that he has come with an additional baptism; the disciples would soon be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Thus, we see the beginning links of the two baptisms: Jesus’ disciples would continue John’s baptism (but in Jesus’ name) and the Holy Spirit would immerse each of them in his presence.

Johannes Warns writes,

The baptism of John was thus, so to say, a preparation for the baptism of the Messiah, a    pointing to Him who grants forgiveness of sins. Who in reality sets aside the old and           imparts the new…consequently there is a very great difference between the baptism of            John and Christian baptism.[2]

This seems to be the customary view of most evangelicals though the case of Apollos (discussed later) may cause some furrowed brows. John MacArthur commenting on this verse, makes the confident statement, “the apostles had to wait until the day of Pentecost, but since then all believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit at salvation.”[3] If MacArthur meant after the foundation of the Apostles, he may have some credence, but what he is saying completely ignores (or likely misinterprets) the other passages to be presented! Conrad Gempf explains the verse in this manner, “The comparison with John’s water baptism is not meant to indicate two separate events…the reason for this contrast is to compare ‘sign’ with ‘power.’ John’s baptism was only a sign…of ‘power’, the baptism with Holy Spirit, which was to come.”[4] But if that is the case, why retain water baptism at all after Pentecost? Richard Longnecker sees the baptism of the Holy Spirit as, “essential to the advance of the gospel.”[5]But is it really wise to reduce this to just a means of practicality?



Acts 2:38

When asked after his Pentecost sermon against the people for their rejection of Jesus as the Christ, “what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”[6]  What is Peter telling the crowd? Is this some sort of chronological sequence: repent, be baptized, be filled with the Holy Spirit? Or is there something else at work? It is at least clear that Peter had all three of these things in mind when he was addressing his readers. Notice though how repent and be baptized are linked before the promise that the crowd would receive the Holy Spirit. What Peter is saying perhaps is, “Repent and show your repentance by being baptized in faith; then you will receive the Holy Spirit.”

John Castelein writes,

Peter’s command to those who cry out because they believe his message is that they must repent and be baptized while calling on the name of the Lord. There should be no divorcing of professing Jesus with one’s mouth, embracing him as Lord in one’s heart, and surrendering one’s body to him in immersion.[7]

The writer is inclined to agree with his assessment. MacArthur however seems to want to change the translation of the verse (even though none of the word for word translations do so) to “because of the remission of sins.”[8] One almost wants to accuse the great expositor of eisegesis for attempting to put his own soteriology upon the text. Longnecker is right when he says that Peter’s answer, “presents interpreters with a set of complex theological problems that are often looked upon only as grist for differing theological mills,” he goes on though to remind his readers that in spite of that, “these words remain the best of the good news and should be read as a proclamation of that news and not just as a set of theological problems.”[9]  Millard Erickson is quick to point out though that, “the emphasis of the remainder of the narrative, however, is that three thousand received the word–then they were baptized,” he continues, “In Peter’s next recorded sermon, the emphasis is upon repentance, conversion, and acceptance of Christ; there is no mention of baptism.”[10]


Acts 8:13

But lest one get too comfortable with the sequence mentioned above, Simon enters the New Testament scene. Philip the Evangelist had been preaching Christ throughout the region of Samaria with great results, “for unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.”[11] One of his converts was a man by the name of Simon who, “had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.”[12] Skipping down to verse thirteen, “even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles he was amazed.” It should be noted that Simon was said to have 1) believed and 2) been baptized. Yet, it was not until the Apostles from Jerusalem arrived that people began to be filled with the Spirit. In fact, Simon was denied the Holy Spirit by Peter who said he was, “in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity,” while urging him to repent.[13] What does this say about the Acts 2:38 formula?

MacArthur has issues with Simon’s “belief,” “his belief was motivated by purely selfish reasons and could never be considered genuine…He saw it as an external act useful to gain the power he believed Philip possessed.”[14] Peter’s reaction seems to imply this is the case, but that is not what the verse says; the verse says clearly that Simon believed and was baptized. Gempf is right for not qualifying Simon’s belief, “We are not told  how Philip’s works and message were superior to Simon’s,” he continues, “but the difference must have been significant, for the people, including Simon, believed and were baptized. This ‘miracle-worker’ was astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw Philip working.”[15] Simon’s belief may only have been a belief based on the miracles and Peter’s rebuke seems to indicate that, but that is not spelled out in the text. Longnecker actually attributes conversion to Simon’s belief, “nevertheless, as the gospel advanced into Samaria, Simon believed and was baptized,” but adds the caveat, “Simon’s belief in Jesus seems to have been…based only on miraculous signs and thus inferior to true commitment to Jesus.”[16] This may be an acceptable answer based on Jesus’ “Parable of the Soils,” but that just adds even more questions.


Acts 8:16

Simon was amongst the number of those who had not received the Holy Spirit, “for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”[17] Peter and John had to come down to Samaria to personally pray that these recent converts would receive the Holy Spirit. There is an explanation that involves this being a onetime opening of the kingdom to the Samaritans (for something similar would happen again at the conversion of Cornelius and the Gentiles). However, this explanation is purely speculative and is used in defense of a particular soteriology. Were the Apostles the dispensers of Holy Spirit? Simon sure thought so and that is why he attempted to by the gift with gold. However, Peter’s rebuke seems to make this far from the truth; it is likely that for this particular event, God simply decided to work the manifestation of salvation in a different way.

Joel Green comments,

Instead, the so-called delay in the outpouring of the Spirit in Samaria serves (1) to assist in the ‘conversion’ of Peter and John, so that they, finally, engage in a ministry among the Samaritans…and (2) to prepare for the Jerusalem council, where it is allowed that a chasm between Jews and Gentiles (and thus also between Jews and Samaritans) is bridged ultimately by God…That is, the particulars of water baptism and Spirit-reception…(1) continue to the underscore the programmatic function of [Acts] 2.38-39, while (2) providing narrative sanction, for the Jerusalem community especially for Luke’s audience.[18]

This is an interesting suggestion and it would be a way to help the Apostles prepare to break through their Jewish prejudices to bring the gospel to the world. However, this is purely speculative. MacArthur asserts, “this verse does not support the false notion that Christians receive the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation,” he continues, “This was a transitional period in which confirmation by the apostles was necessary to verify the inclusion of a new group of people into the church.”[19] This may be true, but the text does not say that and for MacArthur to dogmatically dismiss it is irresponsible. Longnecker does not see this case as all that different from Pentecost, he asks the question, “What if both the logical and the chronological relationships of conversion, water baptism, and the baptism of the Spirit as proclaimed in Peter’s call to repentance at Pentecost…had been fully expressed in this case?”[20] Gempf tends to agree, “In light of [Acts] 2:38, 10:48, and 19:5, it is highly unlikely that baptism in the name of Jesus was regarded as inferior to baptism in the…names of the Trinity. Nor is it likely that the laying on of hands by the apostles was a necessity for the reception of the Holy Spirit,” he then goes on to say that, “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon these first Samaritan converts was proof of their equality with the Jerusalem believers.”[21] This could be true, considering Peter’s understanding of Cornelius’ household which will be discussed below. It could be three different stages of Pentecost that must be considered rather than a single event.


Acts 10:47

The conversion of Cornelius, his household, and other God-fearers begins the work of the Apostles amongst peoples outside of the bounds of the Old Covenant. However, the interesting part of this passage for the sake of the current discussion is Peter’s statement in verse forty-seven, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” This throws the previously shown order completely out of sync; whereas before there was baptism and repentance but no Holy Spirit, now there seems to be no baptism (and oddly though it could be implied) no repentance but converts with the Holy Spirit! What is one to make of such chaotic changes in the way people were becoming part of the kingdom of God? Was this just a unique manifestation among the Gentiles, or does this tell us something about the versatility of God?

J.E.L Oulton writes,

It was far otherwise when, later on, the momentous step of admitting Gentiles to the Church was taken. So strong were the forces of conservatism within the Church that the unaided faith of its leaders was unequal to making this departure. Manifest tokens of a divine presence and guidance was necessary…the outward and visible sign of admission into the Divine Society, Holy Baptism, was afterwards given to those who had received the Holy Spirit –the exceptional character of the happening being indicated by a reversal of the usual order.[22]

There truly was something different going on here; all the elements were still in place but the order seems a skewed. Warns writes that, “The company of the hearers in the house of the centurion Cornelius in Caesarea received the Holy Spirit through the believing acceptance of the word. And yet Peter did not deem the baptism in water superfluous.”[23] Baptism was still necessary even with the manifestation of the Spirit, but does this mean they were not believers until they were baptized? Castelein agrees with the need for baptism, “Peter expected even those people who showed clear evidence of having received the Holy Spirit to be baptized with water.”[24] Longnecker remarks, “vv. 47-48 speak of baptism of the Holy Spirit not as supplanting baptism with water but rather as being the spiritual reality to which water baptism testifies.”[25] This is probably a fair and accurate statement.



Acts 19:2-6

If the relationship between the baptism of  water and the Spirit seem strange in the other passages, then Acts 19:2-6 make things more interesting. In this passage, Paul comes to the city of Ephesus and discovers a group of disciples whom he discovers have only received the baptism of John. Curiously, Paul then has them re-baptized in the name of Christ and then lays his hands on them to received the Spirit. So, then the baptism that these converts had at first by John was not valid for the inclusion into the New Covenant and it was not until these disciples were put under in Jesus’ name that their baptism actually became valid. Thus the ritual itself is not what is at issue but rather the confession of faith the ritual is representing.

Wayne Stacy writes, “For the disciples of John in Ephesus, the teaching was corrective teaching baptism, laying on of hands, the gift of the Spirit, tongues, and prophecy.” Stacy also believes that baptism is “associated with the proclamation of the messianic age, constitutes, along with repentance and faith, the appropriate response to the good news that the new age had dawned.”[26]  J.C. O’Neill finds a “scribal corruption” in the manuscript and thinks that the account is actually talking about two groups of disciples: one group that had believed and needed to receive the Spirit  and another group that had not believed (since they were not baptized in the name of Christ) and needed to be baptized.[27] This is a conjecture however, and no one that the writer has consulted seems to be persuaded in that direction.  MacArthur writes, “Since all Christians receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation…their answer revealed they were not fully Christians.”[28] The writer is inclined to agree that they were not Christians, but MacArthur still assumes a certain point of salvation soteriology. Gempf gives some good insight, “Since the Holy Spirit formed an important part of John’s own teaching, the reply of these men that they had not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit probably means they had a heard a version of John’s  message rather than John himself…[and]concentrated on his ethical teaching.”[29]


            Baptism as a ritual has never been the New Testament statement of soteriology. However, to deny that baptism does not play a role in soteriology is to be borderline naive. For many, baptism not being a part of God’s work of salvation is necessary to uphold their own soteriology and evangelistic practices. If baptism is not just some arbitrary ritual (even though Jesus commanded it), then many of the so called converts that arise out of evangelicalism could be in danger of being too eternally secure. It is not so much that baptism saves as it is that baptism is the appointed means of faith and belief. If one repents of sin and believes upon the name of Jesus Christ, one should immediately seek and desire to be baptized; if nothing else than to identify with one’s new brothers and sisters in the faith.


Acts 2:41

The response of the crowd to Peter’s answer earlier in the chapter was magnanimous. Men and women were repenting and being baptized. This mention of the two together in verse forty-one is very important. Baptism and repentance go together; while the baptism of the Holy Spirit comes at random times, water baptism and repentance tend to occur together. The postulation then is that water baptism is a demonstration that one has repented and wishes to by faith be identified with the community of those who profess Jesus as Christ.

MacArthur says it best, “Baptism, however, was to be the ever-present act of obedience, so that it became synonymous with salvation. Thus, to say one is baptized for forgiveness was the same as saying one was saved.”[30] This is, in the writers opinion, a positive step for understanding baptism but still fails to see baptism as more than a symbol. “Since believers are commanded to be baptized, it is important that we have a clean conscience by obeying…but we must not think that baptism is a part of salvation,” writes Warren Wiersbe.[31] But one must ask the question of why one must not think baptism is a part of one’s salvation when it is practically linked in most passages in Acts!


Acts 8:36-38

After preaching in Samaria, Philip the Evangelist is driven by the Spirit to the desert where he encounters an Ethiopian eunuch on his way back to his country. After explaining the scroll of Isaiah to the eunuch, he asks the question, “see, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” [32] Curiously absent is any mention of repentance or belief (unless verse thirty-seven is actually legitimate, which is seriously doubtful), but what one does see is that the eunuch requests to be baptized. Now it could be implied (especially by the questionable verse) that the eunuch did repent and believe and he may have done so, but the text does not say that. One sees Philip talking to the eunuch and then the eunuch requests to be baptized, without any hesitation from Philip! So, what does this mean about the view that one must repent in order to be baptized?

Longnecker suggests that, “as a Jewish proselyte…the eunuch probably knew that water baptism was the expected external symbol for a Gentile’s repentance and conversion,” he continues, “Therefore, it would have been quite natural for him to view baptism as the appropriate expression of his commitment to Jesus.”[33] This an interesting, plausible assumption that simply has no textual evidence (except for maybe the corrupt verse thrity-seven). “The initiation rite for the church was baptism. Luke emphasizes in Acts that people were baptized almost immediately after expressing faith and repentance,” writes Thomas Schreiner and he goes on to point out that, “The story of the Ethiopian eunuch is particularly noteworthy in this regard, for Philip baptized him on the spot as they were traveling after the eunuch put his faith in the gospel.”[34] It is interesting that Schreiner assumes (because of soteriology issues) that the eunuch repented and made a confession before he was baptized even though this is completely foreign to the text itself. Castelein believes that verse 37 was added later as the “early church supplied the answer” to the eunuch’s question.[35] This was probably the case and lends credence to the argument of belief, but still the text is silent.


Acts 9:18; Acts 22:16

In the first passage it seems Paul was given the Holy Spirit first and his eyes were opened and then he was baptized. So, then the Holy Spirit was given through Ananias and after this, Paul’s sight was restored and he was baptized. Was this sight restoration because Paul believed? One is not told this from the passage. However, in the second passage one sees Ananias admonishing Paul, “and now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”[36] What is Ananias (through Paul) saying here? Was baptism necessary to wash away Paul’s sins? Or is the construction better understood as “be baptized and wash away your sins?” But if that is the case, then how is Paul supposed to wash away his sins? If one wants to put “by” in front of “calling on his name,” then it makes sense, but it does not seem that the passage would be accurately constructed that way at all. So then, there are interpretive difficulties.

MacArthur asserts about 22:16 that , “Grammatically this phrase, ‘calling on the name of the Lord,’ precedes ‘arise and be baptized.’ Salvation comes from calling on the name of the Lord…not from being baptized.”[37] Even if this is the case, could it not be that both are required? Longnecker suggests that this is “an exhortation reminiscent of Peter’s at Pentecost.”[38] Thomas Nettles does not see this as a baptismal regeneration, “the text does not support this viewpoint. His baptism identifies him with the Jesus whom he recently persecuted and whose mission was defined in terms of his submission to the baptism of John,” he goes on, “the participle should be considered instrumental: ‘by calling on his name.’ This phrase duplicates Peter’s use…in the sermon at Pentecost.”[39] Castelein rebuts by asking, “Why attach the washing away of sins directly with ‘calling on his name’ (the participle) but not with ‘be immersed’…(the verb command)?”[40] This an interesting question for Greek grammarians to wrestle out, but it seems at least plausible that both of these were involved in the washing away of sins.


Acts 16:33, 18:8

The following accounts describing the conversion of the Philippian jailor and his family, and Crispus the synagogue ruler and his family are very similar. In the case of the Philippian jailor, Paul and Silas keep the jailor from taking his own life with the comforting words, “we are all here.”[41] The man then falls down on his knees and asks, “sirs, what was I do to be saved?”[42] Paul’s answer is, “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”[43] What occurs next is that the jailor’s entire household is baptized. Now some have suggested that this means infants too, but the text does not explicitly say that they were or were not baptized. All it does is simply state that the jailor and his household (whatever that means) were baptized.

Gempf lays down good instruction, “It should be noted here the other members of the family, or household, are said to have heard the message and to have come to believe in God,” he continues, “because of this and because of the lack of mention of young children, these text are not decisive in the debate about infant baptism.”[44]  Infant baptism is significant because of the idea that baptism is part but not the whole of salvation; infant baptism cannot be allowed under the stated thesis. Warns writes, “The word of the Lord was first spoken to the jailer, together with all who were in the house. Then they were baptized, for he believed on God with his whole house.”[45] Does this mean he represented his entire household in belief or does it mean that those who believed with him were baptized? Jeremiah Jeter believes the latter,

It is incomprehensible to us that any man of intelligence and candor

should doubt that the jailer’s family were converts to Christianity. There is precisely

the same evidence of their conversion that there is of his. Did he hear the word of the

Lord? So did they. Did he believe in Christ? So did they. Was he baptized? So

were they. The whole narrative corresponds with the apostolic commission

and practice in Jerusalem and Caesarea.[46]

One sees a similar a situation in the case of Crispus the synagogue ruler and his household in Acts 18:8. There is not much background into what happened with Crispus and his household; it is clear that Paul must have made an impact on them before he left the synagogue in Corinth. However, we see the same account style of Crispus and his family believing, but even though the passage mentions other Corinthians being baptized, Crispus and his family are not explicitly have said to be baptized. Does this mean they were not? Probably not, and one can infer from the next verse that they were baptized, but the passage does not say either way.


Acts 18:25-26

Finally,  lest one think that the baptism of John did not count, from reading the above discussion of the Ephesian disciples, Apollos enters the narrative. Apollos is an Alexandrian Jew who was “an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.”[47] The problem though  is that though Apollos “had been instructed in the way of the Lord,” was “fervent in spirit,” and “spoke and taught accurately concerning Jesus…he knew only knew the baptism of John.”[48]  Now, one recalls in the previous discussion of the disciples at Ephesus that Paul had them all re-baptized in the name of Christ and then gave them the Holy Spirit. However, Aquila and Priscilla do not do either of these things to Apollos, instead they “took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”[49] So, what does this particular instance mean? Was Apollos somehow exempt from having to be re-baptized and given the Holy Spirit? Or is it simply implied that Apollos went through all of that in order to understand more fully? The text does not say, so one can only conjecture on this point.

J.C. O’Neill writes,

The only cultic act Apollos submitted to, in the text of Acts as we have it, corresponds completely to what we have already noticed to be the case with the twelve apostles: he and they received only the baptism of John, and he and they received the Holy Spirit without laying on of hands. Like them, he too had had to learn more about Jesus as he went.[50]

Apollos is an interesting case story for sure and his linkage to the Apostles is an interesting proposition. MacArthur conjectures, “Apollos accepted that message, even acknowledging that Jesus of Nazareth was Israel’s Messiah,” he goes on, “he did not, however, understand such basic Christian truths as the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the church as God’s new witness people.”[51] I could understand not understanding the last two, but how could he be a believer without understanding the significance of the death and resurrection; this seems like an almost incredulous statement. Nettles comments, “Apollos knew all about John’s baptism but was still in need of being taught about baptism in Jesus’ name.”[52] The problem with this statement is that John’s baptism was not enough for other converts, and so to teach Apollos about the true meaning should have led to his re-baptism, which it did not. Longnecker gives this insight, “As with some of Jesus’ disciples, probably Apollos’ earlier ‘baptism of repentance’ was considered baptism viewed as pointing to Jesus and was therefore not to be redone every time there was a growth in understanding,” he finishes with, “Nothing is said about his having received the Holy Spirit, though the nature of his later ministry leads to that assumption.”[53] At least Longnecker is honest that he is basing his analysis on assumptions.



            It is hoped that the above discussion concerning the nature of baptism in Acts has been enlightening. The writer conferred with many assorted writers with variously asserted views. However, the writer thinks it best to leave you with two closing thoughts. One from a scholar and one from a popular speaker/author. The scholar, Robert Stein, concludes his essay, “Baptism and Becoming a Christian in the New Testament,” with the following statement:

Baptist theology also deviates from the New Testament pattern. Although repentance,

faith, confession, and regeneration are associated with baptism, baptism is

separated in time from these four components. Thus baptism is an act which

witnesses to a prior experience of repentance, faith, confession, and regeneration.

As a result such passages as Romans 6:4,1 Peter 3:21, Titus 3:5, John 3:3ff., and others,

which associate baptism with the experience of conversion, are embarrassing

to many Baptists and often receive a strained exegesis at their hands.[54]


The writer believes Stein to be correct; even if salvation is not conferred only by baptism, it is linked with the other four components (repentance, faith, confession, regeneration) and thus should occur at the same time if one is to practice conversion in the same manner as the church in Acts. So many individuals fill free, believer churches who have never been baptized yet claim to have been saved for five, ten, fifteen, even twenty or more years! Thus, if churches truly wish to “return to the New Testament” they will need to correct how they see conversion and its link with baptism. It has to be seen as more than a symbol; it has to be a part of the new Christian identity in a meaningful way. The writer leaves you with a quote from former pastor, speaker/writer Francis Chan:

We can easily fall into the trap of fixating on these questions [about baptism and the Spirit] and miss the crux of Peter’s message [from Acts 2:38]. When I was preaching through this passage at my church, my seven-year-old daughter, Mercy, understood. She came to me afterward and said, “Dad, I want to repent of my sins and be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” I loved the simplicity and greatness of her faith…Is that your response to the Word? Is it clear to you that you’re supposed to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit?…When will we simply respond to the truth we have heard and then work through our questions from there?[55]








Castelein, John, ed. Understanding Four Views On Baptism. Edited by John H. Armstrong. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007.


Chan, Francis. Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. Colorado Springs, CO.: David C. Cook, 2009.

Erickson, Millard J. Introducing Christian Doctrine. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001.

Gempf, Conrad. “Acts.” In New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition. 4th ed. Edited by Gordon J. Wenham, J. Alec Motyer, Donald A. Carson and R. T. France. Downers Grove, Ill., USA: IVP Academic, 1994.


Green, Joel. “From ‘John’s Baptism’ to ‘Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus’: The Significance of Baptism in Luke Acts.” In Baptism, the New Testament and the Church: Historical and Contemporary Studies in Honour of R.E.O White. Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic, 1998.


Jeter, Jeremiah. “Baptist Principles Reset: Believer’s Baptism.” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology2, no. 1 (1998).


Longenecker, Richard. “The Acts of the Apostles.” In The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: (John, Acts). Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, 1981.


MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Bible Commentary: Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2005.


Nettles, Thomas, ed. Understanding Four Views On Baptism. Edited by John H. Armstrong. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007.


O’Neill, J.C. “The Connection between Baptism and the Gift of the Spirit in Acts.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 63 (1996).

Oulton, J.E.L. “The Holy Spirit, Baptism, and Laying On of Hands in Acts.” The Expository Times 66, no. 8 (1955).

Schreiner, Thomas R. New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008.

Stacy, R. Wayne, ed. “Baptism.” In A Baptist’s Theology. Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2000.

Stein, Robert H. “Baptism and Becoming a Christian in the New Testament.” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 2, no. 1 (1998).

Warns, Johannes. Baptism: Studies in the Original Christian Baptism, its History and Conflicts, its Relation to a State or National Church, and its Significance for the Present Time. Translated by G.H. Lang. Grand Rapids: Klock & Klock, 1980.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1992.



[1] Mk. 1:4 ESV

                [2] Johannes Warns, Baptism: Studies in the Original Christian Baptism, its History and Conflicts, its Relation to a State or National Church, and its Significance for the Present Time (Limited Classical Reprint Library), trans. G.H. Lang (Grand Rapids: Klock & Klock, 1980), 21.

                [3] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary: Unleashing God’s Truth, One Verse at a Time (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 1432.

                [4] Conrad Gempf, ed., “Acts,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, 4th ed., ed. Gordon J. Wenham, J. Alec Motyer, Donald A. Carson and R. T. France (Downers Grove, Ill., USA: IVP Academic, 1994), 1070.

                [5] Richard Longenecker, ed., “The Acts of the Apostles,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary- John and Acts, vol. 9 ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984) ,254.

                [6] Acts 2:38 ESV

                [7] John Castelein, Understanding Four Views On Baptism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 52-53.

                [8] MacArthur, 1439.

                [9] Longnecker, 283.

                [10] Millard J. Erickson, Introducing Christian Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001), 362.

                [11] Acts 8:7-8 ESV

                [12] Acts 8:9 ESV

                [13] Acts 8:22-24 ESV

                [14] MacArthur, 1451.

                [15] Gempf, 1078.

                [16] Longnecker, 358.

                [17] Acts 8:16

                [18] Joel Green, “From ‘John’s Baptism’ to ‘Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus’: The Significance of Baptism in Luke Acts,” in Baptism, the New Testament and the Church: Historical and Contemporary Studies in Honour of R.E.O White, ed. Stanley Porter and Anthony Cross (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic, 1999),  171.

                [19] MacArthur, 1451.

                [20] Longnecker, 359.

                [21] Gempf, 1078-1079.

                [22] J.E.L. Oulton, “The Holy Spirit, Baptism, and Laying On of Hands in Acts,” The Expository Times 66, no. 8 (1955): 288.

                [23] Warns, 24.

                [24] Castelein, 138.

                [25] Longnecker, 395.

                [26] R. Wayne Stacy, ed., “Baptism,” in A Baptist’s Theology (Macon, Ga.: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2000),159.

                [27] J.C. O’Neill, “The Connection between Baptism and the Gift of the Spirit in Acts,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament63 (1996): 99-100.

                [28] MacArthur, 1474.

                [29] Gempf, 1096.

                [30] MacArthur, 1439.

                [31] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Ill.: Chariot Victor Publishing, 1992), 410.

                [32] Acts 8:36 ESV

                [33] Longnecker, 365.

                [34] Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008), 696.

                [35] Castelein, 136.

                [36] Acts 22:16 ESV

                [37] MacArthur, 1484.

                [38] Longnecker, 526.

                [39] Thomas Nettles, ed., Understanding Four Views On Baptism, ed. John H. Armstrong (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007), 31.

                [40] Castelein, 52.

                [41] Acts 16:28 ESV

                [42] Acts 16:30 ESV

                [43] Acts 16:31 ESV

                [44] Gempf, 1092.

                [45] Warns, 25.

                [46] Jeremiah Jeter, “Baptist Principles Reset: Believer’s Baptism,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 2, no. 1 (1998): 27-28.

                [47] Acts 18:24 ESV

                [48] Acts 18:25 ESV

                [49] Acts 18:26 ESV

                [50] O’Neill, 96.

                [51] MacArthur, 1473.

                [52] Nettles, 54.

                [53] Longnecker,491.

                [54] Robert H. Stein, “Baptism and Becoming a Christian in the New Testament,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 2, no. 1 (1998): 16.

                [55] Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (Colorado Springs, CO.: David C. Cook, 2009),  69.


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