What is Spirit-Baptism?

10. Acts 10:47. "Then Peter answered: 'Nobody is able to keep on withholding (meeti dunatai koolusai) the water, so that these should not be baptized — [these] who have received (elabon) the Holy Spirit even just like us (hoos kai heemeis)!' So he commanded them to be baptized in the Name of the Lord." By whom? Apparently by Ministers of the Word and Sacraments, who had come there, together with Peter. Acts 10:23,45,48 & 11:12.

11. We leave open the question as to whether the 10:44 Spirit-falling — or instead only the soon-thereafter 10:47f water-baptism — was the Spirit-baptism. Another 'single parcel' (or 'package deal')! See again Bruce & Bruner, at paragraphs 4 & 5 above. Remember, however, that the Old Testament Spirit-fallings were not Spirit-baptisms! For the latter would only commence at the New Testament baptisms with water and Spirit. See paragraph 1 above. Observe too that Acts 10:46-47 (cf. 11:15-17) seems to be saying it was the 10:46 tongues-speakings or language-utterances of the Cornelian household — rather than their 10:2f Pre-Petrine faith, or their 10:44 Spirit-infillings — that Peter found similar to his own previous experience (2:4,7,14 cf. 11:15-17)!

12. As Bruner observes (op. cit., p. 193): "The Holy Spirit may 'come' immediately prior to baptism (at least in this single instance); immediately after baptism (cf. 19:5-6); or with baptism (Acts 2:38) — but never, anywhere in the New Testament after Pentecost, apart from baptism! The intimate connection between baptism and the Spirit, established at Pentecost (2:38-39) and dramatically confirmed at Samaria (8:14-17) –finds expression again here in Caesarea. Since it was evidently impossible for the apostles to associate the gift of the Holy Spirit with anything but baptism, the new converts were immediately baptized (10:48)." See too Calvin on Acts 10:2,44-48 & 11:16-17!

13. Several days later (10:48), Peter reported the above occurrences in the home of the Japhethite Cornelius, to "the apostles and brethren…in Judea" (11:1). Peter told the Judeans (11:15) that while he was beginning to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them (epepesen), as also on us [apostles!] at the beginning” of the New Testament Church Visible on the Acts 2:1f Pentecost Sunday. Peter continued (11:16): “Then I remembered the Word of the Lord [1:5] — how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you [apostles (1:2)] shall be baptized (baptistheesesthe) with the Holy Spirit [not many days hence (1:5)]!'" Clearly, this had occurred for the apostles and brethren in Judea (Acts 11:1), once and for all, precisely on the Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost Sunday.

14. Peter continued (11:17), regarding the baptism of Cornelius's Romans: "If God therefore ( ei oun) gave to them (edooken autois) the similar gift (teen iseen doorean) as [He gave on Pentecost Sunday] to us [apostles!] who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ — could I be able to withstand God (egoo tis eemeen dunatos koolusai ton Theon)" — by continuing to withhold water-baptism from them? Cf. 10:47. So, "when they heard these things, they were silent and glorified God, saying: 'Then God gave (edooken) repentance unto life also to the Gentiles" — and had indeed done so, even before Peter had met them! Acts 11:18 cf. 10:2f. On the precise nature of the "like" alias similar gift in 11:17, see again paragraphs 11 & 12 above.

15. The last case of incorporation (of the only other remaining kind of 'first-fruit'), is that of the unitarian Ephesian heretics mentioned in Acts 19:1-6. The fact that 19:1 calls them "disciples" (matheetas), no more implies they were already Christians than does the same word in respect of the Pharisees at Mk. 2:18 (cf. Jh. 9:28 & Mt. 23:15). In Acts 19:2, Paul does not say these unorthodox people believed in Christ; indeed, Paul clearly doubted they had the Spirit of Christ! For he asks with some scepticism: "Did you receive the Holy Spirit, when you started to believe?" Indeed, when Paul next suggests there is no evidence of the Holy Spirit in them — they themselves honestly admit they had "not so much as heard whether there is a 'holy spirit' ( oud' ei pneuma hagion)!" Per contra, however, the "fervent in the Spirit" Apollos, who "knew" John's baptism — and John's teaching about the Spirit! Acts 18:24-25 cf. Mt. 3:11f; Lk. 3:16f; Jh. 1:33; 7:37f.

Page 3 of 512345