Summary: Points out that the baptism of Pentecost was a unique experiences whereas conversion-baptism should be the common experience of every believer. 8 pages



PREPARED 01-28-2006

Easterners with Oriental mental patterns, though mentally they recognize the difference between the reality of something and the symbol of the reality, often speak of the symbol and the reality as one. In the following Scripture passages we see the symbol and the reality brought very close together and in some cases united.

(Mat 26:26 NIV) While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke

it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."

(Mark 16:6 NIV) "Don’t be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the

Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where

they laid him.

(Rom 6:3 NIV) Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ

Jesus were baptized into his death?

(Acts 22:16 NIV) And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash

your sins away, calling on his name.’

(Gal 3:27 NIV) for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed

yourselves with Christ.

(1 Cor 12:13 NIV) For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether

Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

(1 Pet 3:21 NIV) and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not

the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward

God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Westerners with an Occidental mind, who both in their thinking and in their speaking tend to separate the reality and its symbol, have often misunderstood Biblical statements made by Easterners. At one end of this spectrum of confusion we see those who have thought that because the Easterners united the symbol and the reality in their thinking and speaking, there must be no real differences between the reality and the symbol. Among those at this end of the spectrum are Roman Catholics who teach transubstantiation and others who teach baptismal regeneration.

At the other end of the spectrum of confusion we have those who so separate the symbol and reality that they become in their theology two entities instead of one. It is this writer’s opinion that those who speak of the baptism of the Spirit at conversion and water baptism virtually as two distinct entities stand at this end of the spectrum of confusion. They have two Christian baptisms, when in reality there is only one: one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Ephesians 4:5).

Moreover, among some of the followers of this latter confusion, there is a tendency to equate the Spirit baptism of the conversion experience with the

Spirit baptism of Pentecost. This further confusion leads to many serious ramifications. Among these is a present-day seeking of the miraculous signs which accompanied the Pentecost experience. This confusion is often aggravated by a prolonged waiting period between one’s conversion and his baptism in water. This is a separation of what the Bible verbally and practically united.

Hence, in order to avoid this confusion, we shall ask our students to think and speak of the experience of a Christian’s baptism at conversion as water-Spirit baptism and the Pentecost experience as the Spirit baptism of Pentecost.

If one carefully studies the following chart and the related Scriptures, he will see that the Spirit baptism of Pentecost and the water-Spirit baptism of conversion are not the same.


-associated with the conversion experience

-the one baptism (Eph. 4:15) common to all New Testament believers, the baptism of the Great Commission

-may have been associated with a giving of miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit during the time of the Apostles (Heb. 2:1-4), but not necessarily associated with tongues

-takes place no matter who is present humanly speaking

-theologically, always directly

associated with the conversion


Compare Acts 22:16; Romans 6;

1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:27; Eph. 4:5;

1 Peter 3:18-21;

-commanded by Apostles again and again

-promised to all those who believe

-occurs many times in many areas

-generally described as immersion

( in water)


-only occurs four times in the New Testament, always in Acts

(1) Acts 2:1-21

(2) Acts 8:5-25

(3) Acts 10:44-48; 11:15; Compare 15:7-9

(4) Acts 19:1-7

-apparently (argument from silence) always associated with the miraculous, including speaking in tongues. Study Acts 8:13, 17-21

-an Apostle, who had experienced Pentecost at Jerusalem, or who had been to Jerusalem (Acts 15) to discuss the phenomenon related to Pentecost, is always present

-theologically, not necessarily associated directly with the conversion experience;

-generally follows the conversion experience

-never conditioned by an Apostle

-never commanded by an Apostle

-never promised by an Apostle

-once it happens to a group of believers in a certain area, in never takes place again in that area (Jerusalem, Samaria, Caesarea, Ephesus)

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