In some Christian circles, the practice of water baptism is thought to be obsolete, replaced by a baptism in the holy spirit. Others consider it to be valid, but see it as an "optional extra." This study examines what the Bible says about baptism, and shows that there are three types mentioned: John's Baptism in Water, Baptism in Water in the name of Jesus Christ, and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It answers questions such as: Did spirit replace water? Did Jesus command water baptism? Did the first century church practice water baptism? Can one be saved without water baptism? What is the purpose of water baptism? Why should one be baptized in water?
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About the Author
I grew up as a Roman Catholic, and in the early 1970's became what was commonly known as a "Jesus Freak." I learned of a new way of viewing God, Jesus, and the Bible, beyond the confines of church on Sunday morning. After a couple of years I was introduced to a ministry called The Way International, with which I continued to be involved for nearly twenty years. Those who are familiar with this organization know that various events took place in the early eighties which led to the departure of many members who formed various "splinter" groups. I was involved with such groups for another ten years, which at first attempted to preserve the teachings of the founder of The Way, Victor Paul Wierwille.
As time went on, however, we began to learn about the coming Kingdom of God, and gradually came to realize that many of the things we were formerly taught do not stand up to closer examination, in light of the Scriptures. One in particular, the system of interpretation known as Dispensationalism, is not only unbiblical, it is harmful in that it separates Jesus from his words and his teachings.
I learned a great deal about looking at the Scriptures in light of the Kingdom of God from one of the Ex-Way offshoots, and was at that time introduced to a number of other resources through which I have continued to learn, including Restoration Fellowship and the Church of God General Conference (aka Church of God, Abrahamic Faith). However, my writing and my website are not affiliated with or officially sanctioned by any group, denomination, or church. I consider myself an independent "amateur theologian."
The following is a brief summary of my own beliefs:
I believe that the Bible is divinely inspired, and as such declares the Word, or Message, of God.
I believe that the Bible is an eastern book, from a Hebrew culture, and must be understood as such.
I believe that God is One Person, the Creator and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I believe that Jesus Christ is a man, but not an "ordinary" man. Rather, he is the only-begotten Son of God (not a pre-existent "God the Son"), miraculously conceived in Mary's womb, and is the promised Messiah of Israel.
I believe that the holy spirit is the active power and presence of God, described in the Old Testament as the Spirit of The Lord.
I believe that the dead are in a state of unconsciousness, awaiting the resurrections that are still future.
I believe that Jesus Christ proclaimed the Good News of the Coming Kingdom of God, as well as dying to pay the price for our sins in order that we may gain entrance to that Kingdom.
I believe that after dying as the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ physically and bodily arose from the dead and was seen of many witnesses.
I believe that Jesus ascended to heaven and sits at God's right hand, and will return in glory to inaugurate the Kingdom of God on earth.
I believe that the Law of Moses was temporary, to lead us to Christ, and has now been fulfilled and replaced by a greater law, the Law of Christ, which involves walking by the spirit and in love, rather than by the letter of the OT Law.
I believe that we can experience a foretaste of Kingdom power in this life as the holy spirit regenerates us and enables us to live a Christ-like life.