The “Rebaptisms” of Acts 19

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by rlvaughn, Jun 6, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,144
    Likes Received:
    25
    Acts 19:1-7 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.

    Why did these 12 disciples at Ephesus need baptism? It is fairly common to posit that there was something wrong with or lacking in John’s baptism (at least after the day of Pentecost). For example, the Easton Illustrated Dictionary states, “John’s Baptism was not Christian baptism...those whom John baptized were rebaptized by Paul.” I don’t believe these disciples were baptized because of a flaw in the baptism of John.

    Consider:
    • John’s authority was from heaven. Compare Matthew 21:25-27 and John 1:6,33.
    • John the Baptist preached the Holy Ghost (of whom they professed they had not heard). Compare Acts 19:2 & Matthew 3:11.
    • The answer of the Ephesian disciples (v. 3 “Unto John’s baptism”; eis to Ioannou baptisma) implies that they were not actually baptized by John, but by someone following his teachings
    • The apostles (the original ten and Matthias) had only John’s baptism, and were not “rebaptized”. E.g. John 1:35-42; Acts 1:21-22
    • Apollos, a disciple of John (“knowing only the baptism of John”, Acts 18:25-26) was not “rebaptized”. He only needed further instruction, which he received from Aquilla and Priscilla.
    These disciples in Ephesus had been baptized by someone who had heard John preach the Messiah and then picked up an incomplete message and ran with it. This person was not authorized to administer John’s baptism. Those who received John’s baptism were supposed to “behold the lamb of God” as John decreased. He did not have a continuing discipleship but was making a people ready for the Lord. All those baptized by him received the counsel of God. It was not wrong to “know only the baptism of John,” but no one else had the right to perpetuate it.
     
  2. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,097
    Likes Received:
    49
    Think they were not even really saved as of yet though, as they had heard the message of John of the Messiah yet to come, but needed to hear the Gospel message, and they were then saved, and water baptized into jesus as a result of receiving Him and being now saved!
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,144
    Likes Received:
    25
    Yeshua, I've heard this idea discussed as one of the reasons for Paul "rebaptizing" these twelve. Yet the inspired language refers to them as disciples, with no indication they were disciples of some other kind of belief than Paul, and Paul acknowledged that they had believed.

    Luke uses the words "disciple" and "disciples" throughout the book of Acts very consistently to refer to those who believe in Christ. The passage does not seem to question whether they believe in Christ, but whether they understood the implications of their belief and whether they had received the Holy Ghost. In the case of Apollos, he "was instructed in the way of the Lord" even though he knew "only the baptism of John" -- with no indication he was not yet saved.

    Not sure whether this is exactly your point, but the line of reasoning seems to be that the Ephesians did not have the Holy Spirit, so therefore they had not been born again. Seems like such an interpretation creates a problem with the Samaritan believers' experience (see Acts 8:5-17). The believers in Samaria believed and were baptized, then afterwards the Apostles came to Samaria and laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost (same as Acts 19). But the Samaritans were "rebaptized". If the absence of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit invalidated the baptism of these Ephesians, why not the Samaritans? (Cf. Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:6).

    Thanks.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    I'm with Yeshua on this one, in viewing these individuals as not yet being saved, seeing they have not received the Spirit yet.

    The water baptism they undergo distinguishes them as being baptized in the Name of Christ as opposed to John's Baptism, for that is what Paul contrasts, and that is the Baptism they claim to have undergone.



    I think that would be sufficient to clarify that they had undergone John's Baptism so were identified (baptized unto) with John, rather than Christ. They are then told top believe on Christ as John taught, after confessing they had not heard whether there be any Holy Ghost, which would not mean they were not aware of the concept, but the specific receiving that is in view. We could assume that they had heard of Christ from John, but, they were not privy to the greater teaching concerning the coming of the Comforter. And I would probably add that the assumption has to be considered, because we have very little in the way of John preaching about Christ. He does identify Him, but, while in prison, John sends two of his disciples to inquire of Christ whether He is the One they have been awaiting. It's not unheard of for God to use men to prophesy apart from their own understanding, though I think in view here is an issue in which John prophesies apart from the Mystery of Christ being revealed to him.

    I would just say that we can say that the baptism they had undergone was not accepted, and they had to be baptized in identification with Christ, rather than John.


    God bless.
     
  5. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    I'm not sure what you mean by "the Samaritans were re-baptized." Could you explain that?


    God bless.
     
  6. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,215
    Likes Received:
    1,318
    Let's look at what the bible actually says. It does not say they were baptized by John.

    "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism."
    But Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Christ Jesus."
    And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

    "We have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit."

    Ergo, even though saved their baptism was not scriptural, not into the church at Jerusalem, and not done by one authorized by the church to baptize.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,144
    Likes Received:
    25
    Sorry, Darrell, that is a typo. I left out the word "not". It should say "But the Samaritans were NOT 'rebaptized'." In other words, the Samaritans are described as being baptized before they received the Spirit, but they were not baptized again afterward.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,158
    Likes Received:
    322
    Some scholars believe that Christian baptism has a throw back to the Jewish mikvah (google it) - a rite of cleansing and also identity with a rebe or a rabbinical teacher.

    It was a rite which was repeatable. It is an ancient rite.

    In the venue of cleansing, Jewish women were (and are , or supposed to be) mikvahed monthly to ritually purify themselves and make them ready once again for service to the Lord.

    Temple priests would mikvah for cleansing before their temple service.

    As for identity, any individual who decided to follow (or switch following) a rebe master was immersed in water in the name (or authority) of the master he had decided to follow/obey.
    Or a "backslider", fallen away from "Torah" could be mikvahed and reinstated to Temple.

    As tcassidy has pointed out, Jesus Christ is the final and highest master of the highest authority, the Triune God.

    Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
    2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

    Although mikvah is not mentioned as such (though baptisms and washings are) in the OT scripture it is an ancient rite, and it does give some insight IMO to the ordinance of Christian baptism done once and never again because we have a one and only Master with whom we identify with - who has cleansed us once forever for all making us eternally ready for service to him.


    HankD
     
    #8 HankD, Jun 7, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
  9. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    I don't know, I see this...


    Acts 19

    King James Version (KJV)


    1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

    2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

    3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

    4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

    5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.



    ...as meaning they were baptized unto John (and it doesn't matter if it was John personally who baptized, but it is the baptism in view that I think is to be noted). It stands to reason that their Baptism in the Name of the Lord Jesus is the Baptism fulfilling the Lord's directive to the disciples (go ye therefore, baptizing them...).


    God bless.
     
  10. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    It does, lol, thought I was missing something there, or maybe setting myself up for a trick question.

    I think the most compelling insight we are given as to the nature of Christian Baptism is found in Acts 11. In recounting Cornelius' conversion, at which time the Holy Ghost falls on them even while Peter is preaching the Gospel, we read...


    Acts 11:13-18

    King James Version (KJV)


    13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;

    14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.



    This tells us that Peter would tell them the words by which he and his house would be saved. That's pretty significant, because we see that Peter preaches the Gospel in Acts 10. So this sets the stage for that which Peter now states:


    15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.



    So Peter speaks the words by which they will be saved, and the Holy Ghost falls upon them. Peter immediately defines this as the Baptism with the Holy Ghost:


    16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.



    Just as in the case of our disciples at Ephesus, and in the case of the Lord in Acts 1:4-5, John's Baptism is contrasted with the Baptism with the Holy Ghost.

    This is tied to being saved, as is his (Peter's) next description:


    17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?



    What is the like gift? It is salvation. Cornelius and his house are at this time saved according to v.14.

    This is confirmed in the next statement:


    18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.



    A couple things to consider:

    1. John's baptism is contrasted with the Baptism of the Holy Ghost;

    2. John's baptism is a baptism of repentance;

    3. John's baptism did not make one alive as we see here;

    4. These disciples did not have life until they were Baptized with the Holy Ghost, because their salvation is yet pending (v.14).


    It is just my view that the disciples of Ephesus were not saved. They had not received the Holy Ghost yet, and they were not baptized in the Name of Christ, but identified with John. They had not heard "whether there be any Holy Ghost," which is not speaking about whether they knew there was a Holy Spirit, because being John's disciples they would have, we would think. Now consider John's preaching which also contrasts his baptism with being Baptized by Christ with the Holy Ghost: he makes it clear, as does Christ, Peter, and Paul, that being baptized with water through John's Baptism preceded Christ's baptizing with the Holy Ghost. If these disciples had not received this Baptism, then it is doubtful they were saved. That they were believers in Christ does not necessitate their being eternally indwelt which is the result of the preaching of the Gospel (and the Ministry of the Comforter), because many believed in Christ (the promise of His coming) and had hope in that which they understood He would do. Even today many Jews still lie in that same hope, awaiting...the first coming of Messiah. But we do not credit that belief as saving faith, right?

    So I do not look at it as they are "re-baptized," but that this is the only time they undergo Christian Baptism according to the Lord's directive.


    God bless.
     
  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,144
    Likes Received:
    25
    "Rebaptism" is a tricky word. Collins Dictionary defines it as "a new or second baptism." It is a word that it seems we have to use in a discussion like this, but...

    Almost always, if not always, those who are performing "a new or second baptism" are doing so because they believe there has never be a baptism in the first place! So, if we hold believer's immersion, then we would (usually) believe that someone who was "baptized" as an infant, or who has been sprinkled, has not ever been baptized. Those who think they have been thinks we are "rebaptizing" while we believe we are baptizing for the first time.

    Anyway, regardless of the exact interpretation (e.g. either unsaved or unauthorized administration) it seems to me that Acts 19 drives us to conclude that there are some things called baptism that cannot be so considered.

    As far as these 12 Ephesians not being saved, how do you reconcile the accounts of Holy Spirit and baptism in Acts 8, Acts 10, and Acts 19? In Acts 8 Philip baptized believers in Samaria, but they did not receive the Holy Spirit until the apostles came to Samaria (Acts 8:15-16). In Acts 10, the Holy Spirit came on the believers as Peter was preaching, and they were not baptized until afterward (Acts 10:44-48). In Acts 19 the Holy Spirit came on the 12 Ephesians after they were baptized (Acts 19:5-6).

    Thanks.
     
  12. HankD

    HankD
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2001
    Messages:
    15,158
    Likes Received:
    322
    My wife was a former Mormon when we joined our first Baptist church about a year after we were married.
    The Mormon church has a strict requirement of a water baptism by immersion which she had done. The Baptist church (Tremont Temple Baptist Church in Boston) we were attempting to join required her rebaptism as well as mine (former Catholic) before we were allowed into the membership.

    HankD
     
  13. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,097
    Likes Received:
    49
    Think that they were aware of the teachings of John concerning being baptized as a symbol of true repenting for sins, but that they at best would have heard of a coming Messiah, but the terminology here in the passage seems to indicate that they were ignorant of Jesus as being the Messiah, and his death/resurrection, and coming of the Holy Spirit...

    Paul comments to them seemed to imply that they needed to hear of Jesus death/resurrection, and when they heard, they believed and received the Holy Spirit...

    they got the water baptism aspect of John, but not yet the Spirit Baptism of Jesus!
     
  14. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    And in regards to your thread on infant baptism, we see the same principle set forth in Acts 19, where a baptism which is not an identification with Christ on a personal level, which is related directly to faith in Christ, is not the baptism Christians effect.



    These events are, I believe, shown in Scripture to be events with the intention of validating Gentile Inclusion. I think it a little assumptive to presume sequence for some of these. Acts 8, yes, but in regards to the Ephesian disciples we can just as easily say that the writer is simply giving the details that were relevant.


    Acts 19

    King James Version (KJV)

    1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

    2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

    3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism.

    4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

    5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.



    Notice that it is when Paul laid hands on them the Holy Ghost comes upon them. Now when would Paul do this? Isn't it quite likely when he baptized them? Rather than assuming that he baptized them then laid hands on them?

    In view I think we can take from how it is worded that the Holy Ghost came upon them when he laid hands on them, not necessarily we have a sequence of events that demands a rigid interpretation of (1) they hear the Gospel, (2) they are baptized, and (3) Paul then lays hands on them and they receive the Holy Ghost. Even if that is the case (which it seems to be in Acts 8), which is possible, we still see that believing comes before baptism. Because we have events where we see a "random" order to baptism and the receiving of the Holy Ghost, we still have no justification for suggesting that the baptism itself is involved or salvific. We know that men can be baptized and not saved, such as Simon, but we cannot say a man can receive the Holy Ghost and not be.

    Again, the difference in the case of the Samaritans (a distinct group) would seem to be a matter of validation:



    Acts 8:14-17

    King James Version (KJV)


    14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

    15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

    16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

    17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.



    So too with the Gentiles (a distinct group):


    Acts 11:1-4;

    King James Version (KJV)

    1 And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

    2 And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,

    3 Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

    4 But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,



    18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.



    And in all of these events not one of them show that water baptism was the means of salvation.


    God bless.
     
  15. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    17,097
    Likes Received:
    49
    Which to me still seems to indicate that they were ignorant of jesus and his Cross/resurrection in a 'saving sense"
     
  16. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    And I agree.

    They were disciples of John yet they had not heard "whether there be any Holy Ghost." Secondly, Paul tells them that John preached belief in Christ:

    Acts 19

    King James Version (KJV)


    4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

    5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.



    It just seems that this is the time when they believe on Jesus Christ.


    God bless.
     
  17. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,215
    Likes Received:
    1,318
    No, they weren't disciples of John. John died in about 32 AD. Acts 19 took place sometime in the late 50s AD. It had been well over 20-25 years since John was killed.

    It is more likely they were disciples of a wandering disciple of John. Or even a disciple of a disciple of a disciple. This disciple of John heard John's preaching regarding "Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world." But he never heard how that was applied to the hearer. The indwelling, regenerating, enabling, and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit, without which there is no new spiritual life.

    They heard a partial gospel. When the complete gospel was declared to them they believed and were scripturally baptized. :)
     
  18. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    Sounds reasonable to me, but I have to wonder why they would have been baptized unto John's baptism.


    God bless.
     
  19. TCassidy

    TCassidy
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Messages:
    12,215
    Likes Received:
    1,318
    Why do people have their babies sprinkled in Methodist and Presbyterian churches? Or poured on in Catholic churches? Or get dunked in order to be saved in CoC churches?

    They don't know any better.
     
  20. Darrell C

    Darrell C
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Messages:
    6,249
    Likes Received:
    118
    Christians do. We don't see them being baptized unto John, right?

    ;)


    God bless.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Loading...