The Gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38-39 is NOT the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Howard Denham

October 30, 2014

      Some brethren have adopted the teaching of the Wesleyans that the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:38-39 is Holy Spirit baptism, but that would entail two distinct baptisms — the first being in water and the second being then that of the Holy Spirit. That directly contradicts Ephesians 4:5, which teaches that there is but "one baptism" in vogue today and has been since A.D. 63. 

      If one quibbles that Acts 2:38-39 was spoken prior to Ephesians 4:5 to try to avoid that text, he must either hold that Acts 2:38-39 no longer applies today or else that Holy Spirit baptism was not part of that text. In fact, it is the latter that is clearly the case. Acts 2:38-39 is the fulfillmnt of the Lord's teaching that "repentance and the remission of sins" would be preached in His name "beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47). But that text parallels the Great Commision texts of Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16. The baptism mentioned in the Great Commission was to last in its scope "until the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20). Thus, the baptism of Acts 2:38-39 must be the baptism of the Great Commission. 

      If the baptism of Acts 2:38-39 is the baptism of the Great Commission, and if by A.D. 63 only one baptism was in vogue, and if that baptism was the baptism of the Great Commission, and if that baptism involved the use of water as the element (Eph. 5:26), then it must be the case that the baptism of Acts 2:38-39 was water baptism only. That precludes Holy Spirit baptism as part of the process. It therefore cannot be the case that the gift of the Holy Spirit was Holy Spirit baptism. 

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