by Jerry Shugart

The Baptism Into the Body of Christ

Andrew Woods writes that "in Acts the formation of the Body of Christ through the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit has taken center stage (Acts 1:5; 11:15-16; 1 Cor. 12:13)...the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit began at Acts 2" (Andrew M. Woods, The Coming Kingdom, 71, 143).

According to Woods the baptism spoken of by the Lord Jesus at Acts 1:5 was the same baptism performed by the Holy Spirit at 1 Corinthians 12:13 and that baptism by the Holy Spirit began at Acts 2. We will now examine all of the verses which Woods cited and see if his assertion can stand up to the light of the Scriptures, beginning with Acts 1:5. Woods wrote:

"Just before He ascended, Christ put the baptizing power of the Spirit into the future. He explained to His disciples, 'for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now' (Acts 1:5)" (Ibid., 143).

At Acts 1:5 the Greek words pneuma haigon are translated "Holy Spirit" but in the original Greek there is no definite article ("the") which precedes those two words. In The Companion Bible we read, " 'Pneuma hagion' (without Articles) is never used of the Giver (the Holy Spirit), but only and always of His gift. What this gift is may be seen by comparing Acts 1:4, 5 with Luke 24:49, where 'the promise of the Father' is called (in the former passage) 'pneuma hagion,' and in the latter is called 'power from on high.' This 'power from on high' includes whatever gifts the Holy Spirit may bestow 'according to His own will' " (The Companion Bible, [Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1990], Appendix 101; Section II, Part # 14, 147).

For more on this subject please go to Appendix #2.

Indeed, we can see that truth confirmed when we look closely at the following verse:

"And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (Jn.20:22; NIV).

It is impossible that this translation is correct. That is because in the following passage the Lord Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would not be sent until He departed to be with the Father and He had not yet departed to be with the Father when He said those words:

"But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you" (Jn.16:5-7).

It is impossible that they had received "the Holy Spirit" because the Lord Jesus had not yet departed to be with the Father and therefore the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to anyone when He spoke the words at John 20:22. Therefore the correct translation of John 20:22 is as follows:

"And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive holy spirit'" (Jn.20:22).

The correct translation of Acts 1:4-5 is as follows:

"And, being foregathered, He charges them not to be departing from Jerusalem, but to be remaining about for the promise of the Father, 'which you hear of Me, seeing that John, indeed, baptizes in water, yet you shall be baptized in holy spirit after not many of these days'" (Acts 1:4-5; CLV).

Now let us examine what Woods said about 1 Corinthians 12:13 which does speak of the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit.

By One Spirit Are We All Baptized into One Body

Woods says that "the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit began at Acts 2. This ministry involves the Spirit's work in taking men and women at the point of personal faith in Christ and uniting them with the body of Christ, the church. First Corinthians 12:13 says.'For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit'" [emphasis added] (Andrew M. Woods, The Coming Kingdom, 143).

it is clear that the following two different verses are not speaking of the same baptism:

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor.12:13).

"John, indeed, baptizes in water, yet you shall be baptized in holy spirit after not many of these days'" (Acts 1:5; CLV).

The baptism spoken of at Acts 1:5 has nothing whatsoever to do with baptizing anyone into the Body of Christ. For more on this subject please go to Appendix # 2.

I Will Pour Out My Spirit

On the day of Pentecost Peter spoke about the pouring out of the spirit of the LORD:

"But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come" (Acts 2:16-20).

Woods writes that "The Greek expression translated 'this is what/that' is 'toto estin to.' The expression need not indicate fulfillment since it is also used elsewhere in the New Testament to convey an analogy...Peter uses the Joel passage in merely an analogical way rather than indicating that the Joel passage was fulfilled in full or in part in Acts 2" (Ibid.,282-83).

So according to Woods when Peter used the words "this is that" he was merely using an analogy.

However, Stanley D. Toussaint, to whom Woods dedicated his book The Coming Kingdom, has an entirely different view on the words "this is that" spoken by Peter, writing that "in Peter's words, This is what was spoken by the Prophet Joel. This clause does not mean, 'This is like that'; it means Pentecost fulfilled what Joel had described. However, the prophecies of Joel quoted in Acts 2:19-20 were not fulfilled. The implication is that the remainder would be fulfilled if Israel would repent" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary; New Testament, ed. Walvoord and Zuck [Colorado Springs:Chariot Victor Press,1983], 359).

The prophecy of Joel that "your sons...shall prophesy" was fulfilled that very day. The Greek word translated "prophesy" has a much wider meaning than foretelling future events. It also means "to utter forth, declare, a thing which can only be known by divine revelation" (John Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Baker Books], 553).

That is exactly what happened when the believers began to speak in tongues on the day of Pentecost. And the following passage describes the spirit being poured out on that day:

"And at the fulfillment of the day of Pentecost they were all alike in the same place. And suddenly there came out of heaven a blare, even as of a violent, carrying blast, and it fills the whole house where they were sitting. And seen by them were dividing tongues as if of fire, and one is seated on each one of them. And they are all filled with holy spirit, and they begin to speak in different languages, according as the Spirit gave them to declaim" (Acts 2:1-4; CLV).

The following passage we see Peter describing what happened when he preached to Cornelius and his household and we can see the same exact phrase, "baptized in holy spirit":

"Now as I begin to speak, the Holy Spirit falls on them, even as on us also in the beginning. Now I am reminded of the declaration of the Lord, as He said that 'John, indeed, baptizes in water, yet you shall be baptized in holy spirit" (Acts 11:15-16; CLV).

In these verses it was the falling of the Holy Spirit which caused Peter to remember his own experience of being baptized in holy spirit. So there can be no doubt that what happened when the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his household defines the meaning of the phrase, "baptized in holy spirit." Now let us look at the actual events which Peter described at Acts 11:15-17:

"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God" (Acts 10:44-46).

The Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and his household and those who had accompanied Peter were astonished "because that on the Gentiles was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit." How did they know that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on Cornelius and his household? Surely they did not see the Holy Spirit baptizing anyone into the Body of Christ. That operation of God is invisible and cannot be observed.

They knew that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on them because "they heard them speak with tongues." Let us look at these verses again:

"...because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God..."

Here the word "for" is translated from the Greek word gar, and the meaning of that word as used here is "it addresses the Cause or gives the Reason of a preceding statement or opinion" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon).

The reason that those with Peter knew that the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on Cornelius and his household was because they heard them speak with tongues. Therefore, we can know that receiving the "gift of the Holy Spirit" and being "baptized with holy spirit" are one and the same thing and it happened when the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and His household. So at Acts 10:45 the reference is to a gift that is bestowed by the Holy Spirit. This "gift" of being able to speak in tongues is spoken of here by Paul where he names many of the gifts "given by the Spirit":

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit...For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues" (1 Cor.12:4,8-10).

So when we look at all these things we can understand that the pouring out of the gift of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was totally in regard to believers receiving the ability to speak in known languages of which they previously had no knowledge. There is absolutely nothing in any of these verses which even hints that anyone was being baptized into the Body of Christ on the day of Pentecost.

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