CHURCH OF CHRIST MYTH: Saying There is Only One Baptism When There Are Many

baptisms doctrine of


The Baptism of John– Repentance

The Baptism of Jesus– Anointing, begins ministry of prophet and priesthood

The Baptism of Fire– Purifying or judgment

The Baptism of Moses– Deliverance of the nation Israel

The Baptism of the Cross (or Cup)- The suffering of death for our sins

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit– Being saved and put in the body of Christ also for service.

The Believers Baptism– Identification with Christ  by water baptism.


Baptism is to identify with a person, a group of people or the message.

The Baptism of John – Matt. 3:6-11.(repentance)

The water was symbolic of the Kingdom of God which John was preaching. When a person was baptized by John, he was identification with the coming Messiah and his kingdom. The new believer was “identified” with Johns message of repentance, they then became part of the believing remnant, it was the person who was the messiah they were looking forward to.

To be baptized by John was a spiritual identification a visible sign of their repentance ,Johns proclamation was the coming “Kingdom of God” and to prepare oneself by repenting to prepare their heart.

Acts 13: 24: “Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.”

All the apostles except one were baptized by John and following his ministry. (the exception is Paul who saw the risen Christ) Acts 1: 21 “Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”

The Baptism of Jesus

Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist, and began his ministry after he was consecrated Luke 3: 21

Acts 10:38 tells us that He was anointed with the Holy Spirit. As a human, He was in submission to God to fulfill all righteousness and was anointed for His ministry like all priests.. He received a special anointing of the Holy Spirit for His public mission. ( Acts 10:38 ). Jesus was divinely consecrated for the work of redemption, being an eternal priest from the order of Melchizedek. In Matt. 3:15, Jesus tells us that His baptism was ‘to fulfill all righteousness.” The basic action of baptism is identification, so Jesus identified with righteousness in obedience to the Mosaic Law. The Levitical Law required that all priests were to be consecrated when they began their ministry at about 30 years of age). He being a man needed, to be anointed like the prophets of old. He Identified with the believing remnant and also with sinners even though he was not one also with mankind (sinners even though he was not one) (1 Cor. 5:21; Matt.3:11 ).

Remember he was introduced as the lamb to take away the sins of the world. This was a unique baptism because it had nothing to do salvation but a submission to the will of God. He Identified himself with the preaching of the Kingdom and repentance by John the Baptizer. ( Matt. 3:1-2 ) Jesus identified with righteousness in obedience to the Mosaic Law, to fulfill all righteousness.

The Baptism of Fire

There are two views on what the baptism of fire means: There is a judgment coming at the 2nd Coming of Christ when all nonbelievers are taken from the earth. Jesus taught several parables in reference to the end of time when believers and unbelievers will be separated Mt.25 the sheep from the goats. They will join the unbelievers from all time in hell who are waiting for the Last Judgment (The Great White Throne Judgment in Rev. 20). This occurs at the end of the Millennium when they are resurrected and put back in their bodies and put in the lake of fire. The Bible teaches that this baptism is for unbelievers in judgment.

Mt. 3:11: John speaking, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor; and gather his wheat into the barn; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Only the Holy Spirit is for believers.

Luke 3:9″And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.“17”His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

This certainly is a reference to Mt.25:41  (also Mt.3:10; Rev.14:10)

we know this means judgment because John and Jesus explain it:  John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. “His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.

Jesus said Acts 1:5:   “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” He never baptized anyone  in fire.

Fire is often symbol for judgment throughout the Bible. Examples are the fire which burned the sacrifice on the Hebrew altar, and the fire from God which burned the watered down sacrifices of Elijah and the prophets of Baal.

Fire and brimstone fell on Sodom and Gomorrah. The world will be cleansed by fire as it was by the flood in the end of time 2 Pt.3:10.

Heb. 10:27: “but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

II Thess. 1:8: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The believers are to go into the millennium, the unbelievers are “cast off” into fire. These parables are analogies to the baptism of fire.

The other view is a purifying affect

1 Pet 1:7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,

1 Pet 4:12: ” Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.”

1 Cor. 3:13: “Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” meaning our work on earth will have its test in heaven to see if it accompanies us into eternity.

The baptism of fire is more applicable to judgment than fiery trials in a believers life. (Read Matt 13:24-30 and Jesus’ explanation later in Matt 13:36-40)

The Baptism of Moses

1 Cor. 10:2 tells us, “all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and the sea”. This is a symbolism of Moses being a type of Christ. The water never touched them but they went across to dry land to the other side while the waters became a means of judgment on Pharaoh’s army that tried to overtake them.

The baptism of Moses was a double identification, the children of Israel are identified both with Moses as their deliverer and with the cloud ,Gods glory a visible representation of his presence, as they passed through the Red Sea. There was no water involved, when the waters were parted the Israelites walked on dry land, they went through the sea on dry land never getting wet. (1 Cor.10:1,2.) The Jews never got wet, but Pharaoh’s’s army did ! When it says they were baptized into Moses it means in reference to Moses’ leadership delivering them through the waters of judgment. When it says the cloud it was the glory of God leading Moses who led them into their journey.

The Baptism of the Cross/death (his Cup)

Jesus Christ “drank” the Cup filled with our sins. This was an expression of all the sins of the world put into one cup and poured out on Christ while He was on the Cross. God the Father judged our sins while they were on Christ. (similar to the bowls of judgment in Rev. on mankind) The “cup” being spoken of signifies God’s wrath towards sin. Christ identified with our sin and He bore our sins on the cross being was made sin for us. (2 Cor.5:21, 1 Pet. 2:24.)

Mark 10: 38 (also Matt. 20:23 ). “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” 39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with,” We are told that we are all baptized into his death Rom.6 :3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” for one to have the new life they must die in Christ first. Accepting his atonement for us personally. When we die with him we are able to walk in the new life he offers.

In Matt. 26:39, He prays to the Father to “let this cup pass from me”. Nevertheless, thy will be done.. in he states John 18:11, “the cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink from it?” The “cup” being spoken of signifies God’s wrath towards sin that would be poured out on him in our place.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

When a person believes accepts Christ as Savior, he is placed into the body of Christ by the Spirit and the spirit is placed in him. He is identified as a believer. 1 Cor.12:13. 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.

Acts 1:5, Jesus said to them “For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Jesus is making a distinction between water and Spirit baptism, just as John did. John’s water baptism always showed repentance. It looked forward to Christ whom they would receive. The Holy Spirit’s work would be inward. This is the spiritual work of God to regenerate a believer and put them supernaturally in the body of Christ.vs.8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” the anointing gave them the boldness to be witnesses (martyrs) wherever they went.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a New Testament teaching and experience. In John 7:39, Jesus, speaking of the Spirit, stated those who believe in Him would receive the Spirit when He was glorified. This event happened when He ascended to heaven and then sent the Spirit. Its first occurrence was on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit started the body of Christ. He came with an audible sound rushing into the upper room came upon them and filled them all, so that they were endued with power to bring the gospel. This baptism was unique in that it also exhibited a dividing of fire above each ones head. This was associated with the glory of God the shekinah in the OT. tabernacle. This happened only one time never to be repeated in the NT.

Believers are place “in Christ”, in their new position they now have access to privileges and blessings that come with this relationship. Ephesians 1 describes our new position in Christ “all blessings in heavenly places in Him.” We are seated in heavenly places.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit was prophesied by John the Baptist, Matt. 3:11; Luke 3:16. by Jesus Christ who said he would send him, John 14:16,17; Acts 1:5.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for all believers adopted into the family of God , It is how one enters the body 1 Cor12:13, Gal. 3:26-28.  Eph. 5:18 tells us to be continually filled with the Spirit, in other words give him control of our lives, it is a daily thing.

The Baptism for Believers

Mk.16:16 “He that believeth, and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall not be saved.”

There is a question whether this is speaking of water baptism or spirit baptism . Since this is Jesus discourse before his ascension and does coincide with Mt.28 it would  be logical to think, it is of water.

The believer’s baptism of water identifies us to the Lord Jesus Christ and symbolizes the positional truth of his dying for us and washing away our sins. The real baptism of the Holy Spirit places a believer into Christ, water baptism is a ceremony that illustrates the fact of Spirit baptism, an invisible event which actually puts one in the body.

Christians have a real identification with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. Water baptism is a symbolic identification with the person and work of Christ in his death. Rom.6:4

When one goes down in the water, they are saying, “I identify with His death and burial.” They are declaring the Gospel that saved them in a physical act.

It is a representative act of identification. The individual is placed in the water, which means, symbolically, that he is identified with what the water represents. Which is cleansing. It is also a illustration of death being buried taken away from ones view.1 Pt 3:21 Denies emphatically that baptism conveys either the essence or power of grace. It is not the removal of the flesh (our carnal nature). Baptism saves through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There is no mention of any blessing that is connected with baptism that is not also given when one exercises faith. It is a outward illustration of the real inward event.

The new covenant is ratified by the blood of Christ, his death. Its not water, baptism is the seal of the covenant but not the covenant itself. The veil of the temple was ripped open when he died not when he was baptized. There is no forgiveness without the blood of Christ, there is forgiveness without baptism.

Water baptism always comes after salvation. It does not precede salvation. When water baptism precedes salvation it becomes a religious practice, a ritual without substance. Believer’s baptism is not a religious ritual in itself, but a indicates that one has a relationship with Jesus Christ.

About Damon Whitsell

Hello, my name is Damon. I have been studying Christian Cults since 1985 and doing Cult Apologetics online since 1998 because I grew up with Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals and Bible Missionaries in my family. All three of these groups (or Cults) think they are the One True Church and the Only True Christians and to be Saved you must join their Church. So as a result I started studying the Bible for myself to try to determine which of these groups had the truth. After much praying, reading and studying I decided the Mormon, Oneness Pentecostal and Bible Missionarie churches are not real Christian Churches at all, rather they are Christian Cults because they do not line up with what the bible really teaches about Salvation and they are not in agreement with other Essential Christian Doctrines. I found that according to what the Word of God teaches, and Historic/Orthodox Christian Teaching, Salvation cannot be earned by any form of human works or efforts I found that Salvation is ALL by the Grace and Work of God and that Salvation and Eternal Life are a Free Gift from God (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 6:23, John 3:16) to all who will Trust in Jesus Christ and the atoning sacrifice He made for us by dying on the Cross for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). The Word of God is clear and plainly says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Because I know what it is like to be targeted by Cult Groups and to suffer from the spirtual confusion and frustration brought on by their false teachings, I have endeavored to help others find True Eternal Life in Jesus Christ and to break free from the clutches of, and to be healed from the damage done by, Cult Groups who claim to be the One True Church. So it is my hope and prayer that the Lord will use my Websites to help those that need help and that some who use my websites will be helped by them to find the Free Gift of God’s Salvation, that is only found in His only begotten son Jesus Christ.

Posted on September 22, 2015, in Church of Christ Myths and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The Lutheran church emphasizes one Lord, one faith, one baptism. They claim to be the only church to teach the bible rightly. I hear this said on the podcast Issues, Etc. I grew up Lutheran and once I got saved I left. I could not stomach telling others to remember their baptism because in it is their salvation. No, scripture doesn’t teach that. My dad got very angry with me when I left.


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