Acts 19:1-6 and the Re-Baptism of John’s Disciples?

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Note: This is an email I sent to my Pastor last night after spending some face-to-face time with him on Thursday.

Dear Pastor *****

I enjoyed our time together yesterday afternoon. Thanks.

Regarding our discussion of Acts 19:1-6 and my contention that the disciples were NOT re-baptized as verse 5 is translated to say:

I am getting clobbered on my take of verse 5. Everyone and I mean everyone, I checked (except Calvin) stated that they were re-baptized, or actually, they were baptized for the first time since their first "baptism," maybe by one of John's disciples after John was either dead or in prison, was defective or incomplete somehow.

vs.5 "and they, having heard, were baptized--to the name of the Lord Jesus," YLT
vs.5 "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." NKJV

I maintain that the word 'this' is not in the original. It could just as well have been the word 'that' that was added. Or maybe better yet, no inserted word at all making the verse say the following:

After Paul stated, in verse four, that John's baptism was in essence Christian baptism, those that heard Paul had the following response.
vs. 5 "When they heard they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus," etc. ELW (Ed L Walsh :)
vs. 6 “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. NKJV

If they were re-baptized, this is the only place I can think of in the New Testament that even hints that the followers of the Baptist had to be baptized a second time by Christ’s disciples. Is this not true?

What do you all think?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
John's baptism was not NT baptism. Their "rebaptism" was not of the same substance as the first.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
Ed, I know that Rev. Matthew Winzer contended for the view you have espoused here. I don't know who else besides Calvin also espoused it, but Calvin's take on any issue regarding baptism is one to soberly consider. Didn't this topic come up recently? If not, I must have just been interested in it and went searching through old threads. If you have the time, maybe you could find the discussion of it where Rev. Winzer proposes this view. It is rather compelling.
He says that "And when they heard this, etc." is a continuation of Paul's narrative, I think. Is that what Calvin says?

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Is that what Calvin says?

Here's part of Calvin's take from his commentary on Acts:

5. On hearing this, they were baptized. Because people in those days had the mistaken idea that John’s baptism was different from Christ’s, there was nothing absurd about people being baptized again if they had only been prepared with John’s baptism. But the two were pledges and signs of the same adoption and new life that we have in our baptism today; that is why we do not read of Christ rebaptizing those who came to him from John. Moreover, Christ received baptism in his own flesh, in order to associate himself with us by that visible sign (Matthew 3:15); and if John’s baptism were different from that of Christ’s, we would not have the blessing of a common baptism with the Son of God.

Was it right to rebaptize? The introduction of anabaptism relies on this evidence. Some people take the word baptized to mean they were newly instructed; but I do not agree with them, because the construction is too forced and smacks of evasion. Others deny that they were rebaptized, because they had been wrongly baptized by some rival of John’s. But there is no substance to this conjecture; indeed, Paul’s words imply that they were true disciples of John, and Luke honors them with the name of disciples. I do not subscribe to this opinion, and yet I do deny that baptism with water was repeated, because Luke’s words imply only that they were baptized with the Spirit. It is nothing new for the word “baptism” to be used of the gift of the Spirit (see 1:5 and 11:16). If you understand the baptism here to mean only the external sign, it is surely absurd that it was given without any fuller teaching. If, however, you take it metaphorically for instruction, the expression will be harsher still, and the following sentence about the Holy Spirit coming on them would be inappropriate.​
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Note: This is an email I sent to my Pastor last night after spending some face-to-face time with him on Thursday.

Dear Pastor *****

I enjoyed our time together yesterday afternoon. Thanks.

Regarding our discussion of Acts 19:1-6 and my contention that the disciples were NOT re-baptized as verse 5 is translated to say:

I am getting clobbered on my take of verse 5. Everyone and I mean everyone, I checked (except Calvin) stated that they were re-baptized, or actually, they were baptized for the first time since their first "baptism," maybe by one of John's disciples after John was either dead or in prison, was defective or incomplete somehow.

vs.5 "and they, having heard, were baptized--to the name of the Lord Jesus," YLT
vs.5 "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." NKJV

I maintain that the word 'this' is not in the original. It could just as well have been the word 'that' that was added. Or maybe better yet, no inserted word at all making the verse say the following:

After Paul stated, in verse four, that John's baptism was in essence Christian baptism, those that heard Paul had the following response.
vs. 5 "When they heard they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus," etc. ELW (Ed L Walsh :)
vs. 6 “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. NKJV

If they were re-baptized, this is the only place I can think of in the New Testament that even hints that the followers of the Baptist had to be baptized a second time by Christ’s disciples. Is this not true?

What do you all think?
Note: This is an email I sent to my Pastor last night after spending some face-to-face time with him on Thursday.

Dear Pastor *****

I enjoyed our time together yesterday afternoon. Thanks.

Regarding our discussion of Acts 19:1-6 and my contention that the disciples were NOT re-baptized as verse 5 is translated to say:

I am getting clobbered on my take of verse 5. Everyone and I mean everyone, I checked (except Calvin) stated that they were re-baptized, or actually, they were baptized for the first time since their first "baptism," maybe by one of John's disciples after John was either dead or in prison, was defective or incomplete somehow.

vs.5 "and they, having heard, were baptized--to the name of the Lord Jesus," YLT
vs.5 "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." NKJV

I maintain that the word 'this' is not in the original. It could just as well have been the word 'that' that was added. Or maybe better yet, no inserted word at all making the verse say the following:

After Paul stated, in verse four, that John's baptism was in essence Christian baptism, those that heard Paul had the following response.
vs. 5 "When they heard they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus," etc. ELW (Ed L Walsh :)
vs. 6 “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. NKJV

If they were re-baptized, this is the only place I can think of in the New Testament that even hints that the followers of the Baptist had to be baptized a second time by Christ’s disciples. Is this not true?

What do you all think?
I think that those disciples of John were instructed by him to prepare for the coming Messiah, but did not actually know that Jesus had now come and been the Messiah foretold, and so they were indeed baptized into Jesus, and the Holy Spirit did indeed come into them at that time, as they heard the preparation message, but still needed to hear the gospel message,. Reminds me of Apollos needed to be taken aside and given the full message of Jesus that he was trying to peach and defend.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
John's baptism was not NT baptism. Their "rebaptism" was not of the same substance as the first.

It seems that it was, as I said, in essence, the same. It was both a baptism of repentance and one of the remission of sin. That's why I think John's baptized followers did not need a second baptism.

Luke 3:2b, 3
[T]he word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

Q. Do you think that all those baptised by John were baptised again when they beleived in Christ in a fuller sence? If so, it seems odd to me that there is not a hint of this practice anywhere in the New Testament except for this one (I think poorly translated) verse.

Acts 19:4
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.

Sounds to me that John did indeed preach Christ to those who responded to his message. Consider also, that it was John's baptism that Jesus submitted to.

So that you know; I am not 100% sure of the interpretation I lean to in the OP.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
Note: This is an email I sent to my Pastor last night after spending some face-to-face time with him on Thursday.

Dear Pastor *****

I enjoyed our time together yesterday afternoon. Thanks.

Regarding our discussion of Acts 19:1-6 and my contention that the disciples were NOT re-baptized as verse 5 is translated to say:

I am getting clobbered on my take of verse 5. Everyone and I mean everyone, I checked (except Calvin) stated that they were re-baptized, or actually, they were baptized for the first time since their first "baptism," maybe by one of John's disciples after John was either dead or in prison, was defective or incomplete somehow.

vs.5 "and they, having heard, were baptized--to the name of the Lord Jesus," YLT
vs.5 "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." NKJV

I maintain that the word 'this' is not in the original. It could just as well have been the word 'that' that was added. Or maybe better yet, no inserted word at all making the verse say the following:

After Paul stated, in verse four, that John's baptism was in essence Christian baptism, those that heard Paul had the following response.
vs. 5 "When they heard they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus," etc. ELW (Ed L Walsh :)
vs. 6 “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. NKJV

If they were re-baptized, this is the only place I can think of in the New Testament that even hints that the followers of the Baptist had to be baptized a second time by Christ’s disciples. Is this not true?

What do you all think?
A point of clarification. In your translation, are you suggesting that the content of what they heard was that they had already effectively been baptized into the Lord Jesus? If so, that is extremely hard to justify from the Greek. The construction akousantes de is common in Acts and seems always to indicate something like "When they heard this, ..." ( see 2:37, 4:24 etc). Where it is followed by the content of what they heard, the Greek indicates this with hoti (9:38; 16:38). That's why Calvin and all of the English translations render it something like "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps I am misunderstanding your point?
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
That's why Calvin and all of the English translations render it something like "When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps I am misunderstanding your point?

Maybe I'm just grabbing at straws here. My "translation," with the smiley face, is more of a theological assumption than an educated Gk translation. I know almost no Greek. Thanks for your input.

Same question that I asked above. Do you think all those who John baptized had to be baptized again when they followed Christ?
 
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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
It seems that it was, as I said, in essence, the same. It was both a baptism of repentance and one of the remission of sin. That's why I think John's baptized followers did not need a second baptism.

Luke 3:2b, 3
[T]he word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

Q. Do you think that all those baptised by John were baptised again when they beleived in Christ in a fuller sence? If so, it seems odd to me that there is not a hint of this practice anywhere in the New Testament except for this one (I think poorly translated) verse.

Acts 19:4
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.

Sounds to me that John did indeed preach Christ to those who responded to his message. Consider also, that it was John's baptism that Jesus submitted to.

So that you know; I am not 100% sure of the interpretation I lean to in the OP.

Your interpretation also brings in another problem. Since the new covenant wasn't in effect at this point, Christ still under the old one, John's baptism would be a part of the old covenant, not the new.

NT baptism represents the washing away of sin through the blood of Christ. John's baptism was more akin to the Nazarite vow.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
It may also help to see JTB as the last of the OT prophets. It's easy to view him as part of the new covenant because we read of him in the NT. :)
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Poole takes the same line as Calvin.

Gill has an interesting take on the passage. He understands v5 to be a continuation of Paul's words, so that it would read (I'm using contemporary conventions for clarity here):
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.

So, according to Gill, the baptism in the name of Jesus which is referred to is John's baptism.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
maybe you could find the discussion of it where Rev. Winzer proposes this view. It is rather compelling.

Below are three quotes from Rev. Matthew Winzer in the Thread, The 12 Apostles and Rebaptism
https://goo.gl/D9ESC4

In Acts 19:5 Paul's says to the disciples of John that those baptised by John were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Concerning Acts 19:5, is there any indication that Paul has ceased speaking and the narrator has resumed his narrative of events? The beginning of verse 6 appears to be a more natural way of introducing what occurred after the speech of Paul.

Please read Acts 19:5 again, not as the narrator's words, but as Paul's words, and it will be seen that no baptism took place at that time. I recommend Gill's comments in loc.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
Below are three quotes from Rev. Matthew Winzer in the Thread, The 12 Apostles and Rebaptism
https://goo.gl/D9ESC4

In Acts 19:5 Paul's says to the disciples of John that those baptised by John were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Concerning Acts 19:5, is there any indication that Paul has ceased speaking and the narrator has resumed his narrative of events? The beginning of verse 6 appears to be a more natural way of introducing what occurred after the speech of Paul.

Please read Acts 19:5 again, not as the narrator's words, but as Paul's words, and it will be seen that no baptism took place at that time. I recommend Gill's comments in loc.
That is Gill's argument exactly.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Your interpretation also brings in another problem. Since the new covenant wasn't in effect at this point, Christ still under the old one, John's baptism would be a part of the old covenant, not the new.

NT baptism represents the washing away of sin through the blood of Christ. John's baptism was more akin to the Nazarite vow.
The water baptism of the NT had to wait for the Messiah, Jesus, to actually died and be raised again and ascended, as those who were then saved by Him took on that Baptism, so whatever they had experienced was not the NT rite. I tend to see them as receiving the teaching of John as regarding coming messiah and to repent, but that the Apostles gave them the Gospel, and that is when they received Jesus and was saved.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
The water baptism of the NT had to wait for the Messiah, Jesus, to actually died and be raised again and ascended, as those who were then saved by Him took on that Baptism, so whatever they had experienced was not the NT rite. I tend to see them as receiving the teaching of John as regarding coming messiah and to repent, but that the Apostles gave them the Gospel, and that is when they received Jesus and was saved.

Whatever the difference is between John's and NT baptism, to say that John's disciples were not saved until after Pentecost is a little strange. Was King David saved? How about Danial and the rest of the Old Testament saints? As we will see below, John's gospel and Jesus' gospel were very similar.

What is in common in these verses? Well, let me tell you, so you don't miss it. Three things: baptism, repentance, remission of sins, which equals full salvation.

John’s preaching included salvation for all the believed:
Luke 3:3 (KJV)
And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;​

John’s preaching included faith in the Christ Jesus:
Acts 19:4
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.​

Peter’s first sermon was in the main the same as John’s preaching:
Acts 2:38 (KJV)
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,​

The last words Jesus said to his disciples were that they should preach “repentance and remission of sins” just as John did.
Luke 24:47 (KJV)
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.​

If the subjects of John's baptism were not fully saved when they believed his teaching, it would be an unprecedented exception to all the stories of salvation in the whole Bible.
 
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Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
I tend to see them as receiving the teaching of John as regarding coming messiah and to repent, but that the Apostles gave them the Gospel, and that is when they received Jesus and was saved.

Dispensationalism.

The gospel is not a NT phenomenon. Many people in the OT had the gospel and were 'saved', long before Christ and the apostles.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Something must be said in relation to a transition time and the covenant sign that was already on the flesh of the OT saint.....
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
For example: What if you were an OT believer and a week before Pentecost, you circumcised your infant son. Were u now obligated to place another sign on your child, a week afterwards? If so, why don't we see this resigning of any infants or children in the NT writings?
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
It may also help to see JTB as the last of the OT prophets. It's easy to view him as part of the new covenant because we read of him in the NT. :)
Tim, a quote from that thread I mentioned which provides food for thought on that issue: "...the law and the prophets were until John; from the time of John's ministry the kingdom of heaven advanced militantly. Also, the Gospel of Mark tells us the gospel commenced with John as the messenger of Christ."
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
For example: What if you were an OT believer and a week before Pentecost, you circumcised your infant son. Were u now obligated to place another sign on your child, a week afterwards? If so, why don't we see this resigning of any infants or children in the NT writings?
A thought. The blood of Christ was on them and their children. To save themselves from the untoward generation, they were to repent and be baptized. The promise was to them and to their children. If the children were not baptized, the children would have remained guilty of the murder of Christ. It seems unlikely the parents would have saved themselves while leaving their children guilty of their sin. So here is evidence that they were baptized. As for why not seeing any of this later, I don't know. I'm not sure what bearing the silence has one way or the other on whether they were baptized; I suppose for those that had been baptized by John, if that was in fact Christian baptism, they had no need to be baptized again.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
It seems unlikely the parents would have saved themselves while leaving their children guilty of their sin.

Ramon,
I wholeheartedly agree; considering federal headship, one would think the obvious; bit to me, it is strange that we see no indication of any mass families being baptized.
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
How about this Ed?
John's baptism had all the hallmarks of NT baptism. "Repentance", "belief", and remission of sins."
It has been estimated that John baptised 250,000, but cut that by half, or even a quarter,---that's a lot of rebaptising to do!
Apollos was not rebaptised18: 24-25, neither John's disciples or crucially Christ himself.
They had knowledge of Holy Ghost through the dove, and John's preaching of the baptism of fire. But were limited concerning the gifts and display of HS having an imperfect knowledge.
They were baptised in the Name of Christ, because------
If you read v5 as a continuation of v4, and do so by putting a comma between the two, then both speak of John's ministry and not Paul's.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
Whatever the difference is between John's and NT baptism, to say that John's disciples were not saved until after Pentecost is a little strange. Was King David saved? How about Danial and the rest of the Old Testament saints? As we will see below, John's gospel and Jesus' gospel were very similar.

What is in common in these verses? Well, let me tell you, so you don't miss it. Three things: baptism, repentance, remission of sins, which equals full salvation.

John’s preaching included salvation for all the believed:
Luke 3:3 (KJV)
And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;​

John’s preaching included faith in the Christ Jesus:
Acts 19:4
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.​

Peter’s first sermon was in the main the same as John’s preaching:
Acts 2:38 (KJV)
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,​

The last words Jesus said to his disciples were that they should preach “repentance and remission of sins” just as John did.
Luke 24:47 (KJV)
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.​

If the subjects of John's baptism were not fully saved when they believed his teaching, it would be an unprecedented exception to all the stories of salvation in the whole Bible.
I am just saying that those disciples of John had not heard yet the gospel message,and Jesus had not yet been killed and resurrected, so that is why the heard, believed, and received then the Holy Spirit, and that enabled them to get water baptized.
 

Dachaser

Puritan Board Doctor
How about this Ed?
John's baptism had all the hallmarks of NT baptism. "Repentance", "belief", and remission of sins."
It has been estimated that John baptised 250,000, but cut that by half, or even a quarter,---that's a lot of rebaptising to do!
Apollos was not rebaptised18: 24-25, neither John's disciples or crucially Christ himself.
They had knowledge of Holy Ghost through the dove, and John's preaching of the baptism of fire. But were limited concerning the gifts and display of HS having an imperfect knowledge.
They were baptised in the Name of Christ, because------
If you read v5 as a continuation of v4, and do so by putting a comma between the two, then both speak of John's ministry and not Paul's.
NT Baptism was not inaugurated until the time after Jesus ascended though.
 
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