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Water Baptism and Spirit Baptism

This is a book that clearly and comprehensively covers the topics of both water baptism and Spirit baptism from a purely biblical perspective — rather than from a particular ecclesiastical, historical, or theological perspective.  Rather than using isolated Scripture verses in an effort to shore up a position, this book quotes and explains all passages that have a bearing on these two topics, allowing a position to form that is based solely on God’s Word.  Passages are considered within their broader literary contexts, and alternative interpretations are explored.  Whether you are a lay person, minister, or teacher, this book is for you!

This book is unique in the following ways:

  1. It gives a clear and comprehensive presentation of both water baptism and the baptism in the Spirit.  Other books usually focus on only one or the other topic, but rarely both — and in so doing, often confuse and confound these two kinds of baptisms.
  2. It offers an explanation of every Scripture passage that refers to either water baptism or Spirit baptism.  Other books use selected verses to support their position; this book however places the emphasis on the Scripture passages themselves.
  3. This book includes both the literary context of surrounding verses and the cultural / historical context in which the texts were written, so as to better understand the intended meaning of each passage as a whole — and to avoid forcing a bias into the text.
  4. This book also considers alternative viewpoints and interpretations of passages, so as to add to the comprehensive nature of this book.  Appendix chapters and extensive endnotes are also included for readers who want to further explore a related matter or text.
  5. This book is organized and written on a level to be understood by lay people, yet includes scholarship that will stand up to critical analysis.
Water baptism and the baptism in the Spirit are for all Christians. This book is for you!

The cover image is of the Bible suspended over, and reflected in, water. Centered in the image (appearing on the horizon just below the Bible) is a light source, representing the Holy Spirit. This light penetrates through the dark clouds of the sky, as if in the wind, representing the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This light is also the source by which the open Bible is surrounded and illumined, representing the Spirit’s illumination of our understanding of the inspired Word of God. Below the Bible, the water represents Christian water baptism, and the Bible is reflected in the water, as this book is intended to reflect the Scriptures in our understanding of both water baptism and Spirit baptism. (Original image created by Kevin Carden; edited and reproduced with licensed permission from Christian Photoshops.)

Excerpt from the Preface:

There are many books on baptism — as we would expect — but, you might wonder, why do we need one more?  The answer is simple and two-fold.  First, most of the books on this subject are not written from a purely biblical perspective, as is this book; instead, they are written from a denominational perspective or from a particular theological position.  Second, very few of them cover the breadth of material included in this book, including an exegetical study of every passage that has a bearing on the subject of either water baptism or the baptism of the Spirit.  In addition, most books on the topic of baptism focus on either water baptism or the baptism of the Spirit, but rarely both!  This book comprehensively deals with both kinds of baptism and explains their relationship to one another from a thoroughly biblical perspective.
The undergirding premise of this book is that the Scriptures are inspired of God and the most authoritative source in determining what our beliefs and practices should be (cf. II Timothy 3:14–17; II Pet. 1:20–21).  The phrase “inspiration of God” literally means “God-breathed,” as if God breathed His words into the hearts and minds of the human authors so that what each wrote in their own unique style was, at the same time, what God intended them to write.  The objective of these chapters, therefore, is for us to clearly understand the proper interpretation of each passage so that we can apply it to our lives.  Please keep in mind that, while there can be many applications of God’s Word to various individuals, there is only one interpretation of each passage that is correct — which is, naturally, the one the inspired writer intended to convey.
Though this book is based on much research and hermeneutical discipline, it is, nevertheless, written on a level that laypeople can understand, including non-Christians and others not familiar with the Holy Scriptures.  While clergymen may certainly benefit from this book, it is not assumed that the reader has a background of knowledge in scriptural matters.  Therefore, background information is provided, and concepts are thoroughly explained and supported from the Scriptures — with references cited and additional references to be compared (i.e., “cf.”).  In addition, ten appendix chapters are included on related topics and extensive endnotes are offered in support of many concepts presented.
For readers who would like further information or a deeper biblical exegesis of passages on this subject, an expanded edition of this book will soon be available as an e-book — entitled Water Baptism and Spirit Baptism: Expanded Edition.  That comprehensive edition includes additional chapters and expands on many of the chapters presented in this book.
It is my prayer that the sections of this book will greatly help your understanding of the biblical teaching of Christian water baptism and Spirit baptism.  To this end “I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32).

Kenneth P. Lenz

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

The New Testament identifies six different kinds of baptisms, yet only two of them involve getting wet.  Some of the confusion today regarding baptism stems from the fact that distinctions are not made between these various baptisms.  Further confusion exists due to a misunderstanding of how the word “baptize” was defined and used in biblical days.  The definition and distinctions will be the main topics for this initial section.
John the Baptist’s kind of baptism was administered to repentant Jews in preparation for the Messiah’s coming (Matt. 3, Mark 1, Luke 3, John 1:19–28); however, though Jesus had no sin to repent of, He was also baptized by John — in order “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15).  Over the following three years, having fulfilled all righteousness in obedience to the Father, Christ was then “baptized in the baptism” of suffering and death in atoning (or “satisfactorily paying”) for the sin of the world (Mark 10:38–39; Luke 12:50).  We understand, therefore, that Jesus experienced two kinds of baptisms: John’s baptism in preparation for His ministry (Acts 10:37–38) and a non-water baptism in culmination of His earthly ministry. (. . .)
After His resurrection, Jesus instituted Christian water baptism, to be administered “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19), and He made possible the “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” which brings spiritual regeneration to one’s soul (John 7:39; Acts 1:5; 2:1–4; 11:15–18; I Cor. 12:13).  These are the two kinds of baptism that will be the main focus of our study.

 

Excerpt from Chapter 9:

John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance was to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Luke 1:13–17; 3:4; Isa. 40:3–5; Mal. 3:1).  It did not supersede the sacrificial system and means of forgiveness in the Old Covenant, which God had established for Israel (as some have suggested).  Rather, John’s baptizings were to prepare the Israelites for their Savior, but such actions in themselves did not save the people from their sins.  Indeed, many who were baptized evidently did not accept Christ as their Messianic Savior.  (At the time of Jesus’ ascension, it appears that there were only about 120 followers of Christ in Jerusalem, according to Acts 1:15 and 2:1–2.)  Nor did John’s baptizings bring the indwelling Holy Spirit upon those being baptized.  Such a manifestation would have signified a spiritual regeneration, but nothing is indicated of such a result to those, in general, being baptized.  This is why John distinguished between the spiritual baptism that Christ would later give, over the water baptism that he was giving — merely as preparatory.  His baptizings were not intended to abolish the temple sacrifices that God had required.  Only the sacrifice of the Lamb of God could abolish those, and take away the sin of the world.
Book Trilogy by Ken Lenz