Baptized Into One Body
By G.T. Haywood
There has been many things written and spoken in these last few months upon this subject, and it has of late become a great topic of discussion among Pentecostal brethren. Theory upon theory has been advanced, but there is but one way in which to form a conclusion and that is by the word of God only.
We do not mean to be dogmatic in our views on this subject, but to the contrary it is our desire to be open for further light upon the subject by the word of God. It is a wise thing not to jump at conclusions, but instead, tread softly and be sure that you are upon a sure foundation before you put forth your theory into print and hurl in out to the public and thereby cause many to err form the truth ads it is in the word of God.
In the first place, I believe the word of God, even as it is written, even though I do not profess to understand it all, I am open for instructions.
Abnormal Church of Today
The cause of al this discussion has arisen from the attempt to make the epistles of the apostles fit an abnormal church such as we have throughout the world today and endeavoring to justify the “lukewarm,” nauseating, Laodicean age by scripture that was written to a body of people who were “baptized with the Holy Ghost” according to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 1:5; 11:4; Mark 17:17.
Epistles Written to Apostolic Church
Now if we first consider well the fact that the epistles were written to a people who had the signs following (Mark 17:17,20; Acts 11:34, 4:30,8:13, 14:3; Rom. 15:19; Heb. 11:4) then I am sure that it can be clearly seen that the people of God who have been under the rules and regulations of “popery” for centuries cannot be taken as a whole to regulate the interpretation of scriptural phrase such as confronts us in this article. And neither can we who are “baptized with the Holy Ghost: according to Acts 2:4 set ourselves forward in our present condition, as a whole for such regulation.
The “Church in the Wilderness
The “church in the wilderness: (Acts 7:3) or the body of God’s people, was entered into by birth and circumcision of the flesh; that is, every male child of the Hebrews was first born, and then eight days, after they were brought into the ‘tabernacle’ or ‘temple’ and circumcised. Lev. 12:3; Lu. 1:59; 2:21-23. But a stranger who desired to join them was admitted upon being circumcised. Ex 12:48. No uncircumcised was permitted to enter the temple of worship.
Circumcision a Seal
In reading Rom. 4:11 we find that circumcision was given as a seal of righteousness which Abraham had by faith before being circumcised. This being true we find it to correspond with the baptism of the Holy Spirit which is also spoke of as a ‘seal’; after believing. Eph. 1:13. Moreover we notice that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was given the eighth day after the ascension. There were fifty days from Passover to Pentecost, and Christ arose the third day “while it was yet dark” and walked on earth forty days, leaving seven days until Pentecost was fully come, or the eighth day after the ascension inclusive.
It is not our intention to set forth any rigid doctrine, but rather that we may consider carefully the subject that is before us. Circumcision is not only mentioned correspondingly to a seal but also to the work of Christ in the new birth. See Col. 2:11; Rom. 2:29. So the subject is not “circumcision” but the “baptism in the Holy Ghost”.
The Old Covenant
The old covenant and the “church in the wilderness” with its ceremonies and ministrations were evidently shadows of that which was to come. Now if the “type” was entered into by the birth in the “flesh” and the “seal of circumcision,” why not the `antitype” by the “birth of the spirit” and the “seal of the Holy Spirit of Promise?” John 3:3-7; Eph. 1:13.
The New and Living Way
The Church in the wilderness, the old ad dying way”, brought forth under the ministration of death (2 Cor. 3:7) had its ending at the cross when “the vail in the temple was rent in twain form top to bottom”. Mat. 27:11), but the “new and living way”, the way for the “new birth”, as not made manifest (John 14:2; Heb. 9:8) until the resurrection morning. See Rom. 4:25; 10:9).
Moreover it is evident that “dead” children were never circumcised, so the disciples were not “sealed” until they were begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: or Christ was the first born from the dead “among many Brethren.” I Pet. 1:3; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18.
The Church of the Firstborn
On the day of Pentecost the church of the Firstborn was inaugurated and “they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance”. Acts 2:4. It was then, and only then, that the apostles entered into the true tabernacle to minister in spiritual things.
Before the day of Pentecost they rejoice, praised and blessed God, and some hearts “burned within” them. (Luke24:32.) And after the ascension they returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple praising God. (Luke 4:52, 53.) All this was transpiring before the Holy Ghost was given. Now if there is but one spirit, as some affirm, what spirit was that which caused the burning, praising and blessing God, and the great joy before the Holy Ghost was given? Is not love a spirit as well as joy and peace?
In reading Acts 13:52 we note that the disciples were not filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost; not or, but and, thus proving that it is possible to have the one without the other. Now this latter statement may at first seem strange, nevertheless it is a fact, and no doubt many who have been filled with the Holy Ghost have experience times when there was not the least joy to be felt within, yet we know the Holy Ghost as there, for He came to abide forever.
We therefore may safely conclude that a man may be born of the Spirit, made a new creature, a child of God, have joy in his soul, and his heart burning within, an yet not be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Now if the disciples, not the apostles only, but the 120 as well, were delivered from law (which ended at the cross) what state were they in during the time between Calvary and Pentecost? The Holy Ghost was not yet given. We will leave this for an answer. What?
Purpose of Baptism of Holy Ghost
To what intent was the baptism of the Holy Ghost given? Was it not to form a new body since the old body, the Church in the Wilderness, had finished its course? The old body was composed of Israelites who boasted of their righteousness against the gentiles but God, seeing that they drew near to him with their lips but far fro Him with their hearts (Ise. 29:13) esteemed them no better than the heathens, therefore, He concluded all under sin (Rom.3:9; 11:32) that He might have mercy upon all. Therefore He provided a plan whereby He might reconcile both unto Himself in one body by the cross. (Eph. 2:16). This body, evidently , does not refer to the body which is the Church, but rather to the physical body of Chris as mentioned in Hebrews (10:5-10). Some have attempted to use the former mentioned scripture to prove that the cross puts us into the spiritual body.
There can be but one way to enter the body which is the Church, and that is by being made a new creature by faith in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Rom. 10:9) and be baptized in one Spirit into the boy whether we be Jew of Gentile, whether we be bond or free. (I Cor. 12:13).
Conversion Not Baptism
Now if we are brought into the body of the new birth, then we conclude that the new birth and the baptism of the Holy Ghost are synonymous; or else there is a baptism into the body through the new birth, and a baptism of the Holy Ghost that follows, both being by the Spirit, but this would be in direct contradiction f the Word of God which says there is one baptism. (Eph. 4:4).
Recently and article was put forth to the public entitled “Three Baptisms.” The object was to find a place to justify this abnormal state of the present day Christianity and locate them in the body, the Church. In order to do this it was necessary to show that there was another baptism whereby they entered into the body, seeing that they did not have the baptism according to Acts 2:4.
Therefore they discovered that Jesus had a baptism to be baptized with which undoubtedly referred to His death. (Luke 12:50). This was called baptism No. 1. Then water baptism of was called baptism No. 2. And the baptism of the Holy Ghost with signs following was classed No. 3.
Now taking baptism No. 1 and inserting it in I Cor. 12:13 instead of the original. It would read by one death are we all baptized into one body, that truly is not the meaning of that passage. The baptism of death put an end to the old body, but the baptism of the Holy Ghost inaugurated the Spiritual body.
By a close observation of the scriptures you will notice that the baptism of John by water was only symbolical of the baptism of the Spirit. See Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5; 19:2-6. But after the resurrection it was used to symbolize a burial. Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12. In the 6th chapter of Romans the apostle is addressing a church that is baptized with the Holy Ghost according to the primitive standard and is showing them their relationship with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection through identification, and not dealing, as some suppose, with the doctrines of baptisms.
As to baptism No. 3, that is evidently the one baptism referred to in the book of Ephesians, and when they received it they spake with tongues (Acts 19:1-6); and the same referred to in I Cor. 12:13 as they also spoke with tongues. (Chap.14).
One Baptism for the Whole Church Age
To say that all the Christians were baptized into the Church, the body, on the day of Pentecost; that is all believers sovereignly baptized into the body, to my mind, s not substantial enough to advocate as worthy of acceptance for the solution of I Cor. 12:13, for if our being in the body does not depend upon our personal reception, or baptism of the Holy Ghost, then it could be said equally so as to our salvation, I e., our salvation does not depend upon our personal reception of the Lord, but from the fact that we were sovereignly saved when the 120 were saved.
Moreover, there is said to be one faith as well as the one baptism, right in the same sentence (Eph.4:5) would not that imply that our personal faith was not necessary for our acceptance with Christ as we were sovereignly accepted by that one faith of the 120?
Beloved, we must hold up the standard, the word of God, regardless to what our ideas and thoughts might be. Many today are endeavoring to do away with the word of God because it does not agree with their particular notions. We as Pentecostal people have “scored” the churches and holiness people for not taking the Bible for what it says in regards to healing, coming of Jesus, and speaking in tongues, and now many today are falling into the same condemnation wherein they once condemned others. And why? All because they are trying to make the word of God fit the abnormal church of the world instead of making them stretch the measure of the Word.
What About the Dead?
Some in these last days have become very much wrought up as to what we are going to do with those who were saved but died without the baptism, if the baptism is necessary to place one in the body? There is but one thing we can do, and that is, leave tem in their graves. For all of our discussion as to whether they are in the body or not, will not put them in if they are out, not will it keep them out if they are in.
But now for a scriptural explanation it is evident that God deals with people according to the light that they have. (John 3:19; 12:46; John 15:22, 24). For example, those who died under the law, before Grace and Truth was manifested (John 1, 17), and walked in all the light they had , it is evident that their faith is accounted unto them for righteousness (Rom. 4:3), they all dying in faith, not having received the promises. (Heb. 11:12, 35, 39). This being true, why should not the same reasoning be given for those who have died believing that they were in the body through conversion, not knowing that By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body? Why should we quarrel about the place the dead occupy in the body? Let us let the dead alone.
Now that the light has come, let us walk in the light and exhort the living to do the same. It is to those who are alive and remain that this truth should be given. It is the command of our Lord that we should wait for the promises of the Father (Acts 1:5). And when the promise came they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them uttererance (Acts 2:14).
We should not think of lowering the standard of the baptism of the Holy Ghost because some, who have attained to the experience speaking with tongues, have failed and made shipwreck of the faith; the word of God is true just the same. Must we lower the standard of the new birth because some, who have been converted, backslid and living worse lives than some moralist who has never known God by experimental salvation? I tell you NAY! YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN! (John 3:3-7).
Then let us take our stand, not in harshness, but speaking the truth in love, and so live that our lives will counteract all the reproach from those who have failed. And let us exhort every believer to seek the Promise of the Father, “for by one spirit are we all baptized into one body.”
This article ‘Baptized Into One Body’ by G.T. Haywood is excerpted from The Good Report, Dec. 1, 1913, Vol. 1, No. 7