Saturday, February 09, 2008

Repent, and Do What?

St. Peter at Pentecost
I recently received the following question:
Ok, so I'm still confused about this but has some idea, but need clarification.
  • Mk 16:16-17 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues;

  • Acts 2:38-39 And Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him."
For the word baptized from these verses, do they mean the same? What does be baptized mean? I've recently heard some bad interpretation of this and I don't know how to properly explain it to them. They use it as a backup that it is God's will that every Christian be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues).
Well, regarding the first passage, this is Mark's account of the "Great Commission," when Jesus sent His Apostles out into the world to preach His message and to baptize. When you add vs. 15 to the two verses you provided, this becomes more evident:

15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Now, knowing this, if we turn to the fuller account of the Great Commission (in Mt 28) then we discover the type of baptism that Jesus had in mind:

Mt 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

The two passages from Mt and Mk parallel both in structure and content. These are two accounts of the Great Commission, but in Mt he adds that they must be baptized, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." This is the Trinitarian formula for water baptism. Thus, in Mk the baptism he mentions is water baptism.

As for Acts 2, Peter's words here are his answer to their question, "Brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37). "Holy Spirit baptism" is not something that you go and do, it's something that happens to you, and not always when you want it to. But, water baptism, that's something they are involved in. They can actually approach the water and receive baptism. So, that's what makes me think water baptism is involved here.

I hope that helps.

Pax Christi,


  1. Against those who falsely claim true baptism (and thus true Christianity) is evidenced by speaking in tongues, Paul says:

    Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Cor 12:27-30)

  2. i think i finally figured out why i dont like coming to your blog all that much... it's too friggin dark! it was okay for a while but now i cant take it.

    the end.


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