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Question and Answer

Were the Apostles Re-Baptized?

Question:

In Acts we read that Paul was baptized. Would this be considered Christian Baptism? I think that some of the Apostles were baptized by John the Baptist for the remission of sins. Were they re-baptized and were the other Apostles baptized?

Answer:

All I can do here is to give my own opinion, since the official standards of our church (the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms) do not provide a direct answer.

In Acts 18:25 we read of a Jew named Apollos "an eloquent man, mighty in the scriptures" a man "instructed in the way of the Lord" and yet we also read that he was "knowing only the baptism of John." This is followed in Acts 19 by Paul's visit to the region of Ephesus where he found "certain disciples" who had "not so much as heard" about the existence of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the God-head. Verse 3 says they had been baptized with John's baptism, which Paul called "the baptism of repentance" indicating that those who received it were to "believe on him which should come after him [John], that is, on Christ Jesus."

Clearly, then, John's baptism was not the same as Christian Baptism. His baptism was defined by something yet future. Christian Baptism is defined by something that has now happened in history, namely, the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ and the outpouring of his Spirit. I therefore think that this is sufficient proof that those who had received John's baptism were indeed later baptized into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit just as Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19).

I hope this is helpful to you.


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