The Role Of Baptism in the Book of Acts

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Since the discussion of Spirit-baptism began, two significant problems have continued to block the progress of reaching a consensus among scholarship on this issue. The first dilemma is the use of inadequate paradigms. The approach that one utilizes will invariably determine the theological conclusion.


Conversely, Pentecostals and many charismatics employ Lukan biblical theology as the correct methodology for understanding Spirit-baptism. According to their exegetical findings, the Day of Pentecost was an empowering event that is theologically separate from and subsequent to conversion. Moreover, "pattern of Pentecost" exists for subsequent events in Acts as well as for all believers throughout the church age. However, some consider the exegetical abilities of Pentecostals as one of their greatest weaknesses.1
In an attempt to investigate the role of baptism in the book of Acts, this paper will explore the prospect of Acts 2:37-39 serving as a paradigm for understanding Luke's account of Spirit-baptism. This text has several features that make it worthy of consideration. First, this text has a close proximity to the events of Pentecost, for it is situated at the conclusion of Peter's sermon. Second, the response given to those who inquired comes from a leading apostle who had just been "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4). Third, it is the only didactic passage in Acts that contains the element of repentance, water baptism, and the gift of the Spirit. These three features are also found in subsequent corporate texts of Act (8:4-24; 10:1-11:18; and 19:1-17). ...
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