John the Baptist – The Greatest.

John the Baptist - The Greatest
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. (Matthew 11:9-11)

In case you have forgotten, this is Jesus Christ speaking and He never lied. So let us look again more closely at the greatest prophet who ever lived on earth.

  1. He was never baptised in water.
  2. He never spoke in tongues despite him having been filled with the Holy Spirit before he was even born. (Luke 1:15).
  3. He was never slain in the spirit.
  4. He never performed a single miracle in his life.
  5. He never prophesied future events like the apostle John on the island of Patmos.
  6. He never accrued wealth and prosperity.
  7. He died a humiliating death when a young girl who performed a striptease before her stepfather, the king, asked for his head on a silver platter.

And yet, Jesus Christ called him the greatest because he was more than a prophet. Why then don’t the modern-day charlatans who call themselves prophets and apostles, and their duped followers, listen to John the Baptist?

Why don’t they heed his words in John 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire”?

If Jesus’ command in Matthew 28: 18 pertains to water baptism (John the Baptist’s baptism), then Jesus Christ conceded that he is/was not mightier than John the Baptist and his water baptism, or at least that His Holy Spirit baptism is equal to that of John the Baptist’s water baptism. Do you get my drift? Today’s multiple water baptisms demean and degrade Jesus Christ’s mightier Holy Ghost baptism.

The usual argument in favor of water baptism goes like this. “Believers alone can and must be baptized by complete immersion in water as a sign (symbol) that they have died and risen with Christ.” Why do they need a sign (or symbol) when Jesus pointedly said, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” (Matthew 16:4).

Did you notice his strong emphasis on “there shall no sign [including water baptism] be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.” In other words, Christ’s own death, burial, and resurrection is the only sign given. No other signs are needed, according to Jesus Himself.

Moreover, the only means to assign or impute his resurrection to a believer is by faith and faith alone at the moment of conversion, and not by any mandatory sign, especially the so-called gift of tongues that usually accompanies water baptism. Paul distinctly states that tongues are a sign for unbelievers, not believers (1 Corinthians 14:22).

Consequently, one may ask, and even doubt, whether those who speak in tongues are really saved. When asked to give their testimony, they immediately refer you to their baptism and consequential speaking in tongues because that was what they were taught in their churches, that this is the sign (symbol) of their infilling of the Holy Spirit, aka their salvation.

The testimonial of one’s baptism as the guarantee or sign of one’s salvation is not uncommon. Although John Calvin received the Romish infant baptism, he also used it as a testimonial to remind him of his redemption. He wrote,

… at whatever time we are baptized, we are washed and purified once for the whole of life…we must recall…our baptism…so as to feel certain and secure of the remission of sins … it wipes and washes away all our defilements. ” He trusted in that baptism as proof that he was one of the elect.

Institutes of the Christian Religion, Chapter 15; Baptism.

Sadly, they have been deceived, invoking upon themselves the terrible condemnation in Matthew, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14).

As soon as you say, “you must do this, or you must do that” in gaining and validating eternal life, you have gone too far; you have widened the strait gate into a wider one that leads to eternal destruction (Proverbs 14:12).

God is a jealous God and will never allow anyone to give credence to Jesus plus something else for salvation. NOTHING! This is precisely why Paul wrote, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

Why? Because the cross of Christ is the power and wisdom of God and nothing else can or may be added to enhance, ratify or validate it. (1 Corinthians 1:18, 24).

Anything that diverts God’s power from the cross of his Son to something else, like baptism in water and speaking in tongues, cannot be from God and must be rejected. God will never give his honour to something or someone else. And whatever God rejects, Satan will happily jump on the bandwagon and use it to his own advantage to deceive the masses.

Am I suggesting that those who had been baptized in water with the so-called believers’ baptism are not saved? Not at all. However, whenever you start basing your redemption on baptism and speaking in tongues, you should seriously consider whether you are truly saved.

When I asked a woman to give me her testimony, she said, “I was radically saved when I was baptized by immersion in water and spoke in tongues for a solid three days.” Her husband added that “his entire body shook uncontrollably when he got saved because that was an added sign that he was filled with the Holy Spirit.”

What then, may we ask, should we make of Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19? “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Note carefully, He did not say, “… teach all nations, AND baptize them …” making it two separate actions.  The word “baptizing” is a present participle and makes a whole world of difference in the understanding of this verse.

One of the meanings thereof is to describe a past action more accurately or to describe two actions taking place at the same time. In this case, it would be to present the Good News of salvation, and simultaneously baptizing those who believe the Good News with the Holy Spirit. (John 3:11).

It ties perfectly in with Paul’s affirmation in Romans 6, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized [by the Holy Spirit and not by John the Baptist’s baptism in water] into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3).

The next question would probably be, “John the Baptist asserted that Jesus would baptize believers with the Holy Spirit (the Living Water and not with natural H2O). How then can we assume that men of flesh and blood can also baptize believers with the Holy Spirit? Surely, man does not have the power to baptize someone with the Living Water of the Holy Spirit.

The answer lies in the fact that all truly saved believers are co-workers with God. (1 Corinthians 3:9). In our presentation of the unadulterated Gospel, we are co-workers with the Holy Spirit who baptizes repentant sinners into Jesus Christ the very moment they believe and are redeemed.

Although there are two actions – believe and baptize – they are single and simultaneous actions. They occur simultaneously and do not need to be repeated, least of all as a sign, in an H2O ritual in a church by the hands and actions of a sinner. Only the Holy Spirit can administer an immaculately spotless and pure baptism, not with H2O but his Living Water.

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Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

12 Responses

  1. Deborah (Discerning the World) says:

    AMEN Ton!!  :clap: 

  2. Stephan Venter says:

    Goeiedag Tom. Dit lyk my jy verstaan die kwessie van die doop soos gebruik in die pinkster- en meeste charismatiese kerke verkeerd. Ek gee toe daar is charismatiese kerke wat ‘n heeltemal valse siening hieroor het, bv. die sg. “val in die gees”.

    Vir ‘n begin moet ek net sê dat die kinderdoop duidelik geen Bybelse gronde het. Dit is ‘n gebruik wat deur die Rooms Katolieke Kerk inestel is en wat ongelukkig nie afgeskaf is tydens die reformasie nie. Die Bybel is baie duidelik hieroor. Daar is talle teksverse wat sê dat die persoon eers tot geloof in Christus moet kom en dan volg die doop. Sien Mark 16:16, Hand. 8:38-39, Hand. 2:41, Hand. 8:12, ens. ‘n Baba is tog nie in staat om in Christus te glo nie.

    Die sakrament van die doop soos toegepas in meeste pinkster- en charismatiese kerke in Suid-Afrika is heeltemal Bybels korrek. Die doopkandidaat moet eers tot geloof in Christus kom en dit met sy mond bely en dan kan hy/sy vra om gedoop te word. Let wel: daar word geen druk op die persoon uitgeoefen om hom/haar te laat doop nie. Die persoon moet self tot die oortuiging kom.

    Die doop met die Heilige Gees het absoluut niks te doen met die waterdoop nie. Dis twee heeltemal afsonderlike gebeurtenisse. Dit kan gebeur dat die persoon nadat hy/sy in water gedoop is direk daarna die doping met die Heilige Gees ervaar, maar dis nie algemeen nie. Terloops, die siening dat die doping met die Heilige Gees met spreek in tale moet gepaardgaan is nie waar nie. God gee aan elkeen ‘n gawe soos Hy wil.

  3. Hallo Stephen. Jy sê, “Die doop met die Heilige Gees het absoluut niks te doen met die waterdoop nie.” Wat dan is die verskil tussen die twee ten opsigte van die ewige lewe? Ek is nie so seker jy verstaan die doop van Johannes en die doop met die Heilige Gees nie. Kon/kan Johannes die Doper se waterdoop bekeerlinge in die dood van Christus doop?

    In watter Charismatiese kerk is jy?

  4. Stephan Venter says:

    Hallo Tom. Dit lyk my ek het nie jou redenasie mooi verstaan nie. Al wat ek eintlik wil sê is dat mense eers tot bekering moet en daarna kan hulle gedoop word as die Heilige Gees hulle oortuig om dit te doen. Niemand beweer die doop alleen kan jou salig maak nie. Jesus het gesê: “Ek is die weg, die waarheid en die lewe. Niemand kom na die Vader behalwe deur My nie” (Joh. 14:6).

    Ek kan nie uit jou artikel agterkom wat jy glo t.o.v. die doop nie.

    Ek was jare lank in die AGS, maar is nou in ‘n klein onafhanklike charismatiese kerk. Lees gerus Dr. F. P. Moller se boek Die Sakrament in Gedrang as jy ‘n kopie in die hande kan kry.

  5. Ek is nie soos jy met die sg. groot doop van gelowiges gedoop nie, maar ek is gedoop (ek praat nie hier van die kinderdoop nie). Gaan ek hemel toe? Wat jy eintlik sê, is dat mense eers met die Heilige Gees gedoop moet word alvorens hulle met die water doop van Johannes die Doper gedoop mag word. Hoekom sal die Heilige Gees my oortuig om ‘n doop te ondergaan (die water doop van gelowiges) wat minderwaardiger is as die doop met die Heilige Gees?

    Praat jy in tale? Is die spreke in tale dan nie juis die teken dat jy met die Heilige Gees gedoop is nie omdat dit ‘n teken (simbool) is dat jy saam met Jesus gesterwe en opgestaan het?

  6. Wa’s jy, Stephen? Ek wag nog steeds op jou antwoord. Ek is ‘n droë sondaar, nie nat nie. Gaan ek hemel toe?

  7. Stephan Venter says:

    Goeiedag Tom. Nee, ons praat by mekaar verby. Die doop met die Heilige Gees het niks met hierdie bespreking te doen nie. As jy glo dat Jesus Christus jou sonde(s) vergewe het en jy bely dit, gaan jy Hemel toe, of jy nou gedoop is of nie. Maar hoe kom jy tot die besef dat jy ‘n sondaar is en verlossing nodig het? Deur die prediking van die Woord. Maar jy kan vir iemand preek tot jy blou is, as die Heilige Gees hom/haar nie oortuig van sonde, geregtigheid en oordeel nie, sal die persoon nie tot bekering kom nie.

    Nadat ‘n persoon tot bekering gekom het sal of kan hy/sy of deur bestudering van die Woord, of deur prediking of deur getuienis tot die besef kom dat hy/sy hom/haar moet laat doop. Net soos met bekering kom hierdie oortuiging slegs deur die inwerking van die Heilige Gees.

    Die doop met die Heilige Gees mag moontlik hierop volg, maar is ‘n afsonderlike gebeurtenis.

  8. Nee, ons praat mekaar nie verby nie. Moontlik het jy my artikel nie deurgelees nie. Miskien moet jy dit weer versigtiger deurlees. As ek hemel toe gaan sonder die waterdoop, wat op deeske aarde is die nut daarvan? Stel die Here belang in dinge wat geen geestelike betekenis het nie en dus heeltemal nutteloos is?

    Wees versigtig vir die woord “moet” wat jy in jou sin gebruik, “Nadat ‘n persoon tot bekering gekom het, sal of kan hy/sy of deur bestudering van die Woord, of deur prediking of deur getuienis tot die besef kom dat hy/sy hom/haar moet laat doop.” Om te “moet” is wettisisme en veroorsaak dat jy vanuit die sfeer van genade beweeg waar Christus geen nut meer vir jou is nie. Ek glo nie die Heilige Gees wederbaar sondaars, doop hulle in Christus, om dan eers daarna vir hulle te sê “Nou MOET julle jul in water laat doop” nie.

    Hoe weet jy dat jy met die Heilige Gees gedoop is? Praat jy in tale? Het jy agteroor neergeslaan (slain in the spirit)? Johannes die Doper het belowe dat Jesus alle gelowiges met die Heilige Gees SAL doop en nie soos jy wat sê “Die doop met die Heilige Gees MAG MOONTLIK hierop volg, maar is ‘n afsonderlike gebeurtenis.” Daar’s ‘n hemel breë verskil tussen “mag” en “sal.” “Mag” bewerk vertwyfeling en onsekerheid. “Sal” bewerk sekerheid en vaste geloof. Wat dink jy – is Paulus in Ananius se huis in baie water gedoop?

  9. Jacqui says:

    Good article!

  10. Stephan Venter says:

    Goeiedag Tom. Ek het jou artikel oor Johannes die Doper weer noukeurig deurgelees en dis vir my duidelik dat jy geen begrip het waaroor die sakrament van die doop gaan nie. Jou aanhaling uit Matt. 16:4 oor die soek van ‘n teken is heeltemal uit verband uit. Jy sê onder andere die volgende: “Anything that diverts God’s power from the cross of his Son to something else, like baptism in water and speaking in tongues , cannot be from God and must be rejected” is totaal onbybels. Ek stel nie belang om hierdie debat verder voort te sit nie, want dit dien geen doel nie. Sien asb. die aangehegte lys van al die teksverse in die Bybel wat oor die doop handel.

    [Edited by DTW: Your attached document has been removed.]

  11. Robbie says:

    Ek sou nie Dr. Moller aanbeveel nie. Groot Ekumeniese gesprek voerder en In 1989 is hy vereer daarvoor met die Orde vir Voortreflike Diens.

  12. Lisa says:

    Right on! Awesome article! Thank you for taking the time for writing it and sharing it with us.

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