Baptism By Water Or By Holy Spirit?

When I became a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, I learned two types of baptism: baptism by water sprinkling and baptism by immersion. Now I learned new thing, the bible actually teach two types of baptism: Baptism by water [immersion] and baptism by holy spirit.

Brief History of Baptism After The First Century

This is a copy of from another blog site, of which I cannot confirm the accuracy but it is good start.

The Roman Catholic church admits baptism by immersion was practiced till 1311 AD:

1.”Baptism took place by immersion in ancient times.” (New Interpretation of the Mass, p. 120).
2.”Catholics admit that immersion brings out more fully the meaning of the sacrament, and that for twelve centuries it was the common practice.” (Question Box, p. 240).
3.”Baptism used to be given by placing the person to be baptized completely in the water: it was done in this way in the Catholic Church for 1200 years.” (Adult Catechism, pp. 56-57).
4.”The church at one time practiced immersion. This was up to the thirteenth century. The Council of Ravenna, in 1311, changed the form from immersion to pouring.” (Our Faith and the Facts, p. 399).

So then after 1311, baptism inside Catholic Chuch is done by water sprinkling to a child. This is how we know that Catholic practice baptism today.

The Protestant Reformation was a schism from the Roman Catholic Church initiated by Martin Luther and continued by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other early Protestant Reformers in 16th century Europe. There were some Christians who were not content with the achievements of the mainstream Protestant Reformation. In 1609, John Smyth had broken his ties with the Church of England. Reared in the Church of England, he became “Puritan, English Separatist, and then a Baptist Separatist,”. The Baptist Church today traced their roots to John Smyth who introduced [ or re-introduced] the baptism by immersion. During the 19th and 20th century, more Christian denominations followed the same baptism by immersion.

Bro. Felix Y. Manalo joined Christian Missionary Alliance (Disciples of Christ), because of its baptism by immersion according to God’s Message magazine. He was born as a Catholic, converted to Methodist Episcopal Church, then joined the Presbyterian Church. He became attracted and converted to another Protestant group called the Christian Missionary Alliance (Disciples of Christ). Later he joined the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), left SDA in 1913 and founded Iglesia Ni Cristo.

Baptism In The Bible

Everyone knows or heard John the Baptist. Very few know he is a Prophet of the old testament. In fact he was the last prophet and before he appeared, Israel did not have a Prophet for 400 years after Prophet Malachi. This is important to know because John’s preaching is part of the Old Testament even though he was covered in the New Testament bible. Christ said in Mathew 11:9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.”

The baptism of John is baptism of repentance

Mark 1:4 (NKJV) – 4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

John’s baptism of water is different that Jesus baptism of the holy spirit.

Mark 1:8 (NJJV) – 8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

John’s baptism of water is being replaced by Jesus’s baptism of holy spirit.

Through out the new testament, there is no more evidence of water baptism except that of John along the wilderness in the Jordan river. The Jewish leaders from Jerusalem Temple were wondering who is this John baptizing in the wilderness. They sent priest and Levites to investigate:

John 1:19 (NKJV) – “19 Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”

John exactly know what is in their mind, they think he is claiming to be the Messiah and that is why his answer was “I am not the Christ.” (Luke 3:15, Matthew 1:20). Remember Israel did not have a prophet for four hundred years. They also asked him if he is Elijah and again he answered “I am not”, then they asked him is he a prophet and simply answer “no” (John 1:19-28). Why John said he is not Elijah while Christ said he is in Matthew 11:14 he is? Because John knows the Jews are expecting Elijah to come back PHYSICALLY. This is a good point, in the same view of today’s religions, we viewed Christians mostly in a physical way AGAIN! The baptism that John perform as part of Old Testament is physical baptism, the baptism that Jesus is introducing is spiritual baptism. Why did John also denied he is a prophet but Christ said he is?

Matthew 11:9 (NKJV) – 9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.

I think because the Jewish priests and Levites knowing the Old Testament are expecting the Messiah being a Prophet and John basically emphasizing he is not what they think he is.

To complete John’s role, he said he is the VOICE in John 1:23 which is the prophesy in Isaiah 40:1-3,

John 1:23 (NKJV)
23 He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Make straight the way of the Lord,

Isaiah 40:1-3 (NKJV)
1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
“Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight in the desert
A highway for our God

The Pharisees also question John why is he baptizing

John 1:25 (NKJV) – 25 And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
John 1:26 (NKJV) – 26 John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.

John is the VOICE prophesied in Isaiah 40:1-3, giving way to our Lord Jesus Christ.

He doesn’t know who Christ was until he saw Him during baptism and through baptism by water he will reveal Christ to Israel and the Messiah
so that his role will now diminished.

John 1:29-31 (NKJV) – 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ 31 I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”

In John 1:35-36, John sends his followers to follow Jesus.

Does John denying he is not a prophet nor Elijah contradict what Jesus is telling about him? This is another long topic but the short answer is NO.

Baptism with Holy Spirit

Again there is no more evidence of baptism by water after John died. John died before Christ.

There are Jewish who were baptized in water by John The Baptist but never knew Christ. These Jewish people live in Ephesus.

Acts 18:25 (NKJV), 25 This man [Apollos] had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John [baptism by water].

Acts 19:1-6 – 19 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.
3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus [they were baptized again with the holy spirit]. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ – this is clearly baptism in holy spirit not by water. The manner of baptism by spirit performed by Paul was by laying hands on them.

In Acts 1:5 (NKJV), “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” – this is the baptism of the holy spirit in the day of the Pentecost.

When Peter was preaching to Cornelius [ The Roman Centurion ] he said this:

Acts 11:15-16 (NKJV) – 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If therefore God gave them the same gift [ Peter speaking of saving grace given to Jews who believed in Jesus and the gift just given to Cornelius, a Gentile] as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?”

Clearly the bible is speaking of two types of baptism: baptism by water which is the baptism of repentance and baptism of the holy spirit. Christ said but “you” shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit clearly this is the new baptism introduced by Christ.

Baptism By Water

I think all religions practicing baptism default the meaning of baptism as baptism by water. The method whether by immersion or sprinkling is debated but I think it does not matter. ALL OF THEM MISSED THE POINT. Christ introduced baptism of the holy spirit. We are in spiritual realm. This is same reason the Temple of God is changed from physical temple to spiritual temple.

Of course religions used bible verses to teach about baptism. The Iglesia Ni Cristo usedieving

Mark 16:15-16 (NKJV) – 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 2:41 (NKJV) – 41 Then those who gladly[a] received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Romans 6:3-4 (NKJV) – 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) – 19 Go therefore[a] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Is there a baptism of water mentioned in the preceding verses? None at all. Mark 1:8 clearly says under Christ we are to be baptized by holy spirit. Acts 19:1-6 clearly demonstrate the Jews who received baptism by water they need to be baptized by the holy spirit. REMEMBER, BAPTISM DOES NOT MEAN BAPTISM BY WATER.

Baptism Inside Iglesia Ni Cristo

The Baptism is a dedicated doctrinal lesson inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo. The INC believes that baptism is necessary for one to become a disciple of Christ
and for the attainment of eternal salvation. But this should be done in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.”. Furthermore, INC teaches although those who become members of the INC have been baptized already in their former religions, the baptism they received is not valid because those who administered it have no right to preach and to baptize and those
baptized by them cannot receive the blessings associated with the baptism commanded by Christ.”

The INC teaches that the baptism should be in accordance to the teachings of the bible but the bible clearly teach that in Christ, we are to be baptized of the holy spirit, not by water.


The old baptism is the baptism by John the Baptist called baptism with water unto repentance. The new baptism is baptism by Jesus Christ called baptism with the Holy Spirit.

I hope this knowledge is profitable to you.

Personal Disclaimer

I think most Church today missed the whole point of baptism in the bible. Yes i said that!

Let me warn you that I do not claim to be anyone but an ordinary man who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, our savior. I am writing to share the knowledge and the theories that I came up so that you can learn from them too. I believe the scriptures are inspired words of God so nothing in the bible contradict another and no disciples of Christ contradict one another. You either believe my theories or throw it away but I encourage you to continue reading and verify for yourself.