Baptism of Water and Spirit


I’m in a never ending debate with a Baptist friend about Baptism. I want to clarify if we are talking about the same thing.
Here’s the thing: He says one has to be baptised by the Spirit and then by water, It is the Baptism by the Spirit that saves. I say Baptism by Spirit and Water is the same thing and is necessary for salvation.
Anyway. Just to confirm what I already know. Baptism is water ***and ***Spirit. period.
right? yes. good thought so, thanks


Actually, you’re both right, and both slightly wrong.

Baptism by water is the ordinary form. But the Catholic Church also recognizes Baptism of Desire. The underlying principle is exactly what your Protestant friend is suggesting: true Baptism is by the Spirit.

However, we are human, and as humans we are a body-spirit/soul union. God could certainly have us be baptised by Spirit alone. He could also have us be baptised by water alone. But God desires that our whole nature should be involved in any act. Thus, just as our bodies are the outward signs of the spiritual principle within, likewise has He given us Sacraments that are outward signs of inwardly active grace. Baptism by water is batism by the Spirit, in the ordinary form of the Sacrament. Yes, God can Baptise us by Spirit alone (ie, Baptism of Desire), but He prefers we use the outward sign of water to signify the spiritual activity being done. That is how He created us.

We are not angels, and we are not animals. Acting upon every physical urge we have is animalism, and is not good. Likewise, acting in a rigorously anti-body manner, puritanism, gnosticism, etc, is spiritualism, and is also bad. We must act with our bodies and souls in communion. The spirit is primary, yes, but in every action both must be involved. When I kneel to the Lord, my spirit is the primary actor, but my body is essentially a part of the act. You cannot divide the two.

Likewise, if we try to separate this gift of Baptism into its constituent parts, then we’re doing something wrong. It’s not water-only, and it’s also not Spirit-only. It’s both. The Spirit is the primary actor, but the water is an essential component of the act. Spirit alone is efficacious, but that’s not what God intended.


I told him about Baptism by Desire and he says, “see, told ya, you don’t need water, born again is at acceptance of Jesus.” I told him it is a substitution. Jesus was the model, It was His baptism that brought the Holy Spirit. That Baptism by John was of water but after Jesus was water and Spirit. He says "No. Water is good to do and you might get something. but not necessary " I said then its just a symbol. What do you get then, if you get all you need at acceptance of Jesus, then it is just a symbol.



I just looked at my New King James Version Study bible about John 3:5 which says “Unless is born of water and of Spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” The footnote says “water implies natural birth. Spirit is supernatural spiritual birth.” So the water for them is the amniotic fluid? that is ridiculous! Clearly water is baptism water.


I would not deny the symbolism of the ambiotic water and baptismal water, yet it is not the matter specifically refered to in John 3:5. It is Catholic Teaching that John 3:5 refers specifically to baptismal water and baptism of Holy Spirit.

Jesus said Himself, “Whoever believes and is Baptized will be saved”

Immediately after His discussion with Nicodemus, He goes out with His disciples baptizing, not by the baptism of John, but in the name of Jesus Himself. At the end of His life, death, and resurrection He gives us the Trinitarian form of water Baptism.

We are obligated to receive water Baptism in the faith. Jesus is not bound to His Sacraments. He can bestow grace on whomever He choses. We should not test the Lord and reject water Baptism on the grounds that we believe in the Spirit and gospel of Jesus and it is efficient without water. This would be disobedience.

We also believe in the jurisdictual rights of baptizing our children with an obligation to instill the faith which brought that Baptism to them. Without our instruction of the faith the benefit of the forgiveness and grace given the child is dramatically limited and challenged. Yet, re-Baptism is never neccessary, unless there was an abuse regarding the Baptism rendering it invalid.



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