Who can baptize in the Holy Spirit?

Hi there everyone one.
I have been having this conversation for a time now with a colleague at work about who can batize in The Holy Spirit. We agree on most thing expect the One fact that i say when you accep Jesus as your Lord and Saviour you will also recieve the baptism of the Holy Spirit also I hVd read that i the Bible if you ask for the Holy spirit You will also recieve it.
So we agree on the part the we must be batized by water and in the spirit or we won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Then he use the verse in acts that says when they were preaching to gentiles they did the baptism of water but didnt recieve the Holy spirit until Peter and John came to them and prayed over them. So for that reason he believes that only and apostle can do the baptisms in the Holy Spirit. He also reference the passage about John who says that i baptize in water but after me is one who will baptize in the Spirit one who shoes I am not worthy of wearing,
OK so we agree there also that it would be Jesus. But He argues that Jesus left the power over to mainly Peter and John, (I think. Sorry not sure about the other name been awhile back) and then through them they were given the authority to baptize in the Holy Spirit and then they to will pass on that authority. I know there is other passages that he also uses as to that it was of the laying of hands on the people through Peter that they were baptized.
When I asked what about the fact that all apostle have passed he said that he knows an apostle and can help me if I follow him. Wich sounded very weird so I said I’m fine will follow Jesus instead cause I also know that Jesus says I am the only way to the Father.
He also doesn’t say wich church he is from. Just he gets together with his spiritual brothers and sisters and it spiritual bread at times and then also once you recieve this baptism that you suppose to get a spiritual name and its that name that will be know in heaven to get you in heaven. Your earthly name is not written in the book of life.
Sorry about the long post.

Hi Francois
You have introduced a subject that is much broader than your question. So question first. From the early days of The Church it has been accepted that any Christian can baptize anyone following the rubric of baptizing with water in the Name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. The early Church also baptized in The Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands at the same time when baptizing an adult as part of the whole baptism. I would note here that The Church also practiced exorcism at the time of baptism as well. Exorcism is still practiced at baptism today in all Ecclesiastic (Churches with Ministerial hierarchy) Churches, but the practice is usually not done in the Congregational Churches. I would be cautious when dealing with your colleague as there are some relatively small groups that hold to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit but are very cultic in their practices particularly in their resistance to going to “A Church”. When I say this I do not include the major Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches, because these Traditions strongly advocate gathering together in community to worship. As to his reference to an Apostle, there are The Apostles and apostles. You see this in the New Testament Letters of Paul where he refers to several persons as apostles. Most notably Junia in Romans 16 which is the name of a woman. You are probably very familiar with apostles in the Church today but you do not call them that. Apostle means one sent forth thus all missionaries are apostles in the context of the New Testament. The original 12 Apostles derived their name because they were sent forth by Jesus. And Barnabas is referred to an apostle as he was sent forth with Paul by the Church on missionary journeys. Again I sense that your colleague does not have this perception and is referring to someone not recognized at large in the Church with unique power and authority. This also is cultic in nature this is particularly evident to me in his claim that you have a spiritual name and earthly name. And only your spiritual name is written in the Book of Life. I would ask him if he believes that God is in control of all things and, if so, why did God control all things so that you have your name given to you by your parents.

Now the Long Answer:
The ancient Traditions and all Protestant Traditions that practice child/infant baptism give the Baptism in the Holy Spirit or Confirmation when the child comes of age around 12. (I am a Baptist but it is a fact that all four of the ancient Traditions practiced infant baptism which goes back to the origin of The Church) The Baptism of The Holy Spirit is what all four of the ancient traditions call Confirmation and many Protestant Traditions practice confirmation as well. At Confirmation a baptized person affirms their baptismal vows and is anointed with oil and has hands laid on by the person administering Confirmation. This practice of Baptizing in the Holy Spirit and its rubric is more Scriptural than what is often done in the Pentecostal or Charismatic Churches. However the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is just as real in any Christian Church. All Traditions, except the Pentecostal/Charismatic Traditions, hold that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs and is done with Water Baptism when an adult is baptized. Note that Churches which practice confirmation Baptize with Water and Confirm at the same time at an adult baptism.

The whole issue of The Baptism of The Holy Spirit came about with Pentecostal movement in the early 1800s and the reaction to the movement by many of the Evangelical Churches most notably the Baptists. The controversy centers around the claim by the Pentecostal Churches that The Baptism of The Holy Spirit is accompanied by gifting of The Holy Spirit of the Speaking in Tongues. It was also claimed that The Baptism of The Holy Spirit was a separate act from Water Baptism. Generally the whole Church at large, with the exception of The Baptists, agreed it was a separate act from Water Baptism, but there was major pushback that everyone received the Gift of Tongues when Baptized in the Holy Spirit. This led to a division in The Church at large into the Cessationist and Non-Cessationist camps. (This refers to all The Gifts of the Spirit in 1 Cor 12 and whether they have ceased or have not ceased) This division actually makes no sense as until the Pentecostal Movement the Church at Large always accepted that all The Gifts of The Spirit were active in the Church throughout history. It started primarily when the Pentecostals started telling the Evangelicals particularly Baptists that they had not received The Holy Spirit which was not true by factual evidence. You cannot evangelize without the direct involvement of The Holy Spirit in your life.

The following is The Rubric of Baptism of the early Church from the Didache (written 80AD - 110AD) as a reference. God Bless You and hope this helps

7 Concerning [Baptism]
7:1 Concerning baptism, you should baptize this way: After first explaining all things, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in flowing water.
7:2 But if you have no running water, baptize in other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, then in warm.
7:3 If you have very little, pour water three times on the head in the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit.
7:4 Before the baptism, both the baptizer and the candidate for baptism, plus any others who can, should fast. The candidate should fast for one or two days beforehand.


@FPPieterse, Thanks for your question which is multifaceted. I appreciate the answer you have already received though I may have slightly different position on the definition of ‘baptisms’. So before I get into any answers, I think it may be best to define what I mean when I use the term baptism of the Holy Spirit in my response as our terms are only as important as the meaning conveyed. I differentiate it from the initial indwelling of the Holy Spirit that all true Christians receive when they place their faith in Christ and are born again ( John 3:5-8, Eph 1:13-14, 2 Cor 5:5). When I use the term baptism of the Holy Spirit, I am referring to the filling of the Holy Spirit in believers that results in a manifestation of God’s power (Acts 1:8, Acts 2:4, Acts 4:31, Acts 13:9, Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10; 28-30, and Ephesians 4:11). Now, some believe such manifestation of spiritual gifts have ceased but I am of the other camp who believes that these gifts have not ceased but very cautious of false spirits - the reasons for which may be best reserved for another discussion. Now coming to your questions:

  1. Can a person receive baptism of the Holy Spirit only through the laying on of hands by apostles?

All we have to do to answer this question is to see if there are examples of those who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit without the laying on of hands in the new testament. I can think of at least a couple examples - Pentecost and Cornelius . That to me proves laying hands is not necessary for the baptism of the Holy Spirit though it was used in other examples in Acts.

Acts 2:1-4 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 10:44-48 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

  1. Are today’s apostles the same as apostles in biblical times?

Your friend seems not to differentiate between the spiritual gift of apostleship and the office of Apostle. The office of Apostle refers to the the twelve disciples chosen by Jesus (Mark 3:13-19) and to Paul (Romans 1:1). The office of Apostle fulfills the criteria of being an eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry and resurrection (Acts 1:21-22; 1 Corinthians 9:1, 1Cor 15:7). These Apostles had special authority and wrote scripture ( 1Thess 2:6, Gal 1:11-12, John 14:26; 15:26–27, Acts 2:42). In addition to the Twelve and Paul there are also others referred to as apostles in the new testament. One mentioned by name is Barnabas (Acts 13:2–3; 14:4, 14; 1 Cor. 9:6). Others who may have been called apostles include James the half-brother of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:19; 2:9), Andronicus and Junia (Rom. 16:7), other unnamed half-brothers of Christ (1 Cor. 9:5), and Silas (Acts 15:40; 1 Thess. 2:6). We can see however in 1 Cor 15:1-8 that even Paul differentiates between the twelve commisioned by Jesus and the other apostles. These other apostles had the gift of apostleship as in Eph 4:11 , with important roles as missionaries or church planting, but do not have the authority of the Twelve or Paul. So, what continues today is only the gift of apostleship and no one can claim special status as apostles of Christ.

  1. Does baptism of the Holy Spirit allow you to get a special name to qualify for heaven?

There is absolutely no support from scripture that second experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is needed for salvation. Think of John 3:16, Acts 16:31 or the thief at the cross (Luke 23:43) who is promised paradise. The Bible does talk about believers receiving new names in heaven, known only to the Lord and the believer on getting to heaven but not by laying on of hands! ( Is 62:2, Is 56:5, Rev 2:17). No supposed apostle on earth can know that!

So all in all based on my understanding from your comments, I dont think there is scriptural support for the claims you are hearing from your friend. I attempted to give enough scriptural references for you to study the matter yourself. Hope this is helpful! May God bless your interactions with your friend!


Great answer. I got a little into the weeds trying to communicate too much and then communicated too little.
I agree that there is a differentiation between the initial indwelling and the Filling of the Holy Spirit. What I was trying to communicate is that in the post-apostolic Church of the 2nd Century the Church did both the baptism of water and the laying on of hands and anointing with oil at the same time. Unfortunately over time the fact that they did this I believe resulted in the understanding that it was all one event.
Your answer was much better than mine though


Hi @Lakshmismehta and @dan0647.
Thank you for your responses and reading through them also made me realize some other points that we have spoken about. And even some of the bible texts you have used now I have used aswell but some I haven’t. One thing that I see from both is about the indwelling of the spirit that helps with get the gifts of the Spirit. And that is what he does refer to most times of why it is important for that baptism cause without it wont recieve the gifts. But then he uses the phrase from scriptu that says any tree that bears no fruit gets chop down from the garden. Same with like the fig tree that beard no fruit so Jesus. So I understand the fruit of the Spirit is joy, peace love, kindness etc. And then the gift is. Of prophesy ect cause he does ask me about my gifts and then I would mention the fruits wich im guessing he is not talking about.
He is very familiar with Bible and a very strong believer I would say but it al just comes down to one thing that only and apostle has the authority to batize and looking at your text above. Makes me realize that he is talking about the authority that the first 12 have and even Apostle Paul cause he uses this illustration.
Jesus gave all the authority to the 12 Apostles to drive out demon and heal the sick and to baptize in the spirit. So there is the story about when the one guy tries to drive out a demon and then demon smacks him around and says who are you. I know Jesus and I know Paul but who are you. So he says for that reason it’s because they weren’t given the authority by the Apostles at the time to do that and didn’t have authority cause weren’t baptized in the Holy Spirit. So you can almost say that as time went on. Each apostle has passed down the authority to do this baptism of the Holy Spirit. And like you mentioned all the resources. There is no Biblical evidence that says only and apostle has athority. But its all about how it seems they have interepted the above. Ex acts 8 vs 14 to 16.


@dan0647, thank you much for your humble and kind words. I appreciate the further clarification on what you understand by baptism of the Holy Spirit. When you mentioned laying hands at the time of water baptism, I was not initially sure if it was for baptism for spiritual gifts or baptism as in salvation.

@FPPieterse, thank you for sharing further information about your conversation. I think it raises a few more areas where clarification is needed. So here goes my answer - :slightly_smiling_face:

1. Is the baptism of the Holy Spirit a subsequent experience that occurs after salvation?

In many cases recorded in Acts, we see that the baptism of the Holy Spirit with power was a subsequent experience after baptism of repentance i.e water baptism. However, there were situations where people experienced both baptism of Holy Spirit and initial faith in Christ simultaneously as with Cornelius. The main prerequisite seems to be repentance and belief in Christ.
Acts 2:38 NKJV
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

2. Does the baptism of the Holy Spirit influence how we bear fruit of the Holy Spirit?

Your friend seems to suggest that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is needed for not only spiritual gifts but is also important for the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at a few verses to see if scripture supports that:

John 15:4-5 NKJV
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Galatians 5:22-26 NKJV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Acts 5:32 NKJV
And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.

These verses tell us that we bear the fruit by obedience to God’s commands in Christ, by walking according to the Holy Spirit, who is given increasingly as we walk in obedience. Different denominations have different views on whether a separate baptism of the Holy Spirit after accepting Christ, is a command for all generations.

I think if a person is truly operating in the gifts empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will also see the fruit of the Holy Spirit as it’s the same Spirit! A few reasons for spiritual gifts in Eph 4: 11-16 are unity, avoiding deception, for spiritual maturity, for love. So, I think fruits and gifts do go hand in hand. We see several examples of how even under persecution, the early church that was baptized in the Holy Spirit lived out the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:32-35).

Ephesians 4:11-16 NKJV
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head-Christ- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

3) You friend also brought up the story of sons of sceva (Acts 19:14-15) in your discussion. Why were the sons of Sceva not able to drive out demons?

I think your friend here is mistaken when he attributes failure of sons of sceva to not being given authority by apostles. The Sons of Sceva were not even believers of Christ to be able to drive out demons!

4) What authority sets apart the Apostles from other believers?

Your friend seems to suggest that the power to trample serpents and scorpions (symbolic of demons) was given only to apostles. But if you read Luke 10:17-19, the authority was given to the seventy elders whose names were written in heaven. So this authority applies not just to Apostles! It rather implies any believer submitted to Christ, who by the way have their names in the book of life, has the authority against demons. To be clearer, the authority that sets the apostles apart from others the gift of apostleship is in roles such as writing scriptures (Eph 2:19-20), final judgement ( Matt 19:28), their eyewitness testimony and their final status in heaven (Rev 21:14).

Thanks Francois for continuing the discussion! Love to hear future updates on the conversation and if this discussion turns out to be helpful.


@Lakshmismehta @FPPieterse I would like to make one comment here about The Baptism of The Holy Spirit and the resultant Gifts of The Spirit. The Church in the first world of economic development over intellectualizes the subject. The Church in the developing and 3rd World Economies do not. The Church in these regions and those that are under physical persecution will be happy to explain that they could not exist without The Gifts of The Spirit.
I have encountered this in my travels throughout the world but the best example is a friend of my family who was an Anglican Priest in Nigeria who is now a Bishop there. We became friends when his family spent some time here in Oklahoma City. He was shocked to find out that there was this huge controversy among the Churches in the USA about The Gifts of The Holy Spirit and that some very reputable teachers claimed they had ceased to exist. He had a very hard time dealing with this in the USA as he needed all the Gifts of The Spirit to do his ministry in Nigeria. He told me the Church there simply thought the exercise of The Gifts as normal. I have found that the same is true with the Church in Pakistan, Algeria, China, Japan, Viet Nam, and throughout the former Soviet Union.
I was told once by Ann B. Davis (maid on the TV series Brady Bunch) that she had witnessed the multiplication of food at a food bank in Mexico not once but several times. I asked her where do you go to see miracles like this? Her answer was classic and I will never forget it:
Dan you need to go where miracles are needed. You probably will not see the multiplication of food in urban USA, but you will see the healing of body and soul particularly with drug addicts.

And so I often tell people the same thing about miracles and Gifts of The Spirit.
Just a comment to think about from an old man



I only really have and answer to this question right and that he says it is part of the salvation so you need your water baptism and the baptism of the Holy Spirit to enter into the kingdom of God.
So two separate baptism for salvation.
Will try and get some more out of him but right he is really adimant about how he sees and believes what he believes he will pretty much argue anyone and tell them they are wrong. And that pretty much anyone anywhere all over is basically not saved completely cause of this second baptism.
So it’s dificult to talk to him sometimes cause i get frustrated.
Not to make it a race thing but he is African so @dan0647 don’t know if that will make a difrence on where he is coming from with what he believes in.
So in summary. We need the 2nd baptism of the Holy Spirit to enter the kingdom of God and only an Apostle can do that. And he knows one cause it has been passed down.
Cause i have asked about the fact that they have all passed away so if i remember him the spirit of the Apostles gets moved to another body or passed down to next each time.
Im sure he will tell Ravi Zacharias, Vince Vitale all that they are not saved
Thanks again

1 Like

@dan0647, I am so thankful that you shared your friend’s experience in Africa. I have experienced something similar in India with demons fleeing at the name of Christ and prophecy that has come true through believers I knew well to attest to their character. Its interesting how Holy Spirit has always been symbolized by things like oil, water, wind, all of which can increase in volume. So, whether we call it filling or baptism, we need more of the Holy Spirit. When we experience a spiritual gift, it strengthens our faith, helps us to obey and that in turn helps edify the church.

@FPPieterse, disagreements among Christians is a difficult experience to endure. Sometimes all we can do is pray and wait for a time when there is more willingness to listen. If your friend thinks spiritual gifts are necessary for salvation, it’s a false teaching. False teachers claiming special powers could mean a false spirit at the source. We could lay hands and pray for someone for more of the Holy Spirit, but it is not simply a transferance of power from one person to another made possible just by ‘the act of laying hands’. Unrepentance and disobedience to the Word would be obstacles for the filling of the Holy Spirit. If someone can call Ravi Zacharias or Vince Vitale unsaved, we can’t help but question if their ‘god of special powers’ is the true Christ!