Question 41: If the Apostle Paul taught “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5), why would one believe in water baptism and baptism with the Holy Spirit?

Ephesians 4:5 says:

one Lord, one faith, one baptism, (NASB)

Answer: This question seems to fail to distinguish between the spiritual realm and the physical realm.

In Ephesians 4:4-6, Paul lists everything in the spiritual realm, including, for example, “one body.” According to Colossians 1:18, the one body is the church. This is referring to the one universal church comprised of all believers starting in Acts 2 to whenever the rapture occurs. But in the physical realm, there are a lot of local bodies, and the word “church” is used in the plural in a good number of passages. So yes, there is only one universal church, but there are many visible local churches. The Scriptures use the Greek form for the plural of “church” because there are many individual churches, such as the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 1.

The same explanation applies to “one baptism.” Here, Paul is referring to Spirit baptism, which, according to I Corinthians 12:13, automatically happens to every believer the moment he or she comes to faith. Every believer is baptized by the Spirit into the one body. Hence, Spirit baptism happens in the spiritual realm. As far as physical water baptism is concerned, it takes place in the physical realm. It was commanded by Yeshua and practiced by the apostles. This form of baptism does not violate the issue of “one baptism” for there is only one Spirit baptism. However, there are other baptisms, including water baptism. The reason I believe in both water baptism and baptism with the Holy Spirit is because both are taught and distinguished in Scripture, and that is my final authority.

Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. If you’d like to donate to Ariel Ministries, just  click

Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.