The “one baptism” of Ephesians 4:5 is the real, inner, spiritual baptism: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Cor. 12:13). This makes us living members of the “one body” of the church, enabling us to believe the “one faith” and subjecting us to our “one Lord” (Eph. 4:4-5).
Some err by teaching two (or more) inner, spiritual baptisms, such as Pentecostals or second-blessing advocates. They reckon that all Christians are baptized by the Spirit into Christ (regeneration), but that only some Christians are baptized by Christ into the Spirit (second blessing). By definition, this is not only false but also schismatic, for there is “one baptism.” This is why a biblical and Reformed church must not permit Pentecostals and Charismatics to be members, for their heresy is necessarily divisive.
There are also errors regarding water baptism. Anabaptism rejects the baptism of the children of believers, even though the Bible calls such “holy” (I Cor. 7:14), members of the covenant and citizens of the kingdom. Those churches which allow both paedobaptists and credobaptists as members cannot be truly united, because they have two views on (water) baptism and thus two views on the nature and membership of the church. The scriptural, Reformed faith is that there is one spiritual baptism, signified and sealed in one water baptism, both of believers and their seed (Heidelberg Catechism, Q. & A. 74).
The “one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:6) is the Triune God. The “all” here does not refer to all mankind head for head; it is all the saints in the “one body” of the church. The Triune God’s being “above all” means that He is over all the body. That He is “through all” means He pervades the church. That He is “in you all” means He is present in all the members of Christ by His indwelling Spirit. Ephesians 4:6 is the goal and climax of the seven “ones” of Ephesians 4:4-6. To be filled with God with Him in us by the Spirit! This is the privilege and goal of the church as the body of Jesus Christ!
What an emphasis on the unity of the church in Ephesians 4:4-6: “one body,” “one spirit,” “one hope,” “one Lord,” “one faith,” “one baptism” and “one God and Father of all.” What is missing from this list of seven “ones”? One pope! Romanism sees this as necessary for church unity, yet here in Ephesians 4, where there is the greatest emphasis on unity in the epistle whose theme is the church as the body of Christ, there is no mention of any Roman pontiff. True church unity is found where the “one body” is animated through “one baptism” by the “one Spirit” and so possesses “one hope” and “one faith” in “one Lord” to the glory of the “one God and Father”—according to the Bible. This is not the unity in which the World Council of Churches is interested.
- Volume: 11
- Issue: 24
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
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