An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Baptism in (of) the Spirit

John the Baptist baptized in water but announced also the coming of a “Strong One” who would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Mk 1:7-8). John focused primarily on the need for repentance and the importance of the future (eschatology). The early Christian community saw the fulfillment of John's promise in the Pentecost event (Acts 1:5). The gift of the Spirit was extended to converts through the response of faith, followed by baptism in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38). While the reception of the Spirit is invariably associated with baptism, it occasionally precedes (Acts 10:44-48) or follows (Acts 8:14-17; 19:2-9) baptism. In holiness and Pentecostal traditions, “Spirit Baptism” or “Second Baptism” refers to an ecstatic experience distinct from conversion or justification in which the sanctification of the Spirit is bestowed. The Episcopal Church maintains that “Holy Baptism is full initiation by water and the Holy Spirit” into the church (BCP, p. 298). The Episcopal Church thus recognizes no baptism in or of the Spirit separate from or additional to sacramental initiation. See Baptism; see John the Baptist.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.