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The baptism of the Spirit is not once-for-all event.

 

The Bible says that Jesus died to sin once for all.

Rom. 6:10    For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all. (NKJ)
Heb. 10:10   And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (NIV)

     Christ died to sin once for all. Many scholars have applied this to the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They claim that the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost occurred once-for-all and is not repeated. This is thoroughly unbiblical and unsupported by the Scriptures.

Sinclair B. Ferguson insists that Pentecost is once for all time in character.

What, then, of the coming of the Spirit in Samaria (Acts 8:9-25), in the home of Cornelius (Acts 10:44-48) and in Ephesus (Acts 19:1-7)? The most straight forward of these events takes place in the household of Cornelius, and is described in terms which echo Pentecost. Identical language is used in relationship to the Spirit’s coming: outpouring (Acts 2:17-18,33; 10:45); baptism (Acts 1:5; 11:16); and gift (Acts 2:38; 11:17). The phenomenon of speaking in other tongues is repeated (Acts 2:4; 10:46). Furthermore, Peter specifically sees as analogy between the events: “The Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.” What took place in Samaria, in the house of Cornelius, and in Ephesus must be interpreted in terms of the unique historical setting of the early church. Pentecost is not ‘repeated’ any more than the death or resurrection of Christ is a repeatable event. Pentecost is also once for all time in character. (Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, p.81,86.)

     The statement is a mixture of biblical and unbiblical elements. The note, “the death or resurrection of Christ is not a repeatable event,” is biblical, but “Pentecost is also once for all time in character,” is erroneous. It is based on a misinterpretation. The 120 disciples were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit, that is, they received the power of the Holy Spirit. If the baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost were given once-for-all, it makes no sense. To this day after regeneration every Christian must receive the power of the Spirit to be a witness assigned by Jesus. Ferguson’s note is in great confusion because he insists “Pentecost is once for all time,” and he also insists “The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is repeated.”
     The coming of the Spirit from OT days to the 120 disciples and to the 12 at Ephesus and to the present believers is repeated because the purpose of the coming of the Holy Spirit is always to give the power of the Holy Spirit, i.e., the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The day of Pentecost itself is by no means repeated but the baptism of the Holy Spirit which occurred at Pentecost is repeated.

Merrill F. Unger insists that the baptism of the Spirit is unrepeatable.

Modern charismatic movements overlook the important fact that Pentecost initiated  as new age and that the initiatory aspects were once-for-all and unrepeatable. The baptism of the Spirit is not the filling of the Spirit. It is common practice among Pentecostals and Neo-Pentecostals to identify the baptism of the Spirit with the filling of the Spirit. The baptizing work of the Spirit is a once-for-all operation, whereas the filling with the Spirit is a continuous process. The baptism with the Spirit is never said to be repeated, nor indeed can be. (Merrill F. Unger, The Baptism & Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p.27,74.)

     The note is quite erroneous. To write “The baptism of the Spirit is not the filling of the Spirit” is quite unbiblical. Acts 1:5,8 and 2:1-4 record both as synonymous, as noted already above. The note, “The baptizing work of the Spirit is a once-for-all operation, whereas the filling with the Spirit is a continuous process,” should instead read, “The baptizing work of the Spirit is not a once-for-all operation just as the filling of the power of the Spirit is a continuous process.” The note, “The baptism with the Spirit is never said to be repeated, nor indeed can be,” also is erroneous. Both the OT and NT record that the baptism of the Spirit was repeated from the case of Moses to that of the 12 at Ephesus. The baptism of the Spirit, that is, the filling of the power of the Spirit must be repeated until the second coming of Jesus because the purpose of the baptism of the Spirit is to receive the power of the Spirit to proclaim the gospel and for service. Merrill F. Unger continues:
 
The baptizing work of the Spirit is universal among Christians, whereas the filling with the Spirit is not. All Christians are so baptized, without a single exception (1 Cor. 12:13). (Merrill F. Unger, Ibid., p.29.)

     The note is from the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. According to Acts 1:5, 8 and 2:1-4 the baptism of the Spirit is synonymous with the filling of the power of the Spirit. The baptizing work of the Spirit, that is, the filling of the power of the Spirit is not universal among Christians. All Christians are not baptized with the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). All Christians must be baptized with/in the Spirit after regeneration. It means that the baptism of the Spirit is not a once-for-all event. Unger continues:
    
One extreme position erroneously views Spirit baptism as a once-for-all operation at Pentecost (Acts 2) and in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10), and maintains that then it ceased. During this present age, it is contended, there is no baptism with the Holy Spirit. Pentecost represents an unrepeated and unrepeatable event. It is unrepeatable as the creation of the universe, the creation of man, the incarnation of Christ, His sinless life, vicarious death, glorious resurrection, or any other event of history. (Merrill F. Unger, Ibid., p.31,62.)

     The note, “One extreme position erroneously views Spirit baptism as a once-for-all operation at Pentecost (Acts 2) and in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10), and maintains that then it ceased,” suggests that the Holy Spirit’s baptism at Pentecost, that is, Pentecost was not a once-for-all operation. The note, “Pentecost represents an unrepeated and unrepeatable event,” means that Pentecost was a once-for-all operation. The note, “It is unrepeatable as the creation of the universe, the creation of man, the incarnation of Jesus, His sinless life, vicarious death, glorious resurrection, or any other event of history,” is quite right. These historical events are all anchored in time, but to teach, “Pentecost represents an unrepeated and unrepeatable event,” is thoroughly erroneous. The baptism of the Spirit occurred at Pentecost represents an experience which will be repeated until the second coming of Christ.

Merrill F. Unger insists that Pentecost marks the first occurrence of the baptism.

The baptism with the Spirit is never said to be repeated, nor indeed can be. The baptism with the Holy Spirit would be inaugurated by the Messiah. Pentecost marks the first occurrence of the baptism of the Spirit and the consequent formation of the church of Jesus. (Merrill F. Unger, Ibid., p.59,71.)

     This note is quite erroneous since it is from the misunderstanding of the relation between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the power of the Spirit. The OT and NT confirm that Pentecost does not mark the first occurrence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that is, the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit. Merrill F. Unger continues:

For example, Pentecost marked the advent of the Spirit. He came at that time and can never come again. He is here. He is therefore to be recognized as having arrived, no longer to be tarried for as the disciples waited for His coming from heaven in the upper room. It is to the age-inaugurating, unrepeatable features of Pentecost that the miraculous features of wind, fire, and tongues are to be attribute-namely to the giving of the gift of the Spirit and the advent of the Spirit, not to the baptism of the Spirit or the filling of the Spirit. (Merrill F. Unger, Ibid., p.154,155.)

     “Pentecost marked the advent of the Spirit. He came at that time and can never come again,” is thoroughly inaccurate. It is from the misunderstanding of the coming of the Holy Spirit observed in the OT and NT. The note, “it is unrepeatable features of Pentecost that the miraculous features of wind, fire, and tongues...,” is right, but it should be concluded that the baptism of the Holy Spirit which occurred at Pentecost will be repeated until the second coming of Jesus. The baptism of the Spirit imparts God’s power to every Christian doing the work of Jesus until Jesus comes again.

Billy Graham insists that the baptism of the Spirit is unrepeatable.

The scriptural usage of the word baptism shows that t is something initiatory both in the case of water baptism and Spirit baptism, and that it is not repeated. I can find no biblical data to show that the baptism with the Spirit would ever be repeated. “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor. 12:13). The original Greek of this passage makes it clear that this baptism is a completed past action. (The King James Version incorrectly translates it into the present tense rather than the past.) (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.67.)
 
     “I can find no biblical data to show that the baptism with the Spirit would ever be repeated,” is quite inaccurate conclusion based on the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13 and the misunderstanding of the aorist tense of Greek grammar. And the comment is from the misinterpretation of the relation between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the power of the Spirit. Jesus Christ was baptized with/in water by John the Baptist and with/in the Holy Spirit (and with/in fire). The 120 were baptized with/in water by John the Baptist, and then baptized with/in the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The Samaritans were baptized with/in water by Philip, and then they were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit through the laying on of the hands of Peter and John. Paul was baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (filled with the power of the Holy Spirit) through the laying on of Ananias’ hands, and then baptized with/in water by Ananias. Cornelius and the 12 at Ephesus were baptized with/in water and with/in the Holy Spirit. Thus, the note, “I can find no biblical data to show that the baptism with the Holy Spirit would ever be repeated,” is thoroughly unscriptural. The Bible shows that the baptism of the Spirit will ever be repeated until Jesus comes again. Billy Graham continues:

Pentecost was an event then which included not only those who participated at that moment but also those who would participate in the centuries ahead. (Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit, p.67.)

     The note, “Pentecost was an event then which included those who participated at that moment,” is correct, but “Pentecost was an event which included also those who would participate in the centuries ahead,” is quite erroneous. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost was seen again and again: Billy Graham continues:

Perhaps we can use the atonement here by way of analogy. Christ died once for all; he died for members of His body who were not yet born or regenerated. Thus, you and I became members of His body by regeneration through the one-time shedding of His blood. So also you and I in similar fashion now participate in the new reality, the Church. (Billy Graham, Ibid., p.78-79.)

     This note is quite biblical. If anyone accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord who died for him, he becomes a member of His body by regeneration before receiving water baptism or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Billy Graham continues:

What was formed by the baptism with the Spirit at Pentecost is, on our part, entered into when we were made “drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13) so that each believer comes into the benefits of it at the moment of his regeneration even as, at the same time, he comes into benefits of the shed blood of Jesus for justification. So the Lord adds to the Church those who are being saved (Acts 2:47). (Billy Graham, Ibid., p.79.)

     This erroneous note is based on the mistranslation and misinterpretation of 1 Cor. 12:13. The 120 disciples did not receive the Pentecost baptism of the Spirit at the time of regeneration, but the Holy Spirit regenerated them before Pentecost. We come to benefits of the shed blood of Jesus for justification not by the baptism of the Spirit but by faith in Jesus and regeneration. Billy Graham continues:

It may sound strange to speak of present-day believers as sharing in an event that took place 2,000 years ago. However, the Bible offers many examples similar to those of the atonement and the baptism with the Spirit...The baptism with the Spirit occurs at the time of regeneration. The filling of the Holy Spirit should not be a once-for-all event, but a continuous realty every day of our lives.(Billy Graham, Ibid., p.78-80,150.)

     These notes are from the mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13, the misunderstanding of the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the misinterpretation of the relation between regeneration, the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the power of the Spirit. Though Jesus was the Son of God, even He did not begin to preach the gospel before receiving the power of the Spirit, i.e., the baptism of the Spirit, i.e., the fullness of the power of the Spirit. Thus, the baptism of the Spirit will indeed be repeated until Jesus’ second coming.
     The misunderstanding of the baptism of the Spirit misleads many Christians. The note, “The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a once-for-all event. The filling of the Holy Spirit should not be a once-for-all event, but a continuous realty every day of our lives,” is thoroughly unbiblical. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is synonymous with the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the note must be, “the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that is, the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit should not be a once-for-all event, but a continuous realty every day of our lives.” Billy Graham’s note, “present-day believers as sharing in an event (the baptism of the Spirit) that took place 2,000 years ago,” makes no sense at all. This is from the misinterpretation of the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That is to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel. The power of the Holy Spirit received by Moses was not shared with Joshua and Jesus. Jesus received the power of the Holy Spirit after being baptized with/in water by John the Baptist. He did by no means share this power with his disciples.
     The 120 disciples received this power on the day of Pentecost, but they did not share this power with Paul. Thus, Billy Graham’s note, “the present-day believers as sharing in an event (the baptism of the Spirit) that took place 2,000 years ago,” is scripturally insupportable. The 120 disciples shared the grace of the crucifixion, the blood and the resurrection of Jesus, which occurred 2,000 years ago, with the present-day believers because Christ died once for all. Christ died obviously once for all. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a once-for-all event. Billy Graham’s note, “The filling of the Holy Spirit should not be a once-for-all event,” is right, but the note, “The baptism with the Spirit should be a once-for-all event,” is quite erroneous.

John F. MacArthur insists that Pentecost is a once-for-all event.

Yet charismatics would make this once-for-all event normative for all Christians for all time. They claim that what happened in this chapter of Acts should happen to everyone. (John F. MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, p.217.)

     The baptism of the Spirit is not a once-for-all event. It should be normative for all Christians. The baptism of the Holy Spirit which happened in the book of Acts should happen to every Christian until the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Frederick D. Bruner insists that Pentecost is a once-for-all event.

The Pentecostal rejoin that just as the benefits of the “once-for-all” event of the cross must still be received in order to be effective in men’s lives, thus also the blessings of the “once-for-all” gift of the Spirit at Pentecost must still be received to be real in men’s experience. (Frederick D. Bruner, A Theology of the Holy Spirit, p.82.)

     The Pentecostal’s claim, “the benefits of the ‘once-for-all’ event of the cross must still be received in order to be effective in men’s lives,” is biblical. But the claim, “the blessings of the ‘once-for-all’ gift of the Spirit at Pentecost must still be received to be real in men’s experience,” is quite erroneous. The terminology referring to “the once-for-all gift of the Spirit at Pentecost” is incorrect. The gift of the Spirit at Pentecost, that is, the power of the Spirit including the gift of tongues of the Spirit was by no means a once-for-all gift. The power of the Spirit given to the believers in the OT and NT was repeatedly given and so must be repeatedly given to believers until the second coming of Jesus. So it should be said that until the second coming of Jesus the blessings of the gift of the Spirit at Pentecost must still be received to be real in men’s experience. Bruner continues:

Christians not only once-and-for-all receive the Spirit through the message of faith apart from the fulfilling of conditions (Gal 3:2) but they continue to be supplied fully with the Spirit. According to Romans 6 the Christian life has its foundation in the one baptism into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. This baptism occurs once-for-all and is not repeated. (Frederick D. Bruner, Ibid., p.240,262.)

     “Christians not only once-and-for-all receive the Spirit through the message of faith apart from the fulfilling of conditions but they continue to be supplied fully with the Spirit,” is from the mistranslation of the Greek lambano in Gal. 3:2. And the note, “to be supplied fully with the Spirit,” is quite erroneous since it fails to treat the Spirit as God, but as a material and abstract noun. The statement, “This baptism occurs once-and-for-all and is not repeated,” also is quite erroneous. The baptism in Rom. 6:3-4 does not refer to the baptism of the Holy Spirit but to water baptism. Like water baptism the baptism of the Holy Spirit does not occur once-and-for-all. Both baptisms must be repeated until Jesus comes again.

Charles C. Ryrie insists that the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 indicates an unrepeated event.

James M. Gray teaches that the baptizing work of the Spirit was preformed only at Pentecost and never again and that when a person is saved he merely partakes of what was done at Pentecost. (James M. Gray in Charles C. Ryrie, The Holy Spirit, p.77.)

     The argument, “The once-for-all baptizing work of the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit is a once-for-all event,” is based on the note, “the baptizing work of the Spirit was preformed only at Pentecost and never again.” This note is thoroughly unbiblical. It is from the misinterpretation of the relation between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit. Both are synonymous. The baptizing work of the Spirit was by no means preformed only at Pentecost.
     And the note, “when a person is saved he merely partakes of what was done at Pentecost,” also is thoroughly unbiblical. It is based on the misinterpretation of the purpose of the baptism of the Spirit, which is to impart the power of the Spirit (Acts 1:5,8). Moses received the power of the Spirit when God came on him. Jesus was filled with the power of the Spirit, that is, the baptism of the Spirit when the Spirit came on Him. When the 120 disciples were saved, they were not baptized with/in the Spirit. They received the power of the Spirit after salvation. They did not partake of the power of the Spirit received by Moses or Jesus. Paul was filled with the power of the Spirit as Ananias laid his hands on him. Paul did not partake of what was done at Pentecost. Charles C. Ryrie continues:

The baptizing work of the Sprit is repeated each time a person is converted but is experienced only once by each believer. However, the repetition of the giving of the gift of tongues in the house of Cornelius (Acts 10:45) seems to indicate a fresh work of baptizing on that occasion. Nevertheless, a believer is baptized only once, and that at his conversion. There is no scriptural reference which would indicate that the same person or persons were baptized a second time. Indeed, the aorist tense of 1 Corin thians 12:13 indicates an unrepeated experience. By contrast, the filling of the Spirit is said to be experienced by the same group on more than one occasion (Acts 2:4; 4:31), and the command to be filled is expressed by a present tense (Eph. 5:18). The once-for-all baptizing of the Spirit places one into the Body of Christ. But the baptism itself is nonexperiential. (Charles C. Ryrie, The Holy Spirit, p.77.)

     The argument, “The baptizing work of the Spirit is repeated each time a person is converted but is experienced only once by each believer,” shows Charles C. Ryrie himself is in great confusion and contradiction. The note, “The baptizing work of the Sprit is repeated,” is inconsistent with “the once-for-all baptizing work of the Spirit, that is, the baptizing work of the Spirit is once-for-all.” The note, “The baptizing work of the Holy Spirit is experienced only once by each believer,” is inconsistent with “the baptism itself is nonexperiential.” And the note, “the baptism of the Spirit in the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 is different from the filling of the Spirit in the present tense of Eph. 5:18,” only seems to be accurate. It is quite erroneous since it is from the misinterpretation of the relation between the baptism of the Spirit and the filling of the power of the Spirit.
     The note, “The once-for-all baptizing of the Spirit places one into the Body of Christ,” also is quite erroneous. The baptizing of the Spirit is by no means a once-for-all event, and the baptizing of the Spirit does not place one into the Body of Christ. Charles C. Ryrie continues:

Biblically, the baptizing work is never mentioned as being experienced in the Old Testament or in the days of Christ’s earthly ministry. Indeed, after His resurrection and just before His ascension He declared that it was yet future (Acts 1:5). That it first occurred on the day of Pentecost is proved by the fact that the Lord said it would occur “not many days hence,” and by the fact that Peter said it happened when he referred to the Pentecost experience in Acts 11:15-17. (Charles C. Ryrie Ibid., p.76.)

     All these notes are thoroughly inaccurate because they are based on the misinterpretation of the relation between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit. The note, “the baptizing work is never mentioned as being experienced in the OT or in the days of Christ’s earthly ministry,” is also thoroughly inaccurate. The baptizing work of the Holy Spirit, that is, the work of the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit is mentioned as experienced in the OT. Jesus experienced the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit, that is, the filling of the power of the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit came on Him after He was baptized with/in water by John the Baptist.

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary notes that the baptism of the Spirit is not repeated.

1 Cor 12:13: For gives the reason for the union, the baptism of the Spirit into one body. By one Spirit (Lit., in one Spirit; cf. Mt 3:11; Lk 3:16; Acts 1:5) expresses the sphere of the union effected by baptism. One body is the end to which the act is directed. The aorist tense in baptized clearly indicates that the action is a past fact true of all believers (even the carnal Corinthians; cf. 1 Cor 3:1-3), never to be repeated. In fact, the baptism that unites to Christ is not to be sought; it has been wrought already for all. (Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison (editor), The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p.1250.)

     The argument “The aorist tense in baptized clearly indicates that the action is a past fact true of all believers, never to be repeated” is quite erroneous because of the misunderstanding of Greek grammar on the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13.

Many scholars insist that the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 denotes “once-for-all” action.

     Billy Graham insists, “I can find no biblical data to show that the baptism with the Spirit would ever be repeated. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body’ (1 Cor. 12:13). The original Greek of this passage makes it clear that this baptism is a completed past action.” James M. Gray teaches, “The baptizing work of the Spirit was preformed only at Pentecost and never again and that when a person is saved he merely partakes of what was done at Pentecost.” Charles C. Ryrie teaches, “The aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 indicates an unrepeated experience. By contrast, the filling of the Spirit is said to be experienced by the same group on more than one occasion (Acts 2:4; 4:31), and the command to be filled is expressed by a present tense (Eph. 5:18). The once-for-all baptizing of the Spirit places one into the Body of Christ.” The Wycliffe Bible Commentary notes, “The aorist tense in baptized clearly indicates that the action is a past fact true of all believers, never to be repeated.” Unfortunately, each of these claims is based on the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 and lead to this conclusion: “the baptizing of the Spirit is a once-for-all event.” But this conclusion is from the misunderstanding of the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13. The following references in the Greek texts will confirm that “the baptizing of the Spirit is not a once-for-all event.”

Matt. 3:6 ἐβαπτίζοντο ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ ποταμῷ ὑπ᾽ αὐτοῦ  (BNT)
NKJ        They were baptized by him in the Jordan.
NIV        They were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
NAB       They were being baptized by him in the Jordan River.
    
     Daniel B. Wallace notes, “On this text, Robert writes, ‘the aorist tells the simple story. The imperfect draws the picture. It helps you to see the course of the act. It passes before the eye the flowing stream of history....The whole vivid scene at the Jordan is thus sketched. Then, Matthew reverts to the aorist (3:6).”(Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics, p.547.)

In his book Daniel B. Wallace chooses the translation, “They were being baptized,” instead of, “They were baptized.” Robert indicates that he treats ebaptizonto (ἐβαπτίζοντο, they were baptized) as both the aorist and the imperfect. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary’s claim, “The aorist tense in baptized clearly indicates that the action is a past fact true of all believers, never to be repeated,” is quite erroneous because John the Baptist repeatedly and continually baptized those who came to him. But believers were not baptized a second time, but only once.

Luke 3:21    When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized. (KJV)

     If the Wycliffe Bible Commentary’s claim, “The aorist tense in baptized indicates that the action is a past fact true of all believers, never to be repeated,” applies to the aorist tense in baptized of Luke 3:21, it should be “water baptism must not be repeated.” If Charles C. Ryrie’s claim, “The aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 indicates an unrepeated experience,” applies to the aorist tense of Luke 3:21, it should be, “water baptism must be an unrepeated experience.” But this is quite erroneous. Water baptism has been historically repeated event. It is confirmed that John the Baptist repeatedly and continually baptized those who came to him to be baptized with/in water. It is confirmed that the baptism of John was not a once-for-all event. Jesus also was baptized in Luke 3:21. For Jesus personally this was a once-for-all event, but John continued to baptize. Water baptism was not a once-for-all event. Likewise, the aorist tense in baptized in 1 Cor. 12:13 (the baptism by/of the Spirit) was not a once-for-all event.

Acts 1:5     John truly baptized with water. (NKJ)           

     If the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 is an unrepeated event, the aorist tense of Acts 1:5 should be an unrepeated event. But John 4:1-2 reads as follows:

John 4:1-2  Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples). (NKJ)
 
     Acts 1:5 writes, “John truly baptized (ἐβάπτισεν-aorist) with water.” John 4:1-2 says, “Jesus baptized with water through His disciples.” If John’s water baptism was an unrepeated event, Jesus’ water baptism should not have occurred. All these references confirm that the argument “the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 is an unrepeated event” is unbiblical. This argument is obviously from the misunderstanding of the aorist tense of Greek grammar.

Acts  2:38,41    Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized. (NKJ)

     The text says that those who gladly received Peter’s word were baptized (ἐβάπτισαν-aorist). The text refers to water baptism. If the aorist tense of Acts 2:41 is inferred to mean an unrepeated event like that of 1 Cor. 12:13, it is illogical and unscriptural. John 4:1-2 says that the disciples baptized the believers with/in water by the command of Jesus Christ, and on the day of Pentecost Peter baptized the 3,000 believers with/in water to obey the command of Jesus in Matt. 28:19. This reference confirms that the aorist verb ebaptisthesan (ἐβαπτίσθησαν) in Greek is by no means used to speak specifically of an unrepeated event.

Acts 8:12,16 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (NKJ)
 
     The text says that the Samaritan believers were baptized in (eis) the name of the Lord Jesus by Philip. If this were changed into the active voice, “Philip baptized them with/in water.” The verb “baptized” is here used of repeated event. Each believer is to be baptized with/in water not a second time but only once, but the baptizer and the agent repeatedly and continually baptized those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Acts 8:38    So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (NKJ)

     The text says that Philip baptized (ἐβάπτισεν-aorist) the eunuch, that is, he was baptized with/in water by Philip. Here the aorist tense is used of a repeated event. It is confirmed that the argument, “the aorist tense is used of an unrepeated event,” is thoroughly unbiblical. The baptizer and the agent repeatedly and continually baptized believers with/in water. 

Acts 9:18     There fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. (NKJ)

     The text says that Paul was baptized (ἐβαπτίσθη-aorist) by Ananias, that is, Ananias baptized him. Here, it is confirmed that the aorist tense in Greek is used of a repeated event. Paul was baptized with/in water only once. He also baptized the 12 disciples at Ephesus and many Corinthians. He repeatedly and continually practiced baptism with/in water. A believer is baptized only once but the baptizer and agent repeatedly and continually baptizes with/in water.

Acts 10:47-48 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. (NKJ)

     The text means that Cornelius, his family and his friends were baptized with/in water. The apostle Peter baptized them with/in water just as he baptized the 3,000 believers on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 16:33   And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. (NKJ)

     The text says that the jailer and his family were baptized (ἐβαπτίσθη-aorist) with/in water by the apostle Paul, and Paul baptized them.

Acts 18:8   Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized. (NKJ)

     The text says that many of the Corinthians were baptized with/in water by the apostle Paul, and Paul baptized them.

Acts 19:5   When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (NKJ)

     The text says that the 12 disciples at Ephesus were baptized (ἐβαπτίσθησαν-aorist) in the name of the Lord Jesus by the apostle Paul, and Paul baptized them. Here, it is confirmed that Paul repeatedly and continually baptized those like the jailer and his family (Acts 16:33) who accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. The word “baptized” is not unrepeated verb.

The note “the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 denotes a once-for-all action” is unbiblical.

1 Cor. 12:13   We were all baptized by one Spirit into (εἰς) one body. (All versions)  
                       We were all baptized by one Spirit in (εἰς) one body. (Author)
                       The Spirit baptized all of us in (εἰς) one body. (Author)
Acts 19:5        They were baptized by Paul in (εἰς ) the name of the Lord.
                       Paul baptized them in (εἰς) the name of the Lord. (Author)


1 Cor. 1:13-16 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in (εἰς) the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other. (NKJ)
 
     Every “baptized” used in these phrases is the same aorist verb as that of 1 Cor. 12:13. All the phrases have the same Greek grammatical construction. The only difference is in the use of the active voice or passive voice, but both have basically the same meaning. Acts 19:5 is in the same Greek grammatical construction as 1 Cor. 12:13, and the same grammatical construction must be assigned the same meaning. If Acts 19:5 were read as 1 Cor. 12:13 is, it would be thoroughly unbi- blical because Paul repeatedly and continually baptized (aorist tense) those who accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord with/in water in (eis) the name of Jesus. The phrases mentioned above affirm that the baptizing work of the apostle Paul was a repeated action. To conclude “the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 denotes a once-for-all action, and the baptizing work of the Spirit is unrepeated action,” obviously is based on the misunderstanding of the Greek aorist tense in the NT.  

Thomas R. Schreiner comments on the aroist tense in Greek.

Royce Gordon Gruenler says that the aorist is the indefinite tense that states only the fact of the action without specifying its duration. (E.g., Royce Gordon Gruenler in William D. Mounce, Basics ofBiblical Greek, p.189.)   William D. Mounce also says that the aorist indicates an undefined action normally occurring in the past. (William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek, p.189.) Thomas R. Schreiner claims, The aorist tense has often been mishandled by both scholars and preachers. Aorist verbs too frequently are said to denote once-for-all action when the text has no such intention. Having been warned of this error, we should not go to the other extreme and fail to see that in some contexts the aorist does denote once-for-all action, not merely because the verb is an aorist but because of the contexts. Rom 6:10 says of Jesus, ὃ γὰρ ἀπέθανεν, τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ἀπέθανεν ἐφάπαξ·(for the death that he died, he died to sin once for all). The aorist ἀπέθανεν (he died) clearly refers to the once-for-all death of Jesus, for the verb is modified by the adverb ἐφάπαξ (“once-for-all”). (Thomas R. Schreiner in William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek, p.197.)

     Schreiner’s note is biblical, but many commentators unconditionally misapply the grammar of the aorist tense of Rom. 6:10 to that of 1 Cor. 12:13. Some argue that the aorist indicates a once for-all action, but this is not a strict rule of the aorist tense of the word “baptized.” As noted already above, many biblical references indicate that the baptizer repeatedly and continually baptized with/in water those who accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, but those who were baptized with/in water were not baptized a second time. The exception is seen in the special case of the 12 disciples at Ephesus.

If the baptism of the Spirit is unrepeated, how can the following passages be inferred?

Luke 3:22   The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. (NIV)
Luke 4:1     Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan. (NIV)
Luke 4:14   Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. (NIV)
 
     The doctrine, “to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit is to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5,8; Acts 2:3-4), must be applied to every case, including that of Jesus. The text can be summarized, “Jesus was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit descended on him after He was baptized with/in water by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.” That is, Jesus was baptized with/in the Holy Spirit and with/in fire. Jesus was baptized with/in water only once by John the Baptist, but John the Baptist repeatedly and continually baptized in the Jordan, not only Jesus but also anyone who came to him. Through His disciples Jesus also repeatedly baptized all who came to him with/in water. In Luke 3:16 John the Baptist said Jesus was going to baptize believers with/in the Holy Spirit and with/in fire. This promise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended into heaven. The 120 disciples were baptized with/in the fire of the Holy Spirit only once. But the Holy Spirit baptized Jesus with/in fire at the Jordan River and repeated the baptizing work on the 120 disciples with/in the fire on the day of Pentecost.
     A believer is baptized with/in water only once. But the baptizer repeatedly baptizes with/in water. Likewise, it is confirmed that a believer is baptized with/in the fire of the Holy Spirit not a second time but only once. The Holy Spirit repeatedly baptized with/in His fire. Many claim that the baptism of the Spirit would never be repeated and was a once-for-all operation. The case of Jesus and the 120 disciples confirm that this conclusion is inaccurate and based on the misunderstanding of the aorist tense in 1 Cor. 12:13.

Acts  8:14-17 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might be filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit. (Author)

     The doctrine, “to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit is to be baptized with/in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5,8; 2:3-4), must be applied to the case of the Samaritan believers. After Phillip baptized the Samaritans with/in water in the name of the Lord, they were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit through Peter and John. That is, the Holy Spirit baptized them with/in the fire through Peter and John. They were baptized with/in water only once by Phillip. Likewise, they were baptized with/in the Holy Spirit (with/in fire) only once. But the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus repeatedly baptizes believers with/in fire.
 
Acts 10:44-48  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, “Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.” So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. (NIV)
Acts 10:47   They have been filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit just as we have. (Author)

     Cornelius and his family were filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit, that is, were baptized with/in the fire of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit baptized them with/in fire. After they were baptized with/in the fire of the Holy Spirit, they were baptized with/in water in the name of Jesus Christ. They were baptized with/in the fire of the Holy Spirit only once, but the Holy Spirit repeatedly baptizes believers with/in fire. It is confirmed that the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit was not a once-for-all event.

Acts 19:2-7  Paul asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all. (NIV)

     “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” is from the mistranslation of the Greek verb lambano, as noted already. It should be, “Were you filled with (the power) of the Holy Spirit since you believed?” And “they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus,” should be, “they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” The phrase, “When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied,” means that they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, that is, they were baptized with/in the fire of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit repeated here the work of baptism for them, but the 12 were baptized with/in the fire of the Holy Spirit only once. It is confirmed that the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit was not a
once-for-all event.

Merrill F. Unger claims that the baptizing work of the Spirit was a once-for-all operation, whereas the filling with the Spirit is a continuous process. The baptism with the Spirit is never said to be repeated, nor indeed can be. (Merrill F. Unger, The Baptism & Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p.27.)

     This note is erroneous. It is from the misunderstanding of the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit, that is, the filling work of the power of the Holy Spirit. The cases of the Samaritan believers, Cornelius and his family, and the 12 disciples at Ephesus verify that the baptizing work of the Spirit was by no means a once-for-all operation. The note, “The baptism of the Spirit is never said to be repeated,” must be, “The baptism of the Spirit is said to be repeated.” The Holy Spirit repeatedly and continually baptized (aorist) those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord with/ in fire. But a believer was baptized (aorist) with the fire of the Spirit only once. The baptizer repeatedly and continually baptized (aorist active) with/in water. But a believer was baptized (aorist passive) with/in water only once. The claim, “the aorist apethanen (ἀπέθανεν, he died) clearly refers to the once-for-all death of Jesus,” is perfectly biblical. Through this interpretation many scholars argue that the aorist ebaptisthemen (ἐβαπτίσθημεν were baptized) of 1 Cor. 12: 13 is a once-for-all action and an unrepeated event, but all scriptural references confirm that it is from the misunderstanding of the Greek aorist tense in the NT.

If the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 indicates an unrepeated event, Acts 2:4 must be inferred to mean that it is an unrepeated because of the following reasons.

Acts 2:4    ἐπλήσθησαν πάντες πνεύματος ἁγίου  (BNT)
NKJ          They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (All versions)

     Acts 2:4 must be translated, “They were all filled with of the Holy Spirit,” or “They were all filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.” If the aorist ebaptisthemen (ἐβαπτίσθημεν, were baptized) of  1 Cor. 12:13 is inferred to mean that it is a once-for-all action and an unrepeated experience, the aorist eplesthesan (ἐπλήσθησαν were filled with) of Acts  2:4 must be inferred to have the same meaning as the aorist ebaptisthemen (we were baptized). Both are clearly in the same aorist tense.
     The same grammatical construction must produce the same meaning. If the aorist eplesthesan (ἐπλήσθησαν) is inferred to mean that it is a once-for-all action and an unrepeated experience, it is quite illogical and unbiblical. The filling work of the Holy Spirit, that is, the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit is repeated and continued from Exodus 31 to Acts 19.

Ex. 31:1-3   Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri….And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship. (NKJ)

     The words “I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge,” should be inferred to mean that God filled Bezalel with the wisdom and knowledge of the Spirit. The wisdom and knowledge of the Spirit belong to the nine gifts of the Spirit in 1 Cor. 12:8-10, that is, the power of the Spirit in Acts 1:8. God filled him with the power of the Spirit. According to the doctrine of the Trinity, it can be said that the Spirit filled him with the power of the Spirit. God the Spirit repeatedly and continually filled believers with the power of the Spirit from OT days to NT days.
     Those who were filled with the power of the Spirit did not experience it a second time but only once. Likewise, the Spirit repeatedly baptized with/in fire, but those who were baptized with/in the fire of the Spirit did not experience it a second time, but only once. Even though “filled” of Acts 2:4 is obviously in the aorist verb, it is not used of a once-for-all and unrepeated action. Likewise, even though “baptized” of 1 Cor. 12:13 is obviously in the aorist verb, it is not used of a once-for-all action and unrepeated experience. The claim, “The aorist apethanen (ἀπέθανεν  he died) of Rom. 6:10 clearly refers to the once-for-all death of Jesus, for the verb is modified by the adverb ephapax (ἐφάπαξ, once-for-all),” is biblical. But many scholars  unconditionally  have added the word ephapax (ἐφάπαξ, once-for-all) of Rom. 6:10 to the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13. This is quite in- accurate. If the aorist tense of 1 Cor. 12:13 indicates an unrepeated event, Acts 2:4 also must speak of an unrepeated event, because it has the same aorist tense as 1 Cor. 12:13. The OT and the NT confirm that the aorist eplesthesan (ἐπλήσθησαν were filled with) of Acts 2:4 is used of repeated events. So the aorist ebaptisthemen (ἐβαπτίσθημεν were baptized) of 1 Cor. 12:13 must refer to, not a once-for-all action, but a repeated action.  

The NIV Application Commentary comments on the church’s birth.

The experience of Pentecost is the key that unlocks the book of Acts. But what does it say to us today? Note that, strictly speaking, that was not the birthday of the church. Richard Longenecker points the fact that the word “church” (ekklesia) takes several different meanings in the Bible. If we take it to mean “the body of Christ” and “an instrument of service” used by God for his redemption purposes, then the church was in existence before Pentecost. (The NIV Application Commentary: Acts, p.90.)

Merrill F. Unger insists the church was formed at Pentecost, and not before nor after.

The church actually began with the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Ac 1:4,5; 2:47, with 11:16; 1 Co 12:13). The baptism with the Holy Spirit would be inaugurated by the Messiah. Pentecost marks the first occurrence of the baptism of the Spirit and the consequent formation of the church of Jesus Christ. This very essential and fundamental truth that the church began at Pentecost is being controverted by two present-day errors. One of these maintains that the church existed before Pentecost (Mt 18:15-17). Another holds that it was not formed till after Paul began preaching his distinctive message of grace. The church, however, could not have come into existence before the baptism with the Holy Spirit occurred, which was not until Pentecost (Ac 1:5; 11:15-16), because the body of Christ could only be formed by the Spirit’s baptizing work. Since Scripture places the first historical occurrence of the Spirit’s baptism at Pentecost, it follows that the church was formed then, and not before nor after. (Merrill. F. Unger, The Baptism & Gifts of the Holy Spirit, p.32,59,71,72.)

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary comments on the church’s birth.

There is a real sense in which the Church had its birthday on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given to men in a new way to bring believers in Jesus together into a new relationship. (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p.1126.)

Veli-Matti Karkkainen comments on the church’s birth.

Transforming power of the Spirit is evident at the beginning of the history of the Christian church. Actually, the birth of Christianity at Pentecost is a dramatic work of the Spirit: The three thousand repent, and charismatic elements are visible. Jurgen Moltman argues that the Christian church was born with the speaking in tongues. (Jurgen Moltman in Veli-Matti Karkkainen, Pneumatology, p.31.)

The Bible records that the church existed before Pentecost.

Matt. 18:15-17  If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (NIV)

     If the church had its birthday at Pentecost, and the church actually began with the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the church which Jesus here says should be the church after Pentecost. If it is true, it makes no sense because the words of Jesus must be applied to the church at the time of Jesus. If it is said that there was no church before Pentecost, this word of Jesus (Matt. 18:15-17) was not effective at the time of Jesus’ preaching. If it is true, it makes no sense at all. It should be said that the church was in existence before Pentecost.  

Matt. 21:12-13 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer,” but you are making it a den of robbers. (NIV)

     The phrase, “My house, that is, temple will be called a house of prayer,” must mean the church. It confirms that the church was in existence before Pentecost.

1 Cor. 9:13-14  Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? (NIV)

     The phrase “Those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from the gospel” implies that the pastors who preach the Gospel in the church should receive their living from the Gospel. So Paul interprets the temple means the church.

Acts  7:36-38  He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. This is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send you a prophet like me from your own people.’ He was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us. (NIV)

     The text says that Moses was in the assembly in the desert. The text confirms that the church was actually in existence in OT days before Pentecost. So the Bible confirms that the argument, “The church actually began with the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost,” is quite erroneous and inaccurate.