Rebaptism Impossible! [Excerpt] – Acts 19: 1-7

Wollebius and the 1637 Dordt Dutch Bible: no rebaptisms in Acts 19

The great Frenchman Calvin's view of Acts 19:1-5 was followed (in essence) also by the later German-Swiss theologian Wolleb(ius) in 1626, and in Holland by the Dordt Dutch Bible of 1637.  In his Compendium of Christian Theology (XXIII:1:xxi), Wolleb argues that, in respect of the twelve men Paul met in Ephesus, "it ought not to be concluded from this text [Acts 19:1-5] that they were ‘rebaptized.’   For the words in verse 5 [‘they were baptized into the Name of the Lord Jesus’] are not spoken by Luke concerning Paul, but by Paul concerning John and his disciples.  They lend no support, therefore, to either the Papists or the Anabaptists."

The 1637 Dordt Dutch Bible or Statenvertaling was commissioned by the great 'Five-Point' Calvinistic "T-U-L-I-P" Synod of Dordt in 1618f.  The Dordt Dutch Bible makes some very interesting observations119 about Acts 19:1-7.  First, it comments on the words which "Paul said" in Acts 19:4.  ("John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in Him Who came after him — namely in Christ Jesus.")

Here, the Dordt Dutch Bible states that John the Baptist "preached conversion, and obligated the baptizees to repent.   Hereby, and also by what follows, he [Paul] indicates that as regards its essence the baptism of John in itself is the same as the baptism of the apostles.  It has one and the same sign and one and the same signified matter.  The [only] difference is that John with his doctrine and baptism pointed to Christ Who came after him and Who would still accomplish all things, while the apostles pointed to Christ Who had come and Who had completely accomplished everything necessary for our salvation."

Commenting on the word "him" in Acts 19:5 (in the phrase "and those who heard him were baptized"), the Dordt Dutch Bible there further notes that "him" here refers not to Paul but to "John the Baptist."   It then states: "For these are the words of Paul, relating how John baptized his disciples.   This is clear from the Greek text in which the two words men (or 'indeed') in verse 4 and de (namely 'but' or 'and') in verse 5, indicate that the things stated in these two verses must be combined, and that it is one and the same person and matter being discussed.   Consequently, it cannot be proved from this that these disciples would have been rebaptized by Paul."