Cornelis Bennema, «Spirit-Baptism in the Fourth Gospel. A Messianic Reading of John 1,33», Vol. 84 (2003) 35-60
The various ways of understanding "baptism in the Holy Spirit" has caused much division in both academic scholarship and the church. Most theories have been based on the Synoptics and Acts, but the phrase o( bapti/zwn e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| is also present in the Fourth Gospel (1,33). However, Johannine scholarship has hardly given attention to this concept. This paper will seek to establish that o( bapti/zwn e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| is a programmatic statement for Jesus’ nexus of soteriological activities in relation to people by means of the Spirit. "To baptize with Holy Spirit" refers to Jesus’ programme of cleansing people through revelation by means of the Spirit. Moreover, this concept is rooted in Jewish messianic traditions, which were able to expect a messiah who would judge, restore and cleanse by means of his Spirit-imbued word.
Moreover, because salvation or judgement are dependent on one’s attitude towards the Spirit-Baptizer, Jesus’ activity "to baptize with Holy Spirit" is a soteriological necessity and not merely a donum superadditum (contra classical Pentecostalism). It is our contention that Johannine scholarship has downplayed or neglected the significance of the concept of Jesus as the Spirit-Baptizer, namely that o( bapti/zwn e)n pneu/mati a(gi/w| is a programmatic statement for Jesus’ nexus of soteriological activities (especially of revelation and cleansing) in relation to people by means of the Spirit. Finally, if "to baptize with Holy Spirit" includes the soteriological activities of the glorified Jesus in this world until the Parousia, then this has ongoing significance for every generation of believers. "To baptize with Holy Spirit", then, does not merely involve the process or event of entering into salvation, which climaxes with the birth or "reception" of the Spirit, but also the process of remaining in salvation, in which that salvation is worked and lived out.