John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 2nd January 1966


Did knocker work.
Communion—the Lord promised
his blessing & strength through
tribulation. Jim’s Bible class—Exodus.
Mrs. Cartwright at night. Good.
The likely order of events is:
  • Morning:
    Communion Service at church—the Lord promised his blessing & strength through tribulation. I suppose that this refers either to a prophecy given by someone who was there, or to someone speaking in tongues and another interpreting (1 Corinthians 12:10); cf. subsequent Sundays’ diary entries where these “spiritual gifts” are explicitly mentioned.
  • Afternoon:
    Jim’s Bible class—Exodus. Judging by the entry on 9th January 1966, this was in the afternoon. Jim Thompson was, I think, a recent graduate of the Assemblies of God Bible College at Kenley, and was gaining pastoral experience in the rôle of assistant to Pastor Smith. He rented a small upstairs flat (Flat 7) in a large Victorian terraced house — it had been converted into flats — at 47 The Esplanade, Fleetwood; and I remember that there were a number of gatherings of young people there, including perhaps this Bible class (though I can remember when we were still in Genesis being in the “vestry” at the church in Lowther Road, before the morning service).

    The door to the vestry can be seen just to the right of Pastor Stanley Smith’s head in this ca.1969 photo.
  • Later, afternoon:
    Did knocker work: i.e. went to people’s houses from door to door; the church’s door-to-door programme used the ploy of a religious census as an excuse to make follow-up visits so that we could tell people the gospel, show them how they could be saved.
  • Evening:
    Gospel Service at church. Mrs. Cartwright at night. Good. I am not sure whether she was the wife of Pastor Cartwright, who baptised me; see We are baptised.
There was also the matter of the note I wrote in the diary on page 23:

See Pastor about:
Body of Christ
1 Corinthians 12:13 —H Spirit
Rom 6:3 —Water
Saw Les Sunday night
Ans. Baptism “with” Spirit when saved→body of Christ
Baptism in water and in the Holy Spirit
The statement of fundamental truths of Assemblies of God, to which the Full Gospel Church, Lowther Road, Fleetwood, belonged, says: “We believe… in the Baptism of Believers by Immersion in Water; in the Baptism in the Spirit with the Initial Evidence of Speaking with Other Tongues…”

The Biblical references to baptism in water are numerous.

The references to a baptism with the Holy Spirit are as follows:
  • Matthew 3:11: “John the Baptist… said…,… I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost and with fire…”
  • Mark 1:7, 8: “…John… preached, saying, “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptised you with water: but he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost.”
  • Luke 3:16: “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptise you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost and with fire…”
  • Acts 1:5: “…Jesus… commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptised with water; but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
  • Acts 11:16: “…Peter… rehearsed the matter from the beginning, …saying,… Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptised with water; but ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost.”
I doubt whether these references intend “baptism” in this context to be taken as a technical term; they simply make an analogy between being immersed in water and being immersed in the Spirit. But among my Pentecostal peers, “baptism” had indeed become such a term, to the extent that to refer to “the Baptism” was taken to mean “with” or “in the Holy Spirit”. One even had to refer to “water baptism” to make one’s meaning clear.

When, some time in 1965, the Pastor of the Full Gospel Church, Stanley Smith, asked Chris, Peter Gooding and me whether we had been baptised, we didn’t immediately reply, “No, we haven’t”; we asked him, “In the Holy Spirit?”, and he had to clarify by saying, “No, in water.”[more]

My problem
Two things in my Bible reading relating to “baptism” confused me:
  • 1 Corinthians 12:13 (“For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body…”); and:
  • Romans 6:3 (“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into his death?”).
The former was troublesome because it seemed to suggest that if one had not received “the Baptism of the Holy Spirit” one was not part of the body of Christ. The latter was troublesome because “baptised into Christ” seemed to suggest that baptism in water was the means by which one became a part of Christ.

I made a note to see Pastor about this, but had a word with Les Smith instead. Because of his regular visits to our house after church and at other times,[1] when he would amaze my parents and me with stories of miracles and moves of God, and because he seemed to be very knowledgeable about the Bible and spiritual things, I considered Les to be qualified to advise me. Perhaps also I felt that he was more approachable than Pastor.

[1] His regular visits to our house after church and at other times: See, e.g.,
T. L. Osborn, Maureen Smith’s question, Saturday 22nd January 1966, Sunday 30th January 1966, Wednesday 2nd February 1966, Sunday 6th February 1966, Sunday 13th February 1966, Sunday 13th March 1966, Sunday 20th March 1966, Sunday 3rd April 1966. See also Sunday 10th April 1966, Sunday 7th August 1966.

It is not mentioned in the diary whether Les and his wife Maureen were at our house on Sunday night, 2nd January 1966, but it is conceivable that that is where I raised my questions with him. Les, in answer to my first question, distinguished the baptism by the Spirit into the body of Christ, when one “gets saved”, from the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” which occurs afterwards and is evinced by speaking in tongues.

I can’t remember whether I raised the second question with him. The relationship between baptism and salvation is regarded in Pentecostal circles as being comparable with coronation and kingship. When King George VI died in 1952, his daughter Elizabeth immediately became queen, but she was not crowned as queen till the following year. In the same way, according to the argument, when a person turns to Christ he immediately becomes part of Christ, but the outward act of baptism signifying this inward, spiritual work may not occur until later.

See Sunday 13th March 1966: Sunday School, where this analogy is mentioned in my notes.

In Pentecostal churches, after the gospel is preached, a call (or an “appeal”, to use Pentecostal terminology) is frequently made for people to indicate their personal response to the message by, e.g., raising their hand or standing up. Baptism may not occur until months or even years later. I am dissatisfied with this practice. My opinion is that in New Testament times the personal response was indicated by one’s consent to baptism, and that the inward and outward events occurred so closely together that they were not distinguished from one another; one was regarded simply as being “baptised into Christ”.

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