At the recently concluded Deaver-Vick Debate in Indianapolis (October 2011, archived here), Mac Deaver affirmed: “The Scriptures teach that when a person becomes a Christian he is baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit.” Deaver made the case for a single baptism, consisting of two elements, in harmony with Jesus’ statement in John 3:5 that kingdom entry is on the basis of being “born of water and the Spirit.”
Listeners to the debate repeatedly heard Ben Vick belittle Deaver’s position with an appeal to an old slogan for Certs breath mints: “Two, two, two mints in one!” One might think that a discussion centering on the Holy Spirit—a person of the Godhead—might be treated with more dignity than afforded by a Certs commercial. But brother Vick thought it appropriate. In fact, on the final evening, he even began his first negative speech by trying to play a video clip of a real Certs commercial. To some, the embarrassment of his effort was compounded by his technical problems in getting the clip to play before the audience (Vick even called for his time to be held while his helper tried to get the situation sorted on his computer). Finally, the audience got to see the clip play and hear the Certs catchphrase: “Two mints in one!”
What was the point? Well, brother Vick’s accusation was that Deaver was trying to do the impossible by taking immersion in water and immersion in Spirit and combining them into a single baptism. So, Vick made a joke out of it by repeating the Certs expression. This, in spite of the fact Deaver proved that Scripture speaks of two bodies becoming one body (1 Cor. 6:16), and of two spirits becoming one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17). Therefore, there is biblical precedent, with inspired language indicating that a plurality can form a singularity. And, if God talks about it that way, who are we to contradict him? A baptism in the physical element of water and the metaphysical element of Holy Spirit can be called “one baptism” in Ephesians 4:5, resulting in a person’s being “born of water and Spirit.” But Deaver’s point (along with many others) seemed completely lost on Vick, who continued to make light of the concept that two could really be one.
Which leads to this interesting question. What if the Certs commercial were turned back on brother Vick, and he were asked this question: “True or False: An individual Cert is a single mint.” What would Vick say? He could not answer “false” without showing himself ridiculous. But, he could not answer “true” without seeming to admit the very premise he fought so hard against (i.e. that two elements could be combined in one event). How thick the irony, that brother Vick’s slogan, designed to disparage Deaver’s position, should, in reality, go to demonstrate the very point Deaver was making.
Two mints in one? Absolutely.