Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by rufus, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. rufus

    rufus
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    Baptism with Holy Spirit "HAVE YOU RECEIVED THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY GHOST?"

    Sometimes a Christian will be asked whether he or she has been baptized with the Holy Ghost or whether his church has the baptism with the Holy Ghost. How should we answer this question?

    The baptism with the Holy Ghost was prophesied by John the Baptist as a future event in Matthew 3: I I, where it is associated with fire: "He that cometh after me is mightier than l, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." This prophecy appears also in the parallel passages describing John's ministry. In Mark 1:8 we read. "I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." Luke 3:16 tells us, "I indeed baptized you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." John 1:33 identifies Christ as the One who would have authority to baptize with the Holy Ghost: "He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost."

    There are no further references in the Gospels to the baptism with the Holy Ghost. The next reference, in Acts 1:5, leaves us with no doubt as to when this promised event would take place. Christ, just before His Ascension, told His Apostles: "For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall he baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." What noteworthy event took place only a few days after the Ascension, 10 days to be exact? Pentecost!

    Now that we have pinpointed the time when the promised baptism with the Holy Ghost took place, we can examine the nature of that event. As John the Baptist had foretold, it was associated with fire; not a literal fire, but visible cloven tongues as of fire, Acts 2:3. There was a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind, Acts 2:2. The disciples spoke in tongues, Acts 2:4. These were not unknown, heavenly languages incomprehensible to men; rather, they were actual foreign languages, clearly understood by those who were in the audience, Acts 2:8-11.

    What great historical purpose was accomplished by the baptism of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost? The disciples at that time received power for their Christian ministry, Acts 1:8, but the Holy Spirit still empowers us for witnessing today without any visible or miraculous manifestations. There was more to the baptism with the Holy Ghost than this. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit appeared visibly to men in order to place His public stamp of approval on a new institution which God had ordained, through which all of His work on earth was to be done: the Church.

    There were two earlier institutions which God established with the intention that all the worship and service of God's people should be conducted through them; these were the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon. The Holy Spirit appeared publicly and visibly at the inauguration of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35) and the Temple ( 1 Kings 8: 10- I 1 ) in order to show to all men that God approved and endorsed these institutions, and one such manifestation of the Holy Spirit was enough in each case. It should not surprise us that the Holy Spirit endorsed the Church in the same public manner in Acts 2.

    It should he made clear that the Church which the Holy Spirit endorsed at Pentecost was the institution of the local church, not the so-called "mystical, invisible, Universal Church," an unscriptural concept which is contrary to all that the New Testament teaches on the subject of the Church. The "Universal Church," as conceived by its adherents, is a helpless, useless non-entity, which cannot assemble, baptize, celebrate the Lord's Supper, discipline members or receive tithes. The Church at Jerusalem did all of these.

    Also, we should avoid the error of believing that Pentecost was "the birthday of the Church" as is glibly stated by some. There is no scriptural basis for that statement. The Church at Jerusalem added 3000 members on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:41. You cannot add to something that is not there already. In Acts 1, before Pentecost, we see an organized meeting of the Church in Jerusalem, at which time Matthias was chosen to serve as an apostle. The fact that Jesus gave His disciples instructions for church discipline, Matthew 18:17, advising them to "tell it to the church" without having to explain to them what a church was, shows that the Church already existed--it was founded by Christ.

    After reviewing the nature and purpose of the baptism with the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, we move on to the next (and last) scriptural reference to the baptism with the Holy Ghost. In Acts 11:16 the Apostle Peter, defending his decision to receive the Gentile converts of Caesarea as brethren and to baptize them, said, "Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that He said, 'John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.'"

    Whether Peter was stating that the giving of the Holy Ghost to Cornelius and his companions in Acts 10:44-45 was another instance of the baptism with the Holy Ghost, or merely comparing this event to what he experienced at Pentecost, is not made clear here. What is clear is that the Holy Spirit graciously fell upon these Gentile converts, the first in history, in order to publicly demonstrate God's acceptance of Gentiles into the family of God, so that the Hebrew Christians might also accept them. This event, like Pentecost, was a one-time historical event, which need not, and cannot, be duplicated by churches today. There can be only one "first time" for anything.

    We have now examined all references to baptism with the Holy Spirit in the Bible. It should be noted, however, that there are some who interpret I Corinthians 12:13 ("For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body.... ") as a reference to baptism with the Holy Spirit. Such an interpretation introduces tremendous confusion into an otherwise clear understanding of this subject. The alleged Holy Spirit baptism of 1 Corinthians 12:13, as conceived by those who hold this view, is private, individual, with no fire and no outward manifestations, and occurs at the moment of salvation. How can this concept possibly be reconciled with the baptism with the Holy Ghost of Acts 2, which was public, corporate, with outward manifestations and fire, falling upon already convened believers?

    This difficulty is totally eliminated when we realize that the baptism mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:13 is water baptism and nothing else. Many commentators do not even believe that the Holy Spirit is mentioned at all in this verse; they regard it as teaching that all those who are members of a local church, or body of Christ, have entered that church through water baptism in oneness of spirit. Others say that the Holy Spirit is in view here, and that it is by the guidance and enablement of the Holy Spirit that we become water-baptized members of a local church. Either interpretation fits well into the context of New Testament teaching; the notion of a Holy spirit baptism at the moment of conversion does not fit at all. The Holy Spirit enters into all believers at the moment of conversion, so that he indwells all believers (Romans 8:9-16), but we are not told that the Holy Spirit baptizes believers at conversion. According to Ephesians 4:5, there is only one baptism. This must he water baptism, which the Bible teaches; not "Spirit baptism," which the Bible does not teach.

    We can conclude, from our study of all that the New Testament teaches about the baptism with the Holy Ghost, that this was a glorious historical event by which God authenticated His church at the outset of its ministry, after the Ascension of Christ. There is no command for churches today to seek to duplicate this event, or for individuals to seek to be baptized with or by the Holy Ghost, at or after conversion.

    Does this mean that we reject the ministry, gifts and fullness of the Holy Spirit in this age? Absolutely not! We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18, and we should be open to all gifts that the Holy Spirit wishes to bestow on us in these last days.

    We are now ready to come to the conclusion of the whole matter, and answer the question posed at the beginning of this article: "Have you received the baptism with the Holy Ghost?" May we always respond to such a question with a humble searching of our hearts, that we might be totally yielded to the Holy Spirit and guided by Him in all aspects of our lives.

    But for those wishing to know our relationship to the Biblical doctrine of the baptism with the Holy Ghost, they would do well to phrase the question like this: " are you a member of a local church of the same faith and practice as the Church at Jerusalem, and thus part of the divine institution which God validated and authenticated by the baptism with the Holy Ghost'?"

    Your answer to that question is yes, if your church has continued in the Apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42) and requires immersion for membership (Acts 2:41). If you are in such a church, you do not need to leave it in search of the baptism with the Holy Ghost. Yield your life completely to the Holy Spirit so He can use you more fully in the church you are in.

    By Thomas Williamson​
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    A hearty amen here.
     
  3. rufus

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    This One is a Wrap

    We've got this one wrapped up.

    I just wish more Christians understood this truth, then the Universal Church Theory could be buried and a permanent marker put up to remind everyone.
     
  4. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Ah, Rufus, that would be a cruel thing to do. If the Universal Church dream dies, so does 90% of their eschatology and a significant portion of their soteriology.
     
  5. rufus

    rufus
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    Spirit Baptism and Local Church

    Bro. Tom, is that not one of the reasons the iron grip on Universal Church Theory is not pried lose easily!

    So many desire to take the word "church" in Mattheww 16 to mean right the opposite of what it means in Matthew 18. Inconsistent interpretation takes place, then, in many other places.

    :type:
     
  6. rufus

    rufus
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    This is strange. The argument against the Universal Church theory is so tied up with this subject but little is being said here, compared to the many objections over there.

    I hope everyone understands the connection. I'm just wondering why the silence here.

    :type:
     
  7. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
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    You can't kill the Universal Church
    for God said:

    Matthew 16:18 (KJV1611 Edition):
    And I say also vnto thee, that thou art Peter,
    and vpon this rocke I will build
    my Church: and the gates of hell
    shall not preuaile against it.


     
  8. DQuixote

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    Wow! Quite a treatise, Rufus. Well thought out, well presented.

    Allow me to say that Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit are synonymous. Ghost is British English. In speaking of haunted houses in Great Britain, they use the word spirit, not ghost. Obviously, just the opposite of American English.

    That being said, I was filled (baptized) with the Holy Spirit the moment I received Christ as Savior. Those who say that they were baptized in the Holy Spirit (or Ghost) at some later date, as a second and subsequent event identifiable in scripture, were either not genuinely saved in the first place, or, an authentic Believer, for example, simply had an experience which filled h/her to the brim at some point; an estatic revelation, an awakening, a joy-filled event, which confirmed h/her faith and security in Christ. Those of us who were filled to the brim at salvation frequently (perhaps daily) quench this infilling through sin and other matters which grieve the Holy Spirit of God, racing about in the cares of the world. I, for one, am instantly quickened when I do that. The Holy Spirit will not let me fudge. If I say something sinful, or utter a white lie, I instantly receive His nudge or dart or however one describes that. It is obvious, and it is real, often at the moment I am about to speak or do in error, not unlike a mild electric shock. If I have already said or done it, I then have to adjust my words, apologize to my listener, and recall the provisions of 1 John 1:9.

    During Bible study last evening two passages that I have heard interpreted multiple ways, after reading them several times, suddenly jumped off the page in great clarity. THAT is an infilling; THAT is filled to the brim. THAT is the baptism. Not an ascriptural second and subsequent event, but a renewal of a right spirit within me. I get the image of a fighter aircraft needing fuel, the pilot carefully positioning it behind the huge refueling aircraft. "Fill 'er up!" Fill my cup, Lord, I lift it up, Lord, come and quench this yearning in my soul (spirit, actually). :type:

    Hallelujah!
    :godisgood: :jesus: :thumbs: <----The JOY of the Lord is my Strength!!
     

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