The baptism with the Holy Spirit

 

 

The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is received when one believes in the Lord Jesus, that is, at the time of his regeneration

 

 

 

Many Protestant Churches – such as Baptist Churches, Reformed Churches, Presbyterian Churches, Church of the Brethren, and many others - hold that when one believes in the Lord Jesus Christ he is baptized with the Holy Spirit. In other words, believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit at the time of their regeneration. So there is no baptism with the Holy Spirit which can be experienced after the new birth.

Alan Morrison has written: ‘If we are serious in discovering the true meaning of 'Baptism with the Holy Spirit', what do we find? We discover the remarkable fact that it is in reality an experience that it is applied to all believers at the time of their regeneration. This is the clear and unequivocal teaching of Scripture on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. …. in the apostolic way of thinking, there never was a post-conversion 'Baptism with the Holy Spirit'. ….’ (Alan Morrison, Baptized with an unholy spirit. The Exercise of Mind-Control Techniques in the Pentecostal & Charismatic Movements, in www.diakrisis.com)

Brian Schwertley has written: ‘Paul says that all Christians have been baptized in the Spirit. “You don’t need to seek a Spirit-baptism as a post-conversion experience, Paul is saying to the Corinthians and to us; if you are in Christ, you have already been Spirit-baptized!” ….. the Bible teaches that everyone who becomes a Christian is baptized in the Holy Spirit’ (The Charismatic movement: a biblical critique, by Brian Schwertley, edited by Stephen Pribble)

 

Confutation

 

The Holy Scripture teaches that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a post conversion experience, therefore it is received after one believes in the Lord and not when he believes in the Lord. Now I will show you from the Scripture what I have just stated.

 

The apostles of the Lord were baptized with the Holy Spirit after they believed in the Lord

 

The apostles of the Lord obtained remission of sins by their faith in Christ even before Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, for Jesus on the night He was betrayed said to His Father: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.” (John 17:6-10). So there is no doubt that the apostles of the Lord were believing people even before the day of Pentecost (on which they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance). It is true that after Jesus had prayed to God in the Garden of Gethsemane, all the apostles stumbled on account of Jesus for they forsook Jesus and fled, and particularly Peter denied the Lord three times (but after a little while he repented of his sin), and it is also true that at first they did not believe that the women had seen Jesus alive after His resurrection, but we know that afterward they all believed in the resurrection of Jesus. Now, as for the apostles of the Lord, those who affirm that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a post conversion baptism say that in the case of the apostles they actually did not receive the Holy Spirit before the day of Pentecost for the Holy Spirit had not yet been sent for Jesus had not yet been glorified, therefore the example of the apostles cannot be cited to show that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a post conversion baptism. I agree with them when they say that the Holy Spirit had not yet been given for Jesus had not yet been glorified, but I cannot agree with them totally when they affirm that before the day of Pentecost the apostles of the Lord did not receive the Holy Spirit, for according to the apostle John when Jesus appeared to the apostles after His resurrection He said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22 – NKJV), thus the apostles had the Holy Spirit before the day of Pentecost. Obviously they had just a measure of the Spirit, and not the fullness of the Spirit for they received the fullness of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, that is, when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit. That is a very important thing I want to underline for it nullifies the arguments of those brothers who do not believe that the baptism with the Spirit is a post conversion baptism. For if the apostles received the Holy Spirit when Jesus (three days after His death) said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit”, what did they receive on the day of Pentecost? Did they receive again the Holy Spirit? Of course, they did, but on that occasion, as I said before, they received the fullness of the Holy Spirit which they had not yet experienced. In other words, on the day of Pentecost the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit. Therefore why should one be surprised at hearing that when one believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus he receives a measure of the Spirit, and afterward when he is baptized with the Holy Spirit he is filled with the Spirit? If a similar thing happened to the apostles, why then should one be offended at hearing that there is a difference between the reception of the Holy Spirit at the time of one’s regeneration and the reception of the Holy Spirit at the time of the infilling of the Holy Spirit? So the example of the apostles, who received a measure of the Spirit when Jesus appeared to them and they were baptized with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, on which day the promise of the Father was fulfilled, is an irrefutable proof that there is a difference between the reception of the Spirit which takes place when one believes, and the reception of the Spirit which takes place afterward when one is baptized with the Holy Spirit. In the former case one receives a measure of the Spirit, but he is not endued with power from on high, nor does he begin to speak in tongues; while in the latter case one is filled with the Spirit, endued with power from on high and he begins to speak in other tongues.

 

The believers of Samaria were baptized with the Holy Spirit after they believed in the Lord

 

The Scripture says that the people of Samaria believed Philip as he preached to them the good news of the kingdom of God, and they were baptized (cf. Acts 8:12). Now there is no doubt that they really believed, thus they were born of God for one is born again when he believes in the Gospel. However, the Scripture says also that the apostles in Jerusalem sent Peter and John to the Samaritans, that they might pray for them and they might receive the Holy Spirit. Why had they not received the Holy Spirit yet? Because Philip, the evangelist, did not have the power to lay hands on believers so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Some assert that the people of Samaria had not yet really believed in the Gospel, but that’s not true for the Scripture clearly affirms that they believed and they received the Word of God (cf. Acts 8:12,14), and thus Philip baptized them. How could Philip have baptized unbelieving people? Was he not a man of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom? It is unthinkable that he baptized people who had not really believed. On the other hand the Scripture says that the people of Samaria believed, so we are bound to believe that they believed in the Gospel. Therefore they became children of God when they believed Philip, and consequently they also received a certain measure of the Spirit, through whom they could affirm they were children of God. However when Peter and John had prayed for them they received the fullness of the Spirit, that is to say, they were filled with the Holy Spirit just as the apostles were filled on the day of Pentecost. Furthermore the fact that the apostles prayed for those believers indicates that there are some brothers that have received a specific gift from God, that is, the power to lay hands on believers so that they may receive the Holy Spirit. For Peter, when he spoke to Simon of the power of laying hands on believers so that they might receive the Holy Spirit, - that he and John had received from God - called it “the gift of God” (Acts 8:20 – NKJV).

 

The disciples from Ephesus were baptized with the Holy Spirit after they believed in the Lord

 

Luke says: “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.” (Acts 19:1-7).

Now, were those disciples Paul met at Ephesus true believers? Of course they were, for the fist question Paul put to them was: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” If Paul had not regarded them as true believers, he would not have used the verb ‘to believe.’ Let me ask you a question. If you meet a believer and you want to know whether he has been baptized in water or not, will you not ask him, ‘Have you been baptized in water since you believed?’ Of course, you will! Why? For you know that he is a true believer. So if Paul put that question to those disciples that means that he knew that they were true believers, that is to say, he knew that they had believed that Jesus was the Christ. It is true that when Paul met them they had not yet received the Holy Spirit, however by ‘the Holy Spirit’ Paul meant the baptism with the Holy Spirit, which is a baptism that does not save but imparts power to the recipients, and not the measure of Spirit which is received by every believer at the time of his regeneration.

Now, you, who do not accept the baptism with the Holy Spirit as a post conversion experience, may say to me, ‘The Bible I use reads: ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed”! Well, that passage was not translated correctly. However, let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the correct translation is ‘when you believed’ and not ‘since ye believed’, I ask you, ‘If Paul believed that the reception of the Holy Spirit takes place when one believes why did he ask them that question?’ Don’t you think that it is logical to think that if Paul had believed what you also believe – that is, that the reception of the Holy Spirit takes place when one believes - he would have refrained from asking them that question? Let me ask you this, ‘Would you ask a believer this question, ‘Did you receive eternal life when you believed?’ or ‘Did you receive remission of sins when you believed?’ I am sure your answer is, ‘Of course not!’. Why? Because there is no need to ask such questions to believers for you know that they have already remission of sins and eternal life by their faith. Why then should Paul have asked those believers if they had received something that they already had? In the light of what I have just said, then, it is evident that the correct translation of those words is, ‘Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?’

Maybe some of you will say to me then, ‘Well, the case of those disciples at Ephesus was an exceptional case, but usually believers received the Holy Spirit when they believed!’ Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that you are right in saying that in those days believers usually received the Holy Spirit when they believed, it is still true that when Paul laid his hands on those believers they began to speak with other tongues, so it follows that if you say that believers usually received the Holy Spirit (or were baptized with the Holy Spirit) when they believed you should say also that when believers received the Holy Spirit they began to speak with other tongues; why don’t you affirm then that speaking with tongues still accompanies the reception of the Holy Spirit? Why don’t speaking with tongues accompany the reception of the Holy Spirit? It is evident, therefore, that you are wrong in saying that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is received when one believes and it is not accompanied with speaking in tongues. For this event, which has been recorded by Luke in the book of the Acts of the apostles, clearly shows that in the days of the apostles believers received the Holy Spirit after they believed, and it shows also that speaking with tongues accompanied the reception of the Holy Spirit.

 

 

 

Back