Category: Pentecostalism

“Baptism in the Holy Spirit” – a separate stage of salvation?

A key question in debates about the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ is whether this describes a separate stage of salvation or not.

Some have argued in the affirmative.  For instance, Pentecostal leader Ralph Riggs asserted that:-

The baptism with the Spirit is a work of the Holy Spirit distinct from and subsequent and additional to His regeneration work. A man may be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Prophets today?

‘Christ,’ says Paul in his Letter to the Ephesians (Eph 4:11f), ‘gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.’

Most Christian teachers would agree that the office of apostle was limited to those who were the first witnesses of Christ’s resurrection.  On the other hand, they would take it for granted that evangelists and pastor-teachers are found in every era and place.

Pentecostalism, baptism in the Spirit and revival

The 20th century was marked by the emergence of a cluster of renewal movements, including the Pentecostal movement, the neo-Pentecostal (charismatic) movement, and the restorationist (‘house-church’) movement.  There is no denying the vitality and appeal of these developments.  But an important question presents itself to the student of revivals.  It is this:  To what extent, if at all, do these movements represent genuine revivals?

A number of popular writers on revival stride unswervingly through this issue by including accounts of such-like movements among their descriptions of revival, without pausing to consider whether this is a proper thing to do. 

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The term ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ is used by Pentecostalists and some charismatics to refer to a ‘second blessing’ of the Christian subsequent to the experience of conversion.  It is seen as a full reception of, or release by, the Holy Spirit, issuing in the exercise of any of a number of ‘spiritual gifts’ including, for many, the gift of tongues.

This understanding is attended by a number of problems.

1.  The expression ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ (or something similar) occurs some seven times in the New Testament. …