Charismatic Movement - Doctrinal Issues 17-22
17. What is Spirit baptism?
"The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a definite, personal experience subsequent to salvation and confirmed to the believer with the evidence of speaking in a new language or tongue supernaturally as the Holy Spirit gives utterance." [From a Charismatic tract written by Dr. Hobart Freeman and published by Faith Ministries & Publications.]
"The baptism of the Holy Spirit as a separate, distinct experience subsequent to salvation, providing enduement of power for life and service, accompanied by speaking in tongues." [From the doctrinal statement of the Rock Church (the name of certain charismatic churches in Connecticut and perhaps elsewhere).]
The Biblical Answer:
"For by one Spirit are [were--past tense] we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Spirit baptism is that supernatural work of God whereby the believer is immersed or placed into the body of Christ which is the Church. This baptism was predicted by John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11 (Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16) and by the Lord Himself (Acts 1:5). It first took place on the Day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), the day the Church began (Acts 11:15-17). It takes place today whenever a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is important to note that 1 Corinthians 12:13 is a fact to believe, not a command to obey. It is something that God has done, not something that the believer is to do. God never commands the believer to be baptized in the Spirit or to seek this baptism.
It is important to note that many fine believers of the past have confused the FILLING of the Spirit with the BAPTISM of the Spirit (R.A.Torrey is one example out of many). See our paper entitled, The Filling and Baptism of the Spirit (A Chart), 5¢.
18. When does Spirit baptism take place?
Charismatic Answer: "subsequent to salvation" (see quotes under #17). If it happens after salvation, then this means a person could be saved who has not yet had this experience of Spirit baptism.
Biblical Answer: The moment a person is saved.
Paul told the Corinthians that they ALL had been baptized into the body. This baptism is something that is true for every believer and thus it must have taken place at the point of salvation.
It is interesting to note that the charismatic movement says "ALL" when God says "NOT ALL" (1 Cor. 12:30--NOT ALL speak in tongues) and the charismatic movement says "NOT ALL" when God says "ALL" (ALL believers have been baptized into the body).
19. Who has been Spirit baptized? Have you had this baptism?
Charismatic Answer: Only those Christians who have had the "Pentecostal" experience of speaking in tongues.
Biblical Answer: "ALL" (1 Corinthians 12:13). You cannot be a member of Christ's CHURCH apart from this baptism! It is the only way to gain entrance into His Body!
20. Must a person "tarry" for the Holy Spirit?
The tarrying experience, as often practiced in Charismatic circles today, is described as follows:
The tarrying procedure for seeking tongues goes like this: Following the sermon, the preacher invites those who want the tongues experience to come to the altar and kneel. Then those who already have received this experience join the seekers to pray with them and offer help and advice. In a relatively short time, some of the seekers begin talking in tongues. For others, it is a much longer ordeal. In an evening service, it is not unusual for seekers to pray until after midnight, even though few of the "altar workers" may remain. And if a seekers doesn't succeed on this particular night, he is encouraged to keep trying. I tarried many nights; I spent many hours in prayer at altars but no matter how long I prayed, I went without success. [Wayne A. Robinson, I Once Spoke in Tongues, pages 37-38.]
Biblical tarrying is quite different. It is found in only two passages:
"And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but TARRY ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).
"And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but WAIT [tarry--same word as in Luke 24:49] for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me" (Acts 1:4).
The word TARRY simply means to WAIT. Prior to Pentecost the disciples were told to WAIT for the promise of the Spirit. Once He came on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) the waiting period was over. In the Bible we find no command to wait or tarry for the Holy Spirit after Pentecost.
Suppose you go to the airport to wait for the arrival of certain family members whom you love. You may wait for some time at the airport, but once the plane arrives the waiting time is over. Your loved ones have come and it is time to enjoy their presence. So also, the Comforter has come. How foolish to wait for Him to come if He has already come! Let us enjoy His blessed Person and Presence and Power (Acts 1:8).
21. What must a person do in order to receive the Spirit?
Charismatic Answer: The person must tarry and pray and sometimes go through a long ordeal, and if not successful, try, try, try again (see quote under #20 describing the "tarrying" procedure).
Biblical Answer: John 7:38-39 Those who BELIEVE are those who RECEIVE the Spirit!
Galatians 3:2--"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law (tarrying, praying, going through an ordeal, trying, etc.), or by the hearing of faith?" The obvious answer is "by the hearing of faith." It is not the result of fleshly effort. It is the result of simple faith in the Saviour.
22. What is the Holy Spirit's primary ministry and function?
"But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me" (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit's ministry is to testify or bear witness of Christ, to point to Christ. The Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself, but to the Lord Jesus.
What do you see in the illustration above? Your first response would probably be to say, "A turtle!" But actually it is an arrow and a turtle. The arrow does not want to be seen. The arrow merely bears witness to the turtle and points to the turtle. The arrow is a witness. It draws attention away from itself and wants you to focus on the turtle.
The Spirit of God bears witness of Christ. He wants us to see Him and Him alone. When the Holy Spirit is at work in an assembly of believers, Christ will be exalted and magnified. If the main focus is on the Holy Spirit, then something is wrong. The Holy Spirit does not promote Himself.
"He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16:14). The main ministry of God the Holy Spirit is to GLORIFY THE SON. When the Spirit of God is at work in my life, what will be the result? The Lord Jesus Christ will become more precious to me and so will His Word, the Bible. The Spirit-filled person is the person who is filled with Christ--occupied with Him, delighted in Him, rejoicing in Him, resting in Him, trusting in Him. The Spirit of God's ministry is to make believers more and more Christ-like: "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed [are constantly being changed] into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18).
Go to the following chapter
Back to Main Index for the Charismatic Movement--35 Doctrinal Issues
The Middletown Bible Church
|More articles under Doctrinal Studies|