|Mercy Street Church of Christ
The baptism of the Spirit...
The teaching of the Pentecostal churches, and of many
people in the charismatic or neo-pentecostal movement, is
that we receive the 'gift' of the Spirit when we first
believe, but then need a second and subsequent experience
called the 'baptism' of the Spirit, usually evidenced by
'speaking in tongues'. What the New Testament teaches,
however, is not a stereotype of two stages, but rather the
initial blessing of regeneration by the Spirit, followed by
a process of growth into maturity, during which we may
indeed be granted many deeper and richer experiences of
God. These often bring a fresh experience of the reality
of God and a more vivid awareness of his love. But they
should not be called 'the baptism of the Spirit'. The
expression to be 'baptized with the Spirit' occurs only
seven times in the New Testament. Six of them are
quotations of John the Baptist's words 'I baptize with
water, but he will baptize with the Spirit', a promise
which was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. The seventh
(1 Cor. 12:13) emphasizes that all of us have been
'baptized' with the Spirit and been made to 'drink' of the
Spirit - two graphic pictures of our having received him.
grace and peace to you,
For Mercy Street Ministries, I'm Stan Baldwin.
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