Some of the comments that I have received in response to my article in which I have used the term “Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

  • Are you “Pentecostal?”
  • Are you “Charismatic?”
  • Are you insisting that we all have to speak in tongues?
  • Why are you teaching on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit?  That is so divisive!

These questions deserve a good answer.

I know that “Baptism with the Holy Spirit” is a controversial term that has caused a lot of misunderstanding and division.

I have decided to use this term to describe the initiation into the empowering work of the Holy Spirit because that is the term that Jesus Christ used.

El Greco’s Pentecost, the Holy Spirit falling upon Jesus’ first disciples.
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El Greco’s Pentecost, the Holy Spirit falling upon Jesus’ first disciples

This picture by El Greco captures well the Pentecost event when the first disciples were initiated into the empowering work of the Holy Spirit so that they could be equipped to be witnesses to Jesus Christ.

Two Historical Views on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Over the last hundred years there have been two ways of explaining the meaning of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit: the Holiness Pentecostal view and, often in reaction against this view, the Evangelical view.

The Holiness Pentecostal teaching adds to Jesus’ meaning such concepts as “entire sanctification,” a “second blessing,” and the “initial evidence of speaking in tongues.”

The Evangelical approach, which is found in John Stott’s book on the Baptism and Fullness, says that to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is when one is converted to faith in Jesus Christ and born again.

Our view on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Neither of these views is consistent with what Jesus means when He gives us this extraordinary promise that we will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

If you want to know what Jesus meant you need to look no further than Acts 1:8 in which the verses Acts 1:4-5 are explained.

Jesus defines the meaning of His promise of the baptism given in Acts 1:4-­5 with Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The baptism with the Holy Spirit is the essential preparation offered to all of us by Jesus Christ for working with Him in doing ministry, growing the Church and fulfilling the Great Commission.

If the Church is to truly be empowered to accomplish its mission of witnessing to Jesus Christ in our world today, it is essential for us to get past these old controversies and receive the empowering that Jesus Christ has promised us that is needed to do his work.

Without this equipping in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit we are no match for embodiments of human sin much less the “…rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

For the sake of the Kingdom of God and for all those who have not yet received the grace, love and salvation in Jesus Christ, this Pentecost get past your objections and get on your knees and pray to receive all that Jesus wants to give you so you may be His witness.

The following is a brief video titled “Getting Past The Blocks To Pentecost”.

Additional Resources

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