PRMI was founded by 5 Presbyterian pastors who experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Since 1991, we have taught that the gateway to empowered ministry is for you to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Since we are anchored in the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition of the church, we get questions like these on a regular basis:
- 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.
The Empowering Work of the Holy Spirit
In the Institutes of Christian Religion, John Calvin clearly taught on the role of the Holy Spirit in making real the work of Jesus Christ in the lives of believers and equipping them for ministry.
Over the last 150 years, other teachers in the Presbyterian and Reformed branch of the Christian family have embodied this teaching on the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. For example:
- Ashbel Green Simonton (Presbyterian missionary and founder of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil),
- R.A. Torrey,
- D.L. Moody and
- R.A. (Archer) Torey III (founder of Jesus Abbey in Korea, and my mentor).
They all affirm that the empowering work of the Holy Spirit is essential if we are to have a part in fulfilling the Great Commission given to us by Jesus Christ.
The influence of R.A. Torrey and Archer Torrey on PRMI
For PRMI, R.A. Torrey and Archer Torrey have provided the clearest biblical teaching on the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Their understanding of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is most consistent with what Jesus intended when He gave us this promise in Acts 1:4‐5.
When I was in high school in Korea and later serving as a missionary in Korea and Taiwan, I was adopted into the Torrey family and over the years received from Archer the teaching on the Holy Spirit.
Archer Torrey, the grandson of R.A. Torrey, personally mentored me.
In 1975 Archer and Jane Torrey laid hands on me and I was baptized with the Holy Spirit.
In 1991 Archer Torrey joined me in providing the teaching on the work of the Holy Spirit at the first Gateways to Empowered Ministry course at Lake George, NY.
From that time, the Dunamis Project teaching has been conducted in a number of locations around the world with thousands of participants being equipped for ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Inward and Outward Works
The best summary of what the Bible teaches on the baptism with the Holy Spirit is from Archer Torrey and R.A. Torrey.
Archer Torrey, (R.A. Torrey’s great grandson), clearly articulated the overall biblical framework for understanding the working of the Holy Spirit.
He showed that there are two great motifs or sets of symbols used in the Bible to describe the working of the Holy Spirit: the inward and outward work of the Holy Spirit
External Work of the Spirit: Empowerment
The Bible consistently distinguishes between the external and internal work of the Holy Spirit . . .
The Holy Spirit upon us, or with us, anointing us, or moving us, or leading us, is like the tools which a team of carpenters has to have for its work, but which tells us nothing about the inner attitudes or character of those who use them. This has to do with power.—Archer Torrey.
The baptism with the Holy Spirit belongs to what Archer Torrey calls the “external” work of the Spirit: the empowering, gift‐giving, equipping work of the Holy Spirit.
Internal Work: Justification, Sanctification
When the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit in terms which make it clear that the Holy Spirit is in one’s inner being, then it also speaks of salvation, of character, of fruit‐bearing, of life, of wisdom to know God’s will, and the will to do it.”—Archer Torrey.
This is the internal work of the Holy Spirit.
What to do with the mix of biblical terms for Baptism with the Holy Spirit?
In Scripture, it gets even more complicated with a variety of terms for the external work of the Spirit.
- “Baptized with the Holy Spirit”
- “Filled with the Holy Spirit”
- “The Holy Ghost fell on them”
- “The gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out”
- “Receive the Holy Ghost, I send the promise of my Father upon you”
- “Endued with power from on high”
We now look into what R.A. Torrey had to write about this list of terms.
“Baptized with the Holy Spirit,” “Filled with the Holy Spirit,” “The Holy Ghost fell on them,” “The gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out,” “Receive the Holy Ghost,” “I send the promise of my Father upon you,” “Endued with power from on high,” are used in the New Testament to describe one and the same experience.R.A Torrey, What the Bible Teaches About the Holy Spirit (New York: Revell, 1898), pp. 270-271.
This “one and the same experience” is the empowering work of the Holy Spirit, which is described by the Holy Spirit falling upon us as in Acts 1:8.
This is a continuation into the New Testament and into the present of the Old Testament work of the Spirit of Yahweh falling upon people to empower them for action.
“Again it is evident that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is an operation of the Holy Spirit distinct from and additional to His regenerating work. A man (person) may be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and still not be baptized with the Holy Spirit….
In regeneration there is the impartation of life by the Spirit’s power, and the one who receives it is saved; “in the baptism with the Holy Spirit, there is the impartation of power, and the one who receives it is fitted for service.”Torrey, Person and Work p. 150.
This statement clearly distinguishes between the work of sanctification (inward) and empowerment (external).
As Christians we need to grow in both of these inner and outward works of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
A Definite Experience
R.A. Torrey went on to observe that the baptism was a definite experience of which one may and ought to know whether he or she has received it or not. (What the Bible Teaches pg. 270. )
The important thing here is that this baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a doctrine that we simply accept as true and biblical.
It is is something that God actually does in a person’s life that has objectively verifiable results.
In the case of the baptism with the Holy Spirit one will become a more effective witness to Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:8)
Tongues is not the only sign
Finally Torrey insists that we should not see tongues as the only sign!
“The specific manifestations of the baptism with the Holy Spirit are not precisely the same in all persons.” Ibid. 274.
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.
I know that “Baptism with the Holy Spirit” is a controversial term that has caused a lot of misunderstanding and division.
In our teaching in the Dunamis Project, we use “baptism with the Holy Spirit” term to describe the initiation into the empowering work of the Holy Spirit because that is the term that Jesus Christ used.
Receiving the Power
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 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, get on your knees and pray to receive all that Jesus wants to give you so you may be His witness.
- The Walk of Prayer: Fulfilling Acts 1:8 Today.
- Book: Receiving the Power
- Gateways to Empowered Ministry (Dunamis Project 1) that give the careful biblical and theological framework for understanding what Jesus really means when he gives us this promise.
- Dunamis Video Course 1: Gateways to Empowered Ministry
- Video Course: Introduction to the Holy Spirit
PS: I love the picture here of R.A. Torrey preaching at The Albert Hall in London.
The Torrey-Alexander mission was conducted for five months. Twice a day, the Hall was packed out with many turned away or having to go to other meetings.
R.A. Torrey’s two themes in the afternoons were the power of prayer and the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Evenings were evangelistic services in which thousands accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Charles Alexander was to R.A. Torrey what George Beverly Shea was to Dr. Billy Graham: A powerful anointed evangelistic vocalist who was used to bring people to faith and to commitment.