Our ministry 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 in the Holy Spirit.
But over the last century of Christian history, particularly in the United States, we’ve seen confusion over just what is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Since we are in anchored in the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition of the church, we get questions like this 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.
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.
Two views of Spirit-baptism
Over the last hundred years there have been many ways of explaining the meaning of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.
I want to lift up two:
- The Holiness Pentecostal view
- the Evangelical view.
There are more views among charismatics, evangelicals, pentecostals, but allow me to look briefly into these two.
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.
We see a different way of looking at Spirit Baptism.
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.
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.