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A Little Ocean Ambiance
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Doctrinal Writings
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Meaning of
"Baptism of the Spirit"

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Dr. Richard C. Weeks

INTRODUCTION- four possible main objects:

1. Regeneration

2. Sanctification

3. Accreditation

4. Power to Witness

I. If by connecting the Baptism of the Spirit with I Cor. 12:13. one interprets it to mean regeneration, several arguments that refute this are in order.

  • a. The disciples, and others of the 120 in upper room who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, were already believers regenerated. They did not need to be regenerated again.

  • B. In Acts 8:12-17, the Samaritans had already been converted under the ministry of Philip before Peter and John came down to Samaria and the Samaritans received (were baptized unto the Holy Spirit ) by Peter and John's ministry the baptism of the Spirit. Cf. 1Q:45-7 & 11:16-7.

  • c. The "body of Christ" is to be conceived of either collectively as all the churches of Christ or as separate local churches. These two concepts can be interwoven. I Cor. 12: 13, I believe, is the collective sense looking back to Pentecost and Apostolic times where the Baptism of the Spirit imparted temporary gifts. I Cor. 12:25-8 plainly speaks of the local church at Corinth for verse 26 could not refer to an invisible, universal church.

  • d. Pentecostalists are quick to point out that in the N. T. it is quite plain this manifestation only came upon individuals who were already regenerated.

II. That the Baptism of the Spirit did not automatically bring sanctification, but simply assisted sanctification as a potential, is evident from several considerations.

  • a. Christians are many times urged in scripture to a continuous and repeated filling of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of sanctifying grace. Eph. 5:18, Romans 5:5

  • b. That the Spirit Baptism "gifts" did not necessarily confer sanctifying influence is plainest in the Corinthian church, which had many of the "gifts", but was rebuked by Paul more than any other church for its lack of holiness and its tacit condoning of immorality. I Cor.3:3, 11:18-22, 5:1-2.

III. The object of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was primarily for accreditation. This is demonstrable by several considerations of positive Scriptural evidence.

  • a.The coming of the Holy Spirit to abide within the Christian which was inaugurated at the Pentecostal Baptism is not to be confused with the temporary work and historical event of the accrediting Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They were two separate results of the Holy Spirit's coming.

  • b. The Baptism of the Spirit was primarily for accrediting or validating the Gospel ministry and message. This was absolutely necessary especially as far as the Jews were concerned. They were a people who, because of their Old Testament background, demanded signs for accrediting a message and ministry as coming from God. At least part of the "power" for ministry promised by Christ was that of a visible supernatural power which would validate their ministry and enable them to have a more efficient witness to Him. That this validation, certification, attesting, or accreditation happened, the book of Acts gives abundant and irrefutable evidence. Cf. Heb. 2:3-4, Acts 5:12, 6:8, 14:3, 19:6, 11, Romans 15:18-19.

  • c. Christ promised these signs and gifts just prior to His ascension. Mark 16:15-20, esp. verse 20, speaks of "confirming the word" or accrediting the message and the messenger.

  • d. The most prominent gift poured out on a good number was the gift of tongues, (Languages). First at Pentecost and later with other select groups and people, this sign or accrediting gift was given. Acts 11:16-17, cf. with Acts 10:45-46, makes it very specific that the gift of tongues was a most prominent gift of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the signs and gifts were multiple as Hebrews 2:4 indicates. Cf. Acts 6:8, 8:6, 14:3, 19:6, 11, I Cor. 12:1, 4-11.

  • e. If the question be asked why this accrediting work of the Spirit was termed a "baptism" in the Holy Spirit, we would reply that the Scripture is not explicit at this point for God's own sufficient reason. However, we would infer that it describes, as Carroll states, the submersion into the complete power and working of the Holy Spirit who does these signs and wonders through the person that He has come upon in this unusual way. While the Holy Spirit in one sense was the agent in the Spirit baptism, so also was Christ the agent as Mt. 3:11 points out and the Holy Spirit was the element in which the believer was immersed as Acts 1:5 points out.

  • f. That the Gospel message, messengers and the church as God's new agency needed signs for accreditation is very clear. The Gospel and its working instrument, the church, without this accrediting could never expect to have had a hearing before the Jews, so radically different was God's purpose in breaking down the distinction between Jew and Gentile and making of the redeemed into one new people. This is the entire basis of Peter's report to the church at Jerusalem, Acts 11:12-18, and likely the reasons why the Baptism of the Spirit did not come to the Samaritans until Peter and John arrived. Acts 8:14-17. This is also why Jews at such large important cities as Corinth and Ephesus were allowed of God to witness similar examples of accreditation of the message and reception of Gentiles by God in a similar Baptism of the Spirit.

  • g. That the speaking in tongues did have a purpose of attesting that God through the Holy Spirit was accrediting, i. e. testifying to the world of His new work, the church, no one can rightly deny. This was done. The only questions that remain are: Do we correctly identify the Biblical phrase "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" with that attesting work? And secondly, is that work of accrediting the new organism - the church - of sufficient importance to justify calling it the Baptism of the Holy Spirit without trying to weave several other features into that operation so designated? I affirm that both above questions are rightfully answered in the affirmative.

  • h. A. C. Gabelein, whose view of the church seems to be almost blinded to the extent of seeing in Acts only a universal invisible body, as the church which Jesus formed, does say plainly, (Page 42, Acts of the Apostles) "It is therefore clear that the speaking in tongues was neither a universal nor a permanent gift, and that it appeared only in these three cases for a sign." But as Carroll points out, (Page 59, An Interpretation of the English Bible, Acts volume), "A sign is not to sanctify the one who exhibits it, but to accredit him. God gave Moses signs to show unto Pharaoh. The object of these signs to Pharoah was not to make Moses better but to accredit him before Pharaoh as a messenger of God. " Paul in I Cor. 14:22 states plainly, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not. " The Jewish observers and Gentile observers were unbelievers. The one exception was that some of the Jerusalem church Christians needed to see Samaritan and Gentile Christians receiving the sign miracles of the Baptism of the Spirit in order to welcome them on equal footing in God's new dispensation.

IV. That power to witness was "a" main if not "the" main purpose of the new manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is plain from Acts 1:8. The special miraculous sign gifts of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit undoubtedly made witnessing much easier. Their miraculous manifestation brought startled and almost breathless attention to the message of the Christians. The endowment of the gifts must have greatly encouraged and strengthened Christians in witnessing for Christ. However, we are yet justified in keeping separate the new indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that will empower witnessing to the end of the age for all Christians, (John 14:16-17, Mt. 28: 18-20) and the special sign gifts known as the Baptism of the Spirit which was for the temporary purpose of accrediting the new message and the new agency, the church. The sign gifts of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit were not necessary to be continued permanently, but ceased when the attestation was sufficient in the mind and plan of God.


  • The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost did result in a new relationship of the Holy Spirit to the child of God. From that time on the Holy Spirit was to indwell every Christian, with also the potential of every Christian being filled with the Spirit. (John 14:16-17).

  • 2. Another converging result of the Holy Spirit's unique coming was the Baptism of the Spirit by which the Holy Spirit came upon certain Christians with miracle or sign "gifts". These were used to accredit the Christian gospel message as being the truth and revelation of God. This was to be a temporary phenomenon (I Cor. 13: 8) so that the work or experience entitled Baptism "of" or "in" the Holy Spirit does not exist today.

  • 3. To put it another way, the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit or His indwelling. The Baptism of the Spirit was the dispensing of the "gifts" (Plural) of the Holy Spirit to some early Christians after God had dispensed to them the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit. In other words the Gift (capital "G") of the Holy Spirit is the coming of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, while the "gifts" (small "g") of the Holy Spirit are the accrediting gifts of the Holy Spirit and usually that of tongues. God's Gift was the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit's attesting gifts were sign gifts, that is miracles that involved as one of them the gift of tongues.

A Testimony to Dr Weeks by Pastor Montgomery
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