"Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part One

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:34 a.m.

I wanted to continue the discussion on the Holy Spirit which began a couple of weeks ago. Kevin posted a three part study on "Receiving the Holy Spirit" after Merrit got the ball rolling with this comment...

Merrit said:

"I believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience separate from salvation. All believers receive the Holy Spirit at their new birth, but scripture seems to indicate that their is an anointing, infilling, empowering, baptism (or whatever you like to call it) of the Holy Spirit that can only occur to people who are saved already"

Kevin disagreed with this statement and gave reasons for doing so. I'll follow Kevin's format and deal with the same scriptures so that the argument can be easily compared.

First of all, I agree with Merrit's statement with the following qualifier (I believe Merrit would also agree with this.):

I think that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an experience *subsequent* to salvation and not *separate* from salvation.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is contingent upon the salvation experience having occurred. In other words, one cannot be baptized in the Holy Spirit without being saved. All claims to the contrary are false. These false experiences are a direct result of Satan's work and any attempt to yoke these false experiences with the Holy Spirit are deliberate attempts by Satan to malign the true experience of the Holy Spirit.

Kevin then comes to the "fundamental question":

"Do these passages (Acts 8 and 19) use "receiving the Spirit" to refer to a salvation experience, or to an experience that comes subsequent to salvation?"

Kevin takes the position that receiving the Spirit is a salvation experience.

I take the opposite view for the following reasons:

The language used in the Acts 8 passage shows a chronological progression.

1) They believed the gospel of Jesus Christ--which makes them Christians.

2) They are baptized-- which confirms that they were now believers.

3) They, afterwards, received the Holy Spirit. This happened, not when they were saved, but after believing and then being baptized.

The language used in Acts 19 shows the same progression. They believed, were baptized, and then afterwards, the Holy Spirit came upon them.

There are other passages where water baptism occurred after the Holy Spirit baptism, but in no example does water baptism or Spirit baptism occur before the believing process.

--- John 7:37-39

... Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.'" But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. ---

Concerning this verse, Kevin says:

"I think this describes the experience of any saved person after Pentecost. It says "He who believes in me" and "those who believed in Him", emphasizing that this is the common privilege of all believers. "

I agree, it should be noted that every saved person is entitled to receive the promise of the Holy Spirit baptism. No saved person is excluded. The Holy Spirit isn't reserved for those who have attained "super-saint" status.

Kevin continues:

"It connects the receiving of the Spirit with living water, which I take to be related to having eternal life."

Definitely "related," but I would contend it's not "equated".

Kevin states: (Still referring to the Jn 20 passages)

"At the same time, it explicitly clarifies the distinction between what was true of believers before and after the glorification of Jesus, i.e., before and after Pentecost. It seems to view Pentecost as the watershed event between two different ways in which the Holy Spirit deals with believers. The emphasis is on the Spirit's ability to quench our spiritual thirst (more than, say, on spiritual power). "

Pentecost was definitely a watershed event with reference to the way the Holy Spirit related to believers, but let us be clear-- there were believers both before and after pentecost -- and as I hope to show, these believers, by virtue of being believers, were entitled to receive the promised Spirit.

I also don't understand why such an emphasis is placed upon the day of Pentecost being the transition between the Old Testament dispensation and the New Testament dispensation. The transition took place with the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was at that point that the new covenant was established. Certainly there were promises to be fulfilled (i.e. Spirit baptism, etc.) but to equate a "New Testament salvation" experience with the events on the day of Pentecost is taking things a little far (my opinion, of course!).

Even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that the day of Pentecost was the transition, it seems that much of the argument in favor of equating salvation with the receiving of the Holy Spirit depends on *not* making Acts 2 the day of transition! Acts 8 would be the transition for the Samaritans, Acts 10 for the gentiles, Acts 19 for the Ephesus believers, ad infinitum. In fact, if anyone wants to say that believers are not true believers until the Holy Spirit falls upon them then we have a major theological problem. Does salvation depend on something more than believing that "Jesus is the Christ"? Does one become a "true believer" only after they are presented with the gift of the Holy Spirit? If this is true, then those in Acts 8 and 19 cannot be referred to as true believers until after the act of receiving the Holy Spirit. In other words, if they needed another experience (in addition to their faith in Jesus Christ) to be considered true believers in the New Testament sense, then we'll need to apologize for opposing those groups that teach and believe that the only way to be saved, is to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues.

-- John 14:16-17

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. ---

Kevin says:

"Again it seems to be related to the basic salvation experience for all believers."

To which I would agree, "related" but not "equated."

--- John 20:21-23

Jesus therefore said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; but if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." ---

I agree with Kevin here, when he says:

"My current understanding is this: Jesus was giving a sort of a benediction or blessing."

--But I wouldn't be too dogmatic if someone offered a more plausable explanation.

--- Acts 2:38-39

And Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself." ---

Kevin summarizes:

"Peter says, in essence, "Repent, become followers of Christ, and you will receive the same Holy Spirit. This is being offered to you right now by Jesus.""

First of all it should be pointed out that the statement "shall receive the gift..." doesn't express the surety or determinative nature of the promise, but rather expresses the tense of the promise (grk. future tense). In other words, *after* repentance, and *after* baptism (which presupposes a lapse of time... go find a pool of water, etc.,) a future gift is promised, i.e. the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, this statement by Peter is made *after* the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the disciples... the promised Holy Spirit, had come! Now he begins to preach to those who were not believers, and he gives them the chronological pattern for receiving the Holy Spirit... first, become a believer, then you are eligible for receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Kevin says:

"In the context, [Acts 2:38-39] He is inviting them to participate in the outpouring of the Spirit which Jesus has given, by becoming followers of Christ."

True, but he makes it clear that the only way to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, is to first repent, and this leads naturally to an outward expression of that inward repentance--baptism. Now, as Kevin has pointed out, baptism doesn't save any one, but to be clear, it is a symbol of something that has occurred, namely, salvation. No one gets baptized and then receives Jesus. Becoming a Christian is obviously a prerequisite to water baptism. Becoming a Christian qualifies one for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Kevin summarizes part 1 of his note by saying:

"I am convinced the most straightforward way to read this is that receiving the Holy Spirit is offered to all in salvation --those who become followers of Jesus will receive it. The promise is for them all."

To the first phrase, and the last sentence, I say amen, but the middle statement cannot be absolutely true. The Holy Spirit is a gift. A gift must be received to be experienced. Like the gift of salvation, if it isn't received, it doesn't become a reality in one's life. One must appropriate the promise of Jn 3:16 before it will ever become an actuality. You don't wake up one morning and say, well, I'm saved, God promised the gift and it happened. No, it must be actively received. Even so, the gift of the Holy Spirit is an experience that must be actively received *subsequent* to salvation. While it can occur moments (even seconds) after believing, it nevertheless is *after* becoming a believer.

My position is, that when those Samaritans believed those things that Phillip taught concerning Christ, they were truly saved in the New Testament sense of the word. They then were able to receive the promised gift of the Holy Spirit.

Corrine (Merrit's wife) gives us food for thought when she says:

"...why not ask God for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues and see if it is separate? What better way to find out which is true? We are not issuing a challenge, just suggesting that if you completely yield yourself to God, He will show you and let you experience for yourself. I doesn't take the laying on of hands to receive it. Merritt's Mother did it on her own in private. The laying on of hands is just one way. What it really takes is faith to believe that God will give it to you. If you want it, it is yours. Take that step of faith."

Jesus says:

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13 KJV)

More in part 2 ...

William


"Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:36 a.m., in response to "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part One, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:34 a.m.

Continued from part 1.

--- Acts 10:44-47

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" ---

Kevin quotes the sense of Peter's words by saying:

"Peter says "how can we refuse water baptism for them now", since it has become clear that they must be saved, or they could never have been given the Holy Spirit."

My point exactly! But then Kevin makes the statement:

"Again, it seems most straightforward to see this as speaking of salvation itself."

Well, it is either one experience, or it is two, but it can't be both! (grin) Was the Holy Spirit given to confirm a salvation experience or was it the salvation experience?

Kevin then clarifies his meaning with this statement:

" Of course, I need to be clear -- Cornelius and the others, like the apostles before Pentecost, were probably already children of God, already saved (since he apparently trusted in the true God of Israel, even as a Gentile: see 10:2,4 etc) -- but only in an Old Testament sense. They hadn't yet heard the gospel, weren't yet indwelt by the Spirit of God."

I'm not convinced that they had not heard the gospel. Acts 10:37 says:

"That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judea..."

It seems very unlikely that they hadn't heard the gospel at this point. They may have questioned whether or not they were to be included, as they were gentiles, but surely they had heard the gospel. But even if it is admitted that they had not heard at this point in time, note verse 43 which says: "To Him give all the prophets witness [surely they read the prophets] that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins..."--- they certainly heard this, and their hearts must have cried out--"YES! WE BELIEVE!"

Kevin comments further:

"The fact that they spoke in tongues is mentioned as a parenthetical comment to explain how the others knew they'd received the Holy Spirit, since otherwise it would've been invisible. " And: "Clearly Cornelius et al were saved and filled with the Spirit before being baptized in water. "

I agree on both counts!

--- Romans 8:15-16

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. ---

Kevin says:

"This clearly points to salvation. Those who have received this Spirit are the true adopted children of God. The context supports this (v 9,14,17). Note the related phrases in the immediate context: being in the Spirit, having the Spirit dwell in you, having the Spirit of Christ, being led by the Spirit. "

But this misses an obvious point-- those to whom Paul is writing are assumed to have also received the Holy Spirit. The New Testament was written to born-again, Holy-Spirit-filled, believers. Today we have a situation where you mention the Holy Spirit baptism, and, in many cases, you are met with opposition from professing Christians. But in that time, whenever they ran across believers that had not received the promise of the Holy Spirit, they immediately corrected the situation (e.g. Acts 19).

--- 1 Corinthians 2:11-12

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God ... ---

Kevin:

" Paul says that since the Spirit in us is God's Spirit, He knows the mind of God as completely and fully as we know our own minds. We have God Himself thinking in us, and that is why we have the ability to perceive spiritual truth. There's no good reason not to assume this happens at salvation."

Again, it *should* happen at salvation-- or shortly thereafter. The gift of the Holy Spirit has been given and there are no good reasons why believers should not receive the gift immediately after receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.

--- Galatians 3:1-3, 13-14

You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?

... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law ... that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. ---

Kevin:

"Again, this refers to salvation. Receiving the Spirit is "having BEGUN by the Spirit", i.e., it refers to the very beginning of their Christian life. When he speaks of hearing with faith, in context he means hearing about Jesus' atoning death. He is saying that since we received salvation, with all its benefits including the indwelling Spirit by faith, having decided that our works would not suffice, it is foolish to switch back to a works-based approach afterwards. Verses 13 and 14 summarize the preceding arguments by emphasizing that through Christ Gentiles receive the opportunity of receiving the Spirit (i.e., salvation) through faith. "

Once again, this is written to those who have experienced salvation, *and* received the gift of the Holy Spirit. There is no excuse for a believer in Jesus Christ not to receive the Holy Spirit. Were it not for centuries of equating salvation with the gift of the Holy Spirit we wouldn't be talking about this issue now (in my opinion).

Kevin concludes part 2 with:

"SO ... except for Acts 8:14-17 and Acts 19:1-6, I would lean towards the idea that "receiving the Spirit" refers to what happens at salvation. Notice that at Pentecost and at Cornelius' house this happened to believers AFTER they were already faithful followers of God, they just hadn't entered into the experience of New-Testament-style salvation. "

Since Kevin has made much of the "New Testament-style of salvation," let me pose a question: Would modern day orthodox Jews fall into the category of those who are faithfully following God, and would it be reasonable to assume that their experience would mirror Acts 8 & 19, if they were presented the gospel? Would it be probable that they would become believers, and then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as a subsequent experience?

Since the New Testament presents a pattern, namely that salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit are presented as two experiences, and since there isn't clear evidence that this pattern has been overturned (other than presuppositions), isn't it reasonable to, at the very least, pose the question that Paul raises: Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?

More in part 3

William


"Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Three

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:37 a.m., in response to "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:36 a.m.

Continued from part 2.

Now for the "problem"[for those who equate the two experiences *grin*] passages:

--- Acts 18:24-19:6

Now a certain Jew named Apollos, ... came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures ... had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wanted to go across to Achaia ... he helped greatly those who had believed through grace, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. And it came about that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul ... came to Ephesus, and found some disciples, and he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. ---

Kevin:

"First, trace the chronology here. Apollos started at Ephesus, knowing "the way of the Lord" accurately, but only as far as it was concerning "the baptism of John"... In the meantime, Paul came back to Ephesus and found some disciples who only knew the things acquainted with the baptism of John. Now the passage doesn't spell it right out, but it's reasonable to assume that these disciples were the products of Apollos' ministry in Ephesus BEFORE he learned more of the truth about the Lord. "

I disagree with this assumption, due to the fact that Acts 18:24 says that Apollos "came to Ephesus" and then in vs 26 it says he "began to teach..." and in the same verse it says that Aquila and Priscilla when they heard him took him aside and enlightened him. There isn't any reason to assume that Apollos had been there long enough to gather a following of disciples and even if he had, he would have, no doubt, corrected any misconceptions that he had fostered (especially among an intimate group of his own disciples) before he left the area. It would have been his Christian responsibility to do so.

But the point is moot with regards to the question at hand--Is receiving the Holy Spirit synonymous with the salvation experience?-- because Acts 19:5 shows that they were "baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus" which means they were, at that point, saved believers. Then in verse 6, *after baptism* they received the Holy Spirit with the corresponding evidence.

Finally ...

--- Acts 8:14-17

Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. ---

I believe that the passage speaks for itself-- first salvation, (in the "New Testament sense") then a later experience of receiving the Holy Spirit.

Kevin then makes an interesting comment about the *way* they received the Holy Spirit:

"--it would mean that the only way Christians in the new area were able to receive the Holy Spirit in this deeper sense was through having the original missionaries personally lay hands on them. I don't think that's what William or Merritt or anyone else really believes, is it? "

Of course not. The Holy Spirit baptism has never been limited to the laying on of the hands of the apostles (although many teach this --which is a rather effective way of assuring that the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit wouldn't find its way out of the book of Acts!). No, the experience is not dependent upon the act of the laying on of hands, be it the apostles of the early church, or any minister today. Luke 11:11-13 says that one need only to ask the Father (which presupposes they are children, i.e. believers) for the Holy Spirit. That passage also assures us that He won't give a substitute, but the real thing!

"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" --Luke 11:11-13

Kevin: "None of us believes that we need certain special believers to come and pray for us to receive the Spirit in a deeper sense. "

Ahhh, common ground, once again!

Kevin: " Why did these people find themselves unable to receive the Spirit (in whatever sense it was meant) except when the apostles themselves came down and prayed for them? ... I think that verses like John 20:23, and Matthew 16:19 are referring (partially at least) to a special authority that God left in the hands of the church and specifically the twelve and possibly mainly Peter. I think that in the plan of God "the twelve" played a special role in the development of the church which was quite different from the role of other believers. This difference is really evident in the first few chapters of Acts, if you read it through looking for the differences that it points out between the apostles and the other believers. I think that God honored this setup by waiting until the apostles came to Samaria before He poured out the Holy Spirit there. Two chapters later Peter went to the house of a Gentile and God poured out the Spirit on Gentiles too. So the pattern seems to be that the twelve (mainly Peter) were the first to offer the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2), the first to confirm its offer to the Samaritans (Acts 8) and the first to offer it to the Gentiles (Acts 10)..."

But then in Acts 9 you've got a plain ol' disciple like Ananias, (after receiving a vision and hearing the voice of God) laying hands on one of the greatest apostles ever, (superseding even Peter! *wink*) and imparting the Holy Spirit-- setting into motion a ministry that is still rocking the earth!

Kevin concludes by saying: "OK ... anyway, that's essentially why I don't believe that Acts 8 and Acts 19 refer to a second blessing of the Holy Spirit that is separate from salvation. I realize that most of my arguments depend on nuances of interpretation in each of the passages. It's quite possible to go through every verse I quoted and interpret in a way that supports the second blessing doctrine. Most of those interpretations seem forced to me, but I suppose my interpretations could seem forced to some of you. All I can do is interpret each passage as naturally as possible, as I see it, trying to avoid reading my own presuppositions into it. "

William: *grin*

Kevin: "I also want to re-emphasize in closing that I in am in full agreement with the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I just happen to believe that any experience we have of it is grounded in something which actually took place when we were first saved. I realize that many times a Christian IN PRACTICE does not move into the full blessing available until later on in his life. "

Yes, I agree with that!

William


Ok... for the $20,000 Question!

Posted by joni on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 12:40 p.m., in response to "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Three, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:37 a.m.

I have a simple, but important question: According to your interpretation, how does a person know whether or not he has received the "gift of the Holy Spirit"?

Sincerely in Christ,
Joni


"What saith the Scriptures?"

Posted by William Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 4:27 p.m., in response to Ok... for the $20,000 Question!, posted by joni on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 12:40 p.m.

Joni, what saith the Scriptures? You'll know the same way the New Testament saints knew. Look to God's Word for the answers, not to yours or others' *experiences* (or church tradition!). The whole point of this discussion (at least on my part) is to limit it to what the Word says, not some subjective experience. Ask God. (He won't charge you $20,000! *grin*).

William


Will search, William! but for the time being...1 Cor 12:13

Posted by joni on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 5:15 p.m., in response to Ok... for the $20,000 Question!, posted by joni on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 12:40 p.m.


"For we were ALL baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were ALL given the one Spirit to drink."

Does that not mean ALL?

Notice the phrase, "BAPTIZED by one Spirit"--is it your opinion that Paul is speaking here of a SUBSEQUENT baptism? The context seems highly unlikely, in my opinion. Paul says we were "baptized" into the body of Christ. Didn't I become a member of the body of Christ at my conversion? So I must have been "baptized by the Spirit" at my conversion.

I will continue to study my bible and have enjoyed reading your posts. Have a great evening!

Sincerely in Christ,
Joni


1 Cor 12:13? The Corinthians definitely had the Holy Spirit!!

Posted by William Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 7:47 p.m., in response to Will search, William! but for the time being...1 Cor 12:13, posted by joni on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 5:15 p.m.

As I said to Kevin, the New Testament was written to born-again, Holy-Spirit-filled believers. (It's obvious that the Corinthians had the Holy Spirit!!)

I'm with Kevin when it comes to the "proof-text" method of arguing a point --it's a difficult thing to do; it's important to establish an overall pattern and not try to prove something merely on the basis of an isolated text.

If you will show me where my fundamental exegesis is flawed then it will be a true discussion and I'll understand the scriptural reasons behind your disagreement.

If after reading all of the above, you still feel the need to equate the two experiences, then there isn't much more that I can say to convince you. From reading your previous posts on this subject, I think you may have already made up your mind due to your past experiences. I agree with Merrit and Kevin in that this shouldn't be a divisive issue among Christians.

William


Actually, I said I WOULD search...

Posted by joni on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 7:08 a.m., in response to 1 Cor 12:13? The Corinthians definitely had the Holy Spirit!!, posted by William Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 7:47 p.m.

but was not free to do so yesterday, or prob. today, either.

Furthermore, I do take Kevin's position on some of the texts, and see no reason to repeat what he has already eloquently written.

I don't believe that Acts is completely normative for today, nor has it appeared to be for the past 1900 years. Do many people in your church get prayed for and then all suddenly receive the gift of speaking in different tongues at the same moment? Perhaps things like this do happen and I am unaware of it.

If I appear close minded, I am not. I am discerning, especially since I have already spoken in tongues before my conversion. Obviously, that was not the Holy Spirit's doing.

I have sincerely asked two questions for which I am in search of answers:

What is the difference between prayer language and tongues (and supporting scriptures, please?) I believe I indicated my reasons for asking. I am open to tongues, but I am not open to 40 people all speaking in tongues at the same time (nor did it appear that St. Paul was!!!). If it is ok for 40 people to pray in a *private* prayer language *publicly*, please show me what I am missing in scripture.

and

How do we know we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit (also supported by scripture!)?

If I appeared that I want to *argue* the point, I don't! That would be pointless since you have already made up your mind; however, I have not and am looking for answers!

Sincerely in the Father, the Son
and the Holy Spirit!

Joni


Theology --Based on Acts or 1900 years of Church History

Posted by William Eaton on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 7:44 a.m., in response to Actually, I said I WOULD search..., posted by joni on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 7:08 a.m.

Joni, my question would be why has the church not followed the pattern set forth in Acts and why would we base our theology on experiences (or lack of them) instead of the Eternal Word of God?

Concerning the other questions you mentioned...my time is limited and I have to measure my words and choose which discussions I can be involved in...others can surely jump in and respond (which they have in the past).

Personally, after you made the comment:

""I'm absolutely sure that the Lord has not called me to seek out this gift...""

I don't see how any further discussion on this with you can be fruitful, edifying, or glorifying to God.

William


Dear William,

Posted by joni on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 9:32 a.m., in response to Theology --Based on Acts or 1900 years of Church History, posted by William Eaton on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 7:44 a.m.

Yes, I agree, you and I shall have to discontinue this discussion.

My statement that you quoted was actually regarding tongues, not the baptism in the spirit, but perhaps you equate the two. I don't know.

Yes, tongues can be a divisive issue. I don't really understand why. If I had said that I was convinced the Lord had not given me the gift of healing or the gift of interpretation, I believe it would have been easier to have this discussion.

"All do not have gifts of healings, do they?
All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts." (NASB)

Warmest regards,

Joni


You are right...

Posted by William Eaton on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 10:03 a.m., in response to Dear William,, posted by joni on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 9:32 a.m.

> My statement that you quoted was actually regarding tongues, not the
> baptism in the spirit...

Right you are, Joni. My mistake. I apologize for reading that into your note. Thanks for clarifing what should have been clear already!

William


Re: "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two

Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 10:19 a.m., in response to "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:36 a.m.

Dear William,

I generally don't jump in on "these type" *grin* of discussions (I have seen them at times become very divisive and that is NEVER my intention), and I am only wanting to relate something from my "experience" that I thought was interesting.

From William's post: 'Kevin says: "This clearly points to salvation. Those who have received this Spirit are the true adopted children of God. The context supports this (v 9,14,17). Note the related phrases in the immediate context: being in the Spirit, having the Spirit dwell in you, having the Spirit of Christ, being led by the Spirit. "

But this misses an obvious point-- those to whom Paul is writing are assumed to have also received the Holy Spirit. The New Testament was written to born-again, Holy-Spirit-filled, believers. Today we have a situation where you mention the Holy Spirit baptism, and, in many cases, you are met with opposition from professing Christians. But in that time, whenever they ran across believers that had not received the promise of the Holy Spirit, they immediately corrected the situation (e.g. Acts 19).

--- 1 Corinthians 2:11-12

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God ... --- '

-----------

When I was a very young believer (less than 2 years old) I moved to West Virginia to teach. I became friends with a couple who were "Spirit-filled" (their term). Our friendship was based (and has continued for the past 20 years) on our love for the Lord. They were convinced that I had not received the Holy Spirit since I had never spoken in tongues. They prayed over me to receive the Holy Spirit and nothing changed. One day, several months later, their regional pastor came to visit and we spent a wonderful time talking about the Lord. He said to me, "Ah, I can see that have been 'Filled with the Spirit', when did you start to speak in tongues?" My reply was, "Oh I don't! And I haven't been filled with the Spirit as you say." He was greatly confused. He went on to say that he couldn't understand my not being "filled" with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues since it was obvious that I was understanding spiritual things that only the Holy Spirit could reveal and that he saw the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in my life. His final question was, "How can these things be if you don't have the Holy Spirit living in you?" But I replied, "Oh I know the Holy Spirit lives in me."

As the months went by, this couple convinced me that unless I spoke in tongues I wouldn't be receiving the "added" blessing God promised for me...not just speaking in tongues, but being able to understand the scriptures and being able to gain victory over sin. (apart from the speaking in tongues, these things had already been happening). They prayed over me time and time again...they had their regional pastor pray over me...they told me to just "open my mouth" and the tongues would flow...they told me I was thwarting my receiving the Holy Spirit, I needed to just believe and it would happen. I wanted very much to follow God in all areas of my life, to surrender all of my life to His will, I cried out to the Lord to purify my heart...I couldn't see where I was "thwarting" receiving the Holy Spirit. I read scriptures that talked about how easily other saints had "received" the Holy Spirit and couldn't understand why I had to "work so hard" and also how I could have been growing so much in my life in my faith, in victory over sin and in the deep understanding and truth He was bringing to my soul and spirit unless it was the Holy Spirit doing the work in my heart.

After much "prompting" from this couple, one day I "tried" to speak in tongues. They were delighted and I was uncomfortable. Everything in me told me that this was not a supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit, but just me opening my mouth and speaking in what sounded like jibberish. I had had no great power come upon me, I had no great peace fill my soul; but I did have a deep regret that I had tried to produce this manifestation of the Holy Spirit on my own strength from the urging of this couple.

They treated me with more respect. Why? I hadn't changed...I still spoke the same words to them, I still had the same questions, I still had the same flaws in character that I was working on, I still had the same 'wisdom' that I had had - what was different? I had "spoken in tongues" to their satisfaction.

Their theology had led them to believe that it was not the power of the Holy Spirit in a person's life to transform their lives from sin or the power of the Holy Spirit in a person's life to reveal the deep and unfathomable truths of the Word to their hearts and minds that was evidence of the person having received (been baptized, filled etc...) the Holy Spirit; but it was the manifestation of 1 (and how many others could I have manifested and it still wouldn't have been good enough for them?) gift of the Spirit. (see the verse in 1 Cor 2 quoted above from William's post)

I DO believe that none of the gifts of the Spirit have disappeared. It just so happens that my 'giftedness' from this same Spirit is wisdom, not tongues (at this point in time *grin*). As time went on the Lord showed me through the Word that I HAD indeed received the Holy Spirit in my life and that He was working in and through my life (although I had a LOOONG way to go before I was completely yielded to Him in every area of my life continuously and that wouldn't happen until I was in heaven). I WAS manifesting the Holy Spirit in my life, just not in the specific manner that my friends thought was the only telling "sign".

I share this, not because I believe that experiences are our rule and guide, but need to be filtered through the scriptures. It is the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the born-again believer (kind of redundant...sorry! *g*) that should be evidence of His presence.

I bow out of this discussion now. *wink*

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


Dear Kate,

Posted by joni on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 11:45 a.m., in response to Re: "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 10:19 a.m.

Thanks for sharing. I, too, believe "at this point in time *grin*" that tongues is not my gift.
Because of my false manifestation, I *believe* that if the Lord wants me to have this gift, I will KNOW it without a shadow of a doubt! I have been convicted that the Lord does not want me to live in doubt and confusion!

I am earnestly reading and studying scripture about all the gifts. I have enjoyed reading William and Kevin's posts, and, now, yours.

Thanks, again, for sharing.

Sincerely in Christ,
Joni


Re: "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two

Posted by Kelly, MO on Thursday, 13 August 1998, at 1:31 p.m., in response to "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:36 a.m.

I, too, like to "steer clear" of these types of conversations! I do think that many people over the years have "coined" phrases that many people have taken for the gospel and imagine the confusion after a study of the scriptures to find the truths of these words and can't find them. These people are truly hungering and thirsting after the righteousness of God and want to grow in every area of their spiritual lives. They are reluctant to pursue something that they cannot back up with scripture. The experiences are there, and they are very real for today; however, some in their zeal have made things more difficult for those that follow. Thanks William and Kevin for your sharing of the scriptures with all of us.
In Christ,
Kelly
PS: Jack Hayford has written a book called "The beauty of spiritual language" and several bible studies that deal with these issues for you to search on your own.


Very timely discussion. . .

Posted by Alexandra on Thursday, 13 August 1998, at 2:41 p.m., in response to "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Three, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 11 August 1998, at 8:37 a.m.


Lately I have been questioning some things I always thought I understood, even some foundational doctrines. (The foundation of my faith hasn't been shaken--but I sure have, seeing how fallible my understanding is!)

I've really enjoyed reading these discussions. Thank you! Interesting, I just read Acts 2 today.

Please continue!

Alexandra


Re: "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two

Posted by William Eaton on Thursday, 13 August 1998, at 5:59 p.m., in response to Re: "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Wednesday, 12 August 1998, at 10:19 a.m.

Hi Kate,

I'm glad you did jump in! In fact, your note addresses an issue that I've wanted to comment on for a long time. But let me say first --anyone who would question whether or not you had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, certainly doesn't have any discernment!

The Biblical gift of "tongues" are an evidence of the Holy Spirit, but they aren't the only evidence of the Holy Spirit's indwelling. A person can be baptised in the Holy Spirit and *not* speak in tongues.

I've got to run now, but hopefully I'll have time in a few days to respond more fully to your note.

William


Re: "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two

Posted by Chris on Friday, 14 August 1998, at 9:05 p.m., in response to Re: "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two, posted by William Eaton on Thursday, 13 August 1998, at 5:59 p.m.

Can you explain this to me? I have always thought that tongues was the evidence of being Baptised in the Holy Ghost? I am not saying that you are wrong because I have often questioned it myself. Can you show how you support this please?


Tongues aren't the only "evidence"...

Posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 16 August 1998, at 9:15 a.m., in response to Re: "Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" Part Two, posted by Chris on Friday, 14 August 1998, at 9:05 p.m.

Hi Chris,

Actually, I said that the Biblical gift of "tongues" are *an* evidence of the Holy Spirit, but they aren't the only evidence of the Holy Spirit's indwelling. A person can be baptized in the Holy Spirit and *not* speak in tongues.

I'll explain the reasons I believe it's possible to have the Holy Spirit without manifesting the "evidence" (so called) of tongues --but first let me explain what I don't mean. I don't mean to say that if someone (a child of God) asks the Father for the Holy Spirit and then speaks in "tongues" that this isn't evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism, it certainly is. It is an outward manifestation of something that has occurred within a believer that wouldn't be otherwise known by observers, at least initially. There are instances in the book of Acts that show that it was "tongues" that confirmed that the promised Holy Spirit had indeed baptized the believers.

So yes, tongues are evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism, again, assuming that the the person manifesting the tongues is a true believer that has asked for the gift in the manner described in Lk 11. I keep stressing this passage because I know that there are counterfeit tongues, but I also know that God's Word is forever settled. Jesus says that if a person asks the Father for the Holy Spirit HE WON'T RECEIVE A COUNTERFEIT!)

Now here are the two reasons I believe it's possible to have the Holy Spirit without manifesting the "evidence" (so called) of tongues:

1. The present-day lack of understanding about the Holy Spirit.

2. The free will (volition) of believers.

My first reason is based upon the prevalent misinformation about "tongues". I believe that a believer could ask for the experience and due to a lack of understanding concerning the gift (and in some cases, outright fear), not speak in tongues.

There is a woeful lack of teaching concerning the gift of the Holy Spirit. I believe it's possible for a believer to ask for and receive the gift without knowing anything about tongues. I don't think this would have been the case in the experience of the early Church, at least not initially, because they heard about the gift being poured out on the day of Pentecost and the gift was inexorably yoked with tongues. Believers naturally wanted the Holy Spirit with the corresponding evidence of tongues. There wasn't a mind-set that would have allowed a separation between tongues and the Holy Spirit. Tongues were to them a direct manifestation of the Holy Spirit. To have rejected tongues would have been the same as rejecting the Holy Spirit.

Today, lamentably, *Biblical* tongues, instead of being seen as a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, are sometimes viewed as fleshly manifestations, or worse -- as manifestations of demonic powers. Why? I can only offer my observations, but I believe this unscriptural position is directly attributable to the Church's rejection of the supernatural. Of course, they (this element of the Church) have always acknowledged Satan's supernatural abilities, but not God's, at least not in this present dispensation. Sure, they tell us, God used mighty miracles to spread His message in the book of Acts, but now we only need our Bibles, and the only supernatural work that God is doing now, is with reference to the new birth. This kind of mind-set isn't conducive to readily embracing a power-packed experience like the Holy Spirit baptism. But God gives the Gift indiscriminately, so if a believer asks, he will receive (I'm basing this on the immutable character of God) even though he might not choose to manifest those gifts that are perceived to be more supernatural in character, e.g. tongues.

Which brings me to my second reason; the Gift doesn't suspend one's volition. A believer can choose to suppress the manifestations, due to an ignorance of the manifestations, or due to a prejudicial bias about the manifestations (which is, I guess, the same thing), and the manifestations will not overrule volition. This applies to all manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

Which also explains why we discount claims by some that "the Holy Spirit forced me to do this"....the Holy Spirit NEVER forces believers to do anything. (All claims to the contrary notwithstanding --there are a lot of things going on in "charismatic circles" that we do not support!)

William


Thank you for sharing. nt

Posted by Chris on Sunday, 16 August 1998, at 2:38 p.m., in response to Tongues aren't the only "evidence"..., posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 16 August 1998, at 9:15 a.m.

ntntnt