Holy Spirit Essay

1759 words - 8 pages

A debated issue throughout the Christian world since the early church has been the issue of baptism of the Holy Spirit. Questions of when does a follower of Christ actually receive God’s Spirit have been in dispute and scrutinized with very different understandings of the scriptural references to this splendid transformation that takes places in the life of a Christian. In both the Old and New Testaments, The Holy Spirit is a constant person that works in and amongst God’s people. In Numbers 11:24-25, the Spirit of God is displayed when “the Spirit rested on them”, referring to the seventy elders that were appointed to aid Moses. 1 Samuel 16:13 states that the mysterious Spirit of God rushed ...view middle of the document...

According to Jesus, the Spirit would act as an intermediary for God’s Church back to him. Later in this chapter in verse 26, Jesus promises that the Helper (Holy Spirit), “will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” While Jesus is talking directly to his disciples in this particular passage, this promise is one that has remained manifested throughout every person that truly follows Christ as Lord and Savior. The Spirit is the third-person of God that binds his people to him and continually disciples the believer.
The book of the bible that has encountered the most controversy over spirit baptism has been events within the book of Acts. The historical receiving of the Holy Spirit to Christ’s disciples occurs in Acts chapter two on the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:2-3 states, “And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.” Proof from the Old Testament, as suggested earlier, shows that the Holy Spirit was not an inactive entity before this time and should not be regarded as such. Acts 2 is the time and place in which God’s people receive the promise from Christ that he alluded to in John 14. Now, the question must be raised as to when does this happen for Christians today? Was the baptism of the Spirit a one-time event only for Christ’s disciples in Acts 2? Does a decision to follow Christ also include the Holy Spirit? Or, is it an entirely separate event that the Christian must act upon? The contents of this paper will examine both the Pentecostal view that believes in asking to receive the Holy Spirit and the Southern Baptist Convention view that sees a personal profession of faith in Christ as an all-encompassing event that includes the receiving of the Holy Spirit with Christ.
To take a journey through the book of Acts is one of the best places to gain an understanding of the Pentecostal view of baptism of the Spirit. Various texts through the book provide evidence as to why the Pentecostal view is so vibrant in today’s world. Pentecostals believe that the baptism of the Spirit is a separate event from regeneration. Frank D. Macchia writes, “Pentecostals came to view Spirit baptism as an empowerment for witness as evidenced by heightened participation in extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, especially speaking in tongues. (Acts 1:8; 2:4)” The Pentecostal idea for spiritual empowerment focuses a great deal on the events that take place early in the book of Acts. The phenomenon to Pentecostals is what gives a believer access to the gifts that are available through the Spirit. Macchia further explains, “The experience (of Spirit baptism) is in my view asking to a ‘prophetic call,’ which allows believers to participate in various gifts connected with prophetic discernment, such as visions, dreams, various ‘word gifts,’ and other gifts of the Spirit...

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