Skip to main content

Being filled with the Holy Spirit

We were presented with a very interesting series of questions this week in Principles of Theology. See how you would answer them.
What is your view regarding the topic of Baptism in the Holy Spirit? Specifically, (1) Is it a work of grace distinct from and subsequent to regeneration? Why or why not? (2) Is tongues the initial evidence of Baptism in the Holy Spirit? Why or why not?

My response is below

I am divided on the issue of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. I have experienced this and it has been beneficial in growth in grace, particularly as a relatively new believer. Jack Hayford’s interpretation of the scripture is one I agree with regarding this being a work of grace distinct from and often subsequent to regeneration.

Throughout the book of Acts, in particular, we see the infilling of the Holy Spirit as a separate work. Passages such as Acts 8:14-16; 9:16-18; 10:44-45 and so on speak of this as a separate experience for believers besides the apostles. Some may contend that this was limited along with miracles to the early church, but we are told, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching” (2 Tm 3:16). Acts certainly includes “all.”

I also have some of the same concerns expressed by Wayne Grudem. There has been too much evidence of a “them and us” attitude toward those who have not experienced this work in their lives. There are many fine godly believers who have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit per se (at least not in charismatic or Pentecostal terms), but are certainly filled and overflowing with the Holy Spirit and have a walk with God that I admire. The two tiers, two categories systems are very destructive to the work of God in his church.

As Grudem stated,

Therefore, it is appropriate to understand filling with the Holy Spirit not as a one-time event but as an event that can occur over and over again in a Christian’s life. It may involve a momentary empowering for a specific ministry (as…in Acts 4:8; 7:55), but it may also refer to a long-term characteristic of a person’s life (see Acts 6:3; 11:24). [1]

Tongues can be, but does not necessarily have to be the initial evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. In scripture, there are other evidences. The gospel accounts of Jesus being filled with the Spirit did not result in tongues. In Luke 1:41-45, Elizabeth blessed Mary upon her infilling of the Spirit. Zechariah prophesied according to Luke 1:67-79. In Acts some of the other manifestations are powerful preaching (Acts 4:31), wisdom, maturity and sound judgment (Acts 6:3), powerful preaching and testimony while on trial (Acts 4:8) [2] as well as other evidences.

The bottom line is following Jesus and being conformed to his image in every way possible. “So these are the terms by which a person can receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit: obedience, humility, purity, and receiving: wanting God’s will, wanting God’s way, wanting God’s nature, and wanting God’s fullness.” [3]

A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance expressed in the song, “Himself”:

“Once it was the blessing, now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling, now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted, now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.” [4]

“Himself alone” [5] says it all.

[1] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 782.

[2] Ibid., 784.

[3] Jack W. Hayford, Grounds for Living: Sound Teaching for Sure Footing in Growth & Grace (Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 2001), 166.

[4] A. B. Simpson, “Himself,” Online: [12 June 2007].

[5] Ibid.

The Bible. New International Version.


Popular posts from this blog

Come To The Light To Become The Light

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, Jan. 6, Epiphany at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel text is Matthew 2:1-12
Now, this is a story we know. We’ve seen the scene of the wise men bringing gifts to Jesus so many times in so many pageants. Epiphany is a time when we celebrate the in-breaking of God’s light in God’s way. The Magi are drawn from the east to come and pay homage to the Christ child. There are many theories as to who the magi were: from Zoroastrian priests to astrologers to magicians to kings, while some believe that the Magi were simply a literary device utilized by Matthew. They may have been any or all of the above, but the point is that they were foreigners and gentile outsiders and yet, God spoke to them through a star, through the light and they followed that light. 
Unusual astral phenomena were associated with the birth of a new ruler according to pagans of the time. There were Jewish traditions as well connecting the hoped-for Messiah to the “star out of…

Go Big or Go Home

This is the homily I shared with the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church for Ash Wednesday. The gospel text was Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
The first time I heard the expression, “Go big or go home,” was my senior year of seminary. A dear friend mentioned how during a children’s sermon at her internship site, when she was talking with the kids about how God wants all of us, this young man explained it as “Go big or go home!” It really struck all of us who heard my classmate relate this story.

Today’s gospel lesson is like two bookends with a bunch of information between them. The first verse is the first bookend. Then Jesus talks specifically about different faith practices and how they should and should not be practiced. Finally, the second bookend surround the words in between with the final verse regarding the treasure of our hearts.
Before Jesus gets into the nuts and bolts of various aspects of piety, in the first verse he spells out the gist of the entire teaching, “Beware of practici…

Centered in the Spirit

This is the sermon I preached last Sunday, 12/27/19 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church. The gospel was Luke 4:14-21.
In the time after Epiphany, we see more revelations of Jesus in the gospel. Today’s is Jesus’ controversial proclamations in his home town. We see the centrality of the life of the Spirit in Jesus’ life of ministry.

The Holy Spirit descends on Jesus after his baptism (3:22), then fills Jesus before he was sent out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil and in this passage of Luke the Spirit fills Jesus with power.
The role of the Holy Spirit is central in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus’ first public words were “The Spirit of the Lord.” The first three phrases in Jesus’ reading tie his ministry to the work of the Spirit: “The Spirit…is upon me…because [the Spirit] has anointed me…[The Spirit] has sent me.” In Jesus’ repetition of “me,” we hear his claiming of Isaiah’s words for himself.
Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit. Anointed is the English word that means the same as…