Where Are You On the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

This seems to be question week. I’ve got to others that I’ll include over the next cvouple of days. Here’s one that I got this weekend:

I have been plowing through your SuperDisc and enjoying it tremendously. Such good info! It is slowly filling in the cracks in my Christian foundation. I have a question that I hoped you would comment on: What about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit? The Naked Church seems to point towards this as a viable part of your relationship with God. And your previous pastoral experience (which looks Charismatic, for lack of a better term) seems to indicate such. As a spirit baptized believer, it seems to me that being “dunked” in the Spirit is the “gateway drug” to “some deeper” Jesus. Tales of the Vine and He Loves Me seem to imply this over and over (particularly Tales). Where do you stand on that? I can’t figure you out man! Is it because your talks are inter-denominational, so you tread lightly on the subject or is it a theological stance you personally take?

I don’t think I tread lightly, but I find a lot of the ‘charismatic language’ has been co-opted by those in the ‘movement’ whose priorities are far less than spiritual and use the terms in ways that are divisive and self-exalting. Thus, I am careful how I use them.

I believe living in the continued and growing fullness of the Spirit is the normal life of the believer. I believe in the present-day value (I would say necessity) of the Spirit’s presence and the gifts. I regularly pray in the Spirit and look for other gifts to be made available through my life and through others as God desires in any situation I am in.

I am not convinced, however, that we are on theologically solid ground when we describe that initial experience as ‘The Baptism of the Holy Spirit’. Scripture uses that term primarily to describe the result of those who are born again in the New Covenant. This is how Jesus works in the heart of every believer. For many of us we were never trained to recognize that initially and had subsequent experiences of yielding to that presence that we have termed ‘the baptism.’ Paul called that ‘being filled’ with the Holy Spirit and described that as an every day reality, not a one-time historical event.

The problem today, 40 years into the so-called renewal, is that we have lots of people who claim to be ‘baptized’ and ‘speak in tongues’, who live self-centered empty lives with no reality in their life in God. They claim to be following the Spirit’s leading when they only manipulate people to their own advantage. I also know many people who wouldn’t claim to have been ‘baptized in the Holy Spirit’ by Charismatic terminology, but who live vibrantly alive in the Spirit’s fullness every day. So, I guess I’ve become less focused on past experience and theological debates and more on the present reality in a person’s life. But if people don’t know how to ‘be continually filled with the Spirit,” or grow in the functional use of gifts God wants to share through them, that may be something they will want to sort out with Jesus. I yearn for more of that reality in my life every day.

Also remember this is the five-minute answer, so there is a lot I’ve left out here!

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6 Comments
  1. J March 15, 2005 at 9:34 am

    Very good article Wayne. I have wondered the same question that this guy had. Very good explanation. I am sure that there are many questions that people have, but are afraid to ask. Keep these types of questions coming.

  2. J March 15, 2005 at 12:34 pm

    Very good article Wayne. I have wondered the same question that this guy had. Very good explanation. I am sure that there are many questions that people have, but are afraid to ask. Keep these types of questions coming.

  3. Todd Schuchmann March 15, 2005 at 3:03 pm

    Well said.

  4. Todd Schuchmann March 15, 2005 at 6:03 pm

    Well said.

  5. maryann March 16, 2005 at 9:37 am

    thank you…for your teaching and leading.

  6. maryann March 16, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    thank you…for your teaching and leading.

Comments are closed.