Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Al Ngu,    Dec 10, 2012

Acts 1:4–5 (ESV)

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Just moments before Jesus’ ascension to heaven, He exhorted his disciples to wait for the promise of the Father, to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. That’s key mark of two baptisms, one is water baptism , and the other Spirit baptism.

But this is so confusing, what’s baptism with the Holy Spirit. One of my prof Bill argued because the Spirit was not given yet, therefore this happens twice, but after the Spirit had been poured out, then we have one combo when one is converted. I tend to agree and that makes sense.

Another prof, “I take the baptism of the Spirit here to refer to the day of Pentecost, when the apostles are empowered by the Spirit to preach the gospel to all nations. Paul speaks of this in 1 Cor 12:13, when he speaks of all Christians (not some!) being empowered or equipped for ministry within the church. I don’t take it to be a second blessing, or some kind of distinct experience of the Spirit. I take it to refer to what happens to every Christian at the moment that they become a Christian (i.e., are united to Christ by the Spirit and through faith).

1 Corinthians 12:. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

In one Spirit, we were ALL baptized into one body. I agree.

But what Acts 19 in what Paul dealt with the disciples raised a lot of questions:

Acts 19:1–7 (ESV)

19 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” On hearing 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 in tongues and prophesying. There were about twelve men in all.

Paul found some DISCIPLES. They are believers in Christ, and even disciples.

Then interestingly Paul asked them the first question “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” When Paul asked that, it implies one can believe without receiving the Holy Spirit. (I would argue that’s baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is no way, one does not receive the Holy Spirit when one believes in Jesus. Besides, the next question is telling).

When the disciple said no, they had not even heard there is a Holy Spirit. Then Paul asked, “Into what then were you baptized?” They were then baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Now this is WELL after the Pentecost, when the Spirit was given to the world.

The disciples said they were baptized into John’s baptism. In today’s language, it means water, but they were not baptized into the Name of Jesus. Only then Paul baptized them in other Name of Jesus Christ! But that’s a separate experience after their conversion, and frankly that’s what we call water baptism. Because we are baptized into the Name of Jesus. I am surprised those disciples were baptized in John’s baptism, and not in Jesus Name?? And that’s well after Jesus resurrection and the Pentecost! Well, doctrines matter!

v6 is the charismatic giftings, Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke in tongues. I believe and can accept its two different distinct processes.

If we conclude: When one believes in Jesus Christ and accepts Him, he is baptized in the Spirit? But why then did Paul ask them did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?

However, the operations of giftings will require a separate laying on of hands. The Spiritual gifts as listed below like utterance of wisdom, healing, miracles, prophecy, distinguishing spirits, tongues…are all valid, and I think they don’t have to be tied into the term “Baptized with the Holy Spirit” to own those gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:1–11 (ESV)

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed…

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

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