The Charismatic Movement and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Jannie Viljoen
THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT.
“We who count ourselves ‘charismatics’ are at a crossroad … there has been, and still is much that passes as ‘truth’ in the charismatic renewal that I believe deeply grieves the Holy Spirit, who is the ‘Spirit of truth.’ I would go as far as to say that many in the present charismatic renewal preach and practice a different gospel. This is a most serious charge and one that is not lightly made.”(1)
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith”
(1 Peter 5:8,9).
We resist the devil and his deceiving lies by “standing firm in the faith.” This is the “faith that was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3). “Faith” does not mean that I believe what I want. True “faith” has as its foundation the unchanging truths of God’s Word. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). We guard ourselves against spiritual deception by keeping our lives in line with the clear teachings and commands of the Word of God, not adding or subtracting from it, unlike those in the Charismatic Movement who make such statements as,
“God is a lot more than God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Book … God is a lot bigger than doctrine … The church is so hung up on Bible Study they don’t really know Jesus.”(2)
The Charismatic Movement today seems to have an “anything goes as long as it has the stamp of the Holy Spirit upon it” attitude, whether it is line with the Word of God or not! Though they may deny it, charismatic services and teaching show clearly that emotions, spiritual phenomena, and feelings are more central in their meetings than sound doctrine. With this type of attitude to spiritual matters, deceiving spirits, who are masquerading as “angels of light” (2 Cor. 11:14), are having a field day.
The Charismatic Movement has its roots in the Faith Movement, which in turn had its beginnings in the teachings and writings of a man called E.W. Kenyon. It is a historical fact that Kenyon’s theology was heavily influenced by the metaphysical cults, especially the Christian Science of Mary Baker Eddy.
Mary Baker Eddy:
She was born in Bow, New Hampshire in 1821. Her life was marked with frequent illnesses, both emotional and physical, which marred both her first and second marriages. This caused her to frequently visit a noted and famous mesmerist (hypnotist), P.P. Quimby, with whom she spent much time discussing his teachings and methods. Her book, “Science and Health” which was first published in 1875, was held by some to contain many of her notes and materials from her discussions with Quimby, although she denied this. Although she sometimes used Biblical quotations, she taught and believed that the “Mind” is the power that controls everything.
She did not believe that sickness and death were real and taught that the right inward attitude would make it possible to overcome both sickness and death. She further taught and held the belief that since God is “All” (Pantheism), and God is omnipotent Good, therefore all that is not good simply has no objective reality. By this she denied the reality of all evil. She did not believe that the Bible is fully inspired, she denied the Trinity and the Deity of Christ. She believed that the “Mind” is God.
“Ern Baxter, who spent a considerable amount of time with Kenyon in the latter years of his life, believes that Kenyon drew heavily upon cultic metaphysical sources. Baxter states that Kenyon ‘undoubtedly was influenced by Mary Baker Eddy’”(3) (Emphasis in the original).
Kenneth Hagin, a popular author in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles, who is held by many to be the father of the Faith Movement, and is seen as a “prophet” because of his revelations and visions, not only took his ideas and teachings from Kenyon, but plagiarised most of it from Kenyon’s writings.
“Hagin claims to have received most of the faith gospel by divine visitation, visions and revelation. Much of his reputation as a ‘prophet’ in the Faith Movement rests upon these experiences. His reputation and revelations aside, however, it must be said that Hagin’s theology has historical roots, and these may be traced directly to Kenyon, whose writings predate Hagin’s by more than thirty years. The word-for-word correspondences between Hagin’s writings and Kenyon’s cannot be attributed to coincidence, nor can they be attributed to a miracle of inspiration by the Holy Spirit.
In conclusion, it must be admitted that Hagin is the man who single-handedly took Kenyon’s teachings and from them forged a movement, the Faith Movement.”(4)
Hagin not only took over the ideas and teachings from Kenyon, but his word-for-word plagiarism of most of Kenyon’s teachings, which Hagin untruthfully attributed as divine revelation from God to himself, has been well documented by D.R. McConnel in his book “A Different Gospel.”
Another man who heavily influenced the Charismatic Movement, especially with his “Word of Faith” teaching, and who is held, by both Hagin and many other leaders in the current Charismatic Movement, as a true and great prophet of God, is William Branham. Branham had some strange doctrinal beliefs:
“Branham believed the doctrine known as the ‘Serpent Seed’ teaching. This heresy teaches that the Fall came about when Eve commenced a sexual relationship with Lucifer … Out of that illicit union, Cain was born, and through his descent has come the ‘wicked’ which are with us to this day. Branham also … stated that the doctrine of the Trinity was ‘of the devil.’ He believed … he was the Angel (Messenger) of the seventh church, Laodicea. He prophesied that the Rapture would occur in 1977, and taught that the Bible, the Zodiac, and the Egyptian pyramids were all forms of the Word of God. When asked if it was the Holy Spirit that performed his many signs and wonders, Branham replied, ‘NO, I do them by my Angel.’ Branham denied an eternal hell and taught that denominationalism was the mark of the Beast.”(5)
These then, are the men who profoundly influenced and laid the doctrinal foundation for the Faith Movement out of which the Charismatic Movement grew.
“… the Faith Movement has grown to the extent that in the minds of many it is no longer just a part of the Charismatic Movement; it IS the Charismatic Movement” (Emphasis in the original).(6)
Although the Charismatic Movement had its roots in the Metaphysical cults, it must be emphasised that not everyone involved in the Charismatic Movement is cultic. There are many born-again Believers who sincerely love the Lord and desire to follow Him whole-heartedly. The call to them is to make sure that their faith is based, not on some experience, but on the infallible Word of God!
“Charismatics err because they tend to build their teaching on experience, rather than understanding that authentic experience happens in response to truth. Too many Charismatic experiences are utterly detached from – and in some cases contrary to – the revealed plan and operation of God indicated in Scripture. When these become the basis for one’s beliefs, there is almost no limit to the kinds of false teachings that can emerge.”(7)
And this is indeed what is happening in the Charismatic Movement today. The myriad of supernatural experiences, direct revelations from God, visions, dreams, visitations to heaven and hell, visitations of angels, personal conversations with Jesus in heaven, etc., are what is forming the basis for their faith. And it also becomes the measure for their spiritual position amongst their fellow Charismatics. The greater the vision or miracle, the more spiritual the devotee is seen to be.
“The teaching that puts such enormous emphasis on power, miracles, signs, and wonders holds enormous fascination for the modern mind. Like the success syndrome, it bears within it all that is sensational, spectacular, or startling. It appeals to the senses and leads people to believe that such signs, even if counterfeited, are indicative of profound spirituality or a special awareness of God.”(8)
This type of “Christianity” causes tremendous pressure on people in the movement to continuously “perform” in the spiritual realm so as to be seen as spiritually mature and growing.
“Most Charismatics believe progress in the Christian life is having something more, something better, some electrifying experience. An ex-charismatic in my congregation told me why he had grown frustrated in the Charismatic movement: ‘You spend the rest of your life trying to find another experience.’ The Christian life becomes a pilgrimage from experience to experience, and if each one is not more spectacular than its predecessor, many people begin to wonder if something is wrong.”(9)
The Bible reveals to us that the exact opposite is true. To base our faith on the shaky foundation of “experience” is indeed spiritual suicide. Our faith should be based upon the complete and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ as it is revealed to us in the Word of God. There is nothing we can add to bring us closer to God. In Christ we have been reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18-21). In Christ we have direct access to the very Holy of Holies (Hebrews 9:24). In Christ we are sealed and secure (Eph. 1:13,14). In Christ we have all that we need for a life of service in the Kingdom of God (Col. 3:1-17). In Christ we have all the authority to live a holy and fruitful life (Phil. 4:13). As we live our lives according to the will of God as revealed in His Word, we find that the Holy Spirit strengthens and empowers us in our Christian walk and work (Gal. 5:22-25). Our faith is not to be built on the shaky foundation of emotional experiences, but on the perfect, inerrant Word of God.
For those who would apply sound Biblical principles and theology to the many dreams, visions, miracles and spiritual visitations of those in the Charismatic Movement, it takes little discernment to see that most of these “experiences” have more in common with New Age mysticism than the teachings and commands of the Word of God.
“… most Christians are so uninformed about occultism that they wouldn’t recognize it except in its most blatant forms. Nor do many Christians seem to understand the passages in the Bible forbidding occult practices, so they cannot recognize sorcery on that basis either.
The extent to which anti-Christian and even occult beliefs and methodologies have been integrated into Christianity within the last few years is staggering, and this trend is now accelerating at an alarming rate.
What the secular world calls ‘mind-power’ many Christians confuse for ‘faith’ … what often passes for the ‘power of the Spirit’ in the church can scarcely be distinguished from the alleged ‘mind-powers’ of psychics.”(10)
When so-called spiritual experiences, that goes beyond Biblical revelation, goes unchecked and unchallenged, and becomes the norm for Christian teaching and spiritual living, the result is a confusion of practices, theories and interpretations that not only lead to spiritual sensationalism, but often to excesses that result in spiritual disaster.
The Charismatic Movement is not a denominational movement, but rather a non-denominational movement that encompasses all who hold in common a certain “experience” – the so-called “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” This is the one main “experience” from which these teachings and movements sprouted and which became fertile soil for its many errors.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
“New Agers are taught to let go and let their inner ‘god’ – the Self or the Universal Mind or Force – take over. Total, absolute surrender … is the password.”(1)
“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray … or if you receive a different spirit … you put up with it easily enough” (2 Cor. 11:3,4).
“I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men … have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men …” (Jude 1:3-4).
The most common denominator for all in the Charismatic Movement, and its most unifying factor, regardless of denominational background or affiliation, is the experience which is called the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Charismatics and Pentecostals see the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” as a post-salvation experience which must be earnestly sought and which result in various phenomena such as speaking in “tongues,” receiving of various Spirit-gifts, and feelings of euphoria that leads to emotional manifestations and outbursts of various kinds. Those Christians who have not experienced the “baptism” are often seen as not “Spirit-filled,” which leads many to seek this experience so as not to be labelled as immature or disobedient Christians. This leads to a continuous seeking of one sensational experience after another, often resulting in exaggerated and even sometimes foolish visions, experiences, wonders and miracles. There are myriads of testimonies in writing, videos and tapes of so-called personal visions of Jesus, visits to heaven and hell, face to face discussions with Jesus, the Holy Spirit and departed loved ones, and visitations of/and revelations from angels. An ex-charismatic reveals his frustration with this type of Christianity when he says the following:
“You spend the rest of your life trying to find another experience. The Christian life becomes a pilgrimage from experience to experience, and if each one is not more spectacular than its predecessor, many people begin to wonder if something is wrong.”(2)
Another aspect, that is more ominous and even dangerous, is that those, who want some sort of “spiritual” experience, can open themselves up, not only to deception, but to the very deceiving spirits that are at work. Some years ago I was on holiday at a seaside resort. While driving to a shopping centre I picked up a young man who was hitch hiking. After the normal introductions I started enquiring about the state of his spiritual life. He told me that he had once known and served the Lord but that things had gone terribly wrong in his life. He then shared with me how, after he had accepted the Lord Jesus as his personal Saviour, he wanted to experience something more and had gone forward during a service to have hands laid on him so that he could receive the “baptism” of the Spirit and was then “slain in the Spirit” where he fell down under the “power” of the Holy Spirit. After this experience he started to lose his desire to read the Bible, to pray and to go to church. He also started to get nightmares and hear blasphemous voices in his head. When I had met him he saw himself as the anti-Christ and could “see” demonic spirit beings.
We need to understand that the Holy Spirit will never work contrary to the revealed truths of God’s Word. How else can we apply the test for deceiving spirits unless we have a barometer against which to test the teachings and revelations of deceiving spirits. And God’s Word is this barometer! Anything that is contrary to the Word of God is to be rejected as false and deceptive, no matter how fine and spiritual it may sound.
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God …” (2 John 1:9).
Pentecostals and Charismatics and progressively more and more Evangelicals are convinced that the millions of Roman Catholics who have experienced the so-called “baptism of the Holy Spirit” have been touched by a mighty work of God which is seen as the “Catholic Charismatic Renewal.” This “baptism” of the Holy Spirit results among Roman Catholics, just as amongst Pentecostals and Charismatics, in an experience, which is accompanied by so-called “sign gifts,” usually speaking in an “ecstatic” or “non-human” (heavenly) language. What is the result of the “baptism” of the Holy Sprit amongst Roman Catholics? The Pope, according to the “International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office Newsletter,” Volume XVIII, No. 2, March – April 1992, made it quite clear that the “renewal” is to make Roman Catholics into “EVEN BETTER ROMAN CATHOLICS.” The Pope also said that the emergence of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal after Vatican II was a sign of the desire of many Roman Catholics to “… live more fully their baptismal dignity and vocation …” He further stated: “You, as leaders of the Charismatic Renewal, are challenged to seek increasingly effective ways in which the various groups you represent can manifest their COMPLETE COMMUNION OF MIND AND HEART with the Apostolic See (i.e. the Pope) and the College of Bishops … The Charismatic Renewal can also help foster the growth of a solid spiritual life based on the Holy Spirit’s power at work in the CHURCH (Roman Catholics acknowledge only one church – the Roman Catholic Church), in the richness of her TRADITION (i.e. her extra Biblical revelations), and particularly in her celebration of the SACRAMENTS. Frequent reception of the EUCHARIST (i.e. the worship of the Egyptian Sun-god) and regular use of the Sacrament of Penance are essential for a genuine life in the Holy Spirit …” (Emphasis and explanations in brackets added).(3)
Here we see that the experience of the “baptism” of the Holy Spirit finds welcome accommodation in the un-Biblical teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. The Bible emphasises that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17). He will NOT lead anyone into error, un-Biblical teachings and the worship of false gods! But that is exactly what this “spirit” is doing! Dave Hunt talks about the delusion of a false “Holy Spirit” that is at work in the world today:
“The great delusion will be furthered by the spurious ‘Holy Spirit’ which is so evidently operating within the Charismatic movement – a movement that includes an estimated 10 million American Roman Catholics. One of the first ‘prophesies’ that was spoken at the inception of the Catholic Charismatic movement, which began in the mid-1960’s, promoted the delusion that ‘what Mary promised at Fatima is really going to take place.’ The ‘gift of tongues’ was received spontaneously by many Catholics as they were engaged in many un-Biblical prayers to Mary … The general effect upon Catholics of the ‘Baptism of the Spirit’ has been to increase their heretical devotion to Mary and to make the many other abominable dogmas of Romanism all the more acceptable …”(4)
HOW DO WE GUARD AGAINST DECEPTION CONCERNING THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
We need to understand that truth is not determined by signs and wonders. Revelation 16 verse 4 speaks of “spirits of demons performing miraculous signs …” and in 2 Thessalonians 2 verse 9 the apostle Paul warns that “The coming of the Lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan DISPLAYED IN ALL KINDS OF COUNTERFEIT MIRACLES, SIGNS AND WONDERS.”
All spiritual truth has already been completely and finally established in the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16 reminds us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness …” In John 17:17, Jesus, when praying to the Father, says: “Your word is truth.” Psalm 119 is one of the greatest reminders that we must continuously measure our spiritual experiences against the Word of God:
Verse 1: “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according TO THE LAW OF THE LORD.”
Verse 9: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according TO YOUR WORD.”
Verse 11: “I have hidden YOUR WORD in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Verse 16: “I delight in YOUR DECREES; I will not neglect your WORD.”
Verse 25: “I am laid low in the dust; renew my life ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD.”
Verse 28: My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD.”
Verse 32: “I run in the path of YOUR COMMANDS.”
Verse 33: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow YOUR DECREES.”
Verse 35: “Direct me in the path of YOUR COMMANDS.”
Verse 36: “Turn my heart toward YOUR STATUTES and not toward SELFISH GAIN.”
Verse 37: “Turn my eyes away from WORTHLESS THINGS; renew my life ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD.”
Verse 91: “YOUR LAWS endure TO THIS DAY.”
Verse 96: “To all perfection I see a limit; but YOUR COMMANDS ARE BOUNDLESS.”
Read through this Psalm and be amazed at the many references to the Word of God as our sufficiency in all matters pertaining to spiritual life. This, then, is our primary protection against spiritual deception. If it is not in harmony with the written Word of God, it is false! No matter how good something “feels,” if it does not stand the test of Scripture, it is false and must be rejected as deception. “Feelings” are never a good measure for spiritual truth because the Word of God says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26) and, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Secondly, the Holy Spirit is a Person, NOT A “FORCE!” anybody that uses the Holy Spirit as a “FORCE OF POWER” to manipulate, dominate or control, is involved in witchcraft and is under the influence of deceiving spirits. We must never forget that the Holy Spirit is God, and we can never “use,” “command” or “manipulate” God! So many today are using the Holy Spirit as if He is a servant to their every beck-and-call!
“Consider Benny Hinn on TBN (with Paul Crouch laughing uproariously) telling with much merriment of a man’s wig flying off when he fell ‘under the power’ after Hinn touched his forehead. The man pulled the wig back on … and got up; Hinn touched him again JUST TO SEE HIM FALL AND THE WIG FLY OFF. He did this FIVE TIMES, admitted Hinn, … Was this God’s power on display, the Holy Spirit at work? Surely not! Then what power caused the man to fall repeatedly, this strange force that Hinn claimed to have picked up at the graves of Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson? Such questions must be faced seriously!”(5)
This same type of manipulation can be seen on a video distributed by the Synagogue of All Nations of the Nigerian “prophet,” T.B. Joshua. By only using hand motions, and while standing about three metres away from his “patient,” he “pushes” the man down repeatedly. Every time the man struggles to his feet, the “prophet” would slash his hand through the air towards the man which results in the person collapsing on the floor again. This so-called “prophet” also manipulates people’s movements by hand motions. By moving his hand to the left, the person standing about three metres in front of him, is drawn irresistibly to the left, and then by moving his hand to the right, the person staggers to the right. By using a circular movement of his hand, the “prophet” sends the person staggering in circles till he or she collapses on the floor.
On a French television interview, T.B. Joshua said that he had received this “gift” at birth. Nowhere in the Word of God is there any indication that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are bestowed at birth upon anyone. It is only after true repentance and faith in Christ as Lord and Saviour, that the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in the Believer (Ephesians 1:13-14), that He gives “gifts,” as He wills, for the building up of the Body of Christ.
On the video T.B. Joshua blesses a huge tank of water, pronouncing that he had turned the water into the “blood” of Jesus. This scene on the video, as people fight and push to get to this water tank, where they drink and splash around in the so-called “blood” of Jesus, is most disturbing and blasphemous! The Blood of Jesus was a once-for-all sacrifice to God the Father (Hebrews 9:11-28).
In another interview, T.B. Joshua says that the “divine person” in him can appear to thousands simultaneously, even coming to them in their dreams! By this he is claiming omnipresence – an attribute that only God can claim! There are many other scenes on this video which I cannot describe due to its explicit sexual and filthy nature, which is professed to be the work of the Holy Spirit. We must always remember that the Holy Spirit is holy. In the Hebrew He is called the “Spirit of Holiness.” That there are hundreds of Christians that flock from all over the world to this false prophet’s “healing” services, is beyond understanding. The only explanation is that these people, not grounded in the Word of God, are being seduced and deceived in their quest for wonders and miracles. Jesus Himself warned in Matthew 16:4, “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign …” Jesus further warns that in the end-times people will be deceived by counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and “every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie …” (2 Thess. 2:10-11).
“… it is amazing that planeloads of ‘white’ South Africans and people from other countries still come to his (T.B. Joshua’s) ‘synagogue’ … In questioning Nigerian Christians, I found they had other things to say about this man … The Christians I spoke to said he operates in a ‘water spirit’ … and is actually a witchdoctor … One pastor’s wife said he has the ‘ministry of the devil’ … Thankfully the Nigerian Christians seemed pretty apprised of this ministry. Sadly, there are still followers flying in who are duped because of ‘supernatural’ experiences.”(6)
The third guarantee against spiritual deception, is that the Holy Spirit will never glorify Himself: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all, truth: For He will not speak on His own authority (Literally: from Himself), but whatever He hears He will speak; … HE WILL GLORIFY ME (i.e. Jesus), for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14).
This Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit does not bring any message from Himself or of His own. He will only reveal that which comes from the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom has given us His full revelation in His Word. This Scripture also reveals that the Holy Spirit will never glorify Himself, but always the Son. His purpose is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. Nowhere in Scripture do we find prayers to the Holy Spirit. All prayers are directed to the Father in and through the Name of Jesus Christ. Anyone who talks or prays directly to and accepts or hears messages from the “Holy Spirit,” takes the risk of being deceived by a counterfeit Holy Spirit.
“… evil spirit activity must be understood … in the special forms of manifestations suited to the close of the age, which will be disguised as COUNTERFEITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT … (emphasis added).
For to place the Holy Spirit as the object of obedience, rather than God the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit, creates the danger of leading the Believer to rely upon, or obey, a spirit in or around him, rather than God on the throne in heaven …
Because it is out of line with the truth of the Scriptures, prayer to the Holy Spirit … may become prayer … to evil spirits when they counterfeit the work of God.”(7)
WHAT IS THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT?
“In view of the critical time through which the Church of Christ is passing, we cannot overestimate the importance of believers having open minds to examine everything they have thought and taught in connection with the things of God and the spiritual realm: all the truths they have held, all the phrases and expressions they have used in teachings, and all the teachings they have absorbed through others.
For any wrong interpretation of truth, any theories and phrases which are man-conceived and which we may build upon wrongly, will have dangerous consequences to ourselves and to others in the conflict which the Church, and the individual believer, are now passing through. Since, in the end-times, evil spirits will come to us with deceptions in doctrinal form, believers must carefully examine what they accept as doctrine in light of the truth of God’s Word, lest it should be from the emissaries of the Deceiver.”(8)
The unscriptural interpretation and wrong doctrinal understanding of the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” has led not only to numerous false teachings and practices, but also to gross excesses in some churches.
The clear teaching of Scripture, and the ONLY Spirit-baptism that it mentions, is that action of the Holy Spirit by which all Believers, when they are saved, are “placed” or “baptised” into the Body of Christ: “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body …” (1 Cor. 12:13). Paul clearly states that there is only one Spirit baptism (Eph. 4:5):
“That the ‘one baptism’ of Ephesians 4:5 is the baptism of the Spirit is demonstrated by the context. This passage deals with spiritual truths, not ritual ordinances. The one baptism is Spirit baptism, the only means of union with Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-13).”(9)
The Scripture therefore teaches that Spirit baptism is not a post-salvation experience, but an initial work of salvation in and for all believers. The moment a person comes to Christ and receives Him as Saviour, the Holy Spirit comes into his life, regenerates him and makes him a child of God (Titus 3:5; Rom. 8:9,10; Eph. 1:13,14). But at the same time, when a person who accepts Christ, is regenerated by the Holy Spirit, he is also placed or “baptized” by the same Spirit into the mystical Body of Christ, which makes him one with all other believers (1 Cor. 12:13). The Bible does not know and does not speak of any other type of “Baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
THE FILLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” must not be confused with the “Filling of the Holy Spirit.” Whereas the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a once-for-all duel operation in a persons life at salvation (regeneration and placing into the Body of Christ), the Filling of the Holy Spirit has to do with “service” or “ability.”
The Bible is clear that the disciples received the Holy Spirit, not at Pentecost, but before that, just after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. When Christ appeared to the disciples after the resurrection in the upper room, Jesus said to them: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. And with that He breathed on them and said, ‘RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT’” (John 20:21,22).
The disciples, who already had received the Holy Spirit according to John 20:21,22, were now, here at Pentecost in Acts 2:4, “filled” (empowered) by the Holy Spirit. These same disciples were again “filled”(empowered) by the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:31. Both these “fillings” were for the purpose to enable or empower the disciples to preach the Gospel. Henry M. Morris states that this proves that:
“… the filling (which distinguishes it from the once only baptism of the Holy Spirit), is not a once-for-all experience but may be repeated, and furthermore, it may be for different purposes and produce different specific results. In the first instance (Acts 2:4) the disciples were miraculously enabled to preach God’s Word in different languages; in the second (Acts 4:31), it says merely that ‘they spake the Word of God with boldness.’
Certain disciples are also mentioned as being filled with the Holy Spirit on special occasions requiring unusual courage or wisdom, e.g. Stephen (Acts 7:55), Peter (Acts 4:8), and Paul (Acts 13:9).
Now, although the above passages make it clear that the Holy Spirit’s filling comes on repeated occasions and often for special and immediate needs, it is also true that a Christian’s entire life can and should be characterized by this fullness of the Holy Spirit.”(10)
That the Holy Spirit is in control, or that the person is “filled” with the Holy Spirit, will be seen in the actions of the believer. It will manifest in his daily life as the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit. A truly “Holy Spirit filled” person’s life will be characterized by “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). We must remember that the Holy Spirit is a Person – God Himself. The Christian has the Holy Spirit living in him completely, but the Christian’s life may not be completely yielded to the Holy Spirit. There may be areas in his life that is still under the control of his own desires.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT “TONGUES?”
That the disciples in Acts 2:4 and again in Acts 4:31, who already had received the Holy Spirit according to John 20:22, were now empowered by the indwelling Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel in the languages or “tongues” of their hearers, is seen in the fact that people from different nationalities (see Acts 2:8 – 11) heard the disciples in their own languages. The “tongues of fire” in Acts 2:4 were incidental and unique to this initial empowerment of the disciples and so were the “sound like the blowing of a violent wind.” At the second “filling” (empowerment) of the disciples with the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:31 the “shaking of the place” was also incidental and unique to this event and was never, like the tongues of fire in Acts 2, repeated again. Here in Acts 4 there is no mention of “tongues” or “foreign languages” because it was not necessary. When we look at the context, the whole book of Acts is a record of the initial beginning of the Great Commission of Jesus to His disciples to “… go and make disciples of all nations …”(Matt. 28:18 – 20). To enable the disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (different language groups), the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples here to miraculously preach the Gospel in different languages.
The “tongues” in Acts 2:4 were natural foreign languages of the Parthians, Medes, Elemites, and those from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Lybia, Rome, Crete and Arabia, which the Holy Spirit miraculously enabled the disciples to speak so that “… each one heard them speaking in his own language” (Acts 2:6).
There are only two other incidents in the book of Acts were we find people speaking in foreign languages or “tongues.” The first is found in Acts 10:43 – 47. Here we are told of the conversion of Cornelius and his household. Cornelius was a Roman soldier, an Italian from Rome whose native tongue was Latin. We presume his friends also spoke Latin. His Jewish servants would either speak Aramaic or Koine Greek. When Peter brought the Gospel to them, “… the Holy Ghost came on all who heard the message” (Acts 10:44). That this means that they got saved when they heard the Gospel, is confirmed by the words of Peter when he later reported this matter to the other Jewish Believers in Jerusalem:
“And as I began to speak (He was preaching the Gospel of salvation to them),the Holy Spirit came on them (The Holy Spirit brought conviction and salvation) as He had come on us at the beginning (See John 20:22). Then Iremembered what the Lord had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit’ (i.e. saved and placed into the body of Christ – see 1 Cor. 12:13). So if God gave them (i.e. the Gentiles) the same gift (i.e. salvation) as he gave us (i.e. the Jewish disciples), who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God! When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God has even granted the Gentiles repentance unto life’” (Acts 11:15 – 18).
As we can deduct from Peter’s report to the Jews in Jerusalem, what happened was, that when Cornelius and his people, who were Italians (gentiles), heard the Gospel and accepted it, they were Baptized by the Holy Spirit, i.e. they were saved and placed into the Body of Christ. That is the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). The Holy Spirit, and that which He does (regeneration and infusion into the Body of Christ) is the gift.
In this passage of Scripture Peter is talking about the salvation and uniting of gentiles with Jewish believers into the Body of Christ. This was something that the Jews could not imagine, for their customs and laws would not allow them to mingle with the gentiles (Acts 10:28). The Jewish believers, who were with Peter, were surprised that the gentiles could also come to salvation (Acts 10:45) as they (the Jews) heard them (the gentiles) praising God in their own language (verse 46).
This incident took place about 8 years (41 AD) after the events of Pentecost in Acts 2. There is no indication here of a so-called baptism of the Holy Spirit as a subsequent work after salvation with speaking in an “ecstatic” or “heavenly” language.
The last event were “tongues” are mentioned in the book of Acts is recorded for us during Paul’s third missionary journey, about 12 to 14 years after Pentecost:
After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and travelled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening the disciples. Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures (i.e. the Jewish Old Testament). He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervour and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John (John’s baptism was for repentance – Matt. 3:11. The Holy Spirit’s baptism is for salvation). He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Prescilla and Aquilla heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately …
While Apollos was at Corinth, … Paul … arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ (Paul was trying to determine if they were saved – no one can be saved without the Holy Spirit in their lives – Eph. 1:13; Rom. 8:9). They answered, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ So Paul asked, ‘Then what baptism did you receive?’ ‘John’s baptism,’ they replied. (Paul now understood that these disciples of John have not yet experienced salvation by believing and placing their faith in the resurrected Christ). Paul said, ‘John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus’ (Paul is here explaining the gospel of salvation to them). On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (They got saved and were baptised).When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues (different languages)and prophesied” (proclaimed the Gospel).
Just like the disciples in John 20:22, who already had received the Holy Spirit and were then empowered at Pentecost to proclaim the Gospel in different languages, these 12 disciples of John, after they were saved and then baptised, and Paul placed his hands on them, were empowered by the Holy Spirit here in Ephesus, which consisted mainly of non-Jews, to “prophecy” (i.e. to expound and preach the Gospel) in the different languages of their hearers. Remember, prophesying in the New Testament context is not foretelling future events (that is fortune telling and is forbidden by God), but it is forth-telling – explaining, expounding and revealing the hidden secrets of the Gospel.
For a complete and in-depth study on the Biblical meaning of “speaking in tongues,”the reader can write to this author at P.O. Box 270, Vryheid, 3100, for his booklet called “Speaking in Tongues. What’s the Word on It?”
Those of my readers, who now may realise that they have had an experience which may either be from the “flesh”or from “deceiving spirits,” because of the erroneous teaching and application of the so-called “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” need to renounce it in the Name of Jesus and build their faith no longer on “signs and miracles,” but on the eternal truths of God’s Word and the fact that our sufficiency is “in Christ” (Rom. 3:24; 8:1,2,39; 12:5,1; 1Cor. 1:2,30; 15:22; 2Cor. 2:14; 5:17; Gal. 3:26; Eph. 1:3; 2:6,10,13; 1Thes. 4:16; Titus 1:9; Phil. 1:6).
The Word of God is to be central in all spiritual activities (Matt. 28:20). Our faith is strengthened, not by signs, visions or even miracles (Luke 16:30,31), but by and through hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Our Christian walk is not to be a self-centred seeking after personal “feel-good” experiences, but a deep and true repentance of the old way of living, thinking and doing, and persisting in the way of the Cross – a dying to self, one’s own desires and living a life under the Lordship of Christ.
Dear child of God, do you long to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Place every area of your life and your being under the Lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then you will testify with the Apostle Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). If you have received Christ as your Saviour, do not be concerned about the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” and do not seek for something that you already have. The moment you believed and were saved, you were indwelt and sealed by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13,14) and simultaneously “baptized”into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 12:13). This is God’s work in us as Believers and it is a complete and perfect work. But may our desire be to be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit. And that will only happen to the measure that our lives are yielded to Christ. Let this be our longing.
THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT.
1. A Different Gospel, DR McConnel, Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusets, 1988, P. XVI.
2. The New Prophets, Bill Randless, Kerugma Productions, Pietermaritzburg, 1994, P. 79.
3. A Different Gospel, DR McConnel, Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusets, 1988, P. 25.
4. Ibid, P. 13.
5. The New Prophets, Bill Randless, Kerugma Productions, Pietermaritzburg, 1994 P. 26.
6. A Different Gospel, DR McConnel, Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusets, 1988, P. XVII.
7. Charismatic Chaos, JF McArthur Jnr., Zondervan Publishing House, Grand rapids, Michigan, 1992, Pp. 26,27.
8. Predators in our Pulpits, W Phillip Keller, Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, 1988, P. 42.
9. Ibid, P. 41.
10. The Seduction of Christianity, Dave Hunt and TA McMahon, Harvest House Bublishers, Oregon, 1987, Pp. 12,13.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
1. Mystery Mark of the New Age, Texe Marrs, Crossway Books, Illinois, 1988, P. 209.
2. Charismatic Chaos, JF McArthur Jnr., Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1992, P. 41.
3. International Catholic Renewal Office Newsletter, Volume XVIII, No. 2, March – April, 1992.
4. Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist, Dave Hunt, Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, 1990, P. 272.
5. Occult Invasion, Dave Hunt, Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, 1998, P. 484.
6. Discernment Newsletter, Vol. 17, No. 6, Nove. – Dec. 2006, Helen Gevers, P/Bag X043, Benoni, 1500.
7. War on the Saints, Jessie Pen-Lewis, Whitaher House, New Kensington, 1996, Pp. 60,68.
8. Ibid, P. 73.
9. The Baptisms and Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Merril F Unger, Moody Press, Chicago, 1974, Pp. 119,120.
10. The Bible Has the Answer, Henry M Morris, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1971, Pp. 150,151.