• Josh Reading

What is the empowering of the Holy Spirit? Part 2.



Though brief, can I encourage you to go to the first post in this series upon which the series is based. Part 1 - The Baptism in the Holy Spirit and Tongues Introduction

“Do all believers have the ‘empowering of the Holy Spirit’ (Baptism in the HS) for ministry and mission as part of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or is it a distinct operation and experience that all can access but may not have?’

Background: The answer to the above question is the primary difference between those who would generally be defined as Charismatic / Pentecostal and those who are specifically just ‘non-Charismatic Evangelical’. As with any discussion, keep in mind different believers and churches have slightly different nuance. Initial Note: This is NOT a quick simple read. It should not be so. It should be a study that is anchored in the Scriptures and should engage atleast to a reasonable degree with the Historic beliefs of the Church. Remember, our key question “Do all believers have the ‘empowering of the Holy Spirit’ for ministry and mission as part of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or is it a distinct operation and experience that all can access but may not have?’

Joel 2:28-29 says

"And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. John 16:7 says “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. Matthew 3:11 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. “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, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come." John 16:12-13 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. {10}"For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. {11}"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? {12}"Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? {13}"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" Luke 11:9-13 (See also Luke 24:49, John 7:37-39 & Acts 1:5) “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4

"And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. "Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' Acts 11:15-16 I believe that when we look at the New Testament scriptures we see three distinct Baptisms. There is most certainly only one Baptism that unites us in Christ (Eph 4:5) but Hebrews 6 makes it clear that there are other baptisms. 1. Baptism into Christ by the Spirit (Salvation) “For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” 1 Cor 12:13 2. Baptism in Water (Identification)

“As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?’” Acts 8:36 3. Jesus Baptises (immerses) us into the Spirit (Empowerment for Mission and Ministry) "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but /he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11). "And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit" (Mark 1:7,8).

What immediately demonstrates the difference is that in Luke-Acts, Jesus is portrayed as one who baptizes us in the Spirit for the purpose of power. Many will read the above three baptisms and be entirely comfortable with the first two but seek to merge the third into the first. This is the traditional Protestant Evangelical view.

To many they will be surprised that historically, for many Churches it was the first two that were considered one event, the third a separate event. Thus infant baptism has been a common practice. This is the broad perspective of the Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and the historic Anglican confession. Allow me to cover the bases to show where the Church has come from historically, why I believe that common conservative Protestant ‘evangelical view’ is actually an historical aberration and lastly why Biblically I affirm the three above Baptisms as separate operations (though in theory someone could experience all three at once) 1. Traditional Evangelical View There are actually two basic Subsets in the historical Evangelical view of this area. a) Cessationism Cessionationism is a very recent phenomena theologically, only arising with the Protestant reformation as a response to Roman Catholic claims that the miraculous was their qualificantion of truth. Cessationists tend to come in one of two positions in regard to the Empowering of the Holy Spirit. A) That it WAS a subsequent empowering in the ‘apostolic age’ with the connected gift of speaking in tongues B) or that we are all ‘baptised in the Holy Spirit’ in salvation but the gifts of the spirit (esp. the vocal/prophetic gifts) died out. It is interesting to note that in the context of his rebuttal of Chrismation (confirmation), John Calvin discusses the bestowal of the Spirit on previously baptised believers as recorded in Acts 8:16. He states that Luke here does not deny that “they who believe in Christ with their hearts and confess him with their mouth are endowed with any gift of the Spirit (Romans 10:10),” but rather Luke has “in mind the receiving of the Spirit, by which manifest powers and visible graces were received” (Institutes 4.19.8). If Calvin applied this in his present context, we could call him a Pentecostal or atleast Charismatic ;) Calvin maintains, however, “those miraculous powers and manifest workings, which were dispensed by the laying on of hands, have ceased; and they have rightly lasted only for a time.” (Institutes 4.19.6)

“We see the oil – the gross and greasy liquid – nothing else” (Institutes 4.19.5). Ironically, the ritualisation of the ‘empowerment of the Holy Spirit’ caused him to interpret the scriptures accordingly. I believe it consistent to say that cessationism is not a result of great theological inquiry but rather birthed from a rejection of a powerless experience that they have then justified. Cessationism is at it’s core less about scripture and more about experience. b) Evangelical Continuists Evangelical continuists generally believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is synonymous with salvation and theoretically believe in the possible operation of the gifts. The emphasis in teaching with this group is that the Acts 2 experience is only a one off historical event signifying the - transition of covenant - affirmation of new covenant community - embracing of the Gentiles The Acts example is not for personal application nor experience but to illustrate a corporate change in covenant. It is a ‘corporate salvation experience’. Whilst I absolutely affirm the corporate dimensions of the Acts 2 text, the personal and ongoing experience is promised in the text itself. In this position, all believers receive all the Holy Spirit has to offer at Salvation. There is no further baptism. We are all baptized into the Spirit at Salvation. The key text used is 1 Cor 12:13. This evangelical hermeneutic effectively starts with Paul and imposes Paul’s semantic onto Luke’s writing however I believe it is evidently clear that Paul and Luke use similar language referring to different experiences and expectations. 2. Sacramental View The sacramental view, like the Evangelical view has nuance. So allow the quotes below to unpackage these. Roman Catholic View In baptism (possibly including an infant) the person is ‘baptised’ into the church by the Holy Spirit. The reception of the Holy Spirit in salvation and Baptism in water are linked effectively as one. However, the third experience, the Empowering of the Holy Spirit is found in the traditional practice of Confirmation / Chrismation. Chrismation, often called confirmation in English speaking nations comes from the word ‘Chrism’ meaning the anointing. “One of the effects of the sacrament is that "it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1303). Though I reject the rigid form adopted by the Roman Catholics, I say AMEN to the desire to seek a ‘special strength of the Holy Spirit’. Such a view has seen the development of a strong subset in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Amongst Catholic Missionaries it is reported that over 90 percent are Charismatic. http://catholiccharismatic.us/ccc/articles/Cantalamessa/Cantalamessa_002 .html http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c1a2.htm#III Eastern Orthodox View Chrismation (sometimes called confirmation) is the mystery by which a baptized person is granted the gift of the Holy Spirit through anointing with Holy Chrism. (ref. Ware – 278,9) It is normally given immediately after baptism as part of the same service, but is also used to receive lapsed members of the Eastern Orthodox Church. “As baptism is a person's participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, so Chrismation (anointing) is a person's participation in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.” (Ware, Timothy (Kallistos). The Orthodox Church. New York: Penguin, 1997. (414) A baptized and chrismated Eastern Orthodox Christian is a full member of the Church and may receive the Eucharist regardless of age. Anointing (the chrism) substitutes for the laying-on of hands described in the New Testament, even when an instrument such as a brush is used.[414] http://doepa.org/article.php?id=37 http://doepa.org/article.php?id=36 Again, what can be seen in the Eastern Orthodox view is a view more akin to the Roman Catholic view which views the empowering of the Spirit as a separate event from salvation and baptism. This is crucial to recognise because many, particularly of the conservative reformed community claim that the Pentecostal/ Charismatic persuasion is a recent aberration in affirming the distinction yet it has always been the belief of the Church universal until the Protestant Reformation. Traditional Anglican View According to the Anglican Church “Confirmation is the laying on of hands by the bishop with prayers for the gift of the Holy Spirit for mission and ministry.” (39 articles of faith and http://www.anglican.org.au/index.cfm?SID=2&SSID=4&PID=9) Confirmation, in the Anglican Church is a separate and distinct activity, from baptism in Water in which a person’s salvation is sealed and their acceptance in the Church is affirmed. “This act of laying on of hands (in Samaria) did two things. It first of all provided a clear link between the Christians in Samaria and the Christians in Jerusalem. It also conferred, in a special way, the strengthening and empowering gift of the Holy Spirit. It is these two parts that make up the differing gifts of the sacrament of Confirmation.” (http://www.ballaratanglican.org.au/?id=confirmation) The historical practice of Chrismation or Confirmation as the ‘gift of the Holy Spirit for mission and ministry’ is a clear ritualized recognition of the subsequence of the ‘empowerment of the Holy Spirit' or “Baptism in the Holy Spirit’ Key principles in the Traditions of Sacramental Christianity a) Baptism in Water and Salvation are the one event, bringing the new Child or convert into the Community. b) At Chrismation (the annointing, otherwise called Confirmation) the ‘empowerment of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands (or anointing) happens for mission and ministry. The empowerment or anointing at Chrismation is subsequent to salvation – it is for every Christian and it is a specific initial event 3. Classical Pentecostal View Pentecostal Christianity understands the Books of Acts and Luke in the same vein as the traditional (or sacramental) Church but believes that in general, it has become a ‘form without the power’. It is this view that I hold to. Whilst other traditions have helped enrich my understanding of the corporate dimensions of Acts 2, these fall short in their application as an ongoing experience available for all believers.

The Pentecostal view believes that… 1. We are Born of the Spirit as he baptizes us into the body (Purpose: Salvation) In 1 Cor. 12:13 we are being baptized by the Spirit into the community of believers. the Greek preposition here, "en," can be used as "in," "with," or "by." Paul is talking about conversion into a community of believers. To conflate this verse with Jesus baptising his disciples in the Holy Spirit is to ignore great slabs of scripture. The baptiser in 1 Cor 12 is the Holy Spirit, the object we are baptised into? The Body, Jesus' body) 2. The empowering of the Holy Spirit is distinct to Salvation (Purpose: Mission) When you take your concordance and look up every text in Acts where the Holy Spirit works in believers it is never subconscious, it is a conscious immersion in the Spirit for power to witness. (Acts 1:8) The idea that the empowering of the Holy Spirit may happen without one specifically noticing has no support in scripture. Salvation can be subjectively experienced in that an individual may repent and believe and there be no immediate evidence yet that is never the case in the scriptures regarding the empowering. It is a conscious immersion in the Spirit for power to witness. In John 20:22 Jesus, as the risen Lord is recorded as breathing on his disciples to ‘Receive the Holy Spirit” “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:22 The Greek here is immediate in nature and should not be twisted into a prophetic statement. Rather, it stands as a separate experience from the promise of the father, that Jesus would baptise them in the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11) which happened at a later point. Even if one were to argue that the New Covenant did not start till Acts 2 it does not change the textual indication that the Empowering of the Holy Spirit was for empowerment not salvation. We see this subsequence or distinction a number of times in scripture. “The tendency in Protestant churches has been to read Luke in the light of Paul. Paul addresses pastoral concerns in the church; Luke writes a missionary manifesto.” (https://www.glopent.net/pentecostudies/online-backissues/2007/fall-2/menzies-2007b) At no point in Luke or Acts is the primary operation of the Holy Spirit that of salvation but rather of empowerment and prophecy. Luke is talking about charismatic empowerment for ministry/mission JESUS Luke declares that the coming Spirit-baptiser was himself anointed with the Spirit (Luke 3:22; 4:18; Acts 10:38). When people declare that Baptism in the Holy Spirit IS Salvation they essentially create a situation whereby Christ was NOT saved prior to being annointed with the Holy Spirit'. Of course such is ridiculous. The Holy Spirit did not come upon Jesus nor any of the OT prophets for the purpose of salvation but of initiation and empowerment for ministry and mission. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:17-19) This is important because Jesus is the baptiser in the Spirit. When Joel 2:28-32 is quoted in Acts 2 it affirms the Restoration of the Spirit of Prophecy. There simply is no evidence to support the notion that by referring to Joel 2:28-32, Luke intended his readers to think of some commonly expected, allembracing salvation experience. IF JESUS NEEDED THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT SO DO WE!!! FIVE OCCURENCES OF THE EMPOWERING OF THE SPIRIT IN ACTS – ALL CLEARLY ARE FOR THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT FOR MISSION Luke 24:49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

THE 120 in the UPPER ROOM

Luke 24:49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Nowhere in Acts 2 (or Luke/Acts for that matter) is the coming of the Holy Spirit implied as an issue of soteriology (salvation) but of empowerment for mission. “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord[a] in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4 SAMARITANS Acts 8:5-8 says “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. {6}And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. {7}For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. {8}And there was great joy in that city. These people had been converted, baptized in water, healed, delivered of demons and made joyful. We know they must possess the indwelling of the Spirit. None of the above is possible without such yet they still needed to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. After hearing these people had been saved and baptised in water, Peter and John came to Samaria from Jerusalem. Acts 8:14-17 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit." Again, we see a clear distinction between the salvation experience, baptism in water and the reception of the ‘promise of the Spirit’ as described in Luke / Acts as clearly about the empowering of the Spirit to be witnesses. PAUL Paul referred to the Damascus Road experience as his conversion experience (Acts 26:12 – 18). Paul even receives his call on the road. However, he did not receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, the empowering of the Spirit until three days later when Ananias laid hands on him. "And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:17). CORNELLIUS Ten years after Pentecost, we find Cornelius, a Gentile military man, had an angelic visitation and was told to send servants to Peter so that he could come and share with him the plan of salvation. Jews were forbidden to associate with Gentiles; so God had to deal with Peter with visions from heaven. After this, the servant came to his door. The Holy Spirit told Peter to go with them, because they had been sent by the Holy Spirit. Cornelius invited his relatives and friends to hear Peter preach on the plan of salvation. "The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ He is Lord of all that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days." (Acts 10:36-48). The household of Cornelius received Christ as Saviour and the empowering of the Holy Spirit immediately after being born again. We find in verse 46 that they spoke in tongues and magnified God. This got Peter in trouble. He was admonished by the Jews in Jerusalem, and Peter had to explain why he went. "Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, 'Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 'who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.' And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, 'John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God? When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life" (Acts 11:12-18). This text makes Acts 2 the repetitive precendent, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning". The Acts 2 experience, to be empowered by the Spirit to be witnesses is being repeated in this moment. What is also crucial in this text is not just Tongues but more importantly, for the moment that Peter attaches this experience to Matt 3:11 and the Acts 2 experience. At no point, in these texts is the objective salvation but rather power to be witnesses. THE EPHESIANS “And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Acts 19:12 This event is about 20 years after Pentecost, yet the reality of a subsequent experience is clear. What must be made clear is that Luke (in Luke /Acts) uses ‘receiving the Holy Spirit’ or the ‘gift of the Holy Spirit’ solely as a reference to the Promise of the father.

Note some key factors in this passage Paul's question shows us two key things a) He believed they had ALREADY believed and were thus saved and must consisently have the indwelling of the Spirit. b) Even though having believed, they might not have received the Holy Spirit (read in semantic context) as the empowerment for the mission. When he lays hands on them, they are filled with the Spirit, they speak in other Tongues and Prophesy. HOW DO I GET EMPOWERED? ASK Jesus said in Luke 11:13, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" Keep in mind, sometimes we have to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, and knock and keep on knocking until we receive our answer to prayer. This is about desire. Also, remember, through the scriptures we also see people, particularly leaders lay hands on those who desire the empowering. In such we see a precedent that should encourage us to engage with others, who have already been empowered and have a faith to see you also receive this empowering for mission. God is not going to give you something scary but something that enables you to move into everything he has called you to! You can trust him! CONCLUSION The empowering of the Spirit is not a subjective experience. It is a known experience when we are overflowed with the power of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of mission (Acts 1:8). I believe the scriptures are clear that the empowering is not the same operation of the Spirit to redemption itself. This conviction is also supported by the general agreement of the vast majority of Churches throughout history with the exception of the conservative evangelical protestant community. The outworking or form may have been ritualised but the confessions are remarkably similar. The empowering of the Holy Spirit is for YOU! “Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. "For the promise (of the father) is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." Acts 2:38-39 Remember, the semantic of Luke is clear, the reception of the Spirit in this context is that “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) It’s not the end Eph 5:18-19 says “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. Then you will sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts.” The Greek tense here is a continual ‘be being’ filled with the Spirit. The fullness of the Spirit is not just a one off event but a continual walk in the Spirit. In the Next blog I will cover what you can expect when ‘Empowered by the Holy Spirit’ including Tongues and other connected issues. If you have any questions feel free to shoot them through to me.

#HolySpirit #BaptismintheHolySpirit

0 views
  • Facebook B&W
  • Twitter B&W
  • Google+ B&W
  • Instagram Basic Black

© 2015 by Josh Reading