Part One God’s Gift MEO L.A.M. Norman Oetker Missionary "The Light Amidst the Mong/MEO" Hmong Thailand, Reynosa Mexico, English Class, St. Charles Missouri US.
WANTED… A WRITER FOR A BOOK ON MY LIFE AS A CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY
One desiring God’s Gifts, needs first to become a Christian. A repentant heart, the acceptance of Jesus into their heart and life. The practical demonstration in their daily life, of the teachings of Christ, and the Apostles, and Evangelists.
Accepting only the Christian Bible, of the Old and New Covenant/Testaments, as the rule of Faith, none other.
Understanding God’s Plan for man:
The Old Testament Law, was holy and pure, this holy and pure Law wasn’t known to the barbaric Hebrew peoples.
Upon this rebellious group being freed from Egypt, by God’s power, with God’s choice of leadership in Moses.
God, was then able to continue to prepare the people, for His future Son to come, as the Messiah to the World.
Purposed for the freeing of man, from his Original Sin, which had been past down to all people, by the first man, Adam.
God instructed Moses of His Plan, for the preparation of the Hebrews, for the coming of the Messiah, through the giving of the "Law," that was given to Moses. One must remember, that when the Hebrews were lead from slavery, by the Power of God, how did they show God reverence? they made a golden calf and worshiped it! and in the end, because of their obstinence and inward, along with demonstrative outward attitudes, that entire generation died in the wilderness. Thereafter, God’s Plan continued with those, who choose to believe and trust in their delivering God.
The Law thus began it’s true purpose, and that was in part, to instruct these barbarians, these Hebrews, into living a totally different type of lifestyle, to thinking of their God and fellow man in a new and complete light. Furthermore, it was foreign to them, and, as a matter of fact, to all of the peoples of the known world, of how to live a pleasing life to God.
Accordingly, this paradigm, the "LAW" was an introduction to some of the following: honoring the beauty, perfection, and purity to wards God, virtue, humility, to have a contrite and humble spirit, one needs to be slow to anger, lusts,and lewdness of all kinds forbidden, along with gluttony, drunkenness, to not covet, not to oppress others, all violence, oppression, and fraud, forbidden. The Law is the defender of the poor and oppressed, thou shalt not hate thy brother, not avenge, or bear a grudge against your people, to help the stranger, or sojourner, thou shall love thy neighbor, If thy enemy be hungry feed him, or thirsty give him drink,etc…
The Law was good and perfect for the purposes that it was designed for, to civilize the Hebrews, for the preparation, in the receiving of the coming Messiah.
Now, the Hebrews, at that time, had no ideal what they were being lead into, into a transformation of their total being, their mind, their heart and their soul. The Law and it’s affects, was God’s plan to wards all of humanity, it was the birthing of civilized civilization as we now know today. God’s timing, God’s Providence.
God’s timing, God’s Providence in the 1st. and 2nd. centuries.
As the new Christians, of the first and second centuries A.D. began to understand God’s plan unfolding in their lives, they soon,- through Grace and Prayer,- began to understand about God, through God directing their understanding’s about the Personage of God.
In the formation and of the three person in one God doctrine. Or, Of one, substance.
1. The Father, the first person of the Trinity.
1a. Then, the Father said from Heaven, as Jesus was being baptized, that this was His Son, in whom He was well pleased.
2. The Son, the second person of the Trinity.
2a. Jesus said He was God.
3. The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity
3a. Then upon Jesus leaving this earth and returning to the seat of holiness and honor, at the right hand of the Father.
Jesus told the Apostles, and those gathered with them, to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them in Jerusalem, which in fact, happened.
Then, when Jesus told His disciples to go and baptize the new converts, "In the name Of The Father, In Name Of The Son, And In The Name Of The Holy Spirit. The Christian believers, then, in the second and third centuries, where able to understand the cornerstone of God’s relationship to man.
As a result, the cornerstone, that was laid centuries after the risen Christ, was now the cornerstone, to the Christian faith, "The Trinity." This concept of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, being of the same substance, was clarified by the use of the name "Trinity," the word Trinity, is not in the Bible.
The reason is simple, it was realized and understood after the fact. God’s providence, had that critical part, that revelation of His Godhead, to be known, in order to prepare for the next part of His Divine Plan.
God’s timing, God’s Providence, about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
This description of the Holy Ghost Baptism can be best understood by reading Parts One, and Two, from the Assembly Of God’s General Council, beginning below.
God’s Timing To Receive This Additional Gift Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit, After Becoming A Christian, That Timing, God’s Providence Is For Now! "Asked And You Shall Receive."
Norman Oetker Christian Missionary October 2009
PART ONE OF TWO
© General Council of the Assemblies of God
1 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
The Baptism in the Holy Spirit: The Initial Experience and
Continuing Evidences of the Spirit-Filled Life
This statement on the baptism in the Holy Spirit was approved as the official statement by the
General Presbytery of the Assemblies of God on August 11, 2000.
On the Day of Pentecost visitors to Jerusalem witnessed the unbelievable sight of Spirit-filled
believers declaring the glory of God in languages they had never learned. Their response to the supernatural
was natural: “What does this mean?”1 (Acts 2:12).
Twenty centuries later the same question is being asked as the Holy Spirit is doing spectacular things
all around the world, not just in one location. Tongues-speaking Pentecostals have become the second
largest family of Christians in the world, surpassed only by the Roman Catholic Church. Convincing
statistics exist on the explosion of church growth around the world in the Pentecostal and charismatic
groups that teach the necessity of speaking in tongues as the initial physical evidence of being filled with
the Holy Spirit.2
Biblical and Historical Background
The emphasis on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, which Pentecostals promote, is not new to
the Church. The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was the logical culmination of revealed
truth about the Holy Spirit as found throughout Old Testament Scriptures.
The usual reference in the Old Testament to the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of God” or “his Spirit.” At
creation, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2). Artisans at the building of the
tabernacle were “filled with the Spirit of God” (Exodus 31 and 35). Prophets and national leaders
ministered supernaturally when prompted by the Spirit of God (Numbers 24:2; 1 Samuel 10:10; 11:6; 2
Chronicles 15:1; 24:20; Isaiah 48:16; Ezekiel 11:24; Zechariah 7:12).
Prophecy, or speaking in behalf of God, is evident throughout the Old Testament. Sometimes the
message came almost silently, in thoughts, dreams, or visions. At other times it came with significant
emotion (cf. Numbers 11:24–29). In each case, however, prophetic speech is the unique sign of the Spirit’s
coming to anoint particular persons for divinely given ministries.3
In Acts 2:17 Peter decisively connects the Pentecost event with the fulfillment of Old Testament
prophecy, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men
will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will
pour out my Spirit in those days” (Joel 2:28,29). In fact, lest we miss the point, Peter repeats Joel’s
prophecy in a way not found in the Hebrew text, saying a second time, “I will pour out my Spirit in those
days and they will prophesy” (v. 18). The viewpoint of both the Old and New Testaments is that the
coming of the Spirit is indicated by prophetic speech. The initial prophetic speech in Acts is speaking in
The Israelites were unaccustomed to such a universal move of the Spirit in the lives of sons and
daughters, old and young, men and women. Only a select few charismatic prophets, kings, and judges were
moved by the Holy Spirit to minister supernaturally and experience the presence of the Spirit, as David
demonstrates in the Psalms. Peter put the Day of Pentecost visitation into perspective as fulfillment of Old
Testament prophecy and a divinely ordered gift of the Spirit for all believers, not just for leadership offices.
Biblical theology is a unity based on the entire Bible. It is both progressive and unified because God
reveals cumulative truth from Genesis to Revelation. The Old Testament prophesied a coming age of the
Spirit. The theme is enlarged in the Spirit-empowered ministry of Jesus. At Pentecost the Spirit comes in
power to all God’s people. Yet individual writers emphasize special aspects of the doctrine of the Holy
Spirit. The writings of Paul emphasize the Spirit-filled life subsequent to the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
© General Council of the Assemblies of God 2 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
Luke’s writings place more emphasis on the coming of the Spirit to empower and ministry through the
Spirit-filled life. There is no contradiction between Paul’s writings and Luke’s writings. They are
Baptism in the Spirit as the Distinctive Message of Pentecostals
The very essence of Pentecostalism is the recognition that the experience of conversion, while
supremely precious, does not exhaust God’s supply of what is available to the believer. Scripture makes it
clear that all believers have the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9,16). However, the constant hunger for “more of
God” is the heartbeat of Pentecostalism. This is particularly true when, within Scripture, we recognize
another life-changing experience available to every believer.
The baptism in the Spirit is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. The scriptural ideal for the
believer is to be continually filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).4 Baptism in the Holy Spirit is the
specific event that introduces the believer to the ongoing process of living a Spirit-empowered life.
Although speaking in tongues is the outward sign of Spirit baptism, it is designed by God to be much
more than evidence. Subsequent speaking in tongues brings enrichment to the individual believer when
employed in private prayer (1 Corinthians 14:4) and to the congregation when accompanied by the
interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:6,25).
From its founding, The General Council of the Assemblies of God has recognized the baptism in the
Holy Spirit as an experience distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth. It has also
recognized that the initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Spirit is speaking in tongues.5 The
church’s Statement of Fundamental Truths contains the following statements:
Fundamental Truth 7: All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek
the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Ghost and fire, according to the command of our Lord
Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian church. With it comes the
endowment of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the
ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; 1 Corinthians 12:1–31). This experience is distinct from and subsequent
to the experience of the new birth (Acts 8:12–17; 10:44–46; 11:14–16; 15:7–9). With the baptism in the
Holy Ghost come such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37–39; Acts 4:8), a
deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Hebrews 12:28), an intensified consecration to Him and a
dedication to His work (Acts 2:42), and a more active love for Christ, for His Word, and for the lost
Fundamental Truth 8: The baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the initial
physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance (Acts 2:4). The
speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues (1 Corinthians
12:4–10,28), but different in purpose and use.
The Assemblies of God has consistently taught the importance of the Baptism and the Spirit-filled
life for both the individual believer and the entire Church.
While the exact phrase “baptism in the Holy Spirit” never occurs in Scripture,6 it is closely related to
the biblical expression “baptize(d) in [or with] the Holy Spirit” (cf. Matthew 3:11; Acts 1:5; 11:16). John
the Baptist, the first to use the expression shortly before Jesus began His public ministry, said, “He [Jesus]
will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; cf. also John 1:33). At the
conclusion of His earthly ministry, Jesus referred to John’s statement (Acts 1:5); and Peter, in reporting on
the events in the home of Cornelius, also repeated the statement (Acts 11:16).
Several other terms express essentially the same idea as the expression “baptized in the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 1:8 promises the reception of power when “the Holy Spirit comes on you” (cf. also 19:6). Acts 2:4
states, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit,” on the Day of Pentecost (see also Acts 9:17). In Acts
2:17 Peter describes this filling with the Holy Spirit as a fulfillment of the prophet Joel’s prophecy that
God will “pour out [his] Spirit on all people” (cf. 10:45). According to Acts 8:16, prior to the ministry of
Peter and John in Samaria, the Holy Spirit “had not yet come” on any of the Samaritans (cf. 10:44; 11:15).
After the laying on of the apostles’ hands, the Samaritans “received the Holy Spirit” (cf. 10:47).
The word baptism refers literally to a “dipping” or “immersing” in water. When one uses the term
baptism in the Holy Spirit, it is analogous to what is being described by the term baptism in water.
Christian water baptism is an initiatory rite, acknowledging conversion and the indwelling presence of the
© General Council of the Assemblies of God 3 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
Spirit.7 The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a subsequent powerful, overwhelming immersion in the Holy
Spirit. While New Testament believers sometimes received later infillings of the Spirit (Acts 4:31),
“baptism” in the Holy Spirit in all the biblical examples happens only once to an individual.
A Gift With Rich Benefits
Modern evangelical Christians place great stress on being “born again” (John 3:3,5–8; 1 Peter 1:3),
which is rightly understood to be the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration (John 3:6; Titus 3:5). As He
comes in regenerating power, the Spirit makes His presence known as an inner witness to the believer’s
new status as a child of God. The new believer can now pray “Abba, Father,” expressing the intimate and
confident relationship of children to their Heavenly Father (Romans 8:15,16). Having taken up residence
within, the Spirit also guides and enables the new believer in a transforming life of progressive
sanctification and spiritual maturity (Romans 8:13; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Galatians 5:16,22–24).
The work of the Spirit, however, is not just an inner transformation of new birth and sanctification; it
is also a work of empowering believers as witnesses for Christ, thus fulfilling the mission of the Church
(Matthew 28:18–20; Acts 1:8).8 Peter presented the initial descent of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost as
a mighty inauguration of the last days in which all of God’s people will be baptized, or filled, with the
Spirit (Joel 2:28,29; Acts 2:17,18). The final words of his sermon are, “Repent, and be baptized. . . . And
you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are
far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38,39). Far from being a one-time event on the
Day of Pentecost, the Spirit is noted to have baptized, or filled, believer after believer. Both the Book of
Acts and the Pauline epistles show repeated and continuing empowerment by the Holy Spirit and the
impartation of powerful gifts for ministry (Acts 8:17; 9:17; 10:44–46; 19:4–7; Romans 1:11; 1
Corinthians 12–14; Ephesians 5:18–21; 1 Thessalonians 5:19,20; Hebrews 2:4). Any understanding of the
Spirit’s work that is limited to regeneration is not representative of the biblical record.
Fidelity to Scripture, therefore, indicates that men and women ought to seek not only the
transformational work of the Spirit in regeneration and sanctification, but also the empowering work of the
Spirit in the Baptism promised by Jesus and repeatedly witnessed in the Book of Acts and the Epistles.
Lives are to be changed by the Spirit in regeneration and then set ablaze and gifted by the same Spirit for a
lifetime of service. Seeking the baptism in the Spirit is strategic for effective Christian living and ministry.
An Experience Subsequent to Regeneration
The baptism in the Spirit is subsequent to and distinct from the new birth. Scripture clearly describes
a conversion experience in which the Holy Spirit baptizes believers into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians
12:13). Scripture just as clearly describes an experience in which Christ baptizes believers in the Holy
Spirit (Matthew 3:11). These cannot refer to the same experience since the agent who does the baptizing
and the element into which the candidate is baptized are different in each case.9
Luke, author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, generally presents the baptism
or infilling of the Spirit as something which occurs to disciples, or believers, his characteristic terms for
those who have already been converted or saved. For Luke, baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience
distinct from and logically subsequent to personal salvation. Moreover, Luke presents baptism in the Spirit
and its accompanying power as the normal expectation of believers.
Subsequent usually means a time separation, but not always. The Gentiles who had gathered at the
house of Cornelius (Acts 10) seemingly experienced both regeneration and baptism in the Holy Spirit at
the same time. While a theological description of what happened would require regeneration as a
prerequisite for baptism in the Spirit, everything happened so quickly that two separate works of God were
experienced as one event. In this case, Spirit baptism was logically subsequent to regeneration, although it
may not have been subsequent in time to any perceptible degree.10
Every believer has the privilege of being baptized in the Spirit and should then expect to speak in
tongues. The obvious starting point for such a declaration is the account of the initial outpouring of the
Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). On that day all the believers were gathered together in one place
(Acts 2:1); their number was apparently about 120 (Acts 1:15). For roughly 10 days they had been waiting
for “the promise of the Father,” as Jesus had charged them to do prior to His ascension (Acts 1:4). Then
according to Acts 2:4, “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as
© General Council of the Assemblies of God 4 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
the Spirit enabled them.”11 As Peter explained to the crowd witnessing the marvelous event, this
outpouring of the Spirit fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Joel for the last days (Acts 2:17). No longer
would God’s Spirit be restricted to a few prophets, but in the new age initiated by the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ, the work of the Spirit would now be available to all (cf. also Acts 2:39).
Acts 8:4–13 describes Philip’s effective ministry in Samaria. Verse 12 summarizes, “But when they
believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they
were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:14–24 then reports about additional ministry among the
Samaritans by the apostles Peter and John. In particular, verses 15–17 say:
When they [Peter and John] arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name
of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts
The dramatic account of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus is recounted in
Acts 9. Saul is knocked down and blinded by the light of Christ’s presence. After being led on to
Damascus, still without sight, Saul is visited by a believer named Ananias, who says to him, “Brother
Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that
you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Ananias regards Saul’s conversion as having already
occurred, apparently at the time of his encounter with the risen Christ. Nevertheless, Saul still needed to be
filled with the Holy Spirit and Ananias prayed for him to that end. Clearly Saul (also called Paul) was
filled with the Spirit some 3 days after his conversion.
Years later Paul came to the great city of Ephesus on his third missionary journey. According to Acts
19:7 there were about 12 believers, described as “disciples” in Acts 19:1. The dialogue recorded between
Paul and the Ephesus disciples is instructive:
And [Paul] asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” 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 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” (Acts 19:2–4).
Clearly, at the time of this conversation these believers had not yet been baptized in the Holy Spirit,
for they had not heard of the experience. The context presumes that something was lacking. They also had
not been instructed about Christian water baptism; although, once Paul explained it to them, they were
quickly baptized (19:5). Following their water baptism, “When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy
Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (19:6). The narrative could not be clearer
in its emphasis that the fullness of the Spirit was received following both the Christian belief of the
Ephesian “disciples” and their Christian water baptism (19:5).
In the Acts 2, Acts 9, and Acts 19 accounts, the reception of the Spirit occurs following conversion.
According to Luke’s inspired record, baptism in the Spirit is not an aspect of conversion but rather a
separate and distinct experience. It is also logically subsequent to conversion, although as the experience of
the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius makes clear, conversion and baptism in the Spirit can occur in such
swift succession that they seem to take place simultaneously.
Tongues as Initial Physical Evidence
The Holy Spirit can inspire people to speak in languages which they have not learned, as was
demonstrated conclusively on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2) when people from all over the world heard
Galileans speaking foreign languages which they could not have known. In the modern era similar episodes
have occurred many times.13
The expression “initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit” refers to the first
outward, observable sign that the Holy Spirit has come in filling power. The repeated testimony of
Scripture is that this physical sign occurred at the time the Spirit was poured out on individuals. When the
120 disciples were filled with the Spirit, they spoke in tongues (Acts 2:4). They spoke then, not a day,
week, or year later. When Cornelius’s household was baptized in the Spirit, members spoke in tongues,
and the believing Jews were amazed (Acts 10:44–48). Again, they spoke in tongues at the same time they
were baptized, not at some later time. When the Ephesian believers were baptized in the Spirit, they spoke
in tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:1–6). There is no statement or implication of a delay between the event
© General Council of the Assemblies of God 5 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
of the baptism in the Spirit and the evidence of speaking in tongues. Those who teach there can be a delay
in speaking in tongues draw their conclusions from personal experience or the testimony of others, not
from a clear statement of Scripture. Scripture nowhere teaches, implies, or gives an example of a delay
occurring between the baptism in the Spirit and the evidence of speaking in tongues; therefore we must
adhere to the testimony of Scripture.
Prior to the Day of Pentecost, many within Israel had concluded that after God spoke to and through
the last of the Old Testament prophets, He was speaking directly to Israel no more. Only after Messiah was
to arrive, along with the anticipated Age to Come, would God again speak to His people through the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Suddenly, in this spiritually lifeless context, the Spirit is poured out, not just on selected individuals
as in the Old Testament, but upon masses of people, essentially everyone in the fledgling Church. It was
as if the cry of Moses’ heart had been fulfilled: “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the
Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29). In some marvelous sense the Age to Come had
begun, and a church filled with people who spoke in tongues was a sign signifying the dawn of a new
period in God’s eternal plan for humankind.
Luke understands speaking in tongues to demonstrate the infilling presence of the Holy Spirit; this is
clearly indicated by an examination of Acts 10:44–48.
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The
circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been
poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God” (Acts
The conclusion is clear: If someone, even someone unexpected, hears the Word and speaks in divinely
inspired tongues, that person has received the Holy Spirit. This was the reasoning of Peter and the other
Jewish Christians present. Speaking in tongues is clear evidence someone has received the gift of the Holy
Spirit (or been baptized in the Holy Spirit). The evidence was so clear for Peter he insisted Cornelius and
his Gentile friends be baptized in water (10:48).
Later, as Peter discussed the Cornelius incident with the apostles and believers in Jerusalem, he again
referred to the phenomenon he had witnessed: “So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who
believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God?” (Acts 11:17). The next
verse confirms the apostles and believers accepted tongues as convincing evidence of the baptism in the
Spirit: “When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God” (11:18).
While Acts 10:45,46 establishes that speaking in tongues is clear evidence of Spirit baptism,
evidence supporting this doctrine is also provided by the overall pattern of Acts associating speaking in
tongues with baptism in the Spirit. Acts describes five occasions on which people received an empowering
of the Spirit for the first time (i.e., baptism in the Spirit). In none of these accounts are all of the details
given, but four of these occasions include significant detail. (For Paul’s reception of the Spirit recorded in
Acts 9:17,19, hardly any detail is recorded.) As previously noted, supernatural phenomena are a sign of the
coming of the Spirit. The New Testament simply picks up on a very important Old Testament motif.
In Acts 2, 10, and 19 various phenomena are indicated, such as the sound of wind, tongues of fire,
prophecy, and speaking in tongues.14 The only phenomenon occurring in each case, however, is speaking in
In the Acts 8 account of Peter and John’s ministry among the Samaritans, speaking in tongues is not
specifically mentioned but it is strongly implied. After the apostles had laid their hands on the Samaritans,
some visible and extraordinary manifestation accompanied the reception of the Spirit. This is evident for,
after seeing something remarkable, the magician Simon wanted to buy the ability to confer the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:18 notes explicitly, “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’
hands, he offered them money.” Based on the pattern found in Acts 2, 10, and 19 it seems most likely that
what Simon saw was the Samaritan believers speaking in tongues. Had the experience been only by faith
without any accompanying sign, Simon would not have known whether the Samaritan believers actually
received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 9:17–19 suggests that Saul of Tarsus (i.e., the apostle Paul) was filled with the Holy Spirit
through the ministry of Ananias. Though no details of this filling are given, we know from 1 Corinthians
© General Council of the Assemblies of God 6 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
14:18 that Paul prayed in tongues regularly and often. It would hardly be surprising if that pattern was
begun at the time he was filled with the Spirit.
Despite the sketchiness of the report about Paul’s baptism in the Spirit, and despite the fact tongues
are not explicitly mentioned in Acts 8, the evidence of chapters 2, 10, and 19 demonstrates an overall
pattern of speaking in tongues as regularly accompanying the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When these three
witnesses are linked with (1) Luke’s underlying awareness of the Spirit’s presence in divinely inspired
speech and (2) the strong inference of Acts 10:45,46 connecting speaking in tongues with the gift of the
Spirit, the Pentecostal doctrine that speaking in tongues constitutes evidence of Spirit baptism is clearly
The Baptism—Entry Into the Spirit-Filled Life
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is just the open door leading into a Spirit-filled life—a fact that can
be easily overlooked, even by Pentecostals. Though we believe speaking in tongues is the unmistakable
initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, we do not believe it signifies instant maturity. There are
many other evidences that a life continues to be filled with the Spirit and is growing and maturing
Having spoken in tongues upon being baptized in the Spirit, the believer must continue to respond to
the supernatural promptings of the Holy Spirit. For example, praying in the Spirit (intercessory and
worship expressions in tongues) should be a continuing part of the new Spirit-filled life. Though not all
Spirit-filled believers are given the gift of tongues which through interpretation edifies the church
congregation (1 Corinthians 12:30), they all have the privilege of praying in the Spirit, especially at times
when the human intellect does not know how to pray. Likewise, every Spirit-filled believer can and should
expect to be used in supernatural ways in some, though not all, of the gifts of the Spirit.
We cannot agree with those who teach that the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) alone are
sufficient evidence a believer has been baptized in the Holy Spirit.16 But we do affirm such character
qualities (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith and faithfulness, gentleness, and selfcontrol)
should be seen in the lives of those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. After baptism in
the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit should develop alongside a growing ministry empowered by the gifts of
the Holy Spirit. We urge all believers to pursue these character qualities with the same zeal they pursue the
gifts of the Spirit.17
A Promise for All Believers
We are fully aware that within the Christian community there are various interpretations of the
biblical description and universal availability of the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of
speaking in tongues. This paper has attempted to deal with the biblical texts relating to the subject in as
open and careful a manner as possible. Though some critics have accused Pentecostals of making theology
subservient to individual experience, we feel that the studied conclusions presented above are both taught
in Scripture and confirmed by experience, not unjustifiably based on experience alone. Could it be that
those who seek to refute the baptism in the Spirit on the ground that it is based on experience rather than
on Scripture may indeed be arguing from their own experience of not having received the Baptism with the
initial biblical evidence? We appeal to all believers to study the biblical passages prayerfully, and with
open mind and heart seek the fullness of the Spirit for today’s challenges, just as that same Spirit moved
upon a unified body of believers in the Early Church.
The overwhelmingly godless condition of society today, with evil becoming increasingly rampant,
calls for a Spirit-filled church that can meet the challenges of Satan with a supernatural demonstration of
Holy Spirit power. If there is fear of an experience that seems beyond one’s rational control, let the
personal love of a benevolent Heavenly Father give assurance to both heart and mind. “Which of you
fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a
scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11–13).
We appeal to our fellow believers who may in complete sincerity disagree with Pentecostal theology
and practice. Rather than engaging in attacks on fellow believers who likewise base their spiritual
experience on Scripture, please follow the example of Gamaliel (Acts 5:34–39). “For if their purpose or
© General Council of the Assemblies of God 7 The Baptism in the Holy Spirit:
activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you
will only find yourselves fighting against God” (5:38,39). We believe this last-days outpouring of the
Holy Spirit is God’s sovereign move to meet the satanic challenges of the day and to prepare Christ’s bride
for His soon return. Around the world, God is moving by His Spirit in powerful and dynamic ways.
We are not more loved because we have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but we have become
better equipped to witness with boldness to God’s abundant grace. Empowered service and holy living
accompany the Spirit-filled life after the Baptism initiation. In believing, expecting faith, ask Jesus to
baptize you in the Holy Spirit.