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Pentecostal Doctrines Of The Baptism
Of The Holy Spirit

By

Neil Armstrong B.A., M.Div.


Part 1: Statements Of Faith


These statements are presented here for educational purposes only.
Our view of this important teaching can be found here.

Introduction

The reason why we need to understand the doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is because of the influence it is having in the church of Jesus Christ today. This is largely because of the influence of the Pentecostal Church. Pentecostals are no longer a small sect who can be ignored or dismissed. The primary doctrine of the Pentecostal Church, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, is being adopted by Christians across many denominations. Because of the pervasiveness of this teaching, Christians need to understand it and make decisions as to the Biblical nature of this doctrine.

There are many different renditions of this doctrine. The theology behind the doctrines is basically the same although the wording is different. Here are three different versions of the Pentecostal doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. One comes from the Statement of Faith of the Pentecostal Assemblies Of God Of America and the other two come from the Constitution of the Pentecostal Assemblies Of Canada. These two bodies are affiliated.

The Doctrines Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit

A. The doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit according to the Pentecostal Assemblies Of God Of America Statement of Faith.

#6. "In the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, received subsequent to the new birth, with speaking in other tongues, as the Spirit gives the utterance, as the initial physical sign and evidence."

B. The following is the 1994 update of Article V of the Pentecostal Assemblies Of Canada Constitution.

VI. 3. BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT: The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience in which the believer yields control of himself to the Holy Spirit. Through this he comes to know Christ in a more intimate way, and receives power to witness and grow spiritually. Believers should earnestly seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. The initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. This experience is distinct from, and subsequent to, the experience of the new birth.

C. This is the older version of the P.A.O.C. doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from their Constitution.

#12. The Baptism Of The Holy Ghost: "The Apostolic Baptism in the Holy Ghost as recorded in the second chapter of Acts is the privilege of all God's people, for the Scriptures saith, 'the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off,  even as many as the Lord our God shall call'.'' The Evidence: "The Baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is indicated by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utterance (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6). Our Distinctive Testimony: "We consider it a serious disagreement with the Fundamentals for any minister among us to teach contrary to our Distinctive Testimony that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is regularly accompanied by the initial physical sign of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gives the utterance, and we consider it inconsistent and unscriptural for any minister to hold credentials with us who thus attacks as error our Distinctive Testimony." (Statement Of Fundamental & Essential Truths p. 6)

Summary

These three versions of this doctrine all have a common theology. Pentecostals believe everyone must have "the experience of the new birth" in order to become a Christian. Following the new birth they claim the believer should have a second subsequent experience called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They maintain this second "experience is distinct from... the new birth." According to them the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is confirmed by the "initial evidence" which is "speaking in other tongues, as the Spirit gives the utterance." They also claim speaking in tongues is a "physical sign." They believe the benefits are that a) "the believer comes to know Christ in a more intimate way", b) "receives power to witness" and c) "grow spiritually". The way to receive this intimacy, in their view, is for believers to "seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ." Pastors ministering in Pentecostal churches must adhere to this doctrine in order to continue in pastoral ministry.

When we examine this doctrine in the light of Scripture we must ask several questions. These questions are important because the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is associated with the believers experience of salvation through the new birth. It is imperative that the relationship between these two doctrines be correct. The consequences of there being a problem at this critical juncture, when there is an association with salvation, is enormous. This is one reason why there is such a high degree of controversy surrounding this doctrine as Christians struggle to understand this teaching in the light of Scripture.

Questions based on statements made in these doctrines:

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