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Holy Spirit

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Since the early days of the twentieth century, many Christian believers have taught and

received a spiritual experience they call the baptism in the Holy Spirit. At the present

time, hundreds of millions of believers identify themselves with the movement that

teaches and encourages the reception of that experience. The global expansion of that

movement demonstrates the words of Jesus Christ to His disciples that when the

promised Holy Spirit came upon them, they would receive power to be His witnesses to

all the world (Acts 1:5,8).

The New Testament emphasizes the centrality of the Holy Spirit's role in the ministry of

Jesus and the continuation of that role in the Early Church. Jesus’ public ministry was

launched by the Holy Spirit coming upon Him (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22;

John 1:32). The Book of Acts presents an extension of that ministry through the disciples

by means of the empowering Holy Spirit.

The most distinguishing features of the baptism in the Holy Spirit are that: (1) it is

theologically and experientially distinguishable from and subsequent to the new birth,

(2) it is accompanied by speaking in tongues, and (3) it is distinct in purpose from the

Spirit’s work of regenerating the heart and life of a repentant sinner.

Baptism in the Holy Spirit

The term “baptism in the Holy Spirit” does not occur in Scripture. It is a convenient

designation for the experience predicted by John the Baptist that Jesus would “baptize in

[Greek en] the Holy Spirit”1

(Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33) and is

repeated by both Jesus (Acts 1:5) and Peter (Acts 11:16). It is significant that the

expression occurs in all the Gospels as well as in the Book of Acts. The imagery of

baptism portrays immersion, as seen in John the Baptist’s analogy between the baptism in


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