Is the Holy Spirit Given to Believers at Baptism Today?

We’re in the season of giving gifts, and while the traditional Advent study focuses on God’s gift of His Son and our anticipation of His return, I wanted to look more closely at the gift He has given believers in the interim: His Holy Spirit.

It’s a little hard for me to believe that there believers in Christ who would actually answer that question with a strident “No.” Some are actually offended that the question is being asked.

In Acts 2, Peter (filled with the Holy Spirit himself), quotes a long passage from the prophet Joel and proclaims it as fulfilled on the spot at that time:

In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.

Are we still living in the last days, or have the last days spoken of in scripture somehow passed without Jesus returning?

Is anyone left out of that prophecy? Young people? Old people? Men? Women?

When Peter’s message convicts the crowd of Pentecost feast-goers, they begged to know what they could/should do:

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. 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.”

Was the promise just for them and their children and for all who lived far away then? Or for ALL who lived far away in distance and generation?

Among those who believe that the Holy Spirit is no longer given to dwell in the hearts of believers, many will maintain that He has been replaced by or is present only as the word of God which a believer will have memorized.

The usual defense for this position is three-fold. First, proponents of Spirit-in-written-word-only-today are likely to quote any number of passages about the hearing, reading, believing and especially obeying the word, including (but not restricted to):

There is nothing to argue with about the importance of hearing/reading, believing and obeying the written word, but it is worth pointing out that scripture …

  • Does not say that the word itself IS the Spirit. Scripture is inspired by God’s breath (2 Timothy 3:16; Acts 28:25), but inspiration is different from being. Jesus IS the Word (John 1); the Spirit is His (Luke 23:46; Acts 16:7, etc.) … but the Word is distinct from the written word. Jesus the Word fulfills the word that is written.
  • Does not not say that hearing/reading the word is the only way God makes His will known to those who would believe (faith may also begin in deducing God from Creation – Romans 1:19-20)
  • Does not say that the only way faith comes is by hearing (it is also the gift of God – 1 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 2:8). The Lord sent blindness to Saul of Tarsus, but He also sent him Ananias. He sent an angel to Cornelius, but He also sent him Peter. God can give faith in unusually-wrapped packages.

Part two of the defense of the Spirit-in-written-word-only-today proposition is that the summation of 1 Corinthians 13 declares that the gifts of the Spirit will be done away with when “that which is perfect is come,” and “that which is perfect” means the Bible, the written word. (That is why some will put so much emphasis on the belief that the Bible is the inerrant or perfect word of God – it is a cornerstone of the proposition.)

Scripture describes no such transformation – reduction, I’d say – of the Spirit’s role in our lives from Counselor and Comforter and Dweller-Within and Reminder-of-Christ and Convicter-of-Heart to a simple collection of memory verses.

Scripture also does not speak of itself as perfect. The will of God is perfect, to be sure, but it’s a stretch to say that all of God’s will is completely revealed within scripture – and that is also a meaning of the word translated “perfect” – “complete” and/or “mature.” Indeed, scripture is complete with regard to what man generally must do in response to God’s grace – but as far as direction signs for individual journeys go, scripture is largely silent.

The third tenet of the Spirit-in-written-word-only-today belief is that the promises made by Jesus in John 14-17 (that the Advocate would teach, remind them, guide them into all truth, and show them things to come) were made only to the twelve apostles. That would mean that there is no promise of indwelling Advocate, Comforter, Counselor to any beyond those few that the apostles laid their hands upon.

But those promises include Jesus preparing a place for and coming back for the one whom He is addressing (John 14:1-3). And there are commands like, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Are those only for the twelve also?

Jude’s question dispels any notion that knowing Jesus was just for them; Jesus answer is “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” (John 14:22-23).

I think a lot of the motivation behind the Spirit-in-the-written-word-only-today view is a fear that things would get out of control among believers if everyone acted on newly-revealed instructions from the Holy Spirit – and I concur that there has been much abuse of this human tendency to describe self-desires as God’s desires, from the lie of Ananias and Sapphira and the confusion of the church at Corinth to the ill-fated followers of the likes of Jim Jones of Jonestown and David Koresh of the Branch Davidians.

There is a test for the “prophecy” of such individuals, and though it is found in the Old Testament, it remains useful:

If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. ~ Deuteronomy 18:22

Also, there is no need to fear that the Spirit would further reveal something of the will of God that would contradict what has already been revealed in scripture through the inspiration of the very same Spirit.

But when we ask in prayer for individual direction beyond the encouragement given generally to all in the written word, how else should one expect an answer if not through His Spirit? No scripture revealed to Paul that he should not go to Bithynia; what prevented him from going was the Spirit of Jesus.

Jesus is spoken of in scripture as perfect (Hebrews 5:9) as well as the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Surely we are not meant to do without what God has promised and given as living Comforter and Counselor in His absence until He comes! For He had already come once when Paul wrote to Corinth:

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:9-11

While this passage speaks to both the completeness and maturity that is to come, the sense of perfect can only be attributed to God, especially as revealed through Jesus. When He returns, the gifts given through His Spirit will no longer be needed.

Are they still needed? I would daresay that no one can prove than the need for the gifts given through the Spirit has dissipated at all, let alone disappeared. The gifts given through the Spirit and the Spirit’s presence Himself are different – but that’s the subject for another post. So, even if the gifts given through the Holy Spirit can be said to have ceased, it does not necessarily mean that His presence in our hearts has also been withdrawn.

To believe that is to believe that Jesus’ promise was not to all, or to all who are afar off, but only to a few in the first century (or so).

That would mean:

Is that what we believe scripture says?

I have most often found it to be the case that people believe what they want to believe. I freely admit that I want to believe that God would deliver what is promised in scripture – not more Spirit for one generation, and less Spirit for those to follow. It would be the first time I’m aware of that God has backed off of a promise made to all, and I do not want to believe that.

So I think it is fair to ask those who advocate a Spirit-in-the-word-only-today view: Why would anyone want to believe that?

Can the written word be grieved, as a Person can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30)? Can the written word be lied to, as a Person can be lied to (Acts 5:3)? Can the written word intercede for us with groans as a Person can (Romans 8:26)? Can the written word testify with our spirits that we are God’s children (Romans 8:16)?

One can believe that the written word provides the armament of God described in Ephesians 6, but surely not the full armament; too many of those weapons are so deeply associated with the Spirit Himself for them to accompany one but not Him. And every so-called religion has its own holy book; to the soul unfamiliar with the Bible, how does one convince him that this book holds the unique power of resurrected self unless it is demonstrated by the power of an humble, obedient life itself (1 Corinthians 2:3-5; 2 Corinthians 4:7)? Will that soul be convinced to read or hear without seeing that power in the inner being (Ephesians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5) of believers?

One can perhaps picture the written word offering comfort and counsel in much the same way as a stack of letters from a departed love one … but I cannot see how that compares to the promise made of a Spirit of unity within us, offering relationship with the divine as intimate as the loving oneness in marriage; a Spirit breathing life to the metaphor of Christ and His bride, the church.

I cannot help but conclude that the Spirit given to believers now as then is the living Holy Spirit, welcome and dwelling within the soul who opens the door to Jesus’ knocking.

If we ask for and accept and attempt to legislate anything less than God’s full promise, we are in a world of hurt and all but helpless to help save it.

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57 thoughts on “Is the Holy Spirit Given to Believers at Baptism Today?

  1. Keith, I have never seen you get so far off track, as you have in this post. You start with the question, ” is the holy spirit given at baptism, today? I assume you mean, the gifts of God. (I really don’t know, please explain) The answer in my opinion, and my opinion is formed by reading the bible, is the one and only time the powers of God were given anyone at baptism, was when his son Jesus was baptized. I don’t know of anyone else receiving the “holy ghost ” in that fashion. I recall those who received by the breath of Christ, I recall those who received by the laying on of hands by apostles. But only the one time during baptism.

    Then you begin to question one’s belief in God’s power to do what he said he would do. I am sorry to have to say this Keith but you are the one who seems to question that God can do what he said he would do from a far off, you seem to say he has to be within us in order to keep his promise, (not so) God is not hindered by distance or time.
    As I see it God can accomplish all things from his throne, with his son sitting near by.

    Keith, I really don’t understand how you explain “the gifts of God”
    are given only to those who are baptized. I seem to recall that is disputed in scripture. It goes something like this “the rain falls and the sun shines on both” Just because we do not agree with you on this subject, does not mean we doubt God’s Word.

  2. Keith, I have read and re-read and come up with the same conclusion.
    Some people will quote any scripture (totally, out of context) to claim a valid point.

    Joe 2:28 ¶ And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
    Joe 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

    Joe 3:1 ¶ For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
    Joe 3:2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and [for] my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.

    When will all nations meet in this valley that is spoken of. If you can read into Joel’s vision that the Holy Spirit will indwell all baptized Christians, surely you can know when other parts of this vision will take place.
    This must be one big valley if all nations today will fit into it.

    Nowhere in your post do I see the answer to your question, “are Christians indwelled at the time of baptism, if you can prove that, I ask you to do so, I am sure your answer will be as it is about the trinity, “because I believe it to be true”
    May God bless you, have a merry Christmas.

  3. You’re objecting to the wrong guy, laymond. I didn’t pronounce the passage in Joel as fulfilled on Pentecost; Peter did.

    Proof is an elusive quantity when matters of faith are in question, brother. My previous post (well, two back) explains that I believe the scriptures which say God gives His Spirit to whom He wills; that He promised it to all and forever for the asking; that the asking and giving virtually always takes place in the context of baptism (sometimes with the apostles’ touch); and this post simply deals with whether that promise has expired.

    So, I’m curious … if you believe otherwise, why? Do you believe you are so inarguably right on the subject that it would be sinful to ask?

  4. Keith, I would be caught short on proof if I were to try to prove you were not given the Holy Ghost at baptism, you know what they say about proving a negative. But you are arguing a positive which should be provable, if it is not provable it is not a positive. Proof can exist in many ways, such as an example, so if you can give me an example of one person in scripture (other than Jesus) who even claim they received the holy powers of God through baptism that would be a start.
    (I don’t believe we are seen as equal to Jesus, in God’s eyes.)

    As I recall Jesus was the only one to receive this power at baptism. I recall the apostles received such powers through the breath of Christ, after he prayed to his father for permission to do so.

    Jhn 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

    I recall others received it through the hands of the apostles, as I read the bible that was the last of passing the powers to another, I may have missed an example if so please enlighten me, I know you can’t buy it (and it is dangerous to try).

    As for the scripture in Joel, I read that to say he will pour out the good gifts on the people, not pour himself.

    You said “this post simply deals with whether that promise has expired.”
    And “I didn’t pronounce the passage in Joel as fulfilled on Pentecost; Peter did.”

    So I guess you answered your own question, If you believe what Peter said , what does fulfilled mean? (does it mean come to pass)?

    • KB, I hope I can take some credit for your recent articles. I long to be an inspiration. Rom 10:17 seems to give you alot of trouble. Elsewere You have told me that I inserted the word only. I didn’t, you were able to read the scripture and come to the correct conclusion. Faith come by hearing/reading the word of God. Our faith is built on God’s word. In the first century the early church didn’t have the new covenant in written form. God revealed the “mystery” through Christ in part when He was here, then he promised the Apostles that the H.S. would come and reveal all truth to them, miraculously. 1 Cor 13 confirms when that which is perfect had come these things (the miraculous) would cease. That which is perfect is the New Covenant, we have it in written form. There will be no more revelations. No need for the Spirit to communicate to anyone directly anymore. The old covenant was a curse(Gal. 5) it was removed nailed to the cross. We have been liberated from it. We now live under the perfect law of liberty (Christ, the new Covenant) which by no means, means that we are free to do as we wish. 27 books in the new covenant, 21 refer to how christians are to live and worship God acceptably. Those who desire a personal indwelling, for the Spirit to direct them personally in some way, are searching for a way to do as they wish. many have said, the spirit directed me in this direction, how do they know? how would anyone know? it could have been Satan. If this direct influence is true, then 2 Timothy 3: 16,17 is false. God’s written word is all that we need. I have been a christian for 41 years and he has yet to say a word to me directly. He speaks to me often through the written word, when I take the time to listen. We need to be like the Bereans in Act 17. who searched the scriptures (old covenant is all they had) but they were commended for doing so. Commended for searching God’s written word, to see if those things they were told were so. God’s word KB is infallible it contains all truth, why can’t we accept it? or are we like the philosophers also of Acts 17 who were always ready to hear something new?

  5. Laymond, the best I can do for you is Acts 9:17-19. Your criteria for belief is rather demanding.

    J. Richardson, welcome to my blog. Glad to accept inspiration from any good source. I can’t see that you’re bringing anything new to the discussion we’ve already had. But I’ll ask this: How do you know that faith comes ONLY by hearing, because that is what your argument seems to depend upon – the word “ONLY” which isn’t there in Romans 10:17.

    You keep confidently stating things like, “There will be no more revelations,” and “Those who desire a personal indwelling, for the Spirit to direct them personally in some way, are searching for a way to do as they wish.” How do you know these things? Scripture certainly doesn’t contain them. Were all of the people in scripture who sought the Holy Spirit merely searching for a way to do as they wish? Some did. Others did not. It would seem to require supernatural ability for you to know the minds of people today in order to pass judgment on them in this way. Is the Holy Spirit revealing this to you? I can’t believe that, because what you contend is not in harmony with what scripture says.

    Because I have heard the same things repeated from other people and read them in books and articles, my inclination is to suspect that you were taught these things and impressed with the threat of eternal damnation for ever questioning them – because that is the general tone of the books and articles I’ve read, brother.

    The direct action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer can in no way invalidate 2 Timothy 3: 16,17; He would never contradict what He has inspired in scripture. You are arguing from what you have assumed – and you can’t see these scriptures from any other perspective that you’ve been taught.

    Repeating that perspective over and over does not make it true!

    • KB, Our faith is based on what God has revealed. A faith based on anything else, our think so, or the thoughts of man is not biblical faith. Rom 10:17 says and I believe it when it says, ‘faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God.” so to have the kind of faith God is talking about it must be based upon what he has said. Again I say, you correctly interpret the passage but you don’t like what you read. You say I put the word “only” in it. No God did. Faith in God comes by no other means. Therefore, what ever we do that is not of faith, or based on Gods word,it is sin, Rom 14:23.
      There is no need for further revelation, the faith, the doctrine of Christ, the new covenant, the mystery has once and for all been delivered to the Saints. Jude 1:3, It has also been confirmed, 2 Peter 1:19 If a person can be directly lead by the H.S., why do we have the written word, why were the Apostles told to go out and preach the gospel, why do we now have preachers and bible studies, why not just wait for the spirit to move us?

      • Brother, I don’t know how to respond to someone who adds a word to scripture and says God did.

        You keep assuming – though I have disproven it before – that any further revelation would be unnecessary or would contradict scripture; would add to it. I’m not talking about a revelation of God’s will for mankind, but of His will for a specific person or group of people. I believe my example was “Don’t go to Bithynia.” (Acts 16:7). No scripture told Paul and Luke this, but the Spirit of Jesus did. You have difficulty with my examples and you ignore them or explain them away.

        I have no difficulty with Romans 10:17; I have difficulty with those who assert that it says more than it says.

      • KB, You say “you have trouble with those who assert that it says more than it says,and says God did it”. I agree with scripture that faith comes by hearing the word of God, You KB have asserted that faith can come from elsewhere. You have asserted that Eph 5:19 says instruments may be used. Who is “asserting.” God’s will for the individual would be included in the “mankind”. KB, don’t you understand that man didn’t always have the written word? Your example of Acts 16:7 reflects upon a time when the miraculous was still happening. Paul and Luke recieved God’s will directly, first through Jesus Himself, then directly from the H.S. Their faith came by hearing God’s word, it wasn’t written yet, but God’s word none the less. 1 Cor 13 is clear, those things (miraculous) would cease. God’s will for everyone has been delivered, once and for all. Its called the new covenant, the new testament, Christ’s doctrine, the will of God, God’s word, the narrow way, the perfect law of liberty. It is infalliable and you would do well to heed it, until the dawning light comes again. For the H.S. to direct you personally would make God a respecter of persons, which scripture tells us He is not. All of us have been given the same information. The question now is, what will we do with it? Will we take up our cross and follow Him, or will we be like the rich young ruler, who couldn’t give up the desires of the flesh?

      • J.R.; sorry I couldn’t respond directly below your reply.

        You said:

        KB, You say “you have trouble with those who assert that it says more than it says,and says God did it”. I agree with scripture that faith comes by hearing the word of God, You KB have asserted that faith can come from elsewhere.

        Actually, in the comments responding to your remarks at wineskins.org, I cited scripture which plainly says that faith does not come only from hearing the word of God; it is also the gift of His Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:9; Ephesians 2:8).

        You have asserted that Eph 5:19 says instruments may be used. Who is “asserting.”

        Actually, I stated that Ephesians 5:19 neither permits nor forbids instrumental praise. It simply says “sing.”

        God’s will for the individual would be included in the “mankind”. KB, don’t you understand that man didn’t always have the written word?

        Peter considered Paul’s writings to be scripture (2 Peter 3:16), and the evangelists of Acts and epistle writers quote Old Testament scripture exhaustively.

        Your example of Acts 16:7 reflects upon a time when the miraculous was still happening.

        Can you prove that miracles no longer happen? Of course you can’t. Would you consider it a sin to pray for one if the life or soul of a beloved one was at stake … from cancer, perhaps, or another less-treatable, fatal illness?

        Paul and Luke received God’s will directly, first through Jesus Himself, then directly from the H.S. Their faith came by hearing God’s word, it wasn’t written yet, but God’s word none the less. 1 Cor 13 is clear, those things (miraculous) would cease.

        But 1 Corinthians 13 doesn’t say that. It says that when the perfect/mature/complete has come, the imperfect/immature/incomplete will pass away. It requires an addition – an interpretation of man – to “make” it say that “perfect” refers to God’s written word (which I have shown above to have already been revealed at least in part) and that “imperfect” refers to miracles. The words “written word” and “miracles” do not appear there.

        God’s will for everyone has been delivered, once and for all. Its called the new covenant, the new testament, Christ’s doctrine, the will of God, God’s word, the narrow way, the perfect law of liberty. It is infallable and you would do well to heed it, until the dawning light comes again.

        AMEN!

        For the H.S. to direct you personally would make God a respecter of persons, which scripture tells us He is not.

        Was God a respecter of persons when His Holy Spirit directed people personally in the first century? Why would He be now but not then?

        All of us have been given the same information.

        No, not all of us. Many have not yet heard. Those in Macedonia would not have heard if the Spirit of Jesus had not prevented Paul and Luke from visiting Bithynia and called them to Greece instead.

        The question now is, what will we do with it? Will we take up our cross and follow Him, or will we be like the rich young ruler, who couldn’t give up the desires of the flesh?

        That is THE question, but not really the question under examination in this post. That question is whether God renegged on the promise of His Holy Spirit to help us bear that gospel, live it and proclaim it – a promise for all and forever.

        I say no.

  6. Keith since you like to quote from Acts, let’s look at some.

    Act 10:44 ¶ While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (all who heard the word)
    Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. (before they were baptized)

    I don’t see anything about baptism being the vehicle by which the gifts are given.

    Act 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

    Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Why are we baptized? for remission of sins. I don’t see any other reason quoted.

    • KB, 1 Cor 12 is a list of miraculous gifts that were given. Paul told the Romans in 1:11 “I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift so that you may be established. Remember when Jesus told His diciples that some of you will not taste of death, until you see the kingdom come with power.” It did, miraculous power. It was used to establish the church. Acts 2 we see this coming about with Joels prophecy being poured out. And yes they quoted the old testament, thats all they had. Jesus came preaching something new, It took the miraculous to spread this new teaching. It was the new covenant, it was not in written form yet. The miraculous would be used until that which is perfect had come, or delivered. It has been once and for all. 1 Cor 12 reminds them of there gifts, 1 Cor 13 tells them this gifts would soon cease. God’s will is available to all men, maybe they haven’t heard yet, but its here. And yes the H.S. is our guide and comforter yet today, when we read or hear God’s word will be guided and comforted and we can live as Christ, if only we will heed that which was delivered. According to 2 Tim 3: 16,17 we don’t need anything else. As for those who haven’t heard yet, someone needs to find them and tell them the good news.

      • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says:
        “All Scripture is God-breathed a and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God a may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

        It doesn’t say scripture is all we need. That’s what you said, and it’s a little bit more than an interpretation. Most of what you’ve said is that, Jeff, and that’s why I can’t accept it.

        Do you know who came up with that interpretation among Restoration leaders? None other than Alexander Campbell himself. Do you know who disagreed with him? Barton W. Stone.

        Good men. But men. So I’ll stick with what scripture says – to all people and forever; to believers and those who ask – and until you can refute what scripture says WITH what scripture says rather than what men say that it means, it’s really not something I’m willing to argue further.

  7. Keith, how come you didn’t comment on Acts 10-44,45 ? I will venture a guess, because your belief hangs totally on the misreading of this small vs. acts 2-38.

    Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    What are we baptized for? remission of sins. and what is the “gift” God gives us at baptism ? forgiveness of our sins. Why does God do this ? because we confess, we repent, and we ask forgiveness,in his Son’s name. Why do we do this? so we might be acceptable into God’s plan of salvation.
    Yes there were Christians in the early stages of Christianity who were given powers, powers to convince, it was feared testimony along would not be enough, but as Paul said these powers were no longer needed after the church was up and growing, and belief, and trust in that belief took hold. It is no longer a religion of “show me” it is a religion of “faith”.
    In my opinion those who seek this indwelling, are clinging to that religion of “show me”. Like the apostle, who said to Jesus, show us God and that will be enough, to get us to believe. I belive Jesus said that was asking a little to much, his image would have to do.

      • Jeff, on December 5 my church family heard F. LaGard Smith speak during an all-church Bible class about how he had compiled and annotated The Daily Bible. It was insightful in a way that reading alone could not be. We had the opportunity to ask him questions; he spoke in an enlightening way about why he had arranged certain scriptures in a certain way – hopefully chronologically – to the best of his ability.

        I know LaGard is not the author of the Bible – but imagine how much more we could discern in scripture if the Author who inspired it were answering our questions, guiding us into all truth. Imagine how useful it would be to the kingdom if we were asking for – and receiving – direction for our individual lives to take, such as where or how we might next share the gospel with a thirsting soul …

        Now, tell my why God would want that for His people of biblical times, but not now.

        You see, he who asks receives (Matthew 7:8). When we ask for wisdom and believe, we will receive it (James 1:5-6). Whatever promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

        I don’t think very many of us have asked … possibly because we have been taught NOT to believe, Jeff.

  8. I already addressed Acts 10:44-45 in my previous post, https://keithbrenton.com/2010/12/11/is-the-holy-spirit-given-to-believers-at-baptism/ .

    In Acts, The Holy Spirit is almost always given in the immediate context of baptism.

    Thomas was not condemned when Jesus said “Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe.” The Spirit was breathed on him as well.

    In Luke 10 and 11 when Jesus sent the twelve and the seventy(-two), He gave them authority – gifts – to help people as well as a message for them. It was no different when He gave those gifts through His Spirit. Miracles attested to the word in the life of Jesus (Acts 2:22), Phillip (Acts 8:13), Paul (Acts 19:11) and others. But the authority to work miracles is not the same as the One through whom they are given (1 Corinthians 12:28). And signs, wonders and miracles were the marks of an apostle (2 Corinthians 12:12 – though not necessarily exclusively an apostle; Phillip the evangelist is an example; Stephen is another in Acts 6:8.)

    I see no place in scripture which describes a time when the giving of the gifts and/or the Spirit (through whom they are given) was to cease.

    Can you give me evidence that supports your opinion, laymond?

  9. We have examples of the powers of God being shown through man, even through the first Christian era, I don’t recall any after that. I am not saying God don’t give good things still today,because he does. I just don’t see any evidence of his miraculous powers being exhibited by folks today.

    Mat 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

    Luk 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (I would like to know where Luke got the Idea to exchange “holy spirit” for “good things” )

    Keith please explain how an apostle who was present when these words were spoken could be mistaken in what was said. And a person who was not there got is right. or was Luke just referring to holy spirit as “good things”

    We know they ere speaking of the same event, because of what was said earlier.

    Mat 7:8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
    Luk 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
    seemed they agreed on everything except what was given. I believe I will go with the apostle who was on the scene.

  10. Laymond, all I can say is that scripture reveals that the gifts are distinct from the giver – Hebrews 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:1ff – and those gifts are given through the Holy Spirit.

    If it was Luke’s misconception, then it was a common one. (How do you know Matthew quoted the full quote and not Luke, brother? Why are you setting aside one for the other? Aren’t both inspired? Couldn’t Jesus have said both: “… how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give good things – the Holy Spirit – to them that ask him” or even “… how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give good gifts through the Holy Spirit to them that ask him”? Couldn’t one writer have chosen to emphasize one item and the other writer something different?) I don’t think it’s wise to ignore certain writers of scripture because they write things I don’t fully understand or don’t like. I know you and I have a disagreement about that regarding the apostle Paul. I just don’t believe we can cherry-pick the scriptures or writers we’re comfortable with and ditch the rest.

  11. Keith, I can only read what is written and decide which I believe, if they differ. I have no right to add to or take away from either. If you are indwelt with holy powers, and feel you can discern which is right, who am I to say you are not, I myself cannot claim that, I am still only human and fallible just as I was before baptism, that is why I continue to need and ask for God’s help through prayer, every day.
    I usually start that prayer with, my Father who is in heaven, not holy spirit with whom I am indwelt.

  12. Keith can you please explain this statement, that Jesus made,and to whom he made it.

    Jhn 14:12 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

    Just what did Jesus mean? Did he mean to say that you as a Christian would do greater works than he?

    • How could that even be possible without God’s help, Laymond? He said it to the twelve, but if He meant that only for them, why would we need to know about it? If only for them, is He only going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house? Is His command to love one another as He loved them … only for them? It’s all part of the same discourse.

      And what works did they do that were greater than what He did?

  13. Keith, you asked “And what works did they do that were greater than what He did?”

    You answered your own question, there were twelve of them and each had the same powers as he did, Jesus had three years with which to work, the apostles had many.
    not greater in power, but greater in number. Look at his reasoning for saying that,
    “because I go unto my Father.”

    ” Is His command to love one another as He loved them … only for them? ”
    Yes, I believe it was, how many people in your church do you really think would die for you, Keith ?

    ” is He only going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house?” Well Keith I can’t answer that for certain, but a lot of people today say we are going to be right here, on a renewed earth, so I guess it is possible. I believe he did say the apostles were going to rule with him. Some people say that also applies to all Christians, but if that were so, who would they rule over?

    • Laymond, I think Jesus may have seen “greater” in a different way than we see “greater.” Not perhaps as more spectacular or more numerous, but more powerful. While Jesus could preach repentance and the approach of the kingdom while He lived as mortal man, He could not preach the full gospel – Himself crucified, buried and raised.

      We mortals seem fixated on the miraculous, the spectacular, but that is not the only way in which the Holy Spirit works. My brother J. Richardson makes much of the power of the gospel – and he should; we all should – though it is not the sum of the Spirit’s power.

      When Peter preached the gospel in the Spirit’s power on Pentecost, 3,000 repented. No figures are given as a result of Jesus’ or His disciples’ or even John the Baptists’ preaching … except “crowds.”

      I don’t know how many of my church family would be good enough to consider me a righteous man and die for me; I do know that none of them are the one and only Son of God – so the sacrifice of all of them couldn’t save my soul even if somehow it could save my life. Thousands of believers in the early centuries of the church surrendered their lives to torture and death because of their faith in Christ; their unwillingness to deny Him. They took His instruction seriously, and were faithful like Him – even unto death.

      I get the impression from the very prophetic language of Revelation 20 (esp. 4-6) and Revelation 5:10 that God’s reign will be on earth with believers from the New Jerusalem; this is the promise Paul mentions to Timothy (2 Tim. 2:12).

      Maybe believers reign over themselves; maybe over angels; maybe they just reign. Don’t have an answer for that, brother!

      But I believe there’s a reason we know from John 14-17 what Jesus said to the twelve on the night He was betrayed and it proved to be a promise for more than just them in the book of Acts and many of the epistles, including that very prophetic one at the end. I feel that’s a fair conclusion to reach, based on the scriptural evidence.

      We don’t, for instance, necessarily believe that Jesus was locked into preparing a place for Judas by what He said before Judas’ betrayal was revealed; why would we believe Him limited only to the twelve to whom He directly spoke? Especially if there are examples of that promise fulfilled to more than them – Phillip, Stephen, Paul, Cornelius’ household, the church at Corinth.

      • KB, If I might jump in here, 2 Tim 2:12. “if we endure” we will reign with Him, in heaven. Jesus said in John 18:36 “My kingdom is not of this world.” It is a spiritual kingdom. Jesus told the diciples, “that some of them would not taste of death, until they saw the son of man coming with his kingdom.”(Matt 16:28, Mk 9:1, Lk 9:27) If it is not here, there are some very old men walking around. But it did come and it came with power, Act 2. When Christ returns it will not be to reign over an earthly kingdom, it will be to recieve His own. 1 Thess 4:15-17 the Lord will decend, the dead in Christ shall rise first…those who remain, shall be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, to be with Him forever.” Christ is King now, he reigns over His kingdom now. We can be apart of that kingdom now. The Lord’s church is the New Jerusalem.

      • Jeff, 2 Timothy 2:12 doesn’t say “in heaven.” John 18:36 doesn’t say “in heaven.” Neither of them says “in heaven only.” God reigns in this world as surely as in heaven. What Laymond and I were chatting about was the kingdom yet to come – and while there are the souls of martyrs pictured under the altar in Revelation (6:10), that is before Judgment; nothing in scripture says that believers die and go to heaven to stay forever. Several passages, however, speak of a new heaven and a new earth – not this world; a new one, one yet to come – (Isaiah 65:17; 1 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1, where the New Jerusalem descends, 21:2). That’s after Judgment (Revelation 19). Peter wrote after the church was established; he wouldn’t look forward to a new heaven and earth if it were already delivered.

  14. Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

    People are astonished when they read what Jesus said, be perfect as the father is perfect. ” how can we be perfect like God? we are only human.” yes we are only human, and we are not asked to be anything else.
    I believe the book of James explains it beautifully. He said it even better if you are fortunate to be able to read in Greek.
    Jam 1:4 But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

    Jam 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world.
    1Cr 13:2 And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
    1Cr 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    • KB, Have you given any thought to the idea that not everything the angel of the Lord showed John, was in the future? Some was in the past, some in the present and some future.

      • Certainly some of what is described in the Apocalypse took place in the past – it’s a kind of pageant of human history. But don’t you think it’s describing at the end of the book what is to come at the end of human history? Christ’s return, judgment, the reconciliation of God and man in the setting of a river of life banked by the tree of life? Is that unclear?

  15. Keith said:
    December 23, 2010 at 4:12 pm | #11 Quote Brother, I don’t know how to respond to someone who adds a word to scripture and says God did.
    And then said: “Couldn’t Jesus have said both: “… how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give good things – the Holy Spirit – to them that ask him” or even “… how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give good gifts through the Holy Spirit to them that ask him”? ”
    (but scripture does not say this, you did.)

    December 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm | #22 Reply | Quote Laymond, all I can say is that scripture reveals that the gifts are distinct from the giver.
    Keith, I agree, that is why I insist that the gift of the “Holy Ghost” is not the Holy Ghost.

    • Surely you don’t equate harmonizing the gospels as equivalent to adding to the content of scripture, Laymond.

      If I told a young suitor I would give him the gift of my daughter, would he assume I meant the ring she bought for him?

  16. Brother Keith, in your post you listed some facts that are disturbing, depressing, defeating, and deadly, even, to our spiritual lives.  Those facts would be true if the answer to your question was “No”, if the Holy Spirit did not dwell within the believer, as I believe the Spirit-inspired word teaches that He does.  Because Scripture teaches that there are things that the Spirit does to and for a believer, beyond simply teaching, in order for a person to be saved.

    In a book that I once read there was a discussion of the Trinity, and it contained what I think was the best description I’ve ever heard of the Holy Spirit, that being, “God-with-His-sleeves-rolled-up.” I thought that was rather accurate and appropriate, because with people as messed up as we are (Rom. 3:23), there is plenty of work to be done.

    So I was studying some Scriptures last night, trying to learn more of what Scripture teaches about the work of the Spirit, and I had a few more disturbing thoughts regarding the absence of the Spirit from the life of a Christian.

    Keith, it would also seem that if the answer to your question is, “No”…

    –God’s love has not been poured into our hearts (Rom. 5:5)

    –We are controlled by the sinful nature (Rom. 8:9)

    –We are slaves to fear (Rom. 8:15-16)

    –There is no One to help in our weakness (Rom. 8:26)

    –There is no One to intercede for us in prayer when we don’t know what we ought to pray for (Rom. 8:26)

    –There is no One to testify that we are His children (Rom. 8:15-16)

    –We have no right to call God ‘Father’ (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6)

    –We have no access to the Father (Eph. 2:18)

    –We cannot worship God (I Cor. 12:3, Phil. 3:3)

    –Our bodies are not God’s temple; they are our own (I Cor. 3:16, I Cor. 6:19)

    –We are not baptized into His body (I Cor. 12:13)

    –We do not belong to Christ (Rom. 8:9)

    –We have no deposit guaranteeing what is to come (II Cor. 1:22, II Cor. 5:5, Eph. 1:13, Eph. 4:30)

    –We have not been chosen by God (II Thes. 2:13, I Pet. 1:2)

    –We have not been renewed (Titus 3:5)

    –We are not sanctified (I Cor. 6:11, II Thes. 2:13, I Pet. 1:2)

    –We are not washed (I Cor. 6:11)

    –We are not justified (I Cor. 6:11)

    –We are not saved (Titus 3:5)

    Yikes!

    Rather, I choose to believe the apostle John, who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote, “We know that we live in him and him in us, because he has given us of his Spirit…If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.” (I John 4:13,15)

    • Lacey, between your list and my short one, I think there are far too many of the benefits of the Holy Spirit that cannot be attributed to – or accomplished by – the words of scripture alone in order to make the “Spirit-within-the-written-word-only-today” position viable.

    • mmlace, it is interesting to note that behind each of your 19 items of concern, there is a scripture reference. Looks like the spirit is leading you just fine, through study, you have learned where to go for guidence and knowledge, you are being lead by the Spirit.

      • JR, I don’t disagree with you in the fact that the Holy Spirit teaches, guides, and leads through the Word.  My point is just that Scripture itself teaches that is not all the Spirit does.  He also pours out God’s love to us…He intercedes for us…He testifies for us…He sanctified…He justifies…He saves!

        In a previous comment, you asked brother Keith what more he was looking for…my question back to you would be what do you have to lose by asking?  Do you really have no questions that the Bible has left unanswered?

        Finally, I also wonder, JR, how exactly do you interpret all of the Scriptures that speak of the Holy Spirit living in us?  I’m not speaking of the examples we see in Acts, where someone received some specific spiritual gift (miraculous or not) at the laying on of hands.  But rather, how do you interpret passages in the letters of John and Paul that speak of Him living in us?

      • mmlace, I agree, the Spirit does all those things you mention, my point is, He doesn’t have to be in us physically to do it. When we allow God’s word to lead us, its the same as having the Spirit lead us. The Spirit led the Apostles into all truth,directly, they in turn lead us into all truth through the inspired, Spirit revealed written word, indirectly, There are things I wonder about, but if its not revealed in scripture it must not be very important, I don’t need to know. Some things must be left to God. I do believe the Spirit lives in me, I also believe The father and Christ do also. In John 14:23 Jesus said, “if anyone loves Me, he will keep my word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to make our home with him.” The question is how?

  17. Mat 13:18 ¶ Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

    Mat 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; ——-

  18. Keith, that straw you are grasping, is beginning to get water soaked.
    If, we received the same “holy ghost” that the apostles received from the breath of Jesus, or that Jesus received at baptism, from God.
    Then surely we receive the same gifts.

    Jhn 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

    Jhn 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.
    (just to clarify)
    NIV – Jhn 20:23 – If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

    Keith, do you believe you have the power to forgive the sins of others.
    If not , why not? (catholic priests do)
    I see “holy people ” do it often, on my TV. These people believe they are indwelled by the same spirit you claim.

    • Laymond, I must confess I had never seen those two verses as connecting the Holy Spirit with forgiveness.

      I’m still not sure that I do. But consider also Matthew 16:19 and 18:18. We don’t consider Peter to be the only person addressed in the context of 16:19, nor the disciples only in the context of 18:18.

      Clearly there are sins which cannot be forgiven by men, since they are against God (Matthew 12:31-32). And Jesus’ teachings don’t necessarily extend to forgiving sins of others against others; His teaching is to forgive those who sin against you (Matthew 6:12). So it’s foolish to insert the word “all” into John 20:22-23 … whether the Spirit is involved or not.

      I believe He is. With the Holy Spirit interceding for us in prayer (Romans 8:26), resident in our hearts, He can communicate to God what we ought to pray for, including God’s forgiveness of those who have sinned against us.

  19. Keith do you believe Jesus forgave sins, or God forgave sin through Jesus.

    Mat 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

  20. Answer: yes. In other words, I don’t believe it’s an either-or question, but a both-and question.

    God forgave sin before Jesus came (Numbers 14:20, 15:26 and others), but Jesus is the sacrifice through Whom forgiveness came (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 10:17-18).

    God could foreknow what would be achieved on the cross, extending forgiveness through it in advance of the Savior’s sacrifice.

  21. Keith said; “Laymond, I must confess I had never seen those two verses as connecting the Holy Spirit with forgiveness.”

    after reading the question I asked of you, I can see where it would be prone to misunderstanding.
    What I meant to ask was. Do you believe Jesus could forgive sins, before he received the holy spirit after being baptized. ?

    • I don’t know. I’m not convinced that Jesus received the Holy Spirit at baptism … only that the Spirit took the form of a dove, confirming to John that Jesus was the One promised.

      John the Baptist was prophesied to have been filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth, even as both his parents had been – first Elizabeth and then Zechariah (John 1).

      I haven’t read anything to convince me that Jesus had no measure of the Spirit before He was baptized; it was His Spirit, after all.

  22. Keith, are you telling me that you believe “The Holy Spirit” is the spirit of Jesus, and that what is referred to as decending like a dove, was only pointing out the “Lamb ” to John. Keith there was no dove involved here.
    (hōsei – like- as if it were. no bird involved, only the manner in which a bird lands upon the earth)
    Mat 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (the spirit of God)

    Isa 42:1 ¶ Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, [in whom] my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. ( Keith, the Holy Spirit, is the spirit of God.)

  23. and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,

    Foolish me, I thought we were talking about the spirit, that descended from heaven. unless you believe there is only one spirit present on earth, the scripture you quoted has nothing to do with what we were talking about.

    As for the appearance of that spirit, look at what John the baptist, said.
    Jhn 1:32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. (and it abode upon him) unless you believe Jesus walked around with a dove living upon him, Luke’s rendition, makes little sense.

  24. Well, Laymond, are you going to ditch everything Luke wrote in addition to everything Paul wrote? They traveled together some, you know … do you think they were involved in a heretical conspiracy to spiritualize the Christian religion?

  25. Keith like so many others I know, when there is a question they would rather not answer, they try to switch the burden to someone else.as I believe I have stated in many places I do not believe the writers of the bible were infallible, at least the interpreters, and translators. If you are one who believes the interpreters, and translators, as well as the writers were inspired by God, you might want to take it up with Al Maxey one of the leading progressive leaders in the CoC. he belives as I do, I can give you some of the examples he gives if you wish.
    And yes I do place more trust in the Gospel writers than others, can you show me where Luke claimed inspiration. Or for that matter where Paul said he talked to the holy spirit.

  26. Keith, you don’t need to take my word for any of this.If we read the first three vs. of Luke we find where the writer got his information.
    Let me use the NIV, which might be more understandable.
    NIV – Luk 1:1 – Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled* among us,
    NIV – Luk 1:2 – just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
    NIV – Luk 1:3 – Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
    I don’t see how anyone can read the book of Luke, and just dismiss the first three vs.

    Act 1:1 ¶ The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
    Act 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
    Notice; it does not say all Christians. ( the apostles whom he had chosen: )

    Keith I can go through Paul’s writings and show you where he got his “inspiration”
    if it would help.

  27. Laymond said “I do not believe the writers of the bible were infallible” are you saying that the Holy Bible is not inspired?

    • I’m deleting your cut-and-pastes, Guest for Truth, for the same reason I deleted them at New Wineskins. Taking other people’s material without attributing it to them or getting their permission leads to the impression that you wrote it it. That’s plagiarism, and it’s rude, wrong, and unChristlike. In the United States, it is also illegal. Please stop doing it.

      Link to online articles as you wish. That’s fine. Do not excerpt or copy them whole and paste them in the comments section of other sites.

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