The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

Do you have a ‘great soul thirst for God‘? Dr Lloyd Jones (sermon #1083) warned against being too dogmatic about some ‘spare’ terms which are left over after having dealt with the main biblical pillars of Christian doctrine concerning the Holy Spirit, such as regneration, sanctification, etc. The Dr’s comments in this regard, near the start of ‘Further reflections’ on the baptism of the Holy Spirit’ indicate that his appeal in the previous week’s message, ie. to avoid dogmatism, was not understood, heeded, or else fell on ‘deaf ears’. This response is fairly typical amongst some sections of the church. The biblical term, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, has become, very sadly, a controversial phrase which has barely survived almost a century of negative or confused commentary. The objective in creating this site is to state the biblical position as clearly and carefully as possible, answer common questions, and give examples of Christians who have asserted the vital necessity of this doctrine. But this site is especially dedicated to the particular phrase of its title which has been so contested in reformed circles during the last 50 years. It is asserted by many, wishing with the best of intentions to avert further damage by ‘Charismatics’, that there is ‘only one baptism of the Holy Spirit’ which, they say, is properly equated with ‘regeneration’. Regeneration is that silent work of the Holy Spirit planting life into the governing disposition of a person, making them ‘alive in Christ’. For that reason, i.e. regeneration is the planting of life, unbeknown to the recipient, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit cannot be the same as regeneration. Indeed, the quotes in this website demonstrate that this position does not sit well with the expressed opinion of our worthiest forefathers, many of whom all will humbly esteem, happily read and readily quote with warm approval. Our spiritual ancestors have unashamedly used the phrase, ‘Baptism of the Holy Spirit’ to mean another work of the Holy Spirit, after regeneration, at or after conversion.  A very closely related term and experience is ‘sealing’ with (or by) the Spirit. AW Pink (1978, p132), referring to Ephesians 1:13 asserts:

It is important to note the order of the three things there predicated of saints: they “heard”, they “believed”, they were “sealed”: thus the sealing is quite distinct from and follows the believing, as the believing does the hearing.

The position the author takes is that of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, most clearly enunciated in his book ‘God the Holy Spirit‘ (audio sermons available on YouTube). This position is much maligned and neglected. One key feature of this website will be to demonstrate that Lloyd-Jones was not some mad innovating heretic on this point, but rather that he codified a doctrine which had previously been left more-or-less unchallenged. Controversy and challenge has played a key role in the way that the Church has formulated doctrine  e.g. the doctrine of the Person of Christ in the early church. In the case of this teaching, controversy has all-but cut the modern church off from its primary source of power and influence, the Lord himself.

If you are in possession of any quotes from Christians, especially those pre-dating Dr Lloyd-Jones, please share them with us here. Simply add as a comment initially and I will incorporate the suggestion as soon as possible. Comments require approval by the editor. This is partly to stop ‘spam’ but also helps well-meaning opponents avoid embarrassing themselves in public.

Of course, the Dr himself quoted many of those who pre-dated him (e.g. Thomas Goodwin, Charles Simeon, Jonathan Edwards, John Flavel, Dwight Moody) in support of his argument  and these can be found scattered throughout ‘Joy Unspeakable’, amongst other books.

Pink AW (1978) The Holy Spirit, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids

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