The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a controversial teaching which has barely survived almost a century of negative or confused commentary. This site’s objective 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.
The position the author takes is that of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, most clearly enunciated in his book ‘God the Holy Spirit‘. This position is much maligned and neglected. Some seem intent on miss-interpreting his words. They seem to want to limit the scriptures to their own experience, having a strange reluctance to plumb the depths of the fullness of the knowledge of God (Eph 3), they may never find out what the Saviour meant by his words recorded in John 14:21. For example, some claim that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the same as regeneration, when clearly not everyone who names the Name of Christ could be described as ‘on fire for God’, indeed the prevailing aspect of the 21st Century Church in the West is one where the Holy Spirit’s work has been thoroughly quenched. The very concept of “quenching the Spirit” (that we find in 1 Thes 5:19) implies combustion! Some claim that we are arguing for a ‘second blessing’, even though Lloyd-Jones was at pains to make the distinction between the Baptism of the Spirit and sanctification. Nor would he claim that further endowments from heaven necessarily lead to the monstrous concept of a ‘two-tier’ Christianity. There are as many ‘tiers’ of Christianity as there are Christians. The question is, how far up the ‘celestial ladder’ are you willing to climb? Others claim that this doctrine makes us lazy, when the reality is that those who are Baptised in the Holy Ghost are burning themselves up and out for God every day, yet in such a disinterested manner that they have no awareness of their works (cf. Matthew 25:34-40). A peerless example of this Rev WV Higham, himself probably the greatest exponent of a right view of this doctrine alive today (link to a sermon on the topic on the WV Higham Trust Website). Yet Satan has all-but silenced those who understand these vital things because of their wish to encourage fellowship between God-fearing gospel-loving people everywhere, among whom the Baptism of the Holy Spirit has become a pariah phrase. We have become binitarians and Sandemanians by practice, if not yet by creed. This at a time when the church at large remains powerless! The very Person we need most is the very One we dare not name in polite conversation.
Critics claim that neither should we be seeking God for these kinds of blessings, even though they would feel cautious about speaking against Spurgeon:
Remember, the Holy Spirit will not come to us as a church, unless we seek Him. “For this thing will I be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.” “Prove me now here, saith the Lord of hosts, and see if I do not pour you out a blessing so that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Let us meet and pray, and if God doth not hear us, it will be the first time He has broken His promise.
12 Sermons on the Holy Spirit, p51
One key feature of this website will be to demonstrate that Lloyd-Jones merely codified a doctrine that 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 it’s 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 we will incorporate the suggestion as soon as possible.
Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame –
The baptism of the heaven-descended Dove,
My heart an alter, and Thy love the flame
George Croly (1780-1860) 509 in Christian Worship
Come, Holy Ghost, my heart inspire!
Attest that I am born again;
Come, and baptize me now with fire,
Nor let Thy former gifts be vain:
I cannot rest in sins forgiven;
Where is the earnest of my heaven?
Charles Wesley (1707-88) 752 in Christian Worship