What Is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Desiring God | 6/19/2019 | John Piper
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John Piper joins me over the phone for today’s question, an important one. What are we to make of the baptism of the Holy Spirit? The phrase seems to mean different things in the Bible — and it certainly means very different things to different denominations and church practices. Here’s today’s question, sent anonymously to us from Berlin, Germany.

“Hello, Pastor John! I have struggled to understand and embrace the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit,’ especially manifested as someone laughing and rolling around on the floor or even passing out for thirty minutes or longer. I’ve seen churches do this and put a lot of focus on these experiences, which make me quite uncomfortable. Can you explain what the Bible means by the ‘baptism of the Spirit’ as it relates to both (1) our initial salvation experience, and then (2) whether or not we are to expect or seek after subsequent baptisms of the Spirit later in the Christian life?”

Pentecostalism - Movement - Christianity - Baptism - Holy

Pentecostalism is usually defined as a movement in Christianity that thinks of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second experience, usually after conversion, marked by speaking in tongues. That’s the stereotype, anyway, of what Pentecostalism means. That really is an oversimplification.

I just finished a book by Allan Heaton Anderson, To the Ends of the Earth: Pentecostalism and the Transformation of World Christianity. He shows that there are far more diverse understandings of the Holy Spirit and his work among global Pentecostalism than we thought. What is common among many branches of Pentecostalism is not a singular view of baptism in the Spirit, but rather a strong emphasis on the experiential nature of the Spirit’s presence in the life of the believer.

Emphasis - Nature - Spirit - Movement

I think this emphasis on the experiential nature of the Spirit is precisely why the movement has been so globally...
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