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Three Questions on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

By Dr. J. Rodman Williams
Professor of Renewal Theology Emeritus - The following questions were asked by visitors to The answers are provided by Dr. J. Rodman Williams, theology professor at Regent University's School of Divinity.

Can you be baptized in the Holy Spirit and not be filled with the Holy Spirit?

According to the Book of Acts, Jesus said to His disciples, "You shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (1:5). When the Day of Pentecost arrived, the text reads, "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (2:4). Evidently, baptism and filling refer to the same experience. The two terms express different aspects of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. However, the word filling is used for the initial experience but also for later occasions (Acts 4:8; 4:31; 13:9; Ephesians 5:18 -- "Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit" literally). In other words: one baptism but many fillings.

Should every believer pray in tongues?

It is not a question of whether every believer should pray in tongues but that every believer may. On the Day of Pentecost, the one hundred and twenty believers gathered together "were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). Note the word all. The Apostle Paul later said to the Corinthians, "I want you all to speak in tongues" (1 Corinthians 14:5). It is a high privilege of Spirit-filled people so to speak. Is it a necessity? No. A privilege? Yes.

Is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit an essential of being born again?

The answer is no. However, the reverse is true: You must be born again to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (For a full discussion of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, see Renewal Theology, 2:190-194.)

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