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Can You Lose the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?

By Dr. J. Rodman Williams
Theologian


Can you lose the baptism in the Holy Spirit? I got it a while back, but now it seems like the power I once had has left me. Does the Holy Spirit ever leave you?

The following questions were asked by visitors to CBN.com. The answer is provided by Dr. J. Rodman Williams, theology professor at Regent University's School of Divinity.


I want to learn to speak in tongues. Please help me.

Speaking in tongues is not a matter of learning. What would you study? Tongues in the New Testament are spoken without any prior knowledge. Look up Mark 16:17, the words of Jesus: "They will speak with new tongues." On the Day of Pentecost, the first speaking of new tongues occurred thus: "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues" (Acts 2:4). They were able to speak with tongues because they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Tongues were a kind of overflowing praise to God (Acts 2:11). So pray earnestly for the Spirit's filling and open your mouth. Do not speak English and new tongues will gladly be given you. You may receive a full language or only a few syllables or words that will increase day by day as you continue to pray. (See Renewal Theology 2, chapter 9, "The Phenomenon of Tongues.")

Can you lose the baptism in the Holy Spirit? I got it a while back, but now it seems like the power I once had has left me. Does the Holy Spirit ever leave you?

To answer the second question first: In at least one case, that of King Saul, the Scripture says that "the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul" (1 Samuel 16:14). The baptism in the Holy Spirit refers to a Christian experience of being "filled with the Holy Spirit" (e. g., Acts 2:4; Ephesians 5:18). It is possible to "quench the Spirit" (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19). Thus it is important to be filled and to keep on being filled- which is the fuller meaning of Paul's words in Ephesians 5:18. Be much at prayer, seek the Lord's presence, and ask for the continuous renewing of the Holy Spirit. He will surely grant it!

In regard to the question, "Is receiving the Holy Spirit necessary for going to heaven?" you answered No. Are you saying you can go to heaven without receiving the Holy Spirit?

One needs to be "born of the Spirit" to go to heaven, but "receiving the Holy Spirit" is for another purpose, namely, the believer's power for witness and Christian living. For more detail, see my Renewal Theology 2, chapter 11, "The Reception of the Holy Spirit."

Order Dr. Williams book, Renewal Theology on CBN.com.

More Theology Q & A from Dr. J. Rodman Williams.

Send Dr. Williams your theology question.

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