Q & A
Dr. J. Rodman Williams
Professor of Renewal Theology Emeritus
- Doesn't the doctrine of the baptism in the Holy
Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues suggest that one is superior
spiritually to one who has not experienced this blessing? What is the proper way
to minister to those who have never experienced this and feel offended because
they feel "less spiritual" than those who have experienced the baptism? Doesn't
the emphasis on this doctrine suggest division in the body of Christ because some
do not experience this?
A proper understanding of baptism in the Holy
Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues does not point to some
superior spirituality of the believer. All believers by virtue of their salvation
are already spiritual persons with the Holy Spirit indwelling them. As such, they
may grow in spirituality through the process of sanctification. Baptism in the
Holy Spirit refers not to salvation or sanctification but to a special act of
empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
Recall Jesus' words to His waiting disciples
that "You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts
1:5) and also "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). These disciples were all
believers, and the Holy Spirit was at work, but they needed this extra baptism
of power. This was not that they be more spiritual but better equipped to be witnesses
for the Lord.
Speaking in tongues as a sign of special empowerment was
not the heart of the experience. However, it did demonstrate the powerful impact
of the Holy Spirit in breaking forth in a new language. So it continues to this
There should be no division in the church of those who have and those
who have not. That belongs to the arena of salvation. But to those who have, they
may have more. That is where baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues
comes in. Praise God for all His blessings!
Order Dr. Williams book, Renewal
Theology on CBN.com.
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