Report of TT2-1: Terry Virgo - The Holy Spirit and your Church: Baptism in the Spirit

  • Presence of the Spirit is of massive importance
    • The manifestation of his presence, not just singing good songs.

Acts 1:8 —they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came.

  • When we are helping people to enter into the Baptism of the Spirit, it is very important that they be theological comfortable with it.
    • There is no point in praying for people who don’t believe in it!
    • Never just pray for them. Even if they are blessed at the time, they may experience a backlash of doubt afterwards.
    • the more you are assured from Scripture, the better.
  • When Jesus said “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” they had an O.T. background for understanding this.
    • The Spirit coming upon people was not a strange thought for the Jewish mind.
    • David, the 70 elders in the wilderness, Judges.
    • Joel said there would be an end-time outpouring
    • John the Baptist introduces him as the baptizer in the Spirit
  • Jesus didn’t immediately talk about this, but said that first he must have his baptism of fire.
  • My experience
    • I felt totally impotent in terms of witness for Jesus.
    • I was just like Peter before Pentecost—totally inept and useless at evangelism

Four Common Views

  1. The Evangelical view: You have it when you become a Christian
    • You gradually mature into the fullness of the Spirit
    • Usually held by cessationists
  2. Second Blessing: Surrendering, Lordship, often associated with Keswick.
    • Often the idea of emptying so he can fill it
    • Lay it all down and he will fill you
    • Similar to old Wesleyan teaching on the coming of the Spirit
      • There is a passion for a coming of the Spirit to cleanse, burn out all sin and sanctify
    • William Boothe said “You must get the fire”
  3. Pentecostal teaching: Acts 2—you wait
    • They would have tarrying meetings
  4. A Release of the Spirit (John Wimber)
    • It is like a time bomb. You have it essentially at conversion, but it manifests later.

Do any of these positions stand up to Scripture?

  • No epistle tells you to get baptized with water or the Spirit. These are both taken for granted from the Gospels and Acts.
    • So it is important that we look at these
  • It is hard to build a theology on the experience of the Apostles themselves because they lived through the events
    • it is much better to look at the people who came afterwards
  • Peter says Acts 2:38 that there is a promise for them
  • Acts 8: Samaria —people were clearly converted, yet the Spirit had not yet “fallen upon any of them”
    • Yet they had been converted
    • Similar in Acts 9 there is a “Paul Pentecost”
    • He became a Christian on the Damascus road but cf. Acts
    • Three days later he is filled with the Spirit
  • Acts 10, Peter is still speaking the Spirit fell on all those listening.
  • Acts 19, Paul goes to Ephesus.
    • He thinks the disciples are believers
    • They had been baptized into John’s baptism
      • He led them to Christ
      • Then Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Spirit

Going back over the four positions above:

  1. If you get everything at conversion, it makes Paul’s question to them a nonsense.
    • Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say you gradually get filled with the Spirit
    • God can sovereignly do what he likes, so it is quite possible for people
  2. The idea that it is a later blessing you need more maturity for does not fit with Cornelius or Paul
    • Like saying “go and fight with all your might, and if you do well, next time you can have a gun!”
  3. A strong emphasis on tarrying until you speak with tongues
    • This was dynamic at the start of the movement, but later people could go to tarrying meetings for years.
  4. The idea of the “release of the Spirit” is not what we find in the Bible.
    • It wasn’t that they hadn’t yet released the Spirit
  • What I say to people:
  • John 7:37 —if anyone is thirsty, come to me!
  • there is no more reason to wait!
  • If you are called, then you are qualified
  • You must smash the ideas “I am not worthy or ready”
  • The Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified
    • You have to preach this to the person, to ignite their faith
    • “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or the hearing of faith?”
  • Part of our task is to inspire faith and to smash the whole idea of not being worthy.
    • We have to really attack this—“When do you think you will be good enough then?”
    • Having a grace-filled church helps us to deal with this.
  • It is important to illuminate them and to stimulate their faith.
  • Some people will say “I have been prayed for many times”
    • In cases like than, say “Let’s talk” and bring them to John 7:37
    • Does it say “is anyone holy enough” —all you have to be is thirsty
    • I say “Why are we having this conversation—I guess it is because you are thirsty?”
    • We don’t come to a renowned pastor, but we come to Jesus
  • The laying on of hands is quite common in the Scriptures, but doesn’t seem to be essential
    • I discourage people from saying “I will go home and ask”, but I discourage this because they won’t

Speaking in Tongues

  • I wouldn’t say that this is the initial evidence, as the Pentecostals often would
    • However, this seems to have happened quite often
    • I would say to them my expectation is that this will probably happen to you
  • Some simple things:
    • Its not God who speaks in tongues, not you
    • you are not in passive mode
    • People are waiting for God to “do it to them”
    • We need to help people to understand that speaking is something you do, God is the one who gives the language
      • I am not comfortable with getting people to say algebra backwards or anything like that
    • But as the widow in the O.T. started to pour the oil, the miracle happened.
      • You just have to start!
    • Peter says “If it’s you Lord, tell me to come”. Jesus says “Come!” but Peter doesn’t sit on the edge of the boat, waiting for it to “happen”
      • As you begin to use your speaking apparatus, it starts. As you breathe in, it stops! It is your own apparatus!
    • We have to be very tender and loving, almost like a midwife
    • John Wimber brought a confusion about the Holy Spirit coming. People need to have clear teaching in this area.
  • Some people have a small experience but hold back and won’t give themselves to it.
    • We British often have this problem. The old Methodists used to SHOUT!
    • Don’t settle for a few sentences in tongues, and say “I’ve got it, ok”
    • Paul says he spoke in tongues more than any of them
    • sometimes it is a “groaning” and a joy we should take advantage of

Other comments

  • Repeated fillings are there in Acts
  • It is a corporate thing that God is after
    • We live in an individualistic culture and we can can get focused on our own individual experience.
  • It is not just for the individual, but for the body

The meeting ended with a prayer that we would all be better equipped and more confident in praying for others to receive the Spirit. Then there was a question time.

Spirit Baptism

I appreciated Terry Virgo's notes on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Having come from various church backgrounds, I believe the presence and ministry of the Holy Spirit is often sadly lacking in many evangelical churches. While not wanting to put undue emphasis on experience many evangelicals have dismissed the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit. We must return to both the true teaching of Scripture on the infilling of the Spirit and the practical experience therein.

Just trying to understand

Just trying to understand what Terry's saying... does he believe that Christians who haven't been baptised by the H.S don't have the Spirit indwelling them?


If they have the power of The Holy Spirit why don't they use it?

When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit they used this power to bring people to salvation, to heal the sick and to speak out with boldness to godless nations; like Britain is today. I don't see much of the latter in the UK. What affect have the Charismatic Evangelicals had on our society and our Government? What issues have they debated in the public arena? What influence if any, have they had on a largely atheistic/ secular Government and its agencies?

Christians need to move out of their safe comfort zones; mostly preaching to the converted. What about trying to mend broken Britain and reaching out to the poor and the lost and engaging in communication with leading Christian 'persecutors' people like Richard Dawkins and Prof.A C Grayling and their many followers who at the moment revel in their almost unopposed aggressive atheism, that is sweeping our academic institutions. It can be followed almost every day in certain national newspapers like The Guardian or The Independent.( Just check out the very active Guardian blog; Cif( comment is free) When will the Spirit filled Christians start to make a significant difference in this godless and broken nation?