Holy Ghost Baptism – Article 1
How often have you heard someone claim they have received “Holy Ghost Baptism?” Very sincere people claim that over and over again — but there is something very troubling about such claims. There are so many discrepancies between what one can read in the Bible and the variety of these personal testimonials that it is impossible to accept all the claims that are made.
The basis for claiming reception of Holy Ghost baptism varies according to who makes the claim. Generally, those of the so-called “Pentecostal” persuasion claim that Holy Ghost baptism accompanies their conversion, in one way or another. Some of them affirm that it is essential to salvation; others deny it. Some Pentecostals urge their converts to seek the baptism of the Holy Ghost in their lives, and nearly all of them affirm that the evidence of it is the ability to speak in what they call “tongues.”
One of the most conspicuous among modern day Pentecostals is the infamous Jimmy Swaggart. He is the one who, a few years ago, was defrocked by his church for repeated sexual misconduct. Yet with all this he claimed he had received “Holy Ghost baptism.” I personally wonder, “Where was the Holy Ghost in this man when he was caught red handed, soliciting sexual favors from professional harlots.” But that is another matter.
In his published work, Is Speaking in Tongues Scriptural and Relevant to This Day and Age?, page 5, he wrote, “A person does receive the Holy Spirit when that person is saved. We are not talking, however, about the work of grace that is performed — and the power of regeneration that is introduced — into the life of a former sinner at the time he or she is saved. There is a vast difference between being born of the Spirit, and being baptized into the Spirit.”
Not all Pentecostals view Holy Ghost baptism this way. Some affirm that it is essential to salvation. They erroneously reason from Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus, “Unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5) that the Spirit of the passage is Holy Ghost baptism. While wrong, they are at least consistently wrong, for if “spirit” in John 3:5 is Holy Spirit baptism, it is unquestionably essential to salvation. The truth is that “spirit” in this verse does not mean the Holy Ghost baptism, rather it is being born of the Spirit, through the teaching revealed by the Holy Spirit. Thus Paul told the Corinthians, “For though ye have ten thousand tutors in Christ, yet (have ye) not many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15). Since the Holy Ghost reveals the gospel, sinners who obey it are born of the Holy Ghost.
Here is one more passage from Mr. Jimmy Swaggart. He wrote, “We believe there is a definite and separate experience subsequent to salvation. We do not believe this experience is comparable to, nor simultaneous with, salvation. It does not make a person ‘more saved’; it does not better prepare them for heaven. But we do believe this gives them power for service. And this subsequent experience that we are discussing is the mighty baptism in the Holy Spirit.” (Ibid.)
This is the assumption of a man who has no scripture at all to back up his assertions. Friends, no one today receives Holy Ghost baptism, for any purpose at all. That’s right – you heard it correctly. Not a shred of Bible evidence can be produced to prove this unjustified claim. Notwithstanding the millions of claims that have been made, there is no biblical basis for claiming that the Holy Ghost works on us today like he did the apostles of Christ. Now if there happens to be anyone listening who denies this, who also has the courage to stand up and prove me wrong, please produce some sort of biblical evidence to back up these preposterous claims. You know, if a person really had been baptized in the Holy Ghost, why would they be reluctant to refute what I am telling you? You know why, don’t you? They have no scripture to back them up. I do. It is just that simple.
Here are plain and fundamental Bible facts about the baptism in the Holy Ghost.
1. Baptism in the Holy Ghost was a promise to a limited few — not a command to all men of all time. Acts 1:4-5 reads: “And being assembled together with them (the apostles), He (Jesus) commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, He said, you have heard from Me, for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Note to whom the “you” applies. It is the apostles only, not the entire world. It is fundamentally wrong and sinful to take a promise made to a select few and apply it to all mankind in all ages. You people who do this are in sin. You need desperately to repent.
Only the apostles, in this passage, were included in those who would receive it within that very short period of time. Today, so-called “Pentecostals” change the passage from “the promise of the Father which you (the apostles) have heard from me” to “the promise of the Father which all men in all ages have been given.” You would have to work hard to be more wrong than that!
2. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a universal command. It was a promise – not a command at all. Again, if there is anyone listening who disputes this, produce the passage indicating that all men of all ages are “commanded” to be baptized in the Holy Ghost. If any of those claiming to have received it, have enough courage to send it to us, I will read it on our very next broadcast and I will do the repenting. That is fair, isn’t it?
No passage in all the Bible even remotely indicates that God commands all men everywhere to receive Holy Spirit baptism. When we recognize the difference in a command and a promise we will understand that no one was ever commanded to be baptized in the Holy Ghost. But some misuse John 3:5, “Except a man be born of water and the Spirit” as proof. This mentions water and the spirit as the elements of the new birth, but it is not a command to be baptized in the Holy Ghost. Water obviously refers to water baptism. Spirit in this passage cannot mean Holy Ghost baptism. Here’s why:
(1) Those who were baptized in the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 were not cleansed by it. Jesus had previously said to them, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (John 15:3).
(2) They were abiding in Christ before they were baptized with the Holy Ghost. John 15:4 reads, “Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” One is forced to conclude from these facts that Holy Ghost baptism on the day of Pentecost had nothing to do with cleansing from sin or conversion to Christ.
(3) Cornelius and his house received the baptism of the Holy Ghost, but Peter said that their hearts were purified by faith (Acts 15:8). So down goes the false notion that John 3:5 teaches all must receive Holy Ghost baptism. But there is more:
3. Holy Spirit baptism empowered the apostles to preach and reveal the gospel for the first time in history. Jesus commissioned the apostles to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). To empower them, He also gave them the promise of the Holy Ghost (Read John 16:13). Shortly before Pentecost He said to them, “Wait in Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Then just a little later added, “You will receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).
When the Spirit came upon them, notice what happened. “And they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). Now dear “Pentecostal” friend, just where did you receive such a power as this? You received nothing but some emotional upheaval when you claim you were baptized in the Holy Ghost. You know it, I know it, God knows it.
4. Holy Spirit baptism enabled the apostles to speak in languages unknown to them. They were instantly able to speak in the various dialects and languages of the hearers in Jerusalem on that day. Listen to me. I know some of those who make the claim of speaking in tongues and they practice the sounds they make. “Pentecostal” preachers give instructions to their converts in how to speak this alleged “unknown tongue.” That proves it is bogus.
The case in scripture is different. Luke tells us the Jews at Jerusalem, “were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.” They asked, “how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?” They concluded, “We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God” (Acts 2:5-11).
The apostles received Holy Spirit baptism to empower them to preach — never as evidence to them or anyone else that they had received salvation. With it they preached the gospel of Christ in the native tongues of all nations. I have been present in “Pentecostal” meetings where a few tried to speak in “tongues.” It wasn’t a language. It was gibberish. This proves such claims as are made today are utterly false. It occurs to me that if anyone today really has this power to speak in tongues, claiming it is God speaking through them, why are they so timid about public debates? I remember the time when “Pentecostals” had enough courage to publicly debate. If they really have this power of the Holy Ghost, they should be lined up at my door, challenging me to debate, eager to publicly refute what I have said. But they don’t, do they? And we all know why.
5. Holy Spirit baptism confirmed Gentiles as proper subjects of salvation. In Acts 10 we read of Cornelius. This man was the first gentile converted to Christ. As he prayed, an angel told him to send his servants to Joppa by the sea and fetch Simon Peter. Peter was sent to “speak to them” the words of the gospel (verse 32). Peter said, “Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe” (Acts 15:7). Peter preached to Cornelius and his household. While Peter was speaking, the Holy Ghost fell on Cornelius and his household (verse 44). Those with Peter recognized instantly that God now accepted the gentiles. Cornelius and his family were then commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord (verse 48). This couldn’t have been Holy Ghost baptism. It was water baptism that was commanded.
On Pentecost, Holy Ghost baptism was to empower the apostles to preach. In the case of Cornelius (Acts 10) it was to convince Jews to accept the Gentiles as fellow heirs and of the same body in Christ. Today dear friend, the Holy Ghost converts, leads and teaches only through what is revealed in the Bible. The Holy Ghost never fell on anyone to make them appear to be having some sort of convulsion — and never to save them from past sins. The baptism of the Holy Ghost enabled people to speak a real language, not some unintelligible jargon.
I have, with my Bible, shown you, that in our age nobody receives Holy Ghost baptism or speaks in tongues as the apostles of Christ did. I can do it any time, any place, and to anyone who is honest. Anyone disposed to challenge that is welcome. I am ready and eager to defend the truth and refute this erroneous view that misleads so many honest people. I urge you, do not be misled by religious quacks who tell you falsehoods like, “Receive Holy Ghost baptism, and speak in tongues.”