Holy Ghost Baptism – Article 4
Many religious groups, particularly Pentecostals and Charismatics, believe Holy Spirit baptism is for all believers of all ages. This has caused many to believe they have some divine grant specially given to them enabling them to speak in “tongues” and perform miraculous feats. Many TV evangelists commonly urge people to seek this baptism in the Holy Spirit. With no fear of successful contradiction, I say they are all as wrong as they can be. Holy Spirit baptism today is impossible. Don’t believe me?
Study the following scripture carefully with me. “And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matt. 3:10-12).
There are two classes of people included in this text: the wicked and the righteous. This scene takes place at the start of the personal ministry of Christ here on earth. At that time he had selected no apostles and had no followers. He spoke of a baptism where the element in which the baptism occurs is fire. This is a baptism of the wicked for, like chaff, they will be burned as the Lord purges the world. Not all will be baptized with fire because not all are wicked. A conclusion that affirms all are to receive baptism in fire is clearly false.
The second element in which the baptism occurs is the Holy Spirit. Equally false is the conclusion which affirms that all are to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Whether one uses the term “Ghost” or Spirit” is irrelevant — both words refer to the same divine being, the third person in the Godhead.) Those among the righteous to be baptized with the Holy Spirit were to be special workers in the establishment of the Lord’s kingdom here on earth. They were the ones upon whom the Lord place the responsibility of spreading the gospel throughout the whole world to the whole creation. Those special people are called the apostles. Not all the disciples of Christ were even promised the Holy Spirit baptism.
Christ taught the apostles personally while he was here with them and knowing he would return to the Father, he promised them an infallible guide, the Holy Ghost. He promised them, “But the helper, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit removed one of the most human of all characteristics — loss of memory. The things Jesus taught them could not afford to be forgotten. Thus, the Holy Spirit was their insurance that could not forget the truth they were to reveal. Nothing Jesus taught was irrelevant or unimportant. It is also important to realize that when we read what these inspired men wrote and spoke, that we are reading what is equal to the very words of Jesus himself.
Here is another passage to consider: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13).
On the day of Pentecost, one of the most honored and revered of the Jewish festivals, these very men received the magnificent promise of Holy Ghost baptism. The Holy Spirit fell upon them. They were totally immersed in the Spirit, just like Jesus promised. The record of this is found in Acts 2:1-4. One other instance of the same thing is found in Acts 10:35-48. In neither instance did the baptism of the Holy Spirit have anything to do with the personal salvation, sanctification, or cleansing from sin of those who received it.
On Pentecost it was designed to demonstrate that these men were speaking God’s truth. The power given them was to keep them from error. In Acts 10, the same gift was given, but this time to give evidence that Gentiles were acceptable to God. The Jewish people had great difficulty accepting this. God sent the Spirit of God upon Cornelius and his household to show the world that Gentiles and Jews were equal in his sight.
When anyone today claims to have been baptized with the Holy Ghost, they arrogate to themselves a very dangerous position. Apostles spoke infallibly because of this extraordinary gift. They had no need to study, memorize, practice, or even think before they spoke. Some who claim this gift today give evidence they do precious little thinking before they speak, but none of them show anything even near infallibility. I can refute everyone of them very easily from the Bible.
Let anyone who thinks he or she has received this power from God demonstrate it in the presence of someone able to refute the things they teach. There was a time when so-called “Pentecostal” preachers would publicly debate those of us in the Lord’s church. No longer is that true. I would be surprised to learn of a single “Pentecostal” anywhere who would be willing to publicly debate Holy Spirit baptism. Now think of it. These are those who claim to have the same power the Holy Spirit bestowed on the apostles, yet they run scared when it comes to defending their false doctrines. They are nowhere near infallible and they know, and I am persuaded everyone else really knows it. But there is a way they can prove it and we stand ready to meet them in any honorable arrangement publicly or privately and promise to utterly defeat their false doctrines concerning this issue.
Let anyone who thinks he or she has been baptized in the Holy Ghost produce more valid proof than mere human testimony. Their human testimony is no more valid than the testimonials of quacks and fakers the world over. Listen to those who think these so-called “Psychics” can give them good advice about the future. Nothing but human testimony and it is just as valid as the testimonials these so-called “Pentecostals” give.
Modern day preachers still contend “. . . the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift for every believer.” Know where I got that? Mr. Jimmy Swaggart wrote a pamphlet a few years ago. He is the one who tells us we may receive Holy Spirit baptism today. He even claimed to have received it himself — personally. I cannot help but wonder what happened to it when he was found engaged in sordid and immoral behavior, for which he was “churched” by the Assemblies of God. Nowhere in all the Bible is there anything remotely resembling proof that every believer in Christ receives Holy Spirit baptism.
All believers are promised the “gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38) on the condition of sincere repentance that leads to being baptized in water for the remission of sins. However, there is a vast difference in the gift of the Holy Spirit in acts 2:38 and the baptism of the Holy Spirit Jesus promised only to his apostles. Here is that promise that was exclusively to them: “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them” (Luke 24:49-50). No man alive is included in this promise.
The truth is well known today because it has all been revealed. The Holy Spirit’s part was that of guiding and revealing truth. Jude wrote, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).
Beyond what has been delivered, no man has any need or right to go. Jesus promised the baptism of the Spirit to a few men who were to be guided into “all truth” (John 16:13). How much truth? All of it. Now, friends, if all means all, then when the truth was revealed through the apostles by the Holy Spirit, no more truth remained to be revealed. That is why today, it is easy to refute the “Pentecostal” false doctrines in public debate. That is why they are so shy nowadays when it comes to defending publicly what they preach.
Along with the power to reveal the truth was given the power to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, and cast out demons” (Matt. 10:6). I want to tell you, friends, none of those today who claim to have experienced Holy Ghost baptism can heal anyone by miraculous power. You let one of them get sick, I mean really sick, and they will run to the doctor.
Let one of them contract leprosy and see who they call. They will call a doctor, not a fake (I mean so-called “faith healer”). Let one of them be involved in an auto accident and break an arm, or suffer a severe cut and see if they call these so-called healers. Let one of their family members die and see if they can restore that loved one to life. You know this is not possible for them. God knows it, they know it, everyone knows it and again, that is why they are so shy in defending what they believe in public debate. I have made this offer several times in the years we have been on this radio station. I will meet any so-called “Pentecostal” healer, who thinks he or she has received Holy Spirit baptism, at any cemetery in this area, and after they raise the first dead person, I will raise the next two. We can continue that till the cemeteries in our area are empty fields. Who will take me up on it?
The Lord said of his own disciples, “They will cast out demons, they will speak in tongues, they will pick up serpents, . . .” (Mark 16:17-18). Note that the Lord said they “will.” He didn’t say, “if they do . . .” he said they will do these things. You and I both know many who claim they have expelled demons from people and can speak in tongues. Actually they do neither, but aside from that, let them prove their claim by picking up a rattle snake. Let them play with a deadly coral snake or any poisonous serpent. One of them who claims to speak in tongues is known to have uttered this publicly in a Pentecostal meeting. A deadly (and mad) rattle snake was being passed down the row and he allegedly spoke in a “tongue.” He said, “Hala, sala, salii, saly — dear Lord let that snake pass right on by.”
Remember this is no “if” in this promise. So those of you who claim you have experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit, are you willing to be put to a genuine test? I am ready to administer it.
I want everyone to know there is no ill will toward any of these false teachers. I feel genuine concern and pity for them because not only are they lost to God, they are misleading thousands of good people.
We stay ready to discuss this openly – to answer any question privately or publicly.