New DVD Teaching on Spirit Baptism

Our long awaited DVD teaching on Spirit Baptism is here!


Perhaps the most thorough teaching on the subject that we have yet done.

This resource  is designed with small groups in mind, but can also be watched in its entirety. Includes a leader’s outline for small groups.

Click here for more info.

 

Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost?

Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost?

I recently had a person ask me, “Are the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost two different beings? You get the Holy Spirit when you are saved, but you get the Holy Ghost when you speak in tongues, right?”

This question highlights how much confusion there is about the ministry of the Spirit in general and, within that confusion, the significant amount of it that is caused by misunderstood or poor terminology.

Though the questioner raised several points needing clarification, I want to speak to the terms “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit.”  A word of warning; this may rattle some deified tradition, but to me, accuracy is always more important than maintaining the status quo.

You have probably noticed that modern English Bible translations do not use the term “Holy Ghost;” and that for good reason. The King James Version (KJV) was translated originally in the year 1611; this version used the terms Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost interchangeably in the New Testament and used the term Holy Spirit soley in the Old Testament. 

In the Old Testament–which was written in Hebrew, the term ruach (meaning spirit/Spirit, breath or wind) is translated as “Spirit/spirit.”  The only time you’ll find the word “ghost” in the KJV Old Testament is the phrase “give/gave up the ghost”, speaking of someone dying.  This phrase is a 1611-era figure of speech that is substituted by the translators for the actual Hebrew verb, gava, which means to die or breath your last breath.  There is absolutely no usage of the word “ghost” in the Hebrew Old Testament.

In the New Testament–which was written in Greek, the term pneuma (also literally meaning spirit/Spirit, breath or wind) is used exclusively to speak of God’s invisible Spirit, the third Person of the trinity.  

The Greek word for “ghost” is phantasma, meaning “ghostly apparition.”  Phantasma is used twice in the Greek New Testament–both times speaking of being frightened by what the Disciples thought was at first sight a “ghostly apparition”,  namely Jesus walking towards them on the water (see Matt 14:26 and Mark 6:49).  They were literally afraid of what they thought was an unholy ghost!

Though the KJV inconsistently renders pneuma as both Ghost and Spirit, the original is clearly, consistently intended to read as “Holy Spirit”.  No place is this more evident than in Acts 2:4, where the KJV translates the one word, pneuma, as both Ghost and Spirit within the same verse! This perhaps demonstrates the superstition of the era in which this version was translated, but also our need for modern, reliable Bible translations and scholarship.

I am not intending to blast the KJV as being full of errors or hurt those who have been strengthened by reading God’s Word in this translation.  I am trying to clear up a 400 year old misunderstanding that has potentially caused many to fear the ministry of the Paraclete who desires to help us, not scare us.

There is definitively no usage of “Holy Ghost” in the original Hebrew or Greek Bibles.  Simply put, biblically, there is no such being as the Holy Ghost.  Both the Hebrew term ruach and Greek term pneuma are rightly translated as Spirit, not Ghost in modern English translations.

Both the biblical terms for spirit center around life and action, not death and fear–as phantasma, or ghost, implies. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Life, not the spirit of death, a phantasm or phantom.

I pray that our practice of sometimes holding tradition over truth will be challenged–because in this case, the mistranslation of Ghost has likely encouraged many to have additional superstitious fears about a ghostly apparition instead of desiring the Holy Spirit’s practical, desperately needed ministry.

So how about letting the term “Holy Ghost” give up the ghost?

How Tongues Speaking Fits into the Big Picture

Here is an excerpt from our most recent article in the Enrichment Journal entitled, “A Thirty-Something Minister Looks at Initial Evidence.”

To read the entire article, click here.

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Did tongues speaking suddenly show up out of nowhere? Is the Book of Acts our only basis for understanding and teaching on the subject?

A brief survey of the Acts accounts reveals that speaking in tongues is the biblically mentioned sign in the three detailed accounts (Acts 2,10,19) and is the most likely sign in the two nondetailed accounts (Acts 8, 9) as well. The only consistently repeated sign of Spirit baptism in Acts is tongues speaking; any other conclusion is synthetic. But what about the bigger picture?

I have discovered that presenting a broader biblical context than merely presenting the Acts narratives enables people to see the subject in a more personally imperative light. The more Scripture we use, the more hunger we will generate. Along these lines, the following concepts offer some teaching angles to consider.

Two common stages in biblical Spirit-empowering narratives
Looking at what people experienced in other biblical Spirit-empowering events helps us frame a broader context for Spirit baptism. What happened to people when the Holy Spirit came upon them before the Day of Pentecost?

The overwhelming response to the Spirit’s empowering in the Old Testament was spontaneous prophecy in the speaker’s native language. In fact, these occurrences frequently displayed a two-stage process:

The Holy Spirit came upon the person, and
The person gave witness with sudden prophetic speech.
Examples of this common two-stage pattern include: Numbers 11:25; 1 Samuel 10:6,10; 1 Samuel 19:20; 2 Samuel 23:1,2; 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2 Chronicles 15:1–7; 20:14–17; 24:20; Isaiah 59:21; 61:1; Ezekiel 2:1–7; Joel 2:28,29; Matthew 12:18; Luke 1:67–79; 4:14,15; Acts 1:8; 2:4; 10:44,45; 19:6.

These two common stages follow through to the New Testament fulfillment of both Moses’ desire (Numbers 11:29) and the direct oracle from God (Joel 2:28,29) that first, the Holy Spirit would one day come upon all of God’s people, and second they would give prophetic witness.

Even Jesus reiterated this theme when He prophesied that the Holy Spirit would first come upon believers; and, second, He would empower them as vocal witnesses (Acts 1:8).

NEW Holy Spirit DVD Curriculum for KIDS!

A brand new DVD curriculum about Spirit Baptism for elementary-aged kids is now available from familyactionagents.com.

It is loosely based on our children’s book, “Kid Power!”, and contains six interactive 20-30 minute segments suitable for children’s ministry, small groups or family time.

Inspector Clueless leads the way to a biblical understanding of the Holy Spirit’s power with great special effects and practical teaching metaphors designed to help kids understand and receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

“The Holy Spirit: Our Super Power” is now available for $39 and includes DVD, book and leader’s guide/script.

Click here and scroll to the bottom left to find a preview video and ordering information.

Teaching Helps on Spirit Baptism as a Separate Event After Salvation

Here is the latest installment in our series of articles in the Enrichment Journal: http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201002/201002_119_HS_Separate.cfm

This article deals with some practical teaching helps to frame Spirit Baptism as a post-conversion anointing experience.

Please take in the EXCELLENT article by Dr. Edgar Lee in the same issue; he is regarded among the top Pneumatologists in modern Pentecost and it is an true honor to have my little article appear next to his! You can read his work here: http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/201002/201002_112_Bapt_Holy_Spirt.cfm

The Anointing of Jesus and How It Applies to Us

This is an excerpt from our current article, “Jesus The Anointed One: Our Example for Supernatural Ministry,” in the series of practical Pneumatology articles featured in Enrichment Journal (Fall 2009-Summer 2010).
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Did Jesus perform miraculous acts purely out of His raw divinity (as the Eternal Son) or was there another factor at work? The scripture is clear; as the messianic God-man, he would never be divested of his deity in any way (Col 2:9), but he would operate under the auspices of the Spirit’s anointing. Luke 4 records the fulfillment of Isaiah’s messianic prophecy, “The Spirit is upon me because he has anointed me…” (Luke 4:18ff, Isa 61:1ff). The Apostle Peter’s cristological pneumatology is revealed when he teaches the Caesareans that “God anointed Jesus Christ of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power and how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with him (Acts 10:38). Jesus operated under the auspices of the Spirit’s enabling—not because his divinity was insufficient, but because as our great example he would have to lead us in paths we would be able to follow. His promise of the power coming with Spirit baptism (Acts 1:8) would allow us to operate in realms not accessible to mere humanity.

The promise of “greater works” (John 14:12) has kept many a minister up late at night in introspection. Jesus spoke about us doing these “greater works,” but how can earthly novices like us actually expect that to happen? Talk about being under-qualified! The context of Christ’s words is the eminent sending of the Holy Spirit to empower believers—the same Holy Spirit that came upon Him at His baptism in the Jordan.

More than a Trinitarian photo-op, the baptism of Jesus and the subsequent descent of the Spirit—along with the audible expression of the Father’s approval—should speak volumes to us about the process of our personal quest for supernatural ministry. Jesus did not need forgiveness for personal sin nor the Spirit’s power to enable for personal weakness, but as our great example, he would follow the Father’s will step by step; clearing the path that we—who desperately need forgiveness and empowering—could follow. The Holy Spirit’s descent upon Jesus following his baptism established another facet of the pattern we are to emulate, for immediately afterwards Luke records that Jesus was considered “full” of the Spirit (Luke 4:1).

Christ’s reliance on the Spirit’s power loudly speaks of our desperate need for Spirit Baptism and the “fullness” of supernatural ministry power that comes with it. We can follow Christ’s great example as our ministry role model because, like him, we can experience and rely upon the Holy Spirit’s power.

Yet another interview…

Interview with Steve Pike (Church Multiplication Network) about church planters/younger pastors and the Holy Spirit.

Tim Enloe from Church Multiplication on Vimeo.

FIRE BAPTISM? Ouch!!!!!

The last post generated a great question from Diane,  “What about the Baptism of Fire?”

Is there a separate experience for believers known as the “Baptism of Fire” or does it speak of:

1.  the trials believers will inevitably face or 

2.  the tongues of fire on Pentecost?  

There are two references in the scriptures to “baptize with the Holy Spirit AND FIRE” (Matt 3:11, Luk 3;16).  Only John the Baptist uses this combination and it is a prophetic declaration about how people can recognize the Messiah; He will accomplish these acts (whether they are two distinct events or one event marked by two descriptions, phases or facets).  

I think the two possible definitions mentioned above are very plausible, but let me add a third which seems to follow John the Baptist’s flow of thought.  Let’s work through  Luke 3:15-17:  

15   Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ,     

SUMMARY: IS JOHN THE MESSIAH?  

16  John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

SUMMARY: “NO, THE MESSIAH WILL DO THINGS I CANNOT DO; HE WILL BAPTIZE (IMMERSE) IN PEOPLE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT AND FIRE.”  

17  “His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”      

SUMMARY: “THE MESSIAH WILL DIVIDE THOSE WHO ACCEPT HIM (WHEAT) FROM THOSE WHO REJECT HIM (CHAFF);  THE WHEAT WILL EXPERIENCE FAVOR WHILE THE CHAFF WILL EXPERIENCE JUDGMENT FIRES.”  

From this brief analysis, it appears to be a two sided experience for two separate groups of people: those who accept the Messiah and those who reject the Messiah.    

Verse 17 is the key to understanding this concept.  Matthew’s account (3:11-12) verse 12 is almost identical to Luke 3:17; the same two sides to the coin are presented.  Those who accept the Messiah will experience Spirit Baptism; those who reject him will experience fire baptism.  

This seems like the most logical explanation in context.

Fire baptism for me?  No thanks!

FOUR BAPTISMS

I frequently encounter a misunderstanding over the usage of the term “baptism”–both in scripture and modern theology. Bringing some biblical clarity to this fuzziness seems to often help people see the promise of Spirit baptism as an unclaimed blessing from God.

Just as a word of introduction, the practice of water baptism pre-dates the New Testament times by at least a thousand years–most likely more. Baptism in water was even performed commonly at the time of Jesus by law-observing Jews. I believe that Jewish baptism probably got it’s start with the parting of the Red Sea, but it was certainly fleshed out with the brazen laver in the tabernacle/temple. This laver was used to ceremonially wash the priests who would minister before the Lord. If you’ve ever seen pictures of the temple mount in Jerusalem, you can find excavations of “micvahs” at the southern end of the temple ruins; these were public baptistries for the penitent as they would enter the temple and worship God. These micvahs are a likely spot where the 3,000 may have been water baptized on the Day of Pentecost. The obvious metaphor in Jewish baptism is getting clean before a holy God.

There are four distinct baptisms mentioned in scripture; let’s look at them in chronological order.

1. John’s Water Baptism

John was the prophetic forerunner of the Messiah and part of his role was to bring to light the need for repentance. The scripture clearly speaks that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance (Acts 19:4). Though Jesus himself experienced this baptism, it is technically pre-Christian because His work on the cross had not yet been completed. In a similar way that John’s ministry announced the coming fulfillment, John’s baptism was a precursor, foreshadowing the next baptism.

2. Baptism in the Body of Christ

This baptism involves no water because it is a metaphor for becoming part of the Body of Christ at the time of salvation; it has a dual meaning in that it is a metaphor for both our conversion and our joining the family of God. 1 Cor 12:13 demonstrates this metaphorical language as the entry point into the Body of Christ, the moment we are Born Again. Unlike John’s baptism, this baptism is still intact and is the single greatest event that can take place in a person’s life!

3. Christian Water Baptism

In the Great Commission, Jesus instructs us to baptize the new disciples in water with the acknowledgement of the nature of the triune God. This command marks the obsolescence of John’s Baptism as we clearly see with Paul’s reaction to the Ephesian converts in Acts 19. We see Christian water baptism being a foundation stone of the early church’s discipleship model and understand that like John’s baptism it demonstrates repentance, but it also now signifies identification with the death and resurrection of the Messiah, Jesus. This Baptism is not obsolete and should be obediently observed by all followers of Jesus.

4. Spirit Baptism

Like the Baptism into the Body of Christ, this baptism involves no literal water but marks a significant spiritual moment. Matthew, Mark, Luke John and Acts all prophesy that Jesus the Messiah will Baptize His followers in the Holy Spirit. In Acts 1:8, Jesus spoke to His assembled followers–who had now put their faith in Him as the resurrected Christ, they were Born again as you and I now are–and told them that they would receive supernatural ministry power at a future event, namely Spirit baptism. This promise is initially fulfilled in Acts 2 at Pentecost but is also demonstrated as a consistent pattern for apostolic discipleship in Acts 8, 9, 10 and 19 where new converts are quickly Spirit baptized.

It is clear from scripture that this baptism is not about salvation, but rather about receiving ministry power to help other people. It is also clear that this baptism is not experienced at salvation as a part of the Spirit’s work of regeneration, but is a event to be desired and pursued by Born Again followers of Jesus. This baptism has not expired and is still available to every believer today (Acts 2:38-39).
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Here is a chart that I have modified from Dr. Les Holdcroft which simply categorizes the four baptisms:

BAPTISM     TIME     SUBJECT     AGENT     ELEMENT     SCRIPTURE
———————————————————————————-
John’s           Pre-        Penitent       John          Water             Acts 19:4
Baptism        Resur-    Sinner
                        rection
———————————————————————————-
Baptism       At            Penitent       Holy          Body of          1 Cor 12:13
into               Salv-       Sinner          Spirit         Christ
Christ           ation
———————————————————————————-
Water          After        Convert/      Elder         Water             Mat 28:19
Baptism      Salv-        Disciple
                     ation         
———————————————————————————-
Spirit           After        Believer        Jesus         Holy               Acts 2:4
Baptism      Salv-                                                   Spirit
                     ation

(This chart is modified from Dr. Holdcroft’s “The Holy Spirit” first edition, 1962, page 131.)

"Helping Others" book is now available

The new compilation book, “Helping Others Receive the Gift” is now available.

This unprecedented resource features insights about ministering the Spirit Baptism in a variety of contexts and age groups.

You can click here for more details and for ordering information.