|I know this will probably turn into a full-scale debate about initial evidence but I only want to comment on Acts chapter 19. I have heard and read many sermons in my lifetime in the COG referring to the aforementioned text. I will offer my thoughts humbly for your consideration. First of all, I think a misunderstanding of Acts 19:2 largely hinges upon dependence on the KJV translation. The KJV has the phrase "since you believed" which would seem to indicate Paul expected two experiences of the Holy Spirit (i.e. the first stage being "salvation" and the second stage being "Spirit Baptism"). There are some major issues with all of this:
First of all, the Greek word pisteusantes is translated in all other major translations as "WHEN you believed" (not since). I invite you to do your own research from the original languages. The question Paul is asking is "did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?". To appreciate the question, you must appreciate Paul's theology. In Paul's theology there is no such thing as a believer who does not have the Spirit. Listen to his own words:
Rom 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
So the fact that Paul asks them this puzzling question indicates something that requires examination of the context of Acts 19. When Paul arrives, he finds certain "disciples". The casual reader who cares little for context will automatically assume Luke intends "disciples of Jesus". A careful look (in context) will reveal that these are not Christians waiting for a 2nd experience of the Holy Spirit....they are disciples of John the Baptist!!!!
How do we know this? Their response tells us all we need to know:
“No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
(insert joke about Methodists and Baptists here if you must)
Paul, realizing the deficiency in their understanding of the Gospel is then prompted to ask them a follow-up question:
Act 19:3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John's baptism.”
These individuals had been baptized with John's baptism but NOT Christian baptism. As we continue reading, we see this is clearly the case:
Act 19:4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.”
Act 19:5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
Paul baptized these disciples of John the Baptist because they had not yet made a profession of faith in the Messiah Jesus! Next, the Apostle baptizes them (which should also pique your curiosity if you've ever read I Corinthians 1:14-17)
I look forward to your comments. I will resist the urge to say that if we are going to use this chapter as the proof text for our doctrine/praxis of Spirit Baptism we should also insist that an Apostle be present and that prophecy is also expected as an initial evidence.
6/23/22 4:31 pm