Friday, October 28, 2011

A short study of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts (part 1)

               This series of articles is a personal study concerning the person and work of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts.  In systematic theology, the study of the Holy Spirit is called “Pneumatology.”  It is taken from the word “pneuma” which is translated “Spirit.”
                First, the terms “Spirit” and “Ghost” bears no definite distinctions, and are interchangeable.  Second, there is a ministry of comfort that the Holy Spirit is involved in, this is found in Acts 9:31.  He is the Comforter as Christ said in John 14:6.  This important point is referenced only once in the book of Acts.  The baptism with the Holy Spirit was a historical event that occurred once on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit took over the administration of the church, and initiated a saved people group into this present New Testament dispensation.  When this dispensation was opened to the Gentile believers, the Spirit was once again “poured out” or “given” in the same fashion “as the beginning” (Acts 11:15).  This happened in Acts 2:4 for the Jewish believers,   for Samaritan believers (Acts 8:15), to believers in Caesarea (Acts 10:47; 11:15-16), to the Gentile believers (15:8), and the Ephesian believers (Acts 19:6).  Baptism with the Holy Spirit is no longer repeatable because both Jewish and Gentile believers are corporately initiated into this new dispensation.
                We must use the Scriptural term “baptism with the Holy Spirit” because this eliminates confusion when compared to the false doctrine which is usually referred to as “baptism of the Spirit” which term does not even  appear in the Bible.  The agent of “Spirit baptism” (if I may refer to it as such) is not the Holy Spirit, but Christ (see for example Mark 1:8b).  The Holy Spirit is the medium, not the agent, of baptism.  It is Christ who collectively baptized all believers with the Holy Spirit upon the day of Pentecost.  This event was remarkable, prophetic, dispensational, and occurred only once for each people group starting with the Jews, then the Samaritans (which were half Jews), and then the Gentiles (which are non-Jews).

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