One of the most divisive doctrine amongst Christians is the doctrine associated with the person of the Holy Ghost; especially when it comes to the issues of speaking in tongues.
Some school of thought will tell you tongues have seized and every form of speaking in tongues is of the devil, few will say that if one must speak in tongues there must be an interpreter, while others insist that for you to be completely born again you must be filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
I have been discipled by all of the above mentioned school of thoughts, I have also gone to the seminary and have been taught about the doctrine of the Holy Ghost and I now understand that every school of thought have something to offer as regards the person of the Holy Ghost but both views have closed their eyes to what the others have to offer and thereby throwing people who are in some Churches who cannot speak in tongues into confusion to a point that some learn and practice how to speak in tongues to be able to fit it while some people that speak in tongues by Devine intervention in Churches that frown at speaking in tongues tend to disbelieve their pastor that said speaking in tongues have seized.
In this write-up we will try to study on the topic of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost from both views.
1. What is baptism?
The Easton Bible Dictionary says “The words “baptize” and “baptism” are simply Greek words transferred into English. It means to dip a thing into an element or liquid.” The greek word is (βαπτίζω, baptı́zō). The substantives báptisma and baptismós.
So when a person submerge dishes in the washing basin or completely deep a piece of bread into his or her cup of tea ( Nigerian Style) then you could say the bread is baptised.
2. Various kinds of baptism
With the understanding of what baptism is all about we will briefly see some of the popular forms of baptism found in the Bible and what they could possibly mean.
i. Water Baptism
Water baptism in the New Testament is synonymous with John Zacharias popularly know as John the Baptist, his preaching station was mostly in the wilderness and his place of baptism river Jordan, where he preached saying: “… Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mat 3:2 KJV) The Bible records that people:
“Went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Mat 3:5-37
John also Baptized Jesus by and the Bible records thus:
“But Jesus said, ‘It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires. ‘So John agreed to baptize him. After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matt 3:15-17 NLT)
ii. Baptism of repentance:
Water baptism is done to people when they turn away from their wicked ways to confess the Lord Jesus.
“And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. (Matt 3:6 NLT)
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38-39 NLT)
iii. Baptism into Christ and His death
When someone decide to turn a new leaf and confesses Christ; such a person has been baptized into Christ and into his death, he/she is buried with Christ as been baptized into His death and walks in victory on a daily basis, this is what some school of thought call baptism of the Holy Ghost, they accuse other school of thoughts saying; lying of hands on people and praying over them to be baptized with the Holy Ghost is not correct because the Bible does not say we should lay hands on people to baptize them with the Holy Ghost that such act is implied.
Based on 1Co_12:13 which says “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” The older Churches say baptism of the Holy Ghost is when you are born again, they emphasise that one is baptized with the Holy Ghost at repentance which of course is true, but the Bible does not call the experience baptism of the Holy Ghost even though we call it thus, so even this meaning is implied.
Supporting Scriptures of Baptism into Christ and His death:
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Gal 3:27 KJV)
But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? (Mark 10:38 KJV) Jesus said this when He was about to die.
But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! (Luke12:50 KJV)
Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (Col 2:12 KJV)
iv. Baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire
John the Baptist will dip people into water after their repentance, yet he says in Mat 3:11 “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.” John was actually saying Jesus when Jesus comes he will immerse people in the Holy Ghost just as he did with water.
In Acts 1:5 Jesus himself said “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” The coming of the Holy Ghost meant so much to Jesus so He started preparing His disciples long ahead of time, in John 7:37-39 the Bible says “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (NIV)
We need to note that in the Old Testament God the Father operated more prominently, in the early part of the New Testament God the Son (Jesus Christ) operated more prominently and when He Jesus was about to leave He promised the coming of God the Holy Spirit who will be with us and in us,
John 16:5-14 says:
“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (NIV)
Although Jesus himself said In Act 1:5 “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” when the day of Pentecost came the word filled with Holy Ghost was used as describing the disciples experience not Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 2:1-4 says:
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (KJV)
I am almost sure that though the word baptism was not used here; based on the promises of Jesus on the coming of the Holy Ghost and now that Jesus has already been glorified; definitely what happened on Pentecost was baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Some say “Yes this was the baptism of the Holy Ghost but it happened in a dramatic way because that was the day of his introduction in the church but it should not happen like that again since the Holy Ghost is already with us.” Now they say since the Holy Ghost is with us; once you invite Jesus into your life you have the Holy Ghost, while others say when you received Jesus in your life you took the first step; so you need take another and ask the Holy Ghost into your life if not He can never be in your life.
God is a triune God and so anyone who invites Jesus into their live has God the father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. To say you don’t have the Holy Ghost when you received Christ is a denial of the Triune God.
The question here is that “is it wrong to pray for people to be baptized with the Holy Ghost or be filled after their born again experience?” absolutely not! Note that after the day of Pentecost the disciples were threatened; this made them to pray and Acts 4:31 records that “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (NIV) One will ask; were they not filled before on Pentecost, Why do they need another filling.
On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached a massage “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off — for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:37-39 NIV)
There is a school of thought that says you cannot be baptized with the Holy Ghost, you can only be filled with the Holy Ghost, while the other school of thought says you must be baptized with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues, the truth of the matter in this context is that; if you say baptised or filled it means the same thing, so I do not understand while nomenclatures should be the course of division in the Christendom.
Please note that almost every time the Holy Ghost was introduced to people in Acts something supernaturally took place, sometimes people spoke in tongues, sometimes they prophesied, sometimes a speaking the Word with boldness; an experience they never had naturally, in the case of Paul scales fell from his eyes. There was no time people had an encounter with the Holy Ghost and still became ordinary.
Are you a Christian and you are still living a helpless mediocre life? I am not about to argue with you if you are filled with the Holy Ghost or not because if you are a Christian you definitely have the Holy Ghost but just like if you have drum filled with water and you never open the tap you will die of thirst, so is a person that says they have the Holy Ghost and there is nothing supernaturally to show for it, meaning you never gave him the opportunity to operate in you. You can open your tap at 10, 20, 40, 60, 80 percent or you can as well remover the tap head for an unlimited gush of water. Friend, let go of your sentiments and experience streams of living waters gushing out of you.
Put away your reaction and sincerely open your heart to the Holy Ghost to be filled and I assure you that your life will not be the same, if you need to go to a minister to be prayed for; do so, even if he says you do not have the Holy Ghost; you know you have Him; so saying you don’t have does not change a thing, all you need is to let those rivers within you to flow, you may not instantly speak in tongues when you are prayed for, Paul never spoke in tongues the day hands were laid on him but he letter said. “I thank my God; I speak with tongues more than ye all.” (Col 14:18 KJV) Just keep desiring and one day BOOM! You’ll have that supernatural experience.
My Father always argued about the filling of the Holy Ghost experience and one day he was prying alone in his room and BOOM! He had a supernatural experience and he began to speak in tongues.
3. Is baptism of the Holy Ghost the same as speaking in tongues?
Baptism of the Holy Ghost or the infilling of the Holy Ghost is not the same with speaking in tongues, but speaking in tongue can be a bonus when you are filled with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 19:1-7 says:
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive? “John’s baptism,” they replied. Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all. (NIV)
Pease note; these people had to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus not water baptism, is after then that hands were laid on them, even though they had God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost in them hands were still laid. Please friends what is the harm in lying hands on people or praying for them to be baptized or be filled with the Holy Ghost and after that they begin to experience the supernatural?
Before I was prayed for to be filled with the Holy Ghost; I could not pray for more than ten minutes; I hardly understood the Bible when I read it but the evening I was prayed for, I went home and prayed for the whole night, I began to preach the word of God with boldness, I began to lay hands on the sick and they have be recovering, there is so much that I experience now that I never did, more importantly I am a better Christian than I was.
The Challenge is that; you see people claim to be filled with the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues yet their lives are worse than unbelievers, if you are such then you need to keep filling yourself until there is no room for Mr Flesh to operate in you.
5. Do all speak in tongues?
Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1Cor 12:30 KJV) of a truth all cannot speak in tongues but do you want to speak in tongues? I don’t understand why people desire to have money, have good education, desire to heal people but when it comes to speaking in tongues they say is the least gift, there is no place in the Bible that speaking in tongues is said to be the list gift, is just last on the listing of gifts and that may also mean is a very important gift that’s why is listed last.
…He that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. (1 Cor 14:2 KJV)
People may not understand you when you pray in tongues, so when you are praying a prayer that needs other people’s response then you have to pray in the language they understand, give the interpretation of the tongue or wait to see if there is someone in the congregation who may interpret, but if you are all praying in the congregation in a cooperate prayer and you do not need anyone to answer AMEN to your prayer then you may pray in tongues as the Lord leads as well as in your native dialect since you are the only person that will answer AMEN to your prayer. You may ask what of 1Cor 14:23 which says:
“If therefore the whole church be come together into one place and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”
Yes; they will say you are mad even if you are not speaking in tongues but everyone is praying at the same time in their dialect. We need to understand that the Bible was written in a particular context where this kind of cooperate prayer was frowned at, but in our context when everyone is praying at the same time in cooperate worship; it is understood that such are spiritual Christians.
In 1 Peter 3:1-3 the Bible says:
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; (KJV)
In the context of the above scripture, plaiting of hair and wearing of gold was for Godless people but now the people who claim to be most Godly plait their hair, we cannot say the women plaiting their hair are wrong because of our context. So I feel free to speak in tongues in any Church if I do not need someone to answer AMEN to my prayer but myself; not in a disrespectful manner anyway, I respect congregation that frown at speaking in tongues in their churches, so I speak my tongues as much as I can in my house or in a solitary place.
Have you laboured and are tired with your spiritual state? Then you need to desire to be filled again with Holy Ghost, you need to thirst. Jesus says in John 7:37-39 “…If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (NIV)
If you are born again then you need to reach out in faith and be filled with the Holy Ghost. The Bible says “… you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to Himself.”
(Acts 2:38-39 NASB)
Jesus so keen for you to be filled with The Holy Ghost gave this example. “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 12 “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:11-13NASB
Jesus is ready to fill you and move you to experience the supernatural, are you ready? Then thirst friend.