Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit according to Ern Baxter.

Although this final part of "Discourse 2" is quite short, I have deliberately kept it seperate so full attention can be given to it. The Baptism of the Spirit is an issue that seems to have dwindled to a grumble in discussions and far more attention is being given to the gifts of the Spirit - such as tongues most recently. While the gifts are certainly important to discuss and establish where they stand in the light of Scripture, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones said;

"We are living, let us remind ourselves in an age hopelessly below the New Testament pattern - content with a neat little religion. We need the baptism with the Spirit. We have already seen that this is not something that takes place at conversion, it is something that happens to us and is clear and unmistakable ... Never was there a greater need of our being clear on the doctrine of the baptism with the Spirit than at this present time ... ".

But here is the key point to consider - the sovereignity of the Spirit and His gifts:

"We must not say that gifts cannot happen nor must we say that they should always happen. The scriptural position, substantiated by the history of the church is that they may or may not happen and therefore we must not lay down these dogmatic positions on the one side or on the other".

So with that in mind - over to Ern Baxter and Earl Paulk on this most important of subjects.

Earl Paulk: We are a little bit overtime for your workshops but you can rush into them after this question. This is almost a trite question here and I understand that but we are pastors here. We are people wanting to help people. And I want to ask Ern Baxter in the light of his emphasis on the Holy Spirit not only as a person but how we empirically experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is the question – is there a method that brings people to the experience of the Holy Spirit? I know there may be many. But is there something that you could pour into us that you can say what you have found and is the better method. Bringing people to this experience.

Ern Baxter: I think I have found that in my best experiences (and I am more a teacher than a methodologist) but I think what I have found is the simple rule of sowing and reaping. That I reap what I sow. What I preach is what I get. And if I address my congregations constantly out of a Trinitarian base and show the significant importance of the Holy Spirit, I have to first generate a hunger in men and women that makes them know that the Holy Spirit is not an optional Pentecostal bonus. That the Holy Spirit is mainline standard equipment for a New Testament Christian.

Then the question of them coming into the Holy Spirit becomes very existential because as you are dealing with each person, you are dealing with them as a person and God will direct you differently on how you bring them in and I’ve could tell you a whole load of stories about that. I’ve had them receive Him in my kitchen and in my living room and sitting in cafes and everything else. But the thing that gave them the hunger to press in was the fact that I made the Holy Spirit so absolutely essential to them that they knew that they couldn’t live another day without Him. We have made the Holy Spirit a Pentecostal luxury. And it’s not – it’s the heart of Christianity.

Earl Paulk: Praise God – it’s not the spare tyre – it’s the wheel we run on. Peter was preaching and as he was preaching the Word, the Holy Ghost fell. What we must do in essence is create such a hunger and a desire both by the Word that we preach and the demonstration then they come out and seek us out. “How can I receive this?”. Something begins to happen. So I think that is the answer – it is not the method necessarily but it is creating the hunger and that’s creative of the Word. It’s showing them the necessity like we did water baptism for so long. Because it was looked upon for so long as a symbolic thing and sort of like a spare tyre. Now we are learning that it’s not an option. If we are really going to be covenantal in our preaching and if we are really going to come to that point then we must really show the covenants of God to such degree that it cannot be left out. It cannot be left out!

Ern Baxter: Let the Church be Church!

Earl Paulk: And that’s what challenges Satan because then the Church has the authority that God intended us to have. Amen! Let it be so!


Anonymous said...

I can see where the two "Doctors" are going with this argument. The Baptism of the Spirit is the beginning of life in the Spirit is it not. So therefore if we become confused about this - then everything else is going to be affected?

I would hesitate to limit our discussions to just the baptism though. I think that is the mistake that classical Pentecostals and Charismatics have made. We received the Baptism and there set up three tabernacles! We must go on to consider the glorious filling of the Spirit that we are commanded to constantly seek.

Or is that just me?


James B said...

I like that.

Let the Church be Church!!

Very very right in this time of need.

Baxter's Boy said...

I don't think the filling of the Spirit ever quite received the attention it deserves as everyone meets the baptism of the Spirit and seems to get tripped up. Those who are pro it, spend too much time defending it and those who are anti it spend their time arguing that it all happened at conversion anyway and you didn't know about it, and also don't move in to life in the Spirit.

I do think the key is tied closely to what Ern said about how the whole matter is preached. I am so committed and daily moreso to preaching! He said; "That I reap what I sow. What I preach is what I get".

Or in other words if you get less than the whole counsel of God preached then it is likely that hunger will not be generated for life in the Spirit.

So yes Dr B I would agree that the filling of the Spirit deserves attention - but I like Dr Lloyd-Jones way of seeing it. It's basically receiving the baptism of the Spirit again and again. Encounters with the living God!