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by Roger Stronstad

´┐╝The Spirit anointing of Jesus, the Spirit baptism of the disciples, and the Spirit baptism of Cornelius are all functionally equivalent experiences.
Silence. Not for an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, or a generation—but silence that reached across generations. God, who once spoke to the fathers at different times and in different ways, no longer spoke. After the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi died, God withdrew His Holy Spirit from among His people, and Israel was left without prophecy.

God was still silent. But there were rumours that young John ben Zacharias might be breaking the silence. He had spent the last few years in the wilderness of Judea—a good place to hear from God. After John came down out of the wilderness to the Jordan River, day after day he began crying out: “…bear fruits in keeping with repentance … every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire…. The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and let he who has food is to do likewise” (Luke 3:8,9,11).1

Zacharias’s son must be the prophet about whom Isaiah wrote: “A voice is calling, ‘Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God’” (Isaiah 40:3).

After these generations of silence, God begins to speak to Israel again. This is good news. One day, a dramatic report comes from the Jordan. While John is baptizing, Joshua ben Joseph from Nazareth comes to be baptized. While He is praying, strange things happen. The clouds separate and some people in the crowd hear a voice from heaven say, “You are My beloved Son” (Luke 3:22). Then the Spirit of God descends on Him. Others say the voice from heaven is only thunder, and that the hovering of the Spirit is just a dove. But John knows better and does not accept their naturalistic explanations. Can it be that John’s cousin, Joshua ben Joseph—this Jesus of Nazareth—is the Lord’s anointed, the Christ?

John says very little about his cousin from Nazareth. Once John did what prophets do best—he prophesied. “As for me” he said, “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”(Luke 3:16). This word of revelation is from the Lord.

The Lord’s anointed will also be the Lord’s baptizer. The One who was first anointed by the Holy Spirit will later baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit and fire. No prophet had ever announced this. It was reserved for John, the first New Testament prophet, to reveal this. One of John’s greatest legacies is his prophetic revelation that Christ will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Soon after His baptism by John, Jesus begins His Spirit-anointed, Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, and Spirit-empowered ministry (Luke 3:22; 4:1,14,18). He teaches in the synagogues, casts out demons, and heals the sick throughout the towns and villages of Galilee. But He did not baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Perplexed, and perhaps filled with consternation and feelings of betrayal John sends messengers to Jesus. They ask Jesus “Are you the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” Jesus affirms that He is doing God’s work: “The BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk … the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL preached to them” (Luke 7:19,22). John neither knows nor understands that the messianic Spirit baptizing he announces will be done not by the Messiah on earth, but by the Messiah in heaven.

Luke’s Record Of The Baptism In The Holy Spirit In Acts
Luke reports three explicit episodes in which Jesus fulfils John’s prophetic announcement that the Messiah will baptize in the Holy Spirit. On the Day of Pentecost, following Christ’s resurrection—for the first time in human history—Jesus baptizes His followers in the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–4). Several years later, Jesus baptizes a Gentile household in Caesarea in the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:1 through 11:18). Finally, in Ephesus, He baptizes about 12 disciples in the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1–7). In every case, those who are baptized in the Spirit speak in tongues and prophesy.2

Promise: The disciples will be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5)
Shortly before the Day of Pentecost, Jesus instructs His disciples to wait for what the Father has promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4,5). To fully understand Jesus’ announcement to the disciples about their being baptized with the Holy Spirit we need to remember that Acts 1:4,5 is the fifth recorded time that Jesus promises the Holy Spirit.

Throughout His ministry, Jesus promises: 1) that the Father will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him;” that is, pray (Luke 11:13); 2) that the Holy Spirit will speak in their defence when they are brought “before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities” (Luke 12:11,12); 3) the Holy Spirit (implied) will give them “utterance and wisdom which none of [their] opponents will be able to resist or refute” (Luke 21:14,15). After the resurrection, when Jesus’ departure is imminent, and the equipping/preparation of the disciples is urgent, Jesus promises: 4) that the disciples would be “clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49); and 5) that the disciples “will be baptized “with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5). The sixth time Jesus mentions the baptism, He explains its purpose. They will “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon” them (Acts 1:8).

Jesus fulfils this prophecy on the Day of Pentecost when He imparts the Holy Spirit to His disciples. This happens when, as Luke reports, the disciples “were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:4).

This outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost echoes the bestowal of the Spirit via Moses to the 70 elders (Numbers 11:25), but also fulfils Moses’ earnest desire “that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” (Numbers 11:29).

In his sermon, Peter reports to the crowd of devout worshipers that what they are observing is the transfer of the Spirit from Jesus to His disciples (Acts 2:33). To the amazed, bewildered, and even mocking crowd (Acts 2:5–13), Peter explains this is the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28–32; Acts 2:14–21).

Concerning Joel’s prophecy, what did he predict of the gift of the Spirit? In Peter’s application of Joel’s prophecy, he makes several points about this pouring forth of the Holy Spirit: 1) it is the last days/eschatological pouring forth of the Holy Spirit; 2) it is the gift of prophecy;3 3) it is universal—there are no age, gender, or economic barriers; and, 4) it is attested by signs, not the least of which is speaking with other tongues. Peter not only explains the pouring forth of this eschatological spirit of prophecy—that it is the same pouring forth John the Baptist announces: that his successor, the Messiah, will baptize in the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16)—but he also offers the same gift of the Holy Spirit to his audience (Acts 2:39). They, too, will be baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5) and experience the sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance (Acts 2:4,19,33).

There is a discontinuity in Jesus’ mention of His baptizing in the Holy Spirit with John’s announcement. This discontinuity is signalled by the fact that Jesus drops the words “and fire.” John announces that the Messiah will baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16). In dropping these words, Jesus indicates that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a blessing, not a judgment. This is confirmed by the tone or mood of Acts. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is about epiphany/salvation (Acts 2:20,21), times of refreshing (Acts 3:19), and blessing (Acts 3:25,26).

Just as Jesus’ own mission inaugurates when the Spirit anoints Him, the worldwide witness of the disciples inaugurates when Jesus baptizes them in the Holy Spirit. Clearly, Spirit baptism for the disciples is directly equivalent to Spirit anointing for Jesus. Therefore, both Spirit anointing and Spirit baptism are functionally equivalent experiences. It is important to understand that both are about mission, not about salvation or judgment.

Pattern: Cornelius’s household is baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:1 through 11:18)
After doing the work of a charismatic prophet in Lydda and Joppa (healing the sick and raising the dead), God gives Peter parallel visions and a direct command by the Spirit to visit Cornelius, an Italian centurion stationed at Caesarea (Acts 9:32 through 10:22). Luke identifies Cornelius’s spiritual qualifications. Cornelius is: 1) a devout man; 2) one who fears God; 3) an almsgiver; 4) a man of prayer (Acts 10:2); and 5) by the time God pours out His Spirit on him, a believer (Acts 11:17). While Peter is telling Cornelius about Jesus, the Spirit-anointed One, Cornelius and his household are baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44–46).

The importance of Luke’s narrative strategy cannot be overstated. Luke’s narrative about Peter and Cornelius—which begins with the first mention of Cornelius and ends with Peter’s defence at Jerusalem (Acts 10:1 through 11:18)—rivals Luke’s narrative about Stephen (Acts 6:8 through 7:60) as the longest in Acts. In addition, along with the Pentecost narrative (Acts 2:1–41), it is the only report of the activity of the Spirit in Acts that also contains an explanation of the gift of the Holy Spirit (compare Acts 11:15–17 with 2:14–21). This explanation explicitly identifies Cornelius’s reception of the Holy Spirit as his being baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16).

Cornelius’s baptism in the Holy Spirit is the same kind of experience the disciples received on the Day of Pentecost when Jesus poured forth His Spirit on them (Acts 2:17,18). Luke reports, “the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message” (Acts 10:44). Peter and his companions are amazed “because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also” (Acts 10:45). Peter and his companions recognize this because Cornelius is “speaking with tongues and exalting God” (Acts 10:46). When Peter hears them speak in tongues—the same sign that had been the evidence of his own reception of the Spirit—he concludes that Cornelius “received the Holy Spirit just as we did” (Acts 10:47).

Luke reports Cornelius’s reception of the Holy Spirit by using the same terminology he uses in his Day of Pentecost narrative. This common clustering of terms includes: 1) the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:45; 2:38); 2) the Spirit being poured forth or out (Acts 10:45; 2:33); 3) speaking with tongues (Acts 10:46; 2:4); and, 4) exalting God or speaking of the mighty deeds of God (Acts 10:46; 2:11). In light of this common terminology, it is not inappropriate to describe Cornelius’s reception of the Holy Spirit as a Gentile Pentecost.

Peter’s explanation of the “pouring out” (Acts 10:45) of the Spirit on Cornelius, which he gives as part of his defence for going “to uncircumcised men and [eating] with them (Acts 11:3), confirms what Luke’s terminology implies. The sovereign pouring out of the Spirit places Cornelius and his household in the same position as the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.

Peter reports to the hostile Jewish Christians in Jerusalem: “And as I began to speak [to Cornelius], the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). He then adds, “And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit’ ” (Acts 11:16). Peter concludes, “God ‘therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us’ ” (Acts 11:17). Thus, Peter asserts that God baptized Cornelius with the Holy Spirit and, in identifying it as the same gift, he makes it clear that Cornelius had the same Spirit of prophecy poured out on him as Peter and the others had received on the Day of Pentecost. Moreover, this reception of the Holy Spirit is attested to by the same sign — speaking with other tongues — which is itself Spirit-given speech or prophecy.

Luke’s report about Cornelius’ receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44–48) and his report of Peter’s explanation that Cornelius had been baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:15–17) leads to the inescapable conclusion that Cornelius, like the disciples, received the gift of the Holy Spirit for prophetic vocation. The earlier Spirit anointing of Jesus (Luke 3,4), the Spirit baptism of the disciples (Acts 2), and, the Spirit baptism of Cornelius (Acts 10) are all functionally equivalent experiences of the Holy Spirit. All three are about mission. None are about salvation, and none are about eschatological judgment.

Confirmatory example: The Ephesian 12 receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1–7)
Luke reports what he describes alternately as the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2,10) and receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 8,10,19) using a carefully formulated narrative strategy. In his Pentecost narrative (Acts 2), Luke establishes the paradigm for being baptized in the Holy Spirit. When he reports Cornelius’s baptism in the Holy Spirit, he confirms the paradigm in great detail by using his Pentecost narrative terminology as the basis and also by recording Peter’s own explanation with its emphasis on the similarities of these two events of Spirit baptism. Finally, when Luke reports that some disciples at Ephesus receive the Holy Spirit, he gives a further example to confirm this paradigm/pattern.

Paul begins his third missionary journey by returning to Ephesus. He visits this city at the end of his second evangelistic tour and promises, “I will return to you again if God wills” (Acts 18:21). When he returns to Ephesus, he finds about 12 disciples and asks, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (Acts 19:2). While discussing their experience, Paul explains that having been baptized into John’s baptism, they had believed in Him who was coming after John; that is, in Jesus (Acts 19:3,4). Since they had, in fact, believed in Jesus, Paul baptizes these disciples “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5). Just as Peter and John had laid their hands on the believers in Samaria (Acts 8:17), Paul lays his hands on these Ephesian believers and they “began speaking with tongues and prophesying” (Acts 19:6).

This summary on the disciples in Ephesus receiving the Holy Spirit yields several significant observations. First, Luke describes the Ephesian 12 in characteristic Christian terminology—they are both disciples and believers (Acts 19:1,2). In spite of attempts by some scholars to evacuate these terms of their normal meaning, these are Christians at Ephesus who receive the Holy Spirit. Second, the disciples at Ephesus experience the Holy Spirit in the same way as the disciples did on the Day of Pentecost — they speak in other tongues (compare Acts 2:4) and prophesy (compare Acts 2:17,18). Even though Luke does not use the “baptized in the Holy Spirit” terminology of John and Jesus (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5, 11:16), the reception of the Holy Spirit by the disciples at Ephesus is the same “baptism in the Holy Spirit” as the receptions of the Holy Spirit by the disciples on the Day of Pentecost and by Cornelius’s household (Acts 2,10). Third, the disciples at Ephesus experience the paradigmatic sign of being baptized in the Holy Spirit—speaking in other tongues (compare Acts 2:4; 10:46)—which Luke explicitly identifies as prophesying (Acts 2:17,18; 19:6). Luke’s evidence is compelling. By the agency of Paul, who certainly knows about the soteriological function of the Holy Spirit (for example, Romans 8:9), the disciples at Ephesus receive the same vocational prophetic gift of the Spirit that Luke also reports the disciples to have received from first to last throughout his narrative.

Hermeneutical and Theological Reflections
Is it possible to go beyond this exposition of Luke’s data about being baptized with the Holy Spirit? Traditionally, Pentecostals have done so by utilizing a hermeneutic of affirmation. But there have also been those who, from the beginning of the Pentecostal movement, insist that this 21st-century Pentecostal experience is not proper. They use a hermeneutic of denial to disprove present-day Pentecostal experiences.

Stated with various levels of sophistication and used in various combinations, this hermeneutic of denial includes the following principles: 1) the three occurrences of being baptized in the Holy Spirit are not statistically adequate for building a doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Spirit; 2) the data on being baptized in the Holy Spirit is merely descriptive, not didactic; 3) it is not Luke’s authorial intent to establish a doctrine of Holy Spirit baptism; 4) the terms disciples and believers to describe those who have not yet been baptized in the Holy Spirit cannot convey their usual meaning of “Christians” and; 5) this was for the church’s infancy and is not for the contemporary church.4

Luke teaches, however, a clear, distinctive doctrine of the Holy Spirit. He adopts a variety of narrative strategies including, but not limited to, the following: 1) his reports about Spirit anointing/baptism are followed by reports containing a prophetic explanation; 2) his reports on Jesus’ promises of the Holy Spirit are followed by examples of the fulfilment of these promises; and 3) he reports the teaching of both Jesus and His disciples on the Holy Spirit. The discussion that follows illustrates these teaching strategies. In the promise/fulfilment relationship, Jesus’ promises inform the occurrences of fulfillment, and the occurrences of fulfilment interpret the promise.

Luke reports the teaching of Jesus and the apostles
Luke teaches about the Holy Spirit through his reports about the teaching of Jesus. For example, Luke reports that Jesus taught that the Father would give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (that is, pray, Luke 11:13). Further, Jesus identified the promised gift of the Holy Spirit as the disciples, being baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5; 2:1–4). Also, Jesus stated the purpose for the Holy Spirit’s coming upon the disciples—to empower them for a worldwide witness (Acts 1:8). By reporting the teaching of Jesus in his narrative, Luke teaches that: 1) disciples can pray to receive the Holy Spirit; 2) their reception of the Holy Spirit is their Spirit baptism; and 3) this Spirit baptism is vocational—for service/witness.

Luke also teaches about the Holy Spirit through his reports on the teaching/preaching of the apostles. For example, Luke reports Peter’s explanation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, making four primary points: 1) this pouring forth of the Holy Spirit is the eschatological (last days) gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:17); 2) it is (potentially) universal—crossing all age, gender, and economic boundaries, and available from generation to generation (Acts 2:17,18,39); and 3) it is attested by signs, not the least of which is speaking in other tongues (Acts 2:19).

Further, Luke also reported Peter’s explanation of the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit on Cornelius’ household, making two primary points: 1) Cornelius’s reception of the Holy Spirit is after the pattern of Pentecost (Acts 11:17); and 2) Cornelius’s reception of the Holy Spirit is a Spirit baptism (Acts 11:16).

By reporting the teaching/preaching of Peter in his narrative, Luke teaches: 1) that Spirit baptism is attested by the sign of speaking in tongues; and 2) that this is the pattern for Christians, even after the Day of Pentecost.

Based on the above exposition of Luke’s data and the brief discussion about hermeneutical principles, we can now summarize Luke’s teaching on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. First, there is a promise/fulfilment relationship between John the Baptist’s prophecy of being baptized “in the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16,17) and the disciples’ experience of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:4,5). In other words, when Jesus poured forth the Holy Spirit on the disciples on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:33), He baptized them in the Holy Spirit as a fulfilment of John’s prophecy. He will also subsequently pour out the Holy Spirit on a Gentile household, likewise baptizing them in the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:44–46; 11:15–17).

Second, in the parallel structure of Luke-Acts, the Spirit baptism of various disciples is functionally equivalent to the Spirit anointing of Jesus, the Spirit baptizer. At the inauguration of His public ministry, Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel (Luke 3:22; 4:18); that is, He was anointed for vocation. Similarly, the disciples inaugurated their public ministry on the Day of Pentecost when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit to empower them for a worldwide witness.

According to Peter, Cornelius’s experience was identical to the experience of the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Therefore, Cornelius, too, was baptized in the Holy Spirit to take his place in this Spirit-empowered worldwide witness. The corollary to this is: if being baptized in the Holy Spirit is about vocation, then it is not about salvation—except insofar as it is given only to those who are saved.

Third, baptism in the Holy Spirit, like Jesus’ experience of being anointed by the Holy Spirit, is accompanied by an attesting sign or witness (Acts 2:19; 15:8), as the vocational gift of the Holy Spirit had earlier been for Saul (1 Samuel 10:6,7). In the Old Testament, this sign was typically prophecy (Numbers 11:25; 1 Samuel 10:7–10). But for Luke, this sign is speaking in tongues or other languages (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6). This sign is the appropriate physical symbol of their vocation—worldwide witness (Acts 1:8). Twice, Luke explicitly identifies this sign as prophecy (Acts 2:17; 19:6).

Fourth, as a paradigmatic experience, the disciples’ baptism in the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost establishes the pattern for subsequent believers. Peter makes this explicit when he explains to the disciples in Jerusalem that Cornelius had been baptized in the Holy Spirit, just as he and the other disciples had been (Acts 11:15–17). This pattern is reinforced by Luke’s report on the reception of the Spirit by the Ephesian 12, which is a one-verse summary of his report on the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4,17; 19:6). In Acts, there is no other evidence. There is no other pattern, either explicit or implicit. There are no recorded exceptions.

Despite the sometimes strident claims to the contrary, 21st-century Pentecostals may with confidence affirm: 1) that in their reception of the Holy Spirit, they have experienced the Messianic Spirit baptism, with speaking in tongues as the biblical sign/witness or evidence of this; 2) that they, like the disciples/believers of Acts, have received the spirit of prophecy; 3) that they have been empowered by the Spirit; and 4) that this reception of the Spirit is for vocation.

Unless or until Jesus rescinds the Great Commission (Acts 1:8) or, alternately, until the task is completed, He will continue to baptize His disciples with the Holy Spirit. Until He rescinds His commission, His Spirit-filled disciples of the 21st century will continue to speak in other tongues—the supernatural sign of being baptized in the Spirit to witness about Jesus to every people, nation, tribe, and tongue. Until Jesus rescinds the commission, His Spirit-baptized disciples will not keep silent.



    A. The Bible itself responds to this question. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine …” (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV). Again Paul wrote, “… whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning …” (Romans 15:4, KJV). After recounting Old Testament events that happened to the Israelites, Paul says, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11, NIV).

    While doctrine should not be based on isolated fragments of Scripture, it can be based on substantial, implied truth. The doctrine of the Trinity is based not on declarative statements, but on a comparison of Scripture passages relating to the Godhead. Like the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of tongues as evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is based on substantial portions of Scripture relating to this subject. It is evident that Peter and the church leaders in Jerusalem established doctrine based on repeated experiences of the Spirit, understood to be the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy. They recognized tongues as evidence of people being filled with the Spirit (Acts 10,11). The weight of the biblical text, both in quantity and frequency, provides a solid base for doctrinal formulation.

    Luke’s writings (Luke and Acts) clearly present more than just history. While Luke describes his Gospel as a “narrative” (Greek diegesis—Luke 1:1), written to be “accurate” and “orderly” (1:3), the way he selects items to include and his editorial and narrative comments, reveal an author with an agenda to advance the cause of Christ. Luke is clearly a Christian. In fact, today there is an overwhelming consensus among New Testament scholars that Luke is a theologian, not just a historian. For those interested in learning more about Luke and Acts as inspired historical narratives that also teach theology, we recommend Roger Stronstad’s The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke (Hendrickson, 1984).

    Abridged from The General Council of the Assemblies of God official position paper on the baptism in the Holy Spirit.


    1. Scripture passages are in the NASB. 2. The phrase, “filled with the Holy Spirit” in the Pentecost narrative, and throughout Luke-Acts, always describes a specific, though potentially repetitive act of prophetic inspiration. It is evident that, for Luke, prophecy has a wide meaning. From the data we can infer three types of prophecy: worship, judgment, and witness. Prophetic worship is of two types: worship spoken in one’s native language and worship spoken in unlearned languages (Pentecost). The Spirit is the inspiration behind these types of praise and worship. Not only does the Spirit inspire worship, but He also inspires a prophetic sentence of judgment (Acts 13:11). Moreover, witness, which is inspired by the Spirit, is a prophetic activity (Acts 4:8ff; 4:31). 3. The gift of the Spirit is prophetic. Peter explicitly identifies the tonguesspeaking of the disciples to be a manifestation of inspired prophecy (Acts 2:17). The content of their tongues-speaking is “the mighty deeds of God” (Acts 2:11). Therefore, Peter interprets their tongues-speaking to be an inspired word of praise and worship. By virtue of their prophetic inspiration, the disciples are constituted a prophetic community. 4. These principles carry the weight of the reputations of their proponents, but in any other context would be laughed out of court. For example, the statistical snobbery that demands more than three examples is silly when not one of its proponents hesitates to build his doctrine of Spirit baptism from the one Pauline text in 1 Corinthians 12:13. Further, the descriptive vs. didactic dichotomy so beloved by modern interpreters is a dichotomy that is unrecognized in the narrative literature of the Ancient Near East. In addition, concerning the appeal to authorial intent the cynic cannot help but observe that the first-century author — in this case, Luke — is always shown to have the same “intent” as his 20th- 21st-century interpreter. Finally, the denial that the “disciples” and “believers” of pre-Spirit baptism experience are Christians is at one with the like-minded denial that the Hebrews of the epistle of that name were not Christians. This grab bag of principles is selfdiscrediting and is beyond rehabilitation. 5. Spirit anointing and Spirit baptism are functionally equivalent experiences. The report informs the explanation; the explanation interprets the report.
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    ROGER STRONSTAD, M.C.S.(,, is a speaker, writer, and spiritual director of leading and learning generations, and author of Anonymous: Jesus’ Hidden Years and Yours, Finding An Unseen God, and Intimate Conversations. She recently opened a prayer retreat home in Branson, Missouri.
    Originally published in the Spring 2011 Issue of Enrichment Journal. Used with permission.
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