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The Scriptural Citation...
Is baptism in the Spirit different from water baptism?
How about the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation (for Catholics)?
The Experiential Factor...
Importance vs necessity
Defining It...
Power for mission
Power To Witness...
All Fired Up...
The Global Dimension...
Pentecost Power Today...
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
by Frank Padilla, CFC Pastoral Center Director
Reprinted from Nov. - Dec., 1995 issue of Ugnayan Magazine

The Experiential Factor...

But why are Christians who have been conferred special grace through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation so often worldly, sluggish, and bad witnesses to their faith? And where is the evangelistic fervor displayed by the early Christians? How can the followers of Jesus Christ today win the world for him, a task he himself gave to his disciples, and intended by him to be continued through the generations, down to our own?

The answer is in what we would refer to as "the baptism in the Holy Spirit". And here let us not theologize, but let us try to develop a practical appreciation of what baptism in the Spirit is.

Catholics would understand baptism in the Spirit as part and parcel of Christian initiation (the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist). Pentecostals would say that baptism in the Spirit is a totally new experience for believers, apart from water baptism. Catholic charismatics (or Catholic "Pentecostals") would say that baptism in the Spirit is not another sacrament but certainly is a different and distinct experience, and a very important one at that.

Importance vs necessity

How important? Is baptism in the Holy Spirit (as an experience distinct from Baptism and Confirmation) necessary to the Christian life? It depends on one's definition of "Christian life". If we are just to live as a Christian who will make it to heaven, then the answer is No. However, if by Christian life we look to experiencing the fullness of life God intends, then the answer is YES.

Let us explain further.

Baptism in the Spirit is not necessary for salvation (again please do not forget that we are referring to baptism in the Spirit now as a distinct experience from the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation). The requirements for salvation are repentance, faith and baptism (Acts 16:31, Acts 2:38, Mk 16:16).

Baptism in the Spirit is not necessary to experience power in the Christian life. The Twelve and the seventy two went off on mission with the power and authority of God (Lk 9:1,6; Lk l0:1719), even prior to Pentecost. The requirement for power in ministry is simply faith (Jn 14:12).

Baptism in the Spirit is not necessary to experience the fruit of the Spirit. There are many Christians today who do not display evangelistic fervor but certainly exhibit love, Joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol (Gal 5:2223). We can experience fruit as we give ourselves to Christ and live in his Spirit (Gal 5:242S).

Thus, to live a good and fruitful Christian life, we can do without the baptism in the Spirit. But we need to know that beyond conversion, generosity, beyond effective service, beyond experiencing fruit, beyond salvation, there is baptism in the Holy Spirit.

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