What neo-pentecostals believe: Barnett & Jensen

© Anzea Publishers 1973
This article is an excerpt that was first published in The quest for power | neo-pentecostals and the New Testament by Paul Barnett and Peter Jensen (Sydney: Anzea Publishers, 1973, p. 3-6). It is reproduced here with permission.

‘Neo’ is a prefix which means ‘new’. It serves to distinguish the neo-pentecostals from the denominations of Pentecostalism and some of the emphases of their teaching, especially because neo-pentecostals may be found within any Christian denomination.

The following description is a general account of neo-pentecostal belief, with which some neo-pentecostals will differ at particular points.

The name ‘pentecostalism’ is used because its distinctive teaching is to do with the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost (Acts 2). In doctrinal teaching it stands clearly within the historic Protestant Biblical tradition; that is, its exponents believe in the authority of the Bible, the deity of Christ, the true incarnation, the trinity, etc.

The neo-pentecostal will often complain about the deadness of the churches. He observes that there is little evidence of powerful preaching, of miraculous gifts and of growth in Christian commitment. This leads him to suggest that what is lacking is the power of the Holy Spirit.

Speaking from the Bible, he will complain that the traditional Protestant theology has misunderstood or ignored an experience which he entitles ‘the baptism with the Holy Spirit’. Traditional theology has held that when a man becomes a Christian he is then baptized with the Holy Spirit. Neo-pentecostals agree that the Holy Spirit makes a man a Christian and is given at that time for sanctification and growth in grace. But they say that the believer must also seek the fullness of the Spirit if he is to be a powerful Christian. This baptism is a gift of the Lord Christ to every Christian subsequent to and separate from his conversion. It is a gift of power for Christ’s service.

Thus a person who has not been ‘baptized in the Spirit’ will be saved, and he may well be Christ-like, but he will not be supernaturally gifted for service, that is, service within the church and also toward the unbeliever. Nor is it possible to receive the baptism unawares. It is a conscious experience, consciously sought, and ought to be accompanied by the gift of speaking in tongues, as a sign, although this is not invariably the case.

This is not to say, however, that the baptism ought to be long separated from a man’s conversion. Ideally they ought to occur in the same context of events. Today’s Christians are not instructed about this, however, and therefore the baptism occurs quite separately, generally speaking.

It is suggested that the Christians to whom the epistles were written were instructed about this experience, and this accounts for the lack of specific commands concerning it. However, various texts are mentioned where reference is allegedly made to the idea of a separate baptism in the Spirit—e.g. Galatians 3:2, 5, 14; 4:6; Ephesians 1:13 (AV); and 1 Corinthians 12:13.

The example is cited of the Lord Jesus receiving baptism in the Spirit in Jordan although he was obviously Spirit-filled before then. It is said that this Spirit-baptism equipped Jesus for his ministry.

However the main evidence for two experiences of the Holy Spirit in regeneration and then empowering is to be found in the Acts of the Apostles in five places:

(a) the day of Pentecost—Acts 2:1-42;
(b) the Samaritans—Acts 8:4-24;
(c) Saul—Acts 9:1-19;
(d) Cornelius—Acts 10:1-48;
(e) Ephesians—Acts 19:1-7.

To sum up, in the words of one neo-pentecostal writer: ‘The neo-pentecostal draws on the examples given in the Acts of the Apostles of people being baptized in the Holy Spirit as his guide to what the church may expect of such a baptism today. For these examples (listed above) he deduces certain experiential facts concerning the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the early church.
These facts are:

‘(1) Conversion and the baptism in the Holy Spirit are different experiences.
‘(2) They are not concurrent, though they may—and perhaps should—occur almost together.
‘(3) Initiative must be taken and faith released for a person to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. This is not the initiative taken nor the faith released for conversion.
‘(4) A person will know that he has been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and this is not the same as knowing that he has been converted.
‘(5) The baptism in the Holy Spirit is essentially an experience of the Holy Spirit related to power for witnessing to Jesus Christ.
‘(6) The baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience for all Christians and thus all should be encouraged to enter into it.’1

Traditional Protestant Theology

(1) birth –> Conversion (baptism in the Holy Spirit –> death


(2) birth –> (A) Conversion (coming of the Holy Spirit) –> (B) baptism in the Holy Spirit for power, with signs –> death

N.B.—In (2) the time-lag between A and B may be seconds or years, depending on the faith and understanding of the person

1. Reproduced by permission from a paper presented by R. B. Hobart to the Diocese of Sydney Commission of Enquiry into the Charismatic Movement.
Christian discussion on the Spirit & Evangelical, Pentecostal, Reformed & Charismatic Belief, the Bible and Jesus; including the origin and history of Pentecostalism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, gifts and miracles, divine healing and word of faith, prosperity and wealth, praise and worship, guidance and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit | by Joe Towns


chipsmydog said...

I am still amazed at the persecution given to neo-pentacostals from other Christians concerning speaking in tongues.
My approach thirty years ago was to pray sincerely for all that God has for me. Specifically concerning speaking in tongues.
I find some hypocrisy in minimizing the ministry of the Holy Spirit within some denominations and yet, without the anointing of the Holy Spirit, there is no actual true ministry to change and deliver God's people.
"It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord God."

James kellems jr said...