A question from a friend prompted me to revisit a few questions about different beliefs involving the charismatic movement, pentecostal movement, etc., and in the course of looking into that I came across a scripture that hadn’t quite sunk in before.
The church I grew up in believes in the Holy Spirit, but doesn’t encourage the practice of most of the gifts of the Spirit, and often seems to almost believe the gifts are no longer applicable. They would never say that, but at the same time they would probably freak out if someone actually gave a message in tongues during a service. To make up for the lack of power in the churches as a result, they have started ‘stretching’ the gifts, so to speak, so that they are considering simple talents, like the ability to teach, etc, “gifts of the Spirit”.
That non-denominational denomination also tends to hold the belief that one always receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at their point of salvation, which also always happens to coincide with water baptism.
I have spent a great deal of time in the past few years around pentecostals, and in various pentecostal churches since then, though. I was almost convinced that the baptism of the Spirit was sometimes separate, but I was still holding on to the idea that, perhaps, in the cases where one did not receive the baptism of the Spirit at the same time as their water baptism, perhaps they weren’t saved, or had been and somehow didn’t know it.
I came across Acts 8:12-17 yesterday, though, which settles the issue very clearly for me. It’s very clearly laid out here, that these people believed, were saved, and were baptized, but did not receive the filling of the Holy Spirit until later.