Pentecostal Apologetics

"There is No Need For Multiple Fillings of The Holy Spirit"

This assertion  is sometimes stated as written below:

"When people become born-again, they receive the Holy Spirit--all of the Spirit that they are ever going to get; therefore there is no reason for people to seek to be filled again and again"

  The statement written above is very common error among cessationists. They cannot believe that Christians can be filled with the Holy Spirit again and again--even to the point of overflowing with the Spirit and speaking in tongues and prophecies.

By reading John 7: 37-39 it is seen that when Christ was glorified in heaven He sent down the Holy Spirit (at Acts 2), causing a prophetic-overflow; a phenomenon decribed as, "rivers of living water."

"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" John 7: 38-39

The Life of Peter
A look at the life of Peter will reveal that multiple fillings are available (but maybe only to people who can turn off their television sets so that they may begin living the Christian life) A look at the life of Peter:

Peter was with the disciples when Jesus gave them power: "And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." Matt 10: 1

He was "filled" in the room that Jesus entered after his resurrection: "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst... as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost" John 20: 19-22
He was filled on the day of Pentecost: "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues" Acts 2: 3-4
He was filled at a prayer meeting: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost" Acts 4: 31
Cessationists might say that later in his life; when he was with the Samaritans, and again when he was with Cornelius' group when they received the Holy spirit, that Peter was not filled again. Because on both occasions there is no mention of Peter speaking in tongues. However, this is because Luke does not describe what had happened to the Samaritans, or to Peter when the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8). And at Cornelius' house Peter was the one doing the preaching when the others spoke in tongues. We do not know whether or not Peter spoke in tongues on those two occasions.

Extra Filling of the Holy Spirit

 There is a difference between having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that all believers have, and having a special "extra" filling that believers receive from time to time. Shortly after Pentecost, Peter had healed a crippled man, and when questioned by the religious authorities about it, he spoke. But Luke makes sure to mention that Peter was "filled" when he answered them:

"Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers" Acts 4:8

The above verse shows a special power that can accompany a special "filling" rather than the general filling that all have who are saved. The above verse is similar to what happened to Stephen, as Luke records:
"When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God." Acts 7: 54-55

Paul, also:
"Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, Ans said... behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season" Acts 13: 9-11

And John:
"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet" Rev. 1: 10

There is a general filling of the Holy Spirit that all Christians have (that causes rejoicing in the spirit as Jesus did):
"In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth" Lk. 10: 21

There is also a time when a Holy Bible writer mentions "filled" as a special extra filling:

"And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost [immediatly after His baptism] returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness" Luke 4: 1

There is a general filling of the Holy Spirit that all Christians have:
"And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost." Acts 13: 52

There is also a time when the Holy Spirit fills someone with prophetic knowledge:
"And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem... And as we tarried there many days, there came from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." Acts 21: 4, 10-11

The whole of church-life is based on people being filled with the Holy Spirit. That is why Pentecostals and Charismatics have frequent revival services and long prayer times during the praise and worship and at the end of church services--praising, praying, and expecting to be filled again with the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes people are filled first; then they praise:
"and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said Blessed art thou" Luke 1: 41
"And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord" Luke 1: 67
"The Holy Ghost was upon him [Simeon] ... And he came by the Spirit into the temple ... Then he took him [baby Jesus] up in his arms and blessed God" Luke 2: 25-28

Sometimes people praise first, and then are filled:

"they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord,thou art God... And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." Acts 4: 24-31

Sometimes people are filled and praise at the same time:
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word... For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God" Acts 10: 44-46
"And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." Acts 19: 6

Notice, that in all of the "extra infilling" verses (except 4:8 where the entire house was shaken) above, there is a prophetic leading--usually prophetic speech that is part of the "extra" filling. Paul shows that there is a prophetic praise/thanksgiving in speaking by the Spirit that accompanies extra fillings that happen during prayer services:
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Eph. 5: 18-20

That is why he goes on to say:
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit" Eph. 6: 18

Jude also:

"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" Jude 20

Spiritual prayer is always thanksgiving by prophetic spirit.

"If you are praising God with your spirit (in tongues) ... You may be giving thanks well enough (in tongues)." 1 Cor. 14: 16-17

James instructs everyone who reads his epistle ("To the twelve tribes of Israel scattered among the nations') to pray, praise, and expect the miraculous--he even goes so far as to imply that we have the same power as a New Testament Elijah (as seen below):

"Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? Let him call the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain" James 5: 13-17

Laying on Hands

Notice that James said Christians are to annoint people with oil. This is similar to laying hands on people when they pray. This is for an impartation of the Holy Spirit from one Christian (or from a group) to another Christian--and extra filling:

"Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery" 1 Tim.4: 14
"Wherefore I put thee in remebrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands" 2 Tim.1:6

"For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;" Rom. 1: 11

"And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they [the church-ppeople at Antioch] sent them [Paul and Barnabus] away" Acts 13: 3

It is note-worthy, that in the above verse, even the super-evangelists Paul and Barnabus had hands laid on them--even by ordinary churchmen (though some were prophets--per verse 1).

In the Old Test. we read:
"And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him" Deut 34: 9

In Hebrews chapter 6, there is listed some basic doctrines and practices of the church. The laying on of hands is included:
"Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement" Heb. 6: 2

Why all of this laying on of hands? Cessationists (some of them) may not like it, but it is for a transference of power, or an impartation of the Holy Ghost. That is why Paul could have recieved his sight in any way but God had Ananias lay hands on him:

"And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight... And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost" Acts 9: 11-17

Also it is recorded in Acts 6 that the apostles laid their hands on seven new deacons (obviously expecting an impartation of the Holy Spirit--or why do it?)
"Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them" Acts 6: 6
The rest of this section is a little "wordy" but may be a benifit to someone:
Cessationists are confused over the Samaritans who are mentioned in Acts 8 (below). For the Samaritans were saved under the preaching of Philip, so they had the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (and this was five years after Pentecost), but they had yet to receive the extra "baptism" of the Holy Spirit that the Christians at Jerusalem received on Pentecost. Therefore, the church at Jerusalem must have heard that the Samaritans were saved without the pentecostal filling of the Holy Spirit. It is recorded below:
"Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake... But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women... Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samariia had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost" Acts 8: 5-18

Also, as cessationists like to point out, in the John 20 record of the apostle's infilling of the Holy Spirit (before Pentecost); that they had the doors locked for fear of the Jews. "Therefore," cessationists say, "Jesus filled them so that they would be brave enough to wait in Jerusalem until Pentecost." This idea is fine; except, do cessationists really want to say that people can receive extra infillings of the Holy Spirit when they are afraid?
It was fifty days before the Acts 2 Pentecost that the disciples (in John 20) were "filled." Therefore, the Pentecostal outpouring, and the outpouring at the Acts 4: 31 prayer meeting were extra infillings of the Holy Spirit (This was not just for the 12 apostles, There may have been a whole lot of people filled at the prayer meeting (Acts 4: 31) who had already been filled on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
Copyright 2006 - 2007. Peter Kwiatkowski.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License.