ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION AND THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT:
PERSPECTIVES ON THE BIBLICAL VIEW OF THE RELATIONSHIP
R. G. Deasley
Source: Wesleyan Theological Journal
subject must be considered in the context of the ongoing discussion of it among
Wesleyan historians: a discussion which has occupied considerably the attention
of the Wesleyan Theological Society in recent years.
The net result of that discussion has been to demonstrate not merely that Wesley
did not equate entire sanctification with the baptism with the Holy Spirit, but
that he expressly refused to do so.
Dr. George Allen Turner’s statement fairly indicates the position.
and Charles said or wrote little about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This
emphasis is relatively recent. It is not easy to find Wesleyan writers devoting
much space to it or associating it with entire sanctification and evangelical
this judgment Dr. Leo G. Cox expresses agreement.
believed that any change wrought within the heart of a person was by the
inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that until this holy love was “shed abroad
in the heart” no one could enter heaven. This teaching of Wesley may appear
strange to some who insist that the Holy Spirit is given subsequent to
regeneration at the time of a “second blessing,” but in this concept Wesley
is at one with most Reformed teaching.
is not my purpose, nor is it within my competence, to trace the subsequent
history of this significant and in many respects embarrassing divergence between
Wesley and many of his spiritual heirs. There are however, two observations I
wish to make which bear upon the aspect of the problem with which I am dealing.
first is that the bifurcation of thought which emerged in Wesley’s lifetime,
chiefly as between himself and Fletcher,
has continued from that day to this. In what may be called the classical
Wesleyan tradition the equation of entire sanctification with the baptism with
the Holy Spirit is conspicuous by its absence. Nowhere does it appear in the
Collected Works of Richard Watson;
nowhere does it appear in the systematic theologies of Miley and Pope.
Indeed Pope does not merely omit it; he expressly repudiates it. Writing against
the background of the Higher Life Movement in
has been a tendency among some teachers of religion in modern times so to speak
of Christian Perfection as to seem to make it the entrance into a new order
of life, one namely of higher consecration under the influence of the Holy
Ghost. That this higher life is the secret of entire consecration there can be
no doubt. But there is no warrant in Scripture for making it a new dispensation
of the Spirit, or a Pentecostal visitation superadded to conversion. “Have ye
received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” means “Did ye receive the Holy
Ghost when ye believed?” In other words entire consecration is the stronger
energy of a spirit already in the regenerate, not a Spirit to be sent down from
on high. This
even more surprising than Pope is H. Orton Wiley as an illustration of this
bifurcation of thought. It is true that Wiley followed the other fork of the
bifurcation, equating entire sanctification with the baptism with the Holy
Spirit. The remarkable thing is that, in the entire three volumes of his
Christian Theology, Wiley devotes only a single page to the baptism with the
and the structure of his argument for entire sanctification is not affected by
it in the least degree. This seems to suggest that, in his most formal
statement, Wiley was considerably influenced as far as his evaluation of the
biblical data was concerned, by the classical Wesleyan tradition. More recent
examples of this tradition are not difficult to find.
second observation I would make arising from the history of the divergence
referred to bears even more directly upon my immediate concern. This is that,
even within that fork of Wesleyan thought which has equated entire
sanctification with the baptism with the Holy Spirit, there have been both
uneasiness and disagreement in the handling of the evidence of Acts. Daniel
Steele is a notable example of the former. While clear about the equation,
he nonetheless finds himself under repeated pressure to qualify it. For example,
in commenting on the experience of unbelievers who responded to Peter’s
during the sermon of Peter were rapidly transformed into penitent believers,
ready to submit to any test of the genuineness of their faith; even to be
publicly baptized in the hated name of that Jesus whom they had personally
insulted and crucified. The finishing stroke of this rapid transformation was
“the gift of the Holy Ghost” with its fruits—unselfishness, oneness of
spirit, “gladness and singleness of heart.” But generally there was a brief
interval between conversion and the baptism of the Spirit.
last sentence plainly implies that, at least on the day of Pentecost, all that
is described in
interesting of all from Steele’s works is his chapter on “Baptism with the
Holy Ghost” in A Defense of Christian Perfection.
As is well known, this book was written in reply to Mudge’s Growth in Holiness
Toward Perfection in which (among other things) Mudge trained his guns on
Spirit-baptism language used in support of entire sanctification.
Steele’s reply is two-fold. First, he points out that the use of such evidence
is no part of classical Wesleyanism. Referring to the title of his chapter he
says: “The chapter with this caption may have relevancy to some modern
advocates of Christian perfection, but is not relevant to the doctrine as taught
by Wesley and Wesleyan standard theologians.”
He then proceeds to cite Wesley and Fletcher. His parting shot is: “Our
author’s chapter on the baptism of the Spirit might have been included in his
discussion of irrelevant texts,
on none of which do our standard theologians ground the doctrine of Christian
Second, basing on Fletcher who, he says, “does not positively affirm the
entire sanctification of ‘the multitude of them that believed’ in the happy
‘days of Pentecost,’” Steele concludes “that the phrase ‘baptism or
fullness of the Spirit’ may mean something less than entire sanctification.”
It may refer to what he calls the “ecstatic fullness of the Spirit,” a flood
of peace, joy and power which “may prostrate the body without cleansing the
Again, it may refer to “a charismatic fullness of the Spirit” in which
“the person . . . may be filled with some extraordinary gift or charisma of
On the other hand there is the “ethical fullness which must imply entire
These qualifications bespeak a recognition on Steele’s part that the evidence
of Acts cannot be systematized in a completely tidy way, and that a certain elasticity
is called for. To this, Steele makes considerable concessions.
more recent instance, not of uneasiness with but rejection of the accepted
interpretation of a central portion of the narrative of Acts, namely the Gentile
then is the significance of the Gentile Pentecost if Cornelius was not
regenerate before Peter’s arrival? Dr. Earle is aware of the problem and
replies as follows.
the explanation which best accords with Scripture is that while Peter was only
getting well started with his sermon his hearers in their hearts believed on
Jesus Christ and experienced evangelical conversion. . . . Then, because their
hearts were fully open for all of God’s will, these listeners who had walked
devoutly in the light of Judaism (10:2), and had now accepted Christ, were
suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit.
only difficulty with this exegesis is that there is not a syllable in
illustrations from Daniel Steele and Ralph Earle illustrate the complexity of
the data of Acts as they also illustrate the failure to reach a consensus among
committed Wesleyans regarding their interpretation. It is but five years since
Dr. Delbert Rose read a paper on this problem to the Wesleyan Theological
Society, concluding with the words: “Let us hear from you who will accept the
challenge to develop an in-depth study on the distinctions herein discussed.”
It is not as one who knows the solution, but certainly as one who is prepared to
accept the challenge, that I attempt to conduct this study.
may be that one way of seeking a resolution of the problem will be to trace the
use of the phrase “baptism with the Holy Spirit” in two of the leading
phrases of New Testament history, in the ministry of Jesus, and in the earliest
church, and then to conclude with a glance at the teaching of Paul. Comparison
and contrast may serve to illuminate not only the New Testament usage, but also
the origins of the divergent views within the Wesleyan tradition.
I. Baptism in the Spirit in the
Ministry of Jesus
infrequency of mention of the Spirit by Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels has often
This is even more the case with the expression “baptism in the Spirit,” a
phrase found on the lips of Jesus only once (Acts 1:5) The pursuit of this
phrase leads us behind the ministry of Jesus to the prophetic utterances made by
the Baptist regarding Jesus’ ministry as well as to Jesus’ ministry itself.
Each of these deserves separate attention.
John’s Prophecy of the Ministry of Jesus
central question here is: what did the Baptist mean when he foretold that the
Coming One would “baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Matthew
3:11)? The matter has been much debated, involving as it does a whole series of
complex issues such as the presence of the words “and with fire” in
Matthew’s and Luke’s versions of the story as against their absence in Mark;
the origins of the Baptist’s imagery; and—resulting from both of these—the
burden of his message. It is impossible to examine these at length; at the
expense of appearing dogmatic, I can only set down what seem to me to be the
conclusions most in harmony with the evidence.
Regarding the differing form of John’s prophecy as between Matthew and Luke on
the one hand and Mark on the other: there is nothing to suggest that this
requires a difference in meaning. The evidence was surveyed in a paper presented
to the Wesleyan Theological Society by my colleague Dr. Willard Taylor in 1976
in which he concluded that:
need not assume a breakdown in the transmission of the tradition nor postulate a
form-critical reading back of a later view of the Church. The ingredients for
this understanding of the ministry of the Holy Spirit are available in the old
scriptures and the current thought patterns of John’s day. Thus, it is proper
to interpret the Baptism with the Holy Spirit as a fiery baptism in which we
must be immersed as it were or one which results from the “pouring out” of
the Spirit upon us.
The reservoir of imagery and ideology on which the Baptist draws is significant
for determining the meanings he attached to the phrase “baptism with the Holy
Spirit.” That John drew the form of his baptism from earlier rites goes
without saying, for ablutions of various kinds were commonplace in Judaism. For
its import however, no precedent can be found. Essene ablutions (assuming them
to be represented by those of the
John’s proclamation of the baptism in the Spirit is read in the light of these
antecedents, it is not difficult to see what John understood as the essence of
that baptism. John’s own baptism summoned to repentance those who depended on
their Abrahamic pedigree, but who did not bring forth the living evidence of a
changed life which alone was the sign of true penitence (Matthew 3:8–10;
The Ministry of Jesus and the Baptism with the Holy Spirit
is nothing accidental in the fact that in all three Synoptic Gospels, John’s
proclamation of the impending baptism in the Spirit is followed at once by the
baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13–17;
The first is that in His case, baptism was the occasion of His endowment with
the Spirit. The language of the Synoptists varies in keeping with their
individual styles and interests, but the association of the descent of the
Spirit with baptism is unmistakably plain, especially by the use of the adverb euthus
in Matthew and Mark. Matthew writes: “and when Jesus was baptized, immediately
he came up from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the
Spirit of God descending like a dove, coming upon him” (3–16). The
preservation of euthus by Matthew
suggests that its use by Mark is more than simply an example of stylistic
redundancy. Mark writes: “And immediately as he was coming up from the water
he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit like a dove descending on him”
(1:10). In short, for the one and only time in the ministry of John the Baptist
his preparatory baptism with water and its spiritual fulfillment were united in
the experience of the Coming One Himself. Professor Lampe writes:
the multitudes were baptized by John as a Remnant elected to await the dawning
of the age to come, Jesus received the promised descent of the Spirit, and the
association of water and Spirit which had been prefigured in the metaphorical
language of the Prophets became translated into reality. Hence, when the death
and resurrection of the Christ had established the New Covenant, and the Spirit
could be bestowed on all those who responded in faith to His saving work, the
union of water and Spirit as the outward sign and the inner reality of the
sacramental rite became normative for the baptismal theology of the early
therefore, one reads a statement like
The second point of importance from the ministry of Jesus for the understanding
of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is that His baptism had a proleptic aspect to
it. In each of the Synoptics the descent of the Spirit is followed by the
utterance in some form of the words by the bath
qol “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17;
we summarize the meaning of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the ministry of
Jesus we reach the following conclusion: (1) that the baptism in the Spirit was
foretold by John the Baptist as the power of God, unleashed in the last age to
extirpate sin either by destroying it in the penitent soul, or destroying the
impenitent sinner along with his sin; (2) that in the case of Jesus the giving
of the Spirit was associated directly with His baptism at John’s hands: and
(3) that the experimental meaning of His baptism was not exhausted in the
sacramental rite. While in symbol He accepted death in the moment of baptism it
was not until Calvary that the death was fully realized; and while in measure
the Spirit descended on Him at the Jordan, it was not until His exaltation that
He “received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit” and, at Pentecost,
“poured forth that which they both saw and heard” (Acts 2:33).
II. Baptism in the Spirit in
the Earliest Church
the ministry of Jesus we may turn next to baptism in the Spirit in the earliest
church. This means that Acts is our primary source of information. However Acts
cannot be interpreted safely apart from the Third Gospel. It may be suspected
that much of the exegetical confusion alluded to earlier in this paper arose
because of failure to ask the fundamental hermeneutical question: what is the
author of Acts trying to do? And this question cannot be answered for Acts
without asking the same question regarding Luke’s Gospel. It is impossible to
deal with this question comprehensively; we must content ourselves with one
aspect of it and inquire as to what is Luke’s perspective on the baptism with
the Holy Spirit. We begin with his Gospel.
The Spirit in Luke’s Gospel
determining the emphases and motifs of Luke’s Gospel it is easy to be fanciful
and subjective. Beyond this, it must also be remembered that Luke’s intent was
at least partly historical, and he was limited both by this and the materials
available to him. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify, at least
tentatively, several points that seemed to be of importance to him.
First, the coming baptism in the Spirit would have, as a significant effect, the
interiorizing of religion. It must suffice to refer back to the earlier
discussion of the significance of the baptism in the Spirit with the baptism of
John. Indeed, it is in Luke’s account that the contrast is most sharply drawn.
It is Luke alone who records John’s replies to his various interrogators
(tax-collectors, soldiers, etc.) asking him for practical directions; but the
most they can do is prepare for the arrival of the Coming One. Inward renovation
awaited His advent. The same thrust is present in the Birth Narratives. On the
one hand are the standard features of messianic expectation: the overthrow of
the mighty and deliverance from powerful enemies (1:52, 71, 74). On the other
hand there is the suggestion of a new mighty act of God potent enough to rout
not merely the enemy without but the enemy within. “The Magnificat,” says E.
E. Ellis, “describes a reversal of political and economic status in the coming
age. The Benedictus speaks of the ethical transformation to be effected by the
The divine visitation for the redemption of Israel in which Zacharias exults is
seen as the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham; but that promise—to quote
Creed—“is interpreted in a broad and spiritualized sense: not the gift of
the promised land, but the gift of deliverance from foes for the continual
service of God.”
A second emphasis in Luke’s Gospel appears to be on the giving of the Spirit
as the mark of the new age. At each stage of the life of Jesus this seems to be
underscored. The comparison with John the Baptist is illuminating. Thus, the
births of John and Jesus were miraculous, the Spirit being operative in both
(Luke 1:17, 35), but the miracles were of a different order, the one involving a
miracle of procreation, the other a miracle of creation. In the words of C. K.
Barrett: “The central, biblical idea with which we have to deal is that the
entrance of Jesus into the world was the inauguration of God’s new creation. .
. . The part played by the Holy Spirit in the birth narratives is thus seen to
be that of
A third conspicuous feature of the account of the Spirit in Luke’s Gospel is
the marked stress on the Spirit as the agent of prophecy. Luke mentions the
Spirit seventeen times in his Gospel (as against Matthew’s twelve and Mark’s
six); seven examples occur in his first two chapters and six of them refer to
Elizabeth, Zacharias, Simeon are filled with the Spirit and prophesy (1:15, 41,
67; 2:25– 27). Of programmatic significance is the rejection of Jesus at
Nazareth (4:16–30) in which Jesus presents Himself as the Anointed One of
Finally, it is almost certainly no accident that Luke, of all the evangelists,
preserves direct references to the role of the Spirit at nodal points in the
ministry of Jesus. In some cases the references are direct. Thus, the birth of
Jesus takes place as a result of the activity of the Spirit (1:35); at His
baptism the Spirit descends (3:22); when the Seventy return Jesus “rejoices in
the Spirit” (10:21). Sometimes the references are indirect, being associated
with prayer which—in Lampe’s words—is “complementary to the Spirit’s
activity since it is the point at which the communication of divine influence
becomes effective for its recipients . . . the means by which the dynamic energy
of the Spirit is apprehended.”
Luke alone mentions that when the Spirit descended on Jesus following His
baptism He was praying (3:21); likewise at other crucial points in His career:
the choosing of the Twelve (6:12); before Peter’s confession at Caesarea
Philippi (9:18); at the Transfiguration (9:28); while of the agony in Gethsemane
Luke alone says that “he prayed more earnestly” (22:44).
the foregoing analysis is correct, then it provides us with a perspective on
Luke’s understanding of baptism in the Spirit, even within the limited place
which it occupied in the ministry of Jesus and so in Luke’s Gospel. The
ethical note is present, in the prophecies of Jesus’ ministry in the Birth
Narratives and by John the Baptist. However, it is not this note which Luke
appears to stress in his Gospel. It is rather the coming of the Spirit as the
sign of the New Age, present at each nodal point of the Heilsgeschichte and
furthering the progress of salvation by ministering prophetic power to those who
Baptism in the Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles
may turn now from Luke’s Gospel to his second volume: the locus of the heart
of the problem. The confessions of bewilderment from the lips of the eminent are
at once consoling and unnerving: from C. K. Barrett and R. R. Williams who
believe it is impossible to “reconstruct a harmonious account of what Luke
believed about baptism”;
to B. S. Easton who believed he had never even thought about it.
We may approach the subject by concentrating on a single, central episode which
not only is interpreted itself but in turn is used to interpret Pentecost:
namely the Gentile Pentecost. So important is this episode in Luke’s mind that
he uses his valuable space to deal with it three times over (10:1–48;
11:1–18; 15:1–11). I wish first, to discuss the meaning of these narratives,
and then consider their implications.
The Narratives of the Gentile Pentecost. Four features stand out as being
significant in the exegesis of these sequences.
The central purpose of the narratives is to recount the incorporation of the
Gentiles into the Church. The prelude in 10:1–16 revolves around the two
leading personages with their anthithetical problems: the vision of the Gentile
Cornelius that the acceptance he seeks is about to be vouchsafed to him; and the
vision of the Jewish apostle Peter that he is not to refuse what God has
cleansed. This is the point stressed by Peter on his arrival in Cornelius’
house: “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or
to visit any one of another nation; but God has shown me that I should not call
any man common or unclean” (10:28); and again: “Truly I perceive that God
shows no partiality, but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is
right is acceptable to him” (10:34–35
A second feature of exegetical significance is the message Peter preached. This
is expressed uniformly in salvation terms. The report of the sermon in
10:34–43 has as its conclusion: “To him all the prophets bear witness that
everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name”
(43). Peter’s account of the angelic message to Cornelius is in the same vein:
“Send to Joppa and bring Simon called Peter; he will declare to you a message
by which you will be saved, you and all your household” (11:13–14). And his
opening words to the
A third notable feature of these narratives is the description of the conclusion
drawn by the apostles. At the end of the narrative of the event itself Peter
indicates by a rhetorical question that the administration of baptism is the
appropriate conclusion: “‘Can anyone forbid water for baptizing these people
who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to
be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (10:47–48). Evidently, baptism in
the name of Jesus was regarded as the sacramental correlative of receiving the
Holy Spirit. At the first
A fourth feature important for the exegesis of this episode is the way in which
it is repeatedly presented as a repetition of Pentecost. Cornelius and his
fellow Gentiles “have received the Holy Spirit just as we have” (10:47).
Again Peter reports: “The Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the
beginning. If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us after we
believed in the Lord Jesus, who was I that I could withstand God?” (11:15,
17). In 15:8–9, 11 the point is thrice-repeated: God “gave them the Holy
Spirit just as he did to us” (8); he “made no distinction between us and
them” (9); “we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as
they will” (11). In other words, the Gentile Pentecost is not to be regarded
as in any way unique or different from the Jewish Pentecost; it would stultify
Peter’s argument if it were so. As said above not only is the Jewish Pentecost
used to interpret the Gentile; the reverse is also true.
The Implications of the Gentile Pentecost. It is now time to consider the
implications of the foregoing exegesis. It might well be inferred that the chief
implication is that in Luke’s theology baptism in the Holy Spirit is explained
without remainder by repentance, faith and new life verified by baptism: in a
word by regeneration. However, that conclusion is foreclosed by the prophecies
of the New Age in the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel and of the baptism in the
Holy Spirit in the third, in both of which (as was shown earlier) an inward
purification of a radical character seemed plainly to be implied. What then is
Luke doing? I would draw attention to three features of Acts which in my
judgment are clues to his intention.
First, is Luke’s overall purpose in Acts. A comprehensive examination of this
is out of bounds here;
but confining our inquiry to Luke’s message of the Spirit (as with the Gospel)
it is interesting that similar results emerge. There is the same stress on the
New Creation. Pere Dupont writes: “The Spirit came upon the apostles during
the feast at which Judaism commemorated the promulgation of the Law and the
conclusion of the Covenant between God and His people. The Christian Pentecost
presents itself as the feast of the New Covenant constituting the Church a new
people of God.”
Again, there is a marked stress on prophecy as the consequence of the giving of
the Spirit. It is of moment that the prophecy which is quoted by Peter as being
fulfilled at Pentecost is
A second factor suggestive of Luke’s intention is the wide field of meaning
attaching to his language. Luke has frequently been charged with inconsistency
at this point. Thus, Jesus’ promise that before many days the disciples would
be “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5) was evidently implemented when
“they were all filled” (2:4). A further filling takes place during and
following the trial before the Sanhedrin, resulting in boldness to speak the
word (4:8, 31); while certain figures are described as being “full”
(pleasures of the Spirit evidently as a permanent state (6:3), 5, 8, 10; 7:55;
Yet in reference to similar events (especially in passages examined earlier) the
language of the “falling” of the Spirit (10:44; 11:15), the “pouring out
of the Spirit” (10:45), the giving of the Spirit” (10:45; 11:17; 15:8), the
“receiving of the Spirit” (10:47) is used with the meaning indicated above.
A third feature relevant to our inquiry, and in some degree anticipated in the
previous point, is that Luke did not regard all as having received the Spirit in
the same measure. Bultmann comments:
the one hand all Christians have received the Spirit in baptism thereby being
transformed into a new nature. Elsewhere however, the fact of the common
possession of the Spirit is ignored. Some are regarded as pneumatikoi
in a special sense (1 Corinthians 2:13–3:3). Again, the Spirit is possessed by
some in greater measure than others (Acts 6:3, 5; 11:24).
examples referred to are those in which the adjective pleres
is used evidently, in the sense of permanent endowment. Dr. Howard Marshall
observed that “Luke does not go deeply into the ‘ethical’ effects of the
Spirit (as in
is now time to ask whether any pattern is perceptible in all this. Taking all
the evidence together I would suggest with great diffidence that what Luke is
doing is using the phrase “baptism in the Holy Spirit” with the same breadth
that the root hagios-hagiazo is used
in the New Testament epistles. It is an axiom that all Christians are sanctified
in a lower sense (1 Corinthians 1:2; 6:11;
this is so one may go one step further and say that Luke’s use of “baptism
in the Spirit” is analogous to Paul’s use of baptism. For Paul, baptism
includes potentially the whole of Christian experience, the fullness of
salvation. But this is not received experimentally all at once; there must be a
further moment of surrender and commitment. This is the whole argument of
answer the question proposed in the title of this paper then: entire
sanctification is related to the baptism in the Holy Spirit in precisely the
same way that it is related to baptism. Baptism is initiation into Christ, death
with Him, burial with him. But it means more than this: in Daniel Steele’s
phrase it means “not the bare symbol, but the thing signified thereby;
the realization experimentally of all that the symbol means by a further act of
faith (Romans 6:11). Similarly, entire sanctification is the full realization in
experience of that fullness of God’s salvation into which one is initiated by
the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Reserving the right to qualify his emphasis on
the process aspect of sanctification (though he also concedes a place to crisis)
I believe Professor Geoffrey Lampe expresses the matter adequately thus:
The convert to faith in Christ receives the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit by virtue of his participation (through faith responding to the grace of God in Christ) in the status of sonship to God. . . . This union with Christ . . . is symbolized and sacramentally effected by Baptism. . . . The resurrection life which is entered upon at Baptism is life in the Spirit; and the indwelling presence of the Spirit is simply one aspect of the sharing of the resurrection life of Christ which is begun in Baptism. . . . The benefits of the sacrament are, however, conferred to some extent proleptically, for in the single action there is summed up an experience of Christ which is gradually realized throughout the whole course of the Christian’s life. It expresses in a moment what can in fact be realized only step by step. The process of sanctification, as well as the decisive act of justification, is foreshadowed and proleptically summed up, so that the effects of the sacrament are partly actual and partly potential. . . . The indwelling presence of the Spirit, a Person and not a donum gratiae, is mediated to the believer through Baptism as the sacrament of conversion; but that personal presence comes to be apprehended more fully, and more deeply experienced, as the
E.g., Herbert McGonigle, “Pneumatological
Nomenclature in Early Methodism,” Wesleyan Theological Journal, 8, 1973,
61–72; Donald W. Dayton, “Asa Mahan and the Development of American
Holiness Theology,” ibid., 9, 1974, 60–69; John A. Knight, “John
Fletcher’s Influence on the Development of Wesleyan Theology in America,” ibid., 13. 1978, 13–33.
Cf. the letter to Joseph Benson in 1770: “You
allow the whole thing that I contend for; an entire deliverance from sin, a
recovery of the whole image of God, the loving God with all our heart, soul
and strength. And you believe God is able to give you this; yea, to give it
to you in an instant. . . . If they like to call this ‘receiving the Holy
Ghost’ they may: Only the phrase, in that sense is not scriptural, and not
quite proper; for they all ‘received the Holy Ghost’ when they were
justified. The Works of John Wesley (14 vols., Kansas City: reprint of 1872 edition), Vol. XII, 416.
The Vision Which Transforms (Beacon Hill Press of
Kansas City. 1970), 149.
John Wesley’s Concept of Perfection (Beacon Hill
Press of Kansas City, 1964), 122.
In the letter quoted in note 2 “they” refers
to Fletcher and his followers. See the editor’s note in John Telford
(ed.), The Letters of the Rev. John Wesley, A. M. (
Collected Works (London: 1836).
John Miley, Systematic Theology (2 vols.,
Op cit., Vol. III, 64, cf. 44.
Christian Theology (Kansas City: 1952). II, 444.
Other references are casual: e.g., 496, 504.
E.g., J. Baines Atkinson, The Beauty of Holiness (
Love Enthroned Essays on Evangelical Perfection
(2nd edit., London: 1887), 59.
Op. cit., 62.
Daniel Steele, A Defense of Christian Perfection
(New York: 1896),
James Mudge, Growth in Holiness Toward Perfection
(New York: 1895).
Steele, Defense, 108.
A reference to Mudge, op. cit., Chapter VI.
Op. Cit., 111.
See for instance (among many possible examples) A.
M. Hills Holiness and Power (Cincinnati: 1897), 147.
Charles W. Carter and Ralph Earle, The Evangelical
Commentary: he Acts of the Apostles (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 154.
Art. “On the ‘Paulinism’ of Acts” in J. L.
Martyn and Leander Keck, Studies in Luke-Acts, (Nashville: 1966) 42.
Ralph Earle, The Acts of the Apostles in the
Beacon Bible Commentary, Vol. VII, (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, 1965)
Cf. I. Howard Marshall: “What Luke is defending
is not the value of works as a means of salvation. On the contrary he sees
in piety and good works the indication of an attitude which prior to the
coming of the gospel faith in Jesus Christ is seeking salvation by trusting
and serving God.” Luke: Historian and Theologian (Grand Rapids: 1974)
Beacon Bible Commentary, VII, 383. Cf. Evangelical
Delbert R. Rose, “Distinguishing the Things that
Differ,” Wesleyan Theological Journal, 9, 1974, 5–14. The quotation
appears on page 12.
Willard H. Taylor, “The Baptism with the Holy
Spirit: Promise of Grace or Judgment?” in Wesleyan Theological Journal,
12, Spring 1977, 16–25, especially 21–23; the quotation occurs on
22–23. Cf. James D. G. Dunn, Baptism in the Holy Spirit (London: SCM
Press, 1970), 9–10.
Cf. IQS 4-9, cf. X:11. For a brief discussion see
W. S. LaSor, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Faith (
G. W. H. Lampe, “Though all Jewish baptisms were
purificatory, John’s is unique in its ethical significance. Apart from the
doubtful allusions to baptism in the Sybilline Oracles, there is little
evidence that proselyte-baptism was connected with spiritual as opposed to
merely ceremonial cleansing.” The Seal of the Spirit (London: 1951), 24. Cf. C. E. B. Cranfield, “Proselyte-baptism seems to have had
some ethical significance, though it was no doubt primarily a means of
ritual cleansing. In the case of John’s baptism the ethical significance
is clear.” The Gospel According to St. Mark in The
Cf. A. H. McNeile, “Fire will purify that which
can stand it, but will burn away all that is unworthy.” The Gospel
According to St. Matthew (London: MacMillan, 1928), 29.
Cf. Dunn, “The baptism in Spirit-and-fire was
not to be something gentle and gracious, but something which burned and
consumed, not something experienced by only Jew or only Gentile, only
repentant or only unrepentant, but by all. It was the fiery pneuma in which
all must be immersed, as it were, and which like a smelting furnace would
burn up all impurity. For the unrepentant it would mean total destruction.
For the repentant it would mean a refining and purging away of all evil and
sin which would result in salvation and qualify to enjoy the blessings of
the messianic kingdom” (op. cit., 13f.). Cf. E. Schweizer, “The Baptist
is even prone to discourage baptism; he is not after cheap success with
hosts of the baptized whose hearts are not renewed. The metaphor of fruit is
typically Biblical: fruit is what ‘grows’ out of a fundamental
disposition of the heart; it is not something that can simply be
‘done.’” The Good News According to Matthew (ET Atlanta: 1975), 49.
Op cit., 34–35.
E. E. Ellis, The Gospel of Luke in the New Century
Bible (London: 1966), 77.
 J. M. Creed, The Gospel According to St. Luke (London: 1930), 26.
C. K. Barrett, The Holy Spirit in the Gospel
Cf. Barrett, op. cit., 38f.; Lampe, op. cit.,
35f.; Dunn, op. cit., 27; Cranfield, op. cit., 54.
G. W. H. Lampe, “The Holy Spirit in the Writings
of St. Luke” in D. E. Nineham (ed.), Studies in the Gospels: Essays in
Memory of R. H. Lightfoot (Oxford: 1956), 159.
For fuller discussion see S. S. Smalley,
“(spirit) kingdom and Prayer in Luke-Acts,” Novum Testamentum 15, 1973,
C. K. Barrett, Luke the Historian in Recent Study
(Philadelphia: 1970), 75.
B. S. Easton, The Purpose of Acts (1936), 40,
quoted in Lampe, Seal of the Spirit, 78, note 1.
It is worth noting that the immediate issue which
gives rise to the
For a recent, persuasive attempt see S. G. Wilson
The Gentiles and The Gentile-Mission in Luke-Acts (
Jacques Dupont, Etudes sur Les Actes des Apotres (Bruges, 1967), 498 (my translation). See the entire chapter for a sensitive
For fuller discussion of this, see
See G. Delling, art. “pleres,” T
R. Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (2 vols;
ET London: 1952), I, 158–59.
 Op. cit., 201.
Daniel Steele’s comments, Half Hours with
“Confirmation may be said to imitate a deeper
and enlarged experience of the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.” Seal of the
Spirit, 321. The whole context is worth reading.