There is a war going on for the soul of the evangelical church at the present time.The Strange Fire Conference sponsored by John MacArthur (October 2013) and subsequent book threw down the gauntlet against charismata as understood by Charismatics and Pentecostals. Charismatic leaders like R.T. Kendall, Michael Brown, and Peter Wagner, as well as others like John Piper have been scrambling to answer. Should Christians be cessationists or continuationists in regard to spiritual gifts or some place in between? An important related question is "What is the filling with or baptism in the Holy Spirit and is it for today"? Is the baptism in the Holy Spirit in the present day a myth or at best a historical phenomenon, "a temporary grace," which occurred only in the first century AD and then ceased to be a reality in the church? Or is the evangelical doctrine of illumination of the soul by the word of God all that is needed for believers' transformation today? Could it yet be a somehow meaningful though misinterpreted experience, which should have a different label, as R. C. Sproul, J. I. Packer, and others believe? Should believers seek a filling or baptism with the Spirit in any way analogous to the New Testament? The author believes the last is the case and has given a strong argument from Scripture, history, and Christian experience to support his view that, in spite of the confusion, yes, Virginia, there is a baptism in the Spirit distinct from regeneration, and it is "for you, and your children, and to all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself" (Acts 2:39).
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About the Author
About the author: Allan Gravely, MDiv, MA, MA, is a native North Carolinian who graduated from Davidson College with a major in philosophy and a minor in English honors. A frustrated philosopher at that point, he still went on to do graduate work in philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full fellowship for three years, during which time he experienced conversion. He also during this time took courses at Duke Divinity School. After three years at UNC without taking a degree, he attended Fuller Seminary in Pasadena for the first two years of seminary. Feeling a desire to return to the South, he transferred to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, from which he graduated with an M. Div. He also has two Master's degrees from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa (history and rehabilitation counseling). He won the Albert Burton Moore Memorial Award for Outstanding Graduate Student in History in 1982, as well as the Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award for his M.A. thesis: "The English Seekers: 1643-1656." Although he was awarded the Richard M. Weaver Foundation Fellowship in 1983 for his essay, "Education in a Free Society; Vision and the Demonic Legacy," for full tuition at the University of Wisconsin in Madison for study in Reformation History, health concerns at the time caused him not to attend. Allan was a full time instructor in religious studies at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa for two and a half years and also taught religious studies courses at the University of Alabama and Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa. His main career later in life was as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the State of Alabama. He has been an active participant, board member, teacher and librarian in churches since his conversion at age twenty-four. Aside from journal articles, Filled with the Spirit vs. Illumined by the Word is his first publication and has been about ten years in the making. The work actually arose as a result of a friend's question to his younger son, "What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit?" Allan resides in North Carolina with his wife, Dottie. They have two sons and two daughters and three grandsons.