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Rodman Williams: The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today: Reception

21 The same aorist participle pisteusantes as in Acts 19:2 above. KJV translates it “after that ye believed.” It could also be translated simply as “believing.” See previous note 19.

22 See earlier discussion of the promise of the Spirit in Chapter 1, A. (“The Divine Promise”).

23 One of the uses of “seal” in the New Testament (see Chapter 4, supra, fn. 2 and 6).

24 Again, see the testimonies in the books mentioned in fn. 18 supra. Many examples may be found. From the nebulous and limited to the clear and full is a transition that many are making in our time.

25 This is often the case for persons who have long been searching for reality—the “God-seekers” of the world—who upon hearing the gospel clearly for the first time and the call to a personal faith in Jesus Christ not only receive forgiveness of sins but also the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Often they have been hungering for reality in an almost desperate fashion. I think of many of the recent so-called “Jesus people,” many of whom had been involved with drugs (representing an illusory search for reality). These young people had a total experience of turning to Christ and receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit. As an example of this see Pat King, The Jesus People are Coming (Plainfield, NJ: Logos, 1971), the testimony of Michael Mates, “Now I’m Free,” pp. 73-92. It was estimated that, at the peak of the “Jesus movement,” over 90 percent of the persons involved were charismatic, not usually by virtue of a later charismatic experience, but they became such in the initial breakthrough of Christian faith. At that very moment they became “turned on” witnesses for Jesus in the power of the Spirit. In addition to the “Jesus people,” there have been many other persons, either in the church or out of it, who have long had a yearning to get beyond form and ritual into a vital experience of faith. However, no matter how much they tried to find reality, emptiness somehow remained. Then the gospel one day got through to them: a personal encounter with the living Jesus. As they experienced His reality, His forgiveness, His salvation, they also received His Spirit. The emptiness was filled, and forthwith they became fervent witnesses of the Good News.

26 One sometimes hears it said that the book of Acts presents so much confusing, even inconsistent, data about the reception of the Holy Spirit, that the record is of dubious value for our contemporary situation. The truth of the matter, however, is that the variety of ways in which this is described gives firm basis and example for what is happening in our time.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptural quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today: Means (Chapter 6)


The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today by J. Rodman Williams, was published in 1980 by Logos International. Used by permission of the author. Reprinted in Pneuma Review with minor updates from the author.

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Category: Spirit, Summer 2003

About the Author: J. Rodman Williams (1918-2008), Ph.D., is considered to be the father of renewal theology. He served as a chaplain in the Second World War, he was a church pastor, college professor, and key figure in the charismatic movement of the 1960s. Beginning in 1982, he taught theology at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and became Professor of Renewal Theology Emeritus there in 2002. Author of numerous books, he is perhaps best known for his three volume Renewal Theology (Zondervan, 1996).

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