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Common Barriers to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Do you want God to use you? God has put every believer on a journey to become more like Jesus, to walk in the power of the Spirit to proclaim his kingdom. In this excerpt from his book, Say What? A Biblical and Historical Journey on the Connection between the Holy Spirit, Prophecy, and Tongues, Jeremiah Campbell helps us see the barriers that can keep us from receiving the fullness of the Spirit. Approaching this from a classical Pentecostal perspective, he offers tools to overcome those roadblocks and receive what God has for us.

Tongues accompanies the baptism in the Holy Spirit as an evi­dential gift. However, a gift cannot merely be given, it must also be received. Many individuals ask, “why don’t I speak in tongues? Why don’t I receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit?” We must re­member first of all that we don’t determine the giving of the gift, the Spirit determines when and to whom to give spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 2:11). However, on the receiving end, we must also understand that different reasons, albeit even subconscious rea­sons, cause us to refuse the gift even when the Spirit gives it. In this section I propose seven specific reasons (although this list is not all-encompassing) that cause individuals to refuse what the Spirit offers, the inspiration for the first five came from evangelist Rob Enloe (2013).


1. Anti-Pentecostal Baggage

This mentality comes from an underlying fear of a counterfeit experience. From a young age, many people erroneously learned that the gift of tongues comes from the devil, or that the gift is not biblical. Therefore, they understandably refuse to seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit, let alone open their mouths, lest they actually speak in tongues. Such a perspective also creates fear and dissen­tion among Christians, developing an “us vs. them” mentality.

What did Jesus have to say about our fear of having a false, unbiblical experience when we ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

One of the most effective ways to overcome such a men­tality or fear comes when individuals ground themselves in the Word of God. One of the purposes of this book is to do exactly that—show individuals that the filling of the Holy Spirit and pro­phetic utterance is extremely biblical and has been God’s modus operandi from the beginning. When individuals understand how biblical this experience is, they will begin to lower their guard and open themselves to receive all that God has for them. Once individuals understand that the Holy Spirit also meant this bibli­cal experience for them, they will more readily seek it. This is why Jesus said, …

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Luke 11:11-13).

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Category: Spirit, Summer 2018

About the Author: Jeremiah J. Campbell, D.Min. (Talbot School of Theology, Biola University), M.Div., M.A. (Global University), M.Ed. (Washington State University) is a missionary to Bolivia with the Assemblies of God World Missions, and an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He is also an adjunct professor for Northwest University, and associate professor for Global University, and the national director for Global University in Bolivia. Jeremiah previously served as the national director for Chi Alpha Bolivia, an organization he developed into a national ministry. Before the missions field Jeremiah was a youth pastor at Neighborhood Church in Sunnyside, WA. He also worked as a public school teacher and educational coach for the Grandview School District in Grandview, WA. Jeremiah is the author of The Foundation of the Assemblies of God of Bolivia: A Perspective through the Eyes of the Founding Missionaries (2016), and Say What?: A Biblical and Historical Journey on the Connection between the Holy Spirit, Prophecy, and Tongues (Wipf & Stock, 2018). Jeremiah married his best friend, Marjorie in 2005, and they live with their two children in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Facebook. LinkedIn. Website.

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