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Rodman Williams: The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today: Effects, Part 2

59. On the matter of Ananias and Sapphira see preceding footnote. The ” Hellenists” were non-Palestinian, Greek-speaking Jews who had become Christians. A murmuring arose because of some neglect of their widows in the daily serving of food. It was promptly taken care of by the appointment of seven men (including Stephen and Philip) to be in charge of this duty.

60. It is to be recalled that the thousands to whom Peter preached on the day of Pentecost were “from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). Thereafter many nations and languages are mentioned, all the way from Mesopotamia to Libya, from Asia (Minor) to Rome (Acts 2:9-11).

61. See Acts 8:1.

62. For example, Paul later writes to the Christian disciples in Corinth, that he was not really able to speak to them as “spiritual people” (pneumatikois), but as “fleshly” (sarkinois) because there was “jealousy and strife” among them (1 Corinthians 3:1, 3). It had become “party spirit”—”I belong to Paul,” or “Peter,” or “Apollos”—no longer the unity of the Spirit with which they had first begun (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

63. The oneness in the Spirit which the Lord has created among Catholics and Protestants through the baptism in the Spirit is a precious miracle of grace in our day. I do not believe we have begun to grasp the significance of this breakthrough in the unfolding of God’s plan for His people. The sharing of a faith common to us all, the growth in mutual trust and understanding in areas of cultural and doctrinal differences, the growing ability to pray and worship together genuinely while maintaining our integrity—all this is creating a new, strong, bold, witness to the reality and saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” So writes Kevin Ranaghan in As the Spirit Leads Us, in an article entitled “Catholics and Pentecostals Meet in the Spirit,” p. 144.

64. For a good study of Christian community see Stephen B. Clark, Building Christian Communities: Strategy for Renewing the Church (Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 1972).

65. Dr. John A. Mackay, former president of Princeton Theological Seminary, puts it forcefully: “What is known as the charismatic movement—a movement marked by spiritual enthusiasm and special gifts and which crosses all boundaries of culture, race, age, and church tradition—is profoundly significant …Because ‘no heart is pure that is not passionate and no virtue is safe that is not enthusiastic,’ the charismatic movement of today is the chief hope of the ecumenical tomorrow” (World Vision Magazine, April, 1970, article entitled “Oneness in the Body—Focus for the Future”). James W. Jones, Episcopal clergyman, analyzes it thus: “Structural ecumenism which does not grow out of a genuine ecumenical life will produce only empty wineskins, just as patterns of renewal that do not grow out of a renewed life will themselves have no vitality. The charismatic movement is the ecumenical movement, not because it is creating structural alignments (it isn’t), but because it is bringing into being a new sense of the common life of the people of God” (Filled with New Wine: The Charismatic Renewal of the Church New York: Harper and Row, 1974], p. 135).

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

The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today: Epilogue & Bibliography

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 2004

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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