Baptists and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

I have noticed that there is a deep suspicion by charismatics towards Baptists when it comes to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I heard it in the preaching at the Pentecostal church that I used to attend. I saw it at the (predominately Baptist) seminary that I studied at. Being Pentecostal at the time, my Baptist friends would ask me if I believed in the Bible and I would ask them if they believed in the Holy Spirit. It was all done in fun but there was a real stereotype behind it.

Just today I read the following statement in a news item from Charisma by Mark Andrews.

“charismatics know it is almost pointless to discuss the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12, 14) with Baptists”

Now that I am a Baptist, I am wondering what sort of Baptists it is pointless to discuss the gifts of the Holy Spirit with. I am sure that there are such Baptists out there but I don’t know them.

Cessationism is not one of the Baptist distinctives. In fact, one of our distinctives is the local church. This means that there is no central authority that tells us what to believe. No one can tell a local church what to believe about the Holy Spirit. Each church is free to be either charismatic or cessationist.

It is probably true that there would be some confusion if someone gave a message in tongues during a worship service, but the gifts of the Spirit are not limited to that specific manifestation. Most Baptist pastors that I know believe that the gifts of the Spirit are still active today, even if there may be some disagreement on how that looks.

What I can say for sure is that it is not pointless to discuss the gifts of the Holy Spirit with Baptists. We need to have that discussion and part of that conversation requires charismatics to back off on the Baptist stereotype.

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2 thoughts on “Baptists and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit”

  1. I have had a few encounters with this subject having had been in the Baptist church for awhile. Now, I have watched God work in my life to show me different things. I could tell you about my upbringing. But it was the hand of God that worked in my life every time. Nothing of myself. So, without knowing church doctrine as a child I just learned as he led. I have been put in several churches in my life as God leads. I have watched his growth in my life. I can say that one can speak in tongues and not do it the whole service. I have watched the pouring out of the holy spirit. I have spoke prophecy, and I have spoke in tongues.(Not of my own but of God) now, knowing that truth and when someone comes to you and tells you that you are demon possessed or that the bible has done away with that long ago is missing God’s blessings. Now, I can’t just conjure up the holy spirit to speak when I want to but I can tell you before I enter a church if it is moving in the holy spirit or not. I can tell by the service if the pastor speaks the word or speaks the spirit. The holy spirit has taught me this. I am speaking out on this because if someone is ignorant to his gifts trays to pass judgment on me or the things of God then, I feel sorry for him because he probably will never feel the spirit truly move through him because of his own beliefs. The spirit won’t live where there is doubt. The gifts of the spirit is are gifts from God. He won’t give them to you to squander. If you have the gift of giving God won’t stick you in a place of wealth people for your ministry. He will give e you to the poor. I found in a Baptist church there is no need for the gifts of tongues. There’s no one available to cast out the demons from him. (Pun intended)

  2. I actually agree with the tone of the comment about it being pointless to discuss it with Baptists. Certainly there are a few Baptist who will approach the discussion reasonably but most will not. I am currently broaching the subject among my co-leaders where I pastor and they are horrified to know that I have been operating in the gifts since shortly after becoming pastor 12 years ago. This one practice of mine seems to supplant the decade plus of work God did in their lives through my ministry while they were ignorant that I believed in prophecy or prayed in tongues. It is heartbreaking to be honest. Keep bringing it into the realm of discussion but be prepared for less than noble response from the cessationist camp. It may not be a baptist distinctive, as you wrote, but it is certainly a baptist presumption.

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