SBC Issues


THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE SBC

By

Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Regarding a proposed name change for the SBC

 President Bryant Wright has appointed a self-funded blue ribbon advisory committee, authorized by the Executive Committee to provide counsel to him as he prayerfully weighs recommending to the SBC in her Annual Session upcoming in New Orleans, a proposed name change of our beloved convention.

I commend President Wright for his thoughtful, deliberate and considerate proposal. I wholeheartedly agree with the spirit, letter, advisory committee and methodology used by President Wright in launching this proposal.

There may be some validity to the complaint that there are no lay people on the advisory panel; and perhaps it would be wise if President Wright added two–three lay persons to this panel. If youth and young adults are not represented on this panel, consideration should be given to adding that demographic as well.

Unlike the GCR panel, this advisory committee has at least one African American on the panel as forethought, as opposed to an afterthought. This I believe is what the 21st Century SBC should reflect: The Kingdom of God (Rev. 5:7-9).

Whenever a name was changed in Scripture, it usually signified a change in character, conduct or focused concentration on the part of the person or entity whose name was changed. It was not simply a cosmetic change.

Jesus challenged and rebuked the Pharisees for representing a cosmetic change, but inwardly not committed to a character, conduct or focused concentrated Kingdom-minded change. Again, I believe the only biblical justification for the proposed name change of the SBC must be (as some have already indicated in naming possible reasons for the name change) would be a commitment to change in at least one or all three of these areas: Character, conduct and focused concentration.

If the SBC is to change her name, the name change ought to be indicative of a change in focused concentration from a regional and racial 19th and majority of the 20th Century focus, to a 21st Century and biblio-centric concentrated focus on the Kingdom of God. The 1st century church was a Kingdom of God focused church as opposed to a regional or racially focused church. Consequently, they filled all Jerusalem with their doctrine and turned the world upside down for Jesus. Their message was, as Dr. Russell Moore so appropriately points out in his book, The Kingdom of Christ—“There is another king” (Acts 17:7).  And as R. Allen Street (Professor of Evangelism at Criswell College) so rightfully echoes our evangelism as instructed and modeled by Jesus ought to be a Kingdom-focused evangelism. The major theme of Jesus’ preaching was the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ first, last and intermediate preaching/teaching and evangelistic initiatives focused on the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).

Matthew and Mark summarized and capsulized the message and ministry of Jesus as, the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15, Matt. 4:23).  Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14).

If the focused concentration of Jesus and his public ministry was not exclusively identified with or limited to a certain region or race, neither should the identity and focused concentration of the SBC be indicative of region or race. Therefore, I propose the name, KINGDOM BAPTIST CONVENTION. Who could argue with the Kingdom of God being our focused concentration and indicative of our universal assignment (Matthew 28:19-20)? Who could argue that the word “Baptist” following the word Kingdom is suggestive of the right priority and emphasis? Yet by including the word “Baptist,” it immediately identifies our heritage; and it also quickly distinguishes us by our non-negotiable doctrines, authority/inerrancy of scripture, salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone, eternal security of the believer, baptism by immersion, a regenerate membership, substitutionary atonement, a physical body resurrection of Jesus as well as a physical bodily return.

Historically, the word “Baptist” preserves our identity and continuation of the legacy established by great men, women and movements of yesteryears that I admire and appreciate such as: Thomas Muenster, Charles Spurgeon, Shubal Stearns, Martha Stearns, John Jasper, Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., E. C. Morris, Henry B. Morehouse (Morehouse College named in his honor), Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr., W.A. Criswell, Paige Patterson, Adrian Rogers, Jack Taylor, Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Gardner Taylor, Frank Page, J.H. Jackson, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Lottie Moon, Ken Hemphill, George Liele, Howard Thurman and yes, Fred Luter; the Anabaptists, Sandy Creek, Charlestonian, National Baptist, Southern Baptist, Fulness and Full Gospel Baptist. These were Kingdom believers of a Baptist persuasion. In spite of the distance that some Baptist place between themselves and the word “Baptist,” and the many stripes and flavors of Baptist that exist (as indicative by the above mentioned names), I believe the word “Baptist” still has major significance and is a worthy distinguishing factor doctrinally and historically. However, the word Baptist should always be secondary to the Kingdom of God, and my proposed name for the new SBC keeps this priority in focus.

The word “convention” is simply indicative of a multitude of churches who share Baptist doctrine and historical roots who convene together to advance kingdom business; thus, the name Kingdom Baptist Convention.  I would hope the word “Baptist” is retained in this new convention name.

The conduct change that should accompany this name change it appears will happen somewhat simultaneously with the name change proposal. And that is the election of Pastor Fred Luter as president of the SBC. This is a positive and good move, solely on the basis of merit and character, without any consideration of color or political correctness. However, I trust and pray that the election of Fred Luter is an indication of a conduct change systemically with regard to racial matters. If the post-presidency-Fred Luter-SBC looks like the current SBC with regard to racial diversity represented on the Executive cabinet, then the election of Fred Luter will look like that Pharisaical cup (Matthew 23:25-27). The real litmus test of whether or not the SBC has undergone a sea change with regard to racial conduct will only be known when it is time to replace some of the current entity heads. However, the election of Fred Luter is a major symbolic step, but a substantive step remains to be seen to elect an African American as an entity head.

Until such time, the jury is still out as to whether the name change and Luter election is cosmetic or real. Again, if the post Luter SBC does not change, then there is no need to change the name. The current name represents the current practices quite well. The missions, evangelism and church planting emphasis of the SBC often overshadowed the name, and that’s why some of us were attracted to  and remain SBC; but at times it is still painful, and we are occasionally reminded that the SBC is well, just that, the SBC.

I am excited and thrilled beyond measure with regard to the recent church planting emphasis of the NAMB. Dr. Ezell and the NAMB have my wholehearted support. I was really encouraged when I read what Dr. Kevin Ezell stated that the NAMB will not prevent church planters from having relationships with historical denominational linkage that believe and practice “degrees of charismaticism.” It is my prayer that this attitude would be conveyed by Dr. Ezell and NAMB to funding church planters who practice “degrees of charismaticism.” Dr. Danny Akin, President of The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, perhaps made the most prophetic and Kingdom-minded statement regarding the controversial IMB policy concerning private prayer language which is also basically identical to NAMB policy: “’I think the IMB policy on private prayer languages is wrong,’ Akin said. ‘I’m with Jerry Rankin on that.’ Rankin is president of the IMB.” Ironically, for making a statement similar to what Dr. Akin made regarding the IMB policies, there was an attempt made to remove me as a trustee at SWBTS and my chapel sermon was censored, saying I criticized a sister SBC agency. This is also another example of a SBC double standard. WOW! I’m grateful to see positive movement in this direction.

Recently, the SBTC has in principle agreed to fund a proposed church plant/satellite sponsored by the church I pastor, knowing full well my beliefs and practices as it relates to praying in tongues in private.  (I will initially be serving as church planter while simultaneously serving as pastor of CBC.) I have not agreed to accept the funds because I am just not sure of the future direction of our convention. I did not feel right receiving funds from the SBC for church planting in light of the fact I’m aware of church planters who have been denied funding because of the policies concerning praying in tongues at NAMB and the SBTC. Our church has donated over $100,000 to church planters whose beliefs and practices are identical to mine. Offering me funding represented a Kingdom mindset by the SBTC that ought to be extended to all church planters and missionaries. But nevertheless, I am beginning to see positive movement in the right direction. I want to apologize to the SBTC for stating on more than one occasion that they would not fund someone like me as a church plant today, but apparently I was wrong.

The appointment of Ken Weathersby as Presidential Ambassador for Ethic Church Relations in the SBC is also a right and timely move by Frank Page and Kevin Ezell. Before Ken Weathersby was promoted to this position he was demoted as VP at NAMB. This sent a shock wave through the African American Southern Baptist community. However, I must admit I was sorely disappointed when I read in the Baptist Press and saw pictures that NAMB had appointed four Whites as Vice President to develop church planting throughout the United States and overlooked four highly qualified mid-level African American NAMB personnel for one of these slots. This has caused much consternation with African American Southern Baptist churches. Why would we attempt to plant churches in Urban America with four men who ethnically don’t resemble the majority of people in Urban America (Acts 13:1-3)? The name change has to represent a departure from these types of practices.

I could cite several other instances of racial and character issues currently being practiced in the SBC that need to change. However, the point of the article is to celebrate the fact it appears we are moving toward change, and I celebrate this move!

Lord, let thy Kingdom come, let thy will be done on Earth and in and through the SBC, as it is in Heaven. Amen.

RESOLUTION ON PRIVATE PRAYER IN TONGUES

Submitted By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Cornerstone Baptist Church

5415 Matlock Rd.

Arlington, TX  76018

(817)  468-0083

dmckissic@cbcarlington.org

website: www.cbcarlington.org

 

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has definitively grounded our confession of faith in the inerrant Word of God (II Tim. 3:15, 16); and

 

WHEREAS, the inerrant word of God speaks authoritatively, sufficiently, and clearly to the practice of a believer’s private devotional life (Col. 3:16; 4:2, Psalms 19:14); and

 

WHEREAS, the New Testament teaching includes apostolic instruction that governs the gifting of the Spirit, including but not limited to the gift of tongues and its use by those so gifted of God (I Cor. 12:7, 10, 30; 14:2, 4, 5, 13-15); and

 

WHEREAS, the New Testament teaches that believers gifted with tongues are restricted to utilize that gift in private prayer to God whenever public tongues are impermissible (I Cor. 14:27, 28); and

 

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention has never adopted a statement, policy, or confession that denied the continuation of all spiritual gifts, including the gift of tongues or denying the potential for such gifts to be used in private devotion; and

 

WHEREAS, many faithful Southern Baptists testify concerning their spiritual gift of tongues as exercised in private prayer; and

 

WHEREAS, this convention has historically allowed for confessional flexibility and great freedom when it comes to the private devotional lives of all Southern Baptists; now be it therefore

 

RESOLVED, that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in San Antonio, Texas, June 12-13, 2007, continues its long and cherished tradition of respecting the personal freedoms of private devotion for all Southern Baptist pastors, ministers, evangelists, missionaries, educators, and laypersons; and be it further

 

RESOLVED, that the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention recognize the confessional framework of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as sufficient to represent those doctrines that generally characterize Southern Baptists, and which document contains no statement, article, or provision limiting the continued availability of all spiritual gifts to the church today; and be it further

 

RESOLVED, that we encourage all Southern Baptists to eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially those that are given to edify the whole body of Christ, without denying the gifts of the Spirit that guide believers in their private devotion; and be it finally

 

RESOLVED, that we encourage all Southern Baptists to cultivate sincere and consistent habits of disciplined personal prayer whereby they may enjoy the power, filling, and fruit of the Spirit of God as operative in their lives.

________________________________________

I would appreciate your prayers that this resolution would be received in the spirit that it is given.

Please feel free to comment.

Transcript of chapel sermon by Rev. Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
August 29, 2006
__________________________
 

As many of you know this sermon is not endorsed by SWBTS.  Here is the school’s official statement that was posted on their website.  

Statement regarding Aug. 29 chapel

by Staff

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is honored to have Rev. W. Dwight McKissic as a trustee. We were also honored to have him in chapel this morning. All messages preached in Southwestern’s chapel are available for purchase by contactingAudio-Visual Learning Center at Roberts Library 817-923-1921 ext. 2920.

On the other hand, while Southwestern does not instruct its chapel speakers about what they can or cannot say, neither do we feel that there is wisdom in posting materials online which could place us in a position of appearing to be critical of actions of the Board of Trustees of a sister agency. Any trustee or faculty member is free to communicate his concerns to the boards of sister agencies, but it is difficult to imagine a circumstance that would merit public criticism of the actions of a sister board.

Furthermore, though most of Rev. McKissic’s message represented a position with which most people at Southwestern would be comfortable, Rev. McKissic’s interpretation of tongues as “ecstatic utterance” is not a position that we suspect would be advocated by most faculty or trustees. In keeping with Baptist convictions regarding religious liberty, we affirm Rev. McKissic’s right to believe and advocate his position. Equally in keeping with our emphasis of religious liberty we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which we fear may be harmful to the churches. For these two reasons stated above the President made the decision not to continue the video-streaming of this message lest uninformed people believe that Pastor McKissic’s view on the gift of tongues as “ecstatic utterance” is the view of the majority of our people at Southwestern.Those who wish to read further in this area are welcome to contact Southwestern for resources on either side of the issue including the President’s message on the subject of tongues delivered last Spring and the book “A Search for Charismatic Reality” written by a former charismatic pastor who presents a view we commend to our students.

 -30-

Good morning:

I’m delighted to be here today to share in this chapel service and, it reminds me, Dr. Patterson, when I came to Southeastern I went looking for a stoic and staid worship service, and it was much alive out there. And I have really appreciated this group of singers today, and that musician – we are looking for a pianist at my church and I want to talk to you afterwards and see if you’re looking for a job. Don’t go away because I need to see you before it’s over today.

I’m grateful for this opportunity to share today and I’m honored and privileged to serve as a trustee of Southwestern. I want to address a subject matter today. When I was asked to come and I asked the Lord about what he wanted me to share, he laid upon my heart a subject matter that took me many, many years in a pastorate to get a handle on. And I trust that this will help some of you who are probably also searching and grappling to get a handle on a subject that I want to address today. So I ask for your prayers as I deliver a message that I believe God has led me to share today.

I invite your attention to Acts chapter one, verse 5. Now I preached twelve minutes last time, so that means ya’ll owe me about thirty minutes today. Acts chapter one, verse five: The words of Jesus.He says, “For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”I want to talk about the baptism and the filling of the Holy Spirit. There are seven passages in the New Testament which speak specifically of the baptism with the Spirit. Five of these passages refer to the baptism with the Spirit as a feature event. Four were spoken by John the Baptist (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:7-8; Lk 3:16; and Jn 1:33). One was spoken by Jesus after his resurrection. We just read it in this text, Acts 1:5. The expression “you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” means that this action was to take place at one particular time.

The KJV tells us that this event was to take place “not many days hence.” John the Baptist and Jesus referred to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a future, historical event. The sixth time we see this phrase “baptized with the Holy Spirit” is in Acts 11:16, referring to the baptism in the Spirit as a fulfilled promise.

In Acts 11:16, Peter uses the term in reference to Cornelius and his household, who had also receive the Holy Spirit. Peter viewed the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit comparable with the Jews receiving the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, thus fulfilling the promises spoken by John the Baptist and Jesus.

The seventh, and last time we see this term, “baptize with the Holy Spirit,” is specifically mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:13. This passage speaks about the wider experience of all believers. We can conclude from these passages of Scripture that the baptism with the Holy Spirit was first of all a prophetic event fulfilled, a promised gift received, and a purposeful experience.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit may be properly defined as that activity of God whereby through his Spirit he brings the believer – at salvation – into a relationship with Christ and simultaneously into a relationship with the Body of Christ, the Church. So I want to raise a question today: Does the baptism in the Holy Spirit occur simultaneous with salvation or subsequent to salvation?

Don’t go to sleep on me now.

In the book of Acts we find four occasions for sure, and possibly five, where the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred. No one occasion is identical to the other although there were some commonalities. In Acts 2:1-4, the 120 believers experienced the baptism and the filling of the Holy Spirit simultaneously accompanied with tongues at Pentecost. Also at Pentecost there were 3000 who received the gift of the Holy Spirit and salvation under the preaching of Peter, but no mention is made of them speaking in tongues.

The 120 were saved and received the baptism and filling of the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation. The fact that the experience of the 120 was in two distinct stages was simply due to historical circumstances. They could not have receive the Pentecostal gift before Pentecost.

In Acts 8:12-17, we see where the Holy Spirit was received by the converts in
Samaria after their water baptism. Philip preached the good news of the Kingdom of God and in the name of Jesus Christ they were baptized, both men and women. When Philip preached to Samaria, it was the first time that the gospel had been proclaimed outside Jerusalem. Evidently, because Samaritans and Jews had always been bitter enemies.

In Acts 8:16, it explains that although they were believers and had been baptized, the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon them. I believe that in this incidence and Samaria, God sovereignly withheld the Holy Spirit from them until Peter and John arrived so that they might see for themselves that God received even despised Samaritans who believed in Christ. There could be no question about it.

Also in Acts 8:26-40, we see the Holy Spirit directing Philip to go to Gaza to witness to an Ethiopian man. Thank God that the Ethiopians were included. The Ethiopian man, like the 3000 on the day of Pentecost, received the Word of God and was baptized. But there is no mention of tongues, a second baptism, or the laying on of hands. In verse 39 of Acts 8 it says he rejoiced in the Spirit as he got up out of the water when Philip baptized him.

Now Acts 2 is often referred to as the Jewish Pentecost, and Acts 8 is referred to as the Ethiopian Pentecost and the Samaritan Pentecost.

In Acts 10, verses 44-48, while Peter was preaching to Cornelius – the Italian, a Gentile – and his family and friends, the baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit fell on this Gentile. Unlike at Samaria when the Holy Spirit was given after water baptism, these Gentiles were baptized with the Holy Spirit while Peter was yet preaching.

In other words, you can’t put God in a box. He does things like he wants to when he wants to. He’s the sovereign God. There is no formula.

In Acts 19:1-7, we find an encounter of Paul with the disciples of John the Baptist in
Ephesus. Paul asked them, in verse 3, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Behind the question is the assumption that this was usually when it happened – when you believe, when we believe, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, according to Ephesians 1. They pled ignorant of the Holy Spirit, stating that they had been baptized into John’s baptism.

Paul related John’s baptism to the ministry of Jesus, and they were baptized in water a second time and received the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Now to summarize this point: It is my belief that you cannot look to Acts for a fixed formula or a definite pattern as to how one receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. No one has the Spirit of God in a box. It is my belief that Pentecost instituted the Church, then all that remained was for Samaritans, Gentiles, Ethiopians, and Jews who were unaware of the gospel to be brought into the church representatively. This occurred in Acts 8 for Samaritans and Ethiopians; Acts 10 for Gentiles; and Acts 19 for the belated believers from John’s baptism. Once this representative baptism with the Holy Spirit had occurred the normal pattern applied. Baptism with the Spirit at the time that each person, of whatever background, believed on Jesus Christ. Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the initial experience of every believer at conversion.

Eph 1:3 says that “we have been blessed with spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” And one of those spiritual blessings, whether we realize it or not, that we received when we were saved is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Now the question that many of you will have to deal with when you pastor and people join your church from various backgrounds, influenced by television ministries and what have you, is the question, “Is speaking in tongues the evidence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit?”

That’s the question that every future pastor here will have to deal with. It’s something you will have to work out in your own theological pilgrimage. And the answer to that question, based on biblical authority, as far as I’m concerned, is “no.” Speaking in tongues is not the evidence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

However, I believe it is not the gift of the Holy Spirit, but the Bible makes it clear that for some it is a gift that God chooses to give to believers.

Now it was in 1981, on this campus, when I took a class from Dr. Jack Gray, a missions professor, that he was teaching on spiritual formations in the spiritual foundations class at the time. And I probably bought almost 1500 books, Dr. Patterson, just trying to figure out the Holy Spirit. Well over a $1000.00, and every book I would read would influence me and I would change my mind with every book.

I was a young preacher, a young pastor, called to a church at 21 years of age, and I was having to work through this issue. And Dr. Gray had a 50cent booklet in class that, had I purchased that book first, it would have answered all my questions for me.

[Laughter]

He spent a whole week speaking on the Holy Spirit, and he made this statement in class one day, and it changed my life. He said, “Up until 11 years ago I knew the Holy Spirit as a doctrine, then I met him as a person.”

[That’s right, Amen!]

He said, “I knew him as a doctrine, but then I met him as a person.” That statement riveted me that day. We also had a week of study and prayer in that class, and we would use Peter Lord’s 21/59 prayer guide, and I grew up in a traditional Baptist church that was very anti-tongues.

I remember when the tongues movement broke out in our church, my pastor preached a sermon against tongues. He said that Jesus never spoke in tongues, and he never commanded anybody to speak in tongues. He took a hard stand, and so I adopted the position of my pastor until I got to Southwestern Seminary and Dr. Gray passed out this booklet on the gifts of the Holy Spirit that validated the gifts. And I studied Jack MacGorman’s book on the Holy Spirit, and Billy Graham’s book on the Holy Spirit. I’ve even looked at Dr. Patterson’s First Corinthians commentary where not all Baptists believe that the gift of tongues went out with the completion of the New Testament.

Some of the foremost leaders and thinkers and theologians among Baptist life believe tongues is a valid gift for today. And at 12 noon, Dr. Gray challenged us to establish a daily time of praying through Peter Lord’s prayer plan, and I was at Ft. Worth dormitory here. Twelve noon was my 29/59 prayer time, and every day I let nothing interfere with that.

I wasn’t seeking the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I didn’t even believe in speaking in tongues. I was just going through my regular prayer time.

But I literally, on this campus, in the dormitory for the first time in my life, as I was praying, some strange words began to come out of my mouth. And I began to pinch myself and say, “what is this,” and the more I prayed I didn’t understand what I was saying. I said, “this must be what people call speaking in tongues.”

Now, I don’t believe that tongue-speaking is the evidence of the filling of the Spirit. Most of the religious scandals of our time have been led by men who practiced speaking in tongues. They certainly were not living a life that showed the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

But I think it’s tragic in Baptist life when we take a valid, vital gift that the Bible talks about and come up with a policy that says people who pray in tongues in their private prayer lives cannot work in certain positions. That to me is contrary to what many of our foremost Baptist thinkers and leaders think.

[Amens heard]

[Applause]

Well you can understand I’m not the most popular man in the world, but at my age I don’t preach for popularity or applause, I preach what I believe is the truth of the Word of God.

[Applause. Laughter]

So, I don’t believe it’s the evidence, but I’m here to say that as the Spirit gives me utterance I pray in tongues in my private prayer life, and I’m not ashamed of that. I’m thankful for that. I don’t believe it makes me spiritual or superior or inferior to anybody. I have no prejudice or bias against tongues; however, I must stand on biblical truth and not popular opinion.

I do believe that all spiritual gifts listed in Scripture are operable today, and by the grace of God some Christians will experience the gift of tongues when filled with the Holy Spirit, although the teaching that all Christians should experience speaking in tongues as evidence of being baptized in the Holy Ghost is unscriptural. The Scripture does not preclude speaking in tongues for some when they are filled with the Holy Spirit.

As the Spirit rushes into the corners of their lives, awakening new desires for prayer and praise, speaking in tongues will naturally flow forward in some. Whatever your spiritual gift is, if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, that gift will be used to the maximum.

Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that all believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit, but he also makes it clear 1 Corinthians 12:30 that all do not speak with tongues. Now since all Christians do not speak in tongues, it cannot be the proof of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

There is only one baptism in the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:5). “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” And I believer that’s referring to Holy Spirit that occurs at salvation. Being baptized is equated with being a child of God. Believers are never commanded in Scripture to be baptized, but to be filled with the Holy Spirit. As Dr. W.A. Criswell used to say, “one baptism, but many fillings.”

There is the ongoing filling ministry of the Spirit for power. There is only one baptism but many fillings. But all born-again believers are baptized in the Holy Ghost. All born again believers, who have experienced Jesus Christ as Lord, whether you’ve ever had a tongues speaking experience or not – you may never have one; that may not be God’s will for your life – but you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. And the purpose of this baptism is to place believers in the Body of Christ.

Even carnal Christians are seen in 1 Corinthians 12 as having been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

The filling of the Spirit means the whole control of the Spirit, then enthronement of Jesus as Lord. When a person receives salvation, baptism with the Spirit, or the gift of the Spirit, I believe the Holy Spirit is resident. But when you’re filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is then president.

The filling with the Holy Spirit makes one experience Jesus as complete Lord. It is God-intoxication. Not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit. Paul wrote of bringing every thought captive to Jesus Christ, to acknowledge his authority in 2 Corinthians 10:5. The fullness of the Spirit is for that specific purpose and service to bring every thought captive.

The promise in Acts 1:8 was power. And the service was witnessing. The report in Acts 2:4-11 was that they were “all filled” and unbelievers heard them telling in their own tongues of the mighty works of God. In Acts 4:31, believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly. In Ephesians 5:18-21, the result of being filled with the Holy Spirit was that they would give thanks to God, that they would have submission in their lives, and they would acknowledge one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit, not one of his gifts. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit himself.

In conclusion, where does the Bible teach that all Christians are to speak in tongues as the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

Nowhere.

I also believe that non-Pentecostal evangelicals must recognize that the gift of tongues is a legitimate spiritual gift – that it always has been and will be a part of the church until Jesus returns. Some believers will experience the gift of tongues, and some will not. Pentecostals need to recognize that tongues is not a sign of spiritual power, although it does edify the one who is speaking (1 Cor 14:4). Baptists and other evangelicals need to recognize the Spirit-filled life and the fact that the Holy Spirit desires to have intimate fellowship with us daily for empowerment, fellowship, service, comfort, and guidance.

Now for what most Pentecostals refer to as a baptism of the Holy Ghost, I refer to as the filling of the Holy Spirit. However, regardless of what terminology we use, we both agree we need the fullness of the Holy Spirit to render effective service for Christ for our families, and even on our jobs.

Now as I hurry to my seat, how to be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Dr. Gray, in his booklet has several suggestions.

You need to remember that the Holy Spirit lives in you now. Thank God for his presence. We refer to the Holy Spirit as an it but he’s a person. He shouldn’t be referred to as “it” but rather “he.”

Know that he will never leave you, according to Hebrews 13:5. We’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). We need to get on our knees before God and thank him that he lives in our hearts now. We need to rejoice in him that he lives in us and he will never leave us. There is no complex formula given in the Bible or a certain order as to what do you do first, second, and third in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Bible says ask and you shall receive. It’s God simple word to his children. There is nothing to fear in being filled with the Spirit. God blesses, Dr. Gray says, not blasts. He helps, not hurts.

To be filled with the Spirit is good, and will result in your good and God’s glory. It is as simple as this, and I’m not just preaching this for an academic purpose. I’m not just preaching this so that we’ll know more about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. I agree with Dr. Gray. What I need, what you need, is to know him as a person.

When Paul said, “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection.” That same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead, that was the Holy Spirit. I need to know him intimately. I need to know him experientially. I need to know him deeply. So to be filled we need to request him to fill us.

We need to repent of our sins as he directs. When I asked him recently to fill me afresh and anew with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a thank you letter I refused to send to my uncle because I was upset about something that had happened in my family, and the Lord made it clear to me that until I repented of that sin and sent him that thank you letter I would never enjoy his fullness.

And enjoying his fullness meant more to me than holding onto a grudge.

There may be some sin. There may be some insensitivity. There may be some issue in your life and in my life that keeps us from being filled. Ask the Lord to point that out to you. Ask him to search your heart, to try you, and if there be any wicked way in you, to lead you into a way everlasting. Believe him to fill you. Receive his filling. And we should do this daily.

Here’s what Jesus said if we want to be filled with the Holy Spirit. If you’re hungry, eat.

I love reading through a book of the Bible in chapel every day. That’s eating the Word of God. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst. If you’re thirsty, drink! Jesus said you’ll be satisfied, that you’ll never thirst again.

He says come unto me all you that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will do what? Give you rest!

I believe I was filled with the Holy Spirit the day I was saved. I believe I was filled with the Holy Spirit when I was 17 years of age, and I never spoke in tongues that time. I didn’t believe in speaking in tongues. But God got ahold of my life when I was planning on going to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to study political science. I wanted to join my brother’s law practice and become a lawyer. But I fasted for three days seeking God’s will for my life, and he called me into the ministry and led me to Ouachita Baptist University. It totally changed my life and my outlook on life and gave me new direction in life.

I believe I was filled with God’s precious Holy Spirit when I preached my first sermon at St. Paul
Baptist Church in March of 1974. I believe that at different times in my life, God has filled me and anointed me for a specific purpose and a specific task. But I believe God also filled me with the Holy Spirit even in a dormitory room on this campus just crying out to God to be in the center of his perfect will. As the song-writer said:

Like the woman at the well, I was seeking.
Sometimes for things that could not satisfy.
But then I heard my Savior speaking,
Draw from the well that never shall run dry.

If you want to be filled today, all you have to is cry out:

Fill my cup, Lord.
I lift it up, Lord.
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want to more.

Fill my, cup.
Fill it up, and make me whole.

One baptism…but many fillings.

Jesus said, “If you being evil will give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.”

-30-

 

The views expressed in this message are that of Pastor Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. through his personal understanding of the inerrant Word of God.  His views on this subject are not endorsed by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Being that I got into this blogging game a little late I have some catching up to do.  In the near future I will post a transcript of the August 29th sermon at SWBTS that got me into this situation in the first place.  For now I will leave you with an email from Todd Pylant, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Benbrook, TX.  With his permission I am going to share both his email and his sermon dealing with a private prayer language.  I hope that they bless you as much as they have blessed me.

~Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Dwight,

I graduated from SWBTS in 1993, and I affirm, believe in, and practice a so called “private prayer language.”  I only tell you to let you know you are not the only Baptist pastor who does so.  I do not teach my congregation to do so, and I have never practiced it in the pulpit or in any public gathering.  However, I believe the “inerrant Word of God” when it tells us not to forbid the speaking in tongues. 

I am appalled that the seminary that taught me about “sola scripture” and birthed a high view of Scripture within my soul has so quickly discarded certain verses that don’t fit their position.  I am amazed how quickly historic Baptist doctrines (we are not creedal people, local church autonomy, priesthood of the believer, etc) are being shelved one by one.  The proper interpretation of Scripture now rests with the authorities, the very issue that birthed the Reformation. 

Thank you for having the courage to be the only one in the room that voted against the resolution.  Thank you for risking your personal peace simply to speak the Word of God.

In  Christ,

Todd Pylant

Pastor First Baptist Church of Benbrook, TX

sbc-tongues-and-bfm-part-21.doc

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