A little known fact about the Doctor who passed away 25 years ago yesterday is that he was in some ways indirectly a father of the modern charismatic movement in the UK. Pastor after pastor in newfrontiers churches spoke of attending Westminster Chapel or the Doctor’s Ministers Fraternal. Not only did they find some of the clearest expositional teaching imaginable, but they found a teaching that for many of them sounded strange to their ears. Entirely consistently with his puritan roots, the Doctor believed passionately in experiential christianity. It was through his teaching that many, many English people first heard about the concept of the “baptism with the Holy Spirit” as a distinct experience to conversion. Lets walk through some quotes kindly submitted by a reader and taken from Great Doctrines of the Bible by Lloyd-Jones, chapter 22
” . . . What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Now there are some, as we have seen, who say that there is really no difficulty about this at all. They say it is simply a reference to regeneration and nothing else. It is what happens to people when they are regenerated and incorporated into Christ, as Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 12:13: ‘By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body’ . . . Therefore, they say, this baptism of the Holy Spirit is simply regeneration.
“But for myself, I simply cannot accept that explanation, and this is where we come directly to grips with the difficulty. I cannot accept that because if I were to believe that, I should have to believe that the disciples and the apostles were not regenerate until the Day of Pentecost—a supposition which seems to me to be quite untenable. In the same way, of course, you would have to say that not a single Old Testament saint had eternal life or was a child of God.”
The Doctor continues, and takes the discussion into the realm of experience, what he terms “consciousness of the fact.” He goes on,
“But the danger is to think of the baptism of the Holy Spirit only in terms of gifts rather than in terms of something much more important, which is this: the mark, ultimately, and proof of whether we have received the Spirit or not is surely something that happens in the realm of our spiritual experience. You cannot read the New Testament accounts of the people to whom the Spirit came, these people upon whom He fell, or who received as the Galation Christians and all these others had done, without realizing that the result was that their whole spirit was kindled. The Lord Jesus Christ became real to them in a way that He had never been before . . . the result was a great love for Christ shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.
“Now this surely is something which should cause us to pause for a moment and mediate very deeply and very seriously. This is an experience, as I understand the teaching, which is the birthright of every Christian. ‘For the promise,’ says the apostle Peter, ‘is unto you’ — and not only unto you but — ‘to your children, and to all that are afar off (Acts 2:39). It is not confined just to these people on the Day of Pentecost, but is offered to and promised to all Christian people. And in its essence it means that we are conscious of the incoming, as it were, of the Spirit of God and are given a sense of the glory of God and the reality of His being, the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we love him. That is why these New Testament writers can say a thing like this about the Christians: ‘Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory’ . . .”
He then lists what those early Christians were willing to suffer, what they counted an honor, and then he relates stories of others, including John Wesley in Aldlersgate Street in 1738, and Finney , and Jonathan Edwards, and David Brainerd, (anyone who has the time to type out one of these stories for use on this blog would be much appreciated!)
Then he says, “A definition, therefore, which I would put to your consideration is something like this: the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the initial experience of glory and the reality and the love of the Father and of the Son. Yes, you may have many further experiences of that, but the first experience, I would suggest, is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The saintly John Fletcher of Madeley put it like this: ‘Every Christian should have his Pentecost.’“
“‘This is life eternal,’ our Lord prayed, ‘that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent’ (John 17:3). And it is only the Spirit who can enable us to know that. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, then is the difference between believing these things, accepting the teaching, exercising faith—– that is something that we all know, and without the Holy Spirit we cannot even do that, as we have seen—–and having a consciousness and experience of these truths in a striking and signal manner. The first experience of that, I am suggesting, is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or the Holly Spirit falling on you, or receiving the Spirit. It is this remarkable and unusual experience which is described so frequently in the book of Acts and which, as we see clearly from the epistles, must have been the possession of the members of the early Christian Church.”
So, according to “The Doctor, the baptism with the Holy Spirit is AFTER regeneration, it’s experiential, and we’re conscious of it, and of course it’s everywhere in the New Testament!
I hope this gives you a little taste of “The Doctor.” – the fact that he could say these things and still holding the respect of strict cessationists is surely another mark of his greatness.