Today I thought I would share a very provocative quote from the good Doctor. I would be very interested in my readers’ thoughts on this passage. If you have a blog, feel free to quote this, link to it, and tell us what you think. If you don’t have one, and have some thoughts you’d like to share with me, drop me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The quote is clear enough to stand on its own without any further explanation from me.
“There is nothing, I am convinced, that so ‘quenches’ the Spirit as the teaching which identifies the baptism of the Holy Ghost with regeneration. But it is a very commonly held teaching today, indeed it has been the popular view for many years. It is said that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is ‘nonexperimental’, that it happens to every one at regeneration. So we say, ‘Ah well, I am already baptized with the Spirit; it happened when I was born again, at my conversion; there is nothing for me to seek, I have got it all’. Got it all? Well, if you have ‘got it all’, I simply ask in the Name of God, why are you as you are? If you have ‘got it all’, why are you so unlike the Apostles, why are you so unlike the New Testament Christians?
The teaching that I have just mentioned is false. The apostles were regenerate before the day of Pentecost. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is not identical with regeneration; it is something separate. It matters not how long the interval between the two may be, there is a difference; there is an interval, they are not identical. But if you say that they are identical, you do not expect anything further. And if you do not believe that it is possible for you to experience the Spirit of God bearing direct witness with your own spirit that you are a child of God, obviously you are quenching the Spirit. That is why so many Christian people are miserable and unhappy; they do not know anything about crying out, ‘Abba, Father’; or about ‘the Spirit of adoption’. God is a Being away in the far distance; they do not know Him as a loving Father; they do not know that they are His children. They may believe it intellectually, theoretically; but Paul says, ‘You have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear’. We are not to go about groaning and wondering whether we are Christians or not. We were in that state under the law; then we were wretched and we cried out, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?’ But no longer! ‘We have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry’—and it is an elemental cry that comes from the depth of the personality—‘Abba, Father’.”
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10-13, 280 (Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA, Banner of Truth Trust, 1976).
So far we have four responses to this quote. First up is my buddy, Chris, who—with suitable reluctance considering the stature of the Doctor—makes clear that he disagrees. Meanwhile, Craig Bennett has been persuaded by the Doctor. Henry can see both sides, while Gary finds me frustrating and stimulating—and incidentally quite correctly points out that the Doctor was not a charismatic, as well as advancing some of the strongest arguments against the Doctor’s position. Gary, I don’t intend to imply that the Doctor was in my “camp”—I quote many people from all kinds of backgrounds and I often quote people expressing positions I don’t personally hold.