Peter’s Kingdom Keys Explain Spirit Baptism

Peter’s Kingdom Keys Explain Spirit Baptism November 1, 2013

One of the foremost events in the history of the Jesus Movement–which later developed into the Christian religion–was that on the first Day of Pentecost after Jesus’ death and resurrection the Holy Spirit came upon his disciples at Jerusalem and they were “speaking in tongues” (Gr. glossalalia) in partial fulfillment of Joel 3.28. We read about it in Acts 2. Luke, the author, explains that the disciples spoke foreign languages unknown to them, but known to the thousands of Diaspora Jews who were listening intently. They had traveled from their homes in foreign countries to worship at this feast and were hearing praises to God in their native languages. Then the Apostle Peter delivered a stirring message about Jesus.

Ten days earlier, the risen Jesus had ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives as his accompanying disciples gazed upwards in wonder (Acts 1.9, 12). Luke also writes of Jesus and his disciples that shortly before that, “While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. ‘This,’ he said, ‘is what you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now'” (1.4-5). (Bible quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.)

Pentecostals and many Charismatics believe that when a person genuinely believes in Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior–being thereby forgiven of their sins and saved–that person afterwards needs to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. They insist that this is how a believer receives full blessing from God, especially for service to him in the form of some mission. So, Pentecostals, many Charismatics, and some other Christians believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an act that happens after initial salvation and that it is not necessarily associated with water baptism. That is why some of them call this baptism of the Holy Spirit “the second blessing,” with some of them associating it with a complete sanctification. This belief in baptism of the Spirit after conversion is peculiar to the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, and their scholars call it “the doctrine of subsequence.”

Pentecostals and many Charismatics also assert that when a believer receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit it is necessarily accompanied with them “speaking in tongues.” Therefore, if a believer never speaks in tongues, they allege that such a person does not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Most of them explain that tongues-speaking is the only legitimate sign which verifies that a believer has the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The United Pentecostal Church goes further, contending that if a person has not experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues, that person is not a real Christian.

The Pentecostal movement began during the early twentieth century. Some historians trace its roots back to the controversial, Scottish preacher Edward Irving in the early 1830s. But all acknowledge that the movement emerged from the Wesleyan Holiness Movement started in North America in the mid-nineteenth century.

Regardless, the Pentecostal/Charismatic doctrine of subsequence has always been a divisive issue in the Christian community-at-large. Few other Christians have spoken in tongues and fewer yet have believed in its doctrine of subsequence. Most Christians have thought that initial belief in Jesus as Savior and reception of the Holy Spirit happen simultaneously. Yet there are some early instances recorded in the NT book of Acts in which it appears that the Holy Spirit came upon people some time after they initially believed in Jesus.

Reports in Luke’s book of Acts about people being baptized with the Holy Spirit should be understood in light of Jesus’ promise to give the Apostle Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus made that promise when he asked his disciples during about the middle of his public ministry, “’who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven’” (Matt. 16.15-19; cf. 18.18). (Mark and Luke do not record this saying of Jesus.)

Jesus must have meant that Peter’s binding and loosing concerned his imminent mission and that it would be like using a key to open a locked door or shut and lock a door (cf. Revelation 3.7). It is similar to what the risen Jesus later said to his gathered disciples on the first Easter evening. He “breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (John 20.22-23).

When and where did Peter use those kingdom keys to bind and loose? We learn about it in Luke’s book of Acts. After the risen Jesus had instructed his disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but wait there to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, he added, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 1.8). This is what John the Baptist meant when said Jesus was “the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit” (John 1.32-33).

So, putting all of this information together that Jesus told his disciples, Peter will use kingdom keys to initially unleash God’s power through the baptism of the Holy Spirit upon Jews at Jerusalem, Samaritans (half-Jews) in Samaria, and lastly Gentiles. And it seems the primary, though not only, purpose of this Spirit baptism will be to evangelize the world.

That’s exactly what Luke says says happened. Peter first used the kingdom keys at Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Many Diaspora Jews of various languages made that pilgrimage annually to Jerusalem to worship. This time they heard a loud noise, and the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus’ 120 gathered disciples (Acts 1.15; 2.1-3). We then read, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability…. the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each… But Peter, standing with the eleven [apostles], raised his voice and addressed them” (Acts 2.4, 6, 14). Peter then preached to them the good news about Jesus, rebuking them by saying, “this man,… you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law” (v. 23), referring to Gentile rulers not under the Law of Moses. And Peter added, “’God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what should we do?’ Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’…. So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added” (vv. 36-38, 41).

So, Jesus’ already-saved disciples were baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit on that Day of Pentecost, and they demonstrated it with the outward sign of speaking in tongues. Then Peter used the first kingdom key by further releasing the power of the Spirit as he preached the good news (gospel) about Jesus. The text doesn’t say if those new Jewish believers also were baptized with the Holy Spirit. But Peter had predicted they would “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” which must be synonymous with being baptized with the Holy Spirit, so it appears they did.

The next time Peter used the keys of the kingdom was to bind, not loose. The disciples had learned that a married couple among them had lied about a land sale (Acts 5.1-11). It happened because the disciples, still gathered together in Jerusalem, disavowed “private ownership of any possessions,” agreeing that “everything they owned was held in common…. But a man named Ananias, with the consent of his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property; with his wife’s knowledge, he kept back some of the proceeds, and brought only a part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. ‘Ananias,’ Peter asked, ‘why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the proceeds of the land?… You did not lie to us but to God!’ Now when Ananias heard these words, he fell down and died” (4.32; 5.1-5). His wife wasn’t present. But three hours later she appeared, and the same thing happened to her (vv. 7-10).

Sometime later, Stephen became the first Christian martyr. A young man named Saul, who later became the Apostle Paul, was there, approving of his murder. “That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8.1). Samaria was located between Judea and Galilee to the north, where Jesus lived. Samaritans were half-Jew and half-Gentile. Jews despised them more than they despised Gentiles.

This scattering of the disciples resulted in Philip preaching about Messiah Jesus in the city of Samaria. Philip also performed exorcisms and healings. Then people believed and were water baptized (v. 5-8, 12). But they didn’t experience being baptized with the Holy Spirit. So we read, “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been [water] baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (vv. 14-17). Peter thus used kingdom keys in loosing the power of God’s kingdom through his Spirit upon these Samaritans.

Again, receiving the Holy Spirit seems to be synonymous with being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Although Acts 8.5-13 doesn’t say any signs occurred, something must have. For, a magician named Simon, when he “saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me also this power’” (vv. 18-19). Using kingdom keys by exercising his authority of binding, “Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain God’s gift with money! You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord'” (vv. 20-22). The man didn’t do either, but asked Peter to pray for him (v. 24).

Thus, Peter used kingdom keys the second time by loosing the power of the Holy Spirit, apparently accompanied with outward signs and this time at Samaria. The only reason these Samaritans had not been baptized with the Holy Spirit when they initially believed was that Peter had not been present then to use kingdom keys. That is why “the apostles at Jerusalem … sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8.14-15). This is the only NT text that says prayer was made for people to receive the Spirit. “Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (v. 17).

Right after that Philip led the first Gentile—a eunuch official from Ethiopia—to faith in Jesus as the Christ, and then he water baptized him (Acts 8.26-38). We read, “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away” (v. 39). ”The Spirit of the Lord” refers to the Holy Spirit. But the text doesn’t say this man was baptized with the Holy Spirit. Did Peter have to be there for the man to receive the Spirit? This event occurred in the Jews’ land of Judea on the way to Gaza (v. 26; cf. 1.8). Perhaps it was unnecessary for Peter to be there since he had already used kingdom keys in Jerusalem, which was in Judea.

Peter soon became the first to preach the gospel in a Gentile city, thus in Gentile land. It was in Caesarea Maritima, a port city on the Mediterranean coast. The Romans had built it in honor of Caesar. Located sixty-five miles west of Jerusalem, it had a Roman garrison. And the Roman prefect/procurator who governed Israel normally lived there. We read, “In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Cohort, as it was called. He was a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the [Jewish] people and prayed constantly to God” (Acts 10.1-2). A centurion commanded 100-200 Roman soldiers.

The short story in Acts 10 is that the Holy Spirit then taught Peter a lesson through vision and prayer: it was that he ought not despise Gentiles, but evangelize them. So, the Spirit then led Peter to the house of Cornelius where Peter preached the good news about Jesus to him and his household. We read, “While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, ‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (vv. 44-48).

Thus, for the first time Peter preached the gospel and loosed the kingdom keys of Spirit power on Gentiles in a Gentile place. In this Acts 10 account, the expressions “the Holy Spirit fell” and “gift of the Holy Spirit … poured out” obviously are synonymous. Plus, when Peter later recounted this episode, he said “the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning” (11.15). All of this language means being “baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Why did it happen to these Gentiles immediately, rather than subsequent to their initial believing in Jesus. Peter was there doing the preaching. This is an important point. The reason there was subsequence at Samaria, but not here at Caesarea, is that Peter came to Samaria later, after those people had initially believed. But here at Caesarea, Peter was present when Cornelius and his household initially believed.

So, Jesus’ disciples had done as he had predicted. They were his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and in a Gentile area with the message about their Lord which would spread to the ends of the earth. And each time they became witnesses in those places, Peter used the keys of the kingdom to loose the power of the Holy Spirit upon those new believers. The result was Spirit baptism accompanied with tongues-speaking on two of the three occasions and perhaps on the third occasion as well. Peter therefore had completed his mission of using kingdom keys.

In the NT, only this first portion of Luke’s book of Acts reports all of these episodes. The rest of the NT says nothing about such experiences, either about people being baptized with the Holy Spirit, it being accompanied with tongues-speaking, or Peter being associated with this activity. Furthermore, after this Cornelius event the last mention of Peter in the book Acts is of him briefly giving an account of that episode to the first church council held in Jerusalem. He said, “My brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that I should be the one through whom the Gentiles would hear the message of the good news and become believers. And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us” (Ac 15.7-8). Perhaps Peter here (1) alludes to Jesus’ promise of giving him the kingdom keys and (2) implies that the Holy Spirit came upon them through his use of those keys.

Regardless, this Acts 15 account is Luke’s last mention of Peter in the book of Acts. And the Cornelius episode in Acts 10 is the last account in the NT of someone being baptized/receiving the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the Samaritan episode in Acts 8 is the last account in the NT in which people believed the gospel and subsequently received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at a later time. So, these early acts of the Spirit reported in the book of Acts seem to have been atypical, that is, abnormal. How so? They were special occasions which occurred during a transitory period of time in God’s plan of salvation history. That plan proceeded from the institution of the old covenant (Old Testament) to the partial inauguration of the new covenant (New Testament). Before, during the days of the old covenant, God’s Spirit usually only came upon his prophets, and periodically, as they spoke “the word of God.” But now, after Peter had finished exercising his role in using kingdom keys, God’s Spirit would come upon all his people.

Now, someone may ask, “What about Paul’s conversion?” Indeed, Paul, formerly named Saul, was journeying toward Damascus with letters authorizing him to bind Christians attending synagogue there and take them to Jerusalem to be persecuted (Acts 9.1-2). Then, “approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ He asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The reply came, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do'” (vv. 3-6). Paul did so, and “f(F)or three days he was without sight” (v. 9). A disciple in Damascus named Ananias had a vision in which the Lord told him to go to a house where Saul was and “lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight” (v. 12). He did, “laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus,… has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was [water] baptized” (vv. 17-18).

Although this text does not say Paul was then baptized with the Holy Spirit, or that he spoke in tongues, or that he manifested any unusual behavior, we may assume he did something which indicated to Ananias and others present that he had been “filled with the Holy Spirit” as Ananias predicted he would. Paul may have then spoken in tongues since we know he subsequently did so often (1 Cor 14.18). If that did happen, it probably began when Ananias laid hands on him. But if this thesis is correct, that only Peter exercised kingdom keys to release the Spirit, why wasn’t Peter the one to lay hands on Paul rather than Ananias? The answer is that Peter had used kingdom keys for Jews at Jerusalem and even in Gentile land. Since Paul was a Jew, that once-for-all activity for Jews had already been done by Peter. He had opened the door to the kingdom for the Jews on the Day of Pentecost and Gentiles in Gentile land. So, it thereafter remained open to Jews wherever they were, even if in the Gentile land of Damascus.

How many keys of the kingdom did Jesus give Peter? According to the book of Acts, it seems to have been three. Peter had opened three doors to the kingdom for the three different classifications of people: to Jews in the city of Jerusalem, half-Jews in the city of Samaria, and Gentiles in the Gentile city of Caesarea. If so, does this comport with Peter’s three denials of Jesus (e.g., Mark 14.68-71), which his Master had predicted (vv. 29-31)? Later, the risen Jesus alluded to it by asking Peter three times if he loved him. Peter replied each time that he did. And each time Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep” (John 21.15-17). Peter fed God’s sheep three times when he used his keys to open kingdom doors for Jews, then Samaritans, and finally Gentiles.

But there was one slight exception to this pattern of initial believing and subsequent Spirit baptism through Peter. It was an abnormal situation that Luke reports later in Acts. We read, “Paul passed through the interior regions [of Asia Minor] and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They replied, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ Then he said, ‘Into what then were you [water] baptized?’ They answered, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is in Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19.1-7).

Notice that Paul’s questioning indicates two things: (1) he was convinced that these Ephesians had believed in Jesus, and (2) he expected such new converts to receive the Holy Spirit when they initially believed and/or were soon water baptized. And again, Paul surely meant here that receiving the Holy Spirit was synonymous with earlier believers being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Why did Paul re-baptize them with water? It was because water baptism is the outward sign of the inward baptism of the Holy Spirit. Since they earlier had been water baptized without receiving the Holy Spirit, due to the meaning of Christian baptism it was necessary for them to be re-baptized after having received the Holy Spirit.

This concept of water baptism symbolizing Spirit baptism accords with Paul’s later creedal declaration, “There is one body and one Spirit,… one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4.4-5). This was affirmed when Cornelius and his household believed, immediately afterwards received the Spirit, and Peter then asked, “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Acts 10.47).

Notice further that Paul did what Peter had done earlier: he laid hands on them, perhaps while water baptizing them, and they received the Spirit and spoke in tongues. (In 1 Corinthians 1.14-17, Paul probably means he doesn’t recall baptizing any others at Corinth.) But why did this Spirit baptism occur by means of Paul and not Peter? Again, Peter had already opened the kingdom door to Gentiles. From then on that door would remain open. Thus, Peter had finished his task of opening kingdom doors to all people, so that the Spirit could now be received through other apostles besides Peter, such as the Apostle Paul.

Then, if it was no longer necessary for Peter to be present for new believers to receive the Holy Spirit, why had these Gentile Ephesians not been baptized with the Spirit when they first believed in Jesus? Apparently, the answer is in how and what they believed. We read that earlier, “there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria [Egypt]. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John” (Acts 18.24-25).

So, Apollos did not know about the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and thereafter. Among those who did, “Priscilla and Aquila … took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately” (Acts 18.26). He then left Ephesus. “While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul … came to Ephesus” (19.1). While there, he found those disciples who, like Apollos earlier, knew only the baptism of John and therefore not about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Such news likely had not yet travelled that far. Ephesus was over 800 miles away from Jerusalem via land, being located in present far-western Turkey. These Ephesian believers had not been baptized with the Holy Spirit since no one had ministered to them who had been so baptized. But Paul had.

Now, in the remainder of the book of Acts and all of Paul’s NT letters there is no account of a certain person being baptized with, or receiving, the Holy Spirit, let alone it being evidenced by that person speaking in tongues. Thus, this combined phenomena seems to have occurred only through Peter when the good news about Jesus was first preached and believed at Jerusalem, then Samaria and Judea, and finally to the first Gentiles in a Gentile city, with the exception of the abnormal situation at Ephesus. And each of those three times when Spirit baptism occurred in those three cities, Peter was present using kingdom keys on those special occasions. The purpose of those tongues was to serve as a sign proving that, first, Jews, then Samaritans, and finally Gentiles could indeed receive the Holy Spirit. Other evidence of the reception of the Spirit, however, could have occurred, such as prophecy and/or perhaps praise of God (Acts 10.46; 19.6). And the binding and loosing of kingdom power certainly continued among the apostles after Peter completed his mission of opening kingdom doors (e.g., Paul’s binding in Acts 13.9-11). And it has continued ever since among many church leaders in the history of Christianity. But after this early transitional period recorded in Acts, we have no biblical revelation which requires that the baptism of the Holy Spirit must occur by means of church leaders.

After those special occasions involving Peter, Paul wrote years later in his letters that when people believe the gospel, and thereby are forgiven and saved, at that time they “receive” the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3.2), which is the same as being baptized with the Holy Spirit, and Paul doesn’t mention the accompaniment of tongues. He writes to the saints at Rome saying, “you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ [=Spirit of God] does not belong to him” (Romans 8.9). And Paul writes to the church at Corinth, “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body … and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12.13). So, Paul never exhorts Christians to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit as Pentecostals usually do; instead, it happens automatically upon initial belief so that there is no longer any necessity to speak in tongues as its evidence. As Paul indicates, when the Christian mission spread into Gentiles lands, everyone who has Christ also has the Spirit. But Paul does tell believers, “be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5.18). Thus, one baptism, many fillings.

Leading NT scholar James D. G. Dunn’s doctoral thesis was on this subject became his first book, entitled Baptism in the Holy Spirit (1970). Since then he has written further about it, and several Pentecostal scholars have written in opposition to all of it. They call this “the Dunn Debate.” In this first book, Dunn asserts there is no difference between Luke’s Acts and Paul’s letters on the baptizing/receiving of the Spirit in relation to conversion. But I think he argues unconvincingly that the Samaritans in Acts 8 and the Ephesians in Acts 9 did not believe in Jesus for salvation until they received the Spirit.

Accordingly, there is a distinction between Luke’s early Acts and Paul’s later letters regarding the baptism/reception of the Holy Spirit in relation to initial faith in Jesus. That is, in Acts 8 and 19 people believed in Jesus and subsequently, days later, were baptized with the Spirit evidenced by tongues-speaking. How to reconcile Luke and Paul about this matter has been regarded by some scholars as a NT riddle.

Paul, however, does mention tongues-speaking in his teaching on the gifts of the Spirit. He explains that believers do not have the same gifts because that obviously is not God’s will. Thus, we don’t all speak in tongues. He uses the body as a metaphor to prove his point, explaining that we are not all an eye or an ear (1 Corinthians 12.14-21). Paul inquires of those Corinthian believers, “Do all speak in tongues?” (v. 30). His intended, obvious answer is “no.” It is not because people fail to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues, as some Pentecostals say is necessary to receive them. Rather, if people don’t speak in tongues it is because the Holy Spirit chooses not to give them that gift (v. 11). And Paul therein teaches that some gifts are greater than gifts of tongues if there is no gift of interpretation of tongues (14.1-5).

In conclusion, Pentecostals and Charismatics are correct about a distinction between Luke’s book of Acts and Paul’s letters regarding the baptism/receiving of the Holy Spirit. That is, Luke says some people were baptized with the Spirit as a subsequent act following their initial conversion; yet Dunn is correct that Paul later teaches that the two acts happen simultaneously. Do Luke and Paul disagree or have differing pneumatologies as some Pentecostals and Charismatics think? Neither. It is highly unlikely that Luke and Paul would even have differed on this important subject, especially since Luke was a significant, and subordinate, associate of Paul on some of his historic missionary journeys which only Luke relates in his book of Acts. Rather, the answer to this apparent conundrum seems to be that during the transitional period of the early Jesus Movement, Luke portrays Peter using kingdom keys which affirms a doctrine of subsequence; but after Peter completed this mission of opening kingdom doors to all three classes of people–Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles–Paul is correct, that the Spirit is received at conversion throughout the remaining history of Christianity. Thus, as with many things in the plan of God, it’s all about timing.

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