The Seventh Day Adventist Church
The Baptism of The Holy Spirit
This article has been written so that any Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) who is genuinely seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit may stand every chance of receiving it.
It is with much love and care for everyone in the SDA church world-wide that this article is written. It is also my wish and prayer that every member of the SDA church receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I recommend reading the following articles, prior to reading this article:
Baptism of the Holy Spirit (FAQs)
Speaking in Tongues (FAQs)
Since I was baptised in the Holy Spirit by the Lord Jesus in November 2013, I have been praying earnestly for all Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs) to experience the same. This is because the baptism of the Holy Spirit is essential and indispensable for the life of every Christian. Seven months ago, as I was praying, the Lord spoke to me about the blocking factors that have hindered the baptism of the Holy Spirit from generally occurring in the SDA church. He has since impressed upon my heart to write this article to share all that He showed me that day, and to highlight things amiss that I had learnt and experienced with many SDA members over the years.
I. Why baptisms of the Holy Spirit do not generally occur in the SDA Church
There are only a handful of people that I know in the SDA church that have experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is interesting to note that they have all received such a baptism outside of the SDA church, either in their private homes or in meetings where non-Adventist pastors had ministered to them. Here is a list of possible reasons that may have prevented the baptisms of the Holy Spirit from occurring in the SDA church.
1. In general, the SDA church does not teach the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" as a special event of being fully immersed in the Holy Spirit. It does, however, believe in the Holy Spirit, and even believes in "receiving the Holy Spirit" after water baptism, but this is not an immersion in the Holy Spirit (and as such, it is not a baptism of the Holy Spirit).
CONSEQUENCE of this incorrect doctrine: Many in the SDA church are either not aware of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and hence have little knowledge of it, or they have confused water baptism to be the event in which they also receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Either way, they are missing out on the real baptism of the Holy Spirit and are also missing out the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to move in His gifting effectively.
CORRECTION required to this doctrine: Baptism in water and in Holy Spirit are two different baptisms. They are two separate events which can occur closely together or far apart with years in between (depending on how a person leads his/her life and how he/she has been ministered to). The baptism of the Holy Spirit should be ministered to (or prayed for) at some point after conversion.
2. The SDA church believes that if there is going to be another event like Pentecost (in which the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs), it is reserved for some time in the future, known as the time of the "latter rain". What occurred on the Day of Pentecost (in Acts 2) was considered to be the "former rain".
CONSEQUENCE of this incorrect doctrine: Many in the SDA church believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit (if they do know anything about it at all) is not for now, and are forever looking for signs of the "latter rain" and praying for it. They are thus missing out on the baptism of the Holy Spirit right now.
CORRECTION required to this doctrine: All references of former and latter rain in the Bible have always been about rains for crops & harvests (Deuteronomy 11:14, Zechariah 10:1, Joel 2:23, James 5:7), nothing to do with the Holy Spirit or the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For example:
James 5:7 clearly mentioned both the former and latter rain (not just the latter rain) being applied to the second coming (rather than to a baptismal/Pentecostal event of the Holy Spirit). So, the latter rain theology is contradicted already.
When read in context, James 5:7 actually invokes the patience of farmers expecting rain as an example to Christians who should wait patiently for the second coming. Nothing to do with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
In addition to this, Joel 2:28 (and again in Acts 2:17) states that "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people...". We have been "in the last days" since Jesus ascended. By quoting Joel, Peter alluded that "he was in the last days". So why wouldn't we be? What occurred on the Day of Pentecost was the start of God pouring out His Spirit on all people and He will continue to do so until Jesus comes again. The Holy Spirit baptisms have been happening to many Christians from different denominations (such as Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Charismatics, Pentecostals, and even Roman Catholics who now call themselves Charismatic Catholics). If there is such a thing as a "latter rain", it is now, and it started around 2000 years ago on the Day of Pentecost.
3. Ellen White had referenced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in one of her writings, ‘For the daily baptism of the Spirit every worker should offer … petition to God.’ (AA 50-1).
CONSEQUENCE of this incorrect doctrine: Some SDAs have used this reference not only to prove that Ellen White endorsed the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (and hence was not afraid of it), but that she knew what it is.
CORRECTION required to this doctrine: There is actually no such thing as a "daily" Baptism of the Holy Spirit in the same way as there is no such thing as a "daily" baptism of water. To explain further:
We need to be baptised in water only once in order the bury the old sinful man, and arise anew in Christ.
However, after water baptism, the old sinful man will try to rear his ugly head again to tempt us back into sin (we still sin after water baptism), which is why we are called to crucify the flesh daily -- this is the "daily" requirement -- it is not a baptism, it is a daily dying to self, or at best a daily yielding to / walk with the Holy Spirit.
In the same way:
Baptism of Holy Spirit is the receiving of power from on high for the purpose of witnessing for Christ (Acts 1:8). It is also part of our Christian birth (John 3:3-8).
However, we are required to be daily filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). This does not mean a daily baptism of the Spirit, but rather a daily walking in the Spirit (see Ephesians 5:8-20 which gives the full context for verse 18). This is so that we remain with power (of the Holy Spirit), which will draw the lost to Jesus Christ (usually by signs and wonders). Inevitably, if we do not walk in/with the Spirit, we would grieve Him and His power would not flow through us, rendering us useless for the kingdom of God.
So, it is not a daily baptism of the Holy Spirit that is required, but rather a daily refilling of the Holy Spirit, which is obtained by walking in the Spirit and listening to His instructions for everything we do in life. This may seem to be a minor point, but it actually isn't. Those who have not experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit cannot fully understand what it really is and how it differs from other experiences of the Holy Spirit.
The Baptism (of the Holy Spirit) is a "total immersion" in the Spirit (to be baptised means to be "wholly immersed") which can be felt both spiritually and physically. It is a supernatural experience, out of this world. No matter how accurately anyone tries to describe it, it can never be fully described -- there are no words for it -- one has to experience it for oneself to totally understand it. Unfortunately, some who have not experienced it, who desperately wanted it, and wanted to understand it, but couldn't somehow attain it - have degenerated it into something that it actually isn't. By her writing above, Ellen White thus proved herself to be one of such people.
Despite using the term "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" in her writings, Ellen White was reserved/fearful about the manifestations of the Holy Spirit which so often accompany the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (see Wikipedia). This is due to some counterfeits of tongues in the early SDA church, so it is totally understandable that she reacted the way she did. Unfortunately, however, the fear in the Holy Spirit manifestations is one of the many things that has prevented the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from occurring in the SDA church.
4. The SDA church:
Discourages speaking in tongues as it is easily counterfeited by the devil.
Discourages speaking in tongues without interpretations.
Discourages speaking in tongues as it believes to show a chaotic church rather than an ordered church.
CONSEQUENCE to this incorrect doctrine: Due to misconceptions on tongues, many SDAs are afraid of this phenomenon and keep well away from it, thereby missing out on the most powerful gift. How is Jesus expected to baptise anyone in the Holy Spirit if they detest or are afraid of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit (of which speaking in tongues is one)?
CORRECTION required to this doctrine: Speaking in tongues is a beautiful and extremely powerful gift/weapon for personal prayer, worship, intercession, personal edification, edification of the church, and for spiritual warfare. It is no wonder the devil loves to counterfeit it, because he knows it is only worth counterfeiting if it is real and powerful. By shying away from speaking in tongues, many SDAs are missing out on the real tongues given by the Holy Spirit and all the power and benefits that come with it (exactly what the devil had planned!). See FAQs on speaking in tongues for more information.
5. Baptism in water is granted based upon the acceptance of the 28 Fundamental beliefs, without ensuring that "true repentance" has taken place.
CONSEQUENCE to this incorrect doctrine: Many SDAs are baptised into church membership, rather than into Christ. Thus, water baptism may serve only as symbol with no real spiritual significance because "repentance" on the part of the person to be baptised may or may not have taken place. Now "Fundamental Belief #10: Experiencing Salvation" hints at the "acknowledgement of sin and repentance of transgression" -- which is good, however in practice, the SDA church does not check whether "true repentance" has taken place in the life of the person prior to his/her water baptism.
CORRECTION required to this doctrine: True repentance is an important requirement for water baptism, as was the case with the water baptism conducted by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 19:4), and must therefore be checked prior to water baptism. It also goes without saying that belief in Jesus is a requirement too, since we are now living in the days after the cross. By all means, the 28 fundamental beliefs can be listed and be affiliated to the church, but they should be completely removed from the baptismal requirements, as such it is not Biblical to impose such requirements. If "true repentance" did not take place in the life of the person who has been water-baptised, then water baptism may need to be done again.
6. The SDA church believes itself to be the "Remnant Church", partly because of their 10-commandment keeping.
CONSEQUENCE to this incorrect doctrine: Many SDAs become so intent on keeping all 10 commandments that, at times, they expose themselves to legalism and to the demonic religious spirit.
CORRECTION required to this doctrine: It is true that the "Remnant Church" is called to keep "God's commandments" (Revelation 12:17; 14:12), but this has been misinterpreted to be "the 10 Mosaic commandments", when it was not specified so. It should really be the two "love commandments" of Jesus: Love God and Love one another. Although Jesus said that all the Law & the Prophets hang on these two Love commandments (Matthew 22:40), it is possible to keep the 10 Mosaic commandments without keeping the two love commandments. However, when the two love commandments are kept, the 10 are naturally kept as well. So, it works one way but not the other way.
To elaborate with examples.
You can be faithful to your spouse by not having extra marital affairs (thus keeping the 7th commandment: Do not commit adultery). However, if you constantly argue, fight and/or are violent towards your spouse, then you are not loving him/her, thereby breaking one of Jesus's Love commandments.
You may not murder anyone (thus keeping the 6th commandment), but in hating any one person in your heart, you would be breaking one of Jesus's Love commandments.
If you were to love your neighbour, you would naturally not hate them.
If you were to love your spouse, you would naturally not be violent towards him/her or want to be with someone else.
So as you can see, Jesus' two love commandments work, but the 10 Mosaic commandments have many pitfalls. On the one hand, Jesus has simplified all the commandments to only two, but on the other hand, He has made it more difficult because now you have to watch your hearts (inward thoughts) as well as your outward actions.
Furthermore, in being proud to be the keeper of the 4th commandment (the Sabbath), SDAs have failed to see that they had broken the other commandments and have thus broken the whole law (James 2:10). No one can keep all 10 commandments, the only person that ever did was Jesus.
7. The SDA church believes itself to be one of two Christian denominations to keep all 10 commandments, in particular the 4th commandment (the Saturday Sabbath). In doing so, the SDA church considers itself to have "more truth" (and thus "more righteousness") than other Christian denominations that worship on Sundays (for those that worship on Sundays are considered to be keeping only 9 out of 10 commandments). Some (extreme) SDAs also believe that Sunday Christians worship the "Sun god" as the pagans did, for this was how it all started.
CONSEQUENCE to this incorrect doctrine: By this attitude of the heart, the SDA church has not only isolated and disassociated itself from the global body of Christ, but has also created a judgmental heart towards Sunday Christians - thus breaking one of Jesus' love commandments. Along with this is also a heart of pride and self-righteousness (since it considers itself to be more righteous than others). These things, unfortunately and ironically, result in nullifying the Sabbath keeping itself.
CORRECTION required to this doctrine: No one can keep all 10 commandments. Jesus was the only one who could and did (keep all of them). By all means, live by the 10 commandments if so wished, but in doing so, one must not forget to live also by the two love commandments Jesus gave: Love God and Love one another (which includes loving all one's enemies and one's Sunday brothers and sisters as well, for that is who they are).
With regards to the day of worship: if SDAs believe Saturday to be the day of worship, then by all means worship God on Saturdays, but do not then judge others who worship God on a different day. The Apostle Paul warns us not to judge others by the day of worship (Romans 14). For it is the heart of worship that matters to God, rather than the day of worship. It is therefore recommended that Pastors and Elders of the SDA church remove the judgmental teaching about Sunday Christians (as keeping only 9 out of 10 commandments) to the SDA members, so that they do not stir up and create more judgmental hearts in the church.
With regards to considering Sunday Christians as those who worship the "Sun god", not only is this a judgmental assumption, but it is also far from the truth. In having visited well over 30 Christian churches who worship on Sunday, I have not found even one who worships any god other than the Christian Triune God. They all love God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit!
In any case, it should be noted that Saturday was a day that the pagans used to worship the "god of Saturn", surely the SDAs wouldn't want to be judged for that!
II. As an SDA seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, what must I do?
Before listing the instructions on how to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it is important to realise the implications of what you are asking for:
Firstly, you would be required to love all other people -- meaning both those inside the church as well as those outside of the church (that is, loving not only the lost, but also those from other Christian denominations). Would you be willing to do this? The implication being that you would have to humble yourself with regards to the Sabbath commandment and not to use it as a measure of superiority or righteousness against others, but rather keeping it as a love offering to God (i.e. just between you and God). The action of judging Sunday Christians in this respect grieves the Holy Spirit immensely and will surely prevent Him from being poured out upon the SDA church.
Secondly, it would require you to have a heart of true repentance from all sin -- meaning those sins listed in the 10 commandments as well as those committed outside of the 10. The latter of these are often too hard to detect without honest introspection (as we have seen, these can be such things as a judgmental heart, or a heart of pride and self-righteousness, to name just two). It requires a humble spirit and a heart willing to be corrected.
So if you are willing, then by all means go ahead with the instructions below, dealing first with the "doctrinal matters" and then "matters of the heart" discussed above, as follows:
1. Humble yourself (Romans 12:13)
2. Check to see whether your water baptism was valid to God. Did you repent before your water baptism? If you didn't, it is possible that your water baptism was not valid to God. Ask God what you should do about this and be open to the idea of getting baptised again, after first ensuring true repentance. Either way, you need to repent (as per the next point) because this is crucial. (Acts 2:38)
3. With a genuine and contrite heart, repent from:
All known sins. Confess out loud each and every sin you can think of: name them for what they are, do not generalise. Ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of any sins that you may have forgotten in the past. Then pray asking God for forgiveness and have every intention of turning away from your sins (if you haven't already).
Judgements against Christians in other denominations. Repent and remove all judgements against Sunday Christians. They are your brothers and sisters, and whatever they may do or believe in that you do not agree with, love them. Do not think unfavourably of them, especially with regards to keeping commandments, for only God truly knows the heart. (Romans 14:5-13)
Self-righteousness and pride (for thinking you have/know more truths than others). No one has all the truth, only the Holy Spirit does. He is also the only one who can lead you into all truth. It is a journey with Him, and He will show you truth in measures that you can handle, as it is all a learning process that will surely last until Jesus comes. (John 16:7-15)
(Close to) Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees and Sadducees completely missed who Jesus was when He was on earth, and they accused Him of blaspheming and even operating in and with evil spirit (Beelzebub). The Holy Spirit has now come to earth to replace Jesus after His ascension. So be careful not to become "modern day Pharisees" and miss the Holy Spirit completely too, by coming close to the sin of blaspheming against Him, calling His manifestations evil; as such, this will require repentance. (Matthew 12:22-33, Mark 3:22-30, Luke 12:8-10)
4. Forgive people who have hurt you. This includes, especially, your parents and relatives, as well as others. Call them out by name as you forgive and bless them. (Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-36)
5. Do not be afraid of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. Let the Him have His way with you and minister to you how He sees fit. Do not quench the Holy Spirit by restricting Him in what He wants to do. Whatever He decides to do, just know this, it will be nothing short than absolutely amazing! And if He wants to use your tongues to speak a spirit language, then let Him do so. Yield yourself to the Holy Spirit, giving Him permission to do whatever He wants to do with you -- after all you are supposed to be a temple where He lives. Note that being afraid of the Holy Spirit manifestations will prevent the baptism of the Holy Spirit from occurring.
Now you are ready to do the remaining steps:
6. Be thirsty. Know that you want and need more of God than what you already have. The thirstier the better. (Matthew 5:6)
7. Believe that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is for you. Believe that Jesus wants to baptise you in Holy Spirit, as He has always wanted to do. Don't have doubts! (Acts 2:38-39)
8. Submit yourself to God. Don't hold back, give yourself totally to Him. Ask Him to remove anything that may block or hinder. (Romans 8:5-8, James 4:1-12)
9. Ask Jesus to baptise you in Holy Spirit. Suggested prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, I renounce all my sins and especially any involvement in the occult on my part or on the part of my parents and ancestors. I renounce all false doctrines, all fear and unbelief and any blockage in my mind.
Lord Jesus, I'm thirsty for the fullness of your Holy Spirit. I present to you my body as a temple and my members as instruments of righteousness, especially my tongue - the member I cannot tame. Fill me I pray and let your Holy Spirit flow through my lips in rivers of praise and worship. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
10. Confess in prophetic speech, praising God in tongues or prophecy. At this point, the Holy Spirit may implant a word or a sound in your mind or on your tongue -- speak it out and the rest will come. You will need to open your mouth yourself, as the Holy Spirit will not force it open. So if your mouth remains closed, nothing will come out and the Holy Spirit will be unable to give you the gift of tongues.
Be aware also of other types of Holy Spirit manifestations that could occur during the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (see point number 8 in FAQs on Baptism of the Holy Spirit) as you may well experience one of those or a combination thereof.
If, after doing the above steps, nothing seems to happen, then be open to experiencing the Holy Spirit at a later time. Some people have gone home only to find they started to speak in tongues in the car or in the shower.
If you still have not received it, then keep asking until it happens! Do not tire, do not give up, keep asking! (Luke 11:13). Ask the Lord to reveal any blockages that you might have. It may also be worth seeking a Spirit-filled pastor whom Jesus can use to minister the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to you. It is highly likely that such a pastor will be non-Adventist. This should not matter because the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is far too valuable not to have.
Know that my prayers are with you all as you pursue the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. May God reveal Himself real to you by touching you through this powerful event.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.