Spiritual Baptism and Spiritual Giftspub by taoyni


       Church of Jesus Christ
        of Latter Day Saints

Spiritual Baptism and Spiritual Gifts
Spiritual Baptism and Spiritual Gifts
  What do members of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believe about
“baptism of the spirit” and “spiritual gifts”? Here, in question and answer form, is a brief
statement of our beliefs on this subject:

Where did this idea of “spiritual baptism” begin?

  In the new Testament of the Bible, John the Baptist, the “forerunner” of Christ, was the first to
speak of it. As he was preaching, he emphasized the need of baptism in water for the remission
of sins, then he continued to speak and prophesied that another would follow him in ministry
who would “baptize you with the Holy Ghost” (Mark 1:8; Matthew 3:11).

Holy Ghost? What is that?

  It is defined as a spiritual power sent to men to replace the physical presence of Christ. Before
the conclusion of Christ’s ministry on earth, he promised his disciples, “I will pray the Father,
and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of
truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not; neither knoweth him: but ye
know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16,17). Continuing, Jesus
explained, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he
shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said
unto you” (John 14:26). Paul, in later years, called this Spirit the “mind of Christ” at work in his
disciples (Philippians 2:5).
  The Holy Ghost was also an expression of the mind of the Father which came to Jesus
following his baptism; the “Spirit of God descending like a dove” came, and a voice from above
said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16,17).

I presume you mean that this experience was Jesus’ “Spiritual” baptism. Was this same
experience supposed to come to others who were baptized with the Spirit?

  Although we find no record of the Holy Ghost descending on others “like a dove,” the Spirit
has expressed itself in several other ways. Jesus likened the receiving of the Spirit to a “rebirth.”
When a Jewish ruler, Nicodemus, questioned him, Jesus gave counsel, “Except a man be born
again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. . . . Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit,
he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3,5). The first recorded account of the
apostles of Christ receiving the spiritual rebirth pictures the Holy Ghost coming “from heaven
as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). This
was the apostles’ experience of “spiritual” baptism.
I’ve always felt the apostles were very important people–living in daily personal contact with
Christ. Does this promise of spiritual baptism apply to other people, especially to those of our

  Following the apostles’ marvelous experience, Peter preached to the curious crowd that had
gathered about them. As a result of his words, many believed in Christ and asked what they
should do since they were converted. Peter then told them, “Repent, and be baptized every one
of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the
Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
  Not only did Peter say this promise was to the believers in his day, but he expanded the
promise to include “your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God
shall call” (Acts 2:39). An unchanging God promises the baptized believer today the same
spiritual help as promised the baptized believer nineteen centuries ago.

Does this “spiritual” baptism come automatically as a result of being baptized in water?

  The New Testament apostles were instructed to lay their hands on the heads of newly baptized
converts and to pray to God asking that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Apostle Paul had
hands laid on his head to be healed of his blindness and to “be filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts
9:17). Peter and John went to Samaria for the specific purpose of laying hands on newly
baptized converts. Luke writes, “when they were come down, [they] prayed for them, that they
might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were
baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received
the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8:15-17). Apostle Paul also “laid his hands upon” new converts and “the
Holy Ghost came on them” (Acts 19:6). This was the way the baptism of the Spirit was

Why “lay on hands”? Couldn’t the spiritual baptism be given by some other method or act?

  Probably some other method could have been established by Christ, but he didn’t so choose.
Laying on of hands is listed in Hebrews 6:2 as a “principle of the doctrine of Christ.” Its
symbolism is natural and yet distinctive. It is the instinctive gesture of a father to his son. The
hands are a most beautiful symbol of power. When the hands are thus laid purposefully on the
head of another, the whole body of that person is symbolically covered by that significant touch.
When special preparation has been made for the ceremony, so that the recipient comes eagerly
to place his whole person under the influence of Divinity, the symbolism of the act is complete.
  Today hands are used as symbols in many different ways. We say we “wash our hands” of a
situation; we give the “right hand of fellowship” to new members of a social club; or a man in
rebellion against another is said to “lift up his hands against him.” In Old Testament times God
gave his law “by the hand” of Moses; he spoke to his people “by the hand of prophets.” Hands
were used in distinctive acts in the early Christian church, and are recorded throughout the New
Testament. The practice continued after the death of the early apostles: Tertullian, in the second
century; Cyprian, in the third century; and Augustinus, in the fourth century–all write of its
continued use.
You say the apostles laid on hands. Were any others given authority to do this?

  Yes, various members of the ministry practiced it. Paul, writing to Timothy, advised him to
“neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the
hands of the presbytery [elders]” (I Tim. 4:14). Timothy, who was an apostolic deputy, was also
personally counseled, “Lay hands suddenly on no man” (I Tim. 5:22). Elders were called upon
to perform the ordinance of anointing and praying for the sick (James 5: 14,15). This
undoubtedly was done in conjunction with the laying on of hands, for Christ directed his early
disciples to lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). Ananias, who was not
an apostle, laid hands on Paul and healed him of his blindness (Acts 9:17).

Aren’t there times when people receive the Holy Ghost without such a formal act?

  The Spirit of God is available to meet the needs of all people at all times in varying degree, if
they sincerely search for it. The Bible tells how Cornelius, a sincere and devout man, received
the Holy Ghost while Peter preached to him and his household (Acts 10:44). But we need to
distinguish between the Holy Spirit which is given to lead men to Christ, and a baptism of the
Spirit which is given to the obedient Christian. The Spirit of God “lighteth every man that
cometh into the world.” It strives to lead men to Christ. But its strength and power is not
completely expressed until the baptism of the Spirit, the abiding Comforter which Christ
promised to those who believed.

In what different ways does the “Comforter” function?

  There are four special functions of the Comforter: (1) it bears witness of Christ (John 15:26;
Acts 5:32); 92) it guides the Christian into all truth (John 16:13); (3) it reveals things to come
(John 16:13); and (4) it bears witness that the Christian is a child of God (Romans 8:14,16). The
Comforter continues the work of creation and redemption in the life of man. We are not yet
completely fashioned in the image of God; we need to become more like him in spirit and truth.
This power helps us eradicate evil within us and bring good into full bloom. It is granted to
those who have faith in God (James 1:5-8), who turn from evil (Acts 8:20-22), who identify
themselves with his cause (Acts 2:37-47), who love the Lord and keep his commandments
(John 14:15-17), and who walk worthily before men (Colossians 1:9-12).

Does your church “lay hands on people” now?

  Yes, our ministers place or “lay” their hands on the head of a newly baptized member and pray
that God will give him this additional spiritual power needed to function as a true follower of
Christ. Through the laying on of hands, our ministers also ask God for other specific blessings,
and confer church authority.

You mean there are other occasions?
  There are several other instances when our ministers lay on hands to request blessings. For
instance, our members bring their very young children to church for a blessing, and our
ministers ask God to guide and care for them until they are old enough to understand Christ’s
teachings and make their decision to follow him.
  Our adult members also ask for a blessing, called a “patriarch’s” (or father’s) blessing, for
guidance through life. Then at various times, members (and others who desire) may ask for
special blessings for specific needs of a spiritual and physical nature. Spiritual or physical
healing is often the result of such prayers.

Where does your church get such ideas about blessings?

  From the Bible.
  Matthew and Mark both tell how Jesus blessed the little children (Matthew 19:13-25; Mark
10:13-16). Mark says, “he took them up in his arms, and put his hands upon them, and blessed
them” (Jesus and his disciples did not baptize little children until they were old enough to
understand his teachings.)
  The practice of a patriarchal blessing goes back to early Bible times. The early Israelite fathers
asked God to bless members of their household. Each member was individually blessed (Gen.
48:9; 49:28).

  Many instances of healing prayers are found in the Bible. In James 5:14,15 are found the
instructions given to the early church to pray for the sick: “Is any sick among you? let him call
for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of
the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” Mark 6:5
records: “He laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them”; Luke says Jesus “laid hands
on her; and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” Jesus said that the
“believers,” among other things, would “lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark
  Present-day instructions given to the church through revelation verify the authenticity of these
biblical practices.

Does this mean you practice “faith healing”?

  We believe that faith is instrumental in healing. And many of our members and friends have
received marvelous experiences of physical healing. But we do not feel people should seek such
blessing for their physical welfare only. Healing includes more. Christ taught a close correlation
between the healing of the body and the forgiveness of sin. Those who approach the church
only to receive a physical blessing must reach a realization that Christ is greatly concerned with
their spiritual condition. Physical healing must be accompanied by spiritual healing to be fully
effective. Christ is more concerned with men “having everlasting life” than with giving
temporal physical relief.

You spoke earlier of laying on hands to “confer church authority.” What did you mean?
  After being called by God to serve as his representatives on earth, and having been accepted
by the members of the church as their leaders, certain men are ordained to the ministry by the
laying on of hands. This is the way men of New Testament times were ordained: “They set
[them] before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them” (Acts 6:6);
“The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called
them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them
away” (Acts 13:2,3).

I’ve seen people who thought they were “getting the Spirit.” How would I know if I really
received it?

  The Holy Spirit is not something that can be easily recognized with our usual five senses. But
just as the invisible “wind” makes itself known to us by exerting force on us, so the Holy Spirit
exerts its power in certain ways that are noticeable in our lives.
  Apostle Paul says there is just one Spirit, “but the manifestation of the Spirit” varies from
person to person for the “profit” of all. In writing to the Corinthian saints, Paul says “to one is
given . . . wisdom; to another the word of knowledge; . . . to another faith; . . . to another the gifts
of healing; . . . to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of
spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues” (I Cor. 12:1-10).

Do you mean that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, affects us in all these different ways when we
receive it?

 Some people may be “gifted” with several of these manifestations, while others will only
experience one. But Apostle Paul gives a reason for this variation. He says the Spirit divides “to
every man severally as he will” (I Cor. 12:11).

Why do we need spiritual gifts?

  Like all gifts of God to man, they are given to be used–and wisely. The gifts are given for the
benefit of man: “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (I Cor.
12:7). Christ “gave gifts unto men . . . for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the
ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of
the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the
fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about
with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of man, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in
wait to deceive” (Eph. 4:8,12-14). They assist man to establish the kingdom of heaven; they
complement his limitations; they lead and guide him into all truth; they reveal added truths.

Why is there such diversity of spiritual gifts?

 Speaking to baptized members of the church at Corinth, Paul said, “Ye are the body of Christ,
and members in particular”; “for the body is not one member, but many” (I Cor. 12:27,14).
Then he explained that just as the physical body had a need of all its parts (or members) and
functions, so the “body of Christ” (the church) had need of all its parts and functions–that just
as each part of the physical body performed a particular function, so did each part of the body of
Christ. He emphasized that one part was no more important than another; rather, all worked
together as a team when the church functioned properly. Speaking specifically of the spiritual
gifts, he asked, “Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with
tongues? do all interpret” (I Cor. 12:29,30)? In his summary pointing out the diversity of
spiritual gifts, Paul says. “Now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it
hath pleased him. . . . God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant
honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism in the body; but that the
members should have the same care one for another” (I Cor. 12:18,24,25). To each member of
the body of Christ is disseminated the spiritual gifts according to the will of God. All the gifts
are needed if the body functions properly.

Some say the apostles’ experience at Pentecost is an example of the only authentic manner in
which the Holy Ghost comes to man. They say one must speak in tongues if he really receives it.

  It is true that in this particular instance the apostles spoke in tongues, but it was for the benefit
of the many nationalities gathered to witness the experience; and at no time do we find an
intimation that they or any other New Testament disciples felt this was the only manifestation of
the Spirit. In fact, on this same occasion, Peter quoted Joel’s Prophecy, “And it shall come to
pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and
your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall
dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). Luke, in this same chapter (verse 43), writes “And many wonders
and signs were done by the apostles.”

  Paul, writing to the Corinthians, made rather derogatory remarks against the “desire to speak
in tongues.” All of I Corinthians, chapter 14, is devoted to an explanation of the purpose of
spiritual gifts. He says, “Forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to
the edifying of the church” (verse 12). In other portions of the chapter he writes,

   “Let all things be done unto edifying. . . . In the church I had rather speak five words with
 my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an
 unknown tongue. . . . Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe
 not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. . . .
 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I
 shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine. . .
 . Except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be understood, how
 shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.”

Then your church opposes speaking in tongues?
  in his Sermon Ninety-four: “We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the
Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian.. . . . From this time they almost entirely
ceased. . . . The cause of this was not as has been commonly supposed, because there was no
occasion for them, by reason of the world becoming Christian. The real cause was that ‘the
love of many had waxed cold,’ and the Christians had no more of the Spirit than the heathen. .
. . This was the real cause why the gifts of the Spirit were no longer retained in the church,
because the Christians had turned heathen again, and had only a dead form left.” Paul’s
admonition, “Covet earnestly the best gifts,” was apparently forgotten.
  It has only been since the “Restoration” in 1830 that people have again experienced the
spiritual gifts. We believe they exist today because God has moved to restore his teachings
and authority to the earth.

Restore his teachings and authority? What do you mean?

  The “Restoration Story” is something you should know. Why don’t you ask your Remnant
Church friend to lend you a pamphlet giving you the details? There isn’t room in this folder to
treat the subject properly.

Will spiritual gifts ever cease?

  They will–eventually. At least some of them will. Paul writes, “Whether there be
prophecies, they shall fail; whether there by tongues, they shall cease; whether there be
knowledge, it shall vanish away” (I Cor. 13:8); then he qualifies his statement with “For we
know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that
which is in part shall be done away.” He looked forward to Christ’s second coming when he
spoke of “that which is perfect is come.” Until Christ’s coming we can expect spiritual gifts
to be manifested–if men and women live Christlike lives.
  If you accept the teachings of the Bible, you recognize that people of those times had many
and varied religious experiences: the gifts were received, angels visited and ministered, God
and Christ spoke to spiritual leaders. If God is unchangeable, he will make himself and his
will known to righteous people today just as he did then. Most certainly we need more truth,
greater spiritual leadership in this day of spiritual confusion. Don’t we?

I know a person who claims to have marvelous spiritual experiences. But his reputation as a
man of Christian character isn’t too good. It’s hard for me to believe that such a man could
receive such religious experiences.
  It would be difficult for either of us to judge this man. But I have a similar feeling. It
seems to me that Christ’s statement, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” should apply to
the fruits of the Spirit.

What do you mean by “fruits of the spirit”?

  Just as the fruit of a tree indicates its kind and quality, so do the products of human
character indicate a man’s spiritual content and quality. Jesus said to his apostles, “By this
shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).
Paul wrote to the Galatian saints, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22,23) To this list of “fruits”
Peter added diligence, virtue, knowledge, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and
charity (II Peter 1:5-7).
  When a man fails to exhibit the above “fruits,” you may be reasonably certain his
“spiritual” experiences come from another source.

Another source? What do you mean?

 The Bible states there is a power for good, and a power for evil. From reading the account
of Christ’s temptations, and other Scripture, we can be certain that Satan has the power to
imitate and deceive. Man also has power delegated him by his Creator, and may speak in the
name of the Lord yet be reflecting his own mind. Reasonable caution must be exercised in
determining the “spiritual” source. A good barometer of spiritual authenticity is man’s
behavior in everyday affairs.

I’d like to study more about this subject.

 That is good, for to reach adulthood in a “new life” brought about by a spiritual rebirth one
must study and search for the ideals and truths of the message of Christ. The “abiding
Comforter” which comes to you as you obey God’s commands will effect great changes for
good. It will manifest itself in many ways for your “profit”; your life will radiate the
qualities of love found in every true disciple.
 For additional information and literature, contact:

Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
          700 West Lexington Avenue
           Independence, MO 64050
              Tele (816) 461-7215
             FAX (816) 461-7278

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