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The Spirit Baptism, Nineteenth Century Roots

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Pentecostals claim that there is a life transforming and empowering experience subsequent to conversion, called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, (The prepositions "in" and "with" are also used. Often it is now being designated "the Spirit baptism") with the accompanying sign of tongues (glossolalia) which all Christians may and ought to receive, and that this experience opens the door to receiving the gifts of the Spirit. What were its roots in Nineteenth Century North American Evangelical Christianity? My purpose is to join in the discussion of how this particular doctrine of the Spirit baptism developed.1 I shall briefly describe a variety of understandings of the Spirit's outpouring found among these Evangelicals and then deal carefully with that complex of interpretations which prepared for the Pentecostal perspective.

Affiliations: 1: Bangor Theological Seminary, Bangor, Maine 04401


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