This worldwide outpouring of the Spirit ignited a fervent love for Christ, a powerful witness for the Gospel, and unparalleled missionary zeal, but the Church on the whole chose to stick with tradition. So, for about fifty years, any talk of New Testament manifestations of the Holy Spirit was discouraged on the pretext it promoted emotionalism, fanaticism, or heresy. Those who were receiving the Holy Spirit in the New Testament manner were excluded and forced to band themselves together. They soon became known as “Pentecostals.” Criticism, even abuse, was hurled at those who dared believe “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever,” and would fill Christians with the Holy Spirit, just as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.
Many went to extremes as has happened in every spiritual awakening since the New Testament times. Even the apostle Paul had to write to the churches he had founded to correct various errors. Yet the Pentecostal Movement became (and incidentally, still is) the fastest growing Christian Movement in the world.
But over the past twenty years or so, a NEW THING has been taking place. World renowned preachers and authors, noted for their balanced presentation of the Scriptures are coming to the defense of those they once despised.
Not only this. Throughout the world, many in the historic churches are receiving the Holy Spirit, just as the early disciples and members of the Pentecostal Movement have over the last fifty or sixty years!
ON ALL FLESH
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out My Spirit” (Joel 2:28, 29)
God’s promise concerning the days in which we live is to pour out His Spirit on all flesh. Not just on one church or denomination; or on a select few; not just on preachers and evangelists; not just on one country; but on all flesh. Well has Dr. R.A. Torrey, first principal of the Moody Bible Institute, written:
“The baptism with the Holy Spirit is the birthright of every believer. It was purchased for us by the atoning death of Christ, and when He ascended to the right hand of the Father, He received the promise of the Father and shed Him forth upon the church, and if anyone today has not the baptism with the Holy Spirit as a personal experience, it is because he has not claimed his birthright.”
Evangelist Billy Graham, speaking to a gathering of ministers, said:
“In the main denominations we have looked a bit askance at our brethren from the Pentecostal churches because of their emphasis on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, but I believe the time has come to give the Holy Spirit his rightful place in our churches. We need to learn once again what it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
“I know that we can rationalize and immediately ten thousand theological questions arise and we try to figure it all out, but I want to tell you that we need to accept, we need to get something. Give it any terminology you want, but we do not have the same dynamic and the same power the early Church had. They had the filling of the Holy Spirit.”