The Prophetic Ministry adheres to the inerrancy of scripture and the necessity of accepting God as personal Lord and Savior. It is distinguished by belief in the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an experience separate from conversion that enables a Christian to live a Holy Spirit–filled and empowered life. This empowerment includes the use of spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and divine healing—two other defining characteristics of Prophetic Ministry.
Because of the commitment to biblical authority, spiritual gifts, and the miraculous interventions such as healing, Prophetic ministries see their movement as reflecting the same kind of spiritual power and teachings that were found in the Apostolic Age of the early church.
The manifestations or gifts of the Holy Spirit were seen in the first century Christian believers (Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-10; 1 Corinthians 12:28) and include signs and wonders such as the message of wisdom, the message of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, discerning of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.
What are we to make of this movement? The early Holiness believers recognized that Christianity ought to result in visible changes in a person’s life. The focus of many early prayer meetings was to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (Hebrews 12:1). These earnest believers wanted to run their race faithfully and were seeking God’s help to do so. As that earnestness gave way to emotional religious fervor, doctrines were developed to explain and support the emotions and experiences.
For many today, the emphasis is on the excitement, the experience, or the new word of prophecy. Some of the questionable foundations laid by John Wesley (e.g., a second blessing of perfection) paved the way for later prophetic ministry doctrines of new works of the Spirit.
Manifestations of the Holy Spirit on the Pentecost day
This event is recorded in the New Testament book known as The Acts of the Apostles. Chapter 2 begins, “And when the day of Pentecost [tes hemeran tes pentekostes] had come, the first followers of Jesus were all together in one place” (2:1). All of a sudden, a sound came from heaven, like a strong wind, filling the house where the people had gathered. Something like tongues of fire rested on their heads. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak” (2:4);
The languages spoken by the early Christians were intelligible (not other worldly) and were heard by thousands of Jewish pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Shavuot (the festival of weeks). The content of the miraculous messages had to do with God’s mighty work (2:11). Many who heard these messages in their own languages were amazed, though others thought the Christians were just drunk (2:12).
At some point, Peter, one of the leading followers of Jesus, stood up and preached his first sermon. He interpreted the events of that morning in light of a prophecy of the Hebrew prophet Joel. In that text, God promised to pour out his Spirit on all flesh, empowering diverse people to exercise divine power. This would be a sign of the coming “day of the Lord” (Acts 2:16-21; Joel 2:28-32).
Peter went on to explain that Jesus had been raised and had poured out the Spirit in fulfillment of God’s promise through Joel (2:32-33). When the crowd asked what they should do, Peter urged them to turn their lives around and be baptized in the name of Jesus. Then they would be forgiven and would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (2:37-39). Acts reports that about 3,000 people were added to the church that day (2:41). Not a bad response to Peter’s first sermon!
Should we believe that all of this actually happened?
If you are one who believes the Bible is God’s inerrant or infallible Word, you will not take for granted the truthfulness of the account in Acts. But if you’re uncertain about biblical authority, then you might wonder if the account in Acts is to be trusted.
Whether we believe the biblical account of Pentecost day has everything to do with our estimation of the historical trustworthiness of Acts of the Apostles and the possibility of miraculous events actually happening. If you’re familiar with the book “Can We Trust the Gospels” you won’t be surprised to learn that we believe that Acts 2 describes what really happened. For reasons I can’t explain here, I believe that the author of Acts, the same “Luke” who wrote the Third Gospel, was a reliable inspired historian. Of course, as a Christian, I also believe that God could send the Spirit in astounding ways and empower people to speak in languages that they did not know.
How We Experience His Presence
How then do we experience his presence? We certainly have seen this question greatly abused. As I noted, many equate his movements with emotional flurries, irrational impressions, or random confluences of events. As I study Scripture, I see six ways we experience his presence: in the gospel, through the Word of God, through the community of the church, in our various spiritual gifting, in our spirit by communion with him in prayer, and through his sovereign control over our circumstances.
- In the Gospel
One of the most surprising discoveries I had while writing was how often Paul equates fullness of the Spirit with going deeper in the gospel. For example, in Ephesians 3:14–18, the apostle prays that the Ephesians would have the strength to comprehend the love of Christ; its breadth and length and height and depth, so that they may be “filled with all the fullness of God.” According to Paul, those two things, knowing the love of Christ in the gospel and being filled with “all the fullness of God” are synonymous. When God’s Spirit fills us, he sheds abroad God’s love in our heart, making our spirit rise up to say, “Abba, Father” (Rom. 5:5, 8:15).
- Through the Word of God
The Spirit’s primary vehicle for moving and speaking in our lives is the Scriptures. The Spirit works in us to shape us into being the kind of people God wants us to be, because then we will do the things God wants us to do. Almost every time we see the phrase “will of God” in the Bible it refers to shaping our moral character in response to the gospel. I’m not sure this is the kind of thing you can put a percentage on, but I’d say that about 99.4 percent of God’s direction for us can be found in the Bible. The Spirit conforms us to Christ’s character (Rom. 8:29; 12:1–2) and helps us walk the paths of wisdom (Prov. 2:20–22). As we do, we accomplish the will of God.
- Through the Church
The most common way the Spirit speaks in the book of Acts (other than in and through Scripture) is through the church. For instance, Acts 13:2 records, “While [the church was] worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” God gave the church specific insight into what Saul and Barnabas were to do. Throughout his life Paul received instructions about where to go and what to do through members of the church, and he gave similar words of instruction to Timothy. I find nothing that indicates that God has stopped speaking this way—to his children through the church.
- In Our Gifting
Paul tells us “each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). This becomes a primary vehicle for his guidance in our lives. Peter suddenly sees that his sword was given to lead an assault; Lucy recognizes that her gift—a healing ointment—was given to bind up the wounded in battle. Lewis’s imagery mirrors Paul’s claim in 1 Corinthians: we perceive what God wants by looking at the gifts he has placed within us.
- In Our Spirit
Throughout Scripture we see that God guides his people in mission by putting special burdens into their spirits. When Nehemiah left for Jerusalem to rebuild its walls, he didn’t have a command from God. He simply said that God had “put it into his heart” to do it (Neh. 2:12). When Paul came to Athens, Luke records his spirit was “provoked” within him about the idolatry in Athens (Acts 17:16). He evidently took this provocation as a direction to stay and preach the gospel there. Later in his ministry he would identify a holy “ambition” that God had put in his heart to preach Christ only where he had never been named (Rom. 15:20). Up until then, his ministry had been broad—debate the gospel, build up the churches everywhere—but the Spirit later narrowed the focus of his ministry. Throughout our lives we (at times) experience a “holy discontent” about a particular situation or the pressing in of a specific promise of God to our context. This is often the Spirit’s invitation to pursue a particular ministry.
- Through Our Circumstances
Throughout Paul’s life we see him interpret open and closed doors as evidence of the Spirit’s leadership. In his first letter to the Corinthians he explains he will stay in Ephesus to preach because a “wide door for effective work” has been opened, which he evidently took as the Spirit’s leadership (1 Cor. 16:8). Again, no special prophetic word, no handwriting in the sky, no Virgin Mary in a grilled cheese sandwich, just an open door.
This one can be tricky, because an open door doesn’t always mean something is God’s will. Jonah happened on a ship to Tarshish, but God’s will for him was 180 degrees the opposite direction. Likewise, a closed door doesn’t always mean something is not God’s will. In Paul’s explanation to the Corinthians of why he would stay in Ephesus (mentioned above), he notes many difficulties lay ahead of him. He didn’t interpret these difficulties as evidence God wanted him to leave, but to stay.
Sometimes we ask ourselves. Who is the Holy Spirit? What has He done in Scripture? What does He do for us? There are different views about Him. Some define Him as simply a force or an influence. In the 16th century, Socinian defined Him as “virtue or energy flowing from God to man.” This is the view that most liberal theologians and cults hold today. But this is not what the Scripture teaches about Him. He is a person, equal in the Godhead with the Father and the Son.
Is The Holy Spirit A Person?
When we think of a person we usually think of a body. Must a person have a body? What happens when a human being dies? Only the body dies, but the person continues to exist consciously forever, either in heaven or hell. What are the essential characteristics of a person? Three things: intelligence, emotions, and will. If the Holy Spirit were only a force or an influence or a thing, He would not possess these three things. But He does.
How You Can Be Possessed by God
Do you want every cell in your body saturated with God’s presence? You can have that. Many times when we talk about possession, it’s in reference to the demonic. This is when someone is so given over to darkness and demonic forces that they are taken over by another spirit, a demonic one. But just as people yield their lives to darkness, we can yield our lives to God. We can so hunger and surrender to God that the Holy Spirit fills every part of who we are, including our spirit, soul and body.
A Constant Awareness of God’s Tangible Presence
Just as there are levels of surrender, there are levels in which God fills us. The deeper the surrender, the deeper the filling. You can be so possessed by the Holy Spirit that you live with an awareness of His tangible presence. So full of Him that the cloud of His glory is within and upon you everywhere you go. This will not only have a deep impact on you, but a profound impact on those around you.
I want to see you experience this level of God’s presence. You can go to a new level of surrender and saturation. You can live 100 percent yoked with the Holy Spirit and radiate Him everywhere you go. You can fill your heart with truth about how to let the Holy Spirit have a full takeover in your life. You are in this world, but not of it. You live from a higher dimension and reality.
Prayer for the Manifestation of Miracles
Miracles are those events, actions or activities that no human can perform of his/her own power. Think of things in your life that only God can change and boldly take those needs to Him. Expect to see His mighty hand move in your life! Our God is the God of miracles!
Heavenly Father, You are our God; we earnestly search for You. Our souls thirst for You; our bodies long for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water. Lord, we have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how we praise You! We will praise You as long as we live; we will lift up our hands to You in prayer. You are more satisfying than the richest feast and we will praise You with songs of joy. Father, we thank You for manifesting Your mighty miracles throughout the body of Christ. Thank You for healing our people. We thank You for salvation, which is the greatest miracle of all. Thank You for blessing us with Your presence.
Father, according to Your own will, You ministered with signs and wonders, various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we expect miracles to manifest during our times of worship. Lord, just as You brought Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, so we believe that You will manifest Your glory in our lives. Lord Jesus, as You performed so many miracles during Your ministry, we rejoice that You said that we would do greater works than You did because You were going to the Father and were sending the Holy Spirit. We confess that we, the body of Christ, will do what Jesus did and we will move to the “greater things.” Lord, just as You turned water into wine, spoke and healed the ruler’s daughter, touched the casket and the dead man rose, called Lazarus from the dead, cast the demons out of Legion and healed the woman with the issue of blood; so we expect to have personal encounters with You in our public and private lives. In Jesus’ Name, we command financial increase for our lives. We command the sick in our congregation to be made whole. We command the deaf to hear, the mute to speak and the lame to walk. We decree that Your marvelous works will follow us so that people will come to You confessing Jesus Christ, as their Lord and redeemer. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimonies, so Father, we thank You that every member of the body of Christ will have a one on one encounter with You so that they will have a testimony of Your power, authority, love, grace, healing and deliverance.
Father, I thank You for performing the following miracles in my personal life. List them and begin to praise God:
Continue to pray: Holy Spirit, have Your perfect way in our churches during our worship celebrations, children and youth worship celebrations, bible study classes and ministry meetings so that miracles, signs and wonders can flow freely. Stir up the gift of faith within each pastor, leader, member, ministry volunteer, and visitors throughout the churches to expect great manifestations of Your power, not only during the worship experiences, but every day of their lives. Lord, allow us to have personal and direct access to Your glory so we will proclaim as the Samaritan woman, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did!” Please use us to perform Your miracles, signs and wonders. Holy Spirit, empower us so that we are effective witnesses of Jesus Christ.
Father, forgive those people who have doubted Your Word and works, especially our leader(s) in the Gospel. Forgive those for operating in fear and unbelief. Forgive those who have not taken the time to say “thank you” for the miraculous works You have done in their lives. Forgive all of us for not comprehending with all the saints the breadth, length, depth, height, and love of Christ which passes all understanding and knowledge. Father, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed.) Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to show you names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He shows you, say aloud, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us not to yield to temptation; but deliver us from the evil one.
Lord, You are Holy, Holy, Holy. You are the God who is, who was, and who is to come. You are the Almighty. You are the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. You are the Eternal King, the Unseen One who will never die; You alone are God. In His Name, Amen
Scripture References for the Written Text: Psalm 63:1-5, Hebrews 2:4, Psalm 136:11-12, John 14:12, John 2:1-11, Matthew 9:18-26, Luke 7:14-15, John 11:38-44, Mark 5:9-13, Revelation 12:11, John 4:29, II Timothy 3:5, Ephesians 3:18-19, Matthew 6:13, Revelation 4:8, Revelation 1:8, I Timothy 1:17
Receiving the Holy Spirit through Baptism
In Mark 1:9-10, we read, “And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately, coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.
Next we turn to Acts 8:36-39. The evangelist, Philip, had been teaching the gospel or good news of Christ to an Ethiopian eunuch while they were riding along in a chariot. Then in verses 36-39 we read: “Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, See here is water, what hinders me from being baptized? And Philip said, if you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.”
In baptism there is presence of the Holy Spirit. Our word “baptize” is translated from the original Greek word “baptizo“, which means to immerse. “Baptizo” does not mean sprinkle or pour. If our Lord had wanted people to be sprinkled, he would have inspired the New Testament writers to use the Greek word “rhantizo“. If our Lord wanted people to be poured He would have inspired New Testament writers to use the Greek word “katacheo”. But he didn’t, so “baptizo” was used, which can only mean to immerse.
Let’s look in the Bible to see how people were baptized. In John 3:23 we read, “Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there.” Why was John baptizing near Salim? “Because there was much water there;” Scriptural baptism, which is immersion, according to the Bible requires much water.
In Mark 1:5 we read, “Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to Him, and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River.” Why was John baptizing in the Jordan River? Could it be “because there was much water there” in a river?
“When Jesus was baptized, he was baptized in the Jordan River. Why? Again, because there is much water in a river which is required for scriptural baptism, which is immersion; Also notice that after Jesus was baptized, he came “up out of the water.” So scriptural baptism not only requires much water, but it also requires “coming up out of the water.” This cannot be said of sprinkling or pouring.
Here we see that the baptism that God has authorized in the Bible requires the “coming to some water”, “going down into the water,” and after a person is immersed it requires “coming up out of the water.” How much clearer could the Bible be on the mode of baptism? Also notice that after the eunuch was baptized, “he went on his way rejoicing.” Why? Because he was now saved and all of his sins had been taken away. This is certainly something to rejoice about.
Romans 6:4 say, “Therefore we were buried with him by baptism into death.” Here we see that baptism is a burial, which is what is done when one is immersed. Sprinkling is not a burial; it is only sprinkling. Neither is pouring a burial. Both are unlawful substitutions made by man which will cause many people to be lost.
Colossians 2:12 says that we are “buried with him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him.” Here again God requires the one being baptized, to be buried and raised when he is baptized. When we bury a dead person in the cemetery, we do not lay him out on the grass and sprinkle a little dirt on him. No, that would be absurd, and it is just as absurd in trying to substitute sprinkling for baptism. Sprinkling for baptism is foreign to the scriptures. God did not authorize it. There is not one instance anywhere in the Bible where anyone was sprinkled for baptism.
But we then ask the question, where then did sprinkling or pouring come from? The first recorded case in all of early church history was that of Novatian in 251 AD, who lay sick on his bed and water was poured on him. Who made this first exception, man or God? Man did without the authorization of God. God has not approved of it. Sprinkling is just as vain as if it had never been done. This man made exception over the centuries became the man made accepted practice until at the Council of Ravenna in 1311 AD, man legalized sprinkling for baptism, but without God’s authority. Since sprinkling is without God’s authority, if you were sprinkled or poured, then you have not been scripturally baptized, and you still have every sin that you have ever committed and are still lost.
We believe that the Bible clearly teaches baptism by immersion. It is the only mode associated with baptism in the Bible and the only mode that expresses the meaning of baptism as shown in passages such as Romans 6:1–10 and seven other lines of biblical reasoning.
- The Greek word used for baptismin the New Testament means to plunge, dip, or immerse in water. In secular ancient Greek, this word was used to explain such things as the sinking of ships that had been submerged in water. The early translators of the Bible into English ran into the dilemma that translating baptize inas “immerse” would confuse people. So rather than translating the word, they merely transliterated it, changing the Greek characters into Roman letters. However, the Dutch Bible actually translates the word so that the man who appears in Matthew 3:1 is Johannes de Doper, John the Dipper!
- According to Mark 1:5 John the Baptizer immersed people in the river. John also selected the Jordan River as the place for conducting his baptisms because“water was plentiful there.”
- When Jesus was baptized it seems he was immersed in water since the bible says that he came out of the water as the dove descended on him.
- Philip took the Ethiopian eunuch down into the waterto baptize him, indicating it was by immersing him in water.
- Baptism is in a very real sense the remembrance ofand identification with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. It would be inconceivable to understand Jesus’ brutal murder as something that was sprinkled upon him rather than as a total burial into death and the grace. Only immersion accurately shows Jesus’ death and descent into burial, followed by emersion out of the water into resurrection.
- When someone who was not racially Jewish converted to Judaism in the Old Testament (and in the present day), they underwent a Jewish proselyte baptism to show that God had cleansed them from their sin. The mode of this baptism was (and is) immersion.
- The Bible does speak of our salvation in terms of being cleansed from sin, sprinkled by Jesus, and having the Holy Spirit poured outupon us. However, it is important to note that none of the occurrences of sprinkling or pouring in the Bible are in any way related to baptism.
Christians should be baptized in the same manner as Jesus, immersed in water and then brought forth. In so doing, they are identifying with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and are cleansed from the sins.
That is, we believe that the Holy Spirit of God gave to the men who wrote the Bible the very words that they should use in that writing (1 Cor. 2:13).
The meaning of the Greek word is, according to Liddell and Scott, Greek-English, Lexicon, “to put beneath,” or “to dip under.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament has this to say about it, “An immersion in water performed as a sign of the removal of sin.” Strong’s Concordance translates it, “to make overwhelmed.” “The Greek language has had a continuous history, and baptizo is used today in Greece for baptism. As is well-known not only in Greece, but all over Russia, wherever the Greek Church prevails, immersion is the unbroken and universal practice. The Greeks may surely be credited with knowledge of the meaning of their own language.” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; Professor E. A. Sophocles, himself a Greek, in his ‘Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods,” wrote, “There is no evidence that Luke and Paul and the other writers of the New Testament put upon this verb meaning to immerse not recognized by the Greeks.”
The Greek word was not translated by the translators of our English Authorized Version of the Scriptures but merely Angle sized. This has allowed for much confusion. It is interesting to note, however, that Webster’s New International Dictionary, after it gives what might be termed a definition according to religious use of the word “baptize”, has this: “To submerge in, or to overflow, cover, or affect with, something after the manner of baptism with water.”
Matthew 28:19, in the light of the above, should be translated, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations submerging them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” and Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were submerged.” (Read the entire third chapter of Matthew substituting “submerge” for “baptize”).
Did the Holy Spirit make a mistake in His choice of the word? If He did not, and surely none would accuse Him of error, then what right have church leaders, or anyone else, to substitute a different word or give a perverted meaning to this one? Who will dare to say, “Holy Spirit, you were too narrow in your selection of ‘baptizo,’ it really does not matter how his ordinance is administered”?
We believe that the Holy Spirit was governed by Divine exactness when He used this word. We desire to be obedient to the Holy Spirit so we must insist on Believers being “dipped under” when they are taken “into” the water (Acts 3:38).
Baptism by immersion most beautifully portrays this method of salvation, every candidate that is baptized by that act tells all who witness, “I am placing my faith in a Savior who went down into death for me, as I go down into this water; Who was buried and rose again in my behalf even as I am buried in this water and raised up to live for Him.”
These are the reasons we present for our firm stand on this matter and standing here we find ourselves in company with history, logic, Scripture and Deity. What better company could one want? “Wherefore compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside” every argument of expediency and tradition of men and be obedient unto the heavenly vision. Have YOU obeyed your Lord unto baptism?