Baptism in the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost is essential to living a good Christian life through Christ Jesus, according to the doctrines of the Church of God in Christ. Bishop Mason believed that the only way for a Christian's sanctified life to be complete through Christ was by being filled with the Holy Ghost. Baptism in the Holy Ghost is one of the main doctrines that distinguishes the Church of God in Christ from various Christian denominations in the United States, especially the many denominations of the Baptist Church. At the same time it is this doctrine that makes the COGIC denomination similar to many Pentecostal Christian denominations.
For the majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit (prior English language usage: the Holy Ghost from Old English gast, "spirit") is the third person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God. The Holy Spirit is seen by most Christians as one person of the Triune God, who revealed His Holy Name, YHWH, to His people Israel, sent His eternally begotten son Jesus to save them from their sins, and sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify and give life to His Church.
Holy Spirit in the Biblical Gospels
The Holy Spirit does not simply appear at Pentecost after the Resurrection of Jesus, but is prominent in the Gospel of Luke (in 1-2) prior to the birth of Jesus. In Luke 1:15, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit prior to birth and the Holy Spirit came upon the Virgin Mary in Luke 1:35. In Luke 3:16 John the Baptist states that Jesus baptizes not with water but with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus during his own baptism in the Jordan. In Luke 11:13 Jesus provides assurances that God the Father will "give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him".Mark 13:11 specifically refers to the power of the Holy Spirit to act and speak through the disciples of Jesus in time of need: "be not anxious beforehand what ye shall speak: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye; for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Spirit." Matthew 10:20 refers to the same act of speaking through the disciples, but uses the term "Spirit of your Father".The sacredness of the Holy Spirit is affirmed in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 12:30-32, Mark 3:28-30 and Luke 12:8-10) which proclaim that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin.
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
In Christian theology, the work of the Holy Spirit under the Old Covenant is viewed as less powerful and less extensive than that under the New Covenant inaugurated on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit was restricted to certain chosen individuals, such as high priests and prophets. Often termed the “spirit of prophecy” in rabbinic writings, the Holy Spirit was closely associated with prophecy and divine inspiration. It was anticipated that in the future messianic age God would pour out his spirit upon all of Israel, which would become a nation of prophets. While the exact phrase "baptism with the Holy Spirit" is not found in the New Testament, two forms of the phrase are found in the canonical gospels using the verb "baptize". The baptism was spoken about by John the Baptist, who contrasted his water baptism for the forgiveness of sins with the baptism of Jesus. In Mark and John, the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus "will baptize in (the) Holy Spirit"; while in Matthew and Luke, he "will baptize with Holy Spirit and fire".Jesus is considered the first person to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus during his baptism, and he was anointed with power.Afterward, Jesus began his ministry and displayed his power by casting out demons, healing the sick, and teaching with authority. The phrase "baptized in the Holy Spirit" occurs two times in Acts, first in Acts 1:4-5 and second in Acts 11:16. Other terminology is used in Acts to indicate Spirit baptism, such as "filled". "Baptized in the Spirit" indicates an outward immersion into the reality of the Holy Spirit, while "filled with the Spirit" suggests an internal diffusion. Both terms speak to the totality of receiving the Spirit.The baptism with the Holy Spirit is described in various places as the Spirit "poured out upon", "falling upon", "coming upon" people. To "pour out" suggests abundance and reflects John 3:34, "God gives the Spirit without limit". Another expression, "come upon" is related to a statement by Jesus in Luke 24:49: "I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high".The narrative of Acts begins after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The resurrected Jesus directed his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism in the Holy Spirit and promised, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth". After his ascension, he was given authority to pour out the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, the messianic expectations found in early Judaism were fulfilled on the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2:1-41. The Christian community was gathered together in Jerusalem when a sound from heaven like rushing wind was heard and tongues like tongues of flame rested on everyone. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, miraculously praising God in foreign languages. The Apostle Paul was also filled with the Holy Spirit when Ananias of Damascus laid hands on him, and afterwards Paul was baptized with water. Later in Acts, Peter preached the gospel to the household of Cornelius the Centurion, a Gentile. While he preached, the Holy Spirit fell on the gentiles, and they began to speak in tongues. The Jewish believers with Peter were amazed, and the household was water baptized. While the apostle Paul was in Ephesus, he found disciples there and discovered that they did not know of the existence of the Holy Spirit and had only received John the Baptist’s baptism. After baptizing them in Jesus’ name, Paul laid his hands on them, and they began to speak in tongues and prophesy.
The Holy Spirit in COGIC Theology/Doctrine
Pentecostal and charismatic Christians believe that all Christians have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. However, they believe that the experience commonly called "baptism in the Holy Spirit" is a separate and distinct experience occurring sometime after regeneration. It is an empowering experience, equipping Spirit-filled believers for witness and ministry. Extending from this is the belief that all the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament are to be sought and exercised to build up the Church. It is Spirit baptism that initiates the believer in the use of the spiritual gifts. The COGIC believes that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is an experience subsequent to conversion and sanctification and that tongue-speaking is the consequence of the baptism in the Holy Ghost with the manifestations of the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; Acts 10:46, 19:1-6). When one receives a baptismal Holy Ghost experience, one will speak with a tongue unknown to oneself according to the sovereign will of Christ. To be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be controlled by and to dwell in the Holy Spirit as expressed by Paul in Ephesians 5:18-19. The COGIC teaches that a Holy Ghost experience is mandatory for all men today.
When being Baptized in the Holy Ghost
The COGIC teaches that when a person tarries (to pray while earnestly waiting for God to fill you with the Holy Ghost) to receive the Holy Spirit, that they should pray and worship God until they are baptized with God's Holy Spirit. The COGIC teaches that when a person truly is filled with the Holy Ghost, at that moment they will speak in tongues as the Holy Spirit prays through them. The COGIC teaches that speaking in tongues is not necessary for living a Christian lifestyle, BUT it is the main piece of evidence that lets the other Christian believers who witness the person having the Holy Ghost experience know that they were sincerely filled and baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Speaking in Tongues
Not all members of the Church of God in Christ believe in speaking in tongues, but most of the members of the COGIC believe that when a person is filled with the Holy Ghost and speaks in tongues, that person will be moved by the Holy Ghost to speak in a spiritual language where only God Himself can understand the language they are speaking. As aforestated, the COGIC teaches that speaking in tongues is not necessary for living a Godly and holy Christian lifestyle, BUT it is the main piece of evidence that lets the other Christian believers who witness the person having the Holy Ghost experience know that they were sincerely filled and baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Gifts of the Spirit
The COGIC teaches that when one is baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will help them to live holy and sanctified and to live a good Christian lifestyle. The COGIC teaches that the Holy Spirit helps the Christian believer to follow and obey the word of God (the Bible). Also, according to the Apostle Paul, when a Christian believer receives the Holy Ghost, spiritual gifts used for the edifying of the Church and the worship of Christ Jesus under the New Covenant will be bestowed upon that believer so that they can be holy witnesses of God unto sinners and win lost souls to Christ.
These are list of some listed throughout the New Testament: Romans 12:6-8
1 Corinthians 12:8-10
- Word of wisdom
- Word of knowledge
- Gifts of healings
- Distinguishing between spirits
- Interpretation of tongues
1 Corinthians 12:28
- Kinds of healings
- Helps those in need of help
1 Peter 4:11
- Whoever speaks
- Whoever renders service
Also in Isaiah 11:2-3, the Bible says when a person is filled with God's Holy Spirit, they will receive seven especially wonderful gifts that will help them to live holy:
- fear of the Lord
Fruits of the Spirit
The Bible also has a similar passage in the New Testament in Paul's Letter to the Galatians in the fifth (5th) chapter. Paul wrote that when a Christian lives a truly holy life, they will show the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, that sums up the nine visible attributes of a true Christian life. They are: