The New Covenant Ministry of the Holy Spirit

by Larry D. Pettegrew

Pettegrew has given us a carefully-researched study on the ministry of the Holy Spirit under the new covenant. Beginning with the Old Testament, the author shows that these prophets (including John the Baptist) were aware of the future outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They most assuredly did not know the full New Testament implication of the ministry of the Spirit. However, these prophets knew that the future work of the Holy Spirit held great blessing for Israel.

When Christ came He spoke of the baptism or outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The author discusses the meaning of the "baptism" of/with the Holy Spirit. Is it accompanied by speaking in tongues? Does it place one into the church? Are the filling of the Spirit and the baptism of the Spirit the same? If they are different, what is the significance of each?

To help us solve these questions Pettegrew suggests that the Book of the Acts is a transitional document that records a change from the Old to the New Covenant. The references to the baptism of the Spirit are not the norm for today's Christians. To clarify this point he points out that the Pentecost experience, the experience of the Samaritan believers, and the rebaptism of the Ephesians disciples that Paul encountered have some things that are similar and others that are dissimilar.

Speaking in tongues, or foreign languages, demonstrated to unbelievers that their message was from God. Tongues further demonstrated that God had accepted both Jews and Gentiles into the church. The so-called "sign" gifts given to the early church were inaugural in character and were destined to disappear as the Scriptural canon was given and the church was fully established.