By Larry Ray Hafley
From the Republic of the Philippines: “Was Paul baptized in the Holy Spirit? Paul was doing things that only those who received the Baptism can do, like the laying on of hands to impart the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6). If he was. where is, the Scripture to prove if? Is it possible that he received Holy Spirit baptism when Ananias laid his hands upon him? If he did, then not only the Apostles have !he power to lay hands to impart the Holy Spirit.”
I. Was Paul baptized in the Holy Spirit?
2 Cor. 11:5 may imply that Paul had received Holy Spirit baptism. “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” The apostles received Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4). If Paul did not receive Holy Spirit baptism, he was “a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” However, since he was “not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles,” I infer and aver that he had received Holy Spirit baptism. T here is no verse that tells when or where he was baptized with the Holy Spirit.
2 Cor. 12:12 may imply that Paul received Holy Spirit baptism. “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you.” The apostles had a special work of witnessing which they and no others were to accomplish (Acts 1:22, 23; 2:32; 10:39;42). There were signs, particular and peculiar, to the apostles. Paul manifested these. From this I infer that he received Holy Spirit baptism, though no verse tells specifically when and where he was baptized with the Holy Spirit.
II. Is it possible that Paul received Holy Spirit baptism when Ananias laid his hands upon him?
No, it is not possible that Paul “received Holy Spirit baptism when Ananias laid his hands upon him.” (1) The Lord baptized in the Holy Spirit (Jn. 15:26). Men did not. There is no incident of human agency connected with Holy Spirit baptism. (2) Philip could not impart the Holy Spirit in Acts 8:14-18. None other than the apostles imparted the Holy Spirit unto men. Are we to infer that Ananias imparted Holy Spirit baptism in the case of Paul but that Philip could not give the Holy Spirit in Samaria? Neither Ananias nor Philip could impart the Holy Spirit through laying on of hands. (3) If Ananias gave Paul Holy Spirit baptism through the laying on of his hands, Paul received the Holy Spirit and power as an apostle before his sins were washed away (Cf. Acts 9:17, 18; 22:16). True, Cornelius received Holy Spirit baptism before his conversion, but that involved a special need which was not present with Paul. Since Paul was not a child of God until he was baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:26, 27; Acts 22:10), it is error to believe that Paul was given Holy Spirit baptism through Ananias’ hands before he was baptized into Christ.
One could grant, for the sake of argument, every fact. Suppose we could not cite a passage intimating that Paul received Holy Spirit baptism? What hurt is there? Do not preach what you cannot read. Suppose we grant that Ananias baptized Paul in the Holy Spirit through laying on of his hands? That would afford no particular difficulty. If a similiar thing is claimed today because of Ananias, then show me an apostle Paul today. If you can show me an alleged Ananias, you ought to be able to show me a present Paul. We do not grant these items, but if we did, we would expect a. modern day Paul to follow every modern day Ananias.
Truth Magazine XX: 30, p. 466
July 29, 1976