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Author Topic: Baptism of the Holy Spirit vs Acquisition of the Holy Spirit  (Read 2241 times) Average Rating: 0
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Mother Anastasia
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« on: May 27, 2006, 08:23:18 PM »

I would like to your thoughts, understanding and observations,  on the difference between the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, with the evidence of tongues and the gifts;  verses the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit as Saint Seraphim taught was the goal of life.

I want to distinguish them from one another, because I believe they are different, and I would appreciate your perspective.

Thank you.

p.s. (I would prefer to avoid hot debates, I am looking for solid answers and understanding.)
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« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2006, 07:30:30 AM »

Christ is Risen!

 Mother Anastasia,

Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the progression of the gifts that lead us toward the higher gift the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit and eventually leading us to our goal of Theosis. St Paul notes very specific Charisms of gifts of the Holy Spirit 1 Corinthians 12 summarized in the last verses of the chapter :
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Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; 6 second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues.
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Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds?
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Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?
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Strive eagerly for the greatest spiritual gifts. But I shall show you a still more excellent way.

St Paul then leads us to the “more excellent way in 1 Corinthians 13 as he states:
 1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

St Seraphim takes these points and elaborates further upon them noting that that “the true aim of our Christian life consists of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every good deed done for Christ's sake, are the only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God. Mark my words, only good deeds done for Christ's sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is not done for Christ's sake, even though it be good, brings neither reward in the future life nor the grace of God in this life. That is why our Lord Jesus Christ said: "He who does not gather with Me scatters" (Luke 11:23). Not that a good deed can be called anything but gathering, even though a deed is not done for Christ's sake, it is still considered good. The Scriptures say: "In every nation he who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to Him" (Acts 10:35).”

Again St Seraphim says “"Acquire the grace of the Holy Spirit also by practicing all the other virtues for Christ's sake. Trade spiritually with them; trade with those which give you the greatest profit. Accumulate capital from the superabundance of God's grace, deposit it in God's eternal bank which will bring you immaterial interest, not four or six per cent, but one hundred per cent for one spiritual ruble, and even infinitely more than that. For example, if prayer and watching gives you more of God's grace, watch and pray; if fasting gives you much of the spirit of God, fast; if almsgiving gives you more, give alms. Weigh every virtue done for Christ's sake in this manner.”

Thus we can see that we may reap the Fruits of the Holy Spirit by acts that we do for Christ’s sake rather than for our own Glory. The acquisition of the Holy Spirit enables us to see God.ÂÂ  St Seraphim notes that “the Lord has frequently demonstrated before many witnesses how the grace of the Holy Spirit acts on people whom He has sanctified and illumined by His great inspirations. Remember Moses after his talk with God on Mount Sinai. He so shone with an extraordinary light that people were unable to look at him. He was even forced to wear a veil when he appeared in public. Remember the Transfiguration of the Lord on Mount Tabor. A great light encircled Him, "and His raiment became shining, exceedingly white like snow" (Mk. 9:3), and His disciples fell on their faces from fear. But when Moses and Elijah appeared to Him in that light, a cloud overshadowed them in order to hide the radiance of the light of the divine grace which blinded the eyes of the disciples. Thus the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God appears in an ineffable light to all to whom God reveals its action."


When we are able to be present with God and partake fully of communion with Him as He has with His Son and Holy Spirit, we will have achieved Theosis.

In Christ
Thomas
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« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2006, 11:09:51 AM »

This passage from St. Maximus might also help:

http://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/maximus-holy-spirit.asp
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Mother Anastasia
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2006, 07:01:50 PM »

Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the progression of the gifts that lead us toward the higher gift the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit and eventually leading us to our goal of Theosis.

Christ is truly risen!

Dear Thomas,

There was a great deal in your post, so I would like to take it one step at a time.

So what you have said above, is that there is a progression of gifts leading to the higher gift of the Acquisition of the Holy Spirit....

Could you explain what Orthodoxy teaches about this progression?

Your little sister in Christ,

Mother Anastasia
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2006, 07:40:25 PM »

Mother Anastasia,

As one can see from the writings of St. Paul. The gifts of the spirit that many protestants and charismatics see as so important for validation of their faith are noted by St Paul as transient, i.e. gifts that will go away or not be given to all.ÂÂ  St. Paul indicates that we are to strive for the “more excellent way”.ÂÂ  Love or “agape’ is the greater way, it isÂÂ  more powerful than the gifts of the spirit given to strengthen one’s belief.

As St Maximus writes: “The Holy Spirit is present in all creatures and most of all in those who have participated in any way to reason. Because He is who holds and unites the knowledge of all creatures, since He is God and God's Spirit, going into everything according to the potentiality that He foresees, and He enlivens and moves the natural reason of all, this way leading him, who senses and has his will ready to receive the correct and natural thoughts, to feel those of his acts that don't comply completely with the customs of nature.”

He goes further to define the purpose of the Holy Spirit in noting that , “those who have followed and understood and by living according to God have made themselves worthy of His divinising inhabitation”.ÂÂ  ThatÂÂ  inhabitation prepares us to experience the Divine Light and Theosis, the goal of every eastern Orthodox Christian.

St. Seraphim of Sarov gives the directions for the gaining or acquisition of the Holy Spirit, when he notes “ the true aim of our Christian life consists of the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every good deed done for Christ's sake, are the only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God. Mark my words, only good deeds done for Christ's sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit.”

As my spiritual Father once told me, ‘Love, Love is everything.ÂÂ  It puts a hold on judgmentof others. It allows us to see in every man the very image (icon) of Christ/God.ÂÂ  We must do everything we do in life for the Love of Christ, dedicatedÂÂ  completely and solely to Christ.” This is the process and focus of the Orthodox Church to chose the “more excellent way”.

In Christ,
Thomas
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Mother Anastasia
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2006, 07:46:55 PM »

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears....(the perfect):  the greatest of these is love

We are in agreement on this and if the gifts are not exercised from the pure motive of Love of God and neighbor, they do make a grating spiritual noise.

I can well understand why some Christians including those here, could have an objection to the Charismatic movement, since there has been blatant egotism and disorder in the exercise of some "gifts", although it is dangerous to presume to judge the motives of another Man's servant.  Perhaps we are safer in looking at the fruits as we are asked to discern every spirit and see if it be of God.  I have seen both good and bad fruits.

Perfect way  (St. Therese the Little Flower chose this as her way). 

where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears....

I have always understood this to mean that when the kingdom of Heaven descends, either here in our midst as happened with St. Seraphim when he was visiting with others, and when the Shekinah glory falls,   or when we stand before God, Face to Face, in the Kingdom of Heaven,  nothing has any relevance except pure love.  Although at such times infused wisdom can be imparted and shared with others as a help to them.  It is the love and purity of this moment which allows the Holy Spirit to sow seeds freely into the hearts of those present.

How is this understood from an Orthodox perspective?
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2006, 07:54:50 PM »

1.  As one can see from the writings of St. Paul. The gifts of the spirit that many protestants and charismatics see as so import for validation of their faith are noted by St Paul as transient, i.e. gifts that will go away or not be given to all. 

This we agree on 100%.

This is a very narrow and limited view of the Christian walk and one that led me out of that belief system altogether and into the Roman Catholic church by way of St. Francis of Assisi, because he demonstrated love and true virtue in God.  (As a result, the gifts followed him wherever he went.)
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2006, 08:04:37 PM »

1.  Love or “agape’ is the greater way, it is  more powerful than the gifts of the spirit given to strengthen one’s belief.

2.   We must do everything we do in life for the Love of Christ, dedicated  completely and solely to Christ.” This is the process and focus of the Orthodox Church to chose the “more excellent way”.

2.  I totally agree.

1.  I do not see agape or the gifts of the spirit,  as mutually exclusive.  Rather, I see that the gifts of the spirit, as exercised by St. Seraphim when the spirit of prophecy spoke through him, as being a gift from God to advise the soul of approaching danger, to heal,  etc.

To seek the gifts for themselves is foolishness,  but to receive the gifts, in order to help others, because the Holy Spirit wishes to touch them through you; this I see as agape in action,  and cooperation with the will of God.
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I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, so that they may all be one, as You, Father are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2006, 08:42:10 PM »

(...)
where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears....

I have always understood this to mean that when the kingdom of Heaven descends, either here in our midst as happened with St. Seraphim when he was visiting with others, and when the Shekinah glory falls,   or when we stand before God, Face to Face, in the Kingdom of Heaven,  nothing has any relevance except pure love.  Although at such times infused wisdom can be imparted and shared with others as a help to them.  It is the love and purity of this moment which allows the Holy Spirit to sow seeds freely into the hearts of those present.

How is this understood from an Orthodox perspective?

You are partially echoing St. Maximus here:

Quote:

...The scriptural Word knows of two kinds of knowledge of divine things. On the one hand, there is relative knowledge, rooted only in reason and ideas, and lacking in the kind of experiential perception of what one knows through active engagement; such relative knowledge is what we use to order our affairs in our present life. On the other hand, there is that truly authentic knowledge, gained only by actual experience, apart from reason and ideas, which provides a total perception of the known object through a participation (μέθεξις ) by grace. By this latter knowledge, we attain, in the future state, the supernatural deification (θέωσις ) that remains unceasingly in effect. They say that the relative knowledge based on reason and ideas can motivate our desire for the participative knowledge acquired by active engagement. They say, moreover, that this active, experiential knowledge, which by participation, furnishes the direct perception of the object known, can supplant the relative knowledge based on reason and ideas.

For the sages say that it is impossible for rational knowledge (λόγος ) of God to coexist with the direct experience (πείρα ) of God, or for conceptual knowledge (νόησις ) of God to coexist with immediate perception (αίσθησις ) of God. By "rational knowledge of God" I mean the use of the analogy of created beings in the intellectual contemplation of God; by "perception" I mean the experience, through participation, of the supernatural goods; by "conceptual knowledge" I mean the simple and unitary knowledge of God drawn from created beings. This kind of distinction may be recognized with every other kind of knowledge as well, since the direct "experience" of a thing suspends rational knowledge of it and direct "perception" of a thing renders the "conceptual knowledge" of it useless. By "experience" (πείρα ) I mean that knowledge, based on active engagement, which surpasses all reason. By "perception" (αίσθησις ) I mean that participation in the known object which manifests itself beyond all conceptualization. This may very well be what the great Apostle is secretly teaching when he says, As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will disappear (1 Cor. 13:8 ). Clearly he is referring here to that knowledge which is found in reason and ideas. - "On the Cosmic Mystery of Jesus Christ"
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« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2006, 08:58:40 PM »

Thank you icxn, that is exactly what I was trying to communicate.
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« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2006, 12:18:51 AM »

Christ is risen. I believe that the former refers merely to an intimate encounter with the living Triune God while the latter focuses on growth that must follow after such an encounter. I have witnessed many Christians in various ecclesiastic backgrounds whose lives were changed and faith strengthened as a result of this powerful experience. God is no longer a remote and abstract entity but a living and tangible being. However as in any relationship constant expression and renewal of love are necessary in our companionship with Holy Spirit. It is unfortunate that many believers mistake a means for an end in itself. Obviously, a mere encounter with someone is not to be equated with an ongoing comapnionship with that individual. Acquisition of the Holy Spirit, rather Holy Spirit's acquisition of Christians, can be realized only when we completely surrender ourselves to Him by bearing fruits of the Holy Spirit. 
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2006, 03:13:38 PM »

Christ is risen. I believe that the former refers merely to an intimate encounter with the living Triune God while the latter focuses on growth that must follow after such an encounter. I have witnessed many Christians in various ecclesiastic backgrounds whose lives were changed and faith strengthened as a result of this powerful experience. God is no longer a remote and abstract entity but a living and tangible being. However as in any relationship constant expression and renewal of love are necessary in our companionship with Holy Spirit. It is unfortunate that many believers mistake a means for an end in itself. Obviously, a mere encounter with someone is not to be equated with an ongoing companionship with that individual.

I totally agree,  and in retrospect, looking at the great move of the Holy Spirit that transformed many souls in churches during the 20th Century, it gave birth to solid vocations, and deep spirituality.  For instance on this forum and in orthodoxy, there have been many that have had experiences with the Charismatic gifts and later abandoned them for more contemplative and liturgical forms of spirituality. 

I believe that this movement was not something to be embraced and held onto at all costs, but rather a birthing into more grounding forms of spirituality that would foster the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  However, it seems that many souls who experienced abuses in this Charismatic climate, were so turned off that they began to attribute the genuine as well as the counterfeit to the workings of Satan.   

Whereas I believe this gift is to be retained, but in proper relationship to our other faith practices. 

"I give thanks to God that I speak in tongues more than any of you, but in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, so as to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue." I Cor 13:18

"So, my brothers, strive eagerly to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues, but everything must be done properly and in order."  I Cor. 14:39


In my own life I went through a period where I disdained this gift and consigned it to the spiritually immature,  truly presumptuous and pridefully immature on my part.  Then God in His mercy brought this gift back into operation during private worship, and began to reveal to me how it was to be exercised in our lives.   

I believe we have thrown the baby out with the bath water,  and that just as St. Paul retained the exercise of this gift throughout his entire lifetime, and taught that this was to be used,  we too are given this example to bring the gift into proper perspective.

I see it as empowering, bringing with it much needed ministerial gifts that do no violence to tradition and orthodox practice, but rather are a resource in cooperating with the Holy Spirit in His work of healing, deliverance, and directing the souls entrusted to us with supernatural wisdom.

Not all have attained the stature of Staretz, but all can dispense wisdom, healing, and deliverance if properly taught when the Holy Spirit brings this gift into operation.

In His Peace,

Mother Anastasia
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2006, 04:30:20 PM »

Hi Everyone,  Grin

Are we talking about Baptism?
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2006, 09:26:12 PM »

Hi Everyone,  Grin

Are we talking about Baptism?

(The Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, Acts 2 and I Cor 12.)
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2006, 01:24:34 AM »

Thank you very much for this wonderful topic you posted, Mother Anastasia. You have put it very succinctly. I couldn't agree with you more. I also recently resumed the use of glosolalia in private spiritual practice. May He grant us holy wisdom and discernement to exercise this gift wisely.
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