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Lowell Brueckner

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The Baptism in the Holy Spirit III


The Holy Spirit, miracles and supernatural signs in the epistles

coals of fire
“I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience – by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God – so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ.” (Ro.15:18-19)

“And my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Co.2:4-5)

“I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” (1 Co.4:19-20)

“Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” (Gal.3:5)

“Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” (1 Th.1:5)

“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” (He.2:3-4)

One would think that all Christians should want to take advantage of this baptism, along with the gifts that God has given to the church in order to function, but it is not so. Always, when there is a moving of the Spirit, there is opposition and the opposition does not come from the people of the world, but from the church itself. This has been the case in all revivals. We should know and be sure that, although a large part of the church has denied the power that God has granted to it, the enemy has not given any of his power away. His kingdom is threatened by a power that is greater than his.

The gates of hell are assaulted by a church that is supernaturally active, supported by the power, gifts and wonders of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, Satan will do what he can, to provoke whoever he can, against the people, through whom the power of God is manifested. When Christ sent His twelve apostles to preach the gospel, “He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction” (Mt.10:1). He prepared them for a supernatural encounter.

I will never forget what I experienced in my adolescence. My dad was director of a Bible school for Native Americans, Mokahum (Sunrise), in the north of the State of Minnesota, USA, in the years 1955-1957. During that time, there were tremendous manifestations of evil spirits in the region, and the staff, along with the students, spent much time attempting to deliver a girl, whose father was a medicine man. In the end, 169 demons were cast out, and the young lady was set totally free; she live a Christian life and married a man, who was also a Christian.

There were other cases like that and I, because of what I have seen with my own eyes, can testify to you of the reality of a spiritual realm. From time to time, I share these stories, so that people can see that, what we read in the Bible about wicked spirits, continue to be an actual reality in the 21st Century… let there be no doubt about that!

What I have seen and heard by personal experience

My father was a man, who knew God’s power from the time he received Christ (I have written a book that gives the story… What Our Hands Have Handled). His relationship with the Lord was intimate and personal. He related his testimonies to the native students in the Bible school and perhaps, for these two reasons… that is, because of the reality of the spiritual world that they had experienced and because of the testimonies of my dad… they decided to give Mondays, after their classes, over to prayer. That simple decision, set in motion a move of God among them. What began as a discipline in their lives, became a passion; it developed into the only activity that satisfied them. Innocent parties and games, although they were never prohibited, were laid aside, because of a mighty longing deep within them that obligated them to seek the Lord.

With no organized effort, any kind of agreement, or even contact with one another, there were groups throughout the region, involved in prayer. Only God was the promoter of that movement. Without getting into a lot of particular details, concerning what took place at that time, I will only say that, besides the salvation of many souls, there was restitution and unity among the various Christians and the leaders of their churches; there were Baptists, Mennonites, Methodists, and the group in which I was raised, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, who recognized their spiritual weakness and lack of power in their lives and ministries.

Previously, many of these people, did not adhere to a second experience, crucial to the believer, but what they did have was a tremendous conviction and sense of need. The Holy Spirit opened their understanding, so that they could comprehend the biblical truth, concerning a baptism in His presence. It is curious to me, that they had no contact with Pentecostalism, nor were there Pentecostals among them. I say this, not to criticize this branch of Christianity in the least, but only to emphasize that, what I saw firsthand, had no relationship with the Azusa Street movement in 1910 in California. I do remember conversations concerning the Wales Revival, that of the Hebrides Islands off Scotland, and the experiences of great men of God throughout church history.

Multitudes attending revival meetings in Wales
In Wales, in 1904-1905, the entire nation fell under the fire of God. The church awoke to the need for prayer and intense intercession. Evening meetings often went on until dawn. The glory of God was palpable and souls fell under profound conviction of sin. People cried in the streets in the middle of the night. During the revival, the taverns were closed for lack of business. Prostitutes and people bound by evil habits were radically transformed. Sporting events were cancelled; no one was interested in watching them and the athletes themselves came to the meetings. Theater crews and their casts stopped coming to Wales, because there was no public interest. People only wanted to hear the Word of God! Local businesses closed during the meetings, so that the employees could attend.

The dark tunnels under the coal mines echoed with the hymns and prayers of the miners. Because of the conversion of a great number of miners, the horses had to be retrained, because previously they were accustomed to respond to commands of profanity and blasphemy. They had to learn to obey a new language, according to the new vocabulary of transformed miners. Crime plummeted and the police force had nothing to do, but to direct the traffic of people entering and leaving the prayer meetings. Denominational walls crumbled and Bibles emptied off the shelves of the book stores. The cry that dominated the Welsh prayers was, “Bend us, Lord, bend us!” An entire society was transformed by the power of God. It was calculated that in that short period of revival, 200,000 were converted and for 20 years into the future, some churches remained so full that they had to place extra seats in the aisles.

 Two elderly ladies from Barvis, Hebrides, 82 and 85-years-old,
one almost blind. They knew the Lord and listened to His

voice. They stand with revival preacher, Duncan Campbell,
whom God used powerfully in the revival.
Years ago, I took our family to the Isle of Lewis, Hebrides, to talk personally with people, who had experienced revival in 1949-1950, which was very similar to that which occurred in Wales. I was astounded to learn of the clear direction of the Holy Spirit, guiding the leaders of the movement and the general public. At times, a crowd of hundreds would congregate in an open field, without a clue as to why they were there. At the same time, the Spirit would lead a preacher, without previous announcement, to share the gospel with them. Just as in Wales, the taverns were emptied and young people fled from dances, frightened and under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It was especially a move among youth.

A few years ago, I went to India for the first time. As I found my way to the seat in the aircraft, I had a clear sensation of hearing the voice of God say to my: “Sit down and relax. On this trip, although you will teach, what you learn will be more important.” I learned many things there, but what impressed me most of all was a mission for ladies near Pune. The founder was Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922), who attempted to help those she called “child widows”, persecuted by their in-laws. This happened after the death of their husbands, who were much older than the girls that they “married”; many were enslaved and even branded.

I took this photo of the life-sized cardboard image of Pandita
Ramabai in her room. She was so small that the legs on her
bed, table and chairs had to be cut to her size. 
The people in the mission told me of the revival that occurred at the beginning of the 20th Century. The mission was largely self-sustaining, through various small businesses and labor, in which the members were involved. Because Pandita Ramabai went to England, she attended the Keswick Convention, and heard of the Wales Revival. She returned to India, with a longing to see the same happen in her country among the girls and ladies in her mission. She organized a prayer meeting, in which 70 girls, all of which belonged to the work force or were high school students, took part. Among those who volunteered, these 70 were carefully chosen, because of their hunger and zeal for God. They were excused from their jobs or their schools, in order to dedicate themselves to prayer. The prayer group grew until it numbered seven hundred. This was a great sacrifice for the mission and yes, the financial situation suffered and so did the students’ studies. However, the leaders, wise and prudent ladies, believed that the sacrifice was worthwhile, and God visited them. There is always a price to pay, in order to get our priorities in order, as we long for a work of the Spirit.

In this room at 3 a.m., a girl found her roommate in the
flames of the Holy Spirit. It was the beginning of a
powerful revival.
At three o’clock in the morning, one girl awoke from sleep to find her roommate covered in flames. She sprang from bed and ran for a bucket of water. Upon returning and having a better look, she saw that the fire had not damaged the bed or her companion. It was as the fire in the bush that Moses observed. In a certain meeting, the Holy Spirit also manifested Himself in glowing coals around the room, such as in Isaiah’s vision in chapter 6. The participants testified of an inner heat that purified them. It was a revival of fire, as on the Day of Pentecost. Many young ladies were regenerated and baptized in the Spirit; all the gifts of the Spirit of God were manifested. Said Pandita Ramabai, “There are things than cannot be done by human striving.” I found the books that I acquired at the mission fascinating, especially concerning how the leadership was given direction to guide the work. Perhaps, I should add that sometimes they were directed to keep their hands off of what God was doing.

Matthew quoted John the Baptist, who presented One, who “baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt.3:11). Satan hates this fire, as well as the baptism, that destroys his work in the inner beings of people. Some seem to change the conjunction ‘and’ to ‘or’, pretending to say that people are either baptized in the Spirit or, if they reject the gospel, are baptized in the fires of hell.

That is not the case. Clearly, in reference to the fulfillment of this prophecy of John on the Day of Pentecost, we see the Holy Spirit settling as flames of fire on each one present. “Our God is a consuming fire”, declared the writer of Hebrews (He.12:29). Elijah said, “The God who answers by fire, he is God… Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench” (1 K.18:24 and 38). The baptism, on the Day of Pentecost, was a baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire.

God moved in 1955-1957 in Minnesota

A Mennonite pastor, recently baptized in the Spirit, came to our town of Cass Lake, Minnesota, with a tent. Drawn by the Spirit, the people, believers and unbelievers alike, began to attend. The meetings caught the attention of the townspeople and they became a matter of conversation around the area. As you might imagine, they also became a target for gossip.

Our pastor in Cass Lake, Earl Quesnell
(1923-1997), also a life-long friend
Our pastor, attempting to be faithful in warning his congregation, began to criticize the tent meetings in his sermons, calling it emotionalism and fanaticism. After one of his public accusations, an elder of the church called him aside, “Pastor Earl,” he said, “have you personally gone to the tent?” “No, I have not,” our pastor replied. The elder continued, “Don’t you think it would be fair for you to go, in order to see firsthand what is happening?” The pastor could not argue against that kind of logic and admitted to the elder that he was right.

Our pastor observed this transformed Mennonite preacher, and needed no longer than five minutes to see that this man had ten times more evidence of the presence of God upon his ministry, than that which he pretended to have. The Mennonite reflected the glory of God and besides there were no signs of disorder in the tent. From that meeting, the pastor launched a new study of God’s Word with an open heart and mind, and he began to see the teaching of a second experience for a believer in the Bible. He also sensed his own need in his ministry that, up until that time, although very eloquent, had been lacking in power and effectiveness.

In his office, he spoke to the Lord, “Christ, I am now conscious of my need. Please, baptize me right now in Your Spirit.” An answer came to his heart… “Nothing of the kind! You criticized, unjustly and publicly, this good Mennonite man. Now, you will go to him publicly and ask him to pray for you, so that you can receive the baptism.” And that is what he did; he obeyed and the Lord baptized him.

This pastor, Earl, was an intimate friend and counsellor of mine over the major portion of my life and I knew him to be very careful and organized. He had prepared for the ministry with four years of Bible school training and, I believe, three years of seminary. He had two complete and identical collections of sermon notes and he kept them in two different buildings. Should there be a fire, he reasoned, he would not lose his ministry!

The following Sunday, after his new experience in the Holy Spirit, he took to the pulpit. He couldn’t find his notes in the Bible and looked under his seat on the platform. Since they were nowhere to be seen, he found his text and began to preach, under an anointing that he had never known before! He continued as a pastor in the United States and became a missionary to Mexico, taking with him a gospel of power that resulted in the salvation of many souls and the edification of the flock of God.

Frank McLaughlin, a Baptist and Evangelical Free
pastor, anointed richly to teach the Word 
Another lifelong friend of mine was a Baptist pastor, Frank, one of the best Bible students that I have ever known. Our pastor was also Frank’s friend for many years and he told him of his experience. Knowing Earl and his great zeal for correct doctrine, the Baptist pastor thought it necessary also to examine the Scriptures anew. He prayed to the Lord, “I ask you to give me something personal; not something that I’ve heard from others, but something directly from You.” He began to read from the Gospel of John, chapter 2, of the wedding in Cana. It was where Jesus converted the water of purification into the best wine. He began to meditate upon the passage… the water always represents the work of the Spirit in salvation, but the wine symbolized the rich blessing of the Spirit towards the people of God. Then, he understood, that in his life, now purified with the water of regeneration, he needed the new wine that would give flavor and richness to his ministry. There, in his office, Christ baptized this Baptist pastor in the Holy Spirit, and Frank began a rich ministry of teaching the word. Personally, I grew and blossomed under his ministry.

There are just too many stories to tell… I will only add how fascinated I was with what was happening all around me. It seemed like every day there were new developments in the work of the Lord among us. For this reason, I will never be satisfied with less. God moved, saving the lost, many of them religious church members; Jesus baptized in the Holy Spirit; there were miraculous physical healings; Christ was the Head of the church, leading His people, as He saw fit. Gifts of the Spirit were common. Man only had to put himself aside and let Him work. As in Wales, the denominational walls fell and there was a full recognition of the body of Christ; God’s love filled the hearts.

However, as I said at the beginning, there is always opposition. In our case, gossip reached the headquarters of our district of the Christian and Missonary Alliance, and the superintendent called my dad to give account. He was responsible for this area of the denomination in the north of Minnesota. The superintendent asked dad why he did not use his authority to detain this movement. My dad answered, “How can I stop something that comes from God?” He also told his superior that what he observed happening in our area was the same thing that he had experienced in his early days in the Alliance in the 1930s.

So as not to get into more details, I will only say that my father, as well as the teachers in the Mokahum Bible School, had to renounce his position. I read, not long ago, what the denomination had written in their official documents, concerning my dad’s resignation as director of the school. They stated that the sickness of his daughter (Jean died of leukemia during those years) and because of the state of the finances, my father could no longer continue with his obligations, and therefore renounced his position. It is true that my sister was very sick and required much attention from my parents, but those were not the reasons for his resignation. I know very well the reason behind it.

How can you explain the fact that the entire faculty of the school resigned and discontinued their membership with the denomination at the same time? Other Christian leaders in the area experienced the manipulation of their superiors, seeking an excuse for their opposition to the work of the Holy Spirit. It seemed to me, when I read the official statements and knew the facts and the deception, that I should tell the truth in this article, for whatever purpose it might serve. I hold no animosity towards anyone; almost all of these individuals have passed on. All I intend to show is the opposition, which occurs without exception, when God, the Holy Spirit takes control. Sometimes, it comes from sources that one would least expect.

I want to add to this account a little concerning the work of the Holy Spirit in a community called Bethany, in the south of the State of Minnesota. Bethany was, and I think, still is a school for missionary trainees. Leonard Ravenhill, the very well-known preacher, who had experienced revival in England, lived on the Bethany campus at the time. He had twice crossed the entire country of England on foot, evangelizing towns and villages in the open air. As in the north of the State, so in the south, a spiritual flame was lit. Ravenhill fanned the flame and also, from time to time, A. W. Tozer, friend and mentor of Ravenhill came to speak at Bethany. Contact was made between those who had experienced the work of the Holy Spirit in the north with those of the south. They prayed for each other. In time, the Bethany Publishing Company was launched and had international impact. My wife, before we were married and before going to Mexico for missionary work, was trained at Bethany.

Gary Zabel, a missionary in Spain, could tell you of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Baptist church, where we grew up. He could relate how his own life and that of friends and relatives were transformed. He could also reveal the opposition that arose inside the church.

I will not disclose more; I will only recommend that readers of these paragraphs should investigate the story of other revivals that have occurred, some in antiquity and others in more modern times. It is especially interesting to read of the revival among the Moravian refugees in Germany in 1727, the result of which commenced the modern missionary movement. Another, which moved me and was especially interesting, was a wonderful moving of God among the Canadian Eskimos, close to the turn of the millennium. You will see similar characteristics in all of these accounts.

This is a biblical attempt

Coming to a close of these three articles over the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, I want to say that my main intention has been to be biblical. I am concerned, above all else, that the things which might occur in the church be confirmed by the Word of God. I dare to say that the opponents of revivals and of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, are committing a very serious error in their attempt to annul and quench the Spirit. They misinterpret the Bible and, in doing so, have put themselves in the greatest danger!

Peter said to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost: “This is what was uttered through the prophet Joel” (Ac.2:16). It is essential that we be able to say this that is happening among us is what was uttered, biblically. If it is not, I, for one, am not interested. Whatever takes place that is not found in the Scriptures, you and I have no obligation to accept. Is the lack of a manifestation of a true and living God in the church today something biblical? Do we dare to say that we are a New Testament church? Can we support it through what we see in the book of Acts or, on the contrary, are we arrogantly excusing ourselves with weak and even twisted doctrines? After writing these articles, I will leave each one to arrive at his own conclusions.

Acts 2:16-21

16. But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17. And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughter shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
18. even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
19. And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
20. the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
21. And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


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