Are You Baptized in the Holy Ghost?

By Karlo Broussard | September 12, 2022


“And while staying with them [Jesus] charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

—Acts 1:4-5 (RSV-CE)
 
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Are You Baptized in the Holy Ghost?

By Karlo Broussard | September 12, 2022

“And while staying with them [Jesus] charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

 
—Acts 1:4-5 (RSV-CE)
 

Are you baptized in the Holy Ghost? This is a question that you’ll often get if you ever hang around Charismatic Christians—whether Protestant or Catholic. What they usually mean is, “Have you experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit in a powerful way?” Often they think a sign of this “baptism” is the outward manifestation of certain spiritual gifts, like speaking in tongues.

But for Catholics, the language of “being baptized in the Holy Spirit” need not be reduced to a subjective experience that we may have of Him or the ability to speak in strange tongues. It arguably refers to a sacrament: namely, the Sacrament of Confirmation.

In Acts 1:4-5, Jesus instructs the apostles not to leave Jerusalem until they receive the promise of the Father to be “baptized with the Holy Spirit,” which, according to Peter in Acts 11:15-16, is a reference to the descent of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

Now, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches in paragraph 1288 that the Sacrament of Confirmation “in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.” This is confirmed in Acts 8 when Peter and John lay hands on the newly baptized Christians in Samaria and give them a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit similar to that of the Christians in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost.

If Pentecost was the event where the early Christians received their “baptism” of the Holy Spirit, and the laying on of hands in Confirmation perpetuates the graces of Pentecost, then it follows that to be confirmed is to be “baptized in the Holy Spirit” insofar as by means of the sacrament we receive the same outpouring of the Spirit that allows us courageously to spread and defend the faith in word and deed.

And just because some confirmed Christians might not have the gift of tongues, doesn’t mean they haven’t been “baptized in the Holy Spirit,” since, according to Paul in 1 Cor. 12:30, not all members of Christ’s Body have this gift.

So, to the question, “Have you been baptized in the Holy Ghost?” Christians who’ve been validly confirmed can say with some charismatic flair, “Amen, brotha!”

Karlo Broussard

Karlo Broussard is a Catholic Apologist, speaker, and writer, known best for his work with Catholic Answers and personal work at karlobroussard.com

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