Yesteryear’s Great Soul-Winners Write on the Baptism With the Holy Spirit

Yesteryear’s Great Soul-Winners Write on the Baptism With the Holy Spirit

Pentecostals/Charismatics are not alone in their belief that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is later to salvation; nor are they the first to keep up this view. Many of the great non-Pentecostal evangelists and teachers of yesteryear — spiritual giants whose names are connected with soul winning — held to this view of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit long before there was a Pentecostal or a Charismatic movement. It is not recorded that they spoke with other tongues, but they did teach that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is later to salvation.


Most evangelicals know of R. A. Torry, a superb teacher and a close friend of D. L. Moody. Torry was the first president of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He also served as co-pastor of the Moody Church in that same city.

In his book The Baptism With The Holy Spirit, Torry wrote: “Religious biography abounds in instances of men who have worked along as best they could until one day they were led to see there was such an experience as the baptism with the Holy Spirit and to seek and acquire it; from that hour there came into their service a new strength that utterly transformed its character. Finney, Brainerd, and Moody were situations in point. But situations of this character are not confined to a few exceptional men. The author has personally met and corresponded with those who could testify to the new strength that God granted them by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. These hundreds of men and women were from all branches of Christian service. Many of them were ministers, Sunday school teachers, personal workers, fathers and mothers. What we have in potential in the words of Christ many have, and all may have, in glad experience. ‘Ye shall receive strength, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.'” (“The Baptism with the Holy Spirit”; Torry, R. A; Bethany Fellowship, Inc.; Minneapolis; 1972, 25).


Torry’s position of ” . . . what many have . . . all may have” always has been the position of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movements. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is ” . . . not something for a select few,” as some claim that Pentecostals/Charismatics teach. The potential has been given to every believer, but not every believer believes the potential

Torry also wrote:

“We may have a very clear call to service; it may be as clear as the apostles had — but the charge is laid upon us, as upon them, that before we begin that service we must ‘tarry until ye be clothed with strength from on high.’ This enduement (spelling Torry’s) with strength is by the baptism with the Holy Spirit . . .” (Torry; ibid; 30-31).

Torry’s statement precisely summarized the view of modern Pentecostals/Charismatics when he wrote: “It is quite possible to have something, yes much of the Spirit’s presence and work in the heart and however come short of that special fullness and work known in the Bible as the baptism or filling with the Holy Spirit” (ibid; flyleaf page).

In his typical work on the great doctrines of the Bible, Dr. Torry observed:

“A man may be regenerated by the Holy Spirit and nevertheless not be baptized with the Holy Spirit. In regeneration there is an impartation of life, and the one who receives it is saved; in the Baptism with the Holy Spirit there is an impartation of strength and the one who receives it is fitted for service. Every true believer has the Holy Spirit. But not every believer has the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, though every believer may have.” (“What the Bible Teaches”; Torry, R. A.; Fleming H. Revell Company; Chicago; 1898; 271).

“To be regenerated by the Holy Spirit is one thing; to be baptized with the Holy Spirit is something different, something further. This is apparent from Acts 1:5. There Jesus said, ‘Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’ They were not then baptized with the Holy Spirit. But they were already regenerated. Jesus himself had distinct them so. In John 15:3, He said to the same men, ‘Now ye are clean by the information’ (cf. James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23). And in John 13:10; ‘Ye are clean, but not all,’ excepting by ‘but not all’ the one unregenerate man in the apostolic company, Judas Iscariot (See John 13:11). The apostles, excepting Judas Iscariot, were then already regenerate men, but they were not however baptized with the Holy Spirit.

“From this it is apparent that regeneration is one thing and the baptism with the Holy Spirit is something different, something further. One can be regenerated and nevertheless not be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (“The Baptism with the Holy Spirit”; R. A. Torry; Pgs 16-17 All Bible references Torry’s).


past to 1898 — more than one hundred years ago — Dr. R. A. Torry taught precisely what Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians teach today regarding the distinction between the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the later impartation of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit for service, an impartation obtainable to every believer.

A Final Quote from R. A. Torry:

“A number of suggestive phrases — ‘Baptized with the Holy Spirit,’ ‘Filled with the Holy Ghost,’ ‘The Holy Ghost fell on them,’ ‘The gift of the Holy Ghost was poured out,’ ‘Receive the Holy Ghost,’ ‘The Holy Ghost came upon them,’ ‘Gifts of the Holy Ghost,’ ‘I send the potential of my Father upon you,’ ‘Endued with strength from on high,’ are used in the New Testament to describe one and the same experience” (What the Bible Teaches; R. A. Torry; 270).


A study of the Biblical terminology used in connection with the believer’s relationship to the Holy Spirit discloses that the phrases, “baptized with the Holy Spirit” and “filled with the Holy Ghost” are synonymous. It consequently follows that the command: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is access; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18) refers to the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. additionally, the command calls to mind the accusation made against the upper room believers in Acts 2: 13: “Others mocking said, These men are complete of new wine,” also a possible proof-text that the command to be filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18, refers to the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.


Dwight Lyman Moody was one of the greatest evangelists the Church has ever known. It is reported that, though he ministered in an era of slow travel and a limited media, his ministry took him over one million miles, and that he preached to some 100 million people.

In “Bush Aglow,” a biography of Dr. Moody, Richard Day included a chapter titled: “And Copies Pentecostal Strategy.” He quoted Moody as saying, with choking voice and tear-filled eyes, “‘If you think anything of me, if you love me, pray for me that God may anoint me for the work in Chicago. I want to be filled with the Spirit, that I may preach the Gospel as never before. We want to see the salvation of God as never before.’ consequently he began the copying of the Pentecostal strategy with emphases on prayer; prayer for the Holy Spirit.” (“Bush Aglow”; Day, Richard E; The Judson Press; Philadelphia: 1936; 311).


R. A. Torry certainly understood what Moody, his close friend and co-worker, meant by the “Pentecostal strategy.” He quoted Moody as saying during a discussion on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit:

“Oh, why will they divided hairs? Why don’t they see that this is just the one thing that they themselves need? They are good teachers, they are wonderful teachers, and I am so glad to have them here, [The Moody Bible Institute] but why will they not see that the baptism with the Holy Ghost is just the one touch that they themselves need?” (D. L. Moody, as quoted by R. A. Torry in: The Baptism with the Holy Spirit; flyleaf page).


An excellent question, Dr. Moody! Why indeed?



The revivals under the ministry of that quintessential evangelist, Charles G. Finney, did not merely stir the churches of the 1800’s, it quaked them into an awakening, most often, in no gentle manner. Under his ministry, the convicting strength of the Holy Spirit shut down complete cities and communities, a number of them a short distance from Josprel’s hometown.

A bright scholar and educator, Finney was a Bible expositor of exceptional intellect. He recorded that, later to his salvation, he was endued with a mighty Baptism with the Holy Spirit, the source of his strength. Recording his salvation experience, he stated that, he went into a woods one day to seek God for forgiveness from sin. Finney wrote:

“Sin appeared awful, infinite. It broke me down before the Lord. Just at that point this passage of Scripture seemed to drop into my mind with a flood of light: ‘Then shall ye go and pray unto me, and I will harken [spelling Finney’s] unto you. Then shall ye seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.’ I immediately seized keep up of this with my heart . . . That seemed to settle the question.”

Persisting in prayer, Finney continued to:

” . . . receive and appropriate promises for a long time . . .” before returning to town. His mind was quiet; his conviction was gone, as was “the load of sin under which I had been laboring.”

Entering his law office he started to sing hymns:

“But as soon as I began to sing those holy words, I began to weep. It seemed as if my heart was all liquid . . . After trying to suppress my tears, I put up my instrument and stopped singing.” After dinner, he and his law partner “were engaged in removing our books and furniture to another office. We were very busy at this, but had little conversation all the afternoon. My mind remained in that considerably tranquil state. There was a great sweetness and tenderness in my thoughts and feelings.”

Toward evening, Finney’s law partner went home and Finney went into prayer. He testified that he experienced a vision of Christ:

“It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears.”

After the vision, Finney entered his front office:

“But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any recollection that I had ever heard the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go by body, soul and mind. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going by and by me . . . It seemed like the very breath of God. I can recollect distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings . . . I wept aloud with joy and love; and I do not know but I should say, I literally bellowed out the unutterably gushings of my heart” (“Charles G. Finney, An Autobiography”; Oberlin College; Fleming H. Revell Company; Old Tappan, New Jersey; 1876, 1908; 15-21).

As did those named above, faithful believing Christians in every Church age and in every nation – anonymous to us though they may be – sought and received the empowerment of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. consequently equipped for Christian service, they went forth, obedient to the Great Commission.


© Josprel (Joseph Perrello

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