Baptism in the Spirit is the central distinctive note of Pentecostalism. Unfortunately, that central point has been relegated to the realm of experience, with little serious work done on its theological implications.
For all of their talk about the importance of pneumatology, Pentecostals have yet to couch their narrow pneumatological interest in charismatic/missionary empowerment within a broader pneumatological framework. (19)
This is the task Macchia undertakes in Baptized in the Spirit. What are the soteriological, eschatological, Trinitarian, missional, and ecclesiological implications of Spirit Baptism? As Macchia connects the dots between these fields of theology it becomes apparent that Pentecostal’s distinctive doctrine has much to contribute to the ecumenical conversation.
Don’t let the cover of the book fool you. A translucent sheet blowing in the desert overlaid with “Spirit” in flowing script implies that the writing is aimed at a superficial level. It’s the sort of book I would pass over had it not been given to me by a trusted friend (thanks Pastor David Long)! This is an academic work that demands the attention of the reader.
The chief strength of Baptized in the Spirit is the way Macchia uses Spirit Baptism to make connections that were not clearly visible before. It is as if Spirit Baptism is a missing puzzle piece that pulls together and unifies the diversity of Christian theology. Given this Spirit’s first appearance as the wind of God blowing over the chaos of pre-creation, this shouldn’t come as a surprise! While reading, my mind bounced back and forth like a Plinko puck as connections between what I had formerly assumed were separate doctrines were bridged.
If you’re the sort of Pentecostal who values both experience and theology, this book is an inspiring exploration of Spirit Baptism across the wide expanse of systematic theology.
—Frank D. Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit: A Global Pentecostal Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006).