Non-Miraculous Indwelling?

In the of Christ, there is a debate between two major camps concerning the Holy Spirit: the “word only” view and the literal indwelling view. Gus Nichols held to the literal indwelling view while men like Guy N Woods and Franklin Camp taught the word only view. The latter was persuading to me in the first half of my ministry.

The word only view began to fall apart for me in my study of Romans.

In Romans 8, Paul writes,

However, you are not in the but in the Spirit, if indeed the of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him… But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:9-11

From this passage, it seems like every member at the Roman had the Spirit, at least those who belonged to God. Those who didn’t were apparently not eligible for resurrection. However, in Romans 1, Paul says,

For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;

Romans 1:11

Apparently some had the Spirit, but they didn’t have the miraculous gifts. The gifts were given so that they would be established. This is the similar to what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1.

I thank my God always concerning you for the of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:4–8

Here the is told that they were enriched in all speech and knowledge in the same way the gospel was confirmed in them, miraculously. Not everyone in the empire’s capitol had these gifts, so Paul wanted to make a special trip to them to accomplish this.

Were these saints exempt from resurrection? Did they belong to God?

In Acts 8, John and Paul had to travel to Samaria to impart spiritual gifts to the people. Did those individuals belong to God before or after their arrival? If a Christian died before having Peter and John lay their hands on them, were they out of luck?

As I’ve stressed up to this point, the main purpose of the wasn’t to allow people to do miracles; it was to sanctify, to resurrect, to restore. The gifts were proof that the Spirit had been poured out in this special way, but the absence of the charismata does not mean the absence of the Spirit.

7 Replies to “Non-Miraculous Indwelling?

  1. “As I’ve stressed up to this point, the main purpose of the Spirit wasn’t to allow people to do miracles; it was to sanctify, to resurrect, to restore. The gifts were proof that the Spirit had been poured out in this special way, but the absence of the charismata does not mean the absence of the Spirit.”

    It appears to me that this statement could be used to claim the miraculous pouring out of the Spirit on the household of Cornelius (Acts 10,11,15) and their subsequent speaking in tongues was visual proof they had been sanctified, resurrected and restored, before Peter had even preached the gospel to them and commanded to be baptized. Foy Wallace covers this point clearly in his book “The Gospel for Today” – (Why Send for Peter)

  2. I might make a correction if I understand what Phil is saying. According to Acts 10:34-43, Peter proclaimed the Gospel before the Holy Spirit fell upon them. In concluding his sermon, Peter said: “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” They did receive the Holy Spirit prior to water baptism. They were saved before they were immersed in water, otherwise, the Holy Spirit was poured out on children of hell. They were saved when they accepted Jesus.

    1. Brother Dallas, the point I was trying to make in reference to the conversion of the household of Cornelius (the first Gentile conversions) was taught to me by Brother Foy Wallace, in his book “The Gospel for Today” in the chapter entitled “Why Send for Peter?” I believe brother Wallace got it exactly correct. (I would heartedly recommend anyone who is interested in this topic, read Wallace’s discourse.
      Briefly, here are the main points made by Wallace:
      1) There are two accounts of what took place at the home of Cornelius, Acts 10 and Acts 11. Doctor Luke gave a general account of the proceedings in chapter 11, but Peter, confronted by the Jews for going in to Gentiles, rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it “by order” (vs 4) . . . Wallace emphasizes that Peter gave the order in which everything took place, while Luke gave a general accounting of what happened, without putting everything in the order in which it took place.

      2) Hence, in 11:15 it states the Holy Ghost fell of the household of Cornelius just as Peter “began to speak” and relate the “words” whereby Cornelius and his house shall be saved.

      3) So Wallace’s point, and with which I agree is this: To claim that Cornelius and his house was saved at the point at which the Holy Ghost fell on them is to claim they were saved before they heard Peter preach the words (gospel) by which they were to be saved.

      4) Peter attributes the Holy Ghost falling directly from God onto the gentiles as proof that God had granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. (11:16-18) The command for the Gentiles to be baptized was the point at which they contacted the blood of Christ and were saved, and raised to walk in newness of life. (10:48) . . . not at the point of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost which convinced Peter and the Jews which came with him, to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.

      I hope I have cleared up the point I am trying to make. These thoughts are not original to me, but I have held them since the early 1970s when I first read Brother Wallace’s works.

  3. Brother Dallas, I forgot to add that Acts 15:7-9 proves that hearing and believing the gospel led to the salvation of Cornelius and his house, by purification of their heart through faith in the gospel, which Peter did not preach until after the Holy Ghost had descended on the gentiles.


  4. Correction: Luke gives a general account in Acts 10. Peter gives his account in the order in which it happened in Acts 11:4


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