A Pneumatological Study on an Elim Pentecostal Congregation’s Lived Experience of Spirit Baptism with ‘Signs Following’

  • Sheryl Joanne Arthur

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    In light of the fact that recent Pentecostal literature suggests that Spirit baptism is, for many Pentecostals, declining in importance, this thesis is concerned with how one particular Elim Pentecostal congregation understand their experiences of Spirit baptism with ‘signs following’ in relation to the book of Acts. To ascertain whether Elim congregants experience Spirit baptism as a subsequent experience to conversion and, if so, whether in practice their experience empowers them to share the Gospel and minister in healing and deliverance, an empirical-theological approach was taken. This approach enabled the researcher: (1) to facilitate congregants in pneumatologically reflecting, in light of Scripture, on their pneumatic experiences, and (2) to discern something of the continual mediation of the Spirit through the practices of the congregation. This study showed that whilst most congregants did consider themselves to be Spirit baptised, differing views were held on when the experience was received and how it was verified. The majority view, nonetheless, was that Spirit baptism takes place subsequent to conversion and is evidenced by tongues (given for the purpose of empowering for witness). Significantly, those congregants who reported that they were Spirit baptised, with the initial evidence of tongues, were more likely to report that they regularly witnessed/ministered using Spirit-inspired speech. The contribution of this thesis to Pentecostal practical theology is twofold. First and foremost, it contributes new knowledge on how Elim believers live out their experience of Spirit baptism, highlighting the importance of church leaders creating ‘safe’ spaces for congregants to receive Spirit baptism and grow in their use of Spirit-inspired speech (including tongues). And second, it contributes to contemporary debates on the place of pneumatology in empirical-theological enquiry, offering up a possible research model for Pentecostal/Charismatic practical theologians looking to discern the Spirit’s mediation through the study of Pentecostal/Charismatic congregations.
    Date of Award11 Oct 2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SupervisorR. David Muir (Director of Studies) & Julian Gotobed (Co-Supervisor)


    • Practical theology
    • Prophecy
    • Elim
    • Pentecostal, Pneumatology
    • Initial Evidence
    • Congregational Study
    • Spirit Baptism, Acts
    • Bible

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