Charismatic and pentecostal exegisis of Simon the Sorcerer

Does the Simon the Sorcerer story of Acts 8:9-25 show that believers shoould seek out a 2nd blessing apart from faith in Jesus Christ , and also, does this passage show that receiving the Holy Spirit, or being baptized or immeresed in the Spirit is evidenced by some physical reaction, some powerful experience or something ike that?
For the last few weeks Ive been sort of “debating” (if you can call it that) with a charismatic guy at work who tells me that this passage proves this 2nd blessing teaching. He says “Simon the sorcerer must have witnessed something amazing occuring when apostles laid hands on people, to want to pay money to get this power”
thanks

Wouldn’t he be mimicking Simon in seeking this “power”?

Pentecostal here. This is how a Pentecostal reads this passage.

  1. Saint Philip the Evangelist comes to Samaria and begins preaching the gospel (Acts 8:5-8).

  2. Many believed and were baptized by Philip (Acts 8:12).

  3. Although baptized, the Holy Spirit had not fallen on any of the converts yet (Acts 8:16).

  4. When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard that converts had been made in Samaria, they sent Peter and John (Acts 8:14).

  5. Peter and John went to Samaria and prayed for the baptized to “receive the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8: 15).

  6. " Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit." (Acts 8:17)

So, we have here two distinct experiences of grace. The people “believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” And then they had to wait for the infilling of the Holy Spirit which occurred when the Apostles laid hands on them.

For Pentecostals, this as clear as the biblical pattern gets:

First, coming to faith in Christ/repentance/regeneration/new birth/conversion

Second, baptism in the Holy Spirit

The passage says this about Simon’s reaction: “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 8:18-19).

So, yes, Simon “saw” something that amazed him (a lot more than some dudes laying hands on people). Something happened when people received the Spirit. There are other instances in Acts where people have “reactions” when the Spirit falls on people. Two of those reactions are that people speak in tongues and prophesy. So, that might have been what happened here. We can’t know for sure because Scripture doesn’t really tell us what Simon saw.

Simon tried to buy the Spirit with money for his own greed. The OP never said this person was trying to buy spiritual power. From what the OP said he’s simply arguing that there is a “second blessing” that Christians can receive.

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In Catholic teaching, “receiving the Holy Spirit” via the laying on of hands from Peter and John equates to the Catholic sacrament of Confirmation.

For Catholics, Baptism is of course a separate sacrament that is received prior to Confirmation, often (though not always) years prior to Confirmation.

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Thank you for the answers. Yes I think its undeniable that something totally unique must have occured for Simon to offer money, but I wasnt asking with regard to his greed or lust for power or whatever, but more in regard to the “something” that occured. Based on previous instances I would think this would be a repeat of Acts 2, where they spoke with new languages and magnified God. Is this how you read chapter 8? As a Pentecostal, what do you think was happenening (even speculation?)
What I mean is, what precisely do you mean by “two distinct experiences of grace”?
What exactly occurs in 1st experience of grace, and what exactly occurs in the 2nd experience of grace?
Besides your examples in Acts I noticed that Pentecostals also commonly go to Luke 11:13 to support 2nd blessing , or even a “seeking out” of the Holy Spirit. That is another verse, even isolated, which seems to teach 2nd grace.

But what exactly is occuring in this 2nd grace? I ask because such a teaching seems to me to teach an insufficiency of Christ, and that his work is actually unfinished and incomplete.
Thanks again for the response.

Yeah, that’s pretty much how Pentecostals interpret this.

The 1st experience would be conversion or what evangelical Protestants call being born again. This is when a person comes to faith in Christ, repents of their sin, and is justified, regenerated (made spiritually alive), and adopted as sons/daughters of God. We believe that once a person has been born again they should be baptized in water as sign of their new life in Christ. If the born again believer continues to live in faith and repentance, they are saved.

The 2nd experience is what we call baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is separate and distinct from the New Birth. It is when the born again believer receives power for witness and ministry. In Acts 1: 8, Jesus tells the disciples in the Upper Room, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

So, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience in which Christians receive power for service.

How so? Christ gives the Holy Spirit. “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing” (Acts 2: 33).

Why would God doing something later on in our lives imply that Christ is insufficient? Do Catholics stop at baptism? No. They go on to confirmation and first communion. Do the existence of these other sacraments imply that Christ was somehow insufficient in his first work? No.

So why would any other blessing that Christ wants to give us imply that he somehow failed in his earlier action?

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That ‘second blessing’ can be found in the sacrament of Confirmation.

Jesus being baptised and led into the desert. returned 40 days after hearing and walk I g in the power of the spirit.
Saint Paul in acts 19. What were you baptised into. ? He played hands on them . and presto !

Or in 1samual. 19: 19-23.

My understanding (and this is from a non Catholic) is that the Holy Ghost first came into the world after Moses built the Ark. The HG largely remained with the Ark. Look at the HG as a gallon jug of something. In reading the Jewish history (Judges, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicals) people had to watch there p’s and q’s around the ark and many people perished. People further away weren’t affected by the Ark. It wasn’t until the Pharisees brought the Ark into there town that they started having plagues. The ark was taken back up into the sky and so was the Holy Ghost. Fast forward Jesus submits to God’s will and rises from the dead and this enables the HG to return. I don’t believe the bible teaches that anything else was accomplished. If the HG came while Jesus was still here, The entire gallon would remain with him and the people living near him would need to watch themselves. Jesus leaves and the HG comes down. A great deal of it remains with Peter, many people were healed around Peter and some people who didn’t watch their p’s and q’s died. Some of it was with the Apostles but not as much as with Peter. The way that they passed the HG around was first baptism (which made the individual a disciple) and then the laying on of hands. Now the HG is spread out all over the world, no one receives the experience that they had when Peter passed on the HG. The HG will help any individual now regardless of beliefs provided certain criteria are met.

This category is about comparing and contrasting doctrines. And I haven’t seen anyone post the Catholic Exegesis of this text, so I’ll provide mine in order that it may be contrasted with what the Pentecostals have said:

The event highlights the Sacrament of Confirmation. Simon the Sorcerer is highlighted for his greed and lust for power and his repentance.

and also, does this passage show that receiving the Holy Spirit, or being baptized or immeresed in the Spirit is evidenced by some physical reaction, some powerful experience or something ike that?

It shows the gift of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, which continues to this day but was more prevalent in Apostolic times in order that this visible sign could be witnessed by unbelievers and they might be drawn in. But, today, it is considered one of the minor gifts and others are preferred:

1 Corinthians 14:4 Whoever speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but whoever prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I should like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be built up.

For the last few weeks Ive been sort of “debating” (if you can call it that) with a charismatic guy at work who tells me that this passage proves this 2nd blessing teaching.

There are 5 other blessings, they are called the Sacraments.

He says “Simon the sorcerer must have witnessed something amazing occuring when apostles laid hands on people, to want to pay money to get this power”

Simon witnessed the speaking in tongues. This is the sign which was prevalent in Scripture to prove the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Don’t confuse this gift with the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit nor with the Washing of Regeneration which is being born again. That is received in Baptism.

Rom 6:3 Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.

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