This book attempts to solve the Samaritan riddle that is the focal point of the Dunn Debate. Dr. James D. G. Dunn’s first book, Baptism in the Holy Spirit(1970), claims the New Testament says baptism in the Holy Spirit always occurs simultaneously at conversion-initiation. In contrast, classical Pentecostals contend that Spirit baptism always occurs subsequent to conversion and is evidenced by tongues-speaking. They mostly cite Acts 8:4-25 for “subsequence.” It says Philip preached to the Samaritans and they “believed,” but they did not receive the Spirit until Peter and John came days later and laid hands on them. Dunn says these Samaritans and Jesus’ 120 Jewish disciples in Acts 2 were not “Christians” until they were baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Zarley agrees with Pentecostals about subsequence in both cases. But he claims these Samaritans and the Gentiles in Acts 10 were Spirit baptized due to Peter’s presence, using his metaphorical “keys of the kingdom” Jesus had promised to give him in Matt 16:19. After Peter opened kingdom doors for all three of these biblical classifications of people, all people afterwards are Spirit baptized simultaneously upon conversion, as Paul teaches and Dunn says, except for the Ephesians anomaly in Acts 19:1-7.
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Endorsements on back cover of the book:
“A bold and adventurous book by a non-specialist Bible reader of uncommon determination . . . It is a wonder that someone has not suggested this theory before because, as anyone who reads Acts 10 knows, Peter was there and opened the doors for the Gentiles. I commend serious engagement with Kermit Zarley’s proposal.”
—Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
“The debate over ‘Baptism with the Spirit’ and its connection with conversion is long-standing and divisive. It is in need of fresh eyes, and Zarley has provided that. I strongly recommend this book as an important new approach to this issue.”
–Grant R. Osborne, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Is the Spirit received at conversion, as James Dunn and others have argued, or subsequently, as the Pentecostals claim? Beginning with testimony and moving personal stories, and written with delightful clarity, Zarley argues for another view, reaching some wise and helpful conclusions that both sides need to hear.”
–Graham H. Twelftree, Charles L. Holman Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Regent University
“I find Zarley’s suggestion–that Matt. 16:19 explains the untoward delay in the giving/receiving of the Spirit in Acts 8–somewhat intriguing. My problem with it is the apparent assumption that Matthew and Luke were operating/writing on the same playing field–something which, in my view, fails to appreciate the distinctive character and objectives of both.”
–James D. G. Dunn, Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, University of Durham
“Zarley offers an approach to the apostle Peter’s ‘kingdom keys’ in which Peter used his three keys to open doors for both the gospel and the Spirit among Jewish, Samaritan, and Gentile peoples. Thereby, Zarley senses he has solved the ‘Dunn debate.’ Neither side may be convinced of this, but his tapestry of thoughts presents interesting ideas concerning Peter’s role in the church’s earliest days.”
–William P. Atkinson, Senior Lecturer in Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies, London School of Theology