"Empowerment"
Explanation Letter

May 19, 1990

Trinity Baptist Church Members
702 Bluebell Rd.
Kerrville, TX  78028

Dear Fellow Believer,

        Sherry and I would like to invite you to a special one night meeting at our art gallery in town.  The only purpose is to raise up the Lord Jesus Christ as a living God. In the past we have shared in Sunday School a few of the miracles we have experienced, but we have not yet shared the event that initiated these miracles.  Our desire is to be submitted to the authority of our church; therefore, we have sought and received permission from our pastor to hold this unusual meeting for those who are interested.

            Sherry and I have been followers of Christ since our youth.  He was our Savior, yet somewhat removed from our everyday life until September of 1977.  At that time, a supernatural event occurred in the Idaho Mountains, which forever changed our understanding of God.  We were astonished to learn that our God was still working miracles and talking to His people in a personal and direct way.  (1)  Over the years we have experienced other messages and miracles, but they were relatively few and far between, until July of 1989.  In Atlanta, Sherry and I both experienced a “Second Touch” from God, a free gift that is available to all believers.  At the time, we did not believe there was a second experience available or possible after salvation.  We were wrong.

            Almost immediately, God began working an incredible series of miracles in front of our eyes, usually in front of witnesses.  These kinds of miracles are clearly predicted in scripture (2), but they were highly unusual to us, because of our Southern Baptist background.  The scripture had truly come to life as we witnessed and personally experienced many of the miracles predicted by Jesus  (3)  and referred to specifically by Paul as the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit”.  (4)  We had incorrectly assumed against clearly stated scripture that these kinds of miracles had either ceased, or were at least, extremely rare.  However, Jesus never changes.  (5)  If He ever worked miracles, He is still doing so today.  If He ever supernaturally healed people, He still is today.  If he ever spoke in spirit to believers, He still does today.  If He ever freed people from satan’s grip, He still does it today.  We need to take Jesus at His word.  Instead it seems we all prefer to pick and choose the parts of the Gospel we want to believe, usually the parts that fit easily into our world’s view.  (6)  We want to trust in our intellect.  (7)

            During our entire married life, Sherry and I have been members of Southern Baptist Churches.  I (Max) have been a Southern Baptist during the entire 38 years of my life.  Both of my parents have been life long Baptists, and both of their parents have been Baptists during their lives.  We are both about as Baptist as anyone can be.  However, the dramatic events we have been witnessing do not easily fit into our Baptist understanding or training.  Even the possibility of what we are experiencing was never even discussed during hundreds of hours of Bible Study and Sunday School.  (8)

            However, despite the fact that we were not looking for answers outside of our Baptist denomination, over the years, God has continued to work miracles in our lives, and has increased our faith to a level at which we can accept the things we are now experiencing.  We have always tried to be honest and faithful witnesses to God and His miracles in our lives.   (9)   We have tried to boldly witness these events, even though we knew some would ridicule us.  (10)   Witnessing has become more difficult since July, because the miracles have become more numerous and dramatic.  Simply witnessing the facts now makes non-believers and some believers uncomfortable.  (11)   The tangible evidence and other living witnesses cannot be easily ignored.  Our testimony for Christ now challenges their established view of the world, or God.  (12)   However, Sherry and I can’t help but speak of the wonderful things Christ is doing, (13) even if some think we have lost touch with reality, and have gone off the deep end.  (14)   As Sherry says, if the disciples and apostles had refused to witness the amazing miracles they had personally experienced, there would not be a New Testament!  We cannot deny Jesus or His miracles before men.  (15) 

            To those who have an interest, or even a curiosity about what we are experiencing, Sherry and I are willing to share the little we know with anyone.  (16)   Everything we have experienced is totally consistent with scripture, which is why we must speak out.  (17)   Admittedly, we are not credentialed theologians, just simple believers.  The only authority we have is that which is given to all believers by Jesus.  (18)   We certainly don’t understand everything that is happening, but we are trying to be yielded so God can use us if He chooses.  (19)   God calls us to do His will, not just let it pass through our ears each Sunday.  We are blind beggars trying to lead other blind beggars to the King’s table.  (20)   We fully realize some people may not be ready to receive what we have to share.  (21)   God meets us where we are.  (22)  However, we are still commanded to boldly witness Christ’s miracles (23)  so others will know He is God.  (24)   Just like salvation, some will reject and some will receive the truth.  (25)   We have been told that Sherry and I having a “charismatic” experience.  Well, so be it.  We didn’t go out looking for it, God brought it to us!  (26) 

            Here are some of the topics we can address at our meeting, with at least a limited degree of personal experience:

  1. God is still speaking personally and directly to His people today, just as He did in Bible days.  (27) 
  1. God is still working supernatural miracles around and through yielded believers.  (28)
  1. God is still miraculously healing people through the laying on of hands.  (29)
  1. God is still delivering people who have come under the oppression of satan and his demons.  (30)  By the power of His name, Jesus is delivering people from mental and emotional problems, which physicians and psychiatrists can’t cure by standard medical means.  (31) 
  1. Prophecies and revelations are sill being given to believers and fellowships, which are open to receive.  (32)
  1. Authentic, legitimate speaking in tongues is still occurring today (33), even though counterfeit tongues also exist.  (34)
  1. There is a second experience, following salvation, which is available from God to all believers.  (35)   It is a free gift, like salvation, for all believers who are willing to ask for it, and accept it without any conditions.  (36)   In most cases, it is this second experience which provides believers with the supernatural gifts.  (37)   When a person is saved, Jesus Christ comes into his heart at that moment.  However, an additional empowering, or filling of the Spirit occurs when a believer yields his will 100% to God, and prays in covenant with God, to receive His Gifts of the Spirit.  This second step, we have learned, has many names including: “Second Work of Grace”, “Second Blessing”, “Anointing of the Spirit”, “Filling of the Spirit”, “Baptism of Fire” and” Baptism of the Spirit”.  The second experience is referred to throughout scripture by Jesus, Peter, John and Paul.  It is clearly differentiated from the salvation experience and water baptism in a number of places (38)  and, in fact, is not available to believers whose heart is not right.  (39)  In obedience we should seek the Gifts of the Spirit, as we are told in scripture.  (40)

What is the benefit to the believer of receiving the second experience?  Sherry and I have found a richer, closer relationship with Jesus, an increased hunger to study the Bible; a heightened sensitivity to God’s still, soft voice and the workings of the Holy Spirit; a clearer understanding of the power, which God gives to yielded believers, who use the name of Jesus according to His will, an increased understanding and sensitivity to the workings of satan; and it seems that a much higher percentage of our prayers are now answered.

      Certainly there have been some abuses by some so called “charismatic” people.  I am afraid receiving the second experience will not make you perfect, any more than receiving salvation.  God leaves our free will intact.  However, I am convinced many of the bad reactions are simply the responses of believers who have closed their hearts and minds to the possibility that God is still working these kinds of miracles in today’s world.  (41)

      It seems we are in the days of the“latter rain”, the end times when God is again pouring out His Spirit in dramatic ways.  (42)   This is evident from the changes in the world, and from the signs and wonders occurring in the name of Jesus,  (43)   and satan.  (44)   God wants to teach Baptists, all believers how to move in the Spirit, while being grounded in the Word.  (45)   There are battles to be fought in the supernatural realm, which can’t be won without an acceptance of the empowerment God wants to give us.  (46)   This is not merely a Pentecostal experience, this is happening to people we know who are Southern Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Catholics.  This experience is not limited to the lunatic fringe, or uneducated.  Sherry and I personally know physicians, psychiatrists, dentists, and many believers with secular Ph.d degrees, who have received the second experience, and are now moving in the gifts.  It’s no wonder the charismatic fellowships are on fire.  They have been experiencing God in ways that we Southern Baptists never thought possible.  No one told us , and we didn’t believe it when we read it in the scriptures.  (47)  We must seek the truth wherever it leads.  (48)

      If this letter has offended you, we are sorry, that was not our intention.  However, remember that the religious experts of Jesus’ day would not accept any witness about God, that claimed there was more to God, than they understood or had experienced.  (49)   In fact, after Jesus supernaturally cast out a demon, He was attacked by these religious experts as having power from satan.  He responded by saying that the one unforgivable sin was to claim that the miracles worked by the Holy Spirit were of satan.  (50)  Paul warned us not to forbid the use of the supernatural gifts in our churches.  (51)

      It is not our intent to be divisive,  (52)   but only to speak the truth.  (53)   Since our Baptist fellowships normally avoid discussions of these topics, many believers will live their entire lives not knowing God has a second gift for them.  (54)  As I said at the beginning, our purpose is to raise up Jesus, not the second experience.  However, through accepting the second touch from God, Jesus is allowed to live through us in a more powerful way.  (55)   You do not have to believe Sherry or me,  (56)   or the millions of others who have experienced the same things – believe Jesus, the Bible and the miracles.  (57)   Please understand, Sherry and I are not introducing some radical new theology.  All we are saying is that we need to believe, and do the theology we already have. 

      If you would like to join us for our meeting, please return the enclosed card indicating which night is best for you.  We will contact you once we set a date.  You are welcome to share this letter with others and bring guests to our meeting.  Sherry and I ask that you pray for us, our church and our denomination. 

Yours in Christ,

Max & Sherry Greiner
P.O. Box 290552
Kerrville, TX   78028

GREINER LETTER - FOOTNOTES

  1. Heb 4:12
  2. Mk 16:17-18
  3. Jn 14:12
  4. 1 Cor 12:7-11
  5. Heb 13:8
  6. Acts 7:53, Mk 7:8
  7. Lk 10:21
  8. Mk 7:8, Mt 13:13-16
  9. Lk  12:48, Acts 18:9
  10. Mt 5:11-12
  11. Acts 4:16-22
  12. Jn 15:18-21
  13. Acts 4:20
  14. 1 Cor 4:9-10
  15. Mt 10:32,  1 Cor 4:2
  16. Acts 20:26-28, 1 Cor 2:6
  17. Gal 6:6, 1 Cor 4:6
  18. Mt 21:23, Acts 4:7, 1 Jn 2:27, 2 Cor 12:12
  19. 1 Pe 5:6, Jas 4:10
  20. Mt 7: 21, Gal 6:6
  21. Mt 13:13-19, Mt 13:57
  22. 1 Cor 3:2
  23. Ro 12:11
  24. Heb 2:4
  25. Mt 13:19-23
  26. Jn 15:16
  27. Jn 8:47,  Jn 10:4-5
  28. Mk16:17, Jn 14:11-14
  29. Jas 5:14-15,  Mk 16:18,  Jn 14:11-14
  30. Jn 8:31,  Jn 8:36
  31. Mk 16:17
  32. Acts 2:17-18,  1 Cor 12:1-11
  33. 1 Cor 12:27, 1 Cor 14:5,  1 Cor 14:22
  34. 2 Thes 2:9
  35. 1 Cor 1:7,  Mt 3:11
  36. 1 Cor 14:1-5
  37. 1 Cor 12:1-11, 1 Tim 4:14, 2 Tim 1:6-7
  38. Acts 8:9-25,  Acts 19:1-7
  39. Acts 8:21
  40. 1 Cor 1:7, 1 Cor 12:31, 1 Cor 14:1-6
  41. Acts 13:41
  42. Acts 2:16-21,  Mt 24:4-28,  Mk 13:5-37
  43. Jn 14:11-14
  44. Mt 24:24
  45. Acts 4:53, 1 Cor 12:28-31,  Gal 3:5
  46. Lk 24:49, Mark 16:17-20
  47. Mk 7:8, Heb 4:2,  Lk 12:53, 1 Cor 3:2,  Acts 20:26-29
  48. Heb 6:1-6,  1 Cor 3:2,  Lk 11:52
  49. Acts 4:16-21,  Lk 12:51-53
  50. Mt 12:22-32
  51. 1 Cor 14:39, 1 Thes 5:19
  52. Lk 12:51-53
  53. Lk 12:45,  1 Cor 4:2,  Acts 4:19
  54. Acts 18:25, Lk 11:52
  55. Acts 1:8,  Jn 14:12-14
  56. Ro 15:17-19
  57. Heb 2:4, Acts 13:41, Jn 10:38, Jn 14:11

THREE NEW TESTAMENT BAPTISMS (Heb 6:2)

Baptism Type:

Baptism into the Body of Christ

(At Salvation)

Baptism in water:

(Following Salvation)

Baptism of the Holy Spirit:
(Following Salvation, either immediately, or sometime later)

Recipient

Non-believer

Believer

Believer

The One Who Baptizes

Holy Spirit

Minister

Jesus

Spiritual Element

Body of Christ

Water

Holy Spirit

Scriptural References

1 Cor 12:13

Acts 8:36

Mt 3:11, Mk 1:8, Lk 3:16,
Jn 1:33

Old Testament Foreshadowing with the Nation of Israel
1 Cor 10:11

The Cloud
Ex 13:21
1 Cor 10:2

The Sea
Ex 14:13-31
1 Pet 3:21

The Jordan River
Jos 3:1- 13
Acts 8:17
Acts 19:6

Note: These Baptisms are sovereign works of God, and can take place in a person, without another person being present, “if their heart is right.”


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