Drunk On A New Wine
From Shout It From the Housetops
By Pat Robertson
It seemed that everyone I talked to, every book I read,
concerned personal revival. A week later I picked up a book
in the seminary library by evangelist Charles G. Finney. Since
Finney, like myself, had started out as a lawyer, I took the
book home to read. I could hardly believe it. Finney, like Su
Nae Chu and others, had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and
had apparently spoken in tongues. The passage concerning his
baptism was so thrilling, I could not sleep for lying awake
praising God for what had happened.
Quest for God
Finney attributed his experience to a reckless quest for God.
Su Nae Chu had fasted and prayed. The more I read of Finney's
turning aside and seeking the face of the Lord, I realized this
was what I should do also. The others in the prayer group agreed,
and Dick Simmons, Gene Peterson, Dick White, and I decided to
take three days off and find a quiet place away from the city
where we could fast and pray.
A young Christian
friend of mine, Al Thyberg, owned a rough campsite up near New
Preston, Connecticut, where he took boys from the New York area
for summer retreats. He had just purchased an abandoned farm
adjoining the camp, and we asked if we could take our sleeping
bags, drive up, and spend a few days seeking the face of the
Lord in the empty farmhouse. He graciously consented.
farmhouse had been built before the Revolutionary War. While
we laid out our sleeping bags, Simmons wandered away to walk
through the woods. Moments later he came tearing back, shouting,
laughing, and praising God. He was beside himself with ecstasy,
and all he could do was point out into the woods.
pulled us down a small path. Running through the underbrush,
we suddenly came to a tiny clearing in the middle of which was
a stone monument. I ran around to the front and read the inscription:
OF CHARLES G. FINNEY 1792 Attorney, Evangelist, College President,
Man of God
It was as
though we were on holy ground, and we kicked off our shoes and
began laughing and praising God. I knew the Holy Spirit had
allowed us to come to this place for a sign. He was about to
pour Himself out on us even as He did on Finney.
we did not receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit that weekend
as we hoped, we did return with new spiritual sensitivity. I
had been seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit; now God
showed me His emphasis. He is the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit
of Truth. He showed me that I was to despise all manner of lying
and dishonesty. Before I could come into His presence, I first
had to have clean hands and a pure heart. It was a magnificent
I again started
visiting other churches in the evening, seeking the baptism
in the Holy Spirit. Dede's reactions to this were intense. "Every
night you've been off having a hallelujah time with all your
new friends, and I'm stuck here at home looking after the children.
If you're seeking this baptism in the Holy Spirit that you talk
about all the time, I think you can get it just as much in your
own living room as you can in all these meetings."
Spiritual Gap Threatens Marriage
Even though her words were spoken in anger, I sensed they had
prophetic overtones. During the summer of 1957, the prayer meetings
became weekly occurrences in our home, but Dede always seemed
to find some kind of excuse for getting up and leaving the room.
I knew that unless there was a direct intervention from the
Lord, the spiritual gap that was forming would soon be so wide
it would be impossible to bridge. Yet I knew I had no alternative
but to press on in the Spirit, despite her objections.
end of the summer, my mother suggested that we take a two-week
vacation at her expense and go up to Jack Wyrtzen's Word of
Life Camp on Scroon Lake. Dede was willing to do anything to
get out of the city and away from those "weird people," as she
called the folk who were continually coming to the house.
Word of Life
Camp is located on an island in the middle of a cold-water lake
nestled in the Adirondack Mountains in upper New York state.
The camp had recently purchased a beautiful inn on the mainland
where we were to stay.
week we were there, I told Dede I would take care of the children
so she could attend one of the evening services at the pavilion.
Larry McGuill, a Baptist preacher from Wycoff, New Jersey, was
That night Larry preached on hardening one's heart until it
can no longer respond to the voice of Jesus. Dede was deeply
moved in her spirit as she sat listening at the rear of the
huge auditorium. Yet, when the altar call was given, her pride
surged to the surface, preventing her from leaving her seat.
Realizing she was doing exactly what the preacher had been talking
about, she began to weep. She felt crushed as if under a heavy
weight. Softly, but in deep contrition, she cried, “Jesus,
come into my life.”
And He did.
Suddenly she knew it. She had been reborn, and in that same
moment the weight had lifted. She was not completely free, but
Jesus had begun to strip away the cocoon that had held her imprisoned
all these years.
to New York, I began my junior year of school. As my search
for God intensified, I was becoming aware that one by one God
was bringing across my path the men He had chosen to help me.
I was invited
to the Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., to
speak to the Senate prayer group of which my father was a member.
At the end of a meeting, Bob Walker, the ruggedly handsome editor
of Christian Life, came over to me, chatted a bit, and then
asked, "Have you ever heard of the baptism in the Holy Spirit?"
experience I have been searching for," I replied, but before
I could finish my sentence, we were interrupted, leaving me
wondering why he would ask me such a question.
to New York, and arriving at Penn Station went directly to the
annual banquet of Christian Soldiers, Inc., on whose board I
was a member. Seated at the head table with me was an ebullient
young minister, Harald Bredesen, who, it turned out, was public-relations
director for the Gospel Association for the Blind. I was drawn
to him by his warmth of spirit and was delighted when we discovered
at the conclusion of the banquet that we were taking the same
subway home. We were no sooner seated than with an engaging
smile he asked, "Do you know anything about the baptism in the
should ask," I replied. "Just today in Washington I met a fellow
named Bob Walker, and he asked me the same question."
he exclaimed. "He's one of my best friends. He's just received
the baptism. That's why he wanted to share it with you." Harald
was exuberant -- I was awed by the providence of God.
It was time to leave, and as the doors of the car swished shut
behind me and the train roared off into the darkness, I sensed
that this crew-cut cleric was destined to play a profound role
in my life. I was soon to learn that earlier that evening, on
the way to the banquet, he had asked, "Lord, you must have some
reason for taking me to this dinner. What is it?" The moment
he walked into the room and saw me, it was as if God said, "This
man is the reason I have brought you here. He is open to the
baptism in My Spirit."
The next week
Bredesen appeared at our apartment in Queens. He had ridden
a bicycle all the way from College Point through the heavy New
York traffic to bring us a book on the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Needless to say, I was deeply impressed by this man's enthusiasm
and commitment to Jesus Christ.
meeting with our prayer group at the seminary, and then in our
homes. He also introduced us to a number of other prayer meetings
that were being conducted in the area. My hunger for God grew
teaching on the importance of water baptism. I had been baptized
as a boy in the Baptist Church back home, but I knew it was
not a believer's baptism. So I asked Harald to baptize me, which
he did in First Baptist Church of Flushing. I came out of the
water fully expecting Jesus to baptize me in the Holy Spirit
just as He had been when He came out of the Jordan. But nothing
The next week
Harald invited our prayer group to the Flushing Full Gospel
Church to meet with Arthur Graves, the pastor.
prayer group came and was astonished when halfway through the
prayer meeting something happened to Harald. Suddenly he leaped
to his feet, a torrent of beautiful words in a tongue I had
never heard pouring from the depths of his being. To paraphrase
Charles Finney, he "literally bellowed out the unutterable gushing
of his heart." He seemed to be transported into another realm
of experience. I didn't know what had happened to him. I only
knew that God had touched his life.
were growing tense at home again.
pleaded, "be patient with me. God is pouring out His Spirit.
He's moving in a supernatural way, and I must follow Him."
just that," Dede said. "You spend all your time running around
the city, and your children never even know they have a father.
Just because you never knew your father very well as a child
is no excuse for you not spending time with your children."
A week later,
still smarting under the guilt that Dede had poured out on me,
I came home from school and found Tim running a high fever.
his temperature went up to 104° and by bedtime it was 105°.
His skin was burning hot and dry. He was unconscious and having
muscle spasms. Dede, who had tried unsuccessfully to get a doctor,
exclaimed, "We've got to do something! He's on the verge of
I fell on
my knees. "God, do something."
Dede put Elizabeth
to bed and then got on her knees with me beside Tim. I laid
my hands on him and cried out again. While I was pleading with
God, it flashed into my mind what a lousy father I was. How
imperfect my love toward this little boy! As these thoughts
flooded my mind, I was suddenly aware of how much God loved
him. I was trying to get God to do something for my son, pleading
with Him to love him, while all the time He loved him far more
than I ever could.
a Son Back to God
So, instead of begging anymore, I just consciously lifted him
up to the Lord. I gave him back to God. Suddenly I was aware
of the love of God enfolding him, and the power of God going
through him. He opened his eyes and murmured, "Daddy, I gotta
go the bathroom."
He came back
to his bed perspiring. I knew the fever had broken, and the
healing was taking place.
Jesus," I began to weep. "Oh, thank You" I gradually realized
I didn't have to ask Him for anything. I could never, in a thousand
lifetimes, talk Him into anything that He didn't want to do.
And there was no need to try anyway. He loved me -- and Tim -- with
a perfect love. That was why He healed Tim. I felt waves of
love flow over me as I began to give praise to Jesus. "Praise
Your Holy name!" I shouted. "Praise You, Jesus."
It was in
this moment that I became aware my speech was garbled. I was
speaking in another language. Something deep within me had been
given a voice, and the Holy Spirit had supplied the words. I
was aware of the sounds, but they were not of my own creation.
It sounded like some kind of African dialect, and the flow of
words continued on for five minutes or more.
Prophetic Words Realized
Finally it subsided, and I was once again aware of Dede's presence
in the room. She was sitting on the edge of the sofa bed, watching
me. I lowered my hands and looked at her. She was wide-eyed.
has this been going on?"
"What do you
mean?" I answered.
"I just started.
This was the first time."
I sat down
beside her, and she reached over and gently took my hand. I
felt a joining in the Spirit I hadn't felt in a long time. Softly
she said, "You remember I said you didn't need to go running
around all over the city seeking; I told you that God would
give you the baptism right here in your own living room."
She was right.