How do we receive?

Theme: Anointing – necessary or nice to have?

Acts 8:17 ‘Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.’
My wife, Pat, and I became disciples of the Lord Jesus at roughly the same time. Some lovely people from the Assemblies of God took us in hand. First they instructed us in the need for water baptism and we complied. Next, the pastor invited us to attend a teaching on the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’. It was at his house and it turned out that we were the only uninitiated people there. After an extended Bible study, the pastor asked us if we would like to receive the laying on of hands for the baptism in the Spirit. “Yes please” we responded and immediately the whole crowd present surrounded the couch upon which we sat and ‘laid hands’ on us. Ten or so pairs of hands on your head can be pretty heavy you know but we tried to stay focused. Much praying, much instruction to “Just open your mouth and drink it in”, much praying loudly in tongues by those ministering and… nothing!
When we got home that night Pat and I looked at each other tearfully. “Doesn’t God love us?” we asked. “Aren’t we good enough?” “Why didn’t we receive?” When I look back at it now, I think the main problem was in the formula sort of approach the folk took that night. Do this, that, and the other in the prescribed order and the result is guaranteed. We were quite overwhelmed, not by the Holy Spirit, but by the process and the weight of ministers around us. But, God doesn’t treat us as units in a prescribed process, but as individual and dearly loved children. In due course we did receive spiritual anointing, but not on that particular occasion.

Physical contact, laying on of hands, is a biblically valid means of imparting and receiving (See also Acts 19:6). However, there are other ways by which we can receive anointing. For instance Acts 4:31 records how the anointing came as a response to group prayer, and Acts 10:44 as a response to the preaching of the Word.

We should not attempt to ‘plug in’ or to prescribe the way in which God ministers, but we should ask so that we can receive. When last did you ask?

Picture of Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler



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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.