McDonnell, Kilian & Montague, George T. "Chapter Twenty-Two: General Conclusions: Where We Were and Where We Are." Christian Initiation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit: Evidence from the First Eight Centuries. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991, 316-342.
The impartation of the Holy Spirit at Jesus' baptism immediately after his rising from the water, was significant in the accounts of the Synoptic Gospels. With Jesus' baptism serving as the paradigm for Christian baptism, a reception of the Holy Spirit would be expected, as was the case in early post-New Testament belief, especially in the East (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 316). The gift of the Holy Spirit thus became the expected norm for the Christian. The theme of death, burial, and resurrection in baptism ratehr early arose to prominence in Christian thought (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 317). Eventually, the relationship of baptism to the death and resurrection of Christ became more prominent than any association to Jesus' baptism (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 318). Jesus' baptism, at least in Syrian thought, then came to symbolize the entrance into a fully developed Christian life. McDonnell and Montague emphasize the importance of both themes - Jesus' baptism and death and resurrection - in Christian thought. The theme of being born again, from John chapter three, also rises to prominence in a lasting way, from the eighth century to the present (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 320). This may create more difficulty as we try to identify the work of the Holy Spirit in giving gifts.
While McDonnell and Montague recognize that the work of the Holy Spirit is important to Christianity, they also affirm that it is not at the center of the gospel message. Pneumatology is not the matter of prime emphasis in Christian theology (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 321). The emphasis in Christian thought remains on Jesus as the one who atones for sin. The Holy Spirit gives gifts which direct God's people to Christ (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 322).
Christian tradition attribues numerous effects to the presence of the Holy Spirit. McDonnell and Montague recgnize that different communities expected various types of gifts to come from the Holy Spirit, as they describe in some detail (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 323). While there were a variety of expectations of the way the Holy Spirit would be manifested, there was an overriding expectation of some sort of experiential evidence of an impartation of the Holy Spirit. This would be observable by others, or at least by the Christian who received the Spirit (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 324).
In any case, McDonnell and Montague see that an experience of the Holy Spirit is the start of other developments in the lfie of the Christian (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 325). Fruit is borne by those growing in the Holy Spirit. McDonnell and Montague find that, especially in Syrian Christianity, growth in the Spirit was understood to be related to taking on monastic practices of asceticism (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 326). This was how one would receive more of the grace of Jesus.
McDonnell and Montague further see that the water baptism was not always associated with gifts of the Spirit. This was especially the case when infant baptism was practiced. An outpouring of gifts may be years later (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 329).
McDonnell and Montague conclude that history demands an understanding of an impartation of the Holy Spirit at baptism, and an expectation that in some way the Holy Spirit will work in baptized people until the second coming of Christ (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 333). They expect an ongoing work of the Spirit, but within the context of existing church structures which emphasize Jesus, not gifts.