McDonnell, Kilian & Montague, George T. "Chapter Twenty-One: Conclusion: Spirit Baptism and Initiation in the Early Post-Biblical Tradition."Christian Initiation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit: Evidence from the First Eight Centuries. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991, 306-315.
McDonnell interprets entry into Christianity as a definitive entry into communion with the Trinity. The church, then, as a sacramental bond, and one in which God initiates the relationship with his people (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 306).
In this relationship, and especially in its initiation, McDonnell observes that the baptism of Jesus and his death and resurrection provide the framework of concept and practice. At his baptism Jesus was visily endued with the Holy Spirit, declared to be God the Son, and set out in his ministry of preaching, teaching, and working miracles (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 307). To neglect this event is to neglect the work of God for his people.
By the fourth century, attention paid to Jesus' baptism as our pattern in baptism had gradually shifted, resulting in more attention to death and resurrection as the model of baptism (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 308). Yet, McDonnell recognizes that Pentecost still needed to be present in the concept of the church. Therefore, an enduement of the Holy Spirit, resulting in gifts, retained a place of prominence, at least from the time of Cyril.
At and around the time of baptism the rites of early Christianity regularly included some combination of an anointing with oil, a laying on of hands, and an invocation of the Holy Spirit. There was an expectation that people would receive the power of the Holy Spirit, even in locations where gifts as described in 1 Corinthians 12 were not in practice (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 309).
In the work of Philoxenus and Joseph Hazzaya, as well as those authors who had been exposed to Montanism, very possibly as a reaction to perceived abuses, it was common to affirm activity of the Holy Spirit but to go only up to a certain point, not really endorsing a present-day exercise of spiritual gifts (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 311).
A prominent move among Syrians of the fourth century and beyond was to affirm a second baptism, which was in actuality an enduement of the Holy Spirit when the Christian had more fully renounced the world. McDonnell clearly states this was not seen as a "second blessing" as we might hear of today, "but the unfolding, the full flowering of the reality given in first baptism" (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 312). There is, nonetheless, a distinction made among believers with different levels of spirituality.
It is important to McDonnell that in his examination of authors most were writing intentionally about interpretation of the liturgy (McDonnell & Montague 1991, 313). Their thoughts on the matter were primary to their intent in writing, rather than tangential ideas.