| Speaking in Tongues|
The United Pentecostal Church holds that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and that this experience is essential to salvation. The Assemblies of God also holds that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit although they do make a distinction between this experience and the new birth. Therefore one can be saved but yet not speak in tongues.
The Initial Evidence doctrine is simply that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an identifiable experience in the Christian believer's life recognized by the inevitable accompanying sign of speaking with other tongues.
Further, this doctrine does not say that some can or will speak in tongues but rather it affirms that all without exception will speak with tongues.
The book of Acts is its foundation stone. If the book of Acts were excluded from the discussion there would be no other source of information since the only other passage in the New Testament that discusses tongues at any length is 1 Corinthians 12-14 which clearly teaches all do not speak in tongues.
The Initial Evidence doctrine simply does not have a history before the 1800's. This should at least caution us to carefully consider the Scriptures used to support the doctrine itself.
It is also important to note that Pentecostalism has not only accepted an understanding of the book of Acts that is "novel" but it has also made this doctrine the most important distinguishing feature of its identity. An essential area of contemporary Pentecostal theology, then, was simply absent from the church until modern times.
Jesus briefly mentioned "tongues" in Mark 16:17 as a sign that would accompany future Christian believers. Some denominations see this as an indication that every believer should speak in tongues.
This was, in fact, a miraculous sign that was recorded in the book of Acts. However, other signs mentioned by Jesus included casting out of demons, taking up of serpents unharmed, drinking of poison unharmed, and physical healings through the laying on of hands.
Again, these signs were fulfilled through certain people in the early church, but no one could reasonably argue that all of these signs are expected to accompany every Christian.
The Holy Spirit is sovereign in the distribution of His gifts. Following the listing of these gifts, Paul adds, But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will (I Corinthians 12:11). No one person has all the gifts. Every believer has received the gift of the Spirit, but not every believer has received all of the gifts which the Spirit bestows.
It is unscriptural teaching which says that all who are baptized by the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues. The Scriptures state emphatically that all saved persons have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body ... (I Corinthians 12:13). All the believers at Corinth received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, however all did not speak in tongues. The question asked in verse 30, Do all speak with tongues? is so phrased so as to convey the expected answer, No.
Paul said that not all of the Corinthian Christians spoke in tongues (I Corinthians 14: 5), and yet he stated clearly that all had been baptized with the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).
It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit. All believers are commanded to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), but nowhere in Scripture are believers commanded to speak in tongues. A Christian can be under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit and not speak in tongues. There are numerous instances when the disciples were filled with the Spirit but did not speak in tongues. See Acts 4:31 and 13:9-11. To be Spirit-filled is to be Spirit-controlled. Are we to believe that the thousands of mightily used men and women of God who were among the worlds best missionaries of Christs Gospel and Bible teachers were never filled with the Holy Spirit because they never spoke in tongues? Perish the thought!
Three things are mentioned in Ephesians 5:18-21 as evidence of being Spirit-filled: a joyful heart, a thankful heart and a submissive heart. Nothing is said about speaking in tongues. To sum it up in one word, Christlikeness is the manifestation of being filled with the Spirit, and the Scriptures do not tell us that our Lord ever spoke in tongues.
The fruit of the Spirit is mentioned in Galatians 5:22, 23 and includes nine characteristics. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. None of the sign-gifts are included in this nine-fold cluster of fruit. The Christian who is filled with the Spirit will manifest the fruit of the Spirit apart from ever having spoken in tongues. As a matter of fact, in Ephesians and Galatians, where the fullness and fruit of the Spirit are discussed tongues-speaking is not mentioned once.
All Christians should be filled with the Spirit and all are to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, but not every Christian has all the gifts. Spirituality does not depend on speaking in tongues. Gods goal for every child of His is to be Spirit-controlled, but that goal does not include speaking in tongues. No Christian need ever feel that he is lacking in spirituality because he has not spoken in tongues. Quality of life is the best evidence of the fullness and fruit of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptizer was filled with the Spirit from his mothers womb (Luke 1:15), yet this Spirit-filled man did no miracles and never spoke in tongues (John 10:41).
It is a mistake to seek the gift of speaking in tongues. It is clear that not all in the church at Corinth spoke in tongues. Why didnt they? The Apostle says, Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit ... for to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will (I Corinthians 12:4-11).
Please note that the gifts were given as He (the Holy Spirit) will, not as we will, as it hath pleased Him (vs. 18), not us. The reason why all the Christians did not have the gift of tongues is because all of the gifts are divinely bestowed. The Spirit divides and distributes to each believer his own gift. Not one of us is capable of choosing his own gift. The Spirit will not give a gift according to our desire and the way we pray. Dont try to tell God which gift He should give to you. We are but members of the Body, and no one member has any right to tell the Head what to do.
The only biblically taught, universally expected sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the transformed character of the believer. Where there once was selfishness, there is now selflessness. Where there once was hatred, there is now love. Where there once was recklessness, there is now self-control. These attributes are known as "the fruit of the Spirit," and they are mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. These qualities can only come from God; unlike "tongues" they cannot be faked.
The "fruit of the Spirit" is the only positive outward evidence that a person has been "born again."
| 2003/7/10 3:23||Profile|
| Re: Speaking in Tongues|
Man that is really great insight God has given you and I agree with every thing except that you mention that "it is a mistake to seek the gift of speaking in tongues"
Paul tells us to covet earnesty the best gifts, but to pursue love which is more excellant. 1 cor 12:31 and again that we are to follow after love but desire spiritual gifts 1Cor 14:1 but rather that you may prophesy. So it is not a mistake to desire the gifts but rather we are exhorted to instead desire the gifts.
I attend an Apostolic Pentecostal church who definately teach the speaking of tongues is a sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. But I agree more to what you have said. I myself donot speak in tongues and have asked God for answers and God led me to the same conclussions as you.
I believe that God has led me to this church though because I'LL tell ya they lift up the Lord Jesus. I believe you recieve the Baptism of the Spirit the moment you turn your heart to God and seek His redemption for your sin.
My Pastor and I have discussed this very Issue and both agree that to be concerned that someone dosent speak in tongues is not an issue its the one that says "I dont need to" or "I dont have to" speak in tongues, for you are in danger of supressing the gift of tongues for the Holy Spirit would not force Himself on anyone, This requires submission on our part.
Paul had said he wished they all spoke in tongues 1 cor 14:5 and also to not forbid the speaking of tongues 1 cor 14:40
But all in all I agree with what you have said and as I have mentioned I dont speak in tongues (but I do desire it) and believe I have been baptised in Spirit and there are gifts of the Spirit that are evident in my life and should the Holy spirit decide to present me with the gift of speaking in tongues, I sure dont want to denied from it because of my unbelief.
God bless you and I enjoyed reading what you have had to say. I agree that there are some extremist out there who have preached that if you dont speak in tongues you are not baptised in the Holy Spirit and have "pierced the faith of many" and made many feel inadequate and not wanted (myself included at one time until through Gods word He showed me otherwise)
But lets not go to the other extreme and pass this as a gift that is unnecessary in the Body of Christ.
Praise the Name of Jesus :-D :-D
| 2003/7/21 12:25||Profile|
I thought I would throw this passage into the mix:
"But listen, friends, as I lay there, God the Holy Ghost came upon me. Wave after wave came rolling over me until the love of God swept through me like a mighty river! So much so, that there were moments.. now listen, my daughter beside me put her hand on my shoulders and she prayed, 'Oh, God, keep his reason to Daddy.' I was never more sane in my life! But I was so wrought by the Holy Ghost that I cried and I laughed and I prayed.
"Someone asked me, 'Did you speak in tongues?' Oh, I was asked that again and again. No, my dear people, I've never spoken in tongues nor have I ever been in a meeting where tongues have been practiced... No dear people... mind you, when I say that, don't think that I'm denying the gifts mentioned in the New Testament, precious gifts when God gives them. But all I can say is that it never came to me!
"But I say that the baptism of the Holy Ghost came to me... in a mighy cleansing, empowering power!
(A professor essentially asks him what difference the experience made in his life and he responds):
"Well, I think, professor, that the difference must be obvious to you from what has already happened,' I said. 'I went out to preach the same sermons that I'd been preaching for seventeen years... went out to preach the same sermons with this difference- that I now saw hundreds converted, hundreds brought savingly to Christ."
- Duncan Campbel, "The Nature of a God-Sent Revival", Christian Life Publications, pp. 26-27
| 2003/7/21 19:36||Profile|
| Re: Tongues and initial evidence|
an eavesdropper from across the atlantic here...
You have raised a topic which has been the cause of deep divisions to the people of God over many years. Its one of those areas where it is very easy to generate 'more heat than light' but its in the Book so we ought not to be afraid of giving it some prayerful consideration.
One of the fundamental questions of the New Testament is 'When you believed did you receive the Spirit'. It is interesting because of its implications. For example the question clearly implies that it is possible to 'believe' and yet not 'receive' the Spirit. And secondly it clearly implies that 'receiving the Spirit' is a conscious experience otherwise how would anyone be able to answer the question.
The problems arise when we begin to define 'receiving the Spirit'. The Salvationists, by that phrase, meant a definite experience of 'sanctification' in which the nature of sin in a person was dealt a radical blow. The Pentecostals, by that phrase, meant an experience distinct from and subsequent to new birth which imparted power for service. (Not all Pentecostals insisted on tongues being THE sign of that experience, although many did.)
In personal terms it is good to ask the question 'when I believed did I receive the Spirit?' so that if God has more for me I don't shut my eyes and ears to the possibility. In the NT accounts this experience always seems to be definite and conscious, rather than a theological conclusion drawn from an interpretation of texts.
If you would like to read an extended article on your subject you might try
choose pdf files and download a file called
"Initial Evidence; An Examination of the true evidence of baptism in the Spirit G.W.North"
That doesn't mean that G.W.North thought tongues was THE evidence, but I'll leave you to read his paper.
Its not lack of faith to continue to search the scriptures. I have a favourite bumper sticker which says "if you haven't changed your mind recently, how do you know you still have one?"
Keep praying, keep meditating, keep thinking..
| 2003/7/22 4:52||Profile|
| Re: Tongues|
I think by stating that "it is a mistake to seek the gift of speaking in tongues" this article is talking about seeking particular gifts rather than simply more of God Himself.
The Spirit will not give a gift according to our desire and the way we pray. We shouldn't try to dictate to God which gift He should give us. We are but members of the Body, and no one member has any right to tell the Head what to do.
I also believe we recieve the Spirit the moment we turn our hearts to God and seek His redemption for our sin. But I also believe there is more that God has for us than just a one-time experience.
Paul said that not all of the Corinthian Christians spoke in tongues (I Corinthians 14: 5), and yet he stated clearly that all had the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).
The Holy Spirit enables us to be saved, and He also goes on from day to day enabling us to remain saved. I heard a preacher one time who said that when the Bible says "be filled with the Spirit" it means that we are to be continually seeking every day for the Spirit's power to help us live a godly life.
John the Baptizer was filled with the Spirit from his mothers womb (Luke 1:15), yet this Spirit-filled man did no miracles and never spoke in tongues (John 10:41).
I've heard a few accounts like that of Duncan Campbell where tongues did not come into play, but where a new spiritual experience had made a big difference in the ministry of preachers.
I think there are some mainstream denominations as well as extremists who have taught that if you dont speak in tongues you are not baptised in the Holy Spirit. I can relate to having my faith pierced and being made to feel inadequate and not wanted because of stuff like this.
I don't think we need to be concerned that someone doesn't speak in tongues, but I do think we ought to be concerned if someone says something like "I dont need to" or "I dont have to". We should be open to anything new God has for us.
| 2003/7/22 10:49||Profile|
"I think by stating that 'it is a mistake to seek the gift of speaking in tongues' this article is talking about seeking particular gifts rather than simply more of God Himself.
"The Spirit will not give a gift according to our desire and the way we pray. We shouldn't try to dictate to God which gift He should give us. We are but members of the Body, and no one member has any right to tell the Head what to do."
Ok, but then how do you understand 1 Corinthians 14:1?
"Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophecy."
It doesn't say to simply desire GOd earnestly here, right? but to earnestly desire spiritual gifts and especially the gift of prophecy. how do you fit that into your understanding as stated above?
I agree we shouldn't dictate to God what He should give us but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't earnestly desire these gifts and seek them and ask God for them, right? Since God wants a relationship with us then He wants to know (from us) what we want so that He can bless us with it. It's an intimacy thing I think. Because even though He already knows what you want, He wants you to ask HIm. Then you can look back and remember when you asked Him and how He provided. He wants to show His faithfulness and love. No man has the right to dictate what God should do, but God wants men to ask of Him specific things. At least that seems to be the case to me.
"John the Baptizer was filled with the Spirit from his mothers womb (Luke 1:15), yet this Spirit-filled man did no miracles and never spoke in tongues (John 10:41)."
I often hear this example (Ravenhill, etc.) and I wonder how relevant it is to the discussion. Because John the Baptist was a transitional figure (in between Old and New Testament times). His time was before Pentacost, before the Church of Jesus Christ. As far as I know, the Scripture doesn't record anybody speaking in tongues before Pentacost (the birth of the Church), because that's when the Spirit was poured out in the new way. It was the same Spirit but manifested in a new way. I think that's also why Jesus didn't speak in tongues. I think the miracles aspect is relevant to a discussion on miracles (even though this is still different because it's before Penatcost).
"I don't think we need to be concerned that someone doesn't speak in tongues, but I do think we ought to be concerned if someone says something like "I dont need to" or "I dont have to". We should be open to anything new God has for us."
Yeah I think I pretty much agree with you here. I don't think we need to be "concerned" but I like to be hopeful that they will be able to experience that gift and any others that they are not currently experiencing. I want them all, but in a healthy way I think. I want all the fullness God has for me.
| 2003/7/22 19:51||Profile|
| Re: Speaking in Tongues|
I think I remember reading about Saul speaking in other tongues, but maybe it didn't say "tongues" but "prophesying". I'll have to look that one up.
Yes, we should earnestly desire gifts and seek to use them to benefit our brothers and sister. God wants a relationship with us and I believe we should love Him just because of who He is rather than for what He can give us.
Yes, I believe God wants us to ask for specific things but not to show off. He wants to bless us, yes, but ultimately it should be to bring glory back to Him.
| 2003/7/22 21:44||Profile|
I hope to hear back on the Saul speaking in tongues/prophecying thing. That could be real good stuff for our discussion.
"He wants to bless us, yes, but ultimately it should be to bring glory back to Him."
Ok. But what if He just wants to bless us just for us, not for Him in any way, or for anyone else? Just for us, to bless us simply because He loves us and wants to. SImple. Not to necessarily bring any glory back to Him, although that will probably happen, but His motive might be just because He loves us and wants a relationship with us. What do you think?
"Yes, we should earnestly desire gifts and seek to use them to benefit our brothers and sister. God wants a relationship with us and I believe we should love Him just because of who He is rather than for what He can give us."
I agree. And I also think tongues is different than the other gifts because it is for your own edification unless someone interprets, so i think we can seek it for ourselves. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have more gifts of interpretation functioning in the Church?
Also, while it appears correct on the surface, I find it hard to accept that we "should" love God because of who He is alone and not at all because of what He does/has done for us. I definately think we can worship Him because of who He is, but loving Him seems different to me.
"And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?'
Simon answered and said, 'I suppose the one whom he forgave more.'
And He said to him, 'You have rightly judged."
There's somthing right about loving more for being forgiven. THe ultimate case of this would clearly seem to be Jesus' dying for us and God's forgiving us. You see what I am getting at? Can we love Him simply for who He is? I don't know, and I guess it really doesn't matter that much (at least for me) since I do love HIm, however it has come about. But I love HIm for who He is, what He does, and what He's done.
I think God romances us with what He does. I mean, even us knowing who He is, that's something He did. He gave us that revelation right? So can we love HIm simply for who He is? Maybe we "should" but I don't really like that word so much. You know what I mean?
| 2003/7/23 1:18||Profile|
thats some pretty good stuff you responded with and as you had mentioned. that when we speak in tongues its for our own edification unless someone interprets. But God is more interested in the edification of the church.
"...for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh in tongues, except he interpret, that the church may recieve edifying." 1 cor 14:5
"wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that [b]he may interpret[/b]. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, [b]but my understanding is unfruitful."[/b]1 Cor 14:13-14
Unless the Spirit of God also brings to you or to someone else the interpretation, your understanding is unfruitful. your spirit may be edified but no one else is unless there is interpretation.
I like you would really like to see an interpretation of an unknown tongue within in the church to see if in fact if some are even speaking in a tongue from God!(not to say some arent genuine, as I believe they are but not all, some is seems is just babble) to this day I have yet to see it and I cant help but wonder if some are in fact even "forceing" this wonderful gift
Because the scriptures says let 2 or 3 at the most speak in tongues (In the church) and let one interpret, if there is no interpretation then (Im paraphrasing here) [b]shut up[/b] and let him speak to himself and to God. 1 cor 14:27-28.
what I am trying to say is that if the tongue were from God within the church -- then I believe that the Holy Spirit would also provide interpretation. For one thing I do know is that the Holy Spirit would never go contrary to the scriptures.would He?
wicca, satan worshippers, muslims, etc all speak in an unknown tongue and I know for certain they arent baptized in the Holy Spirit of God.
I believe the tongues are a gift for the body of Christ today but not all are going to speak in them and those that dont in no way means that they were not baptised in the Holy Spirit! This is unscriptural.
To those who teach that if you dont speak in tongues, you are not baptized in the Holy Spirit should be warned that they are teaching a false gospel and are in danger of such cosequences that the scriptures warn of false teachings.
I myself am pentecostal and do not speak in tongues and have prayed for them as well as all of the gifts, and as of yet have not spoken in them. But I know for certain I have been baptised into the body of Christ and will be with my tongue speaking brothers when Christ come to call us home.
In the name of Jesus,
| 2003/7/23 12:04||Profile|
| Re: Speaking in Tongues|
The churches I attend do practice prophesying and interpretation of unknown tongues and no, some are not genuine, but only babble. In fact, in my home church people have been escorted out of the service on several occasions for causing disturbances that were unscriptural.
I myself would not like to see more prophesying and interpreting. We have a healthy amount of that already, I think, as well as an unhealthy amount of seeking after signs and wonders.
What I would like to see is more mature Christians loving and reaching out to younger believers and discipling them, and churches that will get together 2 or 3 times a week for the sole purpose of prayer.
Yes, wiccans, satan worshippers, muslims, etc all believe and practice spiritual rituals and signs. But the Bible says that the world will know we are Christians by our love for one another and not necessarily by the signs and wonders that are displayed in our meetings.
| 2003/7/24 11:07||Profile|