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The Holy Spirit is a popular theme August 16, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Acts, Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Charismatic Movement, First Corinthians, Holy Spirit, Pentecostalism, Religion, Sermons, Tongues.

From Latrese “…I have one question that is really burning within me. What are your views on ’speaking in tongues’ and the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’? I know people who do this, but I never have. When I prayed ‘the prayer’ to receive this, nothing happened. Is this another false doctrine? If so, then what are the ‘tongues’ that these people I know are speaking?”

There are whole books written on this subject but I will try to be as brief as possible. You can then respond to whichever of my comments you desire and we can go from there if you wish.

Speaking in tongues occurs three times in the book of Acts and is a major part of the discussion of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14. On the day of Pentecost, we know that speaking in tongues referred to known languages and there is no overriding reason in any of the other places to assure us that it was otherwise although there is much debate about the Corinthian passage. The purpose of tongues in Acts at Pentecost was to confirm the message the apostles were preaching (which is why the prophecy in Joel is quoted). Later, Cornelius and the Gentiles with him spoke in tongues for the purpose of confirming that the message of Jesus Christ was for both Jew and Gentile. The third time seems to be a confirmation that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the gospel of John the Baptist.

The use and purpose of tongues in Corinth is not totally clear although there were clearly abuses in its practice. For one, it was not being used to edify others but rather to edify one’s self which is against the purpose of spiritual gifts. For another, tongues as well as other spiritual gifts were being practiced in the absence of love for the brethren.

There is no command to speak in tongues and it is debatable whether the gift as practiced in the book of Acts exists today. I myself do not believe it exists. If it does not exist today, then the tongues being spoken are most likely emotionalism or fakery. Tongues are not and have never been a general sign of salvation, sanctification, or spirituality.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit first occurred at Pentecost. It was at this time that the church first began to function with the Holy Spirit indwelling and empowering them. In 1 Corinthians 12:13 the baptism of the Holy Spirit is mentioned as the way in which each believer becomes a part of the body of Christ. The baptism at Pentecost and the baptism in 1 Corinthians 12 are one and the same. It does not require nor automatically produce speaking in tongues. (Here is a link to a sermon I preached last fall on the subject “Baptism By the Holy Spirit”).

Is speaking in tongues in connection with the baptism of the Holy Spirit a false doctrine? First, I should point out that not everyone who believes tongues is possible connect it with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There are many though who believe that speaking in tongues is proof that one has been baptized with the Holy Spirit. They often believe that this is an evidence of salvation. This is false doctrine. It causes people to look for an experience that is not commanded and many fall into the trap of believing they are not saved or cannot be saved unless they have this experience. In this sense, this false doctrine is similar to the Galatian error where it was taught that salvation came through trusting Christ plus circumcision. Paul was pretty severe in his condemnation of those who taught this doctrine (calling it “another gospel”) when he said in Galatians 1, “…let him be accursed” who preaches this gospel. In other words, those who teach that salvation is through faith in Christ plus speaking in tongues are teaching a false gospel and according to Paul are false prophets.

This is a long answer and I have referred to little Scripture in order to keep it short. Please feel free to respond and we can go into more detail.

Here is a sermon from Ray Pritchard directly dealing with speaking in tongues.