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Is Speaking in Tongues the ‘Evidence’ of the Holy Spirit Baptism? - and Other Questions
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Thanks to everyone who commented on the article, ‘The Holy Spirit Baptism.’ This article caused an overwhelming appreciation for the balanced and Scriptural views which were expressed. However, it is always difficult to share something that does not fit into firmly established, but false church criteria. As a result, I was asked to answer the following questions. The ‘views’ that I express come directly from the entire, truthful context of the Bible, and are therefore definitely not ‘new.’ Considering the charismatic character of the 1991 Spirit Filled Bible-translation, (which, for valid reason, cannot be endorsed without reserve,) the footnotes in this translation nevertheless clearly echo the truth of this discussion. Above all, I rely entirely on the Holy Spirit in all Bible, and other studies. He Alone is our Teacher, Helper, Strength, and the Supplier of all our needs. He Alone came to guide us all into “all truth” - if we choose to submit ourselves entirely to His Scriptural will.
A greatly overlooked truth about the gift of tongues is that, when Paul explained the form and function of the body of Christ, he asked the following, “There are diversities of gifts… ministries… activities, but the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one to profit all. To one a word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge, to another gifts of healings, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirit, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these [gifts,] distributing to each one individually as He wills… Now you are the body of Christ and members individually… Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret…?” (1 Cor. 12:4-11; 27-30.)
So, it is essential that the following question must be answered according to the full light of contextual Scripture, because it actually pertains to the salvation of every believer in Christ. How does Paul’s question, (“Do all speak in tongues?”) fit into church dogma that proclaim, “Speaking in tongues is the evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit”?
· What is the difference between speaking the tongues [languages] of men, angels, and in the assemblies, or is it all the same?
· Spirit Baptism with the evidence of speaking in tongues?
· Spirit Baptism is “not” a separate experience from rebirth in Christ
· Holy Spirit Power and the Speaking of tongues
· Indwelling Spirit Vs Constant “Coming Down” of the Spirit
· Is Speaking in tongues the same as baptism in the Spirit?
· Can those who do not speak in tongues heal the sick?
· Why do some call the speaking in tongues “glossolalia?”
· Is Speaking in tongues necessary to drive out demons?
· Where does this Baptism with the “Evidence of Tongues” come from?
· Can the Spirit do miracles without this baptism?
· Is ‘Fruit’ more important than Speaking in tongues?
· Believers after Pentecost “were Baptized with Tongues?”
· “I laid hands on people to baptize with the Spirit,” he claimed
· If we are possessed by the Spirit at the rebirth, where is the evidence?
· Is the Kingdom of God a geographical territory on earth?
Question: “I would like to ask as I did not see the question being asked on your websites. Are tongues [supernatural languages] defined by a “gibberish language” spoken by a believer? Or is it the ability to suddenly be able to speak a foreign language like Italian or ancient Greek, without understanding what you are saying?”
Answer: Very interesting question, thank you. The gift (singular) of tongues (plural,) is what Paul described as follows in 1 Cor. 13:1, “Though I speak [supernaturally, without understanding what I am saying] 1) with the tongues [languages] of men… and 2) of angels, [languages from two completely different dimensions,] but have not love...”
Speaking supernaturally “the [other] tongues [plural] of men” is what happened when the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers for the first time at Pentecost. Acts 2:5-13, “How is it that we hear, each speaking in our own language in which we were born? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, Rome, Jews and Proselytes, Cretans, and Arabs all heard them speaking in our own languages [without the speakers knowing what they were saying] the wonderful works of God…”
Tongues [plural] of angels is the Spirit’s unique ability to speak in a heavenly language “to God and not to men, for no [human] understands him. In the spirit [with his Scripturally born again human spirit, (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-4; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Ths. 5:23,)] he speaks ‘mysteries’ between him and God.”
Early missionaries, confusing the “tongues of men” (as manifested in Acts 2:5-13,) with “heavenly languages” or tongues of angels, (1 Cor. 13:1,) went forth to preach the Gospel as soon as they received the gift of tongues, believing they would be able to preach supernaturally to people of other nations in their own languages. Sadly, these believers did not realize they were speaking heavenly languages, “tongues of angels” or “mysteries to God,” (1 Cor. 14:2, 21-25,) not “other” human languages. Without the operation of the Spirit’s gift of interpretation, their efforts remained fruitless because humans could not understand what they were saying, (1 Cor. 12:1-19; 14:2-5, 13-19.) Therefore, Paul wrote, “Let him who speaks in [an angelic] tongue [during meetings,] pray that he may interpret, for if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful,” (1 Cor. 14:2, 11-19.)
Paul makes it clear that both these variations of the gift of tongues (foreign languages and angelic tongues) come from the already indwelling Holy Spirit, which He gives and uses as He Alone wills, (1 Cor. 12:11.) In 1 Cor. 12:10, he also called the gift of tongues “different kinds of tongues,” which, in meetings, work together with the gift of interpretation of tongues. In public, it is Scripturally forbidden to speak to the congregation in tongues if there is no interpreter, as no one but God understands what is said, (1 Cor. 14:2,13; 1 Cor. 12:10-11.)
We must realize that although the speaker does not understand what he is saying, “tongues” are not gabbling but real languages. Thus, the Holy Spirit’s gift of tongues is not ‘gibberish’ but “profitable” in edifying the body of Christ and Jesus believers individually, (1 Cor. 14:2.) Despite what false teachers say and practice, “the spirits of the prophets [or those who speak in tongues, prophesy, etc.,] are subject to the prophets [and thus under their human control. It is not an uncontrolled, involuntary “takeover” of the Spirit that makes them speak.] For God is not the author of confusion but of peace... Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Cor. 14:32-40.)
Just as importantly, although the uncontrollable babblings of many charismatic churches make a mockery of this wonderful, holy gift, none of the Holy Spirit’s gifts have ‘ceased’ to exist. In Scripture as well as in practice, all His gifts still function orderly among the true believers in Christ.
“Three guiding principles distinguish the ways of the Holy Spirit: 1) The principle of conscious control. Unlike paganism the power of the Holy Spirit does not drive us into wild compulsive acts. His gentle ministry strengthens human personality. He empowers; not overpowers. 2) The principle that Christ Alone is glorified. All manifestations of the Spirit will harmonize with the truth about Jesus. 3) The principle that the work of the Holy Spirit is to bring people under the lordship of Jesus.”
We may ask Him for His gifts, but the Holy Spirit Alone decides how and when He distributes and manifests His miraculous, different gifts to each of His disciples. (Read 1 Cor. 12:4-11.) [Spirit Filled Bible footnote, 1 Cor. 12:2-3.)
Question: “Do you believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the ‘Evidence’ of speaking and tongues? In the study on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, it sounds as if tongues and other miracles do not matter to you.”
Answer: As every true believer should, I do believe in the Scriptural Baptism with the Holy Spirit, which is Jesus’ immersion or baptism of His sincerely and Scripturally born again disciples with the Holy Spirit; placing the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God inside them. (By ‘born again’, I mean spiritually born again through personal faith in Christ, and through personal acceptance of His completed atonement in our place as Scriptural truth teaches, Jn. 1:12-13.) Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit is followed by the Holy Spirit’s immersion or baptism into the body of Christ, as explained in this study. I also believe in the manifestation of Holy-Spirit miracles and all the Scriptural gifts of the constantly indwelling Holy Spirit, (tongues and prophecy included,) which I experience as a reality in my own life, (1 Cor. 12 & 14 — see Jn. 1:12-13; Gal. 4:6.)
It is important to know that the doctrine of “the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues,” is actually a Oneness Pentecostal or ‘Jesus Only’ doctrine. This “Oneness” Pentecostal doctrine was and is taught by mason William Branham in different variations, (Branham made up his own theology as he went along,) Jehovah Witnesses, and until recently, Seventh-Day Adventists. It errantly states that God is only one Person with three “attributes or titles” such as the human incarnation of Christ, and wind and fire as the Holy Spirit. [The wind and fire at Pentecost was not the Spirit Himself, but a sign of the arrival of the indwelling Holy Spirit.] I must say Modulism (Jesus Only) makes it difficult to understand how God the Father prayed to Himself in Gethsemane and in John Chapter 17. It also sounds strange that a mere ‘activity’ such as wind and fire can convict of sin as the Holy Spirit of the Bible does; can be “grieved,” “blasphemed against,” etc. Scripturally, one can only be saved through sincere, personal faith in, and personal acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ — and remain saved through continual repentance from Moral sin such as stealing, lying, hatred, etc., (Jn. 1:12-13; Mt. 7:21-24.) Yet, Oneness Pentecostalism or Modulism’s ‘Jesus Only,’ William Branham, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Seventh Day Adventists all define repentance and salvation as sacramental like Modulism's so-called ‘saving’ baptism in the Name of Jesus. Thus, they exclude the Names of Father and Holy Spirit in water baptism as Jesus commanded in Mt. 28:19-20 and baptize only in the ‘Name of Jesus.’ This water baptism is merely another form of Roman Catholic and Reformed Protestant Baptismal Regeneration.
To this sacramental (saving) water baptism, Modulism adds the ‘saving’ “baptism in the Holy Spirit with the [so-called] evidence of speaking in tongues.” (Supposedly, one cannot be saved without this baptism because none allegedly has the Spirit without this ‘evidence of tongues.’) Modulism, twisted in various ways by different people, was derived from many other dangerous doctrines and eventually disseminated by Pentecostal-Charismatic churches. Branham also believed he was the “angel of the church of Laodicea,” (this angel was supposedly not a supernatural being as the context of Scripture declares, but a ‘chosen’ god-man (the doctrine of Theosis) such as Branham.) Thus, Branham was/is worshipped as a christ by many of his followers. Like Branham and his disciples, the Old and New Apostolic Churches also teach that salvation comes only through the ‘spoken word’ (‘rhema’) of their “angels” or human ministers called “apostles,” the so-called “christ-gift of God.” That’s why they reject God’s Word in essence as the ‘letter that kills’ and teach, (as the Charismatic Movement currently does,) “Don’t read the Bible; Be the Bible!”
Question: “Explain more clearly why the Scriptural Baptism in the Holy Spirit cannot be a separate experience from the rebirth in Christ, while we witness this baptism, (which happens some time after “conversion” with the evidence of tongues,) on an ongoing basis in the churches.”
Answer: Scripturally, Jesus does not baptize believers ‘in’ the Holy Spirit but “with” the Holy Spirit. Jesus does not take us and place us “in” the Holy Spirit; Jesus places the Spirit inside us, (1 Cor. 6:18-20.) This sounds insignificant, but this ‘slight’ confusion of the Word and the reality of Jesus baptism with the Holy Spirit resulted in two completely different ‘baptisms.’ Scripturally, Jesus baptizes with the Holy Spirit at the moment of the rebirth, when we sincerely accept Him as our personal Savior. Under the New Testament Covenant, one cannot be a child of God without the complete and constant indwelling — and consequently, the entire anointing, (presence or ‘power’) of the Spirit inside one’s born again human spirit, (Rom. 8:9; 1 Jn. 2:20; 27.) The unscriptural baptism with the laying on of hands is done by church clergy some time after the rebirth.
It is impossible to be a born again disciple of Christ (or a true child of God) without the constant indwelling, presence and power of His Holy Spirit, (His “anointing” 1 Jn. 2:20, 27,) for that would mean that the person, who had sincerely accepted Christ, is a temple without the Holy Spirit and thus without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, (Rom. 8:9.) If that could be true, the person would be a disciple without Jesus!
The Holy Spirit never leaves His living temple to ‘come down’ on Jesus’ disciples again and again. The Holy Spirit “coming down” on people is an Old Testament Covenant concept from before Golgotha and Pentecost, when Jesus’ atonement in our place and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit wasn’t yet accomplished. When Jesus did His miracles on earth, the Spirit “wasn’t yet given” because it was still in the Old dispensation before Golgotha, (Jn. 7:39; Gal. 4:6-7; Rom. 8:9; etc.) Paul explained in passages such as Rom. 8:9 and in Gal. 4:6, “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not His… You are the temple of the Holy Spirit [through faith in, and sincere acceptance of Jesus Christ,] and the Holy Spirit dwells [present tense: lives constantly and continuously] in you… [Because you accepted Jesus and were born of God,] you are [His children.] And because you are [spiritually born again children,] God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts… [or into your blood-cleansed human spirits; making you His Personal temple!]”
Just as a natural birth, the spiritual rebirth happens only once, at a specific moment in time. At that moment, the believer is spiritually born [again] as a temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and into the spiritual, unseen family of God; (not into a ‘church’ and its doctrines,) as a child and heir of God the Father in heaven and as a member of the spiritual body of Christ, (Gal. 4:6-7; 1 Cor. 12:13.) Under the New Testament Covenant, it is simply impossible to be born again (or “initiated”) into Christ in stages, or to receive the Holy Spirit or His anointing gradually, repeatedly, or in a ‘separate experience’ from the rebirth, (1 Jn. 2:20; 27.) To think that believers can be initiated step-by-step, or continually get ‘more of the Holy Spirit’ Himself or even ‘more’ of His indwelling, presence and power (‘anointing’) at certain stages in their lives, is a doctrine of devils. One cannot receive the Holy Spirit Himself, (or actually, the Scriptural Baptism with the Holy Spirit) twice or even continually through the ‘saving’ and ‘atoning’ sacraments of a church system, (such as through baby ‘baptism,’ and then teenage confirmation, etc.) Neither is such as ‘continual baptism’ or ‘progressive initiation’ possible through the laying on of hands or any other kind of human intervention; being pushed progressively into the Kingdom of God, or being ‘baptized’ into the ‘growing anointing’ and ‘escalating indwelling’ of the Hoy Spirit.
Most importantly, only Jesus Christ Himself can baptize His disciples with the Holy Spirit! (Mt. 3:11; Jn. 16:7; 14:26.)
In fact, the whole notion of this ‘baptism “in” the Holy Spirit’ is completely pagan. The Scriptural Baptism with the Holy Spirit happens either with, or without any immediate outward ‘signs,’ (not so-called ‘evidence,’) of which speaking in tongues remains only one of these signs, as described in Mark 16:16-18 and in 1 Cor. 12:4-11. Believing in and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Lord, God and Savior is the only Scriptural, spiritual rebirth - accomplished by Jesus’ own Holy Spirit Baptism; there exists or remains no other.
Being “filled” [not baptized] with the Holy Spirit ‘again’ as mentioned in some verses in the Book of Acts means surrendering so completely to God, (a decisive and progressive submission to His will under all circumstances,) that you allow the Holy Spirit free reign in your human spirit, soul, body, (1 Ths. 5:23) and life to execute the will of the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit through you as a Spirit-filled, Scripture-obeying disciple of Jesus Christ.
Question: “How do I get the power of the Holy Spirit that accompanies the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues?”
Answer: Acts 5:32 declares, “...The Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those who [keep on] obeying Him.” If you are a sincere, Scripturally obedient disciple/follower of Christ, you already have the complete indwelling and thus all the power of the Holy Spirit, and He will distribute His “gifts” in and through you “as He wills,” (1 Jn. 2:20, 27; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:17-20; 12:4-11.) We may ask Him for a particular gift, but the decision is always His. 1 Cor. 12:30-31, “Do all have gifts of healings... tongues… do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts [of which Godly love in deed and truth is the greatest, 1 Cor. 13:1,) and I will show you a more excellent way [to glorify and serve God.]” As explained in ‘The Holy Spirit Baptism,’ since Pentecost until “the end of the world” (Mt. 28:19-20) the Holy Spirit still indwells all true believers at the very moment they accept Jesus. The Spirit then baptizes each one mystically into God’s Spiritual Kingdom and into the body of Christ — and thus, into Jesus Christ Himself, Who is the Head of His body, (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5; Gal. 4:6; 1 Cor. 12:13-31.)
This is the only spiritual rebirth in Christ that exists in Scripture and in practice. From then on, the Holy Spirit Himself constantly lives in or “possesses” (Prov. 8:22; Eph. 1:14) all those who sincerely accepted Jesus and follow Him to their final destination called “heaven.” Through this rebirth, believers become the Spirit’s own living temple for the primary purpose of being “witnesses to Christ” among their own families, neighbors, and eventually through the whole world; not to (per say) spectacularly manifest His wondrous gifts. In this way, Jesus’ disciples fulfill His all-important commission to evangelize the entire world with the truth of His Gospel, “letting His [spiritual] Kingdom come on earth [in perfect truth in the born again ‘hearts’ of all sincere disciples,]) as it is in heaven,” (Mt. 3:11; Jn. 15:26; 16:7; Acts 1:8; Mt. 28:18-20.)
So, the only way to ‘get’ the real Scriptural power of the Holy Spirit for the right reasons, is to ‘get’ the real Scriptural truth concerning all deceptions, and then to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in a lifestyle of Scriptural obedience. Real, Scriptural authority in Christ and the true power of the Holy Spirit are only obtainable through the Scriptural rebirth in Christ. To remain (or “abide”) in His real Holy Spirit power, Jesus requires complete submission to the entire will of God - a vital truth, which the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement denies! They actually teach occult positive confession and visualization to ‘create their own miracles’ and say “one cannot pray to God and add ‘let Your will be done,’ as that ‘nullifies’ your prayers.” One allegedly has the ‘authority’ to get everything you want immediately, according to your own will, without ever consulting God, as you are actually a ‘little’ god and christ yourself! However, before any work is attempted in the Kingdom of God, believers must seek God’s face in prayer to ask His will for that person and that particular situation. The Spirit works through our true submission to His will — and of course the recipient’s submission to His will. So, Jesus Himself nullified this dangerous statement by teaching us to pray, “Let Your will be done…” All Jesus’ early disciples also taught God’s children to pray for the continued will of their Father in their everyday lives, and in every situation here on earth.