Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why Speaking in Tongues is for everyone

Occasionally, I still run into the argument that only specific people can speak in tongues. This is of course true if we are talking about the public use of the gift. Concerning the saints gathered together the Apostle Paul writes, "Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."(1 Cor 12.7) But of course, the Apostle is speaking of the use of the gift in public where it is needful that the gift of tongues be interpreted. (Looking at 1 Corinthians we see that he is dealing with the church gathered together from 11.17 onwards to 14.40) We read that Paul himself distinguishes the practice from private tongue speaking in 14.18-19. Declaring that he "speaks in tongues more than all of you."

Paul uses 1 Cor 14 to spell out his insistence that intelligibility is to be preferred when saints gather together. But in so doing he does reveal some benefits of speaking in tongues (see my June 5 2007 post). Among them Speaking directly to God, praying his perfect will, personal edification and strengthening faith and making a statement to unbelievers.

When we read the book of Acts we see people baptised into the Spirit. This is distinguished from salvation as a secondary experience as the Ephesian disciples found out (Acts 19). they had only been baptized into the baptism of John and had not "received the Holy Spirit" yet. We know that these "disciples" are believers in Jesus already because Luke never uses that term lightly and always refers to followers of Jesus when he does use it. When they did receive the baptism into the Spirit they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

We see that the Holy Spirit baptism comes after salvation. When, in Acts 8, they had heard the message and responded in faith and water baptism the Holy Spirit had not been distributed. After Peter and John laid hands upon them they saw the powerful demonstration of the Spirit fall and Simon witnessed this and wanted to purchase the power to Baptize people in the Holy Spirit.

If the Baptism into the Holy Spirit were identical to salvation then these verses would be confusing. How can one be baptized in water, and have faith but not have the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Spirit given with the laying on of hands? How can one dedicate himself as a disciple and not have salvation? But since the Scripture is referring to a secondary experience we understand the role of these apostolic intercessors in bringing them into the expereince.

Paul commanded all believers to live under the control of the Holy Spirit in Eph 5.17. Living "Full" of the Spirit means more than to be excited about Jesus. It is an empowering (Acts 1.8) act that is desired for all of the followers of Christ. Jesus demnded that all "wait until they are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24.49) before they attempt ministry. We have seen that tongues accompanies this baptism into the Holy Spirit. So it should be expected that this promise that Peter preached about at Pentecost, is for all "you and your children and for all who are far off- for all whom the Lord our God will call."

So "seek earnestly" the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and all the gifts of the Spirit. They are there for your asking.


Pastor Rodney L. Shiflett said...

Amen and Amen...It is a GIFT! cHRISTIANS just need to recieve.Promised to all.Acts 2.39 and..Joel 2.28 I WILL pour out my Spirit.God never breaks a promise and his gifts are irrevocable

Carlos said...

No where in the Bible do you see God promising that everyone of His children will receive the gift of tongues. He promises that they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit but not all speak in tongues. I find that the teaching that not all are baptized in the Holy Spirit and only those who speak in tongues are baptized in the Holy Spirit as being unbiblical and unnecessarily divisive to the Body of Christ.

Pastor Dave said...

Carlos- sorry you are taking this as a divisive issue. But the evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in every instance in the Bible is Speaking in tongues. Acts 2,8,10,11,19- otherwise how would you know you have been immersed into the Holy Spirit... instead the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is "fo ryou and your children and for all who are far off". Surely you don't believe that there are various classes of Christians... that would be divisive. Instead, our gracious God has provided it for all. Receive all that God has for you, bro!

Michael McMullen said...

Your use of 1 Corinthians 12.7 is begging thee question. You're assuming that the manifestation is speaking in tongues, when the rest of that verse also lists prophecy, healing, faith, and yes, tongues. All of those are manifestations. They are all signs that you have the Spirit. Especially if one manifests the fruits of the Spirit as well.

Carlos was not being divisive. He was simply stating what the Bible states. That there is one Spirit, but many gifts. He wasn't talking about different "classes" of Christians, simply different gifts from the one God. To state that he was being divisive. Just because one doesn't hold one view of the Bible doesn't mean they hold the wrong one.

And I'm not attacking you, Pastor either. I'm a post-Pentacostal Charismatic that fully believes speaking in tongues is a fully functioning, vital part of the church experience. Just not the only one.

James said...

There is only one gift that all receive when the Holy Spirit come upon you. It is clearly spelled out in Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.(KJV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”(NLT)

Find the word Shall and Will in any other event when the Holy Spirit came upon people. Power to Witness for Christ. God bless!

James said...

How do you know if the Holy Spirit is upon you. You have power to witness for Christ. If you are not witnessing for Christ. Then you may not have the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8. God bless!

Claude Bevier said...

Great word Pastor Dave. As a Pastor myself I've found that most of the people who make the argument of every Christian won't speak with other tongues and that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is Subsequent to salvation are all the time believers who don't pray with other tongues. I liken this to employees getting a Job and some of them inquire and attaing all the benefits of being an employee. Some get optical, denta, medical, 401 k and so forth but on the other hand there are those who work the same length of time same job but never inquire of what rightfully belongs to them as an employee. I love your posts and support them. I also pray that everyone reading this thread would fully inquire of our lord and reap the full harvest of all that our savior died for!

Pastor Claude Bevier

Pastor Dave said...

Michael and James,

While I believe that healing and miracles etc are all manifestations of thenHoly Spirits presence, they are not THE sign that God used to signify those baptized in the Spirit. In the acts accounts of all that Jesus began to do through the disciples the gift was universally tongues speaking. I agree with James that the benefit was and still is an endowment with power but God chose to accompany that gift with tongues. Often he also included others (prophesying and praising God) but universally tongues was the evidence in scripture.

As for being a Post-Pentecostal Christian...I'm not even sure what that means. My bible tells me to keep step with the spirit, not leave it behind.