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Tongues and the Baptism with the Spirit

Part Two

The following discussion is continued from Tongues and the Baptism with the Spirit - Part One. My comments to which Reverend Dinwiddie is responding to are in purple and enclosed in double "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. His comments are in black and eclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

Exchange Four

>Wow! This shows signs of being kind of long. But I will attempt to answer your points, one by one. (However, this can get confusing.)<

>>Let me give you an example. At my old church there were several occasions during the four years I attended when the pastor would ask say for all the ex-Baptist to stand up. There would then be a round of applause, with many shouts of "Praise the Lord" thrown in.<<

>This kind of thing is wrong from the get-go. What kind of a church was it, if you care to say?<

Independent, charismatic church.

>We have ex-Roman Catholics here, but also ex-Buddhists from Southeast Asia. Working with Italian Roman Catholics as I do, I recognize that for an Italian to be a Roman Catholic is as much of a cultural identity as it is a religion. Same with the Buddhists. They can't see themselves as anything other than their cultural norms.

Because of this, I am very careful when I work with people not to insult their cultural ideas, however wrong I find them. And we have had some success in getting people filled with the Holy Ghost, per Acts 2:4.<

Whether you do it privately or publicly, the question is would you still rejoice at a seeing a say Baptist leave his church and join yours?

>>Now, you can claim that such attitudes are not common in charismatic/ Pentecostal churches, that my old church was an aberration. But I as I said previously, have visited many other such churches in PA and in CO and have found many with such attitudes.<<

>I don't think that attitudes like these are common. This may depend on the particular fellowship you were part of, but in mine, which has about 3,800 churches in North America, and something like 8,000 preachers, most pastors are very careful to instruct their people to be compassionate.<

What is the name of your church?

>>In any case, visited some of those surrounding churches and eventually joined one (a Baptist church). I found it was not "dead" as my old church would describe any non-charismatic church but was filled with God-loving people and had a pastor who had a strong heart to serve the Lord. I also found it to be much sounder theologically.<<

>I doubt very much it was sounder theologically, but that depends on what you consider sound theology. I believe the apostles had sound theology. And their word doesn't need interpreted so much as it needs obedience.<

I got a feeling that we would disagree on many subjects other than just tongues.

>What does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? In the first instance, the evidence for this was that they spoke in tongues. And in the other instances that directly mention being filled with the Spirit or receiving the Spirit, speaking in tongues happened. These three places in the Book of Acts are enough themselves to teach, as we do, that this is the norm for Christians. You have to develop a theology that denies that this happens today in order to pronounce against it.<

No. I have studied the Bible and come to a different conclusion than you as to what being filled with the Spirit means.

>One point I make is that a person can say he was filled with the Spirit without speaking in tongues, to his heart's content. But he cannot deny that his "experience" was different than the experience of those present on the day of Pentecost, because when they received the Holy Ghost, they spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. I have the experience, however, of having been filled with the Spirit of the Lord, with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues. Exactly like the apostles. And the Spirit of God in me has produced in me the fruit that the Bible says it ought to.<

I don't deny the importance of the Spirit-filled, Spirit-led life. But these are things that develop in a person after his initial reception of the gift of the Spirit, because of his faith in Jesus Christ.<

Again, as I study the Bible I have found that speaking in tongues is not the evidence of being filled with the Spirit.

>>This is a one-time, unique situation that I do not believe can be used as a pattern for all time. For instance, in order to receive the Spirit the apostles had to lay their hands on them. So to apply this today would mean that no one could be filled with the Spirit as there are no longer any apostles. If you believe there are apostles today, that would be another discussion entirely.<<

>I don't think so. There is one Gospel for Jew and Gentile alike, in all ages of the church, from the beginning to our day. Also, in Acts 10, no apostle laid his hands on Cornelius and his house, but their speaking in tongues was proof positive to those with Peter that these uncircumcised Gentiles had received the Holy Ghost. This is a non-argument, based on an incorrect assessment of the text in Acts 10<

Again, each of these events in Acts were specific to the time and place, and occurred as they did, in slightly different manners for a specific reason. But as we get into the didactic parts of Scripture, we see that such instances were not normative.

>And, no, I don't believe there are apostles today, except in the sense of messengers to other countries, such as missionaries.<

>>Whatever the case, Jesus tells us we only need to ask the Father for the Spirit (Luke 11:13). So again, the above cannot be normative for the Church age.<<

>I don't think I understand what you mean. However, at the time that Jesus spoke these things the Spirit had not been given yet. John 7:37-39 is another instance where Jesus taught about the Spirit, in which the text explicitly states that "the Spirit was not given yet," and says why, "because Jesus was not yet glorified," which I take to refer to his exaltation the the right hand of the Father, after His ascension.<

The Spirit is received by simple faith, for sure. But in the Bible God always gives immediate evidence of His indwelling by take control of that person's speech apparatus with a language that is unfamiliar to the person.<

Repeating yourself over and over does not make it so.

>>Moreover, 1Cor 12:13 says we are ALL baptized by the Spirit; <<

>This, of course, was written to a church that exercised speaking in tongues, and also came "behind in no gift."<

>>meanwhile verse 30 indicates that not all speak in tongues.<<

>The tongues in this verse are obviously meant for public ministry. All of the list here suggests public ministry. Tongues in worship are not intended.<

Sorry, but I do not believe you can make two different kinds of tongues here. The Greek words are the same. Tongues are tongues. You have to "invent" the idea of two kinds of tongues to evade the clear teaching that not all who are baptized in the Spirit speak in tongues. Again, despite your claim above, yes, the words of the apostles need to be interpreted. In fact, it is impossible to avoid doing so.

>>Also Rom 8:9 teaches that unless one has the Spirit he is not a Christian. And please note, terms like "receive the Spirit" - "have the Spirit" - "baptism with the Spirit" and "filled with the Spirit" are used interchangeably in Scripture (Acts 1:5; 2:4; 8:17; 10:47; 15:8; 19:2).<<

>I agree. Completely. That's why I say that some folks are not what they think they are.<

>>Now, to be clear here, what I am saying is I do not see the Scriptures teaching there are two classes of Christians: those with the Spirit and those without. All Christians have been baptized by the Spirit. In other words, I do not see a two-stage development in the Christian life: first one gets saved, then later he gets the Spirit.<<

>I don't think so either. I never have believed the doctrine that one is born again before being baptized with the Spirit, and God is in him, and then later on, when he receives the baptism of the Holy Ghost, he is in a special category.<

Now things have taken a very interesting turn. If you believe one is baptized with the Spirit at the moment of salvation; and if you believe speaking in tongues is the sign of the baptism of the Spirit; then there is only one logical conclusion: you believe speaking in tongues is the sign of salvation. You should have said so in the first place.

Let's not mince words here. What this means is, I am damned. So is my pastor, most everyone else at my church, most everyone else in any non-charismatic/ Pentecostal church, and most every Christian between 100 and 1900 AD. It puts you in a rather exclusive position.

So, your attitude towards me should be the same as my attitude towards say a JW. I would rejoice in seeing a JW leave the Watchtower and come to my church. So even if you do not have public displays, you should agree with the attitude of my former church in rejoicing when people leave non-charismatic churches and join yours.

In fact, you even take this a step further. Even though my former church would consider those in non-charismatic churches to be not as spiritual, they would acknowledge there were true Christians there. But you must consider them to be damned. So one or the other of us is preaching "another gospel."

I will say this, I do not see even a hint of the idea that tongues is the sign of salvation in the Bible. John writes near the end of his first epistle, "These things I have written to you who have believed in Jesus Christ so that you may know that you have eternal life ..." (5:13). He gives many "signs" a person can look for in his life; but nowhere in his epistle does he mention speaking in tongues.

In fact, John seems to miss this very essential point altogether as he never mentions tongues in any of his writings. A rather big oversight if it is essential to salvation.

Moreover, speaking in tongues would be a rather precarious proof at best. It is not unique to the Christian experience. Many members of non-Christian religions have been known to speak in tongues. So someone claiming to be a Christian and speaking in tongues really could not be a sign of anything.

I can now guess as to your denomination: The United Pentecostal Church. Again, you should have just said so at the beginning of our discussion. Then I would have known better where you were coming from. And if I am correct, then I was definitely correct when I said above that we would disagree on many other points besides tongues.

>>However, there is a development in ones relationship with the indwelling Spirit. Those Paul will tell those with the Spirit to be filled by Him. The question then is, what does it mean to be filled by the in Spirit?<<

>See above. Actually, if you have never personally received the Holy Ghost, I cannot explain what it is like. But I understand what Peter meant when he said that we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. The joy that I had the night I received God's gift of His Spirit was incredible, full, complete, and incapable of being described.<

Again, given you definition I have not received the Spirit and I am damned. However, I do know what it is like to have received the Spirit. I am a new person in Christ Jesus (2Cor 5:17). It would take a book to describe the many ways in which God has changed me.

>>In Eph 5:18 Paul contrasts being drunk with being filled with the Spirit. Having gotten drunk many times in my pre-Christian days I know that when one is drunk he is controlled by the alcohol. So the point of the command is that we are to be controlled by the Spirit.<<

>I agree, although I never was drunk like that. I mostly was a small-time sinner, mean spirited, petty, etc. But God had mercy on me.

I wish my next door neighbor was controlled by the Spirit! Makes good neighbors. Heh!<

>>So one with the Spirit must continually let himself be controlled by the Spirit (the Greek voice is passive in Eph 5:18). So there can be repeated "fillings" as the Holy Spirit more and more controls the person.<<

>This is similar to what Peter said, except he really said it better -- But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -- at the end of his second epistle.<

Actually, 2Peter 3:18 is one of my favorite verses. I quote it several times in various places on my site.

>>If the baptism of the Spirit means nothing but speaking in tongues then it is an useless experience. As indicated above, if someone is truly filled with the Spirit they should be ever increasing in holiness. That was Paul's point in writing to correct the abuses in Corinth. They had put too much emphasis on external signs and not on the more important matters. There is a reason why the great "love" chapter exists in the middle of the discussion on tongues.<<

>Obviously the baptism in the Spirit means much more than speaking in tongues. Please remember that you are using Biblical terminology, and talking about the things of God. I know personally several hundred Pentecostal ministers, and not one of them has ever said that the baptism in the Spirit is only talking in tongues.<

One of the best sermons I read (I didn't hear this one) was titled, The Holy Ghost -- A Gateway, Not A Goal! This expresses my belief exactly.<

>>Exactly. As I read 1Cor 12-14, charismatics/ Pentecostals today are doing the very things Paul rebuked the Corinthians for doing. They are conducting their services in the way the Corinthians were doing and giving the "gifts" an unbiblical emphasis.<<

>I don't deny it. Some churches are, and for the same reasons. That doesn't mean that there is not a real, anymore than the misuse and abuse of the "gifts" in Corinth denied that there was not the real thing.<

>>Now, there are 1186 chapters in the Bible. So that means that tongues are mentioned in about 0.1% of the chapters. It seems to me that if such a count were done on say love, it would be a much, much higher percentage.<<

>This is an invalid argument. By the same reasoning, because there are more Roman Catholics than any other group, this proves them right and all who disagree with their ideas wrong.<

Irrelevant analogy. If speaking in tongues is essential to salvation, or even essential to ones walk with God in any way, then it should have a much greater emphasis in Scripture. That is my point. As indicated above, John never mentions tongues, Jesus, except for one textual debatable passage, never mentioned tongues; and they are not mentioned in any of the "general" epistles.

A pretty big oversight on the part of Jesus and all the the NT writers except Luke and Paul, I would say, IF tongues is so important. However, if tongues is a minor, non-essential issue, then such omissions would be expected.

>Jesus made the point that faithfulness in financial things is faithfulness in that which was least. How many times is this subject addressed in the Bible. Doesn't prove a thing.<

Actually, money is mentioned in many, many verses of the Bible, OT and NT.

>I am very careful not to go beyond what the Bible says. But the Bible very plainly supports the idea of speaking in tongues as evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost.<

As indicated above, I believe the Bible very plainly does not teach any such thing. It most definitely does not teach tongues is essential to salvation.

>>Moving beyond the Bible, a study of Church history will show that the vast majority of Christians over the centuries did not speak in tongues. I am not talking about mere professing Christians but untold numbers of godly men and women whom God used to change lives and the world.<<

>This again is an invalid argument. What happened in church history doesn't prove anything except that it happened.<

It does prove that you have to take the position that nobody (or at best, hardly nobody) was saved (or at least filled with the Spirit) between 100 and 1900 AD. I am sorry; but I find that very hard to believe. It makes it sound like God went on vacation for 18 centuries. I think not. Even in the darkest of the Dark Ages God was still working and bringing people to himself.

>Spurgeon may have had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. But he was very ardently against "emotional religion." He gained a lot of fame in his lifetime, but so did many other religionists, like Luther, Calvin, etc. I would rather stick with the Bible.<

I don't see how you can say Spurgeon had a personal relationship with Christ. According to your theology, he was not saved. The same would go for the rest of the men you mentioned.

>>But Spurgeon did not speak in tongues, nor did he believe in "Second Blessing" theology. So according to your theology, you would have to say Spurgeon, and the many, many more like him, were not filled with the Spirit.<<

>I don't believe in second blessing theology either, so this does not apply to me. However, if Spurgeon did never speak in tongues, I am not reluctant to say that he was not what he thought he was.<

Your confident pronouncement that Spurgeon " was not what he thought he was" simply because he did not speak in tongues displays the very arrogance that was one of the primary reason I left the charismatic movement.

As I said previously, while I was in the charismatic movement I would always here about how "dead" non-charismatic churches were. But when I visited them, I found they were very much "alive" with God-loving and God-serving people.

But, also as I said previously, when my old church said such things they were not pronouncing on the salvation or damnation of people. But given you beliefs I can only believe you are saying Spurgeon is damned.

>>If charismatics want to have a "rowdy" worship that is just fine by me. Just don't say it is "better" than a calm and orderly service and don't try to introduce your style of worship into my church.<<

>"Rowdy" implies disorder and unruliness. That may take place in some churches, but a man of God will control it with the Word of God. If someone gets out of order (not man's but God's) I am not reluctant to get things back in order. In a way it is good if the problems exist in the present time that existed in the Corinthian's time. This means, certainly, that the same God is working in us as in them.<

I put "rowdy" in quotes for a reason. I was exaggerating to make point. Again, to me style of worship is non-essential.

>I have always wondered about people that can go to a baseball game, raise their hands, applaud, stand up in their excitement, sometimes caper around, or jump up and down, etc. -- yet when they go to church this kind of thing is considered out of order. And yet we have been saved from death and hell. This ought to be the most exciting thing in the universe to the saved man.<

I have always wonder about this analogy. Ones relationship to God is considerably different than ones relationship to a sport team. Some people simply believe reverence for God is better expressed in a quiet fashion.

>>Which shows that emotional experiences are meaningless one way or the other.<<

>Don't agree. I can no more divorce myself from my emotional nature that I can divorce myself from my physical nature or my intellectual nature. They're all part of a package.<

True; but people express their emotions differently, especially when it comes to relating to God.

>My web site.

Reverend Joseph Dinwiddie
bibleman2@hotmail.com <

I will check your site out.

God bless,

This discussion is continued at: Tongues and the Baptism with the Spirit - Part Three.

Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla, the Director of Darkness to Light

The above e-mail exchange was posted on this Web site July 6, 1998.

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