Darkness to Light Home Page

Books and eBooks by the Director

Tongues and the Baptism with the Spirit

Part Four

By Gary F. Zeolla


The following discussion is continued from Tongues and the Baptism with the Spirit - Part Three. Again, 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 enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

Exchange Six

>>So the point is, I do not think we can expect the many healings and other miracles in Acts to be normative. In the same way, Acts is not intended to indicate what will be normative in regards to tongues. And as I referred to previously, Paul in Corinthians specifically indicates that all Christians did not speak in tongues in the early Church.<<

>This is preposterous, the idea that the happenings in the book of Acts are not normative for the church in all ages. This posits a Word of God that is insufficient, and that contains things totally without relevancy to our day. But the Bible says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God; and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (I Timothy 3:16). "All scripture" certainly includes the Acts of the Apostles. And we, all Christians, derive a lot of our doctrine and practice from the Acts.

God did a better job inspiring His Word than some folks think.

The point is that the way the plan of salvation is presented in the Book of Acts is not the way that salvation through Jesus Christ is presented today, in the greater, so-called evangelical church. Those apostles preached the necessity of repentance repeatedly. But only an easy believism is presented in many churches today. I actually had a theology student at Multnomah School of the Bible, Portland, Oregon, years ago, tell me that repentance towards God was not necessary, just only that "faith" was required.

Also, in every instance of baptism in the Book of Acts, the name of Jesus Christ was called on those repentant sinners. This is proven by the texts themselves, or by judicious use of other scriptures. Acts 2:38, Acts 4:12 (which doesn't mention baptism but does mention His name), Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48, and Acts 19:5 all show this. And these are normative. If not, we have a monstrosity, a God who gave us His Word for no reason, just an historical oddity.

In addition, Acts 18:8 with I Corinthians 1:13 show that the Corinthians were baptized in the name of the one crucified for them.

I wonder if there is real faith in the Word of God in your heart. Or if you may have been corrupted by false teachings concerning the place of Scripture in the life of His saints. I don't say this critically, but some of the things you emailed here smack of unbelief.

Reverend Joseph Dinwiddie

Let's see; because we disagree that means I do not believe the Word of God. Oh well. I will resist responding to your comments here as I did say my last e-mail would be, well, my last e-mail. But I did want to revisit one point.

Someone e-mailed me the following. It is taken from the "UPCI Ministerial Manual," 1995.

The basic and fundamental doctrine of this organization shall be the Bible standard of full salvation, which is repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.

The above is rather clear in showing my impression was correct; the United Pentecostal Church International does in fact teach speaking in tongues is the sign of salvation.

But to be sure, I did what I should have done previously; I checked the UPCI Web site. It is very much "under construction." But I did find the following on the "About" page:

The doctrinal views of the UPCI reflect most of the beliefs of the Holiness-Pentecostal movement, with the exception of the "second work of grace," the historic doctrine of the Trinity, and the traditional Trinitarian formula in water baptism. It embraces the Pentecostal view that speaking in tongues is the initial sign of receiving the Holy Spirit.

And further:

"The UPCI holds that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by works. Faith in Jesus is the means by which a person is justified. At the same time, a sinner must believe the gospel; he is commanded to repent of his sinful life, to be baptized in water in the name of Jesus Christ, and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 4:12; 8:12-17; 10:43-48; 19:1-6)."
(Page no longer found).

So the UPCI denies the idea of a "second work of grace" as you previously pointed out to me. It thus teaches salvation and receiving the Spirit occur at the same time. It also teaches tongues is the sign of receiving the Spirit. So it again, if A = B and C = B, then it logically follows C = A.

Then a separate article on the UPCI site was dedicated to answering the question: "Why did God choose speaking in tongues as the initial, physical evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost?"

The article uses the terms "baptism of the Holy Ghost" - "receiving the Holy Ghost" and "receiving the Spirit" interchangeably. And we both agreed previously such terms are used interchangeably in Scripture.

The article concludes, "In light of these truths, it is not difficult to see why God has chosen speaking in tongues to express the greatest, most wonderful experience that we mortal humans can receive" (UPCI)

The greatest experience a person can receive is salvation. So putting all of the above together, it would seem the United Pentecostal Church International does in fact teach speaking in tongues is the sign of salvation. So you will have to again excuse me for assuming that you, an UPCI pastor, believed the same.

Signing off,
Gary Z.

Note: In a part of this discussion which I did not quote, Reverend Dinwiddie gave me the permission to post this discussion and asked me to include his full name and e-mail address.


>Just on what I've read of your response to a Pastor who believes that speaking in tongues is prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit, I commend you. I agree with you and do believe that you handled his "ignorant courage" wisely and graciously. I understand that you have been Sealed by the Holy Spirit...so we are brothers!

Continually set the record straight! Of course, all praise be to God!


Thanks for the kind comments. And I agree: God deserves the praise!

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 10, 1998.
The follow-up was added February 4, 2002.

Charismatic Movement

Text Search     Alphabetical List of Pages     Subject Index
General Information on Articles     Contact Information

Darkness to Light Home Page

Click Here for Books and eBooks by Gary F. Zeolla