Part 1 of  5 (Parts 2-5 below)

‘Unpopular Truth: It Is A Biblically False Teaching And Belief By Much Of The Church Of God That Speaking In Tongues Is The Evidence Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit For Every Believer’

But let the Bible speak.

|A biblical study of the ‘evidence’ of the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ in certain areas of the Word of God.

I am a ‘tongues’ speaker. It will be evident below that the ‘evidence’ revealed in Acts chapter 2 below is not the chief or exclusive evidence of the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ for every believer.

Firstly, this truth is seen in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:27-30 where it reveals that not every believer will possess the gift of ‘speaking in tongues’. This is an important truth because it is written to believers years after the ‘Pentecost’ experience in Acts 2 and affirms that the Church of God had been functioning since then with the practical knowledge that not all believers possess any same gifts of the Holy Spirit and positions in the Body of Christ.

The Scriptures below reveal the number of times different evidences of the baptism occurred for a believer or believers. Importantly, this is consistent with the ways God expresses His diversity in terms of how He works differently in all people as seen in 1 Corinthians 12:6. Dreams and visions are included below because Joel 2 shows that these are also part of the diverse ‘evidences’ of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as Acts 2:17, 9:10 and 16:9 reveal.

1) Joel 2/28: “And afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions”.

Dreams – 1

Visions – 1

2) Matt 3/16-17: ‘As soon as Jesus was baptised, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased” ‘.

God spoke – 1

3) Acts 2/1-4: ‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them’.

Tongues – 1

4) Acts 8/14-18: ‘When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money…’

‘Nothing’ – 1

5) Acts 9/17-19: ‘Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptised, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength’.

Healing – 1

6) Acts 10/44-46: ‘While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God’.

Tongues – 1

Praising God – 1

7) Acts 19/1-7: ‘While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied.4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all’.

Tongues – 1

Prophesied – 1

  • Dreams – “once” (dreams are of the Holy Spirit for believers – Joel 2:28)
  • Visions – “once” (visions… ” )
  • God spoke – once
  • Tongues – three times
  • ‘Nothing’ – once
  • Healing – once
  • Praising God – once
  • Prophecy – once (the inclusion of ‘prophesy’ in Joel 2:28 is not added to the count here as the word ‘prophesied’ in connection with the baptism is specifically mentioned just once in Acts above).

A count of the various ‘evidences’ above reveals that there are and can be different and various evidences of the baptism of the Holy Spirit for individual believers, and which evidently is seen across many years and in different environments and situations in the Book of Acts.

This means that a particular ‘evidence’ should not be elevated or preferred over another and certainly none should be assigned as The exclusive or main evidence for individual believers in being baptised in the Holy Spirit. Evidently, one can clearly see that believers can ‘produce’ any ‘evidence’ that God determines and also believers are not any less spiritually mature, ‘gifted’, or ‘wise’ if they do not possess ‘speaking in tongues’ as ‘evidence’ of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as some believers think.

Very importantly, the “lack” of, or ‘non-mention’ of an ‘evidence’ in Acts 8:14-18 for the baptism of the Holy Spirit clearly confirms and reveals much about how God can work differently in believers both in a general and specific sense (1 Cor 12:11). In this regard, we see in Acts 10:46 above that the new believers also praised God as an ‘evidence’ of their baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is relevant to point out because it also reveals that believers will not necessarily only ‘produce’ a ‘gift’ of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:4-11) at the time as evidence of baptism but instead whatever God determines as with ‘nothing’ in Acts 8.

This means then that biblically it is not a ‘visible’ evidence of one’s ‘baptism’ at the time that is most important or always necessary. Rather, that a person is being endowed with Power to Witness for Jesus Christ which is the foremost evidence and reason for the Baptism as Jesus reveals in Acts 1:8.

 Part 2 of 5

“Unpopular Truth, It Is A Biblically False Teaching And Belief By Much Of The Church Of God That Speaking In Tongues Is The Evidence Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit For Every Believer”

|’False beliefs, ‘mysteries’, ‘biblical’ tongues, unbelievers, interpretation, prayer language, Holy Spirit baptism evidence’:

This is part 2 of my most recent post which asserted that ‘speaking in tongues’ biblically is not THE Evidence of the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’ for every believer.

The below is a modified and copied response of mine to a recent post from a believer who holds the belief that every believer that is baptised with the Holy Spirit must ‘speak with tongues’.

I wanted to share a perspective on the believer’s statements which humbly are intended to shed light on what the scriptures actually say as certain statements can negatively affect other believers who do not ‘speak in tongues’ and can foster unnecessary confusion and discouragement because many think all believers are supposed to ‘speak in tongues’. The quote below are statements from the believer:

((“I hear the Lord saying,

“Although a good number of people in My Church are baptised in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, many of them have not been diligent in praying using the language My Spirit gave them.

After a while, they trivialised it and became passive about it. They do not treasure this gift or understand its value as they should. As a result, they are not living at the level or dimension of glory that I ordained for them by giving them the ability to pray in other tongues.

A lot of things that should have opened up by now not only in their lives but also in their families, churches and communities have remained locked up. Within the mystery of praying in tongues are keys of My Spirit through which I open closed doors, and locked up dimensions.

When these dimensions are opened up, shifts take place that even change national laws and judicial systems in nations. Stubborn cases can then be decided in favor of the innocent and closed. Justice is elevated and wickedness is trumped.

I desire to bring this shift in judicial systems of nations, but the people I positioned to reign and release decrees in My Spirit have become complacent in using the weapon I gave them in the mystery of praying in tongues.

As a result, many innocent people are languishing in prisons, many cases are dragging on for years and years and the innocent are being oppressed by the wicked who have what it takes in the worldly sense. I am looking for people who will take their places as the light and salt of the earth to become a voice for the voiceless.

You may not have access to the courtrooms or have a voice in the natural as a judge or lawyer, but in Me, you have power and authority to shift the direction cases take in the spiritual realms determine outcomes.

This is one of the ways in which My will is done on earth as it is in Heaven. When I don’t find a man to take such a position in cooperation with My Spirit, My purposes are delayed in nations and My grace frustrated. And often, laws are made that oppress My people, because I could not find a man.

Begin to invest again, with intensity in praying in tongues. Then watch what begins to open up in your atmosphere and the communities in which you live.”

Proverbs 24:11-12 NLT:

11 “Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. 12 Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew.

He will repay all people as their actions deserve”.

Isaiah 1:17 ESV:

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”)).

* —-

Response (Eguavon)

As stated in my part 1 post, I am a ‘tongues’ speaker. In saying this, I believe that it’s important that the church should be cautious to not in a sense or in actuality elevate ‘speaking in tongues’.

This position is due to the erroneous belief that every believer is supposed to speak in tongues as evidence of one’s baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Among other biblical reasons outlined in part 1, 1 Corinthians chapter 12:30 clearly reveals that not every believer will ‘speak in tongues’. And, therefore, not having it does not mean a believer is then not “living at the level or dimension of glory that I ordained for them by giving them the ability to pray in other tongues”, as the above quote says.

Importantly, the Word of God reveals throughout it that ‘tongues’ in the Hebrew and Greek are earthly languages which is clearly seen in the earthly languages (presumably about 14 in a count) spoken in Acts chapter 2 at ‘Pentecost’. Relatedly, in this context, the ‘mysteries’ spoken of by Paul in 1 Cor 14:2 simply means that an earthly language like French for example spoken by a believer today is a ‘mystery’ to a hearer that does not understand the French language. It is not in any way meaning a special “heavenly” or personal “prayer language” to God which a great proportion of the Church has wrongly believed and which would contradict that nowhere in the Bible is the word for ‘tongue’ or language translated as a “heavenly” language for humans but rather an actual earthly Language spoken by a nation or a people (Gen 11:1-9; Acts 2:4-12; Rev 17:15).

Further examples of this is in Esther 1:22 where ‘tongues’ or languages are associated with the earthly languages that peoples ordinarily use to communicate with each other. Also, Psalm 114:1 makes mention of how Israel came out of Egypt, from a people of strange ‘language’, namely the Egyptian ‘tongue’ or language that was spoken. Furthermore, in Isaiah 66:18, God states that He will gather all nations and ‘tongues’ which the passage speaks of how every person of a ‘tongue’ or earthly language shall see the glory of God.

Additionally, the angel in Revelation 17:15 reveals to John the apostle that the waters upon which God’s opponent sat include the nations and ‘tongues’ which the latter’s Greek root word for ‘tongue’ (‘glossai’) is the same as that found in Acts 2:4 for the earthly languages spoken at ‘Pentecost’. Verse 6 affirms this as such in the use of the word ‘dialekto’ translated as earthly languages.

Further still, and to iterate, the connection with ‘tongues’ as earthly languages in Acts chapter 2 is further affirmed by the languages that are associated with the many regions represented through the expression of ‘in our own tongues’ in Acts 2:11. In this regard, then, a final point to be made is that there is no biblical and logical justification for believers to “switch” from speaking in their own native languages to speaking in different earthly languages except for the purpose of connecting with a person or people of that new language.

That is, there is no benefit in praising God suddenly or otherwise in a known foreign language without the presence or attention in some way of unbelievers who know that language.

At this point it is important to address the purpose or justification of speaking in another language. Critically, earthly ‘tongues’ are a sign for unbelievers (1 Cor 14:22). Thus, believers should always bear in mind that, when they are praying in these earthly languages, they are blessing God (vv.16-17), thanking God (v. 17), and declaring God’s wonderful works (Acts 2:7-11) – as a ‘pointer’ for the unbeliever to ‘hear’ God (Isa 28:11-12).

This means that the focus of the earthly ‘tongues’ is for unbelievers to believe in the Salvation wrought by Jesus Christ and be Saved. And, that therefore, self-edification (1 Cor 14:4) is not the primary focus or primary purpose of ‘speaking in tongues’, but it is a benefit of doing so.

To elaborate, many believers are under the false impression that tongues are primarily or only for self-edification. This belief is also at times founded on the basis that this benefit is written early in 1 Corinthians chapter 14. This is error which is mainly due to wrong teaching or incorrect textual understandings that wrongly associate the usage of words early in a chapter as always or perhaps usually bearing the primary purpose or meaning for a topic. As stated, the scriptural focus of ‘tongues’ is for unbelievers to ‘hear’ or listen to God and therefore to repent as implied in Isaiah 28:11-12 which Paul the apostle shows is the foundational context and revelation of the purpose of ‘tongues’. That is, Paul references Isaiah in 1 Corinthians 14:21-22 which reveals that the actual justification for speaking with various tongues (1 Cor 12:10) is taken precedently from the ‘Old Testament’ and was always intentioned as and is an ordinary earthly language (Isa 28:11-12).

In this light then, relatedly, there is also absolutely no biblical justification for a believer to speak to God (1 Cor 14:2; 16-17; 28; Acts 2:7-11) audibly in an earthly language in a church setting let alone in a false “language”, in the absence of an interpreter (1 Cor 14:28; 13). In this regard, it is the responsibility of the earthly tongue speaker to be quickly mindful of whether an interpreter is present and if there is none to be quiet according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 14:28) in light of the chapter’s admonition that order in the church of God is paramount.

In this regard, 1 Corinthians 14:15 reveals that ‘tongues’ speakers that do this are engaging with ‘the understanding’ and are not allowing their spiritual exercise of praying ‘with’ the Spirit to overwhelm the need to be led by the Word (v. 28) which is Spirit (John 6:63), and, therefore speakers are being led by the Spirit (Rom 8:14) when they exercise this understanding.

So, it is sin against God for an earthly ‘tongue’ speaker to continue to ‘speak with other tongues’/languages (Acts 2:4) where there is no true and proper length interpretation of it, or for an observing believer or participant to agree with it or support it. Furthermore, a believer is also sinning by falsely justifying that doing so is mainly or solely for self-edification purposes and therefore elevating personal spiritual growth above the need of others which is the primary intent of ‘speaking in tongues’ (1 Cor 14:21-22; vv 4; 5; 12; 17; 26; 31).

That is, as stated, the ‘sign’ (v. 22), or purpose of earthly tongues, is specifically for unbelievers to hear believers thanking and praising God (1 Cor 14:16-17; Acts 2:7-11) in the unbelievers’ earthly languages so that they would believe in the truths of God (Isa 28:11-12) and that Jesus Christ is Lord through believing that God is truly with the believers.

Therefore, as presented above, there are no “personal” and ‘unintelligible’ “prayer languages” but biblically only one language ‘form’ spoken by believers and all people, which are always earthly languages. And, this is irrespective of whether a person is speaking in a tongue privately or publicly, and, regardless of how ‘obscure’ an earthly ‘tongue’ may appear to be there is some place or person in the world that speaks and hears that language or dialect because the Gospel is for the unbeliever in that place or somewhere.

This, as stated, is because scripturally ‘tongues’ are grounded as earthly languages for the yet unsaved unbeliever to believe in Christ in his or her Own language as like the unbelievers at ‘Pentecost’ (Acts 2:13-21).

Finally, let’s recall that the above quote reveals that the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is ‘speaking in tongues’ for every believer.

As mentioned, this is a clear departure from the truth of the Scriptures which is that not every believer will have this gift as revealed in 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 as well as in several other passages including Matthew 3:16-17, Acts 8:14-17, and Acts 9:17-29, as detailed explicitly in the part 1 post. Therefore, being that God can never contradict His own Word, a person would not receive a word from Heaven which stipulates that for every believer the evidence of being baptised with the Holy Spirit is ‘speaking in tongues’.

In closing, the ‘Pentecost’ account in Acts 2 reveals that God in His wisdom determined that the 120 believers would at the time speak with various earthly languages at the establishment of the Church. In doing so, unbelievers witnessed the believers praising God in the unbelievers’ own languages as a ‘sign’ for them to ‘hear’ God (Isa 28-11-12) and consequently heard Peter the apostle’s sermon that Jesus was Lord and Christ (Acts 2:4-36).

Lastly, as multiple scriptures clearly reveal in the book of Acts, other believers across a span of years and in different environments and situations did not ‘produce’ earthly ‘tongues’/languages when they were ‘baptised’ or ‘filled with’ (the same) the Holy Spirit.

This is simply because God willed the evidence of the Baptism differently for every believer which is clearly revealed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:29-30 in relation to the mention of other ‘gifts’ and is affirmed in Acts 8:14-18 and Acts 10:44-46 with the ‘nothing’ and ‘praising God’ evidences respectively.

Therefore, in the context of the above and the part 1 post, it is sin against God to teach or tell others that ‘speaking in tongues’ is the chief or only evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit for every believer and that it is a “personal prayer” and “heavenly” language, as this is contrary to God’s Word. Rather, biblically, the truth is ‘tongues’ are clearly earthly languages only and can be The, or, An evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for a particular believer.

Part 3 of 5

“Unpopular Truth, It Is A Biblically False Teaching And Belief By Much Of The Church Of God That Speaking In Tongues Is The Evidence Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit For Every Believer”

|”And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; (Mark 16:17)”:

Will ‘all’ speak in new tongues?

This 4-part series on the topic of ‘speaking in tongues’ has been inspired by the widespread and constant misconception by much if not most of the Church that every believer has been given this gift. It has particularly been inspired by wrong teaching from church leaders in numerous articles and on YouTube for instance where one prominent believer recently quoted Mark 16:17 as evidence that all believers are to speak in tongues.

Humbly, it is hoped that by examining this that pastors, church leaders, and believers alike would strongly reconsider and abandon their unbiblical teachings and beliefs on the subject. Doing so would in particular help those that are struggling or confused in their faith-walk due partly to wrong teaching or belief that every believer is supposed to speak in tongues.

Part 1 addressed the biblical evidence of the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’. It concluded that God determines the ‘evidence’ in any manner He desires for individual believers and that ‘speaking in tongues’ is not the exclusive or main evidence of the baptism for every believer but that it can be the or an evidence of it and not at all.

Part 2 addressed a wide range of subjects related to the gift of ‘speaking in tongues’. These centred on the ‘sign’ or purpose of the practice which is that it is for unbelievers (1 Cor 14:22) and importantly that tongues are only earthly languages and not “heavenly” or personal “prayer languages” as revealed throughout the Word of God.

This Part 3 will deal with Mark 16:17 which appears to say that every believer will speak with new ‘tongues’ as a ‘gift’. It reads:

15 “He (Jesus) said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (Mark 16:15-18).

Verse 17 is addressed because it is one of the key passages quoted by those who believe that every believer is supposed to speak in tongues. As will be seen, our Lord Jesus Christ is not stipulating that speaking in tongues is a required practice for all believers but He is saying something different which can be discovered in the passages itself and other scriptures.

Firstly, in these passages above, Jesus also states that believers will be able to cast out demons, pick up snakes with their hands, drink deadly poison without any harm, and heal the sick. Though, does this translate to meaning all believers will possess specific ‘gifts’ that may be involved in doing such as well as ‘speaking in tongues’ in verse 17?

It is worthy to note that all of these practices are a part of various gifts of the Holy Spirit found in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:8-11. Namely, the healing gift for casting out demons and healing the sick, the speaking in tongues gift, and the miraculous powers gift in taking up serpents and drinking deadly poison with no harm. However, the question also to be asked is will all believers do these acts irrespective of whether they have the specific gifts named in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11?

It may appear so especially in the case of ‘healing’ and ‘miraculous powers’ where Jesus told His disciples that they should heal the sick and raise the dead (Matt 10:8). Though, as stated, these are also gifts of the Spirit though are we to conclude that these acts are such that would ordinarily occur in faith by any believer and therefore are always done by those that do not possess the specific gifts pertaining to them?

This is an interesting matter to ponder because Jesus Christ in Mark 16:17-18 doesn’t of course mention all the apparent gifts of the Holy Spirit but just three. And, perhaps significantly, He does not mention any ‘non-gift’ acts which is the case in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:30 in relation to the ‘signs’ that are mentioned in it namely healing, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues.

So, the question to be asked here is whether Jesus is solely focusing on the gifts of the Spirit in Mark 16:17-18 in His short outline of what believers will do as representing the nine gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11?

This may seem to be a difficult question to answer though it appears Jesus’ non-mention of acts apart from believers’ ‘gifts’ lends weight to these acts being the ‘signs’ that the disciples did as stated in verse 20 which reads:

“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His word by the signs that accompanied it” (Mark 16:20).

It is noteworthy that the scripture above states that the disciples went about doing what Jesus instructed them to do in verse 15 above which was to preach as well as to do the accompanying signs in verses 17 and 18. Therefore, it would seem that the signs Jesus referred to in these verses are the gifts of the Spirit which accompany the believer that is endowed with the Holy Spirit and which empowerment is typically supposed to take place when or shortly after a person first believes in Jesus Christ (Acts 19:1-7; 10:44-46; 9:17-19).

So, the issue to address here then is, is every believer supposed to speak in tongues as a matter of specific ‘gifting’ of the Holy Spirit being that proponents hold Mark 16:17 as a ‘sign’ that all believers will have? The answer is no because there is the important factor of God’s ‘diversity’ which will be evidenced in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 below.

In saying this, however, I will not go as far as saying that every believer will not or cannot exercise those practices in Mark 16 in an incidental sense so as to not rule out the Lord perhaps endowing a believer with an occasional or temporary working of ‘tongues’ which may not be one’s actual ‘gifting’ but nevertheless given by God to serve His purposes for a particular time or occasion.

In this regard, relatedly, it would be remiss to exclude saying that just because a believer does not for instance have the specific ‘miraculous powers’ gift in 1 Corinthians 12:10 that it does not necessarily mean that God by His love and mercy will not protect one if deadly poison is consumed unintentionally or under duress. This is an important consideration because the act of healing by comparison in Mark 16:16 (demons) and verse 17 is one that all believers ordinarily or occasionally expect to exercise throughout their journey in Christ. Even so, a key definitive statement concerning whether or not the practice of ‘speaking in new tongues’ is required by all believers is found in 1 Corinthians 12:29-30:

29 “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?”

These rhetorical questions clearly and definitively conclude that the gifts of the Spirit Paul the apostle states will not necessarily be the same for every believer. This means then that not all believers will ‘speak with tongues’ as only God determines what a believer will have by way of gifts (1 Cor 12:11). And, this is the case where a person asks Him for certain gifts or even all of them and therefore He may not endow one with what they desire.

Thus, in this context, we can see that when Jesus stated that these signs ‘will follow’ those who believe He was not saying that every believer will possess ‘speaking in tongues’. This, critically, is because His words must unfailingly be taken in context with the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:30 that not all believers will have the same gifts of the Spirit and therefore that not all are supposed to speak in tongues.

Lastly, as stated above, it is obviously wise and normal to recognise the sovereign power of a wise God in the life of believers. Therefore, again, it is of course nevertheless possible that God can make any believer exercise any and all of the ‘gifts’ sporadically or temporarily or more for His own purposes like the instruction by Jesus in Matthew 10:8 to believers to ordinarily raise the dead which is miraculous.

This is the case where even though such workings may not have been the or an actual initial ‘evidence’ of a believer’s baptism with the Holy Spirit such as those whose ‘evidence’ was for instance not speaking in tongues as revealed in Matthew 3:16-17 (Jesus Christ), Acts 8:14-18, and Acts 9:17-19.

Part 4 of 5

“Unpopular Truth, It Is A Biblically False Teaching And Belief By Much Of The Church Of God That Speaking In Tongues Is The Evidence Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit For Every Believer”

|’The exclusive or the general distinct labelling by believers of the term ‘praying in the Spirit’ as ‘speaking in tongues’ is confusing and wrong’.

This part examines the widespread belief among Christians that ‘praying in the Spirit’ is exclusively or somewhat formally known as ‘speaking in tongues’. As previously mentioned, I am a ‘tongues’ speaker.

The topic is addressed as a natural extension to parts 1 to 3 in this 5-part series. Respectively, the parts concluded that ‘speaking in tongues’ is not the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit for every believer, that ‘tongues’ are chiefly words of ‘praise-giving’ to God (1 Cor 14:16-17; Acts 2:7-11) as a sign for unbelievers to turn to Jesus Christ, and are expressed in the earthly language of the unbeliever. And, that, in context, not every believer will ‘speak in tongues’ even though ‘tongues’ are mentioned in Scripture as a part of those signs that ‘will follow’ believers (Mark 16:17).

Firstly, it is asserted that it has become virtually the norm for most believers to associate ‘praying in the Spirit’ with the practice of ‘speaking in tongues’. Thus, the first question to ask of course is whether this is biblical. Does the Bible mention ‘praying in the Spirit?’ Yes.

In Ephesians 6:18, it states that believers should be “praying always with all prayers and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”. Paul the Apostle here emphasises the need for believers to pray in the Spirit. Though, what does praying in the Spirit mean?

Very briefly, praying in the Spirit is prayer that is offered to God in accordance with the Word of God. In Spirit, and in truth. The basis for this is found among other places in John 6:63, where Jesus states:

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life”.

Jesus reveals here that the Word of God is spirit itself, and life. Also, the Bible tells us that the Word of God is ‘a lamp to my feet and a lamp to my path’ (Psalm 119:105). That is, the Word of God is truth and guides us into all truth and therefore as stated we are to pray in accordance with the Word which is an act of the Spirit itself because 1 Corinthians 12:3 tells us that nobody can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. This is to mean that when a believer is praying to God, he or she is engaging in a practice of the Spirit, and, as stated, should be doing so in truth.

In this regard, Jesus mentions in John 16:13 the Spirit of truth which is the Holy Spirit. Thus, a believer is to pray consistent with Scripture and the will of God (Matt 6:10; John 4:34) and in an attitude of truth as befitting the holy nature of the Word of God, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, which He Himself makes intercession for believers because believers do not know what they ought to pray for (Rom 8:26). In regards to how to pray, Jude 1:20 encourages believers:

“But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit”.

Lastly here, in terms of scripture, Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is turned to which essentially deals with the nature and purpose of ‘speaking in tongues’. In verses 14 and 15, Paul explains that a person who ‘speaks in tongues’ engages in an act ‘with’ one’s spirit. It reads:

14 “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind” (1 cor 14:14-15).

So, we see in the passage above that ‘speaking in tongues’ is an act ‘with’ one’s human spirit, and not an act “in” one’s spirit nor “in” the Spirit as with Ephesians 6:18, Jude 1:20, and Romans 8:26. This is significant because it is commonly assumed that when a person is speaking in tongues that one is “praying “in” the spirit”, and that the term is widely used at the exclusion of seemingly every other ‘type’ of prayer. That is, the expression “praying in the Spirit” has become so synonymous with “speaking in tongues” that it is difficult to encounter believers who would immediately acknowledge that other types of prayer are the actual “praying in the spirit” as Ephesians 6:18 reveals, and, not ‘speaking in tongues’.

In this regard, it seems probable that when the correct Greek word “with” is used in verses 14 and 15 above, as different from “in”, that the average believer would less likely assign ‘speaking in tongues’ as “praying ‘in’ the Spirit”. This is due to the reality that the Bible as above does not associate the word “in” with ‘speaking in tongues’ which is critical because many believers wrongly regard and even believe that ‘speaking in tongues’ connotes a more ‘spiritual’ practice is taking place.

In saying this, however, even though a position may be taken that does not suggest a more “spiritually distinct” form of prayer such as ‘speaking in tongues’, in terms of the use of “in”, it has, clearly and improperly crept into Christian speak as The prayer that believers specially “pray “in” the Spirit”. This is such that it is fair to say that a great many if not a majority of Christians have unconsciously assigned a somewhat secondary “status” to the ‘ordinary’ practice of prayer in terms of generally not openly ‘labelling’ such prayer as “praying in the Spirit” unlike its general and wrong association with ‘speaking in tongues’.

In all honesty, the automatic or almost automatic association by much of the Church of ‘praying in the Spirit’ with ‘speaking with tongues’ needs to stop. This is because it is sin against God as it does not represent the proper truth of what the biblical ‘praying in the Spirit’ involves and is a grave misrepresentation at that. As above, essentially every ‘non-tongues’ ‘type’ of prayer is one that is ‘prayed in the Spirit’ as Romans 8:26, Ephesians 6:18, and Jude 1:20 clearly reveal and thus it should be properly recognised as such for propriety sake before God.

So, what can one conclude here? That, pastors and church ‘leaders’ should not be effectively giving ‘speaking in tongues’ a ‘special’ or virtually exclusive ‘status’ of “praying in the Spirit”. This, as alluded to, is because doing so indirectly relegates those who do not ‘speak in tongues’ as believers who are not then ‘formally’ “praying in the Spirit” such is the common association with ‘speaking in tongues’ by believers. This is sin and is confusing as headlined and because it unduly elevates ‘tongues’ to a somewhat superior type of prayer which is negligent of the scriptural truth in its clear distinction but nevertheless harmony between a prayer ‘with’ one’s spirit and one ‘in’ the Holy Spirit.

In this regard, it should also be again reinforced that elevating ‘tongues’ in this way unfortunately relegates both the ‘non-tongues’ and ‘tongues’ speaker to a situation where typically ‘non-tongues’ prayers are hardly mentioned even informally as ‘praying in the Spirit’ because many have casually or ignorantly overlooked this “in the Spirit” mislabelling of ‘tongues’.

This is important because, to reiterate, the general wider Church has wrongly and often assigned ‘tongues’ as in effect a preferred prayer and therefore many believers feel needlessly inadequate and that they are doing wrong by not speaking in ‘tongues’. By doing so, it suggests that ‘tongues’ is a somewhat ‘better’ prayer to many when, while true ‘tongues’ occurs by God alone, it is in truth an act of praying ‘with’ one’s human spirit as 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 says but should not in any event be formally classed as some sort of ‘distinct’ and ‘special’ prayer ‘in’ the Holy Spirit that all believers should ‘specially’ do.

This is wrong and needs to change.

Part 5 of 5

‘Speaking in tongues: “how” to speak in tongues’

This part 5 of 5 is the final part of a teaching series commenced in May 2021 on this writer’s Facebook page, on the subject of ‘speaking in tongues’. It will be useful to first see those 4 posts, which occurred in May only, in order to have a context for this present, lengthy post.

The title of the Series itself is as follows:-

|’Unpopular Truth, It Is A Biblically False Teaching And Belief By Much Of The Church Of God That Speaking In Tongues Is The Evidence Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit For Every Believer’|

‘The question of “how” to speak in tongues’.

The final part in this series on ‘speaking in tongues’ addresses the subject of “how to speak in tongues”. This subject is raised not as a personal embracing of the need to discover how a believer can ‘speak in tongues’ but essentially to answer the question of whether there is a ‘prescribed’ way in the Bible of how it comes about. Furthermore, I wish to state from the outset that I am a ‘speaker in tongues’ and believe fully in the manifestation of all nine Gifts of the Spirit and seek as I should to present an objective position on this topic.

To begin, it is useful to outline essentially what this series has examined and clearly established by Scripture:

The evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not ‘speaking in tongues’ for every believer.

‘Tongues’ biblically are only earthly languages, and are a sign for unbelievers and therefore are not primarily for self-edification, and are also for the edification of the church.

‘Tongues’ always require interpretation.

Not all believers will necessarily ‘speak in tongues’, and as an overall ‘evidence’ of their belief in Jesus Christ, and whether that stems from the formal Gift of the Holy Spirit, and incidentally, if indeed God bestows it incidentally or temporarily.

*The topic is examined because there is the practice among many ‘tongues’ speakers and particularly believers that are of the so-called “charismatic” persuasion that a person can be taught or learn how to ‘speak in tongues’. The position in this writing is that ‘tongues’ cannot be prompted by any human effort or impulse.

To test this ‘taught’ or ‘prompting’ belief, Scriptures that relate to the circumstances in which ‘tongues’ occurred in the New Testament are presented in order to arrive at a conclusion of what is the biblical truth. It is hoped that, by doing so, the authority of Scripture is always given pre-eminence in making meaning of topics and questions, and especially those contentious subjects, and in order that there would be no confusion. Also, this writing is not intended to criticise or single out any particular believers in any way but rather as said it is done to highlight the truths of the Scriptures as well as to obey the Lord in the examination of it.

Firstly, the scriptures below reveal the circumstances in which the “evidence” of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was either only ‘speaking in tongues’, or where ‘tongues’ was accompanied by another evidence.

Acts 2/1-4: ‘When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them’.

Acts 10/44-46: ‘While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God’.

Acts 19/1-7: ‘While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all’.

We can see in the Bible accounts above that the ‘evidence’ of tongues for the Baptism occurred through the believers being in the same place and in one accord (Acts 2), while hearing the Gospel (Acts 10), and through the laying of hands (Acts 19). Thus, the question is, how do ‘tongues’ “manifest” or can man participate in manifesting it?

Well, it is useful to note here that many Christians believe that ‘tongues’ can be “produced” with the help of man. That is, for instance, that believers can attain it if they just begin to “speak out” with their mouth “in faith”, and that, therefore, the Holy Spirit will use that faith to enjoin the Gift upon a believer.

In this regard, it has been told that a pastor who had been encouraging his daughter to pray became concerned because she would only repeat out aloud parts of the alphabet without saying anything more. The pastor told his daughter on the third night of her doing this that she was only singing the alphabet and not praying, to which she replied, “daddy, I am praying, I just give Him (God) the letters and let Him arrange them however He wants”.

Another pastor, who recounted this, told his congregation that “that’s what it means to pray in tongues”.

No, this is not what it means to pray in tongues.

There is no suggestion in the examples in Acts above that any of those that were baptised in the Holy Spirit were encouraged to exercise any personal act on their part either by another’s prompting or personally in order to effect or receive the gift of speaking in tongues. Indeed, in other examples of the various “evidences” of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts, there is no human prompting involved in their ‘production’ because the ‘evidences’ cannot be prompted by man as it is purely and solely an act by the Holy Spirit which the carnal mind or one’s spirit cannot initiate or prompt.

For example, in Matthew 3:16-17, following the water baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God descends from Heaven like a dove and rests on Jesus, with no human prompting present, and incidentally with no ‘tongues’ present. Also, in Acts 8:14-18, the believers in Samaria were baptised in the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying of hands upon them by the apostles though the use of hands is merely one means from God to impart the Baptism upon a believer but the actual impartation itself bears no human origin or prompting. Strikingly, in this account, ‘tongues’ were not present at the receiving of the Baptism, but ‘nothing’.

Further, we find in Acts 9:17-19 that Paul the Apostle received the Holy Spirit. In doing so, the ‘evidence’ that accompanied this was ‘healing’ through the laying of hands and prayer by Ananias, and which reveals God alone effecting the revelation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit which may or may not include ‘speaking in tongues’ as evidenced in Matt 3:16-17 and Acts 8:14-18. Indeed, we see definitively in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 that the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to believers only by means of the Spirit of God and to whom He desires to give them to and in doing so not through the physical efforts or power of man.

That is, it is only the Holy Spirit that initiates and gives whichever gifts He desires to believers. And, that, even if a person or another prays for one to receive ‘tongues’ as a Gift that the endowment of it is absent of human help. And, therefore, no believer can in a spiritual sense prompt another believer to ‘speak in tongues’, and, as evidenced above, the Holy Spirit does not use people to teach others to begin to ‘speak in tongues’ voluntarily because it is purely a bestowment of the Spirit and not of man in terms of any apparent human involvement.

In this regard, it was also observed concerning the second pastor’s comments above that curiously a person who seeks to ‘speak in tongues’ must be the one to initially “release the sounds” and “then you’re going to sense the takeover” by the Holy Spirit who will add “His power”, ”intentions” and “meanings and purposes” to your ‘tongues’ speaking. This is simply not scriptural, and, evidently, there is another train of thought that even teaches that ‘speaking in tongues’ is “the seal” of the Holy Spirit and that therefore and erroneously a person is said to have been baptised in the Holy Spirit only when they speak in tongues.

Hence, such false beliefs cause much of the church to desperately desire to speak in tongues. Yet, believers who ultimately begin to purportedly speak in “tongues” through human prompting do not have the Gift of ‘tongues’ but rather are operating in human-induced ‘murmurings’ which have no meaning on earth nor in heaven.

At this point, we will turn to a general examination of the Gifts itself in order to ascertain a further and sound understanding of how a Gift of the Spirit like ‘tongues’ comes about by comparing it to other Gifts of the Spirit.

1 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 7 and 11 state that the manifestations, or gifts, of the Spirit, are given to believers for the common good. That is, that the Gifts are for the benefit of all and are worked upon believers by God as verse 7 states. For example, the word of wisdom is a Gift and is unlike wisdom that one ordinarily acquires through the application of knowledge.

No, this is a supernatural wisdom from God which has been endowed by Him to be specially exercised by a believer in times of need in God without any human effort and prompting by the holder or others. Concerning the word of knowledge Gift (v , it is of course not possible that a person can initiate a word of God from Heaven upon oneself except by the pure and independent work of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, the miraculous powers Gift cannot be prompted by man although it is obvious that a believer would need to exercise faith in order to for instance raise the dead. However, this miracle does not occur by any human effort.

As alluded, it is not a true endowment of a Gift when a person physically initiates the ‘production’ of a Gift of the Holy Spirit. The endowment of a Gift must reflect the nature of a Gift itself which is that it is not established through the thoughts and strains of man or by artificial encouragement from others because it is given by the Will of God upon whom He wants and when He wants. It is not an operation of man.

At this point, it is useful to note that it may perhaps seem that a Gift such as faith (1 Cor 12:9) is something that can be exercised at the ‘prompting’ of the believer who has such Gift. However, it is, of course, a Gift that is prompted by the Holy Spirit at any time He desires as with each of the nine Gifts.

Furthermore, this ‘faith’ Gift is not just the common and universal trait that all believers are to walk in (Heb 11:6) but rather one that specially functions in a specific and supernatural way in the illumination of God’s Will and plans. Accordingly, the Gift of faith is not ‘manifested’ by man which is the same for the Gift of ‘speaking in tongues’. Thus, it cannot be prompted or forced upon a believer at the time of desiring it or initially receiving it in truth, and, in consequent operations of it. Similarly, the operation of the remaining Gifts of prophecy, discerning of spirits, interpretation of tongues, and healing, can in no way be prompted by human ability, but, are prompted fully by the Spirit.

Now, in the case of the healing Gift, while faith is required in ministering a healing activity, it is nevertheless an act of the Spirit that determines when healing may be ‘available’. That is, as God’s Word reveals, it is God Himself that makes His power present at a given time or circumstance in order that healing would be administered or facilitated. We find this truth in Luke 5:17 where Jesus was teaching in a house.

The Scripture states here that, ‘the power of the Lord was present for Him (Jesus) to heal the sick’. Among other things, this statement shows that it is not every time that God’s healing presence will be present to heal because it is God Himself that determines when and in what circumstances His healing presence is available in any given circumstance, such is His wisdom and authority. Additionally, such is the ‘discretion’ and Will of the Holy Spirit and is a reason why people do not get healed in every circumstance that a healing prayer or need takes place. In this case, God’s power was present to heal which enabled a paralysed man to receive healing from the Lord Jesus (Luke 5:17-24).

Therefore, in concluding, biblically speaking, in the context of all the above, believers cannot initiate for themselves or others the Gift of ‘speaking in tongues’. It is purely an act of the Holy Spirit with no human initiation involved. With this knowledge, believers should be assured that they should not feel any pressure to speak in tongues, and, just like each Gift occurs at the will and prompting of the Spirit, a believer may not have even been given the Gift from God.

In this sense, again, a proper understanding of 1 Corinthians chapter 12 reveals that it is not necessarily the case that every person that asks for the Gift of speaking in tongues will receive it. As detailed above, this is the same with any other Gift, as, this is God’s decision in His wisdom. Therefore, believers should be content with whatever gifts they have been endowed with though this doesn’t mean that they cannot continue to ask for those they desire, but, more importantly, one should be reminded that God alone gives them as He determines, not us (1 Cor 12:11).

Lastly, then, with this in mind, if believers do not speak in tongues, it does not at all mean they are not Saved or do not have the Holy Spirit. Rather, it essentially means that God has not given them this Gift, or, if they do have it, it may be asserted that they have not “stirred it up” sufficiently by exercising their Faith conduct in a manner that will attract the Work of the Holy Spirit’s Gift to be done through them.