I was send an email asking me:
“what about “today’s” practice of “Speaking in Tongues”? It’s such a controversial subject.”
This was my response:
Regarding speaking in tongues, I see in Acts where some were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke with tongues. This occurred at Pentecost (Acts 2:4). But it was not in a mysterious or heavenly language, but in earthly languages that these men did not know naturally (Acts 2:8-11). So I disagree with those who use these examples in Acts to say that speaking in a heavenly language is the only evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Using their logic, I could say that speaking in an earthly language that you do not know naturally is the evidence, since that is what actually occurred at Pentecost.
In Acts 19:6 we read that they were filled with the Holy Spirit and consequently spoke in tongues and prophesied. Do we take this to mean that prophecy is the evidence of the Holy Spirit and that everyone who is truly baptized in the Holy Spirit will prophecy? No, there is no logic in assuming that what occurred in this particular situation is what is going to occur in every particular instance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I believe that some are given the gift of tongues, but not all (1 Cor. 12:30). Just because some in Acts spoke in tongues when they were baptized does not mean every believer will. Some in Acts preached the word boldly when they were baptized (Acts 4:31). This passage makes no mention of tongues at all. So does that mean that bold preaching is the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Does this mean that everyone who is baptized in the Holy Spirit will immediately preach the word with boldness?
There are many different evidences of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some spoke in tongues, some preached with boldness, some prophesied, etc. Tongues are a gift and it is still for today, but not everyone baptized in the Holy Spirit has it. And there are no doubt many fake tongues out there. A church once tried to “teach” me how to speak in tongues. They told me, “Just say anything and God will turn it into tongues.” That is baloney. The Bible says that the Spirit giveth utterance (Acts 2:4). Men should not attempt to speak in tongues unless the Spirit of God is giving them utterance.
In quick summary, speaking in a language that you don’t naturally know, like Russian or Chinese, can be the evidence of the baptism (Acts 2:4). But so can prophesy (Acts 19:6) and bold preaching (Acts 4:31). But not everyone is going to speak Chinese, or prophecy, or preach boldly. The Spirit may manifest in different ways for different people (1 Cor. 12:30).
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