I have recently left a Pentecostal church where they taught that the baptism of Holy Spirit is a subsequent experience from the salvation experience. Is this true? They also teach that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence that one has been Spirit-filled. Thoughts anyone? Thank you! God bless all my brothers and sisters!!
@DanP The assumption that tongues is a sign of being filled with the Spirit is based upon anecdotes from the book of Acts and not upon more clear, didactic passages. We must always be careful when attempting to come to decisive conclusions for narrative portions of the Bible. If we study Paul’s letters, it is clear that not everyone has the gift of tongues, which means the tongues is not a necessary sign of salvation.
Also, the Bible teaches that salvation is the work of the Father, the Son and the Spirit. While there are stories in the OT and in Acts of the Spirit of God coming upon people in a powerful way for special purposes, it is never called a second baptism. There is also a story in Acts of those who appear not yet to have received the Spirit. But these passages are not the norm - the Bible clearly expects that the believer is Spirit filled.
I Cor 6:11 - And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Romans 8:1 - Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
In the Bible, we are not told to be baptized in the Spirit after conversion, but we are told to walk in the Spirit and to be clothed in Christ and to have the mindset of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 - So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Romans 8:5-6 - Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Additional resources below. The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom and may you walk in the Spirit each day, clothed in the love and righteousness of Jesus
First, as the apostle Paul makes plain, believers are “all baptized by one Spirit into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13), yet not all who believe speak in tongues (vv. 10, 30). Thus tongues may be a manifestation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but tongues cannot be the manifestation.
This text has numerous implications. One is that the baptism of the Spirit happens at the time of conversion, not separate from it. It is the privilege of every Christian. Speaking in tongues is simply confirmatory evidence of conversion. Frederick Dale Bruner explains the place of tongues in Acts: “Speaking in tongues in Acts is on all three occasions a corporate, church-founding, group-conversion phenomenon, and never the subsequent Spirit experience of an individual.”
Cessation vs Continuation
I believe that when you ask God to forgive you your sins based on the penalty paid through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and then ask Him to come into your life and reveal Himself, He will. The mark that you are a Christian is that you believe the Biblical record–that God the Son has come to earth as a human being, was killed on the cross, and then was raised from the dead. That being said, when I was young in the faith I experienced the baptism of the Spirit and spoke in tongues while driving on the highway with my best friend. It happened before I had even read the book of Acts so I did not understand my experience. However, it was subsequent to my giving my life to the Lord. Our walks with God are unique to each of us, because we are all different, yet He is the same. Only God Himself can take us all and blend us into something useful. The proof? People are still being saved.
Thank you Sean for your detailed response. It was very helpful!! God bless you and keep you strong in Him!
Thank you Michael! Seeing that you have experienced speaking in tongues, I have to ask you if you have your own prayer language. I have spoken in tongues when the Holy Spirit is overflowing within me, but I have never been one to pray in tongues on command. It’s always been something that “just happens”. Also, I will say this, that the church I was attending never said that speaking in tongues was necessary for salvation. They do say however that speaking in tongues is evidence that one has been filled with the Spirit, thus giving believers the power necessary for living in victory over sin.
After that initial “baptism of the Holy Spirit” on the highway, it was a number of years before I spoke in tongues again. When I did, it was on command and awkward in the beginning. Even now it is not something I do every day, but as I have continued it has become more obvious to me that it is, indeed, a language. I had a friend, when I was in seminary, who was from South Africa. He was saved, and in a Pentecostal church when he observed the spiritual gifts being practiced there, but was kind of skeptical. People would get up, 2 or 3 in a service, speak in tongues, and someone would interpret like it says in 1 Corinthians 14. One Sunday he told me he was sitting there when he felt prompted to get up and speak, but he had nothing to say. He stood up, got red faced, and then sat down on his hands. The next thing he knew, he was standing up speaking gibberish, he thought, then he sat down. An older member of the congregation got up, spoke the interpretation, and then sat down. Later on he found out that another member of the congregation had invited his neighbor to church–someone he had been asking for 5 years, and this neighbor said “FINE, but if I come will you stop nagging me?” “Okay.” Well this newcomer asked his neighbor whether Johan, my friend, was in university. “Not that I know of”, the man said. And that old fellow who got up, was he a scholar? “No, a laborer as far as I know.” So this newcomer said, “that young man spoke the best Latin I have ever heard and the man’s interpretation was spot on.” This neighbor was a professor of Latin who was not a believer. And my friend, Johan went on to get his PhD. and founded Afnet which is about evangelizing in Africa.
Amen!! Praise God!!! That was an awesome testimony of the proper use of tongues. Thanks for sharing that brother.