Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church


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Part I - Introduction to Tongues 

 Carol Brooks

Edited by Vicki Narlee

Index To All Six Sections

You Are Here 001orange Ch. 1. Tongues - Introduction: Deception in The Church. The Holy Spirit in The Old and New Testaments. The 'Second Blessing' and the 'Initial Evidence' doctrine. The Controversy and It's Importance

Ch. 2. Tongues In The Gospels and Acts: The Purpose of Tongues in The New Testament. Mark 16:17. Speaking in Tongues in The Book of Acts. Pentecost - Distinguishing Factors. What All Three Occurrences Had in Common. Not Everyone Spoke in Tongues On Pentecost. Was the Spirit Given Before Pentecost?

Ch. 3. Tongues In Corinthians: The overall message of 1 Corinthians 14. Disregarding Most of What Paul Said About The Gift of Tongues. How Important Were Tongues in The New Testament?

Ch. 4.  Tongues - A Known Language?: A Known Language or Unintelligible Utterances on and after Pentecost. Unknown Languages or Ecstatic Speech?. Tongues of Angels? Ignoring Matthew 6:7

Ch. 5. Tongues - What Spirit?: Neither Tongues nor Erratic Movements are Restricted to Born Again Christian Believers. How Did a Different Spirit Infiltrate The Church? - A Brief History of Pentecostalism May Provide The Answer. Voodoo. Circumstantial Evidence? Common Signs of Demon Possession. Comparing the Lwa with New Testament Demonic Possession.

Ch. 6. Tongues - Conclusion: According to The Bible Who Receives God's Holy Spirit? According to The Bible How Does One Receive God's Spirit? What It Means To Have The Spirit of God Dwelling In Us. The Gifts of The Spirit. Why People Don't Speak In Tongues?



Deception in The Church
Because it is critically important this warning has been repeated on several pages on this site

The Holy Spirit in The Old and New Testaments

The "Second Blessing"
Is there a special post conversion religious experience available to all believers?

Tongues... The Initial Evidence
Tongues is commonly held to be the litmus test for Spirit baptism.

The Controversy and It's Importance
Not everyone shares the opinion that the Pentecostal position on tongues is Biblical nor that the 'Second Blessing' is a blessing.
What is certain is that it is an issue of no small magnitude.

Deception in The Church
Please note: Because it is critically important the following has been repeated on several pages on this site.

One of the four most dangerous mistakes any Christian can make is to believe that they themselves, their denomination/pastor /spiritual leader, cannot be deceived. As the ancient prophet wrote

    "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NASB) Note: The word 'deceive' means to cause someone to believe what is not true, regardless of whether the person doing the misleading is himself deluded.

If false teachings were easy to spot, it is hardly likely that the Scriptures would warn against deception so very many times.

The 23rd chapter of Jeremiah's book also points out how widespread and treacherous deception can be. He spoke of the false shepherds that were destroying and scattering the sheep, and the "polluted" prophets and priests who spoke visions that came not from the mouth of the Lord, but from their own imaginations, thus leading the people into "futility".

The vast majority of the New Testament books have explicit and often forceful warnings about false teachers. In fact, the warnings against being deceived is a major themes in the New Testament with the words deceit, deceitful, deceitfully, deceitfulness, and deceive, used over and over again. In fact, both Peter and Paul very emphatically stated that wolves would arise from the flock itself

    "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:29-31 NASB)

    But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. (2 Peter 2:1 NASB)

Yet, most theologians, Bible scholars, pastors, etc. sincerely believe they and their denomination are the sole reliable interpreters of Biblical truths, and will defend to the death their version of what the Bible says. And, often play a deadly game of follow the leader, Christians often refuse to accept that respected and well-known and leaders/preachers/authors can possibly be wrong

Unfortunately, even if the numerous warning against deception are brought to their notice or they are already aware of them, most of the Christian world is quite convinced that these cautions cannot possibly apply to them. Every Christian seems to wholeheartedly believes that the path they are on is the right one, the beliefs they hold are Biblical, and the practices they indulge in are supported by Scripture.

And, once having decided what to believe, they hang on to it with a deadly grip. However, as the author of Proverbs said.. "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death". (Proverbs 14:12 NASB).

If we are smart, we had better not hang our hats on the peg labeled 'official church doctrine', on what supposedly orthodox Christians/churches think, believe, or teach, nor on what the so called early "church fathers" wrote. And we certainly had better not completely depend on what the learned scholars tell us, however highly respected and/or well known they might be.

The truth is completely knowable IF we rely solely on God's word, by which I do not mean some else's interpretation of God's word. However, as I have said before, it is totally pointless to embark on a investigation unless you are prepared to set aside your denominational presuppositions and other biases, and rely strictly on what the Bible says. This seems to be easier said than done for many, if not most, Christians.


Why Christians are Deceived.

The Four Most Dangerous Mistakes Any Christian Can Make

Fraternizing With The Enemy

The Holy Spirit in The Old Testament
Anyone who had read the Old Testament will know that God's Spirit has been active on the earth ever since the days of creation when the Spirit of God moved over the surface of the waters (Genesis 1:2). However, the work of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament was quite varied, and not usually connected with sin and salvation. For the most part, the Spirit of God did not necessarily permanently remain with those individuals it was given to, but enabled them to accomplish a particular task. For example,

When the temple was being built, God put skill in the hearts of the artisans who helped build it - Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze.... (Exodus 31:3-5 NASB)

In Deuteronomy 34:9, the Spirit of Wisdom passed from Moses to Joshua which caused the people to obey him as they had Moses. It also fell upon men who had to lead and guide Israel such as the seventy elders (Numbers 11:16-17), various judges of Israel like Gideon (Judges 6:34) and Sampson (Judges 14:6, 15:14). It enabled king David (1 Samuel 16:13) who often had formidable obstacles to overcome. The prophets who were called to proclaim God's word were also enabled by the Spirit. See, for example, Isaiah 61:1 and Ezekiel 2:1-4.

In other words, God's Spirit gave power and/or authority to whoever the Father had chosen to accomplish a specific assignment, which is exactly what happened when it descended on the apostles on Pentecost

The Holy Spirit in The New Testament
The Apostles
On several occasions both before and after His resurrection, Jesus promised the apostles that He would not leave them as orphans, but that the Father would send them the Holy Spirit, who would help them in crucial ways. The Spirit would teach them all things, and bring to their remembrance all that He had said to them (John 14:26 NASB).

    "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 

In fact, without receiving power from on high, that powerless, rudderless and, possibly, rather timid group was very unlikely to even take the first steps towards accomplishing what Jesus had called them to do. However, when God's Holy Spirit was poured out on them on Pentecost, ordinary men and women were transformed into fearless evangelists who laid down their lives for the Gospel.

 As an example of how much things changed, when Jesus was arrested, Peter categorically denied being one of His followers for fear he would share the same fate. Yet, after receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, in an event is described in the second chapter of the book of Acts, Peter boldly stood up and preached the gospel to a huge crowd of Jews, with the result that three thousand people believed and were baptized.

There are also numerous examples of the Holy Spirit's role in the formation of the new church. For example, the Spirit told Peter that Cornelius' three emissaries were looking for him (Acts 10:19), told the church in Antioch to set aside particular men (Barnabas and Saul) for the work to which they were called (Acts 13:2), and forbade Paul and Timothy to preach in certain areas (Acts 16:6). The Holy Spirit 'chimed in' on a doctrinal matter (Acts 15:28) and testified to Paul of "bonds and afflictions" that awaited him (Acts 20:23)

Note: Pentecost is the Greek name for the Hebrew Shavuot or Feast of Weeks, that came fifty days after First-fruits. (See The Seven Feasts of Israel)

Other Believers
However, in the New Testament, God's Spirit was not given to the Apostles alone, but was much more universally bestowed. The apostles themselves prayed that those who had received the word of God would also receive the Holy Spirit as in the following two happenings.

    When the Samarians received the word of God and were baptized, Peter and John went down so that they might receive the Holy Spirit which is exactly what happened after the apostles laid their hands on the people (Acts 8:14-17 NASB)

    The Ephesian disciples had only been baptized into John's baptism but, after Paul head this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and when Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. (Acts 19:1-6 NASB)

In other words, belief and baptism are not sufficient in themselves, but a person has to receive the Holy Spirit as well - for a very simple reason. Once we turn to Christ, the Spirit takes up residence within us, helping our weakness and interceding for us (Romans 8:26 NASB) In fact, if we are not led by God's Spirit, we cannot count ourselves as sons of God which means we will not be raised when Christ returns.

    For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Romans 8:14 NASB)

    But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11 NASB)

That the indwelling Spirit is necessary for salvation is agreed on by most Christians. However, how a Christian receives the Holy Spirit is one of intense debate.

The "Second Blessing"
Pentecostalism, a name obviously derived from Pentecost, emerged in the early 20th century and has rapidly spread across the world. Pentecostals place great emphasis on spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12: 8-10) especially what they call the "Baptism in the Holy Spirit" or 'Second Blessing' - a special post conversion religious experience. 

Although most Pentecostals and Charismatics teach that all Christians have the Holy Spirit, i.e they are regenerated and sanctified by the Spirit when they are converted, there is a 'second level' of blessing, or a deeper work of God's grace available to the believer. This 'Second Blessing' is likened to the special outpouring on Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came on the disciples filling them and empowering them in a unique way. The Assemblies of God, the world's largest Pentecostal denomination with almost 70 million members, describes this blessing as "a vital experience of the Christian life" and "a special work of the Spirit beyond salvation". [01]

In answer to the question of whether baptism in the Holy Spirit is necessary to obtain eternal life and, if not, why anyone should be baptized in the Spirit, they reply (Emphasis Added)

    although the Bible does not say the baptism in the Spirit is required for salvation, it does tell us that Christ commanded His first followers to wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). The Bible commands us to "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). This personal encounter with the Holy Spirit should be sought and cherished by every believer. With it comes a new and fuller dimension of spiritual understanding and a flow of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:9-13). [02]

In fact, the 'baptism in the Holy Spirit' is not only one of the 16 non-negotiable tenets of faith that all Assemblies of God churches adhere to, but also one of the four "Cardinal Doctrines which are essential to the church's core mission of reaching the world for Christ" [03] (the other three are salvation, divine healing, and Christ's second advent). Number 7 on the list of 16 articles of faith is entitled "The Baptism in the Holy Spirit" and reads

    All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry. [04]

In other words, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation but there's plenty more and all believers, without exception, should speak with tongues.  

Tongues... The Initial Evidence
Most of the groups that believe in and teach the doctrine of the "Second Blessing" consider that the Spirit-baptism must be attested to by a visible or audible sign. Citing Acts 2:4, they claim that the initial evidence, or single outward sign of this "Second Blessing" is speaking in other tongues. Thus tongues is commonly held to be the litmus test for Spirit baptism.

This belief is shared by many charismatics. For example, Joel Osteen's Word of Faith, prosperity Church in Lakewood has a "Circle of Hope Application" that  all volunteers have to fill out. One of the questions that requires a "yes" or "no" answer is "Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues?" [05] Does God Want Us To Be Rich? See Link Below

Tongues can, but almost never does, take the form of Xenoglossia, which is speech in a language known to others but not the speaker. What you do hear most often is Glossolalia - strings of meaningless speech-like syllables. However, the speaker is thought to be possessed by the Holy Spirit with no control over his own tongue and the unintelligible speech an unknown mystical language, possibly the "tongues of angels" mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:1.

Sadly, it often seems that most people who speak in tongues take pride in the fact that they did so, rather than whether what they said was meaningful or edifying.

The Atmosphere
Although God can bestow His gifts at any time and in any place He chooses, it seems that people are more receptive in a 'spiritual' atmosphere of worship - with good reason as we shall see in a later chapter.

Many who are not familiar with speaking in tongues are often understandably perplexed, disturbed, or flat out incredulous when they first witness this phenomenon, since it often takes place in an intensely emotional religious atmosphere sometimes called a "tarry meeting", in which seekers agonize and plead with God to send down His Holy Spirit from heaven... again.

This can be accompanied by fervent even feverish prayer, hymn singing, jumping up and down, hand clapping, and rhythmic chanting of repetitious words and/or phrases, such as "Glory, Hallelujah!" or simply "Jesus!" The frenetic chanting actually seems to whip the congregation into an emotional frenzy and often deteriorates into a bedlam of people yelling and having what looks suspiciously like convulsions - jerking, twitching, falling on the floor in all manner of positions (some woefully immodest) and babbling incoherent, unintelligible, repetitive words or phrases.

I am willing to bet that if the exact same manifestations were to occur in some other setting, most Charismatics and Pentecostals would be horrified and get away from the scene as fast and as far as their feet would carry them. The fact that all this occurs in a 'church' setting leads people to believe that God is behind the manifestations.

Here are a couple of You tube videos of people supposedly getting baptized in the Holy Spirit. The first one is relatively mild, the second far more intense.

Seeking the holy Ghost baptism


Baptized With Blazing Fire:



The upsurge in the number of people who experience this phenomena is often attributed to a genuine revival in the church, while others consider it to be the "latter rain" (Acts 2:17-18, James 5:7) falling on believers. If this is what you believe, I strongly suggest you read The CRUCIAL Timing of The Fulfillment of Joel's Prophecy on THIS Page.

The Controversy and It's Importance
Certainly not everyone shares the opinion that the Pentecostal position on tongues is Biblical. For example the web site of The Protestant Reformed Churches in America very emphatically states that the 'Second Blessing' is not a blessing.

    What must we say about this doctrine by way of evaluation? Should Christians be seeking this second blessing, this baptism with the Holy Spirit? Is there something more for us? We say a resounding no! This is emphatically not something to be sought, because it is not a blessing God has promised His people! This Pentecostal teaching is a deception of the most serious sort! It has confused, misled, and shaken the faith of many. It is to be condemned and rejected, categorically! [06]

There is a reason aplenty for considering these two vastly different points of view. If the Pentecostal position is correct, then although they are saved, thousands of Christians around the globe are missing out on a very special gift that God has planned for all believers. However, if the Pentecostal position is not Biblically accurate, then believers should avoid seeking this "Second Blessing".

What is certain is that it is an issue of no small magnitude.

By approximately the middle of the 20th century, the Charismatic movement had infiltrated both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches - something that no one would have thought possible just a decade earlier. In 1998, (emphasis added)

    ... not only was an estimated 450 million or about 25 percent of the world's Christians said to be Pentecostal or charismatic, but the movement was said to be growing by 19 million per year. [07]

A report published by the Pew Research center in 2011 agrees with these numbers

    Pentecostal and charismatic Christians together make up about 27% of all Christians and more than 8% of the world's total population [08]

However, it is a rapidly growing movement. In an article revised in 2012, the web site of Wheaton College says

    In many parts of the Third World - particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South America - Pentecostalism has made significant numbers of new converts. In fact, many analysts speculate that within the next decade Pentecostalism may even overtake the Roman Catholic Church as the largest Christian presence in Brazil and much of Spanish-speaking Latin America. [09]

Continue On To Part II - Tongues in The Gospels and Acts HERE


End Notes (Accessed November 2016)
[01] The General Council of the Assemblies of God. Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

[02] The General Council of the Assemblies of God. Questions about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit

[03] The General Council of the Assemblies of God. Our 16 Fundamental Truths.

[04] The General Council of the Assemblies of God. Our 16 Fundamental Truths.

[05] https://www.lakewoodchurch.com/Views/Media/Upload?id=6166

[06] Charles J. Terpstra. Pentecostalism's View of the Christian Life.

[07] ChristianityToday. World Growth at 19 Million a Year. November 16, 1998.

[08] Christian Movements and Denominations. Pew Research Center.

[09] Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement. Web site of Wheaton College 


The Prosperity Doctrine and The Word of Faith Movement
Note: This is a mixed bag. The Prosperity Doctrine is the belief subscribed to by millions of Christians that although Christians should keep one eye on Heaven, God doesn't want His people to wait until then to have the best of everything including good health and material possessions in the here and now. God wants believers to be healthy, wealthy, and happy in this life. This doctrine stems from human greed combined with a self-serving interpretation of certain Scriptural passages. The best thing that can be said is that it is not rooted in the occult.

 However, the Word-Faith movement that has taken this belief to an entirely new level is an entirely different matter. Word of Faith teachers do not refer to faith as a person's belief in - and reliance on - the power of God, but teach that the words themselves have creative "power" thus what a person believes and says determines his future. What is deeply alarming is that the principles of the Word-Faith movement being trumpeted from pulpits across the land, not only stems from the same occult sources as the spiritual movement known as New Thought, but uses exactly the same terminology and techniques. Something that most Christians seem to be blissfully unaware of.


    Index To Tongues