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DOCTRINE QUESTION 117
Would you be able to address the topic of the Holy Ghost? - the manifestation, speaking in tongues, the baptism of the holy ghost, and whether or not there is an ‘initial evidence’ (some believe that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence). Your help would be appreciated.
The teaching (referred to in the question above) is not found in the Scriptures, but comes from honest men who have deduced it from Acts 2: The idea of the ‘visible evidence’ in Acts 2:1-4 has been carried over to our present day. However, in order to ascertain whether such teaching is scriptural, one must compare other scriptures where people receive the Spirit.
First let me say that the Spirit is received by faith, and faith never requires a ‘sign’ “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:14).
When a person is born again he/she is, Born OF the Spirit. (cf. John 3:5); Sealed WITH the Spirit (cf. Ephesians 1:13); Baptized IN the Spirit, and into the body of Christ, the church (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13). All this happens to every sinner who repents and trusts Christ as their Saviour, and it is not accompanied with any external evidences; in fact it happens usually completely unknown by the person.
The Spirit does not continue to come down from heaven as in Acts 2: 1-4. That happened once and He has been here ever since. If it is true that all of the above happens when a person is born again, then a believer cannot receive the Spirit again, because he/she already has Him; “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”(Romans 8:9). To tell a person who has repented of their sins and trusted Christ as their Saviour that they must speak in tongues as evidence of their salvation is most unscriptural and confusing. ‘Tongues’ were a sign to unbelieving Israel, as Paul (quoting from Isaiah 28:11) said to the saints at Corinth, “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord” (1 Corinthians. 14: 21.
There are three cases of people speaking in another language in the book of Acts. They all spoke as a group of speakers and not individuals and all cases were nationally associated; the nation of Israel in Acts 2, the Gentile world in Acts 10: 44 and the third case involved twelve Jewish believers who did not know that the Spirit had come (cf. Acts 19:1).
Dear reader, are you saved? If not why wait do it now.
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated January 27th, 2014 by Sandra Felix