The doctrine of Spirit baptism varies considerably between that of the denominations point of view and the Pentecostal point of view. This doctrine may vary from place to place. Some view it as an additional blessing aside from salvation. The idea held is that after a person has been saved, they may, through intense worship, speak in a language that is unlearned by the speaker. It is directly contributed to God due to it's supernatural, biblical and unmistakable proof. Since salvation has already been attained (according to their dogma), this is identified as an extra blessing. It, in no wise, means that the person received the Holy Spirit at that point. It is taught that speaking in tongues has nothing to do with the initial infilling of the Holy Spirit. Only that they received a "gift" to speak in such a way. It is taught that the believer receives Christ into their heart after they accept him as their Lord. There need be no proof of Christ's Spirit in the new believer; only that of promise (John 7:38).
Speaking in tongues is not frowned upon in most assemblies, however, it would certainly appear to be out of order. Most of the occurrences happen in an extremely spiritual service, such as an intense prayer meeting or a praise and worship service.

The Pentecostal Experience

For the Pentecostal it is simple. When a person receives the Holy Spirit, it is automatically accompanied with other tongues. Hence, "as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). We cannot find in scripture where somebody received the Holy Spirit without speaking in other tongues. It is a universal mode in which God can show forth his saving work. It is the same everywhere. It always has been. It was consistently used in the book of Acts (2:38; 8:17-18; 10:44-46; 19:6), promised in the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:11), and declared by Jesus in the New (Mark 16:17).
the tongue The reason? James taught that the tongue is an unruly member, full of deadly poison and that no man could tame it (James 3:3-8). How much more, then, should God display his power than by taming the tongue??

Reading Between the Lines

You do not need to read between the lines to catch these simple truths. It only takes an open heart. A simple study of this will reveal that the Holy Ghost is seen and heard when it is poured out. It does not slip by unnoticed. When the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God of the universe fills this mortal body, something spectacular is going to happen. Something that cannot be faked, imitated or mistaken. God will fulfill his promise and evidence the outpouring of his Spirit by causing you to speak in an unknown language. This marvelous proof has been displayed time and time again by new believers being filled with the awesome Spirit of God. Millions of reports around the world are proclaimed as they surface, with fascination and awe at this tremendous display of God's power. It cannot be discounted, as countless report this miracle to have happened before their very eyes and ears. The very thought that someone has spoken a modern or ancient language, unlearned by the speaker, is more than a mere phenomenon; it's an experience...a Pentecostal experience!!
Jesus taught that the outpouring of his Spirit would be audible. "Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound is every one that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:3-8).
Simon the sorcerer saw something that made him offer money to Peter and John when they laid hands on the Samaritans. Simon was one that knew every sorcerer's spell in the book. He was not easily impressed. If anyone had been witness to miracles, it was Simon. He saw something that day he could not understand. He saw something he could not imitate with tricks or sly of hand. The Bible teaches us that he saw them receive the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:18). This was something that Simon could not duplicate.

what did Simon see

Read these scriptures:

"...we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God" (Acts 2:1-13).

"...he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:33).

"...they heard them speak with tongues" (Acts 10:46).

Not Just a Gift

Speaking in tongues is a miracle for all believers. It accompanies those who are filled with His Spirit. It is taught by some denominations that the miracle of tongues is just a gift. This cannot be true for the following reasons...

The Bible teaches us that the gifts of the Spirit are divided equally throughout the church body for the reason of keeping order and proper functioning (I Corinthians 12:11, 18-25; 14:23).

There is more than one kind of "tongues" (I Corinthians 12:10).

On the Day of Pentecost, all the Jewish believers (120) received the gift of the Holy Spirit. They all spoke in tongues. Cornelius' household spoke in tongues as well as the disciple of John at Ephesus and the Samaritans (Acts 2:1-4; 8:4-18; 10:44-48; 19:1-6). In these passages, it was used as a sign that the Holy Spirit had been poured out, not as a gift, as some would teach.

This miracle comes to the born-again believer as a sign; not a gift (Mark 16:17).

Our tongue needs to be tamed because of it's unruliness. It is described as deadly poison. If we cannot control our tongue, our religion is in vain (James 3:1-8). Therefore, it is a mandate to have our tongue bridled by the Holy Spirit, it is not just a gift.

Tongues provides certainty that a person has been filled with God's Spirit.

Tongues was required by the apostles as a sign that the new believers received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15-18).

If it were just a mere gift, then why would we need to speak to God in tongues? Gifts are for the edification of the body of Christ. Tongues can also be used in personal devotions. Paul urged all believers to speak in tongues (I Corinthians 14:1-6).

Many teach that all tongues should be interpreted, no matter the time or place. This is non-sense. There was no interpretation in Ephesus. There was no interpretation in Samaria. And there was no interpretation when the Gentiles received the Holy Ghost. The only reason why there were people present on the Day of Pentecost that could understand what was being spoken was so all people present could know without a doubt that God had indeed kept his promise and poured out his Spirit. They could know without doubting because it was a miracle for these people to speak in languages unknown by the speakers. It was not isolated to one, ten or even fifty people, but one hundred and twenty people spake in a language that each speaker never learned. This is how the devout Jews knew that God had poured out His Spirit just like Jesus promised his Apostles. As far as interpretation, the only time the Bible calls for it is when there is an utterance for the church body. A spiritually sensitive assembly will know when the utterance is about to come. While the utterance is in progress or when completed, the interpretation should come; providing the interpreter is in the right spiritual channel.

Evidence, Devotion, and Edification

Not only is tongues a sign of the initial infilling of the Holy Spirit, and used in personal devotion to God, but there is also a gift of tongues as mentioned in I Corinthians 12:10. This gift is extensively covered by Paul in I Corinthians 14. This type of tongues is used for the edification of the body of Christ (His church). It is spoken out loud for the church body to hear, and should always be followed by an interpretation. It is simply a message from God to the church in a language not known by the recipient. The gift of interpretation of tongues should briefly follow the message from God. There is a big difference between this gift and the tongues used in personal devotion. This is not directed to God in private devotion. It is directed to the church from God. Just like the priest presented the people to God through atonement; the prophet presented God to the people through information. So is it with tongues. Devotional tongues brings the church to God in prayer, while the gift of tongues brings God to the church in speech.
Paul mentioned that there was a tongue of angels. Perhaps this could imply that some languages simply cannot be understood by anyone on this earthly domain, except God provide the interpretation.


Some denominal teachers instruct that tongues is simply something God did in the early church and that it is not used today. This concept is unbiblical. Nowhere in our canon can we find where God or any other taught that this event would cease before that which is perfect (Christ) is come. Tongues will cease (I Corinthians 13:8) when Christ has returned. As long as there is a church, we will have these gifts from God to provide us with edification. We cannot make it on our own. Who can say that God does not provide us with His power as He indwells us? Who can say that God is a respecter of persons and chooses to give the early church something He will not give the latter church? God does not change. The promises of Mark 16:17 are conditioned upon one thing; salvation. There is still knowledge and there is still prophecy. When tongues come to an end, so will these (I Corinthians 13:8-10). It's safe to say that perfection has not yet come. When it does, then the gifts will be done away with. We will not need them. We will understand all things for we will be living in the eternal light of God. Tongues is still the mode God uses to show forth His baptsim.

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