The Holy Spirit In The 21st Century

Are we talking about speaking in tongues or the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in general?

Since most Charismatics teach that tongues are an evidence of baptism, I will address the baptism, including tongues. By tongues I am talking about “tongues of men and angels” (1Corinthians 13.1) and “unknown” tongue (1Corinthians 14) as well as known languages. Tongues are only one of the listed “gifts of the Spirit”. However, since God listed this a one of His gifts, to question this aspect of the gift is to question the entire baptism.

 I know from personal experience that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is real. I could point to numerous Scripture verses, but I'm sure that many people already have. How do I know it's real? First, I have experienced this baptism. I am a born-again (Jesus' words, not mine; see John 3) believer in Jesus Christ. I have been following Him with varying degrees of success since I was 13 years old. I am 54 now. My goal in life is to be more like Jesus. The apostle Paul is my role model. (1Corinthians 11.1)

There are many Scriptures pertaining to the baptism in the New Testament. The New Testament church leaders felt that the baptism was required for the Christian to function properly. Acts 19 clearly shows this. A group of believers, and they are clearly labeled as believers by Paul, were asked, “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” Their response is something that modern Christians can't seem to get a handle on: “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” In other words, “We've never even heard of that–a Holy Spirit? God within us?” (The Message)  These are people the Word of God clearly calls believers, yet they hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit. They were then baptized in Jesus name and Paul put his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. These were separate occurrences: belief, John’s baptism, baptism in Jesus’ name then baptism in the Holy Spirit.

This baptism of the Holy Spirit was necessary then so that the believer could stand under the persecution that God knew was to follow their conversion. Are we any less needful of help today? There is no indication that there was to be an end to this while we are still under grace in the current age. Yes, the Bible does say that tongues will cease. They will, when Jesus comes to claim His bride. I see an increase in the Holy Spirit’s activity, especially in traditionally more ecumenical countries.

Latin America is breaking at the seams with Spirit-filled believers. In the United States we are seeing a resurgence in God's activity through the Holy Spirit. Since the early 1900s, He has been filling as many believers as will accept the Gift. This leads me to ask what may be in store for us?  If the Holy Spirit was necessary for first-century believers to stand under persecution, and God is reviving America with Holy Spirit baptism, what is the future of America?

That’s a topic for another paper, but you can guess what I am thinking.

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  1. Joe_Sewell said:

    Okay, you touched on “tongues” quickly at the end, but so what? Tongues are a gift, and not everybody receives every gift of the Holy Spirit. (Gifts aren’t fruit.) I have no problem with the baptism in the Spirit. I have no problem with xenoglossy (the gift of speaking a language not known by the speaker, but known by others in attendance). I’m still not sure about glossolalia (the so-called “prayer language”), even though 1 Corinthians 14 does seem to speak of something distinct from xenoglossy. I do have a problem with mandating that the baptism in the Spirit must be accompanied by “tongues.” As a result, I have no problem with your article, even though the first paragraph sets up a major speed bump and warning signs that never pan out.

    November 2, 2010
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  2. Rev. Tim Lehmann said:

    The reason that many denominations say that tongues are the “initial evidence” of Baptism in the Spirit is that in most cases that the Bible talks about being baptized it is accompanied by this gift and it’s called “evidence”. (See Acts 10:44-46 as one example.) I find no place in Scripture that actually says you must speak in tongues in order to be “filled”. Having said that, I must quote Paul, again, “I would that ye all spake with tongues,…” and he goes on to say that there are other gifts to ask for more earnestly than tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:5)

    November 2, 2010
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