Speaking in tongues required for salvation?

Discuss topics related to the nature, character, and work of the Holy Spirit, including related topics of miracles, signs, and inspiration. Also included are apostles, because of their miraculous deeds.

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Speaking in tongues required for salvation?

Post by email » Thu Sep 25, 2003 2:46 pm

I had a couple of questions about salvation. I have been raised in a Baptist church most of my life and I have been taught that to be saved you pray the sinners prayer and get baptised and study the Bible and all of that; but I have been attending a United Pentecostal church with my girl friend and they preach on Acts 2:38 and that to be saved you get Baptised in Jesus name and you shall receive the gift of the holy spirit (they call it Holy Ghost) and then you speak in toungues to show you r saved or something like that. What are your feelings on salvation and the steps to be saved? I enjoyed visiting the web-site, it has a lot of information for studying the Bible. Thank you for reading my email and please email me back and help me out the best you can ok.
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Post by m273p15c » Mon Sep 29, 2003 8:49 am

Thanks for your inquiry. Although this answer will be brief, may I recommend a few articles on our web-site for further study?These articles are designed to cover in more detail the questions that you asked related to salvation and baptism. If you find that they still did not answer this aspect of your questions, feel free to send me another note.

That being said, please let me take a direct stab at answering your question, and maybe point out a few difficulties with modern day tongue speaking.

My belief is that to be saved we should do just as Jesus commanded and as was demonstrated by the converts in the New Testament, as recorded in the book of Acts. More support is given in the first two articles, but I understand that God requires at least these things of us:
  • Hear the gospel (Romans 10:14-17)
  • Believe the gospel (Romans 10:17; John 3:16)
  • Confess Jesus (Romans 10:8-10)
  • Repent from your sins (Acts 3:19; Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30)
  • Be baptized in water in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 10:44-48)
My understanding is that baptism is the point at which our sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16; I Peter 3:21; Romans 6:1-12; Hebrews 10:22; Ephesians 5:25-27; Colossians 2:11-13; Titus 3:5). It is the point at which God applies Christ's blood and at which we are admitted into the body of Christ, in which are all spiritual blessings (Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 1:3). Now, there's nothing magic about the water (2Kings 5:1-14). That's just a condition that God requires. God tests our faith at many points during our lives, and this seems to be the first test of faith and humility (James 2:14-26; 1Corinthians 1:25-29). Baptism still does not earn salvation, any more than belief, repentance, and confession do.

Now a long list of Scriptures prove nothing. Even the Devil quoted Scripture (Matthew 4:5-7), so please study these. If they seem out of context or misapplied, please let me know. I'd be glad to further explain these. I am struggling to answer your question briefly, but provide you ample material for further consideration. Again, the articles provide a little more explanation, but even these are whittled down to be as concise as possible.

Regarding speaking in tongues and receiving of the Holy Spirit, modern day tongue speaking, at least that with which I have had experience, seems to be very different from that performed as recorded in the New Testament Scriptures. Please consider these points about Scriptural tongue speaking that seem to be conflict with modern day tongue speaking:
  • It was not a sign to the believer, but rather to the unbeliever (1Corinthians 14:22).
  • It was considered useless without an interpreter (1Corinthians 14:1-19).
  • In fact, it was not be used in public assembly without interpretation (1Corinthians 14:26-28). Tongue speakers were to "keep silent" if there was no interpreter.
  • Never more than 2 or 3 tongue speakers were to speak in a public assembly (1Corinthians 14:26-27).
  • These 2 or 3 were not to speak at once, but in turns (1Corinthians 14:27). It was not to be chaos, but done decently and in order (1Corinthians 14:33).
  • Christians controlled these gifts (1Corinthians 14:32). It was not an emotional, uncontrollable gift. - Women were not permitted to publicly speak in tongues (1Corinthians 14:34-35).
BTW, I Corinthians 14 contains the Bible's most comprehensive statements regarding tongue speaking and its regulation. The Corinthian church was badly abusing the gift, using it as a means to elevate some Christians above others. In 1Corinthians 12-14, Paul spends a great deal of time on tongue speaking and miraculous gifts in general. I'll try to mention some of the other well-known passages in my comments below, but you and your girlfriend should try to focus on reconciling modern day practices with the divine legislation given through Paul. I think you'll find other discrepancies beyond what I have mentioned.

The receiving of the Holy Spirit, as related to salvation, is a very difficult subject - not because it is difficult to understand, but it is difficult, because so much prejudice must often be cast aside to see what the Bible has to say with unbiased eyes (Matthew 13:9-15; 2Thessalonians 2:9-12). As you consider modern Baptism of the Holy Spirit, please consider these Scriptural facts with which modern teachings must be reconciled:

There is one baptism! (Ephesians 4:1-7). Please note that this is a present, ongoing tense. There are many baptisms mentioned in the Bible: John's, of fire, of the Holy Spirit, and of water in Jesus' name. However, by the time Paul wrote Ephesians, only one baptism remained. The others had performed their usefulness and diminished (John 3:22-36), except for fire, which is yet to come (hell). Only one remained then, and only one remains now, but which one? (Please see article, "Which Baptism?" for more detailed discussion.) These points are an effort to summarize the references made to Holy Spirit baptism.
  • Jesus promised that the apostles would be baptized in the Holy Spirit, shortly after his ascension, before they left Jerusalem (Acts 1:4-8).
  • The apostles received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues (Acts 2:1-4). This was the beginning of the church, the New Testament kingdom of Christ (Mark 9:1).
  • Those converted that day were told to be baptized for the remission of sins, then they would receive the Holy Ghost (or Spirit, same Person). Note the order: Repent, be baptized, receive forgiveness of sins, and then receive gift of Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
  • When the first Gentiles were converted, the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, while Peter was still speaking to them, which forced the Jews to acknowledge that Christ had opened the kingdom up to Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48).
  • After receiving the Holy Spirit, Cornelius still had to be baptized in water in the name of Jesus. Holy Spirit baptism was not enough! (Acts 10:44-48). Again note the order, Holy Spirit baptism then water baptism for the remission of sins - opposite of Acts 2:38.
  • When recounting the events regarding Cornelius, Peter compared it to their baptism that they, the apostles, received at "the beginning" (Acts 2:1-4), and even quoted Jesus' statement, recorded in Acts 1:4-8 (Acts 11:15-18).
Acts 2:1-4 and Acts 10:44-48 are the only divinely designated occasions of Holy Spirit baptism recorded in the Bible. Some people may presume other bestowments are the same, but there is no reference to it in Scripture. Generally, the Holy Spirit was bestowed upon people through the laying on of apostles' hands, while Holy Spirit baptism was administered by Jesus from heaven without intermediate agents of men. This distinction is further emphasized in the following references to the general distribution of spiritual gifts, or gifts of the Holy Spirit, through apostles:
  • Acts 2:38 - water baptism and later reception of gift of the Holy Spirit
  • Acts 8:4-17 - Samaritans heard, believed, were baptized and much later received Holy Spirit
  • Acts 8:14-20 - Samaritans could not receive Holy Spirit until apostles laid hands upon them. 8:17-18 says that this was the way they received Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 19:1-6 - Ephesians were baptized in the name of Jesus and then received the Holy Spirit after Paul laid his hands on them
  • Romans 1:9-11 - Paul sought some way to come to the Romans to impart a spiritual gift to them, which could not be accomplished through his letter
  • 2Timothy 1:6 - Paul encouraged Timothy to "stir up" the gift that was in Timothy through the laying on of Paul's hands
  • 2Corinthians 12:11-12 - Paul worked the signs of an apostle before the Corinthians church. Now, this is an inference, but what peculiar miracle could an apostle work that another Christian with the gift of the Holy Spirit not work? Acts 8:17-18 says that people received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands. Although not conclusive, this is the only distinguishing miracle that only apostles could works, as recorded by Scripture. What other miracle could apostles do that no other Christian could do?
Based on these passages, what do you think was the normal method for the distribution of spiritual gifts? Direct administration through baptism of the Holy Spirit, or indirect transferal through the laying on of apostles' hands? We have two recorded occasions of Holy Spirit baptism, but yet we have references to 7 descriptions of the normal distribution of spiritual gifts. Which is the norm, and which is the exception? The baptism of the Holy Spirit can easily be explained as noted above, in fact it must be so explained, because there is only one baptism! This fact is inescapable. In the same way that there is one Lord, one Father, one Spirit, one faith, one church, and one hope, there is also one baptism. However someone may twist the language to make "one" mean "more than one", then they by like logic increase the number of faiths, churches, Fathers, Sons, and Spirits, but yet we know there is only one God.

Jesus commanded a baptism which was to be administered by men. The baptism could be commanded; therefore, men could obey it (Mark 16:15-16; Matthew 28:18-20). They did not have to sit around and wait for it. Jesus baptism was performed in water (Acts 10:44-48; 8:35-39). Jesus' baptism provided forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 1Peter 3:21), not spiritual gifts. These differences are striking and provide great difficulty in linking Holy Spirit baptism to the one baptism commanded for all men of all nations in Jesus' great commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).

Finally, Holy Spirit baptism was used for one thing - confirm the opening, or beginning of the kingdom. On the first occasion, the apostles were bestowed with power, enabling and telling them it was time to begin their work (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4). On the second and only other occasion, the Holy Spirit baptism indicated that the kingdom was again open, but this time to the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48; 11:1-4, 15-18).

In contrast, spiritual gifts are noted as having a single purpose - confirming the Word (Hebrews 2:1-4). Once that was accomplished, their task was completed and they disappeared. In 1Corinthians 13:8-13, Paul foretold that they would diminish when that which was perfect was come. Please note that the perfect is an "it", not a He. Therefore, it cannot refer to Jesus' second coming. Also, it is something that would come to us. We would not go to it; therefore, it cannot be heaven. As you ponder over what the "perfect" (13:10) could be, please consider that this Greek word, teleos, frequently means complete, or mature, not absolute, all inclusive consummation. Our English word does not convey the most accurate connotation. Also, this word, meaning whole or complete, stands in contrast to part. Any good Lexicon will contrast this word to the one found in the preceding verse, "part" or "partial". These words must be of the same substance. A part is a piece of the whole. Just like you put several pieces of a pie together to get a pie, whatever was in part in verse 9 is completed, or mature in verse 10 and must be of the same type. What was in part?
Paul wrote:"For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away (1Corinthians 13:9-10)".
Knowledge, revealed through spiritual gifts, was only part of God's revelation. When the revelation was completed, then there was no more need for the spiritual gifts, according to God's plan.
Paul wrote:"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known (1Corinthians 13:11-12)."
God's Word is spoke of as being a perfect mirror (James 1:21-25). Although it does not contain all knowledge, it is perfect, or complete in providing "all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2Peter 1:3)".
Paul wrote:"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2Timothy 3:16-17)."
Scripture contains everything that we need to know to become perfect, or complete, just as Scripture is complete for this very task. Paul said that when we read it, we may understand his understanding (Ephesians 3:3-5), which he said was comparable to the very mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:10-16).

Also, please consider that there are no more apostles alive today. They all died during the first century, so who will bestow miraculous spiritual gifts, since there is no more baptism of the Holy Spirit (remember, only one baptism)?

Finally, an Old Testament prophet foretold the Messiah would come, but then miracles and inspiration would cease. In fact, he said that the world would be hostile to those who claimed they could still prophesy, even though God would no longer work miracles through men (Zechariah 13:1-5). Although some aspects of this passage are difficult to understand immediately and fully, it does suggest a limited time period for miracles upon the earth, which would come to pass before the end of the world. Although it does not exactly say when they would cease, this passage corroborates the concept of a miraculous age of limited duration. More time could be spent exploring this passage if you like, but I'll leave it at this for now.

Based on these arguments, it is my understanding that miraculous signs are no longer worked today, including Holy Spirit baptism and the general distribution of miraculous gifts. This is true not because God cannot, but because He chooses not, and He has told us so.

Much more could be said, but hopefully this will be a good starting place. I'm sorry that I have written so much. I wrote extra because I did not know exactly what you needed. If you have more specific questions, I should be able to make future answers more concise. Please question my answers. Unlike Jesus, I am just a scribe (Matthew 7:28-29). I cannot speak with authority, at least, no more authority than is contained in the Scriptures that I speak. Even then, I may misuse them, or take them out of context. I welcome any discussion or questions that this may generate.

Thanks again for your question. May the Lord bless us as we seek to better understand and follow His Word.

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