Bible Study: The Baptism of the Holy Ghost (As Evidenced Through the Speaking in Other Tongues as The Spirit Gives the Utterance)
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost (As Evidenced Through the Speaking in Other Tongues as The Spirit Gives the Utterance)
The Bible serves as a guide and factual evidence of how famous men of God are recorded having great moments of worship with the Lord. David danced before God; Ezekiel was called to prophesy by God, Daniel saw visions, and even the modern day examples such as the Azusa street revival helped spark the Pentecostal speaking in tongues movement. The most famous event was Acts 2, involving the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Many of these events were highlighted by circumstances caused by the influence of the Holy Spirit on the individuals involved. This not only proves that the Spirit was in existence before the arrival of Pentecost, but also the Spirit can dwell in a person to do God’s will by influencing their minds and bodies. This work is an approach on my behalf to prove the validity of baptism of the Holy Ghost (as evidenced through the speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance) through the New Scriptures. Thus, arguing the opposing views of the gifts of the Spirit and the order of the Church. This paper likewise will discuss how this occurrence affects salvation and the view of the Trinity.
The Scriptural Basis and Baptism of the Holy Ghost Defined
The baptism of the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost as most Pentecostal adherents prefer to call Him, is among the greatest mysteries of God. There are some things we can understand easily because it is something that you can touch and read, while others require more effort to be understood. However, the baptism of the Holy Spirit requires much more faith than most biblical concepts. To understand what it is, we must first define its very meaning and existence. Dr. Elwell speaking of the Prophet John mentions, “He warned of a radical inward and personal purification.” This explanation helps to explain initial baptism of the Holy Spirit upon acceptance of Christ at salvation. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, He gives to us the gift of the Spirit which helps to protect, pray, guide us in God’s will, and be a witness in the world. However, there is more to being baptized than just the initial Holy Spirit baptism.
There is a second “baptism” that happens with the Spirit that gives us the final push to have confidence and zeal in our witness to the world. When we look back in Acts 1:8 we see Jesus tells the disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” A short while later, we see the events of Pentecost take place and that is exactly what Jesus told them would happen. They became baptized and began to witness of the Lord by default. The witness was the Spirit flowing out of them, literally with words.
When we examine Acts 2:4 we see two key words that give us the basis of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The first word being “other” or “heteros” in Greek, means according to the NIV Concordance to be “different:-another” and “different from.” Something was different in what people were hearing that day from the upper room. The definition we get for “tongues” in Greek means “glóssa.” This gives us the definition of “language, sometimes refers to the supernatural gift of tongues, and languages.” This tells us that the languages being spoken that day were most likely many kinds and were supernatural in origin, which is why onlookers were puzzled as to how they were speaking languages that they knew in Acts 2:6 that the speakers themselves were not fluent in. This was surely a “different” kind of experience. The participants who were baptized that day experienced a phenomenal overwhelming feeling that Acts 2:2 says was like “cloven tongues as of fire, and it sat upon each one of them.”
After understanding how to define the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you must understand the fundamentals and order of events. Paul Chappell gives us the order of events when he says, “First, a person is to be converted, then obey God, and then believe he/she has been baptized based upon one’s faith and the Word, and then testify to others of having received the experience.” There was only one issue that Charles Parham had with this assessment. That was, how do they prove such a baptism is present in a person? His answer came when Chappell states, ”In 1900 at his Topeka Bible School.” Parham continues saying,
As a healing evangelist he shared his belief from the cornerstone Scriptures of the new paradigm for the Holiness Movement, Acts 2; and counseled the students that the true model and pattern of assurance was the Upper Room experience. The students responded in agreement that the biblical pattern found in Acts for the reception of this experience was speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gave utterance”.
It is obvious according to this assessment that sanctification and a close relationship with God are essential to becoming baptized in the Holy Spirit. It is only in the will of God that we find ourselves seeking and receiving this gift of the Holy Spirit baptism. Gary McGee explains the process of Spirit baptism as,
Public confession of sins and ‘prayer storms’ (hours of public worship spent in loud and fervent prayer) were the most notable features in the awakening across British India. Baptists, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, Christian and Missionary Alliance, as well as other missionaries reported unusual occurrences. These included visions, dreams, angelic visitations, the ‘burning’ sensation (experienced first at Mukti), laughter exorcism, prophesying, and even miraculous provisions of food.”
Finally, there are two different forms of “speaking in tongues” according to Lauren Winner. One form is that of prophecy which “brings words from God to a group of people.” I have met very few people that have the gift of what I call “tongue prophecy,” by where a message of tongues is given and someone in the crowd understands and translates. Since, this is a message direct from God the occasion requires silence and full attention from everyone in the room. It is amazing the stillness and calmness that comes into a room in this moment. It is as if God can make even the smallest of children silent without hesitation. It is most common to see “prayer language” tongues being spoken. This is common around the altars at prayer time and during music worship. These are often whispers or very quiet words from man to God. Many times either form is accompanied with a lot of emotion, tears, and sniffles.
Evidence and Arguments Against the Baptism of the Holy Ghost
There are many arguments from those who resist the baptism of the Holy Spirit, some are very intriguing while other aren’t. The most common argument is that the whole experience is fabricated or exaggerated. First-hand experience of this “phenomenon” by another person is easy to write off as a lie or fallacy when you are not the person experiencing it. Paul Chappell explains that, “the supernatural manifestations of Father God in biblical times are still operative today and that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is subsequent to conversion and the prayer language released at this baptism is a provision available to all believers.” Also, if it is fabricated, why does Jesus talk about it?? Are you calling our Lord and Savior a liar?
Secondly, why did the baptism happen even after the day of Pentecost? There are many who believe that the gifts of the Spirit in general are extinct or they believe in a “watered down” version of these gifts. The biggest proof that the gift of the baptism of the Holy Spirit or speaking in tongues is extinct is Acts 19:1-6. It is clear by this encounter that the believers there had been baptized under the ministry of John, but professed to have “not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (v.2). After Paul explained to them the process of baptism, he laid hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost came upon them “and they spake with tongues and prophesied” (v.6). Where do we get any biblical proof that this God-given power has expired or went extinct? Does God not need us now more than ever to show the glory that He bestows upon us as light in a dark world? The answer is, there is no such proof because it never went away. The power is still real and still being given to believers in this age. Acts 2:17 should stand as proof to us that we are not only in the last days, but rather in an age of great blessings from God. Even the Southern Baptist Convention is learning the hard way. According to a recent article, “Controversy is again brewing in the Southern Baptist Convention over the practice of speaking in tongues. Last year the denomination’s International Mission Board adopted a policy that forbids considering missionary candidates who use a ‘private prayer language’.”
Among the many other arguments against the gifts and baptism of the Spirit is that the experiences of the Pentecostal Church are relatively new and nothing like that of Acts 2. Statements by Academics such as by Thomas Christopher when he mentions, “While the emerging academic discipline of Pentecostal hermeneutics is a relatively recent phenomenon.” There is nothing recent about a “phenomenon” that has been going on for 2,000 years. Although we lack much documentation due to church history being controlled by the Catholic Church until the reformation, we know that the gift of tongues has likely never ceased. There is always someone to continue on what God has started in this world until Christ’s return. It is documented that many of these gifts and events took place even during John Wesley’s ministry. If this is true, it could take the Pentecostal Movement back well into the 1700’s.
Another common misconception regarding the baptism of the Spirit is the misunderstanding of the gift of tongues. The wrong definition for the term speaking in tongues can be found in J. Williams article where he explains, “The phenomenon of tongues (or glossolalia) is identified by many as the supernatural utterance of foreign human languages (Acts 2:4,6). While the gift of tongues may include the languages of mankind on occasion, it also is displayed as a language only understood by the Spirit and the Father (1 Corinthians 14:2). This is the case many times when a person is speaking in tongues during a personal prayer moment between them and God. There are even those who say that “tongues” interrupts the order of the service and that God does not like anything which disrupts the order of a service or creates confusion. Apparently, all the tongue talking confuses God and creates mass chaos. If that were true, would a God who is supposed to be all-powerful and all-knowing, not get confused by all the people around the world praying at the same time we do? What constitutes as order in the church service? When tongues of prophecy are given, it usually creates silence and reverence within the service, rendering this argument useless. I have never been in a Pentecostal service where there was mass-chaos with no way of understanding what is happening. The church simply waits to conclude service until the work of the Spirit is complete in the service. When God is finished, He convicts us to “wrap it up.”
The Ways the Baptism of the Holy Spirit Affects First, Second, and Third Order Doctrines Such as Salvation and View of the Trinity
There are many ways that the baptism of the Holy Spirit affects our views of salvation. First and foremost, you are not required to speak in tongues in order to be saved. Salvation is by faith alone (Romans 3:28). While this gift is a great blessing from God and will help enhance your faith experience, the thief on the Cross next to Jesus was not able to speak in tongues by the evidence given in Scripture. Even though he had just professed faith, Jesus accepted his faith and told him that he would be with Him in “paradise” (Luke 23:43). Looking at our faith journey as a long term walk, we can begin to see where the baptism of the Holy Ghost would aid in this endeavor. Scripture tells us that the way to Heaven is pretty “narrow” and the one to Hell is “wide” (Matthew 7:13). Given these details, it appears to me that walking this straight and narrow path is difficult without the true and second Spirit Baptism.
The View of the Trinity in the Pentecostal Church is no different than any other Evangelical denomination, other than the views on the blessings of the gifts. Beyond gifts, today there are few differences between most Baptist and Pentecostal worship services. In both organizations you can find hands raised, people praising God, others crying, and prayer at the altars. For some, these differences are much too big to bear. This is a second order doctrinal divide. While it may appear to some that Pentecostal worshipers give too much power and credit to the Holy Spirit, the evidence points out that those same denominations often lack respect and reverence for the Spirit. They put God in a box and steal the Spirit’s power from the people by telling them that they can’t have what Paul had in the Holy Spirit. This is true if that is what you believe. The Spirit will never be available to this extent if you do not believe. As I mentioned before, faith is a pre-requisite for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. While many disagree with the blessings that many Pentecostals take part in, we may find common ground in first order doctrines that parallel our faith as Evangelicals.
The power of the Holy Ghost is a promise and mandate of how great and powerful our God is. It also helps to show how much God cares about us as believers to provide us with unique gifts and abilities only afforded by Christians. Hebrews 13:8 explains to us that the Jesus of Acts 2 is the same God of today as He was yesterday, making the Holy Ghost the same as He was yesterday. Therefore, the same power accessible to those of Christ’s time is available today. If He is providing the same gifts of the Spirit, this includes the gift of tongues and indwelling of the Spirit as it did in Paul’s generation. While the wording of doctrines, confusion of other denominations, and the hard to explain phenomenon may give non-participants causes to doubt; there is substantial proof and eyewitness accounts (including the author) for this promise from God. As made evidenced by the Scripture that this is not a salvation issue however, it has surely enhanced many a Christians’ spiritual walk with God. It is my hope that the reader and others would at least develop a new found understanding and respect for this precious gift from God.
 Walter A. Elwell. Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Baptism of the Spirit (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.) 137.
 The Holy Bible, King James Version (unless noted otherwise)
 Edward W. Goodrick. The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance: Other. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999) 1554.
 Edward W. Goodrick. The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance: Tongues. 1538
 Ibid. 1538
 Chappell, Paul G. "Tongues as the initial evidence of Baptism in the Holy Spirit--a Pentecostal perspective." Criswell Theological Review 4, no. 1 (September 2006) 46.
 Chappell, Paul G. "Tongues as the initial evidence of Baptism in the Holy Spirit--a Pentecostal perspective." 46.
 Ibid. 47
 Gary B. McGee. "'Baptism of the Holy Ghost & Fire!' The Mission Legacy of Minnie F Abrams." Missiology 27, no. 4 (October 1999) accessed May 14, 2017. 517-518.
 Lauren F. Winner, "Tongue-Tied." The Christian Century (September 2002). 26,https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/loginurl=http://search.proquest.com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/docview/217222856?accountid=7374. (accessed May 14, 2017).
 Lauren F. Winner, "Tongue-Tied." 26
 Anonymous,” ‘Tongues' Resurfaces as Southern Baptist Issue." The Christian Century, Oct 17, 2006.17,https://lopes.idm.oclc.org/loginurl=http://search.proquest.com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/docview/217256432?accountid=7374.
 "Pentecostal Interpretation." In Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation. , edited by Thomas John Christopher. Oxford Biblical Studies Online, http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com.lopes.idm.oclc.org/article/opr/t373/e32 (accessed 14-May-2017).
 Gary B. McGee. "'Baptism of the Holy Ghost & Fire!”. 517.