It is so much more than a sign…
All my life the two terms “baptism of the Holy Spirit” and “with the evidence of speaking in tongues” have been superglued together. People never said the first phrase without the second following. Occasionally, one might modify the phrase with “the initial physical evidence of speaking in tongues.” Now as a Pentecostal preacher, I do believe there is truth in this doctrinal statement.
But I have a few objections to this phraseology.
First, its tone is ungracious. How does a beautiful, intimate gift of the Holy Spirit because something to be judged or evaluated by others? For some, tongues became a demand, not a desire, an award proudly achieved rather than a gift humbly received.
Secondly, what good is it? I thought the book of Acts was about the GO – reaching cities for Christ. What is the connection between going and speaking “gibberish”?
We conclude our GO theme by looking at the expansion of the Gospel beyond Jerusalem and all the way to Ephesus (Acts 4 -19). As we have studied the gospels and Acts, we have been talking about the mission of Jesus to His followers to GO to cities (Matt. 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8).
In our conversation, we discovered that no one went without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49). Here is where the discussion often gets derailed. The moment this tongues issues gets on the table, the concept of going gets lost. I won’t let that happen. So I want to get practical and answer the question, “What good is it (tongues) in light of our GOING to cities?”