I will begin this web site with a disclaimer: I am a member of a Pentecostal church and I do pray in tongues, although my personal experience is far from the "average" Pentecostal experience (this is discussed on another page in this site). Thus, I do not intend this site as an attack on the practice of speaking in tongues, which I believe to be valid.
Rather, because of my ministry to call the Body of Christ to live in conformity with the oneness it already possesses in Jesus , and because the Pentecostal insistence that anyone who is Spirit-baptized will speak in tongues has created such division in the Church, I believe I must ask two questions of my Pentecostal brethren:
1. Do the scriptures really teach that speaking in tongues (glossolalia) is the invariable "initial evidence" of the baptism of the Holy Spirit; that is, that everyone who is truly spiritual will have spoken in tongues at least once?
2. If the Scriptures do teach this, is it sufficiently well-supported that it may properly be insisted upon as a test of fellowship and is it an important enough doctrine to justify the division that insistence upon it has caused in the Church?
In the process, I will examine the generalization from experience which underlies the insistence on tongues as evidence of Spirit baptism, the meaning of the "baptism," "filling," and "sealing" of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures, the nature of the promised "gift" of the Holy Spirit, the early history of the Pentecostal doctrine, the purpose for which God gives spiritual gifts and whether every instance of Spirit baptism in in the Bible was accompanied by a manifestation of speaking in tongues. I will then present my conclusions.
Individual experience versus universal rule
What is baptism in the Holy Spirit?
Being filled with the Holy Spirit
The sealing of the Holy Spirit
The promised gift of the Holy Spirit
Early Pentecostals, Spirit baptism, racism and the Wesleyan second blessing
Is tongues present every time someone is baptized in the Spirit in Acts?
Acts 8, about the Samaritans.
Acts 9, about Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul).
Have some gifts of the Spirit "passed away?"
The purpose of the spiritual gifts
The purpose of tongues
May specific gifts be requested of God?
Is speaking with tongues the initial evidence of the Spirit baptism, by Mark A. McNeil.
Search in the Light Ministries, has links to many outside resources.
Christian-oneness.org, discusses the unity we already possess in Christ.
misplaced focus fallacy, discusses the error of insisting on nonessential teachings or practices to the point of division.
Charles Sheldon and Charles Parham: why the revivals didn't start here, how Topeka, Kansas, missed out on the Pentecostal revival that almost started there.
I have now had a book published: Ian Johnson and Lauston Stephens, Our Oneness in Christ (Baltimore: PublishAmerica 2006).
I am also actively seeking joint authors for several projects.
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