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Nothing about speaking in unknown tongues, justifies us to divide the Church of the Lord.

Is speaking in unknown tongues, invariably the evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit? It is not always. This is shown from the Scriptures on the page on tongues as evidence earlier in this site. The short of it is: in most of the instances where we have it written that persons were baptized in the Holy Spirit, we have not the slightest discussion of speaking in unknown tongues: and in some of these instances, we have it very explicit that the evidence was not speaking in unknown tongues.

The Pentecostal insistence that baptism in the Holy Spirit must always occur "with evidence of speaking in other tongues", has caused awful division in the Church. It is widely perceived outside Pentecostal circles, as being at minimum, an assertion that Pentecostals are superior: by these words, vast people devoted to the Will and the Way of the Lord Jesus are given the impression that Pentacostals consider themselves the only people who know God person to Person, the only people for whom most of the New Testament is true, the only people with maximum value to God, et cetera, et cetera.

One of the events oft cited as justification for these divisions, is recorded in the tenth chapter of the Book of Acts. The Lord Personally caused certain people to gather, and then He sent the Holy Spirit in Person, and there was speaking in tongues. But it is not written, that these were unknown tongues. The very thought that speaking in unknown tongues might be an event God would choose to cause, does not occur for many calendar years after in the Scriptural record.

It is very clear that God has sometimes caused the speaking in unusual and unexpected tongues, as the evidence of His presence. And there can be no justification for us to proclaim a limitation upon what God will choose to do. But this is a far cry from the self-exaltation of one of the many pinky toenails of the Body of Christ, over any other. The Body consists altogether of brothers and sisters who know "only in part". We all know only in part; and in many different parts, indeed.

Ian Johnson & Jonathan Brickman
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© 2000, 2010 Ian Johnson and Jonathan Brickman

Further explanations

Baptism With and Being Filled By the Holy Spirit

Baptism in the Holy Spirit compared with sealing or indwelling by him

The promised gift of the Holy Spirit

Were tongues the evidence of every instance of Holy Spirit baptism in Acts?

To Be Made More Holy
Sanctification, Spirit Baptism, and Many Different Churches

The baptism in the Holy Spirit


God is Spirit, a discussion of God as spirit, constantly speaking.



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