DID PAUL DISTINGUISH BETWEEN TONGUES AS "EVIDENCE" AND AS "SIGN"?
WHAT DO NON PENTECOSTAL SCHOLARS HAVE TO SAY?
INITIAL EVIDENCE OPPOSED
MANY SUBTLE ARGUMENTS HAVE BEEN RAISED BY NON-PENTECOSTAL SCHOLARS
AGAINST THE DOCTRINE OF "EVIDENTIAL" TONGUES. BUT A CAREFUL READING
OF THE WORD WILL CLEAR THESE UP.
ARGUMENT FROM 1 CORINTHIANS
12 // DIFFERENCES BETWEEN
SIGN AND GIFT // THE SIGN OF TONGUES //
PERSONAL INCIDENTS // NO
MENTION OF A UNIVERSAL SIGN ARGUMENT // NON-PENTECOSTALS
GIVE EVIDENCE // JOSEPH BENSON // J.S.
EXCELL -- THE PREACHERS HOMELETIC COMMENTARY // G.H.C.
MACGREGOR // DR. REES -- AN ENGLISH THEOLOGIAN
// DR. G.B. STEVENS OF YALE "THEOLOGY OF
THE NEW TESTAMENT" // DR. A.B. MACDONALD
-- A SCOTCH PRESBYTERIAN // CHARLES GORE,
D.D. "RECONSTRUCTION OF BELIEF" // SHREDS
OF EVIDENCE IN CHURCH HISTORY? // IRENAEUS,
BISHOP OF LYONS // GREGORY NAZIANZEN
// BASIL THE GREAT // HILARY
OF PORTIERS // ST. AUGUSTINE // CHRYSOSTOM
// ARGUMENT FROM COMPARING
OTHER FILLINGS // ARGUMENT
FROM CONFORMITY TO THE PATTERN OF IN ACTS // THE
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND ITS EVIDENCE (GRAPHIC) // REPORT
OF 20TH CENTURY REVIVALS // REPORT
FROM ETHIOPIA // REPORT
FROM NEW GUINEA AND EL SALVADOR // REPORT
FROM COLOMBIA, SOUTH AMERICA // SHOULD WE
SEEK? // SIMULTANEOUS RECEPTION
// DO WE WORRY ABOUT TONGUES?
// SUMMARY // OTHER EVIDENCES
// SO-CALLED PIOUS EXAMPLES //
ARGUMENT FROM 1 CORINTHIANS
This is an old argument against evidential tongues and feeds on the premise
that tongues is only a gift, and not a sign or evidence also. Thus
Dr.. Boyd writes on page 198:
"From a theological standpoint, this is not an ability God gives to
everyone." (1 Cor. 12:30)
Again on page 209:
"In 1 Cor. 12:30 Paul rhetorically asks his audience 'Do all speak
in tongues?' "
Dr. Boyd feels that as far as tongues being an evidence of Spirit baptism,
"there is actually some evidence against such a notion" (p. 209).
But does this statement of Paul's constitute evidence against tongues as
a sign that one has been baptized in the Holy Ghost?
Pentecostal people have long pointed out, based on scriptural comparison,
that there is a difference in tongues as a "gift," and tongues as a "sign."
Though in essence, in both cases the speaking in tongues is the same as
to function; but as to purpose, it is different. Commentators who
are not Pentecostal have noticed this also, but have tried to resolve this
apparent difference between the tongues mentioned in Acts and those mentioned
in 1 Corinthians by denying the validity of the Corinthian tongues.
This, of course, is a false premise, for Paul himself never denied the
validity of the Corinthians' tongues, but rather endorsed them as genuine
(I Cor. 14:2, 39), however, in need of proper control (1 Cor. 14:32).
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SIGN
The differences between the initial evidence, mentioned in Acts,
and the gift of tongues mentioned in 1 Corinthians are self evident.
In Acts all spoke in tongues, and in all cases did so at the same time
(Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6); there was no interpretation of tongues; the speakers
exercised the tongues at the time of their conversion; and none occurred
during a Christian Church service. However, in 1 Corinthians 14,
Paul tells us, under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that the following
rules must be obeyed: all may not speak at the same time (1 Cor.
14:27), there should be no more than two or three, and they must speak
in turn (1 Cor. 14:27), and all these utterances must be interpreted (1
Cor. 14:28). Furthermore, the Corinthian tongues occur in Christian
Church services, and among believers after their conversion experience.
If the tongues in Acts are the same as the Corinthian gift of tongues,
then we have the Holy Spirit violating His own rules -- for in Acts there
is mass, simultaneous speaking and no attempt at interpretation or control.
This is forbidden in the Corinthian meetings. The only conclusion,
both logical and scriptural, is that there is a different purpose to the
tongues in Acts, than those in 1 Corinthians.
THE SIGN OF TONGUES
Why should Pentecostals be considered poor exegetes for maintaining tongues
are both a subsequent gift and a sign of Spirit Baptism? Didn't Paul
also speak of tongues as a "sign" (1 Cor. 14:22) as well as a "gift" (1
Cor. 12:4, 10)? He certainly did. Jesus Himself spoke of tongues
as a "sign" to follow true believers (Mark 16:17). Concerning the
aspect of tongues as a sign, Dr. Boyd writes:
"For Paul here says that tongues 'are a sign... for unbelievers' although
the precise meaning of this verse is a matter of some controversy, this
need not detain us presently." (p. 210)
He seems to be in a hurry to move on. I am more disposed to linger
around this verse for a while and see if something turns up!
The first thing Paul did in this passage was to connect the "sign" of
tongues to the Prophecy of Isaiah.
For with stammering lips and another tongue will
he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye
may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would
not hear. (Isai 28:11-12)
Isaiah mentioned the "other tongues" and declared "This is the rest," and
"This is the refreshing." Certainly then God would not deny this
rest and refreshing to anyone who desired it. Did not Jesus say "Come
unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest"?
(Matt. 11:28). The glorious Baptism of the Spirit with it s attendant
"sign" is the rest to which Jesus and Isaiah referred.
Next Paul mentions that the sign of tongues is "to them that believe
not" (1 Cor.14:22). the world of unbelievers is naturally not disposed
to accept the claim of Christians that they are filled with the supernatural
power of the Spirit. Their natural tendency is to doubt our claim.
But when they hear someone speaking in a language they could not possibly
have learned, they are forced to believe that such a person is filled with
God's Spirit. On Pentecost, the unbelieving crowd was moved to ask,
"and how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?" (Acts
2:8). It was one of the factors which helped make believers out of
them! The Jews who accompanied Peter, did not believe God would pour
out his Spirit on Gentiles. But they had no doubt about it after
they observed the Gentiles being baptized in the Holy Ghost "for they heard
them speaks with tongues and magnify the Lord" (Acts 10:46). Even
Simon the Sorcerer was convinced as to the genuineness of the Spirit Baptism
when he saw the Samaritans speaking in tongues, and offered money to obtain
the same ability. (Acts 8:18-21). Thus evidential tongues serve as
a sign throughout all the world and at all times. Just as Prophecy
served as a sign of Spirit Possession among the Israelites of the Old Testament,
so tongues served as a sign of Spirit Possession of the New Testament Church.
The Jewish religion of the Old Testament was the national and local, so
prophecy was all that was needed to convince their fellow countrymen that
a person was being used by Jehovah. But Christianity is international,
found in every country and clime, so an "international sign," that cannot
be gainsaid anywhere was provided. That sign is tongues.
I remember three personal incidents that stand out in my memory, vividly,
which substantiate this. One involved a woman I knew in New Jersey
who was baptized in the Holy Spirit in her apartment and began very loudly
to speak in an "unknown tongue." However, it was not unknown to her
Puerto Rican neighbors who heard it. For she was speaking, clearly
and loudly, in Spanish. The neighbors, knowing she could not speak
Spanish, thought she had the radio turned up loud and was listening to
some Spanish preacher "getting excited" during his sermon!
Another case occurred on Staten Island, New York, when I invited a young
Jewish girl to service. Someone was filled with a mighty anointing
of the Holy Spirit and began to speak boldly in tongues. I noticed
this girl began to cry. I waited to see what would happen.
She turned to me and asked me how the speaker knew such perfect Hebrew!
I told her that the man was a Norwegian with no knowledge of Hebrew whatsoever.
She looked incredulous and then informed me what he had said in Hebrew.
It was a beautiful appeal to come into the House of the Lord, because God
was waiting with open arms. This was followed by a traditional Jewish
prayer she had learned as a child. I know this happened because i
was there. The young lady was as astonished as I, and had no reason
The third case involved a young mother who was in line in my church
to have prayer for her baby. I could see the Holy Spirit all over
her, so I laid my hands on her and told her "In the name of Jesus Christ
receive ye the Holy Spirit." She began speaking clearly in other
tongues, which included German. I am a licensed teacher of German
and therefore quickly recognized and understood what she said. I
knew the woman very well and was quite aware of the fact that she had absolutely
no knowledge of German, yet she was speaking with perfect grammar and pronunciation,
something she could not have done otherwise. (Nor I!)
For all their claims of believing in "the supernatural phenomena" being
available "to the entire people of God" (p. 204), non-Pentecostals do not
have one whit of it occurring in their church services; and wouldn't permit
it if it did! The really "ordinary and mundane history" is being
written in these churches, and not those of First or Twentieth Century
NO MENTION OF A UNIVERSAL
Dr. Boyd feels Paul should have made mention of the fact that there was
a universal promise of tongues to all believers (the initial evidence)
before launching into a discussion of the "gift" of tongues, which is not
for everyone. He says:
"If Paul himself had at least hinted on some distinction between these
two kinds of tongues.... But as a matter of fact, no such hint is to be
found. Paul speaks about tongues and its limited usage in this context
without any qualification" (p. 210).
But Paul does more than hint at it. He plainly states the doctrine,
before he even begins the discussion of the various gifts. Thus he
forestalls confusion on this point from the onset. In 1 Corinthians
12:7 he says
But the manifestation of the Spirit is
given to every man to profit withal. (1Cor 12:7)
Now what is the "manifestation"? It is in the singular, so there
is only one. Manifestation is defined by the dictionary as :
"an act of manifesting; a public demonstration to show force or power;
synonyms are: clear, open, plain, visible, evident, self evident"
(Webster's Unified Dictionary).
Now, what was the public demonstration of the Spirit we read about
in the Bible? What was the "evident" or "self evident" act that made
the Spirit's presence clearly known to onlookers? In Acts, every
case of Spirit baptism was accompanied by a supernatural act of speaking
in tongues that convinced onlookers of the Spirit's "force" and "power."
If anything qualifies as "the manifestation" of the Spirit's presence,
it is tongues. If this is not it, what is? Corroborating evidence
is seen in Paul's statement that this "manifestation" was given to believers
to "profit withal." This could be nothing else than tongues, for
Paul also writes: "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth
himself..."(1 Cor. 14:4), and he thanks God that he speaks in tongues more
than any one of them (1 Cor. 14:18). That is the "profit," and it
is "given to every man." After clarifying that this manifestation
of the Spirit (tongues) is for all, as we also learned from the incidents
in Acts, Paul goes on to discuss the various gifts that are distributed
"severally," as a result of having received the "manifestation."
NON-PENTECOSTALS GIVE EVIDENCE
The doctrine that speaking in tongues was the sign of the Baptism of the
Holy Spirit in Apostolic times is not an exclusively Pentecostal notion.
Many Bible scholars and historians have reached the same conclusion.
It is so evident in Acts that it's hard to avoid. Dr. Boyd says the
idea that "charismata was ever associated with salvation or the reception
of the Holy Spirit" is strictly a Oneness Pentecostal novelty (p. 212).
Let us see what non-Pentecostal scholars have to say about this:
1748-1812, a Methodist:
"And they received the Holy Ghost, in answer to the prayers of the
Apostles; that is, these new converts spoke with tongues and performed
other extraordinary works."
J.S. EXCELL -- THE PREACHERS HOMILETIC COMMENTARY
"This shows that the recipients of the Holy Ghost must, in some external
fashion... probably speaking in tongues or working miracles... have indicated
their possession of the Heavenly gift."
"Glossalalia quite clearly means the outpouring of inarticulate sounds
under the stress of an overpowering religious emotion, a phenomena to which
there are many parallels, in the history of all religious revivals down
to our day. It was evidently regarded <B>as a supreme proof of
possession by the divine Spirit<b> and as such was earnestly coveted."
(The Interpreters Bible, Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1953,
G.H.C. MacGregor, Vol. IX, p. 37).
DR. REES -- AN ENGLISH THEOLOGIAN
"Glossalalia (speaking in tongues) was the most conspicuous and popular
gift of the early years of the church. It seems to have been the
regular accompaniment and evidence of the descent of the Spirit upon
believers. (Knowing the Doctrines of the Bible, Gospel Pub.
House, Springfield, Missouri, 1937, Myer Pearlman, p. 314).
DR. G.B. STEVENS OF YALE
Commenting on Acts 19:1-7,
"THEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT"
"Here it is obvious that the gift of the Spirit is regarded as synonymous
with the ecstatic charismata of speaking with tongues and prophesying"
(Pearlman, p. 34).
DR. A.B. MACDONALD -- A SCOTCH PRESBYTERIAN
"Very early in her (The Church's) career the disciples became aware
of a new power working within them. Its most striking manifestation
at first was speaking in tongues... and both those seized by this power
and those who saw and heard its manifestations were convinced that some
Power from a higher world had broken into their lives" (Pearlman, 314).
CHARLES GORE, D.D.
"RECONSTRUCTION OF BELIEF"
"This belief (the rite of washing and the laying on of hands) was no
doubt confirmed among the disciples by outward signs. The newly incorporated
members spoke with tongues and prophesied." (Reconstruction of
Belief, Charles Gore, Charles Scribener, New York, New York, 1920,
"It has recently been suggested that the narrative in Acts 8 may be
interpreted as a kind of experiment, made because the Samaritan Christians
had not, as a consequence of their baptism, showed the signs of the possession
of the Spirit which were expected -- the speaking with tongues" (p. 751).
In spite of this wealth of testimony, not only from Acts, but from scholars
and historians of all denominations, that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
was regularly accompanied by tongues speaking, Dr. Boyd writes:
"No charismata was ever associated with salvation or the reception
of the Holy Spirit. This unfortunate notion is strictly a Oneness
Pentecostal novelty." (p. 212).
The above cited scholars, including Dr. Stevens of Yale, would have been
surprised to find out they were Oneness Pentecostals!
SHREDS OF EVIDENCE
IN CHURCH HISTORY?
Swimming dauntlessly against the ever stronger current of evidence, Dr.
Boyd makes one more statement that he hopes will not be investigated:
"As it turns out, however, none of the writings of the second, third,
or fourth centuries supplies a shred of evidence that the church ever held
to anything like an 'initial evidence' doctrine... to the best of my knowledge,
no patristic scholar, and not even any Oneness exponent, has attempted
to defend such an impossibly unsubstantiated thesis." (p. 212)
As much as I would like the honor of being the first, I'm afraid many others
have been there before me, supplying enough "shreds" to adequately substantiate
this "impossibly unsubstantiated thesis." In fact, the farther we
go back in church history, the stronger the evidence becomes. Let's
review it briefly:
IRENAEUS, BISHOP OF LYONS
He was a student of Polycarp, and lived about 115 to 202 AD. In his writing
"Against Heresies" he says:
"In like manner we do hear many brethren in the church, who possess
prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages,
and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and
declare the mysteries of God, whom also the Apostle terms 'spiritual' they
being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit."
Who are those that take part of the Spirit? "Those who through the
Spirit speak all kinds of languages." This is certainly a good size
"shred" of evidence. But Irenaeus has some more "shreds" for us to
"For this reason does the Apostle declare, 'we speak wisdom among them
that are perfect,' who have received the Spirit of God, and who through
the Spirit of God do speak in all languages, as He used Himself to speak."
(Irenaeus, "Against Heresies, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, William Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1956, vol. I, Book III, Chapter XVII, p. 444-531).
Again, who are those who are "perfect" and have "received the Spirit?"
Those "who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages."
We hope "the best" of Dr. Boyd's knowledge is being added to with these
revelations from Irenaeus.
He was one of the Cappodocian Fathers, (of whom Dr. Boyd is very much aware)
and made the following statement concerning tongues in his time period:
"and the sign (of tongues) is to them that believe not, and not to
them that believe, that it may be an accusation to the unbelievers, as
it is written, 'with other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this
people, and not even so will they listen to me saith the Lord.' But
they heard... the Spirit wrought a miracle in the matter of the tongues.
But as the old confusion of tongues was laudable when men.... were building
the tower; for by the confusion of their language the unity of their intention
was broken up and their understanding destroyed; so much more worthy of
praise is the present miraculous One. For being poured out from the
One Spirit upon many men it brings them again into harmony" (Gregory
Nazianzen, "On Pentecost," The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second
series, VII, Grand Rapids, William Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956, p.
Here Gregory depicts the outpouring of the Spirit as a reverse of the universal
confusion of tongues that occurred at Babel. How could this analogy
hold true unless he was speaking of another universal tongues phenomenon,
one that brought harmony, not confusion. He says it is a "miraculous"
manifestation, "poured out from One Spirit," it is upon "many men," and
is the opposite of what happened at Babel. And he quotes Isaiah as
a proof that it is "the sign" of the Spirit to them that believe not.
BASIL THE GREAT
He was another Cappodocian Father, and said:
"So Paul speaks in Christ, saying, 'In the sight of God we speak in
Christ' and Christ in Paul, as he himself says, 'Since ye seek a proof
of Christ speaking in me.' So also 'in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries'
(tongues), and again, 'The Spirit speaks in him...,' then the Spirit is
said to be in them in divers portions and in divers manners." (St.
Basil, "The Book of Saint Basil on the Spirit" The Nicene and Post-Nicene
Fathers, William Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1956, Grand Rapids, VIII,
The proof, according to Basil, that Christ was speaking in Paul was when
Paul "spoke in mysteries" or other tongues. Tongues is the proof
of the Spirit's presence, and equated with Christ speaking in a person.
HILARY OF PORTIERS
Of the Fourth Century, writing in his book "On the Trinity" he states:
"We may be sure that here (1 Cor. 12) we have a reference to the Father's
same promise; Hence it is by these miraculous workings that the manifestation
of the Spirit takes place. For the gift of the Spirit is manifest.....
by kinds of Tongues, that the speaking in tongues may be bestowed as a
sign of the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Hilary of Portiers, "On
the Trinity," the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, second series, William
Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1956, vol. IX, Book
VIII, p. 146).
Although St. Augustine did not in his day encourage speaking in tongues
at all, he did believe it was the evidence of the Holy Ghost in the times
of the early church. Here is his most significant testimony:
"In the earliest times, 'The Holy Ghost fell on them that believed:
and they spake with tongues,' which they had not learned, 'as the
Spirit gave them the utterance.' These were signs adopted to the
time. For these behooved to be that betokening of the Holy Spirit
in all tongues, to show that the Gospel of God was to run through all tongues
over the whole earth." (Augustine, "Homilies on the First Epistle of
John," The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, first series, Grand
Rapids, Michigan, William Eerdmans Publishing company, 1956, vol. VII,
I find it hard to believe that Dr. Boyd, as fervent a disciple of St. Augustine
as he is, never ran across this reference, or the one in which he says:
"For who expects in these days that those on whom hands are laid that
they may receive the Holy Spirit and should forthwith begin to speak with
tongues" (On Baptism, Against Donatists, p. 443, Augustine, vol.
...A quote which again shows Augustine's form belief that tongues regularly
accompanied Spirit Baptism in Apostolic times.
He agrees with St. Augustine's conclusion and he tells us:
"Whoever was baptized in Apostolic days, he straightway spoke with
tongues; they at once received the Spirit, not that they saw the Spirit,
for he is invisible, but God's grace bestowed some sensible proof
of his energy. It thus made manifest to them that were without that
it was the Spirit in the very person speaking." (Carl Brumback, What
Meaneth This, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, Missouri, 1947,
Thus we see from evidence taken from the Second to the Fourth Century,
that some Fathers still regarded tongues as "the sign" of the
Spirit, others as "a sign" but all acknowledge it was the regularly accompanying
sign in the Apostolic Age. And that's what is important to Oneness
Pentecostals, for we claim to be Apostolic, not Patristic!
On Page 211 Dr. Boyd says:
"The third concluding argument concerning the Oneness 'initial evidence'
doctrine is that all the post canonical evidence from the Early Fathers
counts decisively against it."
How thorough was the research that produced that statement?
ARGUMENT FROM COMPARING
Dr. Boyd tries to weaken the case of the Uniqueness of the Baptism of the
Holy Spirit by comparing it with other "fillings" mentioned in the Bible
that did not have tongues, notably those which occurred before Pentecost.
Such examples of "tongues-less fillings" he cites are Gideon, Samson, Saul,
David, Elizabeth, and Simeon. Then he writes:
"One might also incidentally, note that tongues played no role in any
of these 'infillings.' The only aspect of the Holy Spirit's work
that changes in the church age, as recorded in Acts, is the scope of the
Spirit's work." (p. 203).
We realize that the Spirit experiences he cites before Pentecost were described
as "fillings," just as the Book of Acts describes the Baptism of the Holy
Spirit as a "filling" also. But just because the same word (filling)
is used, does not mean they are identical. As Dr. Boyd himself points
"Hence, even when it looks like two otherwise unrelated passages are
talking about the same thing and doing so with exactly the same language,
and even using the same illustrations, one must be extremely cautious in
basing anything on 'paralleling' such passages together" (Boyd, p. 87).
He has grossly violated his own rule. His logic is: Old Testament
saints were "filled" and didn't speak in tongues, New Testament saints
are also said to be "filled," so its the same thing, and they don't need
to speak in tongues either! With the same illogical reasoning we
could conclude that since the word "forgiven" is used in both the Old Testament
and the New, then it means the same thing, and Christ's death was not necessary
-- they already had forgiveness before he died! Of course, we recognize
that the word "forgiveness" means something vastly different before the
cross than after it! The same word is capable of more than one limited
meaning. Dr. Boyd says the only aspect that changes is the
scope of the Spirit's work. How wrong he is on that!
First of all, the Old Testament "fillings" were temporary anointings
that came and went; nobody had the Spirit as a permanent possession.
We never read of this in the New Testament. For the Comforter is
given "that he may abide with you forever."
Secondly, the Holy Spirit that we receive since Pentecost comes to us
from out of the Body of the risen Christ and is mediated by his humanity.
Hence, it is called the Spirit of Christ, The Spirit of Jesus Christ, The
Spirit of His Son, and Christ in you. This could never have been
possible of Old Testament fillings. They were not "poured out" from
the resurrected Christ! (John 14:17; Acts 2:33; Romans 8:9-11).
Thirdly, the New Testament "filling" or Baptism is always evidenced
by tongues according to our record (Acts 2:4, 8:16-18, 10:46, 19:6).
Old Testament fillings are never once evidenced by tongues.
The Bible couldn't be plainer: The New Testament baptism or reception
of the Spirit was new and unique and not in existence before Christ's glorification.
"He that believeth on me, as the scriptures hath
said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this
spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive:
for the Holy Ghost was not yet; because that Jesus was not yet glorified,"
(John 7:30-39 margin).
Samson, Saul, Elizabeth, John, etc. couldn't have had this, because they
had their experience before Jesus was glorified. That is why even
though John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother's
womb, Jesus till said that he that "is least in the Kingdom of God is greater
than John." Sounds like a vast difference to me!
The other cases Dr. Boyd cites of people being "filled" for special
tasks, such as Barnabas, Steven and Paul, present no problem, because these
examples do not apply. These individuals had all previously been
baptized with the Holy Ghost at their conversions. These instances
of them being "filled" occurred later in their Christian lives and were
special anointings to energize them for a particular mission (It was not
their initial reception). That "filling" can be used in this sense
also should not surprise us. "Filling": is a generic term that simply
refers to a divine operation of the Spirit; this could be The Baptism or
a subsequent work.
FROM CONFORMITY TO THE PATTERN IN ACTS
The next argument against our doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost
appears to be unique to Dr. Boyd. At least it has his earmarks.
I have never encountered it before (and probably never will again).
Basically it is postured by Dr. Boyd that we do not fit the "acts" pattern
for The Baptism of the Holy Ghost because we have the wrong numerical groupings
at out altars! Acts talks of a group of 120, and another group of
12 receiving the Spirit. Dr. Boyd in his "extensive" survey of Pentecostal
Practice has never seen a group of 120 or even 12 receive The Baptism simultaneously
at our altars (or any group of more than three, fore that matter).
Hence, he states, we are not in the pattern of Acts! Unless we have
the right groupings, we're not authentic! He writes:
"We never find (in Acts -- ed.) such things as individuals or groups....
receiving The Holy Ghost in a group smaller than twelve. Therefore,
the Oneness groups fail to follow even their own prescribed use of Acts
as the normative pattern for how salvation should always occur."
He also adds a personal note:
"In Oneness Churches... rarely, if ever, does the Holy Spirit 'fall'
upon entire groups. In my sixteen years of studying this movement,
including four years from the inside, I have never seen this experience
happen to more than one individual at a time. And the most I have
ever seen experience this in one night is three. But, by the UPCI's
own hermeneutics, this is without biblical precedent." (p. 202).
I wonder why Dr. Boyd did not extend this line of "proof" into other areas
as well. It's a very fertile field to plow. After all, no one
in the book of Acts received The Holy Ghost in a church building,
and almost all our converts receive it in church buildings; hence, we are
not in the "pattern." All New Testament converts who received The
Holy Spirit in Acts were subjects of the Roman Empire, none of ours are;
hence, we are not in the Book of Acts "pattern" again. Weighed and
found wanting! And, of course, none of our converts wear robes and
sandals, so we are again "out of the pattern." These arguments are
no more silly than his!
This argument (?) can be answered and "wrapped up" very quickly.
First of all, Dr. Boyd forgot, and I'm being charitable here, to include
one of the other cases of Spirit Baptism mentioned in Acts; one that is
fatal to his "group" theory. I'm referring to that of the Apostle
Paul -- who was a group of one! Boyd says we never see hear the Holy
Spirit being received "by a group smaller than twelve." I believe
"one" is still considered smaller than twelve! Why did Dr. Boyd not
mention Paul? We're certainly not talking about an obscure New Testament
figure! In fact, his testimony is given twice in the Acts!
"And Ananias went his way, and entered into the
house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even]
Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me,
that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost."
Wouldn't Paul be surprised to find out he wasn't "Normative!"
I don't know what exposure Dr. Boyd had during his four year sojourn
in Oneness Pentecost, but I have had over 30 years time. I have seen
the Holy Spirit fall over large groups, groups much larger than twelve,
and every one burst out speaking in tongues as The Spirit gave the utterance.
In Ethiopia recently, a group of at least 40,000 believers received the
Holy Ghost Baptism simultaneously, all speaking in tongues. Is that
group large enough -- "a multitude which no man could number?"
[MF BLUME NOTE: -- A Oneness Pentecostal Crusade (UPCI) was held in
1998 again in Ethiopia, and in one service 117,000 people were reported
to have simultaneously receive the Spirit Baptism speaking in tongues!]
But really, what kind of quibble is this that makes God bound to certain
numbers or groupings? Jesus said:
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither
it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8).
Do you mean to say the Ethiopian Eunuch was denied this portion of the
Spirit because he happened to be in the desert, and couldn't get
into a properly numbered group?! Also, everyone in the Book of Acts
who repented of their sins was also in a group, (or at least with someone
else). Does this mean that those who repent alone have wasted their
time and they miss out for not being "grouped"? What is this obsessive
compulsion Dr. Boyd has with groups? He insists on putting God in
a "three person" group throughout eternity, so He can have someone to love
and talk to. Now, the Spirit can't fall unless it is on a group.
We know there is safety in numbers; is there also salvation?
The following report is taken from the Global Witness, which is
the Foreign Missions Magazine of the United Pentecostal Church International.
It contains reports of revivals in Ethiopia, New Guinea, and Colombia,
South America. Groups numbering as high as 40,000, received the Holy
Spirit and spake in tongues simultaneously in a moment of time. Neither
in the New testament, nor in any subsequent revival in church history,
has such a phenomenon occurred. This should forever settle the desperate
"group size" argument of our opponents.
REPORT OF 20TH CENTURY REVIVALS
REPORT FROM ETHIOPIA
"One hundred fifty thousand people! Yes, a mass of humanity
packed tightly into an area approximately 200 meters wide and over 150
meters deep, anxiously awaiting the Sunday morning service, March 14, 1993,
in Wara, Ethiopia.
"That morning, it is carefully estimated, that at least 40,000 people
received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Before the word of faith
and prayer, when Brother Cole asked repeatedly how many had ever spoken
in tongues receiving the Holy Spirit baptism, about half of that vast crowd
raised their hands. After the word of faith and the waves of glory
had swept over that vast congregation, he again asked how many had ever
in their lives spoken in tongues and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
This time nearly all of the people present raised their hands!
"We know of three blind people who received their sight and
many others were healed. Brother Teklemariam has reported in a recent
letter that he estimated many thousands received healing during this Crusade.
The pastors of Ethiopia are now busy gathering the names of people who
received the Holy Ghost and information on the many things that took place
during this miraculous outpouring of the Spirit."
REPORT FROM NEW GUINEA
AND EL SALVADOR
"While many miracles took place during the Ethiopian crusade in Wara,
we are thankful that Ethiopia is not the only place where God is pouring
out His Spirit. Before Brother Cole came to Ethiopia, he witnessed
over 4,000 people receive the Holy Spirit in one service in Papua New
Guinea. In Thailand and Northwest India many were filled
with the Spirit. Very recently Brother John Hopkins reported that 3,145
people were filled with the Holy Spirit in a two night crusade in El Salvador."
REPORT FROM COLOMBIA,
"We just recently returned from Colombia, South America,
where during the national conference over 200 people received the Holy
Ghost. On the last night that great crowd of 6,000 people in
the stadium in Palmira, Colombia, was mightily shaken by the presence of
God. Reports are coming in of other great ingatherings during the
past two months in different nations of the world."
SHOULD WE SEEK?
Our next supposed violation of the "Acts pattern" is that:
"There is first of all, no instance of anyone seeking for the Holy
Spirit..." (p. 201).
Well, what were they doing in the Upper Room?
"These all continued in prayer and supplication..."
This is what is said of the 120. And for what were they praying and
"But wait for the promise of the Father; ye shall be baptized with the
Holy Ghost not many days hence" was the Lord's last instructions to them.
Of course they were seeking the Holy Ghost. What else could they
have been seeking with their prayers and supplications? Also, the
Apostles came to Samaria and "prayed for them that they might receive the
Holy Ghost." (Acts 8:15). Are we to believe the Samaritans
"kept their minds on something else" while the Apostles prayed for them
to be filled? Wouldn't common sense and Biblical precept indicate
that they also prayed along? What else could they be thinking of
at such momentous occasion?
Dr. Boyd says that when the Spirit fell on people, they were "entirely
passive" (p. 201). How does he know? Was he there? The
Apostle prayed for the Samaritans. Did the Samaritans do absolutely
nothing? Not even an Amen, or a thought about the Spirit? The
Upper Room group continued in prayer and supplication. Are those
"entirely passive activities?" Paul prayed for the twelve Ephesians
in Acts 19. How does Dr. Boyd know that they did absolutely
nothing? How can anyone receive anything from God by being "entirely"
"The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and
the violent take it by force. " (Matt 11:12).
Does that sound passive? We do not believe in "begging" for the Spirit,
as Dr. Boyd puts it. We have always taught against "begging" or "pleading"
for the Holy Spirit Baptism. But we do believe in asking for it.
Jesus said we should! Let's listen to His own instructions on how
to receive the Holy Spirit:
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given
you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened
unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask
bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he
ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an
egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to
give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly
Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:9-13)
That is Jesus' method for receiving the Holy Spirit! Ask, seek, knock,
and ye shall receive. Does that sound "entirely passive" to you dear
reader? Who shall we believe, Jesus or Dr. Boyd?
Dr. Boyd is also very sure, though he wasn't there, that all the groups
received it simultaneously.
"...The Holy Spirit falls on all the believers at the same time" (p.
...he stated authoritatively. But again we ask, how does he know?
A great revival had occurred in Samaria. Many, maybe the whole
city was Baptized in Jesus' Name (Acts 8:6-8, 12, 14). Peter and
John came down to Samaria to pray and lay hands on them that "they might
receive The Holy Ghost" (Acts 8:14-17). Peter and John would have
needed more arms than an octopus to lay hands on that vast multitude "at
the same time." It required the laying on of Peter and John's hands for
them to receive (v.17). They could not receive simultaneously, unless
hands could be laid on all of them simultaneously! And this, of course,
was not possible! Of all the wondrous miracles we read about concerning
the Apostles, sprouting additional arms and hands is not one of them.
Paul had the same situation at Ephesus (Acts 19:1-6). He laid
hands on the twelve so that they might receive the Holy Ghost. Even
if he used one hand for two heads, he would need six arms in order for
them to receive "at the same time!" Perhaps Dr. Boyd can explain
this, seeing he seems to have some special insights on exactly what
happened back then.
DO WE WORRY ABOUT TONGUES?
Dr. Boyd makes mention of how Oneness believers "worry about tongues" (p.
202). We don't worry about tongues. He has it all wrong.
We "speak with tongues and magnify God." Neither do we instruct our
converts to "worry" about them. Our altars are places of praise and
worship. And God inhabits the praise of His people.
He feels the one hundred and twenty "as far as we can tell, were not
expecting tongues." (p. 201). Really? Well Jesus had
previously said that everyone born of the Spirit would have a "sound" (John
3:8). He further clarified that the Spirit would speak (John 14:13),
and testify (John 15:26). Finally, before he left this earth he informed
his followers that they would speak in tongues:
And these signs shall follow them that believe;
...they shall speak with new tongues. (Mark 16:17).
It sounds like they had some inclination to me!
On page 202, Dr., Boyd summarizes his argument as to why the Book of Acts
cannot be our "norm" for this experience. The points he raised are
candidates "cannot seek for the Holy Spirit" -- but we saw that Jesus Himself
commanded us to ask and seek for it. And we saw where the one hundred
twenty did precisely that. So this point is invalid.
"they cannot worry about tongues" -- to this we agree. So this is
no point at all.
"they cannot receive Him by themselves" -- we saw that the Apostle Paul,
the mightiest Apostle of them all, received by himself at the house of
Judas in Damascus. So this point is invalid also. In fact,
his whole case is invalid.
On page 210, he lists what he feels are valid evidences of "The reception
of the Holy Spirit and of Salvation." They are drawn mostly from
1 John. Things such as :
"obeys his word," "do what is right," "love his brother," etc.
Such a list sounds strange coming from a man who told us on page 23 that
salvation has not conditions.
"That moment I knew I was saved, for I knew I was -- because of Jesus'
sacrifice alone -- loved just as I was. I was accepted unconditionally."
Now he writes that "evidence" of salvation is obeying God's Word, doing
what is right, etc. Well, this is exactly what the UPCI teaches --
those who are saved can be recognized ("show evidence") by their obedience
to the Bible ("obeys His Word") and their conduct ("do what is right").
So why did he leave us?
By the way, Oneness Pentecostals also believe that those conditions
mentioned in 1 John are true evidences of being Spirit-filled. Our
doctrine of tongues states that it is the "initial evidence" but not the
only one. It is the first (initial) sign to occurring those who are
baptized in the Holy Spirit, but it is not the only one. Christians
should bear fruit. But that is not an "initial" evidence, for it
takes time. When a baby is born, you hear its "initial" cry and know
it is alive. But you later expect other evidences, such as growth
and development. So it is also in The Christian Life; after the initial
"sound" of those born of the Spirit, we can rightly expect to see the fruit
of the Spirit Paul wrote of in Galatians.
SO-CALLED PIOUS EXAMPLES
Dr. Boyd, in a last desperate attempt to dislodge the concept of evidential
tongues, fires his last round. Its an argument drawn completely from
outside the scriptures; and this is where he must necessarily go.
He maintains that our "Book of Acts" salvation plan can't be right because
"the great saints of the church -- Augustine, Thomas, Aquinas, Francis
of Assisi, Mother Teresa" were not baptized in Jesus Name or spoke in tongues.
And he calls up "the great Protestant Reformers," such as Luther and Calvin,
to stand with them on this point (however uncomfortable that might be for
them) (p. 212). Now it is certainly a weak case that has to depend
on such an "ad hominem" argument. No one denies the great work Mother
Teresa is doing with the unfortunate sufferers in the Third World.
But Albert Switzer also did an equally great work of compassion in his
mission in Africa; and he denied the Deity of Christ and the Virgin Birth!
So if we are going to use people, rather than the Word, to measure our
experiences, we will encounter endless difficulties. To start with,
Mother Teresa being a Catholic, would deny Dr. Boyd's premise that there
are "no conditions" to salvation. For she believes staunchly in baptismal
regeneration as well as coming to Christ through Mary and obedience to
the "infallible" Bishop of Rome. Can we follow her? Of course
not; in spite of her good works.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number,
or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring
themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are
not wise. (2 Cor 10:12).
As far as the others are concerned, we need not trouble ourselves unduly
as to why they did not obtain "full salvation." Augustine was too
busy with the persecution of the Donatists -- "compelling them to come
in" to the Catholic Church. And we know what a centuries' long blood
bath he unleashed with that revelation! Thomas Aquinas was likewise
preoccupied with his seances with dead monks and his apparitions of Mary
to be concerned with Acts 2:38. Francis of Assisi was much involved
with preaching to animals; so he had no time! IN the Protestant realm
we encounter equally busy schedules. Martin Luther was in a rush
to have the German princes "smite, stab, and slay" the peasants of South
Germany. Hardly a good time to seek for the Baptism. And the
only fire Calvin was interested in was the one he lit under Michael Servetus
when he burned him at the stake!
Yes, "in all their love, piety and scholarship, these saints supposedly
missed the things necessary for salvation..." (p. 213).
And the fact that we would require of them the same thing the New Testament
required of the Jews who crucified Christ, namely repentance and baptism
in Jesus Name for remission of sins, is viewed by Dr. Boyd as a "horrifying
implication." (p. 213).
Even if we set aside the aforementioned "cage of every unclean and hateful
bird," and consider the more popular evangelists such as Billy Graham,
we encounter scriptural discrepancies.
The Apostles never conducted an evangelistic meeting without immediately
baptizing their converts in water. However these modern day evangelists
never baptize their converts. Signing a "decision card" or "coming
forward" is sufficient. Sometimes just "raising a hand" will do.
What a wide and impossible gap exists between their practice and what occurred
in the New Testament!
No, Dr. Boyd's bid to get us to exchange the divine measuring rod of
the Word for a collection of diverse and unscriptural human experiences,
will not work. He's willing to accept these people with their papal
infallibility, wafer worship, baptism regeneration, stake burnings,
and body stabbings as a fit plumbline for salvation, just because they
have one thing in common. They all failed to get baptized in Jesus
Name or speak in tongues. He strains at what we call a gnat, and
swallows down the whole camel -- head, neck, and tail! And all because
he wishes to set aside what is written. It is better to spend your
time "getting an experience that fist the Bible, than endeavoring to get
the Bible to fit an experience." This is Dr. Boyd's dilemma exactly.
One final historical note might be in order here, seeing we are talking
about "human experiences." Early Pentecostals also thought long and
hard on their "initial evidence doctrine." So in the year 1907 they
decided to conduct an experiment of sorts.
"It was decided that San Antonio, the next city slated to receive the
Pentecostal message, was to be a test case. The brethren covenanted
together not to mention anything about evidential tongues. No one
else had taught the doctrine there, and it was felt that ...it would be
good simply to commit the results to the Lord. Consequently, no seeker
was expecting tongues, but, as Jerusalem, so at San Antonio, all began
to speak in tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Suddenly
From Heaven, Carl Brumback, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, Missouri,
1961, p. 216-217).
We will not surrender our sign of tongues for any intellectual sophistry.
Besides, tongues came with a guarantee:
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith
the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in
thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy
seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth
and for ever. (Isaiah 59:21).