Baptism With the Holy Spirit
Special Note: In order to maintain continuity of thought and for understanding, parts 3 and 4 are best studied together.
The most noted controversial aspect of the modern Pentecostal and Charismatic movement has been the phenomenon of speaking with tongues. For Pentecostals and Charismatics the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of tongues are a repetition of what happened on the Day of Pentecost.
The spectrum of opinion on "tongues" runs all the way from sturdy opposition to an insistence that it is the first physical sign of a person's being Spirit-filled.
The fact that the church was born at Pentecost with this sign: "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" makes it impossible to consider it insignificant. With His creative resources as God Almighty, He might have designed any one of ten thousand things as indicators or signs of His working on so historic an occasion as the beginning of the church. God chose "speaking in tongues" as one phenomenon to be included, and considering its reoccurrence elsewhere in the early church, it cannot be consigned to a "one-time-occurrence."
God must see some importance in the practice, otherwise He probably would not have started the church with this sign.
Is there a sign that a person has been filled with the Spirit? The New Testament incidents where believers are specifically said to be filled with the Spirit help us answer this question. Let's look at these incidents:
The significance of the four cases cited is that they are each "initiating" experiences; that is, those being filled with the Holy Spirit are experiencing their first taste of the fullness of the Spirit.
Something supernatural ought to be expected when a person is initially filled with the Spirit. Based on the Scriptural evidence found in the book of Acts, "tongues" function as that sign (initial evidence) of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
In regard to those who have been baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Bible describes two basic functions of "tongues". Without an understanding of these two types of "tongues", much of the Scriptural teaching in this area will seem contradictory.
Tongues for Personal Edification - called devotional tongue.
Tongues for Public Exhortation - called the gift of tongues.
The Functional Difference -Devotional Tongues and The Gift of Tongues
The question "Do all speak in tongues?" in 1 Corinthians 12:30 implies a negative reply. Two points of clarification:
Question: "Have you received since you believed?"