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The Persecuted Church

 

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TONGUES AND BAPTISM FOR SALVATION

If we are saved before baptism by faith then baptism cannot convey to us the Spirit no matter what name is said over a person. If you are saved by baptism, (by calling on Jesus name) then it was not faith that saved but an ordinance you had faith in. If it was at your baptism you had called on him  for the first time to save you this would not make sense, since it is our response to the gospel message by faith that saves.

Oneness Pentecostals (a separate group of Pentecostals) teach that "speaking in tongues" must accompany the conversion of all Christians to prove they have the Spirit. The process to salvation is repentance, faith, baptism in Jesus name, then comes the waiting for the Acts 2 experience. Either before or after is obedience to commands and works. The Oneness Pentecostals make tongues as the proof that one possesses salvation. Many wait for this evidence to occur and when it does not they look desperately to find whatever flaw or sin is holding back His Spirit from coming. I can’t think of something more disheartening than to think your not saved because you haven’t had this experience of tongues.

John the Baptist never spoke another tongue yet he was filled with the spirit from his mothers womb. The book of Acts gives us the normal pattern for receiving the Holy Spirit. One thing becomes clear as the texts are looked at carefully, there is no consistent pattern of reception. In order for something to be normative it needs to be consistent and a common thing to all, clearly it is not as proposed by the Oneness view.

If we look carefully through the book of Acts There are only three references to believers speaking in tongues when salvation was given. Acts 2 those in the upper room who did not know what they were waiting for, Acts 10 the spirit falls on them while the message is given and they speak to give evidence to Peter that the gentiles are allowed to enter the Church. And Acts 19 

The order for the Jews in Acts 2 was vs.38 repent,vs.41 they gladly received the word then they were baptized publicly in a Christian baptism and received the spirit of promise. Which was the same promise given to the apostles by Jesus in Acts 1:5. The unbelieving Jews were witnesses to God beginning a new entity the Church.

Acts 8 for the Samaritans the order was they believed and were baptized vs.12-17 then they had the apostles lay hands on them and received the Holy Spirit

Acts 10 the gentiles order was as he was speaking the Holy Spirit was given because of their faith that God saw in their hearts vs.44-48 then they were baptized. so we can see each time a different way in which the spirit was given.

Acts 10 opposes the view of having to be baptized first to receive the Spirit as Oneness claims. Are we to believe God poured out his Spirit in the same way as Pentecost on people whose sins were not yet forgiven? Clearly the Spirit is given by grace.

However we find their was a common denominator, they were all saved the same way. By faith

Lets take a journey through the book of Acts and see what transpired in each instance of salvation. Did all speak in tongues were all baptized (in Jesus name) to receive the spirit. What we find will be very productive in understanding the truth.

Acts 2 Death and resurrection are proclaimed 3,000 are saved. as Jews they publicly declare their allegiance to Christ by being baptized and receive the spirit. No tongues for the 3,000.This is important in that so many make tongues the required manifestation to show they were saved. Nowhere does anyone refer to Acts 2 as the model for each time a group or people were saved. Only in Acts 11 does Peter recall what happened to them in the upper room.

Acts 3:18-19 Christ’s death and repentance is the focus for the forgiveness of their sins. In Acts 4:2-4 Jesus & the resurrection is preached, not baptism & again they believed the word & 5,000 were saved. There was no tongues , and no baptism mentioned.

Acts 4:31 tells us they spoke the word boldly when they were filled with the spirit. no tongues, and no baptism mentioned

Acts 8:17 Peter and John come to the Samaritans who had already received the word of God & were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and still did not have the spirit. ( Peter needed to be there, he was present for all three groups : Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles) there were no tongues.

Acts 8:37-38 After hearing Isa.53 which is about the death of Jesus he asks to be baptized, Philip reply’s if you believe with all your heart. He confesses Jesus is the son of God. no tongues (maybe he did maybe he didn't.)

Acts 9:17-18 when Paul received salvation he did not speak in tongues until later, yet no one would contest he was saved. When he gives his testimony he refers back to the Damascus road encounter as the time of his Spiritual birth. In vs. 17 it tells us when Ananias laid hands on him he was filled with the Spirit then he was baptized.

(1Cor.15:18, Gal.1:12) He later does speak in tongues as probably all the apostles did.

Acts 10:43 Peter says "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

We have the exact reversal of Acts 2 ,they then received the Spirit from hearing the word & believing, before any baptism. The gentiles speak in tongues as proof of their salvation to some of the unbelieving Jews present who refused to believe they could be partakers of salvation. If no Jews were there would not have been necessary for this sign gift to be manifested. vs.48 they were commanded to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

Acts 11:16-18 Peter recounts the Lord saying about the difference between water baptism and spirit baptism. Vs 17" if therefore God gave them the same gift as he did unto us, when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ;"

Acts 15 the Jerusalem council was called because some men said that certain parts of the law needed to be obeyed. Vs 8 Peter recounts how the gentiles heard the word of the gospel and believed, God seeing their hearts acknowledged them by giving them the H. Spirit just as he did us. And making no distinction between us & them, purifying their hearts by faith vs.11" We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus we shall be saved in the same manner". Notice that Peter makes it clear its by grace and that the gentiles were actually saved being baptized in the Spirit before any confession or baptism. (1 Cor.12:13) Everyone enters into Christ the same way then and today.Eph.1:13 tells us when they believed in the gospel (1 Cor.15:1-4) they were sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 16:31 the Philipian jailer asks what must I do to be saved ? answer believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you & your household. then they spoke the word of the Lord to both him & his household. No tongues, no baptism until later

What we find in the book of Acts is no set formulae for the giving of the Spirit. What was required in all the accounts was faith. Tongues were not present except in a few instances.

Acts 19 vs.5 they were baptized in the name of the Lord. Jews who only received Johns baptism had not heard of Christ’s death and resurrection nor Pentecost. It is Paul who initiates the conversation on the Holy Spirit. He finds that they are not disciples of Christ but of John, years after they had not heard that the one John was pointing to had already come. After receiving the Gospel they are baptized Paul lays hands on them the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they speak in tongues and prophecy. They did not seek after the Spirit as the Oneness Pentecostals are told, it was a natural occurrence. Not one instance do we see anyone laboring for the Spirit. Why was the Spirit given after Paul laid hands on them. It was to illustrate that they were no longer to follow John the Baptizer but the apostles who now had the leadership role for Israel. The Church with the apostles as their leaders replaced the Sanhedrin and Pharisees and even John.

In each case when tongues are manifested there are Jews present (sometimes in unbelief). The conclusion can only be that that tongues were given primarily as a sign to unbelieving Jews or to those new people groups entering the body. As with Acts 10 they were in unbelief that the gentiles could be saved and so God gave them the Holy Spirit and as proof gave them languages unlearned for evidence to those present. Their conclusion was that they received what they had at Pentecost. In Acts 19 The unbelieving Jews that were only water baptized spoke in tongues was proof to them that Jesus died and resurrected and the Holy Spirit had come.

Tongues is neither the initial evidence of their salvation anymore than prophecy would be. If we take the Oneness Pentecostal attitude to its conclusion …then one must have hands laid on them to receive the spirit and that they must be in groups of twelve to thousands like the other occurrences with tongues instead of single persons. One might even add that fire should appear over their heads as it did at Pentecost. People try to insert other incidents but they are all arguments from silence and are not Scripturally consistent or verifiable .

Acts 26:18 "that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. that is in Jesus Christ. The majority of teaching of how to be spiritually born is by faith. The order today is faith, the receiving of the Holy Spirit and our response in baptism. So with a handful of scripture on baptism with over 240 on faith and believe, not including those about Christ’s death we can see how important it is to rightly divide the word.

Is tongues necessary for salvation? No! otherwise we will have to eliminate most of the salvation’s in the book of Acts. It is an evidence but not THE evidence for all.

ARE TONGUES THE PROOF OF THE SPIRITS PRESENCE

Eph.1:13" In whom ye also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: having believed, you were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise," (2 Cor. 1:22)

Gal.3:2"Did you Received the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Faith comes by hearing the word." Baptism is an act of faith which must be present before they are submerged, notice they received the Spirit by faith, by believing not by anything else.

1 Cor.12:13"For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body." Not by one baptism do we enter. It is spirit baptism that counts.

All believers receive the baptism of the Spirit to be in Christ. This takes place at the moment of salvation when one exercises faith in Christ. What we are commanded is to be continually filled with the Spirit. Not to seek for the baptism as something we don't have after we believe.

Tongues is not the proof this has happened because the very same Chpt. that we are told of being baptized with the Holy Spirit we are also told not all speak in tongues. Eph.5:19 tells us if one is filled with the Spirit they will speak in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs- no tongues are mentioned.

Tongues is only one manifestation of the Spirits influence. It can also be prophecy and boldness in speaking the word (in the correct manner). It can be a great harvest of people coming to Christ as in an evangelistic crusade (like Peters first sermon).

Its not tongues that is proof of our salvation but the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit of the Spirit.

Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24: And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Mt.717: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Mt. 12:33"a tree is known by its fruit". The fruit of the Spirit shows the life of Christ.

To be filled with the Spirit means that someone will act spiritual that they are under the control of the Spirit and the fruit of his presence will show. They will not lash out or anger quickly they will be patient and longsuffering, this is how one knows they are in the Spirit and not the flesh.

 

Introduction to the Oneness Movement  Oneness Theology The Word One     Mt.28 Baptism 
  The Word Persons   God Does not change Are Tongues and Baptism Necessary ?
  Proofs of the Trinity    Preexistence of the Son Who died on the Cross ? 
  The Trinity in the Resurrection The Grace of God Jn.1:1   The Son being Sent 
History of Heresies   The Right Hand of God  Today I have Begotten Thee
From the mouth of Two or three Witnesses  Oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarians Unite
Modern beginnings of Oneness The Early Church on Oneness Who was manifested in the flesh?

 

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These are excerpts from the book Who is Jesus ? Answering Oneness Pentecostals attacks on the Trinity. spiral book by Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason ministries Wahiawa  HI 96786

 

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