[This is part of a series of blogs which are directly quoted from a book by the late Dr. Paul E. Paino, Is The Holy Spirit Real?]
The doctrine that “speaking with other tongues” is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit rests upon recorded cases in the Book of Acts. The New Testament contains no plain categorical statement concerning what must be the sign. However, the conclusion is that hte initial physical evidence of the Baptism in the Spirit is “speaking with other tongues.” It is the result of a logical sequence of reasoning.
The New Testament teaches that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a definite experience. It is not the same as regeneration. It is different than anointing. And the experience is not the same as sanctification.
This spiritual experience must consist of some outward manifestation. The outward manifestation of the “new birth” experience is a confession by the believer that he has received Christ as Savior.
As we carefully examine the reccords mentioned in the Book of Acts, we will immediately conclude that the initial physical evidence of this experience is, indeed, “speaking with tongues.”
1) The Day of Pentecost. It is clear that tongues were the divinely chosen evidence to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The early believers received the Person of the Holy Spirit and simultaneously “experienced” the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Every believer spoke with “tongues” in this case. It was a supernatural manifestation of the “experience.”
2) Samaria (Acts 8:14-18). In this particular case, there is no apparent indication as to the nature of the manifestation; however, when we read verses 18 and 19, we must logically conclude that Simon observed something supernatural and made an amazing request (Acts 8:18-19). This is proof that something very obvious had taken place.
Since the other cases in the Bible indicate that the manifestation of “speaking with tongues” was present, we are certainly justified in believing that this was the case in Samaria. “Speaking with other tongues” meets all the requirements of the context.
3) Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:17; 1 Corinthians 14:18). The Scriptures do not record when the Apostle Paul received this experience. When we read Paul’s strong personal testimony in 1 Corinthians 14, we realize that he did speak with “tongues.” It was he who wrote three chapters concerning the “spirituals” (commonly referred to as the gifts of the Spirit). There is every reason to believe that Paul received this particular manifestation of “speaking with tongues” at some point in his spiritual experience just as the other apostles received it when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit.
4) The Household of Cornelius (Acts 10:44-47). The Scriptures state conclusively that the evidence that satisfied the Jewish believers that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit was their “speaking with tongues.” In verse 46 we read, “for they heard them speak with tongues.” This is a definite statement concerning this evidence. It reveals that this unique sign had already been accepted in the New Testament church.
5. Ephesian Believers (Acts 19:1-6). This company of twelve men received the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures plainly state: “They spake with tongues and prophesied.” Nothing could be more clear! Some nineteen years had passed since they day of Pentecost but the same identical initial evidence is found accompanying the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
It is clear that this evidence of speaking in tongues is spontaneous (Acts 10:44-46). The gift of speaking with tongues is controllable (1 Corinthians 14:28). The initial evidence can be given to any number as was done on the day of Pentecost, or a room full of people as at the home of Cornelius, or on twelve as is recorded in Acts 19 concerning those who were at Ephesus.
The use of the gift is limited to “two or at the most three” (1 Corinthians 14:27). These passages completely contradict one another unless a distinction is made between tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and tongues as the gift in the Body of Christ.
[For the sake of consecutive learning in the manner in which the book was intended (all in one chapter), comments to this post have been turned off. Discussion will open on Part 7.]