#1 "I thought that tongues were just for the early church and not for us today."There is no such thing as the "early church" from a Biblical perspective. If you are a part of the New Testament church, the same things apply to you that applied to the believers in the book of Acts. There has never been a dividing line in time where the rules changed and there is certainly nothing in the Bible to suggest that there is such a line.A Bible passage I've heard quoted to try to "prove" that tongues were only for the "early church" is 1 Corinthians 13:8-11: "Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things." The argument is that when the New Testament was completed, "that which is perfect" had come, and so tongues ceased. However, this view is easily disproved by just continuing to verse 12, which says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (1 Cor. 13:12)" Can anyone today honestly say that they see everything "face to face" and know everything instead of knowing in part? Even though we have completed Bibles today, none of us knows everything. You keep learning new things when you read your Bible even if you have been a Christian for decades. So there is no reasonable way to conclude that the perfect has come; and, since the perfect has not yet come, tongues have not yet ceased! They are for today, not just for the believers in the book of Acts.
#2 "I'm not sure that this Spirit baptism and tongues stuff is for real."
The only way to be sure of anything is to know it from Scripture. First let's look at what John the Baptist said about Jesus. You can choose whichever of the four gospels you want and see that Jesus was said to be the One who baptizes with the Holy spirit: Matthew 4:11: “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Mark 1:8 "I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Luke 3:16: "John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." John 1:33: "I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’"
Jesus then made many statements about the Holy Spirit who was to come. Here are some of them: Luke 11:13: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” John 7:36-39: "Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 14:16-17: "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." John 14:26: "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." John 15:26: “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me." John 16:7: "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." John 16:13: "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." Luke 24:49: "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Jesus said in Mark 16:17: "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues." This proved to be true and is still being demonstrated today. Acts 2:4: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with
other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance." Acts 10:46: "For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God." Acts 19:6: "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying." Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17) and later said, "I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all" (1 Corinthians 14:18). Much of 1 Corinthians 14 is devoted to a discussion of tongues.
So there is ample proof that the Bible discusses baptism with the Holy Spirit and tongues, and you will see more scriptures below that relate to these subjects.
#3 "I've been taught that you have to tarry (wait) for God to give you the Holy Spirit."
It is true that initially Jesus said, "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). This referred to the disciples being baptized with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. However, the Holy Spirit has been "given" ever since the Day of Pentecost and now it is just a case of receiving Him. (Paul didn't ask the disciples in Acts 19:1 if God had "given" them the Holy Spirit; he asked them if they had recieved the Holy Spiit.) "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” (Acts 2:39). You do not have to wait on the Holy Spirit. Besides, if you believe that this Scripture verse tells you to wait, you will have to hop on a flight to Tel Aviv, catch a bus to Jerusalem and then wait for Him in the city of Jerusalem as the verse says! The truth is that no one was ever told to wait in Jerusalem or anywhere else to receive the Holy Spirit after the Day of Pentecost. God is not making you or anyone else wait to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.
#4 "My life isn't holy enough for me to receive the Holy Spirit at this time."
Your right to receive the Holy Spirit is baed on the fact that you are a Christian. It has nothing to do with how " good" or "holy" you think you are. You are already part of a holy nation. (1 Peter 2:9) - so you are already holy as far as God is concerned. As a believer, you have been created in God's image in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). If you are saved, you are holy enough to receive the Holy Spirit. He is called a gift - see Acts 2:38-39: "Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.'” Receiving a gift is possible not because you are super-pious but because Someone is offering you that gift. The Holy Spirit is offered to you on a grace basis, not on a works basis.
#5 "I cannot receive the Holy Spirit yet because I have not been baptized in water."
This is based on looking at Acts 2:38-39 above as well as what happened in Acts 8:14-17 as well as Acts 19:5-6 without considering what happened in Acts 10:44-48 where the people were saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, without having been baptized in water first: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 'Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?' And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days." It is good (and a command) to be baptized in water, but it is not an absolute prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit.
#6 "I've been taught that even if you receive the Holy Spirit, you may not necessarily speak in tongues."
In Acts 2:4, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Paul was filled with the Spirit (Acts 9:17) and we know from various places in 1 Corinthians 14 that he spoke in tongues - a lot! The new believers in 10:44-46 who received the Holy Spirit began to speak in tongues immediately. The believers in Acts 19:6 spoke in tongues immediately. There is no direct record in Acts 8:17 that the believers spoke in tongues when they received the Holy Spirit, but Simon "saw" that the Holy Spirit was given by the laying on
of the apostle's hands (Acts 8:18) - since the Holy Spirit is invisible, he could not have seen the Holy Spirit going into someone, so there must have been something else to see. We can't prove that it was tongues, but it seems logical. We know that it is God's will for everyone to speak in tongues based on 1 Corinthians 14:5 ("Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues...").
#7 "I've been taught that it is not God's will for all believers to speak in tongues and that God will only grant this ability to certain people."
This is based on the misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 12:30, which states, among other things, "All do not speak with tongues, do they?" The speaking in tongues is referred to here is not praying in tongues for yourself, but rather ministry-related tongues done in a service that must be interpreted so that the people can understand what was said. Not all do this, so the answer to "All do not speak with tongues, do they?" is obviously "No" in this context. However, we have already established that being baptized with the Holy Spirit is a gift available to all believers and that God wishes that we all speak in tongues.
#8 "I've been taught that when you are born again, you immediately receive the Holy Spirit and no second experience is necessary."
This is based on a misunderstanding of Romans 8:9: "... But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him." It is true that when you receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit does come and live in you, and this verse does demonstrate that. However, you are not automatically "baptized with the Holy Spirit" and able to speak in tongues just because you are born again. It is possible to be born again and receive the Holy Spirit immediately since it happened in Acts 10:44-46. However, that is not automatic for all believers, as is obvious by examining Acts 8:12-17 and Acts 19:1-6. You can see in Acts 8:12-17 that people became believers (they must have been baptized in water, as they did not baptize unbelievers) and then at a subsequent point received the Holy Spirit: "But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized [a]in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:12-17). The same applies in Acts 19:1-6 - the believers were baptized in water and then were baptized with the Holy Spirit: "It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' And they said to him, 'No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.' And he said, 'Into what then were you baptized?' And they said, 'Into John’s baptism.' Paul said, 'John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.' When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying (Acts 19:1-6).
#9 "I'm afraid that I am speaking gibberish that is not a real language and making a fool of myself."
Tongues given by the Holy Spirit are "tongues of men and of angels" (1 Corinthians 13:1). They are actually words in another language that is unknown to you, not just gibberish or some kind of mantra! You have to trust the Holy Spirit to do this through you. I know people who have spoken in tongues and been understood in a language unknown to the speaker.
#10 "I'm afraid because I've been taught that tongues are of the devil."
The Bible does not record a single instance where the devil gave anyone an utterance in tongues, so you have nothing to worry about. Besides, if you visit a bar (not recommended) you will see all kinds of lust, immorality, fifthly language, drunkenness, brawling and the like, but I think it's safe to say you won't find anyone speaking languages he never learned. The closest you might get is
slurred speech that you can't understand. If the devil is having a field day in a place and tongues are of the devil, you'd expect that at least one person would be speaking in tongues.
#11 "I'm afraid that if I try to yield to the Holy Spirit, an evil spirit will start operating through me instead."
God knew people would have this fear, and therefore Jesus said in Luke 11:9-13: “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” So when you approach your Father to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, He's not going to allow some demon to go into you!
#12 "Something is just wrong with me and I can't receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues." This worn out lie has been on of Satan's pet lines to use against believers for all kinds of thins, for example, "Something is wrong with me, so I can't be healed." I've even heard, "Something is wrong with me and I can't believe and be saved." But if you are a believer, we have already established above that being baptized with the Holy Spirit is for you. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17). So if you find yourself struggling, keep building up your faith reading the Scriptures having to do with receiving the Holy Spirit. The worst thing you can do is bear yourself up. which is doing Satan's job for him. Never beat yourself up for any reason - build yourself up in God's Word. Faith will come and you will be able to receive. There is no such thing as a Christian who cannot receive the Holy Spirit; it is just a case of learning the Word and then acting on what you know.
#13 "I though I received the Holy Spirit when hands were laid on me, but nothing dramatic happened, so now I'm not so sure."
Receiving from God, whether it is the Holy Spirit, healing or anything else, is based on faith not feelings. The feelings will follow your faith, not the other way around. for eg another ministere recalling his experience said it ,”When I received the Holy Spirit, there were some people laying hands on me and I was wondering if I would have some wonderful experience seeing God's glory or going into a trance or being caught up to the third heaven or something similarly dramatic. To my disappointment, I did not feel anything or have any kind of experience at all! On the way home, though, I said to myself, "I did believe I would receive the Holy Spirit when hands were laid on me, so I do have the Holy Spirit. Therefore I can speak in tongues, so I will start doing it. And I did! And that's been an important part of my life ever since, and I've felt plenty of things since then! “ God does not promise that you will feel anything at the moment when you receive the Holy Spirit, but He does promise that if you ask, you will receive! This is important to remember especially if people around you who are receiving the Holy Spirit are shaking, falling over, acting drunk, and so on. Scripture does not record that these things happened to everyone who received the Holy Spirit, but it does record that they spoke in tongues.
#14 "I thought tongues can only for private pray life ?
This is one of the more common misconceptions, since many people have been trained that way. There is a difference between the anointing coming on you to deliver a message in tongues to the congregation (which must then be interpreted) and being able to pray or worship God in tongues yourself. A message to the congregation in tongues would only be given knowing that the Holy Spirit wants that done -- you'll have a sense of that on the inside (let's face it, your flesh has no desire to speak in tongues at all). However, once you receive the Holy Spirit, you can choose when you pray in tongues or worship God in tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:15: "What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also." Paul decided to do it; he did not wait until he felt that God was specially empaling him to do it, and you do not have to wait either. This is important to realize. You have the right to pray in tongues or worship God in tongues for your own benefit after you have received the Holy Spirit.
#15 "I thought that I should not speak in tongues unless someone is there who can interpret those tongues immediately."
This confuses a public utterance with a private utterance in your own prayer life. If your audience is other people, your tongues need to be interpreted. If you audience is God, they do not. Consider 1 Corinthians 14:27-28: "If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; 28 but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God." Notice that if you aren't planning to have what you say interpreted, you don't have to totally hit the mute button on yourself in church. You can still speak to yourself and to God -- just not to other people. Therefore, there is no problem if you speak in tongues when you receive the Holy Spirit. If you look in the cases in Acts 10:44-46 and Acts 19:6 where people received the Holy Spirit, no one did any interpretation, so it is not necessary to interpret the tongues you speak when you receive the Holy Spirit. (The passages read as follows): Acts:10: 44-46: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God...." Acts 19:6: "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.”
#16 "I'm afraid that if I have hands laid on me to receive the Holy Spirit, I will not receive, and people might look down on me and wonder what is wrong with me."
If this is the case, it would be best to go back through the Scriptures regarding the baptism with the Holy Spirit until you know for sure that you will receive because you have God's word on it. It can be counterproductive to keep going up for prayer without doing this, as this will reinforce a fear of not receiving. But if the people where you are have any kind of love walk, they will not look down on you for wanting to be baptized in the Holy Spirit; they will respect you, and some will identify with you because they've been in the place themselves. Remember Proverbs 29:25: "The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted." The question, "What will other people think of me?" will always lead you into trouble. The real question should be what God thinks of you, and He is long suffering, so He won't get short-tempered with you if you are having difficulty receiving. He is for you, not against you (Romans 8:31) and will help you, not criticize you. The same will be true of your fellow believers.
#17 "I'm concerned because my pastor says he forbids tongues at our church since he does not want to offend people who aren't OK with tongues or scare the first-time visitors."
If your pastor actually forbids tongues, it is true that you should not speak in tongues at his church because you need to honor his authority in his own church. However, your pastor is completely out of the will of God on this issue. 1 Corinthians 14:39 could not be any clearer: "Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues." Thus, any pastor who forbids his people to speak in tongues in his service is blatantly disobeying Scripture. If he does, and if I were you, I would go to a church that welcomes the Holy Spirit instead of some sorry man-pleasing place that ignores 1 Thessalonians 5:19 ("Do not quench the Spirit").
The Bible does not teach "tongues are supposed to scare unbelievers." It does teach, "So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe" (1 Corinthians 14:22). I want unbelievers to hear tongues when they come to my church; tongues are a sign to the unbelievers that something supernatural is going on. They are supposed to hear tongues when they show up! If people leave the church because of it, it's still infinitely better than having the Holy Spirit leave my church.
Please note that it is out of order for Spirit-filled believers to try to "sneak" teachings about tongues into their church if the pastor does not want tongues to be taught or demonstrated, as it will cause strife and division. Many pastors simply don't know about tongues themselves because they have never been taught on the subject, and it is not like they are evil people trying to squelch God; they just don't know any better. The ones I have no sympathy for are the "seeker-friendly" ones who know about tongues themselves but refuse to teach others about tongues publicly, unlike Paul, who said, "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God." (Acts 20:27) and
"How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable..." You will never grow in your understanding the things of the Holy Spirit in a church that does not welcome the Holy Spirit.
#18 "Aunt Glarda is really weird and she speaks in tongues, and I don't want to be weird like Aunt Glarda."
I have met some strange people who speak in tongues, as well as some strange people who don't! Aunt Glarda's problem isn't tongues, as speaking in tongues actually builds you up as opposed to making you weird: Jude verse 20: "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit." 1 Corinthians 14:4: "One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself..." While there may be weird people who speak in tongues, speaking in tongues isn't responsible for their weirdness and it won't make you weird! In face, the more you cooperate with the Holy Spirit, the less weird you become, since the Holy Spirit is not weird!
#19 "My lips are quivering but no tongues are coming out."
This sounds like a good start, as Isaiah 28:11 says, "Indeed, He will speak to this people, Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue." (We know this is talking about New Testament tongues because Paul refers to this in 1 Corinthians 14:21.) Here is what I encourage people to do in this case: Put some breath behind it! Don't just let your lips quiver, but start putting enough breath behind it so that something audible comes out of your mouth. You will probably find words that you don't understand coming out - tongues!
#20 "A few words just came out of my mouth that I didn't understand, and now I'm totally freaking out because I have no idea what I just said."
Your mind is not going to understand what you say when you speak in tongues! 1 Corinthians 14:14: "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful." That is how it is supposed to be. Your prayer life is no longer limited to your understanding and you will not be living with one arm tied behind your back spiritually! You can pray things that you do not understand and God can then answer those prayers because someone asked Him to do something. This releases things beyond your own understanding or ability into the earth.
#21 "Tongues are only for cases where someone can actually understand your language, as in Acts 2."
This has be