The Holy Spirit can touch anyone at any time and everyone will remember the sweet feeling even after several years. It's as if someone is standing at the brink of death, dying of thirst and suddenly finds a spring. Therefore, being baptized in the Holy Spirit could be compared to having a spring, a tap, installed inside you so you can drink whenever you want. This spring, this tap, is the Holy Spirit Himself.
To the people of the desert, water, as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, meant much more than to Europeans. The baptism in the Holy Spirit of Jesus' disciples was a unique, one-time and unrepeatable event in their lives, too. Although they were again filled with the Holy Spirit later on, these repititions were different from the first Pentacost. Subsequently, they drew from that inner source again and again that came to life on that remarkable day when the person and the power of the Holy Spirit first descended upon them from Heaven. He surrounded and flowed over them, filling their personality so that He might dwell in them for good.
Thus, this event „baptism in the Holy Spirit" is a totally unique and one-time event in every Christian's life. Those theological conceptions are erroneous that merge this event with some other steps of faith during the process of becoming a Christian. Some say that baptism in the Holy Spirit already happens at repentance, since the believer accepts Jesus, the Spirit of Christ. Others say it happens automatically when being baptised in water.
The deer searches the river not only because it's thirsty, but also because its pursuers may lose its scent. However, in the case of Jesus' disciples, it's obvious in the scriptures that although they'd repented from the bottom of their hearts and had been water-baptised, a separate, unique and unrepeatable event was manifested in their lives when they were baptized in the Holy Spirit and received Him.
Therefore, the happy phrase, „second experience," used by certain Bible teachers, emphasizes that by no means should we mix up this experience with repentance or water-baptism. In fact, those who combine and confuse these experiences with baptism in the Spirit have never received the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Similarly, neither the powerful touch of the Holy Spirit can be viewed as baptism in the Spirit, nor the Catholic or Protestant confirmation mean the same. First, these things were not preceded by biblical repentance and rebirth and second, receiving the Holy Spirit is not a ritual act, but reality.
Confirmation. The question is whether religious events are followed by Biblical signs. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a ritual act, but reality. The content of baptism in the Holy Spirit is that the person who already believes in Jesus Christ, accepted the Messiah in his heart and truly committed himself to follow Him, may invite and accept the third person of God – who is different from Jesus and the Father – into his heart and soul, moreover, into his body, that is to say, his whole personality. In order to let this happen, first the believer has to surrender himself unconditionally to God and to Jesus Christ - through living faith in the Redeemer's atoning death and resurrection – and to the Word of God with obedience to the Holy Spirit. This is repentance.
If this condition has been fulfilled, then the believer must ask God in Jesus name to fill him with the Holy Spirit. According to this promise of Jesus – which has been confirmed many times – the believer can be sure that God will grant his request. (see Luke 11:9-13.) In accordance with the statement of John the Baptist, Jesus is the One who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matthew 3:11). Thus, God gives the Holy Spirit and Jesus baptizes the believer into Him.
Afterwards, the believer must accept the Spirit of God by faith who – answering his prayer – at once encloses him (Jesus has already begun baptizing him) and eagerly awaits to move into the believer's personality, into his heart and into his body forever. When this happens, the Holy Spirit flows around the believer as an invisible river and starts to flood over the person who called to Him by faith.
The believer has to drink, moreover, must drink until full from this river and satisfy all the thirsts of his heart he carried during his life towards God and happiness. At this moment, the Word of God is fulfilled: „Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6; NIV) The best is for those who were very thirsty for God, but those who were less thirsty will also be satisfied. The level of fulfillment is determined by the level of thirst. All these things might be accompanied by powerful supernatural and emotional experiences which are good, but not necessary. The crucial thing is faith. The person who had been baptised in the Holy Spirit is to believe that according to the Word of God, the Spirit of God has moved into his spirit and body forever.
"When the day of Pentacost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4; NKJV) As the Pentacostal movement - that began on the first day of the 20th century - emphasizes, (see the article in frame) in the Book of Acts, the author – who is the Holy Spirit, Himself – always refers to speaking in tongues (glossolalia) as the most important and irrefutable sign of the real baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Besides the above description, He tells us that the Apostle Peter and his companions, because of the sign of speaking in tongues only, accepted a fact that seemed absurd to them before, i.e., that even the non-Jews can receive the Holy Spirit from God: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said: Can anyone keep these people from being baptised with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." (Acts 10:44-47, NIV)
This goes to show he interpreted the sign of speaking in tongues as a sure and sufficient token of receiving the Holy Spirit. As he says, 'They have received Him "just as we have." Later Peter relates his experiences to his still skeptical friends in Jerusalem in this way: "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as He had come on us at the beginning ... So if God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could oppose God? When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, 'So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life." (Acts 11:15-18, NIV)
Certainly it's not an unimportant question whether non-Jewish people can find salvation or can have fellowship with God at all! From the above story, it's apparent that the problem of historical significance was solved by a single, supernatural sign: the manifestation of speaking in tongues. So we cannot say that it's an issue of no importance.
The first days of the Pentacostal Movement
The Bible School of Charles F. Parham in Topeka.
'In December, they were studying subjects like repentance, conversion, commitment, sanctification, healing and the second coming of the Lord. When they came to the Book of Acts, the students received homework of historical significance from Parham: they had to diligently research the biblical proof of baptism in the Holy Spirit in this book. So they can give a report on the results after three days" (...).
On the morning of the deadline, Parham listened through the reports of forty students, moreover, with great surprise. Though in the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit was manifested in many tangible ways during His outpouring at Pentacost, every single student came to the same conclusion: Whoever received the Holy Spirit, spoke in other tongues!
In the Bible School, they threw themselves into studying the Book of Acts with great excitement and renewed interest. At the evening 'watchnight service,' seventy-five people were packed tightly together in an atmosphere of extreme expectation.
The whole service was inspired by a kind of spiritual freshness. Then one of the students, Agnes Ozman, asked Parham to lay on his hands so she could receive the Holy Spirit. Ozman believed in her call as a missionary and now wanted to arm herself with spiritual power for this ministry. At first Parham hesitated to do it – he didn't speak in tongues either, he said. However, Agnes persisted in her request, so he humbly layed his hands on her head. Later Parham described what had happened as follows: 'I spoke about thirty sentences when the Glory of Heaven descended upon her! As her head and face were encircled with glory, she began speaking – in Chinese! She couldn't say a single English word for three days.' As Ozman later said, she had already spoken some foreign words in the Prayer Tower, but after Parham layed his hands on her head, the supernatural power of God totally ran over her (...).
In January, 1901, in a church in Topeka, Parham began to share the wonderful experience they had in his Bible School. He told them his conviction is, that soon he also would speak in other tongues. When he arrived home from the service that evening one of his students lead him up to the Prayer Room. As Parham entered, he stood gaping at the sight: twelve denominational pastors sat, kneeled or stood there with raised hands and all of them spoke in tongues (...)!
What he'd seen there, overcame him so much that he fell on his knees behind a table and began praising God. At once he began pleading with Him for the same blessing. In that moment he, himself was finally filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking – in other tongues. 'At that time there, I felt a kind of wringing in my throat. The Heavenly Glory came upon me and I started praising God – in Swedish! Later on, it changed to other languages and continued that way (...)'.
As the news of God's work spread all over, his Bible School was besieged by correspondents from newspapers, professors of linquistics and professional interpreters. They had attended the church meetings – so later they could report the unbelievable phenomenon worldwide. They all agreed that the students of the Bible School spoke in the existing languages of the world. Newspapers proclaimed in their headlines: 'Pentacost! Pentacost has come!' Newsagents shouted: 'Report on Pentacost!'
According to another widespread misunderstanding, the gift of tongues is given to believers in order to preach the Gospel in a supernatural way, namely in another, already known, foreign language that they'd never learned. Although the gift of tongues may function in this way in certain cases – and we can actually find examples, both in the New Testament and in the history of the Church for such events – the words of the Apostle Paul himself, refute that this would be the main and only goal of this charisma: "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit." (I Cor. 14:2, NIV) Therefore, it's not true the Apostles received the gift of tongues in order to be able to preach the gospel among the heathen nations whose languages they didn't understand. There isn't even one such service mentioned in the Bible. This theory has been rationalised by such theologians who hadn't experienced the functioning of this charisma and tried to understand what it could be – in this way.
According to a third view, usually held by people who, for some incomprehensible reason, maybe the fear of deceit or simply, as being led by religious materialism, don't want to speak in tongues themselves - "not everyone is to receive this gift", just as the New Testament says (1 Cor. 12:30). However, numerous Bible teachers think, this comment doesn't refer to the general manifestation of praying in tongues (as a language of prayer between the believer and God), when being baptized in the Holy Spirit (which can be regularly found in the descriptions of the New Testament), but refers to the functioning of this gift in public, e.g., as part of a service. On such occasions, this gift is accompanied by the interpretation of the language as well, which elevates it to a higher level than its previous form. Indeed, this function of the gift of tongues is not given to everyone.
Still, beyond that theological objection, it's even more interesting to pose the question: why such people who do not speak in tongues themselves, refer to this protesting so vehemently? I.e., why don't they long to receive this gift of the Holy Spirit at all? In fact, why do they protest against the chance to receive it? (It's worth mentioning that according to the scriptures, only those afraid of the presence and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit are under the control of demons. But still, there is deliverence for them.) Although the Apostle Paul unambigously requests the believers to: "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts..." (1 Cor. 14:1, NIV)
In fact, later the Apostle writes this: "I would like (thelo)... every one of you to speak in tongues..." (verse 5). Some Bible teachers emphasize that though the Greek word thelo actually means desire, too, ("I would like") but its basic meaning is: "I want". So this sentence of Paul's expresses a more powerful command than from Hungarian translations, e.g. – made by people who generally did not speak in tongues: "I want ... every one of you to speak in tongues..." Although this is not definitely a command, it's more than a desire - the Apostle considers it important for believers to receive and use this gift of God.
The Nine Purposes of Speaking In Tongues
1. It's a sign of biblical faith: "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." (Mark 16:17-18, NIV)
2. It's a supernatural sign for non-believers: "Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers..." (1 Corinthians 14:22, NIV)
3. It's a direct, supernatural communication with God: "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit." (1 Corinthians 14:2, NIV)
4. It's an effective instrument to build ourselves up in faith: "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself..." (1 Corinthians 14:4, NIV); "...build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit." (Jude 20, NIV)
5. It's a prayer for all believers according to the perfect will of God: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." (Romans 8:26-27, NIV) "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18, NIV)
6. It refreshes, relaxes and rests you in the Spirit: "...with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to His people, to whom He said, 'This is the resting place, let the weary rest' and 'This is the place of repose'..." (Isaiah 28:11-12, NIV)
7. It keeps the natural and physical senses humble: "The man without the Spirit (physical) does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14, NIV)
8. It puts your tongue and, through your tongue, your whole lifestyle under the power of the Spirit of God: "When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilots want to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it make great boasts. Consider that a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire..." (James 3:3-6, NIV);
"From the fruit of his mouth a man's stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:20-21, NIV)
9. Singing in tongues is a way of being filled with the Holy Spirit again and again: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord..." (Ephesians 5:18-19, NIV)
Both the history of the Church and the sociology of religion consider it a fact, that the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement broke out on January 1, 1901, and brought the greatest Christian revival and renewal in the history of the world. This revival which is still continuing, though not in its spiritual intensity yet, but in the number of people, already surpassed the spiritual revolution that took place during the first centuries in the Roman Empire as the result of the Apostles’ activity. That was the spiritual revolution in which Christianity was born and that became the prime example for every future renewal.
You must drink! Baptism in the Holy Spirit requires the active cooperation of the believerThe movement had grown world-wide within a few years and succeeded the greatest extension of evangelism in Christian history. Statistics show the rate of increase between 1975 and 1985 was 157% (!), while all the other denominations and world religions increased by 1-12%. Having started from scratch in 1901, by 1987 this movement reached 21 percent of all-Christianity and it’s been increasing exponentially since then. The number of Pentacostal-like congregations all around the world is over 150 million.
Drawing up statictics graphicly: If we include the believers of the first centuries of the ancient Christian period, too, (at that time Christianity was Pentacostal-like, anyway) then from the time of Jesus until 1996, 70% of newborn Christians became believers during the 20th century! 70% of these 20th-century believers became Christians since the Second World War and 70% of those in the last 5 years. These are the facts according to religion-sociologists who tried to illustrate this explosion-like growth in 1997 in their writings. According to this growth, experts predict the number of Pentacostal-Charismatic Christians in the first years of the 21st century will be around one billion. So they’ll soon account for one half of global Christianity.
Praying for the Holy Spirit. You have to ask for Him from the Father, then accept Him by faith.The movement is especially intensive in Latin America where at present four hundred people an hour join. We can also mention communist China, where in decades past, in certain places, 90% of the population became Christian, confessing their faith even illegally – most of whom are Charismatics. Their number is estimated around 85-100 million. In South Korea, where in 1900 there were only a few Christians, in 1992, 12.5 million belonged to 37,200 congregations and this number has been growing since then. According to the book, „The History of Christianity,” (written by non-Pentacostal-Charismatic authors): ’in the recent past, the cautious reserve of national Church leaders has been changed to the view that in the last decade of the century the Charismatic movement means the greatest hope for the renewal of the Christian Church.’ (More numerical data concerning this growth is available in the 2001 February-March issue of New Exodus (Új Exodus) p. 36-37; 55)
We cannot fail to notice this striking quality of renewal is closely connected to speaking in tongues on which the movement puts great emphasis at every point, from the beginning. Although to a natural way of thinking, this is hardly conceivable that the connection between an almost senseless, child-like, strange behavior and the fast growth of the movement, the leading personalities of pentacostal revival consider the functioning of this charisma as the most significant instrument to success.
As the evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke, who attracts hundreds of thousands at his services, writes in his book entitled, „With The Power of The Spirit,” accepting this manifestation as a valid, Christian experience proved to be epoch-making in the history of the church. Speaking in tongues had launched the process worldwide so the Holy Spirit came into the focus of the church, moreover became an engine of an enormous wave of evangelism. This wave surpassed all the former ones both in its success and magnitude. It generated the most monumental soul-saving movement of the Christian era.’
Connection between speaking in tongues and the dynamics of Christian renewal may comprehensibly seem to be mysterious to secular or incompetent people. However, when checking the Bible, everything becomes clear.
The main purpose of the supernatural gift of tongues – even if it seems to be nonsense – is so the believer becomes able to pray by his spirit directly to God. This is a communication not of the mind, but - avoiding conceptional way of thinking - only with the spirit. (In this case, these two are set against each other in the Holy Scriptures, see 1 Corinthians 14:14-15). In his letters, the Apostle Paul explains in detail that since we don't know what we need most, we are therefore,in need of such an option in prayer that is not limited by our limited knowledge.
We don't know ourselves, neither our future, nor those things that are happening at present, but unnoticed, nor the transcendent, invisible, spiritual goods of God, nor His exact will concerning our own lives and the world with our minds. If, in our prayers we can only begin with our knowledge about ourselves, about others, about our future and present and about the supernatural, then our prayers work in a very limited territory only and are subject to many mistakes. There are so many more factors in our lives that are beyond our awareness than those we know about. These unknown factors are usually more important than those we already have information about. In fact, these are the most important ones. For we need to make our way much more towards those things we don't know about yet, than towards those we already know, thus, our will deliberately takes aim at anyway.
In the Old Testament this deep and grave problem went unsolved. This is why Solomon wrote it is better to go to the house of God to listen than to utter anything as a fool: 'Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in Heaven and you are on Earth, so let your words be few. Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands?' (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, NIV)
However, speaking in tongues releases you from the limits of the natural mind and enables the believer to pray to God directly, with his spirit (with his supernatural part,) through the Holy Spirit. It's not accidental that among the gifts of the Spirit, this is the only one not functioning in the Old Testament. It began only after the redemption had taken place. This charisma is somehow connected to redemption, so speaking in tongues is a redeemed prayer.
Seeing that God understands every word spoken in tongues as precisely and clearly as He does with prayers spoken with understanding, from His point of view, this way of prayer is not lower than pleading with understanding. Moreover, the Apostle Paul declares that when we pray in tongues, then we pray according to the perfect will of God (Romans 8:27), since when praying with understanding, it's often not true. (The purposes and functions of praying in tongues are emphasized in the Scriptures-see the article in frame above.)
Consequently, the Church becomes able to intercede for things hidden from the knowledge of mankind, moreover, according to the perfect will of God, which is a great thing. This could be an obvious explanation as to how the functioning of this gift yields such an extensive, world-wide revival. Through the functioning of this gift, christians ask God for answers to things they hadn't any natural knowledge about before. This is how speaking in tongues works forming both private lives – as many people relate their experiences - and the life of Church, collectively, as well.
Those using this gift regularly testify they received supernatural answers and guidance, even deliverance through miracles. Pastors, apostles and teachers ministering in the Church also confirm in decisions concerning the whole congregation, through the Body of Christ they received exact inspiration or guidance from the Spirit while speaking in tongues.
As a result of the functioning of this small, 'childish nonsense', the Church has been overwhelmed by new, astonishing answers, obviously coming 'from above,' as well as marvelous advice, deliverances, healings, teachings and revelations. Since the first centuries, the spirit of revelation never washed over the Church in such abundance as it did since this gift began to function again. The Kingdom of God belongs to those again who became like little children.
Kenneth E. Hagin, the well-known Bible teacher all the world, over draws Christians' attention to the importance of using the gift of tongues consciously and steadily as the very effective instrument of intercession according to the perfect will of God. This assures the dynamic progress of the work of God.
After one of his experiences, such a steady prayer followed that he wrote this in his book entitled, „Biblical Faith": ' After praying in tongues for five and a half hours, I went into an empire I've never been before. This resulted in a turning point in my ministry, too. But this long time was needed to destroy something in myself and overcome Satan. During this five and a half hours, I prayed in six different languages... Noting that the Church was not doing as well as it should, because it's not enough for one person to carry this kind of prayer: all of us have to take part in it."
The Church is still far from fulfilling its purpose. One of the goals of this article is to see that more and more of its readers may step into the ministry of this supernatural and very effective intercession.
The biblical way of baptism in the Holy Spirit is the following: first, the already repented believer who wants to be filled with the Spirit should ask it in prayer from the Father in Jesus' name. Then he has to accept, in faith, that his request had been heard since there are definite promises about it in the scriptures. For this reason, by opening his heart and soul – in fact opening his mouth – he is to accept the person of the Holy Spirit into his inner being, that is, to drink the Spirit.
Pastors may help with the laying on of their hands, but the experience of baptism in the Holy Spirit can happen even without their assistance, spontaneously, as it happened at the first Pentacost, or even alone, at home, for example. The believer has to accept the fact that the Spirit moved into his heart and body by faith. When this faith is born in his heart, from then on he's able to speak in tongues.
It's a common experience among ministers, that people brought up in the rationalistic, materialistic European culture often have difficulties with speaking in tongues at first. Although they believe the Holy Spirit has moved into them, they often even feel it, because of their alienated culture from the supernatural, they don't understand how to speak in tongues. The reason for this phenomenon is their culture – they're able to think about the transcedent, but can't cooperate with it in practice.
Some passively wait for the Spirit to take total control over their mouths and tongues so He may speak instead of them using their speech organs. But baptism in the Spirit and the gift of tongues is not automatic speech just as the words of spiritist mediums' or pagan shamans', wizards' are in a trance state, out of their will. The Spirit of the God of Israel is not a demon who has control over mankind using him as an instrument. We have to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in faith.
'Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life..'The grammatical form of the Hebrew word used in the Bible for prophecy (hitnabbae) refers to an activity done mutually, in common, together. So unwrapping it in detail, we could translate it as, 'mutually with God, moving each other, together, speaking an ecstatic speech or behave ecstatically.'
The same is true about speaking in tongues (which is also ranked in the category of prophecying in one place in the Scripture). We make a mistake when we passively wait for the Holy Spirit to speak through our mouths. According to the Bible 'all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.' (Acts 2:4, NIV) Namely, it was not the Holy Spirit who spoke, but they did! And the Spirit provided the words. We should mutually cooperate with the Spirit, moving each other and not waiting passively.
It's the same today. If, after receiving the Spirit someone believes the third person of God moved into him, he simply has to begin to speak in tongues. He has to start it! But how? - ask many at such times. Well, this is so simple that it's impossible to explain - he has to do no more than step out in faith and start to speak in tongues. The believer has to give his voice, the Spirit won't do it for him, he has to move his lips and tongue and start speaking in a new, unknown language. Then the Spirit will give him the words.
With a closed mouth it's impossible to speak. The believer has to start speaking.At this point where the supernatural becomes real experience instead of just talking about it, the materialistic-rationalistic European intellect is deeply shocked - just as always, this time again sensing the 'jump of faith' as madness, senseless foolishness, frightful folly, degrading and crazy childishness, lack of education, ordinarily talking gibberish, swindling and other, similar kinds of wicked things. Despite this, it just proves the miracle took place: the believer stepped out from under the control of physical intelligence.
Even the believer who speaks in tongues for the first time in his life may experience that warfare suddenly broke out in his mind as a trial. However, if at this point he holds on, listening to his heart and goes on speaking in tongues steadily, then after a while the small creek will become a wide stream. Eventually, he'll sail to the sea of supernatural peace, joy, love, power, faith, hope and health about which he wouldn't have dared to dream of. He wouldn't think this could happen at all: he's been filled with the Holy Spirit!
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