In this sermon, Pastor Neil argues, contrary to Pentecostal Christianity, that speaking in tongues is not always a sign of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Here are some excerpts:

Defining Pentecostal Christianity

Theologian Wayne Grudem defines the word Pentecostal in his Systematic Theology this way: “Pentecostal refers to any denomination or group that traces its historical origin back to the Pentecostal revival that began in the U. S. in 1901 and that holds to the doctrinal positions (a) that baptism in the Holy Spirit is ordinarily an event subsequent to conversion, … (b) that baptism in the Holy Spirit is made evident by the sign of speaking in tongues, and (c) that all the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament are to be sought and used today” (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 763). The term applies not only to denominations (like the Assemblies of God, for example) and other Pentecostal groups, but to individual believers as well who hold these doctrinal beliefs…

Repentance is Not Enough

…Important as it is, repentance by itself is not enough. It was not enough to save these 12 men of Ephesus. Sorrow for sin will never save you – it cannot save you – unless and until it is united to a living, personal faith in Jesus and His saving work for you.

I believe our Pentecostal brothers and sisters (and they are our sisters and brothers in Christ, even if we disagree on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit) have misunderstood both the spiritual condition of these Ephesian disciples [referenced in Acts 12] and Paul’s question to them in verse 2. I believe Paul’squestion was intended to discern whether or not these men were true believers in the Lord Jesus. As it turns out, they were not. Not yet.

…Though there are a few exceptions in the Book of Acts, such as the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost in Acts 2 and the conversion of the first Samaritan Christians in Acts 8, which was another decisive moment in the spread of the gospel across religious and racial boundaries, the normal and normative way God works is that we receive the gift – the person– of the Holy Spirit at the time of our conversion. At the moment we are born again. At the instant we are made spiritually alive in Christ. Whether it is accompanied by the gift of speaking in tongues or not.

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The baptism or indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer may include the gift of speaking in tongues. Or it may not. To insist that it should or must always be accompanied by the gift of tongues, as our Pentecostal brothers and sisters do, is, I believe, contrary to the teaching of the Bible. I’m just giving it to you straight.

This is not to say that you (or any Christian believer) should not or cannot have a deepening devotion to God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life. I pray that you do. I pray that you will. Nor is it to say that you should not or cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit on many occasions as you yield to His gracious work in you again and again. I pray that you may be. I pray that you will be.

June 3, 2018

Acts 19:1-7

Dr. Neil Smith

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