After studying Christian Worldview at the university and doing further analysis of the different views of Christian groups (Baptists, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, etc.), I have decided to write this piece to clarify a few things. Christians across the globe have varying views on God, the Holy Ghost [Spirit] and His Gifts, Jesus, Sabbath, Baptism, and Salvation among others. However, the question is, do these varying views really matter to the salvation of the Christian? I will be tackling each topic in a separate article. These articles are aimed at stopping spiritual abuse.
I begin with the Holy Spirit and His Gifts. There is no judgment here. The article is intended to present the Word of God as it is.
The Holy Spirit and His Gifts
In Corinthians 12, Paul outlined the Gifts of the Holy Spirit to be [from highest to lowest] Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Faith, Gifts of Healing, Working of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning of spirits, divers kinds of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. Note that these Gifts are different from the Gifts of Jesus Christ [Eph. 4:7-11].
In John 14:26, Jesus said that the Father would send the Holy Ghost [the Comforter] who would teach us “all things” and bring “all things to your remembrance”. By way of job description, those are some of the Holy Spirit’s roles in the life of the Christian – i.e. to teach us all things and help us remember them. Another job of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus to believers [John 15:26] because Jesus could not bear witness of Himself [John 5:31]. What this means is that a true follower of Jesus must have the Holy Spirit. If you do not have the Holy Spirit, it simply means that you can easily be misled by heresies.
Jesus also told the disciples that they would not receive the Holy Spirit if He did not leave them [John 16:7]. However, He did say that when the Holy Spirit comes, “he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”, [John 16:8]. Most importantly Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead the believer “into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come”, [John 16:13-15].
In Acts 1:8, before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He told the disciples that the Holy Spirit would give them power to be witnesses of Him unto the uttermost part of the world. Then, during Pentecost when the Apostles gathered the Holy Spirit filled them, “and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance”, [Acts 2:4].
Now, this is where some Christian groups have created confusion. The question is can a Christian be filled with the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues? Some groups of Christians have blown the topic of speaking in tongues out of proportion; but thankfully, the Bible is there to clarify it for us. The Bible explained that those who spoke in tongues on Pentecost (i.e. all of them) spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. This means that they did not speak of their own will. In Acts 19:1-7, Apostle Paul baptized 12 people in the Name of Jesus and laid hands upon them. “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied”, [Acts 19:6]. Clearly, these people did not only speak in tongues but they also prophesied. Does that mean that every Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit must prophesy before He can be sure of being filled?
In Acts 10:45-46 too, some gentiles also spoke in tongues. Clearly, speaking in tongues happened in Acts 2, 10 and 19. Nevertheless, those who spoke in tongues were understood by people what they were saying; and in Acts 2 and 10, they magnified God in their tongues. Paul asked, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts”, [1 Cor. 12:29-31]. In 1 Cor. 14, Paul said that he wished everyone speak in tongues, but his desire is that everyone rather prophesies, because Prophecy is greater [1 Cor. 14:5]. Why would Paul say this if everyone must speak in tongues as evidence of being filled with the Spirit? The true Christian must know that Paul never mentions speaking in tongues as evidence of been filled by the Holy Spirit. More importantly, speaking in tongues is not even the highest gifts according to Paul.
Paul however gave the list of evidences of been filled with the Holy Spirit, which can be found in Ephesians 5:18-6:9. The evidences include: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always”, [Eph. 5:19-20] as well as husband and wife respecting each other. In the Book of Galatians, Paul said that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, He produced a FRUIT in us. He said “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: and against such there is no law”, [Gal. 5:22-23]. Paul never used plurals here, which means that the true Christian must demonstrate these as one. Also note that Paul said there is no law against these, because it is the Spirit of God that produces them.
To conclude, Paul told Timothy to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”, [2 Tim. 2:15]. Some people mis-interpret 1 Cor. 13:8 by saying that speaking in tongues will cease. But, Paul never said it will cease after the New Testament is complete. What we must understand is that it is the Spirit of God that gives these gifts. As Paul said, I urge everyone to also crave for these gifts, be it Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Working of Miracles, Prophecy or Speaking in tongues. Remember, God can never contradict Himself and since God is truth, His Word is also truth and can never contradict. The job of the Christian is to present the undiluted Word of God to sinners without any alteration or modification. This is what I do. I have presented you with the undiluted Word of God. God warns us in the book of Revelation not to add anything to His Words or remove anything from it. I believe in the Holy Spirit and His Gifts including speaking in tongues, but I do not believe that all Spirit-filled believers speak in tongues as clearly explained in the Bible by Paul [1 Cor. 12:29-31]. Stop the spiritual abuse.
Thank you and stay blessed.