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Baptism For ALL Who Are Far Off
Both my wife and I received this experience at our salvation back in 1971. We did not know what it was, for we had no one at that time to explain it. Both of us related that this “outpouring” was indeed an “outpouring”—the experience, to me, was like warm liquid love being poured over, not only my physical body, but over my soul and spirit. It was a wonderful feeling. Not only this, but I began to hear a strange language in my head, words that I did not understand, nor would they go away. Being too proud to utter such words (thinking my wife would not understand), I would repeat these words in my mind only. My wife had the same experience, but she chose to say her words, which were not hers at all, but Words of the Spirit. She did this often, and her Spirit language increased. It wasn’t until several months later at several old ladies’ prayer meeting (they were Spirit-filled too!) that I finally, after they laid hands on me and shook me, and commanded me (thank God!), that I spoke out these tongues. Well, that was over 41 years ago, and we both have this gift in abundance.
I want to make it clear here that we do not belong to any particular Spirit-filled denomination, nor are we part of, or have anything to do with, this modern Charismatic movement, or even a Pentecostal church. We have the Charismatic gifts and the Pentecostal experience, but we not only feel but also know that some of this “Spirit” stuff that is attributed to the Holy Ghost borders on religious delusion, and sometimes enters into “religious” demon activity. I wish I did not have to say this, but it is true. Of course ,we did, at one time, belong to a Pentecostal church. We were ordained and did missionary work in Mexico. It was there that we began to see strange things that we felt were not of God’s Holy Spirit. After five years, we left. But we still tried to stay in fellowship with other Spirit-filled believers. Finally, the Lord called us to start our own missionary Corps known as Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps. This was done in 1982.
I BELIEVE in the baptism of the Holy Ghost and all the gifts listed in 1 Cor. 12. In Chapters 12–14, Paul the great Spirit-apostle deals with the gifts of the Holy Spirit given to the body of believers. These gifts were an indispensable part of the early Church’s life and ministry. The Lord intends that these same gifts CONTINUE in operation until He returns in glory. It tells us in 1 Cor. 1:7, “Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.”
His purposes for the spiritual gifts are as follows:
a. TO MANIFEST the grace, love and power of the Holy Spirit among His people in their public meetings, homes, families, and individual lives (vv. 4-7; 14:25; Rom. 15:18-19; Eph. 4:8);
b. To help make the teaching/preaching of the Gospel effective by giving supernatural confirmation to the message (Mark 16:15-20; Acts 14:8-18; 16:16-18; 19:11-20; 28:1-10);
c. To meet human needs and to strengthen and build up spiritually both the Ekklesia (vv. 7, 14-30; 14:3, 12, 26) and individual Christians (14:4) i.e., to perfect Christians in His love, which comes form a PURE heart and a GOOD conscience and a SINCERE faith (1 Tim.1:5; 1 Cor.13). These things: pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith, are mostly missing today in both Spirit-filled and non-Spirit-filled churches. Sadly, what remains is “religious flesh” posing as Spirit!
d. To wage effective spiritual warfare against Satan and ALL his dirty works and demons. (Acts 8:5-7; 26:18; Eph. 6:11-12). (By the sad state of affairs in all churches today, spiritual warfare has been discarded years ago!)
Passages dealing with spiritual gifts can be found in Romans 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 1:7, 12-14; Eph. 4:4-16; 1 Peter 4:10, 11. The terms that the Bible uses specify their nature, “Spiritual gifts” (Gk, pneumatika, derived from pneuma, “Spirit”) refers to supernatural (miraculous) manifestations that come as gifts from the Holy Ghost operating through Christian believers for the common good (vv. 1, 7; 14:1). Sadly, the non-believers miss out on God’s “Spirit Power”; therefore, they are left to work by the power of “religious flesh!” How much could be done by HIS SPIRIT??
“Gifts” (“grace gifts”) (Gk. charismatos, derived from charis, “grace”) indicates that spiritual gifts involve both an inward motivation and the POWER to PERFORM your calling /ministry, (i.e., actualized enablement), received from the Spirit of the Living God! Amen and Amen!! Such gifts strengthen spiritually the BELIEVING EKKLESIA and those in need of spiritual help (and all should) (v. 4; see also Romans 12:6; Eph 4:11; 1 Peter 4:10.)
“Service” or “ministries” (Gk. diakoniai, derived from diakonia, “service”) emphasizes that there are different ways and means of service and that certain gifts involve receiving the ability and POWER to help others (vv. 4-5, 27-31; Eph. 4:7, 11-13). The apostle Paul indicates that the “ministry” aspect of the gifts reflect the “servant” ministry of Jesus our Lord. So, the operation of the gifts is defined in terms of Christ’s presence and operation among us (cf. v. 3; 1:4)
“Working” or “effects” (Gk. energemata, from energes, “active, energetic”) signifies that spiritual gifts are direct operations of the POWER of GOD and produce certain results (vv. 6, 10).
Lastly, “The manifestation of the Spirit” (Gk. phanerosis, from phaneros, “manifest”) emphasizes that spiritual gifts are direct manifestations of the working and promise of the Holy Ghost in the congregation (vv. 7-11). In the manifestation of spiritual gifts, Christ Jesus Himself ministers by the Spirit through His Spirit-filled people (vv. 12-27; Matt. 25:40). More will follow on the manifestation of the Spirit in other articles.
I would like to mention, in closing, my introductory scripture, 1 Cor. 12:13, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” This baptism “by one Spirit” refers neither to water, nor to Christ’s baptism of the believer in the Holy Ghost, such as occurred on the day of Pentecost. This will be the subject matter of my following articles. Rather, it refers to the Spirit’s baptizing believers into Christ’s universal body, uniting them in the body and making them spiritually one with other believers. Basically, it is a Spirit transformation (i.e., regeneration) that occurs upon REPENTANCE, and then CONVERSION, and puts the believer “in Christ.”
Spiritual gifts must be used, not in pride, (God help all of us!) or for personal exaltation. Sadly, too many now use the gifts to get RICH and POPULAR. Much needs to be said here, but I’ll limit my studies to what “used to be” and what “should be.”
My next article will deal with, “WERE TONGUES GIVEN AT PENTECOST TO BRIDGE A LANGUAGE BARRIER AND PREACH THE GOSPEL?” I’ll be using NP, short for non-Pentecostal. The NP ministers often claim that the Lord gave tongues at Pentecost (Acts 2) to enable the apostles to preach the Gospel to foreign Jews attending the feast. Donald L. Barrett and Jeff T. McGregor, in their scholarly book, “Speaking in Other Tongues” state:
“Non-Pentecostal ministers often claim that God gave tongues on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) to enable the apostles to preach the Gospel to foreign Jews attending the feast.
Now, I respectfully ask: Where do these ministers get the idea that the apostles were preaching the Gospel in tongues? The text nowhere says they were preaching. And why do they say that only the apostles were preaching in other tongues, instead of including the rest of “about an hundred and twenty” male disciples, plus women, who spoke in tongues?
Nowhere does it say that the twelve apostles, except for Peter, preached to the crowd. And Peter did not preach in other tongues, for he was well aware of what he was saying (When one prays in an unknown tongue, his spirit prays, but his understanding is unfruitful, 1 Cor. 14:14).
Peter did speak in tongues also, but that was when he and the others were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began praising God together in tongues before the multitude of Jews had assembled (v. 4). If they were preaching, why did they preach before the people gathered? After all, the tongues were what attracted the crowds to the upper room (v. 6). And why would it be necessary to preach to the foreign Jews in many languages, since the dispersed Jews all shared a common language?
And why would the disciples all preach the Gospel at once? That would be utter confusion! Why didn’t they divide up the crowd by languages and preach to each group separately, without confusion? No church today would consider allowing many preachers to speak at the same time! Only if each one was praying to God, not preaching to man, could such a practice be justified. NON-CHARISMATICS HAVE NO SATISFACTORY ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS!
If “the apostles” were preaching one at a time, as some say, then why did the mockers say they were drunk? Everyone knew that Jews from many countries were attending the feast. If there was a language barrier, wouldn’t they be accustomed to standing by while various interpretations were made for the foreign Jews? And how could these unlettered apostles be accused of drunkenness if they were suddenly enabled to preach in foreign languages? Do drunks do that?
Why is it that all those who believe that tongues were for preaching the Gospel are in the non-Charismatic camp? The Charismatic scholars (most of whom were once non-Charismatic scholars, including men with earned doctorates, esteemed in the church) do not think tongues were used to preach the Gospel. Why not? And if the non-Charismatics really have any proof for the “tongues for preaching” position, why is it that many of their own Bible commentators desert them on this point? (The following commentators reject the "tongues for preaching" theory, either directly (by refuting it) or indirectly (by stating that the disciples were praising God rather than preaching): Lyman Abbott; Henry Alford; M. Baumgarten (Apostolic History); J. A. Bengel; David Brown (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary); P.C. Cook (Anglican Bishops' Commentary); Davidson, Stibbs, and Kevan (New Bible Commentary); AC. Gaebelein; P. J. Gloag; RC. H. Lenski; H.A.W. Meyer: G. Campbell Morgan; ER Plumptre (Ellicott’s Commentary); RB. Rackham; A.T. Robertson; John Wesley.) And if they believe that God gave tongues to bridge a language barrier, why are they against tongues? And why doesn’t anyone offer any Scriptural or historical proof for a language barrier, that we may also see it and be convinced?
The only reason anti-tongues teachers could have for advancing such unbiblical, anti-historical, and illogical theories, is that THEY SIMPLY CANNOT ACCEPT THE IDEA THAT TONGUES ARE THE SIGN OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, FOR THAT WOULD UPSET THEIR THEOLOGICAL APPLE CART! Their church tradition compels them to find some other purpose for tongues—something that would lend credence to the idea that “tongues have ceased.” They can breathe a lot easier when reading the book of Acts if they can somehow deduce that tongues were only for unusual and temporary purposes. And this is exactly the kind of interpretation they have come up with, as unscriptural as it is.
Before determining whether tongues were given at Pentecost to bridge a language barrier, we must answer a more primary question. Was there a language barrier to bridge? This chapter examines the records of history and Scripture to prove that there was not (cf. pgs. 17&18).
Baptism For ALL Who Are Far Off
~Part 1~ by General James Green
THE LANGUAGE BARRIER?
W HEN THE APOSTLE Peter preached to the crowd on the day of Pentecost, they understood him well. The fact is that there was no confusion, for he had to have preached in either Aramaic or Greek. Scholars are divided on this.
A.] Aramaic language in a historical perspective:
It is agreed among Bible scholars that the first-century Jews’ language in Palestine was Aramaic. [see Colin Brown, ed., “The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology,” Vol. 1, pg. 51]. Aramaic is, as some say, the close cousin of Hebrew, and had at that time in history replaced the Jews’ native tongue. This ancient Near-Eastern language had its beginning during Israel’s 70-year Babylonian Captivity.
During Jesus’ day, Scriptures were read in Hebrew during synagogue meetings. The language was still considered “sacred.” The Hebrew language was then translated into the Aramaic vernacular, [see Alfred Edersheim, “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,” Vol. 1, pg. 10]. So the Diaspora Jews that came to the annual Jewish feasts had to have known Aramaic (or Hebrew) in order to participate in the synagogue services.
It is reported that most Jews spoke Aramaic. Researchers say that the Jewish population of Egypt and Babylon was greater than Jerusalem and they spoke Aramaic. The Greek-speaking Jews were smaller and more scattered (w. Zacher, “Aramaic Language Among the Jews,” “The Jewish Encyclopedia” ed. by Isidore Singer, Vol. 2, pg. 69.) They say that even among these, many kept their knowledge of Aramaic, especially the devout ones.
Since the time of the Persian and Assyrian empires, Aramaic was the international language from the border of India on the east to Egypt and Asia Minor on the west. This is stated according to “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,” Vol. pg. 222, under “Aramaic Language.” All this territory would include most of that mentioned in Acts 2.
According to Acts 21:37, 38, the Chief Captain thought Paul was an Egyptian and was surprised that he knew Greek. This tells us that he expected Aramaic, not Greek as his language. According to “The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible,” (Vol. 1, pg. 188), the Aramaic language remained the most popular tongue of the east until displaced by Arabic in the Moslem Conquests of the 8th Century.
The existence of several Syriac (Aramaic) N.T. Versions is evidence that many Christians east of the Mediterranean found it necessary to have the Greek Scriptures translated into their Aramaic tongue (Ibid., pg.189). In Kurdistan today, this language is spoken by both Christian and Jew.