THE PRESENT MOVE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
[ORIGINALLY PRODUCED AS A LEAFLET]
In these days of spiritual renewal, there appears to be growing
confusion over the subject of speaking in other tongues, in the context
* Is it necessary?
* Is it useful?
* Does it make you a better Christian?
* If you do speak in tongues, does it mean you have advanced further in
your spiritual experience than others who 'do not have the experience'?
* Does it mean, that you suddenly have gained superior knowledge, and
have a closer link with God?
* Do you still have the Holy Spirit if you don't speak in tongues?
There is obviously much confusion, both amongst those who have the
experience, and those who have not. It is high time we looked sensibly
at these questions, and put some of the claims to the test of
1 CORINTHIANS 12
There is a great diversity of gifts, and let's not think that we have a
complete list within this chapter, or that we can limit God to working
in these ways alone.
Within the Body of Christ, God has a part for all of us to play, and to
some of us, our part may appear more humble than others! [1 Corinthians
Whilst we are to eagerly seek the 'best' gifts, we will not all receive
the same ones. This is shown clearly in verses 29-31 of the chapter.
But by the same token, we can't say, "Oh I don't like that
one, it frightens me, I don't understand it - I think I'll give it a
We are by their very nature, dealing with gifts that are SUPERNATURAL!
That means, we cannot easily explain them, or even understand them, for
they are far beyond our ability to do that, as they are a part of the
spiritual realm, emanating from God Himself through His Spirit.
But of this let us be certain, they are for the good of the Church as a
whole, and not just for the individuals own satisfaction or pleasure.
(verse 7) None of the manifestations of the Spirit are meant to be a
kind of 'spiritual drug fix' to keep us going from one meeting to the
When we had some Bible studies on the Gifts of the Spirit, It was
stressed very strongly, that for everything God gives to us, and
for everything He does through the Christian, THE DEVIL HAS A
This can include, healings, supernatural revelation, speaking in other
tongues, the apparent casting out of demons, and a host of other, often
seemingly respectable, and dare I say even 'Christian like' things!
This comes out very clearly in Nicky Cruz's book 'Satan on the Loose'
he tells how his father's fame as a healer was spread abroad, and
people came from all parts to seek help and even deliverence from
demons! His father practised black magic.
Nicky, as a young boy witnessed many of these 'healings'.
In the book, he tells very graphically of one such occasion.
He says that a man was brought who seemed very ill, and there was a
huge swelling in his leg. Nicky got the impression that he would not
have long to live.
He says his father covered the leg with 'healing leaves' from the
garden, prayed to a certain spirit for deliverence, sprinkled water
over the leaves, getting the man to drink the rest.
Nicky says, that as he watched, five long things like worms slithered
out of the man's toe, as the swelling began to go down.
Such stories as this are not uncommon in countries where black magic
and witchcraft are openly practiced!
In fact it was not unknown for Nicky's father to CAST OUT EVIL
SPIRITS, on one occasion casting the spirit into a lizard, which took
off like a scalded cat!
Let us make no mistake, the devil can still appear as an angel of
light, and deceive even the unwary Christian!
YET "EVER OLD"
Many Christians are in a very deep rut, that becomes more like a trench
for their spiritual warfare - a place in which they can hide!!
Thank God for the renewal which is upon us, in the churches as a whole,
including the Salvation Army, where there is a reaffirmed
interest in the teaching and experience of the Holy Spirit.
But let us never be afraid to 'try the spirits' to make sure things are
genuine, and never be taken in by the devil's imitations.
Many are prophesying, healings are taking place, and other Gifts of the
Spirit are operating. In fact there is an uncanny resemblence to many
of the manifestations of the early revivals in which many denominations
had their beginnings.
This has brought about two things - the first, is a spiritual renewal
with many being saved healed, and restored. We thank God for this. But
the other thing that it has brought about, is opposition, and a
resurgence of prejudice and fear of the unknown.
No doubt, there are occasions where the testimony of those coming into
this personal spiritual renewal, perhaps with tongues and other
spiritual phenomena, has appeared threatening, frightening, perhaps
even antagonising, to those who down through the years have mistakenly
believed - this is not for today, and definitely not for us!
There are those who will react aggressively, because they view someone
else speaking about their own personal spiritual renewal, as pointing
the finger at them, and suggesting that they are lacking in some way.
What we each one should be saying, is "If this is of God, then He
gives it for a purpose, and perhaps it can be helpful to my
The overwhelming evidence is that it is an experience which is
transforming Christians and indeed whole churches and corps for the
God never works with two of us in exactly like manner - we are not
expected to go through His holy sausage machine, and all come out
looking the same, doing the same things, having the same ideas, or
possessing the same Spiritual Gifts.
God has always been a God of diversity - and will remain so!
Let us therefore, never try and force anyone into our 'mould', and also
realise, that God may not have the same things for someone else, which
He has for us - HE MAY HAVE EVEN BETTER!
Of all the Spiritual Gifts down through the years, probably that which
has been heralded as causing the most division amongst the Children of
God, is the Gift of Tongues.
This is partly because some who profess to speak in tongues, have taken
on an air of superiority which appeared to belittle those who had not
'attained to these great heights'.
So rather than some Christians consider the experience for themselves,
they have rejected the whole practice aggressively, and literally
thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
It has meant that to broach the subject at all, can risk an adverse
We can be certain that the Biblical Gift of Tongues, cannot cause
division! It is impossible, for we are speaking about a Gift of the
Spirit of God, and He is the Spirit of unity! [Ephesians 4:3]
But division has undoubtedly come about, and brothers and sisters in
Christ have been offended and rifts have developed! So why and how has
THE FILLING OF
THE HOLY SPIRIT
Often division has come about through a misunderstanding of the whole
concept of being filled with the Spirit, and the evidence of that
Lets face it, if someone tells you, after you've been a Christian for
many years, that you haven't got the Holy Spirit, because you don't
speak in tongues, DO THEY REALLY THINK YOU SHOULDN'T BE OFFENDED!!!
This is especially the case, when you are aware that your own spiritual
growth and stability, far exceeds that of the person uttering the
statement, even though they might well 'speak in tongues'!
There are those who apparently seek a 'BAPTISM IN TONGUES' and yet SUCH
AN EXPERIENCE IS UNHEARD OF IN SCRIPTURE!
If they mean the BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, then it is difficult to
over-emphasise THE INSULT GIVEN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT in replacing His
Blessed Name with one aspect of the experience which He gives. It is a
bit like worshipping the creation, rather than the Creator.
Unfortunately today, we find some Christians with a froth and bubble
experience, which has little or no substance, and when put to the test,
blows away in the breeze! Let us remember that the letter from which we
get most of our teaching on tongues, was written to one of the most
unruly, un-spiritual and immature churches in Scripture!
So obviously, contrary to the impression sometimes given, an experience
of 'tongues' is not a simple 'fix-all' for our spiritual experience!
BUT IN SPITE OF ALL THAT, THERE IS A VERY REAL SCRIPTURAL BAPTISM
IN THE SPIRIT, WHICH CAN OFTEN TODAY, AS IN BIBLE DAYS, BE
ACCOMPANIED BY GLOSSOLALIA, OR SPEAKING IN LANGUAGES NOT KNOWN TO THE
This is undoubtedly both in Scripture and experience, a supernatural
evidence of the Spirit's Baptism, but let us never be tempted to think
that it is the only sign, or that those who do not possess it are in
some way 'second class' Christians!
It is patently obvious to those with a knowledge of Scripture that it
is stated clearly that all Christians are NOT expected to speak in
tongues, and that there are other even more important gifts which
should be actively sought after! [1 Corinthians 12:29-31 & 14:12]
The Scripture instructs us not to try and dissuade anyone from wishing
to speak in tongues. [1 Corinthians 14:39]
Tongues, used aright as part of our prayer life, will be spiritually
helpful to us, and used in meetings, as a Gift of the Spirit, along
with the Gift of Interpretation, will help the whole assembly.
[1 Corinthians 14:4, 13,14,26]
As a young Christian, I remember a lovely man of God, a Pentecostal
pastor in a large church. He did not speak in tongues - but many other
Gifts of the Spirit just flowed through his life!
After all, some of the most greatly used pastors, preachers and
evangelists down through the years, have been people, who although
gifted by the Spirit in many ways, bear no witness to speaking in
As intimated earlier, this does not mean that we can discard the
experience, or encourage others to do so. On the contrary, God never
gives anything that is superfluous, and for those who possess the Gift,
they, like the Apostle Paul, will find it beneficial in their spiritual
But let us also bear in mind the warning given by Paul that if we do
not keep other aspects of our spiritual lives maintained, then (even
though we may speak in tongues) we can end up as nothing more than
"BLARING BRASS OR CRASHING CYMBAL."
[1 Corinthians 13:1 - Phillips]
Tongues must be given their place - no more, and no less, and we must
always realise, that it is but one of the many faceted manifestations
of God the Holy Spirit in our lives. [1 Corinthians 14:18,19]