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TONGUES


T he Oneness groups believe that until one has spoken in tongues they do not have the Holy Spirit and thus are not saved.1 They see no difference between the infilling (or baptism) of the Spirit, which is about empowering for service (Acts 1:5,8; 2:4,11; 4:31), and the indwelling (or possession) of the Holy Spirit in the believer.

An individual is indwelt with the Holy Spirit as soon as they exercise their faith and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:2-3; Eph. 1:13; John 7:38, 39), for faith itself is a work of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:7, 9). Speaking in tongues is not the gift of the Spirit but ONE of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:4-11). Paul makes it even more clear when he asks the rhetorical question, "Do all speak in tongues?" Of course not! - since neither are all apostles, and not all are prophets, nor is everyone a teacher, etc. (1 Cor. 12:29-30).

The Oneness theology creates it's own contradictions. On the one hand there are those who have spoken in tongues but have not been "correctly" baptized, suggesting that they are "acceptable" to God to a point where God will come and dwell within them while their sins are not yet forgiven. On the other hand, there are those who have been "correctly" baptized but have never spoken in tongues, suggesting that they have had their sins forgiven, but who for some reason are not yet "acceptable" to God for Him to come and dwell within them! If the coming of the Holy Spirit only occurs after, and as a result of, one's own self-purification then it is a different gospel (2 Cor. 11:4) for it would then really be only a reward and not a free gift (Acts 2:38; 8:19-20; 10:45, etc.) .


Acts 2:4; 10:45-46 and 19:6

These and other implicit passages of Scripture is what Oneness groups use to base their understanding of the necessity of tongues as a sign of one's receiving the Holy Spirit.2 It must first be observed that if this is true - and Oneness believers insist that they conform to the pattern found in the Book of Acts - why is there no instance of anyone "seeking" or begging for the Spirit? Moreover, it does not appear that anyone is even expecting to speak in tongues.

What you will find is the Holy Spirit simply "falling" on people. There is nothing anywhere in the Bible that comes close to showing someone begging God for the Holy Spirit or trying for days or years to purify themselves so that the Holy Spirit will come. Relatedly, you will find that the Holy Spirit falls on all the believers at the same time. Is one to believe that each of these believers just "happened" to finally purify and surrender themselves at the exact same time? Of course not!

It also must be pointed out that the book of Acts was written by Luke and is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke. In these two books, he was writing as a historian and not as a theologian. Because Theophilus had already been taught the Gospel, Luke's purpose of writing was not to reteach him, but to tell how all "the things that have been fulfilled among us" came about (Luke 1:1-4).

To say what happened is not the same as saying what should always happen. If Oneness proponents are so strong in their belief that everything written in Acts is to be taken as a standard practice for the church then why do they not witness all of the things mentioned in connection with the outpouring of the Spirit such as the sound of a violent blowing wind, tongues of fire on their heads, AND people understanding their tongues (Acts 2:1-4,11) each time one of them "receives the Holy Spirit?"

Some would respond by referencing Matthew 18:16 (taking it out of context of course) and say that because there are more than two passages where tongues is associated with the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it therefore proves that tongues is the initial evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. However, there are several passages that describe a person as being filled with the Holy Spirit, yet there is no mention of them "speaking in tongues" (Acts 2:17-18, 38; 4:8, 31; 9:17-19; 13:9, 52). So what do we do now? Count them and delcare the one with the most passages as the correct doctrine? I think not! Furthermore, there are two passages where you will find people selling all their private property and sharing all things in common (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37). Yet you would not find Oneness proponents declaring this to be something that all believers must obey.


1. Word Aflame Press Tract, The Apostles' Doctrine (#6103).; Daniel Jauhall, Pneumatology: Part 2, Preserving Doctrinal Unity, Apostolic Biblical Expositor, 2nd Quarter (Manna Apostolic Publications, Los Angeles, CA, 1994), 36.

2. Word Aflame Press Tract, The Apostles' Doctrine (#6103).; Daniel Jauhall, Pneumatology: Part 2, Preserving Doctrinal Unity, Apostolic Biblical Expositor, 2nd Quarter (Manna Apostolic Publications, Los Angeles, CA, 1994), 35-36.

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