When Baptists Speak In Tongues
Copyright (C) 1989/2003
By Phil Scovell
All Rights Reserved
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WHEN BAPTISTS SPEAK IN TONGUES
"How did a nice fundamental independent Baptist like you get
mixed up with the Charismatics?" This implies, I suppose, that I
am no longer nice, fundamental, independent, or Baptist. That's
why I'm seated at my computer writing this booklet. I want you,
especially my Baptist friends, to know why, as a Baptist; I began
to believe in speaking in tongues.
This is not My Story, but God's; how He brought me to what
Charismatics call, and as you will see what Jesus called, "The
baptism of the Spirit."
Please read with an open mind. If you're a Baptist, as I am
[once a Baptist- always a Baptist?] and if, because of doctrinal
convictions, you find it impossible to read objectively; please
read it anyway - then judge. Have I gone beyond Scriptural
bounds or, in fact, am I obedient to God's Holy Word? Either
way, you'll never be sorry you read this story.
COMPLETE IN HIM,
PHILIP L. SCOVELL
When I began to speak in tongues as a Baptist, I of course
had to leave the Baptist church. My doctrinal beliefs and
Scriptural convictions remained the same; but fellowship simply
could no longer be managed without conflict. I still believe in
the virgin birth of Christ, salvation by confessing Jesus as
Lord, the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures, the deity
of Christ [Jesus is God] in His bodily resurrection, His soon
return, water baptism by immersion, and the security of the
Believer; to name a few. My belief in tongues, however,
separated, divided, us. Why? As Baptists, we believed it wrong
to fellowship with other Christians that differed with us
doctrinally. Besides, if they disagreed doctrinally, "were they
really Christians - saved?" Tongues, we felt, was a principal
doctrine in Scripture and if wrong in one; there would be
doctrinal error elsewhere. I personally believe that fear played
a big part in our rejection of Charismatics. Admittedly some
Charismatics seem to go out of their way to be weird; but beyond
that, as Baptists, we may have secretly been fearful of "tongues
simply from a lack of clear Biblical knowledge. This was, of
course, because of our own doctrinal bias; but largely do to poor
representation by many Charismatics. Tongues is not an experience
but a doctrine. A doctrine of choice, however; and if one
chooses not to believe in tongues; fine! It is no more required
for salvation than being a fundamental independent Baptist. It
is, on the other hand, in the Bible; and one must either believe
or not believe. "Does speaking in tongues make one more
spiritual?" No more than being a Baptist. "Then why do it?"
That's what we are about to discover.
Before going into much detail, I think it wise to relate
just what kind of a Baptist I was - am? I was saved, born again,
as a young child in an Evangelical Free church. My Father,
however, decided to take us to an independent Baptist church when
I was about eight years old. This Baptist church was a member of
an association called (GARBC); General Association of Regular
Baptist Churches. These are fundamental independent Baptist
churches - not a denomination; but a collection of independent
Baptists who believe alike and support their own GARBC Bible
colleges and missionaries. It was to one such Bible college I
enrolled upon graduating from high school in 1970 - The name of
which, for those reading this story who may be familiar, is Faith
Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, Iowa.
After getting married in January of 1972, I felt led to move
to Denver, Colorado; primarily to join an independent Baptist
church not associated with any group or denomination. I was an
active member of South Sheridan Baptist Church of Denver for
thirteen years and owe much of what God has done for me to Dr. Ed
Nelson; the pastor.
What kind of a Baptist was I? I became a deacon in my
church at the age of twenty-one. I gave twenty-five percent of
my income, at one time, to the church; and rarely missed a church
service. I taught Sunday school, read my Bible daily, supported
missions, won the lost to Christ, preached the Gospel as a
traveling evangelist, prayed, committed hundreds of Scripture
verses to memory, and was an anti-ecumenicalist. My Father had
been a Baptist pastor as a layman, my sisters went to Baptist
colleges, and my Mother was active in all phases of ministry in
the Baptist churches we attended. Furthermore, I was a
separatist. That means I did not own a television, I did not
believe in going to movies, and I did not allow my wife to wear
I gave up my secular job in 1975 and traveled full time as a
Baptist evangelist; holding revival meetings in independent
Baptist churches. Later, in 1978, I worked with another pastor
as his assistant in a small town in western Colorado. Besides
holding revivals, I became the youth pastor, worked in nursing
homes, lead the song services, taught Sunday school, did
visitation for the church, and nearly anything else I could think
of to do. My favorite preachers were: Dr. Jack Hyles, Dr. Bob
Jones, Dr. John R. Rice, Dr. Harold Sightler, Dr. J. Harold
Smith, and many other such great independent Baptists with which
Baptist readers would be familiar. In short, I was a happy
Baptist and assiduously practiced what I believed.
Concerning tongues and the Charismatic movement; I preached
arduously against all such doctrine. I did not believe tongues
was for today, I did not believe in healing as the Charismatics,
and I did not believe there was any such Biblical bases for an
experience commonly referred to by Charismatics as "The baptism
of the Spirit." I believed if Charismatics were not demon
possessed they were, at least, psychologically and emotionally
Why say all this? I believe my Baptist heritage is
important. Most independent Baptists know the Bible well and are
not easily fooled. Many Charismatics, on the other hand, are
often amenable; because they have learned to believe God. This is
no excuse, however, to ignore personal responsibility to God's
Word. As Christians, we are all required to search the
Scriptures and to know God through His Word. It was exactly
that, God's Word, which led me to be filled with the Holy Spirit
in August of 1982. It is my Baptist heritage, I believe, that
made it a reality; without which I doubt I ever would have been
filled with the Holy Spirit. The purpose for laying this
foundation is to demonstrate how God is able to work in anyone's
heart and life if they are willing to seek Him. If someone would
have told me before 1982 that I would some day pastor a
Charismatic church, I would have laughed! It isn't funny now; so
Let me show you what happens "When Baptists Speak In Tongues."
This is not an autobiography; Yet I think it important to
share enough of my background to allow the reader to see how God
worked throughout my life so please bear with me.
I was born in Des Moines, Iowa on February 29, 1952. Yes!
Leap year. I know it is hard to believe but it is true. This
would not be the only unique thing to happen in my life in the
years to follow; but I must admit, it is not as fun having a
birthday only once every four years. You don't get as many
Des Moines was a good place to be raised and I have many
fond memories of life there. It was there that my Father began
preaching on weekends in small churches all around central Iowa.
Many of them were little churches in farming communities too
small to afford full time pastors. We often went with Dad and
many of our Sundays were spent on farms as my Dad ministered in
I was saved at age five. My Dad and I were home alone while
Mom was away camping out at a nearby lake with some of the
teenage girls from the church. Billy Graham was on TV that night
and preached a message on the Cross of Christ. Later that night,
as we went to bed, I asked my Dad what the preacher on the TV had
been talking about. He explained; and when he finished, he asked
if I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. We knelt by the bed and
I prayed; asking Jesus to be my Saviour.
No one had ever intimated what it might be like to receive
Christ as Lord so there was no way I could have fabricated what
happened next. I can only describe it now as I did then: It was
like a wind blew through me and I felt I had been cleansed from
the inside-out. Remember those old "White Tornado" commercials
on TV back in the 1950's? Well, that's how I felt. Like a white
tornado had blown through my body and made me clean - whole.
That is what it means to be born again.
Frankly, my life was a simple middle income American boy's
life. I played marbles, road bikes, roller skated, swam, fished,
climbed trees, ate popcycles, hated girls - until I got older, of
course - caught frogs, played ball, collected worms, flew kites
- you get the picture. Quite simply, I was a normal kid, for the
most part; but there were events, soon to come, in my life which
would have abstruse effect for as long as I would live.
In the fall of 1963, my Dad became suddenly ill and was
rushed to a local hospital. Numerous test were conducted and
even surgery performed to determine the cause of internal
bleeding. Three weeks later he Died without any medical
explanation. An eleven year old boy, with three sisters, needs a
dad; but I was suddenly alone.
Although my Dad was a layman, his relationship with the Lord
was the most important, valuable, thing in his life. I often
woke early in the morning, 'round 4:00 A.M., and stumbled
downstairs to get in bed with my folks. There he was! Seated at
the kitchen table studying the Bible. He would not be leaving
for his secular job for another two hours or so; yet he believed
it important to be in God's Word daily.
As I grew, my Dad showed me how to win the lost to Christ
without ever teaching me. He did so by example. He was always
leading people to Christ and as I watched him do so, I learned.
When my Dad died, I knew God was calling me to preach. When
I was asked by a man who, by the way, had been won to Christ by
my Father, "Do you still feel called to preach?" I replied
affirmatively and without hesitation. I was, of course, going to
be a (Baptist) preacher; like my Dad.
Exactly one year to the date of my Dad's death, November 13, Exactly one
1964, I was discharged from the Iowa University Hospital in Iowa
City, Iowa and pronounced totally blind. Just six months after
my Father's death in 1963, I began to see dark brown spots
floating in my vision and after going to a specialist, it was
determined my retinas were beginning to detach. Although such
eye surgery is common and generally successful, my retinas, were
simply being shredded by the inner eye muscles and after six
months and a dozen operations/treatments, I was released and told
nothing more could be done. Going blind at the age of twelve was
bad enough but there was school to think about.
A month after loosing my sight, I had to leave home and go
to a school for the blind nearly fifty miles from my home. We
had since moved to Omaha, Nebraska and it was to the Nebraska
school for the blind I was sent. I went to school during the
week and came home most weekends. It was there I learned Braille
and other related techniques needed to communicate with a sighted
As I entered high school, I began to think about going back
to a public school. After all, I would be doing exactly that
when I went to college; so why not get it over with now? I
finished my junior and senior years in a public high school in
Omaha and used volunteer students to help me read my assignments
and took oral examines; thus preparing for college.
It was at Benson High in Omaha, a school of 2,600 students
and I the only blind student, where I became involved with drugs.
I suppose I was angry with God for allowing me to go blind and
drugs afforded expression for my anger. It was additionally the
result of making new friends. I had grown spiritually cold, as
so many young church kids often do, and I made friends with a
teenage girl who happened to be a drug user at school. Within a
month I was smoking marijuana and doing speed and LSD. It is not
intrinsic to detail my drug experiences but it was very dramatic
and perhaps I will tell it some day. I will say, however, I
was on my ninth LSD trip when God got my attention. It was not a
pleasant experience but God won.
In my final semester of high school, a teacher introduced me
to a lady who later became my wife. Every teenager wants to
learn to play the drums -I was no different. This teacher had
run across a young lady who was also blind and gave drum lessons.
My teacher pestered me for a couple of weeks, asking me daily if
I had contacted the drum teacher. I did not tell her but frankly
I did not want to meet a (blind girl) even if she did play the
drums. I already had enough problems of my own, I figured, why
add to them? Finally, however, I gave in and called just to get
the teacher off my back. To make a long story short, I never got
any drum lessons but I did get married to Sandy in my second year
of Bible college.
After graduating from high school in 1970, I went to Bible
college to prepare for the ministry. The problem was, however, I
suddenly realized, while in Bible college; that I was not at all
sure if I could make it in a sighted world. I knew I could
graduate from college without any difficulty, but could I make it
in a sighted society? Because of this concern, I left Bible
college after my second year and married Sandy in January 1972.
Shortly after our marriage, I got a job in the Welfare
department in Omaha as an assistant to a social worker. I had
about thirty-five to forty blind clients and it was my
responsibility to find jobs for them. I learned a lot in a short
period of time but quickly recognized the influence of the world
upon my life as a Christian. The pestiferous hippy culture of
the late 1960's still had a strong pull on my life as a young
married man and the sinuous philosophy of my fellow social
workers did not help. I decided I needed some authoritative
Biblical influence in my life and thus we moved to Denver,
Colorado to join a strong fundamental independent Baptist church
where some of my family already attended.
In Denver I began to mature spiritually and as I worked a
secular job - operating a snackbar lunch counter sponsored by the
state agency for the blind - I became involved in every area of
church work I could. I spent thirteen years in South Sheridan
Baptist Church. It was in this church that I finally submitted
myself to the call of God for ministry.
Giving up my job in February 1975, I went full-time into the
ministry as a traveling Baptist evangelist; preaching revival
meetings throughout the midwest and along the west coast. Sandy
traveled with me in the early days and sang in all my meetings.
Meetings were typically a week long and I traveled and spoke
wherever God open doors.
One summer, while preaching in camps in western Colorado, I
made friends with a pastor who encouraged me greatly in the
ministry. Sandy and I had been praying about leaving Denver for
a smaller community and less than a year later we found ourselves
moving to a small town in western Colorado with a population of
just eight hundred.
I became the assistant pastor in a Baptist church of about
sixty people and it was there God began to prepare me for the
pastorate. The pastor taught me much about the ministry and
allowed me to do everything available in a local church ministry.
As I began to scrutinize my life and call to the ministry, I
realized I was called; but I myself had personally chosen to
become an evangelist. Why? I had regarded myself incapable of
pastoring a church due to my blindness. I could - anyone could -
be an evangelist and that must have been what God wanted me to
do; I concluded. My experience as an assistant pastor taught me
otherwise. Thus I was ordained and began to look for a church to
In the summer of 1978 the pastor I was working with felt God
calling him elsewhere. He called me into his office one Sunday
evening and told me what he was planning. He, and I both, felt
sure the church would call me as their next pastor. We were
wrong! As soon as a three-man pulpit committee was chosen, I was
immediately rejected. Not because of my doctrine or teaching,
but, I was told, I was blind - "How could a blind man pastor a
After the pastor's resignation, I was asked to fill in as an
interim pastor until a new man could be found. Following the
examination of three candidates, one was chosen. I stayed to help
out with the new pastor until it became financially impossible to
remain. After selling our home, we returned to live in Denver.
Upon returning to Denver, I began to call pastors to try and
regain my ministry as an evangelist. I did preach a few times
but by this time the rejection I had experienced was beginning to
spiritually exacerbate. Money ran out and so did my desire to go
on. I began to experience deep depression, severe headaches,
sleepless nights, and low self-esteem. My headaches became so
severe that I occasionally vomited from the pain. I seemed to
have lost everything and God's Word was no longer working for me.
I did the only thing left to do; I learned to pray.
On June 1, 1982, I decided there must be an answer for me
and I knew it would be found in God's Word. That day I promised
God I would pray a certain amount of time each day to seek Him
for the answers to two major questions: "What did it mean to be
filled with the Holy Spirit and how could I get my prayers
answered?" Each day I studied my Bible and prayed looking in
Scripture for the answers to these two questions. I studied and
restudied over-and-over again Romans 8, Galatians 5, and
Ephesians 5; looking for the key to the Spirit filled life. I
honestly did not believe someone like me could, or would, ever be
filled with the Holy Spirit; but I would, at least, find out the
answer to what it meant to be filled.
I could write a book on the things that happened during the
summer of 1982 but I will save that for another time. I did pray
daily, however, seeking God for the truth about the Spirit filled
life and although a number of financial blessings occurred during
that time and other dramatic answers to prayer were experienced,
my prayer concerning the filling of the Spirit was left
unanswered until the first week of August 1982.
One day I said to my wife, "I feel like something is going
to happen and I can't explain what I mean." Something did!
As I continued to pray in my little office in the basement
of the rented house we were living in, I suddenly became keenly
aware of the presence of God. I began to understand the
Scriptures on what it meant to be filled with the Spirit. I
suddenly, for the first time in my life, loved to pray and could
not get enough of it. It was like a drug and I was addicted.
God was everywhere in my life and for nine long months I knew God
personally and intimately as I had never dreamed possible. The
Holy Spirit during this time became a real person to me and I
amerced myself in God.
Charismatics may find it interesting to hear that at this
time I still did not believe in speaking in tongues. In fact, I
was convinced in my heart that speaking in tongues had nothing to
do with being filled with the Holy Spirit and indeed had passed
away. I was nearly right. Acts 1:8 says, "And ye shall receive
power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." The evidence
of one filled with the Spirit is not tongues but power. Tongues
is, however, the sign - evidence - of that power; for no one can
speak in tongues except the Holy Spirit give them utterance (Acts
2:4). I had been filled with the Spirit, however, but we must
always remember: God will never give us anything unless we first
For many months I enjoyed my new relationship with my
Heavenly Father through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. I began
to teach on the subject and found others beginning to enquire as
to my change. Some Christian men invited me to breakfast to
discuss this new understanding of God's Word on the subject of
the Holy Spirit which I had personally experienced. I was even
asked to come and teach in one Brother's Baptist church on the
subject of the Spirit filled life for several days. Two years
later, however, I began to realized God had only answered my
question on the Spirit filled life. What about prayer?
In the fall of 1983, we moved into a home which the Lord
made possible for us to buy. After settling in, I began to think
about what had happened a little more than a year earlier. Yes,
I had been filled with the Spirit but I suddenly realized I had
not received an answer to my question on the subject of prayer.
I decided to go back to God and ask Him to teach me how to get my
Several months passed and I felt no wiser on the subject.
It just would not come. As I sought the Lord, a number of things
began to happen. I lost a large portion of my business and after
a couple of months of trying to figure out what to do, I
solicited a business loan and expanded. My life became very busy
as my business began to grow. I began making more money than I
ever dreamed possible; but somehow something did not seem right.
As the months went by, I became more and more concerned
about my finances and business. There was definitely something
that did not feel right and the only way I knew of solving that
problem was to inquire of God.
One evening, as I prayed in my office, I asked the Lord to
give me wisdom concerning my finances. I was still seeking the
Lord on answered prayer, too, but the finances were my greatest
concern. Suddenly the Lord spoke to me! It was not an audible
voice but was that still small voice from within that we often
fail to hear because we simply have not been listening. The
Lord, through the Holy Spirit, told me three things in quick
succession. As I enquired as to the needed wisdom, the Lord
"You can have this wisdom for which you ask; but you must
first have a prayer language."
This, as a Fundamental Independent Baptist, disturbed me greatly.
I did not believe in speaking in tongues nor did I wish to
believe. I knew what that would mean for a Baptist. My problem
was, however, I understood what God was telling me. I had been
doing business with Charismatics for a number of years. Plus, I
often listened to the radio as I worked and many times I chose to
listen to Charismatic Bible teachers because they taught so much
on prayer. I ignored them, however, when they taught on tongues
and healing. I was familiar therefore with the term (prayer
language). Thus, when the Holy Spirit used that term, I knew
exactly what God was saying.
The second thing the Lord revealed to me that evening out in
my office had to do with money, I thought. It was only some time
later, a couple of years later to be exact; that I realized He
had not been referring to money at all. The Lord said, "I have a
treasure in Heaven reserved for you." Since I assumed that
referred to money, I figured my problems were over. When I filed
for bankruptcy, however, a year later; I knew I had been wrong.
The third thing the Lord revealed to me that night had to do
with His will for my life. When I accepted the first two
revelations as God's will, I then enquired as to what I would do
in the area of ministry. He immediately revealed, "You will be
an intercessor." I understood the word, of course but I did not
know what an intercessor really was; but I figured it had
something to do with prayer.
This prayer meeting I had with the Lord took place in May of
1985. Finally, on July 8, 1985, I began to fast for three days
to gain a better understanding of what God wanted me to do with
my business. I was doing well but something was not right. I
began to fast; asking the Lord more about my business and on the
side I additionally questioned Him concerning speaking in
I had been doing high speed cassette duplication for a
number of churches and evangelist around the country for several
years. Many Charismatics came to me for such work and I made
many friends that way. There were two women I came to know very
well since they came weekly to bring master tapes of their
pastor's Sunday messages for duplication. The quality of these
lady's personal testimonies was impeccable. Plus they always
seemed to believe God and they seemed to understand prayer.
As I began my three day fast, I asked the Lord to help me
find someone I could trust concerning the subject of tongues.
These two ladies I believed were honest and although I perhaps
would not agree with everything they might say on the subject, I
believed God's will was for me to talk with one of them. The
problem was, I did not know how to get in touch with either one.
One was living with her husband and family in Saudi Arabia where
they worked for an American company. I tried calling her pastor
but I had the wrong name of their church and could not locate
him. The second lady I tried calling but I had an old number in
To make a very long story short, the lady living in town was
located through someone I had only recently met. I spoke with
her on the telephone one afternoon and told her of my fast and
for what I was seeking. We prayed together over the phone that
God would show me the answers to my questions and that was it.
On the second day of my fast, the lady from Saudi Arabia
called me on the telephone. They were back in the states for a
couple of weeks on personal business and she wanted me to copy a
few cassettes for her. I quickly told her of my desire to speak
with her and we made arrangements to get together.
On the third day of my fast, I got out my Bible and read I
Corinthians 12, 13, and 14 for the umpteenth time and concluded
that I most certainly did not understand those chapters. I told
the Lord, however, that if Paul was trying to tell us that
tongues was not for today, and that in fact tongues would pass
away, he negated a lot of the Holy Spirit's time telling the
Corinthians how tongues were to be used both in their personal
life and in the church. [Forbid not to speak with tongues, I
Cor. 14:39]. When? Until the last apostle died? I made a
commitment with the Lord that I would receive this gift of
tongues if indeed it was for today and if He would make it real
in my life.
Late that evening, my friend who now lived and worked in
Saudi Arabia came for her cassettes and took time to pray and lay
hands on me. Nothing happened! Absolutely nothing! After she
left, I locked up the house and went to bed at 11:00 P.M. more
baffled than ever before.
As I lay in bed thinking of all that had happened, I
confessed to the Lord that I simply did not understand. Just
before drifting off, I remember telling the Lord that as I was
physically blind, perhaps I was spiritually blind to the truth?
I requested He open those spiritual eyes that I might see clearly
and fell asleep. Paul prayed: "That the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of
wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your
understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the
hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His
inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness
of His power to usward who believe" (Eph. 1:17-19). I fell
asleep thinking these thoughts and I believed God to reveal His
truth to me as I requested.
Less than thirty minutes later, I awoke, laying on my
stomach, propped up on my elbows; gasping for breath. I was on
fire! "Hey! You're having a heart attack," I thought. The
second that thought entered my mind, a voice clearly said, "No
you aren't." I lowered myself to the bed and tossed and turned
wondering why I was so restless. My frustration was again
present but I quickly drifted back into sleep.
Less than thirty minutes again passed and I was awakened
again but this time because I heard someone talking in the room.
"One of the children?" As I brought, forced, myself to awareness
to see who was speaking in my bedroom in the middle of the night;
I suddenly realized it was my own voice. I tried coming awake
quickly so I could hear what I was saying. It was not English!
The more alert I became, however, the less I spoke and by the
time I was fully awake, I was no longer speaking.
I lay in bed wondering if I simply had gone off the deep end
psychologically; or was this something spiritual? A few weeks
later I would be accused of that very thing, going off the deep
end psychologically, but at the time I wondered myself if it were
not indeed true. Had I become so emotionally worked up over this
whole issue that I was now talking in my sleep? But I had heard
something, hadn't I?
Getting out of bed, I went to the living room and knelt at
the couch. I prayed. "God, if that was you, if it was real, let
it return." Moments past again and nothing happened. I returned
to bed after a few minutes and lay thinking/praying. Again I
jumped from bed and returned to the living room to pray. I
repeated this process numerous times until 1:30 A.M. when I
finally returned to bed for the last time. Dropping to the bed,
I pulled the covers around me and told God how spiritually
frustrating He was.
As I lay in bed retracing the events of recent days, for the
umpteenth time, I suddenly became aware of musical notes being
played; as though someone was playing an instrument far off in
the distance. I stopped to listen. Yes, they were there alright
but where were they? I listened closely. Were they coming from
outdoors? "Oh, the next door neighbor was coming home late
again. It was his car radio playing...that was it." They grew
louder and more distinct. Suddenly I realized they were not
coming from outside but inside...inside me! It was as though I
were singing or humming to myself. Funny though...I wasn't
singing or humming.
As I lay listening, the notes; perhaps thirty or so in
number, continued playing the same song, pattern, over-and-over
again. Before long, the sound filled my mind and fully captured
my attention. They were so clear, so well formed, and were
As I listened closely, I suddenly realized they were not
musical notes but...words! As though someone were speaking a
foreign language and repeating the same sentence over and over
again. I listened, not understanding, but fascinated by the
Eventually, after hearing these words, sounds, again-and-
again; I realized I could probably say them myself. They were
clear and distinct and although foreign to me, I knew I could say
them. I opened my mouth, as I lay in bed, and repeated what I
heard a few times word-for-word. Yes! I could say them and as I
did, the words being spoken in my thoughts began to fade. My
voice fell silent and I lay wondering at what had happened. Was
it real? As I fell asleep once again, I wondered if I would be
able to remember the words, I had heard, in the morning.
When I awoke, I had forgotten the words...forgotten, that
is, all but the first couple of words; which, I might add,
totalled perhaps seven or eight syllables. I said them once and
awhile during the day; feeling silly, of course, whenever I did
so; but I still wondered.
Finally I picked up the telephone and called a Charismatic
counseling ministry with which I was familiar from radio
programs. I related my story to the Christian Brother on the
phone and he, of course, said he believed I had been filled with
the Spirit and had received the gift of tongues. I explained I
had been filled with the Spirit three years earlier but had not
believed in the gift of tongues until now. I now know that God
never gives us anything unless we first believe Him for it.
The counsel I received over the telephone convinced me what
I had was real. After hanging up, I sat at my office desk and
opened my mouth in praise - expecting to speak this language -
and did so through my tears of joy for fifteen minutes without
I knew this tongues thing was going to be a problem for me
as a Baptist. I couldn't tell anyone. I couldn't share the
blessings of God with Brethren. I had no one with which to share
this beatific joy. I couldn't let it be known how God had worked
in my life over a three year period to bring spiritual fruition;
and I certainly could not ask any questions. I began to worry
about what I would do.
Less than two months after receiving my prayer language, I
picked up the telephone once again to call area churches to see
if any of them had home Bible study groups in my part of town. I
was afraid to go to a Charismatic church itself and perhaps a
Bible study would help me gain answers to many questions before
getting in too deep. I was still fearful of Charismatics and did
not want to be influenced by anyone with false doctrine.
Hanging up the phone, after speaking to another church and
running into a dead end, I prayed and simply told God there had
to be somebody around with which I could fellowship. I told the
Lord, "I don't know whom to trust or where to go; so you bring
them to me." Twenty-four hours later they came.
I had been in the cassette duplicating business for a number
of years and did so, not only for my own church, but for others
as well. Often individuals called our church and were referred
to me so the copies could be mailed to them directly. After
receiving one such call, I began to write the address given to me
by the church's secretary who was ordering the tapes. It was
not a Baptist church! I thought that was strange; thus I
inquired as of their nature - doctrine. They were Charismatic!
To make a long story short, I was invited to one of their monthly
Saturday night mens meetings and six months later felt God
leading me to leave the Baptist church.
This change was perhaps one of the most difficult decisions
in my entire life. All I knew was Baptist everything. I also
knew, from past testimonies, that leaving the Baptist church for
a Charismatic church, insured loss of friends, ridicule, and
suspicion of one's salvation. Although some Baptist friends
remained, it was different now. Some concluded, I had gone to
the other side. I had forsaken the Word. I no longer was a
fundamentalist; so fellowship simply was not possible.
During the six months I sought to determine God's will, I
studied my new found Christian friends arduously. I examined
their Christian testimonies. Were they genuine? Were they just
positive thinkers? Were they spiritual extremists? Were they
hiding what they really were - fakes? I likewise put them
through the mill doctrinally. I was amazed and shocked! I was
unable to find a single doctrine that we disagreed upon; except,
of course, the doctrine of tongues; if you count tongues. How
could this be? I had always been taught, and believed it, too,
that if you were wrong in one doctrine, you were no doubt wrong
in others. I could not find this to be true with these
Christians. Indeed, after six months of examination, I found
nothing different in what they believed as independent
Charismatics and what I believed as an independent Baptist.
I feel the necessity to make reference to the greatest and
most significant change which occurred as a result of receiving
the gift of tongues. I began, immediately, to get answers to my
prayers. In fact, within six months, after beginning to speak in
tongues; I received more answers to my prayers than since I had
been born again. I'm not exaggerating. Prayer began to work and
While visiting with one of my older sisters on the telephone
one day, shortly after receiving my prayer language, she asked
me, "What is the greatest benefit gain from being filled with the
Spirit and speaking in tongues? Why do we need it?" I, without
hesitation, said, "Answered prayer." The greatest blessing, the
greatest benefit, the most rewarding aspect, of receiving the
gift of tongues is, for me, indeed answered prayer. I am not
taking the time now to Biblically examine this aspect of tongues
but it is certainly noteworthy. If you are not getting your
prayers answered on a regular, consistent, and perpetual bases,
something is wrong.
While still sitting in the Baptist Sunday school one
morning in my Pastor's adult Bible class, I began to write down
things that came to mind on the subject of prayer. I had been
praying for nearly two years asking God what it meant to ask,
believe, have faith, and to receive answers to my prayers. I
felt these were the intrinsic elements to understanding prayer.
As I meditated that morning during Sunday School, God began to
reveal the meanings of those four words. I took notes all during
Sunday School and the service to follow. I ran home and sat down
at my desk and began to take more notes. I took notes off-and-on
for hours until late that night. Seven messages came from those
notes as God revealed to me how to pray and more importantly, how
to pray to get my prayers answered.
As I began to study prayer, the Spirit revealed prayer is
"Breathing in the Spirit." That is, as natural as physical
breathing is to the body; so should prayer be to every Believer.
The messages, seven in all, which the Lord gave me on prayer; I
have called exactly that: "Breathing In The Spirit." If prayer
is not this natural, begin to seek God and while you are seeking
Him, be filled with the Spirit, too.
I mentioned earlier that God had revealed I was to be one of
His intercessors. Although I will not take time to address this
subject now, this ministry; revealed to me as God's will, began
to take shape after receiving the gift of tongues. In a few
short weeks, God began to reveal, both through His Word and
through others, just exactly what an intercessor was and what
they do. The primary job of an intercessor is to help others get
prayers answered - Matthew 18:19. This wonderful privilege
began to take an important aspect in my life as I began to
minister to and for others.
Three years after the Lord revealed to me His will, I was
given opportunity to pastor. God had revealed three things to me
in May of 1985; of which the first and third revelations had come
true: I was speaking in tongues and I was beginning my ministry
as an intercessor. The third revelation, however; that God had a
"treasure in Heaven in reserve for me," had not come to pass.
After waiting for about a year for the second revelation to come
true, I suddenly realized that perhaps the Lord had not been
referring to money at all.
In the fall of 1987, the Lord moved me from the church to
which He had led me. I felt uncomfortable about leaving. I
loved the new Brothers and Sisters in the Lord that God had given
me and indeed had no desire to leave them. God clearly revealed
to me, however, that He had me on a different path and I was to
Less than a year after joining another Fellowship, the Lord
allowed me to pastor some of His people. After a few months of
such ministry, I suddenly recalled His promise: "I have a
treasure in Heaven reserved for you." Could this be it?
Possibly. I had felt the call to be a pastor in mid 1979 and
after three years of trying to find a church, I gave up. No one
seemed to want a blind pastor. Now that had changed. God had
given me a "treasure" - a group of Brothers and Sisters in the
Lord who all wanted the same thing I wanted - to serve God
Now, before concluding, we need to study doctrine. This booklet
is primarily for Baptists, or anyone, who has questioned the
validity of tongues as a doctrine for today's New Testament
church. We, as baptists, had always been taught that the sign
of tongues was restricted to the days of the apostles and that,
in fact, tongues passed away with the last apostle. We had been
taught that those who spoke in tongues today were not only
doctrinally in error but were possibly demon possessed. If not
possessed; certainly demonically influenced. Some Baptists, over
the years, have wisely refrained from accusing Charismatics of
being demon possessed. After all, who wants to be guilty of
committing the unpardonable sin - attributing the works of the
Holy Spirit to the Devil: (See Matt. 12:22-32). We changed such
opinion, therefore, to simply accusing Charismatics of being
emotionally and psychologically confused. We said they spoke in
tongues after being hyped in a service. Funny...I was sound
asleep when I began to speak in tongues; not in a church service.
The purpose of this story is not to doctrinally address all
the avenues of theological controversy on the subject of speaking
in tongues. I have written on the subject and, of course, many
others have done likewise. I do feel it necessary, however, to
spend some time addressing the doctrine directly. As I do so, I
have chosen not to refer to I Corinthians 14, the most
ostentatious passage on tongues, but rather a passage always
overlooked by we Baptists. I believe all arguments can be
stilled from one text and thus I quote it here:
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his
voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye
that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and
harken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye
suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God,
I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: And your sons
and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men
shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour
out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall
prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and
signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor
of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and
the moon into blood, before that great and notable day
of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that
whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be
saved (Acts 2:14-21).
Every independent Baptist is familiar with Acts 2. The very
chapter we referred to for disproving tongues, is also the very
one which doctrinally confirms tongues is for today. "How?" Look
at the passage again. Peter quoted Joel and the prophet Joel
prophesied concerning the "last days" (Acts 2:17), "And it shall
come to pass in the last days..." Ask yourself "Are we living
in the (last days)?" No Bible believing Baptist would deny we
are indeed living in the "last days." Why, then, do we deny
tongues is for today? Joel, and Peter for that matter, both
confirmed that this "pouring out of God's Spirit" is during the
The next thing which usually happens when pointing this out
in Peters sermon, is that we, as Baptists, would always try to
say, "Oh, but this is a reference to the
tribulation...See...(blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke...and
the sun turning dark and the moon to blood). That's the
tribulation!" Sure it is! Peter, however, was making reference
to the entire period, from where he was standing in time, clear
down through the tribulation until Jesus comes. In fact, that is
exactly what he, Peter, said: "Before that great and notable day
of the Lord come" (Acts 2:20). These things, all these things:
the sun turning dark, the moon turning red, the fire, the vapor,
and the pouring out of God's Spirit, all will occur before the
return of our Lord. Read it! That's what it says.
Before we attempt to try explaining any of this away, Peter
confirms this period of time by saying, "And it shall come to
pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be
saved" (Acts 2:21). There it is! Peter confirmed that the
period of time to which he was referring would be those days in
which it was possible for people to confess Jesus as Lord to
receive eternal salvation. Ask yourself this question: "Can
people call upon the name of the Lord to be saved today?" If so,
we are in the "last days." We thus are in that period of time
whereby the Holy Spirit is poured out.
Peter stood on the edge of spiritual revelation, as he was
filled with the Holy Spirit, and looked down through time. He
saw what Joel had seen. They both say the days in which the lost
can call upon the name of the Lord for their salvation are called
the "last days." They both saw this was the period of time when
the Holy Spirit would minister on earth. They both saw this
ministry of the Spirit involving salvation, prophesying by both
men and women, young and old; visions and dreams. Peter called
them "the last days." We either see it as they did or we deny
the power of the Holy Spirit to be in evidence in the "last
days." We are either in the last days as Believers today or we
are not. If we are not, Jesus has already come. If we are, the
pouring out of the Spirit; and all that means, is still for today
and, indeed, we should be expecting and experiencing it.
Most of us as Baptist attempted to disproved the teaching of
tongues by ridiculing the Charismatics for teaching there was a
"Baptism of the Spirit." We taught, and believed, that no such
thing exists in Scripture except that we are all "baptized" by
the Spirit into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation.
Charismatics believe this, too, of course; but we never bothered
to discover this as Baptists.
Ephesians 1:13 confirms that we receive, are born of, the
Holy Spirit at the moment of confessing Jesus as Lord; thus are
baptized into the Body of Christ. Every Charismatic I know
believes we indeed receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of
salvation. Acts 2, on the other hand, demonstrates that the
baptism of the Spirit is something different - the power of God.
"Oh, really?" Yes! You see, Jesus told His disciples to wait in
Jerusalem until they were filled with the Spirit (Acts 1:8), and
they did so. When it happened, they spoke in tongues as one of
the signs of this power (Acts 2:4). As you know, they also did
many other signs and miracles in the days, weeks, months, and
years to follow. Why? They believed what Peter said in Acts
2:14-21 to be true...they were in the last days before the coming
of our Lord.
As instructed, Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for the
filling of the Spirit. He, Jesus, called this "filling of the
Spirit" the "baptism of the Spirit." (See Acts 1:1-8.) If Jesus
called what happened in Acts 2:4 the "baptism of the Spirit," is
it wrong for us to do so today?
Peter likewise confirmed that our Lord called this the
"baptism of the Spirit" when he explained to the Jerusalem
leadership as to his reasons why he had preached this Gospel to
the Gentiles at Cornelius's house. [See Acts 11:16]. I suggest
you take the time to read Acts chapters 10 and 11 to see the
context. The baptism of the Spirit, in this passage, is
unequivocally referred to as when the Holy Spirit is poured out
as a gift of power upon those who hear and believe the Word.
In short, Ephesians 1:13, when compared with the teaching
of Jesus in John 3, is being "born of the Spirit." Acts 2:4, on
the other hand, is being "filled with the Spirit. Are they two
different things? Yes - two different things.
I wish there were time and room in this booklet to address I
Corinthians 12, 13, and 14. This is, however, primarily my
personal testimony of how God has worked in my life and thus I
simply cannot take the time to address those chapters. I will
point out, however, that Paul told the Corinthian Christians:
"forbid not to speak in tongues." He did not say, nor does it
say anywhere in Scripture, "Forbid not to speak in tongues until
the last apostle dies." To say, therefore, that tongues is
unbiblical and unscriptural is simply not interpreting God's Word
correctly. Those who have interpreted thus must make provision
for their interpretation by suggesting such has passed away or
simply died with the last apostle. Why not just say, "I refuse
Consider these questions: Why are Charismatics interested
in seeing the lost born again? Why do they believe in the return
of Christ as Baptists? Why do Charismatics preach against sin?
Why do they practice water baptism by emersion? Why, and how, do
Charismatics get their prayers answered? These are all questions
which demand answers. If the power of God is not through the
filling of the Holy Spirit, why does Acts 1:8 say it is? If
speaking in tongues is not for today, why did Peter say it was
and should be expected to be in evidence during the "last days?"
The only answer is the obvious. You can, and should be, filled
with the Spirit today. You can, and should, speak in tongues
today. If, on the other hand, you say that being filled with the
Spirit is merely by demonstrating your faithfulness to Him
through obedience, then you are living by works and not walking
by the Spirit. If you say the "baptism of the Spirit" means we
are born into the body of Christ, then, where is the promised
power we read about in Acts 1:8? The greatest witness of one
filled with the Holy Spirit is power. Did tongues reveal the
power of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the lives of the
apostles in Acts 2? Did the healing of the sick, the raising of
the dead, the prophesying, and the salvation of thousands
demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit had come upon them?
Yes! Then why is it not true for us today? According to Peter
and Joel; it is!
I wish I could speak with each of you individually after
reading this story. Since this is not possible, I simply
encourage you to seek God and to pray concerning this teaching in
God's Word. If the Lord did not ordain the Holy Spirit to
manifest Himself in power during the last days, Peter's
interpretation of Joel's prophecy was incorrect and He misled the
hearers of his message on the day of Pentecost; not to mention
those of us today who are Bible Believers.
How is one filled with the Spirit? Jesus told them to wait
in Jerusalem till they were baptized, filled, with the Spirit.
They first had to be in the place He had appointed. Are you born
again? If so, you are in the appointed place.
Secondly, they had to believe God's Word. The Lord never
gives us anything without our commitment of belief in His Word.
Do you believe God? If you do not believe Acts 2 is the doctrine
of the Holy Spirit filling Believers and giving them the gift of
tongues in evidence of Holy Spirit power, you cannot be filled
with the Spirit with the evidence of tongues.
Being filled with the Spirit is like being born again as far
as the action is concerned. First we confess with our mouth and
then we believe, commit, in our hearts. If one desires to be
filled with the Spirit, first confess with your mouth your
desire. Then believe. Believing is nothing more than a
commitment to walk in what you have confessed with your mouth.
What should you expect? We should expect power (acts 1:8).
Such power was revealed by the speaking in tongues: (languages),
the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead, the casting out
of demons, and the salvation of many souls - not necessarily in
that order. If we claim the power of God, in relationship to the
power of the Holy Spirit, for souls to be saved; why ignore,
disbelieve, the other?
"Do I have to speak in tongues?" No! You may find this
difficult to believe, but many Charismatics do not speak in
tongues. "Why do it then?" May I answer that question with a
question? Why would you not desire something God is trying to
give you? Why refuse something Jesus gave His life for and said
He desires us to have as a gift? Why only receive what we think
we need or want? Why not receive all that the Holy Spirit was
sent to give? Furthermore, what would you say to someone being
lead to Christ who said they indeed desired salvation but "Do I
really have to go to Heaven if I don't want to?" Silly, isn't
it? Why, then, not receive all that God has given in the person
of His Holy Spirit. God's power is for today and it is revealed,
administered, and manifested by His Holy Spirit. We either have
it or we do not.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the
will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine,
wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Eph.
Someone right now is saying, "But what about all those
Charismatics who are doctrinally unsound?" If you are a
fundamental independent Baptist, I bet you have bumped into many
other Baptists who are not doctrinally sound, have you not? In
fact, I have met many Baptists, so called, who I believe were not
even born again. Does this somehow negate the truth of
Scripture? Nor should any Charismatic, so called, keep you from
embracing the truth. Forget looking at others and see Jesus
through His Word.
A few months before being filled with the Holy Spirit as a
Baptist in August 1982, we had a Bible conference in our church
with several of the nation's greatest Baptist preachers. I was
anxious to hear these great men and hoped one of them might speak
on the topic of the Holy Spirit. I was thrilled, when on the
first day of the week long conference, the first speaker
announced he would teach that Sunday morning and evening on the
subject: "Being filled with the Spirit."
In his first message, he laid the ground work and emphasized
the necessity for every Believer to be filled with the Holy
Spirit. I went home that morning, looking forward to the evening
service. I knew I needed to be filled with the Spirit and agreed
with everything he had said in his first message. "Finally, I am
going to find out what it means to be filled with God's Spirit."
Returning for the evening service, I took my place in the
auditorium and prepared to receive from God's man.
Finally the message began. I listened closely to every
word...I didn't want to miss a thing...this was vital. Near the
end of his second message on "Being filled with the Spirit," he
concluded by telling us that one filled with the Spirit was a
Christian who did and did not do a certain number of "things."
In another words, he taught that one filled with the Spirit was
one who simply had given his life fully to the Lord as a servant
and he outlined the qualities of a servant by listing those
things we, as Christians, should do and not do.
I went home that night disappointed. Disappointed because I
had been doing, and not doing, all those things; and more, for
years; that he had mentioned in his message and yet I knew I was
not filled with the Spirit. I believed that night I determined
in my heart to discover the true Biblical meaning of what it
means to be filled with the Spirit. I told the Lord, as I prayed
on my knees, "A person like me, Lord, probably can't be filled
with your Holy Spirit, but I want to know what it means
If you are born again and know Christ as your personal
Saviour, you can be filled with the Spirit. It is not how much
you can do for God, however, but rather what God can and will do
for you through the manifestation of His Holy Spirit. Believe
and be filled. How will you know when you have been filled?
"you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you" (Acts 1:8).
End Of Document
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