Charismatics – Part 1

By: Dr. Thomas Figart; ©2012
In any consideration of a practice, the doctrinal basis should be the primary concern, and not the experience, for experience often misleads. What are to be our doctrinal criteria by which we should judge the Tongues Movement?

Evaluation of the Tongues Movement


In any consideration of a practice, the doctrinal basis should be the primary concern, and not the experience, for experience often misleads.

A. What are to be our doctrinal criteria by which we should judge the Tongues Movement?

  1. First, it must be determined whether or not the baptism of the Spirit is an integral part of salvation by grace or an addition.
  2. Next, the whole subject of spiritual gifts must be studied to determine whether or not all of the gifts of the Spirit are given today, or whether some were temporary “sign gifts.”
  3. Then it would be in order to discuss the Scripture teaching concerning the filling of the Holy Spirit to discover just what it means. What are the results, and how does this relate to the fruit of the Spirit?
  4. Finally, we should try, on the basis of these doctrines, to determine the true source of recent occurrences of “speaking in Tongues.” This may include one or more of several possibilities:
    1. Are they real, from the power of the Holy Spirit?
    2. Are they real, but produced by the power of Satan?
    3. Are they unreal, but sincere products of stirred-up emotions?
    4. Are they unreal, deliberate deceptions?

B. In our study, we will try to show the following:

  1. The baptism of the Spirit is a necessary part of salvation which is essential to place the believing sinner into the Body of Christ.
  2. The gifts of the Spirit are twofold in kind; some temporary and others permanent.
  3. The filling of the Spirit is a continued ministry after salvation and refers to the control of the life. It is commanded to all Christians (Eph. 5:18), and it results in the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
  4. Therefore, present-day “speaking in Tongues” must be relegated to one or more of the following:
    1. Of Satanic origin.
    2. Of misdirected emotional origin.
    3. Of false, deliberately deceptive origin

II. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

A. Definition: The work of the Holy Spirit whereby He joins the sinner who believes in Christ to the Body of Christ, the Church, by placing him into that Body as a member (1 Cor. 12:13). This is an eternal union, with Christ as the Head (Gal. 3:27; Col. 1:18).

B. Uses of the word “baptidzo”: This word has not been translated; it has merely been transliterated into our English language as “baptize.”

  1. Examples from Classical Greek.
    1. From Xenophon (4th cent. BC) He tells of soldiers placing in the tips of spears in pigs’ blood to signify that hunting spears were now warriors’ spears. The translation of “baptidzo is “place in.”
    2. From Homer in the “Odyssey”: Describing the giant Cyclops’ burning eye: “It was a hissing sound, as the iron makes when the blacksmith dips it in water”. Translation of “baptidzo”: “dips in.”
    3. From Euripedes (5th cent. B.C.) He describes a sinking ship going down into the water. Translation of “baptidzo”: “going down into.”
  2. Examples from Koine (common) Greek
    1. A submerged boat
    2. A person overwhelmed or flooded with calamities
    3. Ceremonial washings
  3. Two New Testament usages:
    1. Mechanical: Introduction or placing of a person or thing into a new environment or union, so as to alter its previous relationship or condition (1 Cor.12:13; 1 Cor. 10:2)
    2. Ceremonial: Water baptisms such as those performed by John the Baptist, Christian baptism, or washings in Judaism (Heb. 9:10)

C. Explanation of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit

  1. It is universal among Christians “For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one Body (1 Cor. 12:13). Remember, this verse was written to the most unspiritual local church!
  2. It is not to be sought after. We are never told to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Cor. 12:13 it is in the past tense; we were baptized by the Holy Spirit at salvation.
  3. It is a placing into the Body of Christ of each believer. Referring back to the various usages of the word “baptidzo,” the words “placing into” are the only ones which are appropriate to describe this particular work of the Holy Spirit. All the others just do not fit.
  4. It is a placing into Christ. John 14:20; Rom. 6:1-4; Col. 2:12; Gal:3:26-27.
  5. It is only for the Age of Grace, from Pentecost until the Rapture.
    1. It is never mentioned in the Old Testament.
    2. It is not promised until John 14:15-17; cf. Acts 1:4-5.
    3. It was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, according to Peter’s statement in Acts 11:15-17: “the Holy Spirit fell on us at the beginning…” This beginning was on the Day of Pentecost; thus, the Church is not a continuation of O.T. saints, but a new thing.
    4. The Body of Christ will be completed when He returns for the Church when we shall “all be changed in a moment,” 1 Cor. 15:50-52. We conclude that the work of the Spirit after the Rapture of the Church will be sovereign, as in the O.T. (John 14:17 cf. 1 Sam. 16:13-14; Ps. 51:11).
  6. There are not two baptisms of the Holy Spirit, that is, one at salvation by the Holy Spirit Himself, and another later, by Christ, when the Christian becomes spiritual.
    1. In every usage it is worded “Baptized in the Holy Spirit.” Matt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; Acts 11:16; 1 Cor. 12:13.
    2. What does the phrase “in the Holy Spirit” mean? It is always an act of the Holy Spirit, not of Christ. In Greek the instrumental case of the preposition en (in) is used, meaning “by means of.” Other examples: Matt. 12:24, “this fellow doth not cast out demons but by (en) Beelzebub”; Lk. 22:49 “Lord, shall we smite with (en) the sword?”
    3. Just as in these statements where en refers to the instrument, so it is when en is used to describe the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the agent used instrumentally by Christ to place us into the Church, the Body of Christ.

D. Conclusions:

  1. There is only one baptism of the Holy Spirit.
  2. This occurs at the moment of salvation.
  3. Speaking in Tongues does not accompany this baptism.
  4. This baptism is a positional truth, not experiential.
  5. It is not a spiritual gift, nor is it attained by spiritual achievement.

III. Spiritual Gifts in the Church.

A. General Characteristics of Spiritual Gifts.

  1. The Source of all spiritual gifts is the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:1; 12:11; 14:1. The word used is pneumatikon, “things of the Spirit.”
  2. Spiritual gifts are entirely undeserved.
    1. Because they are “grace-gifts” (charismata) 1 Cor. 12:4.
    2. Because they are “given” (didotai) 1 Cor. 12:7.
  3. Spiritual gifts differ in value.
    1. In 1 Cor. 12:28 the listing is “first, second, third…”
    2. In 1 Cor. 12:31 “desire the greater (meizona) gifts.
    3. In 1 Cor. 14:5 the gift of prophecy is preferred over tongues.
  4. Spiritual gifts are sovereignly given, as God wills, thus are not to be sought after.
    1. In 1 Cor. 12:31 “covet earnestly” is from zelo-o which means “be zealous for”; it does not mean covet or seek !
    2. In 1 Cor. 14:1,12 zelo-o refers to the use of gifts: “seek to excel,” but it does not say we are to seek the gifts themselves.
  5. Every Christian has one or more spiritual gift.
    1. In 1 Cor. 12:7,11 The Spirit gives “to every man severally.”
    2. In 1 Cor. 12:29-30 Christians do not all have the same gifts.
    3. In Rom. 12:4-6, “having gifts differing.”
  6. Spiritual gifts pertain to the new nature, not to the old nature.
    1. They were given at the time of the new birth Eph. 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:5-7 Otherwise, our salvation is incomplete and has to come in stages, which is contrary to Eph. 1:3. There is an analogy to natural gifts, which are given at birth, but must be developed. In like manner, spiritual gifts are given at the new birth, but must be “stirred up.”
    2. 2 Tim. 1:6 makes this statement about spiritual gifts, when Paul expected Timothy to “stir up the gift” which God had given him. This answers the question, “How do we know what our gifts are?” The answer is found in practice; you will soon know what you can or can not do spiritually.
    3. This infers that someone who is not naturally gifted may be mightily gifted of God, and, conversely, one with great natural talents may not be greatly endowed with spiritual gifts. Thus, by grace-gifts, God can do great things in any Christian.

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