Is Speaking in Tongues a Necessary Manifestation of Salvation?

by Matt Slick

I entered the conversation after Diane (who works with CARM) asked me to join in. The topic is on whether or not speaking in tongues is a necessary evidence of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. After following the conversation for a bit, I jumped in.

Denver: See Diane, when I first believed in Christ I didnt speak in tongues but just cried
Matt: Denver, so?
Denver: Then I was baptised 2-3 months after
Matt: What makes you think you HAVE to speak in tongues?
Denver: Hello Matt
Matt: Hello
Denver: Matt, I have attended my friends church tonight and they taught you must receive the HS / Filled with the HS to be saved
Denver: And the only evidence is speaking in bibilical tongues
Matt: Denver, are they a united pentecostal church?
Denver: No, Revival Fellowship
Matt: Does it affirm the trinity?
Denver: Yes, belive in the trinity.  Matt, you would agree that you must have the holy spirit to be saved right?
Matt: Of course.  He indwells us because of God's work.
Denver: Yes, according to God plan pre purposed.  This is my friends church I attended tonight: Alert, God has given me the gift of tongues and
Denver: Sorry the paste didnt work
Matt: God predestined
Denver: www.*******(removed)
Matt: You can't post links without permission...no links...
Denver: Sorry
Denver: Just wanted to show you the church
Matt: I'm looking at the site.
Denver: See they want me to prove from the bible that when people received the HS or was Filled with the HS it was not tongues.  Not only speaking in tongues as, what they showed me all people who received or filled spoke in tongues
Matt: All right, I'm looking at the website at "what we believe".  If I were you, I would not go to that church.
Denver: Even peter said this for salvation steps: 1 repent 2. believe, and receive the Holy Ghost
Matt: First of all, it does not affirm the doctrine of the Trinity. Very often groups that hold to the idea that you must speak in tongues as a manifestation of salvation, are cultic. One of the evidences of that is it's a denial of the Trinity.
Matt: What generally happens in groups like this is that they become legalistic in the area of sanctification. What happens is that holiness is based on your experience, your ability to speak in tongues, and how you do not go to bed movies, say bad things, etc. that kind of thing.
Denver: Matt they belive in the trinity
Matt: Their statement of faith does not affirm the Trinity. Furthermore, you might get a group that will say something like "we believe in the father and the son and the Holy Spirit".  It does not mean they are Trinitarian. It can mean that they are oneness.  Oneness people will affirm the father the son and the Holy Spirit without affirming the Trinity.
Denver: Matt they have confirmed to me and teach they belive.
Matt: Since there doctrinal statement does not include the Trinity teaching, I have to conclude based on my experience with groups like this, that they are denying the Trinity.
Denver: 3 different persons of god.
Matt: Denver, no offense meant, but I'm not convinced because a lot of times people don't know the right questions to ask.
Denver: Ok, sure
Matt: Again no offense, but a lot of time Christians will hear something they think is Trinitarian when is really not. They might be Trinitarian but it is not evident from what their statement of faith says and I can only go by what they are saying not what you are saying about them. Again, no offense meant.
Denver: But Matt just to be bibical can we prove that from the bible about the filled with the HS or Receveid the HS
Matt: Now, the Bible tells us that not all speak in tongues and the reason is because God has not gifted all people in that area.  1 Cor. 12:30, "All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts."  Of course we must receive the Holy Spirit and we do on salvation. That isn't the topic. The issue is them requiring speaking in tongues."
Matt: Notice what the Bible says different people have different gifts. One of healing, one of tongues, one of interpretation, etc.
Denver: Yes 1 Cor 12 does not say they were filled with the HS or received the HS as they are already christians.
Matt: If they're going to say that all people speak in tongues, why is it also not said that all people at gifts of healing and interpretation? What the verse is talking about, Denver, is gifting in the Christian church. That is what is being taught.
Denver: Yes
Matt: In verse 25 he is talking about the body of Christ.  In verse 28 he says that there are in the church, first apostles, prophets, teachers, etc.  He speaking about the church and the offices in calling it and get things within the church.
Denver: Matt the context is in the christian church. As he cites that all are not apostles, verse 29 all are not prophets are not teachers etc. we understand that he's talking about different offices and get things.
Matt: Denver, that's what I've already said. Is talking about the Christian church.
Denver: See Matt this is my personal thing, I speak in tongues not to or for man personally.
Matt: If all are not apostles, etc., and then Paul goes into all did not speak with tongues, then this is a critical verse.  Denver, I have no problem if you speak in tongues. Praise God.
Denver: Only to God, I can't speak in tongues in church or otherwise I look like a fool.
Matt: I do not speak in tongues and I have not been given that gift.  But that is not the issue Denver. You need to focus.  If the church's teaching that you must speak in tongues as a manifestation of salvation, then they are in serious error
Matt: Do you understand?  I can predict what will happen to you in the church if you go.
Denver: Okay, Matt I'm not convinced.
Matt: You are not convinced of what?
Denver: Tongues to be saved
Matt: You do not have to speak in tongues in order to be saved.  Tongues is only one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Any group that teaches that you must speak in tongues in order to be saved or demonstrate salvation, is in serious error.  You do not have to speak in tongues in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Denver: But I want to know from the word of God that their is another sign that says people received the HS or were filled with the HS and was not followed by tongues.
Matt: Being filled with the Holy Spirit will manifest itself in different ways and different people.
Matt: Okay I'll give it to you.
Denver: Yes, please show me thanks.
Matt: "While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 45 And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 47 “Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?” 48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
Matt: That is acts 10:44ff.  Now, notice what it says.  [After reviewing our dialouge here I realize that I did not understand his questions prperly.  My mistake.]
Matt: They were speaking in tongues and they were exalting God.  Speaking in tongues is a manifestation of being baptized in the Holy Spirit.  But so also was exalting God.  Notice that exalting God is assign associated with receiving the Holy Spirit.
Denver: Yes, Amen
Matt: So I have answered your question.
Denver: It's linked to speaking in tongues.
Matt: Does this group teach that you must be baptized in order to be saved?
Matt: No, tongues and exalting God are linked to been regenerated
Denver: No, but you must obey after you speak in tongues
Matt: Regeneration, the work of God in us, manifests itself in different ways
Matt: Speaking in tongues is only one of the manifestations.
Denver: Agreed, but the sign of receiving the HS or filled with the HS was always tongues
Matt: Exalting God is another manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  So was interpretation of tongues. So also is discerning of spirits etc.  All of these are charismatic gifts operated under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit..  Matt: Denver, who gifts people?  Is it not the Holy Spirit who gives gifts to people?  Denver: Matt what was the verse again?
Matt: Acts 10:44-48.
Denver: Yes, I agree.
Denver: Matt, but it comes to the call that all people who received the HS spoke in tongues. "All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts," 1 cor. 12:30.  Matt: Now, who gives gifts to the church?
Denver: God
Matt: Very good. So that God gives gifts of healings and tongues and interpretation?  Correct?
Denver: But see Matt regarding salvation all people who were saved spoke in tongues/ received the HS/ filled with the HS.
Matt: Now, can you show me a single verse in the Bible where it says that everyone will speak in tongues when they are saved.?
Denver: No
Matt: Denver, I want you to use a little logic here.  If the Bible records that people spoke in tongues when the Holy Spirit came upon them, does it mean that everyone must then speak in tongues when the Holy Spirit comes upon you?
Denver: But no instance of them not speaking in tongues.  See Matt it seems to be the only pattern after salvation.
Matt Slick: I asked the question.
Matt: 1 Cor. 12:10, "and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."  Notice that Paul is teaching that the Holy Spirit gives different gift to different people.  One person has the effecting of miracles, another prophecy, another distinguishing of spirits, etc."
Denver: See Matt I dont want to be rude or prideful, but I dont know anyone who has those gifts who doesnt speak in tongues.
Matt: If you want to say that tongues is a proper manifestation of anyone who is saved, why does the text say that the Holy Spirit gives different gifts to different people and tongues is included in the list of different kinds of gifts given to different people
Matt: Denver, I am baptized in the Holy Spirit and I do not speak in tongues.
Denver: Yeah, miracles, prophecy
Matt: Denver, this church has got your brain.... It is controlling what you're thinking.........I know this because when I present to Scripture to you, you don't deal with what it actually says.  "And to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."
Denver: Yeah, but Matt why would God show us this pattern everytime when people are saved.
Denver: Matt, I will answer that question
Matt: First of all before answer the question I want you to know what the text says.
Matt: 1 Cor. 12:10-11, "and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."
Matt: If you want to say that everyone is supposed to speak in tongues, and yet it is the Holy Spirit who gives different gifts, and different kinds of tongues (implying that not all receive the same spiritual gifts), why would you hold that "the" true manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence in a person is speaking in tongues?
Denver: Yes, I agree praise God the HS gives different gifts. But their argument is that to have these true gifts from God you must be filled with the HS with the evidence of tongues
Matt: Where is that in Scripture?
Matt: I'm showing you a verse that contradicts what you're saying.  1 Cor. 12:10-11, "and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."
Denver: Ok, then it comes back to the question.
Matt: If tongues is for everyone, why is not distinguishing of spirits, prophecy, and miracles also for everyone?  Denver, if tongues is for everyone, why is not distinguishing of spirits, prophecy, and miracles also for everyone since it is the same Holy Spirit who gives different gifts of different people as he wills?
Denver: Show were people were filled with the HS or received the HS and follow by tongues
Matt Slick: denver, which kind of tongues?
Matt: 1 Cor. 12:10-11, "and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."
Denver: Matt, I was confused about that for years.
Matt: Notice what it says "various kinds of tongues"
Denver: Yes, I dont have those tongues I have a tongue to only pray to God
Matt: What are the various kinds of tongues?
Denver: They sound different
Matt: What are the various kinds of tongues?
Denver: Tongues of Men tongues of angels hmm languages maybe?
Denver: Good point Matt "Kinds"
Matt: Eo you think that "tongues" could be speaking a language that people understand in the church? People who come in off the road from different cultures in that people could just be speaking different languages?
Denver: Yes, possible
Denver: But see tongues in the church must be intreprented
Matt: Yes I understand that. But I do question for you.  1 Cor. 12:10-11, "and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills."
Matt: If you want to say that everyone is supposed to speak in tongues, and yet it is the Holy Spirit who gives different gifts, and different kinds of tongues (implying that not all receive the same spiritual gifts), why would you hold that "the" true manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence in a person is speaking in tongues" when tongues is included in a listing of Gifts NOT given to everyone, but only to different people?
Denver: Ok, I would agree that if you have those gifts you're saved for sure
Matt: Why would you hold that "the" true manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence in a person is speaking in tongues" when tongues is included in a listing of Gifts NOT given to everyone, but only to different people?
Denver: But would you agree from the Bible when a person(s) received the HS or filled with the HS it was tongues
Matt: Why would you hold that "the" true manifestation of the Holy Spirit's presence in a person is speaking in tongues" when tongues is included in a listing of Gifts NOT given to everyone, but only to different people?
Denver: "Various kinds"
Denver: Not sure now Matt, see I didnt believe this teaching.
Matt: You need to stick with what the Bible says
Matt: Don't confuse the fact that people spoke in tongues in the early church when the Holy Spirit fell upon them in power with the idea that everyone must then speak in tongues in order for the manifestation of the Holy Spirit to be accomplished. People can be filled with the Holy Spirit on their death beds and not speak in tongues. People can be filled with the Holy Spirit to prophesy and not speak in tongues. Babies can believe (Psalm 22:9), do they speak in tongues? Tongues is only ONE of the manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit, not the NECESSARY manifestation.
Denver: Yeah I know like John the Baptist.
Matt: Furthermore, if you were to hold like that church teaches that speaking in tongues is the proper manifestation of the presence of the Holy Spirit, then what they would be saying is you're not really saved unless you speak in tongues.
Matt: they do not all speak in tongues not because they're supposed to keep quiet about it and let somebody else speak. It is because not all are gifted
Denver: Correct, Matt they believe you must speak in tongues to be saved
Denver: No, Diane read to whole content its not talking about the prayer / language to God
Matt: Denver, okay I need to tell you something. You need to listen to this. You're getting involved with a group that is cultic.
Matt: it is raising a spiritual, experiential gift to the level of judgment of one's salvation.  It is saying that you have to speak in tongues in order to demonstrate that you are saved. Now, let's just apply this. A man is in the hospital with a breathing tube down his throat, dying.  He can't speak. The chaplain comes in and gives them the gospel and this dying man receives the gospel.  By faith he has received the gospel.  He immediately dies.  There has been absolutely no manifestation of tongues whatsoever.  Is he saved or not?
Denver: I would say saved, they would say its up to God and we are not to work of these scineros.  We must base it on the norm
Matt: Hold on.  Are you denying salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone?  Is it not it normative to be justified by faith in Christ?
Denver: I would say you're saved...they say its up to God
Matt: Good. But how can you be saved without a proper manifestation of tongues?  Of course he's not able to speak in tongues and he doesn't have the opportunity to. The conclusion we can have here is that speaking in tongues is not necessary as a manifestation of salvation. The best you can offer is that he would have if he would have had the chance.
Matt: but, the real issue is justification by faith alo or not by faith alone?  It is not whether or not the Holy Spirit manifest speaking in tongues with a person.  What that does is add a level of spiritual requirement to salvation.
Matt: Denver, now,... I don't speak in tongues. Would you say that I am not saved?  I have been a Christian since I was 17. I am now 54
Denver: No, I would say that youre not saved
Matt: I have never spoken in tongues (except that one time when I dropped the hammer on my toe).
Denver: I didnt speak in tongues for 2 years
Matt: Okay, so even though I have received Christ as my Savior, trusted in him, by faith, believed he is physically died and risen from the dead, you're saying I'm not a Christian?
Denver: 1 Cor 14:2.  I have that tongues, no intpretation required
Denver: But why was it in the bible tongues came after salvation.
Matt: So, in 37 years since I received Christ, I've never spoken in tongues. And you are telling me I'm not a Christian even though I have confessed Jesus as my Lord (Rom. 10:9-10), trust in him by faith so as to be forgiven of my sins (Ephl. 2:8-9; Rom. 5:1). Is that correct? 
Denver: Matt I belive you are.
Denver: This church is the one saying this.
Matt: Tell me what I must do to become a Christian.
Denver: Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus.
Matt: I have done that.  I have never received the gift of the Holy Spirit's speaking in tongues. So your church would tell me that I'm not saved, correct?
Denver: Yeah.
Matt: Why would your church tell me that when I have done what the Bible says to do in order to become saved?
Denver: Matt, why would you not want to have the gift of the HS?
Matt: That is an assumption.
Denver: Yes
Matt: I have prayed for the reception of tongues many times and have never received it. I have however prophesied. I have however had words of knowledge.  I'm gifted in the area of discernment.  I am bold for the Lord.
Denver: I will really pray for you Matt to receive the gift of the HS.
Matt: Now, why would your church tell me that I am not a Christian when I have done what the Bible says in order to be saved and him also manifesting spiritual gifts?  I'm exalting God...that's one of the signs of the Holy Spirit acts 10:44 ff.
Denver: Not sure matt, youre arguement has convinced me back to the other side.  Priase to God.
Matt Slick: Exalting God is one of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, is that not correct?
Matt: acts 10:45, And all the circumcised believers who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the Gentiles also. 46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God
Denver: He has the HS for sure I believe but not the gift of the HS / tongues
Matt: so one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is exalting God.
Matt: I am the one who wrote carm.org.  Would you say that that is exalting God?
Denver: Amen
Denver: Matt, so you do want to speak in tongues to God?
Matt: But, even know one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in a person is exalting God, and I don't speak in tongues, your church would require that I be judged as not being a Christian.  Of course I want to speak in tongues. I want everything the Holy Spirit has decided to give me.  But if God the Holy Spirit does not decide to give it to me, that is his choice.
Denver: Amen, Matt sorry for the confusion everyone I was mixed up.
Matt: Others are not gifted as I am, namely being obnoxious, irritating, and sticking my nose where it doesn't belong.
Matt: Denver, Would you like me to tell you about your group and what it's going to probably do to you if you stay with it.  Are you interested?
Denver: You know I didnt speak in tongues for 2 years, I knew from the word of God I was saved
Matt: Amen
Matt: God may yet still give me the gift of speaking in tongues. But after 37 years, you'd think it would've manifested by now. I don't expect. I merely trust.
Denver: Then you will receive this.
Matt Slick: Now, are you interested in me telling you what will probably happen to you if you stay in the church?
Denver: See some say it must be i.e french italian, worlds languages.  That's wrong.   If I stay there it won't be good its only the 4 times i have went.
Matt: Denver, I don't know if this will help you at all, but I have been studying Christians, non-Christians, wacko groups, etc. for over 30 years.  I've seen lots of patterns and am very familiar with the kind of church that you are talking about.  Are you interested in me giving you what I believe will happen in this church if you are to stay there?
Denver: Yeah I know I have been listening to your podcast for 3-4 years
Matt: Ah......... goood
Matt: The church has tendencies for legalism and over emotionalism based on faulty understandings of what the Bible actually says in the charismatic gifts. Usually associated with groups like this is a type of legalism dealing with sanctification.  Your salvation will then be judged and eventually be required to be maintained by your effort. Groups like that often form judgmental attitudes about other "Christians" who aren't "manifesting the gifts of the spirit" like they are.
Denver: Even reformed now but a charismanic too
Matt: Well THAT is good....
Matt: Then, you can accidentally fall into the trap of trying to be right with God by your efforts instead of relying completely and totally on the work of Christ.  Oftentimes churches like that become judgmental in a very "passive aggressive" kind of pattern
Denver: Yeah, I noticed that Matt. I was just testing the waters.  You must remained saved.
Matt: They "pray" for those who don't know is much as they do and who aren't as sanctified as they are.  The attitude sometimes becomes "thank you Lord that you did not make me like those other so-called Christians who don't have the manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit that we do". 
Matt: Luke 18:10, Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. 11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer."
Denver: Yeah, I saw that but Matt we will be in heaven with them so I love them.
Matt: I hope so. God is very gracious.  But, it does not excuse you from discerning the Scriptures properly here and now. 
Matt: If you are reformed in theology, which I applaud, then I hope that you would realize that any future teaching by them that implies that you maintain your position by being good, would clearly be seen as being heretical
Denver: Correct, Matt if someone speaks in bibilical tongues that means they are saved right?
Matt: Denver, there are fake tongues.  Just because someone speaks in tongues is not mean there saved. And that is another issue.
Denver: I said bibical tongues.
Matt: What if you find someone who was kind of given over to emotionalism in the church and goes into a church like that?
Denver: I said bibical tongues
Matt: But how do you know what is or is not a biblical tongue? That's a very critical question.
Denver: Gift of discernment.
Matt: Fift of discernment?
Matt: Denver, I have a question for you.
Denver: By the flesh its hard but for the HS its nothing.
Matt: Do you think the gift of discernment is based on "mere" spiritual awareness from the Holy Spirit or do you think it could be possible that such spiritual discernment is based upon a person's knowledge of what the Bible actually says?
Denver: Both
Matt: Denver, good.  I would agree.
Denver: Correct, Matt I've seen tongues of devils in Christians.
Matt: But I hope you would also agree with this that the primary thing we must do is examine what the Scripture says because the Bible says that we are to judge all things by Scripture. 
Matt: denver, how can you have a tongue of devils and Christian? Are you saying Christians can be demon possessed?
Denver: No not possessed
Matt: denver... denver... denver.............
Denver: But I dont know how to explain it.  Anyway don't base it from my experience.  Stick to the word of God. 
Matt: Scripture is primary.  I have to do some carm stuff... Denver, are you okay now?
Denver: Ok, thanks hey matt I will really pray for you tonight to speak in tongues not just as a pun or somthing
Matt: tyvm
Denver: Remember Matt, you must at some point open your mouth also.
Denver: Peace be to you all

 

 

 

 
 
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