BACC STATEMENTS OF POSITION
Approved by the Elder Board on August 17, 2016
SPEAKING IN TONGUES
The purpose of this Statement of Position is to explain:
What is the gift of “tongues”?
The gift of tongues is a supernatural ability to speak in a human language unknown to the speaker, with the primary purpose of authenticating God’s power and program to non-believers, who hear in their own language (Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 14:21, 22).
When speaking in tongues is done in the church, it should edify other believers. This is impossible, of course, without the gift of interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:13, 28). In addition, a benefit to the person speaking in tongues is that it edifies him or her (1 Corinthians 14:2-4).
The gift of tongues is given by the Holy Spirit to only a portion of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:11, 29-30).
Will tongues be allowed at BACC?
We, as a church, do not give wholesale approval to all the claims being made today about speaking in tongues. We think that it is important to “test the spirits” (1 John 4:1). Much of Paul’s teaching on tongues concerns the misuse of the gift (1 Corinthians 12-14). We are also well aware of the division and dissension that have followed in the wake of many of the so-called outbreaks of this gift. Therefore, because of the potential misuse of this gift, if someone were to speak in tongues during a gathering of the body, based on 1 Corinthians 14:26-28, a pastor (or elder) would ask for an interpretation. If one is given and the interpretation is edifying to the body, the speaking in tongues would be validated. If an interpretation is not given, we would ask the one speaking in tongues to refrain from doing so. Validating the speaking in tongues in this way is done to protect both the body and the one who feels he or she has the gift; and to help ensure “all things are done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Corinthians 14:40). We believe that the controversial nature of the gift of tongues makes such an examination important.
What is the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” (and what does it have to do with speaking in tongues)?
BACC believes that at the moment a person expresses saving faith in Jesus, he/she is baptized in the Holy Spirit and made a part of the universal body of Christ, His Church (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Ephesians 4:4-6, Galatians 3:27-29). In this context, the term baptism of the Holy Spirit is synonymous with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) and the sealing of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30).
Some churches teach that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an indwelling of the Holy Spirit upon a believer that typically occurs following conversion (and therefore sometimes refer to this as a “second blessing”), and that a manifestation of this outpouring is that the believer will speak in tongues. BACC does not hold to this view.
While the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a once-and-for-all experience that takes place at conversion, we believe that the filling of the Spirit properly refers to the moment-by- moment process of yielding oneself to the Spirit’s control (Ephesians 5:18).