by Samuel Brooks
Do you ever wonder what it means to be born of water and of spirit that’s stated in John 3 and Acts 19:1-7 (among others)?The Greek word for ‘baptism’ is ‘baptizo’ which means “to plunge, dip, immerse.” No where in Scripture does it state that an individual should have water “sprinkled” (‘rhantizo’ in Greek) on them (according to Church History and Doctrinal Developments Compared with the Scriptures by Rev. Scott Lynn, “sprinkling didn’t replace immersion as the common baptismal method until 800s A.D.”), nor does it state that infants should be baptized (also known as “christening” — this is not the same as a ‘dedication’). Scripture also doesn’t say to baptize “three times” (e.g. once for the Father, another for the Son and another for the Holy Spirit). The individual needs to be old enough to understand the Gospel and to either accept or reject the Gospel and make the decision themselves to get baptized. Besides, how can an infant understand the Gospel and make the decision that they need to be baptized? One thing that I don’t understand is the point behind only doing baptisms during certain times of the year or scheduling them because does that present the risk of the individual changing their mind and not following through? The denomination that I’m a part of will conduct baptisms whenever the individual feels the need to – whether it be right after a church service or at 2 a.m.
In Matthew 28:19, Jesus tells the disciples to go out and “baptize others in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”; however, it says “name”, not “names”. If you go to Acts 2:38, it states that we must be “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” Plus, the words Father, Son and Holy Spirit are simply titles of who Jesus is, which is no different than King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Alpha and Omega, Prince of Peace, Immanuel, I Am, and so on. You wouldn’t say “baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Burning Bush” because it doesn’t make sense even though God manifested Himself as the bush when He spoke to Moses. There’s no power in titles or in any other name – not in Allah…not in Muhammad…not in Satan/Lucifer…not in Buddha…not in Darwin…not in any of the 100 gods believed by various other religions and the world – but in the NAME Jesus! One way you could think about this is when signing a check or a contract, do you sign using your name or a title (e.g. son, pastor, doctor, daughter, teacher, student, etc)? You can also refer to Acts 4:12 and Ephesians 4:4-6.
Being Apostolic Pentecostal, speaking in tongues (and interpretation), faith healing, and prophesying are all part of our worship services. When the Spirit’s moving during the service, people will usually experience weeping and shouts of ecstasy, extended prayer, emotional worship, sobbing, shrieking, falling over, joyful singing, shouting, laughing, dancing, shaking, jumping, leaping, rolling on the floor and running, and some people will even fall into trances and see visions. I’ve heard of instances where individuals will speak in a known language that they’ve never learned before when they speak in tongues such as Hebrew, Spanish or English; others in an unknown language that only God knows (unless someone has the gift to interpret). So, when it comes to whether the charismatic gifts are needed (or something) for today, based on my experience and what’s said in Scripture, the answer is “Yes!” Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT says “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” That belief comes from having faith and wanting to obey God. When an individual is baptized with Spirit and water, it’s the Biblical response of faith to the grace of God; and the evidence that someone has been filled with the Spirit is that they speak in an unknown tongue. For churches to either ban and/or say that speaking in tongues is “Satanic” is absolutely false! If it’s supposed to be banned, a thing of the past or ‘Satanic’, why does Scripture say the complete opposite? Mark 3:28-29 NLT says “I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences” (also see Luke 12:1-10) – this is also known as the ‘unforgivable sin’. So to say that speaking in tongues is “Satanic”, using the Lord’s Name in vain SINCERELY and/or banning speaking in tongues would fall under the category of “blaspheme the Holy Spirit” (side note: killing in the name of God (e.g. holy war) would also be considered blaspheming the Holy Spirit). I’ve even heard individuals who call themselves “Christian” ‘mock’ speaking in tongues; it’s one thing to ask questions about it, but it’s another to mock the Spirit because that, too, is cutting close to blasphemy so think twice about things before actually doing so! Furthermore, if it was a thing of the past, no one would be speaking in tongues today now would they? 1 Corinthians 14:39 NLT says “So be eager to prophecy, and don’t forbid speaking in tongues.” Scripture also tells us that once God/Christ sets something in stone, no person can change it (also see Psalm 119:89, Matthew 5:18 and 24:35, Isaiah 51:6 and 55:11, Mark 13:31, and Luke 21:33…these are only a few passages). While I do believe that the Holy Spirit guides us in our walk with God, I don’t believe that anyone is truly filled with the Spirit until they speak with other tongues. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t get baptized if you’re filled with the Spirit prior to it or vice versa because you need both. However, if someone isn’t filled with the Holy Spirit before passing away, to answer that, God’s the ultimate judge in any case!
I’m going to end with this one question: Going back to the point about how some believe that water baptism and speaking in tongues is a thing of the past, like animal sacrifices, wouldn’t God have made a new covenant or at least stated that after a certain time frame that we should end water baptism and speaking in tongues? If so, where in Scripture does it state this (without taking anything out of context, including 1 Corinthians 1:1-10)?
There have been multiple studies on the brain when speaking in tongues compared to praying in an individual’s native language. You can watch one of these studies below:
Update (Nov. 19th, 2018): This guy helped me understand how to pray to receive the Holy Spirit.