Some false doctrines are too subtle to detect! We have to look very hard to find them. Many good believers fall for it because of lack of proper understanding of the Scripture. Here is an example of a subtle, twenty first century heresy: One prominent evangelist from India wrote in his magazine that if a believer has the fullness of the Holy Spirit, he will be speaking in tongues! This is far more subtle than the crude, blunt way of saying: “If you do not speak in tongues, you do not have the Holy Spirit!” (Please read the article,” Keep the Salvation doctrine together!”, Shekinah, June 2005 issue.). When something is obviously unscriptural, we can easily expose its folly. But when it becomes too subtle, we have to really sift through the husk carefully to see the kernel of Truth within it.
First of all, those who believe that one should be able to speak in tongue if that person has the fullness of the Holy Spirit, acknowledge the fact that there are genuine born again Christians who have the Holy Spirit, and yet they cannot speak in tongue. In this aspect, this doctrine is far more superior to its counterpart (you do not have the Holy Spirit, if you do not speak in tongue). But then they go on to emphasize a second experience in the Holy Spirit to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit which guarantees the manifestation of tongue for sure. So the emphasis is again on a two stage process, as I discussed in my article, “Keep the Salvation Doctrine together”. (This is what I said in that article: “…….. Scripture never supports this two step process of receiving the Holy Spirit. It was always one time baptism of the Holy Spirit for the believer. But the manifestation of various gifts of the Spirit may come forth at the same time when the Spirit arrives, or at a later point in our life. Our heavenly Father is so perfect, He does not have to duplicate the same process of baptism by the Holy Spirit twice. The arrival of the Holy Spirit is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit or the Fullness of the Holy Spirit according to Scripture! Failing to understand it leads to heresy, spiritual arrogance, and divisions in the body of Christ.” It is actually man’s idea to separate the arrival, and the explosion of the Holy Spirit within us as a two stage process. But on the contrary, Holy Spirit operates in His own way, and not in any particular fashion!
When the Holy Spirit arrives, the manifestation may be instantaneous or delayed. It can be a very quiet experience or an explosive experience. The manifestations of the Holy Spirit may be just a once in a life time experience or several times during our life time. The experience may very well be “heavenly tongues”, or it can be ecstatic prophesy (as in Saul’s life), or it could very well be a “tongue tied” experience, while the tears streaming down our cheek like river. Or it could be just “strangely warmed” experience as in the case of John Wesley. One Spirit but many different kinds of manifestations! According to the grace and purpose of God, the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in a believer’s life, the way He sees fit! Building a speculative theology concerning unknown heavenly mysteries only leads to confusion and division in the body of Christ.
Let us assume for a minute that their theology is correct. If so, did Martin Luther, John Wesley, Billy Graham, and many other millions of Spirit filled saints miss out this “fullness of the Holy Spirit” blessing? Are we really sure that these saints were not indeed Spirit Filled and did not have the Fullness of the Holy Spirit? Were they really weak vessels compared to those who have had the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and could speak in tongue?
I am very much concerned about this particular doctrine because it divides the body of Christ into two distinct groups: low class (the ones who cannot speak in tongue), and high class (the ones who can). This doctrine brings unnecessary superiority and inferiority complex among the saints. Those who insist that everyone ought to be speaking in tongue become very proud, arrogant, and too authoritative. They really look down on those people who cannot speak in tongue, and start pushing them to speak in tongue through some bizarre means, such as learning it from the tapes, or chanting like Buddhists, or through extreme works (long tarrying and fasting), or encouraging them to just imitate other people like parrots.
The evidence of the fullness of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is not the presence of tongue, but his flawless Spirit controlled, Spirit directed life. We shall surely know the fullness of the Holy Spirit through one’s tremendous love, and the ability to hear and obey the voice of the Lord. Do not let the devil divide God’s Kingdom through this heresy. Tongue is a wonderful spiritual gift. Seek that gift with all your heart, and ask the Lord for it. But if you did not receive it for some reason, do not walk around like a “defeated” Christian. That is exactly what the devil wants. He likes to make you think that you are a “pariah” Christian. You can still pray with understanding, and reach the level of Christian Perfection, as God wants you to be. John Wesley had experience with the Holy Spirit also. But he pressed onto perfection by praying in the Spirit with understanding. Again let me emphasize one last time: The bottom line is not whether one can speak in tongue or not, or one has full tank or half tank, or quarter tank of the Spirit. What really matters is that we are indeed Spirit Controlled, and Spirit directed all the days of our life. Let everyone sincerely seek the gift of tongue. But if one does not receive it, let him not become a “weaker brother” in our congregation. It is indeed possible to have fullness of the Holy Spirit without the gift of tongue. It is also a fact that the Lord does not provide this gift to everyone. If it were so, Paul would have forced every Corinthian to speak in tongue! He would have never asked this question,” Do all speak in tongues?” Beloved, let us not yield ourselves to this modern heresy anymore.
A Modern Heresy?
by Rev. Daniel Israel