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The Speaking in Tongues Controversy: Editor Introduction

Join us for a discussion of Rick Walston’s book The Speaking in Tongues Controversy: The Initial, Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.


Rick Walston, The Speaking in Tongues Controversy: The Initial, Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Fairfax, VA: Xulon Press, 2003), 235 pages.


Editor’s Introduction

Welcome to a discussion about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the controversial role that tongues has in that dialogue. Robert Graves opens up with his review essay of Rick Walston’s book, The Speaking in Tongues Controversy.

Is praying in tongues the only biblical indication that someone has been filled with the Spirit? Does Jesus baptize believers in the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, or can it happen later?


Some definitions to get us started

Pentecostal/charismatics regard the Baptism in the Holy Spirit as the first time a believer is filled with the Spirit to minister in power (Eph 5:18). Initial evidence is the teaching that speaking in tongues (glossolalia) is the initial and observable evidence that a Christian has been baptized with the Holy Spirit. In this context, subsequence refers to belief that this baptism is a subsequent experience to salvation, whether or not it occurs for the individual believer at the time of the born-again experience or much later. Separability is closely linked to subsequence, proponents saying that the Baptism in the Spirit is distinct from salvation—distinct from the Spirit baptizing the believer into the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13).


The review before us

If Robert Graves’ passion, as expressed in this review, is any indication, classical Pentecostals still ardently believe that initial evidence is an important distinctive. Those unfamiliar with the debate will likely wonder what the squabble is all about. Yet, classical Pentecostals believe this issue to be worth making some people upset because they know that Spirit empowerment is crucial for effective ministry. They do not want anyone in the body of Christ to miss out on all that God has for them.

Another recent example of a classical Pentecostal writing on this subject may be found here: Gordon L. Anderson, “Baptism In The Holy Spirit, Initial Evidence, And A New Model” Enrichment (Winter 2005), pages 70-78. At the time of printing, the full article was available online at this address: [available as of Feb 9, 2015]


Rick Walston in 2008

About the book

More information about the book is available on the internet here: [available as of Feb 9, 2015].


Response invited

Readers are invited to write with your comments and insights. All of us would be deepened by your participation in this discussion. Please add your comments under the articles or send email to the Editor by way of our Contact page.


Raul Mock, Executive Editor


Publisher’s page for The Speaking in Tongues Controversy: [available as of Feb 9, 2015]

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Category: Fall 2005, Spirit

About the Author: Raul L. Mock is one of the founders and directors of the Pneuma Foundation and editor of The Pneuma Review. Raul has been part of an Evangelical publishing ministry since 1996, working with Information Services and Supply Chain Management for more than two decades. He and his wife, Erin, have a daughter and twin boys and live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. LinkedIn

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