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Praying in the Spirit: Better Than I Was, Not Better Than You Are

Power for missions and service is the reason Christ baptizes the believer in the Holy Spirit.

This idea of being empowered for service by the Holy Spirit is not only the sentiment of charismatics and Pentecostals but of such non-Pentecostals as R. A. Torrey, D. L. Moody, John R. Rice, and Martin Lloyd-Jones; a Christian is a more effective witness with the filling than he is without it.

Misperceptions about the baptism abound and, added to that, there have been, as in any renewal, those members who attach unscriptural teachings to their experience. But, as Ervin argues, non-Pentecostals should not construe the mistakes of some who support the baptism as a valid argument against speaking in tongues: “Suppose this charge were true of some who had received the ‘Pentecostal experience.’ Does their failure prove the experience is Scripturally wrong? How many ‘born again’ Christians have brought disrepute upon the Gospel by scandalous lives! Does their misconduct prove the Gospel is wrong?” (Forbid, pp. 35-36).

Perhaps your only contact with a charismatic has been with one of these misguided enthusiasts. Maybe as you have been reading this article you have said under your breath, “He sure doesn’t know the charismatics I know.” Then you must decide if you will allow previous bad experiences, long-standing traditions, or long-held erroneous beliefs about tongues to stand between you and your inheritance as a child of God.




Works Cited

Banks, William. Questions You Have Always Wanted to Ask About Tongues But. . . . Chattanooga, Tenn.: AMG Publishers, 1978.

Burdick, Donald W. Tongues: To Speak or Not To Speak. Chicago: Moody Press, 1969.

Campbell, Joe E. Warning! Do Not Seek for Tongues. Raleigh, N.C.: World Outlook Publications, 1970.

De Haan, Richard W. The Holy Spirit and You. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Radio Bible Class, 1973.

Duncan, George B. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Believer. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975.

Epp, Theodore H. The Holy Spirit and the Believer. Lincoln, Neb.: Back to the Bible, 1979.

Ervin, Howard M. . . . And Forbid Not to Speak with Tongues. Plainfield, N.J.: Logos International, rev. ed. 1971

Griffiths, Michael. Three Men Filled with the Spirit: The Gift of Tongues: Must It Divide Us? Kent, England: Overseas Missionary Fellowship, 1969.

Hall, Donald. Cure for Charismatics. Denver, Co.: B/P Publications, Inc., rev. ed. 1974.

Kuyper, Abraham. The Work of the Holy Spirit. Henri de Vries, trans. Grand Rapids, Mich.: William. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1900.

Lindsey, Hal. Satan Is Alive and Well on Planet Earth. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1972.

MacArthur, John F., Jr. The Charismatics: A Doctrinal Perspective. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978.

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Category: Spirit, Winter 2000

About the Author: Robert W. Graves, M. A. (Literary Studies, Georgia State University), is the co-founder and president of The Foundation for Pentecostal Scholarship, Inc., a non-profit organization supporting Pentecostal scholarship through research grants. He is a Christian educator and a former faculty member of Southwestern Assemblies of God College in Waxahachie, Texas, and Kennesaw State University (adjunct). He edited and contributed to Strangers to Fire: When Tradition Trumps Scripture and is the author of Increasing Your Theological Vocabulary, Praying in the Spirit (1987 and Second Edition, 2017) and The Gospel According to Angels (Chosen Books, 1998).

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