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Is speaking in tongues really necessary?

Submitted: 12/9/2005
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Question: I have been talking to a man about salvation and doctrine and he asked me, 'What if a sincere person were to repent and be baptized in Jesus' name and not speak in tongues, would he be saved? And does it mean that this person does not have the Holy Ghost because nobody has heard the person speak in tongues?' I was wondering how you would respond to this question if somone were to ask you. Thank you and God bless.

Answer: First of all, sincerity is a good quality but is not the basis of salvation. There are many deceived people who are totally sincere about their beliefs. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says that we are saved 'through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth.' Only truth can save. This is why you must be honest with this person.

Second, Jesus said that a person must be born of both water and the Spirit. He went on to explain that the Spirit is like the wind: you can't tell where it comes from or goes, but you can hear the sound of it. He then concluded, 'So is everyone who is born of the Spirit' (John 3:1-8). Therefore, whenever someone is born of the Spirit we should expect to hear the sound of the Spirit. When this happened on the day of Pentecost, the Bible says, 'And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance' (Acts 2:4). From that day onward, the sound of the Spirit has been speaking in other tongues.

Sometimes people get baptized but do not receive the Holy Spirit right away. This happened in Samaria in Acts 8:16, which says, 'For as yet He [the Holy Spirit] had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.' We encourage such people to continue seeking the Lord until they are filled.