Does Speaking in Tongues Signify Salvation?
I have been attending a church with my family for several years now, and they teach that you are not truly saved unless you have been baptized by the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I was raised in church, and have been a member of multiple denominations and hadn’t heard this before. I’m not doubting my own salvation having the foundation I have, but I do struggle with inviting unbelieving friends to church when I disagree with this belief, and my family doesn’t understand why.
I attend my church out of respect and obligation to my family, and because we do have friends we adore there. In addition, I drink up all of your sermons, teachings, and series, and am also enjoying Warren Weirsbe’s books of the Bible series, but am also wondering if that’s enough or if I should consider finding a church home elsewhere.
When we’re saved, we are baptized by the Holy Spirit, at the moment we trust in Christ and Christ alone for our salvation. We have a number of passages, especially in Acts, that talk about people coming to Christ and speaking in tongues. Acts 2 is entirely dialektos, but it is often overlooked because it says ‘speaking in their own language.’ There are 13 different languages that Luke chronicles. We can compare this with entering the U.N.; Everyone is speaking their own language without an interpreter. In Acts 2, the miracle is that they all understand each other.
Those with reformed theological beliefs may argue that they were all speaking a ‘heavenly language’. Paul himself says there are many languages, none without meaning. In 1 Corinthians 13:1 it says, “If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Every time an angel spoke in the Bible, we understood it. So this idea of an angelic language that humans can’t understand is not found in the Bible.
So when those with reformed beliefs bring up the glossolalia, or unknown language of tongues, and argue that they feel better speaking that way, we have to acknowledge there is a large component of emotionalism. However, that is not Biblical tongues. It’s also important to note that 1 Corinthians is a book of correction; Paul’s correcting the Corinthians because they’re getting so many things wrong. He’s very clear about the misuse of tongues. He even stresses in 1 Corinthians 14:6, “But now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophecy, or of teaching?”
What is True About Speaking in Tongues?
So the purpose of tongues was changed and misused in Corinth. We don’t want to build a theology based on a corrective doctrine and how they’re misusing it. The primary gift of the tongues was to authenticate the apostles and prophets.
If there are no theologically sound churches within 30-40 minutes, you would be ok to stay where you are. The problem with staying in a church with Pentecostal or charismatic beliefs is how highly they regard the ability to speak in tongues as it relates to salvation.
Our security can’t be in a gift manifestation. Ephesians 1 is very clear that we’re sealed for the day of redemption. We know that the thief on the cross was saved even though he didn’t perform any good works. He didn’t get down off the cross and restitute his capital punishment. He didn’t speak in tongues. But, he died and was with Christ. What authenticates our salvation is the person and work of Christ who dwells in us, not some outward manifestation.
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