BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
IS SPEAKING IN TONGUES NEEDED TODAY?
At the beginning of the Twentieth Century when the Pentecostal Movement burst upon the scene many mainline churches were alarmed at the rate of Christians who were baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with tongues. In order to stem the tide of this movement conservative theologians have devised a dogma called “cessationism.” What this dogma teaches is that miracles, signs and gifts of the Spirit including speaking with tongues would cease in the Church when the Bible was completed. From the aspect of fulfilled prophecy, speaking with tongues did actually ceased in the visible professing Church, not because it is no longer needed but because this gift had been withheld. However, there is evidence that over the centuries the gift of speaking with tongues had been preserved in the Hidden or Remnant Church. There are several reasons why the gift of tongues ceased to exist in the visible professing Church. One of them is apostasy or falling away of the Church. There is unbelief in this gift. Another is prohibition of this gift. There are others.
The Pentecostal Movement urged Christians who were baptized in the Spirit to “come out” from their congregations. During the Fifties the Charismatic Movement or Neo-Pentecostal Movement emerged. Adherents in this Second Movement were encouraged to remain in their own congregations to spread the word. As a result of this movement many mainline churches have embraced this truth. Cessationism has lost much ground because there are many weaknesses in their arguments. Let us study some of them.
1. Difference of Interpretation
One of the most inspiring portions in the New Testament is the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians in which the apostle Paul wrote about “Agape Love.” He compared the permanence of love to the spiritual gifts of prophecies, tongues and knowledge. Here is what he wrote: “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” (1 Cor. 13:8) Everyone agrees with the importance of love that never fails, but there is a difference of interpretation on the remaining part of the verse. What does Paul mean by writing that prophecies will fail, tongues will cease and knowledge will vanish away. Cessationists teach that prophecies, tongues and knowledge will no longer be needed in the Church. Paul does not mean that at all. At the beginning of the chapter he wrote: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-2) Paul meant that without Agape Love speaking with tongues would just be worthless noises. He was writing about the futility and ineffectiveness of the gifts of prophecy and knowledge if it is not accompanied by love. Having spiritual gifts but without love makes a Christian became nothing, zero, zilch.
2. Problematic Interpretation of Pauline Writings
When cessationists interpret 1 Cor. 13:8 they often separate tongues from prophecy and knowledge although these three elements are in the same verse. If tongues would cease because it is no longer needed in the Church then by the same argument, prophecy and knowledge would also be no longer needed because they are in the same verse. Can you imagine what would happen in a church where there is no knowledge? Where would the ministers get materials for their sermons? Obviously Paul did not mean that at all. When we read a verse in the Bible we should never read it out of context. In 1 Cor. 13:8 it is clear that Paul was writing about Agape Love. He was comparing the permanence of Agape Love with the temporal charismatic gifts of prophecy. The verses that follow verse 8 will give us a better understanding of its true meaning. Paul continued: “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” (1 Cor. 13:9-10) Cessationists interpret these verses point to the completion of the Bible. They teach that the spiritual gifts are no longer needed when we already have the Bible. Is this a correct interpretation of these verses? The interpretation of “when that which is perfect has come” to mean the completion of the Bible has some problems. Paul did not record “when that which is perfect has been written.” “When that which is perfect has come” can only mean the arrival of a person. The Bible cannot “come” but a person can. Who is this Perfect One? It is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” (Heb. 5:9) Let us continue to read. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Cor. 13:12) Now, we can see the interpretation of the perfect one referring to our Lord Jesus Christ make more sense. The phrase “but then face to face” can only refer to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot be “face to face” with the Bible, but we can with Jesus when He comes again. “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him . . .” (Rev. 1:7) Christians look “for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Tit. 2:13)
The phrase that follows “face to face” cannot be interpreted any other way except the return of Jesus Christ. “Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Cor. 13:12) The apostle Paul could not have meant that when the Bible was completed he would know everything about himself because he would have died long before the Bible was canonized. It just does not make sense to interpret “when that which is perfect is come” as the completion of the Holy Bible. When we interpret “when that which is perfect is come” together with “face to face” and also “but then I shall know just as I also am known” as the Lord’s Second Coming it makes a whole lot of sense. Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 one more time with reference to the Lord’s Second Coming, then you will see the truth. Tongues will cease only when Jesus comes again. Today, tongues will continue to be used in the Church.
3. Evidence of Being Filled with the Holy Spirit
It is plainly taught in the Scriptures that speaking with tongues was not an unusual occurrence in the Early Church. Every prominent account of conversions in the Apostolic Church either plainly states or else strongly implies that the convert did speak with other tongues upon being filled with the Spirit of God. (See Acts 2:1-4, Acts 8:12-18, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6.) To the above most Bible students would agree. It is when we discuss the place of tongues in the present Christian church that controversy arises.
The essentiality of speaking with tongues is dependent on whether or not it is the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit. Amongst Christians there are two principal views concerning this issue. The first view states that some people who receive the Holy Spirit do speak with tongues, while others who receive it do not. The second teaching holds that all who receive the Holy Spirit do speak with tongues, and that tongues is the sign that a person is being filled with the Holy Spirit.
If tongues are not the sign that a person has received the Holy Spirit, how are we to know that we have received it? Some say that a person receives the Holy Spirit automatically when he believes. (See Acts 19) Others contend that the Holy Spirit comes when an individual is baptized. Those holding the above views insist that we must accept by faith that we have received the Holy Spirit with no outward manifestation or definite spiritual experience. Can these teachings stand the test of the Scriptures?
The first question that we must answer then is, "In the Early Church did all who received the Holy Spirit speak with tongues?" Let us examine the historical record given to us in the book of Acts. There are three in-depth accounts of people receiving the Holy Spirit.
The first of these is found in Acts 2:1-4. "Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come they were all with one accord in one place. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1,4) Notice that here they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues. All who received the Holy Spirit here spoke with other tongues.
Now let us look at another instance found in Acts 10:44-46. Here again, all who received the Holy Spirit did speak with tongues. Further, this Scripture teaches that the way they knew that the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit was "for they heard them speak with tongues." (v. 46) It is evident that speaking with tongues was the sign that people had been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 19:6 records: "And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." Again in this record of the Holy Spirit outpouring, we see that those that received the Holy Spirit did speak with tongues.
Thus we see that in these three accounts of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Early Church the recipients did speak with other tongues when they were filled. In the book of Acts when the disciples of Christ received the Holy Spirit they spoke with tongues. Why should we not believe that when we receive the Holy Spirit we can also speak with tongues? Mark 16:17 "And these signs will follow those who believe; In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues." In this passage our Lord Jesus Christ expects every believer to be able to cast out demons in His name and also to speak with new tongues. According to our Lord's expectation speaking with tongues is not optional but essential.
4. Many kinds of Tongues
The Holy Bible clearly states there are different kinds of tongues. "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given . . . . to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues." (1 Cor. 12:4-10) Although the New Testament shows there are various kinds of tongues, they may be divided into two main types.
1. Tongues as the evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit
The disciples of Christ experienced this type of tongues on the day of Pentecost. "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4). While Peter was preaching in the home of Cornelius, the Gentiles also received the Holy Spirit with this evidence of "speaking in tongues' (Acts 10:44-46). Again in Acts 19:6 we read about the Ephesian Christians receiving the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with tongues. Because every Christian must have the Spirit of Christ in order to belong to Him, every believer must have this type of speaking in tongues. The original Greek word used for this gift is "Dorea". The functions of this type of speaking in tongues is for prayer (1 Cor. 14:2, 14-15) and it also edifies the individual Christian (I Cor. 14:4). Every Christian is encouraged to speak in tongues (I Cor.14:5).
2. Tongues as the Spiritual gift for the Church.
This type of tongues is listed as one of the nine gifts of the Spirit for the common good (I Cor. 12:4-7, 10-11). The original Greek word used for this Spiritual "gift" is "charisma". This should be distinguished from the first type of gift that is translated from the original Greek word "Dorea". This Spiritual gift (Charisma) of tongues is not given to every believer (I Cor.12:30). In contrast to the first type, which is to edify each individual Christian, this second type is to edify the Church (I Cor. 14:26). Unlike the first type, which is used for prayer, the Spiritual gift of tongues must be interpreted so that the Church may be edified (I Cor. 14:5,13). The rule in the Church for this type of speaking in tongues is that "only two and at the most three" can speak during a service and there must be one interpreter. "But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silence in Church and speak to himself and to God" (I Cor. 14:27-28).
Speaking in human languages.
Cessationists often try to discredit the modern tongues movement by using the argument that the Early Church spoke in human languages on the Day of Pentecost whereas present day Christians speak in gibberish sounds. What they fail to realize is that the gift of speaking in human languages was recorded only once on the Day of Pentecost and was never repeated elsewhere in the Acts of the Apostles. On other occasions the Christians mostly speak in "unknown tongues" (KJV). The apostle Paul wrote: "For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries." (1 Cor. 14:2) "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful." (1 Cor. 14:14) What some people call gibberish sounds are, in fact and truth, a prayer language that cannot be understood by men but only by God. Speaking in tongues is speaking mysteries in the spirit that no one can understand. No one should try to criticize something he cannot understand.
Throughout the New Testament there is only one reference to speaking in tongues that is translated from the Greek word "dialektos" which means language or dialect. This reference is found in Acts 2:8 that states, "and how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?" Some explain the disciples were speaking in monosyllabic sounds but God gave the Jews from foreign countries the gift of hearing. This explanation has some problems. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that believers would "speak with new tongues" but did not say they would be "hearing new tongues." It would be transferring the miracle of speaking with tongues to hearing tongues which is not what the Bible states. Interpretation is one of the nine Spiritual gifts given to the Church (I Cor. 12:4-11). It is difficult to accept how all these 3,000 Jews who had not yet received the water and Spiritual baptism could have the Spiritual gift of interpretation. The Bible does not state that the people interpreted the tongues into their own languages, but clearly states that they heard them directly in their own native languages (dialektos).
What happened is that the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ "were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues (glossalalia), as the Spirit gave then utterance." (Acts 2:4) This gift of the Holy Spirit is "dorea" and they were praying in tongues that could not be understood. This is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that our Lord Jesus Christ had promised them. After receiving the Holy Spirit they were then able to receive the spiritual gift (charismata) of speaking in human languages (dialektos) that could be understood by the devout Jews "from every nation under heaven." (Acts 2:5)
The gift of speaking in human languages is not given to every believer.
Those who are opposed to speaking in tongues often use “Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” in 1 Cor. 12:30 to support their position. The answer in this context is obviously “No.” In this verse the apostle Paul was writing about a special gift of speaking with tongues like the ability to speak in the language of another country as experienced on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:5-13) The Greek Interlinear indicates the original Greek word used for “language” in verse Acts 2:8 is “dialektos” meaning a dialect, a human language. The disciples of Christ had never learned any of those languages, but they were able to speak them supernaturally. This is a special gift that is not given to every believer, but only to certain people on certain occasions. This is a charismatic gift.
There is another type of tongues that is manifested when a Christian is baptized with the Holy Spirit. In the record of Acts 2:4 there is this statement, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” The Greek word used for “tongues” in this verse is “glossalalia” which means sounds caused by the movement of the tongues. This occurs when a believer receives the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This speaking with tongues “glossalalia” is different from the “dialektos” which is a human language. Notice that Acts 2:4 states that “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues.” There was no exception. Every one of the 120 or so disciples spoke with tongues “glossalalia” but not everyone spoke “dialektos.” How do we know that? Read this. “Then they were amazed, and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all those who speak Galileans?” (Acts 2:7) Amongst the 120 disciples who had assembled in the Upper Room in Jerusalem only Galileans had the special gift of speaking with tongues “dialektos.” The Pentecostal experience in Acts chapter 2 does indicate the two basic types of speaking with tongues. “Glossalalia” is for every believer whereas “dialektos” is only given to some believers. The charismatic gift of speaking in human languages "dialektos" occurred on the Day of Pentecost but it occurred again at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.
The modern Pentecostal Movement that began on New Year's day of 1901 in the city of Topeka, Kansas in a Bible school is reminiscent of the events that occurred in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost in the First Century.
The first person to be baptized in the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking in tongues was Agnes Ozman, one of Parham's Bible School students, who spoke in tongues on the very first day of the new century, January 1, 1901.
Shortly after midnight, she asked several of the men present to lay hands on her that she might receive the Pentecostal blessing promised to all believers. As they did so, she began to speak very quietly in fluent Chinese. For the next three days she could speak nothing but Chinese.
Whenever she attempted to write in English, during this three day period, the result was always the same - Chinese characters. Copies of her writing were published in various daily newspapers, and her experience attracted widespread attention.
Those who had been standing near Miss Ozman when she received the Holy Ghost, reported a halo of light appeared about her head. For three more days the students sat in God's presence, waiting for another divine manifestation of His power. Then, on the night of January 3, 1901, with about seventy-five assembled for a regular service, twelve ordained ministers from various denominations received the Holy Ghost simultaneously. Heavenly brightness once more filled the room, as the twelve spoke in tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.
Of those who received the Holy Ghost that night, some were sitting, some were kneeling, and some were standing with upraised hands. Although some trembled slightly, there was no evidence of violent emotion. Just as on the Day of Pentecost, tongues as of fire sat upon each of them. Finally, in unison, the minister recipients began to sing "Jesus. Lover of My Soul." They sang in at least six languages, but the blending of their voices sounded like an angelic choir.
When all this was "noised abroad" the crowds began to gather. Reporters from as far away as St. Louis came to investigate and report. So convinced were they that their stories resulted in front page accounts with banner headlines. Soon, other reporters converged on Topeka, bringing with them government interpreters and language experts. The languages being spoken by those at the College of Bethel were verified as legitimate and fluent languages of men, languages these recipients could not possibly have known.
The modest, Christian behavior of these students, coupled with the undeniable fact that they were all speaking known languages with correct accent and intonation, caused all who saw and heard to admit that it was real.
And so, day after day, student after student was caught up into glory and scripturally sealed with the Holy Ghost, as evidenced by speaking with other tongues, exactly as the apostles had done on the Day of Pentecost."
[Excerpt from "The Winds of God" by Ethel E. Goss - pages 52-54]
6. Testimonies of Speaking in Human Languages
Houston, Texas I recall an incident that we experienced here in our Houston congregation several years ago. There was disunity and disharmony amongst our members and people were raising their voices in argument. When it came to a point when the people could no longer tolerate each other I requested that we all stop the arguments and pray to ask God for a solution. We all knelt down and prayed in the Spirit. When we came to a point where everyone was seeking the Lord in quietness. It was so quiet that "you could almost hear a pin drop", proverbially speaking. Suddenly someone spoke firmly in a loud clear voice in Mandarin Chinese, the common dialect in China that all the Chinese believers in our congregation could understand. The message is: "You must have love, have love." She said the Chinese words "Ren-Ai" that means "Agape Love." It was the voice of a sister from the Caribbean Islands. Being of African descent she had never learned Chinese in all her life. Of course, everyone in the congregation who are mostly Chinese had great fear. We all heard in our own language what God had wanted us to hear. We had been arguing a long time to no avail. God had given a special gift of tongues to someone who had never learned the language to teach us Agape Love. Our Church in Houston began as a House of Prayer in 1981 and became a Church in 1983. Throughout all these years this is the only time when we ever experienced a member speaking in a human language that she had never learned. God is great. What He did two thousand years ago He can also do today. Praise the Lord, HalleluYah!
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil In the mid Eighties I used to travel to Brazil on missionary trips. One of my most trusted and reliable co-workers in Brazil was Brother Antonio Toledo. He was an ex-naval officer in the Brazilian navy and he spoke four languages fluently. He was a gifted linguist so he was my interpreter throughout my missionary trips in Brazil. I had attended a Bible Conference in Sao Paulo and he interpreted for me during those four days. After the conference I had to fly from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro for my connecting flight back to the U.S.A. The flight time was only about forty minutes. Brother Toledo was flying home to Rio de Janeiro and he sat next to me in the plane. We talked about the conference and he said that he had been thinking about what I had said concerning the Baptism into the Lord Jesus Christ. He asked me whether or not I could baptize him and his family when we got to Rio. I looked at my flight schedule for Rio de Janeiro to Miami. I had only about four hours waiting time for my return flight to the U.S.A. I told Brother Toledo that I would baptize him and his family but we needed to pray for God's guidance because of time limitation.
We rented a car and drove to Brother Toledo's home up in a mountain village about 50 kilometers west of Rio. I preached to his family that included his wife and four children. They all accepted the truths and we drove straight to the famous Ipanema Beach and I baptized Brother Toledo's family into the Lord Jesus Christ. On the way home we bought pure wheat flour and fresh grapes for the Holy Communion. I also administered Washing of Feet to the whole family. After the Service I rushed to the airport and found out that the door of the airplane was already closed. I prayed and pleaded to the check-in counter clerk to call the air steward to open the door. Praise and thank God the door was opened just for me and I was on my way back to the U.S.A.
On my return trip to Brazil Brother Toledo came to the Rio airport to pick me up. Trouble! My baggage did not arrive. I called the airline office every day. Still no baggage. The airlines told me they had looked everywhere and they could not find my baggage. Most of the things that I had brought to Brazil were lost. The basic things that I needed were in my Samsonite briefcase. The most important thing needed for my trip was my Holy Bible. Praise God I had it with me. The Lord had taught me something during that missionary trip. I read what our Lord Jesus Christ told His apostles what not to bring with them when they go on missionary trips (Mt. 10:7-10). On that trip I had learned not to rely on material things but to pray more than at any other time. Our God is truly a Provider. HalleluYah!
I am now coming to my testimony on the gift of speaking in a human language. It was a Saturday morning and we were preparing for the Sabbath Service that was scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m. The service was held in Brother Toledo's home. The family had called several of their relatives and friends. Brother Toledo went out very early in the morning to another village to bring an elderly woman to the service. He had traveled by bus. The time had arrived for the service to begin. It was already 11:00 a.m. Brother Toledo was not home yet. By that time some of the family's relatives and friends had already arrived. They started singing some hymns in Portuguese. We waited. 11:15 a.m. Still no Brother Toledo. 11:30 a.m. Brother Toledo still did not show up. When it was 11:45 a.m. I was desperate. Brother Toledo, my only interpreter was not there. What was I to do?
I looked at Sister Toledo and placed my palms together and gestured to her that we should all pray together. We knelt down and prayed in one accord for God to bring Brother Toledo back as soon as possible. I began to pray in the Spirit and spoke in tongues. The language began to flow out of my mouth. While still kneeling and praying in tongues I opened the Portuguese Bible and began to read some verses from it and continued to pray in tongues. The language that I spoke while praying sounded like Portuguese but I did not understand what I said. I did not know how long I was praying in that language but after some time I stopped and opened my eyes.
When I turned around I saw Brother Toledo standing on the other side of the room. He apologized for arriving late. He said the bus that was returning from the other village had broken down. He had to wait for another bus. I quickly asked him to come forward to interpret for me. He said to me in English, "Carry on, Brother Paul, you were doing fine." I asked him what I was saying. He said: "You were preaching the Gospel in Portuguese." He also said that when he entered the room I was already preaching in Portuguese. He had wanted to hear what I was preaching therefore he did not interrupt me. He also told me that everyone in the congregation understood what I was preaching. Praise the Lord! HalleluYah! If you were to ask me whether or not I think praying and speaking in human languages that one has not learned is possible in the Church today? My answer is "Most certainly." I have actually experienced it.
I began missionary work in India in 1969 and have seen and experienced many miracles, signs and wonders that are described in the Holy Bible. In all those years up till today that miracle in Brazil when I preached in a human language that I have never learned had happened only once throughout my ministry. We are already in the End Time and our Lord is coming soon. The Gospel of the Kingdom must be preached to all the nations of the world and we need supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. We must pray that our Lord Jesus Christ will bestow gifts of the Spirit to many ministers so that His commission of world evangelism may be accomplished as soon as possible.
7. Speaking in Tongues for World Evangelism
Those who object to speaking in tongues often assert there was no Bible in the First Century church therefore God had used this gift for preaching and teaching. Wycliffe Bible Translators informs us that currently something in the area of one thousand language groups still do not have the Bible available in their own tongue. Printing and distribution of Bibles in various languages is propagation of the Gospel through the written word of God. Speaking in tongues is witnessing and propagation of the Gospel through the spoken word of God. Both are needed in all ages.
In the Great Commission our Lord commanded His disciples, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. . . And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; . . . And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen." (Mk. 16:15-20) Speaking with tongues is one of the accompanying signs given to believers. It is an essential part of the Great Commission. Our Lord Jesus Christ prophesied "And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Mt. 24:14) Speaking with tongues is one of the accompanying signs that confirm the word that is preached. As long as our Lord Jesus Christ tarries and the end has not come this gift of speaking with tongues will been in the Church of Jesus Christ.
Some claim that the gift of tongues, together with the other spiritual gifts, was only given to the early Church to get it established, and passed away with the death of the original Apostles. However, there is no Biblical support for this assertion. The verse "Whether there are tongues, they will cease" (1 Cor 13:8) cannot be taken as proof of this, for the passage goes on to read "But when that is perfect has come" talking of the day when we see Jesus "face to face" (vv 10,12). Tongues will only cease when the perfect One Jesus Christ returns and we see Him face to face. All the spiritual gifts were given to the Church, for the building up of its members "till we all come to the unity of the faith. . . . to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4;13). Clearly that day has not yet arrived, so the various gifts and ministries are still needed and available.
We see then, that there is absolutely no support for the teaching that tongues have ceased. If the original church of Jesus Christ practiced speaking with tongues, why shouldn't the present Church of Jesus Christ also speak with tongues? Did not the Lord promise through the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost. "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:39) He was referring to the gift of the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking with tongues; and Peter was saying that it was promised to those who were yet afar off. This includes people in our present time. If God has promised it to us, why not believe it, embrace it, and receive it?
8. Speaking with Tongues is still needed in the Church today
A. It is the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “And these signs will follow those who believe: "In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues.” (Mk. 16:17) Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should expect to speak with tongues.
B. It is the manifestation of having received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:1-6) Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the new birth in the Spirit (Jn. 3:5-8; Acts 1:4-5)
C. It is an exquisite prayer language. “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” (1 Cor. 14:2) We still need to pray to God in a way that He listens.
D. Prayer with tongues is prayer with the Spirit. (1 Cor. 14:14-15) Praying in the Spirit is according to the will of God. (Rom. 8:26-27)
E. Speaking with tongues edifies the Christian. (1 Cor. 14:4) When we pray in the Spirit we build ourselves up on the most holy faith. (Jude 20)
F. Paul wrote: “I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied . . .” (1 Cor. 14:5) It is the apostle’s wish that we all speak with tongues.
G. Paul also wrote: “Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues.” (1 Cor. 14:39)
May God bless you