Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


Lately, I’ve had a few former students e-mail me with questions about the Bible and faith. It’s cool to know they feel like their time with me in high school resulted in some adult desire to seek out a trusted friend. This is both humbling and a great honor.

But, as I answer them, I do so with some fear… cuz I certainly don’t have all the answers, but for what it’s worth, I was praying about it the other day and thought maybe others would enjoy them. So I made some minor changes to the questions so they’d be situationally neutral, and still keeping their feel and honoring the anonymity, since I didn’t ask if I could post them.

So, this post, and at least one more to come later in the week will be about theological questions others have asked me to expand on from my point of view.


Sorry to only hit you up or information…but when I thought “Wise Councel” I thought of you. [see honored and scared note from me above] I’ve been attending this great church. At first I was resistant, mostly because of all of the baggage from the past few years, but I’m returning to the Lord, and it’s exciting – but scary. The scary part is being filled with the Holy Spirit, sure that’s not really scary – but this church is so Spirit filled and focused, that because of my background, I’m not super comfortable. I wanted to know what you felt about being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and spiritual gifts. It’s a nondenominational church, but they believe in a prayer language, or speaking in tounges (only to God of course – not as a congregation so much) and I have just heard so much against that – or more like an attitude of negativity to speaking in tounges, etc. I keep hearing in my head “oh those crazy babbling people…” you know? 🙂 But the more God is working on my heart, the more I want to be free in him – i don’t want to be held back from biblical truth and all that God has for me – but I have this fear…a stupid fear really, of being a “fool”.


“Good to hear from you. I’m glad that you’re finding your way back into connection with the church and God and exploring your faith in new ways.

As for the baptism of the Holy Spirit- here’s the scoop. On the one side. No problem. Sure, I think God uses tongues or other languages and I know some very connected people who have a prayer language they believe that God has given them. It sounds as though this church embraces “all the gifts” and that they control the use of them in the contexts where Paul gives clarification for these in 1 Cor. 14.

On the other side. I’m concerned about 2 things.

  1. That there is no pressure or idea that somehow, these are the true sign that you are holy spirit filled. Some churches read the day of pentecost in Acts as a sign that if the spirit of God is in you, then by default, you will speak in tongues. This has several problems, not the least of which was that in the book of Acts, they were speaking in languages that were “known to others” but “unknown to them.” Like all of a sudden, by the power of the holy spirit, you can now speak fluent Cantonese, etc. So, as long as they are “permitting” the gifts to be expressed and encouraging people to explore them without some sense that you must exhibit this character trait or you’re not filled with the Holy Spirit, then I’m good with it.
  2. I’m concerned that they don’t also indicate some sort of heirarchy of the gifts. Like your prayer life is going to be amazing if you start praying like this, and not so much if you don’t. That super prayer people pray in tongues and idiots don’t. I think you should ask God to show you what is truth and what is not. You should read up on the texts that deal with this in the New Testament, and then you should be open to whatever gifts God might give you or express to you through others. If this church believes in prophecy and someone comes to you with a “prophetic” word, go ahead and hear it. But then do what 1 John says and test it too. Test it against Jesus and against the Bible and against your own convictions.

I went to college and got involved my freshman year with a Bible Study I was enjoying. But before I knew it, they were telling me that I had to go to their church and that unless I was baptised by their church, I was not a true follower of Jesus. I bolted. It was false.

However, don’t let your “conservative protestant” roots keep you from exploring the whole truth of God’s word. Some churches would say that some of the gifts are no longer used today. I would disagree. I don’t see any evidence for that in Scripture… I do however see evidence of ways the “other gifts” and often those called “spirit gifts” which really they all are- but you know what I mean… tongues, prophecy, etc…. those gifts are often said they are dead today…. I don’t think so. They should however be used properly and with checks and balances. Don’t fall for the lies or pressure. Trust the Holy Spirit’s voice in you too.

Also… depending on your involvement at this church and such, you may want to set an appointment with someone on their team and ask them what they think or what they teach specifically about this. Because it’s kinda “controversial” sometimes, they may also offer a class or have a pamphlet or a part of their website that expresses their opinions too that you could check out and read or attend or whatever.

Ok.. hope that helps. Praying that God continues to restore and build you into the one he created you to be..



  1. Hey Brian – I’ve had some students ask me about this too. A few years ago I had a student get involved with my youth ministry that came from a different church that taught the whole “baptism in the Holy Spirit” thing as a subsequent blessing received after salvation, if you didn’t speak in tongues you didn’t have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, etc. In his zeal he started trying to teach this to the other students and it started a little bit of a thing. He was very apologetic for causing a stir once he realized what was going on though.

    My answers to people on this issue have been basically like yours. I also think that the times when you see large groups of people speaking in tongues or with the whole “baptism of the Spirit” as an ecstatic event, it was being done for a purpose. Like, in order to show the Gentiles were receiving the Spirit in the same way as the Jews, they had the same sort of Pentecost experience later in Acts.

    Anyway, I’d like to read more about your questions and answers and all that good stuff, so keep posting em.

Leave a Reply