Monday, August 1, 2011

The Holy Spirit and Men of God


Did D.L. Mooney, Charles G. Finney, R. A. Torrey, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, ever speak in tongues?


No is my simple answer. Moody (Influenced by Congregationalist, Presbyterian and Baptists) and R.A. Torrey (a Congregationalist) was part of the "higher life" or Keswick movement which taught a powerful work of the Holy Spirit by "Letting go and letting God". No historical facts have Moody practicing speaking in tongues, though he was friendly towards charismatics. R.A. Torrey wrote articles against what he called the falsehood of this practice. The modern charismatic movement was well before Finney's (A Presbyterian) time. This practice was not recorded
as normative practice during their periods of ministry by reliable Christian historians. Billy Sunday (Presbyterian) did not speak in tongues. Billy Graham (a Baptist) did not and does not speak in tongues as recorded by his many biographers. Billy Graham is in his nineties today.

All of these men come from different traditions of springing from Reformed Theology which teaches that when you come to faith in Christ that you are then baptized by the Holy Spirit which is the fire of Matthew 3:11. These men believed in a deepening of faith by the Holy Spirit by walking with Christ in gaining a greater level of sanctification. They did not believe in a second act of grace that is marked by only then they received the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues, marking (with some) salvation and total sanctification as supported in the modern Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. This movement reintroduced speaking in tongues as a wide known practice to Christian life in the early 1900's. I have seen many articles that refute these noted Christian men you listed ever spoke in tongues. These articles claimed some tongue speakers falsely claimed these men did speak in tongues. I am sure somebody somewhere has claimed these men have spoken in tongues. By these men's personal theology and reliable historical accounts, there is no validity in claiming these men spoke in tongues.  By these men's theology and credible historical sources my opinion would be that these men did not speak in tongues.  Do not be confused.  I am not saying they did not go deeper into sanctification and they were not empowered by The Holy Spirit .

This should not add or subtract to what these men have given to us in our Christian heritage. Yes these men had the full gospel. John the Baptist talked about Jesus act of Spirit baptism in Matthew 3:11.  I believe this baptism is salvation.

Matthew 3:11

English Standard Version (ESV)
11 "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

In Acts there is four distinct accounts of people being baptized with the Spirit and speaking in tongues.

In Acts 2 at Pentecost, everyone who was converted received the Holy Spirit was Jewish or a Jewish proselyte (convert). many people do not examine the biblical text and miss this. These people (the text says they were all Jews or Jewish proselytes) had faith in God but not the full gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Many Christians think those speaking in tongues at Pentecost were from all faiths. No, all of the people saved and baptized by the Holy Spirit were Jewish.

In Acts 8 the dreaded neighbors of the Jews, the Samaritans, (religious and ethnic half-breeds outside of the Jewish camp) were shockingly considered worthy of salvation and Holy Spirit Baptism. Here is where Peter said he now knew that God was no respecter of persons. In Acts 10 the Roman (Gentile European invaders known as the Italian cohort as the house of Cornelius) were declared by grace worthy of salvation and water and Holy Spirit baptism. The gentile disciples (the non Jewish "dogs" not fit for Judaism) of John the Baptist in Acts 19 were declared mercifully worthy. They had earlier repented but had never heard of or known that there was a Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit baptized believers in four accounts, to four different people and ethnic groups, in four strategically different locations. We have four accounts in Acts, not just at Pentecost. The church universal was then empowered for ministry.

In these four counts of Holy Spirit baptism we have seen that the Salvation is sent to the four corners of the world for empowerment in the advance of the Kingdom. The full church was now equipped for ministry by the Holy Spirit. The normative Christian experience as recorded after Acts 19 in Scripture is salvation and being baptized with the Holy Spirit as happening at the same time.

There is no scriptural support that you are not saved or do not have the Holy Spirit if you do not speak in tongues. Supernatural Biblical activity in the Bible is centered around the time Moses delivered his people the Hebrews from the Egyptians and was given the ten commandments. The next time you see miracles in a concentrated occurrence is when Jesus was preaching and teaching and in the life of the early church. This is when Apostles of the church shared the Good News of Jesus Christ and planted churches.

Are signs and wonders for today? They are if the Holy Spirit blows as He will.
John 3:8(ESV)"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Why have there ever been signs and wonders? To glorify God. Are supernatural gifts like tongues normative today,no. We have the gospel and our fullest revelation of God in the complete canon of the Scripture, our Holy Bible. But I see no dispensation or verse in the Bible that limits the Holy Spirit.

All spiritual gifts are to glorify God and to magnify the work of Christ. True spiritual gifts should never cause division among believers. Do not elevate a gift.
Elevate the giver of gifts. In all let's give glory to God. He gives us what we need
to accomplish His purpose.

In Christ Alone!

Fletcher Law


  1. Cathy Matthews Derrick, Judy Howell Crawley, Sharon Dillard Jones and 6 others like this.
    (With A Facebook Thumbs up)

    Fletcher Law-
    To non bloggers-click the blue "FletcherLawand Grace..." and it will take you to my blog and you can read the article.
    19 hours ago · Like · 1 person

    Mike Smith-
    wow...Fletch I'm speechless..which for those who know me...doesn't happen very often...the blog is GREAT!...everyone must read!
    10 hours ago · Like · 2 people

    Fran Margaret Dickerson-Combs-
    Fletcher I was touched and so sorry I missed the service but will clear the calender for next reuinion .God BLess you !!
    9 hours ago · Like · 2 people

    Stacie Jackson McCune-
    I agree with BooBoo..a must read! Thank you Fletcher...I will never forget this service...It truly was wonderful.
    9 hours ago · Like · 1 person

    Kim Adams-
    I agree! Except maybe our Commencement service, this is the only time we all worshipped God under one roof together. It was a powerful service.
    8 hours ago · Like · 2 people

    Mary Jane Streets-
    Made me wish again that I'd been able to attend. I'm hoping that 35th is indeed in the works for next year and that I will be able to attend. Awesome blog, Fletcher, thank you!
    8 hours ago · Like

    Rebecca Healan Ruffner-
    Fletcher said..."Jesus Christ came to our reunion worship service.
    He anointed our praise with the OIL OF GLADNESS."
    8 hours ago · Like · 2 people

    Rebecca Healan Ruffner- Yes! Thats what it was! There was a moment during the service on Sunday, when I felt overwhelmed with the realization that we were all there together, in that one place, for that one moment in time, to worship. Yes, for a few seconds I lost it. But it was amazing and what a gift we were given on that Sunday morning. Thank you Fletcher...I love your blog btw...
    8 hours ago · Like · 1 person

    Sharon Williams-
    Awesome Fletcher! There was no doubt "A sweet, sweet, spirit in the place, and I know it was the spirit of the Lord." I was in that Kleennex box Sunday morning big time. What an awesome God we serve!!
    7 hours ago · Like · 3 people

    John Pless-
    Fletcher, I'm happy to see that you broke down the DVD of your performance. I would expect no less from you. Once a football player and coach, always a football player and coach. As for me, I think those speech classes finally paid off for you.
    6 hours ago · Like · 2 people

    E Anita Little-
    Fletcher, I echo all the sentiments already given. I have a the DVD of the service available to purchase or just for your own use?
    6 hours ago · Like · 1 person

    Judy Howell Crawley-
    I agree, it was a very touching, memorable service that I will never forget, thanks again Fletcher. I'm looking forward to the next one!
    5 hours ago · Unlike · 2 people

    Pam Nix Cole-
    Fletcher, I had been really looking forward to your message and as you said... Our amazing God was there! May God Bless and keep you all my classmates of 1977! XOXO
    5 hours ago · Unlike · 4 people

  2. Gary Buffington, Len Fleming and Tony Wolfe like this. (Give A FACEBOOK thumbs up)

    Julie Dunn Deaton-
    You did an excellent job on Sunday and I am not the only one who has this same opinion. I love to see young people (teenagers or early 20's) get involved by singing and clapping the way the young people on the front row were doing on Sunday. God Bless to you and your family.
    16 hours ago · Like