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I have heard that some Christians consider it the only sure sign of having received the Holy Spirit, which would seem quite important.

If not generally, which groups hold to this belief, and in what way do they consider it necessary?

And secondly, does Christian tradition back up this belief? What evidence is there?

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i thought speakign in tongues was a sign of demonic posession? –  DForck42 Sep 2 '11 at 21:17
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@DForck42 depends on who you ask. –  RiverC Sep 3 '11 at 18:28
    
I'm also upset that Shog edited my question to remove asking what groups believe it is necessary. –  RiverC Sep 3 '11 at 18:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

No, I do not believe that this is the only sure sign of the Holy Spirit. Also, I would question if someone is truly speaking in tongues when they claim to be. Can people speak in tongues today? I have seen people who would claim they were speaking in tongues, but there was no one there to interpret.

Paul lists speaking in tongues as one of the spiritual gifts, but he does say that they are distributed as God determines, not necessarily as we want them.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 (NIV)
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

1 Corinthians 12:27-30 (NASB)
27 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?

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Sorry, my question got changed to a different question (more or less) so I rolled back and edited it so it would be a bit clearer while still reflecting my original intent. –  RiverC Sep 3 '11 at 18:33

The only group I am aware of who see speaking in tongues as necessary to salvation are the United Pentecostal Churches, which teach some other doctrines most Christians would disagree with. For example, they are deny the Trinity and teach that there is only one person in the Godhead who appears in different forms at different times, whereas the Trinity teaches there are three persons in one being known as God.

All other Pentecostals and Charismatics, to my knowledge, teach that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. The baptism of the Holy Spirit (in which one receives the speaking in tongues for the first time) is seen as a second event, unnecessary to salvation but important for Christian maturity.

This can be seen in the New Testament. The disciples received the Holy Spirit in the book of John after the Resurrection. They were not baptized with and filled with the Holy Spirit until Pentecost several weeks later in Acts 2. Its the same today. Every Christian receives the Holy Spirit at salvation (when the accept Christ's death and resurrection as atoning for their sins and adopting us as children of God), but are not filled with the Holy Spirit until the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Whether one has been baptized with the Holy Spirit or not, though, does not determine if they are saved.

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The sure sign of having the Holy Spirit is affirming the Lordship of Jesus.

1Co 12:3 NIV Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

As to the second part of your question regarding the justification for the belief that speaking in tongues is the sure sign of having the Holy Spirit, I can only speculate. Paul has a long discourse regarding this gift, and perhaps his emphasis has led some to believe it is the most important of the spiritual gifts, and give it undue status. I don't find any Scriptural basis for believing it is the definitive sign.

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