It is very grave, and deeply symptomatic of the day we are entering, that one of the best prophetic magazines in America commits itself to a belief that the Divine supernatural is now on the earth.  It says:- “It is easy for us who are not Pentecostalists to lift the brows and to deny that in these days there is any speaking in tongues by the power of God; but here stands a perfectly authenticated instance that is entirely in accordance with the teaching of 1 Corinthians 14.  To deny or ridicule it is to disobey the injunction of verse 39 that stands at the head of this chapter.  That there is much speaking in tongues by the power of demons has been demonstrated again and again.  It is unfair to leap to the conclusion that all speaking in tongues is by the power of demons.”*


* The incident given is that of two American women in Seattle who, though ignorant of the Filipino tongue, spoke in that language - one in a ‘tongue,’ and the other in its ‘interpretation’ - resulting in nine professed conversions, two of whom are now missionaries.  But the women speaking [in the Church] at all is an explicit disobedience to the Holy Spirit’s own instructions on the gifts.  Immediately after He has forbidden women to speak in the assembly, He says:-If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or inspired, let him acknowledge” - as one test of the source of his inspiration - “that the things which I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14: 37).



Everything turns on what exactly is meant by the Baptism of the Spirit; and here the judgment of the Church of God is divided.  It is held (1) by some (for example, the Bullingerites) that this ‘baptism,’ with its consequent gifts of inspiration and miracle, was an experience purposely confined by God to the epoch of the Acts.  (2) Others (for example, the Plymouth Brethren) understand that regeneration and the baptism of the Spirit are one and the same thing.  (3) Others again (for example, the Keswick Convention) regard it as an ‘on-fall’ that can occur after regeneration, un-miraculous, but resulting in deeper sanctity. (4) Still others (as all sections of the Tongues Movement) claim its actual possession at this moment, with its attendant miracles.  And finally, there is (5) that which appears the Scriptural view:- namely, that the baptism of the Spirit is a miraculous on-fall of the Holy Ghost, necessarily resulting in miracle; un-possessed by the Church for at least sixteen centuries; not having been withdrawn by God, but having lapsed; and to be restored in the last outpouring (whenever that may be) of the Holy Ghost.



The experience of the Apostolic Church makes the fact of a baptism of the Spirit simple, certain, decisive.  The promise was explicit:- Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1: 5).  The event is equally explicit.  Suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2: 2).*


* A cognate expression - to be ‘filled with the Spirit’ - is no less linked with miracle: those thus ‘filled’ at once spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 2: 4), and edify one another with inspired ([see Greek …]) songs (Eph. 5: 19).  Pentecost is named both a baptism (Acts 1: 5) and a filling (Acts 2: 4).




Now, in face of this narrative, the prevalent views at once collapse.  (1) A single passage is enough to disprove the contention that this baptism is “Jewish”, and not designed for the Church.  God hath set some IN THE CHURCH, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues” (1 Cor. 12: 28).  (2) One passage is enough to prove that regeneration and the baptism are totally distinct.  Believers having arisen in Samaria, the Apostles prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then laid they their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8: 15).  Here were [regenerate] believers, already baptized as such in water, who afterwards receive the Holy Ghost; and that not by regeneration, but by the laying on of an Apostle’s hands.  That is, there are two wholly separate actions of the Spirit in the New Testament; - one, His entering into a person, so making him a temple of God; and two, His falling upon a person, to confer powers of miracle and inspiration.  And again (3) all the Scriptures that handle this baptism define it as a conferring of miracle and inspiration: any experience, therefore, however excellent in its effects - such as a deeper sanctity through consecration - is not the baptism of the Spirit if it produces nothing miraculous.  One passage will suffice.  To certain Ephesian believers Paul says:- Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?  And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Ghost was given.”  Paul explains the baptism, after conversion, which Christ can give.  And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; AND THEY SPAKE WITH TONGUES, AND PROPHESIED” (Acts 19: 2).



One further claim (4) to its present possession remains.  More than 200,000 Christians, throughout the world, now speak in tongues.  Apart altogether from the special tests given by the Spirit of God, to be applied at every appearance of the supernatural whenever and wherever it occurs (1 John 4: 1-3; 1 Cor. 12: 3), and to which - so far as we know - no proofs of correct answers have ever been given in the modern supernatural* - one fact is fatal to all claims to any possession of the miraculous gifts since the Apostles.  The miraculous gifts are nine (1 Cor. 12: 8-10): if the gifts have been restored, the nine must be here, including prophecy - the correct foretelling of facts or events that could not have been foreknown by men or demons; and also workings of miracles - open acts physically impossible except to Divine power.  Both prophecy and miracles are totally absent front the modern movements claiming the gifts: in other words, the giftsare not restored.**  It cannot be stated too often or too strongly that both ‘healings’ and ‘speaking in tongues’ are commonplaces in Spiritualistic séances throughout the world, and, taken by themselves, are no proof whatever of a Divine work.


* It ought to be obvious that one of the first acts of the Holy Spirit, if and when restoring His gifts, would be to point to His own tests, and to fulfil them. Not a single proved case has been produced; and it is astounding, that, with scores of thousands of [regenerate] believers speaking in ‘tongues’, no claim is even made, much less established, that these tests have been applied, much less applied successfully, so as to establish Divine miracle.  In view of the fact that the tests will get better known and therefore more challenging, and also that we are up against subtle and unscrupulous forces in the unseen, we need be very careful that the proofs of any alleged successful application are clear beyond all possible doubt.


** Predictions are frequently made successfully in Spiritualism, but solely of coming events which, by wider knowledge or by correct inference, could be known to demons.  Absolute foreknowledge belongs to God alone (Isa. 41: 23).



It is plain therefore that we are confronting a vast counterfeit of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, in a day when a subtle supernaturalism is capturing multitudes, and when Satanic miracles on a great scale (Matt. 24: 24) are shortly due.  We need to keep wide awake to the fact that the Apostasy - the coming worldwide abandonment of the Christian Faith - is to be the direct work of consulted spirits.  [Regenerate] Christians will give heed to seducing spirits speaking lies hypocritically” (1 Tim. 4: 1): ‘seductivespirits - that is, spirits who study the person they approach, so as to know how best to deceive him; and while to those outside the Christian Faith they naturally pose as the dead, equally naturally the way in which the Scriptural believer is most likely to be caught is by the demon representing himself as the Holy Spirit.  No more outstanding Spiritualist has appeared in this century than Sir A. Conan Doyle: yet here is his admission of seducing, personating spirits.  We have, unhappily, to deal with absolute cold-blooded lying on the part of wicked or mischievous intelligences.  There is nothing more puzzling than the fact that one may get a long connected description with every detail given, and that it may prove to be entirely a ‘concoction’.  Of a kin with these false influences are all the Miltons who cannot scan, the Shelleys who cannot rhyme, and Shakespeares who cannot think, and all the other impersonations which make our cause ridiculous.”  Their consciences, the Apostle says (1 Tim. 4: 2), are cauterized as with a hot iron- seared, branded, dead.



One warning, so far as we know never given, is imperative.  Twice the Holy Ghost fell, once on Jews (Acts 2: 2), once on Gentiles (Acts 8: 17): all other transmissions of the miraculous gifts came, and came solely, by the laid-on hands of an Apostle.  Through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given” (Acts 8: 18).  A tremendous danger therefore lurks in the laying on of hands.  For psychic reasons unknown to us, the physical touch facilitates spirit transmission: therefore, if the one deputed to lay on hands, whether a [regenerate] believer or an unbeliever, is or has been - consciously or unconsciously - a medium, it becomes at once possible for a demon to be transmitted; and, in a company of believers ignorant and off their guard, that [evil and deceiving] spirit will immediately be acclaimed as the Holy Ghost.  As one experienced in exorcism put it to the writer:- Never let a demoniac touch you.”  On the same principle, when the second out-pouring of the Holy Ghost does come, these two olive branches - the Two Witnesses, doubtless with apostolic rank for the laying on of handsempty the golden oil OUT OF THEMSELVES” (Zech. 4: 12).*


* One essential for apostleship was to have seen the Lord (1 Cor. 9: 1) and if the Two Witnesses are Enoch and Elijah, rapt into the heavenlies, there can be little doubt that they have both seen Him and will be personally commissioned by Him.



A second warning is of equal urgency.  The type that foreshadows Pentecost is extraordinarily instructive.  At the moment of the completion of the Temple, when all was ready for the habitation of God, the Shekinah Glory descended and rested on the Mercy Seat (2 Chron. 7: 1); a miraculous entrance of the Godhead, which to all appearances was meant to be permanent, and which remained for several centuries, until idolatry in the Temple compelled its withdrawal (Ezek. 8: 10).  Exactly so, the moment the Church, the Spiritual Temple, opened in the upper room, the Holy Ghost descended with miraculous flames on the heads of men and women who immediately spoke in tongues and prophesied; and for one or two centuries these gifts, the proofs of the [Holy] Spirit’s miraculous presence, continued until, with gross corruption within the Church, they disappeared.  The critical point here is that, as the Shekinah Glory was a corporate gift to the People of God as such, never a gift to mere individuals, and was lost through corporate corruption, nothing but the people of God, as a whole, on its knees, could have recalled it; even an Anna and a Simeon were powerless to bring the Shekinah Glory back.*  Exactly so, the baptism of the Spirit, the baptism with the Holy Ghost and with fire, while it might conceivably be restored to an entire Church throughout the world on its knees, it can never be restored to isolated individuals; and so certain is it that there will be no such kneeling Church - as there was no kneeling Israel for the return of the Shekinah Glory - that the Second Outpour will occur, as Scripture reveals, only after there is no recognized Church on earth.


* Robert Govett told the writer that, together with a prayer group, for twenty years he prayed for the miraculous gifts, with no result; and that George Muller told him that he had done the same thing, equally fruitlessly.  It is a daring soul to-day who imagines that God has given to him what He refused to two of the greatest saints of the nineteenth century.



So, finally, the episcopal ‘laying on of hands’, since it produces no miracle, is not the baptism of the Spirit*; and since it confers no gifts % the hands laid on cannot be the hands of apostles** and there can be no ‘apostolic succession’ except a succession of apostles.  To suppose that wicked men, by virtue of their office, can confer the Holy Ghost verges on blasphemy; and how wicked such ‘apostolic successors’ can be one example from history will prove.  Canon Malcolm MacColl writes:- Renegade Christians, professed Jews, and born Mussulmans came to occupy the sees of Moorish Spain; libertines, who took part in the orgies of Arab courtesans, even during the solemnities of church festivals; unbelievers who publicly denied a future life: - wretches who, not satisfied with selling their own souls, sold their flocks into the bargain.  This state of things lasted for centuries, and the priesthood of Spain is largely descended from them.”


* There has been no proof, so far as we know, of any transmission of a spirit, good or bad, by the laying on of episcopal hands throughout the centuries.


** The laying on of the Apostle’s hands evoked ‘the manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 12: 7) in visible and audible miracle.  “Down to the end of the third century these miraculous gifts of the infant church were continued, although gradually diminishing” [because of disobedience presumably, (Acts 5: 32)] (Olshausen).



Pentecostalists frequently stress Mark 16: 17, 18.  But probably none will put it to the decisive test, as did Paul (Acts 28: 5).  A ‘holiness’ preacher, named Albert Teester, attempted it some years ago.  He brought a rattlesnake into the meeting.  Twice, as the preacher challenged God to come to his aid, the snake sank its fangs into the preacher’s upraised arm.  Screaming with pain, he rushed from the church and rolled on the ground.  Teester’s arm swelled to the point of bursting and his tongue became so swollen that it nearly choked him.”  This is no fulfilment of Pentecostal power.  Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and nothing shall in any wise hurt you (Luke 10: 19).