(Part 1) Tarrying: Introduction
Modern Attempts To Speak In Tongues
Some believe that Spirit-baptism (receiving the Holy Ghost) always includes speaking in tongues. Therefore, those who desire Spirit-baptism will seek to experience tongue-speaking. Coming from an Apostolic/Pentecostal background myself, I am aware of services we called “tarry service” (tarry, an old English word meaning “wait” is found in the King James Version of Luke 24:49).
Sometimes these services are interactive where emotions are kept high. The person seeking the “experience” is encouraged to speak rapidly, to repeat words or syllables (usually some word of praise such as “Hallelujah” “Hallelujah”, over and over) and to continue with this vocal activity until the tongue-speaking experience happens.
The environment of tarrying encourages ecstatic speech as such, but not necessarily a genuine biblical gift of tongues. In such an environment, tongue speaking can become merely a learned behavior. The organs of speech continue to work, but the conscious control of them fades.
This type of “tarrying” practice may vary but continues in Apostolic/Pentecostal churches today.
Modern attempts to imitate the tongues of Pentecost are attempts to imitate only one of the miracles of that day. The real lesson of Pentecost is not in the miracles, but in Peter’s message:
(Acts 2:38) “Repent and be baptized…in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.
Loosening the tongue does not necessarily require a miracle, but loosening the heart in real repentance does.
Is the practice of “tarrying” necessary to a person’s salvation? How should a person tarry? Question after question has been raised concerning the practice of tarrying from is it necessary or just a tradition to how to tarry correctly and does the method matter.
A Recorded Incident or A Biblical Practice?
The reference to tarry in Luke 24:49 (“but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”) does not reflect the “tarrying” practice as performed in many of the Apostolic/Pentecostal churches of today. This tarry incident (or waiting) was done PRIOR to baptism or BEFORE anyone was ever baptized “in the name of Jesus”.
There is no record of anyone having to go and wait (or tarry) for the Holy Ghost AFTER they were baptized “in the name of Jesus”. It is also clear that no man can determine when the Holy Ghost will be given nor the order in which it will be received, (before or after water baptism). In Acts 2:4 and again in Acts 10:47 the Holy Ghost came prior to the actual water baptism (in the name of Jesus) as mentioned in (Acts 2:38).
This particular sign (spiritual gifting) of the Holy Ghost being received in this manner (before water baptism) still happens today.
There is no biblical support however for the practice of tarry meetings. Jesus encouraged his disciples to pray with meaningful words, not thoughtless, repeated words (Matthew 6:7).
In the tongue-speaking incidents recorded in the book of Acts, the gift of the Spirit came unexpectedly. No one was being emotionally worked up. The gift of tongues is given as God determines (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
If we need the Holy Spirit and its gifts to do God’s work, God will provide us with the Holy Spirit. (Luke 11:13).
Whoever believes, repents and is baptized will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. No further steps or tarry meetings are needed.
The “Shall Receive” Is A Promise, Not A Potential Opportunity
I often wondered what would happen if we never instilled our preconceived notions into the minds of the potential recipient coming to Christ; never giving them any “idea” of what to expect after baptism. Do you think God would not fulfill his promise in Acts 2:38 to those that had repented and were baptized? Do you believe that God would actually withhold the gift of the Holy Ghost?
What I find most interesting is the timing when they (groups that implement this practice) decide to disclose one part of their intent which is usually withheld until AFTER someone has been baptized. I will share it with you now.
The call to receive God’s plan of salvation is offered (through Jesus Christ).
- If we Repent and are baptized in the name of Jesus (according to Acts 2:38)
- for the remission (removal or pardon) of our sins (according to Acts 2:38)
- we will (shall) receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (according to Acts 2:38)
- At some point in time it will include “with the evidence of speaking in tongues”, for all churches who proclaim speaking in tongues mandatory.
NOTE: Step 4 above is NOT (according to Acts 2:38)
Even as presented in the order listed above, these appear to be easy steps for a sinner to take, primarily little time and work is needed to obtain this free gift of salvation. Or is it free?
The potential recipient is usually unaware of one fact prior to coming down the aisle seeking Christ. The ministry’s intentions that they are going to ask the new recipient to do additional work above that indicated in (Acts 2:38) if the recipient comes up out of the baptismal water NOT speaking in tongues. Although steps 1 thru 3 were followed, the ministry will declare the recipient as not receiving the Holy Ghost in order to justify why the speaking in tongues did not occur as they claimed would occur in step 4.
How can a man negate God’s promise? He Can’t! Neither are we allowed to interfere with God’s work!
The “shall receive” found in (Acts 2:38), is a promise NOT a potential opportunity. This is an internal experience; however there are no specified time frames given as to the manifestation, (immediately, in a week, etc.), or the type of manifestation God may choose for you to exhibit. Often a ministry will try and interject Mark 16:16-18 (See Speaking In Tongues) and argue it in support. They are actually mixing apples with oranges. The act of speaking in “tongues” is different than the act of “tarrying”. They are two separate subjects which the church has fused together in an attempt to justify this particular type of practice.