"There Is One God And One Mediator Between God And Men, The Man Christ Jesus" 
1 Timothy (2:5)

(Part 2) Tarrying: Potential Problems



The Potential Problems With Tarrying


This is not to say that a genuine Holy Ghost tongue speaking experience couldn’t happen utilizing the Apostolic/Pentecostal church tarrying practices, for I am a witness it can but this type of practice is more in line with a statement made by comedian Chris Rock who once said: 


“Just because you may be able to drive a car with your feet doesn’t make it a good idea to do so.” (Paraphrased)  


Likewise, the church may implement any practice it wants but is it a “practice” ordained of God?


I say that for several reasons:

1. It puts undue pressure on the newly repented individual to produce a spiritual manifestation that is beyond their personal control. This could lead to frustration and disillusionment; and

2. We tend to be selective and “omit” all other “initial” signs; and

3. Scriptures do not exist of Holy men teaching others how to speak in “tongues”; and

4. It leaves the door wide open for fraud to occur.


Let’s explore theses issues in more detail:






Problem # 1 – The Physically Disabled




One serious problem would be those born mute and cannot talk, the handicapped individual who may be an individual who has been surgically altered having had their vocal cords removed where it becomes physically impossible for them to speak, or an individual that has a neurological condition such as paralysis or muscular dystrophy, which could also render the individual vocally impaired. How would these individuals ever enjoy this tongue speaking experience?

This would indicate either God is not just or your understanding of this passage is incorrect. We know God is just and it is not God’s wish that any man should perish, including these individuals.




Problem # 2 – It Is Often Laborious Work


All of my prior tarrying experiences held within a church environment were very laborious. We usually had to make ourselves go into a meditation or “trance like state of mind” (for lack of better wording) trying to achieve this tongue speaking experience from God.

This was usually hard work and very time consuming and nobody was usually excited about having to repeat this burdensome work (tarrying) to get this free gift of the Holy Ghost with this tongue speaking experience. It did not seem free if you had to work that hard for it. Often time people, while tarrying, started slobbering, foaming at the mouth, running of the nose and/or sweating.  None of these signs are recorded as occurring during the tongue experiences mentioned in the Bible.




Problem #3 – Double Standards


I often thought it strange and questioned why we only needed to speak in tongues once (tongue believers believe that this special language needs only to occur once) and those who push this practice never seem overly enthused to do this tarrying practice for any long duration or repeatedly themselves. Of course this claim of how frequently a recipient must speak in tongues (“once”) is also another unsupported biblical claim. These are man-made criteria’s.

Logically if this is such a good idea and practice to connect to God’s spirit and confirmation of his indwelling presence, then to me it would seem only logical that these Pastors/ministers would voluntarily implement this practice as part of their own daily routine, tarrying more frequently themselves so as to become closer to God and more anointed.

Leaders lead by example, not by “do as I say, not as I do.” Either this is too much work or it is unnecessary work. How is anyone going to believe in a “practice” when they do not see the leaders of the Church publicly “tarrying” themselves?

I believe that many Apostolic/Pentecostal churches have lost many members due to this MANMADE confirmation ordinance practice. Unless someone has the “gift of interpretation”, God did not give man this authority to determine one’s salvation based on speaking in tongues alone, this is God’s field of expertise, not man’s. 





Problem #4 – Selectivity (Omitting Other “Initial” Signs)


It is of little surprise that we as Christians do not want to claim dual requirements having to be met at the same time, as indicating the “initial” evidentiary sign of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, (i.e., the combined tongue speaking and prophesying) even though it is clearly stated that both occurred after the Holy Spirit came on other individuals. If we were to apply this type of “customized” logic it presents a problem nonetheless for those who adhere to this selective choice type of criteria. That would mean all Christians should also be required to “prophesy” at the same time of receiving the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, which is also another sign that “initially” occurred on another occasion.


(Acts 19:5-6) “On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied”.


Again, this was clearly an “occurrence” recalled and recorded in the New Testament, it is not stated anywhere as being a “requirement“.

Similarly if we hold fast to Biblical occurrences that took place as a requirement; then all Christians professing themselves to be “saved” (especially those Pastors said to be called of God) should exhibit all of these signs (plural) as stated by Jesus, as the “initial” evidence of their being “saved” or filled with the Holy Ghost. 


(Mark 16:16-18)“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”.


I know of no one exhibiting all of these signs, verifying that they have all of these listed God given abilities. If there is to be any “initial” sign requirements in determining who is “saved”, or who is not, then this is clearly the scripture to focus on. This should be the foundation of any test, as Christ himself has clearly indicated,  “these signs (PLURAL) shall follow them”.  DO YOU EXHIBIT ALL OF THESE SIGNS? DO YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO DOES? 

I cannot remember the last time I saw a “saved” Christian picking up a rattle snake or drinking a cup of poison to “confirm” that he/she was saved. OK maybe that would be a little too extreme for most of us? Well tell me then when do individuals (like yourself) start exhibiting the evidence of your ability to heal by the “laying on of our hands”?

I am sure that we all know many seriously ill people. I cannot remember the last time I saw any “saved” Christian or Pastor eagerly and honestly with assured confidence profess to be able to lay hands on any randomly chosen sick individual and claim healing or deliverance from a deadly disease, sickness or terminal illness (indicating one of the undisputed signs of being saved). I personally don’t remember any who openly declared a specific time when that healing would take place, “immediately” or “let’s just keep our fingers crossed”, and pray that God heals them”.

Of course, we all know that God is the only one who can heal, but it is indicated that God has given all of those who are “saved” his approval, his authority and the ability to heal by the means of laying on of hands. This is scripture.

You see it is quite easy to claim to speak with “new tongues” or “unknown tongues” (which is an ambiguous sign) easily generating “unintelligible vocal activity” or “unintelligible babbling” claiming it to be a “Heavenly language” (for lack of better wording). Those who cling to this justification may only be adhering to this sign as it is clearly the easiest one to “fake”, anybody can be taught to mimic unintelligible vocal activity. It is undoubtedly harder to fake the rest of the God given evidentiary Biblical signs of being saved.


It is not surprising that we tend to avoid claiming “ALL” of these signs as “joint” requirements .

Why, because this was not an actual commandment here, neither were the other passages as mentioned earlier, but it is nonetheless undisputed that along with the sign of “tongues” Jesus also indicated there were several other signs which were all part of the EVIDENCE of a TRUE BELIEVER, ONE WHO IS SAVED!

As with the sign of speaking in tongues, just because something is mentioned which occurred, or could occur, does not necessarily make it the exhaustive (complete) listing or a combined list of all requirements that must all be obtained unless the Bible specifically states it as such.

Now we have a context interpretation decision, either these signs evidenced what “could” take place as God so chooses to gift an individual or all of these signs must occur at the same time in order to fulfill the listed requirement Jesus identified.  

Remembering the word initial is not used in any of these passages of scripture, as it is often said “we can’t take part of the word and omit the parts we don’t want to practice” The whole picture has to fit in the most harmonious and logical manner.

If we are looking for evidence of the Holy Ghost, it seems that we need a larger arena to be surveyed or a reevaluation of our logic.

Although these miracles occurred at that time, these attributes may come about later or be developed over the course of time, (spiritual growth and gifts, some being faster than others considering those who are babes in Christ). 






Problem #5 – Holy Men Didn’t Teach This Practice


Traditionally (in the Apostolic/Pentecostal churches) when a baptized recipient comes up out of the baptismal water and they are not “speaking in tongues” at some point in time someone from the ministry will counsel the individual informing them of a behavior they believe the newly baptized individual seeking the Holy Ghost should be exhibiting, providing them with a vague description of what speaking in tongues is going to sound like (usually steering them towards some form of unintelligible babbling or vocal activity). 

The Bible teaches that we are to perform water baptism, and that is it, period, nothing more, we should let God do the rest. Paul actually discourages this public display and Paul also indicates that the individual has some control of his actions by keeping silence in the church.


(1 Corinthians 14: 27- 28) “If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.”




Problem #6 – It Opens The Door For Fraud


Does Your Minister Have The Ability To Distinguish The Difference Between Unintelligible Babbling” and “Spiritual Unknown Tongues”?


Spiritual (Unknown) Tounges or Man-made “Jibberish


A Friend once stated, “Let the Lord do the Lord’s work, he doesn’t need any help.”



It has often amazed me how some ministers and altar workers contend to place themselves in a position of authority as to be able to determine whether or not an individual is speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit during a “tarrying” session, all the while they themselves cannot “interpret” what is being spoken. 

Jesus did not indicate that his disciples had to teach any recipients how to speak in tongues, and they certainly could NOT teach someone else how to speak in an unknown tongue for as the name implies that which is unknown cannot be taught.

In reality many recipients are basically “trained” to make or recite “unintelligible” words in an attempt to equate their murmuring to the “unknown tongues” mentioned in the Bible. 

Unless someone has the ability to translate babbling, “unintelligible babbling” is not language but random sounds made by the mouth. 

Telling a new convert they have received the Holy Ghost is a very dangerous practice if it is based on “unintelligible” sounds or words coming forth from someone’s mouth, after being “prompted” by the ministers to speak in this manner.

This leaves room for fraud to occur, especially if the recipient made themselves babble in order to excuse themselves or to see if those who deem themselves to be “qualified” would actually claim that their manner of speaking was the result of the Holy Ghost. (That individual would  probably doubt the rest of the ministry as being a fraudulent practice from that point on

Any ministry claiming the infilling of the Holy Spirit for someone else, other than the recipient himself making that claim, places themselves as well as the church in jeopardy of telling a LIE!




For Example:

It Can Become a “Learned” Behavior and not a real “Supernatural” Experience


This practice was primarily used on a weekly basis or whenever someone was baptized. It was clear to me, even as a child, that this “practice” was actually “instilling” a learned behavior and not necessarily a real supernatural spiritual tongue speaking experience from God.




Personal Experience #1:

Speaking In Tongues “Without” The Presence Of The Holy Ghost

My first personal experience with tarrying and speaking in tongues began during my earlier childhood (grade school age approx. 10 years of age). We lived in the city of Muncie Indiana. During that time we attended an Apostolic church under a wonderful and anointed man of God. (Out of due respect to all, personal identities are omitted)
After I was baptized, we were “taught” to gather around the altar, or pews (seats), and usually instructed to continuously repeat the word “hallelujah”. After a short period of time we were then instructed to “let it change”. Since I had witnessed other older members speak in what is called “tongues” which to me sounded like “ unintelligible babbling”, it soon became clear that the more I learned how to “relax” my tongue and allowed it to “loosen up” my speech changed and started sounding more like what I had heard spoken by others.
I realized that at different periods in time the altar workers were saying “Let it go”,  “Let it change”, “That’s it, that’s it”, “Let him speak, let him speak” then finally “You got it, you got it”, rejoicing during periods when I was just doing some serious babbling. 
The SIGNIFICANCE of this event was that I was just allowing my tongue to move about freely and babble (which I could stop at will any time), I too soon became able to make these meaningless “unintelligible babbling” sounds. Once this occurred it was then claimed, that I had received the Holy Ghost by those supervising me through this tarrying service method.


NOTE: I must note here that I accepted what I was told at that time as being truth, for I did not know what to actually expect nor did I have in-depth spiritual biblical knowledge or understanding. I was just a child listening to my elders. 

During these experiences, I did not actually feel any different. I experienced no unusual supernatural powers. My body was not under any unusual control and I did not experience any unusual supernatural feelings. 

I did not experience any type of special happiness or joyous feelings. I did not feel I had any special power which would keep me from sinning should I so desire. Basically, I felt no differently than before this experience, what I did know was we as children hated to participate in this practice.

The Factual Results:

1. There is no Biblical evidence supporting the modern church practice known as “tarrying services” or (learning how to speak in tongue sessions) which attempts to try to imitate the recorded experience which occurred on the day of Pentecost. 

2. There is no Biblical scripture mandating or requiring any individual to have a witness present for verification of his/her tongue experience, unless he can interpret the tongues for understanding.

3. The reference to Luke 24:49 (“but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” ) does not reflect the “tarry” practice as performed in some of today’s churches. This tarry (or waiting) accounting was done PRIOR to anyone ever being baptized “in the name of Jesus” NOT after a baptism.

4. It is also clear that no man can determine when the Holy Ghost will be given or 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 water baptism mentioned in Acts 2:38. This reoccurring pattern of the Holy Ghost being given/received before water baptism still happens today.  

If tarrying service is conducted as a voluntary (not mandatory) function and only after it has been correctly explained, or if it is requested without any prior accusation of not being saved, then this may “possibly” be an acceptable practice.


Personal Experience #2: 

(See: Experience #2: Receiving The Holy Ghost Without Speaking In Tongues)




Personal Experience #3:

(See: Experience #3: A Sign To Them That Believe Not)