Appendix 2. The Author's Personal Experience


Dr. Ralph F. WilsonBecause a person's interpretation is often strongly influenced by their experience --or lack of experience --let me share something about my own experience with gifts of the Spirit.

The child of devout Christian parents, I invited Christ into my life when I was nine. At the age of 18, I was influenced by the early Charismatic Movement, and had an experience of speaking in tongues that Pentecostals would call "the baptism of the Holy Spirit." At that time I knew that this experience was from God because I sensed a huge increase in love in my life, towards God and towards others --an undeniable fruit of the Holy Spirit. This was a turning point in my Christian walk.

Early in my ministry, I attended and later served in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. I've seen about everything! I often pray in tongues, but I have concluded that speaking in tongues is not the "necessary evidence"of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as Pentecostals believe. An experience of speaking in tongues can certainly get your attention about spiritual gifts and boost your faith. However, I have come to the conclusion that it is quite common for people who haven't spoken in tongues have the Spirit of God working powerfully in their lives, and to experience other spiritual gifts --even the so-called "supernatural"ones --with a considerable degree of power and effectiveness. For more on my understanding of these matters, see my article, "Spirit Baptism, the New Birth, and Speaking in Tongues" (www.joyfulheart.com/scholar/spirit-baptism.htm).

I have served as an American Baptist pastor since 1976, though I work across denominational lines and have a great deal of respect for what God is doing throughout his body in our day in both in my country and internationally.

I have personally experienced prayer in tongues, and, very occasionally, interpretation of tongues. Once in a while, I have had words of prophecy for a group or for an individual. So I write not as an outsider, but a careful observer and participant, at least as these practices are experienced in our day. I also come with a bit of cynicism, since I have observed many abuses of these gifts and of Paul's clear instructions in 1 Corinthians 14.

More about me and my ministry.


Copyright © 1985-2017, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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