Did Speaking in Tongues start in 1901?

Lately I’ve seen an increase in claims that receiving the Holy Ghost evidenced by speaking in other tongues began in 1896, or at the Azusa street revival in 1901

Before we begin the historical fact journey to show why this is not correct let’s consider a few scriptures

The 1st one being where we get our “Pentecostal Tag” from – The Day of Pentecost

2 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-4 KJV

Later on in the same chapter in the 1st sermon preached Peter said:

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Acts 2:38-39 KJV

Again later in the book of Acts in the household of Cornelius we find this record:\

44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

Acts 10:44-46 KJV

The church started exclusively Jewish on the day of Pentecost and the Elders of the circumcision in Jerusalem ( Acts 11:2) questioned Peter as to why he took the gospel to the Gentiles ( the house of Cornelius ) his response is recorded in Acts 11:15-17:

15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Acts 11:15-18 KJV

Later on in Acts 19 we find this record of the disciples of John in Acts 19:1-7

19 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,

2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.

5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

7 And all the men were about twelve

Acts 19:1-7 KJV

Later on in his instructions on the use of spiritual Gifts Paul said

39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

1 Cor 14:39 KJV

18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

1 Cor 14:18 KJV

It was originally prophesied of  in Isaiah 28:9-12

9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

Isaiah 28:9-12 KJV

In the OT the sabbath day was the rest but it was prophesied by Isaiah the rest would be in Stammering Lips and another tongue YET THE WOULD NOT HEAR

Many people are hearing today, but the “would not hear” part is still extremely prevalent today

It is evident that the New Testament church according to scripture , practiced speaking in tongues

The naysayers concerning speaking in tongues use this scripture to discredit it, ignoring the part where Paul said forbid not to speak in tongues

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

1 Cor 13:8-10 KJV

That which is perfect is Jesus Christ, and he has not come yet!

In Heb 2:10 we are told how he was made perfect

10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Heb 2:10 KJV

And thru his perfecting he became the Captain of our Salvation in Heb 5:8-10

8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.

Heb 5:8-10 KJV

This Captain of our Salvation alluded to speaking in tongues being the evidence of the birth of the spirit in John 3:5-8

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

John 3:5-8 KJV

But ignoring all these scriptures the claim is still made the first person spoke in tongues in 1896 or 1901

So Lets look at the historical record

In 150 AD, Irenaeus, a Greek father of the early church, wrote in his book The Refutation and Overthrow of False Doctrine “…we hear many of the brethren in the church who have prophetic gifts, and who speak in tongues through the Spirit, and who also bring to light the secret things of men for their benefit…” [3] [4]

Tertullian (ca. 155-220) (a Latin father for the early church) also spoke favourably of this gift. [5] accrding to Grant Osbourne PHD in his book Speaking in Tongues

Where the detractors of speaking in tongues are correct, is that tongues was not referred to predominately by the tag “Pentecostal” until the 1900s

Tongue talking people had other “tags” throughout history.

Montanism, Huegenots, Jansenists, Irvingites to name a few.

Montanism was a prophetic movement that broke out in Phrigia in Roman Asia Minor (Turkey) around 172AD.

Prophesied by Paul in Acts 20, the church had begun to fall away. Montanism made tongues-speaking a central part of their worship experience.

Montanists followed Montanus of Phrygis, who said he was the chosen instrument of the Spirit to prepare the church for the second coming.

Montanism persisted in Phrygia for some centuries before it disappeared accrdoing to David Wright DD’s book on Montanism

By the middle of the fourth century, the speaking in tongues seems to have diminished , although Vincent Ferrer and Francis Xavier were missionaries who described their miraculous ability to communicate with various groups as speaking in tongues

In addition many writers believe that in the Eastern church tongues-speaking continued to be practiced in Greek Orthodox monasteries throughout the Middle Ages according to Dr Grant Osbourne

At the end of seventeenth century, widespread tongues-speaking occurred for a little over a decade in southern France among a group of persecuted Huguenots.

Similarly, in the 1730s an occurrence of tongues-speaking happened among a group of Catholic pietists, called the Jansenists.

Then in the 1830s until the end of the century a revival of tongues-speaking occurred in England during the ministry of Edward Irving.

After reports that tongues-speaking had occurred in the west of Scotland in the spring of 1830, Irving himself shortly after reported such expressions in his Regent Square Church. Until the end of the century (1900) his followers (Irvingites) made tongues-speaking central to their church life according to Ian Rennie Phd in his book on Edward Irving

The example of the Huguenots and Irvingites then led to similar occurrences in Mother Anne Lee’s Shaker movement in England and America.

Why do you think they were called “Shakers”?

Not long after, in the 1850s, a tongues-speaking movement began in Russia that continued throughout the century. It was in Russia that one of the great oneness pioneers Andrew Urshan received the Holy Ghost who later emigrated to America and started a church which was on W96th Street in Manhattan until moving to Harlem in 1999

Beginning around 1860 on the Southern tip of India, through the influence of Plymouth Brethren theology [15] and the leadership of the Indian J.C. Aroolappen a revival of tongues-speaking and prophecy was reported. [16]

In addition to the occurrences of tongues-speaking in 1901 in Topeka and in Los Angeles in 1906-9, it also arose in the Welsh revival in 1904-5. [17]

One of the greatest evidences of this is found in the 1st church in the United States, in the Jamestown VA church resides a plaque containing Acts 2:38-39

You see contrary to the naysayers of the day, speaking in tongues did not originate at the beginning of the 20th century but has been in the church from the inception on the day of Pentecost

What makes modern day Pentecostalism unique is that instead of pockets of teaching popping up here and there, it has been given worldwide prominence fulfilling the scripture in Joel 2:23

23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

Joel 2:23 KJV

The former rain began on the day of Pentecost, and the latter rain began in prominence in 1901. There have always been shower of blessing through the ages

Ezekiel speaks of showers of blessings in Ezek 34:26

26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. KJV
Ezekiel 34:28 KJV

Hear the admonition of the Apostle James in James 5:7-8

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

James 5:7-8 KJV

The coming of the Lord draws nigh today, speaking in tongues is the only reliable sign that you have been born of the spirit

Why don’t you take some time and seek the infilling of the Holy Ghost today!

If you already have received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost why don’t you seek a renewing of the Holy Ghost!

5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:5 KJV