If you have attended New Testament Christian Church more than one time, there is a good chance that you have been encouraged to receive the Spirit Baptism. Numerous Christians throughout the world believe that this baptism is an operation of God in the life of his children, taking place as an event separate from and subsequent to salvation. There are also many Christians who differ in this regard, believing with all good conscience that they received the Spirit and salvation simultaneously. Normal people can disagree on this point without insulting one another. NTCC is not a normal group.
Everything about NTCC, from its very inception, is designed to drive a wedge between participants and everything else in the world, and to cement their loyalty to the leader of the group. All friends, family, distant relations, and Christian acquaintances are understood to be under a deception, falsely claiming Christ, and living in sin, benighted and ignorant without the enlightened truth offered by NTCC. Virtually all other churches fall into the ‘out’ category, and are cut off from fellowship through various doctrinal distinctions. One means by which this takes place is total insistence upon being “Filled With the Spirit” as a separate and subsequent event.
Once you have confessed faith in Christ, you will be encouraged to receive this experience, and there are times when an entire church service will be devoted to this very purpose. A message will be preached concerning the “Holy Ghost Baptism”, including the doctrine that all who receive this experience will “speak in tongues”, at the end of which will be a specially directed and purposeful altar call. This altar service will normally be punctuated by faced-paced music and singing that puts everyone ‘in the mood’ and encourages the seeker to pray aloud. One thing should be mentioned that is of a positive nature: at this particular church, unlike other charismatic or pentecostal churches, ministers are discouraged from prompting people unnecessarily. They are not going to handle snakes, slap you in the forehead or push you to the floor. They may speak in tongues aloud in your general proximity, but they will ordinarily exercise more restraint than is found in other similar environments. One of the few things to recommend NTCC is that they do not seek to manufacture miracles. The problem is one of exclusivity, and the power that it produces.
They want very much to say that all who are saved will eventually be baptized in the Spirit. They want very much to say that all Christians who do not believe in this subsequent experience are not saved. What they actually say is this: “You can be saved without the Holy Ghost–but whatever keeps you from getting the Holy Ghost will keep you out of heaven.” This is a painfully obvious way of saying that all churches are going to hell, and their congregations right along with them, who do not adhere to this doctrine. The logic of this is inescapable.
Which brings us to the issue of Tongues. New Testament Christian Church distinguishes itself further from other churches by way of the doctrine of Tongues. They claim that the only outward evidence of the initial experience is to speak in a spiritual language that is unknown to both the hearer and the speaker. Does this exclusive belief stand up to scrutiny? Perhaps and perhaps not. There are examples given to the reader in the book of Acts. In a handful of recorded occurences of Holy Spirit Baptism, approximately half contain references to something that happened, and that reference includes (among other things) Speaking in Tongues. In the remaining occurences, there is no reference to any particular evidence. Though one might assume that something took place, it is not specified. Some Pentecostal Christians take this as a concrete guarantee that tongues always accompany the Spirit Baptism. This is tantamount to basing an entire dogma on the logical premise that “although it doesn’t say they did, it also doesn’t say they didn’t”. NTCC is one of those organizations. Others testify to having received this experience without tongues (among those who have made this claim are D.L. Moody and Charles Finney). It seems to be an open question that Christians can debate without rancor and mutual condemnation. But NTCC holds all other Christians in contempt, and leaves no room whatsoever for this consideration. One of their preachers from the past was famous for saying “the Holy Ghost is like a pair of shoes–the tongues come with it.”
An attitude like this puts great pressure on everyone involved to conform and “get the Holy Ghost.” It is no longer enough to be a Christian–you must now become ‘this kind’ of Christian. People under this sort of pressure begin to realize that they are trapped in a class system. There are those classes of Christians who have this special experience of Speaking in Tongues, and there are those that do not. What they do not realize is that, in NTCC, there are many such distinctions that serve to separate people into status groups, containing a built-in incentive (acceptance) for moving up to the next group. It begins with the Tongues doctrine, which is secured to the absolute certainty that the Holy Ghost baptism is an essential experience that is evidenced only through the speaking of “other tongues”. This absolute certainty where no certainty can be justified is epidemic within NTCC and can be applied to other doctrines as well. As with all cults, it is used as a weapon to convince the listener that “what we’ve got here is something you won’t get anywhere else”. Already, in the very early stages of involvement, the belief is being planted in the mind of the church member that “I don’t know where else I can go to get the truth.” If they can’t get your willing and cheerful participation, they’ll settle for the fear-based variety, brought about through subtle coercion.