Acts 19:1-6 describes how Paul went to Ephesus and met people described as "disciples.” The first question Paul asked was, "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" If people received the baptism of the Holy Ghost when they received the word of God, it would be foolish of Paul to ask this question. The fact that he asked it makes it clear people become believers in Christ without receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Even if a person receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time he is converted, it is a separate experience from salvation. The ministry of the Holy Spirit has been operative throughout eternity.
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know Him: for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:17)
Another objection to tongues has come through misunderstanding of a question of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 12:30. He asks, "Do all speak with tongues?" The answer to his question is "No, all do not speak with tongues." But Paul is not speaking here of the experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The discussion concerns gifts of the Holy Spirit which can be used by the believer in the church:
Some believers do not seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are afraid they will receive an experience that is not of God. But the Bible says:
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him? (Matthew 7:7-11)
Another objection to tongues is that it is an emotional experience. Many believers who have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit emphasize their own emotional reactions to the experience. Man is an emotional creature. Conversion does not eliminate a man's emotions. He will still experience joy and sorrow, anger and happiness. Conversion frees man's emotions from the control of sin. It redirects these emotions to the worship of God. The word "joy" in Scripture is closely associated with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 13:52 we read that "the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost." Some people react with great emotion to the joy which comes with the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they are naturally more emotional than others. They may shout, laugh, or experience other sensations in their physical bodies. But these emotional reactions are not the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. The confirming sign is speaking in tongues. It is not necessary to show great emotion such as laughing, shouting, dancing, etc., to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. How one reacts emotionally to the joy this experience brings is often related to his natural emotional nature. But we should not criticize those who have joyful emotional reactions to the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells of emotional reactions by those who had a powerful experience with God. People trembled, fell prostrate on the ground, shouted, rejoiced, and danced before God. It is interesting to observe the emotional reaction of people to various athletic events. They will yell, laugh, jump up and down, and express much excitement over a sports game. How much more excited we should be over a gift like the Holy Spirit which accomplishes so many purposes in our lives, brings great joy, and equips us with power to reach the world with the Gospel?