Well I'm tired of this thread so I'll get it over with.
The final component I wish to discuss on this topic is the belief that speaking in tongues is not just a gift of the Spirit that some Christians have, not even the view of some that speaking in tongues is a gift all Christians could have, but evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence in your life to where if you have never spoken in tongues, you are not a Christian.
It is easy enough to see where the group gets this idea. It's a simple line of thought:
1. A person is not a Christian if s/he has not received the Holy Spirit.
2. A person who receives the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues.
3. Therefore, a person who has never spoken in tongues has not received the Holy Spirit and is not a Christian.
I agree with the first premise. However, I disagree with the second. Accordingly, I disagree with the conclusion.
I've argued before that the "dictionary" you bring to a word determines the meaning you see in it. That is true in this case. A person from this group brings a "definition" of the Spirit that entails speaking in tongues. Therefore a person is not a Christian if they have not spoken in tongues.
Where does this "definition" come from? I would say two places. First, it comes from the experience of the founders of this group. It's easy to say that all Christians will speak in tongues when you come to Christ if you spoke in tongues when you came to Christ. The problem is of course for the rest of us who believe we experienced conversion and yet did not speak in tongues.
If the founders of this group spoke in tongues when they had their conversion experiences, it is easy enough to interpret the fillings with the Spirit accordingly. After all, on three occasions in Acts groups who receive the Holy Spirit speak in tongues (Pentecost, Gentiles, followers of John the Baptist).
Here we encounter an important dynamic of biblical interpretation. The book of Acts has a "gap" with regard to the relationship between receiving the Spirit and speaking in tongues. The text of Acts does not say that those who receive the Holy Spirit always speak in tongues. The reader must then infer whether 1) we are meant to assume speaking in tongues every time someone receives the Spirit in Acts, even though Acts does not say so or 2) there were only certain key occasions when speaking in tongues occurred.
We might note that Philo the Jew mentions a tradition that a fire issued from Mt. Sinai at the giving of the Law and that this fire could be heard in articulate speech. The Jews of this period associated the Feast of Pentecost with the giving of the Law, so Luke and/or God was giving more than just some sign of conversion in the speaking of tongues on the Day of Pentecost. Perhaps this is an indication that God was inaugurating the new covenant in which He wrote His laws on our hearts instead of on tablets of stone (cf. Jer. 31; 2 Cor. 3; Heb. 8). Some would say this symbolizes the reversal of the confusion at the Tower of Babel.
In any case, speaking in tongues has a strong symbolic significance here, a significance that our dictionary doesn't come equipped with because we are not ancient Jews. The tongues that took place in Acts 10 make it clear that the Gentile experience of the Spirit was in no way inferior to the inaugurative experience of the Jews at Pentecost. The purpose of narrating speaking in tongues at Ephesus to the followers of John the Baptist is less clear and, in my opinion, provides the strongest argument for the group we are discussing.
Nevertheless, their position is largely an argument from silence. Tongues does not play a major role in the New Testament. It appears almost exclusively in these three Acts passages and in 1 Corinthians. Of course there are significant differences even between 1 Corinthians and Acts on this score. The tongues of Acts seem to be human languages that help unbelievers come to Christ. The tongues of 1 Corinthians push unbelievers away and seem to be something like the tongues of angels (13:1).
In 1 Corinthians Paul addresses a problem in Corinthian worship relating to the use of tongues, and the overall tendency of 1 Corinthians 14 is to promote the use of prophecy over tongues in worship. Paul allows the use of interpreted tongues only and then only two or three in a service.
He says not to forbid tongues, which is clear enough about the direction of the conversation: he is not promoting, he is not prohibiting. I do not say this to demean the use of tongues--I don't actually have a problem with Pentecostal groups that might have uninterpreted tongues throughout the whole worship service. Paul was writing to the Corinthian church within the parameters of their context. I suspect that many Pentecostal churches actually are edified by uninterpreted tongues in their worship! (and by the way, I use this same line of argument to justify the Wesleyan Church's prohibition of tongues in public worship--it would not edify in our churches but create immense conflict).
My point is that I have good reason to think that an approach that considers speaking in tongues so essential to Christianity is out of focus. As Paul says, "All don't speak in tongues, do they?" (1 Cor. 12). In Greek this is a question expecting a negative answer. No, all don't speak in tongues. Paul makes no distinctiong between the gift of tongues and tongues as an evidence of the Holy Spirit. This is splicing done from the outside of the text looking in. Paul's primary point indeed seems to be to tell a Corinthian group that thinks its hot stuff that its not as hot as it thinks.
Well, my blather goes on too long. A final word about the comment in the latter part of Mark 16 in later manuscripts predicting that Christians will speak in tongues. Some groups in Kentucky take the comment "they will pick up snakes" as a command and so pick up poisonous snakes in their worship. But this comment is an indicative, a description. It is not an imperative or command. It says what will happen, not what must happen.
And of course in the end these verses were not in the original of Mark. Eusebius at the beginning of the fourth century mentions that the ending was absent from almost all the Greek manuscripts he has seen of Mark. The earliest manuscripts of Mark do not have it. There is a shorter ending in some manuscripts that reflect texts of Mark floating around that supplemented the text with something else. All in all, these verses start the chapter all over as if 16:1-8 didn't even exist. It is largely a summary of various post-resurrection statements in the other gospels.
Well that's it for this one... Blessings on all and hopefully no offense taken for my opinions...