Should Christians Speak
If you would like a hard copy of any of Willie
Due to the questions asked
by [email protected] about speaking in tongues, I submit this for
your study and consideration.
Should We Speak In Tongues?
It was at a church where area preachers had been invited to come for a
day of fellowship and discussion of vital spiritual matters. We had been
listening for about two hours to a preacher; who of late had been emphasizing
the church's need to give more recognition to the Holy Spirit. Suddenly
he interrupted his message by saying something like, "To give you an example
of what I mean..." and began to speak strange syllables that sounded like
no language we had ever heard. He then claimed that he had been anointed
with the Holy Spirit a few nights earlier, and that afterwards he had spent
the night practicing speaking in tongues until he could speak in at least
5 different "tongues," although he had no idea what languages they might
be or what he might be saying.
This was the tongues phenomenon
which burst on the scene in the 60s, dividing churches and disturbing the
lives of millions of people. We took special interest, attending many of
their meetings, witnessed many of their activities (but saw no miracles),
and studied anew the New Testament in regard tot he Holy Spirit and speaking
Repeatedly people ask, "What
do you think of speaking in tongues." before an answer is made, we must
make a two-fold disclaimer: 1). What we think is of no importance. What
is important is the truth, and only the Bible can be relied on for truth
in this matter. 2). In many things we all stumble, but all who love God
also love the truth and rejoice to be corrected in it.
Tongues A Language: On the
Day of Pentecost, the apostles "began to speak with other tongues." (Acts
2:4) There were about 16 different dialects or languages represented in
the audience, and THEY ALL HEARD IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE.(Acts 2:8) All languages
are known by some people or tribe. The concept of an unknown tongue comes
from the King James Bible in which the translators have inserted the word
"unknown," and put it in italics to indicate that it is not in the original
Greek Scriptures. Paul. quotes Isaiah 28:11, which peaks of "men of strange
tongues." This simply means a people of a foreign language, which would
be a strange tongue. It doesn't mean escatic utterances, the babble and
gibberish spewed out by the religious fakers and thought by many Judeo-Christians
as a "tongue."
The Purpose: The apostles
received special gifts for the purpose of "confirming" the word that they
preached. The promise was: "In my name shall they cast out devils; they
shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they
drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on
the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:17-18) "And they went forth,
and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the
word with signs following." (Mark 16:20) One wonders why advocates of speaking
in tongues ignore the other signs, such as taking up serpents, drinking
poison, and healing the sick.
Paul writes that the gift
of tongues was for a sign, a sign that would authenticate their message.
(1 Corinthians 14:22). But he makes it clear that this was a special gift
for only some. "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are
all workers of miracles? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?"
(1 Corinthians 12:29-30) The implied answer to all these questions is "no."
The idea that every Christian should speak in tongues is foreign to the
Often the scripture is quoted:
"Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever," (Hebrews 13:8) to claim
that if He gave this power in apostolic times, it must still be given today.
But we do not see God creating women out of men's ribs, nor do we see children
born to virgin mothers. And when was the last time we saw fire and brimstone
wipe out a wicked city, as happened at Sodom? God being changeless does
not require that He is bound to repeat some action over and over upon demand.
The apostle Paul contrasts
the transitoriness of the "gifts" of the Spirt, in the time when God's
revelation was incomplete, with the permanence of faith, hope, and love,
which would remain after the Bible had been completed, "Love never fails
(never will cease) but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done
away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease, whether there be knowledge
(as a gift of the Spirit) it shall be done away."(1 Corinthians 13:8; NAS)
These gifts were for the beginning and foundation of the church. No longer
does Christ appoint apostles and workers of miracles.
The Regulations: Chapter
14 in First Corinthians is the one which is usually cited to support speaking
in tongues. But in this chapter the apostle Paul severely criticizes this
practice. Note the following:
No one has the authority nor
the power to regulate God's Spirit. Yet, here is Paul, laying out the rules
and regulations for speaking in tongues. Obviously, Paul did not consider
this to be the work of God's Holy Spirit.
1). The church at Corinth was full of sin and strife, and the
only church singled out for severe criticism.
2). Paul said that their practice of tongues was worthless. "No
man understands," he said, but they speak mysteries, and speaking into
the air without significance. (Verses 2, 9, 10) He said that five words
with understanding were better than ten thousand words in a longue. (Verse
3). All things are to be done "unto edifying." This disqualifies the
so-called "unknown" tongues used in Pentecostal groups.
4). If there is no interpreter, "let him keep silence in the church:
and let him speak to himself, and to God." (Verse 28) This rule is violated
in thousands of Judeo-Christian churches every week.
Experience Is Subjective:
Subjective experience often has more power over one than objective truth.
"I know what happened to me, and I know it is from God," one will say.
When preachers are skeptical of the claims being made by one of the Judeo-Christian
charlatans posing as one of God's servants; his answer is, "I, too, was
skeptical, until it happened to me. Now I know this is real, and there
can be no doubt." But THE FACT THAT HE CONFESSED THAT HE HAD TO "PRACTICE"
ALL NIGHT LONG IN ORDER TO SPEAK IN THESE "TONGUES" BETRAYED THE EXPERIENCE,
THAT IT WAS NOT GIVEN BY GOD BUT WAS RATHER THE RESULT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL
FORCES THAT HAD BEEN AT WORK IN HIS PERSONALITY FOR SOME TIME. Many of
these Judeo-Christian charlatans are sincere, but are sincerely mistaken.
They make certain prophecies, which they believe, but which are false and
At some point Christians
will be told that to receive the gift "you should put your mind in neutral,
and let your tongue loose." No such instructions are needed for a miraculous
gift from God. Besides that, scripture instructs us to maintain self- control
at all times and to understand what we are doing and act with purpose.
Not only is it contrary to biblical teaching to allow one's mind to become
neutral, it is a dangerous invitation to many false teachings.
Experience and feelings are
not dependable. Emotional ecstatic speech (so-called tongues) was experienced
by pagans many years before the time of Christ, and it made them feel secure
in their pagan religion. Faith is not to be based on our feelings, but
on the Word of God. Jesus said that many would claim to have prophesied
and done mighty works in His name, but He will say to them, "I never knew
you: depart from me, you that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23)
Disillusionment: Many who
were emotionally captured by this exciting activity later gave it up, disillusioned
and disappointed. One preacher who had found himself speaking in tongues
went to a preacher I know, and as they prayed he let loose with some of
the ecstatic expressions. Then he asked him if he though that was a language
that God had given him. Obviously if it had been, he would not have had
to ask the other preacher. He gave up the tongues practice. Many other
preachers who have joined in this practice stopped preaching the gospel.
Yet, the main purpose of "other tongues" was to proclaim the gospel. The
modern "tongues" movement has resulted in division, confusion, and disillusion;
the very things that Paul had warned against in 1 Corinthians Chapters
12 through 14.
Some teach that speaking
in tongues is a sign that one has received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
NOT SO! EVERY CHRISTIAN IS GIVEN THE ABIDING PRESENCE OF GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT
WITHOUT ANY STRINGS ATTACHED. Here is the promise: "Repent and be baptized,
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:38)
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