Rightly Dividing the Word
27 Judaism and Christianity
This is a pretty long exegetical piece on the what that is surrounding the Quote: "Women keep silent in the Churches." It might help in understanding the problem in the Church of Corinth. The disruption was because of the unruly use of tongues and prophesy by the women there.
Why was the "Gift of Tongues" given on the "Day of Pentecost?" Because it was a "Feast Day," and there were gathered in Jerusalem Jews from all parts of the world. Ac 2:8-11. Some probably had remained over from the Passover, and during those 50 days many startling and wonderful things had occurred at Jerusalem. Jesus had been crucified and buried, and it was reported that He had risen from the dead, and had appeared at different times to His Disciples, and that they were expecting some special "Gift" from Heaven. Opinion was divided as to the truthfulness of all these tales. Tomorrow, the Feast of Pentecost being over, these Jews were going to depart for their distant homes, and would carry with them the strange tales they had heard. It was necessary that they should know exactly what all these things meant. The report that the disciples of Jesus had been given the power to "Speak with Tongues" spread like "Wild-fire," and soon the street in front of the house where they were stopping was filled with a crowd of Jews of all nationalities anxious to hear in their own tongue what had happened. Notice that no Tongue was an UNKNOWN Tongue. They each heard in their OWN TONGUE, the Tongue of the nation in which they had been born.
The "Sign" of the "Gift of Tongues" was very appropriate. Every Jew would understand it. Like "Healing" it was a "Kingdom Sign." It furnished Peter with a "Text" for his sermon. His text was-- "This is THAT." This is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel, that it shall come to pass in the "Last Days," saith God, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh," etc. Joe 2:28-32. While Peter said "This is that," he did not say this is the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel, for what happened that day was only a partial fulfilment, for there were no wonders in the heavens and on the earth, such as blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke, with the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood. The complete fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel awaits the future. The prophecy of Joel has nothing to do with the Church. It relates to Israel. It belongs to the "Day of the Lord," which is the Millennium. Joe 1:1-3:21. A careful reading of the context shows that the "Gift of Tongues" is not to be given until after the Jews have been gathered back to their own land and been converted, then the Lord will pour out His Spirit upon them and they shall prophesy, etc. Again the prophecy shall not be fulfilled until after the "Latter Rain" has been restored to Palestine, which "Latter Rain" is not Spiritual but literal, as the context shows. Palestine today is suffering for water. It is a curse that came upon it because the Children of Israel turned aside to worship other gods. De 11:13-17. The "Former" and "Latter Rain" are to be restored (Joe 2:23-27), and the land of Palestine shall again blossom as the rose, and be covered with vineyards and olive groves. Isa 35:1-2.
The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was but a "foretaste" of what is to happen after the Lord Jesus Christ comes back, and was used by Peter as an argument for the Jews to repent nationally at that time that their sins might be blotted out, that the "Times of Refreshing," the fulfilment of the Prophecy of Joel, might come. Ac 3:19-21. From this we see that the "Gift of Tongues" is a "Kingdom Sign," that it has nothing to do with the Church, or this Age, and when the need for it in that "Transitional Period" passed it ceased, and is not to be restored until Christ comes to set up His Kingdom.
While it is true, as has been already stated, that there is a bestowal of the Holy Spirit separate and following the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, which is given to impart power, there is no command or exhortation in any of the Epistles that we should pray for another Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit, with its accompanying gift of "Speaking with Tongues." We might as well look for another Calvary as for another Pentecost in this Age.
The second account of "Speaking with Tongues" is recorded in Ac 10:44-48. This occurred in the house of Cornelius at Caesarea, and was to convince Peter and the Jews that accompanied him, that the Gentiles also were included in the Church. Ac 11:15-18.
The third account is found in Ac 19:1-7. When Paul visited Ephesus he found some disciples of John the Baptist, who probably had been converted by the preaching of Apollos, but who were ignorant of the work of the Holy Spirit, whom, when they had been properly instructed and baptized Paul laid his hands on, and the Holy Spirit came on them and they "spake with Tongues" and prophesied. This "Sign" was to convince these 12 disciples that there was such a thing as the Holy Spirit. See Ac 19:2. When Peter and John went to the Samaritans and laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit, it was not evidenced by "Speaking with Tongues." Ac 8:14-17. So we see that the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" may be received without the testimony of "Speaking with Tongues."
It was not the "Sign" of "Speaking with Tongues" that converted the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, it was Peter's sermon, and Peter did not speak with "Tongues," but in the ordinary language of the people, and his sermon was interpreted by the Disciples who received the "Gift of Tongues," to the foreign Jews who were present. This led to the conversion of many, and fitted them to carry the Gospel to their home land. They doubtless received the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," for Peter told them that if they repented and were baptized (with water) they would receive the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit. Ac 2:38. But we are not told that with the "Gift" of the Holy Spirit they received the power to "Speak with Tongues." Those who spoke with "Tongues" on the Day of Pentecost only needed the "Gift" for that special occasion, and we are nowhere told that they exercised it afterward.
The only Epistle where the "Gift of Tongues" is mentioned is the First Epistle to the Corinthians the twelfth to the fourteenth chapters inclusive, and there it is looked upon with disfavor. The "Gifts of the Spirit" are enumerated in 1Co 12:4-11. They are nine in number, and the "Gift of Tongues" is next to the last, showing that it is of minor importance. It must not be forgotten, that, while there are "Nine Gifts" of the Holy Spirit, it does not follow that these "Gifts" are dispensed regularly and in equal proportions, and that each individual may possess all of them, for we are told in verse 11, that the Holy Spirit divides to every man severally as He will, and the inference is that some "Gifts" are limited to certain periods or stages of the world's history, as for instance the "Gift of Tongues" to the Apostolic Period, and in the future to Israel in the commencement of the Millennial Age.
Again we must not forget the condition of the Church at Corinth to whom the Epistle to the Corinthians was written. The walk of the members was carnal, they tolerated all kinds of sinful practices, and were filled with sectarianism and vainglory. 1Co 3:1-4; 5:1-2. It is no wonder then that some of them for the purpose of display sought the "Gift of Tongues." For this Paul reproved them, "women keep silent in the Churches" and said-- "Let all things be done decently and in order," for God is not the author of CONFUSION. 1Co 14:33,40. It also appears from 1Co 14:34-35, that the women of the Church were prominent in the "Speaking with Tongues Movement," and for this cause Paul commanded that they keep "silent" in the churches, and if they wanted to know anything to ask at home of their husbands.
From this it would appear that the "Speaking with Tongues" in the early church was for a "Sign," that it was not for edification, nor was it the practice of the Apostles. The Apostles emphasized the "Filling" of the Spirit, but not the "Baptism," and nowhere in their Epistles do they affirm that "Speaking with Tongues" is an evidence that one has been Baptized with the Holy Spirit, and is necessary for such evidence. Paul says-- "Wherefore `Tongues' are for a `SIGN,' not to them that believe, but to them that BELIEVE NOT." 1Co 14:22. Therefore the "Believer" is not to seek the "Gift of Tongues" for any witness to himself. It is also strongly hinted that "Speaking with Tongues" is peculiarly open to SPURIOUS IMITATION. Satan is always on the watch to take advantage of any opportunity to "ape" the "Gifts" of the Holy Spirit, and when those who claim to have the "Gift" of "Speaking with Tongues" speak in an inarticulate and unintelligible manner, and behave unseemly, it is an evidence of the work of the Devil, for the Holy Spirit is always dignified, quiet, and edifying in His manifestations.
As has been already said the Church is the BODY OF CHRIST. Now a body is made up of different members and organs, each of which has its own peculiar function, and limitation. If one is diseased or improperly functions the whole body suffers. Even the muscles and joints have their functions, and the Apostle says that the Church, as the "Body of Christ," is to be-- "FITLY JOINED TOGETHER and compacted by that which every JOINT supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of EVERY PART." Eph 4:11-16. That is, every individual member of the Church, even though he be but an insignificant JOINT, must function properly, or there will be schism. Any undue emphasizing, or dislocation of any Scriptural truth, only tends to disturbance in the "Body of Christ," the Church.
As a negative argument it is well to note the OMISSIONS of the "Gift of Tongues" in the Apostolic Church. There is no record that the 3000 converts of the Day of Pentecost, or the 5000 converts of a short time afterward, nor the converts at Samaria who received the Baptism of the Spirit by the laying on of hands (Ac 8:14-17), received the "Gift of Tongues." With the exception of the Church at Corinth, where the "Gift" was of no practical value, the Churches do not appear to have possessed the "Gift." The Apostles did not consider it of sufficient importance to mention it in their Epistles to the Churches, and the fact that it has never been a doctrine of the Church, is evidence that it does not belong to the Church, but was simply a Judaistic SIGN.
It is not proper to use the word "Pentecostal" in connection with the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Pentecost was a Jewish Feast, and was associated with the Jewish calendar, and has no meaning outside of that fact. The "Baptism" of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was not a "Pentecostal Blessing," it had nothing to do with the day. The Feast Day was utilized simply because, as has been stated, it was a suitable occasion to reach those Jews of all lands who had come up to the Feast and were soon to depart for their homes.
We must not forget that other "Gifts," beside those mentioned, that were bestowed upon the Church in that "Transition Period," passed away with the Period. The Apostles were a "Gift" to the Church (1Co 12:28; Eph 4:11-12), but they passed away. The New Testament Prophet was a "Gift," but as soon as the Canon of Scripture was closed his office ceased. This was anticipated by Paul when he said-- "Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail (cease)." 1Co 13:8. During that "Transition Period" the dead were raised to life. Are they still raised? Prison doors miraculously opened and prisoners were set free. Handkerchiefs, and aprons and "Shadow Casting" (Ac 5:15) were used as instruments of healing-- have they any such power today? It is not a question of what God can do, but what He has been doing in the Church for the past nineteen centuries. There is just as strong faith in the Church today as in Apostolic times. To demand and depend on physical signs is not of faith. The distinguishing difference between "Judaism" and "Christianity" is, that "Judaism" is a "Ceremonial Religion," largely dependent upon "Signs," while "Christianity" is a LIFE. Those "Transition Days" were days of "GRACE" to the Jews, and when they failed to profit by them, they were scattered over the earth and "Judaism" passed into a state of ECLIPSE.
When this occurs in the Church the impossibility of the Church growing with the interruption of unruly tongues (languages) that no one understood and prophecy in an unruly manner would reek havoc in the Church. Thus the reason for the statement: "Women keep silent in the Churches. The statement is surrounded with the proper use of these gifts.
In Christ: Phillip