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Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 1230


katy-did , by what power would you say that smith wigglesworth spake in tongues and did the miracles he did?
Would you say that the bretheren on sermon index are mislead or in error or what that speak in tongues?
Thanks , David

 2007/9/23 10:31Profile


These are the same people who get charged up by getting slain in the spirit to FEEL closer to God,

I have enjoyed reading your post. Now, I want to say something regarding this phenomenon called "Slain in the Spirit". As I said before in a previous post that I am not seeking after the 'feelings' of my faith. However, feelings do come(though rare for me), but they are not my main objective. We shouldn't be hard hearted towards feelings that might come. For example, when people are touched by the holy Ghost in a healing service they no doubt are going to feel the affects of that healing, some may, some may not.

I know what your saying though. Your saying, don't seek after the feelings, or the emotions of the gifts of the Spirit or any other aspects of the holy Ghost. If that is what your saying than I whole heartily agree.

Now, regarding the "slaying out". I grew up in the Pentecostal realm and I was not aware of this until I moved from the country to the city. There might have been people being slain in my home church in the country but I never saw any. When I saw it being done in the city I was totally hardened against it, why? I was scared to fall backward without any support, if a mattress was there maybe. I went to a miracle service which gave me goosebumps I never saw a miracle before at that time. Anyway, I went up to the alter and the minister just touched my hand I felt limp all over, my knees gave out from under me and I went down (someone caught me). I was very conscience of everything, I stayed down for just a few minutes and I was right back up again.

I won't make a doctrine out my experience, it's not worth the trouble, but somethings do happen in the Spirit and for whatever reason I was so called "Slain out", only God knows. Now, I have been to other services where the minister was trying to push me down, but I hung unto him. I thought if I go your coming with me. So he swayed back his way to keep from falling down. Do I look to be slain out? Absolutely not! I have been slain out the one time I haven't been since. Do I approve of it? Yes and no, some are genuine, others are not.

My parents were both slain for several hours when they received the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues but never spoke in tongues again.

 2007/9/23 11:45

 Re: Is speaking in tongues ... ?

Compliments said

they spoke in tongues but never spoke in tongues again.

Dr Martyn-Lloyd Jones calls this speaking 'the gift of utterance' and distinguishes it from those who speak in tongues at other times after the first time.

As I haven't been following this thread I don't know if this has been discussed already, but I thought it might be helpful to mention it.

Many years ago, a conversation between two very educated and intelligent young men considered the question of why God would give tongues at all.

They concluded that speaking\praying in tongues rested their minds and enabled them more rapidly to hear God's word to their spirits. I took this into my thinking as a reason for using tongues more often rather than less. I believe it is true that one rests in spirit when speaking in tongues, and [u]this rest[/u] God [i]desires[/i].

Certainly also, I believe there are many different tongues, and yet there is individual stability for the individual believer as to what their spiritual (tongue) usually sounds like. This is true for me and I have witnessed it in others. Also, I have had new languages at times of deep stress or revelation, which I took as affirmation from the Lord's own heart.

 2007/9/23 12:08


katy-did , by what power would you say that smith wigglesworth spake in tongues and did the miracles he did? Would you say that the bretheren on sermon index are mislead or in error or what that speak in tongues?
Thanks , David

Just to give some Historical Spiritual History about the speaking in Tongues from the OT.

Jesus said "not a jot or tittle would be left undone" as we shall see....

The New Testament fulfills the OT and the OT reveals the New Testament.

This is what the BIBLE Teaches, and that is all that I am concerned with. What does *GOD* have to say on the matter....

I posted earlier the day of Pentacost was also a Jewish Holy Day of Shavuot. Dispersed Jews from probably 15 different countries were gathered.

Hear the words spoken to the JEWS that day:

Acts 2:
8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.
34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35Until I make thy foes thy foot stool

[b][color=CC0000]36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

Isaiah says that if anyone speaks not according to the law and to the testimony (of the prophets), there is no light in him (Is. 8:20; see also Lk. 24:44-48). Paul, by quoting Isaiah 28:11-12 in 1 Corinthians 14:20-22, rebukes the Corinthians for not understanding the Old Testament Scriptures in their use of "the gift of tongues." Charismatic "Christians" today should tremble in fear of the Lord as they read the passage Paul used to instruct the first generation of Christians.

Isaiah 28 takes place in the latter years of Hezekiah, King of Judah, 705-701 BC. Before his rule (722 BC), Assyria invaded Palestine and the Northern Kingdom. Ephraim was destroyed. Now, many years later, Isaiah warns the people of the Southern Kingdom, Judah, that the same thing will happen to them (cf. Jer. 3:7-10). But instead of trusting in the Lord for their deliverance from Assyria, Judah makes a deal with Egypt. Their unity with pagan Egypt brings an influx of heathen practices into the congregation of the Lord, and their hearts turn from Him.

In vv. 7-8, God's prophet points to the leaders of Judah, and tells the world that they are involved in wicked, evil practices -- a drunken party. The leaders mock Isaiah and his warning concerning their spiritual condition. Not liking to be addressed as irresponsible children, even though they are childish, they call his teaching childishly simple. As far as they are concerned, Isaiah, a legalist preacher, speaks down to them as one would to a minor, and, considering themselves "free adults," they resent Isaiah, and sneer at his warning.

The prophet, in vv. 11-13, deals with them in the very point of their sarcasm (he continues to speak to them as children, using their scorn for God's Word against them) as he makes his prophetic announcement of coming judgment, vv. 14ff. Since the people will not listen to God as He speaks to draw them back to His Word with plain and simple words that they understand and use daily (including the weather, v. 2 & Dt. 28:24), He will speak to them in a language they cannot understand, Assyrian. Now they will need an interpreter to understand the other "tongues," languages (Is. 10:5-6). When they hear the stammering lips and another tongue on the streets of Jerusalem, as well as throughout the land (i.e., the Assyrian language which they understood not), they will know that God's judgment is upon them according to Isaiah's warning. The another tongue was a sure sign pointing them directly back to Isaiah's warning of the coming judgment at which they had mocked and sneered.

After the crucifixion of the Son of God, and before the final destruction of the Jewish nation, the sign of tongues re-appeared. To the Jews who knew the law (Dt. 28) and the prophets (Is. 28), it meant only one thing -- judgment. Other tongues (ethnic languages) were not new to them; it had happened in the past. In the middle of Paul's significant warning concerning the proper use of tongues (1 Cor. 14), we have his reference to Isaiah, 14:21. Paul clearly identifies tongues in the same context as did Isaiah -- a sure sign of judgment for rejecting God's warning. The Roman language that would be spoken on the streets of Jerusalem would not be understood without an interpreter.
Thus, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish came upon the Jews first, in the form of Assyria, Babylon, and Rome for their refusal to glorify God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, with their personal, religious, social, and national lives. Paul clearly tells us that God, being no respecter of persons, will also send indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish against the Gentiles for the same offense.

If a tongue is a language, then what language do the followers of the modern tongue movement speak?
They do not speak any language known to man. The speaking which takes place is of some ecstatic gibberish, which cannot be deciphered. Readers of ancient history are aware that this exact thing was very common among many pagan religions.

The pagan's definition of close, spiritual contact with their gods (ecstatic utterances) had crept into the Corinthian church, and the people claimed spirituality and love for God because they could imitate the pagans. Paul points out that what they had was not true spirituality (chapter 13).

Charismatics commonly refer to Romans 8:26 this scripture as support for the praying in tongues. In that they believe that the Holy Spirit will pray through you that which is needful. However, after a careful reading of the verse it is clear what is taking place, the Holy Spirit is said to pray "for" us and not through us. The verse also indicates that the spirit will make intercession for us with "groanings which cannot be uttered." If the groanings cannot be uttered, isn't it a clear indication that it could not be a tongue, since tongues are spoken languages? The scripture is basically telling us that the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be uttered.


There is no evidence of "unknown tongues," either by word or action, in the life and teachings of Jesus. He taught much about the Holy Spirit and gave the promise of His coming at Pentecost. But nowhere does Jesus suggest that speaking in unknown tongues would be associated with any phase of the redemptive work of the Spirit or our growing in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, He deplored the babblings of pagan religions: "And in praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words" (Mt. 6:7

With Love in Christ Jesus

 2007/9/23 12:27


Ok, lets get down to the brass tacks. Sister Katy, is the speaking in an unknown tongue and the interpretation of that unknown tongue occur in the Church that you attend? I know you believe in the gift of tongues, but does it happen in your Church?

 2007/9/23 12:37

 Re: The Bible Evidence of the Baptism of the Spirit

The Bible Evidence of the Baptism of the Spirit

There is much controversy today as regards the genuineness of this Pentecostal work, but there is nothing so convincing as the fact that over fifteen years ago a revival on Holy Ghost lines began and has never ceased. You will find that in every clime throughout the world God has poured out His Spirit in a remarkable way in a line parallel with the glorious revival that inaugurated the church of the first century. People, who could not understand what God was doing when He kept them concentrated in prayer, wondered as these days were being brought about by the Holy Ghost, and found themselves in exactly the same place and entering into an identical experience as the Apostles on the day of Pentecost.

Our Lord Jesus said to His disciples, "Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). God promised through the prophet Joel, "I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh... Upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit." As there is a widespread misconception concerning this receiving of the Holy Spirit, I believe the Lord would have us examine the Scriptures on this subject.

You know, beloved, it had to be something on the line of solid facts to move me. I was as certain as possible that I had received the Holy Ghost, and was absolutely rigid in this conviction. When this Pentecostal outpouring began in England I went to Sunderland and met with the people who had assembled for the purpose of receiving the Holy Ghost. I was continually in those meetings causing disturbances until the people wished I had never come. They said that I was disturbing the whole conditions. But I was hungry and thirsty for God, and had gone to Sunderland because I heard that God was pouring out His Spirit in a new way. I heard that God had now visited His people, had manifested His power and that people were speaking in tongues as on the day of Pentecost.

When I got to this place I said, "I cannot understand this meeting. I have left a meeting in Bradford all on fire for God. The fire fell last night and we were all laid out under the power of God. I have come here for tongues, and I don't hear them-I don't hear anything."

"Oh!" they said, "when you get baptized with the Holy Ghost you will speak in tongues." "Oh, is that it?" said I, "when the presence of God came upon me, my tongue was loosened, and really I felt as I went in the open air to preach that I had a new tongue." "Ah no," they said, "that is not it." "What is it, then?" I asked. They said, "When you get baptized in the Holy Ghost-" "I am baptized," I interjected, "and there is no one here who can persuade me that I am not baptized." So I was up against them arid they were up against me.

I remember a man getting up and saying, "You know, brothers and sisters, I was here three weeks and then the Lord baptized me with the Holy Ghost and I began to speak with other tongues." I said, "Let us hear it. That's what I'm here for." But he would not talk in tongues. I was doing what others are doing today, confusing the 12th of I Corinthians with the 2nd of Acts. These two chapters deal with different things, one with the gifts of the Spirit, and the other with the Baptism of the Spirit with the accompanying sign. I did not understand this and so I said to the man, "Let's hear you speak in tongues." But he could not. He had not received the "gift" of tongues, but the Baptism.

As the days passed I became more and more hungry. I had opposed the meetings so much, but the Lord was gracious, and I shall ever remember that last day-the day I was to leave. God was with me so much that last night. They were to have a meeting and I went, but I could not rest. I went to the Vicarage, and there in the library I said to Mrs. Boddy, "I cannot rest any longer, I must have these tongues." She replied, "Brother Wigglesworth, it is not the tongues you need but the Baptism. If you will allow God to baptize you, the other will be all right." "My dear sister, I know I am baptized," I said. "You know that I have to leave here at 4 o'clock. Please lay hands on me that I may receive the tongues."

She rose up and laid her hands on me and the fire fell. I said, "The fire's falling." Then came a persistent knock at the door, and she had to go out. That was the best thing that could have happened, for I was ALONE WITH GOD. Then He gave me a revelation. Oh, it was wonderful! He showed me an empty cross and Jesus glorified. I do thank God that the cross is empty, that Christ is no more on the cross. It was there that He bore the curse, for it is written, "Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree." He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him, and now, there He is in the glory. Then I saw that God had purified me. It seemed that God gave me a new vision, and I saw a perfect being within me with mouth open, saying, "Clean l Clean! Clean!" When I began to repeat it I found myself speaking in other tongues. The joy was so great that when I came to utter it my tongue failed, and I began to worship God in other tongues as the Spirit gave me utterance.

It was all as beautiful and peaceful as when Jesus said, "Peace, be still!" and the tranquillity of that moment and the joy surpassed anything I had ever known up to that moment. But, Hallelujah l these days have grown with greater, mightier, more wonderful divine manifestations and power. That was but the beginning. There is no end to this kind of beginning. You will never get an end to the Holy Ghost till you are landed in the glory-till you are right in the presence of God forever. And even then w e shall ever be conscious of His presence.

What had I received? I had received the Bible evidence. This Bible evidence is wonderful to me. I knew I had received the very evidence of the Spirit's incoming that the Apostles received on the day of Pentecost. I knew that everything I had had up to that time was in the nature of an anointing bringing me in line with God in preparation, but now I knew I had the Biblical Baptism in the Spirit. It had the backing of the Scriptures. You are always right when you have the backing of the Scriptures and you are never right if you have not a foundation for your testimony in the Word of God.

For many years I have thrown out a challenge to any person who can prove to me that he has the Baptism without speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance-to prove it by the Word that he has been baptized in the Holy Ghost without the Bible evidence, but so far no one has accepted the challenge. I only say this because so many were as I was; they have a rigid idea that they have received the Baptism without the Bible evidence. The Lord Jesus wants those who preach the Word to have the Word in evidence. Don't be misled by anything else. Have a Bible proof for all you have, and then you will be in a place where no man can move you.

I was so full of joy that I wired home to say that I had received the Holy Ghost. As soon as I got home, my boy came running up to me and said, "Father, have you received the Holy Ghost?" I said, "Yes, my boy." He said, "Let's hear you speak in tongues." But I could not. Why? I had received the Baptism in the Spirit with the speaking in tongues as the Bible evidence according to Acts 2:4, and had not received the gift of Tongues according to 1 Corinthians 12. I had received the Giver of all gifts. At some time later when I was helping some souls to seek and receive the Baptism of the Spirit, God gave me the gift of Tongues so that I could speak at any time. I could speak, but will not-no never! I must allow the Holy Ghost to use the gift. It should be so, so that we shall have divine utterances only by the Spirit. I would be very sorry to use a gift, but the Giver has all power to use the whole nine gifts.

I want to take you to the Scriptures to prove my position. There are business men here, and they know that in cases of law, where there are two clear witnesses they could win a case before any judge in Australia. On the clear evidence of two witnesses any judge will give a verdict. What has God given us? Three clear witnesses on the Baptism in the Holy Spirit-more than are necessary in law courts.

The first is in Acts 2:4, "They were all filled with tile Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Here we have the original pattern. And God gave to Peter an eternal word that couples this experience with the promise that went before. "This is that." And God wants you to have thatnothing less than that. He wants you to receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit according to this original Pentecostal pattern.

In Acts 10 we have another witness. Peter is in the house of Cornelius. Cornelius had had a vision of a holy angel and had sent for Peter. A person said to me one day, "You don't admit that I am filled and baptized with the Holy Ghost. Why, I was ten days and ten nights on my back before the Lord and He was flooding my soul with joy." I said, "Praise the Lord, sister, that was only the beginning. The disciples were tarrying that time, and they were still, and the mighty power of God fell upon them then and the Bible tells what happened when the power fell. And that is just what happened in the house of Cornelius. The Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost." What convinced these prejudiced Jews that the Holy Ghost had come? "For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God." There was no other way for them to know. This evidence could not be contradicted. It is the Bible evidence.

We have heard two witnesses, and that is sufficient to satisfy the world. But God goes one better. Let us look at Acts 19:6, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied." These Ephesians received the identical Bible evidence as the Apostles at the beginning and they prophesied in addition. Three times the Scriptures show us this evidence of the Baptism in the Spirit. I do not magnify tongues. No, by God's grace, I magnify the Giver of tongues. And I magnify above all Him whom the Holy Ghost has come to reveal to us, the Lord Jesus Christ. He it is who sends the Holy Spirit and I magnify Him because He makes no difference between us and those at the beginning.

But what are tongues for? Look at the 2nd verse of 1 Cor. 14 and you will see a very blessed truth. Oh, Hallelujah! Have you been there, beloved? I tell you, God wants to take you there. "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." It goes on to say, "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself."

Enter into the promises of God. It is your inheritance. You will do more in one year if you are really filled with the Holy Ghost than you could do in fifty years apart from Him. [url=]Link[/url]

 2007/9/23 12:51

 Re: Is speaking in tongues ...?

Katy, I enjoyed your exposition immensely. I'm not going to have to time to read the whole thread so I'm taking Compliments' statement that you believe in the gift of tongues, unless you rebut it.

You said

On the other hand, He deplored the babblings of pagan religions:

One of the points Jesus was making was against [i]repetition[/i] (chanting, probably) of set prayers, rather than honest, original, personal interaction with our Father in heartfelt confession and meekness.

Of course, He would not have been in favour of demon-induced babblings, to which you seem to alluding in your reference to the church at Corinth.

I think it might also be worth remembering that the kind of practices taking place in the idolatry with which the Corinthians were so familiar, included the taking of potions to dull and confuse the senses; noise (pagan music also, perhaps) may have added to the tumult. Paul is saying now things must be done from clarity of mind, one at a time, decently and in order, with full attention by everyone being given to the word which God wants to bring forth through one and another.

This is quite a long way from what Jesus was getting at in Matt 6:7.

 2007/9/23 12:58


Compliments, here is a great article on slain in the spirit...a must read:

Now for your question:

Ok, lets get down to the brass tacks. Sister Katy, is the speaking in an unknown tongue and the interpretation of that unknown tongue occur in the Church that you attend? I know you believe in the gift of tongues, but does it happen in your Church?

Everyone in my Church speaks why would an OTHER tongue be necessary?

Love in Christ

PS: Added


"What would your response be to the account of the following New York missionary?"

During the 1800's, cripples, paralytics and the blind were healed "as in the days of old, by laying on of hands in the name of Jesus," under a New York missionaries ministry. Healing recipients, praising God, rushed to gather ill friends and neighbors who were also healed. Seeing the miracles, converts clamored to receive baptism and join the church...of a Mormon missionary.

Biblical theology soundly refutes the central teachings of Mormonism as blatantly cultic and unscriptural. Until one discovers that the missionary was Mormon, such testimony is apt to inspire an elated chorus of "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!" The moral of this anecdote is: just because miracles occur, Jesus is not necessarily the power behind them.

 2007/9/23 12:58


Katy, I enjoyed your exposition immensely. I'm not going to have to time to read the whole thread so I'm taking Compliments' statement that you believe in the gift of tongues, unless you rebut it.

Dorcas, I believe Missionaries may possibly have this special Gift when going into countries of languages they don't know.

On the other hand, why does Wycliff Ministries spend so much time with linguists learning others languages? This is what my Son does.

And again, why on earth does Benny Hinn need an interpreter when going to India or other countries. Is he not speaking English and they are intrepreting in the native language? There were no interpreters on the day of Pentecost as every man heard is his own language.

Paul is scolding those in Corinth, speaking in pagan jibber jabber (yes, they also had phenomena of hearing jibber jabber from their pagan gods) and insists there need be an interpreter.

Other than that, with Mormons as well speaking in tongues as well as getting slain in the spirit, I'm not impressed with any of it. If I heard someone speak in an unknown jibber jabber, and claimed it was of God, then why didn't Jesus himself speak in this jibber jabber.

My article is to verify and qualify what happened at Pentacost. The Corinthians were from pagan religions, and 1st Corinthians 12-14, if read very very carefully will attest that Paul was indeed scolding these baby Christians.

Tongues is never mentioned again, with and through out the NT. Tongues is never once mentioned in Hebrews. However Salvation is.

Love in Christ
Added here too:"What would your response be to the account of the following New York missionary?"

During the 1800's, cripples, paralytics and the blind were healed "as in the days of old, by laying on of hands in the name of Jesus," under a New York missionaries ministry. Healing recipients, praising God, rushed to gather ill friends and neighbors who were also healed. Seeing the miracles, converts clamored to receive baptism and join the church...of a Mormon missionary.

Biblical theology soundly refutes the central teachings of Mormonism as blatantly cultic and unscriptural. Until one discovers that the missionary was Mormon, such testimony is apt to inspire an elated chorus of "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!" The moral of this anecdote is: just because miracles occur, Jesus is not necessarily the power behind them

 2007/9/23 13:08


Speaking in Tongues

Lehman Strauss , Litt.D., F.R.G.S.

Men (and women) will be having their say until our Lord returns to settle this matter once and for all time. It is difficult to say how, when and where the modern tongues movement began. In the many pamphlets and books I have examined opinions differ. We do know that the phenomenon of tongues-speaking is widespread, and it is likely that no issue in Christendom has caused as wide a split in its ranks in modern times as has speaking in tongues.

All Bible-believing Christians who study the Word of God are in agreement that the gift of tongues is present in the inspired Scriptures. In the New Testament two lists of gifts appear in which the gift of tongues is included. In I Corinthians 12:8-11 “kinds of tongues” and “the interpretation of tongues” are said to be sovereignly bestowed gifts of the Holy Spirit. In I Corinthians 12:28-30 “tongues” appears in the list of gifts. We call them “spiritual gifts” from the Greek word charisma, suggesting that the gift is a bestowment of God’s grace. It is not a natural ability that one might develop, but rather a special gift as those appearing in the above mentioned passages in First Corinthians.

The Holy Spirit is sovereign in the distribution of these gifts. Following the listing of the gifts, Paul adds, “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will” (I Corinthians 12:11). No one person has all the gifts, nor are we to seek the gifts. We must be careful that we do not confuse the Spirit as a gift to the believer with the gifts the Spirit gives to believers. Every believer has received the gift of the Spirit, but not every believer has received the gifts which the Spirit bestows.

The Meaning of Speaking in Tongues
In my travels many persons have approached me with questions about tongues. Some of them ask about its meaning. The term that is used to identify the tongues movement is “glossolalia,” made up of two Greek words, glossa (language or tongue) and lalia (speech). It therefore means speaking in languages or tongues. Glossology is that department of anthropology which has to do with the study and classification of languages and dialects.

The word glossa appears in the Greek New Testament not less than fifty times. It is used to refer to the physical organ of the tongue as in James 3:5; once in reference to the flames of fire shaped like tongues (Acts 2:3); at least once in a metaphorical sense when referring to speech as in the statement, “my tongue (speech) was glad (joyous)” (Acts 2:26). As far as I understand the remaining usages of the word it always means a language.

When our Lord predicted the gift of tongues (the only mention of tongues in the four Gospel records) He said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17). The adjective “new” (Gr. kainos) can only mean they were going to speak in languages new to them, that is, languages they had not learned or used until that time. If I say the Russian language is “new” to me, I do not mean that I never knew there was such a language, but rather its use by me is new to me because I can neither speak it nor understand it when I hear others speak it. On the other hand the German language is not altogether “new” to me because I can both read and speak it with a small degree of understanding.

In Acts 2:4 Luke uses a different adjective when he says, “they began to speak with other tongues.” The word “other” (Gr. heteros) simply means that they spoke in languages different from the normal language they were used to. The context substantiates this. Notice the surprised reaction on the part of the hearers—“And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:7,8). Every man heard them speak in his own language (Acts 2:6). Here the word “language” is the translation of dialekto from which our word “dialect” comes. The two words glossa (tongue) and dialektos (language) are used synonymously, making it obvious that the disciples were speaking in known languages other than the language native to them. In verses 9-11 the languages are then identified. It was a miraculous phenomenon which enabled the disciples to speak in languages which they had never learned. Here in this Acts passage we have tongues-speaking in its pure and unperverted form as God gave it.

The following verses in the Book of the Revelation should be examined carefully (Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15). In each passage where the word “tongue” is mentioned it means one of the languages associated with the various nationalities and races. I see no reason why anyone should raise a question as to the tongues in those passages in Mark, Acts and Revelation meaning languages.

But the more serious problems arise in the interpretation of the twenty-one references to tongues in First Corinthians chapters 12-14. There are those who tell us that the tongues in First Corinthians are ecstatic utterances not known in any country on earth. They base their conclusion on the term “unknown” which appears in I Corinthians 14:2, 4, 13, 14, 19, and 27. But the reader of this chapter in God’s Word must not fail to observe that the word “unknown” in every place where it appears is in italicized letters, which means that it does not occur in any Greek manuscript but was inserted by translators. The Holy Spirit did not direct Paul to write that the tongue is unknown.

I find no warrant for changing the meaning of tongues in First Corinthians. In every other place where the word is used it means languages. Why then should the meaning be changed in First Corinthians? I know of no textual license that will warrant changing the meaning of the word. All the usages of tongues in Paul’s treatment of the subject refer to foreign languages. “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into air” (I Corinthians 14:9).

There is no reason for anyone to speak except to converse intelligibly. The Greek word laleo means “I speak.” The word is never used for mere sound or noise. Nor is it used for a mere mumbling or muttering of unintelligible gibberish. The tongues-speaking in the New Testament was in the native languages of hearing people. The supernatural phenomenon which took place at Pentecost was the exercise of a gift whereby many people from many countries, gathered at Jerusalem, heard God’s message in their own language. This was indeed a miracle of God.

It would be an arbitrary and strange interpretation of Scripture that would make tongues-speaking in the New Testament anything other than known languages. There is no trace of Scriptural evidence that tongues were ever heard by anyone as incoherent, incomprehensible babbling.

The Ministry of Speaking in Tongues
At this point in our study we shall pursue an examination of the reasons why God gave the gift of speaking in tongues.

First, to communicate the Gospel message. With unmistakable clarity Paul says, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not . . . ” (I Corinthians 14:22). The word “sign” (Gr. semeion) in the New Testament is often associated with the conveying of a Divinely-given message to unbelievers. This is the emphasis in John 20:30, 31 where we read, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” The signs (miracles) were never performed without purpose, but because of the message they communicated.

The true function of the gift of tongues is “for a sign . . . to them that believe not.” To exercise the gift when unbelievers were not present would be exercising the gift above the purpose for which it was given. The gifts were never given for the self-satisfaction or self-glory of the recipients. The one upon whom the gift was bestowed was merely an instrument through whom God wanted to communicate His message.

Because of the abuse and misuse of tongues in the Corinthian Assembly Paul states its purpose. The spiritual immaturity of the saints in Corinth called for instruction, so in the middle of his discourse on tongues he writes, “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men” (I Corinthians 14:20). The Greek word for “men” (teleios) means mature. In their misuse of speaking in tongues they were showing their immaturity, a behaviour pattern which characterized the believers at Corinth. The Apostle reminded them that they remained “babes in Christ” (3:1).

Their failure to grow up spiritually resulted from their neglected study of the Scriptures. The Epistle to the Hebrews stresses this point. “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5: 12-14). Peter wrote, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Peter 2:2). One will find confusion and license where the study of God’s Word is neglected.

Now let us return to I Corinthians 14:20. Immediately upon rebuking them with the words, “Brethren, be not children in understanding,” Paul adds, “In the law it is written . . . ” (Vs. 21), thereby pointing out their weakness, namely, their failure to acquaint themselves with that which was written in the Old Testament Scriptures. They had failed to study God’s Word, therefore they had become victims of arrested development.

Speaking in tongues was a gift bestowed by the Holy Spirit, but it, or any other gift, can be misused. Speaking in tongues was no mark of spirituality, because the Corinthian church was unspiritual, having manifested carnality (3:1-3) and even gross sin (5:1). And so Paul points them to a Scripture they should have known, saying, “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord” (12:21).

Paul is here referring to a prophecy God had given through Isaiah. The nation of Israel had failed to heed God’s message which He gave through their own prophets, so the Lord told them that at a future time they will hear His message through tongues (languages) other than their own. “For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people “ (Isaiah 28: 12). Thus Paul sees in this Isaiah prophecy the gift of tongues as a sign to Israel. The words “this people” in Isaiah 28: 11, in its context, can refer only to Israel. The abuse of tongues-speaking in Corinth did not arise from the belief in speaking in tongues, but rather in the neglect of the Scriptures which teach its proper use.

This purpose of the gift of tongues, namely to communicate God’s message to Israel, is verified in the three passages in Acts where speaking in tongues is mentioned. In Acts 2 tongues-speaking was used as a missionary or evangelistic tool in fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11. There was no need for the disciples to learn other languages before they could communicate the Gospel. God overcame the language barrier through the miracle-gift of tongues. On the day of Pentecost there were “Jews out of every nation under heaven” (Acts 2: 5). And when the disciples “began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4), the hearers responded with the question, “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:8). Observe that they were “Jews” from other countries who spoke many languages and dialects, and yet each heard the Gospel in his own tongue. Isaiah’s prophecy was being fulfilled.

In Acts 10:46 the second mention of speaking in tongues occurs. The occasion again was to communicate the Gospel, this time for the purpose of effecting the conversion of Cornelius and his house. This event cannot be totally disassociated from Pentecost because Peter, when relating this experience, said, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11: 15). At the house of Cornelius tongues-speaking was a sign to Jews at a time when the Gospel was being communicated (Acts 10:44-46).

In Acts 19:6 there appears the third passage in Acts in which speaking in tongues is recorded. Again its purpose was missionary and evangelistic. When Paul came to Ephesus he encountered twelve disciples of John the Baptist. He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Ghost when (not since) you believed?” (Acts 19:2, see the R.V.). These at Ephesus considered themselves to be Christians because they had heard through Apollos the message of John. You see, there is a belief unto salvation and a belief that does not result in salvation. The latter is a mere academic, intellectual belief that even Satan and the demons have (James 2:19. cf. Mark 5:7). Doubtless there are people today who have an historical faith in Jesus Christ as a man and even the Son of God, but who have not been saved. Paul suspected that such was the case with the disciples of John whom he met at Ephesus. When he learned they were not saved, he told them they must trust Christ for their salvation. We can understand the confusion they might have experienced, therefore some evidential sign was necessary. “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” (Acts 19:6). Again the purpose for speaking in tongues is obvious, namely, to communicate the Gospel message.

These are the only instances of tongues-speaking recorded in the Bible, except the passage in First Corinthians. None of the later Epistles mention speaking in tongues. The gift was used only in the transitional period between Law and Grace. The sign gifts continued through the period of the Apostles while the New Testament was in the process of being written.

Second, to confirm the Gospel message. It was not merely a communicating sign but a confirmatory sign as well. When the Apostles used the gift of tongues it was because they did not have what you and I have today, the completed Word of God, God’s full and final revelation to man. When they went about preaching the Gospel, their message was confirmed by the exercise of the sign gifts. Tongues-speaking vindicated both the message and the messenger. “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (II Corinthians 12:12). If one could find an Apostle living today who saw the bodily-resurrected Lord Jesus, he would not be exercising the sign gifts because he would have what you and I have, and what Peter, Paul and John did not have, the completed written Word of God. Now that we have the Scriptures we do not need miracles to confirm God’s message.

Signs were for the Jews rather than for Gentiles. “For the Jews require a sign . . . ” (I Corinthians 1:22). Repeatedly it was the Jews who asked for a sign. “Then certain of the Scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from Thee” (Matthew 12:38). Again, “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven” (Matthew 16 :1). “Then answered the Jews and said unto Him, What sign shewest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things?” (John 2: 18). “They said therefore unto Him, What sign shewest Thou then, that we may see and believe Thee? What dost Thou work?” (John 6:30). All these who asked for a sign were Jews, and their insistence upon signs will at last be their sad undoing.

During the Tribulation the Antichrist will appear, “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:9), and at that time many Jews will be deceived into receiving the Antichrist as their Messiah.

Let us who are Christ’s not be seeking signs as did the unbelieving Jews. We who are the Lord’s have the Holy Scriptures, so let us “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Whenever the gift of tongues was exercised Jews were present, tongues-speaking being used either to communicate the Gospel or else to confirm to the Jews that the Gentiles were worthy of salvation and should therefore have the Gospel also. Such confirmations are seen in Acts 10:45 and 19:6. “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:20).

If anyone denies the message of God’s written Word today, there is no other court of appeal. In the days of the Apostles, the New Testament being yet unwritten, the Holy Spirit supported their message by accompanying it with signs. But after those holy and inspired men completed writing the New Testament, such confirmations were no longer necessary. The rich man in Hell asked Abraham to send Lazarus from the dead that he might witness to his five unsaved brothers, hoping that such a sign (or miracle) would lead them to repent. But Abraham replied, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16: 27-31). The Pentecostal sign ushered in a new age before the New Testament was written. But if men reject God’s inspired Word now, they need not look for any supernatural signs.

A significant New Testament passage which adds to the fact that the sign gifts were given to confirm the Gospel message is Hebrews 2:3,4: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost according to His own will?” If the Epistle to the Hebrews was written between 65 and 70 A.D. it would be obvious that the people to whom the message was “confirmed” with signs and gifts were that generation immediately following our Lord’s death.

The Mistakes About Speaking in Tongues
As an introduction to this part of our study, I want you to see Paul’s introduction to the subject of spiritual gifts. And incidentally, this is the only place in the entire Bible where spiritual gifts are discussed. The Apostle writes, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (I Corinthians 12: 1). In the Authorized Version the word “gifts” is in italicized letters, telling us that it did not appear in any of the Greek manuscripts but was inserted by translators. Paul actually said to the Corinthians, “I don’t want you to be ignorant about pneumatica” (the spirituals), meaning of course the spiritual gifts.

Now the Corinthians were not ignorant of the fact of the spiritual gifts, for the Apostle had already said to them, “Ye come behind in no gift” (l :7). When he said, “I would not have you ignorant”, he was not speaking about their ignorance of the existence of the gifts, but rather about their ignorance of the right exercise of the gifts. They were well informed as to what the spiritual gifts were, but they were ignorant about the proper use of the gifts, as is evidenced by the mistakes they made in their exercise of them.

Before Paul launches into a discussion of the spiritual gifts, he reminds them of how easily they were led astray. He says, “ye know that ye were gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led” (12:2). In substance he is saying, “Before you tell me about your experience let me remind you of your lack of spirituality (3:1), and therefore your inability to discern between the Holy Spirit and false spirits” (2:15). Because they were carnal, “babes in Christ” (3:1), their exercise of the gifts were self-induced by fleshly energy, not by the Holy Spirit. All Christians do not use their gifts properly, so that a Christian’s use of a gift might not be in accord with the Word of God. Mistakes can be made by any of us in the exercise of a gift.

(1) It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is synonymous with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is unscriptural teaching which says that all who are baptized by the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues. The Scriptures state emphatically that all saved persons have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body . . . ” (I Corinthians 12:13). All the believers at Corinth received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, however all did not speak in tongues. The question asked in verse 30, “Do all speak with tongues?” is so phrased so as to convey the expected answer, “No.”

The baptizing work of the Spirit is not an experience in the believer subsequent to salvation. Rather it is that act of the Holy Spirit which joins the believing sinner to the Body of Christ. More emphatically, there is no other means whereby one can become a member of the Church which is Christ’s Body. All saved persons have been baptized by the Holy Spirit, but not all saved persons speak in tongues. The baptizing work of the Spirit places the believer in the Body positionally.

Be careful that you do not confuse the baptism of the Spirit with the command to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). All believers share equally in this position in Christ and thus share equally in union with Him. There is only one experience of baptism by the Holy Spirit but there can be many experiences of being filled with Spirit. Paul said that not all of the Corinthian Christians spoke in tongues (I Corinthians 14: 5), and yet he stated clearly that all had been baptized with the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13).

(2) It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit. All believers are commanded to “be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), but nowhere in Scripture are believers commanded to speak in tongues. A Christian can be under the influence and control of the Holy Spirit and not speak in tongues. There are numerous instances when the disciples were filled with the Spirit but did not speak in tongues. See Acts 4:31 and 13:9-11. To be Spirit-filled is to be Spirit-controlled. Are we to believe that the thousands of mightily used men and women of God who were among the world’s best missionaries of Christ’s Gospel and Bible teachers were never filled with the Holy Spirit because they never spoke in tongues? Perish the thought!

Can one know if he is filled with the Spirit? Look at one verse in the Bible where the command to be filled with the Spirit is recorded. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:18-21). Three things are mentioned as evidence of being Spirit-filled; a joyful heart, a thankful heart and a submissive heart. Nothing is said about speaking in tongues. To sum it up in one word, Christlikeness is the manifestation of being filled with the Spirit, and the Scriptures do not tell us that our Lord ever spoke in tongues.

(3) It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit results from being filled with the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is mentioned in Galatians 5:22, 23 and includes nine characteristics. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” None of the sign-gifts are included in this nine-fold cluster of fruit. The Christian who is filled with the Spirit will manifest the fruit of the Spirit apart from ever having spoken in tongues. As a matter of fact, in Ephesians and Galatians, where the fullness and fruit of the Spirit are discussed tongues-speaking is not mentioned once. Moreover, in the list of gifts mentioned by Paul, gifts that the ascended Lord bestowed upon His Church, the sign gifts are omitted. “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).

All Christians should be filled with the Spirit and all are to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit, but not every Christian has all the gifts. Spirituality does not depend on speaking in tongues. God’s goal for every child of His is to be Spirit-controlled, but that goal does not include speaking in tongues. No Christian need ever feel that he is lacking in spirituality because he has not spoken in tongues. Quality of life is the best evidence of the fullness and fruit of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptizer was filled with the Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15), yet this Spirit-filled man did no miracles and never spoke in tongues (John 10:41). But he was so Christ-like that people who were looking for the Messiah were led to ask of him, “Art thou the Christ?”

(4) It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is an evidence of one’s faith. To the contrary, the persons who seek signs and sign-gifts show their lack of faith. It is a sin for any Christian to seek for signs before he will believe God’s Word. As was pointed out earlier in this study, “tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (I Corinthians 14: 22). So you see, the Christians at Corinth were showing that they were weak in faith, and possibly some who identified themselves with the believer had never been saved. The person who seeks any sign, whether it be speaking in tongues or any other sign-gift, is either a babe in Christ or an unbeliever.

Thomas is an illustration of a disciple weak in faith who would not believe without seeing. After our Lord arose from death, He appeared to the disciples. “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:24, 25). Thomas was like the Corinthians, weak in faith, demanding to see the sign (miracle) before he would believe.

Eight days later the Lord appeared again. “Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless but believing.” (John 20:27). The doubting Thomas needed a sign, so the Lord appeared to him so that he would not continue without faith. And then He said to Thomas, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20: 29). The Christian who will study the Bible and believe what it says will walk by faith, not by sight or sound.

(5) It is a mistake to seek the gift of speaking in tongues. It is clear that not all in the church at Corinth spoke in tongues. Why didn’t they? The Apostle says, “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit . . . for to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will” (I Corinthians 12:4-11). Please note that the gifts were given “as He (the Holy Spirit) will,” not as we will, “as it hath pleased Him” (vs. 18), not us. The reason why all the Christians did not have the gift of tongues is because all of the gifts are divinely bestowed. The Spirit divides and distributes to each believer his own gift. Not one of us is capable of choosing his own gift. The Spirit will not give a gift according to our desire and the way we pray. Don’t try to tell God which gift He should give to you. We are but members of the Body, and no one member has any right to tell the Head what to do.

It would have been a mistake for the Corinthians to seek the gift of tongues because it is the least of all the gifts. Where the gifts are listed twice in I Corinthians 12, in each instance tongues and their interpretation are placed last (verses 8-11 and 28-30). Note the careful wording in the latter passage: “First . . . secondarily . . . thirdly . . . after that . . . ” The least to be desired comes at the bottom of the list, the scale being according to importance and usefulness. The minor place of tongues is further stressed in I Corinthians 14:1, 5, 6, 19. The modern cult of tongues would have you believe that this gift is the only one that really counts and that every Christian ought to have it. The Corinthians erred in overemphasizing the gift of tongues as the most coveted gift of all. To them tongues was the prestige gift, hence its misuse and abuse at Corinth.

Paul charges them with such misuse of the gifts in 12:31. When he writes, “But covet earnestly the best gifts . . .” he is not exhorting or commanding them, as the imperative mood might indicate. Rather he is issuing a statement of fact, as is suggested in the indicative. In substance he is saying, “You are selfishly desiring the more spectacular or demonstrative gifts.” The word “covet” is not used in a good sense, but in a bad sense, that of self-seeking. “You are not satisfied to be a foot, concealed in a stocking and shoe; you want to be an eye. You want to be seen and heard.” And then the Apostle adds, “Yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal “ (I Corinthians 12:31,13:1).

A young man who claimed to have the gift of speaking in tongues told me that the biblical basis for his doing so was I Corinthians 14:4, namely, self-edification. But this is both selfish and wrong. Paul did say, “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself” (14:4), but then he added, “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the Church” (14:12). The gifts were given for the edification and profit of the entire Body of Christ, not merely one member. “The members should have the same care one for another” (12:25). Self-edification is contrary to the principle of love as taught in Chapter 13, for “love seeketh not her own” (13:5). The gifts were given for the common good of all (12:7).

(6) It is a mistake for a woman to speak in tongues. “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak . . .” (14:34). The prohibition here has a direct relation to the problem with which the Apostle is dealing, namely, speaking in tongues. Earlier in the same Epistle he told the women how to dress when they prayed or prophesied in the church (11 :3-10), therefore he would not forbid them here in Chapter 14 that privilege which is countenanced in Chapter 11. The setting of I Corinthians 14:34 has reference primarily to women speaking in tongues. It is clear and unmistakable that speaking in tongues was a gift limited to men and is never to be exercised by women. Now he is not saying that women may not teach or testify or pray, but that they may not speak in tongues. Elsewhere Paul writes, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence” (I Timothy 2: 12). The point of this passage is that a woman’s ministry must not usurp authority over the man. She may teach women or children, but not men.

If this admonition were heeded today much of the present tongues movement would be eliminated. Women are the worst offenders in the modern confusion of tongues. The word “speak” in 14:34 is the same word used in verse 28, therefore it cannot mean mere “chatter” that would disturb a service in the church. The purpose of this entire section on speaking in tongues is to curb the wrong use of the gift. Verses 27-33 give instruction for men in the matter of speaking in tongues. “If any man speak in an unknown tongue . . .” (14:27); verses 34-36 are directed to “women” exercising the gift of tongues. And if any women wanted to take issue with Paul, he would ask them one question, “Which book in all the inspired Scriptures was written as the result of the Holy Spirit revealing the woman?” (Verse 36). It is a mistake for a woman to speak in tongues.

(7) It is a mistake to assume that the sign-gifts are given to believers today. Now I am not arbitrarily closing the door on miracles. God does intervene in supernatural ways performing miracles when and wherever He pleases to do so. The matter before us now is whether or not the Bible teaches that certain gifts were temporarily given. The evidence of God’s Word must be the final source of authority. I am stressing this because there are many persons who are not students of the Bible, therefore their only source of knowledge and understanding is subjective, namely, reason or experience. Whatever appeals to their reason, or whatever experiences they have had, settle a matter for them once and for all time.

It is not uncommon to hear someone say something like this: “I cannot believe in Hell because I cannot conceive a loving God sending anyone to such a place of torment.” Such persons might listen to clear and sound expositions on the biblical doctrine of Hell, and yet they will reject what the Bible teaches because of their inner feelings and rationale. And so their rationalization becomes their final authority.

Now I am not suggesting that there is no validity in experience or reason. I am quite sure that there are times when one’s reason and experience are correct and therefore reliable. But neither reason nor experience can be accepted as final authority. Someone will argue: “I have had the experience of speaking in tongues; I find this experience in the New Testament; therefore my experience is true.” Any trained Christian philosopher will tell you that such an argument is not valid because it makes experience the basis of truth, so if one does not experience all of the experiences he does not have all of the truth. True Christian philosophy moves from truth to experience, therefore any valid Christian experience must be determined by the right interpretation of Holy Scripture. Experience, which is related to our emotions, can be deceptive, but a correct interpretation of God’s Word can never deceive.

We come now to the question, Is the gift of tongues a part of God’s program for the Church today? If it is, then we would be wrong if we closed our minds to it. If it is not, then we are wrong if we insist upon the exercise of tongues-speaking.

Let us turn to I Corinthians 13. Now keep in mind the fact that the subject in Chapters 12-14 is spiritual gifts with the main emphasis on tongues, because tongues was the one gift that the Corinthians were abusing. Chapter 12 concludes with “tongues” (12:30) and Chapter 13 begins with “tongues” (13:1). Obviously from the behavior of the Corinthians they were lacking in the fruit of the Spirit, namely, love. And so in Chapter 13 the Apostle dwells upon the essential ingredient of love which supercedes the gifts, and without which the Christian is nothing at all.

Among the Corinthians there were quarreling and division, but the needed fruit of the Spirit, love, was missing, so Paul writes, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (or love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (13 :1). In Corinth the tongues-speaking amounted to so much noise because carnality had invaded their exercise of the gift. Even today there is a kind of spiritual prestige associated with tongues-speaking. For a Christian to show off any gift that God has given manifests pride that is lacking in love. Where love is lacking, the exercise of any gift is worthless.

If Christians would take seriously, within context, all of the teaching about tongues in I Corinthians, they could not fail to see that tongues-speaking would cease. Paul writes, “Charity (love) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away” (13:8). There will always be the need for love, therefore love will never drop off. But when the canon of Scripture is made “perfect” (or complete), there will be no further revelation from God, neither in predictive prophecy nor in divinely revealed knowledge other than prophecy. The gifts of “prophecy” and “knowledge” will be entirely unnecessary with the completion of the Scriptures. And “if any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18).

Paul acknowledged the incomplete nature of the Scriptures in his day when he said, “For we know in part, and we prophecy in part” (13:9), or more literally from the Greek, “For in part we are knowing, and in part we are prophesying.” Then he adds, “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (13:10). The word perfect is in the neuter gender, and therefore refers to the perfect (finished or completed) Word of God. If the word perfect referred to Christ it would be in the masculine gender. The sign gifts were “done away” (rendered inoperative) with the completion of the New Testament.

Now what about tongues? “Whether there be tongues, they shall cease” (13:8). Tongues shall cease (Gr. patio), that is, they shall come to a complete halt. Who needs tongues? Only the untaught, carnal babes in Christ, for Paul added, “When I was a child, I spake as a child . . . but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (13:11). The word “spake” in context can only refer to speaking in tongues. So that Paul himself came to the place of Christian maturity, through God’s revelation to him, where tongues were no longer necessary. And so in the same tongues context he admonishes the Corinthians, “Brethren, be not children in understanding . . . but in understanding be men” (14:20). Experientially, tongues cease when the Christian matures on a diet of the meat of God’s Word. Actually tongues is baby talk.

For the past two years I have made it my practice to ask many of the leading Bible teachers and scholars, some of whom having a rich working knowledge of Hebrew and Greek, if they have ever spoken in tongues. Among them are college and seminary presidents and professors. To date I have not had one of about sixty men tell me that he ever spoke in tongues!

I have been asked if I ever spoke in tongues. No, I have not. God and I have gotten along nicely for the past forty-five years in English. I speak to Him in English and He hears and understands me. He speaks to me in English through His Word, and I understand Him.

How then can we account for the wide-spread practice of speaking in tongues? I do not have all of the answers to this question, but I will make three suggestions for your prayer consideration.

First, speaking in tongues can be self-induced. Second, speaking in tongues can be group-induced. Third, speaking in tongues can be satanically-induced.

Since the creation of man Satan’s insidious master-plan has been to put a veil between God’s children and God’s inerrant Word. It began in the Garden of Eden when the Devil asked Mother Eve, “Yea, hath God said . . . ?” (Genesis 3: 1), thereby raising doubt as to the authority and authenticity of what God has said. We know that this enemy has stepped up the pace of his strategy.

Our present generation is witnessing the growing menace of satanic activity in the realm of the miraculous. Where the Devil does not succeed in taking the Bible from us, he works hard at taking us from the Bible. And he succeeds in getting Christians to focus their attention on the claims of men and women to some supernatural experience, and in so doing those seekers after the experiences of others have neither time nor interest in searching the Scriptures for God’s truth.

God does have a plan in His dealings with the human race, and that plan does not necessarily include the continuing repetition of the same miracles in every succeeding century. The miracles of God are rare occurrences in history. Enoch’s bodily translation from earth to heaven was the only recorded miracle performed by God in over 1700 years between Adam and the flood.

The Church of Christ does not need a new Bible, nor new apostles, nor new faith-healers, nor new charismatic movements, nor self-styled miracle workers. What the Church needs is to return to the Word of God and proclaim the whole counsel of God in the power and love of the Holy Spirit.

And if my reader has never had a personal experience of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, I urge you to receive Him at once, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

 2007/9/23 14:15

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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