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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Does anyone know of a solid biblical response to MacArthur's sermons on tongues and spiritual gifts?

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Joined: 2006/1/31
Posts: 4991


"Every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation (change)" (James. 1:17).

God never makes a mistake, He never changes and He gives only perfect gifts. Therefore when He gave the gift of "speaking in unknown languages" ("tongues") to the church on the day of Pentecost, He knew exactly what He was doing. The gift of "tongues" was a perfect gift. God has not changed His mind about the gift, for He never changes.

God knew the controversies that would surround this gift in the 20th century. Yet He felt the church needed this gift to fulfill its ministry.

Even major truths such as the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the Humanity of Christ and the Person of the Holy Spirit have been opposed and have faced controversy in the history of Christendom. So it should not surprise us if the gift of "tongues" has been controversial too.

It is always best to stick exactly to what Scripture says on all doctrinal matters. Let us look then, with an unprejudiced mind, at every single verse in the Bible on the subject of "speaking in tongues":

Truth No. 1
Mark 16:17: [Jesus said,] "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues... they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Jesus said that some of the signs accompanying the company of "those who have believed" would be speaking in tongues, casting out demons and healing the sick. He did not say that ALL these signs would accompany EVERY believer. But He said that these signs would be found among the company of "those who have believed".

So every believer need not have all these gifts. Neither need every church have all these gifts. But they will be found in the whole church worldwide. The Holy Spirit sovereignly decides whom to give the gifts to.

Truth No. 2
Acts 2:4,7,11: "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance....... And the Jews from every nation marvelled saying....`We hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.'"

The first time that believers were filled with the Holy Spirit, they ALL spoke in tongues. The "tongues" were languages that others understood immediately. So there was no need for the gift of interpretation.

Notice also in verse 4 that it was the persons themselves who began to speak in tongues and not the Holy Spirit. The Spirit did not move their tongues. The Spirit only gave them utterance. They spoke themselves.

In no gift, does the Holy Spirit take away freedom of choice from us. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit is "self-control" (Gal.5:23). Only demon-possessed people lose control of themselves. One who is filled with the Spirit will have more control over himself than anyone else. "The spirit of the prophets is subject to the control of the prophets"
(1 Cor.14:32).

Truth No. 3
Acts 10:46: "They were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God."

Here, in the house of Cornelius, all who were in his house were baptized in the Holy Spirit, at the same moment as they were converted to Christ. They spoke in "tongues" exalting God (praising Him) - not speaking to people, as was the case on the day of Pentecost.

Truth No. 4
Acts 19:6: "When Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying"

The Holy Spirit came upon the believers in Ephesus, when Paul laid hands on them. The "tongues" here seems to have been prophesying.

Note the following facts from the above instances in "Acts":

(a) In Acts 2 they received the Spirit, after water baptism. In Acts 10, they received the Spirit BEFORE water baptism.
(b) In Acts 2 and 10, they received the Spirit without anyone laying hands on them. In Acts 19, they received the Spirit after Paul laid hands on them.
(This proves that there is no standard pattern for receiving the Spirit. It could be either before or after water-baptism, and also with or without the laying on of hands).
(c) In Acts 8:14-18, when the disciples in Samaria received the Holy Spirit, there is no mention that they spoke in tongues. But Simon the magician did see some evidence (we are not told what it was) which made him want the same ability that Peter had.

Truth No. 5
1 Cor. 12:7,8,10: "But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit... to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues."

The gift of tongues is for "the common good" - the good of the church. This was written 25 years after the day of Pentecost. And the gift of tongues was still being given then by the Spirit "for the common good".

Truth No. 6
1 Cor.12:11: "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills".

This is perhaps the clearest Scripture that teaches that the Holy Spirit sovereignly decides to whom to give each gift (including the gift of tongues). We cannot dictate to Him whom He should give any gift to.

Truth No. 7
1 Cor. 12:28: "God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then... various kinds of tongues."

It is God Who appointed the gift of tongues in the church - for some purpose. So we should never oppose this gift, lest we be found opposing God. Remember that He has more wisdom than we have.

Truth No. 8
1 Cor. 12:30: "All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they?"

All believers do not speak in tongues, just like all believers do not have the gifts of healing. So obviously, God does not feel that "tongues" is an essential gift for all believers - either for being holy or for being effective in His service. If it were, He would have given this gift to everyone.

Truth No. 9
1 Cor. 13:1: "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."

Speaking in tongues without love is useless. All pride in those who speak in tongues, and all "looking down" on others who don't speak in tongues is because of a lack of love. Such unloving believers who speak in tongues are as repulsive to God as a noisy gong is to us.

Truth No. 10
1 Cor. 13:8: "Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away."

When perfection comes at Christ's return, there will be no more need for speaking in tongues.
In heaven, there will be no need for "tongues" - just like there will be no more need for Bible-knowledge or prophecy.

So "tongues" is a temporary gift needed only under the imperfect conditions prevalent on earth.
This explains why Jesus never needed the gift of tongues. It was because His mind was perfectly pure and because He lived in perfect communion with His Father at all times,

Truth No. 11
1 Cor. 14:2: "One who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries."

The gift of tongues mentioned here is obviously different from the one manifested on the day of Pentecost - for this gift is not to "speak to men but to God" and no-one can understand what the speaker is saying.

Truth No. 12
1 Cor. 14:4: "One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself
The gift of tongues enables a believer to build himself up spiritually.

Truth No. 13
1 Cor. 14:5: "I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what shall I profit you, unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching?"

Paul wished that ALL spoke in tongues. This is yet another verse that clearly indicates that all believers do NOT speak in tongues.

Paul's wish here is similar to his wish that ALL should be single like he himself was (as he states earlier in the same letter - 1 Cor.7:7). Paul saw some benefits in being single. He also saw some benefits in speaking in tongues. But Paul recognised that just as God was sovereign in giving the "gift of being single" only to some believers, He was equally sovereign in giving the "gift of tongues" also only to some believers.

Therefore it is as foolish to expect all believers to speak in tongues as it is to expect all believers to be single!!

In the church-meeting, it is far better to prophesy (that is, to speak God's Word "to encourage, edify and console" others - 1 Cor. 14:3). If however a 'tongue' is interpreted, then it is equal to prophecy.

Truth No. 14
1 Cor. 14:9,13: "Unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear (understandable), how will it be known what is spoken?...Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret."
"Tongues" must be interpreted when used in a church meeting.

Truth No. 15
1 Cor. 14:14: "If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind. I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind."

When praying in tongues, a person cannot understand what he is praying. But Paul still felt that he should pray and sing "with the spirit" (in tongues), as much as he did with his mind (in a known language).

Truth No. 16
1 Cor. 14:18: "I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all." Paul was thankful to God for this gift. So it must have helped him.

Truth No. 17
1 Cor. 14:19: "However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind, that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue."
In the church, speaking in a known language is always the best.

Truth No. 18
1 Cor. 14:22: "Tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers"
Tongues are for a sign to unbelievers - as on the day of Pentecost.

Truth No. 19
1 Cor. 14:23: "If therefore the whole church should assemble together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad?"

It is madness for all to speak in tongues in a church-meeting - for no one will understand what anyone is saying. (This must obviously be referring to people speaking in tongues individually and not when all are praying together - for in the latter case, we do not listen to the prayers of even those who pray in a known tongue.)

Truth No. 20
1 Cor. 14:26, 27: "What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and let one interpret;"

Not more than two or three should speak in tongues in a meeting of the church, but each "tongue" must be interpreted. "Interpretation" is not the same as "translation". Translation is "word for word". Interpretation is "expressing the thought in one's own words".

Truth No. 21
1 Cor. 14:39: "Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues."

This then is the conclusion. Don't forbid the exercise of the gift of tongues. But if you are desiring a gift, seek for the gift of prophecy more than for the gift of tongues.

The True And The Counterfeit

There is a certain amount of mystery about the gift of tongues, as all those who have received the gift will acknowledge - if they are honest. We do not know everything about it. We know only in part (1 Cor.13:12).

As one who has spoken in tongues for the past 26 years, let me add a few words concerning what I presently understand about the gift, from my own experience.

When a person speaks in tongues, his spirit (heart) speaks forth syllables (directly from his heart to his mouth, bypassing his mind) and thus he pours out whatever is in his heart to God - whether that be an overflow of joy or a burden caused by sorrow or discouragement. Thus the pressure on his heart is relieved. That is how he is 'edified'

As we saw earlier in Acts 2:4, when anyone speaks in tongues, it is the person himself who speaks, and not the Holy Spirit. The believer forms the syllables himself, just as he does when speaking in a known language. The only difference is that now, he does NOT use a known language to pray, but concentrating on the Lord, speaks forth syllables with his mouth, straight from his heart, bypassing his mind - knowing that God understands the longings and pressures in his heart, even if he cannot understand himself what he is saying.

Unburdening himself like that in moments of pressure helps a believer, especially if his mind is too tired to pray in a known language. We may not be able to explain how this works, but it does.

Let us now look at the gift of interpretation: As we have already seen, interpretation of a tongue is equivalent to prophesying. So this gift will usually be given by the Spirit to one who has the gift of prophecy as well.

In a church-meeting, if someone speaks in a tongue, one of those having the gift of prophecy (usually one of the elders), if he is walking in the light of God, will find a thought being impressed on his mind, if the "tongue" is genuinely from God. He speaks forth that thought in his own words - for it is not a translation, but an interpretation.

If another elder (who also has the gift of interpretation) had interpreted the "tongue", the interpretation would have been the same (although couched in that elder's own words). This would be the case if both elders were in perfect touch with the Lord.

Since no revelation from God can contradict what is written in the Bible, the interpretation will be in accordance with Scripture - just like all true prophecy will also be in line with the Scriptures.

Some who are sceptical of spiritual gifts have asked this question: If a "tongue" that was interpreted in a meeting, is copied on to a tape and someone else (with the gift of interpretation) in another p lace is asked to interpret it, will the interpretation be the same as the first one? The answer is: It should be, if both interpreters had a perfect understanding of the mind of the Lord. If the interpretation is different in content, (and not just in words), that would only indicate that one or both interpreters are not in such perfect touch with the Lord as to understand His mind perfectly. That is not abnormal, because no believer in the world is in such perfect touch with the Lord as to know His mind perfectly.

The following example will prove this fact beyond any doubt: Suppose you have to speak in a meeting and you have a particular message on your heart which you feel is the burden of the Lord for that meeting. Then, if you are unable to be at that meeting and someone else speaks in your stead, strictly speaking, he should give the same message as you had on your heart (even if it be in his own words). If that brother doesn't give the same message as you had on your heart, it would indicate that one of you did not have a perfect understanding of the Lord's mind for that meeting. So we see that believers could fail such a test even when giving a message in a known language.

That's why the Bible tells us to judge even a prophet's message (1 Cor.14:29). Similarly, we should judge, all messages in "tongues" and their "interpretations". What should we judge in such cases? Just this: Whether our spirit witnesses that the utterance (prophecy, tongues or interpretation) was Scriptural (and from the Lord) or not.

We are warned (in 1 John 4:1) not to believe every spirit but to "test the spirits whether they are of God". So every time, we hear "tongues" or interpretation in public, we must test it in our spirits. Many of the "supernatural utterances" we hear may not be from God. We must always reject a prophecy (or any part of it), a "tongue", or an interpretation, if we feel uneasy about it in our spirits, for any reason.

It is the unquestioning acceptance of everything supernatural and abnormal that has brought tremendous confusion into Christendom in this century - and tremendous dishonor to the Lord's Name as well.

Notice these facts in all instances of speaking in tongues in "Acts" :

(a) In every case, the speaking in tongues was spontaneous;
(b) In every case, all spoke in tongues - there were no exceptions;
(c) In every case, there was no coaching or urging or instruction given on how to speak in tongues;

Today however, in most places, none of the above characteristics are found. Only where the gift of tongues is spontaneously received without any coaching, can we conclude that it could be genuine.

Of all the "speaking in tongues" that I have heard, my spirit has borne witness to only a small percentage of it as genuine. Most of the rest I have felt was an attempt to imitate the gift - either to be accepted by others in a group or to impress them. A small percentage could even be of demonic origin. My observations are based on the fruit and the results that I have seen in the lives of many people in many lands. Speaking and singing in tongues often appears to be a form of "exhibitionism" in many churches - and exhibitionism is characteristic of little children.

It is also a well-established fact that, at this present time, the maximum exploitation of believers for financial gain is practised by those preachers and pastors who claim to "speak in tongues". Most of the cults in the 20th century have also developed from tongue-speaking groups.

My advice to all believers therefore is: "Avoid churches that major on the gifts of tongues and healing - because many of them go to dangerous extremes and usually don't have spiritually-minded leaders. Seek instead for fellowship with a church that emphasises holiness and disciple-making primarily, that accepts the genuine gift of tongues and that does not covet your money or seek to control your life."

Let me also emphasise that we need to use our mind (renewed by the Holy Spirit) if we are to understand God's will and His Word aright (Rom.12:2). Many believers tend to despise their minds. Our mind is to be like a wife. She should not be the head of the home. But she should not be killed either!! Jesus is our husband and head. Our mind should be submissive to Him through our heart.

In a nutshell then, here is a bit of sane advice on "tongues":

"If God gives you the gift of tongues, receive it and exercise it. Speak forth the syllables from your heart to God when you are alone with Him - anywhere - and especially when your heart is under pressure (through discouragement) or overflowing with joy. If you don't have the gift, don't worry about it. But be open to the Lord to receive it, at all times. Don't be against it and don't get into a frenzy to receive it. God will give it to you, if He wants you to have it, without any frenzy on your part. At the same time, don't believe that everything you see and hear in Christendom is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Test everything. Use your God-given faculties of discernment. If you don't have the gift of tongues, don't consider yourself inferior to those who have it. And if you do have the gift, don't imagine that it makes you spiritual or superior to those who don't have it. (Paul and the Corinthian Christians both spoke in tongues. But Paul was a spiritual giant, while the Corinthians were carnal!!)."

What Is Absolutely Essential

What is absolutely essential for all of us is to be endued with the Holy Spirit's power. It is power, and not speaking in tongues that is the evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

The Holy Spirit is to be received by faith (Jn.7:37-39), just as we received the forgiveness of our sins - on the basis of Christ's merit alone, and not on our own merit. We do not receive the Gift of the Spirit by fasting or praying or by any other work. He is a Gift (Acts 2:38).

We ask and receive - immediately by faith - and go forth believing in God's promise that He gives the Holy Spirit more readily to those who ask Him, than any earthly father would give food to a hungry son (Lk.11:13). If we are unsure about having received the Spirit, we can ask God to give us an assurance. He will not deny us such an assurance.

But we need to be filled with the Spirit continually (because we are leaky vessels - Eph.5:18), just like we need to be forgiven continually (because we sin - often without knowing it - Matt.6:12).

The devotion of our heart to Christ is far more important than our speaking in tongues. "Do you love Me more than everything else?", was our Lord's question to Peter, before commissioning him for His service. Arguments about "speaking in tongues" are therefore a diversion arranged by Satan to sidetrack believers from total devotion to Christ.

The greatest Christians in the world have been those who loved the Lord Jesus supremely - whether they spoke in tongues or not. Some like Peter, James, John and Paul spoke in tongues. Others like John Wesley, Charles Finney, D.L.Moody, A.B.Simpson, William Booth, C.T.Studd and Watchman Nee never spoke in tongues (as far as we know). But they all received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, they all loved the Lord with all their hearts and they ALL walked the way of the cross. These truths were central in their lives. Other things were secondary.

Let us follow their example and we won't go wrong..

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Zac Poonen


 2010/5/21 11:27Profile


I will quote Adam Clarke on Paul's knowledge of languages : "Verse 18. I speak with tongues more than ye all] He understood more languages than any of them did: and this was indispensably necessary, as he was the apostle of the Gentiles in general, and had to preach to different provinces where different dialects, if not languages, were used. In the Hebrew, Syraic, Greek, and Latin, he was undoubtedly well skilled from his education; and how many he might understand by miraculous gift we cannot tell. But, even literally understood, it is very probable that he knew more languages than any man in the Church of Corinth."

The Father asked counsel from Jesus. My Son, what do you think of Paul over here who is persecuting you?

Jesus says, Father, I think you should save him because he is one dynamic man. He's educated, knows several languages and even sat under one of the most recognized men of the day, thus making him a wise man. He has knowledge and understanding of the law. He would be perfect as an Apostle to the gentiles. We need his linguistic expertise and his ability to rightly divide the law to these ignorant foolish, lowly and unwise people.

 2010/5/21 11:38


We do not receive the Gift of the Spirit by fasting or praying or by any other work. He is a Gift (Acts 2:38).

We shouldn't put conditions on the work of God, God could very well have persons fast as in the case of my parents. Raw believers who came straight off the street having no religious background. The evangelist who in town for a series of meetings said, "If anyone wants to receive the Holy Spirit, I want you to fast and come back tomorrow night." They fasted as instructed, came back the next night and glorious received the Holy Spirit.

 2010/5/21 12:25


Brother Christaan, that was a very good read.

Truth No. 7 1 Cor. 12:28: "God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then... various kinds of tongues."

It is God Who appointed the gift of tongues in the church - for some purpose. So we should never oppose this gift, lest we be found opposing God. Remember that He has more wisdom than we have.

I think this is the most clearest of the scriptures concerning this issue.

 2010/5/21 14:53

Joined: 2009/5/15
Posts: 1042
Pacific Ocean

 Re: HAHAHA Snufalupagus

The Father asked counsel from Jesus. My Son, what do you think of Paul over here who is persecuting you? Jesus says, Father, I think you should save him because he is one dynamic man. He's educated, knows several languages and even sat under one of the most recognized men of the day, thus making him a wise man. He has knowledge and understanding of the law. He would be perfect as an Apostle to the gentiles. We need his linguistic expertise and his ability to rightly divide the law to these ignorant foolish, lowly and unwise people.

I am laughing at this soooo hard right now. Thank you so much for that humor.

Jeremiah Dusenberry

 2010/5/21 16:05Profile

Joined: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1262


I enjoyed your post brother Christian but it also causes me to think of some things that might be misinterpreted concerning 1 Cor. 14:32

1 Corinthians 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
1 Corinthians 14:30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
1 Corinthians 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
1 Corinthians 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

I thought I would take a passage from Barnes to help say what I am trying to get across because I believe many have taken 1cor. 14.32 out of context and have applied this scripture to the initial infilling of the Holy Ghost and also used it to mean that God will not do anything beyond our control not understanding that we are to give God control of our lives to do as he pleases. God will never lead us to do anything against His will.

The evident meaning of this is, that they were able to control their inclination to speak; they were not under a necessity of speaking, even though they might be inspired. There was no need of disorder. This verse gives confirmation to the supposition, that the extraordinary endowments of the Holy Spirit were subjected to substantially the same laws as a man's natural endowments. They were conferred by the Holy Ghost; but they were conferred on free agents, and did not interfere with their free agency. And as a man, though of the most splendid talents and commanding eloquence, has control over his own mind, and is not compelled to speak, so it was with those who are here called prophets. The immediate reference of the passage is to those who are called prophets in the New Testament; and the interpretation should be confined to them. It is not improbable, however, that the same thing was true of the prophets of the Old Testament; and that it is really true as a general declaration of all the prophets whom God has inspired, that they had control over their own minds, and could speak or be silent at pleasure. In this the spirit of true inspiration differed essentially from the views of the heathen, who regarded themselves as driven on by a wild, controlling influence, that compelled them to speak even when they were unconscious of what they said. Universally, in the heathen world, the priests and priestesses supposed or reigned that they were under an influence which was incontrollable; which took away their powers of self-command, and which made them the mere organs or unconscious instruments of communicating the will of the gods. The Scripture account of inspiration is, however, a very different thing. In whatever way the mind was influenced, or whatever was the mode in which the truth was conveyed, yet it was not such as to destroy the conscious powers of free agency, nor such as to destroy the individuality of the inspired person, or to annihilate what was peculiar in his mode of thinking, his style, or his customary manner of expression.

The prophets are ones who have already received the baptism with the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance. Therefore the Spirit is subject to the prophet meaning he has control and should not cause confusion or disorder.

We must distinguish the difference in being immersed in the Holy Spirit by being filled with the Holy Ghost where the Spirit gives the utterance to cause us to speak in an unknown tongue and where we have the one who is gifted to be a prophet.

The prophet, and I also believe the one who has been filled with the baptism in the Holy Ghost with speaking in other tongues, has control of himself and is not force to do anything against his will nor God’s will. But there is a little difference in the initial infilling and the one who is already filled.

The first time one is filled they don’t know exactly what is going to happen because it is an experience they have never had happen before and they are trusting God to fill them and they will do and speak things they have never done or spoken before. They will feel things they have never felt before.

I believe it can be somewhat confusing to say that if we loose control then that is not the Spirit of God because even though I believe we are not to lose control altogether, we are also to understand we are submitting to God to take control of His temple. When he filled me, and many others besides me, he toke control and cause me to speak in a language having never learned and also to run and shout. I realize I may have been able to stop it but I was yielded to Him and was not afraid of what He was doing in me.

So I don’t believe we should make a blanket statement and say that we should never lose control or it will not be of God. I believe that we can and should surrender to Him having control over us but not against our will.

I believe when one truly submits to God for God to fill him/her with the Holy Spirit that God does take control of the submitted believer and they can be filled with the Spirit to where the Spirit moves them to do things and they not know exactly what is going to happen but only find themselves doing his will.

Acts 8:39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:40 But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

Just a few thoughts for anyone willing to understand and encouragement to those who can appreciate it.

Blessings to everyone!

 2010/5/21 16:30Profile

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA


Hi again everyone.

"The objective of the gifts of the Spirit is edification. That has to be the question; does 'it' edify? When we say edify we are meaning to 'build.'"

Amen Robert.

I think this is especially significant in considering what what was put forward in the article by Mr. Green.

"Hebrews 9:11
The Perfect Tabernacle and the Imperfect Tabernacle

But Christ having appeared as a High Priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect (TELIOS) Tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation....

The "more perfect Tabernacle" here is that heavenly "Temple" or "Dwelling" unto which the Church was growing through the power of the Holy Spirit in Eph. 2:21,22." It corresponds to the heavenly "building," "house" and "home" with which the Church was expecting to be clothed in II Cor. 5:1,2,6; it is the "Abode" which the Father and the Son were going to make within believers (Jn. 14:23); it is the promised "Tabernacle of God among men" which the Church was anxiously awaiting (Rev. 21:3; 22:7,10,12,20)." It was to be the formation of Christ in the Church which Paul was eagerly expecting in Gal. 4:19." It was to be the realization of the first-century Church's hope of glory: "Christ in you" (Col. 1:27)." In very truth, it is that Kingdom which Jesus said is "within you" (Lk. 17:21)."

He is right in suggesting that body of Christ is the more perfect Tabernacle that was to come, but what is striking is that he would suggest that this is reason for tounges and other gifts to have ceased, instead of being all the more reason for them to have continued.

But why do I say that?

Because, as you pointed out Robert, the gifts are meant for our edification. Or as you rightly refined it: for our being BUILT up.

And so, while it is true that the more excellent Tabernacle has come, and that we have been joined to it, yet it IS STILL BEING BUILT. And we as its stones, are STILL BEING CRAFTED.

No doubt the gifts were still being given to the believers when Peter wrote that they were "living stones' built up into an Holy habitation for God.

Living stones, and from Paul, "the workmanship of God".

And this workmanship is continious while we are yet upon the Earth. For just as the sound of a hammer was heard no where upon the site for the house that Solomon built for the LORD, and the stones were all quarried elsewhere and brought to it, so to we, as living stones for the House of God, are being quarried now from the Earth, to be brought hither and joined to that New Jersusalem, coming down out of Heaven, as a bride for her husband.

Paul, the wise master builder that was appointed by God lays out clearly the functions of of differnt ministries that have been given by God, for the purpose he says,

of perfecting the saints.

Indeed, the stones are still being crafted and the house is still being joined together, and it is still in need of the gifts that GOD has ordained for it to be built up.

No doubt when Peter said that we had been given all things that pertain unto life and godliness, he did not exclude the gifts which he, being an Apostle of Christ was a partaker of.

No, Paul, that wise master builder says he laid the foundation, and now, let everyman take heed,

how he build thereon.


Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2010/5/21 18:40Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri


I might just add to Chris' point by saying there are still Jews in the world today. It would follow that if the purpose of tongues would be a 'sign' then they would still be needed today for that purpose.

Robert Wurtz II

 2010/5/21 19:00Profile

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA


Something else if I could, this again from the article by Mr. Green:

'I Cor. 14:21 and 22
Tongues, a Sign of Israel's Destruction in A.D. 70

The gift of tongues was given in the Last Days of the old covenant age as part of the process of covenantal transformation." It was a sign of the then-impending end of the old covenant (cf. Heb. 8:13):

It has been written in the Law, 'By other tongues and by other lips I will speak to this people, and even so they will not hear Me, says the Lord.'" So that tongues are not a sign to those believing, but to those not believing." (I Cor. 14:21,22a)

Paul quoted this passage from Isa. 28:11 and 12 where Isaiah in his day warned of the approaching invasion of apostate Israel by the Assyrians, a foreign nation which spoke in a foreign tongue." In the first century A.D., God gave the sign of "tongues" to apostate Israel ("those not believing") as a warning of impending doom for themselves, their temple and their city."'

What I find sometimes most conspicous about qoutes from the Bible, is not what is included, but what is left out.

It says also in this passage from the prophet:

"To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear."

I recall when studying this before, that this language here has a correspondence with the language of the Sabbath.

Indeed, Paul does say that tongues were for a sign to the unbeliever, but a sign of what?

He says before for what purpose speaking in tongues was for the believer, that he builds himself up( 1Co 14:2-4).

it is then the work of God, in the midst of the perpetual sabbath of rest through the Holy Spirit, for the believer.

It is the rest of which the Lord Jesus says 'come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden'

That He would give them rest. Rest to cease working?

Not at all.

Take His yoke upon them He says. The yoke of oxen is for plowing.

It is the rest of ceasing from our own works, void of faith and power from God.

The rest of serving God on a perpetual Sabbath.

The rest of the Holy Spirit of God.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2010/5/21 19:08Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri


I would just like to add that there is one thing that we must learn if we are to ever be like Jesus Christ. He did only those things that He saw the Father doing. That is to say, He was not living in His own plans, but He was living by every Word that is proceeding from the mouth of God. He WAS the Kingdom of God when He walked the earth and was the only real expression of that Kingdom during that time. He came to bring the Kingdom through the One Baptism of Ephesians 4. This allows people to be Baptized into Christ and BEGIN walking in the Spirit under God's absolute authority in the same sense as did Christ. There is a 'having begun in the Spirit' that Paul speaks of in Galatians.

Why do people not know the fulness of the Spirit? Because God gives His Spirit to those that obey Him. (Acts 5:32) That is to say, there has to be a conscious willingness to want to obey the known will of God. Why do folk not see revival? Because they are not prepared to truly resign themselves to the Will of God. I am referring to more than the terms of the New Covenant; I am referring to HIS VOICE.

Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. (Deuteronomy 13:4)

This was the stipulation for being a kingdom of priests unto God. Notice what is here:

1. Walk after the Lord
2. Fear Him
3. Keep His commandments
4. Obey His voice
5. Serve Him
6. Cleave unto Him

There are two things in the Bible that God assumes:

1. That His creation knows they have a Creator
2. That His creatures recognize His 'voice'

The churches needed to be able to ascertain the mind of God so that they could OBEY His voice. God does not make His will difficult to know. Men make it difficult by trying to cloud the simplicity with which God speaks. God wants us to know and do His will; why would He make it difficult to ascertain? If I want my children to do some certain thing- I don't make a request and then hide it from them. I may even go as far as to implement a means of stepping up the seriousness of what I am requiring them to do. I think tongues is God's way of 'stepping-up' the 'tone' of what He is saying in order to deal with the unbelieving ones.

I have a view of I Corinthians 14:21-22 that I have found to be consistent with my experience.

in the law it hath been written, that, ‘With other tongues and with other lips I will speak to this people, and not even so will they hear Me, saith the Lord;’ so that the tongues are for a sign, not to the believing, but to the unbelieving; and the prophesy [is] not for the unbelieving, but for the believing, (I Corinthians 14:21-22 YLT)

Notice the tenses of unbelieving and believing. To follow with my adopted definition of faith (right response to revelation) the people were hearing the Word of the LORD and were not responding rightly. They would not 'amen' the revelation that they knew was from God. They were 'unbelieving' what God had said; that is, they were not responding rightly to it. God then up's the stakes and utilizes a message in tongues meant to be accompanied by an interpretation. The hearers should come to attention and LISTEN. This used to be the way tongues and interpretation played out in Old School Pentecostal circles. If GOd was breaking through with a message to the church it was because they were not 'hearkening' to what was being said in plain English.

Keep in mind that tongues is God-wards. An example? The unbelieving were afforded an opportunity to hear what the Spirit was praying concerning the situation.

To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. (Isaiah 28:12)

To concur with Chris' view I would add that the purpose, again, is edification and the only way that we can be edified through the use of these gifts is if we respond rightly to the revelation. Their response? yet they would not hear (hearken). The only way a church can be a church is if they are consciously determined to hear and obey God. Otherwise men/women are just moving in their own ideas and strategies. Revelation 2-3 tells us 7 times to "hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches." Why? Because the Head desires to communicate with the Body. If the Head does not control the Body we call that paralysis.

Jesus Christ walks in the midst of the lampstands of His local churches. Their situation in real time has a real time answer. Not a one size fits all answer. Not a spanking of all the people to get the right ones. But a surgical Word that deals with the church according to the need as known by God. Ways of delivering that message is preaching, song, prophesy, tongues- interpretation, etc. Our responsibility is to 'hear' and if we hear His voice NOT harden our heart- but hearken to what He has revealed.

Robert Wurtz II

 2010/5/21 20:56Profile

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