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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: 2008/6/19
Posts: 1262


Good posts brethren concerning the gifts of the Spirit.

The gift of tongues for the believer praying unto God is very much edifying but Paul says that in public worship we are to use the gifts to edify the church body. We are to prophesy or pray to interpret tongues for the edification of the body and not to cause confusion. God is not the author of confusion.

Here is something to consider where tongues were used for a sign to the Jews that God had accepted the Gentiles. The tongues was a sign to them that they had received the Holy Ghost just like they did in the beginning and Peter had to except them instead of withstanding God. The Jews were astonished when they heard them speak in tongues and magnify God. Tongues were a sign that the Holy Ghost had come into the believing heart and it cause people to believe that God had truly baptized the one speaking and magnifying God.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

Acts 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
Acts 11:16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 11:17 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?
Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

This is why I believe that tongues were the initial evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost in the beginning of the church. I don’t believe that everyone in the beginning had the gift of tongues but I believe everyone baptized had the tongue as a sign of being filled. The gift of tongues is to be distinguished from the initial evidence of speaking in tongues when one is baptized in the Spirit.

I have heard the testimonies of outstanding preachers since then who said they received a baptism of power in the Spirit that cause them to do amazing things for God having never spoken in tongues. I do believe that God has filled many preachers of the gospel with the Holy Spirit without causing them to speak in tongues like Moody, Tozer, Nee, and others. There experience still does not cancel out the experience they had in Acts and the experience of others besides them.

Blessings to all!

 2010/5/21 21:11Profile

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


"Notice the tenses of unbelieving and believing."

Robert, I think I can see something of what you are getting at.

The message of prophesy, being spoken in plain language was for those who believe the word. A message in tongues given with an interpretation is a sign to those who do not believe.

There is another aspect of prophesey that I think Paul says is for the unbeliever(also) and is perhaps connected with other gifts of the Spirit, in particular the word of knowledge? I'm thinking of 1Co 14:24-25.

What all of this gets to for me is something that I think you emphasied before: the nescessaity of hearing a Living Word from God in the Churches.

I think of what it says in the prophet Isaiah:

"In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate."

"And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment"

Judgment here being in my mind, to decide rightly, and so then, power and wisdom from God, to apply what He has already said(in His word) to our lives, and to speak from His mind what needs to be said, amongst His people, or for those that do not know Him.

"The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned."

Is it not what you said of Christ in the beginning of your post, that He only did what He saw with the Father?

And when you had qouted the passage from Deuteronomy, is it not the same in fulfillment as when Isaiah said,

"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."

One of my favorite songs in the Pentecostal congregation that I attended when I first became a Christian were these short words:

Order my steps in Your word dear Lord

lead me
guide me
every day

Send Your anointing Father I pray

order my steps in Your word,

O, order my steps in Your word.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2010/5/22 12:14Profile

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


"Here is something to consider where tongues were used for a sign to the Jews that God had accepted the Gentiles. The tongues was a sign to them that they had received the Holy Ghost just like they did in the beginning and Peter had to except them instead of withstanding God."

Rbanks, this was in back of my thoughts also in mentioning the rest of the passage in Isaiah.

I think it is significant that language that corresponds to the Sabbath is used there, 'this is the rest wherewith you may cause the weary to rest...'

In Exodus, the Sabbath(s) are called by God a sign, between Him and the children of Israel, that it was He that sanctified them(Exodus 31:13-17).

Under the New Covenant, it is the presence of God through the Holy Spirit that sets us apart.

I think you are right in pointing out that to the Apostles, those speaking with tongues and magnifying God were evidence that they had been brought into the Covenant by recieving the Holy Spirit.

Without a doubt there was no concern on the part of the Apostles that these tongues were some kind of Satanic counterfiet.

They were not in doubt of their own ministry, which was from God, as were its results.

And if they laid hands on somone and they spake with tongues and prophesyed, they were'nt in doubt as to whether or not it was real. Their's were holy hands that were laid upon them. And Holy results followed.

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2010/5/22 12:31Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7511


I do not want to interfer in this discussion, but would like to share something, hoping it will be of some edification.

My background is not Pentecostal. All I know about them or Charismatics is what I have read ("New Wine" mag, e.g.) and observation. Pentecostals use language to describe events not familiar in other Christian circles. But the issue here is tongues...

I am personally familiar with at least one (I say one because I know there were more but am unable to recall these details) - evangelist Andrew Jantzi, who, when he was preaching noticed a woman sitting close to the front. He noticed her reactions to his preaching: they was a rapturous look of pleasure, joy on her face. He made a mental note of it and resolved to speak with her afterwards. Later a young man came to him and told him how much his MIL enjoyed his sermon - and she could not understand English at all! But she understood every word he said. (This story was shared with us by Andrew's nephew Lavern Swartz, also an evangelsit.)

And then there is a lady from India who came to the states to share. The interpreter was unable to be there but she spoke in English - for the first time - and they all understood. And she has spoken English ever since although she cannot read it well.

I have encountered the gift of tongues given by the enemy at CPC. My client was in a cult and she described its use at their gatherings.

Healings: when I was growing up in IN many years ago, mom had an uncle (by marriage) who had the gift of healing. People who were ill would go there and he would lay hands on them and pray. This man was a godly man, a deacon in the church. He did not engage in pow-wowing. Everyone said this gift was from the LORD. He lived to be an old man.

When I compiled a genealogy book of my maternal g-grandfather's family I heard another story, similar. A man in the community had this gift of healing, but for some reason did not 'like' it. He fought it and later died young from some disease. Otherwise he was a Christian man.

Just thought I would share this...these stories always come to my mind whenever a discussion of this nature occurs.

May God be praised!


Sandra Miller

 2010/5/22 12:55Profile


Sandra, that is what separates knowledge from experience. The Acts of the Apostles, or the Acts of Jesus Christ, or the Acts of anyone for that matter who Acts out the word through faith instead of just having a head full of knowledge about the word.

I like your "testimonies" that you shared, very good reading. It reminds me of reading Smith Wigglesworth's "Ever Increasing Faith". Stories of salvation, healing, and other notable miracles.

If you can think of some more, do tell.


 2010/5/22 16:50


Prophesying usually occurs through preaching.

At one time men waited on God for a message, not notes, or even side notes, none of that. That is good for teaching, I am talking about preaching.

You can hear the difference between the man preaching and when God takes over. I have heard many times a message being preached and the man would go along what he felt that God was leading him and then all of a sudden God speaks through him. It may last a few seconds or a few minutes, and then he continues on that theme and then once again you can hear the difference when God is speaking again. The whole message is anointed, but you can sense the difference. And it's these messages that are edifying. Man I miss that type of preaching. Today, everyone has sermon notes and they are so tight and to the point that God can't get a word in edge wise.

I don't want to hear what you conjured up in your head a message, I want to hear God speak through you as an oracle of God.

 2010/5/22 17:01


Light on "Abnormal" Experiences*

Extract from a book published in Germany by Pastor Ernst Lohmann Translated from the German.

Just as in a caricature the outstanding features of the true picture are to be found, so that a likeness is unmistakable, so phenomena which we find in heathen systems, in theosophy so-called, or new Buddhism, in spiritism, etc., resemble to some extent the Divine manifestations called forth by the working of the Holy Spirit upon the spirit of man. They also produce revelations and prophecies, speaking and singing with tongues, healing and miracles.

It is of importance that we should study this subject to find an answer to the question as to how these phenomena are brought about. It is self-evident that they are not manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The numerous and exact investigations which are being made in our day into the subject are giving us increasing insight into this dark realm. Powers and possibilities have been discovered in man, which until now have been totally unsuspected. They are designated "subliminal powers", and we speak of "subconsciousness". What physical occurrences accompany these phenomena? The lower nerve-centres (the ganglionic system, or the "vegetative" nerves, as they are called), which have their chief seat in the region round the pit of the stomach, are excited to increased activity.

At the same time the central region of the hither nervous system (the cerebral system), which in a normal state of affairs is the medium of conscious perception and action, becomes paralysed. There is a reversal of the order of nature. The lower nerves take over the duty of the higher ones (a sort of compensation). This state of things comes to pass negatively by the higher organ losing its natural supremacy under pressure of illness, or artificially by hypnotism, auto-suggestion, etc.; and positively by the lower nerves being in some way excited artificially to increased activity, whereby they get the upper hand. These nerves then display abilities which our ordinary organs of sense do not possess, they receive impressions from a realm usually closed to us, such as clairvoyance, presentiments, prophecy, speaking with tongues, etc. The Mohammedan sooth-sayer, Dschalal-Ed-Dinrumi, describes the trance-state, as follows:

"My eyes are closed, and my heart is at the open gate".

Anna Katharina Emmerich (1774-1824)

"I see the light, not with my eyes, but it is as though I saw it with my heart (with the nerves which have their seat in the pit of the stomach) . . . that which is actually around me I see dimly with my eyes like one dozing and beginning to dream; my second sight is drawing me forcibly, and is clearer than my natural sight, but it does not take place through my eyes. . . "

When in a state of somnambulism, the inner sense, heightened in its activity, perceives outward things as clearly and more so than when awake, when it recognizes tangible objects with eyes tightly closed and absolutely unable to see, just as well as by sight; this takes place, according to the unanimous declaration of all somnambulists, through the pit of the stomach, i.e., through the nerves, which have their seat in this region . . . And it is from this part that the nerves are set in action which move the organs of speech (in speaking with tongues, etc.). . .

Numberless cases of false mysticism through all the centuries of Church History display the same characteristics, the sub-consciousness being always the medium of such perception and functions. They are morbid, coming under the garb of Divine manifestations to lead souls astray. Now, it is very significant that according to the assertions of the leaders, it is an activity of the sub-consciousness that we meet with in the "Pentecostal Movement" (so called). We read in a report of an "International Pentecostal Conference":

"'On Tuesday, a Pastor introduced the discussion. The main topic was the working of the sub-conscious mind in messages and prophecy. Much confusion prevailed concerning the relation of our consciousness to our sub-consciousness. The Scriptural discrimination was preferable (I Cor. xiv. 14, 15), where they were spoken of as understanding and spirit':

"'When Christ lives in us He lives in our hearts and in the heart are two chambers. In one room lives the conscience and through the conscience I can know that Christ lives in me. In the other room of my heart there is the sub-consciousness, and there also Christ lives. We look at I Cor. xiv. 14, For if I pray in a tongue my spirit prayeth but my understanding is unfruitful'."

Notice the expression "my spirit" (my sub-conscious mind), and also the expression "my understanding", i.e., "When my spirit prays in tongues, my sub-conscious mind prays!" In the Declaration of the Second Mulheim "Pentecostal Conference", September 15th, 1909, we read:

"In I Cor. xiv. 14 (Luther's translation) Paul makes a distinction between the understanding and the spirit of man. By the word understanding he means the conscious, and by the word spirit the unconscious spiritual life, life of man. In this unconscious spiritual life in modern language also termed sub-consciousness' God has placed the gift of speaking with tongues and prophecy. . . ."

According to this, the spiritual life of the believer is synonymous with the sub-consciousness of the somnambulist. And the more highly developed this sub-consciousness is in any individual, the more highly developed would be their spiritual life. Just try substituting the word sub-consciousness in those passages where the Scripture speaks of the spirit of man; for example Ps. li. 17, Ps. lxxvii. 6, Isa. lxvi. 2, Acts vii. 59, Acts xviii. 5, Acts xx. 22, Romans I. 9, Romans ii. 29, Romans viii. 16, I Cor. ii. 11, I Cor. iv. 21, 1 Cor. v.5, Gal. vi. 1, Gal. vi. 18, Eph. iv. 23, I Thess. v. 23. Those in whom the sub-consciousness becomes active in the manner described above, feel as it were an electric stream passing through the body, which is an exciting of the nerves, which have their central seat in the pit of the stomach. It is from thence that the jaws are moved in speaking with tongues. One of the leaders of the "Pentecostal Movement", in describing the process of this so-called Baptism of the Spirit in his body, made use of the singular comparison that it seemed to him as though there were in his body an inverted bottle. The simile was incomprehensible to me, but this way of expressing it was most strikingly illuminated when I find an almost identical expression used by a Mohammedan sooth-sayer. Tewekkul Beg, a pupil of Mollah Schah, was receiving instruction from his master as to how he could get into the ecstatic state. He says:

"After he had bound my eyes . . . I saw something in my inner being resembling a fallen tumbler . . . When this object was placed upright a feeling of limitless bliss filled my being."

This feeling of bliss is another characteristic feature of this class of occurrences. By exciting the lower nervous system a feeling of intense rapture is regularly produced . . . At first we find connected with it usually, involuntary contraction of the muscles and movement of the limbs, in consequence of the unnatural inversion of the nervous system. Pastor Paul again says:

"If anyone is to prophesy in the way I have now learnt, God must be able to move the mouth of the one prophesying, as He formerly moved the mouth of Balaam's ass. The ass understood nothing of the words which she spoke, she only said what she was to say. There is a danger in uttering things we understand. It is so easy to mix in one's own thoughts, and then to utter what one thinks. This occurs without our intending it in the least. That is the reason why God trains His prophets in so preparing them that they utter exactly what the Spirit gives them. Speaking in strange tongues is a good preliminary school.

"There one learns to speak as the mouth is moved. One speaks without knowing what one is saying by simply following the position of the mouth. Just so in prophecy; there, too, one speaks as led by the position of the mouth. Speaking with tongues and prophesying are both on the same principle."

It is evident that in these phenomena we have the exact opposite of what the Scriptures understand by the communication of the Spirit. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the spirit of man, he is brought back to a normal condition; the spirit acquires the full authority given it by the Creator over the powers of the soul, and through the soul over the body. The conscious personal life is once more completely under the authority of the spirit. The dependency upon God, which man sought to break off, in his mania for exalting himself by setting his reason, his emotions, or the flesh upon the throne, is restored again. The Spirit of God can exercise once more His controlling and quickening power. The deeds of the flesh are put to death by the Spirit, the powers and the gifts of the Spirit developed, the man becomes spiritual, full of the Holy Spirit.

Note by Mrs. Penn-Lewis

"The light given by Herr Lohmann will open the eyes of many perplexed believers, and give them intelligent understanding of much that has distressed them, and caused painful division among the most devoted children of God. It will also confirm the statements we have made concerning the working of evil spirits in the circumference of a believer, at the very same time that, up to the extent of his consciousness, he may know nothing against himself before the Lord; for Satan and his emissaries are well aware of the laws of the human frame, and work along their line, arousing and exciting the natural life, under the guise of its being spiritual. The false conception of 'surrender' as yielding the body to supernatural power, with the mind ceasing to act, is the highest subtelty [sic] of the enemy, and is exposed as such in this book, for it brings about as Herr Lohmann explains the paralysis of the 'cerebral' systems, i.e., the action of the mind, and allows the 'vegetative nerves' full control and activity, excited by evil spirits, for the Holy Spirit dwells in, and acts through the spirit of man, and not through either nerve centre, which have both to be under the control of the spirit. We have also pointed out again and again that 'claiming the blood' cannot protect us from the enemy if in any way he is given ground, e.g., if the cerebral nerves cease to act by 'letting the mind go blank' (!) and the vegetative nerves are awakened to act in their place, so that the latter are excited to give 'thrills' and 'streams of life' through the body, no claiming of the precious blood of Christ will prevent these physical laws acting when the conditions for action are fulfilled. Hence, the strange fact which has perplexed many, that abnormal experiences manifestly contrary to the Spirit of God, have taken place whilst the person was earnestly repeating words about the 'blood'. Moreover, the arousing of the 'vegetative nerves' to such abnormal activity that 'floods of life' have appeared to pour through the whole body. . . [that]

dulls the mind and makes it inert in action,

causes a craving in the recipient for more of this "Divine" life,

leads to the danger of ministration of it to others, and all that follows as this path is pursued in honest faith and confidence of being "specially advanced" in the life of God. Should any reading this discover their own case depicted let them thank God for knowledge of the truth, and (1) simply reject by an attitude of will, all that is not of God; (2) consent to trust God in His word with out any "experiences"; (3) stand on Rom. vi. 11, with James iv. 7, in respect to the Adversary. John xvi. 13, "Through the Eternal Spirit".


* From The Overcomer of 1920.

J. Grasset, "Le Psychisme InfrÈrieur," 1906, writes: "Psychical proceedings fall into two groups:

those of a higher order conscious, volitional, free;

those of a lower class unconscious, mechanical, involuntary".

On this subject Dr. Naum Kotik says in "The Emanation of Psycho-physical Energy":

"Under ordinary conditions in the activity of the brain, the sub-consciousness hardly makes itself felt, and for this reason we have no suspicion of its existence. There are conditions of the psyche, however, such as somnambulism, in which the sub-consciousness comes to the front, takes over the complete control, and forces the super-consciousness back into the position in which it (viz., the sub-consciousness) rightfully belongs. The actions which attest the activity of the sub-consciousness independently of the super-consciousness, are usually termed automatic."

Jessie Penn-Lewis who is considered an expert on spiritual warfare after her experiences at the Welsh revivals, quotes this piece in her War on the Saints but I noticed in online versions this chapter has been left out.


 2010/5/23 9:11

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7511


Stories of miracles are not too hard to find.

Most have heard of the book "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew. The incidences of God blinding the guards, 'men' appearing at the right time are not isolated incidents. The late David Bontrager was also a man who traveled behind the Iron Curtain to deliver aid to the persecuted Believers.

One day Bro. David and ?? approached customs counter in a communist country, luggage packed with Bibles and were wondering how they will get through - legally. Here comes this 'official' who led them through customs and took them outside and told them which bus they needed to take to their destination. By this time David was so grateful for his assistance that he turned to thank him only to find him gone. He had vanished. David concluded this was an angel sent by God.

(As I recall, there is also an incident where he spoke to Russian Christians and they understood him, neither of whom naturally understood each other's language. But I do not recall these details.)

After Bro. David got a little old, he and his wife built an extra bedroom to their house to house visiting foreign Christians. They could stay there as long as they wished. Many came form the Soviet bloc. One time a gentleman appeared who wished to stay and out of the kindness of their hearts they welcomed him. He was there a few weeks until one day he disappeared. They never did know who the fellow was but could only guess.... (This story was shared with me by David's grandson who married my first cousin.)

Opinion here: most, if not all, of modern miracles occur out of the public limelight.

This is all for now - have go get ready for church services...

Have a Blessed day, y'all!


Sandra Miller

 2010/5/23 10:03Profile


The lower nerve-centres (the ganglionic system, or the "vegetative" nerves, as they are called), which have their chief seat in the region round the pit of the stomach, are excited to increased activity.

Milk of Magnesia should alleviate those symptoms.

 2010/5/23 13:13


This is an hour of testimony. But there are some things in here Brenda that I think you'll like. She's theatrical, but that was her manner of speaking.

 2010/5/23 14:30

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