'Replies from Christians'

4.  Concerned … (cont.)

15th October, 2004

(Continued from page 247)

If you expose error you will witness 'the acts of the sinful nature' - but you should pray that you will always demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit as described here in verse 22.

Since there are at least three ways you can speak in tongues:

  1. Through the genuine impartation of the Spirit of God (Acts 2:1-11; 10:44-48; 19:4-7);
  2. Through human psychological means - at many Charismatic meetings Christians are encouraged to just jabber away with any sounds that come into their minds to 'free their tongue' from the psychological barriers that supposedly prevent us from speaking in tongues.  This is entirely un-Scriptural and nothing like the description of the 'impartation' of tongue speaking in Acts.  Jesus compared the Spirit to the wind (John 3:5-8): 'The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."  Since the Spirit operates in this omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent way, since He is God, how is it possible that human 'psychological barriers' - or any other barriers - can restrict Him in giving gifts as He sees fit (Romans 11:29; 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4ff.)?  The argument used is that He is 'a gentleman' and would never force Himself on anyone.  This 'gentleman' is the God who killed thousands in the Old Testament and killed Ananias and Sapphira for lying to God's church (Acts 5:1-10)!
  3. A counterfeit occult gift. Many other religions and cults believe they can speak in unknown tongues, e.g. the Mormons, and more than one 'Christian' has taken an occultic gift retained from the past sinful life and begun using it in the church as a supposed 'gift of the sprit';

While you refer to these spoken 'tongues' as 'jibberish', you cannot be sure of the origin of the language and need to respect the possibility that you are speaking of a genuine 'gift of the Spirit'.  A genuine child of God need not be concerned or fear the phenomena of 'tongues,' for God will provide considerable protection for those who are His - if they are faithful to be Him, or act out of ignorance.  But it is incumbent on all Christians to seek to follow the Word of God as closely as possible and we have therefore highlighted some of the important sections of
1 Corinthians 12:27-14:39 in blue to emphasise how you should be addressing the use of this gift in your home and at prayer meetings:

1CO 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and
those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But eagerly desire the greater gifts.

[
TCE:   Teachers etc. have clearly not left the church, so there is no reason to believe that tongues have ceased.  Also note that the answer to 'Do all speak in tongues?' is the same as that to the other questions posed by Paul - and the answer is obviously 'No!' So those who try and use 'speaking in tongues' as the sign that you have been 'baptised in the Spirit/are a genuine Christian' are in error]

Paul continues:

    And now I will show you the most excellent way.

1CO 13:1 If I speak
in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    1CO 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    1CO 13:8 Love never fails.
But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    1CO 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1CO 14:1
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

    1CO 14:6
Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

    1CO 14:13
For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16 If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.

    1CO 14:18 I thank God that I speak
in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
    1CO 14:20 Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written:

  "Through
men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me," says the Lord.

    1CO 14:22
Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25 and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"

    1CO 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation,
a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God.

    1CO 14:29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
    As in all the congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

    1CO 14:36 Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. 38 If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored.

    1CO 14:39 Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and
do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

TCE:   Notice these points:


  1. When the passage speaks of 'prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away' the apostle is talking about the time when Jesus brings everything to its conclusion and ushers in His kingdom.  These gifts still exist today.
  2. The next section makes it clear that we should not allow chaotic 'speaking in tongues' of the kind that is regularly witnessed at Charismatic meetings :  1CO 14:1 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3 But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified. 1CO 14:6 Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? ... Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.
  3. And this is the reason: 1CO 14:13 For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16 If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say "Amen" to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.  1CO 14:18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.  1CO 14:22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
  4. So how should our meetings be run?:  1CO 14:26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Paul asserts these things 'must be done for the strengthening of the church.
  5. Any other pattern is wrong and many Charsimatic groups need to repent of the errors they have allowed into the church through ignoring these inspired words!  Chaotic contemporary Charismatic meetings are clearly not consistent with these Scriptures, with the result that they ignore this warning:  33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
  6. Obviously, if speaking in tongues with interpretation is allowed, this next passage: 'As in all the congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak,' cannot be used to make women be totally silent in church - as denominations such as the Brethren have done over the centuries!  The passage is warning that women should not hold positions of authority, such as teaching pastoral positions, over men - in the church (1 Timothy 2:11-15).  Again, the errors in the contemporary church have led to female 'pastors, teachers, etc.'  being placed in positions of authority over men - despite the warnings of the Apostle Paul that women, like Eve, are more easily deceived (but usually more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit  - as well as counterfeit spirits!) than men.  This is why a devout married Christian couple forms the perfect union for the protection of the family and in the service of our Lord in the church. And why you should try and ensure that your family follow Scripture as closely as possible.
  7. Finally, follow the advice of:  1CO 14:39 ... be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.  It may take some time to convince others that they should put Scripture above the teachings they have received from men, but make sure you patiently and lovingly persevere with the Truth of God's Word.  'Love covers a multitude of sins' (1 Peter 4:8).

We pray that God will bless and keep you and your family always

In Christ's loving Name

TCE

(Continued on page 249)

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