Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Before we look at what the Bible has to say about the speaking in tongues, I would like to make a couple of observations. First, tongues were foretold (Mk. 16:17); tongues occurred (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6); and tongues were only mentioned in three chapters of one letter (1 Corinthians). There is no mention of them after Paul's first letter to the church at Corinth. Secondly, when Paul wrote concerning the manifestation of the spiritual gifts, the New Testament was not yet complete. "That which is perfect" was not yet perfect.

I find it amazing that Paul begins the three chapters on tongues by saying, "Now concerning spiritual gifts brethren, I would not have you ignorant" (1 Cor. 12:1). In a church where everybody had a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation, one would think that church, of all churches, would not be considered ignorant on the subject (1 Cor. 14:26). Paul states that he wished everybody spoke in tongues, which tells us that not everybody had the gift (1 Cor. 14:5). Lest someone think that every Christian has the gift of speaking in tongues, Paul is clear that the spiritual gifts are "handed out" by the Holy Spirit, and that He gives different gifts to different people (1 Cor. 12:4-11). He then asks a question; "Is everyone an apostle, a prophet, a teacher, a worker of miracles, able to heal, able to speak in tongues, able to interpret?" The obvious answer is a resounding NO! He spent almost the entire chapter explaining that each member of the Body of Christ has a specific place in that body, and no one has all the gifts (1 Cor. 12:4-31).

Well, the obvious question is, "If everybody is speaking in tongues, yet not everyone has the gift, what is going on?" Another question needs to be asked as well; "If not every believer has the gift of tongues, how is it that many in the Church teach one is not saved unless they speak in tongues?" The answer is quite simple; false teaching has twisted, manipulated, and totally distorted the Word of God to support a false gospel. Tongues, as they are being taught today, are something that the individual needs to pursue in order to be saved. One needs to "pray through" until the Spirit finally tires of hearing the begging, and rewards them with "the gift." Therefore one's efforts, being works, negates the truth that salvation is a gift and not by works (Eph. 2:8-9).

I want to be absolutely clear about this. Those who speak in tongues may or may not be saved. Those who speak in tongues are neither more nor less spiritual than anyone else in the Body of Christ. And for those who read this, be very careful what you teach the "little ones." A prayer language, singing in tongues, and the tongues of angels are not "loop-holes" to justify false teaching. Even if they exist today, they are the prerogative of the Holy Spirit Who gives spiritual gifts to whomever He chooses. "Forbid not the speaking of tongues," but "Let all things be done decently and in order," and be careful that your "liberty" does not cause a brother to stumble (Rom. 14:21-22; 1 Cor. 8:9; 14:39-40; Gal. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:16).

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