Kingdom.13 Speaking in tongues.

May 6, 2008 at 4:30 pm 3 comments

If you know anything at all about my background, training and experience, what follows is the clearest delineation of a break from my spiritual roots I have made, to this point.  I do not do so to be rebellious, to try and convince anyone, to try and set myself up as more knowledgeable than anyone else, to make anyone angry or even to suggest that I now am enlightened at some deeper level, or more enlightened than any one else.  In the natural progression of thought related to the Kingdom and the Holy Spirit, I cannot just pass by the subject of speaking in tongues as if it is irrelevant to a discussion of the Holy Spirit and Kingdom building.  (if you have not read the previous postings on the Kingdom and the Holy Spirit it might be worth your time to get in the flow that leads to this posting)

If one accepts as I do that the power, manifestation, or sign gifts as they are variously called, are for today then there must be a purpose and a value to speaking in tongues that the person filled with the Spirit, as a second experience, should anticipate and enjoy.

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

The Father 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. Since it was the Father giving the gift, then the gift of “tongues” has to be a perfect gift. The Father cannot change His mind about the gift, because He never changes.

Surely, the Father knew the controversies that would surround this gift in the 21st century, yet He knew the church would need this gift to advance the Kingdom of His Son.

Most 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 throughout the history of the church. So it is not surprising nor troubling that the gift of tongues is controversial as well.

While it is tedious and not really the best blogging method, it seems a good idea to me that I look at most of the verses in the Bible on the subject of “speaking in tongues” to see why tongues have not ceased and why Kingdom advancement depends on the practical use of all the gifts including the gift of tongues.

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 did say that these signs would be found among “those who believe”.

Every believer doesn’t have to have all these gifts. Neither does every church necessarily have all these gifts. But they will be found in the extended Family somewhere. The Holy Spirit sovereignly decides who these gifts will be given to.

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.

It is important to note in v.4 that it was the people 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 were not “out of their minds as some have suggested “tongues” speakers are.

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.  (1Corinthians 14:32).

3. Acts 10:46: They were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.

Here, in the house of Cornelius, everyone present was baptized in the Holy Spirit, at the same moment as they were converted to Christ. They spoke in “tongues” exalting God, not speaking to people, as was the case on the day of Pentecost.

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” mentioned here seems to have been in the form of prophesying.

Is there a set pattern for receiving the gift of tongues? 

In Acts 2 they received the Spirit, after water baptism, while in Acts 10, they received the Spirit before water baptism.

In Acts 2 and 10, they received the Spirit without anyone laying hands on them but in Acts 19, they received the Spirit after Paul laid hands on them.

So there doesn’t appear to be any basic or standard pattern for receiving the Spirit. Not sure I know of a standard delivery method though many try to make one. 

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.  Since this seems to be one exception there are probably others, as well.

5. 1Corinthians 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” of the church. Since this was written 25 years after the day of Pentecost it would seem to indicate, at least to that point, the gift was still being given. When the gift of tongues was given by the Spirit today it continues to be “for the common good”.

6. 1Corinthians 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 teaching that it is the Holy Spirit who sovereignly decides who to give each gift (including the gift of tongues) to. There is no reason to manipulate, push or prod, if God wants it for you, it will be yours.  That however doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek any gift you think could be for the common good, where you are.

7. 1Corinthians 12:28: God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then… various kinds of tongues.

It is the Father who appointed the gift of tongues in the church and since He did, it must be for some purpose. So how can we oppose a gift appointed by our Father?His wisdom is certainly superior to anyone else’s.

8. 1Corinthians 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?

Apparently, all believers do not speak in tongues, just like all believers do not have the gifts of healings. So obviously, the Father 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.

Later in the week I will post an additional 10 verses or so that speak about the issue of tongues and then in a third post offer some conclusions I have come to, related to this gift.

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Entry filed under: Authority, Belief, Charismatic, Christianity, Church, Faith, Holy Spirit, Institutional church, Jesus, King Jesus, Kingdom, Kingdom Gospel, Kingdom Life, Revelation, Supernatural, The Father, Theology, Thoughts, Uncategorized.

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.43 Kingdom.14 Speaking in tongues. (con’t)

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. amanda  |  May 9, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Brad, how amazing! God has blessed you! I think it could be considered tongues.

  • 2. Brad  |  May 6, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Greg,

    I too would be curious to find what you think about something on this topic.

    This March I was able to go with the Youth Group to Honduras, this was my first time ever out of the country, and it was amazing. The third night we were in Ceibita we drove to a neighboring town to attend church. This is some what of a long story since the details are so vivid in my memory. But I was exhausted, the heat was intense, the work was brutal and I just wanted to shower and go to bed, but we went to church instead. When we arrived it was still hot, crowded, we were in for what I was told would be a very long service. As I sat there talking to one of the guys who spoke some English I started to become more and more frustrated with the fact we were there.

    I know, get to the point….

    When the service started, we were greeted warmly and began to sing songs of worship. As I observed those at the church, I started to feel very convicted, and started to hear God speak to me, feeling him breaking down my bitter attitude. I started to pray, and praise God for His mercy to me, for His grace to all of His children. I then distinctly heard Him say “Just sing” and I literally said possible out loud “yeah can’t do that its Spanish” then, and He responded saying “Know that I am God here and everywhere, SING” at first i still hesitated but I felt something I have never felt before, I felt as if God laid his hand directly on my back, I seriously felt the warmth of a touch, and I started to sing.

    It took me several minutes to realize I was (to the best of my knowledge) singing the right SPANISH words and it was just coming to me, it felt as if I knew the song all my life. Once I realized I what was happening I was blown away, I sat down and cried . I thanked God for his power, and repented for my attitude and doubt.

    Would this be considered a form of speaking in tongues?

    Sorry its so long, but its something that was amazing to me.

    Miss you guys,

    Brad

  • 3. amanda  |  May 6, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    as i read this the thought crossed my mind that maybe tongues are not always the “nonsennical murmurings” we might think of when we think of the Pentecostal church. Might it be sometimes something as simple as the ability to speak or translate many languages “tongues” fluently? Perhaps this is oversimplification of a “complex” problem. i for one have always found the subject confounding, but do think we need to understand it, because obviously, the ability comes from God, as is stated in the Bible and your blog. i would be curious to know what you (and others) think. just to clarify, i (as you know, Greg) have no formal background just a curious mind, and a desire to get closer to my Father.

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