Kingdom.15 “So what?”

May 15, 2008 at 9:40 am 3 comments

Someone asked me these questions the other day; “why the emphasis on tongues?”  “Isn’t the Holy Spirit about more than tongues?”  Good questions, both.  The emphasis is because it is quite new to me, and I am wanting to work the “theology” out for myself and since I am appropriately convinced they haven’t ceased, then there must be value to the practice. Of course, the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are much more than one manifestation.

Having gotten to a place in my Spiritual journey where I am not encumbered with denominational or employment pressures to hold certain positions on any Biblical doctrine, I am trying to sort out these “controversial” subjects in a way that will enhance my walk in the Spirit.  When the whole of the Biblical teaching on a subject is so weighted in one direction, when a good hermeneutic is brought to the reading (ie:let the text say what it says), I don’t believe it is honest to dismiss this teaching because it is uncomfortable or controversial. By the way, there are many “non-Pentecostal/Charismatics” (poor labels) who do not buy into the cecessionist teaching, prominent in the denominational structure I was raised in.  (Reformed, Baptist pastor, John Piper being one, of note.)

So with this posting I will bring the subject to a close.  I am confident that I am reading the Scriptures correctly, that the manifestation gifts, including speaking in an unknown language, are still for today and I am also confident that the Bible teaches there is a second experience with the Spirit, after the Spirit seals us at conversion, that is out of the ordinary.  Not just an inference from having believed, but an experience one can look back on and say “I know the Spirit has come into my life because “this” happened.  In five of the six places where the Spirit falls in the book of Acts, and an experience follows, that experience is speaking in an unknown language. (See Kingdom.13 and .14)

When I was preaching on a regular basis, I would finish writing a message and ask myself questions like these: “So what?”  “What is it I want these people to remember?”  “To take with them?”  “What difference should it make in the listener to have heard this message?”  I think answering those questions made me a better communicator and helped my listeners to get the point, more often than not.

So after 2.5 posts on the subject of speaking in an unknown language-“So what?” Here are a few things that answer that question for me:

  • As the Apostle Paul concludes his teaching letter on this subject, (1Corinthians 14:39) He writes: “…don’t forbid speaking in tongues.”  Perhaps you or I can refuse a gift, but you go against a direct statement of Scripture when you forbid it to be a part of some one elses experience with the Father.
  • Often what it means to truly “walk in the Spirit” seems strange or weird to us.  If it is really out of the ordinary, makes little logical sense, is hard or humbling, it is probably God.  He uses the “foolish things… to confound the wise”. 
  • We are to “stay in step with the Spirit”.  Staying in step has to do with obedience and when we are open to receive from the Spirit what He wants to give us, we obey and when we obey we get more.
  • Speaking in tongues builds us up (1Corinthians 14:4)  We all need our spiritual batteries recharged and apparently manifesting this gift provides recharging.  Jude 20 “…build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit.”
  • There seems to be two types of praying: with the mind and in the Spirit.  Praying in the Spirit is, according to Paul, speaking to God (1Corinthians 14:2).  Getting ones mind out of the picture and praying the language of angels (1Corinthians 13:1) provides a direct link to the Father that forming words in the mind does not.
  • The supernatural is a draw to the “yet to believe”.  See Acts 8.
  • Praying in the Spirit brings a protective covering from the enemy’s attack.  In Paul’s teaching on the armor of God in Ephesians 6, he concludes with this statement: …and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  Cover yourself with the armor but add to that armor, praying in the Spirit.
  • When I do not know how to pray and am weak in body and mind Romans 8:26-27 tells me the Spirit, Himself prays for us when we don’t know how or what to pray.  It goes on to say that the Father understands what the Spirit is saying through us, so as to bring us into harmony with the will of the Father.
  • It was the desire of the Apostle Paul that all in the church in Corinth would speak in tongues (14:5)  While some take that to mean not all did speak in tongues, it might also mean that the Apostle, writing the words the Spirit chose for him to write, is longing for all of us to enjoy the benefits of a spiritual language.

There are other Scriptures that answer the “so what” question and there are other benefits to speaking in an unknown language but I will stop with these.  I am certain I have crossed a line for some of my readers with these posts and I am also certain that for others who read the Juniper View, I have not gone far enough

But in what way have I been unfaithful to the Biblical text or brought a faulty hermeneutic to this teaching? 




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

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.44 Friday Funny-Redneck jokes.

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. amanda  |  May 18, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    to answer your last question, i don’t think you have

  • 2. Randy Warner  |  May 16, 2008 at 3:49 am

    While I am not persuaded, I find it interesting. There are many things I may not agree about or understand completely about this subject. But I applaud your forthrightness and commitment to working through your views and convictions. So I am glad to move on from the subject but had read it with interest. Thanks

  • 3. John Willis  |  May 15, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Being of Baptist background it seems I have been led into the same ditch you speak of and I will admit the moving of the spirit here in USA in my experience have been small and few but when i traveled some (Alaska and Trinidad) I saw miracles done by ordinary people the moved the Kingdom. In tent revival in Trinidad the speaker was pastor friend of 78 years and frail. The older men of the area we were in stood in edge of the darkness and refused to come to revival. When it appeared my friend was failing in his speech, I was standing in back not seen by anyone but my pastor friend I raised my hand and prayed for power for my friend. I saw the power go off in an entire town and moon shine bright to light up all and my friends voice could be heard loud and strong for more than two city blocks. As his voice rang with words of power and love the older men came out to the service and called the younger men from the streets around to attend. Took up their younger children and sat down with their wives and the electricity came back. No the gifts are not gone but surely suppressed in this country. May God bless you and yours

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