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Thread: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by trofimus View Post
    I do not want to give it 20 minutes of my life, I watched it 4 minutes or so.

    I think that he did not realize the context of what he is reading. Prophecies, tongues... (all revelations for churches). Then, when the perfect (revelation) comes, the tongues will cease.

    We now have the complete word of God, we do not need any tongues or prophecies. When the OT books were finished, the prophets also disappeared for 400 years.
    You do know words of wisdom or words of knowledge are prophecies, right? Prophesies doesn't have to mean what God will do in the future, nor does it mean fortune telling all the time. I've heard words of knowledge given by strangers to my church and they were right on with what that church was going through at that moment. Matter of fact, God had me do that once. (Very scary to open my mouth, but amazing what happened after that. I'm no prophet, but I've seen and experienced God using words of wisdom anyway.)

    It's still a gift. It's just not needed as an office anymore.
    Lynn

    Still woman, but no lady.

    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by Ariel82 View Post
    I have watched to 8 minutes and agree that the spiritual gifts are still for today.

    Many people misrepresent what speaking in tongues is and think it a "heavenly language" that makes no sense.

    However I believe in a church setting or while evangelizing God gives the gift of tongues to those speaking to people who don't have a common language. They don't spend years studying to be able to speak this language but it's a divine gift...some may add to this gift, study but the ability to speak other la guages or understand them is from God alone.

    It's one I dont believe God gave me, but I respect that He does give it to some.

    I watch some videos of folks speaking "heavenly languages" and it sounded like Sanskrit with lots of names of Hindu deities, another you could clearly hear the person say "Allah" over and over again. So yeah they are speaking in tongues and it is probably a demonic language.

    Before the tower of Babel, all the world spoke one language.
    .the bible says "even if you speak in the tongues of angels, without love it's nothing"

    I have to drive to church to watch cute little babies. Will try and listen to the rest of the video later.
    On the "that makes no sense" part only.

    What do you do when you're in such a spot you need from God but can't verbalize what you need? For me, I make gestures and sounds of frustration, knowing God knows me well enough to understand that. I'm visual as much as I am verbal.

    Husband is neither. I mean he can talk and all, and he shrugs great, but when I need something from him and he's not getting it, he kind of shuts down and listens, with this look of frustration written all over his face. (He wants to understand, but he doesn't have the words to ask in such a way that I get what he's not getting.) So, he's like that. And God gets that about him. And because he does, he gave my husband tongues to get it out without needing to know what he's saying and without making all the faces and gestures I make to get my point across.

    It serves that purpose for him. I think that makes great sense.

    I can even kind of tell what point he's making when he speaks in tongues. Sometimes it's way beyond, "Wow, God! Thank you!" Sometimes it's "We're really in a jam here, Lord, and we have no idea what to do." And sometimes it's, "I love her so much, Lord. Give her your help."
    Lynn

    Still woman, but no lady.

    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Rom. 8:28

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    who really needs help here? Lynn, what a strange post, can you be more explicit
    in what you said and what is going-on? when you all don't GET what the other is trying
    to say or express? are you saying that when your husband can't understand what you are
    trying to say to him or just express yourself in general, the he starts speaking in 'tongues',
    to you?

    I can't even imagine NOT being able to understand my husband and what he is saying
    and he absolutely has NO problem understanding me, MOST of the time, but he does
    eventually come around, just by curiousity, he's a stickler for knowledge...

    if he spoke to me in 'tongues' if he didn't understand me, then, I'd definitely feel left-out of the whole shabang...

    but, neither one of us has to 'speak in tongues' to understand each other, ever...

    just curious Sister...

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by Depleted View Post
    You do know words of wisdom or words of knowledge are prophecies, right? Prophesies doesn't have to mean what God will do in the future, nor does it mean fortune telling all the time. I've heard words of knowledge given by strangers to my church and they were right on with what that church was going through at that moment. Matter of fact, God had me do that once. (Very scary to open my mouth, but amazing what happened after that. I'm no prophet, but I've seen and experienced God using words of wisdom anyway.)

    It's still a gift. It's just not needed as an office anymore.
    Lynn,
    Good stuff and to add a bit here.

    A word of knowledge is a supernatural past/current fact in the mind of the Holy Spirit.

    A word of wisdom is supernatural future fact in the mind of the Holy spirit on how to solve a problem or that declares the future purpose of God for someone, a ministry or a church. This gift is usually manifested in forth-telling and fore-telling
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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    WOW,

    how in the world does one know the 'future/past of the mind of The Holy Spirit???
    unless they live it? let us reflect upon ourselves...?
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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    WOW,

    how in the world does one know the 'future/past of the mind of The Holy Spirit???
    unless they live it? let us reflect upon ourselves, our daily lives...?
    JaumeJ likes this.

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    I like both times..............worth repeating.
    oldethennew likes this.
    From the Mouth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, or do you call Him Yeshua?
    Mat 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.


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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    I would like to share a few thoughts here but first a bit of a disclaimer: If you can believe that such an animal exists my spiritual roots were in a charismatically-reformed Baptist church that was forced to become an independent church as a result of its charismatic leanings.
    With that out of the way lets leap in:

    1. Several posts have raised the poor teaching of the phenomenon of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as evidence for it being a false phenomenon.
    A good comparison would be that until relatively recently no-one had an adequate explanation for gravity.
    There were pretty outlandish explanations put forward.
    The current explanation that gravity is a function of the mass of an object appears to stand scrutiny.
    However, at no time in the past, despite the absence of a workable theory explaining gravity, was it possible to deny its existence and its effects.

    So...
    I do happen to agree with several posts regarding the "second blessing" doctrine as taught by many Pentecostal groups is flawed.
    Nothing in my extensive investigation of the book of Acts or the several epistles of Paul in which the phenomena of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in general or the gift of tongues in particular are discussed convinces me that any sort of "second blessing" is involved.
    Simply put, any born-again Christian has access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, whether they realise it or not, believe it or not, or want them or not.
    The moment a believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit (at the moment of salvation) those gifts are available.

    2. The absence of any manifestation of any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit implies that one is not born again.
    Tut tut.
    Another truly egregious error.
    I am truly sorry for any who have been affected by this ridiculous nonsense.
    There is no Biblical evidence for such a position.
    Furthermore, there is no such thing as first and second class citizens in the Kingdom of Heaven.

    It is probably worth mentioning that I have heard these and similar errors regarding what constitutes being born again mainly from rather immature and overzealous believers who bluntly put had an issue with pride. Good teaching and correction in the churches in which I fellowshipped usually put paid to these errors.

    If it is true that AoG churches in the USA are still proclaiming this nonsense then that is truly sad.

    3. I have never found a convincing Biblical argument for the cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have certainly read the arguments of Dispensationalists and others but the arguments are weak and circumstantial.

    Most of the proponents of this position have now resorted to claiming that those who do manifest the gifts of the Holy Spirit are at best sincerely deluded and at worst demonically-inspired non-Christians.
    This completely dismisses the amazing work that the majority of sincere hard-working church-planting missionaries around the world who happen to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their everyday ministries.

    4. The gift of tongues should not be debated in the absence of discussion of all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
    To me this is a biggie because it tends to reveal the biases and prejudices as being based on a lot ignorance.
    All the gifts of the Holy Spirit stand and fall as a group.
    Certainly, one cannot (should not) discuss the gift of tongues without discussing the gift of interpretation (of tongues).

    On another forum I read an inaccurate and rather vicious post by someone with, his description, "high-Calvinist" beliefs, describing the gifts of the Holy Spirit as "so-called". Clearly this gentleman has glued the offending pages in 1 Corinthians together so as not have to admit that the term is actually Biblical!

    5. Several posts have mentioned the fact that in their estimation the gift of tongues is misused in their congregations. I have certainly witnessed this myself in some AoG churches and other Pentecostal groups here in Australia.
    To me the injunctions given by Paul in 1 Corinthian's and other epistles regarding the the role and place of tongues in ministry and life are fairly clear.

    6. Tongues (or any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit) are not a Christian "party-trick".
    The gifts of the Holy Spirit are provided for the purpose of ministry - it is as simple as that.

    In summary, I think it is sad that the gifts of the Holy Spirit along with many other Biblically-based concepts such as the existence of angels and demons, spiritual warfare, and the very nature of salvation is under fire largely because of their supernatural nature. And the worst attacks come from inside Christianity!

    I have not directly referenced much, if any, Scripture in this post.
    However this is easily remedied in future posts detailing specific items of interest.
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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Since all references to 'tongues' in the Bible refer to real language(s), (except, of course, the the few that clearly refer to the organ in the mouth), "tongues" (i.e. language(s)) have not stopped; people still speak.

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by Kavik View Post
    Since all references to 'tongues' in the Bible refer to real language(s), (except, of course, the the few that clearly refer to the organ in the mouth), "tongues" (i.e. language(s)) have not stopped; people still speak.
    With respect this is certainly not supportable with an honest look at Scripture.
    Even a cursory read of 1 Cor chap 14 makes this plain as day.

    1 Cor 14:2 says this, "2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries."

    I assume that your reference to "real languages" means a language that has actually been spoken (naturally) one person to another.
    If this is the case then what Paul is referring to in the above passage is clearly not a "real language" if Paul can say "for no one can understand him."
    Paul uses this exact issue in expanding his injunction on how tongues should be used in the Church.
    He clearly explains that speaking in tongues may edify the spirit of the believer but does nothing for his understanding nor any others who hear him.
    He goes on to point out that, in this respect, prophecy is better, because all can understand what is said.
    However, Paul also points out that if someone is present who can interpret (He is not referring to a natural process but the gift of interpretation which is one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit.) then the resulting interpretation is equivalent to prophecy.

    The whole process has nothing to do with naturally occurring languages nor the translation of one language to another as in translating a book written in English into a Mandarin version.

    The key is that the process is not natural but rather a supernatural one.
    Even the episode recorded in Acts chap 2 bears some scrutiny.
    As described this process is clearly a supernatural occurrence.
    Firstly, the tongues of fire that come down are obviously visible to everyone.
    Remember, to try and add in detail like this to a written record when the original witnesses to this event were still alive would reduce the document to a laughing stock. It is also clear that many of those who witnessed this event were hostile, "13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.” Acts 2:13.
    When they began speaking in new tongues as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance the narrative stresses how the crowd both heard them and understood what they were saying. The narrative stresses the hearers heard and understood without ever detailing what was said and in which language(s).
    The narrative does make it clear who was speaking, "“Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?" Acts 2:7.
    (Read uneducated Hillbillies for a modern take on this.)
    The narrative also clearly states the diverse locations from which the hearers originated, "8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.
    The unmistakable read on the whole passage Acts 2:1-13 is that is a supernatural event.

    I do not think that any fair-minded individual would question the fact that the speaking in new tongues as described in Acts 2:1-23 was a supernatural event.
    However, what if the hearing was supernatural as well?
    If you are starting to back away in scepticism right now, you may be right, but just hold on a bit longer.
    The last part of
    Acts 2:11 gives some support to this possibility "we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."
    The clear implication here is that they all heard the same things - "the wonderful works of God." - despite different individual hearing this in different languages and dialects.
    There is no possibility that this was the result of a group hallucination (in this case auditory hallucinations), no competent psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, nor neurophysiologist would buy into this possibility - these people clearly actually heard the same things.
    Furthermore, Peter's group (the Gallilean's) clearly had no idea what they were uttering and therefore no way of naturally co-ordinating what they were saying.
    Maybe the Holy Spirit was co-ordinating what they were saying, and therefore what was heard, but, maybe, the Holy Spirit was working in the hearers to give them understanding of otherwise incomprehensible utterances.

    Acts chap 10 is the next place in Acts where the gifts of tongues is mentioned:

    "
    44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45 And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God."
    Verse 46 is the key verse in this passage.
    The first part is very simple "
    46 For they heard them speak with tongues"
    By itself there is no guide as to whether the utterances were comprehensible or not.
    The second part of the verse may help "
    and magnify God."
    To me it is not clear whether the second part of the sentence is directly consequent to the first part or co-incident.
    In other words, were they heard to magnify God while speaking in tongues or did they speak in tongues and then magnify God in their usual dialect.
    The sentence structure in Koine Greek does not lend any extra insight - just the two phrases connected by the conjunction "and".
    Basically, a very similar scenario to that in Acts chap 2 is played out with two important differences - the recipients of the Holy Spirit are Gentiles and not Jews, and, there is no mention of visible tongues of fire above the recipients.

    Nonetheless, it is clear that the normative experience, as outlined by Paul in I Cor chap 14, with respect to the gift of tongues, is that speaking in tongues is not directly understandable by either the speaker or the hearers.
    Paul never differentiates the experiences of those described in Acts with his experiences of speaking in tongues or the experiences of those referenced in 1 Corinthians as a whole (there are many more references to tongues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Paul's epistle to the Corinthians).

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway
    Not at my house!

    Didn't realize Tim Conway got in to the ministry after leaving the Carl Burnett Show...



    Before 1900 you won't find this 2nd baptism.
    Mo false gospel... good luck with dat


    Since all references to 'tongues' in the Bible refer to real language
    That's false gospel... good luck with dat

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    I believe "Yes", it was a one time miracle, and it hasn't happened sense. Although gibberish does run rampant in some churches, and by gibberish, I mean when no one knows what the heck your babbling about, including the one who's babbling... jmo

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan58 View Post
    I believe "Yes", it was a one time miracle, and it hasn't happened sense. Although gibberish does run rampant in some churches, and by gibberish, I mean when no one knows what the heck your babbling about, including the one who's babbling... jmo
    Dan58, go and read 1 Cor chap 14 and then the rest of the epistle.
    There is absolutely no way, honestly anyway, that after reading 1 Corinthians that you could just dismiss the gifts of the Holy Spirit as a one-time-in-history thing.
    It is very clear that this was a normative and ongoing experience throughout the period of the writing of the New Testament.
    Furthermore, to the discomfort of many, there is no reasonable Biblical directive that indicates that anything should be different today.

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by Rockrz View Post
    Sounds like you're behind the 8 ball then




    Doesn't mean yer not saved... it just means you are not using a major tool the Lord gave to His people that ALL of us should be using in our private prayer life so the Lord can pray the will of God thru us... and help our weaknesses... and build us up in faith.

    These are all major advantages over religious minded people who have been taught in error that the Lord does not participate in this anymore with His true followers. Oh well, it's their loss.

    Without it, we just throwin all prayer we can think of in our mind and hope some of it helps and in many case it does not.

    In addition to praying the will of the Lord, I like it cause it's encrypted communication between me and the Lord that the devil cannot understand.
    This is not True! Speaking in tongues was in the Apostolic time not a Tool which was given to all believers! From where you taken such a meaning?
    Where and when was taught the 2nd baptism with the Holy Spirit before 1900?

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by trofimus View Post
    I do not want to give it 20 minutes of my life, I watched it 4 minutes or so.

    I think that he did not realize the context of what he is reading. Prophecies, tongues... (all revelations for churches). Then, when the perfect (revelation) comes, the tongues will cease.

    We now have the complete word of God, we do not need any tongues or prophecies. When the OT books were finished, the prophets also disappeared for 400 years.
    LOL! Where do you get this idiotic view from!

    Acts 2v1-4,16-21,38,39 teaches that the gifts of the Spirit (including spiritual ministries 1Cor 12v28, Eph 4v7-16, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit) is available throughout the WHOLE of the Age of Grace, right up until the Second Coming of Christ, and there is NO Scripture that contradicts this! 1Cor 12v7-11.

    To say "when that which is perfect has come" refers to the Canon of Scripture is absolute nonsense, for the Canon of Scripture is NOWHERE mentioned in the context of ALL of 1Cor 13!

    And if you say the gift of tongues has ceased, then you must also say the gift of prophecy has ceased (1Cor 13v8), yet Rev 11v3-14 (with Mal 4v5,6) shows us that the Two Witnesses prophesy for almost the whole of the Great Tribulation (Dan 9v27, Matt 24v15-22, 29-31) being martyred a few days before the Second Coming of Christ!

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfwint View Post
    This is not True! Speaking in tongues was in the Apostolic time not a Tool which was given to all believers! From where you taken such a meaning?
    Where and when was taught the 2nd baptism with the Holy Spirit before 1900?
    I agree that the teaching of a second baptism is a false one - read some of my posts above.
    However, just because the teaching was in error does not negate the actual gift.
    Your statement about the gifts of the Holy Spirit only being for the Apostolic era is in error - despite some frenzied attempts to try and teach this there is just no evidence for this position.

    I would remind you that there plenty of examples in history where valid phenomena had very incorrect explanations attached to them including almost any understanding of physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and so on.

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by graceNpeace View Post
    I agree that the teaching of a second baptism is a false one - read some of my posts above.
    However, just because the teaching was in error does not negate the actual gift.
    Your statement about the gifts of the Holy Spirit only being for the Apostolic era is in error - despite some frenzied attempts to try and teach this there is just no evidence for this position.

    I would remind you that there plenty of examples in history where valid phenomena had very incorrect explanations attached to them including almost any understanding of physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and so on.
    If I am not wrong through this false pentecostal doctrine the speaking im tongues was spread into the World. I never heared from pentecostals ore charismatics that the speaking in tongues you will receive as a normal gift like the other gifts which the bible mentioned. Always it was combined with the 2nd baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is not what the bible says.
    Yes speaking in tongues you find in the church history, but the most time in combination with sects ore cults. Non of the founders of the denominations after the splitting from the rcc taught the speaking in tongues in the way like pentecostals and Charismatics do.

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by wolfwint View Post
    If I am not wrong through this false pentecostal doctrine the speaking im tongues was spread into the World. I never heared from pentecostals ore charismatics that the speaking in tongues you will receive as a normal gift like the other gifts which the bible mentioned. Always it was combined with the 2nd baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is not what the bible says.
    Yes speaking in tongues you find in the church history, but the most time in combination with sects ore cults. Non of the founders of the denominations after the splitting from the rcc taught the speaking in tongues in the way like pentecostals and Charismatics do.
    You are not really speaking with much real knowledge about the subject.
    I have already well and truly acknowledged that the second baptism teaching is false.
    The fact that all you have heard is this does not mean that there is not good teaching about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
    In fact any born again believer has access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and at the risk of repeating myself, whether they know it or not, believe it or not, or want those gifts or not.

    I reiterate that there is no valid Biblical basis for believing that a statute of limitations on the gifts of the Holy Spirit exist - in fact evidence for the opposite is there.

    I suggest you read what Paul has to say about speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians - you may be in for a surprise.

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    Quote Originally Posted by graceNpeace View Post
    You are not really speaking with much real knowledge about the subject.
    I have already well and truly acknowledged that the second baptism teaching is false.
    The fact that all you have heard is this does not mean that there is not good teaching about the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
    In fact any born again believer has access to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and at the risk of repeating myself, whether they know it or not, believe it or not, or want those gifts or not.

    I reiterate that there is no valid Biblical basis for believing that a statute of limitations on the gifts of the Holy Spirit exist - in fact evidence for the opposite is there.

    I suggest you read what Paul has to say about speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians - you may be in for a surprise.

    Well, then why this speaking in tongues was not taught during the churchhistory? It appears with the pentecostal movment and in connection with the 2nd baptism which we agree to say this is a false teaching.
    Without this pentecostal movement we had no tongue speaking today i would suggest. And please tell me denominations which have talking in tongues without the teaching about the 2nd baptism with the Holy Spirit.

    Yes every born again believer received a spirituell gift, according the Holy Spirit is giving. It makes me wonder that out of the pentecostal ore charismatic movement I dont know any christian (and i know bibelcolleges and different denominations) which practice the gift of speaking in tongues.

    What Paul taught about speaking in tongues is without doubt true. Its the word of God. But I see also that he spoke to the christians to his time. And anyhow these sign gifts stopped soon after the apostolic time- in around 160 past Christ there was foundet the montanism movement as a result of the worldy churches in this time. And many people were attractet to this movement because thes practised the sign gifts, special prophecie. But this movement was a cult with false doctrines.

    Btw when I became a christian I have received the spirituell gift to discern the spirits.

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    Default Re: Has the gift of speaking in tongues ceased? - Tim Conway

    @graceNpeace -

    I have to respectfully disagree – there’s nothing in either the Pentecost narrative or Paul’s letter that does not refer to real language.

    Here’s Corinthians with reference to real language:

    First, and I think foremost, it is critical to understand that Corinth was a multi-cultural, linguistically diverse city on not one, but two ports. As a major seaport city, one would expect to find a constant influx and varied mix of visitors, travelers, transients, freedman and slaves. Though Greek was the language of Corinth, as well as the ‘English of its day; i.e. almost everyone in the Mediterranean basin was familiar with it to some degree, communication in general between people from different lands and countries must have been difficult at best as it would have had to be conducted in Greek; a language, not everyone knew equally well.

    A church, any organization really, tends to reflect its environment. Since Corinth was multilingual, one would also expect to see this diversity reflected in its church and other social/religious organizations.

    At first glance, Corinthians presents what at first may seem like a slew of evidence for tongues-speech (T-speech), most people focus on two passages: 1 Cor. 14:2, and 1 Cor. 14:13-14.

    Many use 1 Cor. 14:2 as “proof” of tongues being spiritual language(s) – but upon closer examination, it simply describes real language, though a foreign one to those hearing it. Note that nowhere does the passage even remotely suggest that the speaker does not understand what he himself is saying.

    For example, if I attend a worship service in ‘East Haystack’, Alabama two things are going to be evident: one; there’s only going to be so many people at that service (i.e. there will be a finite given amount of people there) and two; the chances that anyone in East Haystack speaks anything but English is pretty slim to nil. If I start praying aloud in say Lithuanian, there’s no one at that service that’s going to understand a bloody word I’m saying. Even though I’m speaking a real language, no one there will understand my “tongue”. That does not mean or imply that no one else understands Lithuanian; just no one at that particular service. So it ends up being a “real language no one understands” (within that given context). To the people listening to me, I am speaking ‘mysteries” in the Spirit (i.e. I’m praying earnestly from my heart and from deep within my being = praying ‘in the spirit’).

    To explain it further, as one writer put it, “Think of it this way; if I showed up at a Bible study and began to speak in German, but no one else in the room could speak German, I might impress a few people, but no one would understand me. So if I speak in a language that no one else in the room can speak, I am in fact not speaking to men, but to God (who alone can understand all languages). Anything I say would be a mystery to those in the room. That is what Paul was trying to convey” by people speaking a foreign language at a public worship.

    The person speaking is simply speaking in his own native language which no one at the worship service understands or speaks. In that sense he is speaking only to God since no one there speaks his language – to them he is speaking “mysteries”. Again, nowhere in the passage does remotely it suggest the speaker does not understand what he himself is saying.

    Corinthians 14:13-14 seems to present a problem with respect to asserting that ‘tongues’ here is meant as real language(s). “Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”

    Verses 13 & 14 – To paraphrase this a bit, “If a person speaks in a foreign language (as his first language), let him pray that he can adequately translate what he’s saying into the language of Corinth (Greek). If I speak in my own language and no one there understands it, though I may be praying from deep within my being, my mind does not produce fruit (in others)”

    It seems somewhat odd at first, but when you take into consideration the intricacies of translating (even something that appears easy and straightforward at first glance), it’s really no wonder that Paul admonishes the person to pray for guidance that he may translate it (adequately and correctly) into Greek. Translating prayer from one language to another is particularly difficult due to the many nuances expressed in the original language that may or may not be able to be expressed ion the target language.

    With respect to verse 14, I am going to quote from an article (A New Look At Tongues Part II) by Robert Zerhusen who explains it much better than I can:

    “1 Corinthians 14:14 is probably the main text used to argue that the language speaker did not understand his language. Paul says that if he should speak in a language (without translation), "my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful [akarpos]." Lenski takes akarpos as passive: "my nous or understanding" is inactive and thus akarpos--"barren," "unfruitful," producing no distinct thoughts".

    Paul could however have been using akarpos in the active sense:

    A decision upon its meaning centers in akarpos ("unfruitful") whether the adjective is passive in sense, meaning the speaker himself receives no benefit, or active in sense, meaning his nous (understanding) provides no benefit to others...The view that assigns akarpos a meaning of "produces nothing, contributes nothing to the process"... is not convincing, because akarpos does not mean "inactive." It is a word for results and does not apply to the process through which the results are obtained. The present discussion does not center on the activity or nonactivity of the tongues speaker's mind, but rather on potential benefit derived by listeners.

    The whole context of 1 Corinthians 14 is the effect upon the hearers of untranslated languages.
    Paul’s concern is the edification of the group. Therefore, 14:14 should be taken as "My spirit prays but my mind does not produce fruit [in others]." This says nothing about whether or not the speaker understood his own utterance.”

    There’s just nothing here that does not suggest real language.

    Throughout this entire section of his letter Paul’s main concern is clarity, understanding, and intelligibility during a public worship service such that everyone there can benefit, not just one or two people.

    How do you establish this when you’re in the middle of a huge multi-cultural and linguistically diverse city where everyday communication can be a challenge?

    In this case, yes, I would definitely posit that Paul states the phenomenally obvious solution (though in an extremely elaborate and eloquent way). In so many words… “Make sure people can understand each other in a public worship so everyone has an opportunity to benefit from what’s being said. If you have some guy come in and start speaking his native language and no one understands it, it’s not doing anyone any good but him – everyone needs to have the opportunity to benefit, so…best case scenario is to have him learn enough Greek so he can translate what he’s saying, but obviously this isn’t going to happen overnight (particularly if he’s not going to be in the city all that long), so in the meantime either have him find a translator or, if no translator can be found, better for him to not say anything at all so as not to add to or create any further confusion.”

    I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that; real language issue, real language solution to the issue.

    Given the demographic make-up of Corinth, and the common everyday issues such cultural and linguistic diversity bring, to postulate anything here but real language being referenced just doesn’t stand up to the reality of the situation. Not everything in the Bible needs to be divine or miraculous; sometimes it just describes common everyday issues; in this case here, one of clarity and communication in a place where those two things were difficult to achieve at best.

    Let’s take a look at the Pentecost narrative with respect to real language –

    In general, there are many “misreadings” (for lack of a better term) that most people don’t even think about when reading both Acts and Corinthians. Many people tend to gloss over things that are critical to fully understanding the context of the text, or assume one thing means something else entirely. These misreadings have resulted in many misinterpretations of the texts.

    What do I mean by a misreading? Perhaps the best example is the “list” in Acts 2:9-11 – the common belief and assumption is that it is a list of languages. But look closely at that list again…..what do you notice? It’s not a list of languages, is it? It’s a list of geographic locations and ethnic groups. Is there any sort of relevance to these places referenced in the list? Well, yes indeed; upon closer inspection, we discover that they are specifically those lands and areas of the Jewish Diaspora (Cyprus and Syria are missing – perhaps due to copyist errors over time). Both the Western and Eastern Diaspora are included which is significant, but we’ll get to this later. For now, they represent the “Jews of all nations under heaven” ( ‘all “X” under heaven’ simply being an idiomatic expression – just like ‘40 days and 40 nights’ was idiomatic).

    So what about the languages? Read the entire narrative again carefully. Did you notice anything? It may not be apparent at first, but it’s there. Not one place in the entire Pentecostal narrative is even one language ever referenced by name…not one. Further, and perhaps more importantly, nowhere in the entire narrative does it suggest or imply that communication was even a problem to begin with! For me, this would send up a few red flags if I were to postulate modern Pentecostal/Charismatic tongues for those of Acts.

    So if communication was not the issue, what was the problem?

    The Pentecostal narrative, contrary to how many interpret it, does not describe xenoglossy, nor does it describe a miracle of hearing one’s own language when someone is speaking another (a phenomenon called “akolalia” by some); the “other languages” referred to were simply Greek and Aramaic; the mother tongues (sic!) of those local Jews, as well as those of the Diaspora, visiting Jerusalem for Shavuot.

    With respect to the Diaspora, again to try and keep it brief and without several pages of explanation, Jews of the western Diaspora spoke Greek as their native language; These places had been Hellenized for centuries and any local languages had already replaced by Greek for several generations; those of the eastern Diaspora spoke Aramaic. Eastern Diasporan Jews would have been familiar with the local languages of where they lived, but would not have spoken them as their first/primary language. Jews of the eastern Diaspora typically lived in larger communities and sought to maintain their distinct Jewish identity. One way of doing this was to preserve the language – i.e. keep Aramaic the language of the home and community. The Jews already in Judea would have spoken Aramaic as well, though some living in larger cities possibly grew up with Greek.

    So, wait a second – only two languages here, Aramaic and Greek (one of the reasons why no languages are referenced in the narrative – no need to; it would have been stating what was common knowledge) AND the apostles spoke both – so what was the issue?? Why are they referred to as “other languages”? Other than what? Why all the commotion if the apostles were simply speaking in languages they and everyone else knew?

    The answer lies in an overlooked aspect of Judaism; ecclesiastical diglossia. Things like teaching, evangelization/prophesying, religious instruction, etc. such as what occurred at Pentecost by the social and cultural standards of the day had to be done in Hebrew, the holy language of Judaism (though Greek was slowly gaining influence as an acceptable alternative). The Jews gathered there expected to hear Hebrew, the culturally (and religiously) correct language to use in this situation and on this occasion – instead they heard the apostles speaking in their native languages of Greek and Aramaic; both of which the apostles would have spoken. The result was amazement, wonder, astonishment and even ridicule at such an obvious breach of cultural “etiquette”. These men were Galileans after all; they should know better! I don’t think these individuals were anywhere near as ‘country bumpkin” as they’re usually made out to be. Some of the crowd even accused them of being drunk for daring to violate this ‘cultural etiquette’.

    It seems kind of silly by today’s standards, but in many religions to worship, pray, etc. in a language that was not specific to the religion was/is unthinkable. It just wasn’t something that was done. Even today, Muslims in places such as Indonesia for example, do not recite the Qu’ran in Bahasa Indonesia, but rather the classical Arabic it was written in. Zoroastrians still use Avestan (Middle Persian) as their liturgical language; the Copts still use the Egyptian of Cleopatra’s day (though Coptic is preferred, Arabic is recognized as an acceptable alternative). Buddhist monks of the orient use a form of Sanskrit (an ancient language of India) in their chants, etc. Up until recently a RC mass was done in Latin, never the vernacular. Services in the local vernacular have only been happening since the 1960’s! This ecclesiastical diglossia is still very much around today.

    I believe that the apostles were keenly aware that in order for the message to spread, it had to be done in local languages, not by adhering to what was the expected cultural norm.

    Let’s quickly get back to our list for a moment. Was there any significance to specifically name the lands of the Jewish Diaspora? As we have just discussed, it certainly does not appear to have been to represent and demonstrate linguistic diversity since we’re only talking about two languages. Indeed, it could very well be argued that Luke’s purpose in presenting this list (with Cyprus and Syria missing) may strongly suggest that the first apostolic ministry was to the Jewish Nation as a whole (Diaspora included).

    There is another theory or school of thought on the ‘list’ found in Acts – I’m not familiar with the details, but it has to do with something similar the Romans did. Here’s a summary from an article about it for what it’s worth (the full article is unfortunately only available by paid subscription to the site): “As C. K. Barrett noted, "The list of nations, including both countries and races, presents several problems and has never been satisfactorily explained." The present study attempts to fill this void. I hope to show that the list of nations in Acts 2 echoes similar lists from this period that celebrated Rome's position as ruler over the inhabited world. Acts adopts this well-known rhetorical tool to advance its own theological claims regarding Jesus and the church. The list of nations stands as one part of a larger narrative strategy that responds to Rome's claim of universal authority and declares that the true empire belongs not to Caesar but to Jesus, who as Lord and Savior reigns over all people. Placing the list of nations within the context of Roman political propaganda invites us to reexamine the purpose of Luke-Acts. Through the list of nations and the critique of Roman imperial ideology, Luke-Acts provides its audience with a stronger sense of who they are as Christians and a proper understanding of their relation to the Roman world.”

    An interesting take on what many (incorrectly) believe to be a list of languages.

    I guess you can look at the Pentecostal narrative in different ways, but no matter how you look at it, the Jews gathered there spoke only two languages as their mother ‘tongues’ and the apostles spoke them both.

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