The truth about tongues: a DIVISIVE force in Christianity today

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Mar 21, 2009
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I'd rather not give my opinion, because I would alienate almost everyone in this forum! LOL

I was a Pentecostal for 15 years, after God saved me, and I did something I thought was "speaking in tongues." But, I also read the Bible daily during those 15 years. I finally realized that what I was hearing in church, was not what I was reading in my bible. Of course, there are tongues in the Bible, I won't deny that. But to emphasize it every single church service, when the Bible is so deep and rich, and so much was just missing. It was like 15 years of Acts 2 and copy cat babbling in tongues.

I finally left, and went to a non-tongues talking church, with a pastor who preached the whole Bible. What a joy! I began to realize what I had been doing was not Biblical tongues, and neither was all the random babble, as you say, Blain.

However, we had a friend who was a tongues speaking evangelist. (He's not a friend anymore, since he stayed with us a while, and we found out he was hanging out in bars and casinos and gambling, drinking and sleeping with women, on the days he wasn't preaching (?).) But he did have one incident he talked about, before he backslid, while he was giving his testimony at a men's meeting. He said 4 words in an unknown tongue. Now, this man was from Fiji. He spoke English, Fijian and Hindi. At the end of the meeting, a man ran up from the back, and said, "Why didn't you tell me you spoke Armenian (the country)?" Of course, he told him he did not. The man held up a napkin, and he had written down the 4 words this evangelist said. In Armenian, these words were "Jesus Christ is Lord." He led the man to the Lord. Then over the next months, the man introduced his whole family to this evangelist, and 27 people were saved.

So, that sounds like true Biblical tongues. Something in a real language, which leads many people to Christ, that must be what Biblical tongues are about. HOWEVER, his incredible backsliding, years after this, also have me very confused. I guess the gifts of God are without repentance. But surely God knew this man would bring disrepute to the gospel? Or was this just God's timing for this family to be saved, and nothing to do with the evangelist?

I believe God is sovereign, and totally in control, so, God must have arranged this. And I have heard rumours of similar things. But very rarely. I also am not sure about 1 Cor. 13 saying tongues have ceased. I know they will, and certainly it seems to me that since what goes on in most charismatic churches has nothing to do with Biblical tongues, perhaps there are some rare exceptions, where are real language is spoken, and someone gets saved. But for the majority, my experience is that tongues have ceased, regardless of testimonies and anecdotal incidents.

Told you, I would be in trouble. The conservatives all hate me for mentioning an incident that probably was real tongues, but the Pentecostals/charismatics all hate me because I do not believe their "prayer language" nor all the useless babbling is biblical. It's something I am not dogmatic on, yet, at least! I would love to read a book by Gordon Fee showing me how tongues are today, but then again, I still might not agree!

Finally, I wish this issue was not so divisive. I know the Oneness Pentecostals are in part responsible for this, with their nonsense about if you don't speak in tongues, you are not saved. I just don't find that anywhere in my Bible, but I sure do find tongues being left behind by the epistles from Galatians through Revelation. Surely if it was that important, it would be mentioned again in some of those books? (excluding 1 Cor, mainly). And even 1 Cor is about big problems in the church, not something to get happy about!

Again, sanctification or discipleship and spiritual formation is what the NT is about, and I honestly believe tongues inhibit people from growing, cause they get stuck on it, instead of digging deeper into the path God wants us to go. If people read the Bible over yearly, they would probably let go of tongues as the be all and end all, just like God was able to show me simply by reading 3 chapters of the OT and 1 of the NT daily. The church has fallen down in the importance of spiritual disciplines, which the gifts are not. Spiritual disciplines are woven through the entire NT in every page. So, again, why do people get stuck on a phenomena that is so minor and secondary? Languages announced the birth of the church. The Holy Spirit came down with power. And if speaking in tongues is so important, why don't people have flames of fire over their heads when they speak in tongues like Acts 2 says?
Thanks for your testimony. It sounds like you have a sincere desire to know the correct interpretation of scripture, hold to the true, and reject hype, and bad hermeneutics. I would highly recommend works by Robert Stranstad. Based on your mention of Gordon D Fee. (I have a few of his books and enjoy his lectures on hermeneutics using 1 Cor as examples) I think you will find that Stronstad is that particularly strong theologian that you are looking for that is rare among the pentecostals. He has great respect among non pentecostals and is often quoted by them. One of the books I recommend is "The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke: Trajectories from the Old Testament to Luke-Acts"
As to your views on speaking in tongues. I respect your views because they are well thought out and formed from a sincere desire to be faithful to the exegesis of the scripture. I do not detect intellectual dishonesty. Some are willing to wrangle scriptures to fit their own hate and prejudice toward those they think are weird for operating in the gifts of the Spirit. Your attitude is the correct one, seeking and desiring to know authorial intent and correct interpretation not willing to fall for emotional hype but not willing to reject supernatural gifts of the Spirit if they are still available as they were in the book of Acts. Not trying to change what they meant in the first century to fit something other than what they really were because you are uncomfortable with the concept of looking weird in the eyes of others if you were to operate in the gifts of the Spirit in church. It is this fear of looking wierd that I believe is often the motivation behind many cessationists and not because they believe 1 Cor 13 actually refers to the completion of canon. As I have said before in these forums I believe we are responsible for walking in the light that we have been given and no one should be pressured to change their mind until they are convinced they have discovered the correct hermeneutic for themselves.
 

Washed

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Mar 27, 2020
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Yes but that also was in the time tongues was really alive and active it is rarely seen nowaydays.
Tongues is active today, Blain... Also, that's rather beside the point. You claimed that "God won't give us a gift that we would misuse in that way..." Do you believe that God would give people something they could misuse back in the first century, but that He would not do so today? Why?

Back then the purpose of tongues was greatly needed the church was being built more and more people were being saved nowadays the church is not really expanding the gifts are faked more than they are really used the church unlike back then is not alive or awake.
Tongues are still greatly needed today. Who doesn't want to speak divine secrets to God (1 Cor 14:2)? Who does not want to give thanks well (1 Cor 14:17)? Who does not want to be edified (1 Cor 14:4)? Who does not want to speak the wonderful works of God, magnify God (Acts 2:11; 10:46)?

Soa gift such as tongues is not needed near as much as it was back then it is faked so much that the gift seems obsolete
Why do you think it is faked? Because it is misused by some people? The Corinthians were misusing it too. That does not mean they were faking it.

If what I do is tongues when I intercede for someone it is not done in public it is only done in private with him. Most people spout nonesense in public and when I intercede for someone I feel the spirit in it I can tell there is actual power in it when the many fake tongues I encountered were spoken there nothing in their words.
Feelings don't really count for much.

So I think God only gives the gift to those he knows will use it for it's purpose being a much more uncommon gift it would not be fitting to give it to that many people as back then because the mission and the chburch has changed we as a body are drastically divided and have forgotten what it means to be a Christian and the purpose of it as well.
Again, God gave the "gift" of tongues to the Corinthian church, and they misused it.

(I put "gift" in quotes because tongues is not a gift at all. It is one of the nine manifestations of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and EVERY Christian has the gift of Holy Spirit, and can manifest it)
 
Mar 21, 2009
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Oh, that is good to know. Maybe things have changed in Canada since I was part of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, a sister denomination to the AoG? I am not familiar with most of the scholars, but Gordon Fee was required reading in many of my Baptist courses. We also read from a variety of authors, including Catholic. That surprised me most! What I learned from them. Are you working on a DMin or PhD? I am working on a PhD online, but I have had to take a break, because my body is not cooperating with me, especially the new deformities in my hands. I appreciate this information.
Yes! The Global University have a mix of text book authors. The emphasis is on the excellency of the material and I would guess that 75% of my textbooks are not from pentecostals because as you know that is only one area of Biblical Studies. Currently I am doing a class on Romans and the text book (besides Romans of course) is a commentary by F. F. Bruce which is a giant of a scholar but not a pentacostal, and so what. I do not know how he interprets 1 Cor 12-14 I will read his commentary on these chapters but I am going to guess that he interprets them the same way I would, I doubt that he stops being intellectually hones with these chapters. There are some theologians who are great until it comes to anything related to 1) Speaking in tongues or anything pentecostal and 2) Women Preaching, and then they quit using all the rules of hermeneutics they have been championing on every other subject and start using eisegesis instead of exegesis and sometimes I wonder if it they know what they are doing but are afraid of loosing their positions or peer respect if they change their views.
 

Blain

The Word Weaver
Aug 28, 2012
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Tongues is active today, Blain... Also, that's rather beside the point.
You claimed that "God won't give us a gift that we would misuse in that way..." Do you believe that God would give people something they could misuse back in the first century, but that He would not do so today? Why?
It was misused back then but not to the extent it is today that is what I mean and they were only one church who had Paul and the apostles to correct them but today we have the openess of videos and internet and don't have someone to keep us in check like the early church did.


Tongues are still greatly needed today. Who doesn't want to speak divine secrets to God (1 Cor 14:2)? Who does not want to give thanks well (1 Cor 14:17)? Who does not want to be edified (1 Cor 14:4)? Who does not want to speak the wonderful works of God, magnify God (Acts 2:11; 10:46)?


Why do you think it is faked? Because it is misused by some people? The Corinthians were misusing it too. That does not mean they were faking it.


Feelings don't really count for much.
It is not used by some people it is misued and faked by a lot of people, just like there is a lot of fake and false prophets. And it is not a feeling that I speak of, I am very intuned to the spirit I can sense when I in his presence and when I am not, if I am watching youtube and say I come across a false prophet I get this sense in my spirit like an uneasiness almsot like the spirit is saying to get away fast.


Again, God gave the "gift" of tongues to the Corinthian church, and they misused it.

(I put "gift" in quotes because tongues is not a gift at all. It is one of the nine manifestations of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and EVERY Christian has the gift of Holy Spirit, and can manifest it)
This is true but the tongues I was speaking of is the out spoken tongues which is for the edification building and empowering of the church the inner tongues that when we are talking with him and in that intimacy and wish to express to thing that we just don't have the words for but the spirit does and speaks for us is a tongue that we all have.
But not everyone is a prophet, not everyone is a teacher not everyone is an apostle and not everyone is equipped with the gift of tongues for the edification of his church
 

Washed

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Mar 27, 2020
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It was misused back then but not to the extent it is today that is what I mean and they were only one church who had Paul and the apostles to correct them but today we have the openess of videos and internet and don't have someone to keep us in check like the early church did.
How is is misused today worse than it was in Corinth? Maybe so... I don't know if they did "slain in the spirit", "holy laughter", "barking like dogs" back then. But people misused it back then and people misuse it today. They had to be corrected then and people need to be corrected today. What does YouTube have to do with it? YouTube mostly has examples of people MISUSING tongues. It's true we don't have Paul (I wish we did!), but we do have the Bible.

It is not used by some people it is misued and faked by a lot of people, just like there is a lot of fake and false prophets. And it is not a feeling that I speak of, I am very intuned to the spirit I can sense when I in his presence and when I am not, if I am watching youtube and say I come across a false prophet I get this sense in my spirit like an uneasiness almsot like the spirit is saying to get away fast.
You are right that it is misused by a lot of people, but not by everyone... But that does not mean it is fake, just as the Corinthians tongues were not fake.

This is true but the tongues I was speaking of is the out spoken tongues which is for the edification building and empowering of the church the inner tongues that when we are talking with him and in that intimacy and wish to express to thing that we just don't have the words for but the spirit does and speaks for us is a tongue that we all have.
Speaking in tongues is speaking in tongues. If it's done aloud, it must be interpreted. It it's to yourself, interpretation is not required.

But not everyone is a prophet, not everyone is a teacher not everyone is an apostle and not everyone is equipped with the gift of tongues for the edification of his church
1 Cor 14:5) I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

1 Cor 14:23) If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

In meetings, which is the context of 1 Cor 12-14, not everyone speaks in tongues. But God wants all Christians to do it.

Gotta go, have a great evening.
 

Kavik

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Mar 25, 2017
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KJV was trying to say that the song was tongues in that it had a hidden message.
Re the whole "Stairway" issue - there are a bazillion interpretations of the lyrics. How one interprets it depends on how the song and its lyrics resonate with the listener.

Sort of like modern tongues-speech, I suppose - one glossic string; a slew of different interpretations.
 

Blain

The Word Weaver
Aug 28, 2012
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How is is misused today worse than it was in Corinth? Maybe so... I don't know if they did "slain in the spirit", "holy laughter", "barking like dogs" back then. But people misused it back then and people misuse it today. They had to be corrected then and people need to be corrected today. What does YouTube have to do with it? YouTube mostly has examples of people MISUSING tongues. It's true we don't have Paul (I wish we did!), but we do have the Bible.


You are right that it is misused by a lot of people, but not by everyone... But that does not mean it is fake, just as the Corinthians tongues were not fake.


Speaking in tongues is speaking in tongues. If it's done aloud, it must be interpreted. It it's to yourself, interpretation is not required.


1 Cor 14:5) I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

1 Cor 14:23) If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

In meetings, which is the context of 1 Cor 12-14, not everyone speaks in tongues. But God wants all Christians to do it.

Gotta go, have a great evening.
Well I mentioned youtube and the internet because just as we are able to reach many more people around the world because of online people are also able to misuse and fake tongues to that degree as well, we have freedom online and so we also do not have a teacher to hold us accountable, yes we have the bible and Jesus but yet these kinds of believers run rampant whether they read their bibles or not it is an ongoing issue.
And yes not everyone misuses and fakes it and I also don't think everyone who does does this on purpose, I think if it is not taught correctly then people don't know better. Now do I think all babble is fake? no because the fruits of the babble is the deciding factor, but tongues is a gift that has actual power in it tongues without any fruits is not tongues.

There are two kinds of tongues I know of the first being the inner tongues when we are with God intimately and speak things to him that the human tongue cannot because words just cannot speak it is to deep and to rich for actual words to express. The second is for the church to edify build encourage strengthen and guide his church but this tongues requires an interpreter while the inner dwelling one doesn't because the holy spirit speaks for us.

Paul was dealing with a church but god is dealing with the world and people do not always listen to the spirit and mistake their own words and thoughts for his and with the freedom the internet gives us we are able to see much more of these kinds of people, I believe in tongues and do not think it by any means has ceased but I also think it is more limited for those who would be used to edify his church.
Even today you can see that the title Christian is watered down, the church is divided and the difference between a Christian by title and by heart is not understood by many.

In the same way there is a difference between one who claims to speak tongues and one who walks in it.
 

KJV1611

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Nov 23, 2013
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You do realize "unknown" was added to the text right? What the KJV has as "unknown tongue" should be read simply as "language".
The inclusion of "unknown" in conjunction with the word "tongues" has a pretty interesting history.
I do realize the KJV added unknown. That’s one of the evidences that the KJV is inspired.
 

KJV1611

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Nov 23, 2013
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You can't be serious? Are you even aware of the reason why "unknown" was inserted before 'tongues' in the first place?
I’m dead serious. I believe it was added to bring more clarity to tongues so that we wouldn’t be deceived by the charasmaniac tongues babblers.

Why do you think it was added?
 
Mar 28, 2016
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You can't be serious? Are you even aware of the reason why "unknown" was inserted before 'tongues' in the first place?
Because they did not know what to do. Having no understanding that the tongue of God's prophecy works in the believer to both will .With intelligible words, and perform the good purpose. . Hearing sounds without meaning cannot direct a person to do the will of another. They can cause a person to wonder. Wrong kind of experience.
 

Nehemiah6

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Jul 18, 2017
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You can't be serious? Are you even aware of the reason why "unknown" was inserted before 'tongues' in the first place?
The KJV translators believed they were doing a service to the reader by adding "unknown" to tongues. "Unlearned" would have been more appropriate. But that word was absent from the Greek text, and it is the Greek that was inspired, not the KJV.

Had they simply left well enough alone, it might have been better. And had they used the word "language" rather than "tongue" the whole modern controversy would not exist. Modern tongues are not known human languages.
 

KJV1611

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Nov 23, 2013
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The KJV translators believed they were doing a service to the reader by adding "unknown" to tongues. "Unlearned" would have been more appropriate. But that word was absent from the Greek text, and it is the Greek that was inspired, not the KJV.

Had they simply left well enough alone, it might have been better. And had they used the word "language" rather than "tongue" the whole modern controversy would not exist. Modern tongues are not known human languages.
1Co 13:1 (KJV) Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

So your saying that the tongue of angels is just another earthly language?
 

Dino246

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Jun 30, 2015
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I do realize the KJV added unknown. That’s one of the evidences that the KJV is inspired.
Respectfully, it's comments like this that destroy your credibility. That is no evidence of inspiration at all! It's entirely subjective and circular.
 
Mar 28, 2016
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The KJV translators believed they were doing a service to the reader by adding "unknown" to tongues. "Unlearned" would have been more appropriate. But that word was absent from the Greek text, and it is the Greek that was inspired, not the KJV.

Had they simply left well enough alone, it might have been better. And had they used the word "language" rather than "tongue" the whole modern controversy would not exist. Modern tongues are not known human languages.
I would add "unwilling" or "refuse" to hear and therefore believe. They simply refuse to hear prophecy in any tongue.

Identifying unbelieving mankind)

1 Corinthians 14; 21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they "not" hear me, saith the Lord.
 

KJV1611

Senior Member
Nov 23, 2013
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Respectfully, it's comments like this that destroy your credibility. That is no evidence of inspiration at all! It's entirely subjective and circular.
Forgive me if I don’t care what you think about my credibility. Jesus had no credibility with the with Jews and they killed him.