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Featured Speaking in Tongues?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Leevo, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Leevo

    Leevo Well-Known Member

    First, I want to say that I have always been skeptical about the whole "speaking in tongues" thing. However, as of late I have been watching a man by the name of Todd White, who has helped to reinvigorate my faith. Todd believes in the gift of tongues and sometimes speaks in tongues on camera. It has got me wondering recently. Is this stuff for real? Most people I have met say it is not for today but I am not so sure as Todd is seemingly the most genuine Christian I have ever seen, so it got me thinking. Two main questions though.

    1) Is it not true that when the apostles spoke in tongues in Jerusalem, they were speaking in different Earthly languages so that the people could understand them? It says they heard them in their own languages.

    2) If speaking in tongues is not Earthly languages but is the "language of the Holy Spirit and the angels" as I have heard, how do people understand them? How is it beneficial if nobody can understand them?
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  2. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Handmaid of God † CF Senior Ambassador Supporter

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    I risk offending folks of every kind of belief, but this is what I believe are very correct answers to your questions. Not only given by authority of those who are respected teachers, but also backed by Scripture, by the experience of very holy men, and in accordance with my own experience as well, or else I would not venture it.

    There is an explanation of the tongues spoken by the Apostles at Pentecost (yes, people heard their own languages) as opposed to "unknown tongues" at Corinth, which is typically more closely related to glossalalia today. Both are spiritual gifts, but what was happening at Corinth was lesser, and could potentially lead to problems (and can also happen without any charism).

    There is more detail on that here http://www.goarch.org/ourfaith/ourfaith7112 if you want to read.

    Personally, I do believe it is a mixed sort of thing, what is practiced today. It can lead to problems, potentially (and has for some). It can also potentially lead into prayer "in the heart" which is something Orthodox may pursue (though usually through other means). There is a more lengthy but (IMO) quite interesting article about that here On the Gift of Speaking in Tongues: Ch. 15 from *The Hidden Man of the Heart* based largely on the teachings of Elder Sophrony. Some terms though may be unfamiliar to those not familiar with Orthodox spiritual writings.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY I would caution that this is NOT something to be encouraged if one is not under competent spiritual guidance. I say that from experience.

    I hope it helps.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  3. tdidymas

    tdidymas Newbie

    1. Yes, Biblical tongues were known human languages, as attested by Acts 2; and Acts 10:46-47 shows that those tongues did not change to unknown gibberish like what is spoken today, since Peter testified that those tongues were like what they spoke at first. Correct interpretation of scripture takes into account the precedent of what happened in the beginning. Since God doesn't change, tongues and its purpose didn't change.

    2. Neo-tongues is not beneficial at all. An honest tongue-talker told me that he did not experience any edification whatsoever from it; he said that he just chose to believe that edification was happening because the Bible said so. But this sounds to me like wishful thinking rather than a real experience of God. In fact, since neo-tongues has no communicative value, it cannot possibly edify anyone. The only way Biblical tongues could be verified as a miracle is if someone was able to translate it (i.e. interpret). The way people today attempt to authenticate it is that 'interpreters' make up something from their imagination, many times quoting from scripture. But with this method, the only edification happening is a strengthening of belief in neo-tongues, which is not a real spiritual edification, since it doesn't reveal anything about God and isn't an obvious miraculous sign attesting gospel truth.

    Many years ago, I spoke neo-tongues, at a time when I was ignorant of Biblical truth. But God told me it was not of Him, which I understood it was simply a waste of time and not an activity that revealed God to me or anyone else. I subsequently found out that other religions have groups that do the same, and it has been proven scientifically that most people are able to speak neo-tongues, since it is a pseudolanguage. The practice among religious groups is merely filling a perceived need, or worse, is a deception claiming to be miraculous acts of God when in fact it is not.

    There are many sources that give reasonable and scientific evidence and argument concerning the phenomenon, and my conclusion is that it is a human psychological phenomenon and not a divine miraculous act. Among links to my research are some very positive views of it, none of which make any claims of a divine origin:
    Linguistic and Sociological Analyses of Modern Tongues-Speaking: Their Contributions and Limitations
    Tongues of Men and Angels: The Religious Language of Pentecostalism - A Controversial and Sympathetic Anaylsis of Speaking in Tongues: William J. Samarin: 9780026068208: Amazon.com: Books

    I think the worst problem among Charismatics is the misuse of scripture. Although most of them are within the bounds of orthodoxy from a doctrinal and practical standpoint, the propensity to misuse scripture out of its context is prevalent. Of course we know that Charismatics are not the only ones doing that; but if modern tongues supports the misuse of scripture because interpretations are based on subjective experiences, then it is a hinderance to Christian maturity.
  4. Greg J.

    Greg J. Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    There are some different kinds of speaking in tongues and differentiating them might make it easier to examine this issue. There is a personal prayer language, the tongues that accompany receipving the Holy Spirit, and the tongues that can be used as part of a church service. A person that wants to refute that the Holy Spirit doesn't do those things today anymore must demonstrate that none of these 3 happen.

    One fundamental problem with this is that no matter what anyone says, God can still do as he pleases today. IMO, one would need a clear statement from God saying he will never do something again, that also says he won't make exceptions, to say he won't do it anymore.

    On the other hand, one genuine experience of God speaking in tongues is enough to refute all such arguments. It's convenient to think one knows what other people have experienced or not experienced (an approach necessary by atheists), but there is no logical basis for that kind of argument.

    I spent nine years in an overtly charismatic church. I learned to speak in a prayer language-type tongue (as a result of some questionable theology). On exactly one occasion, the Holy Spirit spoke in tongue through me during a church service and the interpretation was given immediately by a visiting missionary.

    I am not a huge proponent of speaking in tongues, but I know they are real. I consider my "private prayer language" as not being harmful in any way, because I do it with faith in God that he understands it. However, it is not something that happens as a direct result of being carried along by the Holy Spirit. If I banged my head against a wall with faith that it would have deeper positive significance to God, he would not be displeased with me.

    I don't recall having ever personally experienced pressure by the devil to speak in a tongue. I can't say what may or may not be happening for other people. For what it is worth, I believe I would be able to tell the difference—the result of many years of the devil overtly oppressing me (and the Lord overtly helping me). Thank the Lord if you've been spared those sorts of experiences. Just thinking of it pushes me to feelings of grief and weeping, though it was 12+ years ago.
  5. thecolorsblend

    thecolorsblend If God is your Father, who is your Mother? Supporter

    United States
    A question I often ask myself, actually.

    I won't condemn the practice. But I will say frankly that it sounds like gibberish to me and I don't see much value in it as a public thing.
  6. Biblicist

    Biblicist Full Gospel believer

    There are who knows how many millions of Christians in this day and age who can pray in the Spirit (tongues), which is a part of the promise of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church for all time.

    As for the 120 on the Day of Pentecost, they were certainly empowered to speak of the "great works of God" in known human languages which was also accompanied by the sound of a rushing wind and with the tongues of fire that fell on the 120; but as the Day of Pentecost was a unique event, we should not expect to see tongues being spoken in human languages, the sound of a rushing wind and with the tongues of fire within our congregational meetings - though it would undoubtedly be a very impressive thing to encounter.

    As much as some will choose not to pray in the Spirit (tongues), then their reasons for not doing so are their own I suppose, but for those who not only want to be obedient to God's Word and to experience the fullness of the Holy Spirit here on planet earth by allowing the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf, then we will understandably choose the second pathway.
  7. Biblicist

    Biblicist Full Gospel believer

    I am always bemused as to why cessationists will quote Acts and particularly with Acts 2 to try and prove that praying in the Spirit is supposed to be in a human language, where they ‘forget’ or more properly, where they choose to ignore Paul's indepth treatment of tongues in 1Cor 14 where he strenuously points out that “no man can understand what is being said”.

    With your reference to Acts 10:47,47
    “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”​
    Peter is not making reference to how the 120 spoke in human tongues, nor with how there was a sound of a rushing wind or that tongues of fire fell on those who spoke in tongues (otherwise he would have to point to all three which did not occur in Acts 10), but to how the 120 on the Day of Pentecost were filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

    For the Elders and the Twelve, the sole evidence that convinced them that the Holy Spirit fell upon the Gentiles was with how they began to speak in unknown tongues.

    Edit: Corrected "Now man to No man..."
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  8. tdidymas

    tdidymas Newbie

    Your prejudice is evident, since you presume things I didn't say. But to be fair, I will respond to what you said. Firstly I believe you mean "no man..." and not "now man..." To be fair to the scripture we must take into consideration the context of the statement. Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for being proud of their abilities and misusing them for their own "glory." When he says "no man can understand" what is being said, it is because they are speaking in unknown languages without an interpreter present. This is a far cry from the gibberish of modern "tongues" which no man can understand because it simply is gibberish, and has no communicative properties.

    Secondly, Acts 10:47 is Peter's testimony that nothing changed about the kind of tongues spoken in the 1st century. We are in agreement that tongues was evidential of Cornelius' house being filled with the Spirit, however, it was not the SOLE evidence, since it says "and magnify God." Now, how would they know that they were magnifying God, unless they had interpretation of the tongues, meaning what they were speaking were known languages which had meaning translated to magnifying God? In fact, the only way to be clear about tongues being a miraculous gift of God is that the tongues are understood, and the meaning of it glorifies God. If there is no interpreter and no one understands anything said, then no one is edified, according to Paul's testimony. Those people could not have been speaking gibberish, since the foundation of the gentile infusion into the faith could not have been based on such obscure evidence of people speaking in gibberish tongues which the pagans did. It had to be a clear and obvious miracle in order for Peter and his companions to convince the council that it was from God. Thus it says "and magnify God" exactly as how it was done at first.
  9. Biblicist

    Biblicist Full Gospel believer

    How am I prejudiced against the contemporary New Testament use of tongues when I am the one who is supporting how we can all pray in the Spirit (tongues), particularly when you are the one who is prejudiced against its use??

    Even though I come across similar comments within the 14 hardcopy editions of First Corinthians that I own along with a handful of partial electronic editions of chapters 12, 13 & 14, I often wonder with this particular notion, which is what I could best describe as being an old wives tale as to how it ever arose in the first place as I can find no hint that Paul has ever suggested such a thing.

    From the chapters prior to those of 12, 13 & 14 we know that Paul is concerned with how the powerful and influential members of the various Corinthian congregations within Achaea are lording it over those who are less well off than they are – which is something that we often see in our churches in our day as well. Even though Paul has made no direct reference to any supposed jealousy or pride on the behalf of the Corinthian congregations, I could well imagine how the more powerful and wealthy members could be upset or even jealous that the Spirit of God is working through those who are poor or who are even slaves with the more ‘spectacular’ Manifestations of the Spirit’, but even this is the reverse of what you are probably presenting.

    We should begin by pointing out that Paul has neither suggested or ever given us an example of where tongues has been used to either evangelise or even speak to any individual or people group.

    If tongues were to be used as you have suggested, does this mean that whenever someone desires to speak a word of praise to the Father in tongues that they have to yell out, “Hey, does anyone here speak in Ubuntu or Klingon as I am about to provide some words of praise to the Father in one of these languages?” If such a thing were to occur (or something along this line) then Paul would have had to provide us with some information on this but of course he does not; but he does say in 1Cor 14:2 “ For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them”, now from what I see in this text (and with vss. 6-25) is with how Paul is telling us that nobody, no-one, not a single person is able to understand what the spirit is saying to the Father.

    To take this point further, Paul does not say that we are to first make sure that someone is present who can speak in a certain language before we pray in tongues, otherwise he would have told us so and if he were to suggest such a thing then why does he stipulate that whenever anyone provides a word of praise to the Father in tongues, that each of the three permitted tongues is to be followed up by an interpretation that the Holy Spirit then provides before the next is to proceed?

    Why do you say that the Father cannot understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to him as he intercedes on our behalf in a heavenly tongue, do you believe that the Heavenly Hosts speak in maybe an Eaton form of English or a Texan drawl, why you do you bother to lower the Heavenly Hosts to that of the level of man; just because you or I do not understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Father is no reason to lower him to our level.

    As much as anyone would take note of a group of people praising the Lord after having being filled with the Spirit, could this be deemed to be enough evidence on its own? Now for those who have ever been in a well-run Full Gospel meeting during times of praise and worship (not with merely a slick sound and light show), where maybe hundreds or even thousands are worshipping their Lord, then an atheist or a cessationist who was visiting for the first time would certainly recognise that they are amongst a people who love their Lord.

    But on its own, as with the Day of Pentecost, this would not be enough as even many within the crowd were taken by the ability of the unsophisticated and rustic Galileans being able to speak in languages that they did not know. When it comes to the outpouring of the Spirit upon the Roman gentiles, then their ability to speak in tongues would have been the clincher for the Jewish Christians. As they were rustic Galileans, they would hardly expect them to speak any language other than Aramaic and maybe Hebrew, so they would probably have only realised that the Romans were speaking in a heavenly tongue when the Romans told them that they were speaking in a tongue or tongues that they did not know.
  10. tdidymas

    tdidymas Newbie

    Your prejudice is evident by the fact that you assume I am a cessationist (your word, not mine). What I am doing is saying the same thing as the apostle Paul said in 1 Cor. If what you are doing is not edifying others, then keep silent (1 Cor. 14:28). In the words of John Chrysostom "If what you are doing is not useful to others, then it is not worthwhile." It is also your prejudice that you call praying in the Spirit tongues, since the scripture doesn't actually say that. Interpretation of scripture should not be based on personal experience, since that is application. If a person actually does pray in Biblical tongues, then that could be an application of praying in the Spirit, but to those who don't (1 Cor. 12:30), praying in the Spirit is applied in other ways.

    Paul begins his epistle by addressing their quarrels which has to do with prideful prejudice (1 Cor. 1:11-12). If you claim that he is not talking about the same subject in ch. 12-14, then you haven't yet understood ch. 13, because love is what the Christian life is about, and what some of the Corinthians were doing was anything but, which the root cause is prideful self-righteous prejudice and/or greed ("seeking its own"). (13:4-5)

    This is not the only manifestation of evil selfishness which the Corinthians were exhibiting. Correct hermeneutic is considering all elements of the context, not just one.

    No one said anything about evangelizing. That idea came from Charles Parham.
    1 Cor. 14 context:
    "For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God" Speaking to God is speaking to an individual.
    "let him speak to himself and to God" Speaking to oneself is speaking to an individual.
    "So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers" Unbelievers are a people group.
    'In the Law it is written, “BY MEN OF STRANGE TONGUES AND BY THE LIPS OF STRANGERS I WILL SPEAK TO THIS PEOPLE, AND EVEN SO THEY WILL NOT LISTEN TO ME,” says the Lord.' "This people" are the Jews, and that is a people group.

    Isn't it obvious that you are flying off the handle and not thinking of what the scripture actually says?

    You are adding the words "not a single person" as if not one person in the whole world could understand what is said?? You are inserting an idea into the text that doesn't belong there. The context demands that when Paul says "no one understands," that it is in the context of what he is talking about, which was their misuse of the gift. In other words, it means no one in their assembly, at that time.

    "but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God." (1 Cor. 14:28)
    How is one to know if there is an interpreter, unless it is planned from the start? If you have no plan, you end up in chaos, which is exactly what the Corinthian church was doing. "But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner." (1 Cor. 14:40)

    And this brings up yet another point about my 20 years of Pentecostal and Charismatic experience. People of that persuasion often believe that spontaneity is spiritual, or "following the Spirit" (which I also believed once, having a history of that persuasion). But I have discovered from my reading of scripture and personal observations that most people who love spontaneity often operate from the flesh and are often lazy, as they don't like to do much planning. Spontaneity was part of the Corinthians' problem, and Paul was rebuking them for it and commanding them to plan the services, which is what 14:40 is about. You must have planning to have order.

    Again, you say things out of the blue that I never even suggested, which proves your prejudice. Further, your prejudice shows up in the fact that you are assuming that your tongue is of God, which is an avoidance of my main point that I question most of Pentecostal tongues, that the gibberish spoken (which I also did experience) is of God or not. Why not rather address the main point? Why not testify about your tongues experience that actually measures up to what the scripture says about it? All I am seeing from you is the typical response that is not coming from a knowledge Biblical truth, but rather from a knowledge of traditional Pentecostal prejudices.

    No, this is not enough evidence on its own, since it depends on what is actually meant by "filled with the Spirit." If it means the same as Eph. 5:18-20, then I concur. But if it means feelings of ecstacy and exhuberance (only), then I say that is of the flesh, because cults and other religions have groups that practice those kinds of meetings. It also depends on what you mean by "a people who love their Lord." It is easy to love Jesus when you feel like it. But who is willing to love Jesus when you feel dead, when you feel as if God is far away and the world is against you, when trouble and tribulation and persecution comes against you like a hurricane? If people readily praise God in a meeting where feelings are hyped up and people are inspired, but not willing to praise God when they are alone and in a mire of trouble, then how can it be said that such a person loves the Lord and/or is filled with the Spirit? It may appear that those in such a meeting loves God, but Jesus commands us to judge beyond appearance. Jn. 7:24 and Mat. 7:21.

    I concur with only the first part of this last paragraph. Concerning the last statement, if you think that a person cannot tell the difference between a real language and the gibberish of fleshly tongues (although both are unknown), then you assume too much. It may appear as such on the surface, but we aren't talking about surface or snap judgments, and I don't believe the apostles judged in that way. There is a great difference in how languages sound that convey meaning, and in the sound of repetitive gibberish. Whoever can't know the difference is simply not trying. Besides, the "rustic Galileans" as you call them were not completely uneducated or illiterate. They probably spoke Greek, since it (i.e. Koine) was the universal language of the day, and they chose to write the NT in Greek (except perhaps Matthew at first). It is also likely that there were disciples in Peter's group who understood the tongues that the gentiles were speaking, either by natural language, or by supernatural gifting. Contrast that today where no one understands the gibberish being spoken, even though some people try to authenticate it by inventing "interpretations" from their imagination. Even the quoting of scripture is an invention when used for this reason; otherwise, the scripture quoted is the only real edification, and it is not a real edification if what is quoted has no practical application to someone's life. It is true that tongues were a sign that the Spirit was given, and the apostles used it as such. It is true that before the NT was written, God used tongues, interpretation, prophecy, and working miracles as authentication of the gospel message (Heb. 2:4). It may be true that God is doing the same today in some instances, even though we now have the NT (and OT, that is, the whole scripture canon) which is complete and perfect and lacking in nothing (2 Tim. 3:16-17). What I am saying, though, is that modern "tongues" doesn't measure up, at least not from what I experienced in 20 years when I was of that persuasion.

    Now, before you get committed to a wrong idea that I am some kind of "cessationist" and forbidding tongues, I'm not forbidding it, even though I say that modern tongues (for the most part) is a fleshly, human psychological phenomenon. I cannot forbid Pentecostals speaking or praying in tongues (except where it is a clear violation of commands of scripture), since I cannot forbid anyone to practice their faith in whatever way their conscience dictates. I am simply trying to get people to acknowledge that there is a tremendous difference in the tongues described in scripture, and that which is commonly practiced today. Supernatural vs. natural.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  11. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

    You are quite right, the disciples spoke in foreign human languages at Pentecost. Scripture makes it perfectly clear:

    Acts 2:4 " And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance."

    Acts 2:6 "When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken."

    It then proceeds to list the various languages spoken.​

    Acts 2 is the only description of the gift of tongues in scripture. Nowhere is it redefined as a non-human language or anything else.

    Pentecostal/charismatic teachers will often quote 1 Cor 13:1 as evidence that tongues is the 'language of angels'. However this is clearly a misinterpretation when you look at the subsequent two verses. The whole passage consists of 5 parallel statements to emphasize the futility of having spiritual gifts without love. Paul is pointing out that even if someone possessed spiritual gifts to the highest conceivable degree, but not have love, it would be to no avail. Each of them is a IF statement, where he presents 5 extreme hypothetical examples to make his point:

    v1 "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."
    Even if someone had the gift of tongues to such a degree that they spoke in the language of angels, but didn't have love, it would be worthless to them.

    v2 "If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge;...but do not have love, I am nothing."
    Even if someone had the gift of prophecy to such a degree that they knew ALL mysteries and ALL knowledge (ie they were omniscient), but didn't have love, it would be worthless to them.

    "and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."

    Even if someone had the gift of faith to such a degree that they could move mountains, but didn't have love, it would be a worthless to them.

    v3 "And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, ...but do not have love, it profits me nothing."
    Even if someone had the gift of giving to such a degree that they gave ALL their possessions to the poor, but didn't have love, it would be worthless to them.

    "and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

    Even if someone had the gift of giving to such a degree that they gave their own life, but didn't have love, it would be worthless to them.

    None of these extreme hypothetical examples represent the normal operations of those gifts, including speaking with the tongues of angels. The statements are clearly presented as parallels, so you cannot say one is to be taken as being the normal operation, while the others are not. If people claim that speaking the tongues of angels is the normal operation of the gift, then they must also say that omniscience is the normal operation of the gift of prophecy, moving mountains is the normal operation of the gift of faith, and giving up everything you own, even your own life, is the normal operation of the gift of giving.

    Notice that in each statement Paul prefaces the hypothetical with the the normal operation of the gift: "If I speak with the tongues of men...", "If I have the gift of prophecy...", "if I have all faith...", "if I give...". So the normal operation of the gift of tongues is to speak in the tongues of men.

    The other 'proof-text' they frequently quote is 1 Cor 14:2, saying this is proof that no one in the world can ever understand someone who speaks in tongues.

    "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit".​

    Firstly Paul doesn't say "no one in the world can ever understand them", he says "no one understands them" (plain present tense). The context of this verse, and indeed the whole chapter, is local church meetings (v4,5,12,19,23,26,28,30,32,34) and specifically the small Corinthian congregations which we know met in people's homes. From this chapter it is evident that one or more people in the congregation was speaking a language that no one there understands. That doesn't mean it was a non-human language. If someone was speaking say Persian in a small Greek congregation it is not surprising that no one understood. What they spoke was a mystery. Only to God (who knows all languages) would understand.

    There is further evidence that the tongues spoken in 1 Corinthians were human languages:
    • In 1 Cor 12-14 the word 'tongues' (languages) appears 13 times in the plural indicating multiple different languages were spoken. This cannot therefore be the language of angels (unless there was a Tower of Babel event in Heaven).
    • In 1 Cor 14:21-22 Paul quotes Isaiah's prophecy about invading armies speaking their foreign languages in Israel as being a sign of judgment against the Jews. Paul then directly equates this to Corinthian tongues:
    In the Law it is written:“With other tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers;
    • The terminology in 1 Corinthians and Acts 2 is exactly the same. The gift is described using the Greek words glossa and laleo. Luke, the author of Acts, was a close companion of Paul's and it is generally accepted that he wrote Acts under his authority. Luke would never have used the exact same terminology as Paul did in 1 Corinthians if he knew they were two different phenomena.
    • In order to be a confirming sign (Mark 16:17-20) tongues would have to be clearly miraculous. Speaking a foreign language you have never learned is clearly miraculous, unlike the speaking of random syllables as we hear today.
    • Why would God give us a lengthy description of tongues in Acts 2 if this was to be the exception rather than the rule? And the supposedly 2nd and more prevalent type of tongues gets no description at all?
    • One of the principles of bible interpretation is that ambiguous passages (1 Cor 12-14) are interpreted in the light of clearer ones (Acts 2).
    • Then we have 1800 years of church history which has consistently affirmed that tongues was only foreign human languages. Only since the Pentecostal movement started in the 1900's has the idea been hatched that tongues is a non-human heavenly language.

    So if today's 'tongues' is not the NT gift, what is it? Charismatic glossolalia has been studied extensively by professional linguists and they have found that the human tongue can go into 'auto-pilot' and produce strings of random syllables made up from the speakers existing vocabulary. One of the most extensive studies was carried out by Dr. William Samarin, professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto. He concludes:

    "There is no mystery about glossolalia. Tape recorded samples are easy to obtain and to analyze. They always turn out to be the same things: strings of syllables made up of sounds taken from among all those that the speaker knows, put together more or less haphazardly but which nevertheless emerge as word-like or sentence-like units......When the full apparatus of linguistic science comes to bear on glossolalia this turns out to be only a facade of language......And it has already been established that no special power needs to take over a person's vocal organs; all of us are equipped with everything we need to produce glossolalia.....In fact, anybody can produce glossolalia if he is uninhibited and if he discovers what the 'trick' is..".
    His full paper is online, as well as other academic studies by other linguists and anthropologists who conclude much the same thing. There are details of the linguistic studies at Glossolalia - Wikipedia
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  12. Biblicist

    Biblicist Full Gospel believer

    Now I understand what you mean by your use of prejudice which you have been using in a rather unusual way.

    With regard to your views on tongues, as you hold to a worldview that has been constructed outside of Paul and even Luke's writings, then this unfortunately places you square within the domain of hardcore cessationionism.

    As I've said in a few other related threads recently, there are increasingly fewer and fewer Evangelcial cessationists or those who are even uncomfortable cessationts who still hold to the old notion that the tongues that Paul speaks of in First Corinthians are supposed to be given in known human language. The view that you are trying to present essentially died a well deserved death way back in the late 70's were most prudent "cessationist" Evangelicals have wisely chosen to leave this one alone as they have learnt from hard experience that it always blows up in their face.

    As for the edification value of tongues, Paul was pointing out the differences between prophecy and tongues, where prophecy is always directed to the congregation or an individual which involves instruction, prediction, reproof etc and prophecy is always given in the language of the people group that it is directed to.

    As for tongues, they are always directed by the Spirit to God and never to man, where the interpretation that the Holy Spirit provides through either the person who was praying in the Spirit or to another merely allows the congregation to understand what the Spirit was saying to the Father, which does not provide the same edification or instruction value as does prophecy. So Paul certainly encourages both prophecy and tongues within the congregational setting but he is pointing out that unlike tongues that prophecy actually instructs the congregation where tongues only informs them of what is being said to the Father.

    As Paul specifically refers to tongues as praying in the Spirit within 1Cor 14:13-15 then there is really no point with trying to say otherwise; but I can recognise that for those who cannot pray in the Spirit (tongues) that this would be a very uncomfortable passage - but such is the Word of God at times.

    As you have undertaken a bit of work with your post and that my own reply has merely addressed a single paragraph, to avoid making my reply overly verbose I will come back and reply to the rest of your post as soon as I can.
  13. Tree of Life

    Tree of Life Hide The Pain

    United States
    It appears to me that the apostles were speaking some sort of miraculous meta language, if I may use that expression. Each person was hearing them speak in their native tongue. So I think that the point of the tongues gift in Acts 2 has to do with the breaking down of language barriers. It's kindof an anti-tower of Babel.

    Paul says that it is not corporately beneficial if no one can understand them. Tongues should never be used in public unless there is an interpreter present. Tongues ought always to accompany an interpretation or they should not be used in public.
  14. tdidymas

    tdidymas Newbie

    Such is your opinion, since my previous posts obviously point to Paul, Luke, et. al. NT writings as the basis of my opinion.

    If what you say is true, then I grieve for those who depart from Biblical truth. Nevertheless, as strong as peer pressure is, I cannot care that the whole of Christendom goes liberal. I remain true to the scripture and its proper interpretation. Sola scriptura is the cry of the Reformation, i.e. scripture is the sole authority for truth and practice.

    Here you depart from the clear statements of Paul which I quoted earlier. But you also add imagination to it, unless you want to exegete the scripture on how you come to this conclusion, other than made up Pentecostal traditional thought?

    This is typical of traditional Pentecostal bias, that by saying the passage would be very uncomfortable to those who "can't speak in tongues" that you look down in evil judgment on those who oppose your traditional Pentecostal doctrine that whoever doesn't have the gift of tongues doesn't have the Holy Spirit. Your prejudice here is obvious of what theology you are coming from. It is your feeble attempt to poke me with condemnation.

    The reality is, I have no discomfort in this passage, since Paul does not say that speaking in tongues is the only way of praying in the spirit. If he was, then he was acknowledging that few Christians could do so, since he clearly said that not all spoke in tongues.

    But here again, your presumption is that your tongues is the same kind as the tongues Paul was talking about in this passage, and you have yet to address that.

    BTW, will you also be debating swordsman1? Speaking in Tongues?
  15. Biblicist

    Biblicist Full Gospel believer

    The first problem we encounter when trying to limit Paul’s instructions to the assembly of the Saints is that Paul says opens up in 1Cor 14:2 with a clear-cut statement, “for nobody understands them since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit”” which of course means “nobody”. As it is the Holy Spirit who is communicating to the Father and to the Father alone, then we also need to ask why we would want to compel the heavenly hosts to speak in a debased mortal language and not of the higher language of the Godhead. It would be similar to compelling someone who enjoys the finer points of classical music to listen to maybe Beethoven while someone is tapping his music on a Morse-code key.

    If Paul felt that it was even remotely possible that some from within or from outside of the assembly could understand what is being said (without the Holy Spirit providing an interpretation), then he would have been compelled to address what would be a very difficult issue for the Church to address.

    If tongues were intended to be spoken in a known human language this would present a number of very serious problems for the Church as it would be very difficult (probably impossible) to know if someone was being empowered to speak in a given language, or if a visitor who secretly knew a specific language that others within the assembly would have known where he could insert a heretical doctrine. The same could also go for a regular member of a congregation who might learn a few sentences in a language that he knew someone or others would know in the attempt to push his own pet doctrine. As Paul was speaking to a highly multicultural society where every known language would have been known or at least passed through their towns, other than with the lingua franca languages of Latin and Greek then there could have been many dozens of secondary languages being known by various members of the Achaean congregations.

    We see this problem in other ways within both Continuist and cessationist circles where many will pull the so-called God card where they claim that God has told them to do a certain thing which can be very difficult thing to challenge; it is one thing to use the God card where we claim that we believe that God is leading us in a certain direction but if someone were to speak in a human language that others presumed that he did not know then it would open up the flood-gates to every heretical and pet doctrine known to man; it would be impossible to control which is why we would expect Paul to spend a fair amount of time addressing this very complex and destructive issue, he would probably need an entire chapter in an attempt to handle this question but of course he makes no mention of such a possibility.

    As to the “misuse of the gift” of tongues, other than rebuking the various churches throughout Achaea for how they (or at least with some of these congregations) were allowing uninterpreted tongues to be utilised within the congregational meetings, we do not know if these congregations had improperly attempted to employ the formula that is still unfortunately common within many contemporary Pentecostal churches with tongues + interpretation = prophecy, where they incorrectly believe that the Holy Spirit will speak to a congregation in tongues and a subsequent interpretation through the speaker or another individual. But as I said, we do not know if this was the case within that particular part of the world.

    Considering that you have apparently had “20 years of Pentecostal and Charismatic experience”, how could you not know what every Pentecostal [should] understand in that the Father has established (1Cor 12:28) the Office/function of tongues within the assembly which includes both tongues and interpretation – this should be Bible101 for even the least knowledgeable Pentecostal and especially for someone who claims “20 years of experience”; but to be fair, I have certainly come across AoG members (including credentialled ministers) here in my own State who after numerous years within Pentecost appear to have gained very little knowledge on the things of the Spirit, which includes a friend of mine who is an associate minister within the AoG/ACC.

    In my opinion, any congregation that claims to be Pentecostal and they do not have those who regularly employ both tongues and interpretation within their meetings that they are Pentecostal in name only, where for all intents and purposes they are essentially cessationist in practice. As for the “spontaneity” you refer to, for those who are leaders within a Pentecostal or charismatic assembly where they have not provided the framework for the members of the congregation to regularly pray in the Spirit and prophesy within their meetings, then they need to take a good look at themselves, grow-up and even repent of their fleshly behaviour and allow the Holy Spirit to work within their meetings as he is intended to.

    Let’s see, what would be preferable, the best laid plans of ‘mice-and-men’ or the direct intervention of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, particularly with reference to 1Cor 12:7-11? As for me, even though we need to see the Elders employing carefully thought out messages and teaching, I would much prefer to lay aside much of content of our all to frequent orchestrated sound and light shows that we have today within many of our so called Pentecostal meetings, where many hands throughout the week attempt to present a highly composed Sunday presentation that they try and say is being ‘led and directed by the Holy Spirit’ which is quite often nothing more than an absolute sham.

    You should probably employ the word bias as against prejudice.

    As I’ve said previously in this thread and in others as in recent months, most prudent Evangelical cessationists or even with those who are secretly uncomfortable with their cessationist worldview, since at least the late 70’s most of them are increasingly less prepared to try and openly support the old cessationist position that tongues are supposed to be spoken in known human languages as they have realised that such a notion is impossible to support from within the Scriptures. In fact, I really doubt if any hard-core cessationists on this forum believe this now very dated world view, though they may of course declare it to be so even though it is something that eats away at their own consciences – it simply cannot be defended.

    It would be good to point out that being filled with the Spirit is not the same thing as praying in the Spirit as all Believers are filled (Baptised) in the Spirit even if they do not realise that they can pray in tongues. Of course the classic-Pentecostal position (i.e., AoG) says otherwise but this older understanding is finding less and less support from within Pentecostal and particularly within charismatic scholarship and hopefully the AoG will see fit to alter this erroneous understanding within a decade or so.

    As for the feelings of ‘ecstasy and exuberance’ you should know from your “20 years of experience within Pentecost” that ecstasy has absolutely nothing to do with praying in the Spirit and even exuberance is probably only experienced while standing among many others who are worshipping their Lord; for that matter, why would the people of God not experience joy and exuberance when they stand before their Father worshipping him in the Spirit???

    Hey, that’s why it is an absolute joy to be able to pray in the Spirit as we all have those times when we feel flat and a bit down hearted, so to be able to allow the Holy Spirit to praise the Father by “speaking mysteries in the Spirit” (1Cor 14:2) in the language of the heavens is an absolute joy in itself where this “uplifting” where we “build ourselves up” (1Cor 14:4) certainly helps us to cast away our anxieties and worldly cares; though of course when we worship the Father in the Spirit within the congregational setting we are to always pray quietly to ourselves to the Father (1Cor 14:28) unless we are speaking in tongues so that the word to the Father can be interpreted.

    All I can say with regard to your “20 years of experience within Pentecost” is that you must have lived in a very small and remote community! As for myself and with the vast thousands that I have heard praying in the Spirit over the years, for 99.9% of these people, even though our heavenly language is exactly that, of the angels, our tongues sound very much ‘language like’. Without wishing to offend any East Asian forum member, to my Anglo-ear, I find that my senses can go into a form of meltdown when I find myself amongst a large number of these people when they are all talking in a highly animated and tonal language – it becomes a virtual assault on my ears and these are legitimate human languages.

    As I live in a highly multicultural society, it is not hard for me to find myself in a crowd where I have absolutely no hope of working out if many of them are speaking in real languages (where of course they are) or if some of them are simply repeating the phonebook in reverse. In fact, as I have the stated Anglo-ear, if I were to move from within a setting where many of my compatriots are all praying in tongues at once and I were to somehow find myself within Europe in possibly an airport where I am encountering numerous European languages, then I would expect that both would sound very similar to my ear.

    It could be possible that some of the Galileans knew either Latin or Greek but I wonder how many Jews of that time period who lived under the oppressive hand of their Latin (Roman) occupiers would want to learn Latin which was the language of their occupiers or even Greek for that matter. It is interesting that the crowd quickly recognised that these ‘strange people’ on the Day of Pentecost were Galileans which probably came about as a result of their Northern Galilean accent and maybe even with their dress style. This could have been the problem that Peter had when a woman pointed him out as being a follower of Jesus as his Galilean manner (accent and dress) would have made him stand out from the primarily Judean crowd. As Galilee was separated from Judah by the Samaritans then they would have developed a slightly different culture, which is what occurs with probably every other people group who are in similar circumstances.

    As I have said previously, the problem with trying to say that tongues are to be given in a known human language simply has no support from within the Scriptures, which is why so many Evangelicals who are not experientially charismatic no longer choose to go down this now very dated understanding. As I regularly read articles on First Corinthians in particular, which is why I own so many commentaries on First Corinthians along with viewing numerous YouTube discussions by cessationists, it is not hard to notice that many of those who are either cessationists, quasi-cessationists or even with those who simply do not know, it is not hard to notice how many of them are uncomfortable with this particular worldview and where they will even admit that they ‘could’ possibly be wrong.

    I’ve often wondered if I were to debate the question in a college setting where I had to present the position that tongues were intended to be given in known human languages as to how I would go about doing this. I would probably have to use a bit of deception by twisting the meaning of some Greek words and I would definitely have to try and ignore 1Cor 13:1 and 14:2 but short of pulling every sneaky card I could muster it would not be a task I would relish. In my opinion it would be akin to presenting the view that the earth is flat.

    As the cessationist worldview either states that tongues are always to be given in a known human language, or that angelic/heavenly speech ceased either with the death of the Apostles or with the completion of the Canon of Scripture, then your view does unfortunately place you square within the cessationist camp, it’s just the way it is.
  16. Biblicist

    Biblicist Full Gospel believer

    Don’t forget, the following point has not been lost on many cessationists for the past three or four decades that the cessationist worldview is also shared by all atheists and liberal church goers! This is why hard-core cessationism as often been deemed to be a “system of unbelief” as it essentially shares the same humanist worldview of atheism – but I am not saying that all cessationists are atheists but merely that cessationism is a common denominator for the cessationist, liberal church goer and for atheism.

    As for the foundations of the Full Gospel, even many detractors of the Full Gospel position will recognise that our theological position has gained both the high ground of theological debate and deliberation, which is why I often say that the cessationist worldview was essentially buried by the late 70’s and certainly by the late 80’s.

    As for the above points which I have numbered, being that I read as much material on the subject that I can, with points 1, 2 and 4 I would be surprised to hear more than a handful of cessationist or cessationist leaning theologians disagreeing with what I have said, where the more prudent majority would simply agree with my basic sentiments but they would fall back on the position that such tongues disappeared with the death of the last Apostle or with the completion of the Canon 300 years later, or with something along this line.

    Point 3 should not be a problem for those cessationists who still believe that the Scriptures say that tongues will cease sometime in the first few centuries, which is a view that became the so called proverbial nail-in-the-coffin of cessationism certainly by the mid to late 70’s where the vast majority of Evangelical cessationists realised during this time that the Scriptures suggest no such thing. But for those who still hold to what is little more than an old-wives-tale that tongues is supposed to be in known human languages then the point can be a sticking point for them.

    There’s absolutely no “evil judgment” being employed on my part as I am simply saying that it is sad that many have been incorrectly taught that they are not to expect to be able to pray in the Spirit (tongues); where in effect they have been robbed or disenfranchised from a major activity of the Eschatological Holy Spirit. This is the same sadness I have for those liberal churchgoers who have never been taught that Jesus can be their Saviour if they were to turn to him and acknowledge him as their Lord and Saviour.

    As for those “who can’t speak in tongues”, this is their problem as the onus is on them to appropriate the fullness of the Holy Spirit within their lives, no-one can place a gun at their heads and of course for many church goers they even find the Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit to be downright offensive, just as the world does. In fact, if I could figure out on my own as a 17 year old newbie who was raised in a cessationist environment that these ‘strange tongues thingies” were the language of the angels, then I can only ponder as to why there are still those who choose to ardently support a worldview that is in total opposition to the Scriptures, which is why there appear to be so many quasi-cessationists who are content to remain experientially cessationist but who at the same time are not prepared to make a stand for cessationism from within the Scripture. They have chosen silence as their best option as they know all too well that to try and ‘defend the indefensible’ would force them to either wilfully choose their denominations human traditions over Scripture or to lose family, friends and church associates.

    On the contrary I certainly have, where the onus is on the hard-core cessationist to try and find solutions for their worldview which even many cessationists have given up trying to defend; in fact, there is really no value with trying to defend the indefensible which is what many (maybe most) Evangelical cessationists realised well over 30 years back. If the cessationist can find a solution then we will be all ears, but of course there are still those who are also trying to prove that the world is flat.

    As this is Christmas, with all of its shopping demands and family functions, this means that time has been a bit short and I am sure that many others are in much the same situation; but as I have addressed all of Swordy’s points in recent threads I have decided to reply to you first and then to Swordy when I can.
  17. tdidymas

    tdidymas Newbie

    Here again, you are taking it out of context. The mysteries are mysteries because they are not being revealed by interpretation, as is obvious from the context of the passage. The reason why he is addressing this is because he has received a report that some people in the congregation are speaking tongues without interpretation, and it is doing no good for anyone else. It then is obvious that Paul is using the word mysteries to emphasize the need for interpretation. If there was interpretation, then it would not be a mystery. But here again, you are obviously coming from a traditional Pentecostal bias in your reading, that you think "nobody understands" and "mysteries" gives you justification for claiming that your natural gibberish you speak is the same kind of "tongues" as what Paul is talking about.

    You mean if you felt. We do not know what was going on in Paul's mind at the time of this writing, therefore, we only have the text to tell us, therefore your statement here is pure speculation. The context tells me that Paul's meaning of "no one" is limited to the assembly and the time of the problem. If people had already been doing what Paul is explaining, then he would not have written it.

    You have a very fertile imagination in your speculations. You can dream up all kinds of hypothetical situations to justify your deviation from original intent of the passage. The fact is, the proof of the miracle is in the interpretation (translation) of the tongue (language), not vice-versa. The fact that people generally know who is speaking and what they are speaking shows that someone speaking a miraculous language they didn't learn is obvious to them. Just as it is today, we can assume (speculate) that pastors of the day did not indiscriminately let just any stranger to speak in the assembly (except maybe in the aberrant practice of some Pentecostal circles like I have seen in the past, which results in general chaos, but even that is rare). The fact that it is the interpretation which reveals what is said is the proof that what was said was coming from God. When Paul talks about their tongues, he is assuming it is authentic, and telling them that they must have interpretation, or else no one is edified. When this command is obeyed, it not only eliminates the problem of the Corinthians, but it also eliminates other fleshly activity regarding tongues, including what was practiced among the pagans. The fact that pagans also had their version of tongues is known history. Glossolalia - Wikipedia. It is also well known that Corinth was a city full of idols.

    But where is Paul getting his teaching? Certainly not from the air, and not from new revelation that the other apostles didn't have. He is getting it from the orderly practices of the other churches and the way that the original apostles recognized that the tongues they spoke was from God, beginning in Acts 2. This is certainly evident by the fact that after Peter testified that it was from God, no one questioned it, because it was obvious to them. Therefore, the only way to know that tongues is a miraculous event from God is by interpretation, either from a supernatural gifting, or from someone who knows the language.

    It is interesting that the "God card" you speak against is the very thing that your cronies claim modern tongues is evidence of. Do you believe that the tongues you speak is THE initial evidence that you have the Holy Spirit? If so, then this is your "God card."

    However, when I say "God told me" I'm not exaggerating. I did hear a voice from heaven, which I recognized as my Personal Shepherd. While I was speaking in "tongues" He said "This is not of Me." Well, He did not say "don't do this" or "tell people not to do this" or any such thing, He simply said "This is not of Me." It then became my responsibility to fear God and to respond accordingly by doing some very serious study in the matter. I'm not willing to go into great detail about it, but suffice it to say that it was God's correction to me which I needed at the time.

    Obviously, this begs the question, why doesn't He say this to everyone? Well, perhaps because they aren't asking. Perhaps they are assuming. Or perhaps because they don't need it. Who knows? But I also know others have received the exact same message, but in other ways.

    It is quite obvious from the reading of the text that Paul was addressing a specific problem in the Corinthian church, and that problem was tongues without interpretation, and the reason for the problem was self-righteous pride, as Paul was also addressing in the epistle as an evil motivation for doing what they were doing.

    From my POV, the motivation for Pentecostals to do what you are describing is that they are attempting to validate modern "tongues" as a gift from God, because they are unwilling to acknowledge that it might be merely a human psychological phenomenon that is no miracle at all.

    I am actually questioning the whole basis of what Pentecostals, AoG, "Full Gospel", Charismatic, et. al. are doing. I question their interpretations. After 20 years of hearing tongues, interpretations, etc. the way they practice it, because of my study of the scriptures and experience of real Christianity from people of all denominations and persuasions, I am not convinced that what is commonly practiced today called "tongues and interpretation" is from God, especially since God corrected me in 1985. It has taken about 25 additional years for me to be confident enough even to talk about it, and even the 6 years since then I do so with reservation. One thing I know for sure, though, and that is the doctrine which they commonly teach that if one hasn't spoken in tongues doesn't have the Holy Spirit is a false doctrine, and comes straight from the pits of hell. And if their basis is wrong, then their practice is wrong.

    This of course begs the question, what about interpretations that quote scripture (or paraphrase it)? Then why is tongues necessary? Only to get people to believe in tongues? If the scripture quoted is the edification for the church, then tongues isn't necessary, since the scripture itself is available to all, and available for evaluation for that application. Since scripture is already accepted as the inspiration of God, there is no need for any miraculous authentication, except perhaps in some heathen environments. If someone was speaking an authentic miraculous tongue from God, then the interpretation would not be a common thing or general, it would be specific for specific people. In Acts, tongues (and their interpretation) was specific, and for specific people. This did not change by the time Paul wrote 1 Cor.

    Agree, agree!! LOL. Well, let's not completely discount it. Some places make entertainment the main event, because they are trying to draw people who are addicted to entertainment just so they can hear the spoken word from the pulpit. God can use anything to save people, even things done out of poor motivations.

    However, I need to address your dissing orderly meetings, since you appear to be defending the "lets be spontaneous" idea. By your response here, you apparently think that 1 Cor. 12 is a description of unplanned spontaneous type of meetings, which is precisely my point about your traditional Pentecostal/Charismatic bias. I differ with you, because the text clearly tells me that lack of planning was the fault of the Corinthians, and Paul was rebuking them for that. He doesn't have to clearly say "plan your meetings," since that is inherent in the explanation. Teaching about why to do something a certain way is much more effective long-term than just commanding people to do something a certain way. I see careful planning in every statement of 1 Cor. 12-14. We must even plan for spontaneous error and how we must respond to it.

    I tend to be a "tell it like it is" person. But you are probably right here, given that the term prejudice has evil connotations.

    From my POV, I have successfully defended it, even though you aren't convinced. Everyone I talk with in my current circles believes the same. It depends on who you hang out with and their biases or persuasions. I don't know where you are getting your data. Can you show links to statistical surveys, or where you are getting your information?

    I'm glad to hear that they are coming around. But your bias is evident even here, as you claim "they can pray in tongues" (all believers), because Paul is clear that not all believers have that gift.

    Everyone has their own way of spiritually encouraging themselves and boosting their faith, and it doesn't have to be a supernatural event. In fact, I say that if a person needs a supernatural event to strengthen their faith, then their faith is small indeed. I'm saying that we need to be very careful of what we claim is coming from God as a miraculous event, otherwise we end up with the general chaos in many Charismatic circles where they are calling anything a miracle, and even fraudulently inventing them.

    It is precisely my point that modern tongues is "language like" in sound, but it is a pseudo-language. In other words, it contains random syllables that have its basis in the native language of the speaker. This is why people are confused. It is unintelligible not because it is a "heavenly language," but because it has no inherent meaning. It is a trick of the mind. It is psychological acrobatics. It has been well-proven that anyone can do it if they really try. My point is that it is not the same thing as the obvious miracles which the apostles and the early church were doing, as is described in scripture. I'm simply trying to get people to acknowledge that.

    What you actually find if you do an controlled experiment may be quite different than what you expect to find. The question is, are you willing to discover truth, even if it contradicts what you currently believe? Are you willing to discover (if it be true) that your tongues-speaking is actually a natural function of your mind, and not a miracle from God, even if it explodes your "vanity balloon"?

    The major problem that people have is that when it comes to religion and beliefs that involve their identity and origins, beliefs and practices become an addiction. Especially when they are getting pleasures and other rewards from those practices. I have experienced the same, and it seems a crisis. It's the reason why idolatry had such a hold on the Israelites for so many centuries. People tend to hold on to their beliefs regardless of whether or not some truth to the contrary of what they believe has been "proven" to them. And since most people don't have the skill, perseverance, and commitment to discover truth from the scripture, they tend to follow their leaders. Thus, it might take 10, 20, or 100 years for most Pentecostals to acknowledge other Christians who don't speak the same "tongue", and it may take until kingdom-come for them to realize it is not a miracle from God. It has to literally become a cultural practice. Even then some people will refuse to accept it.

    "so many commentaries," - your language appears exaggerative to me. What commentaries? Can you show certain Evangelicals who have changed their stand on this? I don't pay much attention to youtube, as it is an endless factory of untruths.

    Of course, true Christians are humble enough to say "I could be wrong," which makes them vulnerable to deception. Even Jesus said "if possible, even the elect" might be deceived, which is an acknowledgement of our vulnerability.

    Regardless of what "camp" you say I'm in, I hold to Reformation Theology, which is really Augustinian in basis, which is really Pauline Theology. I hold to the generally accepted hermeneutical methods of interpretation which is the grammatical-historical method, which is the method used for centuries, and I oppose the reader-response method of interpretation which is commonly used among Pentecostals and Charismatics.

    I'm just saying that what I see described in the scripture as miraculous events, specifically called "gifts of the Spirit" namely miraculous tongues and interpretation, I just don't see it happening. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, or it can't happen, or any such thing. I do believe in miracles, because I've seen them and heard testimonies from people who have received miracles, such as instantaneous healings. What I don't believe is that these things are commonplace. What I don't believe is that events (such as natural healings) which can be categorized as the Providence of God should be called miracles, because miracles are obvious events that are impossible from a natural standpoint. Miracles are events which show that a supernatural power was at work, such as an instantaneous healing from a terminal illness, or a blind person given sight, or parting of waters. Or even speaking in an unknown language (unknown to you), where someone actually understands what you are saying, or someone else speaking an unknown language, and you understand what it means as if they are speaking your native language. That is how I define miraculous events, and I just don't see that happening. What I see is people who are speaking psychological gibberish, and others trying to validate it with an "interpretation" that comes straight from their imagination. It reminds me of the words of Jeremiah "you have hewn out for yourselves broken cisterns that cannot hold water."

    I never said "it doesn't happen today" and never meant it (i.e. Biblical tongues and interpretation). I don't know whether it does or not. I'm simply saying that in 20 years and hundreds of times (possibly thousands?) I have never seen or heard a miraculous event of Biblical tongues and interpretation the way I am describing it here. I'm saying there is something wrong with the picture.
  18. Biblicist

    Biblicist Full Gospel believer

    Yes, we’re all correct in that the 120 were definitely empowered to speak words of praise to the Father in known human languages on the Day of Pentecost – we have full agreement on this!

    Acts 2 in relation to tongues:

    As for Acts 2 being the “only description of the gift of tongues in scripture”, this is nothing less than a complete travesty and in my opinion anyone who has spent a few moments looking through both Acts 2 and First Corinthians 12, 13 & 14 would reject such a notion outright, providing of course that they are prepared to upset their worldview in the process.

    In fact I have very little doubt that you also understand this though I can appreciate your reticence with admitting such which could be why you have chosen to employ a dose of misdirection. Your attempt to introduce either an intended or even an unintended element of misdirection into the situation is made more than obvious by how Acts 2 provides a mere three or maybe five verses out of a cluster of 13 on tongues compared to the 34 specific verses of 1Cor 12, 13 & 14, as per:

    NIV Acts 2:6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”​

    A complication exists with Peter’s address in Acts 2:14-36 as he does not specifically address tongues when he quotes Joel’s prophecy. An argument could be had for verse 17 in that Peter possibly deemed the ‘mighty acts of God’ as being prophetic language.

    If we were to remove the nonessential verses of 7 through 10 which merely relate to who were speaking and with the various languages that were being spoken, then we are then left with five primary verses;
    • Verse 4 shows that the Holy Spirit is the source of their empowerment (as per 1Cor 12:4,7,8,11;14:2,14-16).
    • Verse 6 which states that they heard the Galileans speaking in known human languages. (no similar situations uncounted within Paul’s writings).
    • Verse 11 which connects to 1Cor 14:2 where the words spoken by the Spirit are about the ‘mighty acts of God’ (1Cor 14:16-17).
    • Verse 12 which expresses their utter confusion as to what was happening around them (as per verse 6).
    • With verse 13 most commentators would not usually include it but I do as it does provide a probably link with how the crowd connected their perception of the behaviour and emotional state of the Galileans (as per verse 6).

    As for verse 6, even though we have no other similar accounts within the Scriptures where tongues were given in known human languages, we should not be surprised that the Holy Spirit has chosen to empower the 120 to speak in the native languages of the Diaspora Jews, as this would indicate to them that something special was occurring on the Feast of Pentecost, particularly as their attention was first acquired by the sound of the rushing wind in verse 3 and possibly also with how tongues of fire were descending upon the 120 back in verse 3. As the Holy Spirit was only given once to the Church then we should not expect to see the combination of tongues being given in human languages, the sound of a rushing wind and with tongues of fire falling upon all those who were present – it was a once off event that will never be repeated again.

    Verse 12 adds nothing to the primary discussion, other than tongues has absolutely no value for evangelisation and that there is also no value with employing tongues to speak to man in any manner or fashion, then that is it – two primary verses (verse 12 could possibly be included) comprising somewhere around 22 words.

    Contrary to populist opinion, when Peter provided the Churches first evangelistic address, where he quoted Joel 2, he did not make any direct reference to tongues which was also omitted by Joel.

    Now we can compare the five verses within Acts 2 (where only three directly relate to tongues) with First Corinthians, where Acts 2 provides us with the following information;

    1. Vs. 4 – The Holy Spirit is the source of our ability to pray in the Spirit (tongues)
    2. Vs. 6 – The Jews heard the Galileans speaking in their native tongues
    3. Vs. 11 – The content of what the Holy Spirit says in the public setting is about the ‘mighty acts of God’ which is what we would deem to be praise
    4. Vs. 12 – The crowd of uninitiated unbelievers (Old Covenant Jews) were confused by what they heard
    5. Vs. 13 – Some of the crowd presumed that the Galileans were drunk​

    First Corinthians in relation to tongues:
    • 1Cor 12 provides 9 verses – 12:4,7,10-11,28,30
    • 1Cor 13 provides 6 verses – 13:1,8-12
    • 1Cor 14 provides 19 verses – 14:2-5,6-12-19,20-23,26-28,39
    So, if my maths is correct we have the 3 (or maybe 5) verses of Acts 2 compared to the 34 verses of First Corinthians 12, 13 & 14. As much as Luke in Acts 2 informs us that the Holy Spirit is the agency of tongues and that the content of public tongues is with praise to the Father, then this is about all we know, though it is certainly helpful information as Luke’s historical record reflects Paul’s theology found within First Corinthians. Unlike Paul’s writings and with Luke’s other accounts of tongues within Acts, the tongues of Pentecost were understandably in known human languages whereas in First Corinthians they are given in an angelic/heavenly tongue.

    As with Acts, in First Corinthians we know that tongues are an activity of the Holy Spirit (12:4,7,10-11; 14:2,13-17,32). Furthermore we are told that they are always given within an angelic/heavenly tongue (13:1; 14:15-16) and that his words will always be directed toward the Father and never toward man (14:2,16). We are also told that within the congregational/public setting that the content of what the Spirit says to the Father is in praise (14:16-17).

    Unlike the tongues of Acts which appear to be group events which signify the giving of the Holy Spirit to various groups and not specifically to individuals, we find in First Corinthians a completely different scenario in that tongues or praying and praising God in the Spirit are both an individual ability/empowerment and something that is shared communally by the community of Saints.

    Unlike Acts, where Luke provides no guidelines for the use of tongues, which is reasonable as his writings are primarily historical and not a collection of theological treatises, we find in Corinthians that Paul provides not only a number of guidelines for the use of tongues within the community but he also compares uninterpreted tongues with the confusion that it creates amongst the unsaved and cessationists by comparing this with the unknown tongues of the invading Syrian army upon Jerusalem.

    Unlike Acts, Paul also prescribes the differences between prophecy and tongues and how they are to be employed within the congregation where Luke remains silent on these issues.

    Unlike Acts, Paul also places tongues within the cluster of 9 Manifestations of the Spirit (12:7-11) and he also tells us that tongues/interpretation is also one of the 8 Congregational Offices/functions (12:28).

    Unlike Acts, Paul also includes a warning to those who stand against what he has taught regarding the Person and Ministry of the Holy Spirit (14:37-40) and that these people are essentially cursed [if anyone does not recognise this he is not recognised] and Paul also warns against anyone forbidding the Holy Spirit to speak in tongues within the congregational meeting.


    As this was a complicated post I would not expect a reply but it was constructed in this manner for those who might want to save the article and ponder over it in the future. I will address your other points over the next few days - Merry Christmas!
  19. swordsman1

    swordsman1 Well-Known Member

    Then please show us exactly where this re-definition of tongues that you espouse is? Chapter and verse please.

    So the basis of your claim for a redefinition is the fact there are more verses on tongues in 1 Cor than Acts 2? Doh! Tell me, out of those 34 verses in 1 Cor 12-14, how many of them actually give us a detailed description of exactly what the gift actually is? I'll tell you - Zero. (unlike Acts 2).

    1 Cor 13:1 is no proof that tongues is an angelic language. Paul was speaking hypothetically in that verse as can be clearly seen from the 4 subsequent parallel statements (see my earlier post). In fact the very verse you champion is evidence that tongues is foreign human languages - in the clear context of spiritual gifts Paul said he spoke in the 'tongues (glossa) of men'.

    1 Cor 14:15-16 makes no mention of angels or heaven.

    Just because the tongues in Acts were spoken in public places and in 1 Cor were spoken in the churches doesn't mean they are two different phenomena.

    Just because Paul rebukes the Corinthians for their misuse of the gift doesn't mean it is a non-human language.

    I see you are still putting words into Paul's mouth by claiming he said "cessationists". That is another lie. Cessationists didn't exist in Paul's day as the miraculous and revelatory gifts were still in operation.

    For once you are quite right. Paul directly associates the foreign Assyrian tongues (glossa) with the Corinthian tongues (glossa). Clear evidence that Corinthian tongues were foreign languages.

    How does that make Corinthian tongues a non-human language?

    How does that make Corinthian tongues a non-human language?

    How does that make Corinthian tongues a non-human language?
  20. Biblicist

    Biblicist Full Gospel believer

    There’s probably very little value with trying to ignore the wealth of not only Pentecostal and charismatic commentary on this passage, along with those scholars and commentators who are what we deem to be experientially cessationist but as with many contemporary Evangelical scholars, these same individuals are at least open to Continuist theology where many are even essentially Continuist in their theology. What you are doing could be called “Ostrich theology”, where an individual attempts to hide his head amongst the deliberations of his own worldview while ignoring everything that exists around him.

    As to how you have limited a proper understanding of tongues to only “Pentecostal/charismatic teachers”, which is a fallacy that others can very easily adopt if they are not reasonably well read on the subject, I have therefore supplied quotes from seven well known theologians who are either cessationist or at least where they are experientially cessationist but their theology is open to Continuist thought. Later on I will be able to supply more similar quotes from other cessationist or quasi-cessationist theologians but at this point of time these are the only commentaries from such individuals that I own.

    It is important to note that various cessationist scholars will only make comment that even though the Corinthians were in their view incorrect with believing that the tongues they were speaking were angelic, they will still acknowledge that this is what Paul is suggesting that they believed. This is I suppose an interesting way to look at it but of course the point is that these cessationist scholars recongnised that this was Paul's intent.

    [Added] The quotes from each commentator are taken from within a broader context which is why page numbers have been provided and I may not even agree with some of the observations that each commentator has provided within the commentary I have supplied; but the point is not with any additional information that may be included but with how the cessationist or quasi-cessationist commentator has acknowledged that the wording of 1Cor 13:1 states or even suggests that Paul is referring to a form of angelic/heavenly language which the three following options show:

    The tongues of 1 Cor 13 - options that are suggested below
    1. Paul states that tongues are an Angelic/heavenly tongue.
    2. The Corinthians incorrectly believed that they were speaking in an Angelic tongue.
    3. The Greek text is not all that clear if it means known human languages or an angelic tongue.

    1 Corinthians, Alan F. Johnson, p.244 (2004)
    Paul’s first conditional thesis, If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels (v. 1), alludes to the manifestation of tongues inspired by the Spirit (12:10; 14:1-40). “Tongues of angels” may be the Corinthians’ term for some kinds of tongues manifestations, but that does not seem to be Paul’s view. In any case this obscure reference should not be made the focus of any theory or practice about “tongues,” as did Edward Irving in the early nineteenth century.​

    Keep in Step with the Spirit, J.I. Packer, pp.206-07 (1984)
    Some exegetes, with Charles Hodge, regard both the Pentecostal and the Corinthian tongues as a gift of languages (xenolalia, xenoglossia). Others, with Abraham Kuyper, regard both as the uttering of unintelligible sounds (which Kuyper guesses may have been the language we shall all speak in heaven), so that the Pentecostal miracle ("... we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God" [Acts 2:11]) was one of miraculous hearing rather than miraculous speaking (unless Kuyper's guess about heaven is right, in which case it was both). Of a piece with Kuyper's guess is the view, often met, that Paul saw Christian glossolalia as "tongues of angels" (1 Corinthians 13:1), angelic as distinct from human language. But while this, like so much else that is proposed in the discussion of 1 Corinthians 12-14, is not absolutely impossible, Paul's words in 13:1 are sufficiently explained as a rhetorical hyperbole meaning simply "no matter how wonderful a performance my glossolalia may be." Most, with Calvin, think the Pentecostal tongues were languages and the Corinthian tongues were not, but there is no unanimity. Each case is arguable, and Hoekema is right when he says, "It seems difficult, if not impossible, to make a final judgement on this matter."​

    1 Corinthians, Leon Morris p.175 (1985) See MY footnote to Morris’s use of hypothetical

    Paul begins with some hypothetical possibilities (and his use of the first person probably means that he is preaching to himself, too). The tongues of men and of angels almost certainly refers to the gift of ‘tongues’, but the expression is general enough to cover speech of any kind (cf. JB, ‘all the eloquence of men or of angels’). No language in earth or heaven is to be compared with the practice of love. See his previous commentary below for his views on tongues.

    The term hypothetical is not the same as a hyperbole. A hyperbole is intended (or presumed) exaggerated language which is used to emphasise a certain point, whereas hypothetical language will establish a set of conditional elements where something may only occur if something else comes into play. With Paul’s seven conditional elements in 1Cor 13:1 he says that unless he (or we) act in an correct attitude of love that whatever he does will be of no value to him. In this particular passage he does not say that the things he speaks of will be of no value, but merely that they will be of no personal value to him.

    1 Corinthians, Leon Morris pp.167-68 Commentary on tongues from 1 Cor 12:10

    The ability to speak in different kinds of tongues appears to have been a special form of speech when the person uttering the words did not know what they meant (unless he also had the gift of interpretation). Some have interpreted this from Acts 2, where ‘tongues’ seems to mean speaking in a foreign language. But it is difficult to see this here. Whereas in Acts 2 the characteristic is intelligibility (Acts 2:8-11), here the characteristic is unintelligibility (‘no-one understands him’, 14:2). The gift here is not part of the church’s evangelistic programme (as in Acts 2), but one exercised among believers. It is not understood by people who speak other languages, but requires a special gift of interpretation. Without that gift of interpretation, the speaker in tongues is to speak ‘to himself and God’ (14:28), which is a strange way to treat one of the world’s recognized languages. The gift was not one whereby people might be more readily understood by others, but one in which they did not even understand themselves. Utterances in no known language, but under the influence of the Spirit, seems to be Paul’s meaning. The interpretation of tongues is added as the gift that makes the gift of tongues intelligible.​

    The Message of 1 Corinthians, David Prior, p.228 (1985)
    Equally offensive, maintains Paul, are those who use the gift of speaking in tongues without the controlling motive of love. It does not matter whether the tongues are human languages (as they sometimes seem to be) or even ‘the language of heaven’ (which some people rather tendentiously assume): if there is no love they come across as unattractive and boorish.6 Some Christians with this particular gift insensitively impose it on others in the congregation; with considerable self-indulgence rather than a deep desire to build up the church, such people override the feelings of those who are either unaccustomed or unsympathetic to this gift.​

    1 Corinthians, Paul Barnett, p.243 (2004)
    The first ‘gift’ is ‘speaking with the tongues of men and angels’ (verse 1). It must be admitted immediately that we can only speculate as to the meaning here. Most likely such ‘speech’ was ecstatic, and believed to be the dialect of the angels in heaven. Paul’s inclusion of ‘tongues-speaking’ as one of the ‘gifts’, even if the last on his list (see on 12:28) together with this rather exalted description, serves to confirm it among the approved ministries within the church.​

    1 Corinthians, Simon J. Kistemaker, pp.452-53 (1993)
    a. “If I speak in the tongues of men, even those of angels.” With this conditional statement, Paul indicates that he himself does not engage in tongue-speaking in public worship (14:19). He appears to be saying, “Suppose that I as the Lord’s apostle have the highest possible gift of tongues, those that men use, and those even that angels use—how you Corinthians would admire, even envy me and desire to have an equal gift!”2

    The word tongues can be understood to mean known languages; but in context it appears to mean tongue-speech, which some Corinthians regarded as heavenly speech. We do not know what supernatural language angels speak (compare II Cor. 12:4; Rev. 14:1—3) or whether angels are able to understand human speech.3 Conversely, angels communicate with people in human terms that are frequently recorded in both the Old and New Testaments.​

    1 Corinthians, Alan F. Johnson, pp.243-44 (2004)
    Paul’s first conditional thesis, If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels (v. 1), alludes to the manifestation of tongues inspired by the Spirit (12:10; 14:1-40). “Tongues of angels” may be the Corinthians’ term for some kinds of tongues manifestations, but that does not seem to be Paul’s view. In any case this obscure reference should not be made the focus of any theory or practice about “tongues,” as did Edward Irving in the early nineteenth century. Irving’s theory was that foreign language tongues that were unknown to the speaker were the “tongues of men,” while those utterances that could not be paralleled in any known human language were the “tongues of angels” (Knox 1950:552-53).

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    I will follow through with the second part of your post which spoke of Paul's seven conditional statements in 1Cor 13:1-3 as soon as possible.

    Edit: An extra paragraph was added into the beginning of the post and some information that was missed with the commentary by Leon Morris has now been thankfully included.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016