• The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19).
  • Tuesday, 12 March 2013

    GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT- Speaking in Tongues

    PDF Print E-mail

    Spirit and His presence and work within the Believer.
    The subject of speaking in tongues must be considered in light of the much larger subject of the Holy The Holy Spirit, of course, is God the Spirit, working in harmony with God the Father and God the Son- all Three in One, the Triune God. The Father is over all, the Son is ruling the world from Heaven above while the Spirit is living and working within our hearts. [We recognize this is metaphoric language]

    The "Baptism of the Spirit" refers to the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in the heart of the Believer upon [his] confession of faith in Christ. This means every single Believer has received the Spirit. There is not one Christian who does not have the Spirit within. Rom 5:5, 8:9; Gal 3:26, 4:4:6 cf Acts 2:38. John 7:39 teaches that all who believe in Jesus receive the Spirit. No exceptions. A major confusion at this point is failure to recognize that the Spirit came to permanently dwell within all Believers (the Church) for the first time at Pentecost. That was an historic event, never to be repeated. The Spirit has been in the Church ever since. Upon coming to faith and being Baptized a sinner is immersed into the Church and thus into the Spirit. See 1 Cor. 12:13. [It could be said that every conversion is the moment of personal Pentecost]. The Baptism in this text is the Sacrament- water Baptism, as it is in Gal 3:26 and Titus 3:4-6. It is not an additional "Spirit Baptism" sometime after the Water Baptism or Conversion. [Note: the Catholic idea that Confirmation completes Baptism is not Scriptural or good practice. Thus the ancient practice, now being recovered, was to combine the Baptism of Adults with Confirmation. See Acts 8:36-37 KJV cf. Eph. 5:26]

    Confusion also comes from failure to distinguish the "Baptism of” or “in the Spirit" from the lifelong necessity for a frequent or continuous "filling of the Spirit". See Eph. 5:18. "Filling" as the text suggests means "control". Notice the context: the filling or control of the Spirit is essential to corporate Worship, Church Life and even Marriage. Baptism of the Spirit as Conversion and entrance into the Church (Acts 2:41) is the beginning of the Christian life. Continuous or frequent filling of the Spirit is essential to the life-long living of that Life!
    There are at least 23 Gifts (Charismata) of the Spirit mentioned in Scripture
    The topic of speaking in Tongues must also be interpreted in the light of the fact that it (properly called in Greek, "glossolalia", is only one of at least 23 Gifts of the Spirit (Greek: charismata). See Romans 12:5-6; 1 Cor.12:8-11, 27-31; Ephesians 4:8-11. All 23 are supernatural gifts of God. Neither the Holy Spirit nor the Gifts of the Spirit are objects or things. (Silly as that sounds, that is often the way Christians talk of them). The Gifts are each and all to be understood as spiritual enablement given by the Spirit for various Ministries. They are all to be desired and used. See 1 Cor 12:31; 14:1, 12. They are all essential to the life of the church. They are all given (or removed) by the Spirit as He wills. See 1 Cor 12:4 and 11. None of them is earned or learned- they are Gifts! Although, we are responsible to discover and use whatever enablement(s) God the Spirit has given us in Ministry.
    Church Planting (Apostles), Pastoring, Evangelizing, Discernment, Exhortation, Teaching, Leading, Administration, Mercy, Giving, Hospitality, Helping (Supporting), wisdom, knowledge, faith [day-by-day faith in God's provision], Miracles (plural), Healings (plural) Prophecy, Tongues and Interpretation of Tongues, Music, the Arts- even Celibacy is a gift.
    Every Believer has at least one spiritual gift, but not all Believers have the same gift(s). See 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Cor. 12:4-11, 14-27,29-30; Rom 12:4-6 The emphasis in the New Testament is not on speaking in tongues. Paul specifically said the Gift of Prophecy was far more important than Speaking in Tongues. See 1 Cor. 14:1-5. In light of that, why don't Pastors and others who push Tongues, not promote Prophecy more? I do not have the Gift of Tongues. There were two periods in my life when I pursued the Gift under the influence of certain Pastors and books. The hook is the promise of “going deeped” or receiving "something more" (the title of one of those books). Nothing happened in the pursuit and I finally came to realize I have all of the Spirit I need. The real Question is: Does He have all of me? I am complete in Christ as is. Am I living up to this reality? This is true of every single Christian. We do not have to go to meetings seeking something more. Most Evangelical Believers do not speak in tongues. Very few of the Bible Teachers, Pastors and Missionaries I have known throughout my life have had the Gift of Glossolalia. But they have been Spirit-filled; mature Christians with many other gifts and rich Ministries without speaking in tongues. To insist or teach that these are not “anointed” is both slanderous and untrue. The emphasis in the Bible, by far, is on the non-miraculous gifts. I have been privileged to be given several of them. No one of the listed 23 Gifts-none of them-is a sign of spiritual maturity. And Paul is emphatic, even if we have all of the Gifts, without love the gifts are of no value. Read 1 Cor. 13! We must keep the Balance here and do justice to all the Gifts- not specialize on one, especially not on Tongues.
    The Primary purpose of all the Gifts together is to edify or build up the Church. See 1 Cor. 12:7; 14:4-5,12,26; Eph. 4:12; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Cor. 13:1-14:1 The Spirit indwells the Body and these are the various ways He makes Himself known in us and does his work through us.
    For some reason the gift of Tongues, unlike any other, attracts the most interest and I will try to give an overview of it here. It is very controversial and, in my painful experience, it is very divisive whenever it is introduced into a church which has not been charismatic. It becomes a source of great spiritual pride and boasting among some who have it and invariably introduces a two-class church: those who speak in tongues and those who do not. The former Beliers tend to consider themselves more spiritual than those who do not have this gift. Sometimes the impression is given by the Speakers in Tongues that they are the only true Believers in the congregation, offending all others.
    Paul spoke in Tongues and personally wished all Believers would; but glossolalia is not commanded or expected of all Believers. Not all Believers in the New Testament spoke in tongues and that was ok. Primarily the Gift of Speaking in Tongues is given by the Spirit to enable or empower Believers to witness or to do evangelism. Acts 1:8. The immediate reference, in this particular and misused verse, is to the facility to speak in known "foreign languages", e.g. - German or Spanish, for preaching or witnessing to the Gospel in Missions. Speaking the unknown, nonsensical language or Glossolalia with Interpretation (that is important) is equivalent to Prophecy or Preaching for Evangelism. The evidence that a Believer or a Church has this Gift of tongues would be vibrant outreach and conversion growth.
    "Glossolalia" is constructed from the Greek word γλωσσολαλία, itself a compound of the words γλῶσσα (glossa = glow'-suh), meaning "tongue" or "language" and λαλέω (laleō), "To speak, talk, chat, prattle, or to make a sound".
    "In 1972, William J. Samarin, a linguist from the University of Toronto, {and a member of the Baptist Church that ordained me to Ministry] published a thorough assessment of Pentecostal glossolalia that became a classic work on its linguistic characteristics. His assessment was based on a large sample of glossolalia recorded in public and private Christian meetings in Italy, Holland, Jamaica, Canada and the USA over the course of five years. On the basis of his linguistic analysis, Samarin defined Pentecostal glossolalia as 'meaningless but phonologically structured human utterance, believed by the speaker to be a real language but bearing no systematic resemblance to any natural language, living or dead'".
    Source: Wikipedia

    Other Religions
    Felicitas Goodman studied a number of Pentecostal communities in the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico; these included English, Spanish and Mayan speaking groups. She compared what she found with recordings of non-Christian rituals from Africa, Borneo, Indonesia and Japan. Far from proving Salvation of spiritual maturity in Christ, Goodman concluded that there was no distinction between what was practiced by Pentecostal Protestants and the followers of other religions.
    Cults, e.g. Mormons and The Way International practice speaking in Tongues but are not Christian. The latter denies the doctrine of Trinity, the deity of Jesus, the person-hood and deity of the Holy Spirit, and salvation by grace. Spiritists, Hindus and followers of Voodoo religion of Haiti all practice "Speaking in Tongues”. This kind ecstatic utterance may indeed be "learned". It is certainly not of God. I am not in any way suggestion that Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians are not true Christians. I am saying this material suggestions caution about the origin and nature of "speaking in tongues". It is assumed that what is spoken by Pentecostals and Charismatics today is really the same as what was spoken by Believers in Corinth 2000 years ago. That is an unproven assumption. Just speaking in Tongues does not in itself prove the experience is truly of the Holy Spirit. It could be the same thing members of some Cults and non-Christians do, which of course is not of the Spirit.
    Other than on the Day of Pentecost and 2 or 3 times in the Book of Acts, "Speaking in Tongues" appears in the New Testament only in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. That is all and that in itself should be cautionary as the troubled Corinthian church was very divided and far from mature.
    GLOSSOLALIA- from Vine's Expository Dictionary
    "Glossolalia is mentioned as happening in the gatherings of local churches. 1 Cor 12:10 speaks of the gift in general terms, and couples with it that of "the interpretation of tongues;" chap. 14 gives instruction concerning the use of the gift, the paramount object being the edification of the church; unless the "tongue" was interpreted the speaker would speak "not unto men, but unto God," 1Cor 14:2; he would edify himself alone, 1 Cor 14:4, unless he interpreted, 1 Cor 14:5, in which case his interpretation would be of the same value as the superior gift of prophesying, as he would edify the church, 1Cor 14:4-6; he must pray that he may interpret, 1 Cor 14:13; if there were no interpreter, he must keep silence, 1 Cor 14:28, for all things were to be done "unto edifying," 1 Cor 14:26. "If I come . . . speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you," says the Apostle (expressing the great object in all oral ministry), "unless I speak to you either by way of revelation, or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching?" (1Cor 14:6).
    In the letter to the troubled church in Corinth, Paul commands, "Do not forbid to speak in tongues" (1 Cor 14:39), while warning them that "all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner. He discourages simultaneous speaking in tongues directed at people rather than God, lest unbelievers should think that the assembled believers were "mad" (1 Cor. 14:23, 27). Tongues, says Paul, is speaking to God, rather than men ("in the Spirit he speaks mysteries" (1 Cor 14:2)). Paul does claim that speaking in tongues edifies the person speaking (1 Cor 14:4), although it is the action of a praying speaker's spirit (as opposed his or her understanding, see 1 Cor 14:14) which the speaker is to control. Praying in tongues serves both to bless God as well as to give thanks (1 Cor 14:16-17). However, Paul also gave instructions that, unless there was an interpreter present, the speaker should "keep quiet in the church", and speak only to himself and to God (1 Cor 14:27-28)."
    Private Prayer Language
    It seems that the keenest interest in Tongues is for its personal use as a private prayer language. We are told not to forbid speaking in Tongues (1 Cor 14:39). We must admit the possibility of this private use of prayer use. However, speaking in tongues in the Assembly is not for private use. All oral speaking in public during the Meeting must be for the edification of the entire body present. Speaking in Tongues out loud while sitting or standing as though no one else can hear is simply a self-serving denial of what Paul says about this practice. People who think they have the right to pray orally but privately in English during a Service, are guilty of the same thing. It is inconsiderate distraction. Doing this has the same effect as those who have private, but oral conversations on cell phones during the Service. It is rude. Speaking in tongues openly, in the Service are forbidden, period, unless it is accompanied by Interpretation, which would then turn the ecstatic language into a public Sermon or Teaching everyone can understand. If a person must talk with God or anyone else privately but orally during church they must take it outside- out of the hearing of everyone else who is focused on what is happening in the Service itself.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment