I have recently made many changes in my life, especially regarding my faith. I have been eagerly reading my Bible, finding all kinds of things that I had forgotten about and things that I did not know before. I have also recently moved to a new community and am attending a much more charismatic church. I know that it sounds as though I am rambling on but I come from what could be described as a more conservative church background than what I am currently enjoying. However I have noticed that the occurrence of “speaking in tongues” is very frequent among those people I consider friends. My question is this: I have read Paul’s chastisement of the Corinthian church, and have a tough time seeing how anyone could honestly use this passage as a justification for “speaking in tongues”. Am I wrong to think that tongues was a device used by God in the Acts church to being the Gentiles into the fold ( or those who did not speak Greek or Hebrew ) and used these foreign languages that had never been studied by those who were given this gift and that this gift is not even for today? (sorry for the run-on sentence) It doesn’t seem to make sense to me. I don’t want to judge, but if what I am standing on is the truth of God in God’s word then I must show them this. I am slightly intimidated with the task that I feel I must do. Thanks for listening.
You are correct in questioning what is taking place before your eyes. Noble Christians check out everything in the Word of God. Acts 17:11 says, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” We must remember that our emotions can easily be carried away with the excitement and enthusiasm of certain people, but the noble Christian does not live by “feeling,” but by “faith.” II Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Where is the only place in the world to get faith? Only from the Bible, the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
You are correct in bringing up the question of whether tongues were used in the Bible to bring Gentiles into the fold, because that is a very important consideration. The fact is, that tongues were never used in the Book of Acts to reach Gentiles — but Jews.
Notice very carefully Acts chapter 2, verses 5-11, “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem JEWS, devout men, OUT OF EVERY NATION out under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that EVERY MAN HEARD THEM SPEAK IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man IN OUR OWN TONGUE, WHEREIN WE WERE BORN? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, WE DO HEAR THEM SPEAK IN OUR TONGUES the wonderful works of God.”
Please notice that THESE PEOPLE WERE JEWS. Remember, the Jews had been scattered all abroad into different nations. Many of them had been born in other countries, and had been raised with other languages, other than Hebrew. Look above at the list of those nations where they had been born, and whose languages under which they had been raised.
This is the true teaching of the Bible, that the gift of tongues was a sign gift to reach the Jews with the gospel — never the Gentiles. I Corinthians 1:22 says, “For THE JEWS REQUIRE A SIGN, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.” The Greeks did not seek signs, but wisdom. They were not convinced by miracles, but by reasoning.
The gift of tongues was not used by true believers before the day of Pentecost, and the gift quickly passed off the scene with the completion of the Bible (a study of church history clearly shows that fact). I Corinthians 13:8-10 says, “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; WHETHER THERE BE TONGUES, THEY SHALL CEASE; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
The modern day Charismatic Movement and its gift of tongues is totally unscriptural. Today’s Charismatic looks at the gift of tongues as “a sign of other true believers.” In other words, they may question your salvation, and will certainly question whether you are filled with the Holy Spirit, unless you have spoken in tongues. SO TO THE CHARISMATIC, TONGUES ARE FOR A SIGN TO SHOW THEM WHO ARE THE OTHER “SPIRIT-FILLED BELIEVERS.”
THAT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES about the gift of tongues. I Corinthians 14:22 says, “Wherefore TONGUES ARE FOR A SIGN, NOT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE, BUT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE NOT.” The gift of tongues was never given to show believers which people out there are really saved and Spirit-filled, and which are not. It was a sign given to convict Jews that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that they had better repent and believe the gospel.
Paul rebukes the Corinthians in the their misuse of the gift of tongues. Gentiles do not respond to signs like Jews, and so Paul wrote, “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, WILL THEY NOT SAY THAT YE ARE MAD? The Gentiles are going to think that people speaking in tongues are crazy and out of their minds. That is why Paul wrote in I Corinthians 14:18,19, “Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.”
Beware of the modern day Tongues and Charismatic Movement. They de-emphasize Bible doctrine, and build upon signs and wonders. The Bible warns us in Matthew 12:39,40, “But he answered and said unto them, AN EVIL AND ADULTEROUS GENERATION SEEKETH AFTER A SIGN; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” What was Jesus saying? He was saying that no true sign from God would be given, but the sign of the prophet Jonah — which simply pictured the gospel — Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Remember, we walk by “faith,” not by “signs” (sight).
The Tongues Movement is the “glue” of the Ecumenical Movement, which is preparing the way for the end-time, one world, false church which the antichrist will use. More and more, it does not matter to people “what, exactly you believe,” but “what sign you can produce.” That is setting the stage for the antichrist to come along, because II Thessalonians 2:7-9 says, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is AFTER THE WORKING OF SATAN WITH ALL POWER AND SIGNS AND LYING WONDERS.”
But how can you say that the Charismatic/Tongues Movement of today is of the devil, when they constantly use the name “Jesus” and “Lord,” not the “devil?” Listen closely to Matthew 7:21-23, “NOT EVERY ONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME, LORD, LORD, SHALL ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not PROPHESIED in thy name? and in thy name have CAST OUT DEVILS? and in thy name done many WONDERFUL WORKS? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: DEPART FROM ME, ye that work iniquity.”
The Charismatic Movement emphasizes these exact three things. Notice also that “many” are going to make this plea with God, that they have done all of these things in the Lord’s name. But the Lord is going to say, “I never knew you: depart from me…” They are going to be lost, and cast into hell. Why? Because all along they were really following “signs” — not the “Savior.” They were following their emotions — not the eternal, unchanging Word of God.
Now you need to ask yourself a very serious question. You stated, “I have also recently moved to a new community and am attending a much more charismatic church. I know that it sounds as though I am rambling on, but I come from what could be described as a more conservative church background than what I am currently enjoying.” How can you be “enjoying” sitting in a church atmosphere that is unscriptural? Are you following your emotions for a “good time?” Or are you really willing to take a stand upon the Word of God? You need to find a good Bible-preaching church where the Word of God is “preached,” and “practiced.”