I remember when I was younger my cousin and I decided to make up our own language and alphabet. We thought it was great. We could talk to each other in front of people and they wouldn't have a clue what we were saying. I continue to talk in front of people who have no clue what I'm talking about, but now I call that preaching. I often get my tongue wrapped around my eye tooth and I can't see what I'm saying. Speaking of my "tongue", I recently sent an email to a person I hope to friends with for a long time in a response to a question about tongues. I would like to share that with you or at least some of it. Also, I would like to say I appreciate and respect any comment or question I get. Thank you!!
Today's religious world makes a big deal of speaking in tongues. Many use this as a sign of salvation. Some say it has redemptive purposes. Most claim speaking in tongues will remain until Christ returns. The question is, "Does the Bible say that?" We shall see...
It's first important to understand where Pentecostalism got its start. It can be traced back to John Wesley's "perfect love" teachings. He taught that after a conversion a Christian must have an experience. It was a sign of sanctification. Then a man named Charles Finney, agreat revival speaker, took the perfect love teaching and modified it a bit. He began to teach that the "after conversion experience" was nothing more than the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Later a man named Charles Parham, founder of Bethany Bible College and often called the father of the modern Pentecostal movement, had his students seek the baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues as its evidence. Parham moves to Texas and starts another Bible school where he taught a man named W.J. Seymour. Seymour ends up in LA and begins to preach. He speaks in houses and churches when he had the chance. Then he gets a former Methodist church located at 312 Azuza Street. There the "Azuza Street Mission" was born and lasted three years. Soon we Assemblies of God congregations organizing. Pentecostals believe the baptism of the Holy Spirit is where the Spirit does all the acting, like speaking in tongues, and this is where a person becomes a Christian. Does our Bible say that? Not really, it says there is only one baptism in Eph 4. Baptism of the Holy Spirit was NOT redemptive!! Here are some passage that are often involved with speaking in tongues
Mt 3:5-12- This is the first time we see the baptism of the Holy Spirit mentioned. This is no way referring to spiritual gifts or speaking in tongues. This is saying Christ will baptize everybody whether it will be with the Holy Spirit, which we receive in our baptism, or of fire, which is for those who have not the Spirit! It is referring more to judgment.
Mk 16:17- It is very important we keep the Bible in context. People pull this verse out and feel they have proved their point. Who is addressed here in this verse? Is it the entire world or the 11 apostles? THE APOSTLES. Go back to verse 14 and you see Jesus rebuking them for nothing other than their unbelief of those who witnessed to them about the risen Lord. Jesus then gives them the Great Commission and tells them they sign that they will see, if they believe, will be these gifts. If I am correct the apostles did have these gifts.
Acts 2:1-11- This is where we see the first occurrence of speaking in tongues in the Bible. We know this was the gathering of Jews from all over the world.(v5) So we see that people from all over the world tell us what speaking in tongues exactly is in vv7,8. It is speaking in human languages that are understandable. Today people usually do not claim to speak in understandable tongues.
Acts 8:14-19- There is no direct reference to speaking in tongues here, but since it says they received "spiritual gifts" from the laying on of hands I better mention it. This "gift" was imparted by the laying on of hands from an apostle. This happens a few times. I often ask those who claim to have the gift of tongues, "Which apostle laid their hands on you to receive such a gift?" Also, these verses show that not every Christian received spiritual gifts... Simon didn't!!!
Acts 10:44-48- This is a similar situation to Acts 2. These two instances of the baptisms of the Holy Spirit are in no way redemptive. They are a miraculous signs that are revealing new truths. In Acts 2 we see the revealing of the New Testament Church and it being entered into by immersion. (Acts 2:37-47) In Acts 10 we see the revealing of the truth that gentils are now welcomed into this New Testament Church. Miracles and signs in the Bible are not to a person is redeemed. They are to reaveal a new truth or to show the authority of the person doing the signs and miracles. Those who claim to be speaking in tongues got it all twisted.
Acts 19:1-6 John the Immerser's disciples are taught about Jesus by Paul. He baptizes them and lays his hands on them. Again, we see some one other than an apostle or Acts 10 must have hands laid on them to receive any spiritual gifts.
Outside of Acts we only read of speaking in tongues in 1Co 12-14
1Co 13:8-13 I will try to be brief as this post is getting very lengthy. First, you see the words "done away" in vv8, 11. In the Greek this word carries the connotation of being done away in order to be replaced with something better. You may do away with your old home in order to build a mansion. So Paul says prophecy and knowledge will be done away until the "perfect" comes. That will be discussed in a minute. What does Paul say about tongues? He says they will "cease." That word in the Greek means a full stoppage; to cease and desist. The apostle Paul said prophecy and knowledge will be replaced but the tongues will completely stop!!
Now, about the word "perfect." Many people try to say that is Jesus. They say tongues existed after Jesus so this scripture is just wrong. Understand this there are 3 genders in the Greek language and they are male, female, and neuter. The word "perfect" is in the neuter which means the word perfect is describing a thing or an it. It can also mean complete. Take out perfect of the verse and install the word complete and you will see that some claim this is referring to the second advent. They say when the time is "complete" for His return, but would the apostle really call Jesus an it? NO!! The perfect or complete is referring to the written New Testament.
1Co 14- We see here that the apostle is basically teaching that prophecy and knowledge will go away but return in a better form, the written word. Tongues will cease to exist and in chapter 14, specifically verse 22, he explains why. He says tongues were just a sign to unbelievers. There is no longer a need for tongues with God's written word. He said prophecy and knowledge is need for the believers and that's why they were replaced into a greater thing, the written word.
The "speaking in tongues" we see today are very different from the "speaking in tongues" we just learned about. Today a lot of people claim to have this gift of speaking in heavenly tongues that are not understandable by man. Pentecostal Preachers, Voodoo Priests, and Devil Worshipers all claim to still posses the gift of tongues. They are sincere in what they believe, but they are sincerely wrong. Saul of Tarsus was sincerely killing Christians and he was sincerely wrong too! The bible clearly states that tongues have ceased and I believe the infallible Word of God!
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
Hear The Word- Rom 10:17; Acts 4:4
We Must Believe or Have Faith- Heb 11:6; Acts 16:31
We Must Repent- Lk 13:3; Acts 17:30
We Must Confess Christ Before Others- Mt 10:32; Acts 8:37
We Must Be Immersed Into Christ (Baptized)- 1Pe 3:21; Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38
We Must Remain Faithful- Rev 2:10; Acts 14:22