I do not Speak in Tongues

This is what I told a friend of mine during a Facebook chat.  You see, my friend is one of those Pentecostals who believe that every believer should speak in tongues by virtue of the indwelling Spirit.  My friend even quoted 1 Corinthians 14:5, “Now I want you all to speak in tongues.”

We quickly got into matters of interpretation of Scripture.  My friend even appealed to Acts 2:38, “the gift of the Holy Spirit,” to prove his point.  At first, I thought he was pointing me to the wrong Scripture reference, because I had never seen that use of Acts 2:38 before to prove that every Christian should speak in tongues.

At the end of the chat I was left frustrated and confused.  I believe my Pentecostal friend noticed this in me.  I’m usually calm and collected.  But my friend’s use of Scripture to prove his point was simply too much.

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12 Responses to I do not Speak in Tongues

  1. DaveJ says:

    1Cor12:12-30 and if necessary repeat verse 30, with 1 Cor14:19 as a follow up

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  2. Jon Hughes says:

    Acts 2 is known languages! People often overlook that…

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  3. Todd Beal says:

    Thank you for this, TC.

    I have never spoken in tongues and so do not present here a predisposed agenda.

    It might repulse you, the reader, to even think of receiving the gift of speaking in spiritual tongues, but whether you agree or disagree with Paul’s letters to the Churches – Paul’s Spirit-led outlining of the proper conduct for speaking in spiritual tongues (a Spiritual prayer language, not just God’s gift of speaking other human languages as what happened at Pentecost) – your personal stance does not change the fact that Paul himself said HE spoke in Spiritual tongues more than any other person within the Church entity under his charge.

    Do not confuse your disdain for ‘anything out of the ordinary’ (what you were taught by humans) with what scripture teaches. Scripture teaches, through Paul, the spiritual gift of two types of tongues – two types of linguistic-based Spiritual utterance and understanding: Holy Spirit-compelled linguistic communication with God (where, even as we pray, we do not naturally understand the words we are saying); and the Spiritual gift of speaking and understanding a non-native earthly human language (that is, spontaneously speaking, with no foreknowledge, some other non-learned human language so that others will, in their native tongue, understand God’s truth to them through you/me).

    1 Corinthians 13:1 [NASB] 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. [Two types of ‘tongues’: human language and Angelic language]

    Acts 19:1-7 [NASB] It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men.

    * Paul was already speaking to these men in a human language both they and he understood. There is no natural language barrier here, so the argument of tongues strictly belonging to a spoken human language is asinine, scripturally baseless. When Paul laid hands on these disciples, they immediately received the power of the Holy Spirit and began speaking in the Spiritual language of Angels.

    Prophecy a Superior Gift

    To all of you who were taught to speak in tongues as par for the Christian course, consider the following stipulation from Paul:

    1 Corinthians 14:1-19 [NASB]
    Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one[a]understands, but [b]in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying./p>

    6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? 7 Yet even lifeless things, either flute or harp, in producing a sound, if they do not produce a distinction in the tones, how will it be known what is played on the flute or on the harp? 8 For if the [c]bugle produces an indistinct sound, who will prepare himself for battle? 9 So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of [d]languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. 11 If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a [e]barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a [f]barbarian [g]to me. 12 So also you, since you are zealous of [h]spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church.
    13 Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. 16 Otherwise if you bless[i]in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the[j]ungifted say the “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. 18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; 19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue.

    Read the scripture – read the scripture – read the scripture!

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  4. TC says:

    Jon, good point in the overall argument.

    Todd, neat outline of these matters. So you equate Spirit prayer language and tongues of angels as what it means to speak in tongues? I see.

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  5. Colin says:

    I think it is a “Wimberism” though I heard it from Bp David Pytches years ago. All may, some do, none must. And I offer that as one who does. Having received this gift from the Holy Spirit I am in no way superior or somehow first class. Neither come to that am I second class because some “get along perfectly well without it”. In my case I use it privately sometimes and also on occaisions when praying with someone in after service prayer ministry.

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  6. Pingback: Well, Dr. Black, I’ll Tell You What I Think | Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

  7. Pentecostals would say that they speak in known languages just not known to the one speaking or even perhaps to you listening. I know of one Pentecostal missionary who told me about being in a church in Asia and hearing someone praying in perfect English. He tried to communicate with them but they did not understand him. Confused he asked them in their tongue if they spoke in English and the person said they did not know English. He realized they were praying in “tongues” which in this case was English.

    However, it sounds as if your FB friend is a oneness Pentecostal. I have never known a Trinitarian Pentecostal to appeal to Acts 2:38 to teach that all should speak in tongues.

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    • TC says:

      It sure does sound like he’s a Oneness Pentecostal (I’ll have to confirm such). A Nazarene pastor friend of mine shared a similar story about such interpretation while he was in Brazil a few years ago. I have no reason to doubt him.

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  8. TC says:

    Yes, God is sovereign.

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