Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Unless you speak in tongues you do not have the Holy Spirit

“The simpleton believes every word he hears, but the prudent man looks and considers well where he is going.” (Proverbs 14:15 Amplified Bible)

If it is true the Holy Scriptures are able to make us, the believer, perfect and furnished unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:17), then it is to the Bible and the Bible alone we need to look to answer the question, “Unless you speak in tongues you do not have the Holy Spirit.” Experiences we may have, experiences we hear from others, experiences we witness, should be tested against and by the Word of the living God.

Two texts of Scripture, Acts 2:4, 10:44-46, do point to events in which speaking in tongues did accompany the activity of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:4 – The Apostles are filled by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel in other known languages so that the salvation message could be understood by others.

Acts 10:44-47 – Another event to demonstrate to the Jewish believers that the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon even the Gentile believers. Later in Acts 15:7-11, Peter points to this event as proof of Gentiles’ salvation.

Both passages are in accord with the Isaiah 28:11 prophecy, the purpose of tongues, which Paul quotes in I Corinthians 14:21,22, that tongues are for sign.

“In the Law it is written: "Through men of strange 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; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.” (1 Corinthians 14:20-22 New International Version)

Tongues therefore were “…a sign to unbelievers, who are moved when they hear the gospel spoken in their tongue by men who have never learned it and do not understand it.” (See People’s New Testament Commentary: I Corinthians 14:20-22.)

The Apostle Paul outlines in Ephesians 1:13 that there is no period of time after receiving Christ that the believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit but rather a Scriptural order that occurs at salvation: 1) Included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; 2) Having believed; 3) You were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

When a man or woman is brought to faith in Christ, he or she is sealed in Christ with the promised Holy Spirit.

Paul, speaking to believers, says those in Christ are not under the control of the sinful flesh but by the Holy Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in us. If, he goes on, anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ (here equating the Spirit of God with the Spirit of Christ) then he does not belong to Christ. (See Romans 8:9-11)

Redemption and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are linked as one in the same in Ephesians 4:30 with the outcome of this redemption and indwelling being the putting off of bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, every form of malice. And, putting on kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Notice that these moral attributes (fruit of the Spirit) and not speaking in tongues are the outcome of Redemption and the Spirit’s Indwelling.

This error, “Unless you speak in tongues you do not have the Holy Spirit,” began when the “Holiness Movement” originated their “Second Work of Grace” (or Second Definite Work of Grace) doctrine. With many subsequent variations, the theology went like this:

Though Christ was sufficient for salvation, you will need the baptism of the Holy Spirit, evidenced by the speaking in tongues, to have the “full gospel.” In other words, what Christ did at the Cross of Calvary was not sufficient enough requiring something “more,” which they called “the baptism of the Spirit.” Depending on which version you read, it was also called “the Spirit’s infilling.” Regardless of what you called it, “the baptism or infilling of the Spirit,” the doctrine taught that sometime after you received Christ, you had to seek this “second work of Grace” evidenced by the speaking in tongues.

If the gift of tongues, when it appeared in the first century, was a sign of judgment to the unbelieving Jewish nation as predicted in Isaiah 28:11, then when that nation ended (70 A.D.), the speaking in tongues would have ended. Its purpose would be done with. Therefore, tongues, the actual Biblical gift, and its association with the filling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) would not be seen today.

And, is it not another gospel to say that what Christ did on the Cross was not quite enough, that there is something more to seek, to be had, to want? To say there is a “second work of Grace” is essentially saying we are not complete in Christ to which the Bible clearly responds we are in Christ complete. (Col. 2:10)

There are even more grave issues about the modern tongues movement that one needs to consider.

"Dr. John Kildahl, a psychotherapist, conducted a ten-year, in-depth study of modern day tongue-speaking. The importance of the leader was well illustrated by the fact that the style of glossolalia adapted by the group bore a close resemblance to the way in which the leader spoke. A linguist engaged in glossolalia research found that prominent visiting speakers affected whole groups of glossolalists. Although no two tongue-speakers sounded exactly alike, if the prominent leader spoke in a kind of Old Testament Hebraic style, those who were taught by him also spoke in this manner. If the leader of the group evidenced Spanish diction and mannerism, his followers also developed that style. It is not uncommon for linguists to be able to tell which prominent itinerant glossolalist has introduced a congregation to tongue-speaking. Relatively few men and women travel the tongue-speaking circuit. The glossolalist styles of Bennett, Bredesen, Christenson, du Plessis, Mjorud, and Stone are distinctive enough to be identifiable by observant linguists. Kildahl, The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues, (Harper & Row) 1972, pg. 53." (SOURCE)

Testing what is being passed off as tongues speaking needs to happen. They, the tongues proponents, would have us accept their tongues experience as "gospel" based solely on their word.

"Listen to the experiences of Dr. Kildahl: We attended many meetings where glossolalia both occurred and was interpreted and noted that the interpretations were usually of a very general nature. After a segment of tongue-speech, an interpreter commonly offered the explanation that the speaker had been thanking and praising God for many blessings. Another frequent theme was that the speaker was asking for strength and guidance for himself and for others. However, perhaps a third of the time, the interpreter offered specific interpretations of what glossolalists said. More rarely, an interpreter "translated" phrase by phrase and sentence by sentence. In order to investigate the accuracy of these interpretations, we undertook to play a taped example of tongue-speech privately for several different interpreters of tongues. In no instance was there any similarity in the several interpretations. The following typifies our results: one interpreter said the tongue-speaker was praying for health of his children; another the same tongue-speech was an expression of gratitude to God for a recently successful church fund-raising effort. When confronted with the disparity between their interpretations, the interpreters offered the explanation that God gave to one person one interpretation of speech and to another person another interpretation. They showed no defensiveness about being cross-examined and generously upheld alternative interpretations as equally valid." (Source)

If we take it all at face value that what we see and hear in tongue's meetings, then how do we know for sure that what just took place is the supernatural? There has to be some way of framing it all in some sort of testable hypotheses. Just because someone pops up and demonstrates an Academy Award worth "interpretation" performance, means nothing. If it really is the Biblical gift of tongues, then the tongues with the so-called interpretation, if recorded, should prove to be a real foreign language. And, if it is, how do we know that the tongue speaker really did not previously know that language?

"We know of a man who was raised in Africa, the son of missionary parents, who decided -- rather cynically perhaps -- to test the interpretation of tongues. At the appropriate moment he rose and spoke the Lord's Prayer in the African dialect he had learned in his youth. When he sat down, an interpreter of tongues at once offered the meaning of what he said. He interpreted it as a message about the imminent second coming of Christ. John Kildahl, The Psychology of Speaking in Tongues, (Harper & Row) 1972, pages 62- 63. The Bible is clear in its warning to Christians concerning the many false teachers in the world. Many will be eternally lost who thought they had prophesied, cast out demons, and done many mighty works (i.e., tongue-speaking, etc.) in the name of Jesus (Matt. 7:22-23)." (Source)