EXPERIENCE BASED ON THE BIBLE
Once I was present at a meeting where people were taught that the gift of speaking in tongues is for everyone, even in this day (see below). I was seeking the Lord for this gift and after a while I was praying in tongues, I thought of that verse and indeed it felt like if the “air” came from below my longs (the region of the belly), and my tongue was shaking, not as in normal speech.
I just felt God was working through it.
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” – Jesus Christ in John 7:38 (KJV)
Some other verses which make a very good case for the Pentecostal experience are:
“He who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the Spirit he speaks mysteries.”
– 1 Corinthians 14:2 (NKJV)
“He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.”
– 1 Corinthians 14:4a (NKJV)
(Just a quick note on this verse: I don’t know how this works with other tongue-speaking Christians but I personally have noticed that for me speaking in tongues gives me courage to open my mouth in evangelism.)
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
– Romans 8:26 (NKJV)
“Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?”
– 1 Corinthians 14:23 (NKJV)
(As in Glossolalia making no sense to the natural mind.)
ACCEPTED IN PENTECOSTAL, CHARISMATIC
AND ORTHODOX CHURCHES
In Pentecostal and Charismatic churches speaking in tongues (as in Glossolalia) is surely accepted.
But also “The Greek Orthodox Church does not preclude the use of Glossolalia”.
“The Orthodox Church does not rule out Glossolalia.”
Note: more information available, on the viewpoint of the orthodox church, on speaking in tongues, in this video:
Source: my youtube account (click to see the primary source).
DID TONGUES CEASE?
In the Western Roman-Catholic church and later on the Protestant churches (with the exeptions of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, church groups like the Presbyterian Charismatic communion and individual believers in other Protestant denominations) people started to believe in cessassionism (That praying in tongues ended). This is based on taking a verse in 1 Corinthians 13 completely out of context. The verse (verse 8b, EXB) reads: “There are gifts of ·speaking in different languages [or ecstatic utterance; L tongues], but those gifts will ·stop [cease; fall silent].”. BUT Paul concludes by saying “But [ONLY] when that which is perfect has come, [ONLY] then that which is in part will be done away.” (1 Corinthians 13:10, NKJV, added “[ONLY]” by means of emphasis) and “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NKJV, emphasis mine). In my opinion this can only talk about the return of Jesus Christ and not about the closing of the canon (which is nowhere mentioned in the context of this verse).
Even the Geneva Bible, which was constructed under the reign of cessassionist John Calvin, has the following footnote on 1 Corinthians 13:8: “Again he commendeth the excellency of charity, in that that it shall never be abolished in the Saints, whereas the other gifts which are necessary for the building up of the Church, so long as we live here, shall have no place in the world to come.” (emphasis mine)
Also it should be noted that right after this so-called “cessassionist” chapter, Paul talks on speaking in tongues. (See above: “Some other verses which make a very good case for the Pentecostal experience” in “EXPERIENCE BASED ON THE BIBLE”.)
IS THE GIFT OF SPEAKING IN TONGUES
I used to believe strongly that the Holy Spirit divided the gifts over the believers, so that one has, for example the gift of speaking in tongues, the other has the gift of interpreting tongues, another one has the gift of prophecy,…
I based this theory on the following verses:
‘There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into[c] one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.
If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? If the whole bodywere an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, wherewould the body be?
But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable partshave no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to thatpart which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?‘
– 1 Corinthians 12:4-30 (NKJV)
I believe I am now more in line with most Pentecostals who believe that all the gifts are for everyone and that the previous text means that God gives those gifts to everyone (or to everyone when needed, depending on who you talk to) based on the following verses:
“Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.”
– 1 Corinthians 14:13 (NKJV)
(If Paul wanted the tongue-speaking believer pray to be able to interpret, then doesn’t Paul believe that it is possible that a believer can be enabled to use two gifts?)
Paul’s wish for you (all Christians) was:
“I wish YOU ALL spoke with tongues”
– 1 Corinthians 14:5a (NKJV, emphasis mine)
“And they were ALL filled with the Holy Spirit and BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
– Acts 2:4 (NKJV, emphasis mine)
Also James wanted ALL to speak in tongues (as repeadetly happened in the Book of Acts):
“But YOU, BELOVED, BUILDING YOURSELVES UP on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
– Jude (1:)20-21 (NKJV, emphasis mine)
Paul wrote: “Therefore brothers, (…) do not forbid to speak in tongues.” (1 Corinthians 14:39a,c|ACV). If that was talking about known languages, in my opinion, it would not make sense. As if there were people forbidding others, for example, to speak in the Arabic language… (if you imagine that the next verse denies that, please check *). Neither would Paul’s argument which states that “He who speaks in a tongue builds himself up,” (1 Corinthians 14:4, ACV) make no sense anymore. So, in my opinion, the cessassionists have no right to speak against “speaking in mysteries” (1 Corinthians 14:2b). They should remind themselves that Paul clearly warnes us by stating: “Don’t stop the work of the Holy Spirit!” (1 Thessalonians 15:9, ERV)
A NOTE TO PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES
Although I do believe in the Pentecostal experience of glossolalia and speaking in tongues, there are two things I would like to note here, that can bring a positive reform to the Pentecostal churches:
1) * Idealy, only two or three should speak and one at a time:
“When addressing an assembly, one should not speak in tongues unless there is one to interpret, so that all may be edified.”
Source: Daniel Fessler, The Fullness of the Spirit, Benefits, p 37
“No more than two or three should speak in tongues. They must speak one at a time, and someone must interpret what they say.”
– 1 Corinthians 14:27 (NLT)
“Let all things be done decently and in order.”
– 1 Corinthians 14:39 (KJV)
But it is also written:
“Therefore brothers, (…) do not forbid to speak in tongues.”
-1 Corinthians 14:39a,c (ACV)
“Don’t stop the work of the Holy Spirit!”
-1 Thessalonians 15:9 (ERV)
2) When encouraged by the Holy Spirit, Pentecostals should go and preach the Gospel
Pentecostals often refer to “a fantastic experience” but many seem to forget that after this happened to the early Christians, the ones who experienced it, went out and preached the Gospel (check for example “The Church Has Lost Focus” by Jesse Morrell for more information on why God gave the church the neglected task of evangelism).
picture source: unknown