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Editor (18/08/2011 20:51)
Penny Lee said (on another thread but shifted by me to this one):
"Speaking in tongues is a subject which troubles me. I fully accept it had its purpose in New Testament times but it wasn't gibberish, it was people being given the message in their own language, which is entirely appropriate. Now, however, we have some people who suddenly start babbling unintelligible sounds and it leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. God is not a God of confusion and if we are in someone else's company, Christian or otherwise, I see no circumstance when this would have any purpose other than to perhaps give the one doing it some feeling of spiritual superiority. If you need to speak to God without others knowing what you are saying, then surely you either go somewhere private to pray or you speak to God in the quietness of your mind.
I may be wrong but I am simply not comfortable with the practice because I can't see any justification for it. The way I interpret the Bible, when it refers to the gift of being able to speak in tongues, is that the person has been given the ability to suddenly speak a genuine language which they had not previously learned, and only for the occasion required so that the listener could actually understand what God wanted them to be told.
When I hear someone do this, I either wonder if it is being done for show or, even worse, I wonder the source of the prompting to do so.
Editor (18/08/2011 21:07)
Arguing the case that the tongues of Acts were known languages but the tongues of Corinthians were/are (quite differently) unlearned/unknown languages, Jeff Kirby (Those Controversial Gifts) writes of the latter:
"One must candidly ask the following questions of the text (1 Cor 14) in both observation and interpretation. Why would God, in order to have someone speak to him, bestow a foreign language upon that person (1 Cor 14:2)?
How do you speak in a foreign language to God in the Spirit and have it as a mystery (v. 2)?
How would speaking in a foreign language edify yourself (v. 4)?
Is the interpretation of a foreign language something you pray about (v. 13)?
How can you pray in a foreign language and your mind not be engaged in the process, to think in form and syntax (v. 14)?
Similar questions could be asked of a number of other verses in this section (vv. 16, 18, 27).
After comparing the Acts experience and the Corinthian experience of tongues, Oswald Sanders concludes that "since there is such a marked difference between these two manifestations of the gift of tongues, it would not be sound exegesis to build a system of doctrine on the identity of the two occurrences."
Peter Carr (18/08/2011 21:21)
Penny Lee said, "Speaking in tongues is a subject which troubles me. I fully accept it had its purpose in New Testament times but it wasn't gibberish, it was people being given the message in their own language, which is entirely appropriate. Now, however, we have some people who suddenly start babbling unintelligible sounds and it leaves me feeling very uncomfortable. God is not a God of confusion..."
1 Cor 12: 4 - 7 "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men."
I suspect strongly that 1 Cor 12 (like the rest of the bible) is not limited to that particular audience or congregation at that time!!"
Penny Lee (18/08/2011 22:13) I don't believe either that the Bible is confined to that period of time but the speaking in tongues of that time was not gibberish either. It was translatable and had a purpose.
Martin Lisemore (18/08/2011 23:26)
Well, there's going to be many different opinions on this one, and for once I'll go with experience.
Here's the reason why ...
I watched my maternal grand mother die of a coronary heart attack on August 9th 1963 at 9pm. She died in my arms. I was twelve years old. Later that evening, after immediate family had wailed and cried and burdened my beloved grand father and I, we needed to go to bed; Grand mother was in their marital bed, no longer alive. I wanted grand father to sleep in my bed.
After a while of his praying - he was a sincere Christian man - there was a silence, and I broke out in a language I knew not. He cradled me in his arms, a broken man, and heard the words coming from my lips.
Whereas I knew not what I said to him, he had an understanding, he relaxed, calmed and eased his dreadful state.
The strange language carried on ... I don't recall how long, but my Grand father was deeply comforted, and soon after it finished turned to sleep.
Our God, my grandfather's Lord, had spoken to his servant at the most desperate time of this life. Grand father was comforted, assured.
I next spoke in tongues twenty five years later when I was firmly and securely baptised in the Holy Spirit.
I see nothing in the Bible to suggest the gift of tongues, or tongues as it broke out at Pentecost - they're two different things - have been set aside by God. These things have been grossly abused, used as a badge , used as a curse - and here I know that of which I speak.
But it remains for us all, if we would receive it; the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the engine by which the fruits may be brought about, are for all time, and that means now.
I've heard all the contrary arguments, sat through hours of contrary 'preaching,' and given this word implies an animation of the Holy Spirit to deliver the words which so often is suspect, and I remain convinced, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are in place for all time, and that includes us!
Peter, my grand father understood the words coming from my mouth, I did not, and still don't, and the effect on him was as a miracle, bearing in mind his situation that night.. They are, in a sense translatable, intelligible and recordable.
I could go on about tongues, but only on a PM - too contentious for public debate.
Penny Lee (19/08/2011 00:28)
Martin, I take your experience as I read it and do not doubt what you say. However, what you uttered had a purpose and it was clearly understood by your Grandfather and comforted him greatly and that is the point I am trying to make. On the few occasions it has happened to me, someone going off into a babble in the middle of our phone conversation made me want to put the phone down as it had no feeling of God's presence about it. Neither did the people concerned make any attempt to explain what they were saying.
Like what happened to you, I would imagine that if another Christian was in the presence of someone genuinely speaking in tongues, they wouldn't need an explanation. Also, 1 Cor 14 vs9-11 makes it quite clear:
"9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.
10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning.
11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me."
I clearly do not have the gift of either prophecy or speaking in tongues but I don't reject the whole idea of it in others, rather, I am just very wary of it as I suspect it is, much like spiritual healing, a gift which some others try to take for themselves and that is a very dangerous practice both for the one doing it and those who might be taken in by it.
I would be interested to hear more details of the second experience you mentioned above.
Editor (19/08/2011 08:33) Penny and others have rightly pointed out the difficulty of abuses and excesses. This is where godly, mature oversight and a caring discipline comes in.
If it would help I could ask a pastor (a man with much experience in the Apostolic Church) to do some Q&A on keeping a biblical line when these things occur.
Peter Carr (19/08/2011 08:50)
As the Ed says there are abuses and excesses in excercising of gifts, how many people have heard the gift of preaching and teaching abused? Yet, for me the 5 fold ministry as set out in Eph 4 is as valid today as it was then, and will continue to be so until The Lord returns. And those who abuse God's gifts will be held to account!!
Editor (19/08/2011 12:57)
I have asked a friend of mine if he will 'take questions' on the subject of the 'gifts'. The plan is that I will put questions to him in a recorded interview and then post that interview on-line.
There have already been questions posed (implicit and explicit) on this thread, but if you have any questions etc. please (preferably) post them here (so that others can see know what is in line to be asked.
However please feel free to post to me directly by e-mail.
Peter Carr (19/08/2011 19:19)
"I have asked a friend of mine if he will 'take questions' on the subject of the 'gifts'."
I could be wrong, but in order to get a balance of different theological/doctrinal perspectives, I would have thought it wise to involve a good number of views.
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