Home > False Doctrine, Gospel, Hermeneutics > Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 4

Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 4

The past few weeks we have looked at the Charismatic use of tongues in our present churches. We have discovered that the tongues that are practiced today, among Charismatics, are not the same as the tongues manifested among the early Church. First the early church spoke in other languages and not just several syllable words that are nothing more than gibberish. Secondly the tongue gift used in the early church was a sign to the unbelieving Israelites and not for the believing Gentiles. Thirdly we examined why Paul wrote to the Corinthians in the first place. In other words was he trying to show them how to use spiritual gifts or was he rebuking them. We saw in our last post that Paul was rebuking the Corinthians because of their misuse of the sign gifts. Finally today we will examine the right order for the gift of tongues if the gift were still available today.

Let’s examine 1 Corinthians 14:1-2

 

1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

 

Charismatics usually use the last scripture quoted to say that there are tongues that no man understands or that there is a prayer tongue. This tongue, they claim, cannot be understood because it is a special prayer language or an angel tongue. I asked a charismatic one time to show me where this special prayer language or angel tongue was in scripture. He could not find a scripture that taught such things.

In 1 Corinthians 14:2 Paul is not claiming that there is a tongue that can be used that is not known to men. Paul simply says that if a person speaks in a strange or foreign language, then what is being spoken cannot be known to those who hear it, because in the spirit the speaker is speaking mysteries. If we keep the scripture in context we will see that Paul states that an interpreter ought to be present in order to reveal what has been spoken and then it is no longer a mystery that is being spoken because what was spoken has been manifested in the language of the person who heard it.

Paul goes on to say that he would rather that they all prophesy or speak unto men in their own language words that will edify, exhort, and comfort, because he that speaks in an unknown tongue only edifies himself. In other words he that speaks in an unknown tongue feels built up, comforted, and ecstatic as the Spirit works through him to speak in other tongues. But the one who prophesies in a known language is edifying all those who hear.

Paul tells the Corinthians that if he comes to them speaking in foreign languages that it will not profit them. The only way he could profit them is to speak by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine in their language. Paul then goes into a discussion of what it is like for someone to come in speaking in tongues. Paul likens them to a battle trumpet which gives off uncertain sounds and therefore the troops are unsure whether or not an enemy is approaching. So Paul is showing them that the best gift is not the gift of tongues, but the gift that can be used to edify the church.

Paul tells the Corinthians that if they do speak in tongues, then they need to pray that they may interpret what they said. While using himself as an example Paul says that if he prayed with the spirit, then his spirit prays, but his understanding is unfruitful or those who hear will not be able to understand what Paul is saying because the understanding of his words cannot be known by those who do not speak that language. Therefore Paul said that when he prays with the spirit, he will pray with the understanding also and when he sings with the spirit he will sing with the understanding also. In other words Paul is not saying that he will pray or sing that he might understand, but that others might understand. 1 Corinthians 14:6 agrees with what I have said. I am saying that Paul is not saying that when he prays with the spirit that his understanding is unfruitful or that he does not know what he is saying, but that those who hear him cannot understand and therefore Paul’s understanding to them is unfruitful or produces no results. Therefore he will pray and sing in a language that might be understood by all.

In 1 Corinthians 14:6 Paul says that if someone is occupying the room in which you are praying and they hear you speaking in a foreign language, then they will not say amen when you get through because they understand not what you are saying. What you have said is unfruitful because they do not know what you have said.

So here I am simply trying to show that Paul leads the Corinthians to a point whereby he tells them that the best way to speak in a congregation is in a language that everyone understands. Paul said that he would rather speak five words that they could understand than ten thousand in an unknown language. He follows this by saying that in understanding or in dealing with others they ought to be men and not children.

Next Paul shows them that a tongue was a sign to the unbelieving Jews and is not a sign to believing Christians. We discussed this two weeks ago.

Finally Paul lays down the order of the gift of tongues and teaches them that if one speaks in tongues, then he or someone else ought to interpret the tongue. In other words there ought to be order in the church service because God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Therefore if one speaks in tongues let it be interpreted or else keep silent.

Right in the middle of dealing with the tongue gift Paul addresses a serious problem that was among the Corinthians. He adds that women are to be silent in the churches because they are not permitted to speak, but are to be in obedience as the law says. Why did Paul address this issue? The simple reason is that the women were the main tongue speakers. They remembered their days down at the pagan temples where they used to go into uncontrollable utterances. So they would stand up in church and just talk away in nonsensical gibberish.

Many do not like the fact that Paul told the women to keep silent in the churches, but these same people boast of keeping God’s commands in the Old Testament, yet the New Testament commands are overlooked. A few verses later Paul told the Corinthians that the commands he was giving were the commands of the Lord.

So I will conclude that today’s charismatic circles are out of order. Instead of reading 1 Corinthians and seeing the order that Paul spoke of, on speaking in tongues, they instead proceed to disrupt entire services just to try and make a show of their so-called spirituality. They say the spirit, the spirit. To this I reply as Luther did, “I slap your spirit on the snout.”

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

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