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Today’s Charismatic Tongues Examined Pt 1

Charismatics, or if you prefer Neo-Pentecostals make much of the fact that they can supposedly speak in tongues. They boast of this ability and make those who do not manifest this phenomenon feel inferior. They claim that everyone ought to seek this supposed gift and if they do not, then they are being disobedient to God.

What I want to examine today is whether or not today’s Charismatics actually manifest the same gift as that which was given in the book of Acts? If they do, then maybe the Cessationist has missed something. But if what they have does not measure up to what was given to the early Church, then they ought not to be participating in such phenomenon.

Let’s look in the book of Acts and read what happened when the day of Pentecost was fully come.

 

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

Acts 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

 

The last verse of which we read is the clincher that disproves the tongue speakers of today. This scripture plainly declares that Jews gathered from all nations heard the apostles and their group speak in their own language. You see there were Jews gathered together from many different countries who now spoke in the language of the country from which they came. When the Spirit came on the apostles and their group they were given the ability to speak in the language of all these other Jews. Therefore the gift of speaking in tongues was the apostolic ability to go into any city, area, or country and speak in the native language without having ever learned the language.

Do today’s tongue speakers measure up to the phenomenon which was given on the day of Pentecost? Do they have the ability to go into any country and preach the gospel in the language of the people there or do they have to go to school and learn that language before they go on their missionary trips?

I want to tell you today that all Charismatics will readily admit that they have to go into a school and learn new languages before they can go witness to other nations. They readily admit that they have no ability to speak in foreign languages when they meet someone who speaks a different language.

I know the objection of today’s Charismatic. He will say that the tongues that he speaks with are a heavenly prayer language that no one understands. Yet I challenge him to show me in scripture where any such language was ever given or manifested? Paul told the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 14:

 

1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

 

You see the same phenomenon that is going on in today’s Charismatic churches was also being practiced at Corinth. Before the Corinthian was saved and came to the knowledge of Christ he would go down to the local temples and speak in gibberish. They would make sounds that have no meaning. This is why Paul writes to them and rebukes them for speaking in all kinds of gibberish and nonsense that cannot be understood.

As someone who was in the Charismatic churches from 1992 to 2008 I can tell you that all the tongue speaking that I ever heard was nonsense and gibberish. The tongue speaking that went on would be one or two syllables repeated over and over. After the tongue speaker would get through there would be at times someone who would get up and supposedly interpret these so-called tongues. When the interpretation would come forth there would be five or six sentences (sometimes more) worth of interpretation. I want to tell you that there is no known language on the face of this earth whereby one can get five or six sentences from two syllables.

Some of the main people that were doing the supposed tongue speaking were women. This is why Paul commanded the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 14:

 

1Co 14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

 

And he said three verses later

 

1Co 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

 

Almost always a Charismatic is an Arminian and he boasts of being able to keep God’s commands, yet he ignores the New Testament commandments. In the scripture I just read Paul says that what he writes is the command of the Lord. Therefore “Let your women keep silent in the churches” is a command of the Lord.

So what I want to conclude today is that today’s Pentecostals should not call themselves Pentecostals. This is because the so called tongue speaking that they do does not resemble that which was given by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Instead they ought to call themselves Corinthians. Today’s Charismatics are just like the Corinthians who were speaking gibberish and disrupting the service and had no order in the things that they were doing.

Next week we will examine the reason tongues was given or in other words what was the purpose of this sign?

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

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