Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church Lexington, KY. Pastor Earl Thomas
Pleasant Ridge Baptist ChurchLexington, KY. Pastor Earl Thomas
Can We Speak in Tongues?
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Tom Estes in Bible Studies, Pastor Tom Estes
There are churches all across America that believe people can speak in what is commonly referred to as “tongues.” These churches, almost all of which would consider themselves to be part of the charismatic movement, believe that we have the ability to be filled with the Spirit of God in a unique way which allows us to speak in a language that is not able to be understood by anyone other than God. While there are some churches who make vague attempts at interpreting this “communication”, most just accept it as a special language that only God is able to discern.
Let me state very clearly and unequivocally that the belief stated in the previous paragraph is absolutely false, and the belief that we can make up words out of the blue in some special momentary “filling of the Spirit” fails every time it is held up to a Scriptural standard. Because there are many texts in the Bible that have been manipulated in an attempt to make the doctrine of tongues Scriptural, there will be several passages that must come under consideration if we are to know, once and for all, if this teaching is of God or not.
This would also be a good time to point out that all teaching must come from the Bible in order for it be true. Men have many ideas, and sometimes these ideas make perfect sense to us. But we must understand that no matter how reasonable or logical an idea or belief may be, unless it can be substantiated by Scripture we must conclude the belief to be false, even if we’ve heard many preachers repeat them from behind pulpits.
Let us look very closely now how the doctrine of “speaking in tongues” fails every single Scriptural test:
 

1. The “Day of Pentecost” Test

The Day of Pentecost was a great day for the institution of the Lord’s church because it was the day it was empowered by the Holy Ghost. It was on the day of Pentecost (which simply means fiftieth, noting the fiftieth day since the Passover) that the Lord gave His already existing church three thousand new members in addition to the one hundred and twenty they already had. (read Acts chapter one)

On this day the Lord used the preaching of His Word to bring people to Himself, just like He always does, but on this day it was done in a very special way; he allowed men to speak languages they had never studied and had never before been able to speak. What a sight this must have been! Imagine seeing the “cloven tongues of fire” sitting upon each of the apostles as they were preaching the Word in these other languages!

And please, make no mistake, the apostles were speaking real languages when they preached on the day of Pentecost. If you don’t believe me, just look at the Scriptures for yourself. Here is Acts 2:6-11:

Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

There is only one possible interpretation of this scene; the apostles were preaching the Gospel, not yelling wildly, not convulsing, not rolling around on the ground, but preaching. The difference was that they were miraculously able to preach in languages that they couldn’t have spoken without the aid of the Holy Ghost.

As we can plainly see, the doctrine of speaking in tongues miserably fails the day of Pentecost test. Let us look now at the next test:

2. The “Spiritual Gifts” Test

When a person who believes in speaking in tongues is made aware that the disciples on the day of Pentecost were speaking in real languages instead of made

up gibberish, they will usually turn to I Corinthians chapters 12-14 because they believe Paul is referencing their church’s Sunday morning escapades as a spiritual gift, although we will quickly see that he is doing no such thing. Paul does spend these chapters teaching the Corinthians about spiritual gifts;why they should want to have them, and which ones are the most profitable.

Since time and space will not allow us the opportunity to go verse by verse, dissecting each mention of spiritual gifts, I will go directly to I Corinthians 14, where Paul explains that even though speaking with other tongues (languages) is fine in it’s proper place, it is the least desirable of the spiritual gifts. You see, the church at Corinth had elevated speaking in other tongues to a lofty height that it was never given by God, just like the charismatic churches of our day have done.

I’m paraphrasing here, but Paul explains in chapter fourteen that it is better to be able to speak with understanding, meaning to be able to know what words you are speaking, than to speak with words that you can’t understand. He goes on to teach them that if there isn’t anyone there who can interpret the words you are saying, (meaning if you were given the gift of speaking Italian, yet there was no one there who could understand Italian) than you should just be quiet altogether.

This might be difficult for a born and raised charismatic to understand because speaking in tongues is so normal and seemingly beneficial to you, but if you stop for a moment and consider the reasoning for this, you will understand.

The Word of God makes it clear that God uses the preaching of the Gospel to save sinners. I Corinthians 1:21:

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

So, you see it is the preaching that God uses, regardless of the language. So if a man is given the gift of being able to preach in a tongue or language that he doesn’t understand, or if he can preach in a language he does understand, either way, he is preaching, which is what God uses to save souls. Preaching in your native tongue, or not in your native tongue is simply preaching, and God doesn’t value one over the other.

I know that I have only briefly covered this text where Paul deals with spiritual gifts, but whether I say two words or write an entire book on the subject the result is the same, the doctrine of speaking in tongues miserably fails the spiritual gifts test.

3. The “Does God Still Use the Gift of Tongues” Test

For this final Scriptural test, we must look closely at I Corinthians 13:8-12:

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Notice in verse eight that the apostle points out that tongues shall cease, or stop. This tells us beyond a shadow of a doubt that there will come a time when the gift of speaking in other tongues will no longer be used by God to give the Gospel to the lost. The question is when. When will God stop using the gift of tongues? The answer: He already has.

In verse ten of our passage Paul writes “But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away.” What is the perfect thing? What is this thing which is in part?

The perfect thing is God’s Holy Word. It is very easy for us to forget that Bible in it’s complete form has not been something that we have always had access to. At the time the Apostle Paul was writing this Epistle, only a small part of the New Testament had even been written. What Paul was explaining here is that when that perfect thing (The Complete Bible) had come, that which was in part, or what was only a partial revelation, would be done away with.

The partial revelation are the gifts mentioned in verse eight. The gifts of prophesying, tongues, and knowledge, specifically special knowledge only given to some people will all stop because none of them can do what the Bible can do: give all the knowledge that God wants us to have. Those gifts, while greatly used of God, simply cannot accomplish what God’s completed, inspired Word could accomplish.

So once again, when put to the test, the doctrine of speaking in tongues utterly fails. As we can clearly see from the Word of God, tongues have ceased to be used by God, and they have been for some time now.

What Does This Mean?

Simple this; the doctrine of speaking in tongues is a falsehood, it is untrue, and I would go as far as to say that it is of the devil. We must remember that the Scripture says in Matthew 12:30:

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

So if a doctrine or teaching is not of the Bible it is against the Bible, meaning it is working against God. Anything that works against God is on the side of Satan. This is not to say that the millions across the world who speak in tongues each and every Sunday are attempting to be tools of Satan, as I’m sure that ninety-nine percent of them are just doing what they have been taught their entire lives to do, which is go to church, get excited, and speak in tongues. But although they may be sincere, they are sincerely wrong.

I hope if you believe the doctrine of speaking in tongues to be true that you will consider these Scriptures that have been presented to you and seek the truth of God through more personal study and prayer. Let me close by repeating something that I said at the beginning; if a teaching is not found in Scripture it is false, regardless of who is teaching it. Again, study the Word, seek God’s will, and He will guide you into all truth.

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