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Q323 : Thoughts on the Modern-Day use of Tongues

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Q323 : Thoughts on the Modern-Day use of Tongues

Blessings Tony ,

You probably have been asked this question before.

This is in regards to speaking in tongues. I know the Bible is clear that on the day of Pentecost those in the upper room spoke in tongues of other nations which was not their first language and the witnesses around testified that they spoke in their very own language.

Now I know that 1 Corinthians 14 and a few other verses talk about speaking in the spirit which I believe is in tongues. I have been baptized by the Holy Spirit and can testify to this.

I have used this to express feelings, emotion or praise to God that I cannot express with normal words including during my prayer time, interceding for someone or even quietly during corporate worship in the church. It just comes out.

People have gone as far as to say this it is from Satan and I do not believe that. However, I am not ignorant to that fact that many do abuse this like the Pentecostals and some others.

I'd just like a better understanding biblically and can we prove this in the Bible that tongues exist today and with a purpose?

A323 : by Tony Garland

I have written and taught quite a bit on the subject of tongues—especially as I was saved in the Pentecostal movement and spent the first 5 years of my Christian walk immersed in a fellowship which regularly practiced both the public and private use of "tongues."

To summarize my view: I do not believe that the modern "tongues" (ecstatic speech) movement—which I myself participated in as a new Christian—is the same as tongues described in the New Testament and practiced within the early Church. I do not believe that the temporary spiritual gift of tongues is active today—by God's design (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

If the modern-day practice of ecstatic speech is not biblical tongues, then what is it?

Most often, I believe it is something "manufactured" (worked-up) in the flesh by believers who are taught that they should produce ecstatic utterances as a confirmation of a "second work" of Spirit Baptism. (This belief also represents a significant misunderstanding of the purpose of Spirit Baptism and the historical context of the Day of Pentecost as discussed in resources I mention below.) It has been my experience that, contrary to the record of the New Testament, many Christians begin using ecstatic speech after being cajoled and "coached" into it by other well-meaning believers.

Believers may be confused about the nature of genuine biblical tongues: confusing ecstatic speech for bona fide foreign languages spoken by the New Testament church. Or they may be unaware that certain revelatory gifts were declare to be temporary by Paul (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Others simply disagree on the timing of when Paul tells us they will cease.

In a few cases, as when the practice is found among non-Christian religions and cults, ecstatic speech may be demonically inspired.

Rather than restate what I've already taught and written on the topic, here are some links to articles and presentations which deal with the topic of tongues which may be of interest.

Resources by Tony Garland

Resources by Andy Woods

May the Lord guide you as you seek to understand the New Testament gift of tongues in the light of Scripture, history, and God's ongoing work during the Church age.


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