|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.
- Questions and answers concerning tonguesa
- Questions and answers on spirit baptismb
- Audio presentations on individual topics:
- Audio presentations on the book of Acts (related to understanding Spirit-baptism):