TONGUES, DEBATE ON TONGUES

[BT] = Brother (Rev.) Tom Durrance, (tdurrance@geocities.com), [BE] = Bob Evans

[BT]

Speaking in Tongues

An Interpretation by Rev. Tom Durrance

Purpose:

There has been a resurgence in the number of people claiming to speak in tongues since a new movement of the Spirit began in the late 50's. There are those that say that if you do not speak in tongues, you are not filled with the Holy Spirit, much less "saved".

There are others that claim that speaking in tongues is evil only serves to splinter the church into even smaller parts. Many are just plain afraid of it because they believe it is out of their control.

The purpose of this paper is to clarify what the Spiritual gift of tongues is all about.

I seek to answer the questions of what is tongues, is it real, and if so, how do we use this gift? The primary resource I will use is scripture, with a large dose of my experience, as well as tradition and reason. I ask you to read it with an open mind to the Spirit of God, and reach your own conclusions.

All scripture quoted is from the Revised Standard Version. When the word "tongues" is addressed, I am referring to the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues.

Tongues in Acts

Pentecost: Acts 2:1-42

The first time we really encounter speaking in tongues in scripture is the Acts passage that describes the movement of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The verses that describe tongues:

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

(Acts 2:11 RSV) Cretans and Arabians, we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God."

It is obvious that the gift of tongues in Acts 2 is a gift of the Spirit (as the Spirit gave them utterance), it is a "known" tongue, a language that someone who is present wouldunderstand or interpret cognitively. Scripture is not clear if the language becomes understood to the tongue talker, is it a crash course in Arabic or simply a faith experience?

[BE]

Good point, tongues is always a known intelligible human language. No where in Scripture does it indicate that tongues is anything but a known language - a known intelligible human language which is to provide some kind of edification to the onesspeaking and hearing it:

[1 Cor 14:6-10]:

(v. 6) "Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instructions?

(v. 7) Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes?

(v. 8) Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?

(v. 9) So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air.

(v. 10) Undoubtedly there are all sorts [gene = kinds] of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning."

Now there are those who point to 1 Cor 13:1:

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

The word 'if' in this statement of hyperbole and the hyperbole itself is totally ignored:

Paul is indicating especially evident in the Greek that he does not speak in all of the kinds of tongues of men nor of the language of angels, but if he did, and he does not, it would be worthless if done without the greatest expression of all: love.

If Paul can be said to speak in all of the languages of all men and even the language of angels as a result of this verse then he must have burned himself to death as a result of verse 3 which directly follows in context:

[1 Cor 13:3]:

"If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

Clearly this is hyperbole - for there is no record of Paul committing suicide by burning himself to death nor of speaking in the language of angels or of all the languages of the earth.

PRAYER LANGUAGE

And then we have Ro 8:26 which tongues advocates today claim as supporting their use of tongues as a prayer language:

[Ro 8:26-27]:

(v. 26) "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don't not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

(v. 27) And He Who searches our hearts [God the Father Who answers our prayers] knows the mind of the Spirit [Who intercedes on behalf of the saints' prayers], because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

[i.e., the Holy Spirit reconstitutes the saints' prayers so that they are in accordance with God's will yet coinciding with the hearts of the saints who are praying - but not always knowing precisely what to pray when they do pray].

God the Holy Spirit is simply hearing the prayers of the saints - which are imperfect relative to the will of God, the situation, etc. and reconstitutes them so that the situation and requests align totally to the will of God and can be answered to best suit the needs of the situation within His will.

The language and context is about the Holy Spirit interceding for the prayers of all believers and reconstituting the prayers into the will of God to best provide for the needs of the saints. Not all believers speak in tongues/prayer language so this could not be about tongues in the first place. In the second place, the Holy Spirit overtaking the believer's own voice box so that unutterable groans, ("stenagmois alaletois" = "groanings inexpressible, unutterable"), can be non-expressed yet somehow come out as incomprehensible sounds out of the mouth of the individual would make this verse simply nonsensical, twisting the language beyond its capacity.

Thirdly, tongues is supposed to be comprehensible as defined by Paul in 1 Cor 14:13-17. Paul admonishes tongues users to be cognitive of what they are saying and not to utter mysteries to God:

[1 Cor 14:13-17]

(v. 13) "For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says

(v. 14) For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

(v. 15) So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.

(v. 16) If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say 'Amen' to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? [And apparently neither do you]

(v. 17) You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified [and neither are you if you are not cognitive of what you are saying]."

At the beginning of chapter 14, Paul specifically indicates this: that if one speaks mysteries, i.e., incomprehensible sounds, to God instead of comprehensible things to man for whom the gift is intended per Paul's instructions, then how can one exercise the gift of tongues properly which is meant to be discernible to the human mind - the desired effect of the gift when it is properly expressed? One cannot be properly edified or informed, which must include cognitive understanding, if the one who does the speaking does not understand himself nor the others understand who hear him.

Objectors to this teaching of Paul, force their own interpretation on the following verses in order to claim that the gift of tongues has as a purpose of the speaking of mysteries to God. But this would directly contradict the context of the entire section on tongues to do it in an orderly and cognitive fashion for the edification of men. It would especially violate what Paul says later in vv. 13-17 which we have already examined. The obvious interpretation which follows is therefore ignored as are vv. 13-17 by prayer language and tongues advocates alike:

[1 Cor 14:3-4]:

(v. 3) "For anyone who is speaking in a tongue [in your congregation or by yourself] is not speaking to men [like he is supposed to] but [instead] to God...

["For anyone [in the way you are improperly doing it now, (as vv. 13-17 indicates that it should be done with cognitive understanding)] who is speaking in a tongue is not speaking to men ((like you should be doing)) but to God. ((Who is not the designated audience, 1 Cor 14:21-22, unbelieving Jews back in time during the early Church Age are who make up a large part of those being preached in tongues to))]

(v. 2 cont.) "...Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit."

[Notice: Paul is admonishing the Corinthians here for misusing the gift of tongues causing no one to understand what is being said due to ecstatic nonsensical uttering/and or lack of interpretation. He is not explaining that this is the proper use of tongues - to utter mysteries to God, but that it is improper!

Furthermore, the genuine possession of the spiritual gift of tongues is highly suspect if the one expressing it is not aware of what he is saying since its purpose is one of an intelligible message]

[BT]

An example today would be if I found myself trying to evangelize Iranians and I didn't know Arabic nor they English, tongues might come in handy. I could ask for the gift,

[BE]

The gift is not to be sought by individuals for themselves since the Holy Spirit provides all spiritual gifts to the individual believer, (1 Cor 12:4-11), at the point of the baptism of the Holy Spirit: of faith in Christ, (Eph 1:3, 13-14b), but for the particular congregation that lacks an individual with a particular gift that is needed:

[1 Cor 12:30-31]:

(v. 30) "Do all have gifts of healing? [Ans: No] Do all speak in tongues? [Ans: No] Do all interpret? [Ans: No]

[Notice that not all will have the same gifts, so the next verse would hardly make sense if one were commanded to desire a gift that was not going to be made available in the first place, unless it is addressed to a plural subject which it is, (zeloute = be emulous of = imperative, plural): the members of the church in Corinth are to eagerly seek the greater gifts for their particular local church body]:

(v. 31) But eagerly desire the greater gifts."

[BT]

An example today would be if I found myself trying to evangelize Iranians and I didn't know Arabic nor they English, tongues might come in handy. I could ask for the gift, commence to speak in tongues and God willing, they would hear in their own tongues the mighty works of God. Again, it is not clear if I could understand what I was saying.

The primary purpose of tongues in Acts 2 then was for evangelism purposes. Reaching the lost in their own language.

[BE]

The primary purpose of tongues is not evangelistic although that certainly might be a result of its proper use which is as a sign to unbelieving Jews of impending judgment.

However, history has shown that world evangelism has been carried out for centuries without the gift of tongues, but instead with diligent study of the languages of the world by missionaries - even from the days of the early church when the proper use of the gift apparently ceased to the present day.

So the purpose of tongues is stipulated in 1 Cor 14:21-22:

Paul defines the purpose and hence the ceasing point for this gift: [1 Cor 14:21-22]:

(v. 21) '''In the Law it is written:

" 'Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people [Israel, (Isa 28:11-12)], but even then they will not listen to Me, ' says the Lord."

(v. 22) [Paul goes on to say after quoting this passage from Isaiah 28 as he defines the purpose of tongues]: Therefore tongues, then are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers.'''

Verse 21 is a quotation of Isaiah 28:11-12: God's message of judgment upon the northern kingdom of Israel hundred's of years before Paul became an Apostle. At that time God pled with the nation Israel and each time she rebelled He sent ever increasing judgment: drought, famine, pestilence and still the northern kingdom rebelled. Finally, Isa 28:11-12 was God's final warning before being conquered and dispersed by the Assyrians. The message in effect was, 'You are going to hear men speaking in foreign languages bringing you revelation from God instead of in your own native Hebrew language.' This prediction came true 784 years before Paul wrote 1 Corinthians and Paul now is using it to make yet the same prediction for the southern kingdom of Israel, Judah - this time at the hands of Rome in 70 AD.

As a matter of fact our Lord Himself predicted such a second downfall in Luke chapter 21:

[Lk 21:20-24]:

(v. 20) "[Jesus said] When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolaton is near

(v. 21) Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.

(v. 22) For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.

(v. 23) How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.

(v. 24) They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."

When Titus sacked the city of Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews all over the world in 70 AD the purpose for the tongues was thus completely fulfilled for the nation Israel, both northern and southern kingdoms, and so the gift immediately ceased in and of itself as the intransitive verb "pausontai" indicates in 1 Cor 13:8 and as history has been recorded.

Notice that in the book of Acts, of the three instances of the gift of tongues being used, Jews were always present. ((Refs: Acts 2; 10, (v. 45); 19, (v. 18:28)). Finally, Paul sums up the use of tongues in light of his quotation from Isaiah which focuses on warning Israelites of impending judgment:

[1 Cor 14:22]:

"Therefore, tongues, then are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers."

So tongues is a warning sign to unbelieving Jews of impending judgment and not to be used specifically for the edification of believers or the evangelism of unbelievers, although that certainly might be another result.

[BT]

This was critical for the fast spread of Christianity. I believe the principal here is that if language is a barrier, God provides the means to break down those barriers, it is a kind of fixing the problem of Babel.

Peter and the Gentiles: Acts 10:34-48

The next time we come across tongues in Acts is when Peter found himself preaching the story of Jesus to some Gentiles in the house of Cornelius.

(Acts 10:44-46a RSV) While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. {45} And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. {46a} For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Again we find that, the Holy Spirit fell, it was an act of God. It becomes evident to the circumcised (Jewish Christians) that the Gentiles have received the Holy Spirit because they speak in tongues. Here it seems that speaking in tongues is the proof that Holy Spirit has come upon a new believer.

[BE]

Although this is indeed proof of baptism of the Holy Spirit and salvation (if the gift of tongues is genuine) it is not the exclusive purpose of tongues which is stipulated in 1 Cor 14:21-22 as previously stated.

[BT]

Paul at Ephesus: Acts 19:1-7

Paul comes across some people taught by Apollos. They knew of John's baptism but nothing of Jesus nor Holy Spirit. Paul tells them that Jesus was whom John was talking about when John said he was preparing the way for one greater than he.

(Acts 19:5-6 RSV) On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. {6} And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.

This again seems that tongues is the evidence of the Holy Spirit coming upon someone.

[BE]

And so were many of the other gifts evidence of the Holy Spirit - when they met scriptural guidelines - albeit not so dramatic - but only as an indirect result and never as a purpose for which one looked in order to always prove out their salvation or to get saved. That is never taught in Scripture. Note that speaking in tongues, not being a gift given by the Holy Spirit to every believer, (1 Cor 12:7-30), was not a good rule of thumb to demonstrate absolutely whether or not an individual was saved, yet this has become today a forced theology on many unsuspecting listeners of false preachers.

[BT]

Other cases of Holy Spirit coming in Acts without tongues:

I would note here that there are cases where others are baptized into the church, or even with the Holy Spirit and tongues is not mentioned at all. In Acts 8:14-17, Peter and John pray for some folk to receive the Holy Spirit, no mention of tongues there. In the latter part of that same chapter (v.26-40), we are not sure if the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized in the Holy Spirit or just by water, though the evidence suggests that since Phillip was working with Peter and John (though he was only a deacon) that he had the authority to pray that the eunuch would receive the Holy Spirit.

[BE]

The overriding general principle once the transition period of Mosaic Law OT to Church period was over and OT saints were baptized into the body of Christ, the Church, is stated in Eph 1:13-14, 1 Cor 12:13, and Eph 4:5 in which EVERY believer receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the point of faith alone in Christ alone as Savior. So the practice of praying to receive the Holy Spirit is no longer in effect unless one is a believer from the OT period, not having received such a baptism, but the baptism of John. Recall that the book of Acts is largely an historical book reporting events as they occurred and not setting down principles of doctrine. Does everyone receive the tongues of fire over their head upon being baptized with the Holy Spirit, of have scales lifted from their eyes when water baptized, or receive the gift of tongues upon the laying on of hands, or a second Holy Spirit baptism after being saved?

[BT]

Now, again, in this situation there is no mention of tongues. Also, Paul converts some people in Acts 14:21-23, no mention of Holy Spirit at all, much less tongues.

[BE]

Since Acts is not largely a doctrinal book but mostly an historical account - reporting one time events or unique periods of time not to be repeated - such as tongues of fire appearing over everyone's head when the Holy Spirit first came upon church age believers, (Acts 2:1-4); and the transferring of Mosaic Law Age believers - who were already saved the same as Abraham was, by faith in Christ as Messiah/Savior - into the Body of Christ via the baptism of the Holy Spirit, (Acts 19:1-7); then we must defer to the more explicit doctrinal statements in the epistles relative to this matter such as Eph 4:5, 1:13-14 and 1 Cor 12:13 which indicate that there is only one actual baptism which is the Holy Spirit baptism for the church age believer to undergo, which occurs at the point of faith for ALL believers which leaves a second baptism in the dust.

[BT]

On a side note:

In Peter's case above, Holy Spirit came before the water baptism, in Paul's case it came after water baptism.

[BE]

In actuality a better argument can be made for Paul being filled with the Holy Spirit at the time of water baptism, his baptism of the Holy Spirit occurring earlier at his conversion - which is consistent with Eph 1:13-14:

[Acts 9:17]:

"Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled, [controlled, not baptized] by the Holy Spirit."

Being filled with the Spirit means being controlled by the Spirit - following His leading, which implies that you have already been baptized with the Spirit in order to be filled during this Church Age period. In previous dispensations the Holy Spirit would come upon and control certain individuals temporarily for certain appointed tasks such as building the Tabernacle, but there was never any permanent dwelling as a general overriding principle for all believers as there is in this age.

[BT]

In the other cases as well, in what name the water baptism was performed differs. The conclusion that I have reached is the God has no single way of bringing people closer into the faith.

[BE]

The purpose of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit was not one of bringing one closer to God but of actually placing one into Christ, into the body of Christ at the point of faith in Christ as Savior, (Eph 1:13-14, 1 Cor 12:13). It is the constant moment to moment of filling of the Spirit which brings one closer to God, i.e. being controlled by the Spirit, [being controlled ~ being filled with joy = being controlled by feelings of joy, same with being filled with the Spirit = being controlled by the leading of the Spirit] which is exercised volitionally by the ALREADY BAPTISED INTO CHRIST BY THE HOLY SPIRIT believer thru confession of known sins to restore fellowship with God, [1 Jn 1:9], and obeying the Word and following the leading of the Holy Spirit relative to circumstance and one's understanding of the Word.

A good prooftext for this is Eph 5:18:

[Eph 5:18]:

"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."

Water baptism was merely symbollic of ones salvation/Holy Spirit baptism, which occurs after and not concurrent with the Holy Spirit baptism.

[BT]

God reaches people where they are, with what they need, when they need it.

The bottom line on tongues in Acts:

It seems the gift of the Holy Spirit called tongues is of a "known" language and is primarily used for evangelism.

[BE]

Refer to previous notes on 1 Cor 14:21-22 about the use of tongues as a sign to unbelieving Jews - that is the bottom line on tongues not the historical accounts in Acts which varied due to different situations not typical of today's Church Age.

[BT]

Its purpose seems to be to speed the spread of the gospel by breaking down the language barrier.

Tongues is an evidence of the Spirit coming upon a believer, though it is not a required evidence. If you speak in a known tongue that you did not previously know, I would have evidence the Spirit came upon you. To prove this was the case though, someone who knew the tongue would have to be present to identify it.

I have heard of cases in which a "message" was delivered in tongues at a Pentecostal worship service. When the congregation was asked if someone had the gift of interpretation, a woman from the back stood up and identified the language as Mandarin Chinese and proceeded to interpret the message for the congregation. The woman later identified herself as a missionary who had just returned from China. When I have shared this story that I heard many years ago with other people, I have also heard of other stories which were similar.

[BE]

All of the stories I have heard were never confirmed, always over 'there' and never verifiable and never in line with the rules of tongues as outlined in 1 Cor 12-14. Never did I witness proper use of tongues nor hear a story which I could adequately verify or at least confirm that all the rules were followed. I very well might surmise that the missionary learned her mandarin chinese the old fashioned way: she studied it earnestly for years in order for her to interpret it, if such indeed was the case. So much for the gift of interpretation by the Holy Spirit.

Keep in mind that the demonic world can counterfeit such a gift, as exemplified a number of times in Scripture.

[BT]

Tongues in Corinth

Tongues as a gift:

Acts, though is not the only place where we learn about speaking in tongues. Paul spends much ink and precious paper to discuss tongues with the people of Corinth.

Tongues are addressed in three chapters of I Corinthians.

In chapter 12, he identifies Tongues as one gift of many, given by the Holy spirit.

(1 Cor 12:8-10 RSV) To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, {9} to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, {10} to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

Note that tongues is on the bottom of the list. It is common that we move the most important things to the top of a list and the least to the bottom. This might shed some light as to how important an issue this might be. If we don't have wisdom and knowledge from God, why seek tongues? Should we be Christians that puts major emphasis on a minor gift?

[BE]

Amen. Yet according to tongues and prayer language advocates it seems to be more important than the gospel, even part of it for everyone in order to be saved - bar none.

[BT]

It is also interesting to note that the gift of interpretation of tongues is also listed. This seems that if one does not know the language, this gift would let you understand what was being said. There are people I have talked to that have experienced this gift of interpretation. A message was given in tongues in a worship service. The person with interpretation seemed to know exactly what was being said. It was not a cognitive knowing of the language (as in knowing high school German), but an "AHA!" experience where the Spirit was talking directly to the heart of the interpreter, through the tongue talker.

[BE]

An 'AHA' experience in the interpretation of tongues is not supported in Scripture. Furthermore, the lack of cognitive knowing violates what Paul stipulates in 1 Cor 14 as previously examined.

It is of course possible for one to claim to interpret what the other speaks while the one speaking was not aware of what he said, which I have often experienced and which also violates the rules set down in stone in the Bible.

[BT]

Skipping down to verse 28, we find that God has a role (at least in the early church) for those that speak in tongues. Again we also find it as last on the list. If we do not have Apostles (those sent by God for a particular mission) and prophets (those that "forth tell" the truth), should we be looking for those that speak in tongues?

28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.

It is also interesting to note: "in various kinds" of tongues. What we don't know is if that means "various kinds" of languages, or if there is several kinds for tongues, one "kind" for evangelism, another "kind" for prophesy, and perhaps another "kind" for a prayer language (which we will address in detail later).

[BE]

Since the purpose for tongues has been definitively stated by Paul in 1 Cor 14:22, we can eliminate 'kinds' = purposes other than the one exclusive one stated, and determine that 'kinds' = kinds of languages which is consistent to what was reported in Acts especially in chapter 2.

Furthermore, Paul indicates using the word "gene" = "kind" that tongues comes in a number of kinds of languages not kinds of types of tongues:

[1 Cor 14:9-10]:

(v. 9) So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what? You will just be speaking into the air.

(v. 10) Undoubtedly there are all sorts [gene = kinds] of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning."

[BT]

The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit:

We would be remiss in our duties if we did not understand a little about WHY we are given the gift of tongues in the first place. Verse 7 states is plainly:

7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Now, if a gift of the Holy Spirit is not being used for the common good, the gift is being abused. Now I have also seen this done. I have seen the gift on tongues used as a club to make the tongue talker feel superior to those that do not and the non-tongue talker to feel like an inferior Christian. This is the plain and simple abuse of a gift of the Spirit. I do not know why God allows us to abuse these gifts, but it seems that He does.

[BE]

In general the gift of tongues served the common good in that it did edifiy all in hearing distance with the words of God's revelation from the tongues speaker to those that hear him speak, but its purpose is specifically stated and cannot be avoided and only limited to that of 1 Cor 14:21-22: as a sign of warning to unbelieving Jews of impending capture and dispersion due to their unfaithfulness.

[BT]

The proper use of any gift of the Spirit is to build up the body of Christ, not tear it down. Any use of tongues which breaks the church apart is improper. Any use of tongues that does not make us stronger Christians is improper.

The Gifts and Love:

The gifts of the Spirit are to be used for the common good and done with love as the source, motivation, and sought result:

13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

13:8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

[BE]

[1 Cor 13:8-10]:

(v. 8) "Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they willl cease; where there are tongues, they will cease; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

(v. 9) For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

(v. 10) but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears."

Notice: "tongues, they will cease"

THE TEMPORARY GIFT OF TONGUES CEASED IN 70 AD

"If there are tongues, they shall cease" = The verb "pausontai" = "shall cease" is intransitive - without an object, i.e., it has no condition which must be met outside of itself ceasing of its own accord when its purpose is fulfilled. So 'when the prefect comes' in verse 10 is NOT applicable to the ceasing of the tongues so far as dictating the time when it would cease. Further affirmation of this is the fact that Paul no longer mentions the gift of tongues in the rest of the passage. So as previously stipulated, tongues ceased in AD 70 because that is when its purpose was fulfilled - the capturing and dispersement of Israel.

[BT]

If there is no love, there is nothing at all. Tongues cease, but love is the essence of God, and is the only thing that really matters. If we are going to be tongue talkers, let us make sure love is the goal and motivation. If we are not going to be tongue talkers, let us love those that do.

[BE]

If Scripture says that tongues ceased, then those that love those that speak in tongues must lovingly but firmly provide scriptural evidence as well as experiential evidence that the tongues speakers are not loving Jesus by following the word of the Word of God = the mind of Christ as specifically outlined in 1 Cor 12-14 and elsewhere. Jesus said if you love Me you will obey what I command.

It is interesting to note, that in all of the years that I have witnessed to tongues speakers, they have almost all gone 'ballistic' and became insulted/insulting when I have carefully presented evidence from Scripture about tongues, accusing me of being of the devil, less spiritual, deprived, wicked, blaspheming, condemned to hell, etc. Certainly one would suspect with such a pattern of behavior, which has been verified countless times through other individuals also, that there is indeed something not of God, and suspect in their expression of the gift of tongues.

[BT]

Just as we have many body parts, so does God. The mouth does not reject the eye because it sheds tears, and the eye does not reject the mouth for saliva output. God knew what He was doing when he put our physical bodies together. God knows what He is doing when He calls His church together. We must trust God with how He apportions His gifts to His people. That takes love.

[BE]

But our trust of course in God starts with the words of God's Word which are clear on this issue as to the gift ceasing and especially as to the proper use of the gift and its priority in spiritual matters - the gospel of faith alone in Christ alone, without tongues comes first and foremost. So a tough love - a tough skinned love is essential for the believer in witnessing to tongues advocates.

[BT]

Which brings us to the next issue.

To speak or not to speak, that is the question:

We are to earnestly seek the higher gifts (12:31), though we are not prohibited from seeking tongues.

[BE]

[1 Cor 14:12]:

"So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts seek to abound for the edification of the church"

[1 Cor 12:31]:

"But earnestly desire the greater gifts."

The seeking and desiring of spiritual gifts here is for a particular local body of believers to seek/desire an individual who has that gift in order to edify that particular body of believers in a way that is needful and not for the individual to seek a particular gift himself that he had not received at the point of salvation. Scripture indicates that the believer receives all spiritual blessings from God at the point of salvation, (Eph 1:3). It is just a matter for the individual to study and develop and use his gift(s) and for a local body to seek one with such of gift when needed.

[BT]

But the bottom line of who receives any gift comes from the Spirit of God, not us.

12:11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

It is God's prerogative whether to grant the gift of tongues or not. If you are not to have it, you will not get it, no matter how hard you seek it. You might learn how to fake it, but it will not be the genuine gift of the Holy Spirit. For others, it may be in your Holy Spirit tool box whether you know it is there or not, and it will be available when you need it.

I have never been given a task by God that He has not provided the gifts to accomplish it. He often accomplishes this by sending me another person with the gift I need. An example would be if I have the gift of healing of the spirit, but no discernment, God would send someone with discernment to help me bring the healing of the spirit more effectively to those I minister to. The Lord will provide.

[BE]

Amen

[BT]

Use of tongues in worship service:

Getting back to using God's gifts for the common good and in love, we come to the question of how we use tongues in the general worship service. Paul addresses this fully in chapter 14 of 1st Corinthians. Paul moves right from "Love" to the expression of love to the congregation of believers.

(1 Cor 14:1-5 RSV) Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. {2} For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. {3} On the other hand, he who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. {4} He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. {5} Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues, unless some one interprets, so that the church may be edified.

He returns to the theme that all elements of a church service should build up the members of that church. Tongues without interpretation is out of order. I would also note that it takes twice as much time to do, tongues plus interpretation, instead of a prophesy (I would clarify again that prophesy is not so much fore-telling as forth-telling, telling it the way it is). Prophesy brings with it, upbuilding and encouragement and consolation, an interpretation of tongues can do the same, but why not cut to the chase and get a direct message from God?

[BE]

Amen to most of this provided you understand that tongues was supposed to be spoken in a discernable way to men and not indiscernably to God. As we have previously examined, and that ceased in AD 70.

[BT]

Now this is not to say we must forbid tongues in a worship service,

[BE]

This is where we differ, one should forbid it based on the evidence from Scripture. At the very least see if there are any Jews present in the congregation and that the rules are being followed: known language where someone in the congregation who needs to hear it is a Jew and understands that language and that an interpreter is present and is not that particular Jew or Jews and that some kind of edification is going on that aligns and does not contradict with Scripture.

[BT]

but the scripture that comes to my mind quickly is first the love passages. If we speak in tongues in worship, are we loving those in the congregation that do not understand what is going on?

My friend Edie was invited to a Charismatic service when she was considering returning to attending church after many years of shunning organized religion. She had never been exposed to those that spoke in tongues and knew nothing about it. The service was going well and she was talking with God (praying) when a person began to speak in tongues. This of course made Edie very uncomfortable, she was not sure what was happening and wondered if she was in some kind of cult meeting and became very defensive. If there had been love involved, the person who invited her should have let her know what was going to happen in advance. They were not loving Edie. Later I was able to explain my understanding on tongues and she became more accepting of it. She did return to church attendance though she now attends a church where tongue speaking in not used in worship.

I also remember what Paul notes earlier in 1 Cor 10:23 "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. He was talking about eating meat sacrificed to idols, but it has further meaning in our use here with tongues. It is lawful to speak in tongues in a worship service, but it may not be helpful.

[BE]

We differ here. All things are lawful that do not violate specific principles and doctrines of Scripture. Sin is not lawful, nor getting drunk but other things such as what you eat or drink, (short of getting drunk), wear (short of public indecency), when & where you worship. None of these things are unscriptural for this age. They were in previous ages more restricted and even forbidden, (i.e., sabbath = Saturday worship, certain foods, alcholic drink at certain times, etc.).

[BT]

If it tears down the body, don't do it. If it builds up the body, go for it, but most of all, let God ...........

[BE]

.................[thru a study of and application of doctrines in the Bible] ........

[BT]

...........be the guide on what you do or don't do.

Given this set of parameters, it seems there will be some worship services w[h]ere tongues are employed and some where it will not. Both services are called to love one another because we are all parts of the one body of Christ, the church.

[BE]

It would be the loving thing to do to prevent the expression of tongues in any service which does not meet scriptural rules.

[BT]

Tongues (More Than a Word)

There is more to tongue talking than speaking in a "known" tongue to someone who knows the language, or has the gift of interpretation and "translates" the message for a congregation. This is where I want to get into the mechanics of how I believe tongues works, and what other uses tongues might have.

Praying in tongues:

We saw above that For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. I want to shift the speaking in tongues then to praying in tongues, for if we speak to God, is that not prayer?

Now, if we see prayer as only a thing that matters when we (cognitively) know what we are saying to God, this praying in tongues does not make sense. I do not know what I am praying, so it must not be prayer.

If however that prayer is entering into the presence of God as we speak, tongues can get the cognitive mind out of the way so that He can deal with our insides.

[BE]

Paul admonished the Corinthians not to pray at any time without cognitive understanding of what was being prayed both publically and privately:

[1 Cor 14:13-14]:

(v. 13) "For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he [HIMSELF] may interpret what he says.

( v. 14) For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

[Unfruitful is used here by Paul to admonish the Corinthians not to set their mind out of the way but to always be in an understanding, i.e., fruitful mode of the content of what they were praying]

(v. 15) So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind."

There is no need for the saint to worry about praying improperly and therefore he must turn off his mind and let God the Holy Spirit utter proper prayers through the voice box of the saint:

[Ro 8:26-27]:

(v. 26) "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don't not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

(v. 27) And He Who searches our hearts [God the Father Who answers our prayers] knows the mind of the Spirit [Who intercedes on behalf of the saints' prayers], because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

[i.e., the Holy Spirit reconstitutes the saints' prayers so that they are in accordance with God's will yet coinciding with the hearts of the saints who are praying - but not always knowing precisely what to pray when they do pray]

The language and context is about the Holy Spirit interceding for the prayers of all believers and reconstituting the prayers into the will of God to best provide for the needs of the saints.

Not all believers spoke in tongues/prayer language so this could not be about tongues in the first place. In the second place, the Holy Spirit overtaking the believer's own voice box so that unutterable groans can be non-expressed yet somehow come out as incomprehensible sounds out of the mouth of the individual would make this verse simply nonsensical, twisting the language beyond its capacity.

God the Holy Spirit is simply hearing the prayers of the saints - which are imperfect relative to the will of God, the situation, etc. and reconstitutes them so that the situation and requests align totally to the will of God and can be answered to best suit the needs of the situation within His will.

[BT]

I believe that is what Paul meant when he said that He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.

[BE]

Paul is admonishing the believer not to edify just himself - but to edify the body when he speaks in tongues - the directed result of all gifts to edify the body of Christ. So this was wrong to do - to just edify oneself. One wonders what kind of edification that indeed was, since the scenario was that the individual was not cognitive of what was being spoken, nor was anyone else = edification = 0

And that was the implication, contrary to the claims of the Corinthians and modern day tongues/prayer language advocates.

[BT]

When we open ourselves up to the presence of God, we are built up (edified). God has complete access to us. What do we pray for in the Spirit (tongues)? That which God would have us pray for, after all it is He who supplies the words through the Holy Spirit.

[BE]

None of this concept is scriptural. Opening up oneself to God by shutting down one's mind is never presented as a proper thing for a believer to do. Ro 8:26-27 the prooftext that tongues/prayer language advocates use for this concept as well as 1 Cor 14:1-2 has already been examined to prove out just the opposite: cognitive understanding is the command especially keeping in mind the precepts learned from the earnest study of the words of God's Word.

[BT]

Perhaps Paul alluded to this when he spoke of the tongues of angels. It may not a "known" tongue, it is in theory the tongues the angels speak with in heaven. If this is grounded in love, imagine the possibilities of prayer.

[BE]

[1 Cor 13:1]:

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

The word 'if' in this statement of hyperbole and the hyperbole itself is totally ignored:

Paul is indicating especially evident in the Greek that he does not speak in all of the kinds of tongues of men nor of the language angels, but if he did, and he does not, it would be worthless if done without the greatest expression of all: love.

If Paul can be said to speak in all of the languages of all men and even the language of angels as a result of this verse then he must have burned himself to death as a result of verse 3 which is said in the same context:

[1 Cor 13:3]:

"If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

Clearly this is hyperbole - for there is no record of Paul committing suicide by burning himself to death nor of speaking in the language of angels or of all the languages of the earth.

[BT]

It is not so much guessing if our prayers are in the will of God, they will be the will of God, He is the one who supplies the prayer in the first place.

[BE]

Yes but not through the believers own voice box. The words are literally "stenagmois alaletois" = "groanings inexpressible, unutterable" which are communicated by the Holy Spirit to God the Father and not involving the believers physiology at all, as previously examined in Ro 8:26-27. They are unutterable, inexpressible, so how canthey then be uttered by the tongues speaker?

[BT]

Have you ever prayed so hard for something that you ran out of words? You are left there kind of numb. You words stop, but your heart yearns to plow on. Perhaps this is another time when tongues might be helpful.

[BE]

Not if the rules of tongues are to be followed: to edify the body, warning sign to unbelieving Jews, interpretation, etc. If one is stumped about what to pray for, just remember that God the Holy Spirit already has the correct prayer ready to present to God the Father as soon as you have made the attempt to pray. One may simply pray, "Father, I have no idea what to pray for so I simply put ~~~ in your hands."

[BT]

Rom 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.

It is these times when we let the Spirit pray through us for the next verse goes on to say that the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

[BE]

But not via tongues thru the voice box of the believer.

Sighs too deep for words best rendered literally:

"stenagmois alaletois" = "groanings inexpressible, unutterable" which are communicated by the Holy Spirit to God the Father and not involving the believers physiology at all, as previously examined in Ro 8:26-27.

[BT]

Praying in tongues can be threatening!

When we pray in tongues, we acknowledge that God's plan for us is better than any plan we can come up with our cognitive minds.

[BE]

The cognitive mind must not be turned off. The believer simply understands that his prayer will not always be perfectly suited to the situation, but God has His answer in His perfect will ready and the Holy Spirit reconstitutes the believer's prayer so that it does meet the perfect will of God. So turning off the mind is neither required nor scriptural.

[BT]

So, if you have vices you are not ready to give to God, don't pray in tongues, for God just might take them.

[BE]

Not scriptural. God disciplines His children re: vices, etc in accordance with His will and not on the whims of a believer's own prayers or wishes.

1 Jn 1:9 not tongues is the operative first line principle in the faithful walk of the believer toward blessings and rewards in heaven:

Confession of known sin on a moment to moment basis, then comes earnes study and obedience to the words of God's Word.

http://www.cyberramp.net/~ansbible/1jn1tc.htm

[BT]

When we pray in tongues, we are giving God the initiative to where to work in our hearts. If however we wish to threaten the hold of evil and vices in our lives, then praying in tongues will do the trick. As God takes hold of your life through a special prayer life, the hold of evil is loosened. Praying in tongues is possibly a fast track to becoming the Christian God calls us to be.

[BE]

God is totally in charge here, the believer is the child who submits to the will of God via the leading of the Holy Spirit or he gets disciplined. Praying in tongues today puts the believer out of touch with God and out of fellowship since it is unscriptural for that purpose. There is no fast track to a faithful walk with the Lord, only bible doctrine not the least of which is constant confession, (1 Jn 1:9), unceasing prayer, daily study of and obedience to the words of God's Word, etc., etc.

[BT]

When we pray in tongues, we are giving God the initiative to where to work in our hearts. If however we wish to threaten the hold of evil and vices in our lives, then praying in tongues will do the trick. As God takes hold of your life through a special prayer life, the hold of evil is loosened. Praying in tongues is possibly a fast track to becoming the Christian God calls us to be.

Perhaps that is why Paul exclaims (1 Cor 14:18) I thank God that I speak in tongues more than you all, Pray, be edified, grow in grace, be all that God has called you to be.

[BE]

That is not stipulated anywhere in Scripture as the reason or result of speaking in tongues. Rather, what is stipulated is the purpose and effects of speaking in tongues, not the least effect of which is in view here: the edification of the body of Christ and not only the individual re: the communication of revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction to that body within the rules: as a sign to present unbelieving Jews of impending dispersion:

[1 Cor 14:6]:

"Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you [if the tongues are not translated, (v. 5)], unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction [as a result of that translation, (v. 5)]?"

[1 Cor 14:26c]:

"All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church [as a body is in view, not selfcenteredly as an individual].

[BT]

Conclusion

I sought to answer some questions when I started this paper. In conclusion I offer some answers.

What is Tongues and is it Real?

If we take the bible seriously we must conclude that there once was a gift of the Spirit in which people could speak in a language that they did not know beforehand.

Given that there are examples of this happening in modern times,

[BE]

That is not an acceptable given as no proof has been offered that is verifiable and in line with Scripture; rather I have heard of or witnessed many circumstances of tongues occurrences, none of which was Scriptural.

[BT]

Given that there are examples of this happening in modern times, we might conclude that this gift is still available for times in which we might need it. I have the gift of tongues, though I do not know if it is a "known" tongue or "the tongues of angels".

[BE]

The proper interpretation by an interpreter present of what was said should have verified what that language was as there is no scriptural evidence that any human spoke in the language of angels as already discussed. Furthermore, the unbelieving Jew would have also verified the language spoken if there was one present - but apparently not. Thus an improper use of tongues is implied here.

[BT]

I do know that when I am depressed and begin to speak/pray in tongues that the depression leaves.

[BE]

Since this cannot be verified as scriptural it is not reportable as an expected benefit/use of tongues. The thought of God being near, or an expectation of the lifting of the depression or a focusing away from the thoughts that bring depression may also have caused the lifting of the depression. Or perhaps the conclusion that the depression is lifted as a result of the tongues speaking is too subjective, not being strictly observed by an unbiased party enough times to formulate an objective conclusion. There is no control for these observations stipulated, so the conclusion is not trustworthy, nor is the practice of tongues verifiable as scriptural, being without an interpreter and scriptural message and audience to be edified. God blesses all men no matter what the circumstance or action in many ways - with and without the expression of gifts of the spirit to believers and unbelievers alike. Healing most often occurs as well as the lifting of depression with and without the individual being in fellowship with God or practicing scriptural mandates. That is all called common grace. I have felt emotionally better after a number of activities including cracking jokes when I am depressed, (and I suppose I have as much reason as anyone to be depressed given the life that has been 'dealt' to me), but that does not qualify as an authentic spiritual gift nor something that is scriptural. What qualifies it is what is specifically stipulated in the words of God's Word.

[BT]

It also seems that when I pray in tongues for a person who needs healing that the healing is more apt to come, though not in the way we might ask for it with our cognitive mind.

[BE]

It has already been established that one must pray cognitively at all times and that God the Holy Spirit will intercede for the individual praying and reconstitute the prayer so that it perfectly reflects the situation and the will of God. So one must not pray otherwise.

[BT]

An example is when our cognitive mind would "demand' us to pray for physical healing, perhaps what the person in need should have is a healing of the spirit so that the physical ailment no longer holds them in bondage and they are free to worship God despite their physical ailment.

[BE]

Spiritual healing is the healing an individual receives at the point of salvation and it relates to the sins and the sin problem of mankind which it is diseased with and needshealing of:

[1 Pet 2:24]:

"He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been [spiritually] healed."

[Isa 53:5

(v. 5) "But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are [spiritually] healed."

If a believer did pray for the wrong result, recall that God the Holy Spirit will intercede for that believer's prayer and correct it and put it in the will of God so that the godly answer will be provided, (Ro 8:26-27).

[BT]

When to use tongues, a practical guide.

Like Paul, I prefer that tongues not be used in a worship service,

[BE]

Paul indicated that tongues was OK to use in a worship service provided one followed the rules as he laid them out never privately for others in the body wouldn't be edified.

[BT]

I would much rather have a layperson share what they believe is a word from God in a language we understand. If there is a time to use tongues in a service, it must not become a stumbling block for anyone present. That does not prohibit the use of tongues in worship, it does however mean we must be attentive to those whom might be afraid of tongue speaking.

[BE]

This presumes that tongues is applicable to be used today, which we have determined from a close examination of appropriate passages is not.

[BT]

For a personal prayer life, I am not sure praying in tongues can be beat. It does not however take the place of cognitive or corporate (prayer group/worship service) prayer life.

It also must not take up so much time as to make you no earthly good. God does not call us to love Him alone, He also calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Keep your prayer life in good relationship with other parts of your life.

[BE]

This also presumes that another kind of tongues is as a prayer language which it is not.

Kinds = kinds of languages not kinds of tongues, (1 Cor 14:10)

[BT]

There is a "gray" area where praying in tongues might come in useful. In praying for others, I am hesitant to pray in tongues with them. I have visited members of my church in which I was not sure how to pray. I had the choice of a "generic" prayer which may or may not have effect, or of praying in the Spirit (tongues), which I am sure would have an effect.

[BE]

Prayer is required to be done cognitively, not in an unknown 'language' when one does not know what one is saying. This has already been scripturally determined.

[BT]

In these cases, I explain what I wish to do prior to doing it. I then ask permission to pray in tongues for them. I explain that when I run out of words, perhaps leaning on the Spirit for the words is the best way to go about bringing the power of God to bear on their problems and concerns. I have yet to be denied, but I would never force praying in tongues upon them for that would not be love, (though I might pray in tongues for them after I leave their presence).

[BE]

This presumes that when the believer does not know what to pray then he must speak in an incomprehensible prayer language so that the prayer will be effective, instead of just simply praying for the situation as best he can trusting in the Holy Spirit's intercessory capacity as it says in Ro 8:26-27 to correct and finish the prayer so that it perfectly aligns with the will of God. So one does not have to speak in such a way as to be incomprehensible in order to have the prayer effectively reach the throne room of heaven and then be properly presented and answered in accordance with the will of God.

[BT]

Some Myths About Tongues

1. If you receive the Holy Spirit, you always receive tongues. There are many folk I know that manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Peace, Joy etc) who do not speak in tongues. Jesus said His disciples would be known by their fruit not their gifts.

[BE]

Today, no believer receives the gift of tongues. And no one to the best of my knowledge has demonstrated the biblical gift of tongues for hundreds of years, since AD 70.

[BT]

2. The Holy Spirit just takes control and you can't control yourself. God is the perfect gentleman. I speak in tongues when I want, I turn it off when I want. The only loss of control is in the words that pour forth and the benefits received, neither which seem important to control anyway.

[BE]

Tongues is in the past but when it was spoken before it ceased in 70 AD one can then weigh what is inferred above:

There may be a problem with these inferences in that scripture does not explicitly state that this is always the case or ever the case: that the tongues speaker always and completely lost control of the words being spoken. It is also possible that the individual speaking in tongues at times, but not necessarily all the time, was cognitively aware of the message he spoke in the language he knew and attempted to speak it in; but it came out miraculously in another language which he did not know which a number of hearers of the message however understood. So at those times he would not have been totally out of control of what was being said. Recall that important messages such as the gospel and God's impending judgment were often repeated throughout Scripture, especially by our Lord Himself, so that the speaker may very well have known what he was going to say, just not the specific foreign language words that they came out in. Or on the other hand, the speaker may have been miraculously given a fluent knowledge of the language(s) spoken in tongues beforehand and he simply expressed his thoughts in that language, remaining cognitive of what he was doing the whole time in that new language, thus fulfilling the cognitive rule of tongues speaking. The cognitive rule of tongues speaking may not have been fulfilled if it was done in any other way.

In the final analysis, however, where the bible is not specific we are not to be specific.

[BT]

3. If you don't speak in tongues, you are only half a Christian. *See my answer to myth number 1. If you don't find peace in the midst of the chaos of life however...

*There are many folk I know that manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Love, Peace, Joy etc) who do not speak in tongues. Jesus said His disciples would be known by their fruit not their gifts.

[BE]

Today, no believer receives the gift of tongues. And no one to the best of my knowledge has demonstrated the biblical gift of tongues for hundreds of years, since AD 70.

Furthermore, there simply is no such thing as a second class Christian. It is not scriptural, especially if the gift of tongues is a temporary one, for that would make all Christians after the time tongues ceased or before it began as second class Christians to the ones who had the gift - without a chance of 'moving up in status'. On the other hand even the Apostle Paul indicated that in spite of his gift of Apostle and of being blessed with more spiritual gifts than anyone that the only one who was special was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself:

[1 Cor 3:5, 11]:

(v. 5) "What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe - as the Lord has assigned to each his task.

(v. 11) For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ."

All Christians receive every spiritual blessing at the point of faith alone in Christ alone. But not every spiritual gift of which tongues is a lesser gift being listed lower in priority than most of the other gifts, is given to all believers:

[Eph 1:3]:

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us [believers, (v. 1)] in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

[1 Cor 12:4]:

(v. 4) "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit....

(v. 7) Now to each on the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

(v. 8) to one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom....

(v. 10e) ....to another speaking in different kinds of tongues....

[BT]

4. Tongues can be faked. Yes and no. Yes we can cognitively make up words that don't make sense. We can learn other words that other tongue talkers use and mimic them. That is faking it. On the other hand "real" tongues cannot be faked. If you pray in tongues long enough, your life will change and you will become more like Christ.

[BE]

There is no guarantee that the more you properly exercise a spiritual gift the more Christlike you will become. There is always the danger of reversionism, or backsliding, which the bible is filled with warnings about, (Eph 5-6:all, Gal 5:all, Ro 12:all).

Although continued service for the Lord is certainly a step in the right direction toward spiritual maturity, recall that there is no difference between a baby Christian or a mature Christian relative to the level of spirituality which either have available to them: both can be equally in or out of fellowship with God by confessing all known sins on a moment to moment basis:

[1 Jn 1:9]:

"If we [any and all believers] confess our [known] sins, He [God] is faithful and just to forgive us these [known] sins and purify us from ALL [known and unknown] unrighteousness [from baby to mature Christian]."

[BT]

5. Everyone who asks for tongues gets it. It is up to the Spirit of God, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

[BE]

Amen. An individual may ask for a particular spiritual gift for himself all he wants, but God has already determined what gifts that individual will receive and placed in him at the point of salvation.

On the other hand an individual may indeed pray for his particular local body of believers to receive a particular spiritual gift and an individual with that gift may indeed become part of that local body.

[BT]

Addendum -

Pentecostal - Charismatic and Other experiences

After some research, I have found that there are several ways the gift of tongues is manifest. The Pentecostal experience is based on an overwhelming emotional state, you get so focused in prayer that tongues come on you, almost out of excitement.

The Charismatic experience seems to be less emotional (but not void of emotion).

You decide when to begin and end, though you don't have a cognitive clue as to what you are praying, if you are focused on a situation, we can trust God to deal with it in His way.

I have also heard of a person who came home to share with his mother about what was happening at church. He proceeded to tell her, yet she heard an unknown language.

This is the first case like this I have heard of however. Though this same person told me of going to a house blessing and when several came into a certain room, all present broke forth in singing in tongues. The interesting part was that none of these people had any prior experience with tongues.

My closing remark then, is one of my favorite sayings:

"When in doubt, ask God. When not in doubt, ask Him anyway."

[BE]

The above testimony is purely experiential and as already investigated unbiblical and therefore not of God.