Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Truth about 'Talking in Tongues'

My first Blog:

As Tiger Woods said when he join the PGA Tour; “Hello World!”
Since this is my first blog… To that I say “Hello World!”
Let me begin by saying I have been asked for years to blog, but I refused.
I refused because I didn’t want to become an additional target for haters of the “Truth,” but God has given me a peace about that. I now through my blogs… I will share Christian and biblical views and discuss topics that are both current and controversial and for the most part are being quietly covered up.
What you will find out about me is that I don’t argue the Bible, so if you’re looking for an argument I’m the wrong fellow for you.  I will share truths, facts, bible, principles, and some experiences with you through this blog, and then tell you, “To go and do your home work. ” J

I have never argued the Bible with anyone; years ago while doing my first of many missions trips in Africa I learned an African Proverb that gave me peace about trying to defend the Bible.
The African Proverb said; “You don’t have to defend a lion, just let it out of its cage, and it will defend itself.”
My blogging will be me letting the “Truth” out of the confound pages of the Bible in to this new social world.
I thought and prayed long and how with what should my first blog be about, what I could say that many are interested in and the issue of tongues is always one I’m asked about.
People who I know are trying to measure and identified my minister and church size always asks; “Pastor Do you speak in tongues?” To which I answer, “No!” I don’t know about you but its hard getting all of our members to do what I tell them the Bible tells them to do in English—why confuse that anymore with tongues?

I also believe doing something that the devil can do [talking in tongues], doesn’t prove spirituality, so I encourage our members to do what the devil can’t do [and that is be obedient to the Word of God].
Now I’m not that I na├»ve, I know when people ask about the super gift of tongue talking what they are doing but I answer with tongue and cheek because as I said, I don’t argue the Bible.
Let me sat the groundwork for this… I have taught our church from the very beginning of its existence that if someone goes to the Book of Corinthians to prove tongues are for that matter anything spiritual show them how the Letter to the Corinthians was a letter of condemnation not a compliment.
Look at this quick chart:
Corinth - the Confused Church
A letter of condemnation – not compliments!

1.     They were confused and quarrelling about who they were to follow
2.     They were confused about what wisdom was
3.     They not yet spiritual (1-2) strife jealousy
4.     They were admonished for acting arrogant
5.     They allowed know immorality to exist in the leadership of the church
6.     They were confused about how to settle legal matters amongst themselves
7.     They were confused about sex in marriage – and being a virgin
8.     They were confused about idols and worshipping
9.     They were confused about paying the preacher
10. They were confused about what to eat
11. They were confused about how women were to function in the church/communion
12.  They were confused about spiritual gifts
13.  They were confused about the gifts of tongues and prophecy
14.   They were confused about what the gifts were to be used for
15.    They were confused about the Resurrection of Christ
16.    They were confused about giving towards the ministry of the church

Consider This
Again let me make clear my one point about tongues and this is what I am more than anything clarifying.

And this is that tongues do not authenticate, or for that matter they are not evidence of true discipleship. The evidence of true discipleship is love one for the other. So my goal is not an experience I’m after, but a way of life.

I do believe that Christ made his disciple recipients of the power to perform miracles (Luke 9;  10:9, 17-20; Mark 6:13; Matthew 10:8), and he promised them a continuation of delegated power after His ascension  (Matthew 28:18; Mark 16:20) , which power is so manifest throughout the Acts (which includes the letter to the Corinthians) in which their commission is attested to by many “signs and wonders”. It must not be lost sight of that while miracles authenticated a divine commission (1Kings 17: 24) , they were not, in themselves an evidence of true discipleship. (Matthew 7:22, 23 and John 10:41)

Don’t forget that we are talking about the church at Corinth.
My wife and I was in Corinth Greece last October as we saw in person the destruction and ruins of that once super spiritual city.
The Corinthians were spiritual babies, and like babies, they were striving for the temporary and neglecting the permanent. They wanted passing spiritual gifts instead of lasting Christian character. Love will never “fail” (cease to have force or authority). These other gifts did pass away; prophetic utterances were replaced by the written Word of God; and tongues would no longer be needed; gifts of special knowledge (as in verse 12, chapter 13) were put aside for the teaching ministry of the Spirit from the Word.
What Paul is explaining is that these special gifts were only necessary during the infancy period of the church. Special manifestations of the Spirit were the credentials of the apostles (Rom. 15: 18-19) . God did not always use miracles to attest His truth, but often He did. In Thessalonica, for example, the Spirit revealed Himself in the mighty preaching of the Word, (this is what I try and do…preach mighty) and not in miracles (1 Thes. 1: 5-6). But back to Corinthians 13: 11; Here Paul is using a simple example from childhood since the church members were spiritual babies. Think of  that verse from this perspective – we don’t condemn a child because he talks like a child, but we do condemn an adult for using baby talk (tongues). “It was time,” says Paul, “for the babies at Corinth to grow up and start talking like adults! Tongues and other special manifestations belonged to spiritual childhood. Grow up!” Paul in 14:20 again tells them to quit acting like children.
Now for verse 12 ; there will always be room for growth in the church, and while we are growing, we will know and see imperfectly. Corinth was famous for its metal mirrors, so Paul used this as an illustration. One could only see a dim reflection of the real person in those mirrors, just as we see only a dim reflection of God today. But when Christ (perfection) comes, we shall know Him as we are known by Him now! And we shall be like Him!

Actually chapter 14: 1 – 25 speaks of the inferiority of Tongues and not Superiority.

1.     Tongues do not edify (build up) the church (vv. 1-19)
We must keep in mind that spiritual gifts have as their purpose the building up of the church of Jesus Christ (12:7) and not the personal enjoyment of the believer. Gifts are for employment, not enjoyment. (I know you like that…) J

2.     Tongues do not edify the believer (vv. 20-21)
Some suggest that the gift of tongues is a mark of spiritual maturity and of a deeper Christian life; but Paul says just the opposite. The Christians at Corinth were “babes in Christ” and “carnal” (3: 1 –4).

3.     Tongues do not win the lost (vv. 22 –25)
As recorded in Acts each time (tongues) gave evidence to Jews present that God was working. These four accounts can be found in chapters 2, 8, 10, and 19.

Remembering that our primary purpose is to win the lost; then you would have to agree that tongues would never reach the unbeliever for the Lord, especially the confusion of tongues that existed at Corinth. It was another Babel!
So I along with Paul believe that it is better for an unbelieving visitor in any church to hear a message from the Word, something that they can understand, and then make a decision for Christ, than to hear confusion that they cannot grasp.

A few other additional notes on 1 Corinthians 12 – 14

A.    Some charismatic’s claim: that speaking in tongues is evidence of baptism of the Spirit. If this is true, then most of the Corinthians had never experienced the baptism, because not all of them spoke in tongues (12:10 and 30).
B.     The important issue is not how many gifts you have, but is my life, like Christ’s and am I attracting people to Him?
C.     Are tongues for the church today? Today the church’s life and ministry is founded on the Word of God. Read Acts 20; 17 –38 for a picture of the ideal NT ministry; there you will not find anything about tongues.
D.    Some ask the question; can a believer benefit from tongues privately? Paul clearly states that the private use of the gift of tongues are not right. ( 1 Cor. 14: 13 –15)
E.     Some say that the gift of tongues ties believers together. Well in Corinth there was discord, division, and disputes in the church; yet there was also the gift of tongues.
It has been my experience that the emphasis on “tongues” and “Spirit baptism” divides the church (the universal church that is) instead of unifying it. I have been doing expositional preaching to our church through the Book of Romans on Sunday mornings, and what we have found out is that we people even God’s people think that have some type of advantage on others [like being born a Jew], it never works to their benefit, but to their demise [Romans 3:1-8].
F.     Most “tongue Christians” think themselves superior to the others, and that’s where and when the trouble starts. But I’m sure that you could find this even in a legalistic church as well.

Listen, we must base our Christian experiences on the Bible, and not interpret the Bible by our experiences.

If we understand Bible words and truths, we will understand how to live the Christian life. Notice how many times Paul uses the word “ignorant” in writing to the Corinthians. It is possible for Satan and his demonic powers to counterfeit “spiritual experiences” for shallow superficial Christians. But Satan cannot work where Christians understand The Word of God.

Please join me in my efforts to guard the “Truth” until He comes…
“So go and do your home work. ” J

                                                                                                      1 Timothy 6:20-21