Etikettarkiv | charismatic

John MacArthur causes a division in Church on false grounds – Strange Fire?

john macarthur

John MacArthur and his Strange Fire Conference, where he attacks christian charismatics

John MacArthur is a professed calvinist, and calvinists believe in TULIP which means (IF they want to be consistent with their own teachings) that they don’t believe that Jesus died for everyone (Limited Atonement), that God doesn’t want everyone to be saved, that people are born elect/non elect (saved/doomed), that nothing comes to pass against the will of God, that even sin is according to God’s will, etc. So not only does MacArthur preach false doctrines and insults our holy God, but as can be seen below it also looks like he is awfully close to committing the unpardonable sin by publicly ascribing the power of the holy Spirit – when it comes to casting out demons and healing people – to SATAN. It’s obviously not an unpardonable sin to simply doubt the truthfulness of a person’s supposed healing – not even if you express your doubt out loud, because you certainly might be right in your observation – HOWEVER if a person truly has cast out demons and healed someone and you as a believer of God publicly claim that this is not from the holy Spirit at all but of Satan, then it appears that you fit the description of blaspheming the holy Spirit. Being unsure is not a sin, and expressing your doubt is not a sin, but to publicly ascribe ALL modern cases of healing to Satan will lead to sin because not all of those cases are of Satan but of the holy Spirit. MacArthur seems to suggest that 100% of all claimed cases of casting out demons and/or healing are either fake or of Satan (unless it’s by the hands of Jesus or his apostles). If he is wrong in some of those cases – which he is – then this results in that he is guilty of suggesting that people have unclean spirits despite that they do NOT. The holy Spirit should rather be praised for what just happened instead of being attacked and compared with darkness. Only God can be the judge here, but MacArthur should reevaluate his mission – if it isn’t too late.

Matt. 12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.—24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.—27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.—31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Mark. 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.—28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.30 BECAUSE THEY SAID, HE HATH AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT.

A transcript from MacArthur from his ”Strange fire” conference 2013, sponsored by Grace To You:

“Why don’t evangelical leaders speak against this movement?  Why is their such silence? Look When somebody attacks the person of Christ the Evangelical world rises up and says “no, no, no!”  . . . the Holy Spirit has been under massive assault for decades and decades, and I’ve been asking the question ‘where are the people rising up in protest against the abuse and the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?‘ The only thing I can suggest is that they have been literally backed up into a corner by intimidation that they need to be loving and accepting and tolerant and not divisive in the body of Christ, that’s been the mantra. . .”

He also says:

“people caught up in any kind of error are cut off from God’s blessing.”

”Why are evangelicals silent about charismatic error?”

”The Lord calls His people to honor Him, to treat Him as holy. Leviticus 10 pictures the consequences of not doing so—of offering to Him strange fire. For the last hundred years, the charismatic movement has been offering a strange fire of sorts to the third Person of the Godhead—the Holy Spirit. And evangelical churches have chosen to be silent or indifferent on the matter. This hasn’t served the church or the Spirit of the church with honor.”

Where did he get the term ”strange fire” from, which is the title of his conference, and which he ascribes to the entire charismatic movement? This Biblical incident:

Leviticus 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

Numbers 3:4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.

Numbers 26:61 And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the Lord.

Clearly the strange fire offered to God in Leviticus was sinful and against his will, because he had forbidden that kind of unlawful fire. Nadab and Abihu were immediately devoured before the Lord when they transgressed his law. Since MacArthur equals the entire charismatic movement (Assembly of God, the Pentecostal church, etc) with this type of unlawful strange fire, then he couldn’t possibly regard any of the members as saved – but rather as gangsters who oppose the holy Spirit and side with Satan. How could anyone be saved who purposely present strange fire (which is nothing but demonic) before the Lord?

On his website MacArthur favors the idea that speaking in tongues is DEMONIC/SATANIC/HERETICAL and HAVE CEASED. Can anyone be saved who are demonic/satanic/heretical and who engages in spiritual matters that are no longer in use? Of course not, because then you’re engaging in Satanic matters instead of godly matters! So if you belong to Assembly of God or a Pentecostal church, you’re not saved according to MacArthur. Moreover, the gifts of the holy Spirit are not only in use in those type of churches, but they can also be found in various other churches even if they are more common in the charismatic ones. If you happen to be a person who belong to a charismatic church and don’t use any the spiritual gifts, how could you be saved if you choose to remain in the midst of demonic/satanic/heretical/false christians who present strange fire before the Lord? What does light have to do with darkness? Nothing! So the only conclusion is that MacArthur doesn’t believe that any of the members of the charismatic churches are saved, and that’s about 450.000 – 500.000 christians according to the statistics – and even more if you add all others (in other types of churches) who use the spiritual gifts. MacArthur says on his website:

”No, it is significant to note that Pentecostals and Charismatics can’t substantiate their claim that what they are doing is the Biblical gift. There’s really no evidence to prove it. There is no evidence that it’s language. You say then, ”What is it?” Could be demonic. Could be satanic. I think it was in Corinth, in some cases. Could be that. Ecstatic speech is a part of many pagan religions in Africa, East Africa. Tonga people of Africa, when a demon is exorcised, sing in Zulu even though they say they don’t know the Zulu language. Ecstatic speech is found today among Muslims, Eskimos, Tibetan monks. It is involved in parapsychological occult groups. Did you know that the Mormons, even Joseph Smith himself advocates speaking in tongues? It could be demonic.

Now all of these supposed manifestations of tongues were always identified as heretical, fanatical, unorthodox, outside the Church; and we conclude that when they ceased they ceased, and there have been continual off and on fabrications of counterfeit tongues. Since these gifts did cease, the burden of proof is on the Charismatics to prove that what is happening today is valid. Why do we always have to get backed in the corner and prove our case? Why don’t they take the Bible and prove theirs and look at history as well and do the same?

Wherever in the Bible does it say that you are to speak in a private tongue? Never! A private ecstatic, angelic speech–never! It’s hard for me to argue against those who say that tongues is a private prayer language because I can’t go to some text and correct them because there isn’t any text!

Suffice it to say that this unique gift given for the Apostolic time is irreproducible today, and whatever purports to be that is not that; it is something counterfeit. A myriad of studies, which I’ll deal with in the book [Charismatic Chaos], and when you get a copy you can read them in detail, give evidence of the fact that motor-autonomism (sp.), ecstasy, hypnosis, psychic-catharsis, collective psyche, memory excitation, and all other kind of terms are used to describe people who go into these kinds of trance like experiences.  

So there are no verses which say that we can speak in tongues privately? What’s wrong with these?

4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 

28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF; AND TO GOD

I don’t feel those who speak in tongues need to prove anything to Mr MacArthur and he can continue to believe that speaking in tongues is ”trance like” even though they aren’t. If pentecostals today don’t do anything else but speaking in counterfeit demonic tongues, then only cessationists could be saved – unless he believes demon possessed people can enter the kingdom of God. This means that MacArthur concludes that a person is definitely NOT a christian as soon as he hears him speaking in tongues or making use of any other spiritual gifts. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of what the Bible says, because Peter and other believing jews realized that the gentiles around them had received the holy Ghost precisely because they spoke in tongues and magnified God (speaking in tongues in combination with good fruit). MacArthur, however, understands speaking in tongues totally different from the apostle Peter does, because when he hears someone speaking in tongues he (MacArthur) believes that person is not saved because of the tongues.

Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46 FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, WHICH HAVE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST as well as we?

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

1 Thess. 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.20 Despise not prophesyings.21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

MacArthur doesn’t do anything else than causing a huge DIVISION in church, but I admire his ability to twist the Scripture to make it say what he wants at the same time as he suggests that other preachers (but not himself) are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Maybe he who shouts ”beware of the wolf” the loudest is one of the biggest wolves himself? He would do well to consider the following verses which he either avoids or butchers in his ”charismatic chaos series” and in the Strange fire conference:

1 Cor. 12:Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.—10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.—30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?31 But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Paul tells us to covet earnestly the best gift. Does MacArthur obey Paul in doing so? Does he realize that speaking in tongues might not be understood (since the Bible says that NO MAN UNDERSTANDS) and that there wouldn’t even be a need of the gift of interpretation of tongues IF tongues were always understood? Paul doesn’t say ”if you don’t have the gift of interpreting, then don’t use the gift of speaking in tongues at all”.duva

1 Cor. 14:1Follow after charity, and DESIRE spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.  2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh NOT UNTO MEN, but unto God: for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit HE SPEAKETH MYSTERIES.  3But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  4He that speaketh in an unknown tongue EDIFIETH HIMSELF; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  5I WOULD THAT YE ALL SPAKE IN TONGUES but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”— 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are ZEALOUS of spiritual gifts, SEEK that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue PRAY that he may interpret.14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.—18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all19 Yet IN THE CHURCH I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.—28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF; AND TO GOD.—39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Does MacArthur understand that we are not even speaking to men but unto GOD when we speak in tongues (and no man understands), UNLESS the tongues are interpreted? Does he realize that Paul recommends us to speak in tongues privately at home? Does he realize that Paul NOWHERE says that the speaking in tongues shall cease before the coming of Christ, when we shall see him as he really is? If speaking in tongues has ceased, as MacArthur claims, how come it hasn’t? How come millions of true born again christians still speak in tongues? If they are all Satanic, why didn’t Paul bother to warn us about this? Wouldn’t it have been better for Paul to say somewhere that ”the true speaking of tongues shall cease close after my own death, but there will be millions and millions of so-called christians (who show good fruit) who will speak in FALSE tongues, so be aware of them and don’t fall into the same trap”, etc?

Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

If Paul spent a few months in a certain church and noticed that none of the spiritual gifts were present, wouldn’t he have been disappointed and reproved the leaders of this church for neglecting to encourage these gifts – which could have been to much edification both for individuals and/or for crowds of people? I fear that people are so afraid of the misuse of the gifts of the holy spirit that they don’t seek them at all, and this ends up being a victory for the devil.

Unfortunately, John MacArthur has made a study Bible, and you would do well to disregard it. He gets a lot of things right, but he also gets lots of things wrong and there is a risk you will fall for gnosticism/calvinism (and that God is the author of sin) if you start to believe MacArthur’s claims in his book. I can also say that quoting MacArthur where it sounds like he believes that man has free will, that we all have a chance to be saved, etc, only proves that he is not consistent with his own teaching (TULIP) and that he contradicts himself.

”Yes, someone says, but can’t Christians put themselves outside God’s grace? What about those who commit ABOMINABLE SINS? Don’t they nullify the work of redemption in themselves? Don’t they forfeit the love of God? CERTAINLY NOT …. it’s preposterous to think that we can forfeit it [salvation] BY ANYTHING WE DO” (John MacArthur, Jr., The Love of God, Word Publishing, 1996, p. 159.)

”Secondly, you asked about occasional SEXUAL SIN or getting drunk. Again, THESE SINS CANNOT CAUSE A TRUE BELIEVER TO LOSE HIS SALVATION” (Personal letter dated 1/10/94 sent by Bryan Johnson, a counselor from John MacArthur’s ministry.)

The Bible says:

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2 Peter 2:2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

1 Tim. 4: 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Jude 1:For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have no other desire than seeing also John MacArthur receiving the gift of speaking in tongues (and other gifts), but if puts so much energy in fighting against the holy Spirit and His gifts, the chances are slim that it will happen.

John MacArthur teaches that it’s possible to be saved even after having taken the mark of the beast (he starts with the incorrect premise of pre-tribulation). The Bible says the opposite. What if people in the future trust MacArthur’s assurance and take the mark of the beast? It’s of course no valid excuse to blame others (false teachers) for our choices, but teachers who present damnable doctrines have blood on their hands. Let’s pray for their repentance, and that people won’t trust MacArthur’s false assurances.

See below how MacArthur makes it known, that if you’re in the charismatic movement you’re NOT saved and you’re NOT part of the body of Christ. I get chills down my spine listening to his war against charismatic christians, and how he gets applauds from the other leaders (and the audience), and how people laugh when he makes jokes about the whole matter. I also don’t trust his concern for lost souls, because if he is right about his own gospel, then his God doesn’t even want all people saved, but only the elect – and of course all calvinists belong to the elect.

Annonser

The danger of misusing the misuse of tongues

Below I use the word ”cessationist” (a person who believes speaking in tongues is not for today but a gift that has ceased) but I could address anyone who is skeptic about tongues and especially those who have produced ”anti-tongue material” – like uploaded video clips on youtube. Sometimes I wonder if cessationists feel that if they can’t pray by the Spirit’s power, they assume that no one else can either and they therefore prefer to read the Bible accordingly.  I don’t wish to cause bad feelings with what I write, but would like to defend the gift of speaking in tongues, and to make some clarifications concerning some common misunderstandings.

Speaking in tongues does not mean that the language is always understood, but actually the exact opposite

It’s very common for cessationists to base their views about tongues on Acts 2 alone, with hardly no aid from 1 Cor. 11-14 where Paul quite extensively describes tongues and the way to use them. If the agenda is to show that speaking in tongues has either ceased or nothing to strive for,  people would likely try to ignore 1 Cor. 11-14 to avoid the clear information we can find there:

  • we should be eager to get this gift
  • tongues can edify YOU ALONE, which is something good
  • NO MAN understands the tongues (unless interpreted)
  • you’re not even addressing people with your tongues but you’re praying to GOD
  • you should pray in BOTH ways; 1) with the spirit and 2) with your understanding

Acts 2 of course doesn’t contradict 1 Cor. in any way, but it’s still not a good approach to avoid the larger passages about tongues and focus on the very first experience alone. What if the very first experience was totally unique and a bit different than the experiences which followed? The Greek word ”dialectos” is used only in the original Pentecost of Acts 2. The other occurences of tongues-speaking (Acts 19, Acts 10) was not in earthly dialects and ”dialectos” is not found in the text. All we know from Acts 2 is that ”every man heard them speak in his own language”. Notice:

  • It does NOT say that each man understood ALL the languages spoken
  • It does NOT say that each man understood every single disciple
  • It does NOT say that no ”gibberish” was uttered apart from the comprehensible languages

If tongues are always foreign languages, then there is no reason for anyone to ever do it alone (where no foreigners can hear) and yet we are told to pray privately:

1 Cor. 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF, AND TO GOD

Also, there would have been no reason for the Ephesians (of Acts 19) or for Cornelius’ family (Acts 10) to speak in tongues since there were no foreigners there to understand it. If tongues were always understood, why is ”interpreting tongues” a separate gift? And how come believers with the gift of speaking in tongues don’t automatically have the gift of interpreting? We are told to pray in two ways; 1) with the spirit (where we don’t understand what we are saying) and 2) with our own words (which we understand):

1 Cor. 14:19 I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding ALSO: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

1 Cor. 14:13 Wherefore let him who speaks in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret (so clearly not a gift always combined with speaking in tongues)

1 Cor. 14:17 For you verily give thanks well,[in tongues] but the other is not edified (because he can’t understand)

Since the Bible says that no one understands a person who speaks in tongues, it means that ”gibberish” fits this description rather well. That people sometimes understand the tongues is likely due to that they are interpreted.

Speaking in tongues is for praise, worship, edification and not for evangelism

Tongues are for praise and nowhere are we told they are meant for evangelism. The Ephesians in Acts 19 and the Romans in Acts 10 (Cornelius’ house) spoke in tongues but there were no foreigners around to hear in a foreign ”known language”. What purpose would a foreign dialect serve as they all already spoke the same language? Two portions from the book of Acts show that tongues are for praise rather than for evangelism:

1) Acts 10:44-46 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God

In Cornelius’ house there were no foreigners to hear what was spoken. ”And Cornelius waited for them, and he called together his kinsmen and near friends.”Acts 10:24

2) Acts 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve.

Paul met some faithful Jews who believed in John’s baptism and when Paul told them of Jesus and laid his hands on them they spoke in tongues. But not to evangelize foreigners but they where simply prophesying (and we have learned that prophesying is mainly for believers). No foreigners were present.

When a cessationist says that pentecostals over-emphasize tongues; he is basically saying that Pentecostals over-emphasize prayer and praise. A good church service shouldn’t contain all the important aspects of a church service; teaching, song, praise, edification, etc.

The tongues (interpreted) are not for the jews but for the CHURCH

1 Cor. 14: 3-4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church

Cessationists might say that tongues were only meant to judge the unbelieving Jews. This idea is proved false because there were no unbelieving Jews to hear the words of ”judgment” at Cornelius’ house (Acts 10) or at Ephesus (Acts 19) as mentioned above. The Scriptures that cessationists use to support their idea is below (notice the absence of the word ”judgment”):

1 Cor. 14:20-22 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. In the Law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

The OT quote within 1 Cor 14:20-22 (above) is from Isaiah 28, where God is telling Israel that they have been so wicked that He will allow them to be conquered by Assyria.

Isaiah 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

Therefore cessationists have come to the conclusion that hearing a foreign language is a judgment. However, the judgment against Israel in Isaiah’s day was not a strange tongue but that they would be taken captive. The strange language was not a judgment, but a consequence of the judgment. The consequence of tongues-speaking is that unbelievers (Jew and Gentile) do not understand what is being spoken and therefore to them it is just a ”sign.” The Greek word ”semeion” means a ”sign” as in a ”wonder” or a ”mystery” or ”perplexity.” This same word is used in a similar way in Rev. 12:1, Rev. 12:3 and Rev. 15:1. Paul, wrote 1 Cor 14 to show that tongues without interpretation does not benefit anyone except the speaker; therefore, do not speak tongues loudly in the church service (without interpretation) because for others it is just a mystery/sign. And just as the OT Jews were perplexed by the Assyrian dialect, so they are perplexed today by tongues, and it will not help them.

Paul wants to show that the church is made up of believers, and prophecy is for believers in the church-service for their instruction, and that prophecy can also convict a stray unbeliever that happens to be there. Therefore prophecy is better than tongues in the church unless there is an interpretation:

1 Cor. 14:24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Speaking in tongues is a sign that shall follow them that BELIEVE:

Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues

If speaking in tongues has ceased, then people who still speak in tongues would have to be faking them or being possessed by the devil. This would in turn lead to that a sure sign of an unsaved person would be if he spoke in tongues! That is the exact opposite of what Mark 16:17 is saying!

It is only during the portion of the church service that is set aside for prophetic speaking that the tongues-speakers should keep silence – if there is no interpreter. However, there are no verses which prohibit quiet tongues-speaking during the prayer/worship portion of the service. If you would normally pray quietly for yourselves in church, perhaps due to a common request from the pastor, then speaking in tongues would be one way to express yourself. There is a chance/risk that a person who sits beside you overhears your mumbling, but this is not against Paul’s teaching. Someone might also overhear another person praying in Spanish who sits beside him, and no one would be offended unless the prayers are inconveniently loud. It’s only when a person requests the attention of others that irritation can be the outcome. If a person stood up in an American church speaking in another language, then that would clearly violate Paul’s instructions, and it’s not hard to figure out why. A person who repeatedly shouts ”Praise the LORD, Halleluyaaaa, Amen”…” etc, and jumps up and down, would equally disturb the church service and contribute to chaos. This could not be filed under ”dangerous” but rather ”silly” and ”annoying”. Paul advised against speaking in tongues publically because no others would be edified, and outsiders would think you’re nuts. Not because it’s ”dangerous”.

Yes, speaking in tongues is a GIFT freely provided by God

1 Cor. 12:11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

It’s nothing controversial about the fact that speaking in tongues is a GIFT freely offered by God and something that you can’t earn, because this is generally accepted both inside and outside of the Pentecostal church. Sadly people misunderstand this to mean that we should just forget about this subject altogether since it’s God’s business to intervene in our lives and give us any gift he wants us to have. How is this ”covet earnestly the best gifts” which we are told to do? Although it’s true that we certainly can’t give ourselves any gifts, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t approach God and ask for them, and be EAGER to get them. Sometimes we don’t get because we don’t ask (it’s still a free gift), and if we on top of this doubt that we might be the lucky recipients of spiritual gifts, then this might hinder us to get them. It doesn’t matter if God is standing there handing out gifts if we don’t even look for them or stretch out our hands to get them.

Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.—13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Speaking in tongues is not a ”less important gift”

1 Cor. 12:8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.12For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

Paul never says that he is listing the gifts of the Spirit in a descending ranking order. If that was his aim, we would have to conclude that the interpretation of tongues is not as important as tongues-speaking, because it is listed below ”tongues”. Yet, the ”best gifts,” according to Paul in 1 Cor. are ”prophecy” and ”interpretation” because more people can be edified. Paul goes on to explain right after the verse above that all parts of the body are necessary and equally important. Also:

1 Cor. 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied:For greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying

With other words, we are told to earnestly covet the best gifts, meaning that we should be eager to get gifts where as many people as possible can be edified. This means that we shouldn’t be satisified with only being able to speak in tongues, but we should also earnestly seek the gift of interpretation since this would lead to prophesying. Are you honestly seeking the gifts on Paul’s list as he tells you to, or have you brushed all these gifts aside? (Or even worse; are you spending your valuable time giving warnings to fellow christians to be aware of spiritual gifts, and hindering them as well from being eager to get them?)

A believer can be ”filled” again by the Holy Ghost

Below we can see WHY the believing jews understood that certain gentiles had received the Holy Ghost. It was ”FOR they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God”. We can trust that this reason is correct, maybe in combination with noticing good fruit. These gentiles had not yet been baptised in WATER but they had received the baptism of the HOLY GHOST. Also Peter was certain of that these gentiles were ready to be baptised also in water since he understood that they had been baptised in the Holy Ghost. No one involved seemed terrified that these gentiles maybe faked their tongues or that they were demon possessed. They didn’t feel it was ”dangerous” at all, but they took what they heard as a sign for that the gentiles were true believers and ready to be water baptised since they had the Holy Ghost:

Acts 10:44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them whichheard the word. 45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 

It is a spiritual power seen as manifestations of the Spirit which are demonstrated by the working of spiritual gifts. Acts 1:5, Acts 1:8 and Joel’s prophecy point to a filling of the Holy Spirit that is more than just a salvation experience.They speak of a ”drenching, soaking” of the Spirit known as ”baptizo”. The ”baptizo” experience happening to someone who already has the Holy Spirit in him (because he is already saved) might be for him to attend a powerful prayer meeting, like the one in Acts 4:31, and this person would gain the power to prophesy through tongues, the word of wisdom etc. A power that the believers received when the Holy Spirit was poured out was the ability to praise God through the Holy Spirit. A true believer who has the Holy Spirit dwelling inside him can still be said to be ”filled with the Holy Ghost/spirit/power” at a later stage in his life and on several different occasions. This can happen through prayers:

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness 

Luke. 24:48-49 ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high

Acts 2:16-17 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy”

Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Eph 5:17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;19Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

John 7: 37-39 If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Apostle Peter was filled with the Spirit when Jesus breathed on him. He was filled again on the Acts 2 Pentecost. After that, he was at a powerful prayer meeting where the whole house was shaken. John was ”in the Spirit” (as opposed to just a normal day when he would not be considered as being ”in the Spirit”) when he wrote the book of Revelation. Stephen was ”filled” when he saw Jesus at the right hand of God. Even though the Ephesians were already saved, Paul still tells them to be ”filled” with the Spirit. At the moment that someone prophecies he is filled with an extra anointing of the Holy Spirit for that occasion.

”Baptism” has a primary meaning which is ”to drench”, but the proper definition of the word ”baptizo” (”drenching”) is something that not all Christians receive. For instance, there are many Christians who have never been baptized in water yet they may be said to be ”baptized” in a more general sense. When Bible writers use the word ”baptism” to describe the Holy Spirit falling on someone causing him to speak in tongues, they are not speaking of ”baptism” in a vague sense; rather they are speaking of a Holy Spirit drenching that is a spiritual equivalent of a water-baptism.

Why do people get so scared when it comes to speaking in tongues?

Maybe because they have come across some of the material from people who have an agenda to scare people away from the Pentecostal churches and from the spiritual gifts. This might even inspire them to produce their own material and continue spreading the rumour that pentecostal churches are dangerous and filled with unruly people who speak with fake tongues which we would do well to keep away from. Why is this not slander? What if we would start a campaign where we claimed that MOST baptist churches are like the Westboro Baptist Church?

A common denominator among those who fervently speak out against tongues (and others who have a negative attitude towards them) seems to be that they are not members of a charismatic church and possibly haven’t made many visits in one either (I know there are exceptions). There are some who spend their valuable time to produce video clips, audio clips and articles where they write warning upon warning about the misuse of tongues. Some of them are cessationists and some of them are ”just against the misuse” of tongues as they say. But in the latter category you will find some starting out saying ”I’m not a cessationist, BUT…” followed by several pages of warnings and examples of negative things about tongues. Why not doing the exact opposite? Why not start out saying ”I’m aware of that there is a misuse of tongues in some odd churches, BUT…” followed by page upon page with encouragement to speak in tongues, and with wonderful examples across the world where people have been much edified by them? If the idea isn’t to scare people away from speaking in tongues, and to run away from Pentecostal churches, then what do they think such scare-tactics material will do to people? Why not at least spend 50% of a video clip with encouragement to use the spiritual gifts?  The risk is that viewers might believe the material and flee from tongues. This means that SATAN is the winner.

People who produce this type of warning-material, and compare the practice of pentecostals with pagans, might feel they are doing a good deed among christians. Instead they are causing a DIVISION about something that is neither common nor dangerous. Why not give warnings about doctrines or traditions which could harm your soul? There are plenty to choose from. (But maybe the same people refrain from doing this to ”not cause a division”.) How ”dangerous” would it be if I stood up in an American church and spoke in Swedish? It would be irritating at worst, and I would be wasting people’s time, but dangerous? Hardly. You might say that people wouldn’t know if I spoke with ”demonic” tongues or not, but how many examples of ”demonic” tongues do we really know from the western world, and how many examples inside a CHURCH? (Do give me a source with valid examples because it would be interesting reading.) Anyone could stand up in a church and say a curse in another language (not necessarily in tongues) but this isn’t very likely, and of course everyone would notice a person who is disturbing the church service. Besides, a ”curse” wouldn’t make anyone lose his soul. Satan can’t touch a christian’s heart unless the christian person opens up for him. I’m saying this to show that it wouldn’t be ”dangerous” to stand up speaking in tongues with no interpreter, but just dumb.

The anti-tongues videos can cause christians to be robbed of spiritual power

By scaring christians away from the spiritual gifts, Satan robs them of the many benefits of speaking in tongues and the power of the holy spirit. So instead of helping christians, this anti-tongue material is causing much harm and is a GREAT aid for Satan to diminish our strength. Keep this in mind if you think you’re doing something good by producing and/or endorsing such material.

Some pastors might feel that the subject of speaking in tongues is so controversial that  they won’t raise up this topic at all in church, to avoid being charged for influencing the members in either direction. But do they reason the same way when it comes to the subject of Creation or Evolution, or other touchy subjects? There are even pastors who WARN members against speaking in tongues. Why not making videos and warn people against churches which are negative towards tongues? By speaking in tongues, Christians would be edified and get much power,joy and confidence, and yet these pastors try to prevent them from getting these benefits! If you are in a church where the pastor is speaking about the spiritual gifts in negative terms, then I hope you will consider leaving this church. It’s rather serious (and dangerous) if a leader of a church warns people against something that Paul encourages. Paul gave instructions about tongues and seemed to take this gift for granted in churches, so he would likely be appalled if he lived today and realized that this gift is totally ABSENT in many churches! I believe he would like to have word with the church leaders if he realized they have tried to put a lid on the holy spirit:

1 Thess. 5:19Quench not the Spirit. 20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

You might hear cessationists say ”MOST pentecostal churches misuse the tongues” and ”the misuse of tongues is INCREASING” and ”it’s dangerous” but they of course have no sources or statistics to back up their claims. By doing false generalizations like this, and painting with a broad brush, they just want to build up a scenario where they try to show that their warning-material is much-needed. Instead the misuse of tongues might not be common at all, and only tied to a small group of infamous preachers and their supporters.

I read on a thread on Facebook the other day: ”Having been originally taught as a Baptist, tongues were not talked about hardly at all” and someone else said ”As a Presbyterian growing up the Holy Spirit was never mentioned except in the doxology” and another person said ”I would ask him why would we not believe the Bible on the issue of spiritual gifts, and his excuse was because some had abused the gifts”. No wonder that the gifts of the holy spirit is absent in so many churches!

People feel ”pressured” to speak in tongues in Pentecostal churches?

One argument against the Pentecostal church that I’ve heard on several occasions, is that people might feel ”pressured” and even ”forced” to speak in tongues when they are in a Pentecostal church. I find this to be very strange considering that not all people inside the pentecostal church have this gift, which pentecostals are well aware of, and pentecostals are also aware of that you’re not supposed to speak in tongues with no interpreter. Do people feel bothered and pressured to speak in tongues because they overhear people who speak them? If my praise and worship to the Lord bothers someone else, then so be it. I shouldn’t have to feel pressured to reduce my time of praise in order to accommodate someone else. Naturally I shouldn’t be too loud, and I shouldn’t be disturbing the rest of the service by praising and praying in the wrong time. Not even misuse of tongues should have to cause a person to feel ”pressured” to speak in tongues, unless he enters a church where pretty much everyone babbled in unknown tongues. Still, he shouldn’t be judging all Pentecostal churches based on one where they misuse tongues. What if a person enters a church and finds the members there sing beautifully, unlike him? Should the church members try to sing less beautifully, or reduce their singing, in order to not make the visiting person feel bad?

1 Cor 1: 4-7 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ