Etikettarkiv | gifts

Christmas – once pagan always pagan?

Is it wrong to turn a pagan holiday into a christian celebration where we make a special commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ? Would it really be better to view the day as an ordinary day, and skip all christmas carols, christmas food and meeting up with family and friends for the special occasion? You might say that it’s only the pagan parts of christmas that you’re against, but in that case the better option would be to avoid whatever christmas ingredients you dislike and celebrate christmas as per your own choice. Many people do just that, and the case is that most people celebrate christmas with Jesus Christ in mind and they truly believe he is the reason for the season. Also non-believers view christmas as a celebration for the birth of Jesus and that is what makes it so special. Every single year they are reminded of JESUS CHRIST. How else would a country where 90% are non-believers be exposed to Jesus Christ to the same extent? They certainly won’t come to church to find out.

There is a whole mixture of christmas traditions, and they differ world-wide, as well as within a country. Some celebrate it in a very secular way, and others with religious symbolism, and there really isn’t a ”right way” (but there are many wrong ways) since the Bible doesn’t even mention Jesus’ birthday. The Bible doesn’t mention any other birthdays at all, perhaps with the exception of Herodes’ birthday, and he was a pretty mean guy who had a birthday party where he cut off the head of John the Baptist who was the forerunner to JESUS. Despite of this horrible event, we all imitate Herodes’ practice and celebrate our own birthdays. So the only Biblical mention of a birthday is tied to a very wicked ruler who maybe even invented ”birthdays” and/or had a ”birthday” party to bring fame to his own big name (I’m only speculating), and yet people today celebrate their own birthdays without giving it second thoughts. Also those who are against christmas celebrate their own birthdays.

Some families mix in traditions into christmas which are questionable, and maybe this is  a bigger problem than the fact that it started out as pagan? We don’t have to take the same route as they though. The fact that certain things are not mentioned in the Bible is of course not a reason in itself to avoid them, or else I could list quite a few traditions which people are involved with which are not mentioned or encouraged to be carried out by christians. Where in the Bible does it say that christians should eat birthday cakes? Or use special wedding rings, celebrate Thanksgiving (with turkey and other traditions), arrange special funeral events, mark oneself with tattoos, etc? Some of those who are against christmas are engaged in all of the above. Tattoos are very much rooted in paganism, and even if some feel they can show that there is no Biblical law against them, they are certainly not encouraged. I can’t find any support for that jews or christians used tattoos.

How it all started in Europe

When Europe started to get christianised, the Germanics used the same word for the celebration of the birth of Jesus, as for their own pagan celebration. Later on during 1000 AD in England and 1100 AD in Germany, ”Cristes Mæsse” started to be used which became ”Christmas” in English, whereas ”wîhe nah” (the holy night) became ”Weihnachten” in German. The Scandinavian countries kept the word Jul and never used any references to a ”mass”. Noel entered English in the late 14th century and is from the Old French noel or nael, meaning ”Christmas season”, itself ultimately from the Latinnatalis (dies), ”birth (day)”.

The year 354 AD Liberius established the date for Christmas on December 25th (and a Holiday is considered to start at 18.00 the previous day which could explain why December 24th is celebrated in many countries). According to an old understanding of Genesis, the world was created during the vernal equinox and March 25th was considered as Mary’s Annunciation Day, so the birth of Jesus was calculated to 9 months thereafter – December 25th. The celebration of the birth of Jesus replaced, among other events, the Roman celebration of the sun-god Ra which was held during the winter solstice, but many other types of celebrations were held throughout Europe during the winter solstice. The transmission from the various types of celebrations that people were engaged in, to the new christian celebration, went smoothly since celebrations were already in practice during this time. The return of the light to earth after mid winter has symbolized the light of Jesus. The winter solstice occurs a few days before christmas nowadays due to changes in the calendar. It makes perfect sense for people who had not heard about Jesus to make a special event for the winter solstice.

The origin of ”Santa Clause” is uncertain as well, and even though we can trace him back to 300 AD and St. Nicholas, each culture has added its own flavor to this man. In the US he is always depicted as a man with a red and white suit, but he can wear other colors in other countries, and he has various assignments. In the 1800’s in Sweden, he was often depicted as a little midget (much like the dwarves in Snow white) who helped the land owners to guard barns and stables and to help feed the animals. He did not come with any presents but HE liked to get a bowl of porridge once in a while, why some had as a tradition to place this dish outside the door for him. The content sometimes disappeared so it could be Jultomten (The Santa Clause) who ate it – or perhaps a fox? For us today it’s possible to celebrate Christmas without this man if he is too much of a problem.

How it all started in Scandinavia

In Sweden and in some other countries in Europe, it’s December 24th which is the big day, and particularly in the evening, but the entire ”christmas season” is between December 24th to January 13th when the celebration is officially over. Many choose to get rid of their christmas tree on or around this final day (or a few days before if it’s shedding too many needles), and why the christmas tree is not referred to in Jeremiah 10 can be read here. The modern use of a tree inside the house for christmas is a tradition from Germany in the 1500´s, and candles started to be used in the trees in the 1600´s and 1700´s. Initially christmas trees, at least in Scandinavia, were used only among the more wealthy families.

It’s hard to know where ”Jul” first started to be used as a word but the first occasion seems to be from Codes Ambrosianus A of the Gothic calendar, which was written about 500-600 AD. The fragment describes the end of October and the beginning of November, and the month of November is overwritten with ”Naubaimbair: fruma Jiuleis” which could be translated as ”November, the month before Yule”. At around 730 Ad Beda venerabilis wrote that the Anglosaxians’ calendar has the month ”geola” or ”giuli” which can correspond to December and/or December and January. December 25th seems to be the first day of the pagan new year which was celebrated. By the time Scandinavia was christianised around 1000 AD, christmas celebrations started to involve mixed elements between pagan, christian, Nordic and Germanic traditions from the time of the vikings and onwards. Most of the present traditions derive from  the 1800’s and 1900’s so they are modern and not tied to any pagan gods.

Saint Lucia – Celebrated December 13th in major parts of Scandinavia, with start in Sweden. The most commonly used explanation for the origin of this celebration is that it concerns a young Italian woman from Syracuse on Sicily (Italy) who around 300 AD was forced to marry a man who did not share her faith, and in order to not having to marry him she took her eyes out. Before the new Gregorian Calendar, the Lucia day occurred during the day of the winter solstice but this later changed. Again, it’s common to make extra festivities during a winter solstice. The origin of the Lucia celebrations in Sicily differs entirely from the one in Sweden. The Swedish Lucia tradition actually seems to be separated from the saint altogether, and the name Lucia was tied to the winter solstice  festivities during a later stage. It wasn’t until around the year 1900 when the Lucia tradition was established and commonly celebrated in Sweden. The way it has been celebrated has changed since the year 1900, but in schools today the Lucia and her maids sing Lucia songs and christian christmas songs (and a few others) and that in itself is spectacular. Because ”forcing” a religion on someone is usually not acceptable in schools, so religious songs or teachings would normally not pass, BUT since the Lucia tradition is so old and so loved this tradition is an exception. Even if a parent in school would protest, all other parents would overrule the protest, and the tradition continues. This means students will continue to be affected by the glorious gospel about JESUS CHRIST who the Lucia sings about. The Lucia songs can be heard in public places all around the country and on TV, and it’s a great way to evangelize! Children often sing these christian songs to their grandparents or similar, when visiting them in their homes this special day. Lucia on youtube can be viewed here:

With this background in mind, is celebrating christmas wrong?

Maybe it’s harder for me to understand people’s disdain for christmas due to where I live – in a very secular country where people would raise their eyebrows and maybe even be shocked if you would ever say ”God bless you” to them. Religion is usually understood as something very private and politicians would therefore never say ”God bless you” or ”Let’s pray…” during any public circumstances. In the US you might feel that it’s not a big deal to skip christmas altogether and delete it as a Holiday since you will always be surrounded by people, even at work, who do NOT feel you’re odd for being a born again christian.

I am just SO pleased we have christmas celebrations! During the rest of the year (maybe apart from Easter, Pentecost and Christ’s Ascension day) any promotion of christianity seems to be prohibited from the public arena. You wouldn’t hear any songs about Jesus Christ on the radio or TV, unless there is a certain documentary or similar, but during the christmas season suddenly everything is allowed! JESUS CHRIST is promoted big time, and churches don’t pay a dime for this promotion! If you’re in a store, a bus or in a waiting room, you might be hearing christmas music in the background, and the same applies if you zap around among the TV channels. Just imagine; without the need of christians coming together and pay big money for spreading the gospel of Jesus, THIS IS DONE FOR FREE! And it’s done by SECULAR people who are helping out promoting our Savior even if they are not aware of it! For several days in a row you will be listening to christmas songs which keep reminding also atheists of:

A savior is born! In Bethlehem, by a virgin which would be a sign for the Messiah! The baby in the manger is MIGHTY GOD says Isaiah! The LORD OF LORDS! Shepherds came to see him! They were guided from the East by a star, expecting a NEW BORN KING. Angels spoke to them and assured them a Savior is come to earth! Herod was afraid!  This baby would be born just to save people from their sins! People were expecting the Messiah and there he was! Oh Holy night! Peace on earth!

WHY would I vote for deleting christmas as a holiday, now when the gospel of Jesus Christ is spread to so many atheists?

Radio and TV

If religious songs would be played during any other time of the year, people would complain and point out that they shouldn’t have to be forced to listen to religious propaganda and that the radio hosts favor one religion over another, and they will likely be reported. But during the christmas time no one would even think about complaining despite that these songs are so frequent on all radio stations! It’s possible that you in the US have christian radio stations where you could listen to christian songs also the rest of the year, and there must be a few over here too, but if you’re not a christian of course you wouldn’t even look for one. When it comes to christmas, people WILL hear the christian songs whether they like it or not because ALL the radio stations play them – which are the radio stations these people usually listen to!

If we succeeded to persuade the politicians to abolish christmas altogether, it would mean that the radio stations and the TV channels would have no reason to play such christmas songs any more. Then those christians who voted down christmas, might contact the radio stations and offer to pay for ”time slots” to play christians songs, but they would be turned down because the radio stations don’t play religious songs. Also TV-channels show many quality programs with christian christmas songs, and they are aired during the peak hours so loads of people can see them. They also make reruns of many programs. If you compare with other type of evangelization I can think of NO greater impact than broadcasting the Gospel right into people’s living rooms (for atheists) during the time when they will likely sit in front of the TV! These atheists might very well enjoy the music and sing along with the christian text. The Bible actually says that faith comes from hearing (the word of God) so this might be a start to peak their interest and a start on their salvation! And again, it doesn’t cost us christians anything! If we would try to make this on our own, it would cost us many millions to arrange a similar gospel campaign. Now, we don’t have to lift a finger, and still secular media will continue to spread the gospel by free will and no one is stopping them! The only ones who might interfere with this tradition and try to silence the christian christmas music might be those christians who oppose Christmas…

Changing dates?

The idea of changing dates for the Christmas holiday would of course not be achievable. I wouldn’t be able to make an impact on the leaders of this country to change Christmas from December 24th to September 24th even if many christians joined me in my efforts, and WHY would I even want to make an effort? It doesn’t matter when we celebrate christmas, but over here December 24th is perfect. It’s getting dark at 15.00 so we don’t have many hours of daylight, why a celebration which contain much Light comes in handy. IF christmas would be eliminated as a Holiday, it would likely result in LESS people who seek Jesus Christ and LESS people who get saved! If the politicians agreed to adhere to the christians’ call to eliminate christmas altogether since it’s pagan, and declared that the holiday would no longer be officially celebrated since it’s pagan and since it’s better to be neutral about religious holidays, then I’m rather sure atheists would take over this holiday and REALLY make it pagan. They might miss the Holiday of light and all the special events, so they might make their own traditions, and getting drunk might be one of the ingredients. Halloween started very recently in this country just from one year to another, so if Christmas was abolished something else will likely take its place.

Christian holidays will one day be abolished for the sake of neutrality

I believe that religious holidays will be abolished in the future anyway since the Antichrist is on his way and he won’t accept any public holidays where Jesus Christ is focused on, but why would we christians try to reach to this point sooner than we need? Jesus is coming soon and we need to spread the gospel! Not silence it! I read that in China also secular chinese people have started to pay attention to the christmas celebration. Particularly the youth and people who live on the coasts. When a lot of people celebrate christmas and tell the world WHY, also others might be affected and seek the Lord.

Even in schools they feel led to explain to their children WHY we celebrate christmas, and some even make a tradition to walk to a nearby church to see a nativity scene. Lately this has been questioned since the school education is supposed to be neutral, and it might start with one single parent who questions this tradition, with the result that school principal feels prone to agree and cancels a tradition which has been going on for many years. In reality there is room within the school laws to teach children about religions by making this type of excursions. Since this country has a christian history, why is it wrong to tell children about the reason for celebrating christmas? Where I live they solved the controversy (to single out christianity among other religions) by placing the nativity scene in the library instead of in the church (even though the church is just beside the library), and they explained the story of Joseph and Mary both from a christian point of view AND from the Islamic point of view! All for the sake of ”neutrality”.

You decide over your own traditions

I just feel, that if we dislike certain christmas traditions, like the focus on Santa, too many and too expensive gifts, mistletoe arrangements, etc, then we should just avoid them and keep other traditions and/or start new ones which are more appropriate. Why the desire to eliminate the entire holiday and make it plain just because there are people who focus on the wrong things during this season? If you celebrate your own birthday without letting the wicked man Herodes bother you who is the only Biblical person who is mentioned celebrating a birthday, why is it wrong to select a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and why is it wrong to choose a former pagan day for this event? By choosing a former pagan day, you would kill two birds with one stone since you would disarm Satan with his pagan traditions, at the same time as you replaced the wicked traditions with a focus on JESUS CHRIST. Now we don’t have two competing holidays. Plus it’s a bit late to change dates now anyway. This is not about trying to turn the ”pagan ship” around because it has already been turned around by people before us. We don’t celebrate December 25th to commemorate the sun-god any more, and even atheists can testify that the idea is to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Seems like the angels,  shepherds and wise men found it natural to  react quite visibly on the birth of  Jesus Christ, and would they really be sinning if they commemorated the birth every year?

Annonser

Speaking in tongues can edify both you and others and we are encouraged to use them

The Bible says that when we speak in tongues then NO MAN UNDERSTANDS and that we in the spirit speak MYSTERIES not unto men but unto GOD. This should settle the whole argument about tongues always being understood, because the Bible says they are not understood (unless they are interpreted).

1 Cor. 14:2For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue SPEAKETH NOT UNTO MEN; BUT UNTO GOD: for NO MAN UNDERSTANDETH HIM; howbeit in the spirit HE SPEAK MYSTERIES.

1 Cor. 14: 16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

Nowhere in the Bible does it say speaking in tongues was ever used for spreading the gospel. Here is what Acts says about the very first encounter of the tongues:

Acts 2:1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.–-6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. 14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17And 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, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come

Notice that is says THE LAST DAYS, and surely we are living in that last days even more today than 2,000 years ago?

We can read above that every man heard them speak in his own language” but does it say that every man understood ALL languages spoken by ALL disciples? No, it doesn’t say that. If a Cretan man heard his own language spoken by a disciple, is it certain that he also understood Arabic and other foreign languages spoken by OTHER disciples? It doesn’t sound likely that ALL those men who were present had knowledge enough to understand 10-20 languages. One can easily assume that for a Cretan person most other languages must have sounded like total gibberish to him – but we know that at least ONE disciple spoke in such a way that this Cretan person understood since ”every man heard them speak in his own language”. It doesn’t say each person understood ALL languages spoken. The case could also be that the tongues that were spoken were already ”interpreted” into worldly languages. (I’ve heard myself speaking in French and Finnish, and actually also in Swedish but when I did not use my own words.)

Acts 10:44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard 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? 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Above we can read that these particular jews understood that the Gentiles in question had received the Holy Ghost for the reason that they spoke in tongues and magnified God. This was a SIGN to these people. Below we can read again that speaking in tongues, among other things, is one of the signs for a believer:

Mark 16:17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18They 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.

Since Paul gives instruction about tongues within the christian church, it’s evident that tongues should be used among christians – and of course only if someone can interpret them. Speaking in tongues is naturally controllable just like any other language. You decide when to speak and when not to.

It’s in the book of Corinthians where we can read the most details about tongues (see further below)

The book of Corinthians tells us that the reason for speaking in tongues is that IT CAN EDIFY BOTH YOU AND (if you have the gift of interpreting) ALSO OTHERS. It is a BETTER deal if you can edify the church, but if you don’t have the gift if interpreting SPEAK TO YOURSELF AT HOME SO YOU CAN BE EDIFIED.

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

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

So speaking in tongues is not only for other ears, particularly not when we can read:

he that speaketh in an unknown tongue SPEAKETH NOT UNTO MEN; BUT UNTO GOD”

If, according to Paul, you don’t even speak to men but to GOD, then of course speaking in tongues is not only for others to hear. IF they are interpreted, then they could be for others to hear, if done in proper order. It’s not certain that a person who can speak in tongues also has the gift of interpretation, but he should be EAGER to get also this gift so even MORE people can be edified.

1 Cor 11:30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor 14:1 Follow 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 SPEAK MYSTERIES.

We are to speak in both ways; 1) spirit (tongues) and 2) mind (our own understanding):

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.

If you’re honest; are you really eager to speak in both ways as Paul says you should? Take notice of that not ONCE does Paul discourage people to speak in tongues in any way but he ENCOURAGES them, and that is what I feel all pastors and evangelists should do. It’s just the disorder that Paul warns about. If tongues were supposed to cease shortly after the generation he was addressing, why are we not able to read information about this anywhere? It would have been so easy to add a little note about this to warn people about upcoming ”fake” tongues or similar IF that were true. The question that needs to be answered by those who believe speaking tongues has ceased is this: Why haven’t they ceased? I can only see two reasons to why christians in MANY MILLIONS continue to speak in tongues (if they have indeed ceased)

1) The tongues spoken today are not real tongues but from Satan, so the people who speak in tongues are demon possessed.

2) Those who speak in tongues today make them up, i.e. those who use them are LYING since the speaking in tongues is fake.

Both these options result in that those who speak in tongues are not saved unless you believe that people who are demon possessed or unrepentant liars will be saved. So this means that the cessationists believe speaking in tongues is a sign for that they are UNBELIEVERS – contrary to what Mark 16:17 says.

Paul encouraged tongues and spent a considerable amount of time and words in the book of Corinthians to give instructions about them. It certainly doesn’t seem he believed they would shortly cease and that all those instructions were in vain. IF they would shortly cease, he should have spent some time to WARN about upcoming fake tongues, but he doesn’t say one word about it. Paul gives two cases where PUBLIC speaking of tongues is inappropriate:

1) Unbelievers would think you’re crazy if they ONLY hear gibberish from you

2) No one would understand you and thus it wouldn’t really benefit others. The case could be that you actually prayed for others BUT the thing is that they would still not UNDERSTAND that, so it would be totally useless if you stood up in church and spoke in tongues. Praying for others or yourself using other tongues is fine, but just not out loud in a church for obvious reasons.

Maybe the corinthians believed ”the more tongues the better” since they really believed that tongues are from the Holy Spirit, but it still doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to babble them in any way you want. There must be a proper order. So Paul’s friendly instructions should not be viewed as rebuke, but just a help to sort out misunderstandings and to enable a better order in church. Public speaking in tongues would be a total waste of time if there is no interpreter.

1) The term ”oudies” in 1 Cor. 14 rules out tongues being a known language.

2) The phrase ”face to face” is a Judaic idiom expressing personal interaction with the presence of God and is the same Greek as the LXX in Moses ”face to face” with God. This means that tongues will cease when we meet God face to face so clearly not NOW.

3) ”The perfect” cannot be the Bible because the canon wasn’t even finished.

4) Tongues as a sign to unbelievers is only ONE of the uses of the gift. Acts 10 and 19 say that the sign is to believers, just as Mark 16:17.

5) Why is there a gift called ”interpretor” if all tongues are languages that can be understood? Why are we asked to pray for the gift of interpretation of tongues? 

Rom. 8:26Likewise 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.

It’s true that speaking in tongues is a free GIFT, but this doesn’t mean it’s wise to do nothing and wait for this gift to be handed to you. It’s called ”free” because you can’t work for it, and it’s not given to those who have reached a higher level on the ”holiness scale”. However, we are told to DESIRE this free gift and be EAGER to get it. If you’re not even seeking this gift or consider it valuable in your life, then there is a risk you’re quenching the power of the holy spirit. You’re risking to miss out on a wonderful and powerful gift.

1 Thess. 5:19Quench not the Spirit20Despise not prophesyings. 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Examples from real life

Do you obey the below instructions to the fullest?:

Matthew 6:6″But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Do we always obey this exactly as it says? Of course we don’t. We check the context and try to understand the reasoning behind the words. Surely we sometimes get together with other christians and pray together with them and NOT in our closets? Paul wants order in church and gave this as a reason for his instructions about tongues. Let’s not add to his words.

Let’s take a private setting as in a Thursday night prayer meeting in church OR in someone’s home. Suppose 10 christians are present and the leader asks them to start off with prayers and thanksgiving to God. Everyone begins to pray quietly, and there is usually a person who is leading the prayers and speaks out loud (naturally so that all can understand) whereas the others might say ”amen” or just continue in their own private prayers. Well, what if a few of these christians prefer to speak in tongues in his/her prayers? Only believers are present, and no one is standing up demanding other people’s attention. If you wouldn’t be upset if you heard Spanish beside you in a prayer meeting, why would you be upset about tongues that you happen to overhear? You weren’t supposed to listen anyway, and Paul’s instructions concerned PUBLIC speech. If you still feel this violates Paul’s instructions, then aren’t you also violating the instructions in Matt 6:6? You are supposed to pray SECRETLY inside your closet and you should shut the door, and not to be in a public prayer meeting praying together with others.

What if Charlie asked the others to pray for him? The others wouldn’t say that they preferred not to because it would violate Matt 6:6, but they would pray for Charlie who asked for it. Maybe one person would take the lead and pray so that Charlie can hear and understand, and maybe the rest would pray quietly at the same time – some in their own language and some in tongues. Charlie has no reason to be upset about other people praying for him in whatever way they like. The same people might later on return home and continue to pray for this person, and he won’t be able to hear, understand or say Amen to those prayers either. Again, the prayers are NOT for anyone to listen to but they are prayers from one person to GOD. When someone wants another person to understand, then naturally a foreign tongue is NOT a good idea since other people cannot say Amen.

Tongues in churches today

Ja. 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.16 Confess your faults one to another, and PRAY ONE FOR ANOTHER, THAT YE MAY BE HEALED. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

People seem to be so freaked out about tongues that they decide to turn their backs on tongues altogether. Doesn’t this mean that Satan is the winner with this type of reasoning? Speaking in tongues is a very useful weapon against the darkness, so it’s a shame that we let Satan fool us by making us flee from this wonderful gift which could edify us. He would then have disarmed us of a weapon which could be used against him.

WHERE in the Bible can we read that pastors should discourage church members to speak in tongues and/or neglect to inform them about the benefit of them? Paul is definitely encouraging tongues. He said ”I would like every one of you to speak in tongues”. Since Paul is highlighting the benefit of tongues I wouldn’t be comfortable in a church where the pastor doesn’t do his job to encourage them. The best way to avoid the misuse of tongues is not to avoid tongues all together, but to obey Paul’s instruction about them.   Speaking in tongues is supposed to be a sign that will accompany those who believe, so it’s rather essential. I therefore feel it’s a duty of a pastor to encourage the spiritual gifts such as driving out demons, healing people, speaking in tongues, etc.

Maybe there are people who get mightily upset if they are in a church where the pastor might be overheard speaking a few words in tongues quietly to himself when he walks from the pulpit (where he just had a sermon) back to his seat. They might jump up and say:

– ”See?!! I heard him speak in tongues! That’s clearly unbiblical because tongues are supposed to be interpreted if made in public, and this was not the case here so this church must be really BAD!” etc

But what about other churches where the gifts of the spirit are not even in use? Why would THIS not be a cause for concern? Why don’t the same people jump up and say:

– ”See?!! I have been to this church for weeks now and not ONCE have I heard a single whisper in tongues from anyone, nor seen anyone speaking in tongues in public (interpreted of course), nor seen any signs for ANY of the gifts of the holy spirit. This is clearly against the Bible so this means this church must be BAD!”, etc.

”Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” Some people interpret this as in ”Forget about tongues, and rather desire to prophesy ONLY” but it doesn’t say that. It says ”desire spiritual gifts”. That would include tongues. Of course it’s better to be able to prophesy since MORE people can be edified, but if you don’t have this gift then don’t neglect the desire to at least speak in tongues! Of course one gift is better than no gift at all!

Finally, here is what the book of Corinthians says about tongues

1 Cor. 1:8 For 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: — 28And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31But COVET EARNESTLY the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

1 Cor. 13 8Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

1 Cor 14:1 Follow 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 SPEAK 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 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. 6Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?— 9So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. 10There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, SEEK that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue PRAY THAT HE MAY INTERPRET14For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15What 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. 16Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. 18I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all19Yet 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. —22Wherefore 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. 23If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25And 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. 26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and LET HIM SPEAK TO HIMSELF, AND TO GOD. —39Wherefore, brethren, COVET to prophesy, and FORBID NOT to speak with tongues.