Etikettarkiv | spiritual gifts

Were the 70 disciples of Jesus the last ones with the gift of healing?

greatest commandmentWho were the 70 disciples/apostles?

The 70 disciples are those referred to in Luke 10 – who were sent out to preach the gospel (and heal the sick), apart from the 12 disciples mentioned in the previous chapter, in Luke 9.

There are some Christians who are convinced of that the spiritual gifts (such as healing and speaking in tongues) were given only through the hands of the disciples (the 12 and the 70), and that these gifts therefore ceased after their deaths. The Bible, of course, claims no such thing. Paul even spends a large amount of text in his letters to the Corinthians to sort out rules and give advice when it comes to the spiritual gifts. Not once does he claim that they would soon cease to apply, but instead he encourages his readers to eagerly seek the spiritual gifts. Satan could not be any happier about the false teaching of cessationism, because this idea strips Christians from using excellent spiritual resources provided to us by the Holy Spirit.

Luke 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed OTHER SEVENTY ALSO, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.10 But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,11 Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.—17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

During the time of Jesus, the disciples/apostles were sent out by him to spread the gospel two and two. This does not mean that it is better to stay at home if we cannot find a friend to preach the gospel with, nor is it a great sin to sometimes go out three and three or more, if there is a reason for it. In the above chapter we are just informed how Jesus chose to arrange things for his disciples, and going out two and two is a great recommendation since you will always find support in your Christian brother/sister. If you have 12 disciples as your resource, it would be less beneficial to go out three and three since this would make up 4 teams instead of 6 (and having 35 teams is better than having 23 teams, if you have 70 disciples at your hands) because this means that fewer people will get the benefit to hear the gospel.

Jesus also had other specific recommendations for his disciples, such asCarry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way”. This was his advice during his  time in history and during his circumstances. (Going out preaching the gospel barefoot on the snowy streets of Sweden is not what Jesus had in mind.) Jesus does not say that all those detailed instructions were required everywhere during all times in all circumstances with no deviation.

We can find information about the 70 disciples in Luke 10, but in Luke 9 we can find  information about his closest 12 disciples and they had similar instructions. Just like the 70 mentioned later, they had the authority to cure diseases and to cast out unclean spirits (demons). They were told to preach the kingdom of God (the gospel, including the importance of repentance) and healing the sick, and this is advice also for us. We can share the gospel in various ways, and today we also have the Internet as means.

Luke 9:1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.4 And whatsoever house ye enter into, there abide, and thence depart.5 And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.6 And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.

Mark 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two;and gave them power over unclean spirits;— 12 And they went out, and preached that men should REPENT.13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Mark. 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Matt. 10:1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 

evangelium 3Jesus commanded his disciples to teach people to observe the things that they themselves have been commanded to do

The following section is important for our understanding because here we can see that Jesus commanded his disciples to teach people to OBSERVE ALL THINGS whichever he had commanded them (his disciples). According to the books of Luke, Mark and Matthew (and Acts) Jesus taught his disciples to preach the gospel to all people (including the importance of repentance) and to heal the sick. He also explained which signs would follow the believers (such as speaking in tongues). 

Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 and had the same authority as the other disciples, but he was later replaced with Matthew.

Matt. 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

This means that healing was not just a task meant for Jesus and his disciples. We can see this also in the book of James. He writes to ”the twelve tribes scattered abroad”, and not only does this signify individuals outside of the 12 and the 70 disciples, but the whole book of James applies for all of us – just like the rest of the books in the New Testament. James advice for all us and the church (the Christian fellowship):

Jam. 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.

Paul’s advice for all of us concerning the spiritual gifts:

1 Cor. 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by 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.

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.28 And 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.29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?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’s physical contact with handkerchiefs and aprons resulted in people getting healed when they touched these items. Even demons were cast out. This is nothing that Jesus ever taught in the gospels, but Jesus never spoke against such a procedure.

Acts 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Healing and speaking in tongues are spiritual gifts which apply for everyone. The Bible nowhere claims that such useful gifts will cease before the return of Jesus (when such gifts are no longer needed). The spiritual gifts are useful tools for all Christians.

John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME, the works that I do he will do ALSO; and GREATER WORKS than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

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.

2 Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

But does it not say in Acts below that the holy Ghost was received when the disciples of Jesus, such as Philip Peter, and John, laid their hands on believers, and does this not in extension mean that the same applies when it comes to the ability to heal people? No, it does not say that the giving of the holy Ghost, or healing, are restricted to the disciples only. In Acts 8 the context is Simon (the former sorcerer) who erroneously believed that the giving of the holy Ghost could be bought for money – and the ones he happened to be in contact with were Philip, Peter and John. The book of Acts concerns the life of the disciples/apostles and the very first Christians, and naturally then we can read about their particular lives and comments.

Jesus again taught others toGo ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:20 Teaching them TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU”, and what he commanded them was toGo ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”. Jesus sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. This means that we should do the same since it was not a task restricted for the first generation of Christians. Why would future generations not be in need of the same teaching?

Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

When it comes to healing, FAITH plays a huge role, and naturally the power of the Lord.

Mark. 5:34 34 And he said unto her, Daughter, THY FAITH hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Acts 15:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that HE HAD FAITH TO BE HEALED

Matt. 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus SEEING THEIR FAITH said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. — 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

Matt. 9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Matt. 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Mark 5:34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

Mark. 10:52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Matt. 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Luke 5:17 17 And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to HEAL THEM.

Spiritual gifts are in use today, but watch out for false spirits

Misunderstanding of the spiritual gifts

The evangelist Torben Søndergaard explains that the spiritual gifts are still valid today and very much in use by born again Christians. Unfortunately, he must also warn against false spirits among us in our churches, like those involved in new age and eastern religions with yoga practices such as kundalini.

The fact that someone gets healed does not necessarily mean that the person who heals him (i.e. someone with the gift of healing) can automatically be assumed to be right with God and someone who always lives a holy life. God is the perfect one who is the great Healer, and he gives authority to all Christians to receive the gift of healing (as well as other gifts). All Christians are not necessarily perfect even though they have the opportunity to be so. A person with the gift of healing can therefore not automatically be assumed to live a more righteous life than others, and might choose to go different paths in life – like into a much closer relationship with God or become consumed with the powerful gifts and subsequent fame (if we are perhaps talking about a TV evangelist) that he/she becomes worldly. You never know, but we should test all spirits and also judge people by their fruit.

Christians sometimes fall into one of two ditches:

  • Those who believe that NO spiritual gifts are still valid today (unless God would decide to zap a unknowing person on the street and make him/her possess one or more gifts) due to the possibility that fake instances of the gifts can be detected and due to their misunderstanding of the Bible text. Since they are basically cessationists (believing the spiritual gifts have ceased), they therefore assume that people claiming to speak in tongues (or with other types of spiritual gifts) are either lying (a sin), or are demonic (a sin) and are therefore not real Christians. For these people speaking in tongues is a sign that the speaker is NOT a Christian. (Compare with Mark. 16:17 where tongues are said to follow those who believe.)
  • Those who believe that a person with one or more of the gifts – particularly with the gift of healing – must be particularly loved by God and have a particularly advanced Bible knowledge. An authoritative Christian closer to God than others and who should be obeyed over others due to having such fantastic gifts.

We should have a more balanced view. Evidence of fake money is no evidence that all money is fake. Nowhere does the Bible tell us that the gifts of the holy Spirit were old news and should be forgotten even shortly after the New Testament was written. There are unfortunately Christians who totally misunderstand the spiritual gifts and believe such manifestations were only a sign for the unbelieving Jews (see here why this is not Scriptural).

It is not always the case that a healed person will automatically become close to God and interested in living a righteous life. In one occasion, Jesus healed ten lepers and only one of them returned to give glory to God (Luke 17:18). However, there is a great chance that people will indeed seek the true Healer after having been wonderfully healed themselves. It is wise to seek the one responsible for the miracles and find out what he requires from us (a holy life with love to Him and to others).

Maybe you have watched youtube videos showing people who have been healed, and who are so surprised over what just happened to them that they burst out in a curse word – probably because this is the language they normally use. If the evangelist team (or the person with the gift of healing) takes the chance to share the gospel with the healed person and welcome him/her into a Christian gathering there is a great chance that he/she will choose the right way. Those who produce such films might not include the entire communication because it is time-consuming, so do not be too quick to assume that the issue of repentance is not being taught.

Some healers might not be interested in sharing the gospel or explain the urgent call for repentance and if that is the case there is a problem. People do not get saved by getting healed (although it might sometimes be the first step that makes a person interested in finding out more about God), but by repenting for past sins and walking with the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not possible to assume that the healing must be fake because the Healer has shown to not always live a righteous life. Again, God is the Healer and according to the Bible faith often has a lot to do with the success of getting healed. Nevertheless, a person with the gift of healing is naturally expected to live a holy life, just like those he/she heals. If you do not see an eagerness for repentance, but just a lot of empty manifestations which might even be disorderly done, there is a good chance that there are false spirits involved.

Be careful about those preachers who claim that the gifts of the holy Spirit have ceased (which is just what the devil wants you to believe), and be careful about those preachers who focus on the gifts, fame, money and worldly living.

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

1 Cor. 14:1 For 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.

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 

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.