Thursday, July 23, 2009

Modern Tongues

1Cor 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
1Cor 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

As Bible believing Christians, we do not deny that the gift of tongues was given. However, we do deny the genuineness of tongues as practiced today. The Word of God must be used to test all Christian experience. Any experience - regardless of the feeling it may impart or the good effect others claim to receive - is false if it disagrees with the teaching of the Bible.

This is exactly the point made by Paul to the Corinthians. In the opening verses of chapter 12, Paul reminds the believers of their spiritual roots. They had come to Christ from a Gentile background of idolatry in which they had easily been "led" astray by carnal experiences. They were still spiritually immature (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-3), unqualified to judge the proper use of the spiritual gifts. In fact, Paul calls attention to their ignorance in verse one.

The Corinthians were not ignorant of the EXISTENCE of the spiritual gifts (See 1 Corinthians 1:7), but of the proper EXERCISE of the gifts. They knew what the gifts were, but the Word of God did not govern their use. Again, in 14:20 Paul implies that they were childish in their understanding, after which he gives them the Scriptural purpose of tongues. First, he quotes Scripture (14:21). Then, he explained it (14:21-22)

The Proper Exercise of Tongues (1 Corinthians 14)

A. It must be an actual language. Verse 10, Acts 2:8

B. Since it is for this people, a Jewish skeptic must always be present. Verses 21-22

C. No more than three people should speak in tongues at any gathering. Verse 27

D. Someone must interpret, otherwise the person should keep quiet. Verse 28

E. It is never to be exercised by women in the assembled church. Verse 34

Tongues as experienced today consistently violate these restrictions. That means that the modern-day experience of tongues is unscriptural, not of the Spirit (for He would not violate His Word), and therefore worthless as a sign of any kind.

Mistakes concerning tongues

A. It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is an evidence of salvation.

B. It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is an evidence of spirituality.

C. It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is a gift which must be sought after.

In 1 Corinthians 14, we have the one stated purpose of tongues. It is a sign for unbelieving Jews (Jews who would not believe that the Gospel was for all people). There was no other purpose. The Bible does not suggest that there are two kinds of tongues, two manifestations of this gift – one, the speaking of known languages; the other, unintelligible gibberish identified as a "heavenly language."

The modern tongues movement does not pass the test of Scripture. It doesn’t even come close. It fails 100% the five tests of 1 Corinthians 14 for the proper use of tongues. It is fraudulent. It is counterfeit. It is not of the Spirit; therefore, it is not of God. And since it is not of God, then it can only be of the Enemy – a carefully crafted experience meant to deceive, cause division, and impede the progress of the Gospel.


Anonymous said...

Bro. Noffsinger,

Enjoyed the article. A real problem here in Romania. The Pentecostals always say I don't believe in the Holy Spirit because I teach against modern tonques. Even many Baptists here think tonques are a heavenly language.

Jim Morgan
Missionary to Romania