The Gift of Tongues
Numerous claims are made these days concerning the 'gift of tongues' and
the 'Baptism of the Holy Spirit.'
Tens of thousands of believers, and
they come from many denominations, profess to have the 'gift of tongues,'
the divinely inspired ability to speak in foreign languages they have never
learned and often cannot even understand. Are their claims true? Is the
Almighty currently using the 'gift of tongues' throughout the world to
communicate with believers? Is this the genuine 'gift of tongues' we are
witnessing? Or is it a dangerous spiritual counterfeit which is deluding
millions of sincere souls into sin? The aim of this paper is not to prove
that there is no such thing as the 'gift of tongues:' because there is.
Rather, our aim is to warn the church of a counterfeit experience which is
currently being accepted as the real gift of tongues and baptism of the
Holy Spirit. The two most common claims made by those who speak in 'tongues'
These are serious claims, which terrify many genuine seekers after truth.
Indeed many believers are driven to distraction as they frantically struggle
to 'speak in tongues' or be 'baptised in the Spirit:' experiences, they
believe are necessary for salvation. Day after day they plead with God to
give them this gift; but to no avail. They see others in the church receiving
what is variously described as 'the anointing,' the 'blessing,' the
'experience,' but it escapes them. Why? Why? Why? they ask themselves in
silent anguish. If, on the other hand, these claims are wrong, being based
on a misunderstanding of the Scriptures, then we are witnessing a very
dangerous deception indeed and one that must be exposed without delay.
- Unless a believer speaks in tongues, he/she is not baptised in the
- Unless a person speaks in tongues, he/she cannot be saved.
Do All Speak in Tongues?
To begin with, let us ask the question: Do, or should, all true believers speak in
tongues? The Bible answer is abundantly clear that not all believers
will speak in tongues.
|1 Corinthians 12:29
||"Are all Apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all
workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak in
tongues? do all interpret?"
The implied answer in every case is No! All believers do not work
miracles. All believers do not have the gift of healing and all believers
do not speak in tongues. The church will certainly have individuals who
have one or more of these gifts; but every believer will not speak
in tongues. That is perfectly clear from the Scriptures. Remember that
throughout his ministry the Saviour never spoke in tongues. Doubtless
he could or would have - if the need arose, but the fact is - he didn't.
The Bible gives absolutely no indication that the Saviour spoke in tongues:
and who will doubt that he was filled with the Holy Spirit?
As for that second claim that 'unless one speaks in tongues one cannot
be saved' this is even more dangerous than the first. In the history of
the church there have been thousands of believers of great spiritual stature.
Men like Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Elisha,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Noah, Daniel, Job, Ezra, John the Baptist and many,
many great reformers of this age: believers who have taken the Gospel to
the four corners of the earth. All these spiritual giants never spoken in
tongues. Dare we say that they will not be saved? The very idea is
ludicrous; and were it not believed by so many people, we would dismiss it
without second thought. But many sincere believers, who are not aware of
what the Bible teaches on this matter, are being deceived by these
unscriptural claims and are living their lives in silent torture - because
they cannot speak in tongues.
Prove all Things
We are told in the Scriptures to prove all things. (1 Thess.5:21) This
has and is still being done. Modern linguists have recorded and analysed
many tape-recordings of so-called messages in tongues. The astonishing fact
is that they have yet to find a single truthful message given this way in a
recognisable human language. In every instance the recorded sounds have
proved to be unintelligible gibberish or blasphemous statements which
totally contradict the Scriptures. Linguists have tape recorded many
so-called messages in tongues and have yet to record a single uplifting
message in a language used by mankind. Does that tell us something?
It certainly does. It tells us that the vast majority of these
so-called 'messages in tongues' are nothing but a confused jumble of
meaningless sounds which are certainly not the work of the Holy Spirit.
Recent reports coming in tell of people grunting like pigs, growling like
lions and laughing themselves silly. We can be certain that some other
spirit is at work here; probably the same lying spirit we read about
in 1 Kings 22:19-23.
Is there a Genuine Gift of Tongues?
Most certainly there is a genuine gift of tongues: but it is rare.
Today many people speak several languages and no matter where on earth
you may go, there is always someone who can speak your language and act as
an interpreter for you. So the gift of tongues is not as necessary today as
it was in ancient days; just as the gift of healing is not necessary to a
perfectly healthy audience. When the early Apostles spoke in tongues on that
memorable day of Pentecost (Acts 2) they spoke meaningful words which were
understood by thousands of festival-keeping Jewish visitors to Jerusalem
who were not so well acquainted with the accent and language spoken by the
Apostles. Yahweh used the gift of tongues in those circumstances to get
across the Gospel in foreign languages they knew very well. In that
situation there was an absolute need and the gift of tongues was the
answer. Note the detail in the following passage:
||1: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.|
2: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3: And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5: And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6: Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7: And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8: And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Note certain little-known facts in this passage:
But what do we see in the churches today?
- The speakers and their audience were all keeping the
Feast of Pentecost,
a commanded Feast. (Lev.23:15-21)
- The speakers were all men.
- Tongues of fire were seen settling on every one of them.
- They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with other tongues.
- And the entire audience understood what was being said in their own mother tongues!
- Yahweh's Feasts are rejected by the majority of tongue-speakers and
- The speakers in tongues are mostly women.
- There never is any visible evidence of sacred fire as in days gone by.
- Audiences burst into uncontrollable laughter, roar like lions and
grunt like apes.
- And nobody understands what is being said. No recognisable earthly language is used.
By their Fruits ye shall know them
It is a sad fact that many of the people who claim to be filled with the
Holy Spirit live lives of blatant sin. Fornication, adultery and sodomy are
a growing plague these days; and they are rampant in churches which boast
of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Every one has heard about the
famous American TV evangelists whose blatant sins brought great shame on
the Christian faith. These men were supposedly filled with the Holy Spirit:
they spoke in tongues and did many mighty miracles. But the truth was they
were deep-dyed sinners. To be sure they profess Jesus Christ: "Lord, Lord"
they say; but on the great Day of Judgement they may find to their
eternal shame that they are excluded from the kingdom of heaven.
||22: Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy
name done many wonderful works? |
23: And then will I profess unto them, I
never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.
The Importance of Obedience
The Bible teaches that Yahweh gives His Holy Spirit to them that obey
Him. In other words, He bestows His Holy Spirit on those who keep His
commandments; not on those who blatantly break them.
||32: And we are witnesses of these things, and the Holy Spirit is also,
whom God has bestowed on those who obey Him.
To receive Yahweh's Spirit you must obey Him and ask for His Spirit.
You do not have to beg or pester Him; because He is more eager to give
His Spirit than you are to ask. But if you are unwilling to obey the
Almighty's law, He will not give His Spirit to you.
||11: If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?|
12: Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
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?
||"Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume
it upon your own lusts."
The Fruit of the Holy Spirit
Every true believer should manifest in his/her life the fruit of the
Holy Spirit. If there is no fruit, you may be sure that you are looking at
the counterfeit: no matter how many miraculous gifts that may or may not
be present. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that distinguishes the true
from the false. Another fact is that we shall all be baptised in the
Holy Spirit in Yahweh's time. Do not despair if you have to wait for Him:
and most certainly do not dictate as to which gift He should give you.
That is His decision. Meanwhile you could add to your faith, obedience,
holiness and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
||22: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,|
23: Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Care should be taken not to confuse the fruit of the Holy Spirit with
the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fruits are listed in Galations 5:22-23. Gifts
are listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12. Speaking in tongues is just one
of the gifts: and those who have this gift are by no means the foremost in the church.
|1 Corinthians 12:
||28: And God hath set some in the church, first Apostles, secondarily
prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing,
helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
Another fact we learn from this text is that every believer does not
have the gift of tongues. Note the phrase 'God hath set some in the church:'
not all, but some. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, on the other hand is an
entirely different thing. Every member of Yahweh's church should have, in
varying proportions, the fruit of the Holy Spirit. But the gifts are
distributed according to the Almighty's choice, not ours. In order of
priority - if there is such a thing - members in the church are as
follows: Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Miracle-workers, Healers, Helpers,
Organisers, Speakers in Tongues etc. Here for comparison is the list of
Fruit, Gifts and Positions. Remember that all believers should bear the Fruit of the Spirit; whereas the Gifts and Positions are distributed according to the Almighty's will. Not all believers will have all the gifts any more than everyone could hold every position.
|Joy||Prophecy||Prophets / Evangelists
|Peace||Knowledge||Pastors / Teachers
|Long-suffering||Miraculous powers||Miracle workers
|Meekness||Tongues||Speakers in tongues
We repeat: Stewarton Bible School does not say that there is no such
thing as the gift of tongues or even that it is a thing of the past.
When needed, divine gifts are still all useful for the building up of the
church. What we are saying in this article is that many millions of believers
are being currently deceived into praying for and accepting a counterfeit
gift of tongues. They are believing the False Prophet, the Lying Spirit and most of them don't
even know it. There are some, a few, who have the genuine gift of tongues.
But you will recognise them, not so much by their words (which will
generally be understood by foreigners in the audience) but by their
sanctified and obedient lives. People who are full of the Holy Spirit are
extremely holy people: they do not sin. Moreover they have great peace of
mind and do not repeatedly fluctuate between peaks of ecstasy and troughs
of despair. In their lives they will exhibit the Fruit of the Holy Spirit
in abundance. Above all, they do not reject the Almighty's law as though
it were an obsolete yoke. These are the souls who are filled with the
Holy Spirit: not the laughing, growling and gibberish-speaking deceivers
in the popular churches of today. If you keep these facts in mind you
will not be deceived.
Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
1995 ... Updated: December 1999