This is by no means an exhaustive or even completely thorough article on the apparent “Gift of speaking in tongues”. This, for all purposes, will be very brief.
Disclaimer: I have no quarrels or even deny the gift of tongues because, after all, they are most certainly among the gifts given to the Church by the Holy Spirit! However, I strongly feel that this Gift – probably more than any other gift – has been strongly abused within the Church today. Please note; I am not against the Gift of Tongues but, rather, I believe that they are a definite intelligible language – a language that is of the tongues/dialects from the peoples of the nations of the world!
For 28 years I spent my life in a charismatic/Pentecostal church that devoutly endorsed the speaking of tongues and perpetually spoke in those so-called tongues. It has always been said within the Church that those tongues derive directly from the Holy Spirit and it is a gift for people to speak to the church and also to God.
Now, I have broken away from that movement for many years now and over these many years I have begun to read the Bible for all that it’s worth and I have done so out of my own volition and therefore, not just listening to the pastor on a Sunday but decided to go home, read the Bible, and check up what he was actually saying.
What I could never understand is that, almost every Sunday certain people would stand up in the church and start speaking in tongues but, even more strange and incomprehensible was the fact that every time they spoke in the very exact same so-called tongue – unintelligible syllables – and every other week it would mean something completely different.
For example, a person would stand up and say something like this, “Istotinee istotinaa, kashmanra, kasmaree”etc. Now, here’s the strangest thing; as I said these people would say the very same thing over and over, from Sunday to the next Sunday and on one Sunday the so-called tongues that they spoke in would mean, “thus says the Lord, come to me dear children, come to me. I am your mother hen; come under my wings so that I might protect you…”
Then on the other Sunday with the very same and exact tongues, it would suddenly mean this; “the Lord is giving you a new wineskin; the Lord wants to fill you up. Stop being sourpusses (sour people) my dear children and come to me, the living water, and let me revive you; let me revive your souls and the entire church…”
Now, with a good sense of logic, if I were to go to any normal human being and say to them, “please make me a cup of coffee and please add 3 teaspoons of sugar in it…” that would be perfectly understandable. And off that person goes and brings me back a cup of coffee just the way I asked him to make it. Now, the next time I say exactly the same thing, “please go and make me a cup of coffee and please add 3 teaspoons of sugar in it…” Once again, off the person goes and comes back with a cup of coffee but, this time, lo and behold, I tell that person, “did you not listen to what I just said to you? When I said to you to go and make me a cup of coffee with 3 teaspoons of sugar in it I actually meant that I wanted a bowl of porridge…” For obvious reasons that person would probably be gobsmacked and nonplussed and probably think that I’m demented. Yes, they heard me perfectly well the first time and also the second time but how is it that the second time what I said is not what I meant. How then can that be the same with the speaking in tongues?
The Church laps up the idiocy!
This is the problem with the charismatic and Pentecostal church today. They do not stop and think, “what the heck is going on over here?” But, rather like mindless robots, they carry on lapping up everything the post-modern pentecostal/charismatic church throws at them and yet they think it is all from the Holy Spirit and they soldier on with their idiotic indoctrinated thinking and utter madness.
The Kundalini Spirit!
This is so prevalent an pervasive in Churches these days that if one has any wisdom, one would go and look it up. One thing is for sure; the same spirit that is in the Hinduism is the same spirit within the Christian Churches today!
Explanation of Tongues!
Acts 2:5-12, 5Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
Intelligible languages; not Gibberish!
These were intelligible languages – not gibberish – because, all the other nations, as seen in the above Scripture, were able to understand the disciples in their own language. The Greek word for this is διάλεκτος (dialektos – dialect) Need I say more!
Pentecostalism and Charismatics!
Among many favourite verses for the use of so-called tongues; Romans 8:26 and 1 Corinthians 12:10 are probably the go-to verses for the propagating of tongues.
Before I get to this, let me say that the modern way of speaking in tongues, as seen on TV, radio, and all over the Internet and social media, and COMING TO A CHURCH NEAR YOU, goes something like this, “siyakunda kanda siband makarra kabarra massakkallooo. Messi hahdkndnjdfn….”
These types of so-called tongues are a learned gibberish language within the charismatic and Pentecostal churches. Just like you would teach a baby to start speaking, one would have to repeat certain words until that baby/child stars to repeat those words after you. Even though in the beginning they may not understand fully what you’re saying, yet they can repeat those words. It is the same in churches where people hear other so-called tongue speakers speaking in these gibberish languages; these people start to learn almost like “monkey see monkey do – Parrot Fashion”.
Now back to the favourite verses, namely, Romans 8:26 and one Corinthians 12:10.
Allow me to deal with Romans 8:26 first.
26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
What people do not realise is that they need to read the entire chapter of Romans eight, especially verse 18-30. In fact, READ YOUR BIBLE PLEASE!!!
What it is saying is that the life of a Christian can get really difficult at any given time and, by the way, this was promised by Jesus in John 16:33 and also in Matthew 6:25-34.
These Christians were suffering persecution and, let’s be honest, sometimes disillusionment could also have set in, was it not for the powerful gospel that they clung to with their dear lives and the preachers of the good news.
The word for “Groaning” has so often been falsely interpreted as tongues (holy spirit induced tongues) but it is the groaning of the Holy Spirit who intercedes on our (the Christians) behalf because He sees and feels our troubles that we are going through.
Romans 8:18-25 puts this into clear context.
18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23And not only the creation but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Does Creation also speak in Tongues according to verse 22?
Now, this is ridiculous! The same groaning expressed by the Holy Spirit which, by the way, is interpreted as tongues must then, by the same logic be ascribed to creation as well. Not only are the “Tongue-Speaking Christians” groaning in tongues through the Holy Spirit but so is creation – the rocks, the clouds. the grass, and even the animals. Again, it does not take much to discern and comprehend what is being said and articulated if one would just care to READ!
Also, Acts 7:34 mentions the very same Greek word used for groaning and that is, “στεναγμός” (stenagmos) which means a deep sigh of grief. Acts 7:34 is referring to Exodus 2:24 and Exodus 3:7 and also Exodus 6:5.
Exodus 2:24, And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
Exodus 3:7, Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings…
Exodus 6:5, 5Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.
This cannot and must not be taken as if the Holy Spirit is suddenly using gibberish through the person who was praying. “… We do not know what to pray for…” And so the Holy Spirit sees the dire and desperate state of the Christians and He sighs to God with His own divine and inexpressible words.
Please note, it is the Holy Spirit doing the praying in His own language not the person doing the sudden “Kabarra Kabarra, siemsallabeem”.
Now, secondly allow me to deal with 1 Corinthians 12:10
1 Corinthians 12:10
…To another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another, various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
Please take note of the bold and underlined phrase, “… To another, various kinds of tongues…”. The Greek word used here is the word “γλῶσσα” (glossa). This means “The TONGUES[S] of a nation”. In other words, it is those same tongues that the disciples in the book of Acts chapter 2 where they miraculously spoke with divine empowerment and it was those very same tongues that were spoken in other languages that they could not speak before. The point of these tongues was inspired by God to demonstrate the arrival of the new age and the new covenant and also the birth of the early church. It was a new covenant set up by God for man (believers).
Jeremiah 31:31 to 34
31“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. 33For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
4Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better since it is enacted on better promises. 7For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11And they shall not teach, each one his neighbour
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”
13In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
20Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Any additional comments regarding this article are more than welcome.
Ps. Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, BDiv)