By Paul Christensen, M.A. DipTching.
Spirit Filled Christian; Presbyterian Elder.
The booklet itself may be downloaded from http://www.christianissues.biz/tongues.html
In the author’s preface, he outlines his premise for writing the booklet. He states his position, and it is a negative one concerning the gift of tongues. Here is what he says at the start:
What I have discovered in my search for truth has given me cause for deep concern, and it is this: ever-increasing numbers of the Lord's people are being emotionally and spiritually devastated. Among the great delusions that are spreading today, there is none more subtle or more dangerous than modern-day tongues.
So, before he has started to set forth any proof, or reasons for his view, he clearly states that he thinks that tongues is a delusion which emotionally and spiritually devastates ever-increasing numbers of the Lord’s people. He comes to this conclusion through his own experience. What we have to consider is: what is the level of his experience in the Pentecostal movement? Has he spent enough time associated with a Pentecostal church to gain a proper perspective on it? Or has he just paid the odd visit, and gained his information from those who have merely visited Pentecostal churches and been upset by what they have seen there?
It cannot be denied that some of the practices in Pentecostal churches can be very upsetting for those who have had their backgrounds in traditional churches. What they have witnessed have taken them right out of their comfort zones, so it is understandable that they would have an adverse emotional reaction to it.
But these experiences do not prove that the modern practice of the gift of tongues is a ‘delusion’. It may be that through the lack of good Scriptural teaching, the ones who have been traumatized have lacked the necessary understanding to appreciate that the Holy Spirit may move in ways contrary to their own background and experience, and yet be totally consistent with Scripture.
The author goes on to say:
It has been my experience over many years to observe that out of the masses of people coming under the influence of the tongues phenomena, very few escape without serious emotional and spiritual damage to themselves and their families.
After spending many years in different Pentecostal churches, my view is completely different. I have not observed anyone being damaged by the operation of the gift of tongues. I have seen more heartbreak and stress caused to people by those who have opposed tongues and induced them to think that what they are experiencing is from the devil, in the same way that the author is suggesting later on in this booklet.
He goes on to say:
but the movement under consideration now poses such a serious threat to the whole Body of Christ,
Again, I find no evidence of this. It all depends on what he views makes up the Body of Christ. He has to remember that Pentecostal Christians are also part of the Body of Christ, and he is instructed by Paul in 1Corinthians 11:29 to rightly judge the Body of Christ when he takes the Lord’s Supper in a Communion Service because failure to accept all those who have accepted Christ, whether Pentecostal, Charismatic, or Traditional, are members of the Body of Christ with equal status before God as he is. If he cannot do that, he is eating and drinking judgement to himself.
So the author needs to be very careful about giving teaching that alienates large sections of the Body of Christ from those who accept his teaching.
HAVE BIBLICAL TONGUES CEASED?
This is his first major section. We will examine his reasons for believing that tongues have, indeed ceased. This is his premise. He believes that tongues is ‘dangerous’:
one highly dangerous element has been introduced that warrants closer examination. I refer to what is known as “speaking in tongues.
To be credible in these statements, the Author has to present sound Scriptural evidence that backs up his views. We will examine his evidence as we proceed.
ALL THE GIFTS LISTED
Here, he catalogues the gifts as mentioned in the books of Romans, 1Corinthians and Ephesians. Then he makes the following statement:
However, Paul indicated that while some of these gifts were to remain throughout the entire Church Age, others were only nor temporary gifts and would be withdrawn as soon as they had fulfilled their purpose.
It is not my intention here to define all the gifts, or to explain their function. I simply propose to draw attention to the fact that Paul is very careful to list separately those gifts which were of a temporary nature. They were in use during the transition period that began with Pentecost and ended with the completion of the Canon of Scripture. These gifts, after having served the purpose for which they were given, were then withdrawn by the Holy Spirit who had given them.
This is a surprising statement, because nowhere in Paul’s teaching does he mention that some gifts are permanent and others are temporary. We have to examine the Author’s reasons for believing this to see whether what he is saying is actually based on what the Scripture is saying.
Nowhere does Paul mention the future Canon of Scripture. He does not teach anything about a ‘transition period’ between Pentecostal and the completion of the Canon. What is implied in the New Testament record is that the period of grace extends from Pentecost to the Second Coming of Christ.
Paul does not teach anywhere that the Holy Spirit will ever withdraw the gifts.
THE TEMPORARY GIFTS
The author identifies the ‘temporary gifts as Prophecy, Tongues and Knowledge. He takes that list from 1Corinthians 13:8. Yet, there are six other spiritual gifts: Interpretation of tongues, Miracles, Faith, Healing, Discernment of Spirits, Word of Wisdom. He does not say that these are temporary as well, yet they are listed among the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1Corinthians12:8-10. It seems puzzling that the Holy Spirit would withdraw just three of the nine gifts and keep the other ones in the church.
He then defines Prophecy as the
God-given ability to interpret God's plans after they have been supernaturally revealed by the Holy Spirit and to effective communicate those plans to the people.
This is not Paul’s definition of New Testament Prophecy as stated in 1Corinthians14:3
But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.
New Testament Prophesy, according to Paul’s definition was not the same as Old Testament Prophecy. New Testament prophecy is designed to build up the faith of believers, and to encourage them to trust in the Lord for the issues that face them, and to comfort them when they are going through testing and sorrow.
Therefore it is obvious that the Author is confused about the difference between Old Testament and New Testament Prophecy, and therefore is writing from a defective standpoint.
Paul also says, in contrast to the Author, that the gift of Prophecy was available to every Christian believer, not just for the leaders of the church.
So, when the New Testament arrived, it did not replace the gift of Prophecy, because regardless of whether Christians had a written text or not, there was still a need for the Holy Spirit to give personal words of edification, exhortation and comfort to them.
He goes on to quote 1Corinthians 13:8 to show that prophesies will fail. We will examine 1Corinthians13:8 in greater detail later on because it is important to study the whole passage surrounding it in its proper context.
The Author quotes the Biblical warnings in Matthew and Revelation about the danger of adding to Scripture. But he cannot apply these references to Christians who practice the New Testament gift of Prophecy, because he has not proved beyond doubt that the gift has actually passed away, as we shall see soon.
The Author maintains that the knowledge mentioned in 1Corinthians13:8 is a supernatural knowledge based on direct revelation from God that He gave early church Christians; and when the Canon of Scripture was completed, there was no longer any need for it.
We believe that the Holy Spirit gave the Apostles direct revelation in this way, and the fruit of that revelation makes up the New Testament. But we do not believe that this is the type of knowledge that Paul is talking about here. In verse 9, Paul says ‘ we know in part and we prophesy in part…’ If Paul is talking about the supernatural ‘direct revelation’ knowledge, then all he knew and wrote was only partial and imperfect. But yet, the Author says that the New Testament is ‘the perfect thing’ that causes the imperfect to pass away. This is a contradiction in terms. Either the knowledge is revelatory and perfect, spawning a perfect New Testament, or it is partial and not the revelation knowledge that gave us the New Testament. We have to be consistent.
Our position is that Paul was speaking about Spiritual gift of the Word of Knowledge, where the Lord can reveal things in the hearts of people being ministered to so that they will respond to the Holy Spirit in whatever area He needs to minister to them. This is a view consistent with the mention of the gifts of prophecy and tongues.
The Author says that the purpose of the gift of tongues is stated in 1 Cor 14:22 “Where tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that
Paul is teaching here in the context of the quotation from Isaiah 28:11:
By men of strange tongues, and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to me.
The actual verse in Isaiah 28:11 says this:
Indeed, He will speak to this people through stammering lips and a foreign tongue…
We believe that Paul is talking about tongues and interpretation in the church. When a person gets up and gives a tongues message, followed by the interpretation, it is a sign to the unbelievers present that the Holy Spirit is present and working in their midst. Also, Paul is referring back to the Day of Pentecost when that particular application of the gift of tongues caused the cosmopolitan crowd to hear the praises of God in their own languages. When Peter preached his sermon and explain what was happening, three thousand people came to Christ. This is the practical outworking of the gift of tongues being a sign to unbelievers.
In our experience, we have witnessed this application of tongues in our churches, where people have spoken in tongues, not knowing that they were speaking in the language of some of the foreign visitors, who were able to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit was speaking to them, encouraging them to have faith in Christ. There are many testimonies of the Holy Spirit repeating the experience of the Day of Pentecost in our time.
Of course, the Author will not know any of this, because he may not have spent enough time in and around Pentecostal believers to find out that this is happening.
THE PURPOSE OF TONGUES
Paul has explained clearly the purpose of tongues, as the Author states, but now in the way he explains it.
Paul did not make reference to the Day of Pentecost tongues in his teaching in 1Corinthians14, therefore there is no indication that he was teaching that tongues always had to be a recognizable language.
The description of the instances of tongues in Acts 10 and Acts 19 do not specifically mention that they were recognizable languages understood by those around them in the same way as in Acts 2. Therefore the Author is basing his argument here on silence. He is merely assuming that the experience of tongues in Acts 10 and 19 was the same as Acts2. It may have been so, but the record does not specifically mention it, so basing a teaching on the assumption is very risky.
The following statement by the Author therefore:
Biblical tongues was not an unintelligible gabble such as is being spread throughout the Church today. It was a supernatural gift given by God to speak in another language is only partly true. The gift of tongues which is being used by many Christians today is certainly not an ‘unintelligible gabble’. It is certainly ‘a supernatural gift given by God to speak in another language.’ But the language does not have to be one that is understood by others.
Let’s just have a look at what Paul actually teaches about tongues in 1Corinthians 14:
Verse 2: For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God.
This means that when someone is speaking in tongues, they are praying to God in secret and speaking a language, inspired by the Holy Spirit, that is understood and appreciated by the Lord.
Verse 2b: for no one understands (lit: hears), but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.
This means that as he is praying to God in secret, no one is around to hear him but the Lord, and while he is speaking the prayer language to God, he is speaking mysteries, things he may not understand with his natural mind, but inspired by the Holy Spirit to communicate the deepest things of his heart and his spirit to the Lord in a way that the natural mind and language cannot.
Verse 4: One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself…
Praying in this way builds the believer up in his faith and his spiritual awareness of the things of God. He is made stronger and more insightful.
Verse 5: Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues…
Paul rates this gift as very important to the individual believer. This is why he makes this statement. If he did not value the gift of tongues to this extent, he would not have wished that all of them would speak in tongues. Here he is meaning the tongues that a person prays in private to the Lord. Not the tongues that are spoken in church that need an interpretation.
Verse 11: If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me.
This fully supports the concept that tongues is a language not understood by the natural mind, unless the Holy Spirit makes it understood that way. Therefore, when a person prays in tongues in front of someone else, they are speaking an unintelligible language as far as the listener is concerned. This is why Paul promotes the gift of prophecy in preference to tongues when in public meetings so that the listeners will be edified by what is spoken.
Verse 14: For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.
Again, Paul is teaching about the use of tongues in the private prayer room with God. When he prays in tongues he is not praying from his natural mind. He is praying directly from his spirit. The communication with God is from spirit to Spirit. When he is praying this way, his mind has no understanding of what he is praying, but this does not mean that his mind goes blank or passive. Many people read and study the Scriptures while they are praying in tongues. This way their mind is still active.
Verse 15: What is the outcome then? I shall pray with the spirit and I shall pray with the mind also; I shall sing with the spirit and I shall sing with the mind also.
Paul is speaking about what he does in his private time with God. He prays both in tongues and in his natural language. He balances the both together so that his prayer times are powerful and fruitful with God.
Then Paul gives instructions about how to speak in tongues in a church meeting.
Right at the end of the chapter, in verse 39, Paul says:
Do not forbid to speak in tongues.
Now if our analysis shows that the Author cannot provide absolute proof from Scripture that the modern use of tongues is defective, then he can be shown to be violating the specific teaching of Paul in this chapter of 1Corinthians.
Now he cannot say that the chapter was specifically and exclusively directed toward the Corinthian church, because right at the start of the book, Paul states:
Paul, …to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus…with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
This shows clearly that the book of 1Corinthians was written for every Christian who has given their life to Christ, everywhere the letter was sent in the world that Paul lived in, and also to us who read the Bible in this very century as well. This destroys the argument that Paul wrote these things just to sort the problems of the Corinthians out. The teaching contained in this book is for all Christians everywhere. And this includes the teaching in 1Corinthians14 about tongues and prophecy.
Our contention is that why does Paul devote a whole chapter of the book to teach about tongues and prophecy if these gifts are merely temporary? He also devotes a whole chapter to love, and we deem that one of the most important doctrines of the church. Therefore, if Paul devoted as much space to the practice of tongues and prophecy in the church, then it must rate as important to him and to us as that of love.
Now, the Author goes a little more deeply into 1Corinthians13:10. We will follow his reasoning and comment on it.
AN IMPORTANT QUESTION
When was this gift withdrawn? The answer is “When that which is perfect is come' (1 Cor 13:10).
In verse 8, Paul is comparing the spiritual gifts with love. Love is permanent. It will survive the transition between this world and the next. Paul is not talking about the coming of the Canon of the New Testament. The theme of the chapter is love. Love will outlast prophecy, knowledge and tongues.
A better translation of verse 8 than the KJV says this:
This is talking about when love is paramount, when we have perfect love, the partial (gifts of the Spirit) will be done away.
Paul goes on to say:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known. (Verse 12)
This is obvious a comparison between the way we are perceiving the things of God now, and when we see the Lord face to face, we will have full knowledge of the ways of God. This is the accepted interpretation of this verse, and it strongly implies a comparison between our perception in this life, and what our perception will be when we either die and go to be with the Lord, or when the Lord comes again.
Here is how the Author paraphrases verses 9 and 10:
If taken from the Greek and paraphrased vv 9-10 could read, “For the Knowledge that we now possess is fragmentary (meaning incomplete and imperfect) and our Prophecy (teaching) is also fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect) but when the complete and perfect Word of God is come, these temporary gifts which are in part will then disappear because they will have been superseded.
The Amplified Bible, which is a more literal rendering of the Greek that takes the different meanings of the words into account, reads it thus:
For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect) but when the complete and perfect [total] comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away – become antiquated, void and superceded.
As you can see from the comparison, the first part of the Author’s ‘paraphrase’ is identical to the Amplified Bible rendering (perhaps he copied it). The second part adds words that are not found in the Greek. The Greek simply does not say the perfect Word of God. The Author has added it to the Scriptural reference.
Also, you will see that it does not say ‘these temporary gifts which are in part’ shall disappear. It says that the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away. The Author has made the Scripture mean that the gifts will vanish away. That is definitely not what Paul is saying here.
Here is another quote from the Author that is to be challenged:
What Paul is saying here is simply this: During this period of transition, when we do not as yet have the complete body of truth in written form, we use the supernatural, but temporary, gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge, but when the total body of truth is completed and comes in written form, then the fragmentary knowledge and prophecy which we now possess will no longer be needed and will then pass away.
A careful study of the passage will show that this is NOT what Paul is saying. This is what the Author is READING INTO the Scripture. Paul has no conception of a future time when the complete body of truth in written form will come. Nowhere does he mention any knowledge of a time when this will happen. The passage is not talking about a future compilation of a body of truth at all. It is talking about love being permanent and the gifts being temporary by comparison. The point he is making is that love is the most important component of the Christian life, not the gifts. The gifts will pass away, but love will remain. Perfection will come when perfect love will rule the earth.
We know with certainty that perfect love does not rule the earth, nor does it rule our divided church. Therefore, regardless of whether we have the Canon of the New Testament or not, we are not in that perfect state that Paul looks forward to.
If the Canon of the New Testament was that perfection that Paul talks about, then our churches would be perfect and in absolute unity. Instead, they are still in a state of confusion and disunity. Therefore we take the view that the perfect thing has not yet come.
I and others have been testing tongues in Australia for some years. In fact, there are men personally known to me who have been testing them for over 20 years and none of us has ever yet found a genuine gift of Biblical Tongues. When the spirit using the tongue is commanded to identify itself, in 95% of cases, a demon answers.
The above quote merely shows that the Author has been testing the wrong people. Because most genuine Christians who practice the gift of tongues would never subject themselves to a test given by someone who is known to actively oppose it, he would never have been able to test any genuine speakers at all.
Also, because the Holy Spirit is the inspirer of the languages spoken in tongues, He would step back if someone presented themselves as a guinea pig for a researcher who was not approaching the study with faith. The language spoken would not be genuine in that case, because the speaker would be using it wrongly. Any speaking in tongues outside of the prayer room and the worship of a church would be merely soulish and without any significance, because it would not be practiced according to Scriptural guidelines as taught in 1Corinthians14.
We are not surprised that on occasions a demon answered when the Author did his research, because those who would have subjected themselves to his research would have been part of the ‘lunatic fringe’ who would be prepared to misuse the gift of tongues in this way. When people misuse the gift of tongues, it is very possible for a demon to speak instead of the Holy Spirit.
This is why John says in Chapter 4 of 1John:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. (Verses 1-3)
We do not know whether the Author applied this test to those who spoke in tongues during his research. All he had to do was to ask each one: “Did Jesus come in the flesh?” Those ones who were influenced by demons could not have answered that question in the affirmative.
But there are many people who speak in tongues who can state, “Yes! I fully believe that Jesus came in the flesh. He came as a real human being and died for me on the Cross of Calvary.” A person who makes this statement could never be motivated by a demon spirit, because only the Holy Spirit can enable a person to believe and to make that statement.
The author says the following as a proof that the gift of tongues has ceased:
after Paul's first letter to the Corinthian Church, tongues are never mentioned again!
This is no proof at all of the veracity of the Author’s position. He is basing a premise on silence.
Each book of the New Testament concentrates on a particular set of truths, or deals with specific issues in the different churches. It so happened that there were problems in the Corinthian church that needed addressing. Paul gave the teaching to fulfil a need for sound doctrine where there was error. But the sound doctrine was applicable to all the churches and therefore did not need to be repeated in his letters to other churches because they did not have the same issues as the Corinthians.
The fact that it is not mentioned in any of the other letters shows more that in those other churches the gifts were being used correctly and therefore Paul did not need to give any further teaching on their use. We also must remember that the letter to the Corinthian church would have been circulated around the other churches as well, so Paul would not have seen the need to reiterate teaching which had already been covered in the Corinthian letter.
There are aspects of doctrine in Ephesians that are not mentioned anywhere else either, but we don’t discount the doctrine taught there just because of that.
Let’s look at the following quote:
Romans, which is regarded as the great doctrinal Epistle of the New Testament, covers the whole gamut of Truth for this Church Age, but tongues is NEVER mentioned.
There is nothing significant about that. The book of Romans was dealing with issues surrounding Justification by Faith. It did not deal with the spiritual gifts. Paul had already covered the subject in his letter to the Corinthians. Conversely, he did not teach the Corinthians about Justification by faith either. He had to teach it to the Galatians because of the work of false apostles who were telling them that they had to be circumcised in order to be real Christians.
John wrote his letter to counter the heresy that was going around at the time that Jesus came in a spiritual body and not a physical one. That is the purpose of his book; not to teach about the gifts. He would have been well aware that Paul had already covered the gifts in his teaching.
We must remember that Peter, Paul and John all knew each other, and were cognizant of each other’s teaching. None of these men trespassed into the ministries of the others. They each knew their respective callings and worked within them. This has made the New Testament a composite whole; as the Author has previously stated: ‘The whole body of truth” for Christians.
If that is so, then Paul’s teaching on tongues and prophecy are part of that body of truth and are just as relevant to Christians today as they were in Paul’s time. The Author has not been able to effectively convince us otherwise from his rendering of the Scripture.
AN ANALYSIS OF TODAY'S TONGUES
SPIRITISM IN OUR MIDST
The following quote is disturbing and needs to be examined carefully.
I discovered that Satan was embarking on an extremely clever take-over bid. He is super-imposing Spiritism over Evangelical Christianity, or, to put it another way, he is bringing about a merger between the two.
A great period of apostasy has been clearly foreshadowed in Scripture (2 Thess 2:3) and all with a high degree of spiritual discernment will not only see that this is well under way, but rapidly gaining momentum.
I think that we can start to see what the Author is implying here. He is equating tongues-speaking with demonic Spiritism.
The Author is telling us that our present day belief in tongues is the result of ‘sloppy exegesis’. We have already shown that the Author himself has twisted and added to the Scripture, and has ignored important teaching points that Paul made when he taught about tongues. Therefore we wonder whether the Author’s own exegesis is in any way better than what he is criticizing.
The Author is now referring to the modern practice of the gift of tongues as ‘religious Spiritism’, and a’ gigantic deception’ and ‘a stupendous fraud’ We need to examine his reasons for making these statements.
He does not provide any objective proof by way of Scripture for these statements. He expects the reader to take them at face value. We think that he needs to justify his accusation that speaking in tongues equates to Spiritism.
We take the position that anyone involved in Spiritism cannot confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. And the majority of genuine Pentecostals strongly affirm that Jesus Christ as indeed come in the flesh; therefore they cannot be in bondage to Satan, and they cannot be inspired by him.
We think that the Author is treading on very dangerous ground, and according to Matthew 12:24-28:
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” And knowing their thoughts He said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand? And If by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
And now look at verses 31 and 32:
Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
This is where the Author has to be very careful. He has not been able to prove conclusively that the gift of tongues has passed away. The Scripture does not give him absolute support for that. Yet, he is boldly attributing the contemporary use of tongues as Spiritism, in other words, of the devil.
This is what the Pharisees of old did when they saw Jesus casting out demons. They attributed His ministry as of the devil. He warned them about the absolute danger of speaking against the Holy Spirit.
We have already shown from Scripture that a person inspired of the devil cannot say that Jesus has come in the flesh. We have also maintained that most Pentecostals who speak in tongues can say quite definitely that Jesus did come in the flesh. The Scripture says that anyone inspired by the devil cannot say that. Therefore, we conclude that genuine Pentecostals, speaking in tongues, and confessing that Jesus came in the flesh are not of the devil at all. Therefore they are not involved in ‘Religious Spiritism’.
The alternative then, is that they are being inspired by the Holy Spirit, because the argument is that only people inspired by the Holy Spirit can say that Jesus came in the flesh. Therefore the Author is saying that people who are moving in the Holy Spirit and who are proving to be doing so, are actually inspired by the devil. This can be construed as the Author speaking against the Holy Spirit Himself who is inspiring and leading these Pentecostals in their private prayer and worship.
We think that the Author is in a very dangerous position in relation to his personal relationship with God. We just wonder if he himself can truly confess that Jesus came in the flesh to prove that he is on good terms with the Holy Spirit?
The author quotes 1 Tim 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.”
He uses this Scripture to say that Pentecostals are spreading doctrines of devils instead of good sound doctrine. We do not need to examine his views on what is going to happen in the end times in relation to the supernatural works the devil is going to do. We are all very familiar with this teaching.
But we do take issue when he includes Pentecostalism in this. The Author is twisting the Scripture out of its context and applying it to sections of the Body of Christ.
Reading between the lines of his statements, we see that he is saying that the Pentecostal church is part of Satan’s plot to take over the church. He does not provide any objective proof of this, which makes what he is saying absolute speculation and guesswork.
The author then goes on to say that the Holy Spirit always requires the active co-operation of the mind. We have no conflict with that. He also says that evil spirits require passive submission of the mind. This is quite true.
But what he does not realize is that when a person speaks in tongues, his mind is active and alert. It is not passive. It may be unfruitful in the way Paul explains it, but it is not ‘switched off’ or passive. The person is speaking a deliberate language which he believes that God understands. He is directing his speech to the Lord. All the time he is reading the Word of God, or meditating on Christian things. There will come the moment when he will switch to his natural language to say things that come to mind. The mind is never blank while speaking in tongues.
The Author’s comments about tongues, and the things he implies show that he has a defective knowledge of the nature of tongues as taught by Paul. We think that he has started out by disproving it, and has a mind set against it. Therefore his analysis of tongues is based on prejudice and unbelief.
He ignores the Scriptures that do not fit his premise about tongues, and brings in Scriptures out of context that support his view that tongues is of the devil.
Yet he cannot prove any of these things through the Scripture itself. This is because the only Scriptures that specifically mention tongues are supportive of it and encourage all Christians to speak it.
We quite accept that the tongues he has heard has contained blasphemy and filth. We wonder how he would know this if the languages are in his terms ‘gibberish’? We suspect that he has collected the horror stories that have circulated over the years of people who have spoken in tongues languages that have been understandable and who have spoken cursing and blasphemy against God. We accept that these people would have been inspired by the devil. But having a counterfeit only substantiates that there is a genuine gift as well.
We think that the Author is being very unwise when he says that people who speak in tongues are demon possessed. We would remind him again of the test in 1John, which most genuine Pentecostal tongues speakers pass with flying colours. Such people could never be demon possessed.
We state that Mr Hartin has not been able to prove conclusively that the gift of tongues passed away at the end of the Apostolic Age. Also, he has not been able to substantiate his statements that tongues passed away on the completion of the Canon of the New Testament.
In actual fact, tongues, prophecy, healing and miracles were already starting to decline after the First Century as the church sunk more and more into heresy, division and confusion. The Canon of the New Testament was not decided until the Fourth Century when it was finally fixed in the West by the Council of Carthage, after being slowly developed from AD200 onwards.
The real reason why the supernatural gifts of the Spirit were starting to pass away from the church as early as the turn of the First Century AD was that the Holy Spirit was quenched and grieved by the rising tide of heresy and wrong teaching. This was predicted by the writers of the New Testament in many places and Christians were warned to be vigilant.
The events the Author was talking about that were going to happen in the last days were starting to happen as early as the start of the Second Century AD. By the time the Canon was finally decided, the supernatural gifts had long gone from the general church, and only continued with small select groups that were able to escape the general confusion that the church was descending into.
We all know from our own church experience that it takes only a couple of generations for the original vision of devout Christians to be dissipated and for the particular church to fall into formalism where the Holy Spirit is programmed right out of it.
This is exactly what happened to the supernatural gifts of the Spirit in the early church. A couple of generations after the original Apostles, the general spiritual state of the church had declined to the point where the supernatural was no longer apparent. The church was falling into formalism and schism. When the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion in 313AD, this opened the church to all and sundry, and it was no longer the exclusive domain of those who truly walked in the Spirit. It is no wonder that the supernatural gifts disappeared. The church was no longer the pure church of the Book of Acts.
Therefore it only takes a study of church history, and a deeper exegesis of 1Corinthians13 to see that the Author’s foundation argument and proof of everything else he is proposing is very weak and is easily and successfully challenged.
We also notice that the whole of his second part is based on his experience, and the experiences of others connected with him. He cannot provide objective Scriptural proof of his assertion that tongues-speaking Pentecostals are demon possessed or at best inspired by the devil.
In all of our research, we have discovered only one or two instances of people in the last 40 years speaking blasphemies when speaking in tongues, and they were proved to have had deep personal problems before they even became associated with a Pentecostal church. We suspect that the Author has taken one or two of these stories and extended them to make them appear that the occurrences of blasphemy through tongues is more widespread than it actually is.
We have been involved with Pentecostal churches for the last 40 years, and we have never encountered any of the events that the Author is speaking about. He would need to quote actual examples that can be independently evaluated before we can accept the validity of those events.
He makes very broad, generalize, and speculative statements about the Pentecostal movement without offering any substantive examples or independent proof that what he is stating is true. He does have a bibliography at the end of his booklet, and we suspect that he has based his ideas on the reading of those books; but without any actual quotations of events or examples to back up what he is saying.
It is one thing to state an opinion; it is quite another to be credible. Credibility comes with good research based on reliable data. If he is to say that 95% of tongues speakers are demon possessed, he needs to produce statistical data that backs that up. He needs to prove that he has used a population that represents a true cross section of the Pentecostal churches and of people who are willing to share their experiences both positive and negative.
This requires an open minded approach to the research for it to be genuine and reliable. This is not shown in the Author’s work. It is one-sided, setting out to prove that tongues speaking is of the devil.
We believe that the Author started with a negative premise, and all his research is based on proving his predetermined premise. We accept that everyone has their own opinion, but we are concerned when a person publishes a booklet containing material that is presented as objective truth, rather than the subjective speculation that it actually is.
We believe that the whole of the New Testament is valid for all Christians today, including the teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We believe that what was started on the Day of Pentecost was meant to be continued until the day that Jesus Christ comes again.
We believe that the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, used as God’s tools of trade to an unbelieving world, used in the love of Christ, reflecting His compassion for lost sinners, are appropriate for this present day. If ever we need the demonstration of God’s love and compassion through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, it is in these days.
We believe that the false demonstrations of supernatural power happen in the context of self promotion, pride, and the desire for power. Where there is a counterfeit, there is the real thing.
We also believe that when God’s love is manifested toward sinners, the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit is also evident. The difference between the power of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural counterfeit of the devil is that the Holy Spirit is always motivated by the attributes of love as set out in 1Corinthians13.
In all, our position is that the believers who confess that Jesus has come in the flesh, and who are motivated by the love of Christ, are able to minister in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit in the same way as the early Christians in the Book of Acts were able to.
If you were helped by this article, buy my Ebook “How The Holy Spirit Enables You To Come To Christ”. Click Here for more information.