All About Speaking in Tongues
An Analysis of His Book By Paul Christensen, M.A.
Note: The original text is quoted in
black, and our analysis is in blue text.
ANALYSIS OF THE CHARISMATIC RENEWAL
The first section of the analysis deals mainly
with Catholic Pentecostalism and because we do not have direct experience of
it, we are leaving it out of our analysis of this book.
We quote again, "Ray Bullard, deacon of a Pentecostal church, possessing a wide experience of spiritual gifts... and several Pentecostal ministers..." They are the ones who taught, prayed and laid on hands in order that these Catholics might receive the Holy Spirit. Could an unclean spirit possibly have been passed on to these people from the hands of Pentecostals of sound doctrine?! This idea is profoundly disturbing, especially when they are obliged to acknowledge that "IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR RAY BULLARD, THE PENTECOSTAL DEACON... THIS MOVEMENT WOULD NEVER HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT OF DAY" (page 15, emphasis ours).
There is no objective proof that the whole
Catholic Pentecostal movement started with Ray Bullard laying hands on a group
of people. The author is mistakenly assuming that the baptism in
the Holy Spirit came to people exclusively by the laying on of hands.
There are just as many accounts of people being baptized in the Spirit and
speaking in tongues without anyone laying hands on them. Mr Legrand
seems to be ignoring that part of it. If in fact many people did
come into the gift of tongues through a direct impartation from the Spirit of
God, then the quoted author’s point falls on its side completely, because he is
basing his theory on the assumption that everyone in the Catholic Pentecostal
movement received the gift of tongues through the laying on of hands, starting
with Ray Bullard.
Now, behind the elders who placed their hands on Timothy, there was nothing other than what this young man received: the gift of God (II Tim.1:6). And behind the hands Ananias placed upon Saul of Tarsus, there was none other than the Holy Spirit. And when this same Saul of Tarsus, who became the apostle Paul, laid his hands upon the disciples of John the Baptist at Ephesus, they received no other spirit than that which inhabited Paul, that is, the true Spirit. If then it was a diabolical spirit that these sincere Catholics received from the hands of these experienced specialists (Ray Bullard and his associated Pentecostal ministers), it means that behind their hands and their prayers, there was something that they subsequently deplored; that is, something very different from the Holy Spirit. Jesus said it in a way that is impossible to misunderstand, "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit" (Matt.7:18). If the fruit, by their own admission, is declared bad, isn’t it because the tree is bad?
Although the interpretation of 11Timothy 1:6 is
sound, the Author ventures into speculation when he applies it to the laying on
of the hands of Ray Bullard and his associated Pentecostal ministers in the way
as to suggest that these men passed on a wrong spirit to those they ministered
to. Actually, there is no objective proof anywhere in the
Scripture that wrong spirits can be passed on in this way. It is
also implying that Ray Ballard and his friends are possessed with wrong spirits
into order to have passed them on to others. The Author has
absolutely no proof of this at all. It is pure guesswork.
It seems that our Pentecostal friends fail to understand this line of thought. When one points out to them the peculiarities with which their movement is afflicted, that it is something completely different from the Holy Spirit that produces this uncontrollable gibberish and the eccentric behaviour such as screaming, wailing, falling backwards, etc., their standard reply is to quote Jesus, "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:11 - 13).
Mr Legrand shows his defective knowledge of the
way that Pentecostals worship in his comments about
‘uncontrollable…behaviour”. Most standard Pentecostals would
deplore anything that did not come from a basis of absolute self
control. Self control is one of the foundation teaching for people
coming into the Pentecostal experience. Most competent Pentecostal
pastors will recognise uncontrollable and inappropriate behaviour as coming
from a wrong spirit, and treat it according to the deliverance ministry that
they have in the church.
It is characteristic in many Pentecostal
services that the intense presence of the Holy Spirit does cause people with
wrong spirits to manifest so that they can be exposed and dealt with through
the discernment of spirits and the deliverance ministry. We have been
involved or associated with Pentecostal churches for 40 years, and all
instances of inappropriate and uncontrollable behaviour have been clearly
tagged as coming from a wrong spirit that needs to be dealt with through the
ministry of the Spirit.
The only time we have ever witnessed screaming
or wailing in a Pentecostal service was when demons were being cast
out. This type of behaviour has its parallel in the gospels because
when demon possessed people came into direct contact with Jesus they manifested
and came out of these people with screaming and wailing. This is the same
in a Pentecostal service when the Holy Spirit, who is the Representative of the
Risen Lord comes into direct contact with demon possessed people.
We can quite easily understand that this may
not be the experience of the Author in his church, because he does not appear
to be familiar with any such ministry there. Perhaps his church is
completely free of demon possessed people, or that the presence of the Holy Spirit
there is not intense enough for them to manifest.
It is very easy to concentrate on the
inappropriate behaviour of attendees at a Pentecostal service who are
manifesting wrong spirits in the presence of the Holy Spirit, rather than more
closely associating with the more mature and sound believers who are behaving
appropriately in the services.
But isn’t that a boomerang-argument? Because in coming to Ray Bullard and the Pentecostal ministers, these Catholics did not ask for a stone, or a snake, or a scorpion; nevertheless that is what they would have received. Now, these friends bitterly regret having prayed for and laid hands on these Catholics who have, according to Pentecostal testimony, received an alien spirit as a result.
We do not believe that the bitter regret is a
wide spread reaction among the Pentecostal ministers who ministered to others
in the Spirit. It is too easy to make a sweeping statement from the
comments of one person, possibly twisted out of context. Newspaper
reporters do it all the time. A person can make a whole series of
comments and sometimes question their actions, and the reporter then prints the
article to make out that the person said such and such when he did not say that
at all. The Author provides no data to support his notion that many of the
Catholics who received ministry from these Pentecostal ministers actually did
receive alien spirits. The Author is merely giving an untested
What they should be worrying about, above all, is not what these Catholics have received, but rather what was transmitted to them. Would it not be the height of folly to hear a husband complain, or become indignant, about the AIDS that his wife contracted from himself. His analysis of his partner’s illness would perhaps be correct, but accusing her of contracting the wrong AIDS, whilst asserting that his is the correct one, should make us think seriously about the comparison that can be made.
It is very irresponsible for a Christian
minister to make a comparison between the ministry of other Christian ministers
and the spread of AIDS. We have already shown that the Author’s
assumption that alien spirits were passed on is purely speculation and without
any objective proof.
I am entirely of the conservative Pentecostals’ opinion when they say the virus caught by the Charismatics is bad because it is unbiblical, but when one knows, according to their own confession, where the Catholics caught it, and from whom they caught it, the Pentecostals should be the first to ask themselves the following questions, "What if ours were the same ‘baptism of the Spirit’? What if we had the same ‘speaking in tongues’?"
What we have to examine is the motivation for
these ‘conservative Pentecostals’ to be making these statements. The
world is full of disillusioned ex-Pentecostals who have been offended and hurt
through the unwise actions of others in the movement. It is easy
for a person who is hurting over his disappointment at his local Pentecostal
church which caused him to leave it, to then make statements about it out of
the emotional pain that he is experiencing. Remarks made by such people
cannot be relied on. Once the pain passed and the person receives
healing, he may very well regret the remarks he made.
If the Author is basing his research on just
what disillusioned and disgruntled Christians are saying, then his research is
unsound. The disillusionment may not stem from the practice of
tongues or anything else. It may come because the pastor might have run
off with the secretary, who coincidently may have been his wife. Whatever
the reason, we cannot trust the statements made by people who have been hurt
and disappointment in their expectation by their local Pentecostal church.
It is not sound research to take these statements which might have applied to a
local church and tar and feather all Pentecostals as a result.
A MESSAGE TO MEN?
All through this study, we shall keep in mind the excellent principle developed by D. Cormier in chapter 1, "The spirit that is in contradiction with the Scriptures cannot be the Holy Spirit". This has allowed conservative Pentecostalism to flush out the serious errors of their fellow charismatics and to conclude, "Supernatural manifestations (among the charismatics) are a sign telling them that they have nothing to fear, that they are on the right road when, in fact, they are walking in error... These manifestations themselves are more or less reproductions of those we find in the New Testament. That is why one can rightly speak of counterfeit". (Analysis of the Charismatic Renewal, page 14).
There is no way of telling from this quote
exactly what evidence Mr. Cormier presents to back up his
statement. Without the supportive evidence we can only take his
comments as his own opinion which can be accepted or safely ignored as the case
One can only applaud this biblical perspicacity, provided that one does not limit its application to others.
But Mr. Cormier either does not provide
scriptural evidence, or Mr Legrand does not include it. How then can he
convince us that Mr Cormier’s statement is Biblical?
For, if our Pentecostal friends were to scrutinise their own doctrine with even half the rigour that they use towards the charismatics, they would see, as they so well say, that "believing that one is on the right road because of signs, miracles and speaking in tongues" is also the essence of their own belief, their own strength and their own sense of security. For example, when the rapid growth of the movement they condemn is attributed to spiritual manifestations, are these not precisely the same spiritual manifestations that they themselves boast of or use as their authority to explain and justify the fact that they are growing more quickly than other evangelicals? "But WE are biblical!" we hear them say, "OUR practices conform to the scriptural model!" This is what we shall begin to examine in this second chapter.
In all our years in Pentecostal churches, we
never heard anyone teach that miracles and speaking in tongues were the primary
evidences that they were ‘on the right road’, and their practices are more
Biblical than the other churches around them. Perhaps one or two
isolated Pentecostal churches might have expressed that attitude, but most
Pentecostals would view that sort of an attitude as spiritual pride and would
What do we read in the Bible concerning the true exercise of speaking in tongues? "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God" (I Cor.14:2). This is what Paul, the greatest teacher of the church, moreover, led by the Spirit, clearly taught the Corinthians, "... he does not speak to men..." This verse alone is enough to destabilise all that is specific to the Pentecostal movement and shake it right down to its foundations.
Not really. This scripture is clearly
taught in all the Pentecostal churches I know of, and most believers know that
tongues is directed to God. They know the difference between
praying in tongues to God and speaking out a tongues message that requires an
The Holy Spirit Himself, Whom we cannot resist without suffering the consequences, states that it was not to men that the words spoken in tongues were addressed but to God.
It is very clear that Paul is speaking of the
use of tongues when a person is praying in private. In 1Corinthians14 he
makes a very clear distinction between private and public tongues.
The Bereans (Acts 17:11) examined the Scriptures daily in order to see if what they were being told was correct. For us today, nothing would be easier than to examine these same Scriptures to find out if what the Pentecostal movement says on this subject is correct. After more than thirty years of close contact with these churches, and after having accepted some of their ideas, I have been forced to admit that there is a glaring discordance with the Word of God on this point. I, first of all, capitulated before the authority of the Scriptures; I then proceeded to verify for myself what was being taught and practised. On several occasions, talking to people who were deeply anchored in their convictions, I asked the question, "When tongues are interpreted in your assembly, what is the content of the message?" I did not enquire because I did not know the answer, but I wanted to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, so leaving no place for ambiguity. Without exception, the replies always confirmed what I had already observed. It was a word of encouragement, or prophecy, or exhortation, or even of evangelisation. Quite clearly, these were addressed to those present, that is, to men and was therefore in complete contradiction with the Holy Spirit who said just the opposite,
No, it is not in ‘complete contradiction’ if
1Corinthans14 is read correctly. Paul teaches that there is a
prayer language that is prayed in private, away from the church meeting, and
this is directed not to men but to God. Then he talks about the
tongues which should be spoken in the church meeting, and these are the tongues
which require an interpretation. The Author is picking and choosing which
parts of Paul’s teaching he wants to use to make his point. He is
actually twisting Paul’s words to make them mean what he wants them to mean.
"...he does not speak to men". This is just as antibiblical as speaking to Mary. In short, the exercise of a gift that does not conform to Scripture cannot come from the Holy Spirit but rather, as they rightly say about their fellow charismatics, from an alien spirit.
If a person speaks in tongues in a church
meeting with the intention that it should be interpreted, then he is exercising
the gift according to the Scripture. The Author is ignoring the plain
words of Paul here. By challenging people who are exercising tongues
according to Paul’s teaching, the Author himself may very well be doing
something that does not conform to Scripture. If he is doing that, then
might he be speaking from an alien spirit, as he says they are doing?
After having heard the replies that I have just mentioned, I showed these people what the Bible said. Some of them were devastated by the crystal-clear words that they had never seen before, or that had always been kept from them. The most perceptive amongst them realised in an instant the scale of the doctrinal disaster that had overtaken them: a true Waterloo.
We only have his word on that. He would
not record the challenges he would have got from the same passage of
Scripture. They would not suit his purpose here.
Prevented from Seeing
In many other cases, on the contrary, I noted what seemed to be a complete inability to comprehend the meaning of the Scriptures that is nevertheless clear, "...anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men". It is as though a veil had come down over their intelligence. They said, "But of course, that’s it!" whilst being unable to see that their "that" was not at all "it", but quite the contrary. To start with, there was no attempt to evade the issue, but an inability to see. They read "he does not speak to men" but they appear to understand the opposite, some going so far as to say, "How else would God speak TO US?"
It is not that they were not able to comprehend
what the Author was trying to say to them, it would be that they were not able
to reconcile what he was saying with the other clear teaching of Paul that
people could speak in tongues in a church meeting if there was someone there to
One of my friends, an enthusiastic pastor, invited me for a Gospel campaign in his church. He told me about a lady who, in a private talk with him, had spoken in tongues. "In what she said", he explained, "I discerned a message for myself". The opportunity was ideal. I simply asked him, "How do you reconcile the idea of a message addressed to you personally with the biblical statement that ‘...for anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God’? You are not God!" It was like hitting him over the head. He was totally speechless. He had just discovered a text that he had never seen before, or that he had not taken the time to examine. He looked so pitiful that I felt sorry for him. I did not tell him that these tongues addressed to men smacked of heresy. I did not tell him either that it was a trick or a hoax. No, I let him work it out for himself to discover that he was up against an obvious spiritual fallacy. My most recent discussion on the subject clearly illustrates this blindness. I realised that quoting the text verbally was not enough. The person I was speaking to was following his own train of thought and was impervious to the Word of God. I sat down beside him with my Bible open, and had him read the text out loud. No reaction. I repeated the exercise at least five times. Suddenly the penny dropped. He understood what the passage said. It was then that his real problem started. He began to measure the full impact of this truth that had just smashed his beliefs like the iceberg in the side of the Titanic, sending her to the bottom of the ocean. Poor fellow, he had a head-on collision with a Bible teaching that was the opposite of what he thought he knew so well. In order to get out of this awkward situation, he had nothing to offer me but the quicksand of his experiences.
We can see that this application of tongues is
irregular. What should have happened was that the lady should have given
the pastor the interpretation of what she said in tongues. Although, the
pastor did say that he ‘discerned’ a message for himself. It is quite
possible that he was given the interpretation. In truth, we would
not encourage anyone to do this, but rather encourage the lady to pray for and
give the interpretation. Then, if her words struck a chord in the
pastor’s heart, it would edify him, as Paul said interpretation of tongues
Of course, we are getting only one side of the
story. There are always two sides of any story, and it would be
interesting to also hear the pastor’s side of what happened between him and the
lady, and between him and Mr Legrand.
The example proves nothing to us.
In my first book on speaking in tongues, I reported the confrontation that took place between a brother of the Brethren Assemblies and my neighbour, a Pentecostal minister. The latter was not up to the task. Forced to recognise that his adversary was right, he closed his Bible, pushed it to one side and said, "Biblically you are right but I cannot deny an experience!" This gesture and his words said it all: the Bible put to one side and experience put to the fore.
Again, we would need the other side of the
story from the Pentecostal minister’s point of view to get to the truth of what
really took place in that meeting.
Thirty years later, nothing seems to have changed. The last interview previously mentioned, finished in the same way as the first. .After having once more pointed out that the speaking in tongues in his church, as corroborated by his personal experience and observations, was obviously addressed to men, and that it was contrary to what the Bible says, I asked him, "What will you put aside, the Word of God or your experiences; you must make a choice between the two; which will it be?" Without hesitation and twice in succession, his reply was, "I choose experience!" Understandable but wretched obstinacy that is explained by the terrible confession of a pastor who said to me on this particular point of doctrine,"When this word of Paul began to circulate in our assemblies, it had the effect of a bomb. We could not allow it to continue, because we would have had to admit that EVERYTHING DONE UP UNTIL THEN WAS FALSE!" Of course it is false, but one tries to ensure that no one knows.
It looks like that they came to the conclusion
it was false before doing a close study of 1Corinthians 14 before coming to any
conclusions, especially if the information was coming from those opposed to
Pentecostal theology who were coming into that church and stirring up the
people without being invited by the leadership to do so..
And how is this achieved? In one of four ways:
1. By placing an inordinate value on experiences. For example:
-- a prophecy about me, spoken in tongues, came true,
-- an exhortation given in tongues corresponds to the state of the church,
-- once when the translator didn’t show up, a preacher continued in the local language that he did not know (a very wellworn but always unverifiable anecdote),
There have been recorded and verified accounts
where this actually happened.
2. The second method is to edit the text, as this pastor said, throwing away ideas that are too disturbing. That is what the rabbis do with the 53rd chapter of Isaiah during the systematic reading of the Law and the prophets in the synagogues. When they come to the end of Isaiah 52, they jump to Isaiah 54! I can testify that in more than thirty years of contacts, interviews, debates, friendly discussions and collaboration with those concerned, this text has always been carefully avoided. In the bookTwenty-one Reasons for Speaking in Tongue", Gordon Lindsay gives as his eleventh reason that it is to speak to God, and simply evades the embarrassing "he does not speak to men". This "silence" strengthens the impression that one is the equivalent of the other.
The Author is doing the same thing as the
rabbis, in that he is concentrating on just one verse of 1Corinthians14 about
tongues being directed to God and not men, but deliberately ignoring Paul’s
instructions about how to rightly use tongues and interpretation in the church.
One can see where this would lead: to all the heresies in the world, to give the floor to the Deceiver and in particular, to his first suggestion in Genesis, "Did God really say that?"
If the Author is basing his whole doctrine
about tongues on just one verse of the chapter and ignoring Paul’s other clear
teaching, is he not moving in the area of heresy himself?
4. The fourth method is to find an answer at any cost; to dive into the Bible in search of a word or a reference that puts the Holy Spirit in conflict with Himself, in order to breathe more easily. Everyone knows that with this game, one can make the Bible say anything one wishes.
Oh yes, and this is what the Author is doing
here: making Paul say what the Author wants him to say. All
Pentecostal believers have to do is to read the whole chapter of 1Corinthans and
see everything that Paul had to say about tongues, and they can then see the
Author’s deception. As you will see in the rest of our analysis,
the Author brings all sorts of references out of their proper context to
support what he is saying. So to accuse others of doing what he himself
is doing could be viewed as hypocrisy.
At the risk of exposing ourselves to ruin by distorting the meaning of the Scriptures, as it says in II Peter 3:16, which text shall we seize upon to make the Word say the opposite of what it says? Some people believe they have found one in I Cor.14:21, "Through men of strange tongues... I will speak to this people". If God uses tongues to speak to this people, then it follows that he uses them to speak to men. Note firstly that if that is the right meaning to give to these words, then the contradiction between the two verses would be total.
But we can show that in the church, Paul teaches that tongues with interpretation is for the edification of the church in the same way that prophecy is. If the whole chapter is read properly we can clearly see that there is no contradiction at all because Paul clearly teaches that tongues with interpretation does speak to the people.
It would not be superfluous to recall first of all that, contrary to what certain people might think, the great crowd of people assembled that day was not made up of pagans, strangers or internationals (Gentiles or Goyim as one refers to them elsewhere), but of JEWS who had come to Jerusalem from fifteen different foreign countries. Do you have your Bible open before you? Turn to Acts 2 and read verse 5, "Now there were staying in Jerusalem who?... pagans?!... no, JEWS, God-fearing men,from every nation under heaven." Go on to verse 14, Then Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd, "Fellow foreigners?!... no, fellow JEWS". Look at verse 22. Peter continuing to speak to the crowd, adds this precision, "Men of ISRAEL..." A little further on, in verse 29, he uses the term, "brothers", an appellation that leaves no doubt as to their identity. And finally, in verse 37, the people making up the crowd who heard him returned the compliment to the JEWISH apostles in these words, "BROTHERS, what shall we do?" Besides the fact that the Word of God is very clear and that this is repeated five times, it follows quite logically that only those God-fearing Jews, coming from great distances and at their own expense, would journey to the Jews’ great annual feast day of Pentecost at Jerusalem. It would only have been of interest to them and to the proselytes converted to Judaism. One does not see great crowds of Frenchmen travelling to England for the 5th of November every year to set off firecrackers on Guy Fawkes Day. Neither do the English travel to Paris for the fete nationale on July 14th, not anymore that we see Europeans crossing the Atlantic just to celebrate Independence Day in the United States. In the same way Pentecost was at that time a feast day solely Jewish and reserved for Jews. Thus the crowd in Jerusalem that day was made up of Jews who spoke Aramaic, and who all understood what Peter preached to them in this language (his as well as theirs), without the necessity to speak the fifteen other languages.
To unpack this, we need to see what the actual Scripture in Acts 2: 6-8:
“And when this sound [speaking in tongues] was
heard, the multitude came together and they were astonished and bewildered,
because each one heard them speaking in his own (particular) dialect .
And they were beside themselves with amazement saying, Are not all these who
are talking Galileans? Then how is it that we hear, each of us in our own
(particular) dialect to which we were born?
Let’s go to verse 11:
“We all hear them speaking in our own native tongues [and telling of] the mighty works of God!”
It is quite clear from an actual reading of the
Scripture, that these out of town Jews heard their own native dialects being
spoken. The disciples were not speaking in Aramaic, the native language
of Galilee, because the people said how can they be speaking our dialects when
they are merely Galileans and would not be expected to know our native
The out of town people may have been Jewish by
faith and ancestry, but they were born in the countries mentioned in Acts
2. They had native dialects as well as being able to speak
Hebrew. They heard the mighty works of God being spoken in the
dialects that were spoken in their home cities and villages, away from Israel.
This blows Mr Legrand’s theory out of the
water, because he is saying that the disciples were speaking languages that
they knew naturally anyway. This is simply not true. They
were, without knowing it, speaking the native dialects of the crowd that came
to see what was going on. They did not know they were speaking the
understandable languages until the people in the crowd told them they were.
Also, the Scripture does not say that Peter preached
to them in their native dialects. Mr Legrand has got it wrong when he
tries to make out that Pentecostals are saying that Peter preached to the crowd
in tongues. No Pentecostal that I know believes that!
He preached to them in either Hebrew or Aramaic, languages that the crowd would
also have known.
We are coming to the conclusion that Mr Legrand
either has not studied the Scripture closely in his research, or he is
deliberately ignoring those sections of the Scripture that do not suit his
purpose. Either way, it is becoming apparent that his teaching here
is either defective or deceptive.
The only thing left now is for us to verify what the Scriptures say about each occasion where speaking in tongues is reported. We shall call upon the best Pentecostal writers, quoting their writings, to prove that in no case was there ever a single word addressed to men, even though the sign was intended for them. Donald Gee writes, "Our information concerning the manifestation shown to believers when they are baptised in the Spirit, is strictly limited to the cases recounted in Acts" (Glossolalia, page 101). This means that he does not wish to take into account any experience other than those contained in the Word of God. I. In Acts 2, it is said that the people heard them "speak of the wonders of God" in many real and contemporary
It is pretty accepted that the tongues spoken
on the Day of Pentecost were not directed at mean but to God. The
crowd heard the disciples speaking in their own dialects the mighty wonders of
God, but what they heard was not directed to them. The disciples were
praising God in tongues. The Holy Spirit made it understandable to
the crowd so that they would be arrested by the wonder of it. It
gave Peter the perfect platform on which to preach his sermon.
We don’t know where the Author gets the notion
that the disciples spoke in tongues to the crowd. The Scripture
definitely does not say that.
Many have wrongly believed that what was referred to here was the salvation of three thousand souls due to the preaching of the Gospel in tongues. Even a rapid survey of this chapter shows that the tongues used on that day simply caused people to ask questions.
This is what most Pentecostals believe
anyway. We wonder where the Author got the notion that the gospel was
preached in tongues? We have never heard this teaching in any
Pentecostal church we have been associated with.
It was Peter’s preaching, which was not in tongues, that brought the crowd to salvation.
This is generally the Pentecostal view as well.
Donald Gee was unquestionably a leading thinker among the Pentecostals. He tried to put some order into the ideas of the movement and to establish for it the least bit of a coherent doctrine. For the moderates, he was the most listened-to of his generation. In his book Spiritual Gifts, this is what he says about the tongues spoken at Pentecost, "On the day of Pentecost, they all spoke in tongues before the crowd assembled. The crowd ran to see what all the noise was about. They found the disciples speaking of the wonders of God in their own dialects. It is clear that this crowd heard words THAT WERE NOT ADDRESSED TO THEM (emphasis added). When it was time to preach, it was Peter, and Peter alone, who spoke to the crowd whilst the eleven remained with him. He used a language common to all so that everyone would understand him... Thus the erroneous and time-honoured assertion that the gift was for the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles is refuted."
But no Pentecostal we know believes that
tongues is for the preaching of the gospel. Everyone we know goes right
along with the above statement by Donald Gee. This really does beg
the question about where Mr Legrand gets his information from that Pentecostals
believe that tongues was for preaching the gospel. If he did get this
information from Pentecostals it would certainly be from fringe groups that
would have theology that would not be recognized by the mainstream Pentecostal
Dennis Bennett is renowned for his writings in Pentecostal circles. Here is what he says on the same subject, "It is surprising to note how many Christians, even those who are well-grounded, think that the languages spoken at Pentecost were given to proclaim the Gospel in the languages of the people who were listening, because they came ‘from every nation under heaven’. In fact this passage states, ‘Now there were staying in Jerusalem JEWS from all nations...’ It was simply Jews who lived in other countries and who had travelled up to Jerusalem for the feast.There was no need for foreign languages. What they heard was not a proclamation of the Gospel but the first Christians PRAISING AND GLORIFYING God for the wonders He had done" (v.11).
Coming from men so well-thought-of, these testimonies on this specific point are decisive and we record our agreement with them: what was spoken in tongues was not addressed to men but to God.
So, even novices in Pentecostal churches know
that. So what?
II. The second account appeared at the conversion of the centurion Cornelius and all his household. (Acts 10). The nature of this glossolalia is identical to the first because Peter refers to it when he told the apostles at Jerusalem, "... the Holy Spirit came on them just as He had come on us at the beginning", and he adds this detail, "God gave them the same gift as He gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ". (Acts 11:15-17). There is nothing addressed to men here either; on the contrary, they heard them "... praising God".
III. The third and last mention of tongues in Acts 19:6 (the conversion of the twelve disciples of John the Baptist) does not tell us anything more.
IV. The fourth proof is found in the verses that serve as a basis for this study - chapter 14 of First Corinthians. How does Paul see the matter? He sees nothing but praying, singing and giving thanks in tongues (verses 15 and 16). Nothing but prayer and praise appears in his teaching on tongues.
Wrong. He teaches on the correct use of
tongues and interpretation in the church so that others are built up by what is
said in the interpretation resulting from the speaking out in
tongues. The Author needs to read the chapter fully.
V. The fifth proof is in the key verse of this chapter. It carries with it its own conclusion, "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God" (I Cor.14:2). On such an important point, the Pentecostal practice is already completely out of line with the truth. It is at least as false as the glossolalia of their charismatic twins. We have read it, "...an experience, the’ baptism of the Holy Spirit’ that lures souls to practise the contrary of what the Scriptures say, is not of the Holy Spirit." If the keystone of a vault is loosened, the whole structure breaks down ipso-facto. In the same way, this first error on the subject of tongues brings down the entire system (*1) at a single stroke. "Like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly in an instant, it will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern" (Isaiah 30:13-14).
The Author harps on the same verse. We
have clearly shown that he is ignoring the other teaching that Paul is giving
in the chapter. His own argument is breaking down like the
very Scripture he is quoting from Isaiah!
It is not superfluous to recall the remark quoted above, "When Paul’s word (…not to men) began to circulate in our assemblies, it had the effect of a bomb. The conclusion was not followed up because we would have had to admit that EVERYTHING THAT HAD BEEN DONE UP TO THEN WAS FALSE!"
If Mr Legrand is going into Pentecostal
churches and spreading teaching that ignores parts of Paul’s teaching, then he
is spreading his own brand of false doctrine. It would be good if
this analysis was to find its way into those assemblies that he has infected
and brought confusion.
If, for our conservative Pentecostal friends, the gift that they have passed on to others smacks of heresy, we also come to the incontrovertible evidence that their own glossolalia is also unscriptural and of the same kind as that which they have passed on to the Catholic charismatics by the laying on of their hands.
This conclusion, as we have seen, is seriously
flawed. All he is giving us is a total speculation not supported by
Scripture. We must view them as his own prejudicial opinions on the
Papering over the cracks
Before moving on to the next error, one cannot but say a word about some Pentecostal churches that have done an about-face on this point. In their meetings, the practice of tongues continues but, on demand, the interpretation is limited to praise or prayer. What must we think of that? Does it mean a courageous return to the truth? At this early stage of our study, the answer would be incomplete to the point of appearing biased. The following chapters will show us other aspects of this subject, which they voluntarily ignore, that will allow us to give a definitive opinion. However, we are already obliged to notice that where things have seemingly been put right, it is only the interpretation that has been changed. Speaking in tongues itself remains the same as it was before. These are the same people, the same peculiar utterances, the same intonation, and above all, something we shall come back to, the same unacceptable difference between the length of the statement in tongues and the length of its interpretation. In fact, it is like a faulty production line for motor cars where, without rectifying the faults, one has decided to change the final coat of paint.
Mr Legrand is putting his proposition, and it
remains to be seen whether he can substantiate it through Scripture.
Varnished in this way, this "new" generation of tongues appears somewhat more biblical at the end of the production line but remains underneath as far removed from the Bible and as faulty as the other. The spirit that inspires it is the same. Its final interpretation (discussed in chapter 6) subjected like the previous one to the apostolic teaching or to simple impartial and objective observation, will adequately demonstrate in which category it must be classified.
In 1990 in one of those churches I was the guest speaker
for an evangelistic campaign. A few years prior to this they had broken away
from the Assemblies of God on grounds of prevailing worldliness and excesses of
all sorts in the realm of spiritual gifts. They had understood that, according
to I Cor.14:2, a gift of interpretation that conveyed a message to men (and it
was nearly always the case) was not of the Holy Spirit. So, that type of
interpretation was abandoned, even condemned, and compulsorily replaced by
words of prayer or praise to God. They had become very friendly towards
non-charismatics and somewhat quieter in their gatherings. Yet, that Sunday
morning when I was there, during the worship service, a woman suddenly burst
out in tongues, at first on a plaintive mode, then picking up speed it ended up
in a high-pitched out-pouring. She kept repeating
"Ding-a-ding-a-doo", 20, 30 times or more. This was followed by an interpretation
that was a comparatively bland exhortation about the communion service. After
the meeting, outside the sanctuary, my wife and I looked at each other and
burst out laughing (actually we should have wept) as, spontaneously, at the
very same moment, we both exclaimed, "Les Cloches de Corneville!"* A
few minutes later, the pastor joined us, in obvious consternation, not because
of the odd speaking in tongues, which he did not seem to question, but because
of the complementary miracle of interpretation that had turned out to be a
message to men instead of being a word directed to God as the Holy Spirit
teaches. He said to us, "We must excuse this brother, he’s left the
Assemblies of God recently and he hasn’t worked things out properly yet".
Was it not rather the so-called "Spirit" who inspired these two
people who was not working things out properly? My pointing this out to him
added even more to his dismay. Where was the true Holy Spirit in all
this? That evening we parted, apparently on good terms, but he never
invited me again to his church.
* "The Bells of Corneville", a well-known French operetta where the chorus repeats at length the famous "Ding, ding, dong"
Now Mr..Legrand has already written that the
Scripture is more important than experiences, and yet he uses one of his own
experiences in a Pentecostal church to prove a point. Once again,
it would be good to get the other side of the story. In a court of law,
both the prosecution and the defence produce their own witnesses to give the
Judge a complete view of what happened. A jury is not sent out to
deliberate just on the basis of one side of the story. That pastor
might have been able to give a completely different view of the event and his
conversation with Mr. Legrand that might give a completely different impression
than the one Mr. Legrand is offering to us.
(*1) Our reference to the "system" in this context applies only to our Pentecostal brothers' teaching concerning the gift of tongues. No judgement is intended against their fundamentalist position which, in any case, we share. We do not contest their often faithful preaching of the Gospel, nor the sincerity of a number of them, nor their zeal, nor their distinction as children of God.
But he is saying that they are operating from an alien spirit when they are speaking in tongues. In effect, he is saying that Pentecostals are being guided by demons. In order to be consistent, he has to acknowledge that either the whole system is guided by the Holy Spirit or demons; there cannot be half in half. It is either one thing or another. The Christian cannot serve two masters, he has to hold to the one and leave the other. So Mr. Legrand is contradicting himself if he maintains that Pentecostals are being faithful to God and operating in the Holy Spirit in other aspects of their faith, but being guided by demons when they speak in tongues.
A SIGN FOR BELIEVERS?
We saw in the previous chapter that if the sign of speaking in tongues attracted the attention of men, the actual verbal content was not addressed to men, but to God alone. The gift was therefore limited to praise or prayer. We will now tackle another practical aspect of the question, found extensively in Pentecostalism, which we will confront with the Scriptures. My long experience of nearly the whole range of Pentecostalism enables me to speak with knowledge of the facts.
We must never lose sight of the fact that speaking in tongues WAS A SIGN. When one asks, "For whom is the sign destined today?", invariably, the first response is always, "It is the indisputable or evident sign of the baptism of the Spirit; it is the proof that the believer has entered into a second experience in the Christian life that will give him access to the gifts of the Spirit, by beginning with the least of them, speaking in tongues". This sign will therefore confirm to him, the believer, as well as to his congregation composed of believers, that he has a "plus" in his spiritual life. Seen
from this angle, it is a sign for believers. But this is
not all, for this sign will prove useful to him on other occasions.
Example 1. A man who was still a young convert had this second spiritual experience. Under pressure caused by a very difficult family situation, his first love for the Lord grew cold and he lost all contact with his assembly. He was haunted in his heart by the fear of being rejected by God. From time to time he tried to speak in tongues and since it worked, this caused him much comfort. (Already we can see that for him, speaking in tongues was taking the place of faith which is "being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see" - Heb.1:1) According to him, this gift saved him from committing suicide. It showed him that he, the believer, was still in the faith. In fact he was using the gift to give himself a sign. It was thus a sign for a believer such as he was.
No. He was not using the gift to give
himself a sign at all. He was edifying himself in agreement with Paul
when he said “He who speaks in a [strange] tongue edifies and improves himself”
(!Corinthians14:4). This is supported by the account of his speaking in
tongues causing him much comfort. Instead of taking the place of
his faith, it was building up his faith in the promises of God and His
faithfulness. It built up his faith to the extent that it stopped him
committing suicide. This proves the truth of what Paul
taught. It does not deny it. Mr. Legrand’s conclusion
therefore is defective.
Example 2. Then there was a Christian who was experiencing many difficulties: poor health, misfortunes and spiritual attacks in his family. His faith was enormously shaken. What kept him going, according to him, was his daily praying in tongues. How can we fail to see that, here too, it is the sign that replaces faith, whereas John’s epistle says, "this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (I Jn.5:4). Once again the sign was addressed to a believer.
This was not a sign. It is another
example of tongues edifying the believer and strengthening his faith in the
Word of God.
Example 3. Sin had settled in the life of yet another man. He was conscious of it but happy to live with it. He used his gift of tongues to assess himself and after successfully speaking in tongues heaved a sigh of relief, "If the Spirit continues to express Himself through me, that means that He does not disapprove of me, at least not enough to remove His words from my mouth". What is striking here, is that self-judgement in the light of the Word of God (I Cor.11: 28, 31) is replaced by a sign which, for this believer, lends credibility to something that the Bible clearly condemns.
The fact that he had recognized sin in himself
shows that he was exercising self judgement. Whether he was happy with
his sin is open to question and we only have the Author’s word on that.
If the believer spoke in tongues, then it had the effect of assuring him that
in spite of the sin that was still there, the Lord is there to show him that he
is clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and that in God’s time, the Holy
Spirit will lead him to overcome his sin and be more fully sanctified.
We are assuming that Mr Legrand is Arminian and
not Calvinistic in his theology, therefore he would believe that a person has
to be sinlessly perfect in order to be fully approved of God; whereas the
Scripture says that through the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, the believer
is fully clothed with the righteousness of Christ and, in spite of the sinful
element that will remain with the believer for the rest of his life, God will
always approve of him because of that Righteousness. Of course, the
believer has to want to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the process of progressive
sanctification to give his profession of faith credence.
So, we would assume that Mr Legrand believes
that believers are able through the strength of their will to be able to get
rid of all sin in their lives and ultimately become fully sanctified and
sinlessly perfect in this life.
Of course, we have only part of the story from
the Author’s perspective, and we have not heard from the other person, so the
example loses its strength through the Author’s bias.
These three examples are only samples that demonstrate that the whole teaching and practice of the Pentecostals on this point revolves around a sign that God has supposedly given for believers and their private use.
The Author has not proved this beyond doubt.
What does Scripture say about this? It teaches precisely the opposite, "TONGUES ARE NOT A SIGN FOR BELIEVERS BUT FOR NONBELIEVERS" (I Cor.14:22). The contradiction is total and it is this doctrine that once more is at fault. How many times have believers rejoiced with other believers over receiving this sign. How many times have I been told and re-told (and nothing else on this point was ever said to me) that speaking in tongues was the first sign for the believer, evidence of his baptism in the Spirit. But the Holy Spirit Himself categorically dismisses such a thing when He tells us that it was
"A SIGN FOR NON-BELIEVERS".
Again, Mr. Legrand is building a whole doctrine
from one verse. Doesn’t he know that it is not good theological practice
to do this?
A fourth example will serve to complete the first three. A certain brother practises tongues in private, a subject that we will discuss in detail in chapter 7. The good he claims this does him can in no way cancel out the obligation, imposed by the Holy Spirit, to use the gift for its rightful purpose, namely, to serve as a sign for non-believers. But where are the unbelievers when he only practises the sign for himself before God? In the same way, if an evangelist, who also has a charisma meant for another category of unbelievers, practised his gift in private, with only himself as an audience, at the time of the invitation to salvation he would only be giving a sign to himself as a believer and thus, be missing the goal.
When a believer prays in tongues in private, he
is being quite consistent with Paul’s teaching. Paul says in
1Corinthians14:28, “But if there is no-one there to do the interpreting, let
each of them keep still in church and talk to himself and to God.”
This is clearly private prayer. To say that speaking in tongues in
private is ‘missing the goal’ is to say that Paul is wrong when he said that if
there is no interpreter the person should speak to himself and to God.
Paul approves of privately speaking in tongues away from the church meeting.
1Corinthians14:18,19 tells us that Paul thanks God that he speaks in
tongues more than them all, yet in the church, he would rather speak in words
that others were able to understand. This is clear proof that Paul
regularly spoke in tongues privately. Who would be so arrogant to say
that Paul has missed the bus concerning the things of the Holy
Spirit? Obviously Mr. Legrand seems to be.
In the same way, in the case of the charisma of speaking in tongues, the Holy Spirit could not speak more clearly. The goal is to reach not believers but unbelievers. Allow us to make our position clear; we do not doubt the scriptural baptism of the Holy Spirit or the historical reality of speaking in tongues. We simply ask a double question: 1) What spirit inspires those who attribute a role to tongues that is categorically refuted by the true Holy Spirit? 2) What spirit could they have been baptised in, those who hide the shining truth of I Cor.14:22 under a bushel? And why do they feel extremely awkward as soon as you make the remark to them? And count yourself happy if you do not come across an extremist who is offended because you believe what the true Holy Spirit has said, and who accuses you of sinning against Him. Let us conclude with an illustration: if a bridge were supported by ten pillars, how unsafe it would be if even two of them were missing! We have just witnessed the collapse of two pillars of Pentecostal doctrine: a) words in tongues addressed to men and b) a sign for believers.
Actually, with a close study of the Scriptural teaching on tongues, Mr. Legrand has left enough holes in his assertions to enable someone to drive a London bus through them. He has not been able to prove his points beyond a reasonable doubt. If he put his points as submissions in a court of law, in front of a Jury, a good defence counsel would easily shoot him down in flames just by giving an exegesis of 1Corinthians14 based on the face value of Paul actually said without actually having to interpret it any deeper than his actual words in the text!
The Unbelievers’ Identity
Having discovered that, contrary to the quasi-universal belief and to the practice of many, the sign of tongues was not addressed to believers but to unbelievers, we have yet to find out the exact identity of these "unbelievers". Let us see in what situations the sign was practised in order to discover who they were.
We are not going to quote the next extensive
section dealing with the Author’s view of the unbelievers’ identity because it is
all based on the premise that tongues were a sign to ‘unbelieving’
believers. This is not what Paul said. He said that tongues
were a sign to unbelievers. He quotes Isaiah 28:11,12 as an example
of what happen to Israel in terms of their unbelief and
disobedience. God spoke to them through the tongues of the
Assyrians to show that He was bringing judgment on them.
Paul does not present the quote as a prophecy about tongues. He is giving the Isaiah quote as an example of God showing unbelieving Israel that judgment was upon them, by speaking to them through the Assyrian language, which was foreign to them and which they could not understand.
In the same way, Paul is saying that tongues works in the same way with present day unbelievers. The very fact that believers are speaking in languages that they cannot understand brings them under the judgment of God for their sins. The Greek for it being a sign for unbelievers on the point of believing. This is a different concept to what the Author is proposing. As unbelievers come into the church and hear the gospel, when they hear tongues being spoken and interpretations given, they then ask what does this mean. When it is explained to them that the fact that they are hearing languages they cannot understand shows them that they are really under the judgment of God, and have the passage in Isaiah explained to them by way of example, then they become convinced of the truth of the gospel.
There is an excellent study of this at http://www.apostolic.net/biblicalstudies/tonguesunbelievers.htm
which explains it more fully.
A Sure Foundation
Our foundation being the immovable rock of Scripture, we will conclude with the infallible words that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write, "Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to THIS PEOPLE". And who was THIS PEOPLE to whom the sign of speaking in tongues was destined? To ask the question isto give the answer. In the New Testament, the expressionTHIS PEOPLEappears twelve times. Without exception it refers to Israel and only to Israel.
And it only referred to the Israel of Isaiah’s
day who were under the judgement of God because they adopted the ways of the
Assyrians instead of repenting and following God’s way. The Isaiah
reference was never meant to be a prophecy about the gift of tongues.
This makes the Author’s proposition baseless and meaningless, because he is barking completely up the wrong tree. For this reason, quoting the rest of this chapter in his book would serve no useful purpose in this analysis.
JESUS AND TONGUES
Now what shall help us better understand the true PURPOSE of the gift of tongues is the example of Jesus our Lord who, by His very person, is the explanation of His doctrine. But here we have to argue from silence. Let us explain. In the New Testament it is Jesus who first announces this sign, "Here are the signs... they will speak in new tongues" (Mark 16:17).
It is interesting to note that Jesus said,
“These signs will accompany those who believe…” It is obvious that
these signs are not the same type of sign that Paul was talking about in
1Corinthians14. Here, Jesus is talking about signs that will go
along with believers. Taking another tack, we can merge the signs
for unbelievers, because the signs that Jesus spoke about here can also be
signs for the unbelievers as they observe the believers preaching the
gospel. Every time a believer prays for a sick person and they get well,
that is a sign that the gospel is true and real. `Every time a believer
casts a demon out of a person, there is the sign for the unbeliever that the
gospel is true. If believers get accidently bitten by snakes (as happened
to Paul on the island of Malta), or accidently drink poison without harm, it
will be a sign to the unbeliever that they need to accept Christ as Saviour.
Therefore Mark 16:17 is a compelling proof that
tongues are part of the believer’s experience and ministry to serve as a sign to
unbelievers that the gospel is what it says it is: The Word of God made
flesh, who died on the cross for our sins, and if we call upon His Name we will
not perish but have eternal life. You can’t get better than the actual
words of Jesus Himself.
But the troubling fact is that He Himself never spoke in tongues! This simple remark disturbs those who, claiming the example of a Master who is the same yesterday, today and forever, are obliged to admit that the silence is total. How are they going to get out of this dilemma?
By simply accepting that tongues were meant to
come on the Day of Pentecost to fulfil the prophecy of Joel. Also, He did
not need to communicate to the Father in tongues because He also had the nature
of the Son of God in Him. The Son of God is the omni-present second
Person of the Trinity, so He was present even within Jesus the man.
This is an accepted theological fact, supported by Reformation Protestant
theology. Jesus may have laid aside his divine nature, and not made
use of it while on earth, but that is not to say that it was not within
Him. Therefore, in his private communication with the Father, His
divine nature made it quite possible to have close communion without needing
any form of tongues type communication.
The only time that He lost touch with His divine nature was on the Cross as He suffered for our sin. He died of a broken heart. The reason: his human and divine nature were separated as God turned His back on Him when He took our sins upon his body on the Cross.
This is why we go along with the view that Jesus did not need tongues for His own use, and also, the dispensation where tongues is to be present had not arrived yet.
TWO SORTS OF TONGUES ?
Let us briefly recapitulate what we have already
discovered in the Word of God. Contrary to the modern-day doctrine and practice
1. What was uttered in tongues was never addressed to men, nor was it ever a tool for evangelisation, as Donald Gee and Dennis Bennett, the outstanding Pentecostal teachers themselves admit.
If he has discover that in the Word of God,
where are the Scriptures that prove it? He has used Donald Gee and Dennis
Bennett as his proof.
2. It was not a sign for believers but for unbelievers.
This is fully and admirably explained
previously, and does not prove his thesis.
3. These unbelievers were exclusively Jews who were loath to admit to their unity with people speaking foreign languages, the Holy Spirit confirming in both Testaments that the sign was for "this people" of Israel (Isaiah 28:11, ICor.14:22).
We have already seen that the Isaiah prophecy
was not about the gift of tongues at all. It was an example of an
unbelieving people being under the judgement of God and be shown to be so
through having to hear God speak to them through a language they could not
That is already a lot of errors, far too many, and it is nowhere near finished. What is always unpleasantly surprising when one goes to a meeting where tongues are spoken, is the incomprehensibility of what is said. The sounds emitted are often bizarre and they do not bear any resemblance to a real language. Some people, basing their ideas on I Cor.13:1, claim that it is "the language of angels". The fact is that every time angels spoke in the Bible, it was always in languages that were contemporary and understandable on that occasion...
The Author is still not using Scripture to validate his points. He is using his observation to prove his point.
Moreover, it is strikingly clear that in this chapter the Spirit leads Paul to use the hyperbolic "even if"... Paul did not have the knowledge of every mystery, since he adds several verses further on that he only knows in part. He had not given his body to be burnt. As he owned nothing or very little, never had he the chance to give all his worldly goods to the poor. Nor did he speak every language of men and angels. Paul makes it all the more evident that he could not speak the tongues of angels, by referring to them as "words which man is not permitted to speak" (I Cor.12:4). It was the conditional "if" that he used. A child could understand that.
Paul’s personal experience of being taken up
into heaven has no relevance to his teaching on tongues. Also, he is
not referring to tongues when he says, “Even if I speak the languages of men
and of angels…” He is talking about love. To make reference
to Paul speaking or not speaking the language of angels is not relevant.
How then has another glossa, one in which we do not understand anything, been able to slip into people’s minds and take root so forcibly? We pick out that apparent contradiction in I Cor.14:2, where unlike in Acts 2, it is written, "for anyone who speaks in a tongue... no one understands him". So it is suggested that there were two sorts of tongues, one in Acts that was understood, and one later on that was no longer comprehensible.
What the author misses is that the tongues
spoken by the disciples on the Day of Pentecost were incomprehensible to
them. They did not know they were speaking real languages until the
people who understood the languages told them. So when the 120 were
still in the upper room speaking in tongues, they had no idea what they were
speaking. It was only when they went outside, and the others heard
them, that they realized they were speaking real languages.
It is quite obvious that if the tongues in the epistle had been different from those at Pentecost, that should also come across in the term used to describe them. But there is nothing of the sort. The author of the book of Acts, Luke uses the same words as Paul does in his letter to the Corinthians. If the two tongues were not the same, Luke would have indicated it, if only by the use of different words. We know that Acts was written much later than the epistle to the Corinthians and that the latter was circulating in the churches. It goes without saying that Luke was well aware of the content of the letter as he was Paul’s biographer and travelling companion. No one better than he knew all about the Pauline thinking on this subject. If what he reports in his letter was different from what Paul said in his, he would have been sure to point it out so as to avoid any confusion. But he did not, he spoke of it as Paul spoke of it, and he used the same word to talk about one and the same thing. It is the same glossa in one case as in the other. The Greek texts are clear. Paul’s languages are as well-known as those Luke talks about, since he says, "all sorts of languages in the world" (I Cor.14:10) (*3). In Paul’s mind, the issue definitely concerns human languages. If they were in the world (or of the world), why were they not understood by the Corinthians just as they had been only a few years earlier in Jerusalem?
This is true. The tongues that Paul spoke about
in Corinthians was exactly the same as was spoken on the Day of
Pentecost. The disciples at Pentecost had no idea what they were
speaking, in the same way that the Corinthians would not have had any idea
also. So Paul is correct when he says that when people speak in tongues no one
understands what is being said.
The difference is that the tongues at Pentecost were understood by the observers to set up an environment where Peter could effectively preach the gospel to them. This was a fulfilment of Mark 16:17m, where the tongues were a sign that what Peter was preaching about was true.
Paul acknowledges in 1Corinthians14:10: “There
are, I suppose, all these many [to us unknown] tongues in the world
[somewhere], and none is destitute of [its own power of] expression and
meaning.” This shows us that Paul believes that the tongues which
are spoken are languages that exist in the world somewhere, even if the people
right here don’t understand what the words mean.
Of course, we have had personal experience of this being quite true, where a foreign visitor from Ghana visited our church and heard someone speaking the praises of God in his own village dialect. Another person was heard speaking in the Maori language, who had never learned Maori; and the testimonies of the Assembly of God church in Kenya in the 1960s where Africans right out of the bush who had not had any contact with Europeans in their lives before spoke in pure Oxford English when they started speaking in tongues. These were testimonies from real people whom we know personally.
Back to Jerusalem
Let us see exactly what took place in Jerusalem. When the Holy Spirit came, separate tongues of fire (or like fire) descended on the disciples, who spoke separately and distinctly in the dialects of the people present. Fifteen countries and peoples are cited; each person understanding the language of the country he came from. There was nothing miraculous in the hearing; the emission was supernatural but the reception was natural, since it was their own particular language that they were hearing. As for the fourteen other languages, unless they knew them, they would not have been able to understand them, any more than the Corinthians could understand languages that they did not know.
This observation is correct. But when we
read the Scripture account, the people in the crowd were amazed and puzzled
that they were hearing the praises of God being spoken in their own native
dialects by Gallileans who would not be expected to know those
languages. Mr Legrand seems to be down playing that. The rest
of his argument in this section is superfluous because it is only continuing to
state what is obviously accepted.
Also in Jerusalem
For the same reasons, we note that, at Pentecost some people, as in Corinth, did not understand what was being said. It is clear, according to Acts 2, that there were two groups of Jews present at the religious festival: 1) Those who were visiting Jerusalem from fifteen different countries (v.5) and who, besides Aramaic, spoke one of these fifteen languages. 2) The local Jews, who obviously could not speak or understand any of these fifteen dialects. They were "the others" (v.13), who mocked, saying, "They have had too much wine". These native Jews, who spoke only Aramaic (as the Corinthians only spoke Greek), did not understand any better than the Corinthians would have what was spoken on that day. Instead of finding out from those who did understand, they preferred to make it a subject of derision, saying that the disciples were under the influence of alcohol. It is fitting to note that they could have said exactly what Paul wrote about twenty-five years later to the Corinthians, "No one understands". And if no one understands, Paul challenges them with the stinging remark, "... won’t people say you are mad?"
The Author’s logic up to this point is
understandable. He makes the obvious link between the attitude of
some in the crowd and what he predicts unlearned people will say if they
encountered tongues in the public meeting of the Corinthian church.
To sum up, what does this prove? That the tongues in question in Corinth were not unintelligible ecstatic verbiage or an inaccessible angelic language, but real tongues as national and contemporary as those in Acts 2.
He is partly right. And he would have to
take notice of what Paul says in verse 10 of 1Corinthians14, that he supposed
that the languages existed in the world somewhere, and had their own form of
expression. Mr Legrand mistakenly limits the languages to those of the
national origin of the day. Paul does not say this in 1Corinthians.
He widens the area from which the languages could have come – the whole world,
not just that portion of the world where there were Jews.
And if, as Paul says, no one grasps them, it is quite simply because they did not have in their church, unlike the crowd in Jerusalem, the fifteen ears to understand them!
What the Author is trying to say here is that
the tongues of Corinth are the same fifteen languages that were spoken on the
Day of Pentecost! Paul doesn’t say that anywhere in the chapter.
We are now going to consider the gift of interpretation.
To the charisma of tongues, the Holy Spirit had affiliated that of the
interpretation of these tongues.
When the apostle Paul spoke in tongues (and he did so more often and better than anyone else), he did not allow himself to exercise this gift in the church, that is, in a group composed mainly of believers.
As this sign was for unbelieving Jews, he says that, in the church he prefers to say only five intelligible words rather than ten thousand in tongues (ICor.14:19). He is therefore two thousand times more favourable towards using everyday language than towards speaking in tongues, or in other words, he is two thousand times more against speaking in tongues than against not doing so.
The Author is speaking about tongues generally,
where Paul speaks about the public use of tongues in church.
When Paul spoke in tongues, it was not like a man beating the air, nor like a clanging cymbal, nor like a trumpet giving an indistinct sound. No, he is efficient. He exercises this gift in the right setting, that is, in the presence o the super-patriotic, holier-than-thou Israelites who disdainfully rejected those foreigners, the Gentiles, the Goyim
There is no Scriptural backing for saying that
Paul spoke in tongues in front of unbelieving Jews. This is a speculation
on the part of the Author. Paul is quite clear that tongues without interpretation
is to be spoken to God in private, away from other people.
If we follow him on his numerous journeys, we find him always and everywhere in conflict with the Jews, and even with converted Jewish brethren who disagreed with him on this essential point. When he came back from his first missionary journey to the church in Antioch, from which he had set out, "he reported all that God had done through them and how He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles" (Acts 14:27). On such occasions, and they were many, he would exercise the gift of praising the God of Israel in the language of pagans. He would so confirm, to those who were reluctant to admit it, both the vocation of the Gentiles and his apostleship to them (Gal.2:7,9).
Acts 14:27 does not prove that he spoke in
tongues in front of these people. The Author is juxtaposing two separate
ideas to prove his point. He is guessing.
The Wrong Track
There was no risk of Paul going off on the wrong track, but he was not the only one who spoke in tongues. Others who had that charisma did not put it to the same use. Forgetting for whom the sign was meant to be a sign, they got personal satisfaction from making others listen to them even in church meetings, and in the absence of opposing Jews, where there was no reason for tongues, except occasionally, one time intwo thousandfor example (I Cor.14:19).
The Author is speculating again. There is
no Scriptural proof to back his statement.
Since it was at that time a genuine gift of the Spirit, Paul did not want to forbid its use. For some people it had become like Samson’s Herculean strength, which was also a gift from God. Like latter-day Samsons, they were using and abusing their gift without intelligence. This is what Paul reminds them: to also use their intelligence. It was not gifts that the Corinthians lacked but the intelligence to use them properly. Paul has to reproach them for remaining at the childhood stage. Being still fed only on milk, spiritually speaking (I Cor.3:2), they were all into their own little linguistic demonstrations.
Here again the Author is juxtaposing two
separate ideas and cobbling them together to try and prove his point.
There is no scripture to back these ideas up.
Being mere babes as far as understanding went, they were all proud of showing off that they had at least "that". Let me paraphrase in an everyday style what Paul has to tell them in verses 16 and 17 of chapter 14, "It’s all very well to say lovely prayers and give thanks in Egyptian, or Persian, or Latin, but there is not a single extremist Jew with you this week from Alexandria, or from Persepolis, or from Rome. We’d love to believe that your Latin conforms to the highest classical standard, and that it really makes you happy, and maybe even does you some good. But what on earth is the use of it, if no one here understands a single word? How do you want us to say ‘Amen’, if we don’t know what you said?"
Paul did not put it that way at all. The
Author is adding to Paul’s words here. He is injecting his own ideas into
the mouth of Paul.
Four things stand out concerning the Corinthian practice
1. Linked to the speaking in tongues, the interpretation ought to complete it and attain the first and permanent objective that was to serve as a sign for "this people" and their unbelief, a subject that has already been developed in depth.
As long as the Author holds to tongues being a
sign to unbelieving Jews in the mistaken way that he interprets it, he will
always be giving his own unproven opinion.
2. It was absolutely necessary for a translation to accompany every case of speaking in tongues. Why? So that, as Paul wrote, what had been said could be understood, and the thus-edified hearers could add their personal amens, and intelligently join in the prayer they eventually understood. To translate tongues in the church, the Spirit of God gave the one who spoke, or someone else present, the no less extraordinary gift of interpretation.
This is true if the tongues are spoken in the
public gathering. The Author should qualify his statement of ‘every
3. It was obligatory that what was said in tongues be accompanied by interpretation. In no way could tongues be exercised without its explanatory complement (v.28). What is more, it was imperative to make sure that there was an interpreter in the assembly before starting to speak in tongues and not after; "... if there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet".
The Author needs to complete what Paul said,
that is, to keep still in church and talk to himself and to God.
In the light of these precise instructions, we glean the impression that the Corinthians themselves were far from the divine model.
That is quite obvious.
Today more than ever, these texts have been put aside in the most offhand manner.
A generalized statement. The Author
cannot say that this is the case in every Pentecostal church.
4. Another practice, which was also antibiblical, was to pray or sing together in tongues. Interpretation, even if envisaged, would become impossible in the hubbub that followed.
The Author is suggesting that singing and
praying in the Spirit in a gathering is a ‘hubbub’. In all our
experience in Pentecostal churches, we have never experienced anything that
could have been described that way. The singing in the Spirit that
we have observed has been in harmony and has encouraged worship in a way that
has been meaningful and beautiful to hear and observe.
There again, God disapproved of the way things were done, labelling it with the strong term of "disorder". The Holy Spirit could not endorse the opposite of what He had commanded. And what did He command? Here is the answer, "If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret" (v.27).
Most standard Pentecostals have known the
difference between praying in tongues and speaking out in tongues. Most Pentecostal
services that we have observed, there has been a good harmony between the
two. Although we have heard individuals praying in tongues near to us, we
have never heard people speaking loudly in tongues, except for the express
purpose of having the message interpreted. The mix of people
praying and giving messages in tongues has always worked in harmony in the
observations we have made over the years.
Having reached this point in our study, if we add up the distortions made to the divine teaching, we can already see that the conservative Pentecostals have missed the target just as much as the charismatics whom they hold in contempt. In athletic terms we would say that both have left the track.
The Author’s conclusion does not carry much weight,
because he has not been able to substantiate his views throughout the preceding
passages. Although he has correctly interpreted the Scripture in
some ways, his speculations and personal opinions have been dominant, and these
are the basis for his conclusion. We wonder who has actually ‘left
the track’, the Pentecostals or the Author?
These deviations are already very serious. But what comes next is even more alarming. In all the cases of interpretation that I have checked personally with the greatest care and with an open mind, I have discovered nothing other than human fabrication and deliberate trickery. What surprised me was the unacceptable difference between the brevity of the tongues and the disproportionate length of the interpretation; for example, some slow syllables of a short song were transformed into a veritable marathon in the translation
We have not seen a lot of this in our
observations. When people move in faith, they can get things wrong.
Just because some make mistakes, it doesn’t mean that the whole principle of
interpretation as practiced by Pentecostals is defective.
By dint of questioning those in high places, and by cross checking, I finally obtained a confession that:
a) he who speaks in a tongue does not understand what he says
That’s what Paul taught.
b) the congregation does not understand what is said;
This is also in harmony with the teaching of
c) he who interprets does not understand what the man he is translating said either!
No, he doesn’t. Paul says that if a
person speaks in tongues in the church meeting he should pray that he has the
power to interpret what is being said. This clearly implies that
interpretation is not translation that comes through the natural mind, but an
interpretation from the Holy Spirit in response to prayer and faith.
Having taken offence at such deceit, I was candidly told that the interpretation was not a real translation but a heart-felt translation!! So it was just any odd thing left to the fantasy of a pseudo-interpreter. This is neither what the Bible says, nor what was taught by Donald Gee, the master of Pentecostal thinking, who affirms that interpretation is truly a translation. (*1) Someone else, to try to get himself out of this embarrassing situation, told me that the interpretation was not the translation of what was said in tongues, but the response from heaven to what had just been said! Here we are completely rambling.
Not so. If a person is to pray for the
power to interpret, then the interpretation could very well be a prophecy in
response to a vocal prayer to God in tongues. Nowhere does Paul say that
an interpretation of a tongue is a direct translation of it.
Scripture is deliberately trampled underfoot, that very Word that points out (v.16) that giving thanks in tongues must be interpreted so that we may understand "WHAT IS SAID", so the congregation can show their agreement and join in the thanksgiving by saying, "so be it, Amen"!
Verse 16 does not say that at all. It
says that a person not gifted with interpretation would not be able to
understand what is being said. The verse does not say it in the way the
Author is paraphrasing it. Although the author’s sentiment may be
correct in itself, he is misquoting this particular to verse and twisting it to
say something Paul never said.
Another Pentecostal leader dared even to tell me that the same case of speaking in tongues could very well have several interpretations! !
We think that this is quite possible. If
the tongues message is a prayer to God to release His prophetic word to the
congregation, then several prophecies can result. We can call these
interpretations because they are rightly interpreting that the prophetic word
be released, and so the prophecies that follow would be an appropriate
outworking of that.
So, if I understand rightly, it is like sowing wheat which at harvest time, might turn out to be corn, oats, rye or barley without any surprise on the farmer’s part. Do you expect that a cat can give birth at the same time to kittens, puppies and chicks? But no one gets upset when, in the spiritual realm, we are asked to believe that ONE kind
of speaking in tongues brings forth several kinds of interpretation? Does Pentecostal Darwinism exist? Are we witnessing a sort of mutation of the species? Am I just supposed to accept all this passively without pointing out the fraud?
Meaningless example. The Author
shows his lack of understanding of how interpretation of tongues works.
A Real Translation
To verify that the word concerned is TRANSLATION, let us look at the Greek term hermeneia here used by Paul. It is also found elsewhere in the New Testament. Here is what comes out in some examples, (using the KJV):
-- Mk.5:41 - "He took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi, which is, being interpreted (hermeneia),Damsel, I say unto thee, arise"
.—Jn.1:38 - "Rabbi, which is to say, being interpreted (hermeneia), Master"
.—Jn.1:41 - "We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted (hermeneia), the Christ".
—Jn.1:42 - "Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation (hermeneia), Peter".
-- Jn.9:7 - "Wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation (hermemeia), Sent".
-- Acts 9:36 - "A disciple named Tabitha which, by interpretation (hermeneia) is called Dorcas."
Now we only have to follow these with:
-- I Cor.12:10 - "... and to another the interpretation (hermeneia) of tongues".
-- I Cor.14:26 - "... everyone has... an interpretation (hermeneia)".
We thus arrive, with Donald Gee, at the indisputable evidence that interpretation (hermeneia), the term chosen by the Holy Spirit, could not be anything other than TRANSLATION.
The Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical
Words does not agree. It uses the Greek word diermeneuo in reference to
the interpretation of tongues. (page 330). It also uses this same word in
relation to Tabitha. The word used for a direct translation from
one language to another is the word methermeneuo (also page 330).
This shows the use of two separate Greek words to denote translation and
interpretation. This is enough to cast a reasonable doubt on the Author’s
proposition about the same Greek word being used for both translation and
A retired Salvation Army colonel once told me of his utter consternation at what happened during a worship service he attended. He had given thanks in Lingala, the vernacular language of West Africa, his mission field. In the assembly, a patented "interpreter", believing it was tongues because he had not understood anything, gave an "interpretation" which had nothing to do, by any stretch of the imagination, with what had been said.
If that Salvation Army colonel knew that in
that particular worship service there was tongues and interpretation, then he
should have declared that he was praying in a learned language, thereby
stopping any confusion that may have arisen. Because this man did
not truthfully declare it before he prayed, then it is understandable that
someone would misunderstand and think he was giving a tongues message that
needed to be interpreted. If the Colonel had any wisdom and respect
for that gathering, he would not have given cause for this error to happen.
I personally noted that this counterfeiting was a known thing in the circles concerned. I was present in a meeting when a Christian from the Cape Verde Islands had just prayed in his own language, a Portuguese dialect. Scarcely had he said "Amen", that an elder who was wiser than the others interrupted the word of interpretation by saying, "Our brother has just given thanks in his native tongue". This means that without this intervention, there would have been the "miracle" of an interpretation,
The elder of that fellowship was evidently
wiser than the person who prayed in Portuguese, and he had the sense to stop
someone else from making an embarrassing error. This can happen in
any Pentecostal fellowship where the people are unaware that people are praying
in their own foreign dialects. We have heard of trouble-makers coming
into Pentecostal meetings and deliberately speaking in foreign languages to
trap others into giving mistaken interpretations, and then holding them up to
ridicule as a result. We don’t think that this behaviour has the spirit
of Christ in it, and we wonder if the people who did that are genuinely born
evangelical in terms of the vocabulary used, but in the spirit as false as the words of the young fortune teller of Acts 16:17, who, by the same spirit of confusion was able to say, "These men are the servants of the Most High God who are telling you the way to be saved".
This is a deceptive comment, quoting the event
where it was a demon possessed person who made this statement in the Book of
Acts. This is an underhanded way of suggesting that people who make
mistakes like that are being inspired of a demon spirit.
One can imagine how attentively I listened to one incident of speaking in tongues that was as jerky, staccato and incomprehensible as all the others, in the middle of which suddenly stood out a thrice-repeated "spiriti santi" in Italian. Having grasped this triple repetition, I watched for its reappearance in the interpretation. I waited for it in vain. The Holy Spirit who supposedly inspired this repetition in the tongues, would He have forgotten it in the interpretation? Or was it that the Spirit of God was not responsible for either? But then, what "spirit" replaced Him?
This proves nothing. There is no
indication that the person speaking in tongues spoke Italian. The Author
might have thought so, but that does not prove anything other than that the
person spoke in tongues and it was interpreted in faith by someone
else. It makes us wonder what spirit was motivating the Author to
go into a worship service and be critical in the way he was being?
We don’t recognize it as the spirit of Christ, so what replaced that in the
heart of the Author in that service?
A Spanish friend, in a French Pentecostal community, prayed the "The Lord’s Prayer" in his native language. An interpretation followed that was anything but the "Pater Noster". For him also, this was one more proof that the person interpreting, not only did not understand any more than the others, but he was also deceiving everyone! beneath a veneer of evangelical phraseology!
And again, the person praying in the foreign
language should have declared it, otherwise he is trapping others who are unaware
of what is really happening to make mistakes.
Profoundly saddened by this newly discovered dishonesty, I made up my mind to move on to a more advanced verification. I asked a Scottish brother who had the typical broad accent of his country, to put the "The Lord’s Prayer" twice in a row onto cassette. Armed with this recording and that of two other "genuine" tongues followed by their interpretations taped "on location", I went to see some very moderate Pentecostal friends, for whom exaggerations and digressions were only found amongst others. No one in the community doubted their conversion, or their sincerity, or the reality of their "charisma". After praying together, I asked them to interpret the pseudo and "real" tongues. This was done without objection or reticence. Alas, and alas again, the "The Lord’s Prayer" in English transformed itself into a message of encouragement in French! As to the rest, it was as different from the first as the Rhone is different from the Rhine and flows in the opposite direction. This episode reported back to my Scottish friend left him speechless. He could only mutter, "Oh dear! Oh dear!..."
We have a real concern about what the Author did here. The Holy Spirit moves in a special way in Christian worship services. It is not in harmony with the spirit of Christ to treat things that belong in worship services as a scientific experiment. We think that the author was deceptive in that he knew what was going to happen before he even tested it. This is what the devil did to Jesus in the wilderness. He tempted Jesus to test God by jumping from the pinnacle of the Temple. Jesus told him that God is not to be tested. We think that the same spirit inspired the author to test these people in the same way, albeit with different things; nevertheless, the principle is the same.
This is the same as getting Christians to speak
in tongues just to demonstrate it. Jesus said not to cast our pearls
before swine, meaning that we should not take the precious things we use in
worship and put them before unbelieving people.
Indeed can we still call ourselves Christians when we team up so closely with him who disguises himself as an angel of light?
The Author has absolutely no warrant from
Scripture to say this. He is speculating. We think he is more
closely teaming up with a wrong spirit in the way he is tricking people into
making fools of themselves in this area. As we have said before, what he
is doing is not in harmony with the spirit of Christ.
In order to get out of this sticky situation, many people claim, without really believing it, that one does not submit a gift of the Spirit to an electronic test. But it must be pointed out that it is not the test that created the trickery, it only confirmed it and it demonstrated moreover that these so-called gifts are not among those good and perfect gifts that come down from above (James 1:17)!
The Author tries to cover his bases by saying
this, but it doesn’t alter the fact that what he did was deception and trickery
on his part, and the good people who were embarrassed about it should never
have cooperated with him.
With these three Pentecostal premises that my opponents could not reject, I challenged them as follows: Prepare a meeting where one of you will speak in tongues and three others will make a recorded interpretation in isolation. The interpretations that ought to say more or less the same thing will then be compared. Here in writing, I stand by this yet unanswered proposition as a challenge to any charismatic, tongues-speaking community. Why has there not yet been, and will there never be, an answer to this offer, which is, nevertheless, an honest one?
We understand completely that sensible
Pentecostals would never agree to what the Author is proposing. They
would quite correctly discern that he would only be subjecting them to a
situated where he could make fools out of them and then use the event to
further criticize the practice of speaking in tongues and interpretation.
A Pentecostal Report on Electronics
Many, if not all of those challenged, obstinately refuse the tape recorder test under the fallacious pretext that we have no right to submit a gift of the Spirit to an electronic examination. Are those who say that so afraid to discover the truth
The easy answer to that is that these good
people would have discerned that the Author was being motivated by a critical
spirit which intended to destroy their faith in the gift of tongues and
interpretation. They would recognize that Mr Legrand is not showing the
spirit of Christ in what he is doing, and therefore they would quite rightly
refuse to cooperate with him.
A Needed Explanation
How can we explain that people truly or allegedly converted, born again, can be manipulated to such a degree by the father of lies?
The Author is implying that tongues speaking Christians are aligning themselves with the devil. He has no scriptural authority to say this.
Now we come to the expression so often cited, "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself" (I Cor.14:4). It would therefore be a gift for one’s personal edification and, since we all need edification, everyone should have this gift.
This is what most Pentecostals believe.
Taken out of its context this is what this half-sentence seems to mean. However, do we have the right to extract the two words edifies himself from chapters 12, 13 and 14 and to give them a sense contrary to their context? What is the central idea, the common thread running through these three chapters? Others, the common good, the church assembly. What is continually emphasized is the good of others, the edification of others. It keeps recurring like a leitmotif: the others, the others, the others, in different forms: - 12:7 - "... now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good..."
All of chapter 13 deals with love which is, par excellence, a fruit for others, since a tree does not bear fruit for itself.
Here, right in the middle of this altruism expressed everywhere as the PURPOSE of all the gifts of the Spirit, comes the best specimen of self-centredness ever imagined: the case of someone who was no longer edifying others but just himself, something Paul condemns in I Cor.13:5, "(love) is not self seeking". How petty! Giving a sign to oneself.
This is a complete misquote of what Paul is
saying. Paul is saying that when a person prays in tongues he edifies
himself. He is making the comparison between tongues and prophecy
which edifies the church. Paul is merely stating what tongues does to a
believer. The Author is talking absolute nonsense here and twisting
Paul’s words right around to mean what he wants them to mean.
Taking back to oneself a gift that God was giving as a blessing to others. How childish, as Paul tells them in verse 20 of the following chapter! For it is certainly in a tone of reproach that Paul writes that he who speaks in tongues edifies only himself.
From the misinterpretation of this passage the idea, otherwise unknown in Scriptures, was born that one could speak in tongues to oneself, at home.
But that’s what Paul clearly says a person
should do if there is no interpreter in the church meeting. He should
talk to himself and God. The Author is blatantly contradicting Paul
here. Good Grief! And this man is supposed to be a respected
But even then, not a line, not a word, not even an allusion, supports this interpretation.
We just quoted it from 1Corinthians14:28!
The Author’s ignorance of the chapter is laughable!
THE END OF SPEAKING IN TONGUES
Nothing the Author said in this section could
be verified by Scripture.
A Bit More Bible Knowledge If You Please
Tell me why you refuse to believe that the gift of tongues has ceased when the Bible says that tongues will cease? (I Cor.13:8)."
Because Paul was not saying that tongues would
cease according to what the Author is trying to propose.
Let us pass from logical deduction to the texts. The question that comes naturally to mind is, "When were the tongues supposed to cease?" The idea accepted in Pentecostal and charismatic circles is that the cessation of the gift of tongues is linked to the phrase in I Cor.13:10, "when perfection (or that which is perfect) comes",
Paul is talking about love in this chapter. He is merely saying that knowledge, tongues and prophecy are not perfect, and that the time will come when they will pass away to make way for the perfect worship of God and fellowship with others. It has absolutely nothing to do with the formation of the New Testament Canon. The Author is reading things into Scripture that are simply not there.
The rest of this book is a repetition of the same ideas repeated in different ways.
Mr Legrand’s personal experience with
Pentecostal churches suggests to us that he originally embraced it, and then
became disillusioned. What caused his disillusionment, it is not
made clear. In our experience, a person who is so opposed to the
Pentecostal movement along with the gift of tongues has to have an underlying
cause. Something made him change from being part of the movement to
vehemently opposing it. We have observed that usually it is because
others in the movement have brought hurt and disappointment to the degree that
the person has left the movement under a cloud of unforgiveness and has never
been able to come to the Lord to be healed of it.
To mask that inner unforgiveness, the person
has entered into a campaign of opposition to the movement that has brought him
the hurt and pain. We are not saying that this is true of Mr
Legrand, but it would not surprise us if this were so.
When a person is so opposed to a church or a
movement as Mr Legrand is, so that he works so hard to ridicule, criticize,
turn people away from and dismantle people’s faith in it, we are alerted to
this deep sense of resentment.
Mr Legrand has accused Pentecostals who speak
in tongues of being demon possessed, inspired and lead by demons, practicing
witchcraft, and actively deceiving others by trickery and
falsehood. Our experience of the Pentecostal movement is that
the majority of the people who are in it have an intense love for Christ, a
passion for souls, and a strong desire to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to
achieve that end.
Of course there are fringe groups within the
movement, and they are the ones who have a plethora of weird and wonderful
teaching on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We suspect that Mr
Legrand has gathered together all these and used them to provide a platform to
put down a group of people whose only desire is to serve the Lord in the light
that they have.
There are many more examples of whether the
gift of tongues, prophecy, healing and deliverance have been proved to have
emanated from the Holy Spirit. Mr Legrand deliberately ignores these.
He also ignores the many examples of Pentecostal churches that are places of
beautiful worship, where the presence of the Holy Spirit is very apparent, and
where the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ is honoured and glorified.
This is why we think that he has presented an
unbalanced view of the Pentecostal movement, based on his own disillusionment,
pain, heartache, disappointments, and worst of all, unforgiveness toward those
in the movement who have personally wronged him. These do not
reflect the spirit of Christ. He needs to read 1Corinthians13
again, and then make up his mind whether he is reflecting the attributes of
love in his attitude toward the Pentecostal movement.
We have learned that love motivates us to be
positive and forgiving in our approach to others in our churches, and if we do
not understand their theology or their practices, to have forbearance and love
We have noticed that Pentecostals, in the main,
do not down grade and attack those in traditional non charismatic churches to
the degree that Mr Legrand and those who subscribe to his ideas do.
Pentecostals show much more of the spirit of Christ to these churches than they
do to Pentecostals.
Therefore, we believe that anyone reading his
book, needs to keep in mind the attributes of love expressed in 1Corinthians13,
and also the description of the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, faith,
kindness, gentleness, patience, longsuffering and self control), if they cannot
sense the fruit of the Spirit or the attributes of love, then they should
safely ignore his book and spend their time studying material that would serve
better to strengthen their faith; but if they sense these things in Mr
Legrand’s book, then they can acknowledge that he is being motivated by the
Holy Spirit, and can accept his ideas as from the heart of God.
The Apostle John instructs us to test every
spirit. One of the important tests of whether something is written in the right
spirit, ie: the spirit of Christ, is that it conforms, in its attitude, the
fruit of the Spirit and the attributes of love. We can apply this
test to the work of Mr Legrand and make this decision for ourselves.
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