Speaking in Tongues - What's the Word on it?
Speaking in Tongues
What's the Word on it?
Past. Jannie Viljoen
Bible scholars would all agree that “feelings” are never a good measure to lay a foundation for spiritual truth. Experiences in spiritual matters, without sound Scriptural endorsement , is nothing more than man-made ideas, governed and formulated by personal thoughts, emotions and feelings. Something that “feels” good is not necessarily always right. Our emotions are often either “up” or “down,” depending on the circumstances we find ourselves in. The only sure and sound foundation for all spiritual truth is the Word of God.
It is therefore of utmost importance, when we investigate this phenomena, that we do a thorough and comprehensive study of the Word of God in relation to the interpretation of all therelevant Scriptures as they apply to this issue.
Every spiritual experience must be authenticated and validated by the Word of God. All spiritual experiences must submit to the sanctioning of the Word of God. God's Word, and only God's Word is our safeguard against spiritual error or deception (Gal. 1:8; 2 Cor. 11:13-15). That is why it not only becomes paramount to examine all the passages where "speaking in tongues" appear by comparing the different Scripture passages with each other, but also to place them in the context in which they appear. We must also remember that "... no prophecy (expounding) of Scripture came about by any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20).
The best and safest way to interpret any difficult Scripture passage is, in the first place, to interpret it in the context of its appearing, taking note of the historical background and setting, and then also to compare it with other similar Scripture verses which deals with the same aspect, because God's Word will never contradict itself: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” (2 Tim. 3:16). It is therefore not a matter of feelings, impressions or even experiences, but sound Biblical exegesis.
This, then, will be the criteria which will be employed as we prayerfully and candidly investigate the Biblical teaching concerning the “tongues” phenomena.
Before we continue, we need to first look at another Biblical truth which will greatly help us to understand the teaching of the Bible on “tongues” , namely the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit."
The teaching that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a subsequent work of the Holy Spirit after a person's salvation and new-birth experience, and an event which must earnestly be sought for, and which is evidenced by the speaking in an "ecstatic" or "heavenly" language, has no Scriptural foundation. The only Biblical teaching, and the only Spirit baptism that Scripture knows of, is that action of the Holy Spirit whereby a person, at the moment of his salvation and new-birth, is "baptized" into the Body of Christ.
"For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13).
Paul clearly states in Ephesians 4:5 that there is only one baptism. That Paul is here referring to Spirit baptism is deducted from the passage in Ephesians 4. Paul is not speaking here about ritual ordinances, but about spiritual truths.
In Acts 2:38, after Peter preaches to the people and calls on them to believe on Christ as their Savior, they were “cut to the heart” (verse 37) and asked Peter and the rest of the apostles, “… what shall we do?” (verse 37). Peter’s answer to them was “repent and be baptized” (verse 38). This was the Great Commission given by Jesus to His disciples in Matthew 28:19. Peter then tells the people that following their repentance and faith in Christ, “… you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Note that the Holy Spirit is the “gift” that they, and all who will believe on Christ (verse 39), will receive. The moment a person accepts Christ as Savior, the Holy Spirit takes His abode in that person and regenerates him – i.e. gives him the “new birth.” The Holy Spirit is the “gift.”
The Biblical teaching of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that, the moment a person turns to Christ for salvation and accepts Christ as his Saviour (John 1:12a), the Holy Spirit makes him a child of God (John 1:13) through the new birth (John 3:3), and at the same time the Holy Spirit "baptizes" or "places" the new convert into the mystical Body of Christ, the Church, which makes him one with all other Believers: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free –“ (1 Cor. 12:13). That is the "GIFT (singular) OF THE HOLY SPIRIT" that Peter refers to in Acts 2:38,39, namely the effecting of the new-birth and placing into the Body of Christ. The Word of God does not refer to any other type of baptism of the Holy Spirit.
To have a Biblical understanding on this issue of "speaking in tongues", we can begin by looking at all the events where it is mentioned in the Book of Acts:
1. Acts 2:1-11
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: `Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes, and Elemites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs - we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!'"
From the above passage of Scripture it is important that we keep the following in mind:
1.1 Here we find no mention of anyone having to interpret the tongues (languages) that were spoken by the disciples. It is an irrefutable fact that the Jews, and converts to Judaism, which were gathered here from 16 different language groups, were hearing the Gospel in their own native tongues (languages) [Acts 2:8-11].
1.2 The tongues of fire and the shaking of the place was unique to this event. The shaking of a place occurred only once again (Acts 4:31), but the tongues of fire was never repeated again.
1.3 Although these same disciples were again filled with the Holy Spirit in Acts 4:31, no mention is made of speaking in tongues (different languages).
1.4 We must also remember that these very same disciples had already received the Holy Spirit prior to Pentecost. Just after His resurrection, when Jesus appeared to them in the upper room, "... He breathed on them and said, `RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT'" (John20:22).
From the above events in Acts 2, and keeping in mind the event in John 20:22, we can see that this was a unique moment in the beginning of the disciples' ministry where they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel in the natural languages of their hearers (verse 5), languages which they have never learned, but now, under the power of the Holy Spirit, could speak so that the Gospel could be made clear to the different language groups which were gathered there. Acts 2 is not where they received the Holy Spirit, that happened in John 20:22. But here in Acts 2 they were empowered by The Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel. They were again empowered in the same way (shaking of the place), in Acts 4:31 to proclaim the Gospel, except for the tongues of fire: “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.”
Therefore, no inference can be made that the events in Acts 2 was the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the disciples with the result that they spoke in an "ecstatic" or "heavenly" language.
2. Acts 10:44 - 47
"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers (that is the Jewish believers)who had come with Peter were astonished that THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT had been poured out even on the Gentiles (that is, that non-Jews could also be saved and placed into the Body of Christ). For they (the Jews)heard them (the Gentiles or non-Jews)speaking in tongues (in their own gentile languages)and praising God. Then Peter said, 'Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit (that is, they were saved when they heard the gospel - verse 44) just as we have.' So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ" (see Matt. 28:19).
Let us take note of what actually happened here. When Peter preached the Gospel to these Gentiles, they accepted it and believed in Jesus as the Messiah, His crucifixion and His resurrection (Acts 10:39-41) and received the gift of the Holy Spirit - that is, they were, just as the first Jewish believers, born-again and made part of the Body of Christ together with the Jewish believers. Peter affirms this when he gives a report of this event, of the Gentiles also becoming believers, to the Jews in Jerusalem (Acts 11:15-18):
"As I began to speak (remember, he was preaching the Gospel to them - Acts 10:39-44), the Holy Spirit came on them as He had come on us at the beginning (that is, they got saved - for they believed the message - Acts 11:1). Then I remembered what the Lord had said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit' (placed into the Body of Christ). So if God gave them (the Gentiles) the same gift (the new birth and placing into the Body of Christ) as He gave us (the Jewish believers), who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I (as a Jew) to think that I could appose God!" (that is, to think that non-Jews could not be saved). When they (that is the Jewish believers in Jerusalem) heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, 'So then, God has even granted the Gentiles (non-Jews) REPENTANCE UNTO LIFE (that is, salvation).
In this passage of Scripture Peter is talking about the salvation and uniting of the Gentiles with the Jewish believers into the Body of Christ. This was something that the Jews could not imagine, for their custom and laws would not allow them to mingle with the Gentiles. The Jewish believers, who were with Peter, were surprised that the Gentiles could also come to salvation (Acts 10:45) as they heard them (the Gentiles) praising God in their own languages (verse 46). How else could they know that they were praising God, unless it was in an understandable language, because "... they heard them ... praising God"?
This incidence took place about 8 years (41 A.D.) after the events of Pentecost in Acts 2. There is no indication here of a so-called baptism of the Holy Spirit as a subsequent work after salvation, with speaking in an "ecstatic" or "heavenly" language.
3. Acts 19.
The last incident in the Book of Acts where tongues are mentioned, happened during Paul's third missionary journey, about 12 to 14 years after Pentecost.
"After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquinas heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately...
While Apollo’s was at Corinth, Paul ... arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' They answered, 'No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.' So Paul asked, 'Then what baptism did you receive?' 'John's baptism,' they replied. Paul said, 'John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the One coming after him, that is, in Jesus.' On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied."
(Acts 18:23-26; 19:1-6)
The above two incidents, the one before and the other after Paul's arrival in Ephesus, is here recorded for us in Acts 18 and 19. The first incident, concerning Apollos, lays the foundation for the correct understanding and interpretation of the second incident.
Apollos was a Jew, born in Alexandria. He was an important and articulate man who was well schooled in the Jewish Old Testament writings. The teachings of Jesus was known to him, but he was a disciple of John the Baptist, and was ignorant of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and did not know of the gift of the Holy Spirit. We do not know much more about him, except that two Jewish believers, Prescilla and Aquila, after hearing him speaking in the synagogue, took him home with them and taught him more thoroughly about the way of God.
This incident with Apollos gives us perspective on the next incident, when Paul arrived at Ephesus and found twelve more Jewish disciples of John the Baptist. They introduced themselves to Paul as "disciples," but Paul was unsure about this. He therefore asks them whether they had received the Holy Spirit when they became believers (Acts 19:2a), for no one can be a believer without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9). These "disciples" then answered that they did not even know that there is a Holy Spirit (verse 2b). They further told Paul that they were disciples of John the Baptist (verse 3b). Then Paul understood - these disciples of John the Baptist were not saved. Just as Apollos, they did not know of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they were not born-again by the Holy Spirit and placed into the Body of Christ! They did not even know of the Holy Spirit! They were followers of John the Baptist. After Paul explained the Gospel to them, they believed in Jesus and were saved. The moment they believed in Jesus, the Holy Spirit entered their lives, gave them the new birth and placed them into the Body of Christ (Remember, no person can be a believer without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit [Rom. 8:9]). After this they were baptized by Paul in water (See Rom. 6:3-4).
The fact that we read here that the Holy Spirit came upon them, and that they spoke in tongues and prophesied, must be seen in the same context as Acts chapter 2. Remember, in Acts 2, the disciples, who had already received the Holy Spirit previously (John 20:22), were enabled by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Gospel in different languages. The same thing now happens here in Acts 19 with the 12 disciples of John the Baptist after coming to salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. After Paul lays his hands on them, the Holy Spirit gave these 12 Jewish converts the ability, here in Ephesus, which consisted mainly of non-Jews, to preach the Gospel in the languages of their hearers. That they "prophesied" must be understood in the New Testament context of expounding and making clear the Gospel message of Christ. Remember, prophesying in the New Testament is not foretelling the future (that is fortune telling and is forbidden by God), but it is forth telling - explaining, expounding and revealing the hidden secrets of the Gospel.
When a Christian, who already has the Holy Spirit indwelling his life (remember, a believer cannot be a Christian without the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit [Rom. 8:9]), willfully opens his life for a "spirit" from outside him, so that he may experience a supernatural phenomena, which is not Biblically based, he runs the risk of opening himself to a deceiving spirit.
'"For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus
other than the Jesus we preached, or if you RECEIVE
A DIFFERENT SPIRIT from the one you received, ...
you put up with it easily enough" (2 Cor. 11:4).
Let us now examine Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 14 concerning the issue of "speaking in tongues." When reading through this chapter there seems to be a number of difficult to understand contradictions, but through an in-depth investigation and thorough study, this "difficult" chapter will be seen to be quite straight forward and clear.
To properly understand the issue of "tongues" in 1 Corinthians 14, we first need to look at the historical background of the Church in Corinth. This Church was made up of mostly non-Jewish believers. Corinth was also a major commercial city and where different trade routs from various parts of the world centered, with the result that it was a city in which many different cultural and language groups congregated and traded. The city of Corinth had about 250 000 inhabitants plus a further number of about 400 000 slaves in Paul's day. In many ways Corinth could be seen as the capital city of Greece.
With this in mind, let us now look at Paul's teaching in 1 Cor. 14. In verse 1 Paul says, "Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy" ("prophecy" - to expound and reveal the hidden truth of Scripture). Notice what Paul now says directly after this in verse 2: "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed no one understands him, he utters mysteries in his spirit."
Keeping the historical background in mind, when looking at verse 2, we can make the following deduction: This person is speaking in a language that is not known or understood by others in the church here in Corinth, although it is a language that is understood somewhere else in the world (verse 10: "Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning."). It is not a "mysterious" language - he is speaking "mysteries" because no one else, except God, and only himself, understands his language, because verse 4 states that he only "edifies himself."
We must therefore understand what Paul is saying to this church which was comprised of members of different language groups. Paul was reminding them that expounding and teaching the Scriptures in a language that everyone can understand (verse 3 and 4b), is better than praying or speaking in a language that the others cannot understand (verse 9). But if he can only speak in a language that only he can understand, he must pray to God to give him the ability to interpret it (verse 13). But if he cannot do it, and there is no one else who understands him and can interpret for him, he must rather keep quiet (verse 28).
“Corinth was a multi-lingual city and in the church there
was this difficulty. Some of the disciples coming into the
church who knew only a foreign language wanted to
either testify or praise the Lord, or pray, hence you have
the exhortation to pray that he may be able to interpret
or translate as some versions read. Now you see that if
he could translate he could speak directly without speaking
in a strange tongue (or language). Take note that there
is no example of anyone giving a message in a tongue
and then translating or interpreting it himself.”
(The Gift of Tongues in the Early Church by S.R. Hewitt,
The News LTD, Kaikohe, N.Z. 1979. P.8)
In verses 15 to 25 Paul continues to admonish this church to keep each other in mind by using languages that all can understand when they pray, sing and "prophecy" - that is, when they expound the Scriptures. When they do use a language which is not understood by others (verse 27a), it must be done "one at a time, and someone must interpret" (verse 27b). If there is no one that understands his language to interpret it, the speaker must keep quiet (verse 28a) because it will then be of no benefit to the church (verse 9). He must rather worship God in silence (verse 28b) and thereby edify himself (verse 4a).
In verse 18 of 1 Corinthians 14, Paul makes this statement: “I thank God that I speak with tongues more than you all.” Paul isn’t saying that he was spending more time speaking in tongues, but rather that he could speak more tongues or languages than they could. The “Knox Translation” of this verse is a correct translation and reads: “Thank God I can speak in any of the tongues that you use.” The Greek says: “… more languages than any of you.” This statement of Paul refutes any idea of “ecstatic utterances” in the Corinthian Church and leaves no doubt that these were known languages that were used by the different cultural groups within this church. Paul states clearly that he had the ability – whether as a gift from God, or from learning, the Word does not say – to speak and understand more languages that were being used in this church.
To use 1 Corinthians 14 as a Scriptural basis to teach that speaking in tongues is an "ecstatic" or "heavenly" language, supernaturally given by the Holy Spirit at Spirit Baptism, cannot be justified. Also note that nowhere in Corinthians is there any mention of a so-called "baptism of the Holy Spirit," but rather, Paul warns them of the danger of the receiving of a "different spirit" (2 Cor. 11:4).
Another interesting thought, when one teaches that tongues as an ecstatic utterance, is an evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit,
is that millions of deaf mutes could never have this experience and would therefore be exempt from this “gift.”
Let us also briefly look at 1 Corinthians 13:1. Is it correct, as some teach, that 1 Cor. 13:1 reveals that tongues are a “heavenly language?” In this verse Paul says, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not Divine Love, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.” We must note that Paul is not saying that any did or will ever speak in the tongues of angels; he is only emphasizing the point that without Divine Love, human or even angelic abilities count for nothing. In chapter 13:2, even though Paul states, “Though I understand all and have all knowledge and though I have all faith,” he is not saying that any one person could possess all these. He is only emphasizing the point that Divine Love is the most important quality in a Christian’s life. We read in 1 Corinthians 13:8, “… whether there be tongues they shall cease, …” Now if tongues were a heavenly language, they would never cease.
To try and construe from these three incidents in the Book of Acts and Paul’s teachings in 1 Corinthians 13 and 14 a speaking in tongues as an "ecstatic" or "heavenly" language, given after salvation through a so-called baptism of the Holy Spirit, is not only theologically unacceptable, but also poor exegesis that has often led to strange and unBiblical practices.
The question can now be asked: Is there an indication in the Word of God where "ecstatic utterances" are mentioned? The first Scripture that could possibly refer to this is found in Isaiah 8:19, "When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that PEEP and that MUTTER, ..." We must take note that the "familiar spirit" (evil spirit) inside the person, "peeps" and "mutters" (makes unfamiliar noises)through the mouth of the person.
One of the most prominent manifestations in heathen religious cultures is that the initiate goes into an trance so as to make contact with the spirit world. This often results in "spirit possession" with the "spirit" making unintelligible "noises" through the mouth of the worshipper. This type of "speaking in tongues" is found amongst certain Muslim sects, Eskimo's and Tibetan monks. During certain Hindu rituals, initiates are also given over to "ecstatic utterances." This is also seen in some African religions where the practitioner empties himself from his normal conscious mental faculties, and "opens" himself up to the "spirit world" so that he no longer has control over himself, but allows a "spirit" to take control of his body and mind. NOWHERE in the Scriptures do we find that the Holy Spirit works through a person whose mind is neutralized or "emptied" so that the Spirit works without the consent of the person. That is the way that the occult and evil spirits operate! 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God hath ... given us the spirit ... of a sound mind."
The second Scripture that may possibly refer to "ecstatic utterances" is found in 1 Corinthians 12:3, "Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed,' and no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit." The members of the Corinthian church had a strong heathen background (verse 2). In Corinth itself there were about 12 heathen temples. The most famous was the temple of Aphrodite, the goddess of love in whose temple there served over a thousand prostitutes. This religion was known for its "ecstatic" experiences through altered states of the mind. Then there was the temple of Esclepius, the god of healing. In the center of the city was situated the temple of Apollos. According to historians, the city of Corinth was the main center of open immorality in Paul's day. No wonder that Paul, in his letters to this church, had to address so many moral issues. Instead of being spiritual they were still fleshly. There was tolerance of sexual sin, divisions, the marriage question, and of course the "tongues" issue.
In verse 2 of chapter 12 Paul intimates that many of these members of the Corinthian church were not long ago saved out of these heathen practices. It seems that many of them had not yet let go of some of their heathen practices (1 Cor. 3:1). It is possible that some of these Corinthian believers brought with them into the church the heathen practice of "ecstatic utterances" because of their spiritual infancy and inability to distinguish between the workings of evil spirits and the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why Paul admonishes them that "Now about spiritual gifts, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to dumb idols. Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed ..." (1 Cor. 12:1-3).
Rather than teaching about and encouraging "ecstatic utterances" as a biblical experience, Paul warns these believers against such unscriptural practices.
We have thus seen that the "tongues" in Acts were ordinary human languages. So too in Corinthians, with the possibility that Paul does deal with "ecstatic utterances" in Corinthians, not by recommending it, but rather by condemning it as an unacceptable practice from their heathen background. We have also seen that "ecstatic utterances" are practiced in heathen religions. It is also today practiced amongst thousands of charismatic Roman Catholics, with their erroneous doctrine of the Mass, unbiblical prayers to saints, who also claim that "speaking in tongues" makes their worship of Mother Mary so much more significant!
Dear friend, the Scriptures plainly tells us that, "... when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into ALL truth." (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit will never lead anyone into the false worship of a "Mother Mary". These thousands of Roman Catholics that worship "Mother Mary" in "tongues," are not enabled by the Holy Spirit to do so, but rather by a deceiving spirit that manifests as, and imitates, the "Holy Spirit."
When we thus realize that "ecstatic tongues" are not Biblical, that non-Christian religions practice it, and that there is no other gift of the Holy Spirit (do not confuse with Spiritual gifts) other than the new spiritual birth and placing (baptizing) into the Body of Christ, we have to conclude that "ecstatic tongues" have a different origin.
In the first place, and I believe that this is mostly the case, "ecstatic tongues" are brought about by the person himself, especially in charismatic and Pentecostal circles, because it is expected of the person. He is under pressure of the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" - teaching that teaches that the evidence of this Spirit baptism is the speaking in "tongues." Therefore, not to be seen as spiritually behind or immature, the person would "learn" to speak in "tongues."
This brings us to the second and more ominous source of the so-called "speaking in tongues." The scriptures clearly warns us, especially when we are seeking for "wonders and miracles," that we can be deceived by evil spirits that can make us believe that it is the work of the Spirit of God! (1 Thess. 2:9). The danger is that a person can open himself up to a deceiving evil spirit, that will masquerade as the "Holy Spirit." During an interview on a so-called "Christian" TV channel, a person gave the following testimony of what happened when a Hindu guru (that is a heathen Hindu priest) "laid hands" on him.
"He touched me again on my head with his hand.
After this, beautiful colors appeared all around me,
and it seemed as though I had stepped out of my body
and was looking down on it... I BEGAN TO TALK IN
TONGUES (emphasis added)... I decided at that moment
to stop evaluating what was happening ... I was filled
with an awareness of love unlike anything I had
(The Seduction of Christianity by Dave Hunt, Harvest
House Publishers, Oregon, 1985. P. 58)
The Holy Spirit will NEVER work through an idol worshipper! This spirit that worked through this Hindu guru, and made the man speak in "tongues," was a deceiving spirit.
The "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" must not be confused with the "Filling of the Holy Spirit." The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a once-for-all duel operation in a person's life at salvation - regeneration and placing into the Body of Christ. The filling of the Holy Spirit has to do with "service" or "ability." We must remember that it was NOT at Pentecost that the disciples received the Holy Spirit, but directly after the Resurrection in John 20:19-22,
"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the
disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of
the Jews, Jesus came and stood amongst them and said,
`Peace be with you!' After He said this, He showed them
His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when
they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, `Peace be with you! As the Father has
sent me, I am sending you.' And with that He breathed
on them and said, `RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.'
This incident in John 20 makes it clear that the disciples did not receive the Holy Spiritat Pentecost. In Acts 2, at Pentecost, the disciples who already had received the Holy Spirit, were now "filled" or "empowered" with the Holy Spirit, initially in Acts 2:4 but subsequently again in Acts 4:31, and both times it was for the enabling and empowerment to preach the Gospel.Henry M. Morris states that:
" ... the filling of the Holy Spirit (which must be
distinguished from theonce-for-all Baptism of the Holy
Spirit)is not a once-for-all experience but may be repeated,
and furthermore it may be for different purposes ... In the
first instance (Acts 2:4) the disciples were miraculously
enabled to preach God's Word in different (known)
languages; in the second (Acts 4:31) it says merely that
`... they spake the Word of God with boldness.'
(The Bible Has the Answer, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids,
Michigan, 1971. P. 150)
In the above two instances, the indwelling Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to perform specific tasks in the plan and purpose of God. Not only is the filling of the Holy Spirit for specific works of God, but the "filling" or "control" of the Holy Spirit will be seen in the actions of the Believer. It will manifest in his daily lifeas the"fruit" of the Holy Spirit. A truly "Spirit-filled" person's life will be characterized by "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Gal. 5:22-23).
The concept of being "filled with the Holy Spirit" can better be understood by using the word "controlled." Thisis not a "robot-like" control by the Holy Spirit of the human spirit, but rather a conscious decision to place the human spirit under the authority of the Holy Spirit. It is a walk of obedience to the precepts and commands of God. This is only possible when the flesh-life or the "self" is crucified on a daily basis. This is the very same attitude Jesus manifested under the authority of His heavenly father: " ... not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).
There are two ways of escape for those who are ensnared in the "tongues" phenomena. First of all, if you are practicing it by having "learned" it through self effort, because you do not want to be seen as spiritually immature or not "having it," confess it as sin before God, stop doing it, and start to serve the Lord in the freedom and fullness of His Word alone (2 Tim. 3:13-17).
Secondly, if you are a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you have opened yourself up to a "Spirit" from without, by neutralizing your mind and consciously inviting it to come into your life, with the result of having an "ecstatic" experience, and "speaking in tongues," you must "test" it in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and find a spiritually mature Christian, who knows of these things, who can help you find deliverance from it.
May God help you to truly understand these things.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF “TONGUES.”
The philosopher, Plato, records in his writings that “ecstatic” utterances were used more than 1000 B.C. by pagans, while praying to their gods. Chrysostom (A.D. 345 – 407) sternly rebuked a movement in Constantinople, whose members broke out into “inarticulate cries” (Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 4. P. 3310). The only significant group during the first half century of church history, who claimed “ecstatic utterances,” were the followers of Montanus. He was a second century heretic from Phrygia. Montanism was rejected by the early church as a serious heresy tantamount to paganism.
It was only during the 17th century that any significant “tongues”-speaking groups arose within Christianity. The Jansenists, a group loyal to Roman Catholicism, claimed to be able to speak in “tongues.” Another group, led by Ann Lee, called “Mother Lee” by her followers, formed a sect called “Shakers” during the mid-1700’s. They claimed to be able to speak in “tongues.” Ann Lee regarded herself as the female equivalent of Jesus Christ.
The founder of the Mormons, Joseph Smith, introduced “tongues” into his church during 1833 and later declared it to be an official Mormon doctrine. Joseph Smith taught that an angel appeared to him and showed him a box containing a number of gold plates covered with writings, which only he could interpret by being given a special pair of “glasses.” These revelations became the sacred “Bible” of the Mormons. Mormon teaching is anti-Christian and contrary to the Bible. Mormons believe all other churches preach false doctrine and are under the curse of God.
Another “tongues” group that arose during the early 19th century, was led by a Scottish Presbyterian, Edward Irving, who was expelled from the Presbyterian Church. They not only spoke in “tongues,” but also claimed the gift of “prophecy.” John MacArthur (Jnr.) gives the following insight into this movement:
“Irvingite prophets often contradicted each other, their prophesies failed to come to pass, and their meetings were characterized by wild excesses. The movement was further discredited when some of their prophets admitted to falsifying prophesies and others attributed their `giftedness’ to evil spirits. This group eventually became the Catholic Apostolic Church, which taught many false doctrines, embracing several Catholic doctrines and creating 12 apostolic offices.”
(Charismatic Chaos, Zondervan Publishing House, Michigan, 1992. P. 286)
Modern “tongues”–speaking groups often point back to Charles Parham as the father of the modern “tongues” movement. Parham was a young minister who, during the beginning of the 20th century, practiced the “laying on of hands” with the resultant “baptism of the Holy Spirit” and speaking in “tongues.” One of his students, a colored man named Seymor, visited the Pillar of Fire Bible School in Denver, Calorado, while on his way to Los Angeles. During a prayer meeting, Alma White, the founder of the School, asked him to pray. She later said:
“He responded with a good deal of fervor, but I felt snakes and other slimy creatures were creeping all around me before he finished. A number of students said they felt he was devil possessed.”
(Charismatics and Glossolalia by H.E. Will, Pilgrim Press, Michigan, 1978. P. 18)
After arriving in Los Angeles, Seymor set up a mission in Azusa Street from where he conducted his meetings. Shortly after his arrival news began circulating that God had raised up a colored man who was bringing Pentecost back to the church again and that people were receiving the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” with the signs of “tongues.” Charles Parham heard of this and went to Los Angeles and tried to take over the Azusa Street Mission. Seymor’s followers forcibly ejected Parham after which Parham set up his own “tongues” mission in opposition to Seymor’s. Both claimed that the other had the “devil’s tongues” (Conversations on “The Tongues.” P. 52).
The next largest “tongues” group was organized by A.T. Tomlinson in 1907, calling themselves the “Church of God.” This group later divided into several smaller independent “tongues” groups. During 1914 the largest Pentecostal denomination called “The General Council of the Assemblies of God” was organized in Arkansas. In Europe, the first “tongues” groups were identified in England with the Keswick Conference where two American “revivalists,” P. Smith and C. Beardman spread Pentecostalism across Europe.
Today, thousands of Charismatic Catholics, with their un-Biblical prayers to Mary and saints, their un-Scriptural participation in the “Mass,” and many other doctrinal errors, also claim the “gift” of speaking in “tongues.” Having looked at the history of “tongues,” and after studying the Biblical teaching concerning the error of “ecstatic utterances,” the question needs to be asked: “What spirit is involved in tongues?”