Tongues

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Not All Receive the Gift of Tongues

Posted March 11, 2004

Hi M____,

Yes, Paul makes it very clear that all who receive the Holy Ghost do not receive the gift of tongues when he lists all the gifts and offices and then poses seven questions. The obvious answer to every one of those seven questions is an emphatic, no! His point being that each member of the body has a different function. No one sincerely seeking to know the mind of God on this subject, can read the twelfth chapter of 1 Corinthians and conclude that everyone who has the Holy Ghost has to speak with tongues. Read that chapter. After each verse ask yourself, “Does this person have to speak with tongues to have the Holy Spirit?” The only verses where the answer is yes will be the verses which deal with the gift of tongues. Yet they all have the “selfsame Spirit.”

1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Tongues are mentioned only three times in the book of Acts:

  1. When they were first given on the day of Pentecost in Act 2, as a sign to the Jews from all over the world, followed by Peter’s witness to all those Jews.
  2. At Cornelius’ house, as a sign that the gospel was to go to the Gentiles, again followed by Peter’s witness to both the Gentiles present and to Peter and the Jews that were with him that the gospel had, indeed, been given to the Gentiles.
  3. To the 12 men at Ephesus, again as a sign, to the very “Jews of Asia,” who were later to be so instrumental in attempting to stop Paul’s ministry. “Tongues are for a sign to unbelievers.” That is the only scriptural purpose given for this gift. Tongues, in scripture, are always real languages.

Let’s just let the scriptures speak for themselves. I will embolden a few words for emphasis:

1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

1Co 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. [There; if you have Christ, you have the Spirit]
1Co 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
1Co 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
1Co 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
1Co 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
1Co 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
1Co 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
1Co 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [ we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
1Co 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
1Co 12:16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
1Co 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
1Co 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
1Co 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
1Co 12:20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
1Co 12:21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

The many members with many gifts and functions have only one “Holy Ghost”- verse 3. The “more excellent way” is the way of ‘agape,’ love, that seems to be totally ignored when seeking to know one’s spiritual condition. Speaking with ‘unknown tongues’ is by far a more reliable sign of how close one is to God in the mind of many than the “more excellent way” revealed in ‘the love chapter’ of 1 Corinthians 13.

These gifts here in 1 Corinthians 12 are listed in descending order of importance. Tongues are always last. Paul concludes with the admonition to “covet earnestly the best gifts.” Why then is it that the emphasis today is the exact opposite? Apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles, gifts of healing, helps, governments are all around, but they can’t hold a candle to the popularity of ‘unknown tongues.’ Why is that? Could it be that a healing is a bit harder to perform? Well, in truth, that is certainly not the case for God, but that is the case for the Adversary. And yet it seems that the only gift being sought so diligently by most Christians is ‘unknown tongues.’

Again, the obvious answer to every question Paul poses is NO! Not every one who receives the Holy Ghost, talks with tongues, and NO one talks in ‘ unknown tongues’ because they are not even mentioned in scripture.

The “Holy Ghost,” is “Christ in you.” That is why He said, “The Father will take of mine and give to you.” That is why Christ said, “I will not leave you Comfortless. I will come to you.” [Be sure to read Is God A Trinity? on the web page.]

Of all the conversions mentioned in the book of Acts, from the 3000 on the day of Pentecost to the Ethiopian eunuch, to all the people Paul and Barnabas brought to Christ, to Paul and Silas’ jailer, etc., tongues are mentioned only three times. 1 Corinthians 12 explains why. Not every part of “the body,” needs the same gift. Besides that, the only tongues mentioned in Acts 2, or anywhere else in scripture, are real languages, spoken clearly by people who weren’t even able to interpret what they were saying. They were of no value to the person speaking, as far as being edified by what was coming out of their own mouth. However, those words were very edifying to “unbelievers.”

Act 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem [unbelieving] Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

These as yet unbelieving Jews knew that these men were all uneducated “Galileans.”

Act 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Act 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

The languages spoken by those given the gift of tongues are enumerated:

Act 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Act 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Act 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Act 2:12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? [This was a “sign to unbelievers”]

I have never denied that on the day of Pentecost, that “they all spoke in other tongues [languages].” But this is a bonafide gift of God. This is the real thing. If the Spirit is moving in this way as is claimed, why have we not one modern case of such an event. Television news magazines have from time to time been forced to admit to a bonafide healing. Ppersonally, I have yet to see or hear of any such event as was witnessed by thousands on the day of Pentecost. I want to experience such a miracle, but I want it to be as real as it was that day when “speaking with tongues … profit [ed] you, …[by] speak[ing] to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine” (1Co 14:6). This is what happened with real languages on the day of Pentecost, and every time tongues are mentioned in scripture. Again, there is no mention in scripture of ‘unknown tongues.’

We know this is so because Paul goes on to tell us that the tongues he is discussing in 1 Corinthians 14 are so real he makes this statement:

1Co 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds [Distinction means that it has significance to someone in the room], how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
1Co 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound [how in the world can anyone be certain about a language that is not mentioned in scripture and is understood by no one on earth?], who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1Co 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood [does this sound like Paul is talking about ‘unknown,’ tongues], how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.
1Co 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
1Co 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

That last verse is in contrast to: He that speaketh in an [foreign] tongue [when there is no one there who needs that particular tongue] edifieth himself [hey, look at me, I’ve got my gift]; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church (1Co 14:4). The “edifieth himself” of this verse is not talking about spiritual edification, because the man himself does not understand what he is saying in the language he is speaking. Nevertheless, it is a real language under discussion, as real as the languages on the day of Pentecost, or Paul would never have made the statements we have just quoted or the statement that follows that: “I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying” (1Co 14:5).

An ‘unknown’ tongue would serve no purpose whatsoever. It is a false ‘sign’ because none can possibly know whether it was being properly interpreted, because it isn’t even a language. That is why Paul poses the question, “How shall it be known what is spoken?” (verse 9). Paul is not even talking about ‘unknown tongues.’ He asks that question in the context of having no one around who would be benefited by the real foreign language being spoken. ‘Unknown tongues’ as that phrase has come to be understood, are not even part of the discussion in 1 Corinthians 14, or anywhere else in scripture.

The phrase “at salvation” is not in the scriptures. I am not intending to offend you, but the way you have framed this question, demonstrates that you are not aware that ‘salvation’ is a continual process. Of course you receive the Holy Ghost when you receive Christ. The Holy Ghost is the Holy Spirit. Both English words ‘ghost’ and spirit’ are translated from the same single Greek word ‘pneuma‘. The Greek is Hagios Pneuma. The translators have done us a very great disservice by not giving this Greek phrase a consistent translation.

Getting back to the subject of ‘salvation,’ Paul says:

Rom 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

How does “salvation nearer” square with the concept of “at salvation?” And again he says:

Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [Why not ‘Holy Ghost?’]

Then he also reveals this:

Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

These verses reveal that ‘salvation’ is a continual “working out” process. We receive the ‘Holy Spirit [Ghost] of promise immediately “after ye believed.” Just because the twelve men at Ephesus had never even heard of the Holy Spirit does not mean that one must wait for a “separate work of the Spirit.”

‘Work, works, working or workings of the Spirit’ – none of these are scriptural phrases. Nevertheless, “there is one Spirit” is a scriptural phrase.

So, to answer your question as to what I believe, based on these and many other like scriptures, I do believe that you receive the Holy Spirit immediately upon conversion, but I do not believe that you are mature in the Spirit at the moment you become aware of your need for a Savior, and the fact that a Savior has been provided. Salvation is an ongoing process. Though you have been given God’s Spirit, right from the beginning, God’s Spirit does not yet have you complete right from the beginning. The steps involved in our maturing process are outlined for us in Israel’s experience and history. Paul tells us so in 1 Corinthians 10:11.

1Co 10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

I am sending you another email on this subject of The Seven Steps To Salvation.

Peter ‘laid hands’ on no one at Cornelius’ house. Yet they were given the Holy Ghost:

Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Act 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

As Paul’s ministry matured, he was brought by God’s Spirit to see that many things he once did were simply no longer necessary for him

There was a time when Paul baptized. Later he tells us:

1Co 1:14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
1Co 1:15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
1Co 1:16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
1Co 1:17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:

And then he tells us:

Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.

It was to Paul that God first revealed that the ritual of circumcision was totally uneccessary. There was a period where anointed cloths were sent out from Paul’s presence for the healing of others. God honored these actions because they were done in faith, as they still are by some. But as Paul matured, he became aware that sometimes our faith is “tried.” Not all our prayers are answered, anointed cloths or not, hands laid on or not.

He tells Timothy, who apparently suffered digestive issues, to drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities (1Ti 5:23).

Again we are told:

2Ti 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

Again Paul’s faith was tested:

Php 2:25 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.
Php 2:26 For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick.
Php 2:27 For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

Why didn’t Paul just send Timothy an anointed cloth or lay hands on him and pray for his healing? I feel sure that Paul had prayed fervently for Timothy’s “often infirmities.” Does anyone doubt that Paul prayed for either Trophimus or Epaphroditus? Of course Paul prayed for them all. Their healing was not in God’s will at that time, but Paul’s faith did not depend on outward signs. Likewise our Faith must be based on more than outward displays. If not, the fiery trial of our faith will shake anything that can be shaken.

To answer your question directly, circumcision, water baptism, foot washing, the Lord’s supper, anointed cloths and the laying on of hands, are all outward displays of one’s faith. They are not a sin any more than “another who is weak in the faith eats herbs.”

Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
Rom 14:2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

So it is with those who must have these displays of their faith. I believe in laying my hands on a person when I pray for them, but I do not for one minute believe that this ritual is a requirement for an answered prayer. You cannot do physical things to become spiritual.

Tongues are no exception to that truth. When we take the spiritual truth of the new covenant and turn them into physical requirements like water baptism and ‘unknown tongues’ we are not fooling God at all. He still will have our heart.

No, I haven’t. Christ healed the sick, had all knowledge and prophesied. Yet He never once spoke in an unknown tongue. The same is true of every one of the apostles. As a matter of fact they did all these things before they were even converted. Yes, they did!

Luk 10:1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

Mat 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying,

Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

The 12 and the 70 performed miracles before they were even converted.

Luk 10:17 And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord,even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

Years later, the night of His apprehension by the Jews, Christ tells Peter:

Luk 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Spiritual gifts are not a Biblical equivalent to the fruit of the Spirit. They are not even in the same league. I cannot over-emphasize this. Paul tells the Corinthian church:

1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge;
1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Do you see that? The Corinthians “came behind in NO GIFT. Yet in the next breath Paul tells them:

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

So do not measure a man by the gifts he possesses. Measure him only by the fruit he produces. How does he react to being mistreated? Is he even capable of “loving his enemies?” That is a far better measure of a man’s spiritual condition then whether he can pray for the sick and experience healings. It is far superior to ‘unknown tongues’.

If you insist on equating ‘unknown tongues’ with the Holy Spirit, with no other reason than the fact that on three occasions in the book of Acts (Pentecost, Cornelius’ house, and the Ephesian converts) people spoke in a new language, then you alone must decide, “Am I asking sincerely, wanting only to know the truth of the word of God on this subject, or am I attached to a personal ‘idol of the heart?'” I cannot answer that question for you. I can tell you that ‘unknown’ tongues have no basis in the scriptures. Known languages? Sure! However, the word ‘unknown’ is not in the Bible regarding tongues. God will not give you a stone for asking for a fish, but if you come to His word with your mind already made up, and then try to make His word fit into your heart’s idol, then yes, God will answer you according to the multitude of your idols of your heart.

Keep this attitude. Ask God not to deceive you but to give you a love of the Truth.

2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

Maybe you already have read Strong Delusion. If not, please be sure to do so.

Posted March 11, 2004

I have never said ‘we should not be speaking in tongues.’ Here is what I did say:

There! That is my commentary on the tongues part of 1 Corinthians 14 – ‘The Tongues Chapter.’ I believe it is true to the scriptures. I simply cannot vouch for something God has given me no experience in. When I witness a true Acts 2 tongues experience, I will immediately share it with my reading audience. Just because I have never experienced something does not mean that others haven’t.

You cannot show me where I have ever said that the gift of tongues has passed from the scene. It is true that I believe that as one matures gifts become less and less of a factor in one’s faith. I have gone on the record as saying that any gifts we possess should rest upon our faith and not vice versa. In other words, our faith should not depend upon the number of gifts we possess and the number of prayers we have answered. This would lead to nothing less than immaturity and a whole church full of spoiled rotten spiritual “babes in Christ.” I welcome anyone, who has never spoken in French, being able to communicate the gospel to someone who does not know English but only French. That is the true Acts 2 experience. Anything less is a sign to no one and is without scriptural basis.

There were no ‘unknown,’ tongues on Pentecost, at the home of Cornelius, or at any of the cities where Paul met believers who had been ‘baptized into John’s baptism.’ The word ‘unknown’ is never used in conjunction with tongues. All the tongues spoken at Pentecost are enumerated in Acts two:

Act 2:7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Act 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?Act 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Act 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Act 2:11 Crees and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Act 2:12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

Incoherent ‘unknown tongues’ would never have produced such questions and such astonishment. Rather they would have produced just what Paul tells us they produce when virtually no one can understand what is being said:

1Co 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

If this is true of a real tongue, how much truer is it of a non-existent, ‘unknown’ tongue? My personal ‘experience’ has demonstrated the truth of that statement on several occasions when I was a believer in ‘unknown tongues.’ I do not despise what I once was. I thank God for that experience. If I had not been there, I would not be able to write this email with any sense of conviction. However, I have asked God to help me to rid myself of any ‘idol of the heart.’ This ‘I-have-the-baptism-of-the-Holy-Ghost-and-you-don’t’ doctrine was one of the first ‘idols of the heart’ I had to give up. It was no easier for me than it will be for you. As long as you come to the word of God with your “experience” ahead of scripture, you are exactly where Ezekiel says the elders of Israel were when they came to “enquire of the Lord:”

Eze 14:1 Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me.
Eze 14:2 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Eze 14:3 Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?

Their ‘experience’ had led them to preconceived conclusions, and they wanted God to now put His stamp of approval upon their ways.

Eze 14:4 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols;
Eze 14:5 That I may take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols.
Eze 14:6 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.
Eze 14:7 For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet [comes to God’s Word and adds ‘unknown’ where the Lord simply said ‘tongue’ or language] to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself:
Eze 14:8 And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
Eze 14:9 And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.

God answers us according to the multitude of [our] idols;

Eze 14:10 And they shall bear the punishment of their iniquity: the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him;

“I the LORD will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols,” means that if you have your mind made up about this, or any subject, before you go to the scriptures, if you are not sincere in seeking only the mind of God, then God will use your own deception to deceive you. For example:

Mat 25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, [This is a false doctrine] reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
Mat 25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
Mat 25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

The Lord did not even bother to show this man how wrong he was. He answered him “according to the idol of his heart.”

Mat 25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
Mat 25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

David puts it this way:

Psa 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

Now, with these stern warnings against allowing anything other than the word and mind of God to be our guide, let’s go two chapters earlier, to where Paul poses this question:

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
1Co 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

These gifts are all listed in order of importance, ‘First … secondarily … thirdly…’ etc. The answer to every question asked here is emphatically, No! Yet according to what I understand you to be saying, your answer to this question would be, “No, except for the gift of unknown tongues, because if you don’t have that gift then you cannot be ‘built up in your faith’ to be a prophet, teacher or a worker of miracles, etc. Without the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which equates to speaking in unknown tongues, you cannot build up your faith.”

Am I wrong about what you are saying? I know that is exactly what I used to think in my puffed up immature spirit. The Truth revealed in these questions, however, is that God does not give any one of these gifts to everyone. Neither does He give all of these gifts to any one person.

The “fruit of the Spirit,” is not ‘unknown tongues.’

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Verse 26 is speaking directly to those who believe that their physical “experience,” has somehow given them a spiritual edge over those who merely bear the “fruit of the Spirit.”

I have had acquaintances of mine who have discussed my page and my teachings with their Charismatic friends. Inevitably the first question out of the mouth of the charismatic is not, “Does Mike Vinson have love, joy, peace, etc.? Has he crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts?” No, the first question from charismatics is invariably, “Does he speak in tongues?” The word ‘unknown’ is understood. It is strange to me that with all the tongues all around that the only ones spoken on the day of Pentecost (I mean known languages that serve as a useful ‘sign to unbelievers’) are not to be found anywhere here in Georgia. I have heard a lot of ‘tongues’ spoken here in Georgia.

Certainly, a true Pentecostal experience would be very edifying. A language is being spoken by a person with no training in that language, and it is being understood by people who know that the person speaking that language doesn’t have training in the language he is speaking. This is a miracle. Faking this experience and telling your followers that this is just as good as what happened at Pentecost, edifies no one but the person who falls prey to this doctrine. He can now feel spiritually superior to his fellow Christians who haven’t yet been able to have this “experience.” Why would God speak to anyone in a language that exists nowhere on earth and then “interpret” it? The word “interpret” means that it is a known language, and yes, when a person speaks fluently in a known language in which he has no formal training, this is the exact same thing as prophesying. Furthermore it becomes, under those true Pentecostal conditions, a powerful “sign, not to them that believe but unto them which believe not.” None of this is true for what is passed off as a language spoken nowhere on earth.

Yes, there is, and that ‘tongue that no man understands howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries’ is an earthly language that is uninterpreted. It clearly tells us that it is “speaking mysteries” – not speaking incoherently.

The ‘no man understandeth him’ is merely a statement of fact when you have someone speaking French when there is no one around who understands French. Paul is having to tell these overzealous and immature Corinthian ‘carnal… babes in Christ’ that they ought not be abusing their gifts to simply show off or “edify himself.”

I am going to cut and paste my comment to this verse:

1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an [unknown – this mistaken insertion is quoted as if it were scripture] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth [him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Since “no man understands him,” Paul says, “He edifies himself.” This is not a compliment, nor is it advice. It is a reprimand, and is contrasted with “edifying the church” (vs 4).

1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. [This is the preferred gift of this chapter.]
1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an [unknown – leave this word out. It was not in the original texts.] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

Here is one of the least quoted verses of this chapter, and it is the heart of this chapter.

1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues [I wish all my children could receive the gift of languages, not mumblings], but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

This is the required product of both prophesying and tongues. I, too, would rather that my children prophesy than speak in languages.

1Co 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

Paul is telling us, with this verse that the gift of languages should be used for the purpose of edifying the church, not to demonstrate for the whole congregation that this brother has ‘received his gift.’

What you are saying to me, and to all those without what you consider to be ‘the baptism of the Holy Ghost’ is that we cannot be ‘built up’ without speaking in an unknown tongue because we don’t know what we should ask for, and therefore if the Holy Ghost does not ask for the things we need in a language that cannot be understood then we (those of us without this gift) are at a disadvantage, and will never have the things we need presented to the Father because we don’t have the gift of unknown tongues.

If I take your statement: “a man with a theory is at the mercy of a man with an experience” and live by it, then I must confess that my “experience” has been that God did not begin to open my eyes to all the truths of His Word, for which you have expressed your gratitude, until I matured to the point that I did not consider my ‘gift of tongues’ and my ‘gift of interpretation of tongues’ to make me any closer to God than those without such gifts. Eventually I was brought, through the scriptures, to see the truth about ‘unknown tongues.’ At that point I saw that I had to choose between a doctrine that I had stood up for for all my life, and the truth about that doctrine which I was beginning to see in the scriptures. Any revelation I have received has come to me since I have seen through the false doctrine of ‘unknown,’ (a word not found in the original in 1 Corinthians 14) tongues. The only thing better than having an experience is seeing through an experience. If King Saul could have seen through his experience at Endor, he would never have fallen in battle. God had told Adam that he would return to the dust. The serpent had told Adam that he would not surely die. Saul’s “experience” lined up with the serpent’s lie, and Saul went with his ‘experience’ and against the scripture. So in the final analysis a man with an experience had better be at the mercy of the scriptures, because the scriptures are dictated to by neither ‘experience’ nor ‘theory.’

That is not what Paul says at all. Here is what he does say:

1Co 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

I left ‘unknown’ out, because it was added to the Word of God.

1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
1Co 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?[Does that sound like Paul was speaking of a secret prayer language?]
1Co 14:17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.1Co 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that [by my voice] I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [unknown] tongue.
1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

Read and reread that last verse. Don’t overlook the whole point of this chapter. Paul favors and encourages “understanding.” Yes, he does say not to forbid to speak with other languages, with the understanding that you seek out an interpreter first and do it for a sign to unbelievers and do it in order and not all at one time. ‘Unknown tongues’ is an unscriptural phrase found nowhere in this or any other chapter in scripture.

You apparently want me to believe that if I pray with the understanding that I am not ‘praying in the Spirit.’ I don’t think you realize what you are implying. You are saying that if Paul (or I) were to pray with the understanding, then we would not be praying in the Spirit. You go as far as to quote Jdg 20 as proof that we are to pray in unknown tongues. Here is Jude 20:

Jud 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

Do you see now how you are equating ‘unknown tongues’ to the words ‘Holy Ghost’ here in Jude 1:20. You point to that scripture and ask me if I can’t see that we are to pray in unknown tongues. The plain scriptural answer is I do not see the words ‘unknown tongues’ anywhere in the book of Jude or anywhere else in scripture. The kind of tongues being spoken of here are revealed in verse 21. We need not speculate:

1Co 14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

There it is. Paul makes it clear that what he is talking about throughout this chapter are the “tongues… and … lips [of] other… men.” This is a reference to Isaiah 28:11-12, where Isaiah is prophesying the impending fall of the northern kingdom of Israel at the hands of the Assyrians. The ‘men of other tongues’ referred to there are men of the Assyrian tongue.

We know from the book of Acts that Paul was at least bi-lingual. Nowhere are we told that Paul had the gift of tongues. Paul is not making that claim here. You have to read that into the text.

1Co 14:27 If any man speak in an tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

Does that sound like Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to speak in ‘unknown tongues?’

1Co 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
1Co 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
1Co 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1Co 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.
1Co 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
1Co 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.
1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

Does one single verse of this section of this chapter sound like Paul is encouraging you to pray in an unknown tongue? I appreciate your zeal. It seems that many people who come to my site are charismatics who are serious and zealous to serve God. I repeat Paul’s advice:

1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

That is what Paul is encouraging these zealous but “childish” (Chapter 13), and “carnal” (chapter 3), Corinthians to do in this chapter. There is not one word about praying in an ‘unknown tongue here or anywhere else in the Bible.

That is the exact opposite of what Paul is saying. Here is the proof:

1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my [clearly understood English] voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [foreign] tongue.
1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

Every time you see that word ‘understanding’ Paul is contrasting it with the much abused gift of languages that these zealous but mislead and ‘carnal’ ‘babes in Christ’ wished to posess. Paul is right up front with these people. He first tells them:

1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge;
1Co 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
1Co 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Then only two verses later he tells them:

1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
1Co 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them [which are of the house] of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
1Co 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
1Co 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Then in the next breath he is telling us this of this congregation:

1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able.
1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
1Co 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I [am] of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

But they “came behind in no gift,” and they were especially proud of their gift of languages.

I know, I did, too.

I welcome a true Pentecostal experience with the true gift of true “men of other tongues and of other lips.” I see through the zeal that has led me and millions of other sincere ‘babes in Christ’ to fall for a very poor counterfeit of what actually happened on the day of Pentecost.

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

I appreciate you sharing this with me. I hope that “a man with a theory is at the mercy of a man with an experience. I cannot deny this baptism in the Spirit” does not mean that you and I can no longer discuss this subject. I believe that a man with an experience should “try the spirits” just as diligently as a man with a theory. The Truth of the scripture is determined by neither ‘experience’ nor ‘theory.’

I have the same concern for you and for your spiritual welfare. Let’s both pray that God will remove any idol of our heart and reveal His Truth to us. That is truly and honestly all I want.

God bless!

God bless you as you seek to know the mind of Christ.

Joh 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Mike

December 27, 2003

Part 1

C____ wrote:

Where is the scripture for this belief? Paul asks ‘Do all speak with tongues?’ This teaching would have you believe that if you don’t, then you cannot ‘build up your faith.’ That is simply not so. God never intended to give anyone all the gifts, and He certainly never intended to give everyone the least important of the gifts, that is the gift of tongues.

1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, [and eighth and last] diversities of tongues.
1Co 12:29 [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?
1Co 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: [‘rather that ye may prophesy’] and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

I do not believe that any of the gifts are ‘passed’ any more than I believe that the law is ‘passed’ or ‘done away’ for those still coming to Christ. The law is necessary to bring us to Christ, but after that faith is come we are no longer under the schoolmaster (Gal 3:19-23). So it is with gifts. They are necessary to lead us to Christ, but eventually (1Co 3:13) every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. Every man’s work will be tried by fire. Our prayers will not always be answered, and our gifts will sometimes force us to “leave Trophimus sick at Miletum” (2Ti 4:20). This is in spite of promises like: (Jas 5:15) And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. All this simply because our Creator has decided that we should count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience (Jas 1:2-3).

I could not agree more. I only hope that you realize that I am in that same boat.

Thanks for reading my discourses and thank you for your kind words about our ‘insight.

As I said, I was reared a Pentecostal, and I have heard thousands speak in ‘unknown’ tongues over the years.

You say:

No, I have never had such an experience. I have never witnessed anything resembling an Acts 2 experience. Please don’t take that fact to mean that I do not believe that God cannot give someone today the ability to speak in a language (‘tongue’) that they have never spoken in before. I know good and well that God can do that, but I have never witnessed it. All I have ever seen were unscriptural ‘unknown tongues.’

Why do I call them unscriptural? Simply because there is not one time in the scriptures where anyone is ever said to have spoken in an ‘unknown’ tongue. As I am sure you are aware, every time you see the word ‘unknown’ in the KJV, it is in italics. The italics were used by the translators to let us know which words they added to the text to ‘help make the meaning clearer.’ Since Anglicans (King James was an Anglican) are not generally tongues speakers, I seriously doubt that they meant ‘unknown’ in the sense that today’s Pentecostals mean it. It is undeniable that the person speaking ‘in tongues’ on the day of Pentecost did not understand what they were saying as they spoke was heard “every man in his own language” (Act 2:6). Nevertheless, what they were speaking was not a non-existent tongue but “every man in his own language.” It was the same at Cornelius’ house, because Peter said it was:

Act 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

All languages mentioned in scripture are known languages. They are not the incoherent syllables run together and passed off as the experience of Pentecost. This is obvious delusion. Here is what Paul had to say about the tongues he was discussing: I have adopted this as my own understanding of this particular gift:

1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. [Through out this chapter Paul contrasts the gift of ‘prophecy,’ (he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort vs 3) with the gift of tongues.]
1Co 14:2 For he that speaketh in an [unknown – this mistaken insertion is quoted as if it were scripture] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth [ him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. [Since “no man understands him,” Paul says “he edifies himself.” This is not a compliment, nor is it advice. It is a reprimand, and is contrasted with “edifying the church” (vs 4).]
1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. [This is the preferred gift of this chapter]
1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an [unknown – leave this word out] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. [Here is one of the least quoted verses of this chapter, and it is the heart of this chapter.]
1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with tongues [I wish all my children could receive the gift of languages, not mumblings], but rather that ye prophesied: for greater [is] he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. [This is the required product of both prophesying and tongues. I, too, would rather that my children prophesy than speak in languages]
1Co 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? [Paul is telling us, with this verse that the gift of languages should be used for the purpose of edifying the church, not to demonstrate for the whole congregation that this brother has ‘received his gift.’]
1Co 14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? [If this verse is not the death knell of the doctrine of ‘unknown tongues,’ then I do not know what Paul’s point is. Please enlighten me.]
1Co 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain [‘unknown’] sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1Co 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. [Paul is talking about real languages!]
1Co 14:10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices [actual languages] in the world, and none of them is without signification.
1Co 14:11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice [this real language], I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. [This is Paul’s assessment of a language that no one understands]
1Co 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. [I really admire the zeal of unknown tongues talking Pentecostals. But just as Paul (who was not even dealing with counterfeit tongues, but with abuse of a real gift), I, too, would rather that ye prophesied: for greater [is] he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues…]
1Co 14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an [unknown – foreign] tongue pray that he may interpret. [What profit are ‘unknown tongues?’ They are ‘a sign’ to no one. There is nothing to ‘interpret.’]
1Co 14:14 For if I pray in an [unknown – foreign] tongue [when there is no one there who would understand that tongue and therefore no one for whom this tongue would ‘be a sign’], my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. [Again, this is an admonition not to abuse God’s gifts just to draw attention to one’s self.]
1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit [only if it is “a sign to unbelievers,” and therefore “edifies the church”], and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit [only if it is a “sign” and “edifies”], and I will sing with the understanding also.
1Co 14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?
1Co 14:17 For thou verily givest thanks [in a real language] well, but the other is not edified.
1Co 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: [We have no record of Paul ever having a Pentecostal experience and speaking in a language he did not understand. “Praying in the spirit” is not synonymous with, nor exclusive to, praying in a foreign language. “Praying with the spirit” is not to be understood as something we should desire to do without understanding what we are saying. That is the exact opposite of the tenor of this whole chapter. It is certainly not to be understood as “the spirit praying for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” If it were to be taken that way, then those who did not have this least desirable gift, would not have such a mediator. What Paul is saying is “I will [always] pray with the understanding also.” Paul considered himself to be just as unedified by speaking in a language he didn’t understand as the church would be unedified if it could not understand what was being said. This chapter is an admonition against abusing a real gift with a real purpose to it. That purpose was most certainly not to edify the one with the gift. Tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not. They, therefore, are certainly not “the initial evidence of the gift of the Holy Spirit.”]
1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that [by my voice] I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [unknown] tongue. [Some day God will open the eyes of Oral Roberts, Gloria and Kenneth Copeland, Billie Byrne and all others who have this false doctrine of ‘unknown tongues,’ to see the truth of this verse. Mind you, Paul is speaking of a real language, not a counterfeit, when he makes this statement.]
1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: [Don’t abuse this real gift, just to draw attention to yourself.] howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding [this word is the theme of this chapter] be men.
1Co 14:21 In the law it is written, With [men of] other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. [This verse is quoted from Isaiah 28 and is a prophecy of the invading Assyrian armies.]

Isa 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts.
Isa 28:10 For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little:
Isa 28:11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. [This verse alone should give the lie to the false doctrine of ‘unknown tongues.’ The Assyrian ‘tongue’ may not have been understood by Israel, but it was certainly a real language.]

1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. [This is THE purpose for tongues! The exact opposite of the doctrine that tongues are ‘proof of the initial evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost’.]
1Co 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in [those that are] unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? [As well they should, even if the languages are real, much less when people by the hundreds of thousands are falling for a very poor counterfeit.]
1Co 14:24 But if all prophesy, [speak clearly in plain English which he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort] and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
1Co 14:25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. [Because he could understand what was being said.]
1Co 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue [to be used as a sign to an unbeliever and to edify the church, not for self edification], hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
1Co 14:27 If any man speak in an [unknown – foreign] tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. [This verse proves that it is incumbent upon the person with the gift of languages to seek out an interpreter prior to the service, before he begins to speak in a language that most of the audience may not understand. If there is not an interpreter, “let him hold his peace.” It does not say. ‘Let him speak first and hope that there is someone there who can fake an interpretation of a non- existent language’]
1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
1Co 14:30 If [anything] be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. [This verse was flagrantly violated by Gloria Copeland and her friend Billie Byrne, on TBN just last night, as they demonstrated how we were to “pray together in unknown tongues.” “Not doing this is what is holding the church back from maturing and becoming a more effective witness for Christ,” they falsely affirmed. This is pathetic, unscriptural nonsense!]
1Co 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. [What group of ‘unknown tongues’ talkers practices this verse.]
1Co 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. [They teach just the opposite; ‘You can’t control the Spirit.’]
1Co 14:33 For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. [This verse amounts to nothing less than ‘Quenching the Spirit,’ to some ‘unknown tongues’ practitioners.]

There! That is my commentary on the tongues part of 1 Corinthians 14, ‘The Tongues Chapter.’ I believe it is true to the scriptures. I simply cannot vouch for something God has given me no experience in. When I witness a true Act 2 tongues experience, I will immediately share it with my reading audience. Just because I have never experienced something does not mean that others haven’t.

You cannot show me where I have ever said that the gift of tongues has passed from the scene. It is true that I believe that as one matures that gifts become less and less of a factor in his faith. I have gone on the record as saying that any gifts that we possess should rest upon our faith and not vice versa. In other words our faith should not depend upon the number of gifts we possess and the number of prayers we have answered. This would lead to nothing less than immaturity and a whole church full of spoiled rotten spiritual “babes in Christ.”

Christ told doubting Thomas: Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen [ gifts displayed and prayers always answered], and yet have believed (Joh 20:29).

James tells us:

Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

For some reason, our Creator places great stress upon this thing called ‘patience.’ So much so that He says: In your patience possess ye your souls (Luk 21:19). Babes in Christ, constantly caught up in demonstrations of the gifts they possess and believing that they can “concerning the works of my hands command you me” (Isa 45:11), cannot even discern an admonition from advice or a compliment.

It is “strong meat” to be told that God intends to try the faith of every son He receives. Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is (1Co 3:13). My prayer is simply, ‘give me the strength to endure to the end.’

Your brother in Christ,

Mike

Part 2

Hi C____,

You did not at all offend me. I, too, am at a disadvantage, when communicating by email. It is hard to determine one’s ‘tone of voice’ in an email.

When I ask a direct question, please don’t take it as anything but that. I am just trying to learn what you are thinking and why you believe as you do. I have learned a lot from those who are willing to take the time to tell me why they see the scriptures as they do.

As a matter of fact, I was ‘edified’ by what you had to say about Isaiah 28. All those who are still controlled by ‘the first Adam’ and are opposed to ‘Christ in you’ are indeed ‘foolish buffoons.’

Whether immature Christian, Islamic or total heathen, they are all acting as “evil men.” This is exactly what God uses to punish His own rebellious children.

Isa 10:5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
Isa 10:6 I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

Isa 10:11 Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols?
Isa 10:12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.

These verses tell me that God always has and always will use the heathen to punish His own hypocritical people.

Here it is again from David’s perspective:

Psa 17:13 Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:
Psa 17:14 From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world…

It seems to me that ” the Lord GOD of hosts shall make a consumption, even determined, in the midst of all the land” (Isa 10:23).

Isa 34:2 For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.

I believe that these 21st century ‘Crusades’ that we have embarked upon are only “the beginnings of sorrows.”

Mar 13:8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.

While these scriptures seem clear to me, I believe that the weight of the scriptures are directed toward ‘the beast within,’ not some man in a temple made with stones.

Ecc 3:18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

This is just some ‘food for thought.’

I appreciate your fellowship.

Mike

November 24, 2003

Hi P__,

Thanks for reading the web page. Thanks especially for your question. You ask:

No, there is no such distinction ‘in scripture.’

Yes, I am aware of this distinction in the minds of those who believe in ‘unknown tongues.’ I notice that you have not used the phrase,’unknown tongues,’ and I don’t know how you personally feel about this subject. If we are interested in The Truth, then our ‘feelings’ become secondary and irrelevant. I am going to approach this question as I do every question I receive and answer with only one criteria; what saith the scripture?

“Some teach that there are two types of tongues; a quiet, personal prayer language and another to edify the church aloud.” I ask simply, where is the scripture for this teaching? I know very well how it is deduced, because I was raised an interdenominational Pentecostal. I spoke in ‘unknown’ tongues with the others in my church. Our ‘tongues’ were as good as anyone’s. I was as sincere at that time as I am presently in my desire to know the mind of God and to let Christ live His life in me. I love those who believe in ‘unknown tongues’ and appreciate the sincere desire to please God that many of these brothers have. Having said that, I am compelled to add that I was not, however, as informed of The Truth at that time as I am 40 years later. At that time I also believed in ‘free moral agency’ and another Satanic doctrine, the doctrine of an eternal burning hell for immortal souls.

Simply by the grace of God I have been shown in the scriptures that Adam, as he came from the hand of the Creator, was totally unfit for eternal life in the kingdom of God and had not yet ‘put on immortality.’

1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

1Co 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Eze 18:4… the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

I now reject the teaching of an immortal flesh and blood Adam, or an inherent immortal soul. They are “Idols of the heart” (Eze 14:9).

I have been shown that instead of ‘free will’ the scriptures teach, (Rom 9:16) … it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. (Php 2:13) For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. (Eph 1:11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

I now reject the teachings of free will and of free moral agency. It is an “Idol of the heart.”

Instead of eternal burning hell, I have been shown that God (1Ti 2:4) … will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1Ti 4:10) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially [not exclusively] of those that believe. (2Pe 3:9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (1Jn 2:2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours [believers] only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

I now reject the teaching of eternal hell fire or eternal death. They are both “idols of the heart.”

Likewise when I saw that…

1Co 14:2… he that speaketh in a tongue [a foreign language, when there is no one there to interpret] speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth [speaks in ‘plain English’] speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an [foreign] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church [and what is the point of this statement?].
1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with [foreign] tongues, but rather that ye prophesied[ speak in a language everyone understands]: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.
1Co 14:6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you [anyone who speaks in ‘unknown tongues’ care to answer this question of Paul’s], except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?1Co14:7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? [Does this sound as if Paul is talking about ‘unknown tongues’ understood as unknown to any culture on earth?]
1Co1 4:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound [unknown tongues], who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1Co 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood[ here is the force of this entire chapter], how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

1Co 14:3… he that prophesieth [speaks in ‘plain English’] speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

So I repeat:

1Co 14:4 He that speaketh in an [foreign] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

At that point I decided to, (1Co 14:1) Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

I was shown that even though Paul could, (1Co 14:18) … speak with tongues more than ye all:

1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [foreign] tongue.

How many people who claim to have the gift of tongues have this scriptural attitude?

Finally, I was shown the purpose for tongues. I now know that (1Co 14:21) In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. [So the ‘tongues under discussion are, “men of other tongues.”]

1Co 14:22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe[not ‘the initial evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost’], but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe [this is the “language… to edify the church aloud,” as you put it.]

Now that I know the function of ‘tongues,’ I understand how the ‘tongues’ spoken on the day of Pentecost were used by the ‘Holy Ghost.’ They were for a sign to them [the Jews] that believed not. What tongues were they speaking? We don’t have to guess. We are told specifically:

Act 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Act 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Act 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Act 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

So the 120 on whom the ‘Holy Ghost’ came on the day of Pentecost, did not understand what they were saying, but they were speaking in one of the above listed ‘tongues.’ No one ever spoke in a “tongue of angels.” The reason we have this phrase in scripture is to distinguish it from human languages. In the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [foreign] tongue [even a foreign ‘tongues of angels’].

Co 14:2… he that speaketh in a tongue [a foreign language, when there is no one there to interpret] speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. [This is not a word of praise, it is a reprimand. The solution to this infantile behavior of verse two, which simply “edifieth himself,” is verses 3-5.]
1Co 14:3 But he that prophesieth [speaks in ‘plain English’] speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.1Co14:4 He that speaketh in an [foreign] tongue edifieth himself [when no one understands him]; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church [and what is the point of this statement?].
1Co 14:5 I would that ye all spake with [foreign] tongues, but rather that ye prophesied[ speak in a language everyone understands]: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying [ as well as the person or persons for whom it is “a sign.”]

Once this scriptural purpose for ‘tongues,’ as a “sign to them that believe not,” is understood and believed in, the false doctrine of ‘unknown tongues’ falls away. The ‘unbeliever’ may be a called out saint, such as Peter at the house of the Gentile, Roman centurion, Cornelius. Still, “tongues were for a sign to them that believed not.” It took a duplication of the exact event that occured on Pentecost to convince Peter and all of the Jewish apostles, that God was no longer bound by physical descent in His dealings with mankind.

This was but one of the many (Joh 16:12) “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now” that Christ had referred to on the night before His apprehension by those of the ‘church’ of His day.

Part of the problem involved here is that very few people notice that we are given the scriptural definition of ‘prophecy’ here. How is prophecy defined? (1Co 14:3) He that prophesieth speaketh [speaks in ‘plain English’] unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Now since (2Ti 3:16) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: “All scripture” is therefore prophecy. ‘Doctrine’ is certainly ‘edification,’ and ‘instruction in righteousness,’ is certainly ‘exhortation.’ But for what purpose? To prove that we have ‘the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost?’ Is this the purpose for anything given to us? No, such phraseology is without scriptural basis whatsoever. Though it may not always be pointed out in the context, such as Acts 19:1-5, we are assured that the purpose for tongues, even here, is “for a sign to them that believed not.” God is not into edifying the flesh. Paul exhorts us, “rather seek to prophecy” for this purpose: (2Ti 3:17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Now let’s examine the events of Act 19:1-5.

Act 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Act 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
Act 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
Act 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Act 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.
Act 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Notice that immediately after these disciples receive the gift of tongues, he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

As with Peter, and as with the Jews at Pentecost, these disciples receiving the gift of languages was “for a sign to them which believe not.” The Jews of the synogogue were as obstinate as the Jews at Jerusalem. They were as attached to their privileged position as ‘descendants of Abraham’ as was Peter, while he napped on the roof of the home of Simon the tanner.

“John’s baptism” knew nothing of “Christ [‘dying daily’ to the things of the flesh] in you the hope of glory”

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

There is one other point that needs to be brought out in this 14th chapter of I Corinthians.

1Co 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

This verse does not say, ‘Speak first and wait to see if someone can interpret.’ Paul says it is incumbent upon the person with the gift of tongues to use his gift wisely, as “a sign to them that believe not.” He was to “keep silence in the church” if he had not first determined whether someone was present who was capable of interpreting this particular tongue.

1Co 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
1Co 14:30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.
1Co 14:31 For ye may all prophesy[ even an interpreted language was to edify] one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
1Co 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

In summary, Paul gives us his understanding of the place and comparative importance of tongues:

1Co 14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [foreign] tongue.
1Co 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

If only this were the attitude of us all, we would all “in understanding be men,” at least on this one subject.

Again, I do not disdain those who are more concerned with the gift of tongues than with the gift of prophecy. It was only yesterday that I was just such a person. However, yes, to answer your question, “When that which is mature is come that which is in part shall be done away.” Here it is:

1Co 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part [We have just been shown how tongues stack up to prophecy].
1Co 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [Why interpret something no one on earth understands in the first place? That is “a sign” to no one.]
1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

In closing, let me point out that, in Peter’s case at Cornelius’ house, he said:

Act 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
Act 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;

What God had “given them… even as he did unto us,” was real languages which served “as a sign to them which believed not.” Paul was not discussing “tongues of angels” in 1 Corinthians 14. He certainly was not discussing what is passed off as ‘unknown tongues’ in the ‘charismatic’ world of today. This was ‘the real thing.’ It was so powerful that it served as a “sign to them that believed not.” Take it from someone with personal experience, ‘unknown tongues,’ often serve the exact opposite purpose and drive away many who are honestly seeking to know The Truth.

I hope I haven’t offended you. That is certainly not my intent. But I have discovered that many who have experienced ‘speaking in unknown tongues’ find it difficult to admit that they have been believing in, and partaking of, a counterfeit. I myself had just such a struggle. It was a real relief to get to where I did not feel superior to those who had “not yet been baptised with the Holy Ghost.”

I hope this has been of some help to you.

Let me hear from you.

Your brother in Christ,
Mike Vinson

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