Of Pentecostals, Charismatics, Tongues and Alpha: 1 Corinthians 14 explained

Below is a mail I received from a Pentecostal church member in response to one of my earlier mails. My response follows. His name and the name of his church have been changed for the purposes of this article, as well as some minor editing of my response for clarity.I think it is very useful in understanding what Pentecostals actually believe and their errors. It covers, amongst other things, the topic of ecstatic/unintelligible utterances, claimed by many modern day churches (including Pentecostal, Charismatic, Baptist and Roman Catholic) to be the biblical gift of tongues. Dear Shalin , How are you doing, thank u for sharing your mind. I did not get a chance to  check my email till today ,so i apologise for not sending a reply earlier. I fell it is quite natural to have reservations about speaking in tongues . But we should be very clear that it is phenomenon that is very clearly documented in the book of acts( acts2:1-4, acts10:44-48, a) tongues as a experience is documented in the bible b) tongues are for all Christians 1cor14:5:  c) tongues and interpretation of tongues are two distinct gifts 1 cor12:10 d) concerning the use of tongues in church meetings 1 cor 14 gives absolute clarity. it says that for personal edification tongues are the best,(1 cor 14:4,18) but in a group which may consist of different types of people some may not have the gift or may be an unbeliever(1 cor 14:5,6,22,23) Paul does not forbid it( 1 cor 14:39) but asks for balance of all the gits like prophecy , teaching etc so that everyone may be edified, so it is perfectly alright to speak in tongues in church e) tongues are not for understanding all the time (1cor14:2). I have chosen not to speak at all from experience but form the Bible only, You brother are a person with a thirst to know the things of God , i am sure he will help you with your  reservations i do pray that you also will be baptised in the holy spirit. — Dr. David MY RESPONSE TO DAVID Brother  David! I am well, thank you! -and you will be pleased to know that I am already baptised in the Holy Spirit- and so are all believers the moment they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! This was the whole point of Pentecost being fulfilled- Jesus Christ sent the promised Holy Spirit as also foretold by the prophet Joel  3:1-3 and so the Church was created, empowered and expanded- the great outpouring of God’s spirit which would apply to all believers! A wonderful, joyous occasion! 1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV: 13For 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. Again: 1 John 3:23-24 KJV: 23And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. And again: Ephesians 4:4-6 KJV: 4There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. It is a popular misconception in some Pentecostal churches to think that to be baptised in the Spirit is when one receives the gift of tongues. You disagree? Paul himself says to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 12:13 KJV (see above again) that the Corinthians are all baptised by one Spirit into one body. In 1 Cor 12:30 he asks, ‘…do all speak with tongues?’, the answer to the rhetorical question being ‘No’. The meaning of this is that not all the Christian believers at Corinth spoke in tongues, yet they are all baptised by one Spirit into one body. This is indisputable. And clearly, the tongues gift was not a sign of spirituality, as the Corinthians were clearly carnal, that is why Paul wrote 1 Cor 14, because they were not using the spiritual gifts as God intended. David, I think I can understand where you are coming from- I guess you have been born and brought up in a traditional Pentecostal Church where events such as I witnessed on my last Sunday visit (referred to in my last mail) are common, certainly unquestioned and certainly  uninterpreted occurrences. However, PAUL COMMANDS US TO BE SILENT IN THE USE OF TONGUES IN CHURCH IF THERE IS NO INTERPRETATION. THIS is the absolute clarity of 1 Corinthians 14. Brother, I would ask you to put tradition aside for one moment and read God’s word afresh on the subject, without any pre-conceived ideas or doctrines. I realise that what I am writing will in some measure challenge your beliefs (and perhaps even offend!), but there is no intention to offend on my part, merely to educate. If I did not think it was worth it, I would not bother. Hopefully you will take it on this understanding. Please feel free to go through this with a fine tooth comb and you may show it to anyone for educational purposes. I will be discussing the whole issue with the Pastor as soon as I am able and depending on his answers, I will decide if I am to continue coming to XYZ Church . In my view, the issue is that serious. Let us just clarify one thing. I have never implied that tongues were not documented in the Bible! What I am saying is, if the meaningless babble offered by some of the congregation( and sweeping through Pentecostal, Charismatic and even mainstream churches today), permitted and accepted without question by all, are not true languages in the sense as known in the Biblical application of tongues, then where have they come from? I ask you again to examine this phenomenon in the light of the Bible. If these are genuine tongues and a move of the Holy Spirit, they will be supported by the Bible texts. In our investigation, let’s look again at 1 Corinthians 14. We will examine this in greater depth later, but there is already a significant clue Paul has given about the spiritual health of an individual or church which does not accept the Lord’s commands and which should immediately raise alarm bells: 1 Cor 14:34-38 KJV 34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.36 What? Came the word of God out from you? Or came it unto you only? 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. These verses are final, the tense and nature of the original Greek proves this. There is no explaining them away and Paul is correct. Incidentally, many women accept them in deference to the Lord and indeed the church has done so almost universally throughout history for more than 1,800 years. Here, verse 36 is equally important, because Pentecostal and Charismatic churches seem to think that they have exclusive rights on discussing all matters spiritual. They forget that that they are a relatively new and small movement which has only surfaced in the last two hundred years. So, is Paul correct? On his verdict then, a person is not spiritual if he does not acknowledge this teaching.  So what is happening at XYZ Church?  According to Paul, XYZ Church is not spiritual. XYZ Church is clearly not following this. It then follows that XYZ Church will also be lacking in spiritual discernment. Yes? So how does XYZ Church follow Paul’s teaching when it comes to the matter of speaking in tongues? 1 Cor 14:27-28 KJV: If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Again, THIS is the absolute clarity of 1 Corinthians 14.   Let us look at this.

  1. A MAXIMUM OF 3 TONGUE SPEAKERS IN CHURCH
  2. IN TURN
  3. THEN ONLY IF THERE IS AN INTERPRETER
  4. IF NO INTERPRETER THEN THE TONGUE SPEAKER MUST KEEP SILENT IN CHURCH

Please note: The complete OPPOSITE is being followed at XYZ Church and in many contemporary churches. Everyone is actually encouraged to sing and pray in tongues together, and all without interpretation. I know, because I was encouraged to! THIS IS IN COMPLETE DEFIANCE OF PAUL’S TEACHING. If Paul were here now, what do you think he would say? Would you say XYZ Church is following the Paul’s teaching on this or has it departed from it? If it has departed from it, why is no one saying anything about it? Is it because people are not strong enough to break the tradition?   Or is it because they are afraid to question their church leaders ? Or is it because they prefer to do what they want rather than what the Bible teaches?   1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 KJV 21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  22Abstain from all appearance of evil. If it is not within our power, God would not demand it of us. If we do not understand what we are saying, how can we prove if what we are saying is good or evil? Does it not seem strange to you therefore when we contrast this with modern tongues usage , where it is all about FALSE ‘self-edification’ and all/mostly consists of unintelligible babble, so that there is no Gospel message delivered? – THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE BIBLICAL REASON FOR TONGUES. In addition, in modern tongues usage neither the speaker nor the listener can understand what is being said. This then renders Pauls  message in 1 cor 14 about ‘understanding’ totally irrelevant! Since this is an indisputable fact, shouldn’t we be looking at this very seriously and with a great deal of caution? I am not saying there are no instances of genuine tongues usage in Church today. I believe they are entirely possible, because I believe that with God ALL things ARE possible. Before we move on, take a look at this extract from one of the early church fathers, Ireneaus, a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of the apostle John. Irenaeus tells us elsewhere that he has witnessed genuine tongues and other spiritual gifts in his time. The extract reminds me of what I have witnessed in churches in the UK, XYZ Church and also what I have heard is practiced in Charismatic churches (though it is dressed up a little differently). In the UK it goes under the guise of the Alpha Course, the founder being Nicky Gumbel and it is being actively promoted around the world, and has now reached India. Intrigued, I myself went through the whole Alpha course in the UK to see what this was all about and I have been to the ‘Holy Spirit weekend’ with Nicky Gumbel preaching- and I can testify that this is how he asks people to ‘call the holy spirit and speak in tongues’. All I heard around me was the same unintelligible babble I hear at XYZ Church and other similar churches. Alpha’s roots were from the phenomenon known as the Toronto Blessing which swept Canadian churches in the early nineties. I have exchanged letters with Nicky on the issue of whether it is permissible for a christian to go to war (scanned copies of letters and responses will be uploaded shortly) and I have told him that he is false and that he is promoting a very dangerous doctrine  : Irenaeus Against Heresies (Book 1, Chapter 13) The deceitful arts and nefarious practices of Marcus “…Receive from me a spouse, and become receptive of him, while you are received by him. Behold Charis has descended upon you; open your mouth and prophesy.” On the woman replying, “I have never at any time prophesied, nor do I know how to prophesy;” then engaging, for the second time, in certain invocations, so as to astound his deluded victim, he says to her, “ Open your mouth, speak whatever occurs to you, and you shall prophesy.”She then, vainly puffed up and elated by these words, and greatly excited in soul by the expectation that it is herself who is to prophesy, her heart beating violently [from emotion], reaches the requisite pitch of audacity, and idly as well as impudently utters some nonsense as it happens to occur to her, such as might be expected from one heated by an empty spirit.(Referring to this, one superior to me has observed, that the soul is both audacious and impudent when heated with empty air.)Henceforth she reckons herself a prophetess…. 4.But already some of the most faithful women, possessed of the fear of God, and not being deceived (whom nevertheless he did his best to seduce like the rest by bidding them prophesy), abhorring him and execrating him, have withdrawn from such a vile company of revelers. This they have done, as being well aware that the gift of prophesy is not conferred on men by Marcus, the magician, but that only those to whom God sends His grace from above possess the divinely bestowed power of prophesying; and not when Marcus orders them to do so. Please see Footnote (1)   Modern Charismatic churches are adopting the same methods. This is why I asked you to look at the previous Heidi Baker link and the similarities with Ms Renuka who spoke at XYZ Church, who even said the same words in what she claims are ‘tongues’ and the same prophecy.  Heidi Baker’s roots go back to the Toronto blessing. If you are interested, here is another link. Do take a look. Would you say this is someone who is possessed by the Holy Spirit? In the light that Heidi Baker obviously does not have the Holy Spirit  (or ‘slain in the spirit’ as the TV show presenter claims), when she is whooping and wailing and then disappears under the table- I presume she fell off her chair- and continues her conversation horizontally on the floor, complete with silly giggles. Where is the spiritual discernment here? http://event.cbn.com/spiritualgifts/event/?EventID=11  Tongues is such a frequently misunderstood topic that I have gone into it at some length- particularly as more and more churches are embracing an increasingly Charismatic doctrine. By understanding the clearer passages in 1 Corinthians 14 one may understand the obscure, especially when the letter to the Corinthians is placed in context of both the Old and the New Testament. Remember, God gave the gift of tongues for a PURPOSE. What was this purpose? You already touched on it: Acts 2:1-13 Acts 10:44-48 Acts 19:1-7 The purpose here was to reach out to three categories of people- the Jews, the Gentiles and the Samaritans. By giving the sign of tongues at that time, a message was sent for all generations- that the God of Israel is a God for Mankind. Tongues were a sign to the Jews- they had become arrogant-they thought they could only be God’s people, God showed them this was not the case. So to what purpose are the so called tongues we hear at XYZ Church and many other churches today- by this I mean the unintelligible mutterings/prayer language/ecstatic utterances, which are all offered without understanding and interpretation? Before I go any further, it must first be pointed out that the word translated as ‘tongue’ in the Bible has always only been used in the sense that it is either referring to the organ itself or to a language of the world. Throughout the Bible, Old and New Testaments, including the book of Revelation, in all the instances where the use of tongues was described in Mark and Acts, its usage has been in this context. In 1 Corinthians 14, the original Greek  word is ‘Glossa’ for the word which has been translated as ‘tongue’ and which in the context  can mean ‘tongue’- the organ itself or as in the usual biblical context, an interpretable known language of the world. In the Bible the word has never been used for a non -language or sounds/unintelligible muttering or as some people describe ‘ecstatic utterances’. These kind of utterances however are common place in pagan religions and the occult but there is not a shred of evidence for them being used in the Bible by men of God. If you wish to disagree, please find them and show me! Please see STRONG’s definition for the word translated as ‘tongue’- From the Greek word ‘Glossa’ used in the New Testament, it means also the organ the tongue and it also means ‘the language or dialect used by a particular people distinct from that of other nations’. The usage of the word ‘unknown’ by the translators: In order to understand 1 Corinthians 14, it is EXTREMELY MPORTANT to know that in the KJV/AV and some other translations the word ‘unknown’ has been added   in some of the passages by the translators. By this, the original translators were trying to be helpful to show that Paul merely meant an ‘unknown’ foreign language which was not understood by the listeners (and not that it was an language unknown to the world).Please see an extract of Strong’s Greek lexicon for 1 Corinthians 14 below with my additional notes in the margins. You may verify this for yourself on the internet by doing your own study.We can see which words were added by the translators and which were not in the original Greek text. Knowledge of this will help in understanding the true intent of the apostle Paul’s statement. This in itself should indicate to you that the word tongue was used in its general usage by Paul- in the usual biblical sense of the word, that is, a foreign language. And indeed we see this meaning applied to all the instances where tongues were used. In the quotations I have taken from the KJV I have also placed the word in italics. I want to make clear that this is what the purpose of this debate is- Speaking in Tongues-real languages or meaningless babble? I maintain that meaningless babble is false tongues and that is what I am trying to prove to you.  At this point it is highly instructive to see what our Lord Jesus says on the matter: Matthew 6:7-12 KJV 7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. The original Greek and Hebrew words for the word translated repetitions: Word: battologew Pronounce: bat-tol-og-eh’-o Strongs Number: G945 Orig: from Battos (a proverbial stammerer) and 3056; to stutter, i.e. (by implication) to prate tediously:–use vain repetitions. G3056 Use: TDNT-1:597,103 Verb Heb Strong: 1)      to stammer 2) to repeat the same things over and over, to use many idle words, to babble, prate. Some suppose the word derived from Battus, a king of Cyrene, who is said to have stuttered; others from Battus, an author of tedious and wordy poems And from Answers.com:  n.  Stuttering The act of one who stutters; — restricted by some physiologists to defective speech due to inability to form the proper sounds, the breathing being normal, as distinguished from stammering. Stam·mer·ing n. (Physiol.) A disturbance in the formation of sounds. It is due essentially to long-continued spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm, by which expiration is prevented, and hence it may be considered as a spasmodic inspiration. In verse 9, the Lord then goes on to teach us how to pray and gives us the Lord’s Prayer. Short, simple and to the point, but more importantly, the prayer was clearly UNDERSTOOD by the speaker. No doubt someone will tell me that the ‘babble’ or ‘prate’ described above is not the same as the unintelligible babble that I am referring to in this discussion… I do also examine some of the ideas  concerning tongues, such as whether the unknown foreign language is actually understood by the tongue speaker or not and I look at the arguments for and against such views, however, my ultimate conclusion must be that the tongue speaker obviously knew what he was saying. The main theme of 1 Cor 14 is all about UNDERSTANDING. If there is no understanding in the audience, then the tongue speaker must keep silent. Why? Because the audience and/ the church is not edified or built up- they do not know what is being said. Therefore, if we are to keep silent if the audience does not understand, it would then be ludicrous to say that we may pray privately WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING for self-edification, as Paul has already established that the church is NOT EDIFIED WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING (1 Cor 14:17). If the church cannot be edified without understanding, how can an individual who does not understand what he is saying be edified? Therefore we MUST ASSUME THAT THE SPEAKER FULLY UNDERSTANDS THE TONGUE HE SPEAKS and he is to pray that the listener will be able to understand.  If the listener cannot understand, the speaker should remain silent. Let’s look at this logically for one moment. If a person prays without understanding what he himself is saying, how will he know if his prayers have been answered? Indeed, how will he know what he has prayed for, if anything at all, to start with?? A common, but faulty, argument used to explain this is to say that although the person does not understand the’ tongues’ (or unintelligible utterance), it is his Spirit groaning. They use Romans 8:26 to justify this: Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. But they fail to note that the Greek word translated as ‘uttered’  is ‘alaletos’ which  means  they cannot be expressed in any speech, so this passage CANNOT be referring to tongues, known or unknown. See below:

Strong’s Number:  215

a)la/lhtov

Original Word Word Origin
a)la/lhtov from (1) (as a negative particle) and a derivative of (2980)
Transliterated Word Phonetic Spelling
Alaletos al-al’-ay-tos
Parts of Speech TDNT
Adjective None
 Definition
  1. not to be uttered, not expressed in words
 Translated Words
KJV(1) – which cannot be uttered, 1;NAS (2) – too deep, 1; too deep for words, 1;

Now let’s look at 1 Cor 14 in depth. I believe I have the Spirit of God on this. EXPLAINING 1 CORINTHIANS 14   The one major problem people have with 1 Cor 14 is that they struggle to understand the meaning of the obscure passages first without understanding what is plainly stated and what is the overall thrust of the  message. As Paul says ‘God is not the author of confusion.’ Actually, 1 Cor 14 is all about the application of plain common sense! We can only work with the knowledge one possesses- various translations of old biblical texts and biblical accounts of actual tongues usage. As for a genuine, authenticated   account of tongue speaking in recent times (many say that tongue speaking  ceased altogether in the third century AD in fulfillment of Paul’s prophecy 1 Cor 13:8-10 KJV), I have no knowledge (Please see Footnote (2)).  I can only refer to the Bible and use whatever spiritual discernment I have.   On the subject of tongues and 1 Cor 14, probably the most accurate English translation of the original Greek text is the King James Version. However, as we have seen, the translators have obviously struggled to produce a translation that best explains their understanding, given the little Greek text they had to start with. Going back to the original Greek, I do believe that there is still possibly a little leeway for better interpretation. Some of these interpretations are put forward -they are a bit involved, but you may follow my thought process. However, I personally believe, after having examined 1 Corinthians 14 line by line and also in the context of the Bible, that Paul implied from his statements that a TRUE tongue speaker would only ever speak if his audience could understand what he was saying, that is, they could understand him. Otherwise he would remain silent. That the tongue speaker himself understood what he was saying is taken for granted. But we must also acknowledge that the word interpretation can also embrace the following meaning as well, that is, that someone may well understand the words themselves but not the message or meaning behind the words, so when Paul’s  exhortation is to pray for interpretation* (the actual Greek word used in the original text is ‘diermeneuo’-please see below) , it could in this sense apply to the audience and tongue speaker alike. The Bible is an excellent example of this requirement to interpret the meaning of the words in context. Many Jews heard God being praised in their own language but they did not understand the significance. The tongues were a sign for unbelievers.

Strong’s G1329 – diermēneuō

διερμηνεύω

Transliteration

diermēneuō

Pronunciation

dē-er-mā-nyü’-ō (Key)

Part of Speech

verb

Root Word (Etymology)

From διά (G1223) and ἑρμηνεύω (G2059)

TDNT Reference

2:661,256

Vines

View Entry

Outline of Biblical Usage

1) to unfold the meaning of what is said, explain, expound 2) to translate into one’s native language

Authorized Version (KJV) Translation Count — Total: 6

AVinterpret 4, by interpretation 1, expound 1

Strong’s Greek Lexicon Search Results


Result of search for “interpret”: 1329. diermeneuo dee-er-main-yoo’-o from 1223 and 2059; to explain thoroughly, by implication, to translate:–expound, interpret(-ation).

1 Corinthians 14 :13 Wherefore 1355 let him that speaketh 2980 in an [unknown] tongue 1100 pray 4336 that 2443 he may interpret 1329 . Throughout the Old Testament, God brought judgement on the Jews through people who spoke foreign languages. You may say, ‘but Paul says we should also pray for the gift of interpretation or that someone else will interpret, so this means the speaker could speak a tongue without understanding it’. Yes, in terms of the translations we have, I suppose that is one way of looking at it, but that does not mean it is the correct way of looking at it. And if we want to explore this, then, what does one mean by ‘understanding’- does it mean the language or the significance of the meaning behind the words? Let’s look at the verse in question : 1 Cor 14:13KJV [13] Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. The words ‘…he may..’, (the part I have placed in bold), have been added by the translators and are not in the original Greek text. The ‘he’ here could very well refer to the listener, based on the discussion in verse 11 or in fact, one could very well insert ‘they may’ instead of ‘he may’ for clarity . Based on the previous verses and in context, we will agree that the theme is very plainly one where the LISTENER is the person who must understand for him to be edified. If there is any doubt, take a look below! Let’s look at the preceding verses 1 Cor 14:6-12 below (here I have placed the words in bold to stress the point ): [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? [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? [8] For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? [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. [10] There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. [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. [12] Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. THE OVER RIDING FACTOR IS THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF INTERPRETATION OR UNDERSTANDING ON THE PART OF THE LISTENER THEN PAUL DEFINITELY SAYS THAT IN CHURCH THE TONGUE SPEAKER SHOULD KEEP SILENT. This he has made abundantly clear. In fact, so clear, that it must automatically be assumed that the tongue speaker himself understands what he is saying, or else how could he make others understand and how could he be able to respond to questions posed by his listeners in the same language? For example, how do I speak to a French man in French and respond to his questions in French if I myself do not understand what I am saying? It is obvious the speaker understood the foreign language he was speaking  and knew what he was saying. It cannot mean that the speaker had to have the gift of interpretation because if he had, he may as well have spoken in his native language in the first place.It only makes sense if the listener is to interpret.Again, if the church cannot be edified without understanding, how can an individual who does not understand what he is saying be edified? Remember, Paul has already established that the church is NOT EDIFIED WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING (1 Cor 14:17) and so an individual is only edified by understanding (1 Cor 14:4). Paul is getting people to think along these lines-that the question which should arise in the tongue speaker’s mind should be ‘if I myself do not understand the significance of what I am saying, (the message or meaning behind the words that is-not that he does not understand the words) why should I speak? Do I speak in the hope that someone will explain the meaning? Supposing there is no one. What is the point then?’  -See verse 6 above-Do you follow what I am saying? I can recall two instances in the New Testament where an answer is given, that requires the listener to examine himself before he continues to pass judgement or continue with an action. 1)      ‘Let him who has not sinned cast the first stone’. Jesus does not directly tell them not to throw a stone, he knows they will not when they start thinking properly. 2)      Where the soldiers asked John:  Luke 3:14 KJV And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man….’ He did not directly tell them to leave the military, although this was the consequence of his words. (Incidentally, this is why I tend to use the KJV more- it is probably the most accurate translation, other translations often do not say this, but offer a watered down version, presumably because Governments still need armies. There are records of Roman soldiers who were executed because they put down their weapons and left the Roman army when they became Christians .) Let’s continue to see if this theme of ‘understanding’ is followed by looking at the verses which follow: Explanation of 1 Cor 14:14-19 and verse 23 KJV [14] For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. [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. [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? [17] For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. [18] I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: [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. [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? Again, here the theme is VERY CLEARLY one where the LISTENER MUST UNDERSTAND. I have placed in bold what I am wanting to stress. It is taken for granted that the speaker understands, as in verse 16 when the speaker ‘shall bless with the spirit’, how would he know he had blessed in the spirit unless he understood the tongue? And as in verse 17, he is admonished that he ‘gave thanks well but the other was not edified’, therefore, how did the speaker know he gave thanks well if the speaker did not understand what he himself was saying? As for self-edification of the speaker or edification of the listener, this only occurs where there is understanding. This we have already discussed before. But let us look at verse 14 and verse 19 where I have highlighted the word ‘my’ in the phrase ‘my understanding’. I maintain that this means ‘understanding of me. And this makes sense in not only the particular verse but also in the whole context of the chapter. Indeed, this is a possible interpretation of the Greek word. See STRONG’S Greek word Bible dictionary below and also the Strong’s Greek Translation of 1 Cor 14 above. STRONGS 3450   //  mou  //  mou   //  moo  // genitive of   1473  , the simpler form of   1700  ; pron AV – my 501, me 52, mine 19, I 11, mine own 4; 587 1) I, me, my, of me Strong’s Greek Definition for # 3450 ‘…with MY understanding’ OR ‘understanding OF ME…’?   For example, if I say, ‘I am teaching a class of children French but my understanding is unfruitful’, would you say I did not understand or that the class did not understand? We know what I mean, because the meaning can be no other in the context . The understanding is unfruitful because it has not been understood by the LISTENERS, in this case the class of children. If they did understand, then understanding has been fruitful. Now, if I say, ‘I am teaching a class French but ‘understanding of me is unfruitful’ then the sentence is explained more fully. Supposing  I say, ‘I would rather speak five words of a language to a class of children with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words which were not understandable’, would you say the understanding was for me or for the class? We know what I mean, because the meaning can be no other in the context. Now, if I say, ‘I would rather speak five words of a language to a class of children with understanding of me, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand word which were not understandable’, then the sentence is explained more fully. So looking at 1 Cor 14 again, inserting ‘of me’ instead of ‘my‘, we have:

14] For if I pray (in front of others)* in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but understanding of me is unfruitful. [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. [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? [17] For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. [18] I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: [19] Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with  understanding of me, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

Actually, even if we remove ‘my’ or ‘of me’ altogether, the common sense reading of the passage would result in the same meaning.
(* I have added ‘in front of others‘ here for clarity only- this is implied by verse 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?..”). Now let’s also apply the understanding theme to the obscure verse 2. 1 Cor 14:2 KJV For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. At first glance, it is not immediately apparent that Paul is in fact referring to an audience. Naturally, this is nothing unusual, we have only just started reading the chapter! This we discover as we read on. Actually, here he means that when the speaker talks in a foreign language to his audience, if they do not understand , then it is inevitable that the speaker is merely speaking to God, since no one else can understand him. This is confirmed in verse 28. We have already established in our discussion that the speaker himself understood what he was saying. If only this verse was to be used by Paul, then for clarity it should have read ‘…he that speaketh an unknown tongue to an audience, speaketh not unto men…’. However, it is not necessary as it is totally clarified in the later passages, for example  1 Cor 14:28KJV below, as already stated, and in the theme throughout the chapter. 1 Cor 14:28 KJV 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. In the absence of an audience who can understand, it is inevitable that the only people who can understand are the speaker and God, which was the theme started in verse 2 as we have just seen. In my opinion, 1 Cor 14 asserts that Paul could speak, understand all, and * interpret all the languages he used, because he spoke many. Why do I say this? 1 Cor 14:18 KJV I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: If Paul did not understand them, how could he know how many he spoke? You may say each language has a certain nuance and that he could recognize that they were different without understanding them. Is this possible? Let’s take the case of India- I am told there are three hundred dialects, and all of which sound very similar to me if I do not understand any of them! Would I be able to distinguish between all of them if I did not understand them? *Interpret ALL, because, I believe he would not have SPOKEN them if he could not understand them. Supposing, for arguments sake, that even after all our discussion, one still maintains that Paul can have received the gift of a tongue which he did not understand. Well, if this was the case, I would still believe, based on the strength of his message in 1 Cor 14, and in the context of the Bible, that he would not use it until he could understand what he was saying. I suppose if he heard the tongue being used elsewhere by a person of that nationality he could discern it and ask that person to interpret. But suppose that person gave a false interpretation? If Paul did not understand it, how would he know if the interpreter was telling the truth? I do not believe that Paul did not understand what he was saying when he spoke in tongues. Why? Because I cannot possibly imagine Paul using a tongue (foreign language) in public, and being approached by someone in public who then asked him for a translation and/or meaning, and Paul replying that he did not know. Can you imagine this? To me it is inconceivable. One more look at: 1 Cor 14:27-28 KJV 27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. How can we explain this? For example, an Englishman may receive the gift of speaking French. He himself understands the meaning of what he is saying, whether in English or French, but the audience is German and let us say that they do not understand English or French. In this case the tongue speaker should be silent because no one else can interpret it. You may say that if the tongue speaker understands it, surely the tongue speaker can interpret it. Yes, he can, but not in the language the German audience can understand, so the audience’s understanding of the tongue speaker is unfruitful and so they are not edified. If one of the Germans happened to know French or English as well, (or the Englishman knew German!) then either could act as the interpreter. But if no one was to be found, the tongue speaker should remain silent and speak to himself and to God. Do you follow? At the Corinthian church many people spoke in different tongues without interpretation and without order. Remember, in Acts 2, at Pentecost at least 16 different languages were spoken. Here the listeners were the interpreters as they immediately understood as they heard their own language being spoken. Now, specifically answering the points you had made : With reference to your point a) tongues as a experience is documented in the bible Let me say again, I never implied that tongues were not documented in the Bible! Let there be no misunderstanding, I am not denying the existence of tongues in the Bible, speaking in tongues is in the Bible, but in the context that they are tongues as HUMAN LANGUAGES as documented in the Bible (as was the intention of the original Greek). I refer you again to Acts 2:1-13, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-7. Remember, in the Bible, in ALL the cases where the tongues phenomenon was recorded, they were foreign languages in the sense that they were not the native language of the speaker, who had no previous knowledge or understanding of them, but by the power of the Holy Spirit conveyed the message of God to unbelievers who heard and believed the message in their OWN LANGUAGE or in turn heard and still did not believe. This is why Paul says the tongues are a sign for unbelievers. This is the OPPOSITE of what is seen in many churches today, including, in my experience, at XYZ Church. Nowadays, tongues have come to mean a different thing- unintelligible prayer language/mutterings/ecstatic utterances or non-languages/sounds from the vocal cords. To what purpose?  Self-edification?  Paul said the Church was to be edified. How are they a sign for unbelievers?  Do they spread the Gospel? No -in fact people are deterred from coming to Church.  In the bible, it was a fact that at least someone understood and could interpret the tongues. In the situation we have today, NO-ONE understands them. Biblical prophecy predicted authentic tongues as a move of God. Unintelligible babble was not predicted as a move of God.  They are the exact opposite of the Biblical tongues. What do we call something that superficially looks authentic but upon examination is not?   David, in my understanding, and from your earlier silence, it appears you are endorsing the unintelligible mutterings? Please do let me know if you are not. Take a look at the following: 1 Cor 14:10 KJV There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. This again supports the fact that the gift of tongues was for speaking a language of the world not previously known by the speaker for communication of the gospel to a particular race of people for God’s purpose – the voices had meaning (signification). A POPULAR MISCONCEPTION Some people misunderstand Paul’s intention in 1 Cor 13:1KJV when he says: ‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels….’ They think this to mean that he actually spoke in tongues of angels. He also went on to say in 1 Cor 13:2  KJV  ‘And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains…’ But we know he could not do all these things- he was only making his point that ‘even if’ he could do all these things, without Charity or Love, they were meaningless. This is proved when he later says: 1 Cor 13:9 KJV For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. In any case, instances where angels have spoken in the New Testament have been in the native language of the listener. 1 Cor 14:21-22 KJV ‘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. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believeth not…’ We know this prophecy was fulfilled by the use of human languages of the world. Can you not see that this would not make any sense if tongues were anything other than a human language? 1 Corinthians 14 does not make any sense unless this is the case. In the New Testament, many Jews both native to Jerusalem and from other parts of the world heard Gentiles and the apostles praising God in their own Jewish language but many still did not believe. Tongues are what convinced Peter that the salvation of Christ is offered also to the Gentiles. This is what the prophet Isaiah meant when he said, referring to the unbelief of the Jews : Isaiah 28:11 KJV 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.  12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. No doubt, someone will tell me that here it says ‘stammering lips’ therefore it means unintelligible  babble. We all agree that we are in the Last Times, Yes? Then it is important to study the Bible and see what it says concerning the Last Times. We are told there will be signs and wonders to deceive even the elect if that were possible. In my opinion, the unintelligible babble we are hearing today in many churches is all part of this Great Deception. In NONE of the cases were the tongues of the kind we are seeing in some churches in contemporary christianity and at XYZ Church- again I am speaking of merely mystical/ecstatic/angelic/syllables/sounds from the vocal cords.  In all of the cases in the New Testament where the apostles were involved, an interpreter was NOT required, except when Paul was addressing the Corinthian church on this point- that without order and with every one speaking in different languages, they were to exercise control- no point in speaking in another language if there was no one there to understand.  If an unbeliever or person not well acquainted with scripture came in, he would think they were all mad- especially if no interpretation could be given. Paul also spoke of the correct position of tongues in their relation to the other spiritual matters, namely that it was of least importance if there was no interpreter, as without an interpreter the Church could not be edified.  Love, prophecy and teaching were the greater gifts to be desired. ANOTHER LOOK AT EDIFICATION First, as we have both already read 1 Cor 14, let’s have a quick recap-if there was no interpreter of the foreign language, then the speaker was to keep silent. Agreed? 1 Cor 14:5 KJV 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. On the topic of using unknown/unintelligible mutterings prayer language for private prayer, we need to use some spiritual discernment here. If, for example, you are saying these are genuine tongues but the speaker does not understand them, ask yourself, why would God wish anyone to pray PRIVATELY to Him in another ‘language’ which the speaker and no one else can understand??  Why not pray using the language the speaker does understand- it is in private after all? Here, Paul does NOT commend people to pray in UNKNOWN tongues (foreign languages) in private, he effectively says it is pointless if there is no understanding on the part of the listener. This applies also to 1 Cor 14:2, 1 Cor 14:4 and echoed also in 1 Cor 14:28 (see above).  From the whole of chapter 14 it would be fair to say that Paul would NEVER speak in a tongue in church WITHOUT interpretation. Can you not see, it is nonsense to suggest that speaking tongues as per the New Testament refers to anything other than a language of the world given by the Holy Spirit to the speaker for COMMUNICATING THE GOSPEL OR FOR PRAISING GOD ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE? In the biblical use of tongues, the primary purpose was for edification of the CHURCH, not the individual: 1 Cor. 12:7 KJV – But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. This theme is continued: 1 Cor 14 :15-17 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. NOTE: The key point here is that whatever he does, it is to be with understanding. UNDERSTANDING is the key issue here. This theme is continued:  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?17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified. NOTE: Here, it is implied that the tongue was UNDERSTOOD by the speaker and NOT by the listener. Paul takes it for granted the speaker must understand what he is saying or how could he bless with the spirit, know he gave thanks well and know that his thanks were directed to God? Therefore, the speaker gives thanks well because the speaker understood, but the listener did not understand and so was not edified. Compare this with 1 Cor 14:14. We have already looked at how this must be interpreted (please see 1 CORINTHIANS 14 EXPLAINED and the sub-heading Explanation of 1 Cor 14:14-19 and verse 23 KJV and this merely confirms the above theme. If the speaker prays in an unknown tongue to a listener (‘listener’ because it is implied by the whole theme of the chapter, or one could say that the whole chapter is couched in a ‘speaker’ and ‘listener’ context), here, the speaker’s spirit is edified, but because, the listener  could not understand him, that is, THE LISTENER’S UNDERSTANDING OF THE SPEAKER WAS UNFRUITFUL .So in 1 Cor 16-17 above, although the speaker gave  thanks well ,because the speaker understood what he himself was saying,  but because THE LISTENER did not know what he was saying, THE LISTENER  WAS NOT EDIFIED. YES? As stated previously, we are reminded that self-edification is NOT the purpose of a spiritual gift : 1 Cor. 12:7 KJV – But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. Ask yourself, how many of the XYZ Church congregation (or for that matter, many of the contemporary churches such as the Charismatics and those bordering on Charismatic movement) can understand the ‘tongues’ they speak, even if in private? If they cannot, they are not giving thanks well, as Paul rightly says. Actually, according to Paul, there is every indication that speaking in tongues would eventually cease: 1 Cor 13:8-10 KJV 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. With reference to your point b) tongues are for all Christians 1cor14:5   With regard to 1Cor 14:5, Paul did NOT say tongues are for all Christians. Please see above. In 1 Cor 14:5 He said he WOULD (like) that all spoke in tongues- meaning that he recognized that all did not! (-Brackets mine) And this is further verified by: 1 Cor 12:28-31 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.29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (these are rhetorical questions with the answer being NO) 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.’ (-Brackets mine) With reference to your point c) tongues and interpretation of tongues are two distinct gifts 1 cor12:10 -Yes, but it does not mean a person cannot have both, or more gifts. The apostle Paul did, and so did others. That is why Paul asked people who had the gift of tongues to also pray for the gift of interpretation. It is possible that one tongue speaker may also act as an interpreter for another tongue speaker. And consider the context in which he is suggesting we pray for interpretation. Not so he can understand the language, but that others who do not understand the language may be given an interpretation. The whole emphasis throughout  1 Corinthians 14 is that the  listener should understand what the speaker is saying. Indeed, that is the purpose for which language was created, for communication! Please note also, that where there is the gift of tongues, the Holy Spirit will also provide the gift of interpretation. God does not allow one to exist and not the other. There seems to be a particular lack of the gift of interpretation at XYZ Church. With reference to your point d) on 1 Cor 14:4, 1 Cor 14:18, that for personal edification ‘tongues are best’ -It does NOT say that for personal edification ‘tongues is best’ as you say. You are taking 1 Cor 14:4 out of context. If we want to examine what is best for self-edification we need to ‘…covet earnestly the best gifts’ 1 Cor 12:31KJV (see above). The best gifts are not tongues, but prophecy and teaching, and so it follows that these are best for edifying. Again, please see my explanation above regarding these passages. How one is edified has also been explained in depth earlier. Paul merely states a fact: that if one speaks an unkown tongue (by this, it is implied to the listener), it is inevitable that the only person who can be edified is the speaker! Also, with regard to 1 Cor 14:18-19 KJV, this has already been explained earlier. With reference to your point e) tongues are not for understanding all the time (1cor14:2). This has already been addressed. Please read 1 CORINTHIANS 14 EXPLAINED above. With reference to your point that 1 Cor 14:39 Paul says we are not to forbid tongue speaking – Yes, but this must be in the context of the rules he had just laid down in verse 27-28. AFTERTHOUGHTS NOTE: A word of caution! We are moving down a very dangerous path if we think we can speak in  tongues that we do not understand. I do not have the gift of speaking tongues. I do not speak in tongues. I refuse to say anything that I do not understand. Let us remember that Hindu tantrics and proponents of Kundalini speak in ‘unknown tongues’, or ‘mumbo jumbo’. So do those who practice voodoo and other forms of the occult So do some Muslims and some Roman Catholics. According to the Roman Catholics, Muslims follow the same God as they do (-they have stated so in their own Catechism of the Catholic church).Very true!  Neither are following Jesus Christ. Even in ancient Corinth, the pagan temple prostitutes used to inhale the smoke of incense and as they became more intoxicated they began to speak in unintelligible tongues or ecstatic language, which at the time was thought by the pagan worshippers to be divine languages. I repeat again- If I do not know what I am saying, how am I to know if I am blessing or cursing? How is one to know if it is a holy spirit or the spirit of error? Please consider my points very carefully in the light of God’s Word. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Shailin Author’s note and Footnotes : I received a reply from David shortly after, which did not address any of the questions I had put forward, but instead broadened the discussion to other topics. I responded with another mail, answering his questions and refuting his arguments, and posing my questions again, to which he admitted he could provide no answer. He suggested I approach his church leadership for their opinion.I took David’s permission and sent copies of our correspondence to the Pastor and several other leaders within the same church to hear what they had to say. In the meantime I informed them that I could no longer attend their church.After a few months, and then only after prompting from me, I finally received an email to come and discuss it over coffee. I requested that they let me know a convenient time. It has been over a year now and I am still waiting… The Great Revival that many churches around the world are proclaiming is nothing more than the Great Deception. Scripture itself tells us that in the Last Times there will be a great falling away (emphasis mine):

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

King James Version (KJV)

1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. Sound speech and sound mind are to be characteristics of the Christian (emphasis mine): Titus 2:1-8 King James Version (KJV) 1But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

2 Timothy 1:7

King James Version (KJV) 7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. James 1:26 King James Version (KJV) 26If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Since we are in the Last Times, to whom is our Lord Jesus Christ referring when He says? :

Matthew 7:21-23

King James Version (KJV) Emphasis mine.

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Footnote (1) Another modern day illustration which confirms the truth of Irenaeus remarkable statements against Marcus is the statement made by well known Charismatic Stacey Campbell. Excerpts from her book ‘Ecstatic Prophecy’ by Stacey and Wesley Campbell, in her own words, on describing her being ‘filled with the spirit’ (emphasis mine) : “…. something began to happen to me. Out of nowhere my foot began to shake. As though it had a will of its own it trembled, softly at first, thenforcefully. The shaking moved from my foot up my leg and down my other leg. My stomach instantly filled with a strong wind that began pushing up my windpipe and out of my mouth. My body began to bounce like a jackhammer—up and down off my chair—as my head shook violently from side to side. No one was praying for me or touching me. What is going on? I wondered. I did not feel afraid, yet I was unable to comprehend what was happening to my body. I was not initiating this experience at any level. I was being overcome by the Spirit of God, and much like the 120 disciples on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2) it was affecting my body in ways that were beyond my control. I was as surprised as anyone when the wind burst out of my mouth, forming into a language I had never spoken before.I found myself speaking in tongues at the top of my lungs. This was my first encounter with the phenomenon known as ecstatic prophecy or divine spirit possession. What I experienced that night for the first time, which I had never heard of and which I thought was something new, was actually nothing new at all. I would soon discover that forms of ecstatic prophecy have existed since Old Testament times.That night, however, no one was more shocked than I was to experience such phenomena.” Note the striking similarities to the account of Irenaeus provided earlier in my article. Footnote (2) As I already mentioned in this article, there are different views on the subject of cessation of gifts and as I said I have no knowledge. However, we do know from the New Testament record that in Paul’s later ministry, some of his disciples were suffering from illnesses and died.Why were they not cured? Had the gift ceased? Clearly, God did not allow them to be physically healed. He also advised some to take wine to help ease their stomach ailment. They were obviously not cured through him. Contrast this with his previous miracles of raising the dead and also that of Peter, whose shadow was enough to cure all who stepped into it. The Jews admitted the miracles of Jesus.His enemies did not deny them. They only wanted to kill him because he claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God. However, today, all those who claim to have raised the dead- notably the ‘signs and wonders’ brigade of the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches- cannot produce even one authenticated instance. Something to bear in mind. The Benny Hinns of this world  have been shown to be frauds but still people blindly follow them and refuse to believe otherwise. Final Thoughts People who advocate the use of these false tongues/meaningless babble and say it is a heavenly language have been deceived and are believing a lie. It is my earnest desire and prayer that all who read this article will recognise and turn away from this false practice with a renewed mind. Therefore, I strongly advise all who are still confused about this subject to prayerfully read and work through the explanations  given above. God would not adjure us to test the spirits if there was not a means of doing so. The answers are in the Bible for those who earnestly seek them. In Jesus name, may God bless you Shailin Ramji

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Author: havefaithinjesus

I am a Christian of the Body of Christ.

4 thoughts on “Of Pentecostals, Charismatics, Tongues and Alpha: 1 Corinthians 14 explained”

  1. Thank you for this page…I think you are 100% correct in everything you’ve written! I also have a question concerning this very subject

    Didn’t Paul also say that these gifts would cease to exist but later near the end of times reappear? I’m of the understanding that God gave the gifts to the 12 apostles who in turn passed these gifts on to some of their helpers? But only the apostles had the ability to pass these gifts down but none other than the apostles had this ability and so the gifts died with the apostles and their helpers! Please correct me if I’m wrong. Thank you.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Welcome to this blog!I am sorry I could not reply earlier. Thank you for forcing me to examine this topic again.

      You asked:

      “Didn’t Paul also say that these gifts would cease to exist but later near the end of times reappear?”

      Do you have a scriptural reference for them reappearing at the end of times?

      As to your questions, at this point in time, I do not think I can honestly say if you are wrong or right, because I have not yet come to a firm conclusion on this matter. I suggest we both pray for an answer!

      But I tend to agree with you- based on my experience and knowledge, the sign gifts such as tongues, miracles, prophecy and healing appear to have ceased during the time of the apostles, or shortly after. However, I should differentiate -if it is even possible- between the sign gifts and those miracles which occur because of fervent prayer of faith to God in the name of Jesus, which I believe are still possible today. I believe that with God, anything is possible.

      I say ‘if it is even possible’, because ultimately, one could argue that if a gift is not received or one’s prayer is not answered, it may not be because the gifts have ceased of their own, but because of one’s lack of faith that they have ceased to be given, or if prayer is not answered, because one prayed with the wrong motives, or because the prayer request was not in alignment with the will of God. It may be that God no longer requires the gifts of tongues, miracles, prophecy and healing to be in operation. In my opinion, therefore, I think it is important to distinguish between gifts, which can be exercised at will by the recipient of the gift-as in the Corinthian church- and the simple prayer of faith.

      So perhaps a better way of looking at this topic is to honestly consider if one’s personal prayer requests have been answered fully, and if one claims to have the gift of healing or the gift of tongues or the gift of prophecy, to examine these claims honestly and thoroughly.

      Of course, I believe that God can still provide these gifts to individuals if He chooses to do so, but if these gifts are for all christians and are in operation today, I am sure that we would have heard about their occurrence outside of christian circles, and that with the media and technology of today, these would have been broadcasted around the world. In the case of Heidi Baker, for example, we only hear of the dead being raised to life from some of her followers. It seems to me that if a genuine miracle occurred, it would have been on all the major news channels. Remember, the Jews wanted to stone Jesus not because of the miracles, which they actually acknowledged and did not deny, but because he claimed to be the Son of God. Present day acts of healing, prophecy, raising the dead, and tongues claimed by those practitioners are not only dismissed by non-christians, but many christians do not even acknowledge them. This does seem to suggest that the sign gifts are either not in operation today or are extremely rare.

      Ultimately, Paul shows us a better way and says that faith, hope and love remain, and that the greatest of these is love. If I can attain to these I do not need the other spiritual gifts.

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