"Tongues" has been a subject debated in the church between Bible believing Christians mostly since the late eighteen hundreds, and has caused the clearest separation of Saints since the great "Calvinism vs Arminism" debates. Adherents from both sides switch positions from, one side to the other from time to time causing discontent among all their former peers, friends, and relatives, because of their change of doctrinal understanding of the subject. Such is my own case!
I have wanted to be able to put my thoughts on paper concerning the subject for some time now, regarding the "tongues controversy" which has been raging all of this century in the Christian church. Recently, it has been picking up speed in our present day, due to the greater penetration of the manifestation of "tongues" in every area of the Church! It is no longer practiced in only "left wing" fanatical sects, but is practiced in virtually every denomination, and is no longer confined to the back rooms of storefront missions, but is openly manifested in many superb edifices in the Sunday morning worship services, as well as thousands of home prayer meetings, conventions, restaurant meetings by clergy and lay people alike in almost every denomination, and every walk of life, regardless of race, gender, or profession!
The purpose of this work is to set down on paper my own understanding of the "Gifts of Tongues and Interpretation" mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:10. My concern, along with multitudes of other Christians is: "Is the present manifestations of tongues and interpretation being practiced in most of the churches today genuine Biblical tongues, such as was manifested at Pentecost, or are the manifestations counterfeit? Did the real gift of tongues cease with the death of the last apostle as some say, or did it continue throughout the church age to present? If it did cease, then what are we experiencing in the church today?
It is not my objective to convince anyone that the gifts have ceased, or for that matter, that they have not ceased, because I am convinced that only the Holy Spirit can open the heart of understanding of anyone to become convinced of anything!
Therefore, as I set the results of my research concerning the subject down on paper, along with my experiences, knowing that my thoughts will be open for inspection and criticism, I approach this task with fear and trembling! I feel greatly inadequate to even voice a conviction or opinion of whether the tongues we are seeing manifested in our day are Biblical, or otherwise! I have been agonizing and in much prayer in the past weeks even thinking of starting this work, but as an elect child of God who is completely sold out to the truth of the Bible, I must judge my experiences by the bible, rather than judge the Bible by my experiences, and leave the results to God!
I do not present this thesis as the last authority on the subject, but only as a humble effort to share my experiences, and research with any soul who is searching for the truth as free of error as possible as I am. I have been praying that the Holy Spirit will even further clarify the' subject to me as I work on this thesis so I may aim my future worship obediently towards Christ as He would be worshipped, as the great "I Am" of the Holy Bible! Therefore Brethren, follow along with me on "a probe into the tongues controversy".I pray the Holy Spirit will illuminate our minds together as we journey, with sound doctrine!
A FEW WORDS OF PERSONAL TESTIMONY
Much of the prior work I have studied on the tongues controversy has presented a whole variety of facts and information, usually slanted toward one side or the other, without presenting the author's personal experience. Before I read an author's work on a subject, I like to know at the outset: "Has the author experienced personally" that which he is presenting, or is the result of his work, research only? Most of the Brethren who present a case against present day tongues manifestations are those who have never spoken in tongues. (This does not mean to offend them, or take anything away from them, it is only a stated fact).
On the other hand, of the many books written by brethren of the defensive view of the present manifestation of tongues being genuine Biblical tongues, most of them have either been raised in that area of worship practice, and easily received their own "tongues experience", or may have been involved in a church where tongues were not manifested, and later had their "tongues experience" worshipping in another group, and noticed a change in their zeal for the things of God after that ,experience. They then became advocates of the promotion of a like experience to their brethren. Either way, it is very difficult to either defend or refute a subject without becoming biased one way or the other about the subject, otherwise, the presentation or opinion would be quite dry or devoid of any personal commitment! Therefore, when I study another man's work on a subject,I want to quickly find out, is he for or against the contrversy he is discussing?
Therefore, in order to set my conviction in the open at the outset, before I present my reasons, so you can decide whether to read the entire thesis or not, I will state my present convictions now. Some people, (including myself in the past), are so set on their present convictions, that they refuse to examine any more facts which will add confusion! However, we should keep an open mind at all times considering that we had to examine other facts somewhere else in order to arrive at where we are now, so why close our minds now?
If the Holy Spirit is the teacher of His children, and we are those children, then we should all arrive at the real truth sooner or later regardless of how far we have wandered away!
Therefore, my present conviction, based on accumulative personal experience and research, is that the genuine Biblical gift of tongues, as manifested at Pentecost has indeed ceased, and the manifestations we are seeing and hearing today are not Biblical "Gift of Tongues".
Therefore, it only follows logically that the "Gift of Interpretation" also has ceased and what we are seeing in the church is unbiblical! I have to say that very emotionally, because I am one of those who "spoke in tongues" daily for almost seven years after being Born Again, before I questioned the doctrine! Because of my convictions based on bible study, I no longer daily speak in tongues, but with the liberty in Christ, I experience as a believer, if on occasion in my personal worship to God, I revert back to tongues, I do not feel any condemnation for it, nor do I feel any more spiritual for it! I feel equal to all of my brethren in Christ whether they do, or do not pray in tongues! My greatest prayer is that by putting my convictions down on paper for open examination, that I will not loose fellowship with any brethren presently committed to praying in tongues, nor that I will not loose it with any of the non-tongues believers because of my past! I state, only the Holy