Monday, August 14, 2006

TONGUES Thesis: Part 11

....................John the Baptists teaching they were to follow, but the teaching of the apostles. The reason they were given tongues was to help them know that even though they had been connected to the Old. Testament and the last prophet before the Messiah, John the Baptist, they were now part of the church with everybody else and connected with Pentecost!

The whole message of Acts is to fulfill the prayer of Jesus in John 17, "that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us; that the world may believe that thou didst send me." (vs.21) Before this could happen, Pentecost had to come, there had to be a transition from the Old Testament to the new, and all New Testament saints could now all become one in the Spirit through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The book of Acts is the report of that transition! The Epistles are the result of that transition, and the Book of Hebrews is the theology of that transition.


Not convinced that the genuine gift of tongues had ceased when their purpose as a sign gift to authenticate the start of the New Testament church, I held fast to my Pentecostal tradition that as most Pentecostals will admit, that the tongues spoken now by most, are like the Corinthians spoke in I Corinthians 14, which were private prayer languages worshippers use to speak to God. There is another verse in Romans 8:26, which seemed to imply that this type of tongue speaking was the Holy Spirit using your tongue to groan, or utter some kind of unknown language! Paul stated "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." (Romans 8:26)

First, it should be recognized that the Holy Spirit is a person, therefore, is a He and not an it! The correct translation is "the Holy Spirit HIMSELF" and not "itself". The Holy Spirit actually does the praying for us, because He knows how to pray in the perfect will of the Father, Himself being an equal member of the Godhead! Since He is a Spirit, and Spirits are not in the physical realm, but the spiritual realm, He, having no physical vocal cords to articulate speech with, intercedes for believers with "groanings which cannot be uttered", or in other words, silent spiritual language!

That is one of the Holy Spirit's ministries to the believer! So, tongues, whether ecstatic or otherwise, must be ruled out because they are "unuttered". Jesus explained that any real believer who wanted the gift of the Holy Spirit only had to ask the Father and He would give the gift to all who ask! (Luke 11:13). Charismatics sometimes take this verse out of context claiming God will not give any counterfeit gift to whoever asks. (Luke 11:9-12) However, this only proves that only the elect of God would receive the free gift of true salvation faith to believe, and that automatically includes the gift of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a one time encounter of the believer (1 Corinthians 12:13), but there are continual "fillings" with the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 5:18 Paul tells the believers to "be filled with the Spirit". The correct translation from the original Greek should be "Be being kept constantly filled'. In other words, being filled is a moment by moment walk with Jesus! Is tongues the initial physical evidence of this filling? Paul tells them in the next verse (19) if they are filled what their evidence should be. "Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Tongues are not mentioned here! In order to pray "in the Spirit" you first have to have the Spirit of Christ. (Romans 8:9)

Then you are able to pray in the Spirit because Romans 8:26 states the Spirit Himself prays for you in the perfect will of the Father. That is how Spirit filled believers are able to "pray with supplication in the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:18) "building themselves up on their most holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost." (Jude 20)

Before we go on to investigate the confusion of discerning between the genuine gift of tongues and the Pagan ecstatic utterance which were both being displayed in the Corinthian church when Paul visited it and his attempted message to correct the error, I would first like to briefly mention the account charismatics rely so strongly on to support tongues for our present day, and that is Mark 16:17,18.

Jesus Himself speaking says, "And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils, they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:17,18).

First of all, it should be known that there is strong scholarly evidence supporting the view, that the best and earliest manuscripts did not contain Mark 16:10-20, but stopped with verse 9 abruptly! There are many good reasons which could take up an entire thesis alone explaining, but personally, from my study and research, I believe that view is possible. It is said that verses 10-20 had been written in the margin of some later manus­cripts in Mark, and transferred by later scribes into the actual content of the book. Most probably, the verses Jesus was quoted as saying were taken from John's gospel and Acts, referring to the promise to the apostles, and not to the entire church age at large!

The arguments supporting this view are good, and should be investigated before any definite conclusion is reached! If it is correct, then that would illuminate many pet doctrines of the charismatics, such as tongues, laying hands on the sick by others than the elders of the church (James 5:14), and the "snake handling, poison drinking, fire handling Pentecostal sects in the West Virginia . and surrounding mountain areas! With regards to Mark 16:17,18 in response to speaking new tongues (if they were meant to be ecstatic utterances in unknown languages) and taking up serpents, there is an Old Testament verse refuting that practice! "Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment and the babbler is no better." (Ecclesiastes 10:11) Paul even later warned Timothy to avoid those counterfeit tongue speakers who had counterfeited the genuine gift! "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings." (1 Timothy 6:20)

"Which some professing have erred concerning the faith." (vs. 21) Jesus, while on earth, certainly must have come in contact with pagan worshippers going into trances and uttering their ecstatic pagan tongues, even before the genuine gift was given at Pentecost, because He once stated to His disciples "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Matthew 6:7) Does this not refute charismatics publicly or alone praying in an unknown gibberish they do not understand?


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