Saturday, March 14, 2009

What About Those Who Don't Speak in Tongues?

Many folk at my church, and at other Pentecostal churches, have not spoken in tongues... yet. I say that because it is my desire that every one of them would. It is not something that can be forced or enforced, but I believe each Christian who hasn't spoken in tongues, yet, would be blessed, and more biblical, if he or she did.

Jude, in his brief epistle, says that we build up our faith by praying in the Spirit. The Apostle Paul said in his letter to the Romans that the Spirit is able to pray that which we can't find the words to utter. Clearly, the Bible highlights the benefits of tongues (incomprehensible speech from the Spirit) to the believer. I see no possible downside to speaking with other tongues when the scriptures testify to the upside.

Of course, what really matters is what Jesus wants for us. He told the first believers to wait until they were baptized in the Spirit before going off and trying to do church and fulfill the Great Commission. They waited, were baptized in the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues as a result, and then proceeded to go and turn the world upside down. Why would anyone expect a different pattern for those who came after them?

Evangelism and church planting took off globally when Pentecostals began to follow that pattern early in the last century. More has been accomplished toward fulfilling the Great Commission by tongue talking charismatics in the last 100 years than has been accomplished by the cessationist church for the entirety of its 17 centuries of history. Honestly, this is the definition of a no-brainer!

Unfortunately, there is a disconcerting trend among Pentecostals today reversing that direction. In the Assemblies of God, less than a third of church membership speaks in tongues. That does not portend well for that group. If we do not produce the church Jesus wants (see above), if we don't follow the orders Jesus gave, how in the world will we get the "well done" rather than the "go away?"

We need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues; however, if someone has not yet received it, he or she should not be treated badly or ostracized-- he or she is family in God! That one should merely be encouraged to continue waiting. The only division this experience needs to cause within the family of God occurs when someone tries to prevent folk from speaking in tongues. Trying to force it is probably just as bad!

6 comments:

  1. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude... it always perserveres"
    Love would work if we gave it half a chance. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Tongues is however not the most important gift. This does not symbolise Christianity, Love does.. just a thought. could you do a blog on the lakeland revival and your view on it? would love to get your point of view. Nice postings by the way :)

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  3. @getting there
    Welcome to the Sound!

    No argument here about the primacy of love. Check out Love vs. Tongues. As for Lakeland. never been moved to blog on it myself, but since you asked, I'll give it some prayerful consideration.

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  4. Thanks for your kind words for such as me.
    I'm waiting......

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  5. Jareld,
    God will meet you, he's promised. I pray your breakthrough will be soon. God's very best to you.

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  6. Comment to Jerald.
    Just few words of encouragement brother. I waited far too long to receive the gift of Holy Spirit and to speak in tongues. Prayerfully seek it but it requires action on the part of the believer. God responds to faith in action!!! That means you have to open your mouth and speak. Speak whatever comes out of your mouth!! I waited for years to hear what I was supposed to say. Consequently I waited for years! God will not move you mouth for your nor put words in your head. Be brave, and be bold in your faith and when you ask the Lord for the Spirit begin to speak and the Lord will meet your faith in action and fill you with his Spirit. Really, receiving this gift seems hard but it is very easy. I would add one last comment, my experience is certainly unique and may not be the same as other brothers and sisters. Just thought I'd throw out some encouragement to you to help you. Take what you can from this comment. God Bless!!

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Any comment in ill taste or not germane to the post may be deleted without warning. I am under no obligation to give anyone an opportunity to call me names or impugn my motives or integrity. If you can't play nice, go somewhere else and play.