Why all the hate against Speaking in Tongues?
On August 17th, a columnist for the New York Times wrote an article called “Why we talk in Tongues” which created a firestorm of conversation from all sides of the debate. Interestingly, most of the seething comments around the web from this article came from, you guessed it, Christians. The argument of cessation versus continuation regarding the gifts of the Holy Ghost has caused a rift in the religious world like no other. “The religious world will tolerate praying for the sick, prophecy, and many other like things, but one mention of Speaking in Tongues and united persecution begins.” So it begs to question; why all the hate against Speaking in Tongues?
See some twitter comments:
It should be noted that columnist, T. M. Luhrmann, wrote this piece from her viewpoint as an Anthropologist and not as a Pentecostal or Charismatic believer. While not endorsing nor promoting the gift of Speaking in Tongues, she did manage to support its practice as a biological and cultural benefit. And she is right. There are many benefits to Speaking in Tongues; not only sociological but spiritual as well. I wrote about these spiritual benefits in an earlier post. This enmity between cessationist’s and charismatic’s though goes beyond a lack of understanding its value to a grotesque detestation of anyone who contends for a faith of supernatural manifestation. What does Speaking in Tongues signify and what can it accomplish that it strikes fear and anger in those who have not received its power?
It ought to first be understood that anger is a seed of the Devil that leads to darkness. “But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:11) So, it should be to no surprise when I imply that this hatred originates with the Devil and there are obvious reasons why the devil hates the gift of Speaking in Tongues.
Speaking in Tongues is the initial evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost
- With Assurance
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Acts 2:2)
A biblical sign that a believer has received the baptism of the Spirit is Speaking in Tongues. A believer receives empowerment for service when baptized in the Holy Ghost. The Devil does not want Christians to receive Spirit baptism for without it the Christian remains powerless and easier to defeat and the evangelization of the Gospel is hindered.
- With Demonstration
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17)
A believer filled with the Holy Spirit has power to accomplish great and mighty things. Speaking in Tongues is a manifestation of the same power that can cast out demons and send the devil screaming. The devil clearly would not like to see people demonstrate this power. If he can get Christians against it then he and his minions are safe and can be at ease.
2. Speaking in Tongues edifies the believer
- For Spiritual Power
“He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself…”(1 Corinthians 14:4)
A weakened Christian becomes an easy target for the devil, who is characterized as a lion seeking whom he may devour. When a believer begins to speak in new Tongues, a spiritual rush comes upon them. For me, when I Speak in the Tongues of angels, I feel that with the Holy Spirit I can do ‘bout near anything; after all it’s “not by might, nor by power but my Spirit saith the Lord of Host.” Jesus needed the power of the Spirit to begin His ministry and at His Temple commencement He stated “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” If the devil can keep the believer believing that all things are impossible for them, then he already won.
- For Direction
“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13, 14)
All believers can wander off course at times and begin walking down the “broad path that leadeth to destruction”. All believers can also fall into times of weakness and despondency when our strength is gone. These are the times when we need the words of Christ echoed into our spirit. This is the work of the Spirit when he speaks into us through His words in Tongues. He speaks into our spirit leading us and teaching us. To stop the voice of the Spirit is the work of the Devil.
3. Speaking in Tongues strengthens the Church
- Through Tongues and Interpretations
“I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:5)
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. This is true of a word through the Spirit. When the Spirit speaks a word to the body it is timely and significant. The devil would love nothing more than to eliminate the Spirit from being able to speak to the church. Those churches against the Sprit’s voice through Speaking in Tongues have lost their “ear to hear what the Spirit is saying” to the church.
- Through Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”(Eph. 5:19)
Through music and song the Holy Spirit can enter the atmosphere of the worshipper’s as He “inhabits the praises of His people”. Once released in the atmosphere, He can then sing over the body of believers (see Zephaniah 3:17). These songs of the Spirit bring life, comfort, encouragement, hope, and victory to the Body of Christ. The devil brings death, discouragement and despair and anything that opposes these he despises.
4. Speaking in Tongues is divine interaction with God
- Speaking Secrets
“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” (1 Corinthians 14:2)
God made man kind in His image to have relationship and interaction with Him. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden had constant communication with God. The presence of God would enter the garden in the “wind of the day” (Gen. 3:8). In parallel, the presence of God entered the church in the “rushing mighty wind” on the Day of Pentecost. Through the gift of the Spirit and Speaking in Tongues which was poured out on that day, God re-established the divine interaction and relationship that was lost. It was the devil who sought to secure the disconnect of divine communication in the first place and he would love to keep that communication closed off forever.
- Speaking Wisdom
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery…These things we also speak, not in words which mans wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:6, 13)
Wisdom is imparted by the Holy Spirit, which is the application of truth to a life and death situation. King Solomon was first esteemed of his great wisdom when he heard the two mothers different stories, one was a lie and the other truth, and then proceeded to declare/speak an action that was going to produce either life or death to the child. Solomon is quoted as saying that “life and death are in the power of the tongue”. Speaking in Tongues is the “wisdom of God in a mystery” and when it is declared it applies the truth of God to the situation at hand. Oh, how the devil would love to keep believers in ignorance and futility.
5. Speaking in Tongues is a sign to the unbeliever
“Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers” (1 Corinthians 14:22)
The church is to be an evangelistic force just as much today as in the days of the early apostles. The cessationist’s argument that Tongues ceased with the early Apostles because it was only needed then but not today are essentially saying that evangelism and the Great Commission is no longer needed today either. I say this as the Lord gave us His Spirit and the gift of Tongues as a tool for evangelism among unbelievers. The great enemy of the church would surely discourage any thing that can make more disciples of Jesus Christ.
6. Speaking in Tongues is a prayer language to God
- It builds faith
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit “ (Jude 1:20)
Faith is the key that unlocks all the blessings of the Father. With greater faith, new dimensions of the Christian walk can be obtained. Praying in the Spirit builds up ones faith and has the potential to carry from one level of glory to another. Stagnation of faith is just as destructive to a person’s walk with God as is no faith.
- It reveals the will of God
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for uswith groanings which cannot be uttered.Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26, 27)
To know the will of God is to know what God purposes for your life. It is to know what directions to take and what to steps to follow. It is to be assured of your future and encouraged with your current disposition. When one begins to pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit starts directing your “spiritual” feet in the spiritual realm as He knows what you ought to be praying for even when you can’t see the “spiritual potholes” and all the snares and traps of the enemy in front of your path. The devil would rather see you fall victim then navigate through the treacherous terrain of life’s highway.
7. Speaking in Tongues confuses the enemy
“For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God” (Acts 10:46)
How can mere words convict the hearts of men and bring both glory and honor to God; words of no natural language bring grown men to their knees and send demons running? Simple words can tear down the soul of an individual and bring depression, despair, and defeat. James taught that “out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing” (3:10). Indeed, the devil can use our words as easily as the can the Spirit of the Lord. The devil wants nothing more than to control our tongue. With the tongue we can bring death or life, we can speak faith or speak disbelief, we can talk of God’s grace and mercy or talk of doubt and rejection. But God longs to loose our tongues in order to declare of all His wondrous deeds among man-kind. When we speak words of life through the Spirit over the enemy, we heap coals of fire over their heads, and the enemy doesn’t see it coming.
Speaking in Tongues is a gift of the Spirit that is available to all believers; “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”(Acts 2:38-39). I pray that we will lay down our hatred towards one another and call out to God for all His blessings to be poured out on us in this day of evil. “Therefore, brethren, …. Do not forbid to speak in tongues.” (1 Cor. 14:39) It is time for the church to rise up against the enemy not with might, nor with strength, but with the Spirit of the Lord.
- Reasons for Speaking in Tongues (pastorstrom.com)
- Why Speak in Tongues (nrichmyleads.wordpress.com)
- Charismatic Confessions, pt. 3: Praying in Tongues for Everyone! (prodigalpaul.com)
- Holy Ghost Baptism & Tongues Speaking (mckybarf60.wordpress.com)