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An Important Study On The Gifts Of The Spirit
SPEAKING WITH TONGUES
“...to another divers kinds of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:10).
A LTHOUGH THERE ARE several distinct and important gifts of the Spirit, in this study, we will focus upon three related Gifts of the Spirit which we call the “Gifts of Inspiration” or of “Utterance.” They are the vocal Gifts designed as an inspiration in public worship. Of these, the Gift of Tongues is by far the most prominent, not to say important. Let us consider it the first of the three.
“Why do you give such prominence to Tongues?” ask our friends of the denominations. Our reply is that we do not. There are three principal reasons why we seem to give prominence to this Gift:
First, it is the Gift that people are always asking us about and compelling us to discuss.
Second, it is the Gift that is manifested in each case when believers receive their baptism in the Holy Spirit, though other Gifts may be manifested as well as it; it is therefore often in evidence.
Third, it is among the least of the Gifts, and for that further reason, it is by far the most frequently distributed and used.
We are compelled to seem to give prominence to this Gift for the same reasons that Paul seemed to give prominence to it, for he devoted a whole long chapter almost entirely to it, and dismissed the more important Gifts in almost every case with just a phrase. The reasons are that the Gift is much misunderstood, and [also] so obviously and arrestingly supernatural that it challenges at once those who do not believe in the supernatural! They are all in doubt, saying one to another, “What meaneth this?” We are neither always speaking with other tongues, nor about them. It is our friends and critics who are always introducing the subject; and of course, we delight, like Peter, if they will listen, [to] answer them according to the Scripture. It is the easiest thing in the world to reply to critics concerning this Gift—if they really believe the whole of God's Word. The Scripture is so abundantly plain and fulsome on the subject.
What is the “Gift of Divers Kinds of Tongues,” or “Speaking with Tongues”? It is SUPERNATURAL UTTERANCE BY THE HOLY SPIRIT IN LANGUAGES NEVER LEARNED BY THE SPEAKER, not understood by the mind of the speaker, nearly always not understood by the hearer. It has nothing whatever to do with linguistic ability, nor with the mind or intellect of man. It is a manifestation of the Mind of the Spirit of God employing human speech organs. When a man is speaking with tongues, his mind, intellect, and understanding are quiescent. It is the faculty of God that is active. Man's will certainly is active, and his spirit, and his speech organs; but the Mind that is operating is the Mind of God through the Holy Spirit. The linguistic skill of man is no more employed in speaking with tongues than the surgical skill of man was employed when at Peter's word, “Rise and walk,” the lame man instantly arose and leaped and walked! It is in short, A MIRACLE. It is not a mental miracle; the [only] mentality is God's. It is a vocal miracle.
We must not confuse it with a kind of heaven-aided rhetoric—as when a theology student once said to me, “We had a grand time of liberty in the open air last night: we 'spake with tongues'!” All he meant of course was that they had enjoyed unusual liberty [conversing] in English. His words were not strictly truer than if he had said concerning some convert that they had, “we raised the dead.”
“But what is the use of speaking with tongues?” we are repeatedly asked. We are expected to be reduced to impotence and ignominious silence by the query! We rejoicingly take up the challenge, and could easily fill up the remainder of this study with Scripture reasons [plus personal victorious testimonies] if we cared to give way to the fault of disproportion.
First, let us say that it was the Lord Jesus Himself—your Lord, critical friend!, who instituted the Gift of Tongues. He did not limit it to believers in Apostolic days, but promised it to all who believe. “These signs shall follow them that believe; in my Name, they shall speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17). What would you think of John and Peter if under the shadow of the Cross where Jesus died, and where He gave them this promise, [if] they had asked, “But what is the use of new tongues, Lord Jesus?”
Is it not just as displeasing to the gracious Lord to hear His people today ask the same unbelieving question? The first important implication here is that all those who have not spoken with new tongues, that neither speak nor seek to speak with tongues, are outside that group which the Lord Jesus in this verse calls believers; for “these signs shall attend them that believe!” I do not mean that these have not believed on the Lord for salvation: I mean what the Lord means—that they are not among those who are equipped with supernatural powers and sign-gifts, that alone in apostate days can attest the authority of the Word they are speaking.
Let us consider some of the Scripture purposes of speaking with tongues.
A. SPEAKING WITH TONGUES IS THE SCRIPTURAL EVIDENCE OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.
I say it, and repeat it, with the strongest emphasis in these days when some are letting go the things that have been delivered unto them instead of holding them fast: Speaking with Tongues is the only evidence I see in the Scripture of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost. In Jerusalem, at Pentecost, when they were filled with the Spirit they “began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). In Caesarea eight years later, on the Gentiles also “was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost: for they heard them speak with tongues” (Acts 10:46). And at Ephesus, twenty-three years after Pentecost, “the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues...” (Acts 19:6). And although at Samaria one year after Pentecost it is not recorded that they spake with tongues as they received the Baptism (Acts 8:17, 19), yet that there was a supernatural manifestation is proved by the fact that a Jewish sorcerer already in possession of supernatural power himself (v. 9) should offer money for the greater supernatural power he “saw” (v. 18) and “heard” before him (cf. Acts 2:33). Is not the implication irresistible that this miraculous manifestation was the same as at Pentecost, Caesarea, and Ephesus—speaking with other tongues? It is not recorded that Paul spake with tongues when he received his baptism in the Spirit, but later records make it obvious that he did (Acts 9:17, 1 Cor 14:18). When anyone in Apostolic days was heard to speak with tongues, it was known of a certainty [that] he had received his baptism in the Spirit. Without this sign, there was no Scriptural evidence at all. And so today. The first purpose of Tongues is therefore that it provides the Scriptural evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
B. THAT MEN MAY SPEAK SUPERNATURALLY TO GOD.
Every consecrated believer must have felt, at times, a consuming desire to open his heart to God in unspeakable communication and adoration inexpressible. THERE IS A DEEP IN THE SPIRIT OF THE REDEEMED THAT IS NEVER TAPPED BY THE MIND OR THOUGHT! That deep finds expression at last in the Baptism of the Spirit—as unaccustomed words of heavenly coherence sweep up to the Beloved from the newly opened well of the human spirit—flooded as it is with the torrential stream of the Divine Spirit. Only deep can call unto deep at the noise of God's full-flowing cataracts [waterfalls]. “He that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh divine secrets” (1 Cor. 14:2). The Gift of Tongues sinks a well into the dumb profundities of the rejoicing spirit, liberating a jet of long-pent ecstasy that gladdens the heart of God and man.
Blessed fountain of ineffable coherence, of inexpressible eloquence! Have you never in the presence of Jesus felt inarticulate on the very verge of eloquence? THIS HEAVENLY GIFT WILL LOOSE THE SPIRIT'S TONGUE AND BURST UPON THE SPEECHLESS HEART WITH UTTERANCE TRANSCENDING SAGES' IMAGININGS OR ANGELIC RHAPSODIES.
Have you never wept to think how helpless your words are to express emotion in the presence of Him whom your soul loveth? Other tongues alone can give you utterance equal to the holy task. Other tongues will give you Names for Jesus that even revelation has not vouchsafed. Other tongues will capture the escaping thought, the elusive expressi[on], the inarticulate longing, lending worthy and soul satisfying utterance to profoundest gratitude and worship.
An error most persistently cherished by Christians is that on the Day of Pentecost, those filled with the Holy Spirit were preaching the Gospel to foreigners in foreign languages bestowed for the purpose. The Word quoted above (1 Cor. 14:2) makes it clear they were speaking “not unto men but unto God.” They were MAGNIFYING GOD for His “wonderful works,” now standing out in intensified relief in the new flood of light introduced by the Holy Ghost baptism they had received. And the “foreigners” who were present overheard their rhapsodical praises and marveled to recognize their own tongues! The notion that the Gift of Tongues was a miraculous bestowal of foreign languages to the early apostles that they might preach the gospel to every creature is an ERROR that could only be held by those who have never taken care to examine all the Scriptures on the subject. Peter was the only one, according to the record, who preached the gospel on the Day of Pentecost, and he employed not other tongues but the universally understood Aramaic, or the equally universal vernacular Greek.
C. THAT BELIEVERS MAY MAGNIFY GOD (ACTS 10:46).
In the house of Cornelius at Caesarea, the new converts “spake with tongues and magnified God.” What a magnification of the Lord there would be if all Christendom spake with tongues! It is a wonderful word. They MAGNIFIED GOD. They “made God great” as they broke into the Spirit's rapturous words. There are no terms in natural speech appropriate to the greatness, the excellent greatness of our God. In supernatural speech alone, we gain an utterance proportionate to our wondrous theme and equal to our spirit's strong emotion. With what un-imagined eloquence the Spirit's Tongue takes up the Psalmist's heavenly motif, let such as love Thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified! Make His praise glorious! Those of us who have had the joy of seeing hundreds filled with the Holy Spirit recall that in every case, at the moment of receiving, gesture and upward look and utterance could have no other Object, no other theme than JESUS—Jesus adorable, Jesus desirable, Jesus most beautiful, Jesus...! At the extremity of soul ecstasy come other tongues to our relief. The Spirit takes up the task...immediately the galleries of our deepest being reverberate with the music of heavenly praise. What could be grander than to tell Jesus all about it in a language that the Spirit fully comprehends?
D. THAT WE MAY EDIFY OURSELVES.
“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself” (I Cor.14:4). You may edify others by preaching, and prophesying, and example, but the Scripture indicates this special way of edifying yourself: speaking with tongues. Are you edifying yourself? Is it not a good thing to edify yourself? The great apostle thought so, for he edified himself more than all Corinth (1 Cor. 14:18)! “Speaking to yourselves” (the original significantly has it in Eph. 5:19; not “to one another” as the R.V.) “in ... spiritual songs,” that is songs in other tongues sung to cadences dictated also by the Spirit—speaking in songs! Speaking to ourselves thus in the Spirit is edifying ourselves, just as, to use the figure of the previous verse, drinking wine to ourselves is inebriating ourselves. Being filled with the Spirit and yielding to the sweet exercise of speaking or singing with other tongues is building up ourselves, as well as magnifying the Lord and making melody to Him in our hearts (1 Cor. 14:15). If we speak with tongues, we have a well within us in this barren wilderness world. Singing thus will start a fountain in the driest desert. “Spring up, O well; Sing ye unto it!” Yes, sing unto the gushing fountain within...so shall its refreshing waters increase. So also in the other figure. The Lord is building us each into something worthy after His plan. By speaking with tongues, we help in this up-building/edifying—laying course upon course of spiritual substance in the sanctuary for His abiding. Is not that a good purpose?!
E. THAT OUR SPIRITS, AS DISTINCT FROM OUR UNDERSTANDING, MIGHT PRAY.
“If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful...I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also” (1 Cor. 14:14). Praying with the Spirit is praying in a tongue. The only way to pray with the Spirit is to pray in tongues. Do you pray with your spirit, or with your understanding only? How these explicit Holy Ghost teachings are weakened by careless exposition! Praying with the Spirit is generally taken to mean “praying with the understanding with an access of spiritual power.” Praying with the Spirit is quite different from praying with the understanding (v. 16). You cannot pray with the Spirit unless you speak with other tongues. You can pray in the Spirit with the understanding as in Eph. 6:18, but such prayer does not reach the realm of mysteries and miracles presided over and directed by the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 14:2). You can neither pray nor sing with the Spirit (v.15) unless you speak with tongues. The loose statements of the commentators on these things have the effect, if not the design, of sweeping away the supernatural. Once again, it is necessary to warn young Christians against that exegesis that degrades the supernatural in the Bible to the powerless end undistinguished level of the natural.
“We know not what we should pray for as we ought.” The Spirit both knows and is able. “He maketh intercession for us (and through us) with groanings that cannot be uttered.” How often has a Spirit-filled child of God poured forth his soul in agonizing supplication for he knows not what or whom, to find perhaps a year afterwards an echo of his prayer-in-tongues in the miraculous deliverance of some missionary in peril, or some beloved one a thousand miles away at death's door! Think not that these things have no meaning. Praying in tongues is an exercise more potent in its own mysterious realm, than the mightiest praying with the understanding. Let us humbly say that THOSE NOT FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT KNOW NOTHING OF THESE SUPERNATURAL THINGS. Not for nought has the all-seeing Lord designed an instrument that will reach in its galvanic range circumstances and situations that are infinitely beyond the sweep of poor creature sense and ability: “For the Searcher of hearts knows what the Spirit's meaning is, because His intercessions for the saints are in harmony with God's will,” whereas our human intercessions according to the understanding so often are not (Rom. 8:27, Wey.).
And what a rest to weary mind and nerve—to relax from mental concentration in praying and praising, and break forth in effortless utterance in the Spirit! Notice the blessed connection in Isa. 28:11, 12: “With stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people...This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing!” What heavenly rest in spiritual exercise has the Lord designed in these heavenly tongues! Hallelujah! “YET THEY WOULD NOT HEAR” is the Lord's broken cry! How truly fulfilled is this prophecy in the Body of Christ today! Will not you hear?
Notice also that through the Gift of Interpretation of Tongues (v. 13), our understanding may know, if the Spirit will, what our spirit prays. Obviously, this is not always, nor even often necessary, in private devotions.
F. THAT WITH THE GIFT OF INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES THE BODY MAY BE EDIFIED.
“Seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. Wherefore let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret that the church may receive edifying. Let all things be done unto edifying” (1 Cor. 14:12, 13, 5, 26).
The three Gifts we are now considering: Tongues, Interpretation, and Prophecy, are essentially designed for manifestation in a meeting of believers, and the end of all in their public employment is the edification of the Body. I marvel how those who read this fourteenth chapter of Corinthians—reaching this most beautiful principle of edification, can still ask, “What is the use of Tongues?” Does not their very question suggest that God has made a mistake in adding to the ordinary means of edification—by the Word and prayer, this extraordinary supernatural way of appeal direct from the Spirit of God to the spirit of man, and then through man's spirit, equally supernaturally, to his mind or “understanding”?
If you have not yet felt the need of speaking with tongues, [could] it be because you have not yet caught the vision of your spirit's helplessness as plainly revealed in the Word, nor yet the vision of God's most entrancing supernatural provision for you and His Body?
So overwhelmed am I at this present moment with the heavenly sweetness of this precious [gift] that I would with trumpet voice repeat Paul's royal proclamation in the hearing of my brothers and sisters in every Ecclesia: “I would that ye all spake with tongues”—that the Body, through you might receive edifying.
Has the Great Blesser of men really overshot the mark in Tongues and provided something therein that is superfluous or antagonistic to Blessing? Can we really afford to shear off with our petulance or unbelief this mighty detail of His eternal purpose for our blessing just because it does not seem to us in our ignorance a rational shoot from the heavenly stock? Is it really unnatural that a supernatural branch should grow on a supernatural Tree? Would infinite Wisdom take endless pains in a long chapter to prune this precious growth that it might bring forth much fruit in the assemblies if the growth were really a morbid one? Shall we despise or neglect the Gift of Tongues because its miracle-edification is a process not cultivable in human schools, nor comprehensible by natural intelligence? Do God's “THOUGHTS” and “WAYS” stand condemned because they are “HIGHER THAN THE EARTH”?
G. FINALLY, DIVERS KINDS OF TONGUES ARE AMONG THE GIFTS DIVINELY APPOINTED FOR OUR PROFIT—BEING MANIFESTATIONS OF THE SPIRIT THAT WE MAY PROFIT WITHAL (1 COR. 12:7; ACTS 2:4).
To hear some of our beloved brethren in the opposite camp speak of other tongues, one would scarcely imagine that profit was the intention in the Lord's plan, or the effect in man's development. As such brethren read these simple comments on God's mighty Word, will they not gratefully accept God's plan for their profit, acknowledge they are in the wrong camp, and come over and help us in the glorious work of building His Kingdom? These must suffice for our Scriptural Purposes.
Other Points To Consider :
(1) Is there a difference between tongues as the initial sign of the Baptism in the Spirit, and the Gift of Tongues for use in the believers' meeting? There is doubt in some minds on this question. Let us give our own well-considered and firm conviction. Everybody speaks in tongues at least once at his baptism in the Spirit (Acts 2:4; 10:45, etc.), but apparently all do not retain this power to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 12:30), though there seems to be no Scriptural reason why they should not retain it (I Cor. 14:5, 23). Our experience is that when students have complained that though they spoke with tongues at their Baptism they have since “lost” the power so to speak, in every case where there has been expressed desire to renew the blessed exercise, the Lord has graciously responded to prayer at once, and set the fountain springing again for refreshment at will.
The only Scriptural distinction between the sign of tongues and the gift of tongues is that when tongues are first employed by an individual, the utterance is the sign of the baptism in the Spirit; every subsequent use of the supernatural tongue by the same individual is the gift of tongues in operation. Whether, therefore, the power to speak with tongues after baptism in the Spirit is retained for permanent and public use or not seems to be entirely a matter of personal desire and faith. Some do not wish to go on speaking with tongues. That astonishes me. But, the Lord compels nobody anywhere. And Scripture provides further light on the problem by revealing that there are many who possess Gifts that they never use (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6). The Gift of Tongues is never dead in those who have once spoken in tongues; it may, however, be dormant. A resurgence of the breath of prayer, and the blessed sunshine of fervent desire, will awaken the sleeping Gift, [just] as the springtime revives the vitality of hibernating creatures.
(2) IT IS THE LORD'S EXPRESSED DESIRE THAT ALL SHOULD SPEAK WITH TONGUES (1 Cor. 14:5). This makes it clear that though there may be many who do not speak with tongues, it is neither God's design nor fault: “I would ye all spake with tongues” is His clear pronouncement. If you have never thus spoken, seek the Spirit until you do. If you have spoken once, but not again, in the Name of the Lord Jesus who filled you with the Holy Spirit, STIR UP THE GIFT THAT IS IN YOU [2 Tim. 1:6].
The very occasion of these chapters to the Corinthians was the fact that believers were making a disorderly use of a perfectly authentic and blessedly desirable Gift. It is only where there is no life, that there is no danger of disorder. If there is life, there must inevitably be disorder to deal with and regulate. The wrong way to deal with disorder is to slay the life; though that is the easiest way, and the way taken by the churches generally. “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox” (Prov. 14:4). The nominal church's cribs are clean enough: they have no oxen. There were strong and lovely oxen in the Corinthian crib. The Lord saw some dirt there as a consequence, for the more the oxen, the more dirt there is to deal with. He sent His servant Paul, not with a poleaxe [ax] but with a besom [broom]. You can deal with dirt, but not with death. Death is the dirtiest dirt. Lord Jesus, give us oxen, and reasonable men like Paul to keep the cribs clean. Much increase is by the strength of the Gifts.
I saw in a room used as a Pentecostal Assembly Hall not long ago, a row of fearsome-looking scarlet buckets labeled “FIRE!” Of course they contained water! That is the trouble with churches today. They have got water but no fire. They are much handier with buckets than with brands. Fear is a fine slayer of oxen and quencher of heavenly fire. Yes, truly, fire is positively dangerous. Some brands had flown out of the hearth at Corinth onto the nice tidy hearthrug. That was a fault. Paul heard of it and sent not a fire extinguisher, but a pair of tongs. Don't go without fire in your homes (or Assemblies) because you read of a house (or an Assembly) on fire in the paper yesterday. Fireguards are cheap...and tongs. There is a grand set offered for nothing in First Corinthians Fourteen!—complete with heavenly bellows!
(3) THEN GOD EXPRESSLY SAYS WE MUST NOT FORBID TO SPEAK WITH TONGUES (v. 39). What have the leaders of the churches and chapels to say to this command of God? To say that the Gifts of the Spirit were limited to Corinth, or the early apostolic Ecclesias, is to admit the vicious principle of Bible criticism and selection that has been responsible for the blasphemies of Modernism. There is just as much Scripture authority for saying that the Cross was limited to Corinth, and the early Christians as that tongues were. And how can those “ministers” who claim they possess today the Spiritual Gifts of “Wisdom” and “Knowledge” (abasing them to the level of natural gifts of learning and speech), consistently pretend that the remaining Gifts are not with us now?! “FORBID NOT TO SPEAK WITH TONGUES!” I would write on every spire, and tower, and gable, and “altar,” and pulpit in Christendom. Why not? Are they not truly the Words of the Lord as, “If ye love Me, keep my commandments”?
(4) Edification is always the test of the Gift's proper employment—let all things be done unto edifying (v. 26), and decency and order are its only safeguard (v. 40). “Do you understand what you say when you speak with tongues?” “No.” “Does anybody else understand what you say?” “No.” “Then what is the use of tongues?” We smile to recall how often we have recorded our unashamed negatives in the above questionnaire! To the more than sufficient explanations included in this study, we will add that GOD HIMSELF ORDAINED THAT TONGUES SHOULD BE “UNKNOWN.”
An objection is sometimes raised that “tongues, though necessary on the Day of Pentecost—because foreigners were present—are not necessary now, for foreigners are not present in our meetings!” I have already said [in point B.] above, that the gospel was not preached to these foreigners in their own tongues by the 120, but by Peter only in a natural tongue. Further, there was no diversity of nationalities present at Caesarea (Acts 10:46), nor at Ephesus (Acts 19:6), nor at Corinth (1 Cor. 14:23), yet they spake with tongues at all three places.
(5) Then there is a notion abroad that tongues are a kind of gibberish, incoherent and non-intelligible, a series of uninterpretable glossal noises. No, TONGUES WERE AND ARE LANGUAGES. They are mostly unknown to the hearers, and always to the speakers. But they might on occasion be known to the hearers, as at Pentecost, where the tongues were unknown as they were spoken, and known as they were heard.
That not only constituted, but proved, the miracle. And the same thing often occurs today. Our missionaries are always giving us instances. A Chinese student named Wang, aged seventeen, received the Baptism in the Spirit at Luh Hsi, China. Speaking in other tongues, he was clearly understood in English, a language not a word of which he knew. His very words are recorded by the missionary who heard him: “THOSE THAT WALK WITH HIM IN WHITE AND ARE FAITHFUL WILL ASCEND AT HIS APPEARING. BEHOLD, HE IS COMING VERY SOON!” Wang knew nothing of the coming of the Lord.
A certain missionary to the Congo was back at his home in England when a Christian brother received his Baptism and spoke with tongues. The language he spoke, was Kiluba, as familiar to the missionary as English.
Another missionary, also of [and in] the Congo, was present when a young man of his flock received the baptism in the Holy Ghost. He was amazed to hear the man speaking in perfect English, repeating Old Testament instances of creation and history. He knew no word of English and nothing of the instances he was recording.
The missionary was so astonished at this mighty miracle that he left the hut in search of his wife as witness. When he returned with his wife, the man was still speaking in his English “unknown tongue,” but he had changed over to New Testament revelation concerning the imminent coming again of the Lord. Instances could be multiplied.
(6) Some people despise tongues—because they are often spoken by those who obviously have no learning of any sort. Did not some people despise Jesus for similar reasons? The mightiest Apostle did not despise tongues. On the contrary, he spake with tongues more than they all, and thanked God for the privilege (1 Cor. 14:18).
We must expect religious people to express bewilderment and disapproval, and even to mock us when we speak with tongues: “They were all amazed.” “What meaneth this?” “These men are full of new wine!” (Acts 2:5, 12-14). But, like Peter, we can confidently rise and give them, if they will listen, Scriptural authority and vindication. Speaking with Tongues is a glorious exercise and a blessed Gift of our gracious Lord, but it is not the most important thing. It is the least of the Gifts, and for that reason the commonest.
But finally, we will not forget that Peter claimed that speaking with tongues was the direct fulfillment of Joel's prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit (Joel 2:28, 29). “What meaneth this?” they asked in amazement, not “What meaneth this concourse of people—this unaccustomed excitement, this carnival of joy, this talk of ‘rushing wind’ and ‘flames,’ this looking intently up to heaven?” Not even, “What meaneth this strange outpouring of the Spirit?” No. What they were fearfully and wonderingly asking was, “How came these peasant folk to be speaking cultured languages they obviously never learned? What meaneth this SPEAKING WITH MIRACULOUS TONGUES?” This speaking with tongues, said Peter in reply, “is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, saith God, I will pour out My Spirit...!’” Have YOU received for yourself the fulfillment of Joel's glorious prophecy? If not, begin seeking God even now that this glorious gift would be POURED OUT UPON YOU, and begin working through you unto edification. Yes, as a child of the Living God, it is for you, today, NOW, FOREVER! Amen.
Editor’s Note : Unfortunately, there has been much abuse of the gift of tongues in many modern Charismatic/Pentecostal circles. Some people will point to this abuse as an excuse for avoiding the gift of tongues altogether. To use this reasoning would be like saying [that] we should never laugh again in the Lord because certain churches have fallen into the excessive deception of what they call “holy laughter.” Or perhaps, [like] we should avoid eating food because there is a chance we could overeat and become gluttons.
We want to make it clear that the gift of tongues is very important and should be sought by any and all who desire a deeper walk with the Lord. We do not tolerate nor condone the misuse or abuse of any of God’s spiritual gifts. If we remain in a low place before the Lord, with true humility as our covering, all the gifts of God will benefit us greatly. The gifts of God are not to be used to create a kind of carnival or circus type atmosphere for our entertainment. They are designed for our edification and growth into strong, battle-ready soldiers of the Cross.