Monday, March 31, 2008

Creative Theology? Speaking In Tongues

I don't ever want to be accused of being creative in my theology. That's another word for heretic - which can lead to being burned. But... I've been thinking a bit about the gift of speaking in tongues. I haven't done the research yet - so don't burn me at the stake - but it seems to me that the Acts 2 (day of Pentecost) speaking in tongues was not at all the "gift" of speaking in tongues that Paul writes about in Corinthians. Maybe that idea isn't heresy; maybe it is a normal teaching - but I have not heard it as far as I can remember.

A few reasons for this. There were no interpreters. The disciples were not speaking gibberish, but were rather speaking a known language. It wasn't that just tongues were done just 3 times (as taught by Paul). It does not surprise me that when the Holy Spirit is sent, crazy-big things happen. This does not seem to be what Paul is writing about in Corinthians. I am sure there are many more reasons why Acts 2 does not seem to be the gift of speaking in tongues.

I ramble about this because I am in the process (slowly) or writing my paper for licensure in the Free Church. I have to state my position on different issues - including the cessation or the continuance of the gift of speaking in tongues. By the way - I see no Biblical argument for cessation - at least none that isn't creative with God's Word. Historically and logically I can make the argument for cessation. BUT - if the gift had ceased, I really believe God would have made it clear. I am not a cessationist (not at this point).

Are the languages being spoken in Acts 2 the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues, or was that occasion the Holy Spirit doing a new thing in an amazing way?

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At 10:42 AM, Blogger Matt Proctor said...

i concur that the topic of tongues cannot be easily identified in Scripture as one clear thing

If they are all earthly/known languages (as in Acts 2), why would the gift of interpreation need to be given? Do the heavenly languages in 1 cor. 13 refer to the glossalia that is uttered in 1 cor. 14??

Why does Paul boast that he speaks in tongues more than all? why does he tell us never to forbid a tongue?

maybe the Third Wave people are on to something??

At 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would lean toward no since all spoke in tongues and there isn't any biblical evidence that everyone did so after that point. It does seem to be different than the what 1 Corinthians 14 addresses, but I can't say for certain.

I'm not a cessationist. I haven't been convinced in scripture that they have ceased. My beef with my charismatic brothers and sisters is that they do not follow orderly worship prescribed in 1 Corinthians 14 (at least what I've witnessed), and often times there is no interpretation. Most importantly, I vehemently disagree with the gift of tongues being elevated above the rest as "proof" that one has been filled with the Holy Spirit.

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In I Corinthians 12:10 the work "genos" translated as "kinds" in the KJV means nationality or known tongue. This is exactly what they had at Pentecost. It is obvious that not all tongues given by the Holy Spirit were of some kind of heavenly language. Men are convicted by what they understand as implied by the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 14. I had trouble following your argument. I am not sure that I would put it at the top of my list for study, but I would be careful to be correct before making comment.

Paul Zylstra
Baghdad Iraq

At 11:09 PM, Blogger B. Thomas said...

On the heels of the Jesus movement of the 60's and 70's non-charismatic evangelicals were reacting to the hard line stance of the Charismatics; which necessarily linked speaking in tongues with salvation. Now, the charismatics have softened their stance. The mood has shifted. Now, non-charismatics need not draw the broad dark lines (cessationist teachings) that were once deemed necessary to fend off the charismatics' exclusive claims to authentic faith.


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