Speaking in Tongues

October 7, 2009

Kenneth Hennessee from Lawton, OK asks:

I was wondering what your viewpoint is on speaking in tongues? Thank you!


Some years ago I wrote a paper called The Holy Spirit and the Gift of Tongues that discusses this issue in detail. I believe that the gift of tongues enabled people to praise God and proclaim the gospel in languages they did not know. 1 Corinthians 14 shows that while it is a legitimate spiritual gift, it is also prone to much abuse and therefore must be carefully regulated inside the local church. It is a lesser gift of the Spirit but one that seems more spectacular.

Could the legitimate gift of tongues happen today? Yes, but only in accordance with the teaching of the New Testament. In my judgment I do not think we must accept at face value everyone who claims to speak in tongues. We should test all things by the Word of God and hold fast to that which is true and good (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22). We must reject anything that does not line up with the Word of God. So I would say, be open but cautious about extravagant claims regarding the spectacular gifts of the Spirit. This is one area where it is easy to be deceived. 


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