The Holy Spirit and the Gift of Tongues – Article C: The Holy Spirit
February 23, 1992
There are two problems a pastor faces whenever he comes to speak on a topic as controversial as speaking in tongues. The first is that the subject is so vast that he cannot hope to cover it completely. It would take a book to fully consider all the pertinent issues, and if I wrote such a book, I doubt that anyone would read it! So no matter how much I try, I will inevitably leave off some crucial areas for lack of time or space. The second problem is related to the first in that since this is a controversial area, I know that some will disagree with what I say. I know that there are those in our congregation who practice speaking in tongues. Some of them are good friends with whom I have had very cordial discussions. While we are the best of friends, I cannot expect them to agree with everything I am going to say in this message. I only hope to be able to say things in an even-handed way and in everything, to “speak the truth in love.”
After fully considering those problems, I have decided not to attempt a full exposition of what the Bible says about speaking in tongues, as useful as that might be. My goal in this message is somewhat more limited. I simply would like to explain as well as I can the position of Calvary Memorial Church on this issue. Our position was settled 18 years ago when the elders of this church put their convictions in print, with the result that a clarification concerning the Holy Spirit was added to our Articles of Faith in 1975.
A Time of Controversy
Some history will help us at this point. During the last two years of Pastor Bob Gray’s ministry at Calvary (1958-1974), several of our leading families became attracted to certain aspects of charismatic theology. When I say “leading families,” I mean that they were members in good standing, who held major positions of leadership, including (in one case) an elder, a member of the nominating committee, and the leaders of our College and Career Group. Several of these members experienced deep movings of the Spirit of God (including a physical healing, the “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” and the gift of tongues) as a result of attending charismatic meetings and prayer groups. It should be emphasized that these were members who were respected by the congregation at large.
As a result of these experiences, and in a sincere desire to share what they had discovered with others, they began to advocate that Calvary become a church open to various charismatic gifts and practices, especially the ones mentioned in the previous paragraph. One of the key issues centered around the teaching of the “second blessing” experience, a fairly common Pentecostal doctrine which emphasizes the importance of the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” subsequent to conversion. Salvation is the first blessing; the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the second blessing. This “baptism of the Holy Spirit” is usually (or always, depending on the theology of the person involved) accompanied by the manifestation of the gift of tongues.
Put simply, many of these good, godly leaders became profoundly convinced that what had happened to them should be shared by all the members of the church. They began to teach these things privately and publicly and began urging members of the church to attend charismatic prayer meetings where the “second blessing” and the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” could be more fully explained and experienced.
In the meantime Pastor Gray had resigned, leaving a wide leadership chasm in the congregation. This contributed to an atmosphere of controversy and uncertainty as to what position the church should take. Eventually the elders of the church (with the help of Dr. Lloyd Perry of Trinity Seminary) issued a position paper on the issues under discussion. Although they hoped this would end the controversy, it only fanned the flames. The issue came to a head at the Biannual Business Meeting in April, 1975, when the congregation adopted a lengthy statement of clarification concerning the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues. Shortly after that, the controversy died down and within a few months about 25 people left the church because of basic disagreement over the clarification. In the 17 years since then, the issue has not re-emerged as a source of controversy.
My Personal Experience
Before going any further, let me share my personal experience in this area. My first exposure to speaking in tongues came nearly 25 years ago when a Pentecostal evangelist set up a tent in the poor section of the small town in Alabama where I grew up. I can vividly remember slipping out of the house to visit the tent revival and watch the proceedings with open-mouthed amazement. Everything was so different from the staid, proper and safe Baptist church I attended every Sunday. I felt a real warmth and love from those simple country folks. Somewhere in my archives I have a picture of the Pentecostal evangelist standing next to a tent post. I never doubted his sincerity, not for a single moment. I am sure he and the people who came to hear him loved God fervently and were not ashamed to show it. During those formative early days I heard grown men and women speak in tongues. I saw women faint and fall on the sawdust aisle. I saw the preacher lay his hands upon the sick and pray for them. Many things happened in that tent revival that simply never happened at the First Baptist Church.
In the years since then I have been privileged to know many men and women who speak in tongues. Never once have I met a person who seemed to me to be a faker in this area. All the people I know who claim to speak in tongues truly believe they have been given that gift. My admiration is very high for our brothers and sisters of the charismatic and Pentecostal persuasion. They are godly people, oftentimes far outdistancing us in their zeal for the Lord.
To make matters even more personal, I confess that I have never spoken in tongues. I don’t know if that matters or not, except that I imagine I would approach these issues somewhat differently if I had. But nothing like the gift of tongues (or any of the other “sign” gifts, for that matter) has ever happened to me. I’ve never sought those gifts but I’ve never asked the Lord not to give them to me either. So far as I know my own heart, I am open to whatever God wants me to have. If the Lord has some other experience which will help me draw near to him then I am open for him to do whatever he wants to do in me and through me.
Clarifying the Issue
As I have said, I am aware that we have some very fine people (a few, not very many) at Calvary who speak in tongues. Several have indicated that they speak in tongues during their quiet times before the Lord. We don’t have anyone in our congregation, so far as I know, who openly advocates that all Christians should speak in tongues. But we do have some people who speak in tongues.
To state that more accurately, we have some people in our midst who have had experiences which seemed to them to be the gift of tongues. That sentence is very important because it touches the core issue. Some people have had certain experiences. That means we’re not just discussing dry doctrine in an academic sense; we’re discussing the Bible as it applies to human experience. That’s why people get so emotional when they talk about this area. That’s why it was so controversial 17 years ago. When we discuss the gift of tongues, we’re talking about our own personal experience (or the lack of it). And no one can be neutral or unemotional when he talks about his own life in that fashion.
Extremes to Avoid
It seems to me that there are two extremes we must avoid:
1. Trying to explain (or explain away) someone else’s personal experience. Non-charismatics are often guilty of this. Because we feel somewhat threatened by reports of various apparently supernatural events, we find it easier to explain them by using terms such as fraud, fakery, emotionally-overwrought, demonic, or psychologically-induced. The problem with using those categories (which may sometimes be appropriate) is that they force us to pass judgment over an experience we are only viewing from the outside. I have found over the years that it is much more useful not to pass judgment on someone else’s experience. Most of the time, I am perfectly happy to listen to the reports of what other people call speaking in tongues without offering any opinion whatsoever. Who knows what it really is? Unless I have some compelling reason, I am quite willing to let other people evaluate their own experiences according to their own understanding. That doesn’t mean I am accepting their evaluation or agreeing with it; it just means that if I don’t have to, I won’t pass judgment. That way I don’t fall into the trap of playing God for other people.
2. Making your personal experience the standard by which other people are judged. Those who hold the charismatic position are often guilty of this. I suppose the temptation is almost irresistible—once a life-changing experience has happened to you—to not only share your experience but to do everything in your power to see that your friends have the same experience you had. Life usually doesn’t work that way. What happened to you usually won’t happen to me. Even if it does, I probably won’t react in the same way. Once you start down the “If it’s good for me, you need it too” road, it’s not long before you end up with what Francis Schaeffer called the “New Super-Spirituality.”
Often the new Pentecostals put their emphasis on the external signs themselves instead of on the content, and they make these external signs the test for fellowship and accep-tance. In other words, as long as you have the signs, you are accepted as one of “us.” You are “in.” (The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, III, p. 390)
This was at the heart of the controversy in 1975. What started out as a legitimate difference of opinion ultimately became an “us” versus “them” conflict. It should be clear that in such a situation no one can claim to have all the truth or to be completely correct in everything he says.
I do not think it unfair to add that the more your spiritual life is based on supernatural signs and wonders, the greater will be your tendency to fall into this trap of judging people on the basis of your own experience.
The Bible Stands Above Human Experience
Although I just said that I try not to pass judgment on the experiences other people have, that statement must be tempered with one crucial qualifier. The Bible forever stands above all human experience. It is the unchanging standard by which all experience, all supposed claims of the supernatural, all alleged miracles, messages from on high, prophecies, exorcisms and healing must be measured. Perhaps the following diagram will make this clear:
The Bible Authority over
My Experience Submission to
Miracles Healing Tongues Exorcisms
Prophecy Signs Voice from God
Although this point will be shocking to some, it is a well-known fact that all the above phenomena are found in various sub-Christian cults and non-Christian religions. Variations on the above happen in Mormonism, Hinduism, Voodoo, certain Islamic sects and many varieties of animistic religion. Missionaries routinely tell stories of pagan religionists who can perform various supernatural manifestations. The point is, experience cannot be its own judge. The Hindu who performs a miracle or the Voodoo priest who thinks he can utter a prophecy from God may be entirely sincere in his beliefs. But sincerity is never the test of truth. Our only infallible source for judging truth is the Word of God. Therefore, when someone claims to speak in tongues, we have the right to judge that claim by the Word of God.
Three Mistakes People Make
There are three mistakes people often make in considering the gift of tongues:
1. Categorically denying their existence today. Many of you know that I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary, an institution known for teaching that the “sign gifts” (such as speaking in tongues) are not operative today. One of my mentors was Dr. Charles Ryrie, who wrote persuasively on this issue along with Dr. John Walvoord, the Chancellor of the seminary. After studying this issue for some time on my own, I have come to my own personal conviction that the New Testament is not entirely clear on this point. While I think a reasonable case could be made that the sign gifts had special significance in the first century (I think that case could be made very well from the book of Acts), it is not clear to me that you can say definitely and without equivocation that tongues died out when the Scriptures were completed (or when the first apostles passed away). I think the cessationists have a strong argument from Acts, while the charismatics can make at least some case for their practices from I Corinthians 12-14. The crucial issue is, how does tongues in Acts correlate with the tongues in I Corinthians? The issue is far too complex to deal with here, but I think more than one answer is possible.
Several weeks ago my friend Gary came to visit us while he was passing through town. Gary is a seminary graduate and a truly excellent Bible student with a good knowledge of both Greek and Hebrew. Somehow our discussion got around to the gift of tongues. When I asked Gary if he thought the gift could happen today, he smiled and said no. I said, “It absolutely couldn’t happen today?” “No way.” “Impossible?” “Impossible.” He said it with a smile but also with deep conviction. My only comment is that, while I respect his scholarship, I have difficulty being that certain about the matter.
2. Advocating that all believers speak in tongues. This is the opposite error to the one just mentioned. Some have argued that speaking in tongues is the regular or usual or typical sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. For reasons which I will later explain, we completely reject that view.
3. Making tongues a mark of spiritual maturity, holiness or unique spiritual power. This mistake comes from not realizing that tongues is a spiritual gift. It was never meant as a mark of maturity. In fact, in the only church where we find it practiced (Corinth), there was false doctrine, party spirit, factionalism, petty jealousy and gross immorality. The situation was so bad that Paul even called the church carnal, which means “fleshly” or “immature.” (I Corinthians 3:1-5) If that example means anything, it might indicate that tongues may demonstrate a lack of maturity! But I doubt that is correct. Since tongues is a gift, it bears no necessary relationship to spiritual maturity or the lack of it.
Two Crucial Theological Distinctions
With all of that as background, let’s focus now on two key areas of theology. These two are crucial to any discussion of this issue.
1. What is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? This turned out to be the key question 17 years ago. If it could be established that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is a “second blessing” experience, then a good foundation is provided for charismatic theology. But if not, then the gift of tongues ceases to be an experience all Christians should seek.
Let’s begin with a definition: The baptism of the Holy Spirit is that act of God, occurring at the moment of conversion and experienced by all believers, whereby the Holy Spirit places a believer in the body of Christ. Several aspects of that definition are crucial:
A. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at the moment of conversion and not subsequent to it.
B. It is experienced by all believers—not just a select few who have a certain spiritual experience.
C. It is that act which places a believer in the body of Christ.
Is there any Scripture which clearly teaches this? Yes, there is. I Corinthians 12:13 says, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given one Spirit to drink.” Notice the key words. We were all baptized—it is the universal experience of God’s children. We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit which admits us into the body of Christ. When does this baptism take place? Galatians 3:26-27 answers the question clearly: “You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ.” The order here is crucial. First there is faith which makes you a son of God, then you are baptized into Christ with the result that you are “clothed with” Christ. All of this happens at the moment of conversion.
Paul Enns offers these helpful comments on the universality of the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
The baptism of the Holy Spirit brings believers into union with other believers in the Body of Christ. There is absolutely no distinction concerning those coming into union with one another: Jews, Gentiles, slaves, free people, men, women—all come into union with one another (I Cor. 12:13). It is also noteworthy that the spiritual condition of the believer is not a factor—the Corinthians were noted for their carnality, yet were included. (Moody Handbook of Theology, p. 267)
Since the baptism of the Holy Spirit happens to every Christian at the moment they trust Christ, we strongly reject any teaching which suggests that believers need a “second blessing” to make their spiritual experience complete. Believers are made complete in Christ the moment they put their trust in him. No other experience is necessary to make you complete. If you are a Christian, you are complete in Christ.
So if someone asks, “Have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit?” the answer is always “Yes.” Because if you haven’t been baptized with the Holy Spirit, you aren’t even in the body of Christ at all. You’re not even a Christian!
To summarize, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an experience reserved for a few Christians, nor is it an experience that happens sometimes after conversion. The Scriptures teach that it happens at the moment of salvation and is experienced by all believers.
2. What is the Gift of Tongues? Dr. Charles Ryrie offers an excellent answer to this question:
Tongues is the God-given ability to speak in a language on earth that is unknown to the speaker. Interpretation of tongues is the ability to interpret that message in a language understood by the hearers. Unquestionably the first occurrence of tongues in Acts 2 was languages … The presumption is that the tongues in Corin-thians were no different. (Basic Theology, p. 373)
Dr. Ryrie also mentions the two basic purposes of tongues: 1. To communicate a message from God. 2. To authenticate the Christian message. I would add that tongues in Acts authenticated the Christian messengers as well.
It seems to be beyond dispute that the tongues in Acts were known foreign languages (as opposed to being ecstatic utterances). The whole emphasis of Acts 2 is that men were gathered in Jerusalem from all points of the compass. The miracle of Pentecost is that when the apostles spoke under the power of the Holy Spirit, the people from other countries heard them speaking in their own languages. Thus the Babylonian Jews heard the message in Babylonian, the Roman Jews heard the message in Latin, and so on. The whole purpose of tongues in Acts was to enable people to hear the gospel in their own languages and to demonstrate clearly that God was working through the apostles to establish the church of Jesus Christ on the earth.
Seek not, Forbid not
The case of the Corinthians is more difficult. (I pause to mention that tongues only occurs in Acts and I Corinthians in the New Testament—apart from a disputed reference in Mark 16). As Dr. Ryrie says, the presumption is that the “tongues” of I Corinthians were also known foreign languages. I agree with that, but there is no way to be absolutely certain of the point. The more crucial point is that tongues is a “gift” of the Holy Spirit in I Corinthians. As such, it is not given to every believer. In fact, when the gifts are listed in I Corinthians 12:27-30, tongues is listed last—twice! Far from being an important gift, tongues was considered by Paul to be the least of all the spiritual gifts.
Furthermore, while it is true that Paul himself spoke in tongues (I Cor. 14:18), tongues is inferior to prophecy (I Cor. 14:1-5) because prophecy can be understood by the hearer while tongues cannot be understood without an interpreter. In fact, five spoken words that everyone can understand are more important than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue (I Cor. 14:19). Tongues have little value in the assembly unless they are interpreted. Even then certain rules and regulations must be observed—1. Things must be done in an orderly fashion. 2. Only two or at most three people should speak in tongues in any one service. 3. Tongues must always be interpreted or else visitors and unbelievers will think the church has gone mad. 4. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet (I Cor. 14:26-28).
If I may boil down the teaching of I Corinthians 14 to a few sentences, it looks something like this: Tongues is a legitimate but inferior gift of the Spirit. Because of its spectacular nature, it is prone to much abuse. It is always better to conduct services in a language people can understand. Where the gift of tongues is practiced, strict rules must be followed.
The last two verses of I Corinthians 14 put the matter in a healthy perspective: “Be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting an orderly way.” Dr. A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, summed up his teaching on tongues in four apt words: “Seek not, Forbid not.” That seems to me to be a very good application of what Paul was trying to say.
Key Points of the 1975 Clarification
At this point it would probably be helpful to summarize the key points of the 1975 statement by the congregation on the gift of tongues. The statement is printed in its entirety at the end of this message. Ten key points sum up what the statement says:
1. Believers are made complete in Christ at the moment of conversion.
2. The baptism of the Holy Spirit occurs at the moment of conversion and is
experienced by all believers.
3. “Second blessing” experiences are not necessary.
4. The gift of tongues is not the sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
5. The gift of tongues is possible today but must be exercised strictly in
accordance with biblical teaching.
6. We are not to seek the gift of tongues since it is one of the lesser gifts.
7. In the New Testament, there is no evidence that all Christians spoke in
8. Tongues in Acts were an unlearned foreign language given supernaturally by
the Holy Spirit.
9. The practice of tongues is not permitted at Calvary unless there is clear and
unmistakable evidence of genuineness.
10. Contrary doctrine will not be permitted in this congregation.
Some people have objected to the clarification as being overly negative. My reply is that such a statement—given in the midst of heated controversy—must of necessity be bold and forthright in its declarations. At least the statement is clear in what it permits and what it forbids. No one reading that statement could doubt where the church stands.
A Personal Note to Those Who Speak in Tongues
I hope it will not seem out of place for me to address myself directly to those in our congregation who either speak in tongues, have spoken in tongues, or are sympathetic to its practice. Above everything else, we want you to know that we accept you in the Lord Jesus Christ. We count you as fellow members of the body of Christ and as beloved brothers and sisters. Never would we want to say anything to intentionally hurt you or to destroy your own spiritual life.
It may help if we make one useful distinction. There is a big difference between what happens in your personal quiet times and what happens in a public service. For the most part, we have very little interest in knowing how you personally praise the Lord. Among our hundreds of people, there must be hundreds of different ways of communing with God. I know people who use their quiet time to read the Psalms. I know others who sing hymns, others who memorize Scripture, still others who write in their journal, and others who quietly meditate. Some people pray on their way to work, while others read great Christian classics. My point is this. What you do in your quiet time is between you and the Lord. If you have certain experiences which seem to you to be similar to the gift of tongues in the New Testament, we have no objection.
Obviously we have a much greater interest in two key areas: 1. What is publicly taught and
2. What is advocated in our midst. It is crucial in our minds that our congregational position on the gift of tongues be upheld in our teaching and in the public services of the church. Almost everyone, I think, would agree that we have a legitimate interest in safeguarding our teaching ministry.
But should you have a personal experience that is somewhat different, we want you to know that you are still welcome to worship and serve at Calvary. We love you and we want nothing to come between us in the service of the Lord. While we fully intend to uphold our chosen position, we also intend to practice Ephesians 4:3—”Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
1. We need not fear believers whose practice is different from ours. It took me quite a few years to figure this out, but once I did, the truth was liberating. It’s okay if other people clap their hands when they sing; it’s okay if people use a prayer book; it’s okay if they stand or kneel or sit or even if they pass out on the sawdust. Sometimes we evangelicals get uptight about other people in the body of Christ who choose to do things differently. That’s a shame because God’s got a huge family. In fact, it’s so big that he lets some people in that I probably wouldn’t let in if I were running the show. But God didn’t make me the keeper of the gate. He lets in everyone who trusts his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That no doubt includes some people whose style of worship will be very different from my own. That’s okay. The way you worship is okay, too. Within the family of God, there ought to be lots of room for personal expression.
One thing that blasted me out of my preconceptions was traveling outside of America. If you go to Haiti, you find that the believers there worship a little bit like we do, a little like the charismatics, and (if you can believe it) a little like the Episcopalians. The same thing is true in Russia. In fact, at the Temple of the Gospel in St. Petersburg, you can clearly see some elements from the Reformed tradition, the Baptist tradition, the Lutheran tradition, the charismatic tradition and the evangelical tradition. They’re all mixed in together. It’s good to know that because it keeps us from getting too uptight when other people don’t do things exactly like we do.
2. Each church has the right—under the Lordship of Jesus Christ—to decide its own doctrine and set its own boundaries for fellowship. This principle safeguards the first principle. While we need not fear what others do, it doesn’t follow that we are obligated to change our practice to match theirs. Not at all. If the priesthood of the believer means anything, it means that each church responds to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in its own way. Some will be Calvinistic; others Armenian; others Pentecostal; others Lutheran; some will baptize by immersion; others by sprinkling; some will sing in Latin; others with a rock band. Some churches will have a very broad statement of faith; others very narrow. Two churches may co-exist side by side for years (as indeed we do right here in Oak Park) and yet have very different ways of doing things. I believe that is a natural fact of life in the body of Christ.
3. Our conclusion is that we do not believe the gift of tongues or any of the “Sign Gifts” are necessary or essential for the worship, teaching, fellowship and outreach of this congregation. Therefore, we do not encourage their practice here. This of course is the real bottom line. We’re not saying such gifts can’t happen today nor are we condemning those churches that do practice these things. We’re not claiming any moral superiority for our position nor are we arguing that everyone else is wrong and we are right. We are simply and forthrightly declaring what we believe is best for our own congregation. We don’t think we need to speak in tongues in order to please God or to worship effectively or to have better teaching or to improve our fellowship or to help us reach more people for Christ. We think God can work through us and in us without the gift of tongues. We respect those who may differ with us, but this is our position.
4. Having said that, we purpose to have close and cordial relations with all who love the Lord Jesus Christ, including those whose practice may differ from ours. We intend to
—Hold our convictions in love
—Love all those who love our Lord.
With that, I bring my message to an end. Some will not be satisfied because they will think we are either too strict or too liberal. My reply is that it’s always easier to go to an extreme on any issue. We don’t want to do that. Our goal is to state clearly what we believe the Bible teaches, but without unnecessarily dividing the body of Christ or alienating those who may view these matters differently.
The Holy Spirit — A Clarification
The following statement was adopted at the Annual Business Meeting on April 21, 1975, as a clarification of Article C of the Articles of Faith of
Calvary Memorial Church.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the Gift of Tongues
Years ago the “holiness movement” introduced a “second blessing” which was described as a crisis experience of sanctification at which time a Christian made a total commitment to Jesus as Lord. At the turn of the century, pentecostalism arose emphasizing a “second experience”, apart from conversion, and described it as the baptism of the Spirit usually accompanied with a sign, speaking in tongues. The implication was that conversion saved an individual from punishment, but he was incomplete until the “baptism experience” when he was provided the power to live the Christian life. In this day, this “baptism experience” has been increasing and crosses many denominational lines.
It has become more and more apparent that we need to clarify our position on what we believe the Bible teaches regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues. This is particularly important for clarification as our church leaders and teachers are expected to commit themselves to the beliefs of our church and support our church’s basis for fellowship.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
We believe that a man is made complete in Christ at the moment of his conversion. He then appropriates continuously and increasingly those provisions which are his in Christ. Therefore we believe that the charismatic gifts are not evidence of any unique baptism (second blessing) or filling or superior ministry of the Holy Spirit; and the practice, teaching and promotion to the contrary are not permitted. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an initial Christian event simultaneous with conversion (I Cor. 12:13). As the Holy Spirit indwells every believer, His ministry needs to be continuously and increasingly appropriated (Eph. 5:18). The primary evidences of the resulting fullness of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22,23).
The Gift of Tongues
We believe that the Holy Spirit may bestow the gift of tongues upon an individual today. It is clear that Biblical tongues in the book of Acts is unlearned foreign languages supernaturally given by the Holy Spirit. Tongues has limited ability to edify the church, and then only when it is interpreted and in accordance with other regulations set forth in Scriptures (I Cor. 14). The gift of tongues is not given to every Christian. Scripture exhorts us specifically to seek the greater gifts instead of the lesser, in which category tongues is placed. As the Holy Spirit wills He bestows the gifts (I Cor. 12:8-11, 27-31; II Pet. 1:20). Use of tongues during any meetings of Calvary Memorial Church, regardless where held, is not permitted except where there is clear and unmistakable evidence that the tongue is really a foreign language unknown to the speaker and correctly interpreted, thus verifying the authenticity of the miracle sign. Attempts to promote any other doctrine of tongues are not permitted.