Tongue-tied

Having grown up in a charismatic non-denomination, I happen to know a lot of people who practice glossolalia — or in low-falootin’ (and biblical) terminology, speaking in tongues. Here’s one example that might surprise you, but in particular, I’m talking about Albino Hayford, who recently shattered his personal record for number of comments to a theological post (but has quite a ways to go to touch my record of 154), by complaining that “even that crazy tongue-talker himself, The Apostle Paul, would fail the SBC [Southern Baptist Convention] mission board application process.”

Thus ensued a raging battle about about whether the spiritual gift of tongues is still given by the Holy Spirit today, or whether it ceased with the end of the Apostolic Age and the closing of the canon of scripture. I would rather look at the question in a different light, though, asking not whether we should/may speak in tongues, but what is (or was) biblical speaking in tongues?

In Mark 16:17, “they will speak in new tongues”, does that mean new to themselves (i.e. a previously unknown foreign language), or new to the whole world (babble)?

In Acts 2:11, when the others said “we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God,” was the Holy Ghost causing the pentecostals to miraculously utter foreign languages, or was the Holy Ghost causing the hearers to miraculously understand babble (would God give the spiritual gift of interpretation to those not yet saved? (and yet if the pentecostals were not babbling, why did some hearers mock them and say “They are filled with new wine!”))

In 1 Cor 12:10 (and 12:28) “to another various kinds of tongues”, what are different kinds of tongues? Different foreign languages, or different kinds of babble? How is one babble different from another babble?

In 1 Cor 13:8: When will tongues cease? (I’m not claiming a that they have, I’m noting that the Bible asserts that they will, and I’m asking when)

And that takes us to the most concentrated chunk of doctrine about tongues in the bible, which you might as well open in a separate tab or window, so you can see it all in context: 1 Cor 14

In v2: “One who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him” — but at Pentecost, didn’t the tongues talkers declare the Gospel to men, and didn’t the men understand (some of them, anyways)?

In v23: “If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?” I don’t think I need to comment any further on that.

In v5: Why does Paul “want you all to speak in tongues?” How does (v4) “one who speaks in a tongue build up himself”? What good is (v2) “uttering mysteries in the Spirit” if “no one understands him”?

There’s an answer to those last questions in v13-15:

13Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

Whether tongues actually means foreign languages or babble — either way, Paul does not here unreservedly endorse private tongues. The reason Paul prays “with my spirit, but with my mind also”, is because he is also gifted by the Holy Spirit with the “power to interpret”. Anybody “who speaks in tongues should pray for the power to interpret.” Otherwise, their spirit prays, but their mind is unfruitful. Which is not a good thing. Paul is extending the need for interpretation in church services here also to private prayer.

This is where I see the problem. Where, today, is the interpretation? I have observed thousands of instances of people speaking in tongues, but maybe only two or three times have I ever seen an interpretation offered. I don’t have any statistics on how often people pray for the “power to interpret”, but I’m guessing it’s close to nonexistent. There is no apparent desire to edify the mind as well as the spirit; people are content to just pray in tongues and remain unedified, which is exactly what Paul says is BAD.

In v22: “Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers” — what makes more sense as a sign to unbelievers (what was the sign to unbelievers at Pentecost?) — foreign languages, or babble? I’ll give you a hint. Paul answers this question in the verses before, (as Mike noted), by quoting Isaiah:

1 Cor 14:20Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers

Paul basically says “Anybody who thinks that God has a use for uninterpreted tongues is immature and childish in their thinking”. That right there is my bottom-line takeaway point.

However, I will also give some reasons I have come to believe that the gift of tongues is foreign languages, not babble. Feel free to flame me in a comment — the worst that can happen is I’ll delete it.

  1. Pentecost is the reversal of Babel. God originally created foreign languages to “disperse man over the face of all the earth” (probably because by gathering in one place they were violating God’s command to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth“). But at Pentecost, God sent his gospel to all nations by using the gift of tongues to share it with Jews “from every nation under heaven”, so that in the coming Diaspora, the gospel would reach “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  2. The reason some at Pentecost mocked, and said “They are filled with new wine!” is because they heard foreign languages they didn’t know. It seems reasonable to me that God ordained that the elect would be in position to hear from the tongues-speaker(s) who were speaking in their own language. But the non-elect did not have their paths thus ordained that day, and “If…outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that [tongues-speakers] are out of your minds?”
  3. When 1 Cor 14:2 says that one who speaks in tongues utters “mysteries in the Spirit”, it does not mean to allow the mystery to remain mysterious. The whole rest of the chapter goes on to point out the importance of interpretation. When the bible (specifically Paul) says “Mystery”, he is not talking about something unknowable, he is talking about a very important truth that the church needs to understand (see one chapter over and basically all of Ephesians)
  4. Paul wants “all of you to speak in tongues,” because with interpretation, it builds up the church, as well as the individual believer.
  5. Has tongues ceased? I’m not going to put my foot down (or stick my neck out) on that, but will rather stick to Paul’s command “do not forbid speaking in tongues”, in conjunction with his very clear teaching that tongues without interpretation is worthless. I have heard accounts of new converts or missionaries spontaneously speaking in foreign languages in the furtherance of the gospel, which sound a lot more like biblical tongues than what I have observed in modern pentecostal churches.

To sum up, I’ll conclude that

  • Biblical tongues was (or maybe is) supernatural ability to speak in a foreign language
  • This is entirely concordant with
    • the explosion of God’s chosen people from a single people/language group to people of all nations and languages
    • the reversal of the sign of Babel
  • Paul condemned tongues without interpretation — in public, and in private.
  • Modern tongues-advocates need to remember that not all have tongues, and thus they need to stop guilt-tripping the ungifted into faking it to be left alone.
  • Modern tongues-talkers need to do a lot less speaking in tongues, and a lot more praying for power to interpret.
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146 Responses

  1. I have no idea what is going on when a person “lets go” and “meaningless” babble is voiced. It’s easy to do, I have done so all my life in private cause people would think I’m nuts. Right? It feels great, whether or not it is divinely inspired is beyond me, but it is clearly part an parcel of who we are on a deep level. That’s as close enough to God’s voice as I can imagine. Language may be God’s greatest gift to us, no surprise to me it has many faces. Nice post, interesting subject for sure.

    JMO and BB
    Doug

  2. Maybe it’s related to the desire for music? We enjoy sounds, and constructing our own. I’ve been reading swathes of twaddle about scientific principles being glued to religious issues and wanted to vent some steam. That’s why I did it, I think. It feels good. It’s a release. But it’s just human. Listen to #3 some time and ponder. Maybe we don’t have the energy to construct the right words and need to vent. BAH!

  3. Welcome, Unitedcats! (I think I know what a “Doug” is, but what’s a “JMO and BB”?)

    And florbly knooguts to you too, limejelly! Did my linkage of you cause you to read an entire theological post, or did you skip to the comments? I think it’s funny that you had that post available for me to link to — others might think I conspired with you, but the posting dates show that limejelly’s glossolalia preceded Albino Hayford’s triggering post! (OK, I guess I lied, but honest, that’s the order in which I encountered them!)

  4. Great job! After I read this I kept imaging Albino uttering those infamous words coined by Roberto Duran…No Mas!

  5. By the way, Reuben, do you remember our infamous usage of “tag-tongues”? “Sadabi-Kinda?”

  6. Had to close the thread, Mike, because it would have never ended, and I wasn’t getting any other work done. I’m sure you guys will keep tongues wagging…

  7. By the way, Reuben, do you remember our infamous usage of “tag-tongues”? “Sadabi-Kinda?”

    Go over here, and see how this article is abbreviated. For the unitiated, that’s pronounced Keenda, not Keyenda. Given our differing beliefs on tongues, it would seem that you should believe that you need to repent. According to my interpretation, I’m OK.

    I also added a mundi on there because Dad explained to me once that, by tagging that romance-language root onto the end of all of his tongues, he was praying about the whole world.

    I’m sure you guys will keep tongues wagging…

    No, that’s your job! (Did I just ruin the joke by making it too obvious?)

  8. Maybe it’s related to the desire for music? We enjoy sounds, and constructing our own.

    That is very interesting. So how does a Christian Jazz singer differentiate between scat and tongues? (especially if they are faithful to the injunction whatever you do, do all to the Glory of God)

  9. I would say that if you want things to be grounded in a notion of God then you could probably make up God-related explanations for most things, so that might be the simplest route for her.

    BTW, I would call it gibberish rather than glossolalia. I wrote down a “grr argh” style sequence that was in my head. It’s a form of composition.

  10. Kaka tu fanala.

  11. Before I read the comments, I want to make my own.

    How is it that you read Paul saying that the mind is unfruitful, and then just assert that it is ‘BAD?’

    I think when you read chapter 14 from the beginning, Paul is showing that among the brethren it is better to prophesy or at least interpret a tongue. But the existence of verse 5 seems to indicate that Paul is accounting for those that speak in an unknown tongue but yet don’t interpret (“unless someone interprets”). He says in verse 4 that one that speaks in an unknown tongue edifies himself but prophesy the church. If there was interpretation though, then there would be edification for the church as well. So, again, I think we see that uninterpreted speaking in an unknown tongue is

    Speaking to God
    Speaking mysteries in the Spirit
    Edifying to the believer speaking
    Not necessarily forbidden.

    I think you are proving too much with your exegesis here. But I still love you.

    Jeff

  12. Just to add a little more

    I think the burden is on you to show something like:

    1. Understanding is Good (prove this from scripture)
    2. Not-Understanding is Bad (again, prove this)
    3. uninterpreted-tongues is not-understanding (easy to prove, do it anyway)
    4. therefore, uninterpreted-tongues is bad

    And, if speaking in tongues is speaking to God, then doesn’t He understand?

    And, the people babbling at Pentecost didn’t interpret, right? They just happened to be understood by others. Maybe we have different types and cases of babbling. Right?

    I just want to wrap up with my most common suggestion for you when trying to interpret scripture, please try not to jump to conclusions that the text doesn’t teach, and if you do jump to a conclusion, please try to support it from the text itself. I think it is very clear you didn’t do so in your post above brother. :)

    How about those 3D pics!?

    Jeff

  13. Responding to Jeff just briefly, in reverse order:

    Alas, for the 3D pics, I am unfortunately losing my gift of interpretation.

    I don’t think Acts specifies whether the tongues-speakers had understanding in themselves, but clearly there was understanding in others that led to edification (and great increase!) of the body.

    What is the point of speaking things to God? When he understands our personally unintelligible speech, are we going to tell him something he doesn’t already know? But if this is combined with interpretation, then we (like Paul) pray with our spirit AND pray with our mind (“worship Him in spirit AND in truth”)

    4. As you note, this is a valid conclusion, if the foregoing three points are correct
    3. 1 Cor 14:9
    2,1. !! Taken in a general context (not specifically wrt interpretation of tongues), these would seem self-evident! Certainly the whole point of the tongues vs. prophecy comparison is that understanding is at least BETTER, which would mean by definition that not-understanding is WORSE. How about if I edit my original post so that in place of “BAD” it says “immature and childish”?

    Do you disagree that “I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also” means “I, Paul accompany my gift of tongues with my gift of interpretation, so that when I pray with my spirit, I will pray with my mind also”?

  14. How about this: James 1:22-24

    22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

    Doer = Hearer + actor = not forgetter = Understander of the perfect law = blessed = Persevering = GOOD

    Hearer only = not-doer = deceiving yourselves = forgetter = Not-understander = not blessed = BAD

    Also, your implication that Understanding might not be Good, and Not-Understanding might not be Bad, reminds me of the three comments about Greek beginning right here.

    However, I guess one could also argue that Adam and Eve were better off in a state of Not-Understanding Good & Evil…

  15. Your James text is quite a stretch. You’re proof texting here. It has nothing to do really with the subject at hand in this discussion. Also, you’re really stretching it to bring in the understanding part just to make your point.

    My point on chapter 14 is that it is not at all saying it is a bad thing to speak or pray or sing in an unknown tongue without interpretation. It is not even saying that it is a ‘worse’ thing, with the sense in which you use that term. It is a ‘good’ thing. This is explicitly taught by Paul, unless edifying yourself is not a ‘good’ thing. It is just a ‘gooder’ thing to prophesy.

    The context and the point behind this chapter is order within a setting of gathered Christians. That is what his instructions here are about. He is not teaching here about a persons private prayer life, though he makes some statements that you can carefully learn from.

    You ask what the point is to speak directly to God via tongues. I say that this question has no significance to the question of whether it is valid or not. So you don’t understand why, big deal. That doesn’t change the fact of what Paul teaches there. How does speaking in tongues edify oneself? I don’t know. I really don’t care. But Paul teaches that it does.

    Here’s a question for you, why does Paul say that he wishes we all spoke in an unknown tongue? He then says he wishes even more that they prophesy, and the reason is because now more than one person is edified. He also teaches that if a tongue is interpreted that more than one person is edified, making tongues + interpretation = prophesy. He’s certainly not just blabbering repetitive stuff. Your post above would force Paul to be saying “I wish you all prophesied, but even more that you prophesied.” Nonsense.

    To sum up, this is a text primarily to teach that in public, tongues must be interpreted. That’s the emphasis. That’s the purpose. To use its emphasis that prophesy is better in order to debunk private tongues is just bad exegesis.

  16. 1. Understanding is Good (prove this from scripture)
    2. Not-Understanding is Bad (again, prove this)

    The word “understanding” is always spoken of as “good” throughout the Bible. The book of Proverbs specifically comes to mind. Right at the start, Solomon shows the goodness of understanding:

    Proverbs 1:1-3
    1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
    2 To know wisdom and instruction,
    To discern the sayings of understanding,
    3 To receive instruction in wise behavior,
    Righteousness, justice and equity;

    It says that one purpose of the book of Proverbs is to increase understanding. The word the Bible uses to describe “not understanding” is “foolishness”, and yes, that’s bad. The famous verse about the inability of natural man to discern Spiritual matters seems timely:

    1 Corinthians 2:14
    14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

    Here, the word foolishness is equated with the inability to understand, and not understanding Spiritual matters is bad. This is clear from the previous verses:

    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,
    13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

    It says we received the Spirit so that we may know… How did we receive this knowledge (or understanding)? Or more confessionally speaking, what were the instruments? “Spiritual thoughts and spiritual words.” Here, it is clear (I think) that Spiritual thoughts and words are only beneficial through understanding.

  17. In case MS is reading, I want to make it clear that one (like myself) can believe in the closed canon of scripture and still believe that God talks today. It’s silly to say that God dynamically speaking to His children today means that it would have to be added to the Bible.

    For example, let’s say Christian is sitting on a park bench minding his own business. Somebody sits down next to him. God through His Spirit reveals a secret to Christian regarding Somebody. Christian witnesses to Somebody, reveals this secret in the course. God’s Spirit uses this to bring Somebody to a state of regeneration. The angels rejoice!

    Now, does this mean that the secret now needs to be written down and added to the canon?

    Does the fact that the canon is closed mean that this can’t happen?

    Did everything God revealed through His prophets of old get written down and are now in the Bible?

    Support your answers with scripture. How does Hebrews 1 deny the above situation as a possibility.

    Blessings,

    Jeff

  18. Jeff,

    Have you read the previous thread on my website? We discussed a lot of the same stuff, and I made exactly ZERO headway getting anybody to acknowledge the following point: Paul says to “let one speak and the others judge.” Why would the prophecies need to be judged if they were canonical already? And why is it so hard to understand that the Bible is our final authority by which we judge all sermons, Bible studies, words of prophecy or cheesy karaoke special music at potlucks? “Let ALL things be done, decently and in order. , forbid not to speak with tongues.”

    Denuding the present-day church of the gifts of the Spirit would be a great tactic of the enemy, wouldn’t it? It is akin to sawing off the branch on which we are sitting. Like someone standing on the side of the road screaming: “Hey guys, that car you’re driving? It doesn’t really exist.”

  19. Reuben, As you know, I am not your typical religous preacher. We evangelicals of the more exuberant variety are often the most critical of ourselves. If you can’t laugh at some of your own excesses and mistakes, you will be one miserable puppy. Which was the origin of our “tag-tongue” joke.

    I’m sure you’ve heard the one about the Italian motorcyclist who went into church to pray and receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. As they prayed over him, he glanced up and saw through the window that his bike was gone, and cried out, “Hey, who stola my Honda!” Everybody clapped and said, “You got it brother, you got it!”

  20. How does speaking in tongues edify oneself? I don’t know. I really don’t care. But Paul teaches that it does.

    I always took Paul’s comment here as a reprimand against those who only sought to edify themselves, or make themselves feel good. I can see Paul motioning quote marks in the air with his fingers around the word “edifies”. Aren’t Spiritual gifts for the edification of the whole body?

    1 Corinthians 12:7
    7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

    Paul goes on in chapter 12 to rebuke the Corinthians for desiring (and perhaps faking) the up-front, on stage, prestigious gifts.

    29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they?

    Paul basically accuses them of using the gifts of the Spirit selfishly (which is consistent with my interp of 12:7) Then he shows them the “more excellent way” in the “love chapter” 13. Their problem was selfishness. They needed to love one another with their gifts, not themselves. It doesn’t seem consistent with this purpose of the gifts that one should use their gift alone in their closet. All the gifts have this in common: Their use is among the Body and to the edification of the Body. Is tongues the exception?

  21. He is not teaching here about a person’s private prayer life, though he makes some statements that you can carefully learn from.

    Sounds like teaching to me. And why do you get to discount the sub-lesson about individual tongues in this passage (and the sub-lesson about the duties of the state in this passage), but emphasize a sub-lesson when you find it agreeable? (The sub-lesson about God’s law outside the covenant in Jonah?)

    @Ron: Thx for your contributions. Understanding vs Not-Understanding is now officially knocked out of the park. Three small notes; not only is not-understanding “foolishness” in general, in this particular passage it is also “unfruitful”, which is also bad. Also, you emphasise the term “instrument”, which is also in our passage (1 Cor 14:6-12). Finally, note again Paul’s use of the word “mystery”. Is there any other place where Paul intends Mystery as something we are not supposed to understand?

    tongues + interpretation = prophesy

    Wrong, and it is not my post, but your faulty equation that would make Paul repeat himself. “The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets”, so the proper inequalities are:

    tongues < prophecy <= tongues+interpretation

    As for Christian and Somebody on the park bench, I won’t deny that this can’t/doesn’t happen, and (for now anyways) I can’t go digging through scripture, but how would you classify this wrt to the traditional terminology “General Revelation” vs. “Special Revelation”? I thought “General Revelation” is what is plain to all (i.e. Rom 1:20), and “Special Revelation” is the Bible. Is there another kind of revelation, or do I misunderstand the terminology? (or does the terminology need to change)? For instance, when the Holy Spirit adds understanding to the reading of the Bible, is that also some middle kind of revelation? It doesn’t seem to fit with either of my two categories.

  22. King David “encouraged himself in the Lord his God”. Jude reminds us to “build yourselves up (or edify) in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit”. Does someone with the gift of administration also administrate his own affairs, and so edify himself?

    Also, let’s be careful reading into the text stuff that we don’t know (argument from silence), like imagining Paul being sarcastic and waving his hands in the air, etc.

    Here’s what we know:

    Paul spoke in tongues more than the Corinthians. Paul would rather speak in a “known language” in a public setting. Paul says that he wishes “that all of you spoke with tongues”. And finally, Paul expressly commands us to “forbid not to speak in tongues.” I’m sorry, but the Apostle Paul does not sound like a cessationist; he sounds like he wants us to continue using the gifts, but “decently and in order.”

  23. Ya know, I wasn’t kidding about my Christian Jazz singer scenario. I would really like to hear a pro-tonguer’s perspective on whether tongues is voluntary or involuntary, and if it’s voluntary, is there any way to distinguish between voluntary babble for fun (not subject to interpretation) and voluntary babble for spiritual edification (possibly/certainly subject to interpretation)? Is there any assurance that a tongues-talker is really exercising a gift, and not just faking it? If I get intellectually convinced that tongues is for today, and I decide to start babbling, is that the same as receiving the gift?

    There’s probably a thousand ways I could rephrase the question. Address any rephrasing you have anything to say about. Enquiring minds want to honestly dialog.

    [However, I know that Jeff is working on another thing that I feel is much more important, so if he agrees, the rest of you will all understand that if he makes himself scarce, it is not because he has abandoned the discussion…]

  24. Albino,

    What’s the difference between your special revelation and the special revelation in the Scriptures that does not qualify it to be added to the canon?

    I thought God’s word was inerrant and infallible, thus if you are hearing God’s word outside of the canon it would have the same authority.

    How do you distinguish between God’s word and your own?

    I am kind of at a disadvantage in this debate since you are still receiving God’s infallible message directly. I can only obtain this message indirectly through the Scriptures.

    In fact, why have a canon at all if God is still speaking?

    As for you last question…I had already responded to it directly on my blog: http://msamudio.wordpress.com/2006/10/26/a-precious-cornerstonecompleted-foundation/

    Mike S.

  25. I think Rube just told me to beat it and get back to work so that H&S will be worth while for everyone. I feel like slumping my head, tucking my tail, and in a very low tone of voice, saying “yes, dad.’

    :)

  26. And yet your obedience is not forced on you, but flows naturally from your love (of Theonomy), and your gratefulness for being elected (to debate)!

  27. Mike,

    The answer to all of your questions is given to you by Paul. “Let one speak and the others judge.” We judge everything by the Scripture. THAT’S WHY we have a canon; it is what we use to judge every sermon, Bible study, word of prophecy, and blog entry.

    You are at a disadvantage in this debate because you are attacking straw men. No one is disagreeing with you that the canon is closed. I guess I could turn it around and say, “Why do we need preaching if we have the Bible? Why do we need Christian books if we have the Bible? Isn’t God’s Word enough?

    This is what I mean about this discussion going in circles.

    I keep getting sucked back in because I care about you and hate to see you bamboozled by that cessationist drivel.

  28. I have never posted here before, but someone brought this particular thread to my attention, and I cannot help but through a few “shrimps on the barbie (BBQ)”.

    I would like to approach this topic from perhaps a completely different angle, and then return to some of the discussions you have been having. I do not think that I will have the last word, or that I will silence all debate on the issue. Let me just say that it is NEVER a waste of time to think something through slowly and thoroughly. I would encourage all of you to consider one another’s views.

    Well, enough prolegomenon.

    I am a student at a Reformed/Presbyterian seminary, and a former Pentecostal (Assembly of God.) As such, I’ll be up front on my position. I once spoke in tongues, now I do not. I believe that they have ceased. I do not intend to thoroughly convince anyone of the truth of that with one internet post. It would be arrogant of me to think that my writing and understanding of this issue were that robust and articulate. But I would like to contribute to your conversation.

    Have you ever wondered what it means for God to have created out of nothing by speaking? “Let there be light.” And there was light.

    Consider light. What kind of power has God given to light? It illuminates. It allows us to see. Does light have the power to hear anything? Could light “hear” God’s voice? If it could, could it respond to Him? Let’s rewind back in time: God spoke “at” non-existence. Light did not yet exist. Light that exists can neither hear God’s voice nor respond to Him – but how much more so light that doesn’t even exist yet?

    Here’s my point. That which does not exist has no power of hearing so that it can hear God’s voice. Even if it did have such a power, it would not be able to obey His voice. That’s what it means to not exist. Think about it. Furthermore, only human beings have an ethical ability to decide between right and wrong. Light does not, and surely that which does not exist does not have this ability. And more than that, ONLY God has the power to create. Non-existent things cannot bring themselves into existence.

    So what can we conclude? When the Scripture says that God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light, it does NOT mean that God issued a command to things that don’t exist, and they heard Him and obeyed Him and created themselves. This is common sense, but as you surely have discovered in life, common sense is not all that common.

    The end of the matter is that the efficacy is in the speaker, namely God, not in the listener. THAT is the point. This is a profound and powerful point. It is not MY point, it is the Bible’s point. As such, it is God’s point. God is telling us that He, and He alone, is the Creator. In Him alone is the efficacy to create, to affect change. He speaks and it becomes reality. This is part of why He cannot lie. It is impossible for God to lie, because even if He could somehow violate His righteous nature and tell a lie, it would instantly become reality, and therefore would cease to be a lie anymore. Have you ever considered this?

    But what on earth does this have to do with speaking in tongues?

    Consider how tongues functioned. It functioned in exactly the same way as prophesy. In prophesy, God spoke to His people. When God speaks to His people, His Word regenerates them. Just like when He created light, the efficacy is in God who speaks, not in us who hear. So when Paul says, for example, in Romans 10:17 that faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (by the way, while Strong’s tells us that this should read “word of God”, earlier Greek manuscripts have the word Xristos there, not Theos. So that’s why the NIV and other translations translate this “word of Christ”), it does not mean that we HEAR the Word of Christ and that we CHOOSE to respond in faith; rather, it means that the Word of Christ comes to us and changes us, and we are therefore changed. We are quickened by the Spirit, through the Word, as Spurgeon would say. Here is where regeneration takes place. And I would have you know, this is not because of anything in you or in me, just as the things that don’t exist have no power to obey God, so too we have no power to hear the Word of Christ. The Spirit must quicken us, He must open blind eyes and unstop deaf ears to hear the Word of Christ. You did not choose God, God chose you. When the Word of God affects you and regenerates you, YOU have not done anything.

    So now let’s talk about the “means of grace”. The means of grace is a technical term for the means through which God affects us in this way. You won’t be surprised to discover that the primary means of grace is the Word. Specifically, the message of the Gospel.

    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
    Rom 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    You see? The power of God for salvation IS the Gospel. The Gospel is not an understanding that I have, it is a message that is proclaimed to me. That’s what the word “Gospel” means. It means “good news”. It cannot be news if it is not something that is told to you. It cannot be news if it is something you already understand. It is good news because it is something someone tells us, and hearing it changes us. The Spirit opens our ears to hear it (He who has ears to hear, let him hear.)

    This is how God manifests His grace to us, by speaking to us. It is His Word that raises us from the dead. We were “dead in our trespasses”, but then comes the Word of Christ, the message of the Gospel which is the power of God for salvation; note: it is not the power of God for justification, nor for regeneration, but for salvation. That means the Word of God does not just convert us, it also grows us in the faith. That’s why in Ephesians 4, Paul tells us that God has given us prophets, evangelists and teachers, preachers, etc to grow us up into maturity in Christ. These are all people who are charged, with Timothy to “preach the Word”. It is the Word of Christ preached TO US that affects our salvation, that is our conversion and our continued growth in faith and grace and love.

    The secondary means of grace is the sacraments. The sacraments seal the Word of God. Think of the sacraments like a marriage ceremony. We do not merely take vows of marriage, we have a ceremony. The bride walks the aisle and pledges herself to her husband to be his wife, and the husband receives the woman to be his wife, and he gives her his name. In an incredible reversal of this, God, in Genesis 15, actually pledges Himself to Abraham, pledging to serve him! GOD walks the aisle, GOD swears to be faithful. But before He did that, He spoke the word of promise to Abraham.

    Heb 6:13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
    Heb 6:14 saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.”
    Heb 6:15 And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.
    Heb 6:16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.
    Heb 6:17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,
    Heb 6:18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

    In this passage, incredibly, we have Word and Sacrament. God speaks the blessing to Abraham (Word), and then “show(s) more convincingly” by passing between the animal pieces, walking the aisle, swearing the oath. In these two unchangeable things in which God cannot lie, God assured Abraham that His Word was true.

    In EXACTLY the same way, God speaks to us in the sermon, which is the preaching of HIS Word, the Gospel, the message of what Christ has done for us, and then He seals it with a covenantal ceremony, namely baptism and the Lord’s supper. Both of those are covenant ceremonies, like the marriage ceremony. God speaks a word of pardon to us in Jesus Christ, and then visibly shows us that He will surely do it. He speaks gently to us of His promise for the forgiveness of sins, and then pledges and seals Himself to us, binding Himself to us so that we will know that He will surely do as He promised. Thus He baptizes us and invites us to His table to eat with Him.

    Now some people have said that prayer is also a means of grace. I can see why they would say that, because God has promised to answer our prayers, and thus He is gracious toward us in His response to our prayers. But I would politely disagree with this. Remember, the efficacy is in the Word of God, not in our words to Him. Our words to Him are the RESULT of His words to us. For you see, when He speaks His Gospel to us, we respond only because He has first spoken. And our response is the necessary result of His words.

    Isa 55:10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
    Isa 55:11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

    However, since God has bound Himself to us, because of the nature of His Word to us, He has promised to come quickly to us when we call on His name. He speaks to us, and when we hear it, we cry out to Him in response.

    Isa 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
    Isa 6:2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
    Isa 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
    Isa 6:4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
    Isa 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

    This must be the response when one hears the voice of the Lord. It affects us. Isaiah saw a vision, to be sure, but his vision corresponds to the Word, through which we are given faith, for faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ (Rom 10:17). Isaiah here is picturing physically for us what takes place spiritually through hearing. We hear His holiness proclaimed, and we respond with repentance. We cannot respond in any other way. If you want proof of this, just ask yourself what will happen when the unbeliever stands before God in judgment. Will the unbeliever respond with defiance and curse God to His glorious and majestic face? Not at all!

    Rom 14:10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God;
    Rom 14:11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

    Paul doesn’t just say that “someday” every knee will bow, but he deliberately associates this with the day of judgment. When we are confronted with God, the only POSSIBLE response is to fall to our knees and confess our unworthiness and shame at our sin. But that is not the end of the story.

    Isa 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
    Isa 6:6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
    Isa 6:7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
    Isa 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

    God, in this case through His messenger, the angel, responds to our cries for mercy and our cries of repentance, by speaking gentle words of pardon. In this case, the flaming coal to the lips doesn’t sound very gentle, but the point here is purification. He says that Isaiah’s lips have been purified. And God speaks again, asking whom He should send, and Isaiah again responds, “Here I am, send me.”

    Isn’t that exactly what happened to you when you were saved? Isn’t that exactly what happens to you every time you confess your sins and hear the sweet words of Christ, saying fear not, for I hold the keys to Death and Hades? (Rev 1). But this all takes place in dialogue. God’s Word is efficatious for our salvation. God’s Word changes us. We hear it, and are saved.

    But notice again that hearing the Lord ALWAYS provokes a response in us. Thus it is true that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But:

    Rom 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
    Rom 10:14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
    Rom 10:15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
    Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”
    Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    Do you see how my point is proven? The preached word from God’s messenger, declaring to us pardon from our sins in Christ is like water in the desert. We drink and are satisfied. But the efficacy is not in we who hear, but in God who speaks.

    So then, let’s return now to tongues. The POINT of the gift of tongues was two-fold.

    Act 2:6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
    Act 2:7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
    Act 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?
    Act 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
    Act 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome,
    Act 2:11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians–we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.”

    First of all, a word or two about the phrase “own native language” in verse 8. The Greek literally reads “our own language into which we were born.” The translation I am using here says “native” to translate the phrase “into which we were born.” If you know Greek, look this up. This is what it says. That is significant. It CANNOT be “heavenly” languages that they are speaking. It cannot be unintelligible babble. It was their own native languages, into which they were born. No one on earth is born speaking a heavenly language. That’s why they’re heavenly, because they aren’t spoken on earth. We are born learning whatever language our parents speak to us. These are the languages which were being spoken. The so-called “tongues of angels” that Pentecostals claim they speak is not what the Apostles were speaking in on the day of Pentecost itself.

    Now let’s say, for a moment, that they were “heavenly” languages of angels or whatever. How would this change things? Well, no one would understand it. They would not “hear” the Word of Christ, they would not “hear” the Word of God that causes us to cry out in terror: Woe is me, I am undone! For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!

    Have you ever reacted to a language that is unintelligible to you in this way? For my part, especially when I was younger, I had a hard time not giggling when I heard someone speak in a foreign language. Quite different from falling on my knees and declaring my unworthiness to stand before God in His presence, isn’t it? If you don’t understand it, how can you hear it?

    The point of God’s Word is to bring about an effect. Look at the passage I quoted earlier from Isa 55. God’s Word is sent with a purpose in mind, and it always accomplishes that purpose. That purpose is always acheived.

    The purpose that the words of the Apostles in tongues had was two fold. On the one hand, it convicted the hearers of their sin, and softened their hearts to hear Peter’s sermon later in the chapter. Note what they heard the Apostles saying, “the mighty works of God.” (Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts…) The tongues were the Word of God.

    But as has been quoted earlier in the conversation, the sign of tongues didn’t just serve to bring people to repentance. For some, it hardened them. Earlier someone quoted Isaiah, where God says that He will speak to this people (the Jews) with strange tongues, etc. The sign of tongues served to harden some, like those who claimed the Apostles were drunk, but it also was effectual to the salvation of others. It softened the hard ground of their hearts, and when Peter speaks to them, they are cut to the heart (later in Acts 2).

    So the tongues-speaking must be the Word FROM God to man, and it must serve the same purpose as prophesy or even of preaching. It is the Word of God. It is about God. The Apostles were prophesying, essentially preaching. They were talking about Christ, they were opening up the Scriptures of the Old Testament and pointing out to the hearers how Christ fulfilled it.

    Luk 24:25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!
    Luk 24:26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”
    Luk 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    Jesus preached to the Apostles on the road to Emmaus. Here is what He did: He interpreted the Old Testament in light of what He has done, telling them what the OLD TESTAMENT said concerning Himself. He preached to them. He preached the Gospel to them from the Old Testament, showing how He was the fulfillment of the Mosaic law, showing how He is the real scapegoat, the paschal lamb; He undoubtedly explained to them that it was He who had spoken on Sinai, had provided the ram for Abraham as a substitution for his son Isaac, and it went on and on. It was a long road to Emmaus. And then it happened.

    Luk 24:30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
    Luk 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

    You see, He preached to them, and then He gave them the bread of the sacrament and THEN their eyes were opened. Word and sacrament again.

    Prophesy and speaking in tongues operated the same way as when Jesus opened the Scriptures for them, explaining how it all pointed to Him.

    Joh 5:37 And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen,
    Joh 5:38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent.
    Joh 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,
    Joh 5:40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

    Believing Jesus is equated with having the Word abide in you. It is the Word that comes to us and bring life. And the WHOLE Bible testifies to Christ, who by the way is the Word in the flesh.

    Joh 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

    So when they spoke in tongues, the POINT was to speak about Jesus Christ, His Gospel, TO those who had been given ears to hear. And they all heard it in their own language into which they had been born. Not only was it miraculous, but it was tailor made for them. God condescended Himself to them, and spoke to them SO THAT THEY COULD UNDERSTAND.

    In light of all of this, does it even make sense to say that speaking in tongues was ever about babbling in unintelligible languages? Such a notion certainly is out of accord with the entire Bible. It isn’t just a Greek word that is out of place, it isn’t just a matter of splitting hairs; if speaking in tongues was unintelligible babbling, the entire Bible becomes inconsistent. The whole POINT of God speaking to us is so that we can hear Him. God condescends Himself to us, speaking TO US, in a way that we can understand.

    The Bible tells us, in Psalm 122, that God never sleeps. Here is a perfectly good example of God condescending Himself to us. Of course He never sleeps! Would it make any sense to say that the eternal God who created all things merely by speaking could ever get tired? He who created not just the universe itself, but all the energy in it, does it make sense to say that He would get tired? None. But if the Bible only said that God was eternal, we might be grateful, but we wouldn’t really understand Him. We need to understand that He is NOT like us. We get tired. We need to sleep. But God doesn’t sleep. He never sleeps. He watches over you ceaselessly. His eye is always upon you. Now THAT is comforting.

    So God must come down to our level and explain Himself to us, so that we can understand Him, so that we can know Him, so that we can truly hear Him and respond to Him, saying, “Here I am.”

    Now, as for 1 Cor 14, there are a couple of things that must be discussed. Undoubtedly, if you have read this chapter lately, a couple or more objections may arise in your mind about what I am saying.

    Without writing a commentary on the entire chapter, please indulge me to be simple, because I am NOT a professional exegete, nor a professional scholar. So here it is. Paul is addressing an error in the Corinthian church. What error? Well, as many, many scholars say, and I would encourage you to simply keep an open mind and look into it, there were people in the Corinthian church who had misunderstood what tongues were. There was, at that time, a proliferation of pagan religions, particularly mystery religions, such as that of Dionysus, who did something very similar to what Pentecostals do today. Ecstatic utterance. Babbling. The idea was to be possessed by the god Dionysus, having a sort of out of body experience. This is what Pentecostals do. They imagine that the Holy Spirit has taken physical control of their tongue, such that what is happening becomes very emotional and, well, ecstatic and blissful. This is simply pagan.

    Oh, but you say, what about the babbling noises they make? What about them? I made those same noises. I imitated those around me, because I felt pressure to do what everyone else was doing. I wanted to be a Christian, I wanted to have assurance that I was filled with the Spirit, and that I was saved. So I babbled, and after a while, I couldn’t tell that it was just me doing it anymore. But should such experiences ever be the basis of our assurance? Remember Word and Sacrament? Word and Sacrament are the sources of our assurance in Christ, of our assurance of His pardon, not some emotional “feeling”. Our feelings are not the object of our faith. Christ is. His Word is. What do we believe in? We believe in the Gospel. We believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and raised for our justification. Where does our feelings fall into that? Where does the Scriptures tell us that we can know and be assured that we are saved because of that tingling up and down our spine, or because of the tears that flow down our face, or because of the unintelligible noise that comes out of our mouth? Nowhere.

    The passage in 1 Cor 14 does mention that the man who speaks in an unintelligible tongue edifies himself, though, right?

    1Co 14:4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.
    1Co 14:5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

    When a tongue is interpreted, it acts the same as prophesy, it builds up the church. That means that the CONTENT of the tongue is the same as prophesy, and that is simply the Word of God. It is God’s Word coming out of human mouths. It is just like prophesy and preaching. That is the point of it. The point of it is to be heard by people! In Church, the point is to build up the Church! And how can it do that if it isn’t interpreted?

    But how would it build up the speaker, even if it isn’t interpreted? Because he knows what he is saying. Have you ever shared your faith with someone? Wasn’t it edifying to you? Sure it was. You tell someone about your faith, and you come away from it strengthened in your faith. It’s almost like you’re preaching to yourself. But it’s also part of the dialogue between you and God. Your confession of faith to others is part of your response to God’s Word that you have heard. Your response is provoked by God speaking to you. Your response is brought about by GOD. So when you confess your faith to others, in some ways, you can think of it as reverberations of the Word of God. You are echoing God in such moments. Thus you are edified. And when you speak in a tongue – or rather, I should say that when THEY spoke in tongues in those days, then you are edified, because you are echoing God.

    At that time, they only had the Old Testament, where Christ is revealed not in His fulness, but in types and shadows. So they needed prophesies and tongues and lots of things. But now we have the Word of God.

    Heb 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
    Heb 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
    Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
    Heb 1:4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

    Someone asked what this passage has to do with tongues. Well, here’s your answer. In the past, God spoke to us in a lot of ways. Today, He has spoken once and for all, for good. In what way has He spoken? By His Son, Jesus Christ, and not just in the words that He said, but in the actions that He undertook on our behalf. Yes, when Jesus submitted to the cursed death on the cross, God was speaking. Just as when light came into existence, God was speaking. Just as when you stand at the top of a mountain, and you see a beautiful sunset on the horizon, and you are left speechless: God is speaking in His creation. Well, He has spoken fully, truly and finally in His Son.

    It says, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Christ reveals God in His fullness, because He is the exact imprint of His nature. He is the radiance of God’s glory. If God is the sun, then Christ is the light that comes from the sun. If you see the light, you see the sun, because the sun is light. And if you have seen Christ, you have seen the Father. In other words, if you hear the Word of Christ, you have heard the Father. If you have heard the Father, then you have life, and that more abundantly.

    And so, the Bible contains the fullness of the Word of God, and God and His Word are one. There is nothing that God wishes to say to us that He hasn’t said in His Word, the Bible, because there is nothing that He wishes to say to us that He hasn’t said in Christ. For our part, we need inspired accounts of the Person and work of Christ, and what He did on our behalf, but we ALSO need inspired interpretation of those events. We have that in the epistles and Revelation. We have accounts of what He did and who He was in the Gospels, and we have commentary on it in the epistles and Revelation. As the book of Revelation begins: the revelation of Jesus Christ… Who or what is revealed in the Bible? Christ! Do we need to know more about Christ than what is in the Bible? No. The Bible is sufficient for our understanding and knowledge of Christ. This is all we need.

    When the Bible, the NT specifically, was still being written, they needed to hear from God in various ways, because they didn’t yet have the fullness of Scripture to tell them of Christ. Now we have that. We no longer need prophesy or tongues or whatever. We have the Scriptures. We have pastors to unfold it for us. We have the Spirit to open our ears. We have faith.

    Do not demand signs before you believe:

    1Co 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
    1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
    1Co 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

    Do not be like the Jews who are enraptured with shadows and types and signs of Christ-to-come. Christ HAS come! We PREACH, and what do we preach? Christ crucified, and this is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This is all the wisdom we need, and all the miracle we need.

    You have what you NEED in Word and Sacrament. Be content with what God has given you. He has not withheld anything special from you. In fact, you have the greater priviledge. You want miracles, but you HAVE, you possess that which the miracles pointed to! What you possess has the greater reality! The Bible you hold in your hand and take so much for granted – if only Elijah had had such a document, how happy he would have been! Isaiah too would have given just about anything to have the knowledge of the mysteries of the Gospel, which have now been revealed in Christ!

    And when you long for the signs and the miracles, it is like longing to be back in Egypt. If we are like the Israelites, in the wilderness, waiting to take possession of the Promised Land, namely heaven, then you who want to speak in tongues and want to see miracles are like the grumbling Israelites who longed to return to Egypt and eat meat and see the signs of the plagues. Would you like to return to the Red Sea, just to see God part it again? But you have a better sign: baptism into the name of Christ, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. You have the SUBSTANCE. Sure, it’s less glamorous, but it’s better for you. It’s more efficatious for your salvation. You see the mysteries of God more clearly than anyone in the Old Testament did. Your assurance of your salvation is far greater than those who saw the ten plagues confronting Egypt, and saw the Red Sea split in two, saw the pillar of cloud and fire, saw Pharoah drowned in the sea – and STILL DID NOT BELIEVE.

    But you have the Gospel of your salvation, you have the preaching of the Word, the sacraments, and you have the Spirit in you to make these effectual for your salvation rather than your condemnation. Do not grumble against the manna, desiring meat. God is leading you to a land of milk and honey, and you do not doubt this. And that is enough.

    You cannot earn your salvation, but Christ has earned it for you.

    Repent and believe the Gospel, for the Kingdom of God is among you.

    I am your servant in Christ Jesus.

  29. I don’t need sleeping pills when I have these seminarians. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz But when you’re not a pastor, I guess you don’t have to keep people awake. Mr. Echo, please make a long story short; your blog was longer than the entire canon. :-)

  30. 2Ti 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
    2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
    2Ti 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
    2Ti 4:4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

    Sleep soundly, Mr. Hayford. You’ve nothing to worry about.

  31. That was tough to get through. The fault is in allowing only one possible reason or use of tongues. Echo says that tongues is God speaking to men, only. 1 Cor 14 does give you the ability to understand one definition or use of tongues is God speaking to man, but that is not the only definition.

    Paul tells us that speaking in tongues is speaking to God. With that, your whole argument falls.

    I am sorry that you were in a church that made you feel like less of a Christian if you didn’t speak in tongues. I am a fully committed to reformed doctrine and yet I still practice privately prayer in an unknown tongue. It edifies me, and I don’t think that makes me selfish. My edification is beneficial to all those that my life touches, especially my wife and kids.

    So what then? I will pray in the Spirit AND I will pray with the understanding. I will sing in the Spirit AND I will sing with the understanding.

    That is my conclusion, and I am sorry to see the most of the reformed world rejects this. I think the Reformed world is just what the Charismatic world needs. Yet, the Charismatic world is just what the Reformed world needs as well.

    Okay, back to my debate preparation…

  32. Jeff,

    I appreciate the reply. I appreciate the thought you put into it. When you say that 1 Cor 14 says that tongues is speaking to God, and thus my whole argument falls, I think you are speaking just a bit too quickly. Given that my arguments are not simply mine, but arguments and understandings that I have been taught that draws on almost 500 years of the work of Reformed theologians, I think you are just a little quick to assume that I had missed verse 2 of chapt 14. But, I am just a man, like you, and so it is reasonable for you to assume that I haven’t put much thought into this, and that I changed from one denomination to another, all because I failed to see verse 2. I think it’s way too quick to assume that since I obviously have never read or considered verse 2, therefore my entire argument is worthless.

    When I say that my views are simply the view of the Westminster Confession, which was adopted by the entire Church of England, meaning ALL the protestants in the country and ratified by parliament, and was the product of hundreds of theologians over a period of years – you would probably assume that they would have simply missed verse 2 as well. I think it’s a shame to be so quick to rush to judgment on these kinds of things.

    Nonetheless, I can see why you would make that comment.

    1Co 14:2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.
    1Co 14:3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.
    1Co 14:4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.
    1Co 14:5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
    1Co 14:6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?

    1. The person speaking in tongues in verse 2 is legitimately speaking in tonuges, before the completion of the canon of Scripture.
    2. No one understands the speaker in verse 2; he speaks mysteries. It doesn’t do anyone any good.
    3. But on the other hand, Paul says, the one who prophesies does do some people some good. Why? Because people can HEAR him. They can understand him.
    4. When he says that the one who speaks in a tongue builds himself up, but the one who prophesies builds the church up, he’s not commending those who speak in uninterpreted tongues. He’s saying that what they’re doing doesn’t do anyone any good. And therefore, it cannot come from the Spirit of God, who is not in the business of allowing you to sit there and indulge yourself. Again, the POINT of the gift is for proclamation to OTHERS.
    5. What is the best thing? To speak intelligibly for the benefit of the church! What do you come to church for? To be an individual? NO! To participate in a corporate body.
    6. Verse 6 teaches us that Paul himself has no desire to speak to them in tongues. It doesn’t do them any good, and his mission is THEIR good. We are supposed to put others BEFORE ourselves.

    And again, he says:
    1Co 14:9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air.

    Now you say that this person is doing this wonderful thing, speaking to God. The point was that he wasn’t speaking to the church. The point was that even if it IS legitimate, then they could ONLY be speaking to God. And I think we all know, God doesn’t need our instruction. Sure, says Paul, you are uttering mysteries in your spirit. Very well, but look, you’re not LOVING your brothers, you are not seeking to build up your brothers, you are only turning inward, concerned only with yourself: “speaking into the air.”

    1Co 14:12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
    1Co 14:13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.

    You see, Paul is dealing with people speaking in FALSE tongues, because they are so wrapped up in the miraculous. They aren’t putting their faith in Christ, but in miracles. So they are working themselves up into an emotional frenzy, so zealous they are to see miracles and wonders. They were speaking into the air and calling it tongues. They assumed that they were edifying themselves, but Paul is telling them to focus on edifying the church. Let go, he says, of your desire to see miracles, strive to build up the church, and you will see the Spirit move. And to cap it all off, he says that if you still want to speak in tongues, fine, pray for the power to interpret.

    1Co 14:19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.
    1Co 14:20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

    1Co 14:28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.

    When you go to church, you must strive to build up the brothers. You don’t go to church to get something out of it, you come to give. Indeed, you do get something out of it, but not by trying to see what you can get out of it.

    Bottom line: if it can’t be interpreted, sit down and be silent.

    You have to remember, there were still legitimate tongues going on at the time, along with illegitimate tongues. Paul is trying to squash one without squashing the other. So to accomplish this, he simply says that someone should interpret. That would mean that there’s someone there who understands it. If that isn’t possible, BE SILENT. By doing this, Paul acheives his purpose. His purpose is to end the illegitimate tongues, without discouraging proper use.

    Just think about it. Take some time and think it through. I am not speaking simply my own mind, but I am relaying the work of many, many men who are much, much more expert in Biblical interpretation than all of us. Don’t be arrogant and just dismiss their views quickly out of hand. Think it through. Give it some time. Read the passages again. See if their argument is plausible. Think about it some more. Ask humble questions. Don’t react reflexively with a knee jerk reaction. Nothing is more counterproductive.

    God gave us teachers to teach us, to grow us up in the faith.

    Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
    Eph 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
    Eph 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

    You should learn to submit to the Apostles, the teachers, the pastors. God has sent them to you as a gift. Do not look a gift horse in the mouth. Be grateful to God. What YOU can understand is not the measure of truth. What YOU agree with is not the measure of truth. You are sinful like we all are. Your mind can easily deceive you, as can mine. Submit to God by submitting to the men He has given us for our good, for our growth in maturity into Christ. I’m not telling you to submit to me, but to the men that God gives to the church. And that doesn’t mean just swallowing blindly whatever they say, but it at least means not dismissing them out of hand because you think that you’re smarter than them, that you know how to interpret the Bible better than them, and that they clearly didn’t see this verse, which occurred to you immediately when you simply glanced at the passage.

    Dismiss these views if you wish, but at least give it a fair hearing. I quoted from chapter 14, did you honestly think I hadn’t seen that verse? Seriously? Perhaps I read it and ignored it? Either way, your accusation is pretty serious, because it amounts to a charge that I am being reckless with the Word of God. Yeah, those dumb seminary students, they have no idea what the Bible is all about. Just stop and take a look at what you are saying. Consider it objectively and think it through. Do your statements even make sense? A seminary student is either going to miss something like that, or see it and ignore it? Do you know how much money I’m spending and how hard I am studying to learn how to handle the Bible properly? It’s like a graduate school, and you’re accusing me of a mistake someone in elementary school would make. Did my original post really appear so dim witted? Or perhaps I am an evil false prophet to tell you that the efficacy is not in you but in the Word of God? Is that an evil thing to say in your mind?

    I think your criticism was not only too quick but inappropriate and out of line. I’m very disappointed. Are these the kinds of objections that are raised on this blog? Sad. The state of the church today is just so…sad. It’s just heart breaking.

    Frustrated.

  33. Albino,

    You should really read echo’s entry (great job by the way) and realize that in the Scriptures we have:

    all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

    Why can’t you accept this? Why do you need more? Why are you not satisfied with the fullness of God’s revelation in Christ? This fullness of God’s riches, which was put to a permanent record in the NT by His authorized agents.

    Please remember this when you say prophecy needs to be tested against the Scriptures 2 Peter 1:19-21:

    And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    Are you saying the prophecy today is a lesser form than that of the Scripture? Has God’s word lost some of its authority to be binding for our faith and practice? How do you know this? I really want to know and don’t keep hanging your hat on 1 Cor 14:29.

    Jeff,

    I haven’t met you yet, but am looking forward to your upcoming debate. I am not sure that you realize what you just said. Are you saying tongues are generated from within ourselves and were not a divine gift from God – the Holy Spirit????

    Mike S.

  34. More going round and round. Sorry if I offended you, Echo, but that hardly makes me a false teacher. Mike, you are really being “bi-polar” here; on the one hand holding up the Scripture as sufficient, and on the other, insisting that I need all the creeds, confessions and 500 years of reformist doctrine to understand it. Hogwash. If Calvin had never been born, the Scripture would still stand alone.

    I continue to fully say “Amen” to every Bible verse you fellas pop up on the thread. I see no connection at all to the discussion at hand, Mike, with your defense of the canon. We are in total agreement. The canon is complete. It now is the judge of all teaching, preaching and word of prophecy.

    The logical conclusion to your argument that having the canon trumps all other gifts, is that you should immediately quit seminary, never read another book, and definitely burn all your creeds and confessions, that were written AFTER THE CANON WAS COMPLETED. Just you and your Bible in the woods is all that is needed. THAT is your logical ending place. You are sawing off the branch on which you are sitting.

    As to whether prophecy is less today than before…WHAT??…The prophecies that the Corinthians were encouraged to do and to judge by Paul, or the prophecies that were spoken over Timothy when the elders laid their hands upon him? Those prophecies?

    Finally, Echo, are you the huge Black man that walks the island with a club on the tv show, “Lost”?

  35. Mike,

    I’m not sure where I wrote something that would make you think that I was saying tongues is not from God. Maybe I was unclear since I have just been bouncing in quickly without giving long hard thought to this particular thread (since I’ve been over and over this for many years now). But, I believe it is the Holy Spirit that give me utterance when I pray in tongues.

    I was confusing you (Mike S) with one of my elders (Mike E). Will you be at H&S? I am looking forward to it. I’ve been working all night on my preparation. It’s one thing to know your position and to be able to explain it. But boy, it’s another thing to have all the support for it at your finger tips so you can defend it and present it publicly. Lot’s of work. I hope I don’t disappoint the audience. I will feel a little bad though to be the first one to defeat Pastor Cook in one of his debates. I like the guy, too bad he’s on the wrong side. ;)

    Echo, I really liked your tongue in cheek humor about missing verse two in all of your transition to the wrong side, I mean, the cessationist side. It made me chuckle. Thanks for that. I don’t have time to read your whole response right now, but I’ll try to get to it eventually. I do see your last comment. Sometimes this blog is one of flippancy for fun amongst brethren. I meant no offense. You can read Albino Hayfords other thread linked in this post and you can read my earlier comments regarding chapter 14. I really sincerely think you’re incorrect with your interpretation, but I don’t mean offense. I’ll try to give you a more serious response later. For now, I don’t believe verse 2 is referring to an incorrect use of tongues, though I do believe there are incorrect usages.

    Blessings bro,

    Jeff

  36. Sorry, just read this OUTRAGEOUS READING INTO THE TEXT by Echo:

    You see, Paul is dealing with people speaking in FALSE tongues, because they are so wrapped up in the miraculous. They aren’t putting their faith in Christ, but in miracles. So they are working themselves up into an emotional frenzy, so zealous they are to see miracles and wonders. They were speaking into the air and calling it tongues. They assumed that they were edifying themselves, but Paul is telling them to focus on edifying the church. Let go, he says, of your desire to see miracles, strive to build up the church, and you will see the Spirit move.

    Wow, bro! Is this the kind of exegisis you are learning in seminary? If it is, go to school first thing in the morning AND GET A REFUND!

    Paul NEVER calls them “false” tongues. Paul NEVER talks about an “emotional frenzy”. Paul NEVER says that they were “speaking into the air and calling it tongues.” I’m stunned, Echo. In fact, the Paul of the New Testament spoke in tongues “more than you all”, said that he would that “all of you spoke in tongues” AND finished with a command to “forbid not to speak in tongues.” You’ve got some nerve to boldly add to the Scripture what is not there.

    Then you go on glowingly to speak of “500 years of reformers”, “the church of England” and “parliament” as if they were infallible and almost worthy of speaking “ex cathedra” themselves! Can I be clear? You can have every confession, creed, member of parliament and the Church of England, and I’ll even throw in your golden-boy, Calvin; I’ll stick with that tongues-talking missionary, Paul.

    Let me quote another reformer to you, Martin Luther, when he was asked how he dared to question so many great theologians and leaders.

    Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted [convinced] of error by the testimony of Scripture or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning, I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God’s word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.

    Echo, I’m sorry the Assemblies of God gave you a poor experience and must have really messed you up to get so caught up in creeds, confessions and 500 years of Church of England history, but I would appeal to you to return to the Scriptures.

    Here’s a creed for you: The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the Book for me. I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E. (notice I didn’t mention Zwingli, Westminster, Confessions, Parliament, the Church of England, John “Hey, I just burned a guy at the stake” Calvin, or any other extra-Biblical source)

    Have a nice evening.

  37. Albino or should I say El Matador,

    Man, you are certainly doing some fancy footwork in trying to deny the bibical arguments that refute your position. It’s almost like trying to catch a greased pig (no offense, its just an analogy) in getting some answers out of you.

    Nonetheless, now that I see where your logic takes you (drawing a grossly false conclusion of where my view takes extra-biblical teaching, which is nuts) I really “feel” much more confident in my own position.

    Yes, I’d like to hear why your “prophecy” is not worthy of being added to the canon. Are God’s new words now not worthy for publication to the entire Church? I am sorry to admit it but I actually think the Mormon’s are more logical than you on this point.

    It’s funny that you use Luther here, he was standing against those who were adding new doctrine to the Church that was supported by extra-biblical means. Apparently, you have no problem with taking direction from extra-biblical means (I dread that your logic is not very sound). When Luther was confronted by the charismatics of his time, Viggiano has a quote of him responding to them in this way: “I slap your holy spirit on the snout”.

    What gives you any comfort that the canon is closed if God is still speaking directly to His people? With your view, why study the Bible at all when you can have direct access to private revelation (answer the previous question first please)? Is it because todays “prophecy” is less important than the Scriptures? And how do you know this? BTW, I don’t hear any harmony with your view and 2 Peter 1:19-21.

    I eagerly await your response to these questions, so I can see Albino Shaq in action. I am tired of being disappointed by El Albino Matador, OLE!

    Mike S.

  38. !! You guys have overwhelmed me — I literally can’t keep up!

    Echo, are you the huge Black man that walks the island with a club on the tv show, “Lost”?

    Can’t be — the TV guy is Catholic! But I am also curious to know — do I know you Echo? How did you find our ragtag little band of rabble-rousers? And how can you write so many words so quickly? I have to confess I still have not made it through your first magnum opus (at the time of posting, it almost doubled the length of the thread!)

    @Jeff, yes you will get to meet Mike S at H&S. Mike & my dad & I (& Albino Hayford, and DanielBalc) used to all be from the same church. But now Dad & Mike are WSCAL students.

  39. Will the debate be recorded? Will Gene post it on his website? Man, it would be so much fun to school Mike again in basketball just like Paul has been schooling him in church order!

    Love you guys.

    Jim

  40. The debate will be recorded, the revolution will be televised, and I expect it will be on Gene’s website somehow. Note, however, that the subject of the debate is Theonomy, not tongues. It just so happens that tongues was the subject of the first H&S (a few years back), and if ME shows up around here, he can share with us from his preparations for that event.

  41. If “theonomy” wins the debate, do we all then have to observe Mosaic law again? I need to know fast, because we’re having pork ribs tonight at an engagement party.

  42. You have two whole weeks to eat all the pork you want…

  43. Hey Echo,

    Are you taking Ancient Church this semester?

    Albino,

    Man, you wish, I’ve been driving to the hole without any formidable resistance the entire time.

    Are you on the ropes or what?

    Mike S.

  44. Mike, I’m almost convinced in a tiny God who is impotent and unable to give gifts to His American children…but, wait…He’s not tiny…He is Almighty God — King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Whew, you almost had me there, stud.
    Jim

  45. Albino,

    Then why is His immediate (without a mediator) word less authoritative today and not added to the canon? Does your “prophecy” meet this criteria:

    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    If so, why is it not added to the rule of faith? If not, is God’s word less authoriative now than 2000 years ago? Could it be that it has been “once for all delivered to the saints”? Could it be that we already have “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge in Christ” (e.g. The Word of God)?

    Maybe you are diminishing the importance of the revelation fully supplied in Christ (e.g The Word of God) by trying to add to it.

    What it boils down to is that I see the Scriptures as sufficient…you see them as insufficient.

    That’s three times unanswered, which should qualify as a technical knockout (TKO)..Ropes won’t save you anymore.

    Mike S.

  46. I don’t have time for a long treatise, but I’ll try to post a few thoughts.

    When one prays or speaks in “tongues”, he is babbling a nonsensical noise. It is not from the Holy Spirit, but rather is generated from the speaker’s own desire for an emotional or close connection to the divine. It’s the out-pouring of an emotional experience. Consider the first post on this topic:

    unitedcats Says:
    October 26th, 2006 at
    I have no idea what is going on when a person “lets go” and “meaningless” babble is voiced. It’s easy to do, I have done so all my life in private cause people would think I’m nuts. Right? It feels great, whether or not it is divinely inspired is beyond me, but it is clearly part an parcel of who we are on a deep level. That’s as close enough to God’s voice as I can imagine. Language may be God’s greatest gift to us, no surprise to me it has many faces. Nice post, interesting subject for sure.

    Unitedcats may be all wet theologically (pun intended, uniting cats and wet), but at least he or they display honesty and admit the truth: “I have no idea what is going on when a person “lets go” and “meaningless” babble is voiced.” “…whether or not it is divinely inspired is beyond me…” I wish more tongues-speakers were this honest. The experience Unitedcats (and Jeff K., and all other tongues-speakers) indulges in is purely emotional, theologically corrupt, and if there is anything spiritual about it, that spirit is not from God.

    Tongues is not a heavenly or angelic language. Paul was using hyperbole (as he often did) when he wrote this:

    If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophecies, and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give out all my goods, and if I deliver my body that I be burned, but I do not have love, I am not profited anything. (1 Cor 13:1-3)

    Paul didn’t mean that he spoke in the tongue (language) of angels anymore than he meant that his body had been burned up. He meant that without love, all your good works and spiritual deeds are worthless. I repeat: Paul didn’t mean that he spoke in the tongue (language) of angels. He spoke a few human languages, but not angelic ones. Consider a better translation of 1 Cor 14:18, “I thank my God that I speak more languages than all of you.”

    The first century spiritual gift of tongues was just what Echo said, the Tower of Babble event in reverse. It was a sign that the gospel is now sent to the ends of the earth. It was always in human languages, and never in some angelic or heavenly language. Echo was also correct to bring up the historical context of first century Corinth, with the common practice among the pagans of speaking in tongues in their ecstatic religious experiences. The problem in the Corinthian church, which Paul was trying to correct, was that they had gone Pentecostal. They had begun practicing what modern tongue-speakers do. When they did this, they were puffing themselves up and edifying themselves and not the rest of the church. 1 Cor 14:2 could be translated in this fashion: “For the one speaking in a tongue does not speak to men, but to a god, for no one hears, but in spirit he speaks mysteries.” In other words, “When you do your false and emotional tongues-speaking, you’re not speaking to men (as you would be doing if you were practicing the true gift of tongues), but you’re actually speaking to a god which is not a god at all. You are indulging in the false worship of false gods just like the pagans around you do.”

    It’s important to remember that tongues was a sign to unbelievers, and not to believers.

    It has been written in the Law, “By other tongues” and “by other lips” “I will speak to this people,” “and even so they will not hear” Me, says the Lord.” So that tongues are not a sign to those believing, but to those not believing. But prophecy is not to those not believing, but to those believing. (1 Cor 14:21,22)

    When God’s people were spoken to in other tongues, it meant that they had been captured and taken away by the enemy. It meant a foreign power had come against them and destroyed them. It was a BAD thing to be spoken to in another tongue. It was a sign of judgment.

    One more thing: Tongues ended when the cannon closed because it’s purpose was fulfilled. That doesn’t mean God has never given the gift to men from time to time in various situations since then, but it’s not the common and expected thing it once was. And remember, it was always a human language. I don’t have time for a long treatment of this, but it’s interesting to consider the Greek behind this reference:

    Love never fails. But if there are prophecies, they will be caused to cease; if tongues, they shall cease; if knowledge, it will be caused to cease. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect thing comes, then that which is in part will be caused to cease. (1 Cor 13:8-10)

    The Greek tenses make it clear that when the perfect thing comes, it will act upon the gifts of prophecy and knowledge to end them, but tongues will stop all on their own. Tongues won’t be around when the perfect thing comes, because they will already have ended.

    I wish I had time to think and write better, but I have a life, such as it is.

  47. Mikey, Mikey, Mikey,

    You claim that any communication by God to man outside the Scripture violates the sanctity of the canon. Do I have that right? Let me say this again, we both believe the canon is closed. But you continue to assert that God only speaks through the Scripture. If you are really serious, this would knock out sermons, books, tapes, any teaching, creeds, confessions, etc., which are all extra-Biblical material. Do you not see the inconsistency here in your argument? You quote Scripture that I agree with, assert that the canon is complete, which I agree with, then say “knockout”. Huh?

    The only answer, then, is to judge all things by the Scripture. “Let one speak and the others judge.”

    As to the new guy on the thread, dude, you succeed in simply rehashing all your beliefs about tongues without reading any of the previous arguments and threads. I already dealt with your 1 Cor. 13 argument against tongues (horrible exegesis)– that poetic chapter NEVER mentions the Scripture, the completed canon, etc. and if you read further down, says “face to face”, CLEARLY REFERING TO THE PERFECT STATE WITH CHRIST. Even many of your fellow cessationists have left that terrible hermeneutic behind. You need to get out more and rub shoulders with those who don’t march lock-step against the Holy Spirit’s gifts.

    Ok, gotta preach. Talk again later.

  48. El Albino Matador,

    You are mixing apples with oranges. And it is very obvious you are constructing a straw man, since you cannot logically defend your position. I can hear you saying “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”, while you are seeking to distract us from your inability to answer the questions.

    I have never asserted teaching and preaching are unnecessary. God uses these means to build up His Church. However, these are not offices that add to the Scripture they are dependent on it to function accurately. Neither do they require God’s immediate revelation to function. Preaching is proclaiming God’s word from Scripture. Teaching is instructing others about God’s word from Scripture. (Todo has pulled the curtain away).

    I have asserted that all special revelation has ceased with the closing of the canon. However, you still believe that “prophecy” and tongues (un-interpreted prophecy) continue. Why is this special revelation not worthy of being added to the canon? Has God’s word become less authoritative that it does not need to be shared with the rest of us? How do you know the difference?

    Could it be that God has fully spoken to us in His Son? And this faith “has been once for all delivered to the saints”? Could it be that special revelation in the canon is part of the accomplished work of redemption? And all the truth we need directly from God has already been revealed in Christ through the apostolic literature as we see in John 16:12-15:

    I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

    He was talking to the Apostles here and foretelling the writing of the Scriptures. Again does your “prophecy” meet this criteria:

    And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    Or this:

    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    Well, my prophecy does and it’s recorded for me in the Scriptures, which is fully sufficient and contains all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that I need. Remember what we believe about God’s Word:

    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

    Does your “prophecy” meet these qualifications?

    I know it’s difficult…it was difficult for me too. That’s why I (we) am (are) appealing to you to return to the Reformation. We could use a big man like you to set up inside in the post position.

    Mike S

  49. My Young Seminarian,

    We had a great service this morning and, in one hour have our evening discipleship course, so I’m fairly wasted, but I can’t let your inconsistencies stand; they make my teeth hurt!

    You believe that all preaching, teaching, books, articles, etc. must be judged by the Scripture, correct? They are not canonical, because the canon is closed. Do you believe that God “inspires” writers to write great books, or that he “inspires” musicians to write great music even though those are not canonical? How do we know if they are in error? We judge them by the Scripture.

    For me to accept your assertions, I would have to swallow that every prophecy uttered by the Corinthian church was also canonical, or that the prophecy given to Timothy when the body of elders laid their hands on him was also canonical. That’s nonsense! Paul simply said, “let one speak and the others judge”. You can’t seem to answer that point. THAT is why he tells us that “we know in part and prophesy in part” because the prophecies must be judged by the Scripture, until “face to face” with Christ in heaven.

    To the other proof texts about Scripture that you quote, I say “Amen!” There is no man on the face of the earth that loves and treasures the Bible more than I do…for Pete’s sake!

    My problem with you Calvinists is that you begin to sound like Jehovah’s Witnesses who tell us that we cannot understand the Scriptures without “Watchtower Magazine”. Sometimes the way it sounds, you feel that no one can fully appreciate the Scripture without John Calvin’s T-U-L-I-P and the reformers holding our hands. Come on, guys, let the Bible speak for itself. Some of the exegesis of Paul’s letters that you are dumping into this thread is embarassing. You are so scared of spiritual gifts that you even put words in Paul’s mouth. I shared one quote from this thread with my assistant pastor before church this morning…the one about the problem with the Corinthian church is that they became Pentecostal, and he laughed until he spilled coffee all over his desk….only a seminarian…wow….

    Let me repeat: The problem with the Corinthians was not their use of the gifts, it was using the gifts out of order. The answer Paul gave them was to LET EVERYTHING BE DONE decently and in order, and NOT TO FORBID SPEAKING IN TONGUES. I don’t know about you, but it would make me nervous to totally ignore a Scriptural command because it didn’t match my Calvinist world-view.

    Anyway, Mike, I LOVE the Scripture you quote…agree with every bit of it. My caution to you is that Almighty God will not be limited by your theological box.

    Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

  50. El Albino Matador,

    Well I certainly wasn’t expecting to get a free magic show out of this debate…but I am certainly enjoying the smoke and mirrors that are being used to conjure up this show.

    After re-reading the last entry I believe we can credit Albino Copperfield with advocating a new form of special revelation. This is less authoritative than Scripture, I guess, since it is not worthy of admission into the canon. All to defend his need to uphold the continuation of the prophetic office. But have you so quickly forgotten this…:

    Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

    The only person who is acting like a JW here is you by emphasizing one passage and ignoring the rest of Scripture.

    Once again I have been disappointed and resume my search for the fabled Albino Shaq that I once heard was so legendary. Are you out there? We need someone who takes the Bible seriously to join this debate.

    Mike S.

  51. sigh…no answers from Mike, just more “Matador, smoke, magic” analogies. You have a long way to go, grasshopper. Maybe somebody else on this thread can answer my questions(without Calvin holding their hand).

  52. Albino,

    Maybe I can help you, lets look at what the Apostle says that prophesy could do – 1 Cor 14:24-25:

    But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

    It sounds alot like this don’t it:

    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    Sounds like they were speaking things very similar to what Scriptures now speak.

    Let’s look at it another way in other place the Apostle states:

    So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.

    Why do you advocate adding to the Churches foundation?

    Do you believe in apostolic succession, as well?

    We should probably also get back to the tongues debate, but please answer why God’s word is less authoritative today? and why God’s full revelation in His Son is not enough?

    The burden of proof is still upon you to prove that tongues is not a foreign language. How do you deny this when every other clear definition of speaking in tongues is a human language? Was this validated by one of your private revelations?

    Also, you never answered why Paul quoted from Isaiah 28. This is really significant to the dual purpose of tongues during the apostolic age. Wouldn’t you say so?

    I really think your indoctrination is preventing to you from seeing Paul’s sarcasm in this text.

    Mike S.

  53. without Calvin holding their hand

    ‘bino, I just gotta point out at this juncture that a Find (ctrl-F) on this page reveals that EVERY reference to Calvin/Calvinist (up to my use right there, of course) on this thread (post, plus over 50 comments) came from…

    YOU. The same is true on the original thread and comments over at your place. Talk about a relying on a straw man. How about you follow your own advice and leave Calvin out of this, since we Calvinists are…

    And I’m still waiting for a tongues-advocates’ take on the Christian Jazz Singer. How is voluntary babble towards one purpose to be distinguished from voluntary babble towards another purpose?

    Also, I have heard no response to my challenge (actually, my reiteration of Paul’s admonition): “one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.” Do you pray for the power to interpret?

  54. Rube, hum the following 80’s tune with me, from Harold Melvin and the Blues Notes:

    “If you dont know me by now (if you dont know me)
    You will never never never know me (no you won’t)
    If you dont know me by now (you will never never never know me)
    You will never never never know me (ooh)”

    This is Albino Hayford (“Shaq”), your buddy of many years, not Tim Russert or R.C. Sproul. If I can’t talk smack, demolish straw men, or throw some ad hominem bombs, I will lose interest. I am Senior Pastor now, and have so many serious responsibilities, that one way for me to unwind is to have some back-and-forth banter in these threads. Just as I could not play bball without talking smack, I’m afraid I’m just not motivated without some jocularity. If you find some serious nuggets now and again amid my commentary, that’s a bonus.

    One who speaks in a tongues should pray for the power to interpret.

    Rube, the entire context of Paul’s remarks here refers to “public settings”. You are correct, when in public. But he clearly also says that “He that speaks in a tongue speaks mysteries to God”, “edifies himelf”, and “gives thanks”. So follow my reasoning: If Paul encouraged us all to speak in tongues, said that he spoke more tongues than even the Corinthians, but that in a public setting, he would rather speak with understanding, in a known tongue, WHERE DID HE DO ALL THAT TONGUE-TALKING? No one seems to be able to address that point.

    Another point that continues to be ignored is that Paul’s whole attitude in I Cor. 12 and 14 is one of “LET ALL THINGS BE DONE”, not “YOU GUYS ARE GETTING TOO PENTECOSTAL” as was suggested by one of the other posters here. Paul was encouraging the use of the gifts, just telling us how to use them IN ORDER.

    As to scat singing as tongues…?????…not sure I follow you. How do we know it’s not gibberish? With our “cha-dar” of course. Just as gays use “gay-dar”, charismatics use “cha-dar” to expose true tongues from those wascally fakers!

    Can I be transparent here, for a minute? I do believe that many charismatics over-emphasize tongues. Some of the godliest friends I have do not speak in tongues, and some (you know who you are) do not even beleive they are legit, but they are my brothers in Christ and definitely not “spiritual junior woodchucks” by any means.

    On another note: HOW ‘BOUT THEM COWBOYS????

  55. charismatics use “cha-dar” to expose true tongues from those wascally fakers!

    Is this true? This is a practice I am totally unaware of. I have never heard of anybody being exposed for false tongues — how would that even work? What if I showed up at your church, claimed to have the gift of interpretation, and on that basis judged every tongues-talker in sight of wascally faketasticality? Who are you to judge my experiential feeling that I can interpret tongues against your experiental feeling that your tongues mysteriously edify you?

    LET ALL THINGS BE DONE

    If this is the case, why aren’t Pentecostals praying for power to interpret, so that ALL THINGS (including public tongues & interpretation) BE DONE?

  56. My dear friends I hope that you have missed me during these past few days. After Jim’s blog closed I made a final statement on Mikes page, but no one reads that so I have to bring those same comments over here. Unlike the mysterious Elihu (er Echo) who humbly admitted he would not try to silence the debate on the issue and then promptly wrote more than every minor prophet combined, I am going to try to silence the debate in just one post.

    The biggest problem that cessationist face is what Rube states at the begining of this post is this question “what is speaking in tognues?” Not may or should we still do it. The problem with that position is that it depends on the assumption that the charismatic responds with something like, “tongues is special revelation equal to scripture” and yet no charismatics (at least not in this thread) assert anything like that at all (SO STOP SAYING THEY DO MIKE). It ruins the debate when you argue with what you say someone is saying instead of arguing what they are actually saying. I quote Wayne Grudem’s systamtic theology here for this to make sense, “(A) prophecy and tongues are scripture quality revelation. (B)Therefore this whole passage is about scripture-quality revlation. (C) Therefore “the perfect” refers to the perfection or completion of scripture-quality revlation, or the completion of Scripture (canon). In such an argument the inital assupmtion determines the conclusion. however before teh assumption can be made, it needs to be demonstrated from an inductive analysis of the New Testament texts on prophecy. Yet to my knowledge, no such inductive demonstration of the scripture-quality authority of New Testament congregational prophecy has been made.”

    Now if Mike, Ruben and Echo want to get together and write this induction then you should do that. But keep in mind NO reformers did that! No creeds do that! No contemporary authors have been able to do that.

    So what did the reformers have to say about the cessation of spiritual gifts? While Mike can quote Luthers statements of scepticism it is only fair that we note Calvins statements on I Corinthians 13:8-13 “it is stupid of people to make the whole of this discussion apply to the intervening time” meaning Calvin himself recognized that the “perfect” had not yet come (probably because he recognized the continuation of I corinthians 1:7 “Therefor you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed”).

    but Calvin did acknowledge that the Spiritual gifts like prophecy and tongues had been mysteriously absent for 1500 years. Why was it differnet in Corinth then it was in his day? He deduces from I Corinthians 14:32(the Spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets) that… “Today we see our own slendor resources, our poverty in fact; but this is undoubtedly the punishment we deserve, as the reward for our own ingratitude. For God’s riches are not exhausted, nor has his liberality grown less; but we are not worthy of his largess, or capable of recieving all that he generously gives.”

    The problem is that what you want to call “Scripture-quality revelation” might better be understood as a “spontaneous, Spirit-worked application of Scripture.” A phrase I borrow from Westminster Seminary Professor (and cessationist) Ricahrd Gaffin. He says, “Often, too, what is seen as prophecy is actually a spontaneous, Spirit-worked application of scripture, a more or less sudden grasp of the bearing that biblical teaching has on a particular situation or problem. All Christians need to be open to these more spontaneous workings of the Spirit.”

    But this is just an argument of semantics (and in light of 14:32 I do not like the term spontaneous because it implies a lack of order). Could tongues fall into the same catergory? Why not? They are indeed a Spirit-worked application of scripture in that they are an exercising of a Spirit enabled gift(grace) by the uttering of an unknown language to God for the eddification of himself. As long as this is done either (a) in private in prayer to God, or (b) in public with acompanying interpretation for the edification of the church body, Paul has no problem with it and neither should we, nor the Baptist Mission boards, nor the Presbyterian pastors etc.

    So why do you? Why is it so important to try to destroy something that makes not threat to the gospel but rather was given to strengthen the church and in fact is building the church in a way that historically has never been seen before? I truly believe that if Calvin and Luther and the rest were alive today that they would, like Paul, be praying in tongues more then the rest of us (that is if the Holy Spirit gifted them with it, but they would at the least eagerly desire it.)

    Daniel

  57. Cowboys? It’s all about the Lightning Bolts! Roid Rage was CRAZY yesterday! LT is to the NFL what Micheal Jordan was to the NBA, Tiger Woods to the PGA, Wayne Gretsky to the NHL and Jeff Kazules is to this thread!

  58. Albino Hayford,

    I was wondering what the difference is, in your mind, between hypocrisy and inconsistency. I think you’ll find that how you define these two words will become immensely important when I have pointed out to you that your post #36 exhibits one of those, depending on how you define them.

    You see, you rail against our reliance on Confessions and Creeds, etc, and demand that the Bible alone should be the only standard of truth for Christians. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s your basic point.

    How ironic it is then, when instead of quoting the Bible to prove your point, you quoted Martin Luther’s Confession. Do you see an inconsistency here, or perhaps it is hypocrisy?

    Maybe you felt you were just speaking to me in terms that I would understand or accept. But do you also know that this same Martin Luther who demanded the supremacy of Scripture in all things as the supreme judge also wrote a Large and a Small catechism? You can read them here.
    http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/wittenberg-boc.html

    Nonetheless, what evangelicals in general fail to grasp is that everyone has a Confession. It is simply a belief statement. It says, “This is what we believe…” But it doesn’t simply end there, because it is a statement of what we believe the BIBLE says.

    And why oh why would we need to publish such documents? Well, quite simply to distinguish what we believe from what you believe and from what Rome believes, etc. All Christian denominations claim to “believe in” the Bible. But the whole reason why there are different denominations in the first place is because different denominations interpret the Bible differently.

    We don’t need Calvin to hold our hand, we need CHRIST to hold our hand, to send us His Spirit who will guide us in our interpretation of the Scriptures. And as I quoted earlier from Eph 4, God has given us MEN precisely for that purpose. Men such as pastors, teachers, elders, etc. God gave these men to us for our good, to teach us what the Bible says.

    But let’s investigate just a bit about what the Westminster Confession of Faith says about the Bible, beginning with the Shorter Catechism:

    Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
    A. The word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

    Hmmm. Looks like a pretty high view of Scripture to me. Gee, I wonder if these guys had ever considered if what they were doing was self-contradictory? I mean, I wonder if it occurred to ALL the churches in England who voted to accept this confession as their own. You would think that in the 1600’s, when men were being persecuted by the Roman (pagan) Church for their faith that they would consider their Confession of Faith very seriously. You wouldn’t think that if writing a Confession of Faith were contradictory to having a high view of Scripture that this wouldn’t have occurred to any of them. Think about the sheer numbers of theologians involved. Men who could read Greek and Hebrew fluently, men who were in fear for their lives for the sake of the Gospel. The ENTIRE Protestant Church in the ENTIRE United Kingdom, to include Scotland and Ireland. Among all of them, you would think that SOMEBODY would have stood up and said, “Hey guys, maybe all we need is the Bible. Maybe we don’t need to state clearly and in writing how we interpret the Bible.” And you would think that if such a man had stood up and said that, that if it were reasonable – I mean, they would have saved themselves from the fear of death at the hands of the Roman Church – then those who were assembled would have relented and not written their Confession. But these men were willing to DIE for the sake of their Confession of Faith.

    The Westminster Larger Catechism says:
    Q. 3. What is the Word of God?
    A. The holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.

    The Westminster Confession itself says (in chapter 1):
    1. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation. Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing: which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary; those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.

    And:
    4. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

    And it goes on, just to make sure we understand:
    8. The Old Testament in Hebrew (which was the native language of the people of God of old), and the New Testament in Greek (which, at the time of the writing of it, was most generally known to the nations), being immediately inspired by God, and, by his singular care and providence, kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentical; so as, in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal unto them. But, because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God, who have right unto, and interest in the Scriptures, and are commanded, in the fear of God, to read and search them, therefore they are to be translated into the vulgar language of every nation unto which they come, that, the Word of God dwelling plentifully in all, they may worship him in an acceptable manner; and, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, may have hope.

    9. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.

    10. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.

    Now, what was it you were saying about the necessity and sufficiency of Scripture? Oh yes, you were trying to tell me that my view undermines Scripture, because I am appealing to the authority of the Westminster Confession. But you see, I am not appealing to the authority of the Westminster Confession as I would appeal to the Bible. I am appealing to the Westminster Confession as a secondary authority, just like you would appeal to YOUR understanding of Scripture. Well, I am not appealing to MY understanding of Scripture, I am appealing to the CHURCH’S understanding of Scripture.

    And once again, we are allowed to have at least a little confidence in our pastors, teachers, and elders, because the Bible tells us that we can:

    Eph 4:11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
    Eph 4:12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
    Eph 4:13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
    Eph 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

    Do you want to grow in your faith? God has given you something to help you. Do you want to grow in your knowledge of the Son of God? God has been gracious to us, and given us gifts to help us in this regard. Do you want to grow to mature manhood in Christ and stop being a child tossed back and forth by every new teaching that you come across? THE BIBLE SAYS that God has given us something, a gift to help us.

    What’s the gift that the BIBLE SAYS God has given us to help us in these areas? “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers”. And who, pray tell, are the authors of the Westminster Confession of Faith? Would that be pastors and teachers?

    “The Confession was commissioned from an assembly of 121 Puritan clergymen meeting in Westminster Abbey, called the Westminster Assembly, which was convened in 1643 for the purpose of drafting official documents for the reformation of the Church of England.”

    Read more about the history of this historic document here:
    http://www.bible-researcher.com/wescon01.html

    Now, again, I would emphasize that the Westminster Confession of Faith is NOT A HIGHER AUTHORITY than the Bible. The Bible, even according to the WCF itself, is the ONLY authority, the ONLY judge. But the WCF is what the historic Presbyterian Church has taught that the Bible says. It is a statement of what we believe the Bible says. It is not contrary to Scripture, it is a summary of it. But it is not merely lay people who put the summary together. It was an assembly of a large number of clergymen (pastors and elders), those very same things that God Himself declares are HIS gift to us to help us to grow into maturity, to grow in faith, and to keep us from being tossed back and forth by the latest fad in Christianity.

    So, the question you must ask yourself is, are you being hypocritical, or are you just being inconsistent in attacking creeds and confessions?

    If you are being hypocritical, repent. God can forgive you.
    If you are being inconsistent, you made a mistake, so repent. God will forgive you.

    If, however, you continue to rail against the very idea of Confessions and Catechisms (though you yourself recognized the usefulness of Luther’s confession, and thus quoted him) you have either misunderstood something I’ve said, or you are just blatantly rebellious toward God.

    So the way I see it, you’ve only two options. Perhaps a third.

    1. Investigate the matter more before deciding what to do.
    2. Repent.
    3. Continue in your rebellion against God.

    Those are your only options. I sincerely hope you choose one of the first two options.

    Now, before someone accuses me of being harsh and unloving, let me just point out that if it is indeed the case that Albino is being hypocritical, then how am I being loving towards him when I simply ignore this? Do YOU want to be a hypocrite? Do YOU want to reject God’s good gifts that He gives us for His benefit?

    Maybe I’m naive, but I’m assuming that Albino doesn’t want to be a hypocrite, or even inconsistent. I’m assuming that if God has given gifts to the church, Albino wants to participate in those gifts and make use of them to the fullest extent possible. So by pointing out his inconsistency to him, and showing him this gift that God has given to the church, I feel like I am acting in his own best interests. God always acts in our own best interests. He even says so in the Bible. (Rom 8:28) But sometimes we don’t like it, like when He sent the thorn to Paul’s side (2 Cor 12). Nonetheless, just because WE don’t like it doesn’t mean it isn’t good for us. In the same way, just because Albino doesn’t like finding out that he has been inconsistent doesn’t mean that this is an unloving thing for me to do, to point this out to him. Quite the contrary, this is the most loving thing I can do.

    Consider that it’s quite possible that Albino will recognize his inconsistency and repent of it. Just imagine how good that might be for him. Perhaps he’ll be able to read the Reformed Confessions, perhaps he’ll be able to read the ancient Creeds and perhaps he will find that it is actually good to submit to those things. Can you imagine what a good effect that might have on him? It would have an excellent effect. And HE would be the only one here who would benefit. How will I benefit? Do you think I will have the satisfaction of seeing that change take place in him? Nope. I don’t even know him. Do you think I will ever have the satisfaction of hearing him say, Echo, you were right, I was wrong? I don’t even want to hear that. As my nickname indicates, my words are not my words. I would hope that they are God’s words. If I am ever right about anything, the credit doesn’t belong to me, but to God, because it is God who is at work in me both to will and to do for His good pleasure. As Paul said, “Yet not I, but grace that was with me.” If I am right, then may God be praised, for the glory is His alone. But I sincerely doubt that I have said anything that will have an overnight effect on Albino. No, even if he recognizes that what I have said is correct, he’ll still have to investigate further, and this will take a long time. The Spirit, contrary to popular demand for the miraculous, operates slowly over time. As the Scripture says, the knowledge of God must be little by little, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little, line upon line. (Paraphrase.) So I don’t imagine that Albino is going to quite be ready to convert to Presbyterianism tomorrow.

    So again I say, if I am correct, the ONLY beneficiary of my being correct can be Albino himself. It will not benefit me at all. I have said what I have said not for my sake, but for his. If I am wrong in what I have said, then I’m just a resounding gong, a clanging symbol. I have wasted my time. And how is that to my benefit or anyone else’s?

    Rather, I only wish to serve the Church, God’s people. That is my motivation. I am writing this, spending a great deal of time laying out a careful argument not to see results, but simply to plant seeds, simply to have an effect over the long term. I will never see any fruit at all from what I have written here. But perhaps you, the reader will.

    Albino, I would ask you another thing. Why is it fun to mischaracterize your opponent? In your post #54, you said:
    “If I can’t talk smack, demolish straw men, or throw some ad hominem bombs, I will lose interest. I am Senior Pastor now, and have so many serious responsibilities, that one way for me to unwind is to have some back-and-forth banter in these threads. Just as I could not play bball without talking smack, I’m afraid I’m just not motivated without some jocularity. If you find some serious nuggets now and again amid my commentary, that’s a bonus.”

    I suppose you are speaking tongue-in-cheek, but I don’t think such comments are very amusing. If there is any truth at all in what you have said, I would suggest to you that this is an extremely immature and irresponsible attitude for you to have. Perhaps there is some relation to the immaturity of this statement and your unwillingness to accept those gifts that God has given us to grow us in our maturity in Christ.

    I beg you, for Christ’s sake to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

    Remember the wicked shepherds of Israel who fed only themselves. They ate the meat of the flock and clothed themselves in their skin. Yes, the wicked shepherds preyed on the flock.

    Contrast that with Christ, the Good Shepherd, who not only lays down His life for His sheep, but gives them His own flesh to eat.

    Like it or not, you are a shepherd of your congregation. This is not a 9-5 job, it’s a way of life. If you make fun of everyone and everything in this blog, I suspect that’s how you act around your congregants, even if you don’t mean to. Be very careful. Don’t be a wicked shepherd. For your own sake I warn you.

    And be very careful that when you claim to preach the Word of God that it is not the word of Albino, but the Word of God. If it’s the word of Albino while claiming to be the Word of God, that would make you a false prophet. I am in no way accusing you of this, I am just making an “If…then…” statement. Only you know if it is true or false. I’m just warning you to be sure that you are actually preaching the Word of God, because if you’re not, you would be a false prophet, and it will not go well with you on judgment day.

    Brother: I urge you. Stop and take a good, long hard look in the mirror. The mirror is the Word of God. Are you reflecting the Word of God, or distorting its image?

    I say all of this at least as much to myself as to you. I am often hypocritical and inconsistent. I am often wrong and bring dishonor to God’s name.

    But I have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who lived and died for us, that we might stand in God’s presence clothed in HIS righteousness by faith alone. Praise His glorious name!

    P.S. According to the canons of the Council of Trendt, this belief that man is justified by faith alone because unable to obey the law of God perfectly is anathema. That’s right. The Roman (pagan) Church has declared the Bible doctrine of salvation to be anathema.

    Happy Reformation Day! (Oct 31st is the anniversary of Luther’s nailing his 95 Theses to the Wittenburg door.)

    Gal 2:16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

    Gal 2:21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

  59. Still think I’m the only guy bringing up reformers, confessions and creeds, Rube?

    And the “cha-dar” comment was (I thought)an obvious joke, because “gay-dar” is also a joke. Your point about interpreting public tongues is well taken. I think charismatics should take Paul’s exhortations more seriously on that count.

    Echo; it’s obvious that you don’t know me or understand my personality. I think you would like me if you knew me. The point I was making to Mike about the canon, is that at least, let’s all posit that we recognize that the canon has been completed, and that all creeds, confessions, sermons and Bible studies must be judged by the Scripture. Once we agree on that, I think it would be easier to disabuse you of the belief that we are eager to continue the canon. We’re not…the canon is complete. Move on…

    Also, Echo, try to exhibit some humor and joy on some level. I’m not the blog-master, here, but your efforts are almost as long as Psalm 119, humorless and preachy. Give us a break.

    If you doubt that I’m a real preacher, you can podcast a sermon I preached a year ago in Poway based on Acts 4 called, “Prayer Under Pressure” here:

    [audio src="http://iglesiabiblica.us/Prayer%20Under%20Pressure.mp3" /]

  60. Mr. ECHO (Echo (echo)),

    I think that’s a bit harsh towards our brother Albino Hayford, who has the same advocate with the Father as you and I, and who is just as dependent on HIS righteousness by faith alone as you and I. I would submit there is at least a fourth option:

    4. Not being scripturally convinced, continue to search the scriptures and pray for the Holy Spirit’s interpretive guidance.

    All you are actually accusing him of (as far as I can see) is railing against creeds and confessions, and also quoting Luther. And to the best of my knowledge, the quote from Luther is a statement made to a council, not a part of a creed or confession.

    In any case, since you are not Albino’s ruling elder, I don’t think you have scriptural authority to rebuke him in this way. And if you mean to invoke brotherly discipline as in Matt 18, I think you have been too quick and too public.

  61. Daniel B,

    Well said. Very well said.

    First of all, I think you’re absolutely right that 1 Cor 13, when referring to “the perfect” is not referring to the Bible. I think it is referring to the eschaton. It is when we will “see” Christ face to face. So, right, that’s in the New Heavens, New Earth of Revelation 21.

    And yet I’m still a classical cessationist.

    So you said:
    “Why is it so important to try to destroy something that makes not threat to the gospel but rather was given to strengthen the church and in fact is building the church in a way that historically has never been seen before? I truly believe that if Calvin and Luther and the rest were alive today that they would, like Paul, be praying in tongues more then the rest of us (that is if the Holy Spirit gifted them with it, but they would at the least eagerly desire it.)”

    I would like to address this. Is tongues a threat to the Gospel? (By the way, I won’t speculate about what Calvin and Luther would or would not do were they alive today. The fact is, they were sinful men just like us, so what they would do today is really completely irrelevant. But your question remains quite relevant and very to-the-point.)

    Yes. Tongues is a threat to the Gospel.

    First I have to define the Gospel, so that you know precisely where I’m coming from. I have a Reformed view of the Gospel. I believe that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves, nothing we can do to earn our salvation. Nothing. Our works don’t ever get us anywhere closer to heaven. But this is why Christ came and lived and died for us, that we might be declared righteous by God even now, and that we might be made perfectly righteous when we are raised at the last day. Yes, I subscribe to TULIP, but the Gospel is a lot more than just TULIP.

    I believe in the active and passive obedience of Christ imputed to us by faith alone. The passive obedience of Christ being His taking on of God’s wrath, bearing the curse for our sin. But the active obedience is His perfect righteousness, which is also imputed to us. So being justified is not simply just-as-if-I’d never sinned, but it’s just-as-if-I’d been perfectly righteous. The classic Reformed explanation of this has a lot to do with covenant theology, etc. We believe in three covenants: works, redemption, and grace.

    For more on covenant theology, see Michael Horton’s book “God of Promise”, or simply consult the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 7. If you want to really study up on it, see Turretin or Witsius. That is classic Reformed theology. And no, Calvin doesn’t have as firm a grasp on covenant theology as his successors, like Turretin and Witsius or Beza. But he certainly articulated something similar to it. He just hadn’t developed it as fully as, say, the Westminster Confession.

    Anyway, basically, the covenant of Redemption is the covenant that the Three Persons of the Trinity make together to redeem mankind. Who is chosen is part of this covenant. Yep, there’s nothing in me that made God choose me, but He chose me of His own free will from all eternity. It is in the covenant of redemption that the Father elects who will be saved and how. It is here too that the Son promises to accomplish our salvation, and the Spirit promises to apply our salvation to us.

    The covenant of works is the covenant with Adam: eat of this tree and you will die, don’t eat of it and you’ll live. Simple. You have to earn God’s approval, His favorable judgment of you.

    The covenant of grace: for those who are elect, Christ becomes their representative in the covenant of works. He acts on their behalf in the covenant, just as Adam did. (For Adam had sinned, and all became guilty.) And we obtain Christ in this Mediatorial role by faith alone, which is itself a gift from God, given to us by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. So yes, regeneration preceeds justification. The Westminster Confession calls regeneration “effectual calling”. That’s nice language.

    Now, given the importance I place on faith in Christ in the Gospel, I do see tongues and like practices as a threat to the Gospel.

    Christ is the object of our faith. Think about that. That Christ acts on our behalf in the covenant of works is the one thing we have to believe to be saved, even if you can’t articulate it very clearly. That is ultimately the object of our faith as Christians. That is what we have faith IN. Christ. His person and work. Who He is, what He has done for us. So of course, His dual nature, fully God, fully man, is also of key importance to the Gospel. But having faith in Christ is of the supreme importance here, and that includes who He is and what He has done for us. Christ is not Jesus’ last name. It is pregnant with meaning.

    So, we learn to have faith in Christ by hearing the Word. (Rom 10:17). That’s our ONLY access to Christ. That’s the ONLY thing that gives rise to faith. The Word and the Sacraments, working together, are the PROMISED means of grace. See my previous post on this.

    So how does tongues violate that? Simply put, tongues and other emotional stuff in the worship services of the Charismatics, teach us to put our faith and trust in our feelings and emotions. Now, I’m not real sure if all the Charismatics would agree with this. Many of them would probably hotly deny it. That doesn’t make it untrue. It may mean that they are deceived and don’t even realize it.

    Nonetheless, for a Pentecostal, they will think an “experience” is from God if it is emotional. Period. If it makes them cry, and it takes place in a worship service, God MUST be behind it. Don’t even try to tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about here. I’ve certainly been to more than one Pentecostal/charismatic Church in my life, having been in that group for the first 20 years of my life. I know what I’m talking about.

    Consider this goofy, unbiblical idea of “being slain in the spirit”. This is nothing more than someone falling over backwards and babbling incessantly. Now, even when I was a teenager, I can remember having a conversation with the other youth about this. There were two camps: one camp said that even though this “experience” was not in the Bible, it was still ok; the other group said, no, if it’s not in the Bible, it’s bad. Funny how there wasn’t a third group that thought that it actually was Biblical.

    So what gives, charismatics? What about this “being slain in the spirit”? Where is that in the Bible? Or “laughing in the spirit”? Or being “drunk” in the spirit?

    Focusing on emotional experiences in church teaches people to “follow their heart”, “trust their feelings”, etc. This necessarily undermines the supremacy of Scripture. If Scripture alone can judge, then why do we judge according to our feelings? If our feelings can judge, what do we need the Bible for, or pastors and teachers?

    You see, most people who speak in tongues have some way to understand the Bible such that they think that their tongues are ok. They take a couple of proof-texts out of context and misunderstand them, and this serves as the basis for their beliefs in some ways. I don’t really fault them this. Most of them have been doing it a long time, and most of them think that they are being obedient to the Word of God.

    But here’s the kicker: most people who speak in tongues wouldn’t give it up when you prove to them from the Scriptures that it’s wrong. Why? Because they think that if it happened to them, it MUST be legitimate. Sure, they have their proof-texts, but the real reason why they INSIST so forcefully that it’s ok, the reason why the debate always, always, always becomes emotional, is because those who speak in tongues think it is legitimate because they FEEL it. They have EXPERIENCED it. They FEEL like it is good. Their HEART tells them it’s good. And you really can’t debate that. No matter how sound your reasoning, you’ll never convince someone that what they FEEL is wrong. NEVER.

    In fact, the only hope of convincing someone that tongues is wrong is to teach them not to trust their feelings and their heart.

    Gen 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    Yep, you say, that was true, before the flood. That’s the context. But as a result of the wickedness of man, God decided to destroy the earth with a flood. Is there any judgment hanging over the heads of those now living? Perhaps a judgment of fire? Man remains wicked, seeking out evil continually. You want proof?

    Rom 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
    Rom 3:11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
    Rom 3:12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
    Rom 3:13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
    Rom 3:14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
    Rom 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    Rom 3:16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
    Rom 3:17 and the way of peace they have not known.”,
    Rom 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

    Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

    To trust our feelings, to trust our heart is to put our faith and trust in ourselves. It is to trust in something that is other than God, in something that is sinful. It is, in a word, idolatrous, because it trusts the heart when it should be trusting God.

    But wait, how does tongues teach us this? Well, there’s a certain emotionalism that necessarily accompanies it. Over time, the unspoken lesson learned is, the more emotional an experience is, the more valid it is. You begin going to church for the purpose of having an emotional experience. (See the Aristotelian idea of catharsis. It’s quite similar. The body must be purged of emotions on a regular basis. It’s how Aristotle defended the Greek tragedies.) Anyway, you begin searching for that emotional experience. Sometimes you get it, sometimes not. When not, you leave church disappointed, regardless of the quality of the sermon.

    You begin to think that your repentance is only as genuine as the tears you shed. You seek out excitement, experience, tears, emotional highs. You are no longer looking for God. You are looking to be moved emotionally. You are looking for an increased heartbeat to be the assurance of your salvation, or of the genuineness of your repentance.

    Where should you be looking for assurance of salvation? How about the cross? How about the Bible that tells us about the cross? Perhaps rather than counting our tears at the altar, maybe we should heed the Word of God when it says:

    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    1Jo 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    But rather than letting the Scripture speak, we become hardened. Someone simply presenting us with the Word of God isn’t enough. We want to cry. Our heart has been hardened to Scripture. If I don’t cry, it’s not God. Where is that standard in the Bible? But this is what it leads to. Don’t tell me it doesn’t. It does. That’s a matter of FACT, not opinion. Go take a survey at your local Pentecostal church.

    They’ll tell you: you ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart.

    Kind of different from: Jesus loves me, this I know, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO.

    Rom 6:9 We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

    The Bible says that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, very well, good enough for me. I have heard this word preached, I have accepted it as fact. But the Pentecostal believes it BECAUSE they cry about it after an hour and a half of singing and incessant babbling.

    Well, but still, I suppose not too many charismatics will be convinced by this. But you cessationists listen up: they will teach you to trust your feelings, even if they are contrary to the Word of God. Whether or not they mean to teach you this remains to be seen. I don’t know. God knows. But that’s what they will teach you slowly over time. Never, ever be tempted by that stuff. It is such awful, wicked bondage.

    The ordinary means of grace of Word and Sacrament are far, far superior. It is so liberating. I don’t have to cry in church to know I heard from God. Ahhhh…so relaxing. I feel like I can behave like a man again instead of a 13 year old girl.

    (I apologize to any 13 year old girls who may have been offended at my last comment. Don’t worry. You’ll get older.)

    So, yeah, Daniel B, tongues and all the baggage that comes with it is a tremendous threat to the Gospel. ALL ERROR of ANY KIND is a threat to the Gospel in some way. All of our doctrines are tied to the Gospel. You must discover how something is a threat to the Gospel in order to understand why it is dangerous. I tend to agree, that if something is not a threat to the Gospel, it isn’t very dangerous. But this tongues and such is not in that category. Frankly, nothing from God is ever a threat to the Gospel, and everything from the devil is. And nothing is theologically neutral altogether. Any doctrine is either in line with the Gospel, or else it is against it.

    Tongues, prophesy, emotionalism, all of that stuff is AGAINST the Gospel.

    By the way, you may or may not be surprised to note that Wayne Grudem is not a cessationist. He is one of the few who are kind of somewhat a little bit reformed in his thinking that isn’t. Most churches that teach tongues are also teaching a works based salvation. I wonder why those two things go hand in hand?

    Unless salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone to the exclusion of anything we can or will ever do, it is a works based, synergistic salvation being taught.

    Anyone who preaches a works based salvation is a liar and will give an account to God. Such a man is a false prophet.

    Brothers, if you are a pastor, I urge you for the sake of your soul and the souls of your hearers: preach the Gospel in every sermon, and be sure that it is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to the exclusion of anything we can ever do. Anything less is NOT the Word of God (no matter what your text is; every text relates to and is properly interpreted by, the Gospel).

    Jam 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

    Thank God that we cannot earn our own salvation, but Christ has earned it for us. Thank God that we don’t have to work ourselves up into an emotional frenzy in order to know we have met with God. Thank God we can simply hear His Word and know that we have heard His voice. And thank God, for it is enough.

  62. Your point about interpreting public tongues is well taken. I think charismatics should take Paul’s exhortations more seriously on that count.

    With that admission, I’m ready to declare moral victory, and call it a day.

  63. RubeRad,

    I didn’t speak to Albino authoritatively. I gave him advice. I told him how I see his options. He is certainly free to continue to think that Creeds and Confessions are inherently problematic because all we need is the Bible. He has stated this view on this forum, thus placing that view up for debate. While I have used strong language, I am still only disagreeing with him. I certainly claim no authority to discipline him. He is free to continue to reject the Creeds and Confessions of the Church, and thus to look a gift horse in the mouth, so to speak. He is free to have contempt for God’s Word if he likes. It is not me he has to answer to, but God.

    And frankly, I made the comments I did TO a BROTHER. If I thought he were an unbeliever, I would have spoken a bit differently, or even not at all. And frankly, since he claims to be a believer, I must treat him as one. But again, I do him no favors by pretending that his views are just fine. In fact, I hope he rethinks them, because then perhaps he will see his error, and perhaps reform his ways, and perhaps lead a much happier and fulfilling life in greater conformity to the Word of God.

    I for one am cheering for him.

    Albino Hayford,

    I’m sorry that I take the Word of God seriously. I’m sorry that I consider these matters to be even more important than life and death, due to the fact that they are matters of ETERNAL life and ETERNAL death. I’m sorry I don’t think that the fact that we disagree about such important matters should be joked about.

    Well, you know what, now that I think about it, I’m not sorry. No, I don’t think it’s a joke. Perhaps if you took it a little more seriously, it would do you some good.

    Matters of doctrine and our salvation are no laughing matter and should not be taken lightly.

    Heb 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
    Heb 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

    Not, of course, that what we’re doing here on this forum is worship. It isn’t. But talking about God is never a laughing matter. God is to be feared. His Word is to be taken seriously. God is dangerous. He is not a cute little baby in a manger. He is the Lord of all the universe, with more power over us than we can imagine. If we do not tremble before Him, we are very foolish.

    By now, Albino, you and probably everyone else on here totally hates me and my serious, uncompromising, unapologetic attitude. So I’ll probably stop posting on here. There’s no need to try to convince me that you are really a pastor. I’m sure you are. I don’t want to listen to your sermon. No offense. As much as we disagree, I think listening to your sermon would probably only prompt another long treatise, and neither of us wants that.

    So, have a nice life, all of you. I’m going to return to my life now.

    I hope I made at least one of you think.

  64. And Echo, your points about the ultimate authority for validity of tongues being experience, very well put. I think that’s the real elephant in the room (not Heb 1:1, as Mike S has often claimed). For those who don’t have the time to read all of the words that Echo types so fast:

    But here’s the kicker: most people who speak in tongues wouldn’t give it up when you prove to them from the Scriptures that it’s wrong. Why? Because they think that if it happened to them, it MUST be legitimate. Sure, they have their proof-texts, but the real reason why they INSIST so forcefully that it’s ok, the reason why the debate always, always, always becomes emotional, is because those who speak in tongues think it is legitimate because they FEEL it. They have EXPERIENCED it. They FEEL like it is good. Their HEART tells them it’s good. And you really can’t debate that. No matter how sound your reasoning, you’ll never convince someone that what they FEEL is wrong. NEVER.

    Another quote:

    You begin to think that your repentance is only as genuine as the tears you shed. You seek out excitement, experience, tears, emotional highs. You are no longer looking for God. You are looking to be moved emotionally. You are looking for an increased heartbeat to be the assurance of your salvation, or of the genuineness of your repentance.

    That, in a nutshell, is why I left the church of my youth. Experience-based religion gave me no assurance. (Ironically, God used an experience to close the door for me on experience-based religion)

  65. Echo’s comments, which Reuben then blockquoted, REALLY ARE straw men, i.e, all charismatics seek out experience, tears, emotion — totally feelings based. Wow. Rube, you might be interested to know that Pastor Doug lost fellowship and friendship with many of his old pastor colleagues when he refused to go along with many emotional excesses in the charismatic movement (falling, laughing, etc.). He paid a real price to stay true to Scripture over experience. I really believe you’ve got your characterization wrong. I thought you left, at the core, because you were unhappy with the worship music. I remember having many conversations about that when you were still in college.

    I think what you guys reference here is a real caricature of the charismatics. Echo’s disdainful “I don’t have to cry like a 13-year-old girl” comment really puts a magnifying glass up to his heart. In my view, you guys are building up a “false choice” between our emotional response to Jesus and our “love of the Lord with all our minds” as well.

    I admit I’m a little disappointed that after I tried to be transparent and affirm the godliness of Christians on the other side of this issue, I don’t see the same on their part.

    I think the best preachers are those who have a deep respect and love for the Scripture, but also are not afraid to show their emotional love for Jesus as well. — “knowledge on fire”

    I don’t always “feel” Jesus presence in a tangible, emotional way, just like I don’t always “feel” emotional love for my wife, but I don’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater” either.

    Anyway….see ya, Echo

  66. Echo,

    Just wanted to add that nobody “hates” you. I’m sure that on some level you are a fun guy to hang out with…you just have demonstrated none of that here.

  67. It was a gorilla…not an elephant. O Well!

  68. Thanks Albino for pointing out the straw man of the ridiculous charicterization of charismatics that is the necessary crux of all cessationist arguments. This was the point that was made in my post numbered 56. The ONLY way that you can “Prove to them through scriptures” that speaking in tongues is wrong is if you have I Corinthians 13 8:13 to back it up. You gave that passage up. Ooops! Now what do you have to support your argument that tongues has ceased? In fact in admitting that passage contextually speaks of the return of Christ you are now saying that tongues certainly will continue until then. Esspecially in light of I Corinthians 1:7, and then you have the audacity to quote Ephesians 4:11-13 and take out apostles and prophets despite the fact that you will agree that Church has not reached full unity, knowledge and maturity.

    Who is inconsistent, who is hypocritical?

    You have NO scriptural or creedal foundation to attack God’s gift and yet you do so unabashadley without any hesitation claiming that HIS gifts are a threat to HIS Gospel. I pity you and the hurts and offenses you have sustained, but remember it is the glory of a man to overlook an offenses. Forgive, move on and embrace the whole of the Word of God and the awesome power of the Holy Spirit.

    BTW Rube I gave you props for the prayer for interpretation point on Mikes blog, but again, nobody reads that.

  69. Side note: I saw an advanced screening of teh Nativity Story (coming out December 1st) last night and it was pretty good. So glad it didn’t have the obvious Catholic tilt that the Passion of the Christ had. Mary is not at all depicted as saintly, but rather as what she probably was, a young girl facing a world of criticism and judgement. Worth your 10 bucks and a good chance to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas!

  70. […] Well, there is still a debate going on here (kind of), which is a testament to the significant differences amongst Christians on this issue.  Today we will conclude our examination of the implications of our belief in Article 7 of the Belgic Confession.  Since it is Reformation Day we thought it appropriate to entitle this entry with one of the great truths, which was the formal cause of this Spirit led movement within the Church. It is apparent that the crux of the disagreement lies within two differences of opinion.  Either God has in these last times spoken to us completely in His Son, as Jude implies in the following:  Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  […]

  71. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  72. For crying out loud the debate is not about the sufficency of scripture it’s about the application of scripture! Your radical mischaracterizations of your opponents position is so blatantly false that it’s a wonder how you can honestly write it. The fact remains that there is NO SCRIPTURAL ARGUMENT TO SUPPORT THE CESSATION OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS. And even though it has been demonstrated time and again in this thread you refuse to acknowledge it because you feel like it would put a chink in your reformed position. That’s the saddest part because there are many people who adhere to the reformed position and yet have the joy of exercising the gifts given to them by the Holy Spirit (I count myself among them). Embrace the TRUTH!

  73. Sorry to bore you Albino, but I think this discussion is done. Everybody realizes there’s no escaping the circular, 8-foot-deep rut that’s been worn around and around this tree. Unless somebody finds a ladder…

  74. At the risk of being called a liar and a hypocrite for promising not to post on this thread anymore, I want to say one more thing.

    What you guys who speak in tongues need to ask yourselves is what purpose, what mission does tongues have?

    Here’s a big source of the disagreement. I say that tongues and the Bible have the same mission, which is the same mission as prophesy. They are all assigned to the same task. They have the same purpose.

    Now, just for the sake of argument, let’s say that prophesy, tongues and the Bible all have the same mission, the same reason for their existence. THEN it would make perfect sense to you that once we have the WHOLE Bible, and nothing needs to be added to it, then we wouldn’t need prophesy or tongues anymore.

    But you who want to speak in tongues, you accuse us of setting up a straw man charicature of your views, and you INSIST that it has nothing to do at all with the sufficiency of Scripture or the closed nature of the canon.

    Very well, then. I’ll be the one to ask. Since you suppose that tongues and Scripture and prophesy all have different missions, different reasons for God to have given them to us, what are the missions of those three gifts?

    Let me be very clear. Answer these questions: WHY does God give us tongues? Support your answer from Scripture.
    Why does God give us prophesy? Support your answer from Scripture.
    WHY does God give us the Bible? Support your answer from Scripture.
    When you have answered these questions, please explain to us how the three answers are distinct. You might win sympathy for your view if you acknowledge that it’s reasonable for someone to think that these three have the same mission, followed by a lucid discussion of how they differ.

    Just to provide you with a little motivation, in my opinion, the entire debate hangs on this. If those three have the same mission, then the completeness of the Bible WOULD suggest that prophesy and tongues have become unnecessary. If these three have a different mission, then they cannot be unnecessary, and must continue, or else we’d be missing out on something.

    For my part, I have sought to argue that they have the same mission, though I suppose I either didn’t do that successfully, or it was buried in so much prose that no one read it.

    Daniel,

    I don’t deny that God gave us apostles for the growth to maturity. Their names are Paul, Peter, John, etc. We have their writings, so they continue to instruct us even today. Same goes for prophesy. I believe I did actually quote the entire passage in one of my posts. When I paraphrased it later, I left that part out. The point I was making was that Pastors and Teachers are God’s gift to the church. I was making a positive statement about Pastors, teachers. That was the point. Ordinarily I’d apologize for being unclear, but I know I was clear about that. And what’s more, I posted the passage into this blog. You’re so concerned with my making a straw man out of your position that you missed my point. I guess that’s because I’ve provoked an emotional reaction out of you. And the fact that you are emotional about this issue doesn’t at all help my cause when I discussed the emotionalism that goes hand in hand with continuationism, don’t worry.

    Daniel, I wish you’d interact a bit more logically with what I wrote about tongues being a threat to the Gospel. I said that it tends to cause us to put our faith in our feelings, rather than Scripture. I wasn’t just objecting to tongue speaking, but rather the tendency of human beings when they have certain experiences. I mean, it gets back to how we know we have the Holy Spirit within us. Speaking in tongues provides tangible evidence of a spiritual reality. Thus we can be assured of the spiritual reality. What I am trying to say is that this is contrary to the biblical notion of walking by faith, not by sight. Does that make sense, or do I need to try again to explain what I mean? I want to make a very clear objection so that you can understand it and respond clearly.

    I’ll say it one more time. The Bible says that we walk by faith not by sight. I am saying that in tongues-practicing churches, the tendency is to walk by sight, because the experiences that they have become PROOF of the spiritual reality, namely the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In other words, I know I am saved because I speak in tongues.

    I am claiming that this is problematic. “I know I am saved because I speak in tongues” is contrary to the Scriptures. We know we are saved because we have faith that what the Bible says is true. God’s Word says, “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” So we know that if we have called on His name, we will be saved. We need not look for any assurance other than this. Tongues speaking encourages us to seek assurance other than the simple truths of the Word of God. It’s almost like saying to God, “Your Word is nice and all, but I want PROOF. I want to KNOW for CERTAIN that I’m saved.”

    But just like Elijah’s experience, God isn’t in the tornado, the fire, or the earthquake; He is in the still, small voice that Elijah has to strain to hear, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Look it up, it’s a good story. It’s in 1 Kings I think. Anyway, it’s an excellent parable for the principle I’m illustrating here.

    But I predict that someone will say that that’s completely abusing the Bible to interpret it that way. Ok. I still say that’s a valid interpretation of that story. I think the point God is making is that the miraculous is not what’s it’s all about. It’s about God speaking softly, delicately, and gently to us, thus bringing us into a relationship with Him.

    This is what I’ve been trying to say this entire thread.

    But the tongues-speakers long for the miraculous, the undeniable evidence, the emotional experience. Ok, but that’s not what the Bible teaches us to focus on. The Bible teaches us to quietly have patience and believe in the Word. Be still and know that He is God.

    Sigh. This will probably only provoke the tongues-speakers, and they will simply tell me that I’m mean and just simply wrong. Why am I wrong? You just are. Mean man.

    Tongues-speakers, your best bet is to prove that tongues, prophesy and the Bible all have a different mission. If you can’t do that, you can’t prove your side, because if they have the same mission, tongues and prophesy become unnecessary when we have the completed canon. The mission is accomplished, so to speak. What say you?

  75. RubeRad,

    is that a ladder?

  76. By the way, if you DO seek your assurance of salvation in your tongues-speaking or prophesying or miracle healings, hear this:

    Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
    Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Do you see why I say that it’s not a good idea to put your faith in miracles, signs and wonders?

  77. Echo, finally we have a place where it might be possible to communicate. You laid bare your disdain for your perception of tongues speakers and truly if you were accuarate of what people who speak in tongues believe (that their ability to speak in tongues confirms their slavtion) then it would be something to attack. but that simply isn’t the case. Which is why I have said from the begining, do not argue what you THINK someone is saying, but what they are actually saying. By doing what you are doing you are falling into the same thing you disagree tongues talkers for… you are going by your FEELINGS.

    Your challenge was for us to prove scripturally the purpose of tongues and congeragational prophecy. tisk tisk tisk. That is missing the point of the argument. You would have to bring that challenge to Paul who did not chide the Corinthian church for practicing these things, but rather advocated that they be done in order. COnsequently your beef with tongues talkers that you have had intereaction with should NEVER have been about the validity of their spiritual gifts, but rather the orderely practice of them. You had a great opportunity to say “hey people listen up, this is what the Bible says about how we should practice these gifts.” Instead you FELT turned off by them and rejected them completely.

    Again to prove scripturally that tongues and congeregational prophecy (I realized tht you need the “congregational” tag added so you stop mischaracterizing it as scripture-quality revalation) have indeed ceased permanently is impossible. Your only hope is to try to say that tongues and prophecy as they are mentioned in the Corinthian epistles WERE scripture-quality revelation. If you can do that, then i will agree that they should have ceased with the closing of the canon.

    DING

    It seems as though many have grown tired of this discussion but Echo, Mike, Ruben etc if any of you ever want to have a personal conversation on this subject we can meet for coffee or waffles or something, I would be more than willing to discuss this matter or any other spiritual questions you might have. (I am of course assuming the echo is a so-cal resident, and probably a wesminster seminarian).

    Daniel

  78. is that a ladder?

    Looks like not. This post was originally meant to be a WHAT-ladder out of the WHEN-rut, but discussion has remained centered around cessation, not the question of whether biblical tongues is foreign languages or babble. Your WHY-ladder is a reasonable attempt to emerge from the rut, but it looks like that discussion was not engaged either.

    Here’s my guess as to the tongues-talker’s answer to the WHY question: mysterious personal edification, a la I Cor 14:4.

    Which reminds me of another question I have asked repeatedly, and never heard an answer to from the other side. Why does this one use of the word “mystery” by Paul mean “not to be understood”, as opposed to every other use of “mystery” (that I can find), which obviously means “great truth which it is important for you to understand”? Here is a link to every (ESV) use of “mystery” or “mysteries” in the Pauline epistles.

    Jesus said many times (Mt 10:26, Mk 4:22, Lk 8:17, Lk 12:2) that everything secret is meant to be revealed. So why are tongues meant to remain a mystery? Or, to be more specific, Jesus spoke in parables for the dual purpose of hiding and revealing; i.e. truth would remain hidden generally, but to the elect it would be made clear ((only) his sheep hear his voice). So why are the elect subject to this one mystery of tongues, when everywhere else, non-understanding is a sign of judgment?

  79. Quick reply to rube: Context, context, context. Paul is talking about speaking in a language than “can be understood” when we are in public meetings. He says that “he that speaks in a tongue edifies himself and speaks mysteries…”, as opposed to he that speaks in a “known tongue” when what he is saying is not a mystery. Again, I have to point out, just like Daniel, that your argument is with the Apostle Paul here.

    Speaking for myself, I’m getting bored, because, I, too, feel like everybody just keeps repeating themselves. I have not only gone to great pains to cede some minor points, but also to point out that many of my godly friends do not speak in tongues. Before we close the thread, I would like some recognition from the “non-tongues believers” that:

    1 Paul encourages speaking in tongues, but in order
    2 Paul commands us not to forbid speaking in tongues
    3 Our brothers who speak in tongues can also be godly people who love and revere the Scripture as the completed canon.

    Part of Echo’s problem is that he jumps in without reading previous entries and makes all kinds of unsupported assumptions about people. His lastest gaffe: Characterizing us as “tongues proves salvation” believers. Wow… Dude, I’m beginning to wonder if you were ever in the Assemblies of God, because even they don’t believe that! Did you ever get into deeper study of the Word in the Assemblies, like a Berean Bible course or anything?

    Another whopper is that “charismatics are emotional but we reformers don’t ‘cry like 13-year-old girls'” I’ll say it backwards: “Wow!” Nobody jumped in on that one except me, but that was astonishingly ignorant. Especially in view of Reuben’s testimony; how when he had his epiphany about “experience-based” faith through the hymn: “Love That Will Not Let Me Go”, his friend looked over to see him “sobbing”.

    https://ruberad.wordpress.com/2006/01/31/gods-love-not-mine/

    Everybody gets emotional; especially over the most important things in life.

  80. Let’s be fair here — I’m sure the eyewitness testimony of Forester will establish that my sobbing was much more like that of a 25-year-old man than that of a 13-year-old girl! :-)

    Attempting to speak for Echo (since it will probably be quicker for all concerned!), “Did you ever get into deeper study of the Word in the Assemblies?”, I would venture to say he would claim that nobody in the Assemblies got into any “deeper” study of the word — deeper study is the best means of studying yourself right out of modern evangelicalism into reformed doctrine. Although hopefully no informed Christian would claim “tongues proves salvation” (or that anything visible “proves” salvation), I bet there are plenty that would put a stake in the sand that “tongues IS EVIDENCE of salvation” (much like confession of faith and increasing sanctification are evidences of salvation), and the logical outworking (and implicit undercurrent) becomes that the salvation of people without tongues is less certain (or in doubt) — even to the non-tongues people themselves!

    As for some recognition, a careful perusal of my post will reveal that I did not make a claim of cessation of tongues, but of definition of tongues. Therefore

    1. I encourage speaking in tongues, but in order — so anybody with the gift of interpretation, please step up!
    2. I do not forbid speaking in tongues (but I don’t believe that babble is biblical speaking in tongues)
    3. (And here’s where it gets interesting, and I will probably get lambasted by the cessationists on “my side”): I don’t totally buy that tongues = open canon. As Albino & Daniel have tried to point out many times (but maybe it will be heard better if I say it): not all (interpreted) tongues or prophecies of the Apostolic age were recorded in the canon. Probably almost all were NOT included. As far as we know. But there is not necessarily a relationship made in scripture between prophetic gifts and the open canon.

    However, we all agree that the canon is now closed, and scripture is sufficient. Thus, although God certainly has the ability to say things he has not already said in scripture, working through tongues and prophecy, he has promised/decided not to.

    So what is prophecy? God speaking through an individual, to the church. Given sufficiency, God will not say anything that he has not already said in scripture. So prophecy must really be no more than Holy-Spirit-enabled exegesis. Isn’t that what pastors do every week? Isn’t that what we are all doing, as we proclaim God’s word to each other?

    And what about tongues? It is actually true that the scriptures are not sufficient, “because these original tongues are not known to all the people of God.” I.e. the Hebrew and Greek scriptures are not sufficient for me, because I don’t read Hebrew or Greek. And whenever it is not possible for a believer to proclaim the scriptures (prophesy), because of a language barrier, I see that as the perfect opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work through the gift of tongues, as God wills it. And again, in this case, God would not be adding any new revelation, but merely reiterating truths already found in the closed and sufficient canon.

  81. good response Rube, I am glad that somebody actually read what Jim and I wrote.

    As for the babel question regarding tongues, it is a very difficult one to answer. By simply considering tongues to refer to an unknown language you make it almost impossible to declare one tongues-talker to being babeling and another speaking an actual language. Especially when Paul uses the hyperbolic “tongues of angels” statement.

    Consider this, what if Paul, when he was speaking in tongues, was praying in our English. What would this mean? It would sound like Babel to himslef and to anyone else who might have heard him, but would it really be babel?

    What if it is just babel, nothing but noise? Is this a violation of any command? Would God be anrgered by people making noise towards him?

    What is singing? Dancing? Shouting? All these things that God clearly delights in, provided the heart behind them all is right. The motivation, if not love, makes the noise dispciable and unpleasant.

    As for your Jazz player, perhaps his noise also is pleasing to God (motivation being checked), but God didn’t give him the spiritual gift and order of how he is to play.

    God did however give the spiritual gift and order of speaking in tongues. What tongue am I speaking when I pray to God in the Spirit? I do not know. What am I accomplishing? I am giving thanks to God and I am edifying myself so that I am better equipped to build up his Church.

    None of this challenges the canon of scripture. None of this is a threat to the gospel. No, this is God’s gift and it is being used to build his church.

  82. I would venture to say he would claim that nobody in the Assemblies got into any “deeper” study of the word — deeper study is the best means of studying yourself right out of modern evangelicalism into reformed doctrine.

    “Deeper study” would be doing more than just attending church services. I am not part of the Assemblies of God, and have many differences with them, but I do know that those that want to go “deeper” into the Scriptures have that opportunity. And, NO, not all of us swallow reformed doctrine. Believe me!

    bet there are plenty that would put a stake in the sand that “tongues IS EVIDENCE of salvation”

    Do you know any? I have hundredes of friends in the tongues-speaking camp and NOT ONE of them believes that. Back this up with evidence, please.

    not all (interpreted) tongues or prophecies of the Apostolic age were recorded in the canon. Probably almost all were NOT included. As far as we know. But there is not necessarily a relationship made in scripture between prophetic gifts and the open canon.

    SAY “AMEN” SOMEBODY!!! Oh, shoot, I showed emotion. Sorry, Echo.

    Rube, your “Apostolic Age” business has the whiff of cessationist influence. And you’re not dispensational, are you?

    So what is prophecy? God speaking through an individual, to the church. Given sufficiency, God will not say anything that he has not already said in scripture. So prophecy must really be no more than Holy-Spirit-enabled exegesis. Isn’t that what pastors do every week? Isn’t that what we are all doing, as we proclaim God’s word to each other?

    You are creeping closer and closer to Paul’s position, Reuben. But, again, it is more than “Holy-Spirit-enabled exegesis” because Paul told Timothy: “Do not neglect your gift which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” Hmmmmm….looks like Paul is again muddying the waters on your definitions.

    God would not be adding any new revelation, but merely reiterating truths already found in the closed and sufficient canon.

    FINALLY — After 300 posts; SOMEBODY GOT MY POINT!!!

    To sum up Reuben’s position:

    1 Not a cessationist
    2 Tongues is ok, but only in known languages
    3 Prophecy is nothing more than exegetical Sripture
    4 People who speak in tongues can be godly Christians
    5 Assemblies of God members who get into “deeper” Bible study will convert to Reformed doctrine

  83. Any non-reformed Christian who goes deep enough into scripture will convert to Reformed doctrine.

    Ominous silence from the cessationist camp… it is possible that Echo is typing his longest comment ever?

  84. Any non-reformed Christian who goes deep enough into scripture will convert to Reformed doctrine.

    Um…..no.

  85. Howdy…um, “Albino Hayford” just clued me in to this blog, and I have to admit, I find it pretty interesting. BTW: Greetings from NJ to Daniel, Rubrad and Albino! I’m not sure if I know anyone else, but a big howdy too, just in case.

    Forgive me for just jumping in like this, and I have attemted to read as much as possible, but I’d confirm, as a Charasmatic Christian, tongues or speaking in tongues has NOTHING to do with my Salvation. I am firmly convinced my one and only option to live with God eternally is through the saving work of Jesus Christ. Period.

    I am also convinced (and as I come from the same camp as Daniel and Albino, I won’t bog down the blog with references) that Spiritual Gifts are alive and well, because my God is alive and well. Paul spoke at length regarding gifts, and that a desire for them is a GOOD thing. Why would that only be for a short time, or specific to a chosen church or time period?

    I agree with Rubrad that all things have order and a place. I also understand that emotions should not rule our understanding of the Scripture. But, with greater understanding of the Scriptures, greater emotions SHOULD be experienced (at least in my opinion). The more I delve in to what God has done for me and all mankind, the more amazed, joyful and incredibly greatful I become.

    And wow! Calling the use of one of the gifts a threat to the Gospel? I can see the point if someone were to elevate the gifts to a higher place than a belief in God. But my understanding will not allow such a thing! Spiritual Gifts are Gifts from the Father, intended for the edification of the Saints, and the building up of the Body of Christ. Used in that light, and in their proper order (decreed by Paul), then absolutely, and full speed ahead.

    Man, this thread seems to be a lot of fun. I’ll keep checking in to see where all this takes us. I’ve heard about these deep discussion opportunities, but haven’t been lucky enough to find one.

  86. Shawn! So cool to hear from you — you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Quit your job, go back to my first post ever, and in a month or two you’ll be up to speed! Better yet, quit your job, and move back to San Diego — you know you want to…

    You do know others around here; for his own reasons, Dad has avoided this thread like the, um, tongues, but he’s all over everywhere else. Mike S is formerly from LWC. You also once met Forester when he came to San Diego, and we took a tour of the UCSD campus (and maybe also when you and ‘bino visited me in New Jersey?)

  87. So, Shawn and Daniel, two questions:

    1 Do you find that your “deeper” study of the Scripture has caused you to leave your church and cleave to a Reformed Church?

    2 Do you know any people who practice tongues who believe that it is a proof of salvation?

    3 Do you know “what the in world” is going to happen next on “Lost”? My tivo will faithfully record it during church tonight. Maybe “Echo” has some inside baseball for us.

  88. How about a Charismatic who denies the sufficiency of scripture?

    Probably 95 per cent of all the guidance we need as Christians is found in the clearly understood principles of the Holy Bible.

    Who said it? Go find out…

  89. Rube-

    Good Lord! I just tried and got lost even more. And you have RSS?? Wow, I am WAY behind the times. And yes, I do still want to “come home,” but darn it, those housing prices have me spooked!

    Oh, and I remember Forester!! That was a great tour…I still remember the upside-down (er, sorry, inverted pyramid;-) science lab or whatever. Hope he’s well.

    ‘Bino (when do we shorten that to ‘O?), do you read your email? I’m beginning to have a spam-like complex. As far as your questions:

    1. I’ve been Reformed (wait!!! I mean Redeemed!)
    2. Only those who aren’t saved
    3. I “lost” my desire for Lost in the first season…somehow I got snookered by all these stupid reality shows…hey! Maybe you guys could turn this thread into a reality show!! How about: “To tongue, or not to tongue?” Or a little more PC: “Big Tongue: Survivor”

  90. Um, how do you quote a post?

    Rube, your post of the 95% quote is hilarious!! I guess that pretty much shows if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t fill up airtime with whatever pops into your head! Guess he forgot to read Paul’s advice to Timothy: “Study to show yourself approved…”

  91. Frickin, frackin, Shawn, king of the fake cuss words. Good to see your initials man. Hosuing is down, might never be lowr, now is the time to get back to the sunshine.

    To answer Albino,

    1. My deeper study caused me to realize there is no scriptural basis for leaving a local church, even if its a doctrinal issue that I disagree with (I Corinthians 1).

    2. I asked my Theology class that question this morning… 100% NO!(All from charismatic backgrounds)

    3. My family is addicted to lost, I don’t care for it. Since getting married I don’t have time to watch TV, we make our own kinda music ;-)

  92. Shawn; see the little XHTML hints right above the comment box? The “a href” tag in front will create a hyperlink, like this: <a href=”http://funny/story.html”>Click here dummy</a> creates Click here dummy

    Also, you can quote somebody else by pasting their text and surrounding with <blockquote> and </blockquote> tags.

  93. Shawn, haven’t received a letter from you in ages. Reply to the e-mail I sent you today AND KEEP THAT ADDRESS IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK. or maybe you should burn your Mac and come home to windows.

  94. Pat Robertson is definitely not my theological role model. Can’t speak for Daniel, Shawn or Jeff, though :-) And, Daniel, since you are a newlywed, what in the world are you doing blogging? I took two years off! On another topic, I just listened to a podcast of Pastor John Piper (my favorite reformed preacher) preaching on why interracial marriage is God’s idea and good for the church. I think Daniel will say “amen” to Piper’s message.

  95. I only blogg on company time my friend. Don’t even have a computer at home. No internet, no TV, like Robinson Curruso it’s as primative as can be.

    Did Pipers message include the gospel? All sermons must you know.

  96. […] on U2-charist by EllenComment on Best Day Ever by Jeff KazulesComment on U2-charist by Jeff KazulesComment on Jesus the Hyper-Calvinist by Jeff KazulesComment onTongue-tied by Daniel BComment on Tongue-tied by Albino HayfordComment on Tongue-tied by Albino HayfordComment on Tongue-tied by RubeRadComment on Tongue-tied by Daniel BComment on Tongue-tied by NJ Shawn […]

  97. Hi guys. Long time. See I missed a bunch.

    Looks like some progress was made, but only Rube was able to follow, listen and understand. I knew he could do it eventually! ;)

    The gifts are not equal to scripture. They are for today as well as any other day before the second advent.

    I believe I posted way up in the beginning a question about sitting on a park bench. None of the others who are against tongues addressed it. I believe that is a scenario that is entirely possible and likely, but only if a person is willing to be open to hearing God speak in that way. And, if you’re cessationist, that won’t happen.

    One last thing, am I the ONLY reformed Charismatic writing on this blog???? Dang. You would think that as Charismatics experience the SOVEREIGN unction of the Holy Spirit so often, they’d take a closer (deeper) look at the scriptures and realize the TULIP is necessary and biblical. Oh well, there is still time.

    Blessings,

    Jeff

  98. am I the ONLY reformed Charismatic writing on this blog???? Dang.

    You’re the only reformed charismatic I know!

  99. as Charismatics experience the SOVEREIGN unction of the Holy Spirit so often, they’d take a closer (deeper) look at the scriptures and realize the TULIP is necessary and biblical. Oh well, there is still time.

    Hi, Jeff. Welcome back. Even with my own family, we agree on the basics of the Gospel, but disagree on the peripheral. I have a few charismatic friends that are reformed, but not many; that may be because so many TULIP guys are cessationist as well; don’t know.

    I am one who does not believe the TULIP is Biblical, and don’t believe that all Christians should be judged by their acceptance/rejection of Calvin’s theology (if all Christians were judged by Calvin’s TULIP, I would be a 1 1/2 pointer). I have debated this so many times, since college, it makes my head spin, and we end up running around the same tree, but yes, I have studied it, yes, I love the Scripture, and yes, I have rejected Calvin’s TULIP.

    We do recognize Calvinist’s as our brothers in Christ, and CHOOSE to agree to disagree.

  100. Okay, I have not had time to read everything on here, but I wanted to make a comment by way of personal testimony. Feel free to shout “Amen!” at the appropriate moments. Imagine sentimental organ music playing in the background and people sniffling their tears of conviction…

    I grew up in a sound evangelical church (Evangelical Covenant). Nothing really extreme in any direction. However, he was negative on the gifts, although, to my recollection, he never preached “against” prophecy or tongues, but it came out in private conversation at times.

    I got exposed to some charismatic stuff during the Jesus movement through a couple small groups in our community (I was in Jr. high and high school – 70s), and then attended a few services at some Pentecostal churches when I was in college. I was guarded, but not really sure about it.

    So…when I got my first job out of college as an associate pastor in an evangelical church in Iowa (not charismatic or pentecostal), I made the determination to go “deep into Scripture,” as someone noted earlier, to study what the entire Bible said about the Holy Spirit – from cover to cover. It took months. I didn’t use books from any persuasion, I wasn’t listening to tapes on the subject, just me and the Bible.

    And at the end of that time I was absolutely convinced, beyond the shadow of a doubt, about the importance and the continuance of the Spirit’s work today – that all of the gifts of the Spirit, and the experiences described in the gospels, Acts and the epistles, were meant to continue happening today. This was WITHOUT the experience (at least as far as I was aware) of any of these gifts.

    It was at that point that I determined that in obedience, as a Christian and as a minister, I needed to learn to use those gifts (such as prophecy, tongues – if possible – and the practice of praying for the sick, etc.).

    I did have some exposure, but really no experience of these gifts, and had even seen a lot of things that had turned me off, but it was the study of the Scripture that convinced me and actually brought me deeper into the experience of these things.

    Since then I have seen a lot of wacky stuff, but as I continue, year after year, to go deeper into the Scripture, I am more convinced than ever about the importance of these gifts for building Christ’s body. I have seen misuse, and I have seen very mature use of all of the gifts (teaching can be used in an incredibly immature and self-centerd way just as much as tongues or prophecy). And when used properly, in the context of a loving mature body, the effect is that people are encouraged, convicted, corrected, healed, motivated to obedience, etc.

    I can’t imagine the church taking those tools out of the toolkit and giving them back to Christ as if they were somehow inferior or incapable of doing the job he designed them to do.

    Music ends…

  101. Hey, Daniel. Thanks for the frickin’ remembrance…I’ve had a chance to, er, disseminate my alternate swear lexicon to a whole new group of initiates! Been fun…

    And ‘Bino: Check you spam filter!!! Just looked, and I’ve had about 30 emails unreturned. Oh:

    Shawn, haven’t received a letter from you in ages. Reply to the e-mail I sent you today AND KEEP THAT ADDRESS IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK. or maybe you should burn your Mac and come home to windows.

    I AM home…haven’t you heard? Macs (with Intel chips) CAN run Mac AND Windoze, natively!!! Woohoo!

    Still won’t address your spam wizard though…you gotta accept the love before I can give it…

  102. The Assembly of God has a Confession of faith. They call it the 16 Fundamental Truths. Here’s number 8.

    8. The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
    The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.

    Acts 2:4

    The speaking in tongues in this instance is the same in essence as the gift of tongues, but is different in purpose and use.

    1 Corinthians 12:4-10
    1 Corinthians 12:28

    Now, if speaking in tongues is the initial physical sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit, then that means that if someone is speaking in tongues, it is because they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

    So then, how can tongues serve as evidence to someone that they are saved?

    Now, watch carefully, this is a big leap of logic here.

    Can you be filled with the Holy Spirit if you aren’t saved?

    Let me make this very clear.

    1. You cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit unless you’re saved.
    2. If you are speaking in tongues, you are filled with the Holy Spirit.
    3. if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will speak in tongues.
    4. If Holy Spirit, then tongues, and if tongues, then Holy Spirit.
    5. If tongues, then Holy Spirit, if Holy Spirit, then saved.

    I’m kind of surprised I had to explain that.

    My beef is that they are claiming physical evidence for a spiritual reality. This is a bad road to head down. It undermines our faith by teaching us to look to our experiences to serve as assurance.

    Imagine you are speaking in tongues. Can you, in the next moment, doubt that you are saved if you think this is the physical evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit? No, you cannot doubt it. You have obviously been baptized in the Holy Spirit if you’re speaking in tongues. Therefore, you must necessarily be saved.

    This is bad. Very, very bad.

    Oh yes, I know all the charismatics out there will get all riled up and declare that they aren’t saved because they speak in tongues but because they love Jesus. I know. But aside from the fact that the Assembly of God teaches a works based salvation, I am not claiming that they think they are saved BECAUSE they speak in tongues.

    I’m not making a soteriological critique of the A/G. I will if you let me, but I’m not doing that right now. Right now I’m saying that for the individual believer in the A/G, they KNOW and are ASSURED of their salvation because speaking in tongues is presented to them as a certain sign that they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. If you don’t believe that I have copied that out of their belief statement correctly, please, by all means Google the A/G and find the 16 fundamental truths. I was taught them as a child, and they haven’t changed.

    If speaking in tongues is a physical sign that you have been baptized in the Spirit, then it is necessarily a sign and proof that you are saved. TO YOU. You supposedly know that you are speaking in tongues given by the Holy Spirit controlling your tongue, and you know that this cannot and will not happen to an unbeliever.

    But the charismatics are going to respond to this saying that they have salvation in Jesus, not in tongues.

    But take note that when they respond that way, again, that I have gone to great pains to state my point quite clearly.

    And by the way, tongues speakers: you missed my point about the purpose of tongues.

    I’m not asking you to biblically prove the legitimacy of tongues. I’m asking you to tell me from the Scripture what its purpose is. And prophesy, and Scripture. What are the three mission statements, and how do they differ?

    I have already argued that they are the same mission. Now, please, in your overabounding wisdom, correct me, and show me where I have misunderstood the purpose of these three forms of revelation from God.

    Before answering, maybe you should try repeating my question back to me in my own words, so I can try to figure out how I am being so misunderstood.

  103. Another note…

    I know that this discussion isn’t just on cessationism, but I had a comment about that specifically.

    I have met a number of others, who, like me, questioned their lack of experience of the Holy Spirit (or the lack of experience of the Spirit in their church) as they read the Scripture and reflected on it, and after further study and prayer became convinced that all of the gifts mentioned in the Scripture are for today. Their experience did not match the Scripture. They assumed that the Scripture must be correct and went forward on that basis.

    I have NEVER met or heard of anyone who, through their study of the Scripture alone, became convinced that gifts such had ceased with the apostles.

    Every cessationist I know personally or have heard speak on the subject came to their conclusions either as a result of teaching they had received, or because of their discouraging (lack of) experience personally or in their church, of the Spirit. (And I know others who came to these conclusions after having negative experiences with pentecostals or charismatics.) They did not experience the Spirit as described in the Scripture and felt it necessary to come up with some explanation of why the NT describes one type of experience, but their life reflects something different, or they had unfortunate negative experiences with immature charismatic or pentecostal believers, and this experience motivated them to believe in the cessation of the gifts. (Or they just watched too much TBN.)

    Or they simply have been told by teachers they trust (many who are no doubt well-meaning) that the gifts aren’t for today, and they have believed them – despite all the incredible exegetical and hermeneutical contortions one has to go through to wring that kind of teaching out of the Scripture.

    I have never heard anyone say, “Hey, I have been studying the Scipture and it just becomes more and more clear that it teaches that the gifts aren’t for today.” Not once.

    I’ve heard a number of people say, “I used to believe in that stuff, but then so and so told me it was counterfeit because the gifts had ceased and so I gave it up.” Or “It never happens in my church, so it can’t be for today.”

    Every single new Christian I have known, as they begin to read the Bible for themselves, expects that the things described there will happen today.

    Anecdotal evidence, I readily admit. But I challenge anyone to give evidence to the contrary. Give me an example of someone who decided to become a cessationist (in the same way I decided that the gifts are for today), through study of Scripture alone.

  104. Ummm. Didn’t Paul use the argument in Galatians 3 (his first argument for this, I might add) that the proof of the Galatians’ acceptance of God on the basis of faith alone, their justification by faith, was their experience of the Holy Spirit – including miracles. Whether it was tongues or not is beside the point, it was something evidencial, an ongoing experience they all knew they had.

    YET, he had to remind them of this precisely because they were doubting whether or not they were really part of the people of God. They were doubting their salvation. And it was their experience of the Holy Spirit that Paul used to help assure them that they were indeed part of God’s family.

    And doesn’t Paul say in Romans 5 and 8 that it is the experience of the Holy Spirit that assures us of God’s love (and thus justification) and of the fact that we are children of God?

  105. Hi, Echo.

    I don’t mean to offend, so please forgive me if I’m inserting myself into an argument between others. But I’m not following your logic. The tree you go down works only one way: IOW, Saved, check, Holy Spirit, check, Tongues, check. But to claim that we believe someone simply “speaking in tongues” means they are saved is a huge leap. I don’t know the person’s heart, only God does. Is this what you’re saying?

    If so, then I agree. Just because someone claims to be “speaking in tongues,” doesn’t always mean that person is saved. Proof is in the condition of the heart, not the heavenly (or unheavenly) loquaciousness of the tongue. You must be saved before the Holy Spirit enters. A proof of this entering is speaking in tongues.

    You have to have order. Also, evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues is “as the Spirit of God gives utterance.” Suppose God does not give this person utterance at that moment. Does that mean the person is not filled with the Holy Spirit? Of course not. I’ve known many Christians who were Spirit-filled yet never publicly spoke with other tongues.

    I’ve also known many who rejected completely the Holy Spirit’s ministry. In my mind, that’s a pretty precarious piece of ground in which to put a stake. I suppose those who believe the Holy Spirit’s purpose “nowadays” is simply to elucidate God’s Word to unbelievers (oops, sorry, if I understand things correctly: to the elect in your view-sorry if I’m wrong here) feel THAT is the Holy Spirit’s function. I choose to believe entirely all of Paul’s teachings that the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to work through believers as He sees fit, up to and including the Gifts.

  106. I see where you are confused, Echo. You totally misunderstand being “baptized in the Holy Spirit.” You have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit at salvation…no question about that. But the Bible does teach “baptism in the Holy Spirit”; Jesus called it “clothing with power from on high” that follows salvation. Throughout the book of Acts, you see people get saved, then receive a second experience when they were empowered for service by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, but not always, they spoke in tongues. I won’t quote all the Scriptures, because you, I’m sure, are aware of them. In other instances, the Holy Spirit empowered them a third time (Acts 4), to enable them to speak the Word of God boldly. This also came after salvation.

    I’m guessing you believe that there is no such thing as a post-salvation outpouring by the Holy Spirit and the subsequent Holy Spirit gifts. I still believe you are saved. I do believe, however, that God has more for you.

    I’ll be glad to share more if you are interested.

  107. By the way, I would also love to pray with you if you genuinely would like the Holy Spirit to empower you for service, just as He did in the Book of Acts and He does today.

  108. Albino,

    Pray that we reformed guys would be more open to all that the HS has for us. Pray for me that I would be more sensitive and obedient to Him as He works in my own life too. Lord willing, it looks like I might be going to Africa in early January to minister & teach. Pray that the Lord will use those of us that go in a powerful way. (Since you were offering prayer, I thought I’d ask).

    Jeff

  109. I want to accuse all the cessationists here of something.

    I believe it is often characteristic of cessationists that they love God with their minds, their minds, their minds, and their minds. ;)

    Forget about the heart, the strength, & the soul. That might stir up too many emotions.

    However, in my day of being in strongly arminian charismatic groups, I found the opposite to be true: no mind. (sorry bino, I can tell that you and the rest of the tongue talkers here are not of that group.)

    I myself, being a tongue talker have been accused by many a friend of being “way too intellectual.” Ask Rube, I’ll bet you he’d tell you that the only reason he had any hint that I am charismatic is because of my confession.

    Anyway, the problem with anything other than the mind, or rationality, is it can tend to be subjective. It’s a walk and sometimes we stumble. Sometimes, I really ‘felt’ (uh oh, not that! Feelings! GAH!) that the Holy Spirit was speaking to me about a particlar something only to realize later that I was wrong. Other times, I really ‘felt’ the same thing and was absolutely correct. When God reveals something to us through the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, we can be wrong in what we hear. We are human and there can be error. But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t speak that way. But it is important to learn to listen to Him. We do this first and foremost by spending time in His written word, getting used to His voice. We step out in faith when we believe He is revealing something to us, and as time goes on, I believe we learn to trust more and more that He is speaking to us and that we are hearing Him more and more clearly.

    Why? Simple. I believe that He actively wants to minister to His people through His body, and sometimes that means He’ll give a word of encouragement through a brother, but that brother had no natural way of knowing what to encourage about. Then, BAM!, it hits the brother that God made the effort to touch him in a little way, and there’s the encouragement.

    Another reason, witnessing. Picture the women at the well scenario with Christ. How useful could that be today? What if you were talking to a stranger on the bus and the Lord just revealed to you a secret about that stranger. You tell the stranger and the stranger is now amazed that you could know this. Do you think that maybe this stranger might listen to you a little more intently when sharing the Gospel? That is another way that God can use that type of gift today, and yet not need it to be added to the canon of scripture.

    I can see it now, ACTS 2,289,512 verse 16-20: “And it came to pass that the LORD revealed to John Doe that Susie Que had divorced 5 times and was now shacking up with another man. When John Doe told this to Susie Que, she fell to her knees and asked, “What must I do to be saved?” John Doe answered: “Believe on the LORD Jesus.” Susie cried out to God and straightway began speaking in tongues. They both glorified God for His graciousness.”

    God works this way today, but sadly, He won’t and doesn’t work this way through people that quench Him in this regard. That is why many people will say that there isn’t much life in the reformed churches. There definitely is, but it is less visible to the initial view, and much more serene.

    Okay, I’m just blabbing now, so I’ll shut up.

    Jeff

  110. Jeff,

    Appreciated your comments. I wasn’t joking in my offer of prayer and I will pray for you and your trip. Again, perhaps I go over old ground here but I don’t put myself in Calvinist or Armenianist camps, and it is a pet peeve that we must be defined somehow by these fellas and their systems. It would be as silly as me starting an “Albinian” school of theology, and now you are all “Albinian” or “Anti-Albinian”. I refuse to be defined by the theological systems of others.

    Again, your experience in past churches who practice spiritual gifts has not been my experience. I have so many dear friends and colleagues in the ministry, and I can maybe only think of 1 or 2 that might be intellectually lazy. In the main, they are all avid readers of Scripture, who do seek to love the Lord with their “mind”. What muddies the water here, are comments like ruberad’s, when he states that “deeper” study of the Bible will lead us all to swallow reformed theology. Hogwash… That DOES insinuate that all who disagree with TULIP are superficial, as he says, “evanjellyfish” believers. Let’s be big enough to recognize that there are smart, godly people on all sides of these issues.

    One more bite at the cessationist apple: You claim to be Biblical, but you don’t have any problem completely blowing off Paul’s command to “Let ALL THINGS BE DONE and forbid not speaking in tongues.” That’s pretty ballsy.

    Anyway, I am beginning to enjoy this thread again.

  111. We finally got a reply from Echo, but alas this was his most desperate one yet. Echo, Echo, Echo… Thank you for proving my point that your entire argument is based on mischaricterizations of truth. I NEVER thought I would be an A/G apologist (i hate their eschatology and propensity for disorder in worship services) nevertheless I cannot stand by as you describe them as a cult, or at the least (heretics). I think everyone on this thread will agree that the most important things we uphold are A) the infallibility and sufficency of scriptures, B) The diety of Christ and C) Salvation by Grace through faith alone. You completely attacked the A/G church by denying that they believe in C and implying throughout this whole thread that all charismatics deny A. Then you claim your text as their statement of fundamental truths without acknowledging that they absolutley believe in all 3 of those points (1, 3 and 5 on their statement). i know one of the tricks of a good debater is to to erect and destory straw men, but everyone here is smart enough to not buy your straw infants. The worst part about these is that making them you imply such a narrow view of salvation that, as albino says, you judge Christians by their acceptance/rejection of Calvin, not Jesus. YIKES!

    I want to thank Jeff for reminding me of an experience I had not to long ago while shopping in Escondido. I was making a purchase and the checker person commented on my shirt (it said something about the Trinity on it) she asked me where I went to church. After telling her I then proceeded to tell her exactly where she went to church. I didn’t guess, I didn’t ask, i simply knew. I had never seen this person before in my life and I knew out of all the churches in the San Diego area where she went to church. The next thing you know I am encouraging her to get more involved in her church because she had been slacking a little. She was so awestruck and grateful for this encouragment. I walked away from there, not thinking, “wow I just employed a spiritual gift” but rather praising God that he would use me to help restore a wayward sister in Christ. Until today I never even though of it as something supernatural and I barely told anyone about it. Why do i bring it up now? Because I want my cessationist brothers to realize that spiritual gifts are not something spooky and fanatical and emotional (though they can absolutley bring about emotions). Also I want to demonsrate how easily we could “rationalize” them away. In my example, maybe It was just a lucky guess. In tongues, maybe people make it up. In Prophecy, maybe people are just saying whatever they want. In Miracles, maybe that person wasn’t really dead. In healing, they were taking chemo, it’s in remission. Etc… Scepticism isn’t difficult.

    Shawn, am I correct in hearing you’ve got kiddos?

    Jeff, When do you leave for Africa, do yuo have a website detailing your trip? I’ll be in prayer for you also.

    And as long as we are listing prayer requests I would like any of you who think of it to pray for my wife and I, we have many difficulties with her parents and want restoration of that relationship (any of you who were at the wedding have an idea but it is way too much to detail and out of context for this thread.)

  112. Hey, Daniel.

    Yep, I have one little one, Sarah. She is my heart and soul (well, half of it…Kathy-wife-ain’t too bad, either). How about you? Sorry I missed the big shindig, but I did hear about it. BTW: How’s PD? I called his house last year when I heard about his heart trouble, and V said he was fine. Haven’t had an update.

    Oops, sorry everyone. Didn’t mean to use this thread as a tool for personal updates…back to the show!

  113. This is a fundamentally important question, and it just might be the ladder that gets us out of our rut:

    Can you be filled with the Holy Spirit if you aren’t saved?

    Actually, that question has the trivial answer of NO. But the converse is fundamentally important: “Can you be saved if you aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit?”. Echo, the logic that you spell out so carefully relies on the axiom that “one is saved” if and only if “one is filled with the Holy Spirit”. I believe, with you, that this axiom is correct, but the tonguers do not. As Albino demonstrated:

    But the Bible does teach “baptism in the Holy Spirit”; Jesus called it “clothing with power from on high” that follows salvation. Throughout the book of Acts, you see people get saved, then receive a second experience when they were empowered for service by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, but not always, they spoke in tongues.

    So Albino, what is the difference between “being baptized in the Father, Son, and Spirit”, “being baptized in the Holy Spirit”, and “being infilled with the Holy Spirit”? You seem to suggest that there are (at least) two tiers of Christians: those that are merely saved, and those that are additionally have “baptism in the Holy Spirit”. It only makes sense to me to think that salvation is the result of infilling of the Holy Spirit, because it is the Holy Spirit that has (and effects) power to regenerate and convict us, enabling us to recognize our sin, repent, and turn to Christ. That the Spirit administers different gifts through different Christians is also clear from scripture. Why is the gift of tongues special as a separate baptism? Is the Holy Spirit outpouring of the gift of administration another kind of baptism (wow, look at that secretary organize that office with Holy Ghost power!)?

    So given that all true Christians are Christians precisely because of Holy Spirit infilling, without which we are all God’s enemies, unable and unwilling to recognize and reject our depravity and cling by faith to Christ’s sacrifice, then by definition All Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit. Then, AoG #8 is much more problematic, in that it predicates presence of the Holy Spirit on the visible evidence of speaking in tongues.

    Picture the women at the well scenario with Christ. How useful could that be today? What if you were talking to a stranger on the bus and the Lord just revealed to you a secret about that stranger. You tell the stranger and the stranger is now amazed that you could know this. Do you think that maybe this stranger might listen to you a little more intently when sharing the Gospel?

    First of all, “How useful could that be today?” is no argument. How about the Octo-Heart and the Spirit Machine? How useful could those be today? No doubt we can conceive of many evangelistic tools that we think would make our jobs easier, but which God did not ordain.

    Secondly, do you think that maybe the stranger might listen a little more intently if his dead grandmother appeared from beyond the grave and told him in clear terms what happens in the afterlife? Jesus said “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.” Indeed, Jesus did confirm his divinity with many miraculous wonders (the greatest of which is the Resurrection itself), but the Jews repeatedly asked for a sign, and Jesus rebuked them.

    Okay, I’m just blabbing now

    I thought you were just speaking in tongues — it’s so hard to tell! Seriously, Jeff, if you set me up with a straight line like that, you can’t expect me not to knock it out of the park!

  114. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone brought up the implied “two-tier” Christianity. To me it is irnoic that this argument exists because if the charismatic says, “yes there is” then the cessationist condemns them and says, “ha, that’s why we are better.”

    The point is that everyone agrees there are more and less mature Christians, is that separate levels of Christianity?

    What if we changed it from “baptized in the Holy Spirit” or “Filled with the Holy Spirit” to “bigger steps of Christian maturity” or “practicing the spiritual gifts God has given them”? Would this bother anyone? Would this doubt the salvation of the brother or sister who refuses to use or even acknowledge spiritual gifts? No, it would just mean they were immature in their faith.

    But what about those who do use spiritual gifts but use them out of order, loudly speaking in tongues in a public meeting for example, are they more mature then the person who denies that speaking in tongues exists? Not at all, they are both immature.

    Again I do not agree with all of the A/G’s fundamental truths, but I do think that in regards to salvation they make very clear that they do not beleive in salvation by works.

    To Jims point what he notes that the Bible describes “fillings with Power from the Holy Spirit” at times after salvation. Sometimes this was speaking in tongues, sometimes this was speaking boldly,or enduring persecution, or discerning and even (gasp) prophecy, but note, it happened over and over to the same people. Why would it be used as an adjective (i.e. Steven, full of the Holy Spirit” Acts 7:55) if it meant the same thing as being saved?

  115. What do you do with Galatians 5… (16) Live by the Spirit, (18) led by the Spirit, (22) fruit of the Spirit (25) Keep in step with the Spirit and then 6:1 “you who are spiritual” Does Paul, by his repeated uses of the word Spirit mean “learned”, “Studied” or “Mature”? I think he means the more Faith we have, the more Spiritual we are. Faith, hope and love, not degree, certificate and doctrate, are what will make someone more spiritual.

  116. All those commands apply to all Christians, and all Christians are responsible and able to keep them only because they are indeed filled with the Holy Spirit.

    Does Paul, by his repeated uses of the word Spirit mean “learned”, “Studied” or “Mature”?

    Absolutely not. Does Paul, by his repeated uses of the word Spirit mean “more gifted”, or “having more faith”?

    I think he means the more Faith we have, the more Spiritual we are.

    Oh.

    Dude, this ‘degrees of spirituality’ crap is exactly what contributes to (or outworks from) works theology.

    1 Cor 12: 4-13: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

    For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all BAPTIZED into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

    In what context is Paul stressing this oneness of the Spirit? In precisely the context of varying gifts.

  117. Since I’m no longer campaigning, I just had to give my opinion here:

    You know education, if you make the most of it, and you study hard, and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in a church that uses the gifts of the Spirit.

  118. Rube I am not disagreeing that they apply to all Christians. i do believe that all Christians have the Holy Spirit, I am implying that our spiritual activity is done in proportion to our (each individuals) faith.

  119. the biggest problem is the assumption that more study makes one more mature. and then the more “studied” person rejects the gifts of the Holy Spirit. what is mature about that?

  120. Now the reason we all know that’s not the real John Kerry, is that the real John Kerry would have botched that joke!

    Nice one JK!

  121. Guys, I’m not gonna lie to you. I’m kind of frustrated.

    Here’s a simple question: what purpose does tongues serve?

    Here’s another: what purpose does prophesy serve?

    Just one more: what purpose does the Bible serve?

    These three serve a purpose. What is it?

    I have argued that the purpose of all three is revelation. Now, if that’s TRUE, then it makes perfect sense that when we would have a completed canon, prophesy and tongues would NO LONGER BE NECESSARY. That doesn’t necessarily imply that they have CEASED, but it means that they are NO LONGER NECESSARY.

    Let’s focus on just that one point for now.

    Now then, let’s look at some Scripture.

    You tongues-speakers, I have a word from the Lord for you:

    Lev 11:7 And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.
    Lev 11:8 You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.

    If you have eaten bologna or a hot dog recently, God is full of furious wrath at you. You had better repent, or He will come and remove your lampstand from among the lampstands.

    THE BIBLE SAYS you will not eat hot dogs.

    Repent, you sinners who eat hot dogs, for God has spoken!

    Ok, since I know that only about 1 or 2 of you will get my point unless I explain it, I will explain it.

    There are TWO authors of every letter of the Bible. There is the human author, in this case Moses, and there is the Divine Author, namely the God.

    There are consequently two audiences to every passage of Scripture.

    About Abraham, Paul says:
    Rom 4:22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
    Rom 4:23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,
    Rom 4:24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,

    Did you catch it? Paul said that the words weren’t written just for Abraham, but also to NT believers to whom he was writing. And check it out, the message is more robust for the NT believers. Amazing! Abraham knew his faith was credited as righteousness, but he didn’t know how that would work. However, for the Roman believers, Paul says, You DO know how it worked, because it works the same for us THROUGH CHRIST. Brilliant!

    In the same way, the passage in Leviticus above has two audiences. It has an ORIGINAL audience, namely the Jews at the time of Moses. But it was also written TO YOU. That’s why it’s included in our Bible and not cast aside.

    But note very carefully that the message TO YOU in this passage is very different from the message to the original audience.

    The original audience recognized that they were being told what they could and could not eat.

    YOU however, KNOW FOR A FACT that it now no longer contains that message. That doesn’t mean that it gets tossed aside, it just means that you can eat hot dogs. What the passage is pointing to is something far greater than what you can and cannot eat. But I will not explain how to interpret this passage right now, because it’s not really relevant. The point is that YOU KNOW and ACKNOWLEDGE (don’t deny it), that this passage, while still the Word of God TO YOU, is no longer binding you as to what you can eat. You are not the original audience. Nonetheless, God still was speaking to you through Moses and through this passage. It is still the Word of God. It just points us to something better than our diet.

    Unless of course you think it is a sin to eat hot dogs.

    Now, let’s apply what we’ve learned.

    Let’s consider the book of 1 Corinthians. I just have one question for you: are you a member of that church living 2000 years ago?

    Just because Paul commands them not to forbid speaking in tongues does NOT NECESSARILY mean that we should still speak in tongues today.

    Look at what Paul says about marriage in chapter 7. Do you really think that Paul meant to imply to ALL BELIEVERS AT ALL TIMES that marriage should be avoided? Perhaps there was a special circumstance under which he gave this advice?

    I won’t mention Calvin’s exegesis of this passage, because I know most of you would simply reject it. But don’t most of you think Matthew Henry’s commentary is pretty good? So then, look at Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage, and you will see that it was because the Corinthian church was under intense persecution that Paul gave them this advice. And of course, it only makes sense to tell people to avoid marriage if they might have to die for their faith. I mean if you’re married and have children, you might think twice about giving your life for your faith. But if you’re single, you’re more likely to be willing to give up your life, because you are the only one who will pay the price for it. If you have a family, you will be hurting them too if you die for your faith. It’s a tougher decision. But don’t take my word for it, read Matthew Henry, which is widely available for free.

    And I’m not making this point to say that tongues only applies to times of persecution, I’m making this point to say that the historical context is important. The message of the Bible to US TODAY is not necessarily the exact same message as it was to its original audience.

    Let’s say, for example, that tongues remained ongoing because the canon was not yet completed at that time. Well, then the command not to forbid speaking in tongues is no longer incompatible with my cessationist views. that’s a fact, GIVEN my views.

    So let’s please stop quoting the verse that commands the CORINTHIANS to allow tongues, because I do not believe that that means the same thing to us today. We are not the original audience. We could take away from this, however, that we should pursue the means of grace, the preaching of the Word. We could take away from this the importance of the Word of God – do not neglect it.

    Now, that’s how I reconcile it all. If you don’t understand what I’ve said, ask for clarification, and I’ll be happy to explain it to you.

    But you hyper-literalists need to calm down, unless it’s a sin to eat hot dogs. You need to learn how to INTERPRET the Bible, not just read it.

    Don’t just simply react to what I’m saying. I know it’s not something you’ve heard your pastor say, and for you pastors, I know it’s not what you learned in Bible college or whatever. I know that. I know what I’m saying is very contrary to what you have heard previously. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s wrong. It certainly isn’t new. I’m simply restating the classic Reformed position on these matters. People believed this for hundreds of years. It’s not new.

    Now, can we PLEASE talk about the purpose of tongues, prophesy and the Bible? I say that the ONE purpose is the revelation of the Word of God. Please disagree with that.

    PS NJ Shawn, I know we can’t look on the heart. I understand that. That’s precisely why the A/G view is so problematic. And let me give a nod to Rube’s precise command of logic for knowing the difference between a conditional and a bi-conditional. But the A/G teaches you that you can have proof, physical evidence, that you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. And believe me, they pound this into your head. It’s almost like they can’t talk about the baptism in the Spirit without also adding the phrase “with the evidence of speaking in tongues”. So here’s the point. If you have spoken in tongues, you know for certain that you have been baptized in the Spirit. Well, you can’t have been baptized in the Spirit unless you’re saved. So bingo, now you know that you’re saved BECAUSE it’s impossible to speak in tongues unless you’ve been saved AND baptized in the Holy Spirit. See, now experience becomes the judge. You know something because you’ve experienced it.

    Someone above was saying that they have a prophetic type experience at the store or whatever, because they told someone what church they went to. Do you see how they justified what they believe based on their experience? If I have experienced it, it must be true.

    2Co 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

    Does anyone see a problem here? Honk if you do. Faith is NOT experience. It is NOT sight. You have not seen something or experienced something. That’s what faith is.

    Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    Joh 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    Does anyone see a theme here?

    Faith in Christ should not be based on sight or experience or whatever. Faith must be grounded in the Word of God.

    Rom 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    But if you believe something because you have experienced it, such as believing that you are saved because you had this experience of speaking in tongues, your faith is no longer grounded in hearing the Word, but in your experience. The SOURCE of your faith has changed. The BASIS for your faith has shifted from the Word to your experience.

    Rick Warren, in the Purpose Driven Life talks about how personal testimonies are good, because some people will listen to them when they won’t listen to the Bible.

    Does anyone see a problem with this? Faith arising from the testimony of someone’s subjective experience? The BIBLE says that faith comes through hearing the Word of God, NOT in hearing about someone’s experience. My personal testimony is not God’s Word. Even if I’m talking about God, GOD is not the one SPEAKING. For faith to arise in our hearts, GOD must be the speaker. He speaks in His Word.

    AND YES, He did speak through prophets and tongues, etc. But now we have the completed canon, which serves us just fine to build us up in our faith. We have all the written Word of God that we need. We don’t need to add any other kind of faith building revelation to the Word of God. Back then, the Bible was incomplete. Prophesy and tongues picked up the slack. And actually, tongues IS prophesy once its interpreted. I mean, it is the Holy Spirit speaking after all, isn’t it? So isn’t it necessarily then the Word of God? But if the Bible contains EVERYTHING that God wishes to say to us, then why do we need Him to show us miracles? We have something better. We have what the miraculous points to. We have the Bible, we have the completeness of what God has to say to humanity. We are so priviledged. If you want to return to Egypt by longing for the glory of the shadows and types, fine. But we reformed embrace Christ, He is all we need.

    Sure, the Temple was glorious and beautiful, and the sacrifices were bloody and painful reminders of the price that must be paid for sin. Sure, the festivals and stuff were quite glorious. The Lord’s Supper and baptism look very simple in comparison. But they have more efficacy. They more CLEARLY reveal God’s salvation to us.

    In the same way, the Bible more clearly speaks to us than tongues or prophesy. It is clear. The revelation is accomplished.

    I am really trying to be kind to the person (I’m even avoiding making it personal by not using his name) who spoke of his experience at the store with the clerk. I am really trying. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I must respect God and His Word first and foremost.

    That person has reduced the Holy Spirit to a fortune teller. Just because you had that experience does not make it right. I am sorry that you don’t agree with that, but that’s what the Bible says. We walk by faith not by sight. God is not a fortune teller looking into a crystal ball revealing our future to us. When God speaks, it is not US He reveals. He reveals Himself. If you want to look at yourself, go look in a mirror. If you want to look at God, read the Bible.

    And for the guy who said that no one has ever become a cessationist by studying the Bible – I am shocked that you would even say such a thing. You should think that through a little bit more.

    While I myself have become convinced by Scripture, I think it’s safe to say that EVERYONE who holds this view finds it to be biblical. I know you THINK your view is biblical. At least give us that much credit. We definitely find our view to be biblical. I have quoted a passage or two here and there. Ahem. I think my comments have drawn on a vast amount of Scripture, and have at least sought to draw this view from an understanding of ALL of Scripture.

    It seems to me that those who think that tongues continue today can only read one verse at a time, and it must be in either 1 Corinthians or Acts. I don’t believe ANY of you have quoted anything outside of those books to make your point. I don’t believe ANY of you have demonstrated, nor even attempted TO demonstrate an understanding of the ENTIRETY of Scripture in order to support your claims.

    If you couldn’t tell, I’m actually quite a bit miffed at your comments, sir.

    And by the way, NO, being filled with the Holy Spirit is not an experience above and beyond salvation.

    In 2 Cor 1, we read:
    21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    If we stand firm in Christ, it is because God anointed us with the seal of the Spirit. This simply is to be saved.

    Now, before you jump all over me, let’s ask who “us” is. Well, we find this in verse 1 of the same chapter, telling us who US is in this verse. US obviously refers to Paul and his audience to whom he is writing. And to whom is he writing?

    To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:

    ALL THE SAINTS.

    So if you want to be a Roman and say that “saints” refers to super-saved people, go ahead. But for the rest of us with an ability to approach this with common sense, it means that each and every single saint has been anointed with the Holy Spirit, because God has put His Spirit into our hearts. That’s called being filled with the Holy Spirit, also know as being saved, redeemed, etc.

    Everyone, EVERYONE who confesses Jesus does so BECAUSE they have the Spirit at work in them.

    1Jo 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
    1Jo 4:3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
    1Jo 4:4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

    Look at that. You can’t even confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh unless you have got the Spirit of God in you. Unless there is some other spirit sent from God, perhaps an angel that enlightens our minds to know that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.

    So, you tongues-speakers, I know you will sharply disagree with me, but all you’ll say is that I’m wrong. Your heart and your feelings tell you that I have to be wrong. Your experiences tell you that I have to be wrong. Since I’m interpreting the Bible differently than you’ve heard before, you won’t agree with it, even though it makes perfect sense. And not only will you not agree with it, you’ll dismiss my views as illegitimate, having no rational basis for doing so.

    I know you will do this. So go ahead, ignore my questions, ignore the issues I raised. Post yet more comments that ignore the question of purpose. Ignore the sound interpretation of the Word of God. Just ignore it for the sake of your feelings. After all, your feelings MUST have more authority than the Bible. Your feelings MUST have a greater claim to truth than the Word of God. And now that I think of it, YOU have a greater authority than God, so go ahead, tell Him why He’s so confused.

    Print this post out. Think about it. Read it a couple times. Write notes in the margin. Come up with an intelligent argument from Scripture. Tell me why it’s a sin to eat hot dogs. Explain the different purposes for the forms of revelation, tell me about how there really isn’t two audiences for Scripture, O you who study the Word so deeply. Impress me with your arguments, not your experiences of telling the future. Don’t shame me for being stoic, explain to me how I am wrong. Don’t tell me I’m boring like a child would do – you know who you are – explain to me where my logic or understanding of Scripture is outrageous.

    Look up in the dictionary these two words: argument and assertion. When you can tell the difference between the two, then reply to me like an intellectual, God fearing, Bible believing man. Don’t make fun of me for my views, explain how they are wrong.

    And by the way, if I’ve sat in a Pentecostal Church rotting away for 20 years and NEVER HEARD THE GOSPEL EVEN ONCE aside from some distorted picture of it, don’t you DARE tell me that those people are teaching the Gospel. They teach you that your repentance EARNS forgiveness. They teach you to redouble your efforts. They teach you to please God with your efforts, and if you don’t, you will be lost.

    DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME THAT THOSE LIARS ARE PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

  122. Echo says, “Let’s consider the book of 1 Corinthians. I just have one question for you: are you a member of that church living 2000 years ago?”

    Are we still waiting for the return of Christ? I Corinthians 1:7

  123. Echo also says “In 2 Cor 1, we read:
    21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    If we stand firm in Christ, it is because God anointed us with the seal of the Spirit. This simply is to be saved.

    Now, before you jump all over me, let’s ask who “us” is. Well, we find this in verse 1 of the same chapter, telling us who US is in this verse. US obviously refers to Paul and his audience to whom he is writing. And to whom is he writing?

    To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia:

    ALL THE SAINTS.”

    I am assuming that he means only II Corinthians applies to us not I Corinthians.

  124. By The Way Echo, anyone who knows how to read can note my “personal experience” from post 111 was not used to support my argument but to show why we don’t argue from personal experiences. In my personal experience I DID NOT think I was employing a spiritual gift. But good job trying to distract from the real issue and that is your gross mischaricterizations of charismatics.

    Face it, you keep asserting that tongues and congergational prophecy were scripture-quality revelation. Thats great that you think that, but you have no proof. Unless you can connect that assertion to any scripture then save yourself the time of writing your ridiculous diatribes that no one can take seriously.

    Show of hands, how many people have actually made it through an echo post without nodding off?

  125. I am assuming that he means only II Corinthians applies to us not I Corinthians.

    I Cor 12 has the exact same message that ALL Christians are baptized with one and the same the Holy Spirit (smack dab in the context of discussing various administration of gifts), go read about it right here

    …So here’s the point. If you have spoken in tongues, you know for certain that you have been baptized in the Spirit. Well, you can’t have been baptized in the Spirit unless you’re saved. So bingo, now you know that you’re saved BECAUSE it’s impossible to speak in tongues unless you’ve been saved AND baptized in the Holy Spirit. See, now experience becomes the judge. You know something because you’ve experienced it.

    And here’s a corollary point: when tongues is a visible assurance of salvation, those without tongues are left wondering.

    2Co 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.

    Heb 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    Joh 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    Does anyone see a theme here?

    Ooh! Ooh! Mistah Kottah! Mistah Kottah! I “see” it (pun unavoidable): God reveals himself to us not through Image, but through Word

  126. I thouroughly agree that all Christians have the Holy Spirit and recieve gifts in the Holy Spirit, which is why it is so bothersome that some choose to deny those gifts. It’s a sad measurement for the “proportion of their faith” (Romans 12:6)when they don’t employee their gifts.

  127. His Word is what commands us to use the gifts he gives us.

  128. Guys, I refuse to read Echo’s post today. I haven’t the time. Echo, cut it short okay? I’ll bet anything you can say the same thing with 10% of your words. The longer you write a post, the more sure you can be that your points DON’T get accross. Blogs are not seminary, save the essay’s for school. (At least I’m not the longwinded one any more)

    Anyway, Rube, I heard Pastor Cook on one of his recent podcasts talk about how Old Testament Believers were regenerated but didn’t have the gift of the Holy Spirit. I never thought about it in terms like that, but it sure does make sense from an initial stand point.

    As I understand it, the imperative “to be filled with the Holy Spirit” is a verb of the continual sense, i.e. “be continually filled with the Holy Spirit.” I believe that all Christians are regenerated or born again. I also believe that we all have the gift of the Holy Spirit. I believe that this ‘second’ experience being talked about here is not necessarily a norm like the pentacostals believe it is (I used to). I believe that all Christians ‘can’ be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit often and for specific tasks. Maybe some never do. Either way, we all have the gift of the Holy Spirit. But maybe some of us put a box around this gift and only allow Him to work in the ways we think the Bible tells us he can. So, if a person believes He won’t give us special revelation any longer because that has ceased, then I’m not surprised that He never gives that gift to that person. But maybe that same person will allow Him to work through them with the gift of hospitality. So that person is neither more nor less spiritual than the other.

    If echo wants to write a short response to what he thinks about Daniel’s experience at the check out stand, I’d be interested in what he has to say. Me, I have no reason to be ‘skeptical’ that God worked that way through him to minister to a Christian sister. Praise God! That’s my response, and I think it should be everybody’s.

    Rube, I realize that when I asked if it was useful, that that isn’t an argument to prove anything. But it still can be taken into consideration as a possible reason that God in His wisdom chose/chooses to work in that type of gift without us having to write it down as an addition to the Bible. That’s just silly Echo talk.

    I’m at work and not thinking through this stuff extremely carefully, so bear that in mind. I just wanted to chime in befor the conversation got past this point.

    Jeff

  129. Scorecard:
    This whole page right now: 51679 words
    Echo: 19095 words

    Note also that the 51K includes the sidebar matter, double-counting of every word that we quote from each other, and the original post itself. Echo’s words are mostly unique, since he does relatively little quoting.

    Echo, I’m glad you’re here, but I agree with Jeff that your sheer volume of words is an impediment to getting your points across. Maybe a little extra time in editing would pay off in less reiterating due to misunderstanding?

  130. I know this may be way too much to ask and I recognize the wisdom of the man for his silence, but I would really be interested in what sheet music thinks about this whole discussion. I know you’ve been reading along and perhaps more then anyone you have experienced both sides of the argument.

    I would also like to hear from Mrs. Sheet Music. It was awesome to see you guys Tuesday, reminds me of the good ol days of my childhood.

  131. Here’s a simple question: what purpose does tongues serve? “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” (I Corinthians 14:4)

    Here’s another: what purpose does prophesy serve? “He who prophecies edifies the church.” (I Corinthians 14:4)

    Just one more: what purpose does the Bible serve? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16-17)

    Excellent points Echo. Well done. So we all agree that the Bible instructs us to use our Spiritual gifts like tongues and prophesy. YAY!

  132. Daniel,

    In post 123, it seems like you’re deliberately being childish and obnoxious.

    You said: “I am assuming that he means only II Corinthians applies to us not I Corinthians.”

    Do you understand that ‘ALL THE SAINTS’ refers to everyone in a particular area that were saved? Do you understand that Paul says that they were all indwelled with the Holy Spirit?

    Do you understand that this proves that being saved and being filled with the Spirit is the same thing?

    I suppose you do understand it, which is why you’re being childish about it.

  133. Danny B,

    Re: 126.

    So then you admit that there is no such thing as a baptism in the Holy Spirit other than the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in salvation?

  134. Danny B,

    WAY TO GO! you finally answered my question.

    Of course you know, all three of those amount to the same thing.

    Tongues, once translated, edify the church. They are supposed to be translated, so then they’re SUPPOSED to edify the church. And of course, this edification involves “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    Thank you Daniel. Very helpful.

    Now that we see that all three serve the same purpose, namely the edification of the church, we can see that tongues and prophesy served to make up what was lacking in the incomplete canon. NOW, with the completed canon, these supplements are no longer necessary. Now we have the Bible, and pastors and teachers to build us up according to it.

    You couldn’t have picked better verses to make my point daniel. thanks for the bone.

  135. Danny B,

    Re: 131

    Please see my discussion above of Leviticus. It’s not a very long discussion. Just scroll through my terribly long and overwhelming post until you get to the part where Leviticus is quoted. Read the verses and then the explanation as to why it’s not a sin for us to eat hot dogs.

    After you’ve done that, let’s talk about whether the commands to the Corinthian believers necessarily have to be to us too.

    If you do think it’s for us too, then you’ll have to tell me why it’s for us, if Leviticus isn’t. or at least, that will be my question.

  136. Here, I’ll make it easy:

    Lev 11:7 And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.
    Lev 11:8 You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.

    If you have eaten bologna or a hot dog recently, God is full of furious wrath at you. You had better repent, or He will come and remove your lampstand from among the lampstands.

    THE BIBLE SAYS you will not eat hot dogs.

    Repent, you sinners who eat hot dogs, for God has spoken!

    Ok, since I know that only about 1 or 2 of you will get my point unless I explain it, I will explain it.

    There are TWO authors of every letter of the Bible. There is the human author, in this case Moses, and there is the Divine Author, namely the God.

    There are consequently two audiences to every passage of Scripture.

    About Abraham, Paul says:
    Rom 4:22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”
    Rom 4:23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone,
    Rom 4:24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,

    Did you catch it? Paul said that the words weren’t written just for Abraham, but also to NT believers to whom he was writing. And check it out, the message is more robust for the NT believers. Amazing! Abraham knew his faith was credited as righteousness, but he didn’t know how that would work. However, for the Roman believers, Paul says, You DO know how it worked, because it works the same for us THROUGH CHRIST. Brilliant!

    In the same way, the passage in Leviticus above has two audiences. It has an ORIGINAL audience, namely the Jews at the time of Moses. But it was also written TO YOU. That’s why it’s included in our Bible and not cast aside.

    But note very carefully that the message TO YOU in this passage is very different from the message to the original audience.

    The original audience recognized that they were being told what they could and could not eat.

    YOU however, KNOW FOR A FACT that it now no longer contains that message. That doesn’t mean that it gets tossed aside, it just means that you can eat hot dogs. What the passage is pointing to is something far greater than what you can and cannot eat. But I will not explain how to interpret this passage right now, because it’s not really relevant. The point is that YOU KNOW and ACKNOWLEDGE (don’t deny it), that this passage, while still the Word of God TO YOU, is no longer binding you as to what you can eat. You are not the original audience. Nonetheless, God still was speaking to you through Moses and through this passage. It is still the Word of God. It just points us to something better than our diet.

    Unless of course you think it is a sin to eat hot dogs.

  137. Echo,

    You seem to be an intelligent person. Why can’t you just admit that you understand what our interpretation is and that you disagree with it? We very clearly have stated why we don’t agree with your interpretation of those verses. Rube has made it clear that we have been understandable by reiterating what we’ve said, even though he doesn’t agree. Seems to me you’re the one being childish.

    What about my questions regarding the park bench or the grocery check out from Daniel? So you’ve got a bias against our interpretation of these scriptures. Fine. We disagree. Your bias is evident. Your proof is unconvincing. Your logic is not showing a NECESSARY inference.

    So how about it, huh? How about a truce? Why don’t you state our arguments so we know you understand them, and then just say you disagree. We’ll do the same, and then we can be done with it. Okay?

    God Bless,

    Jeff

  138. Jeff,

    You propose a truce, but I’m not really sure why. I’m not sure if you mean that we should simply agree to disagree, or if you mean that we can pretend that we’re both correct.

    With regard to agreeing to disagree, well, I think the point of the blog here is to discuss the matter. So if we simply agree to disagree, then there is no reason to discuss anything, and then neither of us learns anything.

    If you mean that we should pretend that we can both be correct, then I can’t agree to it.

    Jeff, you and Daniel and Albino are not my enemy. Although, the response I got to my first post was exceedingly rude, and I guess I got suckered into that tone. Nonetheless, you guys are not my enemy.

    The ideas, however, that you espouse ARE my enemy. You see, I languished under these kinds of teaching for 20 years of my life. I had no idea what the gospel of Christ was. I was taught to put my faith in experiences, I was taught to believe in an emotional experiential understanding of the worship of God. This undermines the gospel.

    The gospel teaches us just the opposite of what the charismatic churches teach – whether explicitly or implicitly. I agree that most of my beef is with the implicit teachings rather than the explicit teachings. But whether the teaching is explicit or implicit, it is still being taught.

    The pattern of going to church, walking the aisle, crying tears of repentance at the altar, seeking to be re-justified every week by re-earning God’s forgiveness by repentance and tears is contrary to the gospel. It is contrary to the gospel because it teaches us to put our faith in something other than Christ in the Word. It teaches us to have faith in our experiences. It suppresses a greater understanding of the truth, which, when understood more clearly, gives rise to a much richer and abundant life in Christ. Because I hate to see people suffering under such bondage, I cannot, and I will not ever simply agree to disagree, not as long as there remains hope that some people will change their mind.

    As for reflecting your arguments back to you, I’ll have to go through the posts and figure it out. It still doesn’t make much sense to me beyond the following:

    1. God, through the pen of Paul, commands the Cortinthians to speak in tongues, therefore, we should speak in tongues.

    2. I have spoken in tongues, therefore there is no reason to believe that the Scriptures mean something different when it commands the Corinthians to speak in tongues.

    That’s about as much as I can get out of it. The rest is just telling me that I’m boring or my posts are too long.

    Although, there is that nice email from Danny B that explains the purpose of each of the forms of revelation from the Scripture. I have endeavored to show that these three collapse into one.

    So I guess, if you were to approach me on my terms, you would say that SINCE the three forms of revelation have three DIFFERENT purposes, therefore all three are necessary.

    That’s about as much as I can figure out.

    What would you care to add?

  139. Echo…your character was killed off on “Lost” last night. I’m sorry.

    In your last post, you revealed that this is an “emotional” issue for you. I think your beef here is with the church in which you were raised, not with us. If your characterizations of them are true, that’s a shame. Invite that Pastor into this thread and let’s cudgel him about the head together. But, we are not him. That’s a different fight.

    I don’t follow your analogy between Mosaic, ceremonial law commands, and Paul’s commands as to order in the church that we find in his letters to the Corinthians. The context of Paul’s commands in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 is definitely to encourage gifts, including tongues, not to forbid them, but to let all things be done in order. The Bible says that we should follow “the Apostle’s teachings”.

    Also, regarding the Holy Spirit; think about this for a minute: Jesus “breathed on the disciples” and they “received the Holy Spirit” before He ascended. Then, in Acts 2, they were all again “filled with the Spirit.” Then, again, in Acts 4, when they had been threatened and intimidated by the authorities to not preach the name of Jesus, they prayed, the place where they were meeting shook, and they “were all filled with the Holy Spirit” and spoke the Word of God boldly. This is much more than a one-time deal. It is apparently a “clothing with power” just like Jesus described it. I need more of the Holy Spirit and you do to. Let’s invite Him to fill us with his power and pour out His gifts on us, Echo.

    I agree with Jeff that it might be time to say that we understand each other’s arguments and are not convinced by them.

    The Holy Spirit is not your enemy and we are not your enemy, Echo. If your home church hurt you, I’m sorry…but don’t blame Paul and don’t totally revamp your theology based on your hurt.

  140. With regard to agreeing to disagree, well, I think the point of the blog here is to discuss the matter. So if we simply agree to disagree, then there is no reason to discuss anything, and then neither of us learns anything.

    Except when the discussion reaches a point when nobody has any new words to say, and everybody has actually heard and understood all of the old words, then there is no further point to discuss the matter. I could knock up a Perl script in pretty short order that could carry on copying & pasting our old points at each other much more efficiently than us continuing to type ad infinitum.

    At a couple of points in my previous experience with super-long comment-trails, I tried a couple of times to shunt the discussion to separate posts. But nobody followed me over there. However, this post itself is already the successor of a very long comment-trail, and the discussion certainly followed — because Albino deactivated comments on his old one.

    So I am just about to do the same thing. I am going to make a new post, leave a final linking comment here (in case anybody else should wander by), and anybody who still has some fight left in them can duke it out at the new post. I PROMISE, there will be plenty in the new post for everybody to disagree with!

  141. Rube,

    I’ve said much here that has gone totally ignored and unanswered. And Albino just finally made a real, structured argument for the first time.

    But end it if you will. But let me at least add that there has been no mutual understanding acheived.

  142. […] Comment on Jesus the Hyper-Calvinist by Albino HayfordComment on Why can’t CCM have any good tunes? by Echo_ohcEComment on Tongue-tied by Echo_ohcEComment on Jesus the Hyper-Calvinist by Agent SmithComment on Jesus the Hyper-Calvinist by Albino HayfordComment on Tongue-tied by RubeRadComment on Tongue-tied by Albino HayfordComment on Tongue-tied by Echo_ohcEComment on Bahnsen’s TAG III by Echo_ohcEComment on Jesus the Hyper-Calvinist by Jeff Kazules […]

  143. All right boys, I’m closing this one off. Hop over next door if you wanna jump right back in! Plenty for all to disagree with right this way:
    https://ruberad.wordpress.com/2006/11/02/sufficient-for-what/

  144. […] in the history of “Word to the Wise”, leaking over to hundreds of more comments on another blog.  This practice is usually fodder for heated, theological debate, but now science has weighed […]

  145. […] their foreheads (Acts 2:3-4).  At the same time another sign of judgment, the speaking of foreign tongues, would be heard in Israel before its final fall (1 Corinthians 14:21-22).  We understand that […]

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