Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why I No Longer Speak in Tongues

The main point that I would argue in the paragraphs that follow is that “Tongues” was a gift given by God for a particular time and reason. Once that time and reason passed, Tongues ceased to operate in the Church. This doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit has no function in the Church: He has a very important function, but I do not believe it is “signs and wonders.” I heard a preacher once say that if you got all the Charismatic leaders in the world together on one stage, they couldn’t produce a single sign, except one that’d make you wonder! And the man who said that was a Pentecostal!

An argument to which I will appeal a little later on, presented by Conyers Middleton, is that the gift Tongues is the stand-out, or primary gift of the extraordinary charismata. Hence, if they have ceased, then it is only reasonable to conclude the same for the other extraordinary charismata. Therefore, I assert that if the gift of Tongues was a sign gift for a temporary time and purpose, then we are not to seek it today.

Those who would argue that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, hence the gift is for all ages, neglect the clear Scriptural fact that God has often given gifts for a distinctively limited time. Israel ate manna in the wilderness for 40 years, but Joshua 5:12 tells us that the very day after Israel ate the produce of Canaan, the manna ceased forever. In 1 Kings 17, God miraculously increased the oil and flour of the widow until it rained again.

Furthermore, the desire for Tongues, or for that matter any of the extraordinary charismata, neglects the true work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Many people don’t have a clear idea of the Spirit’s work, thus the Pentecostal argument seems at least plausible

Another thing I want to assert right from the beginning is this: As a former Pentecostal, I am not being simply reactionary. I am not throwing out the baby with the bath water. I am not, upon seeing fraudulent gifts, making an unwarranted leap to the conclusion that there are no real gifts. It seems to me that each generation has to relearn these things. There would be no Arminianism had people learned from the Pelagian/Augustinian debate. I talk with people all the time who are completely unaware that these issues were dealt with in more than sufficient detail by the Fathers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, never mind men closer to our own age. I repeat: Cessationism is not throwing out the baby with the bath water. In fact, I would assert that Pentecostalism is throwing out the baby and keeping the bath water. Why do I say that? Well for starters, Tongues was a sign gift. You don’t need to take my word for it. Jesus Himself called Tongues a sign. Mark 16:17, Jesus said, “These signs...” (This word is sometimes translated “miracle”). “These signs [these sign miracles] shall follow them that believe.” And part of the text says, “In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues.” It is a sign miracle. Then Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:22, “Tongues are for a sign.”

Hebrews 2:3 says “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” That is a wonderful text. But it raises the question: How will we escape what? How will we escape the wrath of God? How will we escape the just reward of our sins if we neglect so great salvation? Now look at the rest of the passage “so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” How was it confirmed? “...signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost.” So right here the author is telling us that even before the apostolic age comes to a close you have someone looking back saying, “We got this message first from the lips of those who heard the Savior. The Lord confirmed the message by signs and wonders.” They are already looking back on a time when there were signs and wonders in abundance, but the purpose of them was to authenticate the message and the messenger. So who is throwing out the baby: He who believes the message is authenticated, or he who still demands a sign? An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign.

Pentecostals are notorious for their poor theological skills and I think this is the main reason behind their whole teaching on the Holy Spirit. For instance, how many times have you heard, “In the last days, I will pour out My Spirit…and your young men will see visions, etc.”? That is from Joel 2. On the actual day of Pentecost in 33 A.D., Peter affirmed to the Jews present that what they were witnessing was the fulfillment of that prophecy. Now, my question is this: How many fulfillments do prophecies have? Jesus was not born of a virgin two times; Jerusalem was not destroyed three times, Jesus did not die and resurrect 20 times. A prophecy has one fulfillment; otherwise it would not be miraculous. Prophecy is miraculous exactly because it doesn’t happen often. I mean, if I predicted that the Yankees will win the World Series in the 21st century, that wouldn’t be a miracle because they win all the time. Now if you wanted to believe that I really was a prophet you would have to figure out which one of their World Series victories is really the fulfillment of my prophecy. So if every Sunday at “Tabernacle of Power” is a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, how could Peter have been right when he said that what happened then was the fulfillment? Do you see what I mean?

The gift of tongues was clearly the ability to speak a language that one had not learned. It was a means of proclaiming the Gospel; it was not a “prayer language.” The hearers at Pentecost said, “we hear them in our own languages, and even dialects, proclaiming the glory of God.” They did not say, “We hear them praying in our own languages.”

From the Acts 2 passage, it is actually quite difficult to prove that the gift of tongues extended beyond the Twelve on the actual Day of Pentecost. It might have; it might not have. If it went beyond the Twelve later it was because they had laid hands on people and transmitted the gift of the Holy Spirit. Indeed Philip couldn’t do it. When his converts in Samaria were to be given the gift, the Apostles had to be called down there to do it.

In fact, there is no incident in the entire New Testament of the gift being transmitted by any other means than the laying on of hands by an Apostle. This limits the gift to the time of the Apostles. Out of the 120 disciples, only two met the qualifications for being an apostle (Acts 1:15-26). This tells us that the office of Apostle was clearly intended by Christ to be a temporary office. No living human being meets the qualifications: being present with Christ from His baptism until His resurrection. and if there are no living Apostles, then there is no one to lay hands and transmit the gift, either.

Lest one be tempted to accuse me of a novel view, let me point out that this was the view held in antiquity. The famed Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis, (310-403), wrote a monumental work against all the known heresies of his day. In the section of this work, known as the Panarion (medicine chest), dealing with Simon Magus, Epiphanius writes, "Simon made up to the apostles and, together with many he too, like the others, was baptized by Philip. All except Simon waited for the arrival of the chief apostles, and received the Holy Spirit through the laying on of their hands. (Philip, being a deacon, did not have the faculty of the laying on of hands in order to give the Holy Spirit through it.)" * Notice that Epiphanius explicitly claims that Philip did not have the ability to convey the gifts of the Spirit because he was not an Apostle. Hence, once the last of the Twelve Apostles died, this phenomenon would have naturally ceased.

Three characteristics of Tongues indicating its temporariness:

1. It was a sign miracle to confirm the Apostle’s message: Mark 16:17; Heb 2:4; 2 Cor. 12:11, 12.
2. It was a means of proclaiming the gospel to foreigners – a head start on the Great Commission – Acts 2:7-11.
3. It was a means of chastising unbelieving Israel. 1 Cor 14:21, 22. It is a sign to those that believe not: It is a sign of God’s chastisement of apostate Israel. Isaiah 28:11, 12; Deut 28:49.

There are several points I would use to show that “tongues,” was not intended by God to be a permanent feature of the Church’s experience. It was given at Pentecost for a specific reason. Once that reason had been attained, it would naturally cease to operate.

I. Tongues was intended to establish the divine authority of the Apostles as proclaimers of God’s Word. Joel’s prophecy foretold of new revelations from God. God gave the Tongues in order to verify to Israel that this was the time. In other words, the gift of Tongues was intended to validate the authority of the New Testament revelations. It may seem strange to hear this, but there is an example of this very thing in the Old Testament. When Moses was overloaded with the burden of leading Israel, God gave him 70 assistants. In order to validate these people to Israel, God placed His Spirit on them as He had done to Moses. These men then prophesied. This showed the congregation of Israel that these men were to be listened to. But Numbers 11:25 tells us that they did not prophesy again. Why? It wasn’t needed: Moses was the prophet. One time was enough to demonstrate that they had been commissioned by God.

If you read Scripture carefully, you will notice that miracles and extraordinary signs are confined pretty much to three periods in the history recorded in the Bible. They were:
1. The time of Moses;
2. The beginning of the era of the prophets; and
3. The time of the Apostles.

What do these times have in common? They were the times when God was giving revelation – that is, Scripture. Now think about some of these churches with their tape recorded copies and printed copies of “prophecies” by Bro. So-and-So and Sis. Such-and-such. Aren’t they making their own Scriptures? Why? It’s because the miraculous always accompanies revelation and this is implicitly understood.

II. “Tongues” was given to show the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Church. The gift of tongues occurs four times in Acts and in four ever increasing levels of ethnic inclusion. The Jews were notoriously prejudiced against the Gentiles. All other races were simply dogs in their sight. God had to prove that it was His plan to call the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, to faith in Christ. He did this via the “four-peat” of the Pentecost experience.
(a.) At Pentecost, only Jews were present. They spoke in a variety of Gentile languages, but they were still all Jews.
(b.) The gift surfaces again under Philip’s ministry in Samaria. This was a huge shock to the Jewish believers. They had been born and raised to hate and despise the Samaritans; now they were brethren in Christ with them. This was indisputable, for God Himself had proven it by giving them the same manifestation of the Spirit as the Jews received at Pentecost.
(c.) Then, it happens again under Peter’s ministry to the Roman centurion, Cornelius. Now God has shown that salvation in Christ was not merely for the Jews and the half-breed Samaritans, but it was also for Romans.
(d.) Then, finally, under Paul’s ministry, the Ephesian believers experience the same thing. This expands the reach of the Church to include Greeks as well. So by a four-fold demonstration, God proves to the Jews that salvation was not restricted to their race alone.

III. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:8, “tongues shall cease.” There are some interesting facts about the Greek wording of this passage. The verb, “will cease,” is in what students of New Testament Greek know as the “middle voice.” In English, verbs have two “voices”: active and passive. If a verb is in the active voice, it means that the subject of the sentence is the doer of the action. If a verb is in the passive voice, it means that the subject is the receiver of the verb’s action. (Example: Michael ate the apple: active. The apple was eaten by Michael: passive). However, Greek has another voice: the middle voice. It is a bit technical to explain just what this means in English, since our language has no counterpart. Generally, it is used to mean that the action will just naturally occur. And that is the sense in which Paul uses the middle voice here. In other words, he means that Tongues will just naturally, on its own, cease. Pentecostals usually interpret this verse to mean that when we get to heaven, we won’t speak in tongues anymore. But this verse does not say that. It simply states that tongues “will cease.”

The best way to render this middle voice verb would be to say that the gift of tongues will “peter out.” 1 Cor. 13 also tells us why they will peter out: they will be superseded by “that which is perfect.” What is “perfect” can be either the completion of the NT canon or the eternal state. We can rule out the eternal state because hope and faith survive the arrival of that which is perfect. Romans 8:24 tells us that hope attained isn’t hope anymore. We do not need hope or faith in the eternal state. Hence the only option for what is “perfect” is the completion of the NT canon. This is clear anyway from the text since Paul compares the perfect to their ten current situation of partial revelation.

Charismatics are prone to reply to this with something flimsy like, “Why would God put in the Bible if it weren’t for us to experience?” The problem with this logic, or rather, illogic, is far too obvious. Are we to suggest that the Virgin Birth, Crucifixion and Resurrection have no meaning for us because they didn’t occur in our lifetime to be validated by our own personal judgments?

The history of the Church has demonstrated this. After the Tongues event in Ephesus, we never hear of it again in the New Testament. Indeed, outside of 1 Corinthians, the entire New Testament is silent about it. Surely this must count for something. I mean, why doesn’t John or James or Peter mention it? None of the Church Fathers mention it as functioning in the Church in their day.

I read a book (The Shepherd’s Guide) by the Pentecostal Ralph Mahoney who tried to prove from the writings of the Church Fathers that Tongues had never ceased throughout the history of the Church and that they believed in it and practiced it. Of course I was curious since Church History, especially the writings of the Fathers, is one of my primary interests. When I verified his quotations, he was misreading them every time. In many cases, he lied through his teeth about what a Father had said. For instance, there was a cult group in the 2nd century who practiced Tongues, and the quotations Mahoney used from the writings of Irenaeus were dealing with this cult's teachings, not the Church’s doctrine and practice. Mahoney could only get away with this baloney because virtually no one will take the time and trouble to verify his claims. And this is true whether his misrepresentations were intentional or not.

The 18th Century author Conyers Middleton D.D. writes this: “In collecting all the facts and testimonies, which relate to the present argument, from the earliest inquiry, after the days of the Apostles, our first thoughts are carried of course to the Apostolic Fathers, that is, to those, who had lived and conversed with the Apostles, and who, by the special appointment, were ordained to succeed them in the Government of the Church. For as there are several of this character, whose writings still remain to us, St. Barnabas, St. Clement, St. Ignatius, St. Polycarp, St. Hermas, so it is natural to expect, that, in these valued remains, the History of the miraculous gifts, which are so much celebrated by the writers of the New Testament, should be carried on still in the same manner by these their immediate successors through the next generation. For if any such gifts had been actually subsisting in their days, it is highly probable, that men of their eminent zeal and piety, who had seen the wonderful effects of them, under the management of the Apostles, and must have themselves possessed a large share of them, would have made some appeal or reference to them, in their circular epistles to the Churches, as their predecessors had done, for the honor of the Gospel, and the credit of their own ministry. But instead of this, it is remarkable, that there is not the least claim or pretension, in all their several pieces, to any of those extraordinary gifts, which are the subject of this inquiry; nor to any standing power of working miracles, as residing still among them, for the conversion of the Heathen world." quote from - - - A Free Inquiry Into The Miraculous Powers Which Are Supposed To Have Subsisted In The Christian Church From The Earliest Ages Through The Several Successive Centuries by Conyers Middleton D.D. 1749

Another factor that clouds up the subject is the very name itself: Tongues. It sounds so strange and mysterious. I wonder how advanced the Pentecostal practice of Tongues would have gotten if none of our English translations used the word “tongues.” The word “tongue” is just an outmoded English term that means “Language.” Our English word, “Language” comes from a Latin word for “tongue” (The pink instrument of taste and pronunciation inside our mouths). It doesn’t sound as mystical to say that you have the “gift of languages”, does it? It is only because we use the word Tongues that there is any mystery attached to it. Think about it. In 1 Corinthians 14:18, Paul says, “I thank God that I speak more languages than all of you.” Now if we read the verse that way – which is a fair rendering of what it says – there would be little or no room for the strange and mysterious interpretations that abound regarding that whole chapter. Actually, 1 Cor 14 refutes the idea of a language being spoken that no one but God understands. The speaker clearly understands what he is saying because he “edifies himself.”

IV. Is the Canon of Scripture closed? In other words, are there anymore revelations coming from God apart from the Bible? Is the Bible complete? Are we still going to get more new revelations from God? This is the biggest problem I see in the whole Tongues phenomena as it exists in the Pentecostal Church. If I claim to have a “word from the Lord,” how is that any different from the Scriptural declaration “Thus saith the Lord”? I don’t see how you can argue that one word of God is more “real” or binding than another. If my word in Tongues is really a Word from God, is it a sin to disobey it? If it is a sin, then my word in Tongues is identical to Scripture, at least in its authority. In fact, it is even more authoritative than Scripture bacause it comes after Scripture has been given. And it makes me just as much a prophet as Jeremiah, Daniel or Elijah. There’s just no way to get around this. If God speaks, we must obey or perish. Can we honestly say that our eternal souls hang in the balance based on our obedience to all of the various “words” that are given in Tongues every Sunday throughout the Charismatic world? I think not. If we can’t say this, then how can we say that they are really words from God? God’s word is God’s word, right?

V. What about 1 Corinthians, right? Well, I can give you several (nine, to be exact) points of contrast between what occurred in Acts and what happened in Corinth. Based on these facts, it seems impossible to me to assert that they were the same thing. I do not doubt that there were still genuine manifestations of Tongues at the time of the Epistle to the Corinthians, but there was most certainly other things going on as well.

Differences between the Tongues of Acts and the Tongues of 1 Corinthians

Acts --------------------------------------------------- 1 Corinthians
All spoke (2:4) -------------------------------- Not all spoke (12:30)
No limitations --------------------------------- Use limited (14:27, 28)
Understood by all (2:6) --------------------- Understood by none (14:2, 9)
They spoke to men (2:11, 17) ------------- They spoke to God (14:2)
No interpreter needed (2:6) ---------------- Forbidden without one (14:23, 28)
A sign to believers. (11:15) ---------------- A sign to unbelievers (14:22)
Brought salvation to hearers (2:41) ------Edified only the speaker (14:4)
Strangers amazed. (2:7, 8) ----------------Strangers thought they were insane (14:23)
There was perfect harmony (2:1) --------There was confusion (14:33)

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there were no genuine tongues (in the Acts 2 sense) in Corinth at the time of the Epistle, but there is no doubt that there was a lot of gibberish and babbling. This in itself seems to call modern Tongues into question. Who can confidently assert that mindless, incoherent babbling is a natural outgrowth of genuine worship? When I use the word “babble,” I mean no disrespect. I just don’t know of any other way to refer to voicing things that aren’t real words from a real language. (Besides, incoherent babbling was a mystical religious experience known to the Corinthians from the Delphi cult.) 

There is another issue regarding “tongues” (i.e., languages) at Corinth that few people seem to consider. Corinth was a international shipping hub. There were people residing in Corinth from all parts of the world. On any street of the city, on any given day, one could expect to hear languages from all over the known world. This would naturally have been reflected in the church’s worship as well. And here is where it seems to me that the easiest solution for the “tongues question” in Corinth arises.

Isn’t it entirely possible, indeed likely, that what Paul is concerned with is a worship service in which people are speaking multiple languages (because these are their native languages), but where no one is there to interpret so that the whole congregation can benefit from what has been said?

Picture this scenario: In a church in Corinth, a Celtic believer has something he’d love to share with the congregation. Most, if not all, of the congregants are fluent in Greek, but no one speaks his Celtic tongue. He stands up anyway, and proceeds to speak for 15-20 minutes. As Paul says, he “edifies himself,” because he is the only one who knows what he has just said. His “understanding is fruitful.” In other words, he is encouraged by the words spoken, but no one else is. He just comes off like a “barbarian.” Hence, Paul says that there should be an interpreter in such cases. Unless the languages Paul has in mind were actual human languages, and not ecstatic gibberish, how else could the presence of an interpreter be ascertained? If the pastor stood up and said in Greek, “Is there anyone here who can translate into Greek the language of this Celt?” and there was such a person present, then, by all means, let him speak. But if no interpreter was present, he should keep quiet.

This brings me to my next point.

VI. Modern “Tongues” are not a real language. If it is, what are its nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, etc.? There have been many scientific studies done on this where samples of Tongues have been recorded on tape and studied by experts in languages. There is no evidence to even remotely suggest that our modern Tongues is a language. It does not match any language on earth, which it should if it is a real language. Some Pentecostals admit this, but reply that it is a heavenly language. They base this on 1 Corinthians 13:1. Paul says, “If I speak with the tongues of men and angels but have no love…” They then assert that this means that our native language is the “tongues of men,” and Tongues is the “tongues of angels.” This is extremely questionable interpretation. First of all, Paul is being rhetorical. He is exaggerating to make his point. Anyone can see that. Besides that, every time an angel speaks in the Bible, it is always in a human language.

My question is this: Paul says “test all things.” So, how are we to test the interpretation? If Tongues is not a real language, how do we prove that the interpreter got it right? Even if it is a real language (angel language) unless we have someone who actually speaks that language, we can’t prove whether the interpretation was right or not. So to circumvent the potential confusion, wouldn’t it be better to just speak words we all understand? (cf. 1 Cor. 14:19)

I think if you read 1 Corinthians 14 without trying to read Pentecostal theology into it, it really sounds as if Paul isn’t particularly thrilled about it. No one will argue that Paul is establishing regulations for the use of gifts in this passage. And this leads to an important point: Men need to be regulated. Men’s utterances need to be regulated. Men’s claims to be led by the Spirit need to be tested and regulated. The Holy Spirit cannot and must not be regulated.

Think for a moment about this. Can the Holy Spirit ever say something wrong? Can He speak at the wrong time? The very thought is ridiculous. And yet the true gift of tongues was a gift whereby the Holy Spirit was speaking and acting miraculously and directly through men. He was not using (as, for example, in inspiration) their vocabulary. He was supplying something for which there was no foundation in their consciousness. The Holy Spirit was acting directly and miraculously. So let me repeat the question: In the genuine gift of Tongues could the Holy Spirit ever speak at the wrong time? Could he ever speak out of turn? Could he ever say the wrong thing? Of course not! That is impossible! And that is precisely why there were regulations in 1 Corinthians 14. They were needed not because of the use of the gift of tongues, but because people were either talking gibberish in some ecstasy or they were misusing a foreign language naturally acquired.

Now, of course, I anticipate someone saying, “It wasn’t the use of the gift of Tongues he is regulating; it was the misuse.” But we just established that this cannot be the case. The gift of Tongues could not be misused and it could not be perverted. By definition the gift of Tongues is the Holy Spirit speaking directly through a man. How can that be perverted? How can a carnal individual or deluded soul induce the Holy Spirit Ghost to speak through him and pervert something that only God can do? It is a ridiculous, almost blasphemous idea that the true gift of Tongues by the Spirit can be perverted. You see, the simple truth here is that Paul was not dealing with perversions of the gift of tongues. He was not dealing with the misuse of the true gift of tongues. What he was dealing with was a misuse of a naturally acquired language—either because you are born into it or you learned it—or a counterfeit of the spiritual gift as people simulated tongues in this ecstatic gibberish.

Look at verses 14 to 18 because this is a very controversial passage. Much nonsense has been taught on this passage. So we must understand what Paul is saying. He is talking about praying with the Spirit and with the understanding. Many people think, “Well, if you are speaking this ecstatic utterance you are praying in the spirit. But your understanding is suspended.” I can tell you from personal experience in Pentecostal circles that when someone was seeking the gift, they were told to just let their mind go blank. “Clear your mind of all thought. Suspend all thought processes. And when the mind is clear and blank, then this is when it will happen.” God never, ever calls a Christian to suspend thinking, Never. Anything that is religious which proceeds upon a blank mind is by definition satanic. The command of Scripture is always, “think,” “reckon,” “get your mind at work on this,” “meditate.” That is what the Scripture commands. True Christian spirituality is mindful: it is not Jedi religion. "Clear your thoughts, my young padawan"

So the idea here when Paul talks about somebody speaking in tongues and his understanding is completely suspended, is that nobody knows the inner workings of the gift of tongues. Nobody knows just how far or in what way their minds were engaged. We can’t say that because the Bible doesn’t tell us. But what Paul is talking about here is an unfruitful understanding. He is not saying he didn’t understand. He is saying an unfruitful understanding is speaking in such a way that the people hearing you don’t understand. When God reduces his people to hearing his Word in a language they can’t understand, it is an evidence of his judgment on their unbelief. In Isaiah 28:11, you have got the text that is quoted here, “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.” God was saying, “You wouldn’t listen to me when I was preaching to you in your own tongue. I am going to preach to you in another tongue. You will not understand the words, but you will feel the sword of judgment.” So when Paul says that it is a sign to the unbeliever, he is not saying that is a wonderful tool that will speak God's greatness to someone in his/her native language. Rather, when the word of God is proclaimed to you in a language you can't understand, it is a sign - a sign of God's judgment upon you.

If you are looking for a book on the Holy Spirit’s role in the Church, I would very, very highly recommend a book called “The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit” by George Smeaton. It was written in the 1800’s but it is still easily available through Banner of Truth. Parts of are fairly scholarly, but he has several exceptional chapters on the work of the Holy Spirit. It is hands down the best book I have ever come across on the subject.

In the book I cited earlier by Middleton, he uses the gift of Tongues as a litmus test for all other claims of supposed extraordinary gifts because it was the first gift given. Let’s allow Middleton to speak in his own words, “In short, if we trace the history of this gift (tongues – A.U.) from its origin, we shall find, that, in the times of the Gospel, in which alone the miracles of the Church are allowed to be true by all Christians, it was the first gift, which was conferred upon the Apostles, in a public and illustrious manner, and reckoned ever after among the principal of those, which were imparted to the first converts. But in the succeeding ages, when miracles began to be of a suspected and dubious character, it is observable; that this gift is mentioned but once by a single writer, and then vanished of a sudden, without the least notice, or hint given by any of the ancients, either of the manner, or time, or cause of its vanishing. Lastly, in the later ages, when the miracles of the Church were not only suspected, but found to be false by our Reformers, this gift has never once been heard of, or pretended to by the Romanists themselves, though they challenge at the same time all the other gifts of the Apostolic days. From all which, I think, we may reasonably infer that the ‘gift of tongues’ may be considered as a proper test and criterion, for determining the miraculous pretensions of all Churches, which derive their descent from the Apostles: and consequently, if, in the list of their extraordinary gifts, they cannot show us this, we may fairly conclude, that they have none else to show, which are real and genuine." pg 122

Middleton's book can be found here.

Epiphanius' Greek is:
ὑπεκορίσθη δὲ οὗτος τοὺς ἀποστόλους καὶ αὐτὸς δὲ [ὁμοίως] ἴσα τοῖς ἄλλοις ὑπὸ Φιλίππου ἐβαπτίσθη μετὰ πολλῶν. οἱ πάντες δὲ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐξεδέξαντο τὴν τῶν μεγάλων ἀποστόλων παρουσίαν καὶ διὰ τῆς αὐτῶν χειροθεσίας ἔλαβον πνεῦμα ἅγιον, ἐπειδήπερ Φίλιππος διάκονος ὢν οὐκ εἶχεν ἐξουσίαν τῆς χειροθεσίας τοῦ δι' αὐτῆς διδόναι πνεῦμα ἅγιον

1 comment:

  1. Excellent points and I can tell you exegeted this subject thoroughly.

    About the phonology - I have to admit, that was one of the first doubts I began to have when I'd listen to folks praying over me in "tongues" (usually for me to receive the gift of "tongues"). I am an interpreter by profession, and I have a pretty good ear for languages. I couldn't help but notice that these "tongues" just sounded like 4-5 syllables repeated REALLY RAPIDLY over and over and over again. No matter who was doing the "praying", it didn't sound like there was any sentence structure or enough sounds to make up any language (heavenly or earthly). Then, of course, I felt guilty for noticing this and being skeptical.

    So you can imagine my relief when I read Macarthur in "Charismatic Chaos" citing several studies (and quoting linguist Samprin in a now out-of-date book) proving that "tongues" have NONE of the charicteristics of human language. Additionally, subjects exposed to "tongues" by audio tape for a couple hours were all able to produce it.

    Power of suggestion, plain and simple. I don't think that most Pentecostals even realize they're faking - that's how strong that group mentality and suggestibility goes.


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