I have been preaching through the book of 1st Corinthians in the Sunday morning services at the Church, and I am now in ch.12. As you know this chapter deals with the "gifts of the Spirit". Right now, I am concentrating on each of the gifts that are named in verses 8-10.
Ever since I began dealing with these gifts individually, I have had the "gift of Tongues" in the back of my mind. I realise that this is a very divisive issue, however, there are a couple of things that I believe need to be considered no matter what ones orientation is concerning tongues.
The first is this: Before you get too concerned about 'another tongue', learn first to control the one you have. As James said "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell."(James 3:6) As a matter of fact, in verse #2 of the same chapter, he implies that if a man were able to control his speech, he could control his whole body. I mean, what does it profit me to be able to speak in 'other tongues' and at the same time, be enslaved to my fleshly appetites?
The second thing that I wish professing Christians would consider is that you should educate yourself sufficiently in Scripture so that what you say with your tongue will be doctrinally sound. I'm pretty sure that Paul is going to make the point in ch.14, that speaking truth in a way that is understood by the hearers trumps an 'unknown tongue' in every case.
Maybe if everyone who claims the Christian faith would start here, the issue of 'tongues' could be put in a proper perspective.
This ain't all I'm gonna say about it. I'm just thinkin'.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
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I like what you're thinkin'
I find two issues come up: first is the gift of tongues still given, followed or preceded (you pick) by what exactly -is- the gift of tongues?
Everyone who has ever read the bible with serious intention, notes that in Acts, at Pentecost, the disciples were given a supernatural ability to speak in a way that was understood by the hearers in their most comfortable language and dialect.
No right thinking person would ever confuse an ululating non-language gibbering for what we see at Pentecost. The hundred dollar question is when Paul writes to correct that practice at Corinth which has congregants speaking in "languages" that no one in attendance can understand - is this an actual language, a divine language, or mere gibberish?
I have never (personally) met any believer who could speak in languages such as we see at Pentecost, but I have heard enough testimonies that ascribe something similar to some moment that I am convinced that when it serves God's purpose, he can and does provide in that way.
But, as I said, no one argues about known languages being understood - the arguments start when unintelligible vocalizations are identified as spiritual gifts. Was Paul correcting the speaking of gibberish, or was Paul merely correcting the improper use of a gift that doesn't edify?
I look forward to your coming posts.
Discussing the validity of unintelligible gibberish is a somewhat different conversation in the U.S. than in ancient Jerusalem during a holiday. It may be that much of what monolingual Americans think is gibberish is a foreign language. I've heard several testimonies that would suggest it happens more than we think.
1 Cor 14 tells us that when we speak in tongues, we speak not to men, but to God. So maybe we can't discern the validity of speaking in tongues based on whether or not it makes sense to us.
This ain't all I'm gonna say about it.
Well? We're waiting!
Patiently, of course.
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