Evidence of the Spirit or ridiculous and dangerous?

Is the presence of “speaking in tongues”—or glossolalia, as it is termed technically—evidence of God’s Holy Spirit? Or are these outlandish manifestations of emotional shouts, dancing, speaking gibberish, and fainting spells a ridiculous and dangerous counterfeit?

For those of you who don’t know, I left a church my family and I had been members of for over three years a few months ago. I have a laundry list of reasons why but “speaking in tongues” is one of them.

“Speaking in tongues” was in quotes above because, despite how sincere people in the church were, they were wrong.

What initially bothered me when “speaking in tongues” started creeping into the church was that it was only done by people who went out of their way to appear more spiritual than everyone else. Yes, I know that’s judgemental but it’s where my mind went.

Most all who do such speaking take the greatest pride in the fact that they “spoke in tongues”—not in what they babbled that might have been meaningful. Few, it seems, stop and ask themselves whether their “gift” agrees with the biblical definition of tongues.

My question in all this is this. How can people who claim to be great studeants of the Bible, as all the “tongues speakers” in my former church claimed to be, get something like this so wrong?

I think it’s way past time for people to compare everything they do with what the Bible teaches and, if there is disagreement, they need to immediately change their behavior.

For further reading, here are a few links on speaking in tongues.

Tongues: The Final Word … Was Not Ecstatic Gibberish

What is glossolalia?

Categories: Christianity

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5 replies

  1. Interesting post James. I still use “tongues” in private prayer although I haven’t attended a Pentecostal Church for a number of years (long story). I currently attend a non-denominational Christian Church. Any time that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation there is a danger of excesses where the order and purpose of the gifts are not adhered to. Here is a link that explains what I consider a valid overview on the use of tongues for private prayer. I also see the gift of tongues where there is interpretation following as a valid gift of the Holy Spirit as long as the prescribed order as given by the Apostle Paul within the church is maintained. Hope this helps. https://www.samstorms.com/enjoying-god-blog/post/10-things-you-should-know-about-speaking-in-tongues Be careful not to throw out the baby with the bath water.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Bruce, that is helpful.

      IMHO, tongues does not seem to occur today in the manner it did in the New Testament, despite the fact that it would be immensely useful. The vast majority of believers who claim to practice the gift of speaking in tongues do not do so in agreement with the Scriptures.

      My utmost hope in posting this is that people compare what they do instinctively or what they have been taught to do by a church with Scripture to see if either is done in error. 

      Can people speak in tongues in private moments of prayer? IDK. If they do, why when God understands their normal language? I suspect if people are doing it for their own edification, they are clearly in the wrong. Otherwise, I guess there is no harm. But, then again, IDK for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have witnessed excesses too James but I also witnessed some absolutely beautiful empowerment’s of the Holy Spirit working through me and others assembled together. Praying in tongues privately is when the Holy Spirit in us works with our spirit in praising and communicating to God. Remember that the Holy Spirit is also our Helper. Even though I do not understand the words being spoken through my vocal cords, there are times when I can sense the content or direction that the praise or supplication is addressing. Hard to explain. Key word here is private, between God and me when I am alone. My tongues does not sound like gibberish. Are there excesses out there, absolutely. I’d even venture to say there are counterfeits but where there are counterfeits there are also authentic. Satan doesn’t fabricate counterfeits without reason. Am I in control, 100%, I can start and stop at will, which is the way in which all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit function. I’ve seen some of the garbage that is out there in the unholy manifestations that are prevalent within the New Apostolic Reformation movement and that is NOT what I am talking about. Being slain in the spirit, holy laughter and a host of other manifestations such as barking like a dog or roaring like a lion that some attribute to the working of the Holy Spirit are NOT biblical and I detest them. Sam Storms is a relatively reputable Christian who has articulated the reality of speaking in tongues from a personal and biblical perspective. I am not overly familiar with all of his writings which cover a wide range of subjects but in this particular article I thought he did quite well. I personally decided to back away from the Pentecostal Church due to a tendency for “some” to go beyond what I was comfortable with from a biblical perspective but that does not mean that all Pentecostals fall into that category. In these troubled times I earnestly try to be as cautious from a biblical perspective, as I can. Once again, hope this helps. Grace and blessings my friend.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Ah yes.
    To bark like a chicken, then sing in an unknown dialect of fake Aramaic.

    How could it get more spiritual than that ?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. If one speaks in ‘tongues’ then there should be an interpreter as the Word says. I have seldom seen an interpreter when I have gone to the pentecostal church. I was told the reason I did not have the ‘gift’ due to unforgiven sin. Hmm I thought all sin was forgiven in the Risen Savior.

    Liked by 2 people

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