The Tongues Conundrum (Part 5)

by Scott

In the last post on the gift of tongues, I specifically spent some time laying out its three purposes: praise, prayer and proclamation. With regards to the prayer aspect, I also spent some time discussing the nature of ‘praying in the Spirit’ and how that links with praying in tongues.

But I want to move on to another aspect of the gift, what we might term as the two modes or manners of tongues. Some might not realise this, but we must distinguish between the personal and public use of tongues.

Paul distinguishes between the two throughout the chapter of 1 Corinthians 14. For starters, we read:

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. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 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. (1 Cor 14:2-5)

In this passage, Paul teaches that one who speaks in a tongue is inherently speaking to God (vs2) and builds up him/herself (vs4). And that is a very important aspect of tongues being personally utilised by the believer – it is an edifying practise, strengthening one in the Spirit.

How does this happen?

Well, I don’t say this as a cop out, but these things are not easily definable, though we wish they were. Rather, what I can say is that, as the person prays or praises in tongues, they can stand in faith that the word of God teaches that this practise does build one up. This is not some fanciful thinking. We see Paul instructs us that, ‘The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself’ (1 Cor 14:4). And as one personally speaks in tongues, believing God uses this to build up that person, there is a strength that does come to our own spirits.

This is also why some people connect tongues with praying in the Spirit. When you consider this aspect of the personal use of tongues and the words of Jude 20, it would be easy to recognise tongues as part of praying in the Spirit. But as I argued in the last article, I do not believe it is the only aspect of praying in the Spirit.

Still, in vs5, we see that, within the gathering of God’s people, Paul encourages interpretation. This is so that all may be edified. Still, this distinction between personal use and a public message does not become as clear until we continue read on:

27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. (1 Cor 14:27-28)

Though some believe the instruction in vs28 is that, if there is no interpreter, the person must be completely silent in the midst of the gathered church, I do not believe such a strict command is to be found in these words – complete silence. Rather, I believe Paul gives instruction that, if there is no one to interpret the tongue, then the person is to not speak out but rather the person is to pray to himself and to God. The person never raises their voice, but continues to speak in the tongue at a much lower decibel.

This would be the same with praying in our normal, mother tongue. If one believed God’s Spirit was stirring them to pray or praise out loud a specific prayer, the person would raise there voice so that all may hear (or go forward to the microphone). But if that person did not believe such, then they could continue to pray or praise, but in a way that would not be extremely disturbing or attention-bringing.

I believe this is also why one may walk into a Pentecostal or charismatic assembly and hear multiple people speaking in tongues yet with no interpretation being given. The people are not giving a message in tongues, but they are praying or praising in their spirits to God. From Paul’s instruction in 1 Cor 14:27-28, I see this is an acceptable practise. Therefore, we need not be alarmed if such happens in the congregation.

I will come on to the gift of interpretation in a later post, but suffice it to say for now that an interpretation is only called for if the person brings a message in tongues to the whole body. If the person is keep the tongue to themselves and God, such is not needed.

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16 responses to “The Tongues Conundrum (Part 5)

  1. I like your posts, and have learned from them (I am trying to understand my Charismatic brothers and sisters) …..
    But I think you have missed something here …. are you reading from “what is” into what the Bible actually says. …. Paul says quite clearly that there is to be no use of tongues in the congregation without interpretation, but you interpret that to mean people can actually speak audibly (though softly) in tongues as long as they are not actually giving an official proclamation.
    What you don’t consider is that this could create an artificial divide between those who speak in tongues and those who don’t …..
    When I am in a meeting and people start speaking in tongues audibly I can’t worship, and I find that when one starts others inevitably follow … and I am sorry, soon it sounds like a “babble” ….
    I can cope if one person at a time speaks, and then there is interpretation, but the other just makes me want to run.
    Not applying Paul’s rule leads to Charismatic church services being strictly for Charismatics only – which again is not a good thing.
    I have experienced the Spirit’s filling, but He has never given me the gift of tongues, but I still cannot cope with a room where everyone speaks in tongues audibly, all at the same time.

  2. Dinah –

    Thanks for you comment here. Good questions, no doubt.

    Paul says quite clearly that there is to be no use of tongues in the congregation without interpretation, but you interpret that to mean people can actually speak audibly (though softly) in tongues as long as they are not actually giving an official proclamation.

    What you don’t consider is that this could create an artificial divide between those who speak in tongues and those who don’t …..
    When I am in a meeting and people start speaking in tongues audibly I can’t worship, and I find that when one starts others inevitably follow … and I am sorry, soon it sounds like a “babble” ….

    Let me give you two examples of real life situations that do not involve the gift of the tongues.

    1) Six people get together for a meal one evening. Two of them are from Bulgaria, but one speaks very little English. All six have conversation together, but at times, varying individuals have a conversation with another individual. If the 2 people from Bulgaria began to speak to one another, they might choose to speak in Bulgarian, and being somewhat audible to the others as they are talking.

    Now, if another turned to them when they finished and said, ‘What did you say? Give me an interpretation!’, that would be somewhat rude. They were not talking to the other person. They could demand that, if they are not going to speak in the language we all know, then they must be completely silent. But that is silly. They were talking to one another in their language, and it was for their good. So the person had no right to command an interpretation. Why? They were not speaking to that person.

    2) In a church gathering that is made up of 15 nationalities, many times the people will sing praise or speak prayer in their own mother tongue. So if a church has Brazilians, they might begin to praise in Portuguese. If they have Kenyans as well, they might begin to pray in Swahili. If they also have Belgians, they might begin to praise in French or Flemish. These people are not speaking the common language, nor are they trying to speak out loud, but they are involved in worship and/or prayer with their Father.

    Again, it would be quite silly for someone to walk up to every international person within the church congregation and ask them to either be silent or follow every praise and prayer with an English interpretation. They are not speaking to us in their own worship/prayer, but to our Father.

    You see, both of these examples happen quite regularly in our church community. What is one to do? I don’t think Paul foresaw situations like this. That is why I don’t believe his instructions are legalistic, hard rules for the gift of tongues. But they are solid, good guidelines to consider.

    So when you walk into a congregation (outside of an English speaking nation), it is not always a given that everything will be done in English. And we would be silly to demand such. And so, as these are common examples in churches like mine with people’s natural, mother tongue, I think we can learn a lot from this with the Spirit-gift of tongues.

    The Scripture obviously teaches that we can pray in the Spirit (Eph 6:18), pray with our spirit (1 Cor 14:15). And I believe tongues can be part of praying in the Spirit. And this can happen within the gathered church, just as someone might speak a prayer out in English to their Father in the gathering of the church (but not loud enough for everyone to hear, but possibly someone next to them might hear). And so, the Spirit can stir someone to pray in tongues, for their edification as part of praying in the Spirit. And that tongue could be kept between God and themselves (as I believe 1 Cor 14:27-28 teaches). But, if it is a message for the congregation, the person will let people know it is such by raising their voice or going to their leaders asking to share aloud, and that is when the interpretation must follow.

    Personal prayer/praise to our Father –> no interpretation needed
    Public prayer/praise in a tongue –> interpretation needed

    That is my understanding of the gift of tongues from reading the Scripture texts, as well as interacting with churches who look to practice this gift, and especially noting how things function in an international, multi-cultural church setting.

    I hope that explains some more.

  3. This may be useful

    When Paul sang with his spirit it was in tongues and audible. This mean when he prayed in tongue during that same time of worship he was unlikely to be inaudible. Tongue is after all a vocal gift.

    We should not confuse the activity of vs27-28 with vs14-17. The former was the time allocated for prophecy as the “in turn” in vs27 indicates. The latter was worship, and this is hardly something done “in turn”.

    It is not practical to apply the rule of vs27 for all occasions. As pointed out above, the “in turn” workflow suggests a specific time when prophecy is operated. This is the specific time that NO ONE should be singing or praying aloud or speaking other things. All need tokeep silent and listen while a prophecy goes forth whether in tongues or not. It is also clear that Paul permitted 2-3 ‘dry runs’ to see whether there would be an interpretation or not. So tongues without interpretation was not discouraged per se since it would be impossible to have an interpretation otherwise. The situation needed to be tested. If after this there was clearly no interpretation, they would know these only personal tongues were given that meeting and to be used accordingly.

    In the worship, the tongues should be used with natural language such that non tongues speakers can participate in equal measure. There is no need to be inaudible in such cases as the gift is ‘covered’ by the used of natural tongues.

  4. Hi Dinah,
    this is Scott’s blog but maybe he won’t mind my interjection here, maybe he would also agree.
    I got baptised in the Holy Spirit in a charismatic fellowship in the early 70s in the UK (all English speaking).
    It was a Body Ministry fellowship much like Cor14v26 where the whole body ministered to itself. So all had the opportunity to speak out if inspired by the Lord, (and sometimes even if NOT inspired!) This included much praying and singing in tongues as a collective act of worship, without any attempt at interpretation.
    Visitors often stood in judgement of this, accusing us of disobedience, but then we got accused of many things.
    There was a whole range of gift based ministry, visions, prophecies, tongues and interpretations and spirit led prayers and teachings. All in all, it was a very edifying time, and taught me a lot.
    How do we justify uninterpreted tongues in such abundance?
    1Cor14 Paul is discussing about when they meeting together.
    v15For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I WILL PRAY WITH MY SPIRIT, but I will also pray with my understanding; I WILL SING WITH MY SPIRIT, but I will also sing with my understanding.
    Here Paul makes it clear that he prays with the spirit and with the understanding.
    This can only mean tongues, =without his understanding,
    and his plain language, =with his understanding.
    He also sang in both manners, tongues and plain language.

    This shows that tongues with NO interpretation must have been used, for a joint act of worship. No interpretation is needed as it is God being addressed.
    I have frequently seen the Holy Spirit fall in mighty power because of a faith filled corporate act of free worship in tongues

    I understand that it seems like being locked out if you can’t join in such a meeting, but we regularly had people in our midst who never made a breakthrough into tongues, and they still joined in with free worship in English, as freely as they chose.

    My experience with free worship (in a tongues assembly) is that a fair portion of the time, I myself, plus many others also use plain English when I exalt the Lord. That is my choice. I worship in spirit and understanding like Paul stated. It is entirely biblical.

    I would also like to address another point you make, and this might hurt for which I apologise right now.
    You say, “I have experienced the Spirit’s filling, but HE HAS NEVER GIVEN ME the gift of tongues.”

    I honestly believe from both experience and scripture, that we ALL have the gift of tongues when Baptised in the Holy Spirit, just like ALL children have the gift of a tongue of their parental language.
    The gift of tongues edifies the believer. Can anyone honestly say that God would want some to be edified and others not?
    I have found again and again that tongue speaking is simply in the mouth of the believer. To our intellectual minds it is plain stupid, and we naturally resist it.
    Paul said v5, I would that you ALL spoke in tongues….
    He didn’t add “except the ones that GOD doesn’t want to”.
    Tongues is simply about letting our spirit go free from our “HEAD”quarters intelligence control division! Many christians have an issue with this, largely because they THINK too much about it. This is an age old conflict between the tree of knowledge and the tree of life!

    Please can I ask, if you are spirit filled, that you try the following exercise.-
    Find somewhere private. (Or even hiding at the back of a charismatic church!) Get in a humble place of worship with your saviour.
    Tell the Lord that He and He alone has the rights over your body including your mouth and tongue, and all embarrassment that might occur. (dying to ourself)
    Ask the Lord to show any area of inhibition which is controlling you, and repent of it if he shows.
    Start to gently praise God freely and openly with your UNDERSTANDING. Let him know how much you love and appreciate Him.
    As you move ahead with your understanding, start to let go of all control and thoughts over your language and tongue. Let it loose in words of love and praise.
    If any babbling nonsense starts to sound, STOP yourself from examining or judging it, let it flow. You want your spirit NOT YOUR MIND to take the lead.
    God is NOT judging the babble anymore than a father would silence a child for the nonsense he first starts to speak with. “Speak sense you silly child or shut up” is hardly the way to release speech in a child of man, or a child of God.
    Keep close to God with your English allowing yourself to be more and more extravagant with your worship and adoration.
    If this is difficult in English, even before you move in tongues, ask the Lord to reveal why.
    Above all, do not abandon your in depth worship. I am convinced that you WILL break through the barrier.

    1Cor14v32. and the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
    This verse is invariably taken to refer to just prophecy, but it is talking about OUR spirit.
    To me this indicates that ALL our Spiritual Gifts are subject to US not just God. This goes all the way from tongues to raising the dead. It is down to US to align our faith, with the quiet whisper of God.

    Finally, I still struggle, against my own flesh, at the level of the things that God challenges me about, but I have to answer to Him about that just as you and everyone else has to.
    Please do not give up.

  5. but isn’t this just thoughtlessness then? (which is why, I now understand that Paul states that the speaking gifts are under the control of the speaker)

    If I was invited to someone’s house, and other guests there were speaking to each other in a language I didn’t understand, then no, I wouldn’t expect them to interpret, unless they were looking at me and expecting an answer. At the same time, if it was a mixed language gathering, then I would expect as a matter of courtesy that some agreement as to the language used by the gathering as a whole is understood – and then, if someone loudly speaks in another language for any length of time, then it is just rudeness.

    If I went to a church in another country, then I would expect the service to be in the language of the country …. but neither would I pray or make responses out loud in english (unless asked to do so), because for me, it would show thoughtlessness for my neighbors.

    If I went to a church in an english speaking country, where people of other nationalities were part of an english-speaking service, then I would expect the same courtesy from them. (In Australia we have services specifically in other languages and if I went to one, then I would again keep my input inaudible).

    In my own church, there are times when I speak to God, pray, worship or just adore …. but I don’t do so out loud, as it would disrupt the service and/or disturb those worshipping around me.

    I really don’t understand why everyone has to speak out loud in a different tongue …. because it really does sound like the situation Paul seems to be trying to correct … eg.
    “So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues and some who do not understand, or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? (1Cor.14:23) …. I must say – exactly! that is what it sounds like to me

    also Paul says “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace” … and … “….and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1Cor.14:33, 39-49)

    Thank your for talking to me, as I am trying hard to understand, but as a non-tongues speaker myself, it really is difficult … and my Charismatic friends tend to get a little defensive, so I have learned not to bring the subject up …. but it doesn’t answer my questions.

  6. Dinah –

    If I was invited to someone’s house, and other guests there were speaking to each other in a language I didn’t understand, then no, I wouldn’t expect them to interpret, unless they were looking at me and expecting an answer. At the same time, if it was a mixed language gathering, then I would expect as a matter of courtesy that some agreement as to the language used by the gathering as a whole is understood – and then, if someone loudly speaks in another language for any length of time, then it is just rudeness.

    If I went to a church in another country, then I would expect the service to be in the language of the country …. but neither would I pray or make responses out loud in english (unless asked to do so), because for me, it would show thoughtlessness for my neighbors.

    Again, I would say this matters whether someone is speaking specifically out loud for everyone to hear, or if they are worshipping but it also happens to be audible so that a couple of people next to them might hear the person (just as you might sing or pray in English during a more ‘free’ time of worship where no one is following a particular song – you are singing/praying audibly in English and a few others hear, but it is not ‘disturbing’).

    As I’ve said, 99% of the time I believe it will be very obvious when someone is giving a public message in tongues or whether that person is in personal worship ‘in the Spirit’ to our Father.

    If I went to a church in another country, then I would expect the service to be in the language of the country …. but neither would I pray or make responses out loud in english (unless asked to do so), because for me, it would show thoughtlessness for my neighbors.

    You might just do so, as you give an example here: In my own church, there are times when I speak to God, pray, worship or just adore …. but I don’t do so out loud, as it would disrupt the service and/or disturb those worshipping around me.

    You might not speak for the whole body to hear, but you might speak out praise to Him in English – ‘Thank you Lord. You are faithful. You are good. You are powerful. You are merciful. Thank you Lord.’ You said that in a way that Joe or Suzy near you heard you, but it wasn’t for the whole body. Again, I believe the same can and does happen with tongues.

    You aren’t doing it for the whole body, but there is no doubt some people might hear you as you speak in some kind of audible voice. It’s part of life.

    also Paul says “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace” … and … “….and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” (1 Cor.14:33, 39-49)

    I agree greatly. But I think, at times, we try and design the order way too much. If one explains and communicates what is going on, it doesn’t have to be spooky and scary. We can do this graciously, allowing for order, but not strict, hard-lined control.

  7. Scott
    thank you for your reply.
    What you are describing is ok …. and I wouldn’t have a problem with it …. I might not even want to run
    But it is not what I have experienced. Rather everyone speaks loudly (in fact I noticed is that sometimes it almost becomes a contest – I can do it louder than you) … but even if everyone just spoke out loud, all at once, in English (or any other language), it does sound like bedlam ( as Paul obviously also thought).
    So it sounds as if it could be a matter of people not being taught … I don’t know …. it is something I just can’t get my head around.
    But the bottom line seems to be that if we all thought about each other, most problems could be resolved.
    in Christ
    Dinah

  8. Grackle

    “When Paul sang with his spirit it was in tongues and audible” ……
    How do you know?

    But Paul also stated tongues should be given in turns, with interpretation …. I know Scott made the distinction of tongues for the congregation and private worship ….but just commenting, it was not just for prophecy.

    With respect …. It seems to me as if you are reading into what the text says, (as probably I am as well) …. But I do not see what you are seeing in these texts.

    I appreciate that you do think about non-tongues speakers …. But the result would still be an incoherent ‘babble’to anyone walking in off the street (or to someone like me).

  9. Francisdrakeprivateer

    How did you deal with the “NOT inspired”? …. I have a friend who tells me God tells her all kinds of things ….. I love her dearly, but I really wonder ????
    How do you evaluate what is from God and what is not, because this kind of ministry would be very liable to deception, either from the evil one, or just by people needing to have something to contribute.

    Again …. Those verses in 1Cor.14 sound to me as if Paul is telling them to be careful, and not to give too much precedence to tongues, exactly because it only edifies the speaker himself/herself … while words/songs etc, in words that are understandable by all, edify all. ….
    “But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1Cor.14:19)

    You said :
    “that we ALL have the gift of tongues when Baptised in the Holy Spirit, just like ALL children have the gift of a tongue of their parental language.”

    On what do you base this? It seems to be in direct contradiction to Paul’s statement :
    “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit …. To another speaking in different kinds of tongues ….. the same Spirit and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.”(1Cor.12:4-11) ….
    “Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts.” (1Cor.12:30-31) … in the Greek, the expected answer is “no”

    Why would I want to (or need to) babble to God, when I can use words that my mind as well as my spirit understands? …. (Or for me, why speak at all, when God speaks to me in the silence?) But in corporate worship, part of the joy is sharing the words of praise and wonder with the rest of the body. When I worship God alone, it is just God and me, but when I worship with others – then there is a togetherness that is part of being the Body of Christ … and as human beings, part of togetherness is speech that is understandable …. Even as the Second Person of the Trinity, is called the Word.

    So you are right, I don’t understand ….. I understand the Spirit coming with power, with glory, with joy, with love …. But tongues as something that we must teach ourselves, I don’t understand at all …. And it concerns me because it is asking for those who have not the gift, and wanting to fit in, to “fake” it …. Just as I could “fake” it – but I can’t see the point.

    Thank you for listening.

  10. Dinah –

    Thanks for your comments and understanding where I was coming from.

    To Francis, you said:

    How do you evaluate what is from God and what is not, because this kind of ministry would be very liable to deception, either from the evil one, or just by people needing to have something to contribute.

    You might be interested in this article I posted on training in hearing God and prophecy. I think it might give some helpful and general insights.

    Also, though I haven’t yet posted on this aspect of tongues, I would also say that I believe all God’s people can speak in tongues. The verses you quoted at the end of 1 Cor 12, I believe that would probably link in more with the gift of tongues with a public message rather than the personal use. I believe that all of God’s people can pray in the Spirit (though I see this as broader than tongues) and in tongues itself, based upon passages in 1 Cor 14 and the thrust of some things to consider in the book of Acts. But I will post some thoughts on this in the days to come.

  11. Scott

    you said :
    “The verses you quoted at the end of 1 Cor 12, I believe that would probably link in more with the gift of tongues with a public message rather than the personal use. I believe that all of God’s people can pray in the Spirit (though I see this as broader than tongues) and in tongues itself”

    with respect … again, you are reading into this passage what you want it to say ….. and I think Gordon Fee would not agree with you (I will check, I have a copy of “God’s Empowering Presence” – brilliant!)

    I don’t agree with you that all God’s children speak in tongues …. I have experienced the filling of the Spirit – about 6 times during the course of my life – but have never spoken in tongues. Actually, that was the cause of my interest in the Charismatic church, as my evangelical church had no explanation for what had happened to me.

    Again, I would propose that tongues that have to be taught are suspect, because of the human factors involved. I must confess, if I was younger and not as secure in my relationship with God, and if I were part of a Charismatic church, then I would “speak in tongues” with the best of them – but it would be fake, it would be me doing it.

    I have no problem with the gift of tongues, or any of the gifts – only with the way they are taught and used among Charismatics. But I also have a severe problem with teaching that any of the gifts “must” be given – The Holy Spirit is God, and He gives the gifts as He pleases, and for His purposes.

    I also have a severe problem with some Charismatic leaders and their life-styles …. but I think godly Charismatics do as well …. though they don’t say enough about it …. there is this feeling of “don’t touch the Lord’s anointed”, which really should change.

    will read your articles with interest – as I always do.

    in Christ
    Dinah

  12. Scott

    do you mean “potentially”? … which is the term Fee uses …. if so then I agree, as this does not mean that all will.

  13. Dinah –

    You said: with respect … again, you are reading into this passage what you want it to say ….. and I think Gordon Fee would not agree with you (I will check, I have a copy of “God’s Empowering Presence” – brilliant!)

    I do have that work of Fee, and put up a review here. But I would need to see his thoughts on those last few verse of 1 Cor 12.

    Yes, it truly does seem I am reading that in to 1 Cor 12. But I think that is the case if we only read 1 Cor 12. But if we read 1 Cor 14, as well as some of the thrust of Acts 2, then I think it is highly likely that all God’s people can utilise tongues in the personal sense. But, again, I hope to share more in an article in the near future.

    You said: Again, I would propose that tongues that have to be taught are suspect, because of the human factors involved. I must confess, if I was younger and not as secure in my relationship with God, and if I were part of a Charismatic church, then I would “speak in tongues” with the best of them – but it would be fake, it would be me doing it.

    I definitely don’t want anything forced or fake. God is sovereign and we are called to pursue Him.

    You said: do you mean “potentially”? … which is the term Fee uses …. if so then I agree, as this does not mean that all will.

    No, I mean that I believe all actually can utilise this gift in the personal sense. The question does not need to be – Do we have to speak in tongues? Rather I think we should ask – Do we want to speak in tongues?

  14. Dinah, Scott, wouldn’t it be just great if we could sit down together, and discuss and pray about this in the same room. We are maybe, thousands of miles apart, but we are bound close in God’s love.

    Dinah, I am sad that your experience of Charismatics is so negative, it takes all sorts. However some of the questions you ask have nothing to do with Charismatic problems but simple fleshliness manifesting in a charismatic venue.

    Exactly the same is true in evangelical churches, but it is disguised behind hierarchy.

    You ask, “How did you deal with the “NOT inspired”? ”
    How do you deal with it in ANY CHURCH. I have heard countless NOT inspired sermons in every denomination I have visited. Sometimes the words are pure unadulterated garbage. Everyone just sits there and takes it all in because, after all he is the Pastor, therefore IT MUST BE ANOINTED.

    After more than thirty years of gifts oriented churches, I have many times seen some daft and misleading words given. However my slant on this is to reach out to the Lord for the RIGHT WORD.

    Because the words given via gifts are usually shorter, prophetic/ vision/ interpretation etc. They are only one part of a whole. Also if the Holy Spirit is in charge, there are many words all added together to make a whole. Although many rely on leadership to correct any mistakes, 1Cor14v29 says let the “others” judge, which I take to mean to include the mature body of prophetically enabled believers. We are NOT supposed to be sitting back with our mouths open like a baby bird in the nest ingesting any and everything. We are expected to act with maturity and examine what we eat or drink.

    Paul takes the church of Corinth to task about this very thing. They were being dependent on specific leaders (Paul Apollos etc) 1Cor1v11. In chapter3 Paul makes it clear that their chasing of leaders means that he can only feed them with milk rather than meat because they have remained babies. WE ARE supposed to cut up and examine our meat. WE ARE supposed to reject and throw away the gristle and other stuff. WE ARE NOT supposed to be just eating predigested stuff from others. That is why God ordained that the church should minister to itself, via the gifts of the whole and, very amateur, body, not the intellect of a single “qualified” professional specialist

    It is a little like a bunch people taking turns at the helm of a ship. If anyone watching alongside him sees it going off compass course, using their maturity, they can soon bring it back to the bearing. No harm is done, just a little drifting on a big sea.

  15. Scott

    “Potential” was Fee’s term, and I could agree with that, because as he explained it, every child of God has the potential of every spiritual gift …. but the way you put it, it still sounds as if you are allowing the Spirit to be sovereign in everything except the gift of tongues … tongues He ‘must’ give to everyone.

    I don’t think we are going to agree, but it has been a good discussion, and I have learned more about why my Charismatic friends think the way they do.

    joy

    Dinah

  16. Dear Francis Drake

    yes, I would love to sit down over coffee with you both for prayer and discussion, and just to share how wonderful God is.

    You are right, I have never experienced a Charismatic church in which the teaching is good, and learning is both expected and encouraged …. it is good to know that they are out there.

    The older I get the more I learn that God is sovereign, and I believe gives His gifts as He pleases …. both for our good and His glory.

    I think we will have to agree to disagree on the minor details.

    blessings

    Dinah

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