Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I'm still wondering, "How do we know whether or not present day 'tongues' are false tongues?"

And with that, here's another simple related question that came to my mind when I was asked "whether or not I believe 'tongues' are meant for the present time."?

I wondered, "Are there authentically biblical 'tongues' going on in the present time?" Or, have they gone on anywhere since the first century? Does their authentic practice actually exist somewhere now?

These are questions that will quickly get you charged with being "judgmental" or "argumentative" or ("stupid" or)"not meditating on scripture deeply enough". Charges people will forward in order that they don't have to think about such difficult yet important things. We are not taught how to approach tough questions we face when confronted with conflicting Christian teachings. We are taught rather, against reason, that conflicting teachings are acceptable. But the mind of Christ is not "double-minded", and these tough questions are what an honest and sound mind should ask, when faced with multiple conflicting Christian teachings, and should insist upon tough answers.

But here's the real problem I had with the question I was asked as to "whether or not I believe tongues are meant for the present time". I don't think it's a matter of 'believing', or 'not believing' whether or not they are meant for the present, but rather, either they 'are' truly here somewhere today, or they are not. Since they are intended for the unbeliever, they would be able to be seen and heard, and understood, by unbelievers. At the same time they would be able to be seen and heard, and understood, by other believers. Are the scriptural 'tongues' of Mark 16 or Acts 2 here now anywhere and able to be seen and heard?

Do real 'tongues' exist anywhere in the 'present'? My understanding tells me no. Scripture says maybe, but not what we're seeing practiced today by people in the Charismatic church. But when I'm asked "whether or not I believe tongues are for today" by a charismatic and say, "no", because what I'm seeing today appears to be false tongues, I'm told that actually they are for the present day because he/she does them, and so they must be for today, and that if I meditate deeply enough on scripture I will see it. But it can't be whether I believe they are here now or not. Either they are here now, and we can point to them, see and understand them, or we can't, and they are not.

Which then brings us back to the main question. "How do we know whether or not present day 'tongues' are false tongues"?

I think there are people from many religions doing what they believe to be speaking in tongues. Many people from Native American Indian, African, Eastern religions, and etc. claim to do it. But the source of them all cannot be the same God. And surely not the God who came in the flesh and delivered His very Word of Truth to us as it stands in the Bible. He's not the author of those tongues. Those are the tongues, apparently, of other gods whom one day will be no use to them.

But specifically, "are present day 'tongues' and some of the tongues we read about being spoken at Corinth false tongues"?

What are false tongues? Are they even spoken of in the Bible? Are we truly at the mercy of "discerners of spirits" to know whether a 'tongue' being spoken is from a good spirit or bad spirit? Are there, in this present age, all of these spirits, that is, spirits of men, spirits of angels, some of light, some of darkness, and demons wanting to speak to us on Sunday morning in our Charismatic church's?

Or is it simply "learned" behavior, an imitation somehow, behavior glorying in some natural impulses that seem spiritual and come from our flesh?

As 'speaking in tongues' is practiced today, we can be sure that it is done in a way prohibited in scripture. The "unknowable tongues" admittedly cannot be interpreted. They don't even fit the definition of gift of tongues if they are not in a known language. Yet they are spoken, when scripture tells them to be interpreted or to be silent. That's disobedience to scripture. But...that seldom phases anyone born after the Age of Enlightenment. Now days many of us just accept that we will sin here and there, and then thank the Lord for His law of liberty. Except the Law of Liberty does not allow for willful sin.

In my last post, over a month ago, I was discussing 'speaking in tongues' with a gracious fellow who claimed to be a "speaker of tongues", and an "interpreter of tongues". I was forced to consider this practice more thoroughly than I ever had in the past. Our discussion left us at complete odds with each other. Him, the possessor of a marvelous visible gift from God, and me, someone not yet able to see it, or to read and understand certain things in scripture. We looked at scripture together and nothing changed in our position toward one another. Is the answer to the unlock the impasse able to be found in scripture? Does scripture perform what it promises to the seeker of knowledge? Are answers to discussions such as these attainable or does it purposefully leave us fractured like he and I?

(There are men who would teach, that scripture in certain instances, leaves us fractured 'beyond our control' due to us being mere men of limited understanding. But isn't that type of teaching actually faulty. Isn't that "man's" own teaching? Because with the mind of Christ are we not more than merely darkness bound men anymore, condemned to quarreling about the Truth?. Doesn't that sort of teaching mentality which men use to stay entrenched in their differences actually stem from some ungifted teachers simply stubbornly wanting to believe what they want to believe? Aren't we asked to prove everything by scripture? And then also to avoid controversy? Is there even one controversy within the church Body that edifies it? There are common and popular controversies which keep Christians battling each other, almost as if it's a sport, with one eye in the word, and the other eye in the theological wisdom of their favortie man, only to cause them to, once in a while, bolt to the other side and continue to battle against their former allies, all the while relying on someone else's understanding from scripture instead of patiently allowing solely scripture to build their understanding. So I would argue that when we take the abundance of available straightforward directives of scripture, we are fully equipped with all spiritual wisdom and knowledge to answer any reasonable question plainly and confidently. And that there is one faithful Truth.)
So what are "false tongues"? Is there such a thing as a false tongue?

The question that plagues me is , "Are there 'tongues' today at all"? I've seen and heard so-called 'tongues' and have yet to see one that meets the Bible's definition.

Another question that leaps to mind here is, "Has there been a 'tongue' spoken since the first century, or so, that has been verified as being Divinely breathed"? Has it occurred to anyone that, 'speaking in new tongues', is the only sign from Mark 16(below) that cannot be easily verified as to it's source? God or counterfeit? That poses a problem. Maybe the Lord has provided the solution for that problem. But first here's another valid question. "Is there a "gift of tongues", that applies to the present time, in other words, now, mentioned in prophecy? I haven't found one yet.

Is the passage of Mark 16: 16-17 explaining present day "tongues"? Aside from the sign of 'tongues', where are all of these other signs today? Is it only coincidence that 'tongues' is the only one, of all these signs, that we see today? And might that have anything to do with it being the most difficult to verify(verily, verily - truly, truly)? Why haven't any believers or unbelievers I know seen anything resembling real 'speakers of new tongues"? Why haven't any of the believer's I know, except the so-called "prayers in tongues", found themselves possessing the 'gift of tongues', or any of the 'sign gifts' in Mark 6? Might this have a bearing on how we can know if a sign was meant for today or not? Whether any of the signs at all from Mark 6 exists in that context today? Or by asking in what way the present day 'gift' resembles what was foretold of in scripture to see if it matches with what scripture is speaking of? I believe it would have to go a long way to answering What? Where? When? How? and Why? and what sort of 'tongues' are present today.

Were they for the apostles time? Yes, but then for how long?

Mark 16:14-19
Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.] [And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. ]

Where are they now???

"The Lord worked with them , and confirmed the word by the signs that followed".

"...Jesus Himself sent out through them...the sacred... proclamation...".

This shows these signs were meant especially for the apostles. Exclusively? Perhaps it would have been convenient if Peter had asked, as he did in Luke 12:41, "...Lord, are you addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?" No, most likely not exclusively for the apostles but then probably not far from their authority and teaching either.

Does God use signs to help confirm His word today? Most definitely, but the 'tongues' signs presented today in the Charismatic church only serve to throw things into suspicion and consternation.

If they happened today would we know it? Yes. They would be spoken for a reason, have meaning unto our benefit, be able to be understood and interpreted, and would carry unmistakable Divine content. They would glorify our Lord in a sure way.

Did they fade away as the apostles passed on and the Bible was finished? Is this what Paul meant when he said that 'tongues' will fade away? They certainly have faded, but completely away as signs? Surely God's miracles happen every minute of the day, but were the signs spoken of in this passage different than what we see today only in the charismatic church? The original gift of tongues were meant to command attention and be convicting. To be seen and believed. These are not the ones you find today. The original signs are not the ones you see today on the Benny Hinn show. Are the original sign gifts the ones that you see presented in Charismatic churches on Sunday morning?

And are there two different kinds of "gifts of tongues" as the charismatic would teach today? One spoken of in Acts 2, and the other in 1 Cor. 14:2, and confirmed in 1 Cor. 12:10. Two different kinds of 'gift of tongues', "that should not be mixed up", as a charismatic would say? If that were the case then shouldn't we have further instruction from somewhere as to exactly 'how' there are two different kinds of tongues, and how each should be handled? But aren't 'tongues' the same everywhere they are mentioned in the Bible - that is, known languages with meaning - except in 1 Cor. 14:2?

In v. 14:2, is Paul describing a second kind of tongue which has a different source and a different destination than the first kind. One is from God to unbelievers, through believers; and the other, the Spirit, speaking to God, through the believer, by the believer? Or is Paul actually describing a prevalent, 'man breathed' tongue, being practiced there in Corinth, and not the God breathed "gift"? It's "the tongues of men and of angels". The charismatic claims it to be the Spirit expressing things from a persons heart, that the person themselves cannot express, coming out of the speaker amidst the congregation, as a language that is 'unknowable' and impossible to interpret. This was silenced by Paul. In the modern Charismatic church this requires "discerners of spirits" to tell if it is a good spirit or not. Or if it is God's Spirit or some other spirit. This "praying in tongues" sounds something like would be described as a form of incoherent gibberish, or nonsensical talking. The charismatics call it "praying in tongues" and say it is, in effect, the Spirit's interpreting to God those inexpressible things that are on your heart.

Where else does scripture help us with this unsettling 'second kind of tongue' that presumably Mark 16 now has to make room for? Or can it? The charismatic would like it to, but wouldn't this 'second kind' of tongue be an altogether different kind of thing than is mentioned anywhere in scripture. Wouldn't this be a tongue whereby others are expected to watch the Spirit talking to God from someone else's soul? Is this believable from scripture? I have to admit that that proposition instead defies my belief altogether. O.k. I'm sure this would be where I am told to meditate more deeply into scripture, and see how this would truly be a neat thing. A neat thing to watch the Spirit of God interceding to God before our very eyes. That is if it's truly God. If it is not then the "discerner of spirits" will know. But if it's not , then, where did God go? Why didn't He show up this time? That one sounds like God to me? Are you sure that's not God? How do we know? Where's the rule book again? What a scary circus this is.

Be patient and we'll find out what scripture says. Oh, this will be nothing that will shake any charismatic's belief, nor will it really be anything new. But it will be a sound basis for understanding the next time someone gets ambushed by a charismatic Christian. That is my hope anyway. If you get bored, then consider the 'tongues' comments from my last post, which are really not all that insightful, and please feel free to forward your own understanding. I've come a long way in the last couple of weeks in my understanding of what going on in this area, all credit going to God and the Scriptures, and I'm ready to start drawing some reliable scripture honoring conclusions. My love for these charismatic brothers and sisters of ours is great, and that demands not sugar-coating any admonishments for them from scripture. Scripture speaks clearly in this area presenting no matters left open for debate. But it's going to take another week or two to get it down in a respectful fashion. There is not a whole lot more to say really. I just have to try and get it said right. Thanks for stopping by.

(Just one of those lingering notes here). Would He leave us hearing an "unknowable" tongue, not knowing whether it's a word of encouragement, or a deadly arrow, speaking deceit or setting an ambush?(Jer. 9:8) Can't we be assured that He would not?

I'm starting here as a continuation of the above, as well as the lengthy comments taken from my discussion in the 'comments' section of the previous post with Paul G., the "speaker of tongues" and "interpreter of tongues" which you can get to through "this link here" .

The "speakers of tongues' in the Charismatic church are not displaying the biblical 'Gift of Tongues":

1.) Anytime they are tested by proving the 'speaker' against the 'interpreter', and then looking at the message 'spoken', they come up false. It's just that simple. Not "empty", false. Well, that's awfully presumptuous for me to say, doesn't it seem like? And exceedingly insensitive? Probably dangerously judgemental? No, I'm simply stating the obvious and the verifiable. Not to impugn anyone or demean anyone, but simply to look at this, held up to what tests we have from scripture, and from nature, to clear things up for my daughter when one day she will be confronted with these charismatic teachings. Let's not forget, Benny Hinn, with his alleged 'gift of healing' television program, is not healing people, if you check with them once they are backstage. Or in subsequent days when the adrenalin and unfulfilled hope have subsided. Much of it is simply staged. Some of it is faked by people truly desperate for healing. Nothing in the way of a miracle goes on there. Is it, in effect, "Simon the magician" of Acts, leading people to Christ? Who knows? One more thing needs to be pointed out. There are no, "speaking in gift of tongues", t.v. shows. Because the content of those shows would be able to be verified.

*"Charismatic praying in tongues" comes from men themselves.

This is how Paul describes it. "For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God".

"For if I 'pray in a tongue' my spirit prays".

'praying' in "unknowable tongues", are actually giving voice to spirits other than God. And falsely presenting them to themselves and others as God Himself. 1 Cor. states that God is the originator of His tongues and speaks through men in known languages that have meaning. Any other is not from God and is inappropriate to speak according to scripture. Those are surely "profane and vain babblings" in their content.

Is "praying in tongues" actually Romans 8 being played out before our eyes? Is it the Spirit of God actually searching the heart of the speaker and then using the speaker himself to speak for It, back to God, 'groanings that are too deep for words? Then why doesn't He tell us that? Why instead does He 'put into words' something He tells us is "too deep for words"? But most importantly, why does He put in front of us unidentifiable and only self-edifying babblings, of which we can have no idea whether or not are coming from a mere 'common spirit' - good spirit or bad spirit - to marvel at as though from Him? Possibly a demon bringing God's glory from us to himself. Why would God take the otherwise beautiful and comforting picture He gives us in Romans 8:26-27 of the Spirit explaining our hearts to God, and make a display which we cannot tell from that of a wicked demon? That would be a contradiction from God. But God does not allow contradiction. These displays are not of God. They would even be a betrayal by God. Fooling us into marveling at a demon. Praising, even worshipping a demon. Not knowing! This sort of display is not of God.

The following verse is found worded in many different ways within many different translations. But isn't the spirit of this verse, which resounds the same through all of the translations but is found below in the New King James version, an important and useful foundational perspective when trying to decipher the truth within the teachings of men, otherwise, seemingly godly teachers, such as we find in the Charismatic church?

1 Tim. 6:20 "...avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge--.

I've finally learned, through my discussion in the comments section of this post 'what' is 'what'. Now I just need to get it said right in a final post.