SBC Pharisees Go After “Tongues-Talking” Missionaries

muppet hecklersDon’t know if you caught this story but it made me wonder. Are you guys having any success against these “spirtual gift quenching” pharisees in the SBC? How can you “ban” someone from a private prayer languge? And what would Daniel do with this edict if he were an SBC missionary? Let me get this straight: drinking and smoking in private = ok. Praying in the Spirit = not ok? Crazy. I guess now even that crazy tongue-talker himself, The Apostle Paul, would fail the SBC mission board application process. Maybe you should consider my offer to become a Bishop of Bishops Apostle for the Valley, and you can all come under my covering and doctrinal authority (for a registration fee of $499.99 and annual tithes of 10% of your church’s income, of course). Whoo-hoo! Sometimes it feels really good to have “non-denominational” in front of our church name. If you want to comment on this, go to my blog at

Christianity Today: Tongues Tied

Southern Baptists bar new missions candidates from glossolalia.

Trustees for the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) International Mission Board (IMB) have voted to bar new missionary candidates who practice a “private prayer language” from serving on the mission field.

The trustees voted 50-15 for the new guidelines on November 15, during their meeting in Huntsville, Alabama. The move will not affect current IMB staff or missionaries. Worldwide, 5,122 IMB missionaries work among 1,194 people groups.

Candidate guidelines approved by IMB trustees at the meeting state, “In terms of worship practices, the majority of Southern Baptist churches do not practice glossolalia,” or tongues. “In terms of general practice, the majority of Southern Baptists do not accept what is referred to as ‘private prayer language.’ “

Because the ruling is not retroactive, it will not apply to IMB president Jerry Rankin. “I acknowledged even in the discussions that [tongues] has been a continuing practice [of mine] for 30 years,” Rankin told CT. The trustees who elected him president in 1993 knew he prays in tongues.

When asked, Rankin told CT, “I am assuming that this does not have anything to do with me, because it was stated that it doesn’t.”

Trustee Allen McWhite, who opposes the IMB’s recent action, told CT, “We have no indication whatsoever that there have been any problems on the mission field” concerning missionaries practicing a private prayer language. The Baptist Faith and Message, the SBC confession of faith revised in 2000, does not address tongues.

The board’s personnel committee first raised the tongues issue more than two years ago. The SBC North American Mission Board already bans missionaries from “promoting glossolalia,” including having a private prayer language.

IMB board of trustees chairman Tom Hatley said that during candidate interviews, those who practiced a private prayer language gave differing explanations of it, varying from an angelic language to a “revelatory” gift of the Holy Spirit.

“That’s one reason that Southern Baptists have been suspicious of glossolalia,” said Hatley, who voted with the majority. “If somebody believes they’re getting direct divine revelation from God, obviously that’s claiming an equality with Scripture that we would not allow.”

McWhite noted in a letter to the trustees’ personnel committee that Southern Baptists don’t universally agree on these issues and recommended that they let stand current staff guidelines. The IMB’s staff policy manual already has “a strong statement about charismatic practices that cause division and confusion among our missionaries and/or impact our work on the field,” he wrote.

Some 27 percent of the world’s Christians are Pentecostal, charismatic, or neo-charismatic, according to the World Christian Database.

During the November meeting, trustees also voted to accept only those missionary candidates baptized in churches that teach believer security and that practice only baptism by immersion.

Fox News: Texas Seminary Bans Promotion of Speaking in Tongues

Thursday , October 19, 2006

FORT WORTH, Texas — Trustees at a Baptist seminary have put it in writing: They will not tolerate any promotion of speaking in tongues on their campus.

The 36-1 vote Tuesday came nearly two months after the Rev. Dwight McKissic of Arlington said during a chapel service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that he sometimes speaks in tongues while praying.

McKissic, a new trustee at the Fort Worth school, passed the lone dissenting vote on the resolution.

It states: “Southwestern will not knowingly endorse in any way, advertise, or commend the conclusions of the contemporary charismatic movement including private prayer language. Neither will Southwestern knowingly employ professors or administrators who promote such practices.”

Seminary President Paige Patterson did not allow a videotape of McKissic’s sermon to be posted online or saved in the seminary’s archives with the sermons of all chapel speakers.

McKissic called for the Southern Baptist Convention to weigh in on the matter.

Asked whether the convention would make a statement, SBC executive committee spokesman John Revell told The Associated Press by e-mail: “We will all find out the answer to that question in June when Southern Baptist messengers gather in San Antonio for their annual convention.”

During his sermon at the school’s chapel, McKissic described experiencing a “private prayer language.”

Seminary leaders have said the McKissic’s comment conflicts with the SBC’s International Mission Board, which voted in November to ban missionaries from speaking in tongues in private. Previously, missionaries were discouraged from speaking in tongues publicly.

The controversy has erupted as some Baptist churches become more accepting of charismatic forms of worship.

Speaking in tongues is common among Pentecostals, whose more exuberant brand of Christianity is spreading in the United States and in foreign countries where Southern Baptist missionaries work.

“I have opposed (speaking in tongues) for all of these years because I think it’s an erroneous interpretation of the Bible,” Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Southern Baptists traditionally have stood against what we feel like are the excesses of the charismatic movement.”

Patterson said he defends the right of other Christians to believe in speaking in tongues.

This from KRIS TV, Corpus Christi: Southern Baptists lack consensus on speaking in tonguesNASHVILLE, Tenn. — The first time the Rev. Dwight McKissic ever spoke in tongues, he was a seminary student, praying on his knees in his dorm room. “Strange sounds begin to come out of my mouth,” McKissic said. “The only thing I could think of was, I was either losing my mind or this is what the Bible calls speaking in tongues. I wasn’t trying to do it. It just happened. “It’s this sense of being intimate with God,” said McKissic, who is now a Southern Baptist minister in Arlington, Texas. “It’s different, but not necessarily a better way to pray.” Southern Baptists have long viewed speaking in tongues with ambivalence, not exactly condemning a practice that’s mentioned in the Bible, but not allowing it from its pastors and churches. But now, as Baptist churches become more accepting of charismatic forms of worship, some are asking the denomination to clarify its position: Is it OK for Baptists to speak in tongues? McKissic is at the center of the debate, recently sending a letter to the Southern Baptist Convention’s president and executive committee, asking for church leaders to clarify the convention’s position. The nine-page letter was in response to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s refusal earlier last month to post on its Web site audio and video recordings of McKissic’s sermon at the school’s chapel, in which he describes experiencing a “private prayer language.” Leaders at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary said the statement conflicted with the SBC’s International Mission Board, which voted in November to ban missionaries from speaking in tongues in private. Previously, missionaries were discouraged from speaking in tongues publicly, but private prayer was not monitored.

Dissenting bloggers in the denomination, who have been credited with helping propel the little-known Rev. Frank Page to election as convention president in June, have criticized the mission board’s decision.

Speaking in tongues is common among Pentecostals, whose more exuberant brand of Christianity is spreading in the U.S. and in countries where Southern Baptist missionaries work.

There are different understandings of the practice, which is believed to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. It commonly sounds like a series of nonsense syllables strung together rapidly in a song or chant.

Curtis Freeman, director of the Baptist House of Studies at Duke University Divinity School, said Southern Baptists and Pentecostals are competing for the same converts, but Baptists have traditionally seen the practice as undermining their belief in biblical authority.

“There’s a kind of theological division,” Freeman said. “The focus of Baptist piety tends to be on Jesus and the Bible, while Pentecostals are more focused on the Holy Spirit.”

Freeman said many Southern Baptist churches in recent years have become more charismatic-friendly, with more praise-and-worship music, singing choruses and lifting their hands at worship services.

McKissic, a seminary trustee and pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, said missionaries should be able to speak in tongues privately and that nothing in the Baptist Faith and Message, the denominations articles of faith, or Bible is at odds with what he said in his chapel sermon.

“I recognize this is a thorny, uncomfortable issue for all of us, but righteousness and biblical integrity demand that we deal with this issue,” McKissic’s letter states.

Kenyn Cureton, vice president for SBC relations, said the executive committee, which met last month at SBC headquarters in Nashville, did not address the issue because it is “not official and therefore pending business at this point.”

McKissic said if the executive committee does not act, he would make a similar proposal at the SBC’s convention next year in San Antonio, Texas.

Pentecostals believe speaking in tongues is a sign of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes this speech is translated publicly by another person, while at other times it is a private prayer language that McKissic describes.

Soon after the International Mission Board’s vote last fall, bloggers jumped into the debate _ the most notable being Wade Burleson, a pastor from Enid, Okla., and a member of the mission board.

Burleson was reprimanded by other board members for writing about the board’s internal debates on his blog and threatened with removal.

Burleson said the issue was not whether most Southern Baptists agree with McKissic’s views, but whether his sermon can be viewed by the public.

Freeman, from Duke University, said most in the SBC’s “new guard” led by Page are likely to be more “charismatic-leaning” and open to charismatic practices like speaking in tongues privately.

“Page and the others I think want there to be a bigger tent in the SBC,” for it to be more inclusive, Freeman said.

On the Net:Southern Baptist Convention: http://www.sbc.netSouthwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: http://www.swbts.eduWade Burleson blog:

65 Responses to SBC Pharisees Go After “Tongues-Talking” Missionaries

  1. Someone privately took issue with my statement that Paul would not qualify to be an SBC missionary now. Let’s go to the Bible. Paul said, “I thank God I speak in tongues more than you all” (I Corinthians 14:18), and he said, “Forbid not speaking in tongues.” (I Corinthians 14:30).

    With statements like these, the Apostle Paul would be asked to withdraw from consideration during the interview stage with SBC mission board.

  2. Go to this Baptist Pastor’s blog to read some REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good stuff:

  3. RubeRad says:

    I thought the point of the SBC, as a “denomination”, was that the BFM was just a “public witness”, having “no instructive use” (although what would happen if an SBC pastor started baptizing babies?)

    Here’s an interesting tightrope walk between doctrinal accountability and anti-confessional liberty, and here’s a quote that I love!

    The modern cry, ‘less creed and more liberty,’ is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jelly fish, and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy. … It is a positive and very hurtful sin to magnify liberty at the expense of doctrine.

    Preach it Baptist brother! Doctrine rocks! Down with Evanjellyfish mega-church-malls!

  4. Albino Hayford says:

    Wow; I got Reuben to erect a straw man. The issue here, my doctrinaire brother, is how much can your denomination reach into your private quiet time and mandate your interaction with God. And you failed to address how the Apostle Paul would now be barred from being accepted as an SBC missionary.

    Don’t you think a policy that would block the Apostle Paul’s participation is a mistake?

  5. Mike S says:


    Would you agree that tongues is just uninterpreted prophesy 1 Cor 14:27-28?

    Mike S

  6. Albino Hayford says:

    Great question, Mike. The answer is “no”.

    Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 14:2For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit — verse 4:He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. and verse 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. 39Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. — and verse 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

    My position is this: He who speaks in a tongue, speaks to God and edifies himself. Paul spoke in tongues more than anyone else, so he obviously thought it was important BUT in a public meeting, he encourages us to speak in a known language. So where was Paul doing all this tongues-talking, then? Obviously, in private. Where the SBC says that their missionaries may not.

    I, like John Piper, am definitely not a cessationist. But, here’s where I depart from many pentecostals/charismatics. I do not believe that everyone must speak in tongues or that tongues is the only evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is also definitely not a “fast track” to maturity, since the Corinthians were very immature. BUT the Scripture teaches it, Paul practiced it, and indeed, commands us not to forbid it.

    A great source on this view is Jack Hayford’s book, The Beauty of Spiritual Language.

    Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

  7. Mike S says:


    I suspected you would say no, but how do you get around the passage I cited above 1 Cor 14:27-28? Apparently, Paul did allow tongues to be performed in Church if there was an interpreter. Or for that matter Acts 2:6?

    Why is tongues the only spiritual gift to be used in private? Isn’t the whole point of 1 Corinthians 12-14 conveying that spiritual gifts are for the edification of the body? It seems that Paul’s instruction for people to speak tongues to themselves in priviate is a bit of tongue in cheek (pardon the pun).

    Mike S.

  8. Albino Hayford says:

    I totally agree with the passage (obviously). If you speak in tongues in a public meeeting, make sure it is interpreted, because otherwise, you are simply “speaking mysteries to God” and “edifying yourself”. You can’t miss the inference here that since Paul “spoke in tongues more than us all”, but in public, he spoke in known languages, he did a lot of praying and worshiping int he Spirit privately. The text talks about praying and singing “in the Spirit” which I believe is the same thing. Paul’s answer to the confused mess in Corinth was not to abolish tongues, but to bring order to their gifts.

    Do you agree with Paul that you can “edify yourself” and “give thanks well” in tongues? You certainly don’t believe that we should violate his command to “forbid not to speak with tongues” as long as it is in order, do you?

    I liked your pun, but I never said “speak in tongues to themselves” — you are speaking mysteries to God, praying in the Spirit, and edifying yourself.”

  9. Albino Hayford says:

    You still playing basketball, Mike? How are your boys? Are you still involved in construction?

  10. Mike S says:


    I think you are confusing me with my dad. I am junior, I do have boys though (and one girl) and they are fine. And I am in construction too. Haven’t much time to play basketball…maybe when my boys get older though.

    Of course, I believe that Paul had the gift of tongues. This would have been extremely helpful on his missionary journey’s in communicating with people who spoke foreign languages.

    Again I think Paul’s point in Corinthians when he says that tongues edify the individual, is to address the abuses that were occuring there and is almost a rebuke. The text does not seem to support the position for a private prayer language. If that was the case, you would have thought when our Lord taught us to pray he wouldn’t have given the Lord’s pray, but told us to turn off our mind and let the spirit move.

    I would have thought that you were one to check theological systems at the door and let Scripture interpret itself. When the Scripture talks about speaking in tongues why would you make the leap to eccstatic utterance and not stick with the “whole counsel of God” and interpret it as foreign languages?

    Paul teaches that tongues were to be used when an interpreter was present. Then it was allowed to be performed in Church, just as prophecy was allowed. Thus, it seems to be a form of prophecy.

    The continuation of this gift throughout history is another debate, which we can get into if you want.

    Mike S. (jr)

  11. Albino Hayford says:

    Ok, yup, I did confuse you with your dad. How is he doing? Glad to hear you’re a dad too.

    Obviously we are just not going to agree on the interpretation of this passage, because you have not dealt at all with the thrust of Paul’s words to the Corinthian believers. It is obvious on the face of the text that Paul prefered not to speak in tongues in a public meeting, but, yet, spoke in tongues more that “you all”. Paul said, “I will pray in the spirit, and with understanding, I will sing in the spirit and with understanding” — emphasizing BOTH as important.

    And it is a real reach to read “edifies himself” as sarcastic. Later on, he says that the guy speaking in tongues “gives thanks well.” Is that sarcastic too?

    I think you are the one grasping for straws when you limit God to known languages. Let’s go back to the Bible: “He speaks mysteries to God.” It may well be a known language, but obviously the guy speaking doesn’t speak the language he is using. It can by prophecy, but it can also be prayer or worship, according to Paul’s own words in context.

    Anyway, Mike, it’s nice to hear from you, but the way it sounds, you have pretty much convinced yourself of your position. It’s too bad, because God still gives gifts to His children.

    Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

  12. Mike S says:


    Not so fast, because I could say that you have really convinced yourself of your position. You are the one imputing into the text an understanding that is not supported by the rest of Scripture.

    1 Cor 12:7…each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

    1 Cor 14:26…Let all things be done for edification.

    The guy you refer to in verse 17, is not edifying the rest of the body, just “himself”.

    All the spiritual gifts are given for the building up for the Church not the indiviual. Try replacing any of the gifts for the edification of oneself. For example, go “heal” yourself or go “teach” yourself or go share your gifts of “administration” with yourself. When you able to avoid bringing any presuppositions to the text you can see that Paul wouldn’t necessarily be advocating this behavior.

    Why is their one gift given to edify a Church of one?

    Unfortunately, you are allowing an interpretation of tongues that is more consistent with the Mormon’s than Christianity.

    Why can’t praying in the Spirit just be a thoughtful and passionate intelligible prayer to God?

    Mike S.

  13. RubeRad says:

    The former (retired) pastor of my church got into big trouble with our (former) denomination (OPC, now we’re PCA) for preaching through expositionally through 1Cor and unabashedly being a “mild cessationist”, i.e. refusing to force God into the box of not being able to work through tongues or prophecy in this non-apostolic age. That was before my time at the church, though, so I can’t go into detail beyond that.

    Since I have no personal, experiential evidence of the phenomenon of glossolalia (and not for lack of trying (=Arminianness)!), I want to hear from someone who was slain in the spirit at conversion (or “reintensification of sanctification”), but now holds to a “foreign earthly languages” interpretation. I wonder where one could find such a beast?

    I would also like to hear from a reformed brother who is also charismatic (but I know that he has more important work to do for the edification of the church, until Nov 11).

    Finally, I would like to hear an explanation for the fact that Berean Missionary Temple in the 80s was a hotbed of speaking in tongues, prophesying, songs of the spirit, etc., and its direct spiritual successor (Living Way Church) no longer (or very rarely?) offers evidence of these “gifts” (unless maybe you happen to stand next to the right person). Is LWC less gifted by the Holy Spirit? Has the church matured or devolved? Do suburbanites not need the extra edification?

  14. Mike, I think you just jumped the shark by turning this into a debate between you and the Apostle Paul. I should just step aside and let you two go at it.

    You don’t like Paul telling us that “he that speaks in a tongue edifies himself” — your beef is with Paul here. This does agree with “David encouraging himself in the Lord his God” and with “build yourself up in your most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit”, so, yes, other places in the Bible do tell us to encourage and edify ourselves, but your main opponent here is that “tongue-talking” missionary, Paul.

    Your weak attempt to say that our gifts cannot be a blessing to ourselves is WEAK. You don’t pray for your own healing? Someone with a gift of administration doesn’t administrate his own affairs? Your fear of tongues is making you illogical, my brother.

    As to the Mormon comment, I won’t dignify it with a response. I’ll write it off to desperate emotion.

    “Praying in the spirit” is defined by Paul in the text we are talking about as tongues. He is clearly contrasting “praying with understanding” with “Praying in the Spirit.” He encourages us to do both.

    How is your dad doing?


  15. Carlos says:

    Howdy – The context of the passages on tongues in 1 Cor. 12-14 is obviously the church, and specifically, church meetings. Paul is dealing with a problem (or a variety of problems) which were happening in church meetings. No doubt about that. And his point is that in the meetings we should be focused on each other, not on ourselves.

    However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t see how these Scriptures (such as the ones on tongues) might be applied in other aspects of life – outside the church meeting.

    How about the marketplace? Just becuase Paul talked about healing in the context of church meetings, that doesn’t mean that he would exclude the use of the gift of healing from the marketplace. So, that logic doesn’t fit.

    I myself benefit not only from tongues but also from other gifts in private – such as prophecy and teaching. The same ability to understand the Scripture which helps me in teaching also helps me in my own edification. Why wouldn’t that happen with tongues also? Or if someone has the gift of healing, shouldn’t they be able to use that to pray for their spouse?

    Just becaue the main reason and context for the passage is aimed at church meetings doesn’t limit our use of the truths of the passage to church meetings.

  16. Carlos says:

    Here’s another thought along the same lines. One manifestation of prophecy is dreams. Now that doesn’t fit neatly into 1 Cor. 12 or 14. Are you going to have nap time at some point to see if God gives dreams? They happen on our “private” time, outside of church meetings. Sometimes dreams are meant to be shared in public church meetings. But meany times, God can give dreams which are only meant for private edification, for our own personal benefit or for another person or situation specifically.

    So, again, to state that the only legitimate use of spiritual gifts is within an official church meeting doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    Again, their problem was a selfish attitude about the gifts. Paul was addressing that specific issue, NOT attempting to give a systematic teaching on every single nuance regaring spiritual gifts. Still, we can learn things about gifts for contexts other than the one in the passage.

    If you read the Psalms for personal edification you are doing that very thing. The Psalms were not written, in their majority, for private use, but for public use in the temple, even Psalms about David’s individual battles and struggles were written for public edification.

    But I would never say that someone is misusing the Psalms because they use them privately for personal edification.

  17. Daniel B says:

    Albino, now isn’t this much more interesting then mexican war stories? I think it is great how Rube feels so qualified to comment on the “maturation or devolution” of LWC. (BTW you used to go to BIBLE Missionary Temple not BEREAN missionary temple.) Rube, I can’t comment on what services were like at BMT, I was never there, but I can comment on services at LWC because it’s the only church I’ve ever known and my comment is that I have never seen anything out of the order established by Paul in his Corinthian epistles in our worship servies. Now since none of that had anything to do with the topic at hand let me weigh in on what our baptist brothers are doing…

    Indeed, Paul would not be accepted as a baptist missionary, of course neither would their own president according to the reports. This is just another sad example of what happens when people forget about the gospel and focus on rules of “do’s and dont’s”. It’s a hinderance to the ministry and a large reason why most baptist churches are disassociating themselves more and more with the denomination and going with names like “saddleback community church” instead of “Baptist church of orange county”. Can you really blame them though?

  18. RubeRad says:

    I certainly can’t blame them — who wants to deal with accountability? So much easier to just set your own standard. That’s why I decided to stop going to church altogether. Too many people trying to force their private interpretations about the Bible down my throat.

    As for BMT (yes, Bible not Berean, thx for the correction) vs LWC, I was at LWC for many years as well (as well as having attended many other churches as I moved all over). I’m not saying either church was out of line wrt Paul’s injunctions. There was indeed public tongues-speaking at both churches, but I’m willing to grant that, during corporate free-worship, it was not meant for anyone else to try to understand, so it was kind of private edification in public. All I’m saying is (a) LWC had less tongues-talking (and other related forms of prophecy) than BMT, and (b) the longer I attended (and came back to) LWC, the less and less LWC had. Thus, in my observation, tongues-talking (etc.) has the appearance of fading like a fad, not persevering like a true gift of the Holy Spirit.

    I’m not saying definitively that tongues is not a gift for today; I’m just saying that, whatever it is, apparently God didn’t gift me with it (or didn’t gift me with sufficient faith for it — same diff). Thus I am interested in hearing about it from those who apparently have the gift.

  19. Mike S says:


    I do believe that the Scripture encourages us to edify ourselves. I do not believe that within the context of the text in question this is the Apostle Paul’s point. However, it is clear that your strong disposition towards imposing your theological persuasion on the text is preventing you from seeing this.

    So do you also believe in baptizing for the dead? This almost has as much evidence in the Scripture as “eccstatic utterances”.

    1 Cor 14:2 – 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.

    This text does not imply babel or an indiscernable language? The only tongue speaking described in the Bible is in Gen 11 and in the Book of Acts. In the former instance it was employed to confuse the languages of men. In the latter instance it was employed to spread the Gospel to every nation, tribe and tongue. Why do you come to another conclusion?

    This preoccupation with turning off the mind and letting the “spirit” take over is a distraction from the real issue. The real issue is to proclaim the message of Christ and His Gospel.

    I do have a question though. How do you distinguish the authenticity of your type of tongue speaking versus other cults (like the Mormon’s) who claim to do the same thing?

    Mike S.

  20. Albino Hayford says:


    Again, you are giving the Apostle Paul a good “tongue-lashing” here (get it?) it is more than obvious that your beef is with him, not with me. So I will now start to address your discussion as Mike vs. Paul.

    You made Paul’s argument in 1 Cor. 14:2 — “not to men but to God” — “no one understands him” — “he speaks mysteries in the spirit” == The point Paul is making here is that he is “edifying himself”, so in a public setting it is more profitable to speak in a known language.

    Again, your problem with Paul here in 1 Cor. 14 is that he is describing another use of tongues than just evangelism (I have also seen that in action on the mission field today). Why can’t you accept both?

    Nobody ever turns off their mind. Otherwise, why would Paul give instructions for how and when to use tongues if my mind was off? He does make a big disctinction between praying and singing “in the Spirit” and “with understanding” and apparently he wants both. He even encourages you, Mike, to speak in tongues when he exhorts you “I wish that you all spoke in tongues” and he explicitly commands you never to forbid it.

    How do we compare ourselves to cult groups? All gifts point to Jesus and the Scripture. We are worshiping Jesus Christ, the true God, and they are not. I have one, beautiful wife; they have many. Do you want me to go on?

    Your problem here is clearly with that “tongue-talking missionary Paul, and, just between you and me, I think he’s winning.

  21. Mike S says:

    I have been praying “in the spirit” for the opportunity to incorporate my Greek studies (which I have been neglecting to respond to you) into this debate…BTW I can only pray in the spirit since in my sinful nature I would never desire nor be able to submit any prayers to God. This appears to be a more biblical understanding of praying in the spirit (but I digress)…unfortunately I will just be a little behind in Greek this week.

    You seem to have the irresitable tendancy to force words into the Apostles mounth during this debate to impose your view in this debate.
    Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to just role over and accept a better interpretation. I must admit you sound very convincing, but there is just a little problem you are reading more into the text than is allowable.

    No one understood him, because no one spoke barbarian in the congregation – see vs 11. Common Albino, I know your better than that.

    I cannot accept both because the Scripture does not allow me conclude that tongues are anything but a foreign discernable language. Nonetheless, it is almost a futile debate since the gift of tongues along with all other miraculous gifts have served there purpose in God’s plan of redemption. There purpose temporary and now that the canon is complete they are no longer necessary.

    Mike S.

  22. Albino Hayford says:

    Aha! Mike finally revealed himself as a cessationist, patiently explaining to us how to operate in gifts that he doesn’t believe exist! Wow! The Apostle Paul definitely would not agree with you now, but, the good news is, you now qualify as a Southern Baptist Missionary…woo hoo!

    You and Paul simply are not going to agree on this topic (and probably many others). You admit, finally, that you are incapable of praying in the Spirit, when Paul tells us to do just that. You now deny all of us the blessing of speaking in tongues, when Paul explicitly says, “I wish you all spoke with tongues”, and now, by coming out as a classic “cessationist”, you again break with Brother Paul, and in your congregation, “forbid to speak with tongues”, directly contradicting our “tongues-talking” missionary.

    WOW! You defintely have huevos rancheros, my seminary student.

    Let me sum up: I think I’ll stick with the Apostle Paul.

    Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

  23. Mike S says:

    Okay Albino,

    You got me, but I was only trying to help…I am a “cessationist” or more accurately to put it one that takes God’s special revelation seriously. I definitely would concede that I am a chicken when it comes to claiming that I have the ability to speak or hear God’s word outside of the Scriptures. Thus, I would submit that you are the one with the huevos rancheros who claims to have the divine authority to speak God’s inerrant and infallible word immediately and directly. I commend you for having the courage to put at stake what all prophets do that is their lives as collateral that they are speaking God’s holy word.

    Not only are you sticking with the Apostle Paul…you seem to be itching to take his place with your misguided assertion that tongues are still for today and that you have the apostolic authority to go against Scripture and assert that they were not discernable languages.

    Do you really believe that God’s inerrant and infallible word is still spoken apart from Scripture? That puts you in the same club as the Bishop of Rome, the Mormon Revelator and the Prophet Mohammed. Is there a membership fee for this extra-biblical believing society?

    No my friend I am much more leery of adding to the canon of Scripture, since it is sufficient. Of course, you may not understand why it’s sufficient, but it has a lot to do with the temporary nature of the apostolic office.

    Are you asserting that the Scriptures are not sufficient, hence we need additional revelation? Essentially, this is what tongues were if you had an interpreter.

    Mike S

  24. Mike S says:

    Okay, I admit I am not as cool as you guys…my links did not copy over. However, you can click on my name Mike S below and look up: it-is-sufficent, why-its-sufficient and the-apostolic-office.

  25. [Editor:] All authority and power is given me in Blogorrhea and Word to the Wise. Now Mike’s links look cool, and the post a a smidge cleaner-looking.

  26. Davie Copp says:

    Well…the last time I ventured into this arena, my sagacious comments were ill-thought of…or thought of ill. So, at the invitation of Albino Hayford (formerly known as Albino-Shaq), I return.

    Suffice it to say that the SBC is at a very interesting juncture/crossroads at the present time. Going on way is a fully biblical faith that includes all that God offers to Humanity for their salvation…and the other way is a one that allows people to experience salvation intellectually (as in ‘I believe in…’), but not existentially via the living encounter and experience of the Holy Spirit through Spirit-baptism.

    With regards to ‘speaking in other tongues’…I think our beloved brother Albino and Paul have said it succinctly…”FORBID NOT TO SPEAK IN TONGUES”…I am not sure with how much more clarity it can be said. Regardless of all the minutiae of doctrinal distictives surrounding the act of speaking in tongues (such as is it evidence, prophesy, angelic language, at home, public, or private, etc.), the over-arching and definitive statement remains that which is found above…DO NOT DISALLOW SPEAKING IN TONGUES. If SBC missionaries are being asked to not speak in tongues…that is unbiblical…and quite sinful, I might add.

    Lastly, to agree with Paul that we are not to forbid speaking in tongues is not anti-doctrinal’…in fact, it is a sign of being fully doctrinal…just not denominational.

    With all of the love and grace that I can muster for you…


    Davie Copp

  27. Daniel B says:

    Rube, I understand your perception of less and less people practicing spiritual gifts such as prophecy and tongues at LWC, however it is not exactly as you think. again I am not sure of how it was at BMT, but here at LWC speaking in tongues is alive and well. part of the confusion may be do to the fact that we have a pre-service prayer meeting in a separate room from the main sanctuary where before when you attended it was done in the main sanctuary. I would say that about 85% percent of the 30 or so who regularly attend pre-prayer speak in tongues. Indeed this past summer we had several people recieve this gift on short term missions trips and even at care groups. Indeed, I appreciate your acknowledgment that tongues is still for today, but that you feel you haven’t been gifted with it. But I am terribly saddened by the statement that you “decided to stop going to church altogether.” Am I really reading that correctly? If so I would really love to get together with you in person some time and discuss the possibility of you coming back to LWC. I would love to have a Settergren back in the mix, you’ve always been some of my favorite people.

    As For Mike, I’m sorry that you have such a great handle on the word of God and yet no concept of the fruit of the Spirit. After all would love, accuse other churches with essentially the same doctrines regarding Salvation and the Trinity of being cults? Would Joy feel compelled to attmept to destroy someone elses spiritual gifts because it can’t understand them? Would peace really find this argument more important then the study of scriptures? Please don’t misunderstand this as an accusation, but rather a reminder of the age old truth that it is very possible to have a good doctrinal handle and a terrible attitude. It is also possible to have a terrible doctrinal handle and a good attitude. But what I hope for, from everyone is a good doctrinal handle and a good attitude. So maybe you should lay off the cult accusations unless you are truly trying to be divisive.

  28. Sigh…Mike, Mike, Mike. Like Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus, “It is hard for you to kick against the pricks.” You continue to belittle and attack, not me, but the Apostle Paul, with your fear of the supernatural.

    I think those who know me would testify that I honor and love the Scriptures as the inerrant, infallible Word of God, and final authority when judging any sermon, Bible study, manifestation, and, — lean into your computer monitor — PROPHETIC WORDS!!! Even though we are not really talking about prophecy here, I’ll address your issues will Paul on that topic as well.

    Paul instructs us to “let one speak and the others judge.” If prophetic words were infallible, why would they need to be judged at all? EVERYTHING SPOKEN in a church service must be judged by the Scripture. That is what sets Paul apart from the cult groups you mentioned.

    Even you cessationists receive words from God. You just say it differently. “I feel impressed by the Lord to say this,” or, “I feel like the Lord is leading us to start a church in Spring Valley,” or “I felt the Spirit guiding me to speak to my co-worker,” or “The Lord is opening a door for me to get a better job.” So you don’t really deny that God leads and guides us by His Spirit, you just quibble with how it is described. And any word of prophecy or sermon or Bible study, MUST be judged by Scripture, just like Paul instructs us.

    In our group, I tell people that no one is allowed to say, “God told me.” They have to say, “I feel like the Lord is saying,” which leaves every word open to be judged by the rest of the body by the Scripture.

    Maybe you are just making blanket statements based on a faulty understanding of how our church functions.

    Anyway, back to speaking in tongues. As long as you are comfortable completely going against Paul’s command to “do not forbid speaking in tongues”, how many of the other Biblical commands are you comfortable violating? Sounds like some serious “pick and choose” which of Paul’s instructions Mike has decided to follow.

    I’ll stick with Paul, you and your cessationist friends can have each other.


  29. Brad says:


    I know you like to stir things up, but “Nazis” is too much stirring. You diminish the evil the Nazis did and attribute too much evil to these men at the SBC by making this comparison.How about dialing it down a notch or two?

    Take care


  30. RubeRad says:

    But I am terribly saddened by the statement that you “decided to stop going to church altogether.” Am I really reading that correctly?

    I appreciate your sincere concern DBalc, but Praise God, that was just sarcasm. I am assured that God will bring to completion the good work he started in me, and I will persevere through this lifetime, and we will together enjoy God’s presence forever in Heaven. Amen!

  31. RubeRad says:

    A little more clarification, the point of my sarcasm was to illustrate that the same logic that encourages churches to dissociate from denominations, serves just as well to encourage individual believers to dissociate from the church. Why should anybody listen to anybody else? We all have our own Bibles, don’t we? We all know how to read.

    Properly used, denominations, creeds, confessions, etc. are earthly instruments in service of the biblical need for accountability and fellowship of the whole body of Christ — beyond the level of the local congregation.

    The same tendency that avoids churches being in denominations, also avoids formal church membership. But it is biblical that I explicitly submit myself to the God-ordained authority of a pastor and elders. Should I go heretical, it is their responsibility to lovingly minister to me, admonish me, and if necessary, excommunicate me. If my pastor or elders go heretical, they are in turn accountable to elders of other churches in our regional presbytery, who in turn are accountable to the denomination-wide “general assembly” of elders — and all are accountable to scripture.

  32. Brad, I accept your rebuke and have eliminated the offensive and over-the-top language.

  33. Ben says:

    So the Pharisees who crucified Jesus are really pretty good fellows compared with Nazis?

    Although I disagree with the position of the SBC, let me ask you Jim if you would allow an officer in your church to practice something that the church considered unbiblical? For example, what if an elder were giving his infant child communion at his house? Or what if he baptized said infant at his house. Would that kind of behavior be tolerated?

    Said another way: Is it really surprising that the SBC would seek to bar candidates from practicing something that was at odds with official doctrinal? In my opinion, the silliest part is that there is a grandfather clause that allows existing missionaries to practice something that goes against their doctrine.


  34. Carlos says:

    I attended a Christan and Missionary Alliance college which had an even stranger stance on tongues – quite inconsistent. “Seek not, forbid not.” Trying to have their feet in both camps, strike a balance, they were going to be unbiblical by everyone’s standards. Don’t know how they currently handle it.

  35. Mike S says:


    O boy, the last time I’ve accused of being pre-Christian Paul is by a Mormon missionary. What a coincidence does the extra-biblical believing society (EBS) share the same playbook? (Daniel, I’m not classifying you guys as a cult, I am just pointing out that your susceptible to being led away – see this for further clarification Why-orthodox-christians-are-converting-to-mormonism-chapter-3)

    Man, I wish Jeff Suppan was throwing meat balls in the division series like Albino and David are currently doing. Would you guys hold with as much veracity Paul’s command that women wear head-dress? Or here is another EBS favorite, how about John 10 “you are gods”. Are we to now make a blanket assertion that we are headed towards god-hood? Context, Context, Context this is what separates the men from the boys in biblical interpretation. Let’s start by letting the clear interpret the unclear with the language issue.

    It seems like you guys are paying more attention to the little fleas and ignoring the 800 lb gorilla in the room, Hebrews 1:1-2 (really look at this why-its-sufficient). We need to start from the beginning and understand what special revelation is, how it was authenticated and what its pinnacle event was (Christ’s death, burial and resurrection).

    I believe you guys are brothers in the Lord, but I think you are misguided in your view of special revelation and are not realizing the significance of the New Testament. My flag is firmly planted in God’s perfect, holy and complete revelation, which is sufficient until He returns in glory.

    Mike S

  36. Mike S says:


    As it relates to terminology about being “feelings” led, I personally refrain from it. This is too subjective and not be trusted as a source of direction, in my opinion. Too close to the burning of the bosom claim. The only things that can be trusted, is the objective word of God that has been “once for all delivered to the saints.”

    Mike S

  37. Daniel B says:

    But see Mike youa re being “feelings” led. You feel like the command to forbid not speaking in tongues is an unclear passage that needs to be interepreted by other passages (Which passages support your claim we are all still waiting for). The biggest joke of all is the idea that tongues served their purpose for a time. What time was that? the time between when they were practiced and the closing of the canon? If so at what point do you consider the canon closed? 397 (Council of Carthage) or 367 (Athanasius letter)? Surely you will date it much earlier time, probably around 95. So then why was God so concerned about the practice of tongues during the next 25 to 30 years that he give instructions on the proper practice of them instead of instructions to stop practicing them? This seems like an awful big waste of time. But then again maybe he meant for his words to be applicable to all generations? Who is the one questioning the sufficiency of the scripture? Probably the one denying its applicability.

  38. Albino Hayford says:

    Mike, My Dear Seminarian, is the volume of your ipod turned up too high TO READ MY POSTS? Do you have an obsession with Mormon theology? Mormons use the “burning bosom” excuse to prove that the Book of Mormon is true. My “burning bosom” simply proves that I shouldn’t have eaten garlic hot wings. The difference is obvious, if you had read my posts, young seminarian. WE JUDGE ALL SERMONS, BIBLE STUDIES, WORDS OF PROPHECIES, AND BLOG ENTRIES BY THE WORD OF GOD. The Mormons do not. You got it exactly backwards. Why else would Paul tell us to let one speak “and the others judge” if the words were 100& accurate? We judge all things, and hold fast to that which is good. Why can’t you seem to understand that? Wow…

    You, on the other hand, are exhibiting “bi-polar theology”, when you keep standing up and waving the flag of the Scripture, while, at the same time, denying and disobeying Paul’s direct command to “forbid not to speak with tongues”. So you get to pick and choose which commands you obey and which commands you thumb your nose at. Wait a minute; where have I seen that before? Yes, the Jehovah’s Witnesses!!! They simply throw out verses that don’t agree with their dogma. But this is all made clear in my new book, “Why Cessationist Calvinist Weenies are Joining the Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower Society”. Whew…

    On another note, how are your mom and dad? Do you guys still fellowship with the Najeras? I played lots of bball with your dad in Rancho Bernardo and he was really proud of his athletic sons! Say hi for me.

    Your Biblical Conscience,

  39. For those of you who would like to take a break from our intramural squabbling and read an account of my debate with some Jehovah’s Witness elders – Jehovah’s Witness Showdown

  40. For those of you weary of our intramural squabbling, check out my debate with some Jehovah’s Witness Elders “”

  41. Mike S says:

    Ole! I guess this must be another EBS tactic – when you can’t answer the question just pretend you’re a matador and let the bull pass by. Since your apparently afraid to deal with Hebrews 1:1-2 lets continue to pile on to the burden your WEAK defenses have to withstand. Let’s look at Ephesians 3:1-7:

    1For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles– 2assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. 6This mystery is[a] that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

    Note that Paul is discriminating between who is entitled to receive revelation. Also look Hebrews 2:1-4, for the purpose of sign gifts:

    1Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

    Essentially, God’s special revelation was proclaimed by authorized agent (Apostles and Prophets) throughout history. God’s people knew they could trust these words through the performance of signs and wonder, which authenticated the message. Once the last commissioned Apostle died and all the canonical writings were complete the need for these signs passed. I’ve been conducting a series on revelation for the last three month, which if you read I submit that you all will find to be biblical.

    I still like to hear your position on women and head covering and baptism of the dead, which have as much evidence as you claim to have. Also, I’d like to hear if you believe that God’s inerrant and infallible word is being spoken outside of Scripture.

    Daniel, I invite you to review my post on the canon for a response to your questions.

    Mike S

  42. Mike S says:

    For some reason my last entry showed up in # 21

  43. Mike, your last post got sent into spam…did you save a copy, or please offer it again. Sorry.

  44. Sorry about the mix-op on post order…I finally corrected the clock on my blog, but then all the posts got out of order, so I just reset it back to the wrong time. Those of you obsessed with this topic, go back to my home page and check out a new post on the Cowboys and a humorous phone message for a pastor.

  45. Mike, the passage you quoted has nothing to do with the topic at hand — literally, nothing! I’m just stunned. The Christians in Corinth were prophesying in their public meetings, and Paul wrote down rules for doing so. He never said, “That’s enough, fellas…I’m the only big-shot qualified to prophesy around here!” Again, we JUDGE ALL WORDS OF PROPHECY WITH THE SCRIPTURE. You can’t seem to grasp this principle.

    Your theory about “sign gifts” passing away has been disproved years ago (I had profs disproving that theory when I was in college before you were born). In every passage where lists of the gifts appear, they are all mixed together in a huge soup, no artificial separation of what you call “sign gifts”.

    Don’t be afraid of the Holy Spirit, Mike. The Bible will always be our guide and final authority.

    Your Biblical Conscience,

  46. Daniel B says:

    Mike Says,

    “I still like to hear your position on women and head covering and baptism of the dead, which have as much evidence as you claim to have.”

    This is from a guy who baptizes infants?

    “Also, I’d like to hear if you believe that God’s inerrant and infallible word is being spoken outside of Scripture.”

    Is this a for real question? If it’s sarcasm I don’t get it, but if you really think that anyone thinks that then you have truly demonstrated that you haven’t listened to anything anyone said you are just blanketing people who believe in and have the gift of speaking in tongues into a “they don’t beleive the infallibility of the scriptures.” In my personal experience the people who question the authority, infalibility and accuracy of the scriptures the most are the ones studying greek. They always have some statement like, “what this verse is REALLY saying…” My Greek teacher in Bible College (a wesminster alumni) was notorious for having us look at a passage in NIV, or KJV and even once in NASB and telling us WHY this interpretation was inaccurate according to his study of the greek manuscript. You haven’t done that yet have you Mike?

  47. RubeRad says:

    Are you saying the Greek doesn’t get us closer to the original intent of the writer than English? Why then did you take Greek?

  48. Daniel B says:

    I took Greek partly because it was a requirement for graduation. I will admit that I found it quite interesting and I spent considerable hours studying and learning much about it. However part of my fascination with Greek was because of the idea that I might unlock some type of meaning that had been previously unclear to me or to others. I still refer to my Greek New Testament often in sermon preparation, but quite frankly I am not sure why. I have never found anything through the Greek that was not clear in the English translations especially the NIV.

    One watershed moment in my life came when i read the preface to the NIV translation of the Bible and realized that the amount of time, effort and scrutiny involved in it’s completion was far more accurate then i could ever come with. Not to mention that it came at the hands of brilliant scholars who happened to be members of nearly all orthodox denominations under the authority of a self-governing body (No sectarian bias, hence tongues is still in there). The main thing I learned was (in answering Rubes question) that I would never get closer to the original intent of God by studying ancient Greek, because i’m NOT an ancient Greek. I’m an American, I speak English. It is my “heart language” and will always be the clearest and best way for me to understand the Word of God and for God to speak to me. If you disagree and feel like 4 or 5 years of Greek is going to make the Bible clearer to you then go right ahead and disagree, but really, honestly, logically????? If we believe in the faithfulness of God to bring about infallible revelation through men without violating their personalities, can we not also belive that he desires we understand that Word and hence provide for all people (without regard to education)the ability to understand it as he intends?

    It seems strange to me that we affirm the miraculous preservation of the scriptures but deny God’s work in accuratley translating it. we deny it so much that we feel like WE can learn enough to be the accurate translators.

    And BTW even with the greatest knowledge of Greek and Hebrew that anyone can and does gain they still seem to lean towards the doctrinal opinions that they held before thier studies (or the ones that their Greek professors hold). Then they trumpet their position as fact because THEY have studied the Greek (Experiences I have had with JWS).

  49. Daniel B says:

    Couple of great quotes from William Tyndale:

    I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.

    If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who drives the plough to know more of the scriptures than you do.

    Of course he was convicted of heresy for his ridiculous notions of commoners being able to read the Bible in their own language and was burned at the stake.

  50. […] How timely to have a debate going on here in light of our current topic?  Today we will continue to examine the implications of our belief in the sufficiency of Scripture as outlined in Article 7 of the Belgic Confession.  In our last entry we discussed the cessation of the apostolic office, today we review the cessation of miracles and more specifically the gift of tongues.  (For more on miracles in general see this entry whos-to-say-part-2).   […]

  51. Mike S says:


    My point was to get you guys to see you that sometimes it takes a little bit more study and reflection to come to biblical conclusions (like the Trinity). You keep asserting that I am disagreeing with Paul, yet there other statements in Scripture that need to be analyzed within the scope of the entire Scripture (i.e. women in headress, etc).

    Anyway, I invite everyone to review, challenge and/or provide feedback on my latest post:


    The passages I quoted have a lot to do with this issue. Are you appealing to man (professors) rather than Scripture? I don’t think anything has been disproven.

  52. Daniel B says:

    Mike, of course it takes study and reflection to come to biblical conclusions. It is your assumption that none of us have studied the scriptures that we find so offensive. The point is that everyone involved in this debate has studied the scriptures, in fact half the people on this thread are clergy. As far as this topic goes the burden of proof is placed on the cessationist because scripture does not clearly support the elimination of tongues, miracles, prophesy, discernment, healing etc. If it did then there certainly would be no debate. Unfortunatley you have subscribed to a weaker version of Christianity that refuses to acknowledge the power of God in everything except salvation. BTW what doe think of people who speak in tongues or who have experienced miracles? Do you go with the demmon possesion theory or just the dillusional radicals?

  53. Albino Hayford says:

    Mike, if you won’t even posit that God does miracles and that His Spirit directs people today, then there is really no point continuing our discussion. That is a tacit rejection of the Apostle Paul’s teaching, which is to allow the gifts to operate, but judge them by the Scripture. Your eagerness to throw all of them out the window is sad and misguided. It’s like driving a car and having somebody screaming from the side of the road that my car doesn’t exist.

    I will be glad to continue the discussion of the Baptist ban on private speaking in tongues, or even a discussion on how tongues are to function, but if you are totally denying that God gives his people the gifts mentioned in the New Testament, I can really do nothing more to help you. You really have left Paul’s teaching, and we at least have to agree on Paul’s rules for public meetings.

  54. Mike S says:


    Nobody has dealt with the  800 lb gorilla in the room . I think Hebrews 1:1 is something those who hold to continued special revelation need to deal with.

    As for your question it is hard for me to respond to people who are so emotionally invested in their theological persuasion without hurting their feelings. My response, though, is that I cannot exegete experience only God’s Word, which was once for all delivered to the saints.

    As for the original languages please see (, which has an interesting take on tongues as well. Please note the NIV is not the nearly inspired version, only the original languages were truly inspired. That’s why it is important to learn them.

    Please take a look at today’s post referenced in my earlier comment today. I would like to get your perspective on this.

    Mike S.

  55. Mike S says:


    I am sorry, but what you are advocating leaves an open canon of Scripture. I cannot accept this and it is sad that you continually take the Apostle Paul out of context.

    The word Trinity is nowhere in the Bible either, however that does not diminish its veracity as a biblcial doctrine. Unfortunately, you are refusing to see what the role of miracles, spiritual gifts and prophecy is in redemptive history. God commands in His word to sacrifice animals, however we do not do that any longer. God commands males to be circumcised, however we are not required to do that any longer. I could go on, but I hope that you understand the point. Scriptures cannot be interpreted in a vacuum, it needs to take into account the whole counsel of God.

    Debating what the Bible means makes us all sharper and better Christians, I hope that you are not saying that just because this may be a touchy subject for you that you are unwilling to contend earnestly for the faith. I would really like to get your perspective on the relation between tongues and the covenant.

    Mike S.

  56. Daniel B says:

    Mike, upon careful review of your website I have to query, how does that hypothesis make any sense when tongues continued long after the day of pentecost and never with the accompanying flames? It’s like you just jump to the last paragraph…

    In conclusion, not only did this sign gift pass out use in the Church at the closing of the canon it was also a sign to unbelieving Israel. Once unbelieving Israel received the judgment for covenant unfaithfulness, this sign of judgment was no longer necessary.”

    Without even bothering to establish any foundation. I guess you figrued no one would acctually read the argument, or that they would at least fall asleep and wake up at your conclusion and say,”Well gee I guess that makes sense.”

    It may have been a decent argument had the experience of tongues only happened once, not 3 times in Acts and clearly as a routine practice in Paul’s life as well as the entire Corinthian church.

    One more thing, In the Belgic confession, can you explain to me what they mean in article 28 …

    “as mutual members of the same body, serving to the edification of the brethren, according to the talents God has given them”

    The reason I am confused is that the phrase sounds like it comes from I Corinthians 12 except, that can’t be beacuse Paul is talking about spiritual gifts there, not talents. And Spiritual gifts aren’t for today so how could the reformed Church of America subscribe to such an article?

  57. Mike,

    The reason we can’t have a discussion on this topic is that you refuse to obey the most forthright and direct commands of Paul to the church regarding public meetings and the operation of the gifts. We’re not quibbling about Greek words, here. His words are obvious, “Forbid not speaking in tongues”. If you can’t recognize even the most straightforward of Paul’s admonitions to the church, then we are definitely not on the same page and debate would be a waste of time.

    If you read the same New Testament I do, and come to the conclusion that God does not do miracles today, and that all the wonderful gifts for the edification of the church that Paul instructs us to use, are indeed not for our use, I can’t help you. It would be as silly as me driving past you in a car, and you screaming at me that I can’t be driving a car because they don’t exist. A pointless exercise.

    Any discussion on that basis, would just be silly; because one of us is recognizing Paul’s (and the Bible’s) authority, and one isn’t.

    I would plead with you to see Jesus for Who He is: Alive, Powerful, and actively working through His people in the world today — saving, filling, healing, and delivering.

  58. Finally, you simply fail to hear what I continue to tell you about the Bible. It is our FINAL AUTHORITY AND JUDGE OF ALL SERMONS, BIBLE STUDIES, BLOGS ENTRIES AND WORDS OF PROPHECY. Please, if you forget everything else, remember that. Why else would Paul say, “Let one speak and the others judge,” if the words were 100% accurate every time?

  59. Ben,

    The SBC has had a long-standing, hands-off position relating to how pastors and missionaries “pray in the spirit” privately. While it is true that no public tongues is standard in the SBC, up to this point, they have allowed each pastor and missionary the right to pray in the spirit in their devotional time. Because of a few radical members of the board of trustees, now they are meddling in the private quiet time of each missionary. This, in my opinion, goes too far.

    If one of our leaders was serving the Lord’s Supper to infants, I would have him checked into the hospital for a complete work-up.

  60. Mike S says:


    That is great point “with the thoughts you’ve been thinking you could be another Lincoln…” Unfortunately, you completely demolished a “straw man” and not my argument. Come on man, I want to here your thoughts on the significance of Paul quoting Isaiah in your guy’s flagship passage? As for the subsequent tongue speaking events in Acts they all happened while Peter and Paul were alive. It is most probable that each died before the destruction of the temple in AD 70…and I didn’t want to make it more confusing but the final razing of Jerusalem to the ground and expulsion of the Jews happened around AD 135.

    These subsequent tongue speaking events in Acts are also significant in God’s plan of redemption, which was to bring the Gospel to Gentiles Colossian 1:24-29:

    Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

    As for the Belgic Confession, this is a case where you are again reading your “latter rain” theology into a great orthodox confession. It may surprise you to know that most of orthodoxy throughout history has been on my side of the argument. Of course, you do share the same side as the Roman Church on this issue.

    Can we please get to the substance of the argument?


    Are you intentionally avoiding the Hebrews 1:1-2? You keep repeating the same thing over and over and not addressing the 800 lb gorilla.

    And I know the head covering thing is getting old, so do you also take this Scripture literally?

    No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 1 John 3:9

    This could defend perfectionism.

    Or this 1 Cor 15:22:

    For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

    This could defend universal salvation

    Or this Matt 5:20:

    For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    This could defend salvation by works.

    Or this Matt 5:29-30:

    If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

    This could defend self-mutilation.

    Let’s comment on the significance of Paul quotation of Isaiah

  61. Daniel B says:

    The significance of Paul quoting Isaiah? I don’t know maybe he is establishing the biblical authority and reality of speaking in tongues? Anyone disagree with that? Ok so whats your point? What bridge do you use to get from point A (Tongues are a sign from God) to point B (Signs are no longer necessary)? I think it must be Hebrews 1:1-2 since you keep bringing it up. “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” Again does anyone deny this? NO, not at all. We all agree that Christ is the zenith of God revelation to man. How is this passage or the Isaiah passage at all applicable to say that tongues no longer exists? Your bridge isn’t even a rope swing that you could hope to launch yourself over. In fact it actually disproves your point since the timing of it is the “last days” which we all agree is NOW! And it is in these last days that the New Testament Church was living in Acts 2:17ff (quoting Joel). So you hace to decide if either A, the last days ended with the closing of the canon or B, the commands of the New Testatment are applicable since we are living in the last days or C, They aren’t applicable, only the ones that fit into your narrowminded perception of the covenant of God and make sense to you are applicable.

    When are the last days? What is the limit of God’s working in the last days? if it is the canon then why the heck do we have pastors? Wouldn’t a sermon fall into the exact same catergory that you are accusing tongues of? I hope your church does nothing more than direct scripture reading.

    BTW is it because you can’t answer about the Belgic confession that you erect your straw man (latter rain theology)? I think it is a very valid question to find out what is meant by “talents”. What is the diffrence between talents and gifts?

  62. RubeRad says:

    You guys are going in circles. I would like to refocus this discussion, not around WHETHER we should/may speak in tongues, but WHAT is (or was) biblical speaking in tongues?

    In Mark 16:17, “they will speak in new tongues”, does that mean new to themselves (i.e. a previously unknown foreign language), or new to the whole world (babble)?

    In Acts 2:11, when the others said “we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God,” was the Holy Ghost causing the pentecostals to miraculously utter foreign languages, or was the Holy Ghost causing the others to miraculously understand babble (would God give the spiritual gift of interpretation to those not yet saved?)

    In 1 Cor 12:10 (and 12:28) “to another various kinds of tongues”, what are different kinds of tongues? Different foreign languages, or different kinds of babble? How is one babble different from another babble?

    In 1 Cor 13:8: When will tongues cease?

    In 1 Cor 14:13-15:

    13Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

    Whether tongues actually means foreign languages or babble — either way here, Paul does not here unreservedly endorse private tongues. The reason Paul prays “with my spirit, but with my mind also”, is because he is also gifted by the Holy Spirit with the “power to interpret”. Anybody “who speaks in tongues should pray for the power to interpret.” Otherwise, their spirit prays, but their mind is unfruitful. Which is not a good thing. Paul is extending the need for interpretation in church services here also to private prayer.

    This is where I see the problem. Where, today, is the interpretation? I have observed thousands of instances of people speaking in tongues, but maybe only two or three times have I ever seen an interpretation offered. I don’t have any statistics on how often people pray for the “power to interpret”, but I’m guessing it’s close to nonexistent. There is no apparent desire to edify the mind as well as the spirit; people are content to just pray in tongues and remain unedified, which is exactly what Paul says is BAD.

    In 1 Cor 14:22: “Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers” — what makes more sense as a sign to unbelievers (what was the sign to unbelievers in Acts 2:11) — foreign languages, or babble? I’ll give you a hint. Paul answers this question in the verses before, (as Mike noted), by quoting Isaiah:

    20Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers

    Paul basically says “Anybody who thinks that God has a use for uninterpreted tongues is immature and childish in their thinking”.

    To sum up, I’ll conclude (a) Biblical tongues was supernatural ability to speak in a foreign language (b) (this is entirely concordant with the explosion of God’s chosen people from a single people/language group to people of all nations) (c) (this is entirely concordant with the sign of reversing Babel) (d) Paul condemned tongues without interpretation — in public, and in private. (e) Modern tongues-talkers need to do a lot less speaking in tongues, and a lot more praying for power to interpret.

  63. Ok, this will be my last entry on this subject. I will leave this thread open for others who want to keep commenting, or Mike can invite bloggers to his site for more debate, but, in my opinion, we are talking past each other and this is becoming unhelpful all the way around.

    Let me sum up Paul’s teaching, and, by default, my teaching. I have said much of this before, but I guess I have to say it again, since nobody seems to be grasping it.

    Paul makes clear that “he that speaks in a tongue edifies himself” and “speaks mysteries to God”, and “gives thanks”. Paul says “I speak in tongues more than all of you” and says, “I would that all of you would speak in tongues.” Paul also says, “In a public meeting I would rather speak in a known tongue”. Paul’s call for interpretation, Reuben, is for PUBLIC settings, so as not to confuse those who don’t understand. If Paul spoke in tongues “more than the Corinithians”, but limited himself to known tongues in public meetings, it is more than logical to deduce that he saved his tongues for private prayer — where interpretation would not be required.

    Those of you who believe we are adding to the canon when we prophesy or speak in tongues must believe, then, that all the Corinthian believers were adding to the canon when they prophesied or spoke in tongues. Let me say this a final time, and please listen carefully: ALL PROPHECIES, SERMONS, BIBLE STUDIES OR BLOG ENTRIES MUST BE JUDGED BY THE SCRIPTURE. Why else would Paul say, “Let one speak and the others judge,” if the words were always perfect and canonical? Obviously, that wasn’t the case! Paul told Timothy, “Fight the good fight of fatih by the prophetic words that were given to you when the body of elders laid their hands on you.” — were those prophetic words canonical too? No, they were for Timothy.

    Prophetic words do not add to the canon; they are judged by the canon. LEARN THE DIFFERENCE!!!!

    So our response should be, “Let ALL THINGS BE DONE decently and in order, and FORBID NOT SPEAKING IN TONGUES.”

    Reuben, your introduction of the long-discredited use of I Corinthians 13 to argue for cessationism is sad. Paul, in a poetic passage about love, says that tongues and knowlege will pass away when “that which is perfect” comes. He explains what that is further down when he says, “face to face” we will know even as we are fully known. That clearly is talking about the perfect state with Christ when we see Him “face to face”. No serious scholar would ever try to shoe-horn the completed canon in there anymore. Even Walvoord, and, of course, Piper have repudiated that “weak-as-coolaid” exegisis. No mention of the Bible, no mention of the canon, no mention of even the word “Scripture”. Preposterous and horrible hermeneutics.

    Speaking of terrible hermeneutics, give me a break, Mike. Hebrews 1 as a defense of cessationism? WHAT??? Prophecy was taking place while that letter was written and after that letter was written. We agree with every word of those verses. “In the last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” Of course, He has! And His Son gave gifts to men — read Ephesians 4.

    I will close with my own personal testimony of how the Holy Spirit has ministered to me over my lifetime by His power. At the most difficult times in my life, when I couldn’t even talk for the pain, I cried out to God in the Spirit and prayed for hours, and felt the strength of Almighty God encourage me and drive me to the Scriptures for comfort.

    On one ocassion my Mom was especially lonely and hurting, she went forward for prayer in a church in Mexico City. A humble Mexican woman was kneeling in prayer next to her, and after a few minutes, she lifted her head and sang in perfect English, without an accent, the hymn “Sailing on the Stormy Seas“. God spoke to my mom’s heart in a special way and comforted her. This woman had never spoken English before or since, and had no idea what she was singing. Was she writing the canon of Scripture? No, she was simply a vessel for God to comfort my mom. Was this the devil, comforting mom through false tongues? Jesus said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” when the Pharisees told Him that Satan did the miracles He performed.

    I will take just a few minutes here and again appeal to you as a brother to not be carried away by those who would deny you the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Now, more than ever, we need God’s power and all the gifts He gave the church for our edification.

    The Bible is always the final authority that judges every word, sermon, Bible study, dream, book or blog entry, but God still reserves the right to communicate with His people, any time He wishes.

  64. This thread is now closed. Both Mike and Reuben have offered to host further debate on their blogs:

    Reuben’s Blog

    Mike’s Blog

    Apostle Paul’s Thoughts

  65. […] We continue the debate going on here and exploring the implications of our belief in the sufficiency of Scripture as outlined in Article 7 of the Belgic Confession.  In our last entry we discussed the implications this has on the relation between the gift of tongues and the covenant.  Today we would like to pick up on a common theme in many of the verses quoted yesterday, which is the idea of a foundation.  However, before we go any further we need to challenge a statement that has been made:     Finally, you simply fail to hear what I continue to tell you about the Bible.  It is our FINAL AUTHORITY AND JUDGE OF ALL SERMONS, BIBLES STUDIES, BLOGS ENTRIES AND WORDS OF PROPHECY.  […]

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