The Sign Gifts – Speaking in Tongues - 1

God’s Spiritual Gifts to Believers at the Beginning of the Church Age

1 Corinthians 12:28-31


I.         Introduction to Tongues


A.      The Charismatic Movement is a doctrinal split among “Pentecostal” churches during the 20th Century toward the spiritual gifts that were temporarily given to the Apostles as “signs” to Israel.

B.       The main distinctive is the charismatic’s emphasis on speaking in tongues. Other characteristics of the movement include


1.        Promoting special gifts of healing

2.        A prosperity gospel

3.        And the possibility of one losing their salvation.


C.       The Battle for Unity


1.        1 Corinthians 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

2.        1 Corinthians 3:3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

3.        1 Corinthians 11:18  For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

4.        Romans 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

5.        Proverbs 6:16;19  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:...he that soweth discord among brethren.


D.      When did Speaking in Tongues re-appear?


1.        The Charles Parham ministry in Topeka, Kansas, and the Bethel Bible Institute (around 1898).  At his school Parham taught that the Holy Spirit could be received through the laying on of hands.  On December 31, 1900, a woman asked Parham to put his hands on her for the Baptist of the Holy Spirit.  The woman (a student) professed to have had a special baptism of the Spirit at this time and spoke in tongues.  Other students followed her example.

2.        The Azusa Street meeting in Los Angeles under W.J. Seymour.  The Azusa Street meeting marked the change from the traditional Holiness movement to the Holiness with tongues.  Seymour was a descendant of African slaves who had been brought to America.  Little else is know of his background.  He began a ministry in Los Angles, CA.


a.        He held his first meeting in a house on Bonnie Brae Street on April 9, 1906.  From there he went to an abandoned Methodist Church at 312 Azusa Street.

b.       From 1906-1909, he was the central figure in the Azusa Street Meeting of Los Angeles.  Crowds came for some four years, looking for salvation, sanctification, the baptism of the Spirit, and healing as taught by Seymour.  One of the earliest names of the place was Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission.  It became a Pentecostal Mecca.

c.        These services were characterized by both male and female preachers.  The “Spirit of God” was “seen” falling upon people.  The power of God fell and every one was caught up in the Spirit and visions of God.  Several had a vision of the Saviour.  He held a book in His hand.  They saw the nail prints and the blood trickling down while He wrote their names in the book with the blood that ran down from His pierced hands.

d.       One would wonder whether this was an hallucination rather than a vision.  Are people able to see God and Christ today?  Is Christ presently bleeding in Heaven?

e.        Practically all of the Pentecostal groups in existence can trace lineage to the Azusa Street Mission.  In 1914, the Assemblies of God was organized, and for many years, it was the largest of the Pentecostal groups.  As a conservative estimate, it is held that at the present time there are about four mission Pentecostals in the U.S. found in thrity different Pentecostal groups.


3.        Emotionalism rather than Bible exposition, experience rather than Bible teachings, hysterical sessions and claims of visions, tongues, prophecies, and a special baptism have made Biblically informed Christians decidedly reject the movement.


E.       Tongues Speaking Is Not Restricted To Christendom


1.        Ecstatic utterances have been described by practitioners of the mystery cults of the Greco-Roman era.  Such a method of revelation was used by the oracle of Delphi not far from the city of Corinth. Several of the religions of the far East practice speaking in ecstatic languages, which on the surface at least appears very similar to the present-day Pentecostal type of experience.  Even some of the practices of the spiritualistic mediums and voodoo witch doctors closely resemble behavior patterns evidenced in certain Pentecostal fringe groups. 

2.        Speaking unintelligible language is found among non-Christians, of that there can be no doubt.  Take the Zulus…Tongues-speaking has also been found among Moslems.  It was the practice of Mormons from their early days, and it is also found among spiritualist mediums and schizophrenics.  In addition, it is found among former Pentecostals who have completely renounced their faith and tongues.  In the ancient Mediterranean world, speaking with tongues was well known.

3.        The present growth of unscriptural religions movement including the Charismatic Movement is satanic in its nature and creates an alienation from Biblical faith.  Such movements are forerunners of the final religious system that will join with the Roman Catholic Church to form the end-time religious system of the Whore which will worship the Beast and the image that speaks in the Tribulation Period.


II.       Message – Introducing the Gift of Speaking in Tongues


A.      What are Tongues?


1.        Languages (Gen 10:20)

2.        In the Bible, they are always known languages

3.        To Charismatics, they are mainly heavenly languages


B.       There are 3 basic interpretations of Biblical tongues.


1.        It was a sign gift that fulfilled it's purpose and is no longer applicable today. This is the position that we hold as Independent Baptist, and will demonstrate from Scripture in these messages.

2.        It was a sign gift that is still applicable today, but must follow Biblical guidelines.


a.        This view is held pretty much by what we call "old-line Pentecostals".  There are very few of these around today because they are a dying breed.  The problem with this crowd is they claim to be 'Biblical' in their tongues, but unfortunately embrace other unscriptural practices such as women speaking in tongues, women preachers, and other practices. 

b.       They adhere more to the 1 Cor. 14 set of guidelines than most Charismatics, but misinterpret the tongues as a heavenly language as opposed to a literal foreign language.  We will deal with this in detail a little later on.


3.        It is a gift meant for all believers with no rules, limitations, Biblical authority or explanations.


a.        This is the attitude of the large majority of the modern day Charismatics.  The only absolute is their experience.  They have no Bible to back up their beliefs, therefore they open themselves up for more error, such as slaying in the Spirit, dancing in the Spirit, miracle healers, manifestations, and so forth. 

b.       This crowd typically justify their experience with passionate expressions of conviction but have no Bible for it.



Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church

Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland