What’s Wrong with Modern Tongues – Part 1

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

1Corinthians 13:8


I.         Introduction to Tongues


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

B.       Church History Chart

1.        Christianity is a line of Bible Believers

2.        During dark Ages, Bible Believers were called ana-baptists

3.        In the 1700’s people looked to personal holiness as the goal of Christianity instead of evangelism

4.        After becoming disillusioned with holiness, people become infatuated with the Spiritual gifts - Pentacostals

C.       Their main doctrine is their emphasis on speaking in tongues as proof that they have the evidence of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Other characteristics of the movement include:


1.        Believing in special gifts of healing

2.        Promoting a prosperity type of gospel

3.        And accepting the possibility of one losing their salvation


II.       Background


A.      What are Tongues according to the Bible?


1.        Languages (Gen 10:20) - In the Bible, they are always known languages

2.        To speak with other tongues means to be able to communicate with someone in their language even though you never learned their language – that’s why it is called an unknown tongue – unknown to you!

3.        But, to Charismatics, they are mainly heavenly languages that they speak to God with – and it doesn’t matter that no one in the entire movement can miraculously speak with a known language that is unknown to them!


B.       Last time, we carefully examined some undisputed, undeniable facts.


C.       Preview – What’s Wrong With Modern Tongues


1.        It is wrong in IT’S EMPHASIS (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-14).

2.        It is wrong in IT’S ASSUMPTIONS.


D.      Next Week we will look at how it is Wrong


1.        It is wrong DISPENSATIONALLY



III.     Message – What’s Wrong With Modern Tongues


A.      Over EMPHASIS (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-14).


1.        Christ is to have the preeminence in all things, NOT the Holy Spirit (Col 1:18-19).

2.        It is Jesus that is Lord… not the Holy Spirit!


a.        It is Christ that died… not the Holy Spirit!

b.        It is Jesus who earned the worship of all men everywhere

c.        Prayer is to God the Father, through the name of Jesus Christ, by means of the power of the Holy Spirit

d.        Some people get all bent out of shape because they don’t understand  what all the issue is about – they all three are ONE GOD, so what’s the difference? Well, Jesus is the deciding factor now


1)       If you try and worship the Father, but without acknowledging the Son, you are lost (John 5:23)!

2)       If you try and worship the Son, and do not worship the Father, then you are out of order (John 5:24)

3)       If you worship the Holy Spirit, you are completely out of order!


3.        By-the-way, Jesus Christ never spoke in tongues. He spoke in Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic and Latin – but never in an unknown tongue!!!

4.        Did you know, that in the Bible…


a.        Only 4 books out of 66 mention the gift of tongues (Isaiah, Mark, Acts, 1 Corinthians).

b.        Only 8 chapters out of 1,189 make reference to tongues.

c.        Only 27 verses out of 31,162 mention tongues (.001%)

d.        Hmmmmmm. Tongues are not a very important subject after all!


5.        Of all the spiritual gifts Tongues is the least important (1 Cor. 12:28, 31)… and yet it is the MAIN “gift” emphasized in almost all Pentecostal churches


B.       Wrong ASSUMPTIONS. The ability to speak in “unknown” tongues leads to many false assumptions


1.        Tongues are NOT an evidence of the fullness of the Spirit or a person’s spirituality. This is a MAJOR ERROR!


a.        Several people in the Bible were said to be “full of the Holy Ghost”, yet they never spoke in “tongues “


1)       Joshua (Dt 34:9)

2)       The prophet Micah (Micah 3:8)

3)       John the Baptist (Lk 1:15)

4)       Elizabeth (Lk 1:41)

5)       Zecharias (Lk 1:67)

6)       Jesus Christ (Luke 4:1)

7)       Stephen, Philip and 5 other deacons (Acts 6)

8)       Barnabas (Acts 11:24)

9)       Peter and the whole church (Acts 4:8, 31)


b.        Who were the ones who did speak with tongues


1)       The twelve apostles in Acts 2 – not all 120 believers (Act 2:7)

2)       Cornelius and his family in Acts 10:44-46 – Hebrew, because Pater and the others understood what they were saying!

3)       The Ephesian Disciples in Acts 19:6

4)       The Corinthian Church – they spoke abundantly in tongues yet they were the most carnal, worldly, backslidden, divided church the Apostle Paul wrote to. Not a very good source to look to for spirituality!


c.        You would think if tongues was such an important sign of spirituality, it would be emphasized much more, but it is NOT!


2.        Tongues were NOT an “ecstatic heavenly prayer language.” They were definite actual foreign languages (Acts 2:4-12; 1Cor 12, 13, 14).


a.        “diversities of tongues” (1Cor 12:28) different human languages.

b.        “other tongues” (1Cor 14:21) other human languages than what the speaker knew how to speak.

c.        “unknown tongue” (1Cor 14:2, 4) a foreign language unknown to those who have never learned to speak it. However, what he is speaking is known to the speaker, otherwise how could he be edified by it (v. 4).

d.        “new tongues” (Mk 16:17) a foreign language other than a man’s native tongue.

e.        “tongues of angels” (1Cor 13:1) is probably Hebrew. Even if there were some kind of angelic heavenly language unknown to men, it would be unlawful to utter it (2 Cor 12:2-4; Rev 10:4). Paul never said he spoke with the tongues of angels. He was using a hypotheti­cal scenario illustrating the importance of love over oratorical ability.

f.         “groaning which cannot be uttered” (Rom 8:26) is exactly that! It cannot be uttered (cf. Rom 8:22, 23) – it is NOT a supernatural heavenly language.


3.        Tongues are NOT the initial evidence of the “baptism in the Holy Ghost” (cf. 1Cor 12:12-13, 27; Eph 5:18-25). What is the evidence of the filling of the Holy Spirit?

a.        Christ-likeness

b.        Boldness and courage in witnessing

c.        Love for the brethren

4.        Tongues are NOT the “baptism with fire” (cf. Mt 3:11; Acts 1:5).

5.        Tongues are NOT to be sought after (1Cor 12:28-31; 14:39). They were not to be forbidden, but they were not a treasure to have – only souls are!

6.        Tongues are NOT for every believer (1Cor 12:11, 28-30).

7.        Tongues are NOT for the benefit of the believer (1Cor 14:21-22). They were for unbelieving Jews to see that Gentiles were given a supernatural gift solely to humiliate the Jews, so they would get saved!


IV.    Conclusion


A.      The spiritual gift of Tongues was so powerful a proof to the Jews that God’s plan had culminated with the cross, and that the Jews needed to now get in on believing the Messiah had now come

B.       It was also used to witness to and win people and languages the world over in the first century

C.       But it finished its purpose

D.      The work is left to believers who have to still go to the world, and learn its languages and cultures, and reach people one by one with the message that Jesus Saves Sinners


Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church

Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland