Tongues And Healings For Today?
click here to view my video on this subject
In 2003 I went to a meeting organized by a well-known
local evangelist/'healer.' At the time I had only been saved around a year and didn't
really know what to expect. As a former Catholic such meetings were foreign to me.
(Although Rome does have some charismatic priests/'healers,' I had never met any.)
Upon arrival there was a good 100-strong-crowd present. The usual trestle tables were
erected, selling books, tracts and videos.
We took our seats, sung a couple of great hymns,
with a very good one called Have You Met The Man From Galilee, although the
key was too high for me.
Before the main speaker of the evening was introduced,
one of his colleagues, an elderly gentleman begun by telling us how his mother-in-law,
(who was 85-years-old, and after 50 years of prayer) had finally received Jesus as
her own Saviour. Naturally we applauded this happy ending to what must have felt like
a lifetime of prayer, finally being answered.
As people were still clapping and shouting "amen,
amen" the elderly man in the pulpit began speaking in some strange 'language.' At
the time I remember thinking to myself, how he might have been speaking in Hebrew?
Of course later on I realized that he had in fact been 'speaking in tongues,' with
others around me also joining in. However, with no interpreter on hand to interpret
for me and the others, as to what these people were all saying, this group had already
violated at least two areas of Scripture, when dealing with the subject of speaking
in tongues in a local meeting (1 Cor. 14:23.)
Throughout the evening, I witnessed at first hand
people rolling around on the floor, 'repeat healings;' one woman crying as someone
tried to 'exorcise her demon;' another lady being 'healed' of some illness, to later
being found outside the building chewing gum, with another 'healed' victim puffing
away on her cigarette.
One lady told those present how she'd finally been
'healed' after visiting this 'healer' for over twenty years of arachnophobia. I came
away with mixed feelings about what I'd seen.
Two weeks later I invited myself along to this 'healers'
house-church meeting. In total there were about seven of us there. As the meeting
commenced I found myself feeling even more unsure about them and their doctrine.
I recall one 'female pastor' sitting there and when
I asked her how she justified her 'clerical position,' she and the others became rather
irritated with me. I told this 'female pastor' that it wasn't Biblical and showed
her the verses (1 Timothy 2:12-15.) I got a mute and slightly wry response.
As the service continued, we all prayed aloud for
things of importance to us. During this time more than one person 'spoke in tongues,'
and again with no interpreter. I gently pressed a man to my right, as to why he did
this and did he understand what he was saying. He told me he had "no idea what he
was saying" but seemed to enjoy it, nonetheless.
As the meeting came to a close, we had tea and biscuits
and so I found myself being able to talk to the man in question, whose house I had
attended. In brief, he tried to convince me that one mustn’t allow doctrine to get
in the way of God's supernatural miracles. He further went on to say that one of the
main reasons why people doubt 'signs and wonders' today is because they are too 'educated.'
His answers at that time didn't convince me whatsoever
and over a decade later, I still remain of the mindset that what he and others like
him are actually offering people is simply the placebo factor.
What I had seen at this meeting wasn't supernatural
healings but the same people returning week in, week out for their latest 'fix.' Nobody
was healed instantly and permanently that night (this is the only sign of an authentic
During this time I had an illness and yet I wasn't
healed by him or his associates. Was this, as some 'healers' proclaim, because I had
no faith? I think not. I had adequate faith (probably more than them) but with no
healing forthcoming, my conclusion was that such men were not anointed and neither
were others I'd investigated.
Only afterwards, and after much prayer and patience
as I waited on the Lord, did He intervene and heal me. I thanked Him profusely at
the time, and when I think about it now, I thank Him again!
As I have grown in grace since those early and impressionable
years, I’ve come to realise that the majority of those that believe in the Jewish
Apostolic sign gifts 'still being for today' are also into the prosperity gospel as
well. For them they believe and teach how God wants all His children to always be
happy, wealthy and totally free from any illness or ailment. And yet has it never
dawned on such advocates of this 'humanist' gospel that this is not in fact what God
wants for His Church. For nobody in the New Testament enjoyed such things, so why
should we in this apostate generation?
One of the most cruel and sadistic experiences that
one will ever hear about or witness in person is when a severely sick person, after
travelling land and sea to be 'healed' by a so-called 'healer,' is then blamed by
such a person for 'not having faith' to be healed in the first place. By such a person's
presence at a place of 'healing' is clear evidence in and of itself that such a person
had genuine faith to be healed. There were people in Scripture that were healed who
didn't even believe in Christ. The only ones that were never healed were those that
refused to come to Jesus in the first place to be healed.
Barry Smith, the late Pentecostal preacher, had
a daughter who suffered from schizophrenia and
dreadful depression for many years. However, Barry, who believed very strongly in
healings and tongues still being for today, wasn't able to heal his sick daughter
nor were any of his Pentecostal friends either. (Tragically his daughter committed
suicide in 2000.)
Oral Roberts was once having a healing meeting when
the tent he was in collapsed. What did he do? He called for ambulances to come and
take away the sick. He didn't heal anyone.
Recently I got talking to a Christian 'healer' in
my town whilst I was distributing Gospel tracts (something he told me he never did),
and I challenged him to go over and heal a blind busker, just 30 yards from where
we stood talking. He didn't of course, and I knew, he knew, that I knew, he wasn't
going to but I was more than happy to have been proven wrong!
There are many more sad and ridiculous stories like
this that I could recall, but as this article is solely on speaking in tongues, I
don't wish to deviate any further from the subject in hand.
Eventually I found myself having to write to this
local 'healer' but over the next six or so letters between us, I was unable to convince
him from Scripture of his errors, and so we agreed to disagree, but not before he
threatened me with legal action for what he called 'libel.' Once again he was in clear
violation of Scripture (1 Cor. 6:1-8.)
Obviously I had hit a nerve and therefore it was
time to move on and leave him and his 'ministry' behind. After
this saga, I prayed some time for him but never again would I hear from him.
The purpose of composing
this article is not to question anyone's salvation, regardless of their gender, nor
is it to cause any undue pain or division to the true Christ of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What I am primarily interested in however, is to try and ascertain whether or not
the Jewish Apostolic sign gifts of speaking in tongues is still for today, and was
it/is it available to men and women.
What saith the Scripture?
Acts 1-8, we read the following, concerning the Lord Jesus and His apostles:
"The former treatise have
I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he
was taken up,
after that he through the Holy Ghost had
given commandments unto
the apostles whom he
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of
the things pertaining to
the kingdom of God: And, being
assembled together with them, commanded them that
they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for
the promise of
the Father, which, saith
have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall
be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were
they asked of him, saying, Lord,
wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after
that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of
above Scripture makes it abundantly clear how Jesus has just briefed His apostles,
and only His apostles about their imminent baptism of the Holy Ghost.
on in the first chapter (vs. 14) the women and the mother of the Lord Jesus are also
listed among the 120 as being present in the upper room, where they 'all continued
with one accord in prayer and supplication.' (This group of 120 consisted of the 11
apostles, the 70 disciples, found in Matt. 10 and Luke 10, and other saved people.)
their time together, all they were doing were praying and rejoicing in the Lord. To
suggest anything else is sheer speculation.
2, the Jewish feast day of Pentecost has finally arrived. At first glance, the text
appears to suggest how men and women are present, as they patiently await the baptism
of the Holy Ghost, resulting in them all receiving the gift of speaking in known tongues.
However, at a closer look, and once we carefully compare Scripture with Scripture,
we soon discover that vss. 6, 13 state how only the apostles are publicly enjoying
this new gift, and such a gift was clearly a known language for others to identify
with (vss. 8-11.)
But should there be any doubt as to whom the recipients
were when it came to receiving the gift of speaking in tongues, verse 14 is about
as clear as is possible:
"But Peter, standing up
with the eleven, lifted up
his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye
that dwell at Jerusalem, be
this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
For these are
not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but
the third hour of
So when we read Acts 1, where
the Lord tells His apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Ghost to arrive, and
when He does arrive in Acts 2, we can clearly see how the gift of speaking in tongues,
was only for His apostles.
Scripture further restricts the different types
of tongues/languages (1 Cor. 12:10b; 28) to men only (1 Cor. 14:34, 35) and only
selected men at that (1 Cor. 12:10.)
Also of interest is how the Amplified Bible
states clearly on page 984, that only the apostles spoke in tongues, on the day of
Pentecost. Therefore, to omit women being
present when this mighty gift arrived, one must conclude that they were not to be
the recipients of it. However, when Jesus
fed the four thousand for example, women are reported present to receive this blessing
too (Matt. 15:38.) When the five thousand are fed, Scripture again reports their presence
(Matt. 14:21.) So with no explicit record in the New
Testament of any woman (Jewish or Gentile) ever speaking in tongues, I conclude this
apostolic gift was only given to some men, for a certain period of time.
Acts 2:38 and the gift of the Holy Ghost (note the
word is singular nor plural) means to be baptized into the body of Christ (Eph. 4:4),
which would result in eternal life for all recipients.
according to verse 39, is to "all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our
God shall call."
Moving through Scripture, we read how Stephen and
Philip (both male disciples) performed many miracles (Acts 6:8; 8:6.)
When Philip arrived in Samaria, he healed the whole
town of many diseases (Acts 8:6-8.)
I wonder how many leaders there are today, in any
denomination, anywhere in the world, since the first century, that have ever been
able to replicate this wonderful gift in their communities, since the completion of
the New Testament? None!
When the Samaritans received the Holy Ghost, there's
no mention of anybody speaking in tongues (Acts 8:12-17.) Also this group, after they'd
been baptised, had to wait for the apostles to come down to lay hands on them, before
the Holy Spirit fell on them. (The Catholic and Anglican church cite this passage
in Scripture to argue for confirmation. However, this practice only occurred once
in Acts, and when today's apostate leaders lay their hands on individuals, nobody
speaks in known tongues.)
The Gentile Ethiopian eunuch is baptised by Philip
but doesn't speak in tongues. Nobody is sent along to "confirm him" and off he goes
into the sunset, rejoicing in his new birth. There is no evidence from Scripture that
this man was a proselyte to Judaism, even though he read the Old Testament on route
to Jerusalem to worship; for did not Moses' father in law, Jethro, the priest of Midian
also show respect to the God of Israel, by offering Him a sacrifice, before returning
back to his pagan land and people (Ex. 18:12-27.)
When Paul was saved on the road to Damascus, and
even after he was baptised, he didn't speak in tongues, unlike the other apostles
had done on the day of Pentecost. He was also called 'brother' before being baptized,
proving how a sinner is saved by their faith in Christ, not by being baptized in water.
Cornelius, a Roman centurion and a proselyte to
Judaism, therefore in the eyes of the Jews he was Jewish, received the gift of speaking
in tongues, along with his whole believing household (Acts 10.)
Lydia is the first Gentile woman named in Scripture
to be baptized in Acts, yet she doesn't speak in tongues (Acts 16:15.)
The Gentile Philippian jailor and his all his household
believed the gospel (this rules out infant baptism) and were then baptised. No tongues
were reported here either.
In Acts 19:6, Paul comes across some of John the
Baptist's disciples and he asks them about receiving the Holy Ghost, since they believed
in Jesus as their Messiah. Their answer about not even knowing if there was a Holy
Ghost makes we wonder if these were Jewish men at all? For how many
orthodox Jews would fail to know about the Spirit of God? Might it be possible these
men were additional Roman proselytes from Luke 3:14. Either
way, these 12 men, whether Jewish or Gentile, all speak in tongues. (Please note that
this passage of Scripture cannot be used to justify the 'second blessing' doctrine,
in which Christians need an additional baptism to make them 'more spiritual;' these
disciples were not Christians in the first place. All they knew was what John had
told them, how Christ was soon to come and they needed to repent, be baptized and
be ready for His soon arrival. Once Paul explained Jesus to them, then they received
Him and were baptized physically and spiritually into the body of Christ.)
With the main accounts of Acts of the Apostles covered,
when dealing with the gift of tongues, may I now focus on 1 Corinthians 12-14.
Paul spent considerable time with this carnal church
trying to explain the correct use of the gift of tongues, whilst it was still in use.
"Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man
speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that
Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost" (12:3.)
Some Corinthians, while using their gift of tongues,
were saying "Jesus is cursed."
These former pagans, who no doubt spoke in tongues
before being saved (the Mormons, Red Indians, Catholics and Satanists also speak in
tongues,) were rebuked by Paul.
His language, therefore at the end of the epistle
makes sense, when he says:
"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let
him be Anathema Maranatha" (16:22.)
But the main reason for quoting this verse, and
there are additional ones to follow, is to highlight once again that men are spoken
of here as the recipients and not women. The same masculine pronoun is found in Webster's
Bible, the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible and the Recovery Bible.
(I should say that the word man or men can
refer to mankind in general, like when Hebrews says, "[He] should taste death for
every man." But in 1 Cor. 4:14, which in the context is about men/elders having to
disciple and discipline the local assembly, something not applicable for women, than
one can see that there are differences between the relevancy of pronouns: "I write
not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.")
Yet when dealing with spiritual gifts, which Paul
says differ per person, it cannot be therefore applicable for all, for that would
contradict the diversities of gifts for different men.
Five verses later, Paul again has the following
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to
every man to profit withal" (12:7.)
Now obviously he is not saying to everyman without
exception but every man without distinction, for as I've already demonstrated some
men did not speak in tongues at all.
The following verse is self-explanatory:
"But all these worketh that one and the selfsame
Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" (12:11.)
In the 13th chapter, Paul has the following to say
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
Paul's tongues of men, would be the different earthly
languages, which he enjoyed for his worldwide travels; and his tongues of angels,
may have been when he went to the third Heaven and communicated, like John the Apostle
did, with his angelic hosts, something that doesn't apply to anybody today (2 Cor.
12:2; Rev. 22:8-12.)
"Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies,
they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge,
it shall vanish away."
When we analyse these three gifts, Scripture helps
us understand their current relevance:
1. Prophecies (foretelling the future) shall fail
(Heb. 1:2; Jude 3; Rev. 22 seem to affirm this with the close of Scripture.)
2. Tongues shall cease (with later canonical writings
silent about this gift, one can see its cessation.)
3. Apostolic knowledge will vanish away (Acts 5:3
shows Peter had this gift, but several years later, Paul didn't, Gal. 5:10.)
The 14th and final chapter in 1 Corinthians, which
deals with the sign gifts:
"Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts,
but rather that ye may prophesy" (vs. 1.)
Prophecy here, I believe, would be the sort we see
from Zechariah (Luke 1:67) and Philip's daughters (Acts 21:9), and this gift I believe
is still available for today, when we think of some of the beautiful poetry and song
writers, throughout the church age (Jude 24, 25.)
But the prophecy of foretelling the future, like
that of Agabus (Acts 21:10-12) and Simeon (Luke 2:34, 35), during the inter-testimonial
and transition period, going from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant isn't sustained
in Scripture as being applicable for today.
The next batch of verses are combined:
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh
not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he
speaketh mysteries...He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he
that prophesieth edifieth the church...I would that ye all spake with tongues, but
rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh
with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying."
For Paul it was more important for the church to
prophesy, i.e., give God the glory than compared to all speaking at once in tongues
and cause mass confusion and even hysteria.
The next two verses again should be self-explanatory:
"Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue
pray that he may interpret" (vs. 13.)
As I close this chapter and my article, Paul interestingly,
when quoting Is. 28, changes the original verse to reads as follows:
"In the law it is written, With men of
other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will
they not hear me, saith the Lord" (14:21.)
Yet in Is. 28:11, it reads:
"For with stammering lips and another tongue will
he speak to this people" (Is. 28:11.)
Clearly Paul by this stage is teaching that the
Holy Spirit had all along intended only men to enjoy this free linguistic gift, which
supernaturally helped spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth (Rom. 10:18.)
And the word 'men' here, which is in italics in
the AV, is also found in the NIV and the NASV.
"Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that
believe, but to them that believe not."
The first half of this verse was all about rebuking
the unbelieving Jews, something long ago prophesied in the Old Testament (Jer. 5:21),
who didn't have a clue about what was going on, something similar to the tower of
Babel when apostasy was also rife and endemic, not to mention different known languages
forced on them by an angry God, for refusing to do what He told them to do; replenish
the earth and spread out (Gen. 11:9.)
..but prophesying serveth not for them that believe
not, but for them which believe" (14:22.)
And the latter half has already been explained for
the glory of God and the edifying of the entire assembly.
"If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let
it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret"
To keep decent and Godly honour in the church, Paul
spelt it out how this apostolic gift was to be used.
there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to
himself, and to God" (14:28.)
This is God's ideal pattern and makes perfect sense.
"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for
it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience,
as also saith the law" (14:34.)
As I've already demonstrated how women were not
the recipients of tongues, here Paul says that they mustn't be heard speaking in tongues (or
more likely trying to imitate what they heard some of their brothers doing) and
neither were they to talk to one another or ask questions of their husbands when the
church was is in motion (1 Tim. 2:11-15.)
"If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual,
let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of
the Lord" (14:37.)
For those that would challenge Paul's apostolic
authority and teaching here, he challenges them to acknowledge whether or not this
is from the Lord.
"But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant"
Many today remain wilfully ignorant.
"Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid
not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order" (14:39.)
When this gift was in existence, nobody was to forbid
men from speaking in tongues, providing this wasn't done in the company of unsaved
people, for such folks would consider the church to be filled with mad people (1 Cor.
14:23); no more than 2 or 3 men at a time, and always with an interpreter. When
this Biblical pattern is followed, Scripture would support it.
By now it should be quite obvious to the reader
that I do not hold to the gift of speaking in tongues being applicable for today,
nor do I believe in healings, prophecies or visions, when administered by third parties.
I believe solely in Jesus Christ for my salvation and the Bible for everything else.
On top of Scripture not reporting women ever speaking
in known languages, women are never spoken of as performing miracles, healing anybody,
or ever penning a book in Scripture.
it is intriguing and even disturbing when one looks on in amazement at the many women
in the 'professing church' today, claiming all sorts of 'signs and wonders' as having
'Biblical support,' when Scripture to the contrary is totally unable to collaborate
any of this. One therefore, has little option but to dismiss the whole modern day
tongue movement on the grounds of gibberish and learned behaviour or in some cases
even being demonic!
a conversation I had with a Pentecostal lady, who liked to quote to me Romans 11:29,
"For the gifts and calling of God
are without repentance."
She thought this was about
speaking in tongues, even though the word tongues doesn't appear anywhere in the chapter.
In the context, Paul is writing about the nation of Israel being grafted back in again
to God's plan for salvation, during the Tribulation and therefore God's love for Israel
is forever, and without repentance (Jer. 31:35, 36.)
Another text which is sometimes cited, is Romans
12:3-8. But again in this Scripture, the word tongues is never mentioned or even implied.
We must, however, be grateful for the input
that former charismatics have been able to share on this subject. I have listened
to at least two testimonies from such people, who claimed terrible peer pressure to
'speak in tongues' and make regular 'prophecies.'
Regrettably too many people make the Bible match
their feelings when in reality they should be using the Bible to test their feelings
to finish my article, with Isaiah's prophetic words on this whole tongues/charismatic
movement, and how best to avoid it, with three cross references from the NT:
"But the word of the LORD was unto them precept
upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little,
and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward [John 18:6],
and be broken [Matt. 21:44], and snared [Rom. 11:9],
and taken [2 Tim. 2:16])" (Is. 28:13.)
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