The Charismatic Movement contends that:
i) The New Testament gift of tongues should be sought and spoken by ALL Christians today. They seek to revive all gifts, but none are given so great importance as tongues.
ii) The tongues gift is the true Biblical sign of the "Baptism in the Spirit."
iii) Those receiving tongues receive a second blessing after salvation, enabling them to live more sanctified, powerful and joyful witnessing lives.
iv) The tongues movement is claimed to be the "latter rain" revival foretold in Joel 2:23.
We must test all religious movements on the basis of:
a) Their doctrines. 2 Timothy 4:2,3
b) Their fruits. Matthew 7:15,16
Note the following reasons why tongues are not needed for Christians today:
In 1 Corinthians 12:28 tongues are mentioned last in a list of 8 gifts. These are ranked in order of importance because we have "first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues."
"Gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will." Hebrews 2:4.
1 Cor. 12:8-11 lists 9 gifts, the last being tongues and interpretation of tongues:
"For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing by the same spirit,.....But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
Note: Tongues were spoken on 3 occasions in Acts (2:4; 10:46; 19:6), but on none of these occasions are the recipients seeking, waiting or expecting to speak in tongues. At Pentecost, only the Apostles (12) spoke in tongues, but all who were saved (3000) received the Holy Spirit (2:38,39).
1 Corinthians 12:31 "Covet earnestly the best gifts"; tongues are not the best gifts, but one of the least gifts (14:1).
Spiritual gifts could be desired (14:1) but not claimed in faith as a birthright. There is no command to seek them.
People are told to blank out their mind and say whatever comes out; then go home and practice it. This is foreign to the New Testament.
Because a person speaks unintelligible sounds, it is not proof that he has the N.T. gift of tongues. Few Charismatics are prepared to examine tongues. We must "prove all things" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). How do you prove that tongues are genuine languages? In 1 Corinthians 14:27-29, Paul discusses wrong tongues which are not interpreted in the church, and wrong prophecy, thus teaching that others need to judge a prophecy. Tongues have been spoken by heathen religions, Mormons and Muslims etc..
"Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not..." 1 Corinthians 14:22.
Acts 10:44-47; 11:16-18. Tongues used by Cornelius' household was a sign to unbelieving Peter and unbelieving Jewish Christians, that Gentiles were to be received into the family of God. Acts 11:15 "as on us at the beginning" means that tongues had not been spoken since Pentecost which was 10 years earlier.
"Forbid not to speak in tongues" (1 Corinthians 14:39) was always on the understanding that tongues was a valid sign to warn Jewish unbelievers, until judgment came in 70AD. You don't warn people after judgment has come.
In meetings where there were no unbelieving Jews, all teaching, praying etc. was to be in the language of those present (1 Corinthians 14:23-28). 1 Corinthians 14:19 states that in the church, 5 words understood are better than 10,000 words in tongues that are not understood.
Israel wanted signs, but the church must live by faith. "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign" ( Matthew 12:39).
The Corinthians were using tongues as a mark of spirituality, for personal gratification, and to gain attention. Paul rebukes this childish, selfish practice.
i) Apostles} "are built upon the foundation of the apostles
Neither they nor the Lord appointed any successors to their office. "12 apostles of the Lamb." Revelation 21:14. There are no Apostles or prophets alive today.
iii) Knowledge. This was intuitive, revealed knowledge of doctrine before the Bible was completed. A completed, perfect Bible ended this gift along with prophecy in 96 AD. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. Today we must study to gain Bible knowledge.
2 Timothy 2:15.
iv) Tongues. With the setting aside of Israel in 70 AD, tongues and other sign gifts ceased. 1 Corinthians 14:21,22.
v) Interpretation of tongues - ceased in 70 AD when tongues ceased.
iv) Gifts of healing. Paul lost this gift, as he could not heal Epaphroditus in 64 AD (Philippians 2:26,27), Timothy's stomach in 65 AD (1 Timothy 5:23) nor Trophimus in 66 AD (2 Timothy 4:20). In Acts 5:12-16, Peter healed every one in 33 AD.
vii) Gift of miracles - no one can work miracles today at their will as could the first century apostles.
viii) Discerning of spirits - no one today has this gift because discernment comes through Bible knowledge of strong meat, full age Christians who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). No one today would claim infallible judgment always in every issue of life, which is what this gift demands (1 Corinthians 12:10).
Tongues were withdrawn when Israel deliberately rejected the apostles testimony of Christ, as seen in Acts 28:22-28 where Paul pronounces God's judgment on Israel (63 AD). Judgment fell in 70 AD. In all New Testament epistles written after this pronouncement in 63 AD (Romans; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; 1 & 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon; Hebrews; 1&2 Peter; John; 1, 2 & 3 John; Jude and Revelation) there is no mention of tongues. Why? Because with the setting aside of Israel, and the confirming of the word of God, sign gifts are no longer necessary. These facts of the gospel and the apostles message of the Bible having been established, confirmed, and authenticated for all time, it is now an act of unbelief to seek for signs today.
Early church writers such as Polycarp, Papias, Cyprian, Chrysostom, Augustine, Origen, Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr etc. never mention tongues. Why? Because they had been withdrawn. Chrysostom says: "tongues....used to occur, but now no longer take place."
Joel's prophecy discusses Israel's restoration to their land in the Millennium. When this happens, and not before, the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. What happened at Pentecost was only an illustration, a small sample of what will happen in the Millennium. At Pentecost, there were no signs in the sun, moon etc, thus indicating that Joel's prophecy is to be fulfilled in the future Millennium. Joel said nothing about tongues being a sign of renewal. This age will end in apostasy and departure from the Faith, not in Joel's revival. KEY: "Afterward" in Joel 2:28 means that the Spirit will be poured on all flesh after Christ's second coming, not before.
"For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body." 1 Corinthians 12:13.
i) All believers have the Holy Spirit Baptism.
"If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Romans 8:9.
ii) All believers have the Holy Spirit, but few believers spoke in tongues.
If we have received Jesus Christ as Saviour, we also have the Holy Spirit in us, because you cannot separate members of the Godhead.
i) "He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort," 1 Corinthians 14:3.
"For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted." 1 Corinthians 14:31.
The edification, exhortation, learning and comfort of the local church was always the responsibility of the one who prophesied (gave instruction in understandable language).
ii) "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifies himself," (1 Corinthians 14:4) does not teach that personal holiness is found in tongues speaking. On the contrary it describes the Corinthians selfishness who used tongues for personal pleasure and public display. Tongues speaking in a church does not instruct, edify, warn nor strengthen believers. Holiness through tongues will always be shallow because it is based on feelings, not on Biblical edification.
iii) Of all the tongues spoken today, new prophesies, new revelations and visions, not one iota of truth have been added to the inspired scriptures.
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understands him; howbeit in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries." 1 Cor. 14:2.
God does not need to be spoken to in a foreign language. This verse teaches that the Corinthians were using the gift of tongues out of place. Tongues were meant to be spoken to men, that is to JEWS. A person praying or singing in tongues simply spoke "mysteries" in his own spirit. He received no real benefit, the hearers were not helped, and God was not glorified. Prayer and praise must be with understanding in the common language. "What is it then? I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also.....Else.....how shall.....the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks?" 1 Corinthians 14:15,16.
This is not two different kinds of prayer, but two conditions of all prayer, praying in the leading of the Holy Spirit and with an understanding mind. If understanding is not present, hearers cannot say "Amen" to your prayer.
Assurance of salvation comes from faith in the promises in the Bible, not from any feelings of tongues.
Pentecostalism, as a movement, does not believe in the eternal security of the believer who trusts in Christ alone for salvation. Many Charismatics think that their future preservation depends on continuing in the Charismatic experience. Many fear of grieving the Spirit and losing the power, and hence losing salvation. Some Charismatics do believe in the security of a believer in Christ.
The nine fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22,23 have no relation to tongues. The Corinthians came behind in no gift (Corinthians 1:7), yet Paul called them carnal and babes (1 Corinthians 3:1). True spirituality is not determined by one's experience, gift or feelings, but by inner godly character (e.g. 1 Peter 3:4, "a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price", for ladies.) It is right to be happy, joyful and to praise the Lord, but valuable character is better seen in times of testing, persecution, misunderstanding and suffering.
Many Charismatics exalt the Holy Spirit above Christ. The Holy Spirit seeks to exalt Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). Hence the mark of a Spirit filled believer is that in life and speech, he glorifies Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
"Christ shall be magnified in my body." Philemon 1:20; 3:8
All gifts are given so that we may grow to the "fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:13. Charismatics use the earthly, human title "Jesus", as did demons. No disciple ever addressed the Lord as "Jesus", but as Lord, Christ or Master, or Lord Jesus Christ. Let us give Christ His full honour as the Lord Jesus Christ.
All gifts were given that there be no schism in the body (1 Corinthians 12:25). Truth unites, error divides. The continual search for tongues, healing, prophecy, gifts etc., has split many churches, broken friendships and divided homes. The Charismatic Movement claims a new kind of unity not based on Bible doctrine, but on having the tongues experience. One can be a "spirit-filled" tongues speaker and believe almost anything. Many Christians who a few years ago opposed the heretical World Council of Churches, now cheerfully unite with Catholic Charismatic renewal, hence compromising essential Bible truth.
"God is not the author of confusion but of peace." 1 Corinthians 14:33.
"Let all things be done decently and in order." 1 Corinthians 14:40.
Church services should have one person speaking or praying at a time. In today's Charismatic tongues meetings, there is much unrestrained noise, singing, clapping, shouting, tongues and dancing.
Paul insisted that tongues and prophecy speakers should retain control of their mind and understanding:
"If there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church." 1 Corinthians 14:28.
"The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." 1 Corinthians 14:32.
Famous Charismatic leader, Oral Roberts, instructs tongues speakers as follows:
"We have to by-pass our mind and make it inactive for the moment. The mind slips into the background when we are praying in tongues and remains in a state of neutrality." ["Baptism With The Holy Spirit" 1966, P. 42.]
New Age occult seminars similarly tell people to blank out their minds to yield control to some higher force, which in reality is to demons.
The New Testament never asks us to lay aside our sound mind, our self-control, our judgment or our reason, but to exercise these faculties in accordance with God's Word. Charismatics are told to overcome their inhibitions by by-passing their minds. People are brainwashed in cults like Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and the Charismatic Movement by surrendering their minds and wills to the group or leader. The danger for a believer who submits his mind without resistance to outside influences to receive tongues, is:
a) He opens himself up to psychic and demonic deception and control.
b) He can place himself beyond the protection of the Holy Spirit, by asking for things contrary to God's will.
Satan has always opposed believers and God's work. Satan opposes us as an angel of light (11 Corinthians 11:14). The Corinthian believers were open to Satanic deception of another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel (11:4) as Satan's ministers come as ministers of righteousness (11:15).
"There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:24.
In Old Testament times God permitted false prophets to work miracles in order to test His people.
Two tests of false prophets are:
a) If he performs signs to turn you away from the Lord. (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)
b) If he speaks in the name of the Lord, but the prophecy does not come to pass. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
Isaiah 8:19 describes familiar spirits that "peep and mutter", like tongues.
Israel rejected the Word of God for more sensational dealings with the spirit world.
Many think that the Charismatic Movement is a Satanic deception permitted by God to test Christendom, and to pave the way for the Antichrist and the one world united Babylon religion of the last days.
"Even him (Antichrist) whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness....." 2 Thess. 2: 9,10. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:22,23.
20. Charismatics confuse Baptism in the Spirit (a once only experience at salvation -1 Corinthians 12:13) with the filling of the Spirit (a continual daily experience for service obtained by confessing sin, prayer, and yielding to Christ (Ephesians 5:18).
Ministers who deny fundamental Bible truths such as the virgin
birth, verbal inspiration, creation, etc. are often warmly welcomed and accepted
if they claim a Charismatic experience. Charismatics warmly accept Roman
Catholic priests and people who continue to seek salvation through the
sacraments, who still pray to Mary, and still celebrate the mass. Doctrinal
errors are ignored to keep Charismatic unity.
22. Most Charismatics are not diligent students of Scripture.
One can remain comfortable in his false beliefs as long as he refuses to face Biblical evidence to the contrary. One Australian Charismatic pastor could not find the book of Daniel in his Bible. He had to look up the table of contents. He thought Daniel was near Exodus.
23. Emphasis on Experience.
Personal experience is a great enemy of truth. When confronted with a mass of Biblical evidence, most Charismatics typically reply: "I know I am right. I have experienced tongues or healing myself. I have seen a prophet make correct predictions. I have seen people healed. The Bible teachings must have another explanation."
Tongues is mostly a learned behaviour. If you blank out your mind, anyone can say gibberish. Most healings are temporary and are achieved by hypnotherapy. What about the false predictions? These make him a false prophet. Studies show that most Charismatic healings revert back to the illness. Hypnotise a person, tell them they feel better, and they will feel better, for a time, but later they revert back to the illness.
24. New Revelations.
Charismatics continually claim to receive extra-Biblical revelations from God by tongues, prophecy, visions and dreams. Cults and Catholicism also claim revelations outside the Bible.
25. Damage to the local church.
Many Charismatics use a local church as a base for propaganda purposes to invite people to a home Bible study and prayer group governed by self-appointed spiritual leaders who instruct in tongues and try to heal people. A local church seems too confined, compared with many people from many churches coming together for a Charismatic rally.
26. Laxity and moral danger.
Some Charismatics think that they have "arrived" spiritually. They often lack motivation to press on further. The goal has been attained. Time for relaxation has come. Such carelessness explains much worldliness, sin and a rock music party atmosphere among Charismatics. Some receive "revelations" to divorce their spouse and remarry another person. Truth and reason then take a back seat.
27. Move back to Rome.
The Charismatic Movement reversed the decline of the Ecumenical
Movement from 1960. It is not a threat to Rome. Both emphasise emotionalism,
miracles, healing, and the lack of final Bible authority. Charismaticism is not
true Protestantism because it is not solely based on the Bible.
Pr. Keith Piper