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Hi Pastor Nick

Your pamphlet "The Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues", with your email address (point No.2) -

>>Everyone who is born again (knows Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour) has the Holy Spirit. But we need to see His power and supernatural gifts actioned in and through us. There needs to be an `immersion' or `baptism' of the Spirit within us. There usually was a release of inspired speaking in tongues or prophecy after being filled with the Holy Spirit. How did the Jews know that God had filled the Gentiles (non-Jews) with the Holy Spirit in they heard them speak with tongues.<<

The bible teaches there is only one reception of the Holy Spirit that makes a person a child of God (when "born again") which is a Spirit baptism. This is true of all of God's children but the gifts of the Spirit are not for all (1 Cor.12:13, 10-11). The Holy Spirit places people into the body of Christ (an immersion) which needs no later completion (Ac. 2:4). The same words used to describe the phenomenon for the Gentiles (Ac.10:46 11:17) were used in Ac.2:4,11. For the Gentiles it was conversion, not a later experience. Yes tongues were a sign to the Jews the Gentiles had received the Holy Spirit but this is not so today. Ac.10 records an historical event.

Surely we don't think all who speak in Tongues have the Holy Spirit? Mormons and Catholic Priests etc speak in tongues. Evidence of the Holy Spirit is not tongues, but the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, and a changed life.

>>There is much confusion and misunderstanding about the gift of speaking in other tongues. In Romans 8:26-27 we see that the Holy Spirit helps us to intercede for situations and also helps to pray in God's will. To me "groans that words cannot express" includes tongues. We need to use this gift. It's a tool not a toy to take or leave. We need to allow God to use us in prayer and praise by speaking in tongues. Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20 encourage us to pray in the Holy Spirit.<<

Tongues are not mentioned anywhere in Romans, so I wouldn’t read into Rom.8:26-28 something not there. Paul didn’t indicate that tongues were the experience of believers in this verse. Rather this was something common and true of all believers, not a select few. Many godly saints over the centuries have never spoken in tongues. Did they miss out on something here? No. It is the common experience of every believer not just a few. And it’s not tongues, Paul says the intercession of the SPIRIT is with ‘groaning that ‘cannot be uttered’ (that is) are not uttered. When a person cannot utter he is silent, not speaking in tongues.

Eph.6:18 and Jude 20 don't mention tongues either. The pamphlet says,

>>Tongues are a sign that God is pouring out His Spirit not the only sign I Corinthians 14 22<<

It's interesting that unbelieving Jews required a sign that God was changing His plan and reaching out to Gentiles (1 Cor.1:22). Sign gifts were for an important reason. They authenticated the gospel as from God. But note Tongues were a sign to the unbelieving Jewish people, NOT to those who believed (Gentile or Jew). "Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not…" (1 Cor.14:22). Tongues was a sign to the unbelieving Jewish people that God was changing His plan and prophesied for that very reason. “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people” but for all that “they would not hear” (Isa.28:11-12). “This people” was the Jewish people. Tongues had a special significance to them they didn't have to Gentiles. As the church became more Gentile the need for the gift faded away.

>>Tongues has a place in the church It's also important to note here that I Corinthians 14 is addressed to the church meeting situation In fact approximately nine times it says things like in the church edifies the church when you assemble together etc Find out how many times you can find church or phrases that speak of assembling together This is very important to understand for Paul is addressing the misuse of the gifts in a corporate setting verses 18-19<<

1st Corinthians was an early epistle tongues was already fading away. It's not mentioned in Paul's later epistles but the signs are spoken of in the past. We expect to find such verses in a book written in the early period of church formation. Before they had the bible we have, when sign gifts were given by God. But they ceased (Mk.16:20 Heb.2:3-4 note the pasted tense). They "vanished away" when the purpose for which they were given ended [1 Cor.13:8f]. Not the first time God gave miraculous endowments for a limited period [ie children of Israel in the Wilderness].

At Corinth there were only a few every day languages used. None could understand Tongue speakers without an interpreter, so they weren't edified. The whole point of 1 Cor.14 was to show that unknown words were inferior compared to known words. To speak 5 words everyone understood was far better than 10,000 that none understood.

>>We can speak supernaturally to God. We've already seen this thought come through in I Corinthians 14:2. 2Corinthians I 3:14 speaks of the fellowship or communion we can have with the Holy Spirit. We are able to know intimate communion with the Father Thats what Christianity is all about an intimate dynamic relationship with God<<

God understands all languages, but not gibberish. There is no " intimate dynamic relationship" without the speaker or others understanding our words. while tongues of the early church were real, known, understood languages there is nothing "supernatural" about the modern practice. It's not "intimate communion" but jumbled sounds without use or meaning.

>>No wonder satan causes so much confusion and misunderstanding about tongues. Tongues has a personal use God has given us a built in capacity to edify ourselves 1 Corinthians 14:4. The word picture we get from 'edify' is 'build up' as in erecting a building. I like to think of being charged up as in charging a battery. The Amplified Bible says "he edifies and improves himself..." so tongues are a God given method for advancing, building up and maintaining our faith Jude 20

At Corinth one was edified only in the sense that one was exercising a real gift given at that time. Yet if the mind is not edified, 'faith' is not 'built up', maintained nor 'advanced'. The gifts were not given for private edification. In Paul's thought, it's questionable if a gift can exist for the individual if it is not employed for the church (1 Cor.12:6-12ff). A gift of itself is not necessarily evidence of spirituality - as the Corinthians used them for self-gratification and vain-glory. The emphasis of Paul is on edifying the whole church, but as an instrument of teaching or preaching tongues were virtually without value. The least important of all the gifts, it was only a sign to the Jews. As the church became more Gentile it vanished completely.

The "
confusion about tongues" comes from incorrectly thinking the Holy Spirit causes us to babble incoherently and uncontrollably and this magically results in edification and spiritual growth. The Corinthians lacked no spiritual gift, yet they were called “carnal” (1 Cor.3:1-3). But all Christians can pray "in the Spirit" because they posses the Holy Spirit. To be spiritual simply means to posses the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:6-9).

Yours sincerely, Mark