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Dear Rev. Peter/Irene

This is going to be a long letter, but feel free to reply. You wrote,

>>Are people today speaking gibberish only? I have travelled in many parts of Asia. When I first heard Tamil, to me it sounded like crickets only. Even today, after having heard it regularly spoken for 20 years I often exclaim, "It does not even sound like a language". It just seems gibberish. The same applies to Telugu and Malayam, as well as Canada speaking. Hindi and Punjabi sound more like a language. When I hear multitudes (as I listen personally) speaking in tongues, I can relate it to the languages mentioned.<<

If there's so much confusion regarding what's real, surely you can relate to the idea God would withdraw the gift for something better. The first Pentecostals (1900’s) believed 'tongues' was given by God for witnessing to foreigners. At great cost some traveled the world only to discover nobody on earth understood their gibberish. Many were trapped in foreign lands with no money to return and some staved and died. I believe all tongues speaking today is gibberish. Perhaps you might quickly type out some of your tongue speaking and post it to me? Spending time on a foreign mission field doesn’t alter Scripture and doctrine is not formulated by experience. People believe all kinds of doctrine when based on experience.

>>Actually, years ago, in Indonesia in a meeting where I was translated by a Science Professor whose English was perfectly spoken, a man stood up and spoke at length in perfectly accented educated Australian English. He then translated by the Spirit into Indonesian. The Professor was astounded. He said it was a perfect translation. He had discovered on equiry to the man that he did not speak English. The 300 members there affirmed that he did not know English. I have heard a woman in Brisbane who often spoke in tongues as the Gift of Tongues in a meeting. Every time I could recognize it was definitely Chinese. I had spent lots of time amongst the Chinese. I could quote many examples of this. Also, years ago, a speech expert taped speaking in tongues by different people. There was a man on the scene who did not believe. He said, "Let me speak and you tape it". He spoke a made-up form of "tongues". The tape was handed to another expert. His comment was, "All the speaking has the form of languages - except for one"!<<

Why then do all speech experts who have documented studies on tongues indicate it’s gibberish? If there was one genuine example Pentecostals would document it themselves and boast 'look what God is doing'. Like the hype over so-called healings, if they were real, there would be no doubt, the evidence could be tested by all. The tongues movement falls over right at the start. It has all the signs of gibberish. Often church gatherings have similar reflections, expressions and similar sounds to their church pastor. It's been studied for years by linguists and theologians and all the evidence reveals 'gibberish'. Some simple people might be fooled, but most recognize what it is.

There are thousands of similar stories from those who try to prove their doctrine. All the big time healers and miracle workers have their stories. Stories often based on second/third hand experiences. Roman Catholics are notorious for stories and visions, Mary, saints, healings, miracles, etc. And non-Christian cults with their stories which just happen to prove their doctrine. If I believed every sign people claim, that confirms their doctrine, you would call me a fool. But how faithless, to believe God must do miracles, so someone can believe His Word.

The tongues of the Bible have “ceased”. God doesn’t give miraculous abilities to speak in languages people haven’t learnt. Even Pentecostal colleges must teach foreign languages so missionaries can go overseas. The truth is, tongue speaking today is self-centered, worked-up, learned response and missionary work is never thought about. The very people needing such a gift don’t have it. Bible translators don’t have a miraculous ability to translate scripture into other tongues. All Bible translation comes from years of study and work. Yet they need the gift the Jewish Christians had in Acts 2, for that very reason.

Modern miracle stories rob God’s glory by making miracles cheap, common, and meaningless. Christ rebuked those who were always looking for 'signs and wonders' (Mt.12:38,39 16:4 Jn.12:48 Lk.23:8-9 etc). And even with-held miracle signs (Mk.8:12). Seeking signs and having faith in God’s Word are opposites. Without faith, it’s impossible to please God. In fact, “we walk by faith, not by sight” or signs (2 Cor 5:7). And “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom.14:23). Walking by slight is diametrically opposite to walking by faith.

The Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth through Scripture, not by tongues, miracles, signs, etc. His work is revealing truth (Jn.14:16-17 14:26 15:26 16:13-15). He can reveal the truth about tongues to you. You reply to this,


>>Sometimes the truth can stare us in the face but our preconceived ideas, unbelief, and prejudices can hold us back from seeing it. There are T.V. evangelists today whom I consider (by enquiry, experience and judging their works with the Word) who definitely do not have miracle gifts from the Holy Spirit. However, there are those who do.<<

Yes and ‘experiences’ can keep one from seeing ‘the truth’. This is why God's Word is important. The fact is, those who claim the miracle gifts today, base their acceptance of the gifts on their experiences and NOT God’s Word.

But now you are saying which miracle is real and which are false. You select which ones you want me to believe? Yet we can view the same event with totally different interpretations. God doesn’t ask us to believe the claims of miracles workers today, but He does require us to believe the Bible.

You might not believe a certain TV Pentecostal and his tongue speaking (or miracles) but others will. The fact you must ‘judge by the Word’ proves my point - the Bible is all we need. Because we don’t have all the facts and with the supernatural nature of such gifts, we have no way to test prophets, tongues, healing etc, once we accept these gifts are given today.


>>The reported healings often were confirmed even months later. One, the case of a small child in Jakarta. The Word of Knowledge was "There is a child, sick in the stomach; if something is not done he will die. He is not here but at home". I was in that place about four years after and stayed with the mother. She told me she could not believe it was her four year old son as she had been to many churches for prayer and he was still sick with cancer in the stomach (bowels) and had been on liquids for three months. Eventually she went out to the front. Prayer was made. She returned home to find him standing at the door, "Mummy, I want something to eat". Four years later, I myself saw this eight year old boy, healthy, fat and well. I could relate many other instances, even in my own ministry over the years. God did and still does confirm His word with "signs following and gifts of the Holy Ghost". However, in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles there is too much emphasis placed on signs and wonders and during the past ten years, many have gone astray. The reason was that they had the truth but did not live up to it. What they had was taken away and they received e.g. "the Toronoty Blessing/Laughing Move" - a so-called blessing but it was not from God.<<

And so, your ideas about the Bible are determined by your experiences. Here you give an explanation what you believe and why. And the reason is because of experiences. But what if God hasn’t given miracle gifts. Then your stories only confirm your doctrine. I've been in Pentecostal churches too, heard the bizarre stories and they love the weird and absurd. They then go home with the stories trying to prove the Gospel (and their doctrine). You are asking me to believe that God confirms your doctrine by signs and miracles. Just as Mormons and Catholics would. They also say the miracles of others are, “not from God”.

In the early church the gift of knowledge related to knowing God’s will, when they didn’t have the NT. If Pentecostals want to know the Bible they must study it like the rest of us. God gives no one a supernatural gift of knowledge, all must study, there's no short-cut.

So the miracle sign gifts “confirmed” the message the disciples preached as from God. The unbelieving Jews required a sign (1 Cor.1:22 14:22) that God was changing His plan and reaching out to Gentiles. You reply to this,


>>Was God changing His plan "and reaching out to Gentiles"? According to the O.T. it was always His plan to reach out to Gentiles. Some scriptures are - Genesis 12:3; 16:7 c/f. Gal. 3:7,14,16,22,28,29. Also, Isaiah 2:23,; 42:6-9; 45:22,23; 49:6,8; 53:10; Hosea 1:10; 2:23 c/f.Rom.9:25. I have ministered to and been among the heathen. They are such that they often require a sign.<<

I’m not surprised ‘heathen’ require a miracle from you, before they accept what you say. But anyone who studied the Bible can see God was redirecting His plan and purposes toward the Gentiles. So the signs served an important purpose. Why believe your doctrine is “confirmed” by miracles from God, but the Jews in Acts (God’s earthly OT people) should expect to understand without any? Yes His plan was to reach out to the Gentiles. But Tongues was a sign to the unbelieving Jewish people, NOT to those who believed. Think about this. It was a sign to the unbelieving Jewish people that He was changing His plan. Tongues were prophesied for that very reason. Isa.28:11 “For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people”. But for all that “they would not hear” (Isa.28:12). “This people” were the Jewish people. They expected Christ to deliver them from the Romans who had controlled their land. They waited for the Messiah and His Kingdom.

But the King was crucified, the Kingdom postponed. The sacrificial system done away. The temple would be destroyed. All in His plan. When the first Christians came preaching the gospel of Christ’s death, resurrection, sins forgiven and grace (not law) the Jews naturally regarded this contrary to God’s law as recorded in their scriptures. So God gave a signs He was changing His plan. Paul writes to the Jews at the sea-port of Corinth,

In the Law it is written: "Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me," says the Lord. Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers”. (1 Cor 14:21-22)

So you see tongues were a sign to the unbelieving Jewish people. Not for Christians. Tongues had a meaning for them they didn’t have for anyone else. Today there is no need for signs, both Jew and Gentile come to Christ the same way, both must have faith (without miraculous signs). The sign worked well in Acts 2 for the many Jews disbursed in unbelief (Acts 2:5) but not today.


>>However, I believe that "the gospel is the power of God unto salvation" and not miracles. Paul preached to the Thessalonians and others in the "power of God" that he indicated included miracles, signs and wonders. The church so-called (christendom it actually did become) began to backslide after the first century or so. In fact, from the beginning, there were many erros that Paul had to correct. There is not one scripture that supports the idea that the gifts and tongues passed away with the apostles. If we use the normal one in 1 Corinthians 13, in all honesty we have to say that knowledge (of God, of Christ, of salvation here, of the Word) have not passed away. Then neither have tongues. Also, the perfect has not come and will not come until the return of the Lord Jesus.<<

Many “Scriptures support the idea” the signs ceased with the apostles. Some were in my last mail, but you ignored them. The expression, “that which is perfect” the words ‘to teleion’ must refer to completeness and perfection in the same realm as that referred to by ‘ek merous’. Since ‘to ek merous’ refers to the transmission of divine truth by revelation, the other term ‘to teleion’ must refer to God’s complete revelation of truth, the entire NT”. (p.12 Tongues Shall Cease. G.B.Weaver. Grace Theo. Sem. 1964)

This word ‘teleion’ means something is partially here now, is presently developing, and one day will be complete. This fits with the concept of progressive revelation which Paul was aware of (Jn.14:25-26 16:12-13 Col.1:25). Although the word can refer to maturity of the believer (Jas.1:25) the church (Eph.4:13 2:15) for which Christ gave apostles, prophets, and evangelists, pastors and teachers. By the time apostles, prophets, and evangelists had died, the church was mature with the completed scriptures, in hand under the leadership of pastors-teachers.

1 Cor.13:8-12 doesn’t refer to Christ's second coming. If the ‘mirror’ (glass) is metaphorical for something, then the ‘face to face’ experience is also metaphorical. If the mirror represents imperfect knowledge then the face to face encounter is metaphorical for the complete state of knowledge. This is consistent with the context of partially and completeness. By looking into the partially revealed Word, man got a partial picture of himself, however when the Word was complete man could see himself exactly as God saw him. Why? Because God had completely revealed the purpose of man and the church in the Word. Today, the Holy Spirit speaks God’s truth through the Word, not experience (Eph.6:17 Pro.3:5).

Yes knowledge of God/Christ/salvation has not passed away (nor will it). But the gift of knowledge ceased when the purpose was no longer needed. So 'that which is perfect is come', not when 'we go'. The Bible's revelation is perfect, the gifts revelation was “in part”.

Today then, when a Roman Catholic Priest speaks in tongues, is God ‘confirming’ the doctrine of the mass, penance etc? You reply,


>>When a Roman Catholic Priest speaks in tongues, at that time, God is acting in grace because he is reaching out for that experience. However, if he does not leave the Roman Catholic church and repudiate mass (a blasphemy), worship of Mary, penance and all the other errors, he is damned. Perhaps he then gives himself into the hands of the Devil for good. If he continues to speak in some kind of tongue, I believe eventually he is in the hands of Satan and his tongues (heard often in Hindu temples) and not in the hands of the Holy Spirit and His tongues.<<

No answer to my question? Is God ‘confirming’ the doctrine of the mass, penance etc when a Priest speaks in tongues? The state of the soul of the priest is not the issue. The miracle sign gifts (tongues, healing etc) were used by God to “confirm” the Good News which the disciples preached (also Heb.2:3-4 Acts 5:12). Signs authenticated the message as something from God. So when a Roman Catholic Priest speaks in tongues, is God ‘confirming’ the doctrine of the mass, penance etc? Because that’s why the signs gifts were given in the first place. The answer is 'no'. So the whole thing is a deception. Not only do Hindus speak in tongues, but Islamic cults, spiritists, pagan tribes, Mormon’s, Catholics, and Pentecostals, but not all regard it as a gift of the Holy Spirit.

>>I know a Pastor in Pondicherry who was a devout, top Hindu. Someone witnessed to him about Christ. He was interested and went to a Pentecostal church. He told me when he saw the saints and heard them speaking in tongues he immediately was arrested. He could see the difference between them and their speaking in tongues and that which he often saw in the Hindu temples. I know another Pastor who was a Catholic, been through the Jesuit College, had a Jesuit uncle professor there, an aunt nun in Rome a prominent Catholic family. He got into the charismatic scene in the Catholic Church. He experienced same. Read his bible (Hebrews) and saw the Mass was wrong. He even argued with the priests and finally left the church. Those are true experiences<<

You still proclaim “experiences” as the evidence tongues didn't cease. Is 'experience' the valid test of truth? 'Experience' can lead in any direction. Your evidence for the gifts rests on 'experience'. Every cult has a multitude of 'experiences' that validate their belief. Pentecostals lean heavily on 'experience' and claim all kinds from the weird to the absurd. Their emphasis on 'experiences' and love of prophecy often means scholarly and careful Bible study is ignored. They cling to experiences regardless what the Bible says. So the rest of us must ignore our belief and common sense while Pentecostals tell us which are the real miracles.

>>There are many who start off with the good but do not leave the bad they have alwas had so they are still on the way to hell. True, faith is in the Word of God and comes by the Word of God. I have seen hundreds of thousands of miracles. I do not have faith in them. I test them. Even prophecies. My faith is in the Word of God. "He has exalted His Word above all His names" KJV. How much less are signs, wonders and miarcles? However, when it comes to real tongues speaking, that is the work of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, sent by God originally and through Jesus Christ. We dare not repudiate the work of the Holy Spirit.<<

It appears you do “have faith in” your experiences, they determine what you regard as true. Anyone could claim the same and ask others to believe it. Those in the cults live in a world of illusion attributed to God, and insist the Bible is 'the Word of God'. Any who repudiates their testimony are regarded as God's enemy. You wrote,

>>Re emotional, make-believe nonsense today. Sadly, the Pent. and Chais. are in a state having "fallen away" and often they had never even had the fullness of it. They just scratched the surface. They just went into the river ankle deep as in Ezekial. The seed fell on grounds full of weeds that they never had removed. The preachers did not even know enough.<<

They could say the exact words about you. They also claim their miracles are real, yours false, and you are ‘fallen away’. And you are in “ankle deep” without the ‘fullness’ and missing God’s blessings (ie rolling on the floor, endless laughter, crying, emotionalism, animal noises, demons screaming, snake handling, dancing, shouting, etc). Like you, they ask us to believe their experiences are biblical. Tongues are the first cause for all these things, evidence of minds out of control.

>>Emotional? Well, God is a God of emotions. However, many do not realise that their Pentecostal experiences are to arise from the spirit {Paul, "My spirit prays").<<

'Emotions' out of control are minds out of control. All Pentecostal experiences reveal a lack of self-control. The mind is switched off to enable tongues to function. Your mention of 1 Cor.14:14 is typical. Tongues are viewed as a whole mystical ability that somehow operates in a person’s spirit but utterly bypasses the mind. Pentecostalism is the zenith of mysticism, switch off the mind and disconnect from all that is rational. This is one of the primary characteristics of the pagan mystery religions. Nearly all the teachings distinctive to the charismatic movement are unadulterated mysticism and nothing illustrates that more perfectly than the way Pentecostals themselves depict the gift of tongues.

When Paul prayed in the Spirit, he didn’t surrender his mind and abandoned control of himself for the sake of the euphoria of a mystical experience. What he is saying is that tongues used in any way other than what God intended is useless. If the “mind is unfruitful” better not to use tongues at all (1 Cor.14:14). He is saying ‘with my mind: words which my mind understands; and in the utterance of which therefore, my mind is active’. Others also; as well as myself receive benefit.’ (p.694-5 ‘BEET'S NOTES ON ROMANS – PHILEMON’. Vol.1-4. J.A. Beet AGES Software 1997).


>>Personally, I think that when their soul area is faced with the power of the manifestation of the Spirit in speaking in tongues, the problems there arise. That one should allow the Spirit to deal with it, have it removed and "cleansed" as in Acts. The teaching of these things is scanty. So they yield to the emotional/soulish area instead of pure Spirit of God in the spirit. I teach these things whereever I can. I know what you are saying. A lot of it is nonsense, which in my ministry, I try to correct whenever I can.<<

Well there's 'problems' everywhere the tongues doctrine goes. Division, arguments, broken churches and families, etc. Surely then, this is not a 'movement of the Holy Spirit' at all. The Holy Spirit deals with our problems not by over-powering and 'slaying' us, but ministering the Word ('the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God' Eph.6) Regarding Rom.8:26-28 you wrote,

>>I beg to differ. Romans 8:25,26 as one non-Pentecostal scholar has said, is about speaking in tongues in public and in private by the believers, out loud, together. Romans 12:6 -"gifts that differ (must be the gifts of the Spirit) ..prophecy in proportion to faith". Ephesians 6:18 "Pray in the Spirit at all times" c/f 1 Cor. 14:1,4,13,14,15 (Paul's idea of prayer in the Spirit).<<

But even 'non-Pentecostal scholars' can be wrong. When Paul says “gifts that differ” he names them “prophesying….. serving… teaching… encouraging….. contributing.. …leadership” (Rom 12:7-8). I don’t see tongues there. But even so, this problem still remains - 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. And, this is common to all believers, not a select few.

I don’t see Eph.6:18 as a modern tongues experience where the mind is out of control and speaking gibberish. “
Paul’s idea of prayer” is one where the mind is used and tongue is controlled. Be “in prayer” with all “requests”. “With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Eph.6:18). If you misunderstand Paul here, it's your experiences that determine how you read scripture. I wrote that Pentecostalism abandons the principle of Sola Scriptura and claims revelation from God beyond Scripture (prophecy). You replied,

>>It is not Pentecostalism that has abandoned the principle. It is the Charismatic section, that I must say are in chaos regarding knowledge of the Word and re experience. Sadly, much of Pentecostalism (in the West in particular) has followed suit. Years ago it was not like that. Personally, I try to be true to the Word of God. My prayer, "Even if others do not follow the Word of God as should be, by His grace, I will be like Noah if necessary - alone, 120 years preaching to the wicked of that day".<<

Them again, and not us? Your prophets are true and others false? All Pentecostalism generally has embraced the ‘gift of prophecy’ as one of the signs. A claim of revelation direct from God which abandons the principle of Sola Scriptura. Virtually every cult and false teaching ever spawned was begun on the premise that its leader(s) were prophets and with true divine revelation. The acceptance of modern ‘prophecy’ and gifts of revelation results in error. And today confusion runs rampant in churches led by those who call themselves prophets. Yes becoming worse every year.

This is why the NT prophets and apostles were temporary and no one today has the credentials or qualifications necessary (Ac.1:22 2 Cor.12:12 Lk.6:13). God has revealed in Scripture all needed for in this dispensation. Every generation of Christians since apostolic times has not needed prophets and gifts of revelation (tongues). The first Christians had a disadvantage without the NT and they lived in a transition period (Judaism to Christianity). So God gave Apostles, Prophets, for a special purpose. The sign gifts went with them and confirmed apostolic teaching (note “signs” “confirmed” Mk.16:17 Heb.2:2-3). When the church foundation was finished - no need for signs (1 Cor.13:8-10 Eph.2:20 3:5).


>> Re Acts. Can you show me two or three (as witnesses) verses in Acts where the people were filled with the Spirit without speaking in tongues?<<

There’s a few. Try theses – Ac.4:8. 13:9,52. 18:5. 18:25. These refer to those ‘in the Spirit’ ‘without tongue speaking’. Even so, your doctrine should come from the epistles not Acts. Your experience blinds you from seeing the difference. Acts is a history book, the epistles are doctrinal. The expression “filled with the Spirit” doesn’t always mean ‘tongue speaking’ (Ex.28:3 Due.34:9). The Corinthians spoke with tongues but were “carnal” (1 Cor.3:1-4).

To be filled with the Spirit (Eph.5:18-19) is not a second blessing, it’s a command for all Christians. It’s parallel is “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col.3:16). So to be filled, the word of Christ must dwell in me richly. In Acts the ‘filling’ was not some kind of ‘eyes closed, hands in air’, drug-like experience, as today. Rather, it was identical to ‘speaking God’s Word with boldness’ or moving or acting “in the Spirit”. So am I regarded a lesser Christian because I don’t speak in tongues? You wrote,


>>If you quote Acts 4:31, let me assure you that scholars, including F.F.Bruce say this was glossalalia.<<

Where does F.F Bruce say that? I can’t find any scholar who agrees. Anyway Bruce wasn’t a Pentecostal, he believed ‘glossalalia’ ceased with the early Christians. If you accept Bruce as an authority you wouldn’t be a Pentecostal. I respect Bruce, but what Luke says matters -

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Ac.4:31).

It doesn’t say, “….they spoke tongues boldly”. But God’s Word with boldness; an answer to prayer to the second part of their request (Ac.4:29). A right prayer will always have a right and ready answer. Even if you disagree, the signs and wonders of Acts and Mark and 1 Corinthians all apply to the Apostolic period, as the dates of writings show. Notice that the Holy Spirit was not given because He was asked for. They asked for boldness to speak the word. There is no record in Acts of men praying that they might receive the Holy Spirit.


>>1 Cor.13:8 as you understand it, is no proof that they ceased. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word by established" is a good principle to follow when it comes to doctrine.<<

Yet the whole passage says they will “cease” (13:8-13). It’s clear “when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears” (v.10) Paul clearly indicates the gifts are “in part” and imperfect. If God’s Word is not perfect, why not? I provided many verses and proof last time, you ignored it.

So the books written after 1 Corinthians dealing with church problems and normal Christian living, there is no mention of the gift of tongues. The qualifications of elders and deacons do not include any specific gifts (1 Tim.3:1-13 Ti.1:5-9), but the apostles did (2 Cor.12:12). Christ criticized the seven churches (Rev.2-3) for many errors of life and doctrine but there is no mention of tongues. Apparently, these gifts had ceased by this time. Even in Acts, in the beginning there are many miracles, towards the end they disappear. And, the fact that only 3 books (Mk, Acts, 1 Cor.) mention tongues, indicates it wasn't a major doctrine or practice of the early church.

Another witness (with the Bible) is the early church fathers, one indicated tongues ceased and all rejected Montanism. It’s not until late 20 century Pentecostalism arises. It’s “origins… may be dated to 1 January 1901” (p.503 New Dictionary of Theology). And the natural ignorance of the gifts today is another indicator against their permanence. Even Pentecostals have a problem defining the exact nature of tongues and the gift of interpretation. But I have something even better, I can hold-up the whole Bible and say that’s the reason they ceased. You wrote,


>>To say the Scriptures already given before total completion were not perfect is rather wrong, is it not? Uncompleted Scriptures were already perfect. There was no more perfection added to them when the whole were completed. So how can you connect this "perfection" to "completed Scriptures"<<

Yes, but the OT scriptures were incomplete without the NT. We can read the NT and be saved, but not the OT. So concerning the OT, I could use the expression ‘not perfect’ and you understand. Those with just the OT have half the revelation of God. The sign gifts help provide the early Church, that which was later provided by the NT. The expression "That which is perfect" is beautifully and accurately descriptive of the “completed Scriptures”.

It’s true in one sense to say that OT was ‘
already perfect’ in truthfulness and accurateness. But the OT relates to the Old Covenant, the NT to the New Covenant. The New is the fulfillment of the Old. The unity and harmony between Old and New means each is incomplete without the other, each perfectly compliments the other.

The New is in the Old contained.
The Old is in the New explained.
The New is in the Old enfolded.
The Old is in the New unfolded.
The New is in the Old concealed.
The Old is in the New revealed.


>>Rather the perfect is yet to come - in heaven. The condition of the church and of us believes in our humanity of this world should be clear evidence. Col. 1:28; Heb. 12:2; Phil.3:13,14.<<

Paul's subject in 1 Cor.13:8-13 is illumination; the part-illumination gives away to "that which is perfect." When you see that, you will realize he’s talking about part-illumination contrasted with perfect-illumination. It’s not contrasted with us becoming perfect, going to heaven, or Christ's return. The revelation from the prophecy and knowledge gifts was "in part" contrasted with the truth through the completed Scriptures. But if "that which is perfect" refers to the future state, then where is the contrast? What would be the use of "faith and hope" in Heaven (13:13)? Why ever would Paul hold up these two gifts and say, "Behold these are 'in part,' and Heaven is 'that which is perfect?" What a futile statement that would be! How unlike Paul's consistent crisp thinking! Heaven is perfect, but there is no sense in which these two gifts are particularly and especially "in part" in contrast with Heaven.

If "that which is perfect" is future, then the change is future and the two "in part" gifts are our mode for receiving revelation of Church truth. This is of course nonsense for we get our Church truth today from the Bible and not miraculous gifts. Scripture claims to be a complete revelation. The last chapter of the completed truth contains a solemn warning against attempts to add to 'the Book’ [Rev.22:18]. These gifts cannot operate now the NT has come and that accounts for the statement in vs.8 that they cease, when that which is perfect is come. But of course Pentecostals have the gift of prophecy, by which they get ‘new truth’, they have forsaken sola scriptura. They are not happy just to have the Bible. Concerning Paul’s statement “more than all” (1 Cor.14:18) you write,


>>I quote a certain non-Pentecostal scholar - Robertson's Word Pictures. "more than ye all" (panton humon mallon). Ablative case after mallon. Astonishing claim by Paul that doubtless had a fine effect". He did that kind of praying mostly in private. Common sense tells us that we do not stand up in a meeting or behind a pulpit and just speak in tongues (without interpretation). We use our own language. I have taught and I had to be translated into five languages, one after the other. The only thing to do so that all could understand.<<

Obviously Paul didn’t regard tongue speaking in church as useful. He strongly discourages “private” tongue speaking as unproductive and unfruitful (1 Cor.14:13-14, 17). In the church he would rather speak 5 words of understanding than 10,000 without. Unlike what happens today in Pentecostal churches - all sing and speak gibberish together. It's the least of the gifts (in the Bible), but Pentecostals make it the most important. Regarding, vs.18 the oldest manuscripts have the singular “in a tongue” more than you all’. That changes the meaning. And ‘more than you all’ is not a boast; it’s a rebuke to boasters (1 Cor.11:18).

Paul understood more languages than the Corinthians and this was indispensably necessary, as he was the apostle to the Gentiles and preached in different provinces where different dialects, if not languages, were used. He was undoubtedly well skilled from his education in Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, and Latin. How many he understood by miraculous gift we cannot tell. It's probable he knew more languages than any in the Church of Corinth.

Regarding the gift of interpretation, even Pentecostal colleges know they must teach foreign languages for their people to interpret a language. God does not give anyone a gift to understand a language they haven’t learnt, that’s not His purpose. But anyone can claim to understand gibberish. You wrote,


>>We could thank God that they exercised the gift in abuse and confusion. Some even thought they were already angels (which we will never be). Otherwise we may not have all the things he said in the three chapters,12-14. As happened in relation to Communion. They were partaking in abuse, confusion and sin. Therefore he corrected them and so we have 1 Corinthians 11. At the end of chapter 14, he commands (and to us today) "Forbid not to speak with tongues". There is no vain-glory in speaking in tongues. If anyone makes it so, he is doing what many a believer does in relation to his position in the church, musician, leader, elder (as I have observed often). All is sin. Brother, the best way to edify fellow believers, is to be first of all, edified ourselves, as Paul indicated, through praying in other tongues.<<

Forbid not to speak…’ Paul is not commanding us today that we should not “forbid” tongue speaking. When he wrote these words tongues was an illegitimate gift at that time. There are many verses we read this way, because of the gap between Paul’s day and ours. So the gifts were currently in use; but his words are a tactful concession among strict regulations, not an exhortation to go for it. He’s not telling the Corinthians to covet tongues.

You suggest ‘
the best way to edify fellow believers’ is speak in tongues to edify ‘ourselves’. This is the opposite to Paul’s ‘best way’. He says speak words all understand (1 Cor.14:5, 19). He says, “I would rather have you” in “the church” speak words understood by ‘fellow believers’ to “receive edifying”.

>>The gift of salvation, exists first of all, for the one who receives Christ and not for another. Every part of the Christian's walk must have pre-eminence in his own experience, first of all. How can we teach holiness if we do not know it? Re 1 Cor. 14:13-14,17. Verse 13, can apply to personal or community experience.<<

Regarding “salvation….holiness….the Christian walk” it’s not our "own experience, first of all" that should have 'pre-eminence'. Eg., our experience of holy living might be in error. While personal holiness is important it does not originate from us. Who knows what holiness is (or isn’t) apart from the Bible? Experience can be misleading, deceptive or even a hindrance to the truth. Many think they are Christians and walk a holy life. Yet, their religious ‘experience’ and deepest feelings often are the reason they're mistaken.

>>Praying with the mind (a supernatural exercise as the whole of 1 Cor.12-14 is supernatural) does require more faith than just praying from one's spirit - as is the case with every progress in the grace of God. He is not actually discouraging it, if you really look at it. Verse 19 when we are in fellowship with the saints or before a crowd of unbelievers must be observed.<<

If tongues were a sign to 'unbelievers' (1 Cor.14:22) then we should not encourage tongues in the church among believers. Anyone reading 1 Cor.14 and failing to see how Paul is 'discouraging' tongues is ignoring a huge number of regulations and restrictions. Almost every verse in ch.14 has a rule that tongue speakers should heed. Eg., Most Pentecostal churches ignore the instructions that women should "remain silent in the churches, They are not allowed to speak" (14:33ff). Perhaps most of the trouble with tongue-speaking in Corinth came from the women. Something to ponder.

>>THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS VERY INTERESTING AND I HOPE FRUITFUL DIALOGUE. ALSO THANK YOU FOR YOUR FORBEARANCE, KINDNESS AND CONSIDERATION. In Christ, Irene<<

Glad you enjoy the dialogue. A pleasure to reply, hope you understand 'where I'm coming from'. There's so many godly and fruitful Christians who have never spoken in tongues, so it's not necessary. Nor required for salvation or spirituality.

Regards
Mark



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