| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 46 - Page 75 of 249 Index | Zoom | |
While we are forced to be critical of the Pentecostal doctrine of Spirit baptism and
glossalia, we readily acknowledge that many Pentecostalists are keen to proclaim the
gospel and bring others to a saving knowledge of the Lord. If only they would put more
emphasis on the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22, 23) rather than isolated gifts of the Spirit
which belonged to the Acts period!
The gift of tongues was temporal and was to cease (I Cor. 13: 8). It was put at the
bottom of the list in importance by the Apostle Paul. Prophecy was certainly of more
value (I Cor. 14: 4). Taken out of its Divine setting tongues can be highly dangerous and
those attracted to it should ponder over the words of the Apostle:
"Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding . . . . . than ten
thousand words in an unknown tongue" (I Cor. 14: 19).
pp. 165 - 170
Having considered the N.T. teaching concerning the gift of tongues and seen the false
importance the Corinthian church were placing on this gift, we next note that the Apostle
Paul makes perfectly clear that prophecy was preferable if only for the fact that it edified
others as well as the speaker. Tongue speaking by itself at the best only brought benefit
to the one who uttered it:
"For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man
understandeth; but in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh
unto men edification, and comfort, and consolation. He that speaketh in a tongue edifieth
himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church" (I Cor. 14: 2-4 R.V.).
From this it is perfectly clear that that the gift of tongues without interpretation was of
no benefit to the church as a whole, whereas prophecy gave a message of comfort and
edification to all who heard it. When explained by the Divine gift of interpretation so
that all could benefit, it was acceptable; otherwise it remained true that he who
prophesied was greater than any who spoke in tongues (5). As this was so why is it that
Pentecostalists do not put more value on prophets rather than tongue-speakers? The
Apostle reinforces this point by saying that even if he himself gave them a message in
another tongue, what good would it do them unless it was accompanied by revelation,
knowledge, prophecy or teaching? (6). This is stressed still further by the illustration of a
musical instrument, which can either produce distinguishable notes or just a noise.
Furthermore each instrument has its own "tone colour". If this was not so, it would be
impossible to distinguish between them (verses 6-12). Tongue speaking, unless
understood by others, was merely "speaking into the air" (9) and made the one who
uttered it as a foreigner (barbarian), someone who could not be understood by others.
The real value of all the evidential gifts of the Acts period was their witness to other
people and the building up of the church as a whole.