When my Adventist wife and I were dating years ago, we agreed to attend each other’s churches, in hopes that there might eventually be a uniting of minds and religious beliefs, as we knew this would greatly affect our relationship in the future.
Carol saw I had great respect for the Bible and studied it with a passion. Therefore, she never pressured me to see things her way, confidently relying on the Holy Spirit to guide me to the same truths and faith that she had found in the Seventh-day Adventist church. And I believe the Holy Spirit did His work on me, gradually, over time.
The Corinth among us
We had just about stopped attending my church, when we decided to try one more meeting at a Pentecostal gathering we had heard about. I had been having some doubts already about speaking in tongues, at least as I had experienced it in my own church, even though I continued to practice it privately for quite a while longer.
We were both alarmed at the intensity of the glossolalia at this particular emotionally-charged meeting, however, and felt very uncomfortable in the midst of such extreme spirit-driven spectacles. And when I say, spirit-driven, it didn’t feel like the Holy Spirit.
The witness of this level of emotional abandon and disorderly conduct convinced me that since the evidence for speaking in tongues in the Pentecostal fashion was so questionable, it would probably be best to discontinue the practice of this spiritual gift that I had been taught as a teenager. It just wasn’t worth the risk that another spirit might be in charge.
sound words lead to sound doctrine
I know there are differing opinions about the origins of glossolalia, disputes about the Bible texts used to support the practice, and historical questions about what kind of tongues-speaking was practiced at Corinth. And I continue to study both sides of the debate.
One thing to consider though is the reliable evidence that some kind of glossolalia exists in pagan religions, in both the past and present, which shouldn’t be surprising to us. Satan has always tried to substitute his worship for that of the true God—sometimes making the counterfeit look almost like the real. And this is probably Satan’s goal. That makes it all the more likely that people will be deceived.
glossolalia – ticket to nowhere
I hope you don’t mind me sharing my thoughts and opinions about some of the Bible passages that I’ve explored in my previous blogs. If they have created even an ounce of doubt in your mind about speaking in tongues, as it is practiced today, and you have begun to wonder if it’s a true spiritual gift, then I hope you will consider other means of getting to know our God since there are ample ways to develop a close relationship with Him. Open-minded Bible study and prayer for the Holy Spirit, based on humility rather than on raw emotion, will move you in the right direction, as they did for me.
I can honestly say that my love for God has grown and matured to an extent I never would have believed possible since I gave up speaking in tongues. I can praise and experience God’s love every day and every hour. And that is so liberating. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” That liberty is, of course, the liberty from sin, but in essence, it is liberty from anything that prevents us from experiencing God to the fullest.
Jesus might say, “I never knew that tongue!”
We are called to worship God with our whole heart, which, of course, would include our emotions. But it doesn’t stop there. God is longing to engage our minds and our souls as well (Luke 10:27). When this happens, we are truly edified. I wasn’t seeing the edification one would expect and hope for in the emotionally-packed atmosphere that seems to enable speaking in tongues to thrive.
If Satan can have control over our emotions, he knows the battle is won. This is obviously how most of us fall prey to his temptations. I have decided not to risk giving him the opportunity to do this by participating in such a questionable practice that has not united God’s people, as Pentecostals have always thought it would.
I continue to pray for my Pentecostal family and friends. With all humility, I want them to know that I still care about them, and long for them to be truly free in Christ.
As Paul tells us…
“Hold fast the form of SOUND words, which thou has heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13 KJV
And Jesus said…
“God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit AND in truth.” John 4:24 KJV
Please don’t give up till you know you have found God’s truth about speaking in tongues. Is it really worth the potential risk of putting yourself on Satan’s ground? I decided that it wasn’t.
View this in-depth video about glossolalia from a scriptural perspective