Corinthians 14:5 "I wish that you all spoke with tongues..."
I know from study of the Bible and personal experience what a
blessing it is to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to pray to God
in languages that are unknown to me. This is called "speaking
in tongues". Therefore, when I heard a noted minister on the
radio recently preaching against speaking in tongues, I felt that
I should write him this letter, and also share it with you who
seek scriptural truth and desire all of God's best for your life.
I have heard you on the radio for many years and respect you as
a minister, and appreciate your work for God, but I felt the need
to write you concerning some statements you made on your broadcast
of July 11, 1998 regarding speaking in tongues. Sir, I must respectfully
say that your comments on this subject revealed a serious lack
of understanding of scripture. For example, you said twice on
your broadcast that I Corinthians chapters 12-13-14 were written
by the apostle Paul to "discourage speaking with tongues", but
he plainly says in I Corinthians 14:5 "I would that ye all
spoke with tongues." You quoted Paul as saying that he had
rather speak one word that people understood than ten thousand
words in an unknown tongue but you failed to point out that he
prefaced that statement by saying "in the church....", therefore
making a distinction between speaking in tongues in church, where
there must be an interpreter, and speaking in tongues during personal
prayer time. (See I Cor. 14:27) Please note that Paul or no other
writer in the bible ever said or hinted that in a persons private
devotion, one word of understanding was equal to 10,000 words
in an unknown tongue. If so, that would have meant that tongues
was a total waste of time and Paul would have not said in I Cor.
14.18 "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all."
He certainly knew it's value. Paul says in I Cor. 14:4 "If I pray
in an unknown tongue my spirit prayeth but my understanding
is unfruitful." Verse 15 says "What is it then? I will pray
with the spirit and I will pray with the understanding
also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing
with the understanding also. Paul even sang in tongues
which he did not understand. I Cor. 14:2 says, "For he that speaketh
in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men but unto God:
for no man understandeth him: howbeit in the spirit he speaketh
mysteries. This word mysteries means divine secrets. Verse 17
says, "For thou verily givest thanks....".
Morris the bible makes a distinction between "the gift of tongues"
which is one of the nine ministry gifts, (I Cor. 12:10) and "speaking
in tongues" as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy
Ghost. Acts 2:4 says of the 120 people, including Mary the
mother of Jesus, who were gathered in the upper room on the
day of Pentecost, "and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost
and began to speak with other tongues as the spirit gave them
utterance." Because this happened on the day of Pentecost speaking
in tongues has been mostly associated with so called Pentecostal
people, but may I remind you that tens of millions of believers
of all denominations, around the world have experienced the baptism
with the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking in tongues. St. Bartholomew's
Episcopal Church, a large congregation here in Nashville, recently
had a great revival which included healings, miracles, and according
to our Nashville Tennessean newspaper, speaking in tongues.
As on the day of Pentecost, sometimes God still allows those speaking
in tongues to be understood by people who know other languages.
Several years ago I met a lady in Miami, a Roman Catholic from
Hungary, and whose brother was a Catholic Cardinal. A woman stood
up in a tent revival and spoke in tongues not realizing she was
speaking in the Hungarian language. The Catholic lady came to
this woman after church and spoke to her in Hungarian and was
shocked that the woman who spoke in tongues could not understand
her. She said "you do speak Hungarian for I heard you speak it
fluently when you stood in the service tonight." The Catholic
lady was soon converted to the "full gospel" message when she
was told by this woman that she only spoke English and did not
know one word of the Hungarian language. Only God could cause
an English speaking woman to stand up in service and speak fluent
Hungarian. The Catholic lady herself soon experienced the Baptism
of the Holy Spirit and was used by God in another service to speak
Chinese, which she did not know a word of, and win a Chinese speaking
man to God. There are many such accounts. My Dad, who preached
the "full gospel" for 68 years, was on several occasions heard
speaking French and German in praise to God, although he had no
knowledge of these languages. As a rule, it is true as Paul says
in I Cor. 14:2. "He that speaketh in an unknown tongue....no man
understandeth him" but there are times when it pleases the Lord
to cause tongues to be understood, as He did on the day of Pentecost.
there are many more scriptures regarding the baptism of the Holy
Ghost with speaking in other tongues. In Acts chapter 8, Philip
went down to Samaria and preached Jesus and the people
believed and were baptized. See verses 12 and 16. However the
church at Jerusalem sent Peter and John, verse 15, "Who when they
were come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy
Ghost", verse 16, "For as yet he was fallen upon none of them,
only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Verse
17 says, "Then laid they their hands on them and they received
the Holy Ghost ." Sir, this receiving of the Holy Ghost was an
experience distinct from believing and being baptized for verse
18 says "....Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles
hands the Holy Ghost was given. What manifestation did he see?
Morris, Acts chapter 10 tells of Cornelius, a gentile Roman general,
who along with his household received the baptism of the Holy
Ghost (Spirit) while Peter was preaching to them. Those who had
accompanied Peter from Jerusalem down to Caesarea for this occasion,
knew these gentiles had received the Holy Ghost (verse
46) "For (because) they heard them speak with tongues and magnify
God." Then answered Peter (verse 47) "Can any man forbid water
that these should not be baptized, which have received the
Holy Ghost as well as we?" In Acts chapter 19 we are told
how Paul went to Ephesus (a gentile city of Asia Minor) and finding
certain disciples asked them (verse 2) "Have ye received the Holy
Ghost since ye believed? They understood that they needed
more, so after being baptized in water in the name of the
Lord Jesus (verse 5) we are told in verse 6, "and when Paul had
laid his hands upon them the Holy Ghost came on them and they
spoke with tongues (languages) and prophesied."
Morris, on your radio program you made light of a certain lady,
and others, who had written to you and described how good, or
how much joy they felt while speaking in tongues. You inferred
that this was just a self gratifying thing. Should a person not
feel joy while speaking in tongues if (1) "He is speaking to God"
I Cor. 14:2 (2) He is "edifying" himself or charging his spiritual
battery I Cor. 14:4. Jude verse 20 says "But ye beloved, building
up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy
Ghost." (3) He is speaking mysteries I Cor. 14:2 (this word
mysteries means divine secrets) (4) He is giving thanks to
God, I Cor. 14.17. (5) His spirit is praying. I Cor.
Morris, although you obviously have not experienced the baptism
of the Holy Spirit as in these bible examples, you should be very
careful what you say in regard to this matter as the opinions
you stated on radio July 11, 1998 are not based on scripture.
Many people listen to you and are influenced by your teachings
and you could be the cause of multitudes being misinformed on
this important subject, and missing God's best for them. Sir,
I would ask you as Jesus asked Nicodemus in John 3:10 "Art thou
a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"
Morris, please study these scriptures prayerfully and see if God
will show more light to you regarding the baptism of the Holy
Ghost with initial evidence of speaking in tongues. You are missing
a great blessing by not "praying in the spirit". Romans 8.26 says
"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know
not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself
maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
Sir, have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?
have not used his real name in this tract.
concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.