Sunday, June 01, 2008

Now What About Tongues.

A controversial issue, but nonetheless, it has to be raised.

Lets read 1 Corinthians 14 before I begin.

It's too long to post the whole chapter, so I hope you would've read it by now as you continue reading my post. Recently, I went for a YACF camp in Gopeng for 4 days. A whole new experience to me, opened my eyes to many things. But yet, some things I felt were compromising the biblical truths and so, it leaves me with no option but to post my thoughts on certain issues. The issue of tongues.

During camp, almost everyone spoke in tongues, even pastor and team. I find everyone so different from me and the way I worship that to a certain point, I began questioning myself, have I got it all wrong from the start? Well, during one of the prayer sessions, where most everyone were crying/speaking in tongues as usual, I flipped to a passage in the Bible which gave me complete assurance of my beliefs so far. The passage is 1 Corinthians 14.

Sometimes I couldn't understand the reason people are doing the things they do, when a simple child could understand clearly the passage in 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 14:2 it says,

"For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however in the spirit he speaks mysteries."

Now if we were to take the Bible out of its context, the way speaking in tongues is practiced today would be absolutely appropriate and there would be no problems. But lets not disrespect the Word of God but instead, to read it in its fullness and context.

Now we go on to 1 Corinthians 14:5.

"I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification."

The next big chunk of verse.

"But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall i profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?"

"So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance."

And here is the part which cuts to the point.

"There let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified."

And the last bit about tongues.

"I thank my God that I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue."

"Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you're out of your mind?"

"How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God."

And that's about it. The apostle Paul stated very clearly what each one of us need to know about tongues. I could not bring myself to agree with the church ( when I say church, it refers to the people of God ), all blabbering in unknown languages, worshipping God. Paul said clearly, that if there is no interpreter, let the person keep silent and speak to himself and God. Why bother blabbering gibberish loudly when no one understands you? You say you're praising God but how could we all say "Amen" to the things which we heard but not understand? I believe in tongues, but not how they are practiced today (pun intended). I'm not someone who's an anti-charismatic. I'm not pro-brethren as well. All I believe are the biblical truths, set before me in their wholeness. I'm not jugdemental, I'm not saying that all people are hypocrites when they speak aloud in tongues. But maybe its time to learn, that a multitude of people blabbering aloud does not edify anyone. If the Spirit prompts, and one wants to speak in tongues, but there is no interpreter, one should learn to keep it to himself. And maybe that way, we can all worship God in Spirit and in truth, and at the same time prevent anyone from making an impression. Amen.

I guess sometimes, what we lack is the innocence and simplicity of a child in understanding the Word of God.


Se3keR said...

Hey bro! Really agree with your posting here. For me, coming from a charismatic church, it is even more a struggle to engage on this issue. Tongues no doubt has been the source of strength for many big churches to grow. But my observation is that tongues has been manipulated by church leaders as a sign of POWER and SPIRITUALITY which encourage more people to join. I remembered Angeline once told me that in City Harvest Singapore, everyone speak in tongues but I felt that it was more of a trend that the people follow there. because it felt good being able to speak in tongues. And I will be honest to say it makes one feel "more spiritual" so to speak. I can say this because I undergo the same process in my church camp. Anyway I believe it a better choice for me to stay silent on this issue and to live my faith, I believe it took me out of a church building. Which is why I no longer serve in the church now as I felt the meaning of faith and love is not there...but I sense that there is a need for a radical and sincere faith outside a church context...and to walk this road leaves me saying goodbye to church ministries and "some hypocrites".
Anyhow I just want you to know it is indeed a great encouragement reading your blog.

wadefish said...

hey bro! how r u doing? well, i agree too with what you've said. but walking out of church ministries? we should be the ones impacting the change if we know the truth. walking out, avoiding the matter doesn't help. and if faith and love is not found in the church, let us be the ones who do something about it. but bro, everyone has their own circumstances. i pray that God will bless you in your decisions.

Dormiens said...

Hey bro. Great post, seriously. Glad to know you inspect what you believe. :)

wadefish said...

dormiens : thx bro. do not want to be ignorant of the truth =)

Se3keR said...

I know you talk about making an impact and bringing change but sometimes that effort could cause more damage than good. I can only said I've done my part and need to write this story from a new fresh page. I know that the call for change, making a difference but sometimes it is better to do it differently. Staying silent would not mean to succumb to pressure but another way to engage with this situation. Anyhow I am doing great lately, spending more times on reading and blogging. You too take care ya? God bless!

contychi said...

nice post. very eye-opening to people like me.

me&Him said...

hey. just leaving a comment to say that i actually read this. xD

wadefish said...

hello constance, hello joan =)

xinxin^^ said...

hello,i faced the same problem 2 months ago in USM here.i went to Hope Church and the ppl thr spoke in tongues.Then i felt very weird to be among them.Zach Goh Cheng Fai gave me an explanation according to Bible,the same chapters and verses u gave.true.