Is Speaking in Tongues Still For Today?
I recently did a Twitter poll about speaking in tongues and to whom it is available. These were the results.
Speaking in tongues is available to:
— Stephen Bedard (@SJBedard) July 7, 2018
The results were pretty consistent for the whole duration of the poll. Two-thirds of the respondents stated that tongues were not available to any Christians today.
I spent a number of years in the Pentecostal church and it was taught that tongues was available for every Christian. There are some Pentecostal groups who claim that you need to speak in tongues to be truly saved.
I am now a Baptist. While there are some Baptists that are cessationists, that is not true of the Baptist group I belong to. Although we don’t believe it is a requirement for every Christian. It is one gift among many. See my post Baptists and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
I was surprised that two-thirds of the people said that tongues was not for today. This surprises me because I don’t see any evidence that tongues would end with the apostles. Yes tongue would end, but not until the return of Jesus.
I suspect that the reason that some people are uncomfortable with it is that it comes across as a threat to Scripture. Tongues (and prophecy) present an alternative source of revelation and thus should be rejected. But even Pentecostals don’t accept tongues as providing additional revelation so much as highlighting or applying biblical truth to certain circumstances. It definitely is not something like the Mormon concept of prophecy that can contradict and supersede earlier Scripture.
Ironically, cessationist adopt a non-biblical doctrine (cessationism) to protect the Bible.
One of the comments that came up a lot was about the nature of speaking in tongues. Many people commented that speaking in tongues is simply speaking another earthly language. This is based on Acts 2. However, the tongues described in 1 Corinthians 12-14 seems to be about some sort of ecstatic speech. There is no sense that a person who just happens to be bilingual in the service could interpret, it requires a spiritual gift. Nor does the setting seem to be the mission field with the need for supernatural language learning. It is more about tongues/interpretation as another form of prophecy in a worship service.
I’m not trying to tell people what to believe or not to believe but I found the results of the poll interesting.