The Gifts Part 81
1 Corinthians 14:2, “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.”
Although in the twelfth chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians Paul outlines all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in the fourteenth chapter of the selfsame epistles he focuses on three of the gifts in particular, that of prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues.
Perhaps it was due to the Corinthian church’s disproportionate desire for the gift of tongues, perhaps there were certain aspects of this gift as well as prophecy and interpretation of tongues that he felt those at Corinth didn’t quite grasp, but whatever the reason, this entire chapter is dedicated to these three gifts in exclusivity.
If other scriptures mention the gift of tongues only sparingly, it seems the fourteenth chapter of Corinthians goes out of its way to define, explain and delve into this gift, so much so that anyone still claiming unfamiliarity, or doubting its existence does so out of willful ignorance rather than a lack of information on the topic.
Even the most ardent proponents of cessation cannot claim that the gift of speaking in tongues never existed. It is mentioned repeatedly within the pages of Scripture, by Paul, Luke and even Christ Himself. Either all of Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness, or we have a big problem on our hands for which there is no reasonable remedy.
If we come to believe that only some Scripture is given by inspiration of God, if we come to believe that only some Scripture is profitable for doctrine reproof correction or instruction in righteousness, then we’ve fashioned our own loophole by which we can pick and choose the verses that suit us, and dismiss the rest as uninspired or superfluous. It’s an either or conundrum from which we cannot escape, try as we might. Either all of Scripture was given by divine inspiration of God, or none of it was!
We do not serve a God of half measures; we do not serve a God who would present us with a plate full of spiritual succor only to allow half of it to be poisoned by the enemy. Men do not fall into deception because they obeyed the word of God, men fall into deception because they discounted and dismissed the word of God in lieu of other men’s teachings and doctrines.
Of all the men that I’ve heard of who have returned to their sin like a dog returns to its vomit, none have blamed the word of God for their folly, none have pointed to the word of God and said, ‘Scripture made me do it.’
Either they gave in to temptation, or they stopped being attentive and watchful, or they stopped guarding their hearts, or they stopped believing in the reality that it is indeed a horrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God, but none who have fallen could honestly look upon the Bible and identify it as the reason for their failures.
It’s not even an issue of cherry picking Scripture, because there isn’t one verse in the entire Bible that says the Holy Spirit will return to the Father from which He came after a certain time period, it’s about outright denying that certain Scriptures were divinely inspired of God because those scripture disagree with our denominational edicts.
When we take it upon ourselves to redact Scripture, when we take it upon ourselves to remove or dismiss certain passages that don’t fit into our preconceived denominational construct, we’re no longer serving the one true God, we are attempting to fashion a god all our own from the bits and pieces that were left over after we butchered the one true God’s divinely inspired words.
With that having been said, let me also say that my previous statement in no way encouraged anyone to stop being cautious, weary, on guard, and discerning when it comes to the gift of speaking in tongues in the church.
It is undeniable that there are those who have taken the gift of speaking in tongues, and made it into something that it is not. Especially in our day and age, that which is a beautiful gift of God, the ability to speak to Him and in the Spirit speak mysteries, has been redefined to mean that rather than communion and fellowship with the Father, tongues is more a state of ecstasy wherein men mumble like drunkards and laugh like fools and fall all over themselves.
Yes, those who receive the gift of speaking in tongues are speaking to God, they are introduced to a new spiritual dimension and are speaking mysteries even though they themselves do not understand what they are saying, but nowhere in the Bible are we introduced to the Apostles or Disciples of Christ barking liked dogs, clucking like chickens, falling over and mimicking epileptic seizures, or the dozen other things that are being practiced in the church that have nothing whatsoever to do with God or the Holy Spirit.
These exalted states of ecstasy which are being pushed on the children of God today are not of God! We see similar manifestations in the Muslim religion, in the Hindu religion, and among the practitioners of witchcraft and those who channel spirits, and in pretty much every religion where we have an amalgam of enthusiasm and fanaticism.
‘But what about Acts and the advent of the Holy Spirit, and people thinking the hundred and twenty in the upper room were drunk? Huh? See, drunk in the Spirit.’
Acts 2:13, “And others mocking said, ‘they are full of new wine.’”
The Bible never identified the hundred twenty souls on whom the power of the Holy Spirit fell as being drunk in the Spirit, it was those who mocked them that said they were full of new wine.
Granted, if you see one hundred twenty people speaking and only one of them is speaking in your language, the other hundred nineteen souls would seem as though they were mumbling, incoherent, drunk even. Take into account that there were also those in the crowd who refused to believe what they were hearing with their own ears, and so rather than acknowledge that this was a manifestation of God, they resorted to mocking.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.