“to another various kinds of tongues and to another the interpretation of tongues.”1 Corinthians 12:10
Now we are beginning yet another of those extremely controversial topics – speaking in tongues and the interpretation thereof. This is a topic that will continue for a while as Paul addresses the issue of tongues in Chapter 14 as well. It was clearly an issue for the Corinthian church. But not only the Corinthians; it is an issue for the church worldwide in this present age as well and has divided congregations of believers across the board. It is one of the issues I have encountered that has a polarising effect across the body of Christ. As a past Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators (NZ) I have encountered either a welcome or a refusal purely on the basis of my doctrinal belief about the gift of tongues. The same is true of other countries I have visited and is certainly true of Indonesia where I have lived for a number of years.
Wycliffe Bible Translators requires a new member to make a statement of faith, a doctrinal statement on 16 topics as to what we personally believe on each of those topics. The gift of speaking in tongues is one of those topics. It is an interesting experience having to do that – to write down what you believe about a particular biblical truth. Try it, do it now! There is something about putting in writing what you believe on a matter. It crystalizes your beliefs and your thoughts on that matter. Not what your church believes, not what your denomination’s doctrinal stand is, not what your parents believe. What you believe! Don’t worry, no one is going to see your statement. You won’t get booted out of your church or your denomination after this exercise. You don’t have to send them to me. I won’t post them on the internet. This is an exercise for you to do for your own benefit. Know what you believe. Take time to think about it and write it down.
These are the guiding questions for the Wycliffe Statements of faith re tongues:
- What do you believe the “gift of tongues” to be?
- Is the gift of tongues operative today?
- Have any gifts disappeared since the early church?
- Must all speak in tongues? Is the gift of tongues the sign gift of the “baptism of the Holy Spirit”?
- Give your thoughts on being ‘Filled with the Spirit’ or ‘Baptized in the Spirit’.
- What is the difference between being indwelt and being filled, include discussion on whether or not the Holy Spirit indwells all believers, (including those who have never spoken in tongues.)
- How strongly do you hold your beliefs?
There you have your assignment for today. Hey this assignment is for your benefit, not mine. Do it. I haven’t given you much to do over the last gems by way of homework.
The clearer you state your doctrinal belief the more benefit it is to you. You may need to do your own research to find out what you believe because it maybe fuzzy. Doing this exercise brings things into focus for you.
The root of all difficulties is a lack of the sense of the Presence of God.Emmett Fox
The true goal of leadership is not to cross the finishing line first, but to take as many others with you as you can.Bob Gass