Thanks for your question.
I am sorry that you are confused about the issue of speaking with tongues; we try to make things as clear as possible. I accept that you genuinely believe that glossolalia as practised today is ‘a language given to us by God in which we can communicate with him’.
My difficulty with that belief is that today’s speaking in tongues is not the same as that described in the Bible.
In the Bible it is clear that speaking in tongues meant speaking in foreign languages which foreigners could understand. It was not given as a language to communicate with God because God understands all languages perfectly well. It was given as a preaching tool so that the gospel could be preached throughout the world to people of different languages. This is definitely not how it is used today.
Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Do you see this happening today? – I don’t, and for this reason I cannot accept that ‘speaking in tongues’ today is the same as that which is described in the Bible. Don’t you think it is ironic that Pentecostal missionaries still have to go to language schools to learn a foreign language just like everybody else?
Paul says this:
1 Corinthians 14:21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
Does it not trouble you that there are many speakers in tongues who cannot preach to foreign unbelievers and no prophets to speak to those that believe?
Paul goes on to say:
27 If any man speak in an (unknown) tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.
28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.
Paul says it’s not permitted to speak in an unknown language in the church unless someone can interpret for the benefit of the hearers.
Does this happen in your Church?
Speaking in tongues serves no useful purpose for unbelievers today as, unlike the 1st century, it is not used to preach the gospel to foreigners in their own language.
Speaking in tongues is not necessary for salvation and is promoted only as a claim of God’s approval which I believe to be false.
I do not doubt the sincerity of the belief of some, but self-delusion is not restricted to would-be Christians.
As far as healing is concerned I wish that the Holy Spirit gifts were available today but I cannot from scripture see that they are.
It is evident that the gifts were not given at baptism but by the laying on of the apostles’ hands.
I base this on the evidence of the baptised Samaritans and Philip’s inability to confer Holy Spirit gifts, even though he himself was said to be ‘full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom’.
For the baptised Samaritans it required the ‘laying on’ of the hands and prayer of the apostles Peter and John for them to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit.
· If you believe the Holy Spirit gifts are available without the laying on of the apostles’ hands perhaps you would like to explain to me why it was necessary in the case of the Samaritans.
You say: ‘I am a witness to seeing persons healed by the laying on of hands where persons who had cancer and other illnesses were cured.’
It is not possible to ‘see’ whether a person has been cured of cancer and cures of a lot of other illnesses cannot be visually discerned.
In the Bible the cures were for the most part unmistakable to the onlookers and none of the cures were performed with the loud prayers and shouting and pushing-over that passes for ‘faith healing’ today.
· How were the cures that you have witnessed performed?
· Was the success of the cure verifiable by yourself without needing either the witness of others or that of the person ‘cured’?
The gift of healing was God’s witness in the 1st century that the disciples were preaching the true gospel. It was necessary because the 1st century hearers had no New Testament to check their gospel against.
Today the whole of scripture is available to us to check the gospel that is preached.
Does the gospel preached by those who claim to speak in tongues and possess the gift of healing actually agree with scripture?
I have yet to find a single such person whose gospel matches what I read in scripture.
They believe to a man (and woman) in the trinity, immortal souls, heaven-going at death, hell as a place of eternal torment, the devil is a fallen angel, Jesus died as a substitute to placate an angry God and other such nonsense.
If they are wrong about the gospel why should I believe that they have any gifts from God?
Does God give gifts to men who don’t preach the truth?
James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
This doesn’t actually support your case for the gift of healing.
If there are those that have the gift of healing why does James not say ‘call for one who has the gift of healing’? – Would not that make more sense?
Does it not fit rather with:
Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
It is the prayer of righteous men and anointing with oil which James advises to bring healing to the sick.
James goes on to say:
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Do I believe that the prayer of righteous men can avail much? – the answer is YES.
Healing is subject to the will of God so not all that are prayed for will necessarily be healed.
Do I believe that there are people with the Holy Spirit gift of healing today? – the answer is NO.
If you are of God you will be able (and obliged) to preach the true gospel to me.
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
I await your answers to my questions and to hear the gospel you preach.
I hope this helps,
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