In 1987 I made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. A few days later I
received "the gift of tongues". The following testimony is but one aspect
of my experience with the gift of tongues.
Once in a while I was confronted with having to look for Biblical justification for my gift of tongues.
There were those who claimed that tongues were not for today. Even though, they never had tried it
themselves, they would still claim that it was not of God. Since they would use Bible to back up their
claim, I figured I'd use the Bible too.
Acts 2, 10 and 18 have verses that mention tongues. Mark 16 has Jesus Himself telling His disciples about
it. I would use these verses on occasion. However to me, no other chapter backed up my gift more than
I Corinthians 14. This chapter describes the tongues in greater detail than any other place in the Bible.
In fact, no other epistle talks about tongues. Only the church at Corinth seemed to be using it greatly.
To me this indicated that they were the most spiritual. I would look upon them as a model church and as
I would read I Corinthians 14, I would say to myself, "This is the way all churches should be - alive,
on fire, demonstrating the power of God." Yes, sir, you would have to assume that the church at Corinth
was very spiritual - until you read the rest of I Corinthians.
If you read the other 15 chapters of I Corinthians, you would have to honestly walk away saying, "Man,
these guys were a mess; these members were not spiritual at all". For example, starting with I Corinthians
1 we find the following:There were divisions and contentions (quarrels) among them. They were not in one accord.
I Corinthians 1:10-17
Paul called them carnal not spiritual. He said they can't take meat but only milk as babies in
Christ. I Corinthians 3:1-4
There was a member who was fornicating with his father's wife and, if that wasn't bad enough,
Paul rebuked the other members for tolerating such a sinful act in the church.
I Corinthians 5:1-7
Paul rebuked them for trying to sue each other and being a bad testimony to the unsaved.
I Corinthians 6:1-8
So far they definitely were not spiritual, but there is even more.Paul said he couldn't praise them for how they assembled together because they were not in one
accord. I Corinthians 11:17-18
Paul rebuked them for gluttony and getting drunk at the Lord's Supper (definitely not spiritual).
I Corinthians 11:19-22
Paul questioned why some of them claimed that there is no such thing as the resurrection.
I Corinthians 15:12-19
So unspiritual was the church at Corinth that Paul had to tell them:"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.
Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except
ye be reprobates?" II Corinthians 13:5
Now any objective person would have to admit that the church at Corinth was not a spiritual church.
Therefore, one has to ask, "Would God be pouring out His Holy Spirit onto such a back slidden (if even
saved) and carnal group of people?" Again, an objective person would have to say, "No, He would not!"
The problem is that when someone has the "gift of tongues", they can't be objective. An experience like
tongues is hard to deny no matter what the Bible says.
Friend, if you are trying to use I Corinthians 14 as justification for your "gift of tongues", ask yourself this:
1) Do my pentecostal church services resemble I Corinthians 14?
2) Do we speak all at once and not in an orderly fashion? I Corinthians 14:27-33
3) Do the women speak in tongues? (contrary to Paul's instructions) I Corinthians 14:34
4) Do I use it for self-edification because it feels good and not for the unsaved? I Corinthians 14:23-25
5) Do I use it as a sign just for the Jews as originally intended? I Corinthians 14:20-22
6) Do I speak a human foreign language? (that's what tongues were as described in Acts 2)
I Corinthians 14:10-14
7) Do I speak to edify others with understanding or do I do it because it feels good?
I Corinthians 14:12-16
Look, let's be honest. My friend, I have been there. During pentecostal meetings, we violated every
instruction that Paul gave in I Corinthians 14. We acted just like they did and we were as carnal and worldly
as they were. They didn't have the power of God on them and we didn't either. The power we had came
from somewhere else."And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of
light." II Corinthians 11:14
You may be shocked at my implication but just line up your gift and the way it is used with Scripture and
see if you don't arrive at the same conclusion.
In the end . . .
After finally listening to what God's Word had to say about the fruits that should be evident in a Christian's
life, I came to the conclusion that I simply was not saved and never had been!! So let me show you what
God says about salvation and how tongues can actually keep a person from getting truly saved. First of all,
God's Word says:"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
We are all sinners in rebellion against God and:"the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
We can't begin to fellowship with God until we are reconciled with Him (Romans 5:6-11). We need to be
saved, but we can't save ourselves (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is obtained through:"...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts 20:21
Christ died in our place. He paid for our sins. This makes salvation a free gift by grace if a person repents
and takes God at His Word when He says that Christ has paid it all. Salvation requires repentance and faith,
but . . .
The gift of tongues can become a trap that keeps a person from ever truly repenting.
Repentance means a change of mind about sin, an attitude of turning away from sin and instead following
God's will. It means accepting God's Word as the final authority in your life. My gift of tongues was a
hindrance to repentance in that it replaced God's Word as the final authority in my life. The tongues, and
not God's Word, was a constant indicator of my spirituality. My reasoning was that no matter how much
Bible I had violated as long as I could speak in tongues I was still right with God. Many times I justified
a sinful act by simply assuming that a displeased God would have taken away my gift. However, true
repentance never violates God's Word no matter what feedback a person may feel he has from God. God
never goes against His Word (Titus 1:2). Yet, if it came down between accepting my tongues or God's
Word, the tongues would win every time. After all, it was hard for me to follow mere words in a book over
an actual physical sensation from "God".
The gift of tongues can also keep a person from having true Bible faith.
Faith is simply taking God at His Word and claiming what God promises. Faith does not go out searching
for a sign from God. Such a search makes God out to be a liar (Matthew 12:38-39). My gift of tongues was
a direct hindrance to faith since I was trusting more in my "gift" than in what God said in His Word. For
example when God's Word said that:
1. Tongues were a known foreign language
and not a heavenly one (Acts 2:1-11).
2. Tongues were meant as a sign for
witnessing to the Jews (I Corinthians
14:20-22; Acts 2; 10:44-47; 19:3-8).
3. Tongues would cease when the Bible
was completed (I Corinthians 13:8-10).
My response was always, "I don't care what the
Bible says, I know this gift is of God". After
all, to me, an experience like speaking in tongues
was more believable than mere words in a book.
But anybody can have faith based on receiving a
sign (John 4:48). True Bible faith simply takes
God at His Word (Matthew 8:5-10; Romans
10:13-17) regardless of what the five senses are
I hope that the reader can see that depending on
an experience like tongues can keep a person
from truly repenting and having true Bible faith
with the result being no Bible salvation. Please
examine yourself. Are you justifying sin with
your gift? Are you trusting it over God's Word?
Have you ever seen yourself as truly lost and on
the way to Hell? If you have any questions,
please contact us at:
3303 23rd Avenue SouthWest
Fargo, North Dakota 58103
Pastor T. C. Scheving
[Send the Light Ministry (Fargo, ND)] [Christian Home Bible Course]