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.
My gift of tongues gave me a sense of profound spirituality and the potential for deep spiritual growth.
After all, I felt I was in direct contact with God; it was as if He was standing right beside me. Nothing
else gave me the feeling of godly fellowship like tongues did. During those sessions, I would talk to God
as the spirit controlled my mouth. There I was an instrument through which God was glorifying Himself
and I literally mean glorifying Himself because after all it was God the Holy Spirit speaking to God the
Father. I was just there for the ride. In fact, I didn't even know what I was saying. I didn't even learn
a thing from those sessions. All I knew is that it felt good to speak in tongues. There was no real spiritual
growth in the true sense of learning a new Bible precept and applying it. With all the thousands of words
I would utter, not one taught me a thing. Paul said it best:"I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: Yet in the
church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by
my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an
unknown tongue." I Corinthians 14:18-19
Yes, Paul was a missionary. The tongues were a great asset to him since they were a foreign language
used for witnessing to the Jews (Acts 2; I Corinthians 14:20-23). Yet when it came to speaking in church,
he said he would rather be understood so others would benefit from his speaking and so the lost would get
right with God. The real gift of tongues from God served the very practical purpose of witnessing. God's
main concern has always been to save the lost (Matthew 18:11), not to give people a sensational spiritual
My gift of tongues never got anyone saved; instead it gave me a good feeling. Never mind that it didn't
benefit others, my spiritual need was what counted the most. You may be thinking that I had a selfish
attitude. You're right. I did. My attitude was anything but loving. I was spiritually arrogant, lacking
in compassion (see Part I), and downright selfish. Like a drug addict who thinks only about "feeding his
head", I would think about feeling spiritual and the best way to feel spiritual was to speak in tongues. Yet,
all my spiritual feelings served no good if they didn't result in an act of sacrificial love toward others. My
"gift" only resulted in making noise. The Corinthians fell in a similar trap. Paul pointed it out to them:"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
I Corinthians 13:1
In spite of my tongues my burden for souls never increased. Even when I would witness I was more
interested in them obtaining the gift and feeling good than in them repenting and avoiding Hell. I've seen
others who were so into their gift of tongues that if anyone would question its validity, they would lash out
at them. One time during a Baptist service the message was about obtaining the power of God. A visitor
(who had the gift of tongues) walked out during the message. Upon questioning, they told me how
hypocritical it was to talk about the power of God while not believing that the gift of tongues is for today.
This person went on to belittle the service and to consider its members ignorant.
Sometimes the members of pentecostal churches will spread lies and rumors about non-speaking churches.
They would somehow consider them a threat and hindrance to the Holy Spirit's work. They would think
of themselves as doing God a favor when in reality they were acting in a non- loving way. If they were truly
spiritual, they would try to get the non-speaking churches right with God instead of ridiculing them.
No, my gift of tongues resulted in anything but love toward others. It resulted in me focusing on my needs.
It appealed to my flesh and anytime the flesh is involved selfishness is not far behind. God's plan for today
is that the just shall live by faith not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7), feelings or physical sensations. The gift
of tongues by its very nature appeals to the flesh and its corresponding senses. Speakers of tongues can't
help but focus on the superficial "feelings" of blissfulness, peace and joy, but that's all they are - feelings.
Feelings that can become addictive after a while. So addictive, in fact, that the speaker of tongues would
rather hang on to his "gift" than to submit to God's Word. But Jesus said:"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15
No, my friend, there is no love that comes from the gift of tongues. If you don't believe me ask yourself
this,"Would I be willing to give up my tongues and never experience it again if
it resulted in one soul getting saved?"
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]