Tongues are not the sign of the Holy Spirit. Love is. Also obeying Gods word or self-control is the sign of the H.S.
The Apostle Paul wrote a correction letter to a church that was in sin during his time called 1st Corinthians.
They were in sexual sin for one. And. They were using tongues in an improper manner as well as saying that tongues are the sign of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecostals today have revived what was wrong with the Corinthian Church at least in their understanding of tongues.
In 1906 during the “Azusa Street Revival” (and other groups before them), Christians started disobeying what the Apostle Paul had written for church conduct in 1 Corinthians 14. He wrote very specific instructions in chapter 14 and then concluded the passage by writing in verse 37, “……the things which I write to you are the Commandments of the Lord”.
So. The things Paul wrote about tongues are a “commandment” he said so that anyone who would come against what he said would have to take it up with God if they didn’t like it. So. It is also true that anyone who disobeys these words in 1 Corinthians 14 is in sin. My bible teaches that to disobey Gods written word (commandments) is sin.
James wrote in chapter 4:17 “..to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Paul also wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:6 “…not to think beyond what is written…”
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14 what to do and what not to do concerning tongues and if you don’t do it, it is sin.
Having said these things, we can now look at what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 14.
It is written: 1 Corinthians 14:27,28
“If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church……”
This is clear instruction to the church, to not use tongues in the way we see them being used today in the Pentecostal churches. And remember, then Paul writes, “…It is a commandment from the LORD" in verse 37.
But, the Pentecostals have excused themselves from keeping this commandment. And in order to feel better about their disobedience they find themselves saying things like “tongues are the proof of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life”.
This is simply not true as we see Paul at the end of 1 Corinthians 12, in verse 30 posing the hypothetical Question, “…do all speak in tongues….?” The obvious answer is the same answer in the previous verse 29, are all apostles, prophets, teachers, workers of miracles? Of course the answer is NO!
Pentecostals also say falsely that, “they are being controlled by God” to speak in tongues out of their proper order written in 1 Cor. 14
This is simply not true as Paul also wrote in 1 Cor 14:32 ….“And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets”. So, although the Holy Spirit is God we are told here that God will give you the ability to control yourself. In fact the scriptures say in Galatians 5 The fruit of the Spirit is, …“self control”… So the sign of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life is self-control, not the lack of it.
God would never write in scripture to not use tongues in a church service and then control you to do something he already forbid as a “commandment of the LORD”.
This would be God tempting you. James writes in chapter 1 verses 13-15, “….nor does He tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin……”.
God is not controlling them to speak in tongues they are giving into their own desires and calling it the controlling of the Holy Spirit. “Self control” is the sign of the Holy Spirit.
The Pentecostals also say that tongues are the sign of the Holy Spirit and they use verse 22 of 1 Cor. 14 that says, “Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers,….”. Pentecostals say that this is when people come to their church and see everyone speak in tongues then the unbeliever will want to join them. That is simply sloppy bible interpretation.
The interpretation for 1 Cor 14:22 is to merely look back one verse to 21 and see what Paul meant was the sign. The sign was the fulfillment of prophecy. Such as the prophecy from Joel chapter 2 when God would fill His church with the Holy Sprit. The sign was the day of Pentecost and the use of tongues on that day as evidence that this prophecy has taken place.
It is a sign that the fulfillment of prophecy has occurred as we see in Acts chapter 2 when the Apostle Peter stood up in Acts 2:16-24 to explain the sign has been fulfilled.
Also on the topic of tongues being the sign for the Pentecostal, we can see in the next verse of 1 Cor. 14, in verse 23, that it proves that everyone speaking in tongues in a church service is NOT the sign, because the verse says it would confuse the unbeliever to do that. So of course, the argument Paul is making is not to use tongues in church as a “sign” because it confuses new people.
Actually if you read chapter 12-14 all together you see a theme.
Chapter 12 describes gifts are for today and are different for each believer.
Chapter 13 is the “Love Chapter” explains that love (Agape) does not care for itself.
Chapter 14 so if you are “loving”, you would desire gifts that are edifying for others not for yourself. Tongues are selfish used in the church service as the Pentecostal does.
The Pentecostal cares only that they are experiencing for themselves the feelings they get when they get emotional in their services as the pastor works them up into an experience that is unscriptural. This does not care for the uniformed that should be the most important people in church, if you were loving.
The sign the Pentecostal should be getting when they use tongues out of order in the church is a “Stop Sign”. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit will convict man of sin. So, the proof of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is to know when you are sinning and then be able to stop it.
Pentecostals say that their tongues in their church services makes them the “alive church” and us who don’t disobey what was written are the “dead church”. But, my Bible says to obey Gods written word is truth and disobedience is sin. It also says that, “the wages of sin is death”. So who is really the dead church, the one who obeys Gods word or the one who does what feels good and seems right in their own eyes? It is the church that obeys Gods word that has evidence of the Holy Spirit.
There are other ways Christians try to justify disobeying Gods, written word. For example, single Christians will say, who want to fornicate that, “God would allow them to have sex before marriage because after all they are in love anyway”. Or, the homosexual will say, “God created me this way”. And the Pentecostals say, “Gods controlling me to disobey the instructions on the topic of tongues written in the bible for the true church”.
I do not believe in "cessation" (or that sign gifts have ceased). The gifts are given to those according to the will of God and are to be used within the protocal outlined in scripture in the same way that all scripture and commandments are there to be obeyed to the best of our ability.
This page is not intended to offend Pentecostals. It is merely a response (defense or apologetics or polemics) to the many comments they make frequently against us for not using them in our main services. As I said we do not hold to "cessation". Tongues are only to be done according to instruction.
Thanks, Steve Tassi