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More on ‘Tongues’ ... though I don’t know why!

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More on ‘Tongues’ ... though I don’t know why!

Though my article on Tongues (A-032) is conclusive, because it gives the actual biblical meaning of the term, and is what the majority of genuine theologians say, I still receive (and have done over many years) angry retorts from believers who claim to use some kind of ‘heavenly’ tongue. These adherents can only quote a passion, but not biblical evidence. Thus, their ‘belief’ is a personalised interpretation (if that) and not part of God’s word. So, this short paper is written with a sigh of impatience, for those who have read A-032! Why I have to talk about it again is incomprehensible in the light of clear scriptures. That some become angry is significant, for it reveals a non-God source of belief.

Don Carson’s View

Don Carson’s view on ‘tongues’ is an invention and has no link whatever to what scripture really says. Yet, his view is adopted by all who wish to see THEIR idea of ‘tongues’ given some kind of legitimacy (in their own minds, that is). The trouble is, we can ALWAYS discover someone who can persuade with nonsense, if we search hard enough.

Carson gives his very peculiar view in his book, ‘Showing the Spirit’ (a chapter on 1 Corinthians 12-14). As some have reviewed – the chapter on tongues is of a far inferior quality to the rest of the book. Charismatics (never keen on genuine Bible truth) use the book to defend their use of ‘tongues’. As I always say, modern ‘tongues’ is gobbledygook, and I will not move from that definition. But, when people use this unintelligible sort of mental gymnastics, they will defend it to the hilt, not because God gives them authority, but because they prefer their nonsense to the truth. Unfortunately, Carson’s book (already some years old) is experiencing renewed interest from cultists and those who have fallen for the linguistic lie.

Many who read our material seem to have a blind-spot when it comes to tongues in particular, and their anger with our teaching on this subject causes me to question their reasons for retaining their charismatic delusion about tongues. (Gobbledygook tongues is an excellent way for Satan to fill a mind with his lies or his influence). Yes, I call it a delusion, and refuse to sugar my statement, because when we stray from scripture to prefer an humanised meaning, we are outside God’s word.

To quote from ‘The Cripplegate’:

“In the NT, the gift of tongues was the ability to speak in actual languages. Just about every NT scholar grants that. Carson establishes that as well, and his case is unassailable. With that in mind, there are really only two semi-plausible ways to legitimize the modern use of “tongues.”

One is to say that what happens today is an actual known language. What you hear at your local Pentecostal church is some language that you simply are not familiar with, such as Swahili. But with the advent of tape recorders and airplanes (and the field of linguistics), these claims are really untenable. Carson even grants that to be the case.”

In the most peculiar invented way, Carson jumps through self-made hoops to approve of modern-day ‘tongues’. In doing so he provides an ‘explanation’ of tongues that are far removed from the biblical model. Firstly, Carson accepts that biblical tongues were indeed proper, foreign languages.

But, then he enters a strange field of his own making, by saying that while modern ‘tongues’ do not coincide with biblical tongues, they ARE genuine tongues, but presented in ‘code’. What? By saying this, and by not connecting to scripture at all, he enters the world of children, who often develop their own ‘tongues’ written in code! Scripture does NOT tell us that the tongues were written in code. It does NOT tell us that interpretation of those tongues required someone taught in the ‘code’. So, how can Carson justify saying it for modern tongues? By making this assumption Carson is actually speaking extra-biblically, removing his idea from what God says in His word! This is not acceptable. Especially when there is no proof at all that what he says is worth looking at, or even plausible.

Carson says modern ‘tongues’ are more like a computer language, which is given in code. A computer programmer can ‘read’ it while others cannot. The ‘interpreter’ then is ‘gifted’ with this code. In reality a programmer has to learn the code humanly, and practise it. This is not how biblical tongues were given. The huge problem here is that if only certain people have this ‘gift’ (of code), there is no way for anyone else to check out its credibility or authenticity! The whole essence of tongues in scripture was that they were languages that could be verified. The ‘interpreter’, then, was given the meaning of a foreign language (that could be verified by someone speaking that language), for those around him or her who could not understand. In this way, the interpretation was authenticated by people who spoke that language. Iin no way did this mean the interpreter could not be double-checked!

I have already warned that those who THINK they speak in an heavenly language DO NOT KNOW if what they say is godly, useful or genuine. Yet, some (Africans) have heard these ‘heavenly tongues’ and were deeply shocked to hear satanic phrases uttered in their own foreign, but little known, language! Those who think their language is ‘coded’ and ‘interpreted’ by another, have no way to learn if what they say is satanic or gobbledygook!

Carson’s idea is also elitist, giving status to those who want a gift but do not have it. Thus, they pretend to have it. And many insist that they speak in these ‘tongues’ in private (another clue, for God never says tongues were for private consumption), saying they feel at peace, or were given some other supposed ‘benefit’. How do they know it is genuine and sent by God, if there is no way to check it? There are a number of ways to ‘feel at peace’ psychologically, and some of them are fake.

On pages 85-86 Carson shows how to construct this coded language. The fact that he can construct it is an indication that it is of man and not of God. Because Hebrew does not use vowels (Hebrew language does have vowels), he says we may invent a language by removing the vowels. He then removes the spaces between the vowel-less words. Then he places an ‘a’ after each consonant... and so he constructs an invented language mechanically. In scripture the language is not of this kind.

In scripture, the person is given a foreign language to speak, but has no prior knowledge of it. (This also applied to the interpreter at times; at other times the person could interpret simply because he spoke the foreign language). The tongue is spoken for those present who did not understand the Gospel in the original language. It was not given for private use or for use when someone who spoke the language was not present! So, to use it privately, in prayer, in thought, when alone, etc., is directly against God’s intention. This makes it heresy, so think carefully.

Another clue to Carson’s humanised version is that he says “Anyone who knows the steps I have taken could reverse them in order to retrieve the original message… It appears, then, that tongues may bear cognitive information even though they are not known human languages–just as a computer program is a ‘language’ that conveys a great deal of information, even though it is not a ‘language’ that anyone actually speaks. You have to know the code to be able to understand it.” But, the whole point is that a TRUE ‘tongue’ is a foreign language given to someone who did not know what he was saying, to someone who DID understand it, for purposes of spreading the Gospel. (It was definitely not for private use). And what was said was a provable foreign language. To say otherwise is to ignore what God’s word says, and that is not acceptable. That is what Acts 2 proves.

As some readers already know, we accept that God’s gifts are still with us, but also say that most modern claims to have them are lies, deceptions or delusions. God still uses a foreign language to reach a foreign person, but on very rare occasions (because modern methods of communication make such use unnecessary most of the time). Those who say they use a ‘heavenly tongue’ in private are, then, deluding themselves about its source. It is either a satanic ploy to keep the person deceived (this can even happen to believers who have fallen under charismatic influence), or, it is a psychological comfort, like a baby’s dummy/pacifier – it has no real benefit except in the person’s own mind, and causes developing teeth to grow crookedly. In both cases it is not a godly activity.

Carson, then, has come up with bunkum. Only those with no interest in truth can accept what he says on the subject, when scripture says otherwise. Beware that human enthusiasm does not lead you stray!

© September 2013

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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