The history of the tongues movement is relatively recent. While most Pentecostals and Charismatics are aware of the Azuza street “revival”, there is another origin.
Charles Parham started a Bible School in Topeka, Kansas. While working the class into an emotional state with fiery preaching, a woman, Agnes Ozman, reportedly began to speak in an unknown tongue. This is not the earliest source of this error – that is dealt with in detail in part 6.
However, this is not Biblical speaking in tongues. What she was doing was the ecstatic utterances of pagans. The amazing thing is that almost all Charismatics know this, and still speak in glossolalia!
The issue is, Charismatics are ruled by experience, not the word of God. The question we must ask, time and time again is, “If experience tells you one thing, and the Bible another, which will you choose?”
The Charismatic will always answer, “Experience.”
How do I know? Because they have either answered the question that way (As John Wimber did) or they have avoided the question.
The Charismatic will sometimes answer, “I speak in tongues the same way they did in the book of Acts.” And should you promptly pull out your Bible and show them speaking in tongues has ceased, THEN you get the admission they rely upon experience. “Well, I know what I’ve experienced, and I know tongues are real.”
I know, because that’s what I used to say. I think it took a full year for me to be fully convinced that Biblical tongues had ceased. And this was after listening to a sermon that explained a verse at a time. Much of the sermon I found to be rude and sarcastic, and that didn’t help at all. Another sermon I heard was very good, but it featured racism – which doesn’t help the issue. Speak in love, Christian brothers! How am I going to give away a good sermon to Charismatics if you’re creating these kind of issues?
Let’s look at the verse that says tongues have ceased.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 1 Cor 13:8-10 (KJV)
With the Strong’s numbers, because precious few Charismatics ever learn the Greek…
8 Charity <G26> never <G3763> faileth <G1601>: but <G1161> whether <G1535> there be prophecies <G4394>, they shall fail <G2673>; whether <G1535> there be tongues <G1100>, they shall cease <G3973>; whether <G1535> there be knowledge <G1108>, it shall vanish away <G2673>. 9 For <G1063> we know <G1097> in <G1537> part <G3313>, and <G2532> we prophesy <G4395> in <G1537> part <G3313>. 10 But <G1161> when <G3752> that which is perfect <G5046> is come <G2064>, then <G5119> that which is in <G1537> part <G3313> shall be done away <G2673>. 1 Cor 13:8-10 (KJV)
Charity (or love) never (Ekpipto). Ek is out of, Pipto (I fall away). So, Ekpipto is Charity never falls out and away (implies a loss).
Prophecies they (Katargeo) destroy, cease. Render utterly idle, useless. Charity never falls away, but prophecies shall be idle, dwindling into stillness, cease. Paul tells the Corinthians who were (like the charismatic churches) enthralled with prophecies and tongue speaking and healings that prophecies will stop.
This means, that every charismatic that gets up and announces, “Thus sayeth the Lord…” is speaking presumptuously and is a false prophet. I’m sorry, but that’s what the Bible says.
Tongues will Pauo, quit, desist, come to an end.
This means that tongues will come to an end. That’s what the Bible says. When will this happen? When that which is perfect is come. Perfect is teleios. Teleios is from Telos, goal. “When that which is aimed at is achieved” is a good literal understanding of that Greek compound word. It has been pointed out by people that know more Greek than I do that Teleios never refers to a person, but only to the Law, or Word of God.
Paul was telling Corinth “don’t get all hung up on sign gifts – they’re stopping soon.” They would stop when that which is completed, perfected is come. What were the Apostles doing in that age? Simple: They were writing the New Testament.
Paul was saying, “The Bible will be complete soon, and these gifts, which are to authenticate the Christian churches and Christianity in general, will CEASE when that is complete.”
In 55 AD, the only way to identify of God was with a prophet or teacher was through miracles. These were signs for unbelievers, not believers.
Today, we merely need to open the Bible and see if what they teach lines up with the word of God. “Let’s see… Benny Hinn, nope…nope…nope… okay, false teacher.”
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3 (KJV)
“once delivered unto the saints” is the phrase to understand. The Bible was sealed once and for all in Revelation. Following that, no more was to be added, nor taken away.
So anyone speaking a “word of knowledge” is laying claim to an ability to speak correct doctrine by intuitive knowledge, as spoken by the Holy Ghost. If you’re speaking some new thing, you are adding to a completed canon, which personally I would not want to do.
Since the completion of the Biblical canon in AD 95, tongues, words of knowledge, healings and prophecy have ceased.
“But wait! People are still being healed!” Yes, by God. Not by a power given to Benny Hinn, who apparently has a nifty new martial art that can knock down and injure (and kill) people at a distance. I’ll make the challenge that others have made before me – if you TRULY have the Biblical gift of healing, go immediately to the Children’s hospitals, and heal every last one of them of their life-threatening diseases. Think of the love-offerings and tithes your ministry will get! Invite 60 Minutes to follow you, and go heal.
“The healings don’t work that way.” Okay, bring EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM to one of your Crusade appearances, play your loud music, everyone do the wave or whatever, and heal… every …one …of …them.
If the healings come sporadically, then that’s God, not you – and its the same thing as for any other Christian who prays, and God sometimes answers. In other words, nothing has changed. It’s not the Biblical gift of healing, which can restore life to someone who is dead, heal leprosy, restore a quadriplegic, etc.
It’d be like claiming I have the gift of Green traffic lights – sometimes when I come to one, miraculously, the light stays green as I drive through it! “sometimes” rules out it being a Biblical gift. And as I’ve documented elsewhere, the healing power that usually is exhibited is usually about as powerful as a couple of aspirin. Hurt back? Go to a church and ask someone to pray for you. Or you could take some Alleve and wait ten minutes. Either way.
So even if the glossolalia Charismatics employ was Biblical tongues (which its not), that gift ceased in AD 95. Notice that Paul was unable to heal Trophimus, and was forced to leave him sick in AD 66 (2 Tim 4:20)! this would be impossible if the Pentacostal interpretation of sign gifts for today being correct. it remains the one objection they can’t answer, in addition to 1 Cor 13.
“But wait! There’s still knowledge!” yes, regular knowledge. There’s no difference between the Ginosko, “I know”, and “Ginosko”, knowledge. Does that mean that in the Millennial Kingdom, we will be incapable of knowing anything – mindless zombies, shuffling around Jerusalem? No, that interpretation makes no sense! Is it knowledge of the gospel? No, that too makes no sense, as we’ll be dwelling with Jesus Christ for eternity.
So, obviously, this refers to the “Word of knowledge” in 1 Cor 12 & 13, the miraculous understanding of doctrine without the benefit of a written Bible.
the sign gifts have passed away.