Whenever Christians meet to praise and worship the Lord, music and prayer takes centre stage.
As the Holy Spirit descends upon them, most of them speak, or even sing, in tongues. Most Pentecostal churches say every Christian should be able to speak in tongues as it is a gift from God.
On the other hand, traditional churches think otherwise, arguing that not all believers are given the gift of speaking in tongues.
Christian blogger Phil Johnson says tongues should be used responsibly and not in a chaotic manner.
He writes that Apostle Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians chastised the congregation’s abuse of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14:40, which says, “All things should be done decently and in order,” and 1 Corinthians 14:19, “I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue”.
Mr Johnson argues that tongues are languages which must be understood and interpreted to give meaning, not just ‘noise’. He says, “The ecstatic gibberish of the modern charismatic movement does not even fit the apostle’s definition of a language. All true language has a meaning, and if the meaning cannot be understood, it sounds like the noises of a troglodyte. If the tongue is merely gibberish and has no translatable message, it is actually worse than a savage tongue.”
“So again we see that the gift of tongues was God’s declaration that the wall of partition had been broken down. Although the oracles of God had once been committed to the Jewish race alone, now the message about God’s wonderful works would extend to every nation, people, and tribe. That was the primary significance of the gift of tongues. It was never intended to be a Babel of noise that no one, including the speaker, understood.”
Yet others cite the books of Acts as proof that apostles were baptised with the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised before his ascension, that every Christian should speak in tongues if they are indeed saved.
Wonderful International Ministries (WIM) leader Prophet Henry Mandishona insists that every believer should speak in tongues.
He quoted Mark 16 verses 16-17, which says signs would follow those who believe and will be able to speak in other tongues. “Speaking in another tongue as the Holy Spirit gives utterance is the initial evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. However, after this initial baptism, one can speak in other tongues as the spirit gives utterance.
“There are people who speak in tongues as a gift and these can speak via the gift at any given time. To answer your question, should every Christian speak in a tongue? Yes.” Life Giving Ministries International founder Prophet Lazarus Mashavave said speaking in tongues is a sign for an unbeliever to believe.
“He who speaks with tongues speaks to no man but God because he speaks an unknown language to man. Tongues are for his edification, unless he gives an interpretation, that’s when he edifies the church.” Academic researcher Mr Entrodge Usayi said although speaking in tongues was a free gift to Christians on the day of Pentecost, not possessing the gift does not make one a lesser Christian.
“Speaking in tongues only mean that one has reached a deeper level of intimacy with God but it doesn’t guarantee one a slot in Heaven. Some modern day Christians create their own tongues because they think that speaking in tongues is a sign of righteousness or purity. That’s why the Bible says speaking in tongues must be done in an orderly manner and if it’s in a church, there has to be an interpreter.
“If there is no interpreter it’s better for one to keep quiet than making unnecessary noise that doesn’t edify the body of Christ.” Religious studies expert Pastor Mutandwa Ndoro said the gift of tongues is testimony that the Holy Spirit dwells inside a believer.
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