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Question 112

Q: As one of my favorite preachers, I was disturbed to hear you talk against speaking in tongues on a recent Running to Win program.

You explained why you thought the gift of tongues was not for today and why it’s of the devil. You claimed that, in the Bible, tongues were always known languages, and since the tongues of today are not a known language, they are not from God.

Well, I personally know six individuals that were given a tongue to speak to other individuals in their own language. That ended in salvation for those individuals; and two even became pastors.

Now what do you think?

Asked by: George, Florida


A: Well, first of all, let me clarify something. Never have you heard me say that I believe that all tongue-speaking is of the devil.

I know that I have never said that because I’ve never believed that.

And so, I hope that you don’t think that I was making some kind of a blanket statement. But, I’ve always said that there are three possibilities when it comes to the modern phenomenon of speaking in tongues.

First of all, in many instances, it’s a learned experience. People actually go into a prayer room and they begin to speak, and they speak perhaps gibberish, they speak language that does not really exist, but they learn how to do it. And after you’ve done it awhile, you can do it quite easily. In fact, I’ve talked to people who have been a part of the movement.

Second, it’s possible, and you must grant this, that some tongue speaking is of the devil and this has been proven because people have taken tape recorders and discovered that what they were speaking was an actual language, but it was filled with blasphemies. Satan wants to control people’s tongues and so we need to warn individuals about that.

But third, I’ve always believed that we should keep an open attitude to this. We can’t say what God can or cannot do, and there’s always the possibility that God has genuinely given someone the gift of tongues.

And as your letter indicates, very interestingly, you say that you know some individual who had the gift of tongues and was speaking in a language he had never learned, and as a result of that he was able to lead people to Jesus Christ. If that has happened, then I would say that this is a genuine gift from God. Seems to me that God could do the miracle, and as a result of that miracle, the Gospel could go out in a language that someone has never learned then shared in that language group and people believe on Christ. That, to me, would authenticate the gift. There’s so much else that could be said, but that will do for now. Just know that we need discernment in all these matters.

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