Friday, June 14, 2013

Tongues: Not a Blessing, but a Curse

Deuteronomy literally means "second law," because it contains the second enumeration of the Ten Commandments. It is primarily a book of the covenant, the terms of the treaty of relationship between Jehovah and His people. It includes blessings for covenant faithfulness, as well as curses for treason against the covenant. The verse I wish to highlight is in the latter portion.

Deuteronomy 28:49, "The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand."

There are a number of verses throughout the Old Testament that parallel this one. For example, Isaiah 28:11, "For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue, the Lord will speak to this people." Paul also quotes this verse to the same end in I Corinthians 14:21, and then adds in verse 22, "Thus, tongues are a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers." That is, to unbelieving Jews. Yet, where do we see the promotion of "tongues"? In church worship services!

The purpose of these verses, if I may paraphrase, is for God to tell Israel, "If you refuse to listen to Me, then I will continue to speak to you, but through languages that you do not understand." This was a judgment. It is as the parent who continues his warnings to an errant child, even as that child puts his fingers in his ears to keep from hearing.

I refer to these verses as the defense of my belief that glossolalia, commonly referred to as "speaking in tongues," is not a blessing, and is not intended for today's Church.

Hearing someone else speak in an unknown tongue is a final step in God's bringing discipline against a wayward believer or church. When a professing Christian hears other people speaking in tongues, that means that either he or his entire community has provoked the wrath of God and may soon anticipate some form of judgment. This is not a good thing!


John Sarkar said...

Do you speak in unknown tongues?

Chris Cole said...

No one speaks in unknown tongues, John. Notice what happened in Acts 2:7-11: "[Jews from every nation under heaven] were amazed and astonished, saying, 'Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.'" They heard the Christians speaking in THEIR OWN LANGUAGES, not in random gibberish.