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Trinitarian Challenge

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Q: Hello, this site is just what I'm looking for. I am Apostolic but I need some help on this. Please send me info about tongues being the evidence of the Holy Ghost. And distinguishing of this evidence from the gift of diverse tongues. You don't know how important this is to me.

A: Acts 10:44-48, "44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days." I call your attention to the word "for" in verse 46 which means "because." All of the Jews present "knew" that the Gentiles had recieved the Holy Ghost "for" or because they had spoken in tongues unknown to them (the Speakers). Is this always the sign of someone recieving the Holy Ghost? I now refer you to verse 47 where the phrase "as well as we" is better rendered "exactly like we did" or by speaking in tongues since there is no mention of the sound of a wind or tongues of fire appearing on their (the Gentiles) heads.

When Paul ran across some disciples of John he asked them if they had recieved the Holy Ghost since they had heard about Jesus. They said that they had not even heard of the Holy Ghost. Acts 19:4-6, "4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." The Bible doesn't specifically say that all those who recieve the Holy Ghost speak in tongues but here in the book of acts of the four times that anyone is mentioned recieving the Spirit of God three times it is specifically mentioned that tongues accompanied the infilling. Does this mean that it didn't occur the forth time? Well if you had already written three times that tongues are a sign of recieving the Holy Ghost is it really necesary to mention it every time you mention the Holy Ghost? Remember also that these people had eyewitnesses and people who had "experienced" this and could tell them that when you recieve the Holy Ghost you will speak in a tongue unknown to you. We have this today.

Consider: Acts 2:4. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." which says that it is the spirit that gives the utterance. Who is this for. Let's see what Paul thinks.

1 Corinthians 14:5, " I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying." where the word "would" has the same meaning as "I would that my son survive this fever!" It is a desire of profound intensity. I call your attention to the word "all" which means just that - all. Couple this with what we have already seen and we see that tongues were a definitive sign of recieving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and that the ablility to speak in tongues was available to all who were in Pauls congregation at Corinth. We also see that Paul very strongly desired that they all speak in tongues. Couple with this that I personally have seen several people recieve the Holy Ghost and they all spoke in tongues and after this experience they had absolutely no doubt that God exists.

What are the purposes of tongues? Consider what Paul wrote in these four power packed verses! 1 Corinthians 14:1-4, "1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church." There is a lot in these verses but I will try to stick to tongues.

First let us clear up that Paul is refering to "unknown tongues" here. In verse 2 I call your attention to the phrase "for no man understandeth him." The "eth" at the end of understand means that the verb is continuous. As I recently wrote to a sceptic "I think this qualifies the tongue or language as "unknown." Paul says that the person that uses this language is speaking to God and not to men. This tongue is then not a message to men. Paul goes on in verse 4 to say that the purpose of this tongue is to edify or "build up" the believer. Many people miss this and I really can't see why. This is not the gift of tongues but the Spirit of God giving the believer "utterance" to the "mysteries" (unknown requests) that the believer needs to speak to God to encourage and instruct and correct the believer. I have heard people say that this always has to be a language but it can also be "groanings": Romans 8:26, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Here again Paul refers to this groaning as done by all believers and that it is the Spirit itself that helps us pray for help with our "infirmities" or habitual weaknesses. The main purpose of 1 Corinthians 14 is that people not stand in Church and have person after person speak in this "unknown tongue" without an interpretation. He says a little later in the passage that this tongue was to be spoken by 2 at the most 3 people when the time was set aside for it and if these spoke and none interpreted, for them to sit down and speak to themselves or else they were out of order. Paul also adds that if the interpretation isn't forthcoming and the "understanding is unfruitful" that he continues to "pray in tongues" and adds his own thoughts with the prayers or songs as the case may be.

This brings us to the "gifts" involving tongues. When one refers to the gifts involving tongues there are two catagories: the gift of diverse tongues and the gift of interpretation of tongues. 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" The gift of diverse kinds of tongues is the ability to speak to somone in their language which you do not understand as well as speak in the manner above where another interprets for you. The gift of interpretaiton is self explanitory.

What do we have left? 1. When one recieves the gift of the Holy Ghost they will speak in tongues. 2. The main purpose of tongues is that the Spirit of God will utter the requests for the believer that they are unaware they need to speak to "build that believer up." 3. Unless there is interpretation of this tongue the believer is not to "needlessly" waste the Churche's time but sit down and continue to pray to themselves. 4. If the understanding of the "personal" tongue is not forthcoming we are to add our own requests mentally 5. The gift of diverse tongues is the ability to speak in many known and unknown languages. 6. The gift of interpretation is the ability to make known the unknown tongue. 7. The manifestations of the gifts are for the edification or building up of the Church as well as for signs to the unbelievers.

If you have any questions at all write me!



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