The Tongues movement which is closely identified with Pentecostalism is Satanic in origin. We are told to “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world” 1 John 4.1. Again Paul writes, “Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Cor 11:13-15.
We are warned, “In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” 1 Tim 4.1-2. The coming of the Antichrist is “after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders”, 2 Thess 2.9.
The miraculous gift of tongues was evident on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2, and during the early days of the Church. But this gift of tongues was given in connection with the establishment of Christianity, and it ceased when its special need was over. Moreover, this gift was only given in places where people of different nationalities were dwelling, and those who received the gift spoke real languages (see Acts 2:1-11). But today those who speak in tongues speak to none but their own countrymen. Hence the folly and uselessness of their performance. Going even further, it was men who spoke in tongues, and there is no instance of women speaking in tongues in the church.
God’s purpose in giving the gift was doubtless that all the nations should hear the gospel at that particular time.
The Old Testament is quite silent on this subject, except in Isaiah 28.11, which verse is quoted by Paul in 1 Cor 14.21. The Gospels contain but one reference to tongues: Mark 16.17 says that certain signs like speaking with new tongues will accompany the preaching of the gospel.
The Acts of the Apostles has 3 references to the subject: i. They began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterances. Acts 2.4, 8, 11. ii. They heard them speak with tongues and magnify God, Acts 10.46. iii. They spake with tongues, and prophesied, Acts 19.6
The first scripture has to do with the inauguration of Christianity on the Day of Pentecost. The second with the introduction of the Gentiles into the church of God. The gift was confirmatory as to the middle wall of partition being broken down, and testified that the Gentile had an equal place with the Jew in the body of Christ. The third is a special case with fits in as a sort of addendum to the other two.
In all three cases, it was companies of believers who spoke in tongues and not individuals. Let us note that the Spirit is given without the believer seeking for His indwelling. The Holy Spirit is God’s seal, consequent on the reception of the gospel of salvation. There is no thought whatever in Scripture of Christians beseeching God for days and weeks for a baptism of the Spirit and the gift of tongues. Clearly, the gift of tongues was confined to the inauguration of Christianity.
In the Epistles, the subject is mentioned only 3 times in one book, i.e First Corinthians. It is never mentioned in the other 21 books. To sum up, the subject of tongues is mentioned once in the Old Testament, once in the Gospels, thrice in Acts, and thrice in 1st Corinthians.
Let us examine the subject in 1 Corinthians 12, 13, 14. In the enumeration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, in 1 Corinthians 12, the gift of tongues is put last. The gifts are given in a descending scale; the spiritual gifts come first, and the gift of tongues come last.
In 1 Corinthians 13 we are told that the more excellent way of love is better than the gift. We are also told in 1 Corinthians 13.8 that tongues shall cease.
In 1 Corinthians14, the Corinthians are sternly rebuked by Paul the Apostles for exaggerating the importance of tongues, and using it to make much of themselves. Paul says that he would rather they prophesied than spoke with tongues. He went on to say that he thanked God that he spoke with tongues more than them all, yet he would rather speak five words with his understanding than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. He concludes by saying that if an unbeliever came into their assembly and all spoke with tongues, he would say that they were mad!
In 1 Cor 14.34 we read, “Let your women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak.”
It is observed that in the Tongues Movement, women are in the forefront of speaking in tongues, though the Bible forbids them from speaking in church. Though the Bible clearly says that God is not the author of confusion, babbling in tongues in Pentecostal churches is reflects indecency and disorder. “Let all things be done decently and in order” 1 Cor 14.40.
Anyone who has attended a Pentecostal or Charismatic church would observe that ‘tongues’ are nothing but shallow, inaccurate and unscriptural ravings. The women utter wild, incoherent speeches, rising higher and higher in shrillness, till they sink exhausted in their seats. It is clear that neither the speaker nor the hearers understood a single word of what was said.
The Tongues Movement became very prominent in the beginning of the 20th century. From America comes this report:
“I went for the first time to San Francisco. The place was crowded. A large, stout woman was leading, amid great excitement. We were hardly seated when she cried out, “We need to pray. Two enemies of the truth have come in. The Spirit tells me they are here to fight the truth.”…One thing struck us forcibly; no one said Lord Jesus and no one cried “Abba Father”…Soon we were electrified by hearing for the first time the weird, piercing notes of a woman under ‘the power’ speaking in tongues. I jotted down these cries, “Ku-ri-ah, Ku-ri-ah; Ku-ri-ah; Ku-ri-ah-ke”. This she repeated over and over again, till almost out of breath…She finished, and from a corner came what sounded like the wail of a lost soul. Another woman intoned in the most melancholy tones: “La-a-a-a-la -a-a-a- ah – la- la- la- la- ah – ah- oh -oh” This utterance was accepted by the gathering as the great power of God…At the close of the meeting, the leader came straight to us and we withstood her to her face by pointing out to her the direct command of Scripture which she had been disobeying all through the meeting, i.e. 1 Cor 14.34, which forbids women from speaking in churches. As we read it she raved in anger, whereupon I remarked, “Won’t you lose your sanctification altogether if you get much angrier?” She cried out, “You are possessed with a devil!” and left us….But five men followed us as we went out and plied us with questions, thanking us for opening their eyes as they had listened to our conversation.”
Many have testified to witnessing similar scenes of violence and confusion in such Pentecostal and Charismatic meetings. Women are the chief speakers on such occasions. We are therefore convinced from the history and marks of this movement that it is Satanic in origin. May the Lord preserve the simple Christian from such latter-day delusions.
A J Pollock (abridged)