The Gift of Tongues

I haven’t mentioned this before, but I attend a Pentecostal-leaning church. Although I do not consider myself to be a Pentecostal, the church is solid doctrinally and is committed to reaching out to the lost.

One of the distinguishing characteristics of Pentecostals is the belief that people are able to speak in tongues today. I’ve even seen this during some of the church services I’ve attended. Godly believers exist on both sides of the issue, which is why I have included a resource for each position below. Both speakers bring up good points and make a solid argument.

Dr. John Piper’s dissenting opinion can be read here.

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3 Responses

  1. Piper’s remarks do not seem to contradict Cairns. Piper’s article really does not seem to be a discussion of tongues in particular at all. Piper’s focus is on the movement and empowerment of the Spirit the purpose of advancing the gospel continuing to the present day. That principle is not controversial to the best of my knowledge.

  2. The topic of Piper’s article may not specifically be about the gift of tongues, but he does address it:

    “In other words, God seems to give whatever manifestations he pleases at different times….”

    “In other words the miracle of tongues was a demonstration of God’s sovereign power, and it showed that this power promised in Acts 1:8 really was intended to advance the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth. It was a token that God means for all peoples to understand his greatness and that he is willing to do miracles to make his glory known among the nations.”

    The overall tone of Piper’s piece is that God continues to work miracles today for the advancement of the Gospel – the gift of tongues included.

    I may be wrong about my interpretation of what Dr. Piper wrote, but that was the impression that I walked away with.

  3. Piper’s article does not address any of the serious objections Cairns raises and even seems to agree that the manifestation of the gift of tongues in Acts 2 involved real languages known to some in the audience. As such, the Piper link does not appear to have been intended as a detailed defense of the doctrine of modern tongues on par with Cairn’s discussion.

    Piper’s primary argument is that this power (that is, the power of the Spirit empowering the work of the ministry in a multitude of ways, not specifically, the gift of tongues) continues to this day. Piper does imply that he believes tongues continues to this day, but his core argument (that the Spirit continues to empower the church today) does not contradict the doctrine of the cessation of the gift of tongues as presented by Cairns. It is perfectly reasonable to believe that the Spirit continues to empower the church without manifesting the gift of tongues.

    Dr. Piper does cite the experience of John White and attempt to say that the apostles experience was probably the same. That seems unlikely. As John White’s record includes no claim of being understood in a language he did not know or of ministering to anyone else in the group via his garbled speech.

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