Speaking in Tongues-Objections

Speaking in Tongues
Article 1

Objections to Speaking in Tongues

This six article series will concentrate on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. We are here to learn all the ins and outs about this special gift the Lord wants all of His children to have. Our Bibles will be our guide to learn all there is to know regarding this most fascinating language.

The gift of our gift of imagination

As we begin this series, let first use another gift that God has given all of us – the gift of our imagination. Imagine yourself about a mile outside the city of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. The year is 33 A.D. You and I, along with other disciples of Jesus are all assembled together surrounding Him 40 days after His resurrection. During these past 40 days, Jesus has been with His followers, and you in your imagination is one of those followers. And now, Jesus is ready to give His last command to His followers as He prepares to ascend back to His Father in heaven.

In your imagination, you may have been one of the women who saw the empty tomb.

  • Or maybe you were with Peter when he ran back to the tomb to see the linen clothes lying; however, Jesus was not there.
  • Maybe you saw the two angels in white sitting in the tomb where the body of Jesus was laid.
  • Or maybe you were on the road when Jesus showed himself to Mary? And you heard Him say to you – “Do not touch me for I am not yet ascended to my Father.
  • Or perhaps you have imagined yourself as Mary Magdalene who went running to the disciples shouting “I have seen the Lord, and He has spoken to me.”
  • But then, you were in the room when Jesus came in. He did not come in through the door, however. He just suddenly appeared, and you gasped at His appearance. He then quietly said to you - “Peace be still.”
  • You were there when He showed you his hands – the holes in his hands. Oh,but then, what if you were one of His disciples who received His breathe – and He said, “receive my spirit?” That was a foretaste of what was to come.

You have spent as much time as you could with Jesus after His resurrection. After all, you have discovered He is the true Messiah – the Christ. You saw Him do many miracles while He lived on earth and even more after His resurrection. You have been blessed to spend time with the resurrected Christ. You sat with Him as He taught you about His bodily resurrection, and listened intently as He spoke giving you your commission to preach the Gospel to the world.

And now Jesus has taken you with Him up to the Mount of Olives outside of Jerusalem to witness His ascension into heaven. As He prepares to leave this earth to return to His Father, He gives you His last command. We see that last command in Acts 1:4-8.

Acts 1:4-8 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." NKJV

Still not fully understanding all what Jesus meant, He did say "do not depart from Jerusalem just yet. All of you were to wait for the promise of the Father – that is to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. There, Jesus says, as you wait in Jerusalem, you will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you. That power will bring you to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and in Samaria – and then, Jesus says, you must go out to the most uttermost parts of the earth.

You watch as Jesus is lifted up. He rises up into the air – into the clouds, and then out of sight. You are standing there in awe – not knowing what to think, say or do. Suddenly, two angels in white, just like the ones in the tomb after Jesus died, stood there in front of you. Still trying to believe what you just saw, one of the angels speaks out saying:

Acts 1:11 You men of Galilee, why are you standing gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, will come again in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Still in a state of shock, you and all of the others go back to Jerusalem to one of the believer's home located near the temple. This upper room was probably the same room that you celebrated the Lord's supper just seven weeks prior. There, in that large upper room, you all go to prayer.

Your prayer group is a large one. Peter and the other disciples, along with many women, including the mother of Jesus are all there. All in all, there are 120 of you.

Three required feasts for the Jews

There are three feasts (out of the seven) that are required for all Jews to bring their offerings to the temple. When they do, hundreds of thousands of Jews gather in tents around the city to bring their offerings to the temple. In addition, foreigners from all over come to the festivities of the city.

It has been 40 some days since the Feast of Passover, a required feast. If you recall, the day after the Passover Jesus was crucified on the cross. Jerusalem had been crowded with hundreds of thousands of Jews celebrating the feast. After the feast, the Jews went back home to gather their harvest together - only to come back again in 50 days for the Feast of Pentecost. Here they bring the tithes of their harvest as an offering to the Lord. (This time in between Passover and Pentecost was known as the time of the Omer). Here, during this quieter time of the Omer, Jesus ascended into heaven.

So now, the city is beginning to fill up again – this time to celebrate the Shavuot – the Feast of Pentecost. Tents are being staked around city and the hub-bub of celebration is again in the air. In the upper room, however, where you and the followers of Jesus are praying, imagine yourself as anxiously awaiting the promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised you ten days earlier - just before He rose into heaven.

All of you have been praying intently, as well as conducting new business to plan for all that you will be doing. You have been doing that for ten days. You have gone home at night only to return the next morning to pray. You are all united in faith and in prayer - being of one accord. It is now the Day of Pentecost and you know that God is ready to do something.

Everyone of you are so excited to see how Jesus is going to send His Holy Spirit. There is a real anticipation as to what is going to happen.

While hundreds of thousands of Jews from all over Israel are buzzing throughout the city, bringing their tithes to the temple, something else is about to happen in that upper room, just a short distance from the temple, where you have been spending the last ten days.

The first Pentecost

Suddenly there comes a sound from heaven like a mighty rushing wind. This wind and its noise is so loud and witnessed by everyone throughout Jerusalem. That wind – the breath of Jesus – (just as He demonstrated to His disciples earlier) swooped down and filled the upper room where the 120 followers of Jesus were gathered together. The breath of Jesus comes down like fire, in the shape of cloven tongues and rested upon you and everyone else. You are all filled with the Holy Spirit. How do you know? You all spoke with other tongues as the Holy Spirit gave you utterance. A miracle has happened!

People from all over come running toward the direction of the landing wind. Multitudes came together – Jews and God fearing foreigners for every nation attending the feast came running. They all came running to the upper room where you and the other believers are experiencing the miracle of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The multitudes of people were confounded when they heard all of you speak in different languages. The Jews within the multitude heard foreign languages come out of you and your believing friends who were in the upper room, while the foreigners in the multitude heard you and your believing friends speak in their language. There were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, those dwelling throughout Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Egypt - even those as far as Rome within that multitude, and they were all amazed to hear all of you speak in their language.

Everyone knew you to be a simple Galileans who could only speak Aramaic, and maybe some Hebrew, yet thousands of people stood there in amazement listening to you speak in their language. Some mocked you, stating you were drunk. But Peter, now powered by the Holy Spirit, got up in front of everyone and gave his first sermon. As a result, 3000 people were saved that day – Jew and Gentile alike.

You shall receive power

Returning to Acts 1:8, Jesus promise to you and all of the other 120 believers that you would receive power after the Holy Spirit had come upon you. Why? To be witnesses for Jesus in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and then the uttermost parts of the earth. This was only the beginning!

Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be wutnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

If you were a Jew and lived 2000 years ago, you could easily have been one of those 120 followers of Jesus. While all this happened to another generation of people, Jesus’ message still speaks to us today. You shall receive power to witness when the Holy Spirit has come upon you – you shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Objections to speaking in tongues

Here we are, 2000 years later, and so many in the Church at large do not believe in speaking in tongues. What then are some of the main objections people have against the use of speaking in tongues?

1. Jesus didn’t speak in tongues, so I don’t have to.
2. You don’t have to speak in tongues to be baptized in the Holy Spirit
3. Tongues are of the devil
4. Tongues are no longer needed in the Church – they were only for the 1st century A.D.
5. Only the apostles could pray for people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit

Let’s attack these objections head on.

1. Jesus did not speak in tongues, so we shouldn’t either.

While it is true that every gift spoken about in Scripture that Jesus used in His earthly ministry, tongues and interpretation of tongues was not practiced by Him. It also was not practiced in the Old Testament.

These two gifts are distinct to our dispensation, which began on the Day of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. You can read about this in Acts, chapters 1 and 2. Jesus did, however, speak of this gift in His earthly ministry in Mark 16:17-18.

Mark 16:17-18 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." NKJV

All of these gifts, including speaking in tongues, are supernatural. Jesus said that these signs will follow those who believe. That means ALL believers. Sadly, most Christians DO NOT speak in tongues. The number one reason why they do not is because they have not had correct biblical teaching. As a result, many people do not proper know about this gift. If they did, they would be speaking in tongues and enjoying the blessings that come from it.

2. You don’t have to speak in tongues to be baptized in the Holy Spirit

While baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues are two different things, the Bible tells is that when one is baptized with the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues is the evidence of the baptism happening.

The spiritual gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues are distinctive of this dispensation (the church age) in which we live.

1 Cor 12:1&4-11 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. NKJV

The Apostle Paul gave importance to the subject of tongues. In 1 Cor 14, he wrote quite a bit about it. We will be going in and out of this chapter throughout this series. Why did the Apostle Paul give so much importance to speaking in tongues?

  • Tongues gives us power to witness for Christ (Acts 1:8)
  • We are lifted up (edified) when we pray in tongues (I Cor 14:4)
  • We are built up when we pray in tongues (Jude 20)
  • When we pray in tongues, it is God in us speaking to Almighty God – it is God speaking to God. When we pray in tongues, we are praying the perfect prayer. (I Cor 14:2)
  • Prophecy for the church comes through interpretation of tongues. (I Cor 14:13)

So then, should all believers speak in tongues? Absolutely yes. This subject has been much misunderstood.

3. Tongues are of the devil

Generally when Christians receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, they begin to get more passionate for the Lord. That certainly cannot be of the devil. I personally have seen that those who speak in tongues are more passionate for the Lord – they want the deeper things of God. On the other hand, my experience has shown that most of those who don’t speak in tongues have a less passion for the things of God. This, obviously, is a general statement.

Those who come against speaking in tongues do not come from their own experience. So then, I ask, how can one be an expert on speaking in tongues unless he or she has experienced it for himself. Those who claim tongues are of the devil have never spoken in tongues. Generally those who claim it of the devil are also against many of the other gifts as well, including doubting healing for this age.

4. Tongues are no longer needed in the Church – they were only for the 1st century church.

Have tongues ceased? Obviously not. I personally do it, and many in the Church today speak in tongues. Many within the Church for the past 2000 years also have spoken in tongues. The defensive scripture anti-tongues people use is I Cor 13:8.

1 Cor 13:8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. NKJV

Let’s first look at it the way anti-tongues people take this verse. They claim that when the Bible came into being – meaning the Bible is the “perfect.” When the New Testament scriptures were written, which came over a period of 40 years by various disciples of Christ, tongues then were no longer effective or needed.

If that were the case, then prophesy should no longer be valid. Neither should knowledge. We still have knowledge, and we still have prophecy. So that cannot be the correct meaning.

Who or what is the “perfect” that this verse is talking about? Let’s look at verse 12.

1 Cor 13:12-13 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. NKJV

It is obvious that in this life we all see in a mirror dimly or darkly. While we are here on earth, we only see spiritual things in part. Nobody has all knowledge of the things of God. Someday we will see face to face. Questions then to respond to this verse is:

  • Who or what then is face to face? Jesus!
  • So then when will we see the "perfect" face to face? When we get to heaven.

When we see Jesus face to face in heaven, we won’t need prophecy. We will be with Him. We won’t need all knowledge in heaven. Why? Jesus is all knowledge and we will be with Him. Yes, all these things will vanish away – but not while we live on this earth. That is reserved for glory.

Since the Apostle Paul wrote this scripture passage, let’s look at another passage of Scripture he wrote to the Church at Corinth.

1 Cor 14:39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. NKJV

How could the Apostle Paul tell us in one verse that tongues is no longer valid for the church and then in another verse tell us not to forbid speaking in other tongues? I hope this dispels this misunderstanding.

5. The apostles were the only ones who could pray for people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Again, some people want to say that the evidence of speaking in tongues was only available for the Early Church as long as the original apostles were still alive. That one doesn’t make any sense at all – because tongues would have eventually ceased when they died.

Let’s look at Acts 8:14-17

Acts 8:14-18 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. NKJV

The succeeding verses from the passage speak of sorcerers trying to buy this power, meaning they saw some miraculous power when hands were laid on them for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It could only be tongues. We will see evidence over and over throughout the Book of Acts as we continue this series - that when people were baptized in the Holy Spirit, the evidence was speaking in tongues.

We see here that the apostles laid hand on believers to receive the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This passage of scripture was eight years after Pentecost. The receivers of the baptism of the Holy Spirit were then able to lay hands on other believers to receive the Holy Spirit.

Let’s look at who laid hands on the Apostle Paul to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:10-12 & 17 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." 11 So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.

17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." NKJV

Ananias was not one of the original apostles. He was simply a disciple of Christ in Damascus. The word disciple simply means a follower of Christ. He was not an apostle, pastor, evangelist, or any other church leader. He was simply a lay person who loved Jesus and was willing to be obedient when He spoke to him. Jesus told him to go lay hands on Paul for him to receive his sight and be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Paul then, as a proclamation of His faith was baptized by Ananias in water, just as we all should be. (2)


End Notes

(1) Hagin, Kenneth E. Tongues: Beyond ethe Upper Room. Faith Library Publications. Rhema Bible Church AKA Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Inc. 2007
(2) ibed