“I Used to be Just Like You” – Gary W. Summers

Gary W. Summers

One of our members had a brief discussion with a man whom he seldom sees. In the course of the conversation, the man effusively praised “speaking in tongues.” When told that he did not practice such, the man told him, “I used to be just like you.” Of course, the obvious response is, “No, if you used to be like me, you would still be where I am.” The reason is that what we believe is based on the Scriptures—what they teach—not on some human experience. Of course, probably few people would understand that kind of answer; so here are a few questions to ask.

First, what do you mean by “speaking in tongues”? Only two responses are possible. The first is that someone would affirm that they speak in a known language that they had never studied. The second option is to give an entirely different definition. At that point you might pose the question, “Is the Bible your authority for all spiritual matters?” If the answer is no, then there is a real problem. Ask: “Then what is your authority?” If it turns out to be their feelings, then just plainly state: “We might never come to agreement since we have two different authorities.” (And theirs, personal feelings, is the wrong one—Prov. 26:28). If they agree that the Bible is our only authority, then ask, “How does the Bible define speaking in tongues?”

Be prepared to go to Acts 2:1-12. This is the first occasion where the phenomenon is mentioned, and they are defined as languages spoken in various parts of the world. Since speaking in tongues is first defined here, the meaning will be the same anywhere else—unless there is a new or expanded definition that all can recognize. However, it does mean the same when used elsewhere, and it remains a sign to those who are unbelievers (1 Cor. 13:8-10). The Word of God, the faith, was in part; it was revealed a part at a time. But now it has been completely revealed (2 Pet. 1:3). All truth has been delivered for the perfecting of Christians. The means by which all was revealed (speaking in tongues, prophecies, a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom) is no longer needed. A scaffold is used while a structure is being built. After the building has been completed, the scaffolding is removed. The complete New Testament is the building, and the scaffolding (speaking in tongues) is no longer necessary.

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Author: Editor

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