Speaking In Tongues Or Prayer Language?

Q. I appreciate your website so much,may The Lord bless you and bless your service to Him. I am a believer since 1972.

When I first accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, 2 days later I received the gift of The Holy Spirit and I spoke in tongues for long time. I have the “prayer language” so to say. It doesn’t make me holier than thou, I realize that without Jesus I am less than nothing. My life as a believer has not been a “bed of roses”, but I thank The Lord for His faithfulness and Grace and Love.

I don’t understand why some believers attribute glossolalia ( tongues) to the work of the enemy.

I also believe that of course The Holy Spirit came to me before the baptism because I was a blind sinner and He convicted me of sin, righteousness and judgment and brought me to JESUS CHRIST.

I would love to hear your opinion to why so much contention about the baptism of The Holy Spirit and His gifts, even though I recognize that there have been abuses and abusers and there are still. Please what do you say?

A. It’s clear from 1 Cor. 12 & 14 that the Holy Spirit invests believers with spiritual gifts. He did so at the beginning of the Church age and continues to this day. The problems on both sides of the issue have to do with the interpretation of Paul’s teaching. Some of the things he criticized the Corinthians for are still being done, and he would criticize some other things we’re doing today as well.

Here’ a brief summary of misunderstandings and abuses that cause some of the contention. First, the idea that there’s another baptism beyond our public confession of faith cannot be supported by scripture. The Holy Spirit was fully invested in each one of us at the first moment we believed. (Ephes. 1:13-14) Neither can the notion be supported that speaking in tongues is a necessary evidence of having received this second baptism. Paul clearly taught that the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to believers as He determines for the common good and that not everyone gets the same gifts. (1 Cor. 12:7-11)

Speaking in tongues is the act of speaking in a language you haven’t learned. Paul taught that it is not to be done out loud in the absence of an interpreter, because it would be of no benefit to anyone, and can only serve as a distraction. The idea is that these tongues can be understood and interpreted by another human, and indeed the gift’s use in Scripture shows that it was intended to increase understanding among believers of different languages.

Praying in a so-called prayer language is not the same as speaking in tongues, because a prayer language cannot be understood by anyone nor can it be interpreted. There is no clear teaching in the Bible on prayer language and in fact the phrase itself entered into our vocabulary long after the Bible was written.

To many, the idea of a prayer language seems to be a questionable re-interpretation of the teaching on tongues and that’s why there’s so much contention about it.

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