Bennetts Baptist Church




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Bennetts End Reformed Baptist Church in Hemel Hempstead | The Holy Bible and The TV Guide
Bennetts Baptist Church

Tongues and all That . . .




Brian Edwards


 The following "In Conversation" Series of booklets written by Brian Edwards have been made available for you to use. Copyright is held by Day One Christian Ministries and as such please ensure that this is clearly shown on any 'free' reproduction. Written requests must be made to Day One Christian Ministries if reproduction is made in which those carrying out the reproduction are making money.


Andy. Pastor, I'm busy at present, as I've got a job to do on the car before work tomorrow, but I need some quick answers to a few questions. A Christian in my workshop keeps on about speaking in tongues and the gifts of the Spirit and he asks me if my church believes in them. Do we?


Pastor. Yes.


Andy. Oh, so I can tell him we practise things like prophecy, speaking in tongues and so on?


Pastor. No, you know that we don't.


Andy. So we believe in them but don't practise them?


Pastor. That's right.


Andy. Isn't that inconsistent?


Pastor. No.


Andy. Are we wanting them, but just waiting the right time?


Pastor. No.


Andy. But we do believe in them?


Pastor. Yes.


Andy. Sorry, I don't understand. Can you explain some more?


Pastor. I thought you were too busy for explanations and just wanted some quick answers. That's what I gave you!


Andy. Well, perhaps the car can wait. There seems to be so much confusion and disagreement amongst evangelical Christians over the 'gifts of the Spirit'. Where do we read about these gifts in the Bible?


Pastor. There are four passages in the New Testament that list some of the 'gifts' our Lord has given to his church: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11,Ephesians 4:11-13, 1 Peter 4:10-11; though the Ephesians passage is speaking about leadership in the church. Some eighteen different gifts are mentioned in these passages but since no two lists are identical, it's clear that these are not the only gifts that are available to the church. There are numerous ways in which God's people are gifted to honour him by helping each other, building up the church, and spreading the gospel.


Andy. So where is the problem?


Pastor. With most of the gifts God gives to his people there is little or no disagreement, but a handful of gifts have caused tragic disunity amongst Christians; they are prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, tongues, interpretation of tongues, healing and miracles.


Andy. What is the difficulty with those you've singled out?


Pastor. Partly that some Christians believe these are no longer available to the churches today, whilst others believe they most definitely are. Others stand somewhere in between and get shot at by both! Even among those who do believe they are all available today, there are such differing views and practices that, as you say, it is all very confusing.


Andy. But if they are mentioned in the New Testament, and if Paul actually encourages the churches to seek them, how can any Bible-believing Christian deny them?


Pastor. It isn't quite as simple as that. Generations of Christians over hundreds of years have believed that some of the gifts ceased at the end of the apostolic age, that is roughly at the end of the first century AD. Many of these Christians have been sincere spiritual men and women, deeply committed to God and believing in the total inerrancy, authority and relevance of Scripture. Many of them have also been greatly used by God in times of powerful spiritual revival.


Andy. But why do they believe some of the gifts have ceased?


Pastor. Very simply this is their position. The Christian churches in the time of the apostles were without a complete Bible. They had the Old Testament and gradually more and more of the New Testament; but until the New Testament was complete, God allowed certain gifts, like prophecy, tongues and perhaps words of knowledge and wisdom, to fill the gap so that he could speak directly to his people. When all the New Testament was written down, the gifts that gave direct revelation from God were withdrawn, or at least greatly limited. Remember, Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians while he was at Ephesus, between AD 55 and 57, so there could still have been thirty or forty years before the whole New Testament was completed. That's two generations!


Andy. But is there any Bible evidence for this view?


Pastor. Certainly there is. In Ephesians 2:20 we are told that apostles and prophets were God's gifts for the foundation of the church and that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone. You only lay foundations once and so, just as we do not look for any other cornerstone than Jesus Christ, we do not expect any more foundations to be laid either.


Andy. Is that the only Bible evidence offered?


Pastor. No. Some who believe that these gifts ceased when the New Testament was complete also argue from 1 Corinthians 13 where we are told in verse 8 that prophecies, tongues and knowledge will cease, 'when perfection comes'.


Andy. But I always thought that 'when perfection comes' refers to the second coming of Christ. We know there will not be any need for these gifts then. Doesn't Paul go on to say in 1 Corinthians 13:12 'then we shall see face to face'?


Pastor. That's true Andy, but if seeing 'face to face' refers to Christ's second coming you might ask why faith and hope will still be needed then.


Andy. I hadn't thought of that!


Pastor. I'm only trying to show you that we should not dismiss out of hand the view that the gifts have ceased; sincere Bible trusting Christians hold that position. We must respect their sincerity.


Andy. Let's go back to the apostles and prophets. What was their special work?


Pastor. The answer to that is partly given in Ephesians 3:2-5, where we learn that their task was to give the church the 'mystery' of the gospel by revelation from God. In other words the apostles and prophets had the special task of giving us the New Testament. Remember, that according to John 14:26, it was to these men Jesus gave the promise that the Holy Spirit will 'teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.'


Andy. Does that mean we can't have any more apostles and prophets today?


Pastor. To answer that question fully and carefully would make the question you asked me about tongues and other gifts too big for one conversation. I suggest we meet up another time and discuss that subject. All I want to stress here is that as the New Testament progresses, we find less and less mention of prophecy and more and more about preaching. That's a fact, and right at the end of Paul's life when he is writing to Timothy, perhaps his last letter, he tells us that Scripture is sufficient for all our needs. That's the literal meaning of the word 'thoroughly' in 2 Timothy 3:17 where Paul tells us that the purpose of God-breathed Scripture is 'so that the man of God may be thoroughly, or sufficiently, equipped for every good work'.


Andy. So some Christians do not expect certain gifts today, because they were intended to make up for the absence of the New Testament in the first century church? Is there then no prophecy today?


Pastor. You're tempting me back to the subject I suggested we should leave for another occasion. Didn't you really want to know about tongues?


Andy. Yes, but before we come to that, can you explain what the gifts of knowledge and wisdom are?


Pastor. No, not for certain! In 1 Corinthians 12:8 and 14:26, Paul doesn't tell us exactly what he means by 'a word of wisdom' or 'a word of knowledge' or even 'a revelation', so we ought to hold our opinions cautiously and not assume that ours is the only true interpretation. Even some of your charismatic or pentecostal friends believe that the gift of the 'word of knowledge' is actually the gift of imparting the knowledge of Christian truths gained from studying the Bible. It's really another way of referring to a spiritual gift of teaching. I don't think I agree with them, but it's an attractive idea.


Andy. So what do you believe then?


Pastor. I see the difference between a word of wisdom and a word of knowledge like this. Wisdom is the gift of wise understanding to resolve problems and make decisions, whereas knowledge is the receiving of specific information about a person or situation that could only be gained supernaturally. James in Acts 15:13-21 exercised the gift of wisdom at the council of Jerusalem, and Peter in Acts 5 exercised the gift of knowledge when dealing with Ananias and Sapphira. Where 'a revelation' differs from these two I am frankly not sure, and since Paul only mentions it once we don't have too much to go on. It may have been another way of talking about prophecy.


Andy. But are these gifts available today?


Pastor. Of course. Christian leaders in particular should pray for the gift of wisdom, and James 1:5 encourages us to do so. When difficult matters are discussed, there is a great need for our Christian common sense to be aided by specific Spirit-given wisdom. The gift of knowledge, on the other hand, can be a great help in counselling, but we don't have to expect the gift to be confined to special people or to be commonplace. God has been giving these gifts to his church throughout history, so there's nothing new about them. Sometimes Christians think they are discovering something completely new, when all they are doing is over-emphasizing a subject others have always recognised. But a word of warning. Whenever you come across people who are supposedly renowned for the gift of knowledge, or you hear it being used in a public meeting, you will be very wise to doubt its spiritual reality.


Andy. Why do you say that?


Pastor. Because these are mainly secret and quiet gifts, and God does not expect them to be used as performances or spectaculars. Besides, the world has its own mind-reading and 'intuition' gifts, and many Christians are gullible enough to confuse natural gifts with Spiritual gifts. My own response is that if they are paraded publicly, either in meetings or in books and magazines, then I'm not interested.


Andy. Let's now turn to tongues. My friend claims to speak in tongues and has been urging me to seek this gift because he says it is such a blessing. What is it?


Pastor. The gift of tongues has provoked more disagreement and disunity than all the other gifts put together. It is generally believed that tongues is a form of speech uttered in an unknown language, and therefore it has no intelligible meaning unless accompanied by the gift of interpretation. It is supposed to help worshippers express themselves freely to God. Unfortunately nowhere in the Bible are we given a definition like this, nor do the church leaders, appointed just after the death of the apostles, tell us what it is. Chrysostom, an important church leader writing in the fourth century, was unable to explain its real nature, and Augustine, around the same time, was sure that the gift had ceased to exist. All we can say with certainty is that this kind of speech in worship is not confined to Christianity. It is found in many world religions, cults, and even first century paganism experienced it. 'Tongues' is therefore more of a religious phenomena than a Christian one. That should make us tread cautiously.


Andy. So how can we know what 'tongues' is?


Pastor. Actually, it is not too difficult to know what it was in the New Testament, if only we can forget what we have been told! Let's pretend we know nothing about 'tongues', and just go back to the New Testament. The first mention of any word will normally give us a good idea of its later use. The first reference to tongues in the life of the early church is found in Acts 2. I know that in Mark 16:17 our Lord promised his disciples that those who believe will speak in 'new tongues', but the word 'new' simply means 'unused' or 'strange', so it tells us nothing about the exact nature of the 'tongue'. It all started on the day of Pentecost. In Acts 2:4-11, two interesting Greek words are used. One is the word glossa, which either means the 'tongue' in your mouth or the 'languages' spoken by the various nations; but another use of the word among Greek religions, referred to the strange, disconnected utterances that were sometimes used in worshipping their gods. 'Tongues' was always uttered in an ecstatic and uncontrolled frame of mind. The other word used in these verses is the Greek word dialectos or 'dialect'. It may not be possible to make a clear distinction between the two words, but in Acts 2:4,11, the word 'glossa' is used, and in verses 6 and 8 it is the word 'dialectos'. So, in verse 6 we are told everybody heard the apostles speaking in his own dialect, and in verse 11 they exclaim, 'We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages!'


Andy. Why the difference?


Pastor. There is only one satisfactory explanation that I can give. By using both words to refer to the same thing, God made absolutely sure that we would understand that the gift was one of real languages known to the hearers, even though unknown to the disciples. That was a supernatural gift, but it was NOT the strange, uncontrolled and meaningless utterances used in Greek religions. So remember, it will be perfectly accurate to put in the word 'languages' wherever you find 'tongues' in the New Testament.


Andy. But what about the occasions later on when we meet with 'tongues' in Acts?


Pastor. If we agree that the gift in Acts 2 was one of languages, we must then consider its purpose. After all, the disciples would have been understood by most if they had preached in Greek as Peter, later in Acts 2, almost certainly did. The gift of tongues was a sign to the Jews that the gospel was for every language and nation. On that day of Pentecost, God gave to the apostles this miraculous gift of speaking in the languages of all the visitors to Rome, so that everyone would know that God had a message for the whole world. That's a point Paul makes year later in 1 Corinthians 14:22: 'Tongues, then, are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers.'


Andy. That makes sense. So when do we next read about tongues?


Pastor. The next reference is in Acts 10:46. Peter heard Cornelius speaking in a foreign tongue because, as the vision at Joppa shows, Peter had a real problem in believing that the gospel was for Gentiles. He was a slow learner, even after Pentecost! So God said, 'Look Peter, these new Gentile Christians have the same gift that you Jews had at Pentecost.' Peter admitted this when he recounted the story of Cornelius to the Christians at Jerusalem. In Acts 11:15 he said: 'the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning.'


Andy. I can see that Acts 10 is the same gift as Acts 2. Where next?


Pastor. In Acts 19:6, Paul heard the same gift when it was given to some young Christians in Ephesus. Of course Paul could not have been present with Peter at Pentecost or at Joppa, but he would certainly have known about the gift of 'tongues' or languages and so he called it the same thing. Now Andy, it's important to remember that these are the only three references to the use of the gift of tongues recorded in Acts. In each case we should give the word the same meaning of 'language' unless we have a biblical reason to change it. Luke, who wrote Acts, was happy to use the same word on each occasion because he obviously recognised it as the same gift. They were known languages that were being spoken, known that is to some of those listening, but not to the speakers themselves.


Andy. I can see that in Acts, but isn't there a difference when Paul writes about it?


Pastor. The only other time this gift is mentioned in the New Testament is when Paul writes to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 12 to 15 . . .


Andy. . . .But what about the other lists of gifts, surely tongues is mentioned there?


Pastor. No, it isn't. The only reference to tongues outside Acts is in 1 Corinthians. That's all we have to go on. Interestingly, Paul wrote this letter around AD 57, whilst he was at Ephesus. That means Paul wrote the letter to the Corinthians at the same time as the events of Acts 19; in other words while he was among people who, when he first met them, had spoken in languages. So, whatever the gift was in Acts 19, it is hardly likely that Paul, when he was writing to the Corinthians, would have used the same word 'tongues' to describe a completely different gift.


Andy. That makes sense, but in 1 Corinthians 13:1 Paul writes of the possibility of talking 'in the tongues of angels', so surely in 1 Corinthians 14 Paul is not talking about known languages.


Pastor. Why are you so sure he isn't? If we are going to change the meaning of a word, we must have biblical evidence for doing so. In fact, the only reason for changing the meaning from known languages to a kind of 'spiritual' and unknown speech, is that some Christians, at various times over the centuries, have claimed to have a gift of 'tongues' that is strange unknown speech. But that puts people's experience above the Bible. If we just let the Bible speak, we would never think of a strange unknown speech when we read of 'tongues'. As for 1 Corinthians 13:1, look carefully at what Paul says there. You will notice that he is writing of things that are not possible, in order to strengthen his point that without love nothing is of any use. He says in verse 2, 'If I can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge', which clearly he could never do; so in verse 1 his meaning is the same: 'If I could speak in the language of angels', which he couldn't. Besides, if 'tongues' is the language of angels, what does Paul mean when he tells us in verse 8 that one day 'tongues will be stilled'? Will the angels be struck dumb for ever when Christ returns in glory?


Andy. So you mean that in 1 Corinthians 12 to 14, Paul is referring to a gift of speaking in foreign languages?


Pastor. Yes, I mean just that. Everything Paul says about it fits perfectly. 1 Corinthian 13:8 means that one day all the languages of the world, and there are five or six thousand of them, will cease and we will speak a new language of heaven. It is a wonderful promise that the result of man's sin at Babel, recorded in Genesis 11, will be finally reversed when our Lord returns. The promise in that verse is completely lost sight of if you think tongues is some strange, unintelligible religious language.


Andy. Alright, but do you believe there was this special gift of speaking a language that had not been previously learned?


Pastor. Yes, but since we have arrived in 1 Corinthians let's look through chapter 14 and see how it ties in. To help us along, we'll use the word 'language' instead of 'tongue', since that was its use in Acts, and the word 'translate' instead of 'interpret', because that also is the exact meaning of the word Paul uses.


Andy. Chapter 14 is a long chapter, it will take us ages!


Pastor. Don't worry, I'll just pick out the most important verses and you can fit in the rest later. To start with, I'm afraid many people completely misunderstand verse 2. Paul is not giving us a command for what we must do; on the contrary, his whole point is to tell us what we must not do. In verse 1, Paul says that the best gift the Corinthians have is that of prophecy - a gift that we are going to talk about on another occasion, remember - and that this gift of languages must be very strictly controlled. It is clear from verse 13, that whenever this gift is used, a translation must be given, and from verses 20 to 22 we learn that the gift is intended to speak to the unbeliever. So you see, it is a gift enabling us to communicate the good news to men, just as in Acts 2.


Andy. So what does Paul mean in verse 2 when he says: 'Anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God'?


Pastor. Paul is saying that if there is no translator present, or if, as he explains later in verse 23, you are all speaking at the same time, God may understand what's being said, but no one else will.


Andy. But there does seem to be a difference between Acts 2, where everybody understood the languages, and 1 Corinthians 14, where they clearly didn't.


Pastor. Andy, it is only a difference in quantity. In Acts 2, not everybody understood everybody. The hearer only understood the disciple who spoke his language. That's why we are told in Acts 2:13 that some scoffed and said the disciples were drunk. Here in Corinthians, if there is only one man using this gift, most of the congregation won't understand him.


Andy. Then using his gift, if no one understands him, is a sheer waste of everyone's time, isn't it?


Pastor. Precisely! You have just summarised the next ten verses of 1 Corinthians 14 for us. Paul keeps on making that very point from verses 3 to 12. Then in verses 13 to 19, he says you should only use that special gift if either you or someone else present has the gift of translating what you have said for the benefit of others.


Andy. But I can't see the purpose of such a gift. Why didn't the man worship God in a language everybody understood in the first place?


Pastor. Good question, Andy, and Paul is just coming up with the answer. In verse 20, he tells the Corinthians to grow up and be clear in their minds what the purpose of this gift of languages really is. You will notice that in verse 21, Paul quotes from Isaiah 28:11-12, where God promises Israel that one day they will hear good news from people who speak 'strange languages'. That literally meant foreign languages; it had nothing to do with strange religious 'tongues'. Now this was pretty shocking for a Jew because he thought only Israelites had the good news. Do you get the drift of Paul's thinking?


Andy. He means this gift of language is an evangelistic gift to share the good news.


Pastor. That's right, and just to make it clear, Paul comes to his conclusion in verse 22, 'Tongues then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers.' He then goes on to say that if an unbeliever comes in to your meetings, and everyone is speaking in different languages, he will be bewildered and think you are mad. But, and this is Paul's implication, if he comes in and finds just one person praising God in his own language, he will understand.


Andy. Then, when he realises that the speaker had never actually learnt his language, that really will be a sign that God is at work.


Pastor. And we are right back to Acts 2. Same gift, same purpose, same result.


Andy. So groups of Christians all chattering away in 'tongues' must be wrong.


Pastor. That seems pretty clear from what Paul is saying here doesn't it?


Andy. But why the need for a translation? It was surely good enough if just one unbeliever understood.


Pastor. Not according to Paul. The translation meant that everybody else benefited, and it was also a double-check that it was all genuine. You see, things had got out of hand at Corinth and Paul is trying to restore order. In verses 26-28 he puts this gift on to the back burner, and, significantly, the subject ends there for the rest of the New Testament.


Andy. So what is tongues today?


Pastor. One thing has to be admitted Andy, and that is that little, if any, of modern day tongues bears any resemblance to the New Testament gift.


Andy. Why do you say that?


Pastor. We have seen that the New Testament clearly teaches us that this is a supernatural gift of language for the purpose of evangelism. There is no reason for its use, unless someone is present who can understand the language. The rest of the congregation is able to learn what is said by the gift of translation. So, to be the true New Testament gift, all modern 'tongues' must be a genuine language spoken somewhere in the world today.


Andy. Perhaps they are.


Pastor. I'm afraid they are not! Every study made of 'tongues' by language experts fails to find any connection with any known language, or any evidence of language structure. I recently read the conclusions of William Samarin, who is professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto in Canada. He has travelled to many countries to tape-record examples of 'tongues speaking', which he then submitted to language analysis. Professor Samarin concludes that, 'In every case, glossolalia, that's tongues-speaking, turns out to be linguistic nonsense'. That sums up the conclusions of every other study as well.


Andy. I know some Christians who don't speak in tongues within the church, but do use it privately at home. They say it is a great help in their personal worship.


Pastor. I have some friends who claim the same thing. But again, the Bible must be our guide, not the experiences claimed by our friends. In the New Testament we cannot find a clear statement that it is a gift to be used privately. If you agree with the New Testament's description and use of the gift of language, you can see why. The only verse that can possibly be offered to support the private use of 'tongues' is 1 Corinthians 14:28, where Paul says if no gift of translation is present, 'the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God'. However, Paul doesn't tell him to speak to himself and God in 'tongues', he just means 'pray quietly'.


Andy. But how do you account for 'tongues' as an unintelligible form of religious speech? After all it's pretty widespread, and growing among some Christian groups today.


Pastor. As I have already said, it's a fact that strange, unknown speech is used in many other religions and cults besides Christianity. Sometimes it is self-induced, because we want it so much. At other times it could be the result of psychological pressure in a meeting: we are told we must have this gift. Sadly, at times it can be demon-inspired. The Bible makes it clear that we must not be gullible, but as John urges us in 1 John 4:1, we must 'test the spirits to see whether they are from God.' It is easy enough to talk in this kind of speech if you really want to, and it may relax you because the effort of praying with the mind is reduced. You may feel helped by this as Paul himself was in 1 Corinthians 14:4, though in his case it was the real gift of language. As for 'interpretations', if you use 'tongues', and another Christian clears his mind and concentrates on Christian things, he may gain an impression which he then thinks is an interpretation of what you have just said. Nobody can prove him wrong, and so people feel obliged to accept it. It seems 'unspiritual' to disagree.


Andy. I've been in meetings when the whole congregation sings together in these strange tongues; I think they call it 'singing in the Spirit'. Paul writes about that in 1 Corinthians 14:15 doesn't he? So what's that?


Pastor. I'm afraid this is another area where Paul's words have been misunderstood. In this verse the apostle does write of 'praying with my spirit and praying with my mind, singing with my spirit and singing with my mind.' Unfortunately, the Corinthians thought those were two different kinds of praying and singing. That's a mistake made by many Christians today as well. Paul says one without the other is useless. We must pray and sing with both mind and spirit. He says that there is just no place for this congregational 'tongues singing', even if it is the real gift of language, because in verse 27 Paul clearly allows only two or three to use tongues in a meeting.


Andy. Let's go back to your explanation of the real gift. Has it any use today?


Pastor. I believe that the true gift of tongues is still available as and when God sees we need it. Have you ever thought how valuable it could be in convincing people who are hearing the gospel for the first time, of the power of the Holy Spirit? That is Paul's very point in 1 Corinthians 14:22. An unintelligible gabble is hardly a sign to the unbeliever, but speaking to him in his language when I do not know it myself, is most certainly a sign. The real thing could be a great benefit today, but we never pray for it because we have been misled into thinking tongues is something else.


Andy. So you think the real gift would take the sweat out of learning a foreign language? It would be a kind of supernatural crash-course in language learning?


Pastor. No, I don't think that at all. It is a gift of an occasion. It was used in Acts chapters 2, 10 and 19, to convince the new converts and the Jews of the presence of the Spirit, and it may be used occasionally, in a multi-national congregation today, providing the spiritual gift of translation is present. There is no evidence in the New Testament that it by-passed language learning as a permanent thing. It is impossible to counterfeit the real gift of languages, and perhaps that's one reason why there are very few examples of it today. As I said, people go after what they are told to expect rather than what the Bible teaches.


Andy. But God often greatly blesses and uses Christians who claim to speak in 'tongues'.


Pastor. Yes he does. He also greatly blesses and uses those who don't, and who deny that such a thing is a gift. Doesn't that just prove what a gracious God he is to overlook our mistakes when he sees our heart is right? There are many issues on which true, Bible-loving Christians have disagreed over the centuries. Issues like how the local church should be led; whether adults or babies should be baptised, and whether this should be by sprinkling or immersion; what the millennium is, and whether Christ will return before or after it! This matter of 'tongues' is just another in that list. We can't all be right, I do believe our Christian friends who disagree with the position I've been explaining to you are misinterpreting Scripture.


Andy. How should we respond to people who believe in 'tongues'?


Pastor. I'm glad you asked that question Andy, because, as you know, we don't make this a matter of division in our own church. We simply make clear what our general thinking on the subject is, and request that those who disagree don't run a 'crusade' for their ideas, because that would only cause hurt and division. If they really can't accept our position, then they may need to go and worship elsewhere, but we don't ask them to do that.


Andy. But what about my friends outside our church?


Pastor. Show them that your view is consistent with the teaching of the Bible. It may not square with their beliefs or experiences, but that isn't the point is it? The important issue is always what the Bible teaches. If anyone who believes in 'tongues' thinks you can't be an obedient or 'spiritual' Christian without it, then I'm afraid they are sinfully divisive, because the Bible and the history of the church are against them. Just one final thing Andy. Christians today spend a lot of time arguing about whether or not some of the spiritual gifts have ceased since the close of the New Testament. I suggest this is the wrong issue. The real issue is what the gifts are. Many of them have been misunderstood, or abused, and people have given them meanings based upon experience rather than the Bible. Many of the so-called gifts you hear about today are not spiritual gifts at all. Properly understood we would find that the Christian church has always been exercising spiritual gifts.


Andy. Well, that's been a great help to sort out my muddle on this subject. Can we go on to this matter of apostles and prophets now? You see my friend goes to a church where they have . . .


Pastor. . . . Sorry, it's my turn to be in a hurry now! I've got an appointment in five minutes. Let's meet up another time to ask where the apostles and prophets are.


Andy. Yes, I'd like to. Anyway, I never expected a job on the car to teach me so much! I think I can see things a bit clearer now. If we can put away our prejudices, it's exciting how clear the Bible is on these things. Thanks, see you.





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