The Deception of Tongues-Speaking

Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart” (Jer 14:14).

Despite the Protestant Reformation and despite the glory and blessing of the many revivals in which God came down to earth by his Holy Spirit, exalting man by humbling him and giving him glimpses of his own (God’s) glory and power and love, and in which biblical truth is prized above all – traditional, vigorous, bible-based, Protestant Christianity, is in decline.  It has been largely replaced by a pop-psychology with emotional songs in worship during which the name of the divine Son of God is used as a mantra, being repeated over and over and nauseatingly over, and where the coming of the presence of the Holy Spirit “falling” on the congregation resulting in an emotional and ecstatic response, is the goal.  It is a pseudo-Christianity which focuses on celebrity preachers with “positive” and entertaining messages.  It is filled with unbiblical views and spirituality, too often characterised by the flesh, and its members walk by sight, not by faith, as they seek the constant fillings and manifestations of the Holy Spirit to boost their excitement and keep their faith alive. 

And it is tantalising and attractive as it promises a joyful, vibrant relationship with God in which we can engage in literal conversations with him at any time.  It promises to set us free from the restraints of the imagined straitjacket of traditional Protestant evangelical theology and whirl us into a romance with God through his Holy Spirit.  We’re guaranteed to be overwhelmed with his love, to receive the spiritual gifts enumerated in various places in the New Testament; and, not by any means least, to have health, wealth, power and influence under the blessing of God.  Satan will be under our feet, we’ll have power to cast out demons, and we can have or achieve anything we want simply by speaking faith-filled words.

Tongues: Doorway to the Occult

In order to obtain all these blessings (and many more are promised), we need to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This is the portal through which we must enter if we would have the power and the blessing of God.  The grand hallmark of the movement and the evidence that one has actually received this baptism of the Holy Spirit is the ability to speak in tongues.  Not all Pentecostals have the gift of healing, not all can prophesy, not all can deliver words of wisdom or words of knowledge, but all can speak in tongues, as Pentecostals understand these gifts.  This is the great sign which assures those who have it that they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.  And it is this which has been responsible for the success of the Ecumenical Movement, as Protestants of all denominations and groups fellowship with Catholics and anybody else who speaks in tongues.  It is the glue that binds them together as they all ignore the great doctrinal truths of the gospel which separate God’s people from the rest.

This gift of tongues-speaking is called a prayer language because it is usually acknowledged that it is not the gift of tongues given in Acts chapter 2; it is that which the apostle Paul wrote about: For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries” (1 Cor 14:2).  It is also regarded by them as tongues of angels (1 Cor 13:1).

These two verses are a face-saver for Pentecostals because they enable them to speak their so-called prayer language without seeming to go against scripture.  They deliver them from having to explain why their gift of tongues is useless for speaking to real people in real languages whilst unknown to the speaker, because they can hide behind the above verses and claim to be speaking to God alone; and it is a mystery, so who could challenge that?  But despite its being a “prayer language” which should therefore be spoken privately to God, it is evident in every Pentecostal meeting, worship or otherwise, and this despite Paul’s restriction of its use in public meetings unless the message is interpreted. 

Tongues under Suspicion

I was at a Men’s Convention with the pastor and some men from my Baptist church on one occasion; the convention was an annual event sponsored by a large Pentecostal church to which other churches were invited.  During one of the “worship” breaks between talks, the leader shouted “everybody, speak in tongues”; and everybody who had been baptized in the Spirit – which was nearly every person there – started speaking in tongues.  It was pandemonium.  Then the leader told them to stop.  And they stopped.  There was no call for somebody to interpret, no attempt whatsoever to edify anybody there with the message from God that should have been made intelligible, according to Paul’s instructions for speaking in tongues at a public gathering.  It was just a meaningless activity and done against the tenor and teaching of scripture.

On another occasion, a missionary and pastor in my Presbyterian church and lecturer of Hebrew and New Testament Greek in the college, attended a Pentecostal meeting, and when the opportunity arose, he recited Psalm 23 in Hebrew.  It was “interpreted” by somebody there but, as this pastor expected, the interpretation had nothing to do with Psalm 23.  On yet another occasion he did the same thing, only he spoke the Lord’s Prayer in NT Greek; again, it was “interpreted” but had no connection with the Lord’s Prayer whatsoever.  I’ve heard of others doing this same thing.

An unsaved acquaintance of mine was walking past a building where some Pentecostals were having their meeting.  He asked a man standing outside the front door what was going on.  The man told my friend it was a church meeting and asked him if he’d like to speak in tongues.  My friend agreed and the man laid hands on him and he spoke in tongues.  The man didn’t tell him the gospel, didn’t even ask him if he was saved.  My friend told me about it later and thought it was a laugh; and he still isn’t saved, as far as I know. 

At a Holy Spirit seminar my wife was speaking to a young man who was visiting the church from a church in another state to be part of this seminar; he said had been learning to speak in tongues.  My wife sensed that something was wrong so she asked him if he knew Jesus as his personal Lord and Saviour.  He was taken aback by this question but nevertheless answered truthfully, admitting he hadn’t got to that stage yet.  He spoke in tongues but didn’t know Jesus? 

The Book of Mormon

It may surprise some to discover that Mormons speak in tongues.  This “gift” is recorded in the Book of Mormon, and therefore has been in that (oc)cult since its beginning and has a permanent place in Mormonism.  We read, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ by baptism – yea, by following your Lord and your Saviour down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.  But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: “After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me”  (2 Nephi 31:13-14).

And again: “Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels?  And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?  Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.  Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things that ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:2-3).

Is not this chilling?  If a Pentecostal believer heard these words without knowing where they came from, he would assume without doubt or question that they were spoken by a modern-day televangelist or Pentecostal leader or prophet, and therefore receive them trustingly as being from God.  Yet we know they are from Satan.  These words are enshrined in the Book of Mormon, the bible of a false religion which denies the Trinity even as it speaks of the three Persons.  How can this be?  Shouldn’t these things make us at least a little bit suspicious? 

Lying Spirits

Scripture tells us that there are such beings as lying spirits (1 Kings 22:19-23, 37; 2 Thess 2:8-12); and in these two references, they were sent by God with the intention to deceive the hearer to ensure their destruction.  But it is not always that God sends them.  He also allows people to be deceived by them because they’ve asked for power from God, or other vain requests; so God allows them to be subdued, dominated, enslaved, by evil spirits, either in judgment or discipline.  And I’ve shown that unbelievers and cults can also speak in tongues.  No wonder the apostle John urges Christians to test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 Jn 4:1-3). 

If the tongues that Christians speak in Pentecostal meetings is exercised unbiblically, being both audible and without interpretation; and if an interpretation is given that is wrong (and who in the congregation would know it was wrong?); and if the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the subsequent speaking in tongues is required in Mormonism; and if there are such beings as lying spirits and we are to test the spirits to see if they’re from God……who would want such a gift?  Unless we know for sure that it is from the Holy Spirit, we really need to test it first.  If it is given from a hostile source, it is not given for our good but to harm us, and therefore such a gift is very dangerous. 

So how can you be sure it is of God if you can’t understand what you’re saying?  How do you know that the tongues you’re speaking but can’t understand isn’t given to you by a demon and is in reality vile blasphemy against Jesus?  You don’t.  You can’t.  Unless you test it, that is.  But how can it be tested?  There is only one sure way.  We compare it to what the bible says about it.  If it differs from what the bible says, it is suspect, at best, and should be avoided and even repented of.

The Lord Sanctifies his Dwelling Place

What went on at the beginning at the very first time that people in the New Testament spoke in tongues?  It was quite a spectacle but nothing as wild and chaotic as happens in Pentecostal assemblies today.  There was no “slaying in the Spirit” as is common to Pentecostals; no chaotic laughter; the Holy Spirit didn’t baptise penitents by fire following water baptism as with Mormonism.  And although some make a case for the baptism of the Holy Spirit being a separate experience to receiving him in new birth (Jn 3:3-5), the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Church at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) was a unique, once-given, event, in which he set apart the believers as his holy temple (1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21-22).  We see this when we compare other scriptures with this passage.

The Church

As with the Tabernacle (Ex 40:34-35) and the Temple (1 Kings 8:10-11; 2 Chron 7:1-2), the coming of God upon and in the Church was a unique, visible, supernatural event never to be repeated.  Its purpose was to set it apart as God’s dwelling place with humanity.  However, the Church is different to both Tabernacle and Temple because it is a spiritual entity, a spiritual building.  Peter describes  the Church as follows: “…Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 2:5).  But the setting apart of this new temple was still by the same method – God descended upon it and sanctified it by fire as he filled it with his presence, not this time upon a tent or a building of bricks and mortar, but on the living stones which were believers.

But there was another visible evidence, apart from the tongues of fire, of God’s presence on this occasion – the gift of speaking in tongues.  The tongues mentioned in the above passage (Acts 2:1-4) were known languages; Luke even specifies which languages were spoken by these believers – not just Hebrew, Greek and Latin, but many languages of the known world and from the three groups of humanity – the descendants of Shem (Semitic), descendants of Ham (Egypt, Libya etc.), and descendants of Japheth (Indo-European).  Those who saw and heard this phenomenon were astonished: And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?  And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:7-8). 

In the KJV a wrong impression has been gained by some because the word “unknown” is applied to the word “tongues”; the translators inserted it here so the reader would understand that the languages were unknown to the speakers, not that they were languages unknown to mankind. 

Unfortunately, Satan has taken advantage of this translational help to understanding the passage and has hijacked the gift of tongues or known languages, by producing a counterfeit gift of tongues, which is a “language” totally unknown to any people group or nation.  Consequently it is understood by Pentecostals, Mormons, mediums, oracles etc. to be languages of angels and/or a unique prayer language given to individual believers.  As you would expect, his counterfeits are not very good in comparison to the original, and his gift of tongues is no exception; it is useless babble, gibberish which has no effect other than to deceive those who have received it.  Nevertheless it does have spiritual power and has achieved the end for which he gave it, namely, to deceive and to side-track those who possess it so that their focus is no longer gospel-centred but self-centred. 

So there are not two different kinds of tongues taught and practiced in the New Testament, there is only one; and that one is known and spoken languages.  And when a church member wishes to bring a message from God in a tongue to the congregation during a meeting, he is only to do so if there is somebody present who can translate it (1 Cor 14:27-28).  Any other kind of tongues-speaking is a demonic counterfeit or, at best, of the flesh, and should be repented of and rejected.