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28.04.2019 Feature Article

The Speaking In Tongues – True Or False?

An African woman speaking in tonguesAn African woman speaking in tongues

On the African continent, are thousands of churches, with different names but all with one goal, to worship God. Apart from the beating of drums, playing of instruments and singing on Sundays, one remarkable thing which often comes out unexpectedly and intermittently is speaking in tongues.

What does the Bible say about ‘Speaking in tongues?’ The gift of speaking in other languages is a spiritual gift. Jesus predicted to speak in tongues: "And these are the signs that will accompany those who believed, they will speak new tongues." Mark 16:17.

On the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was sent to the apostles, as recounted in Acts of the Apostles 2: 1-12. The apostles spoke the gospel to the crowds in Jerusalem and what they said could be understood by people who spoke many different languages: "we hear them speak of the great things of God in our tongues" Acts 2:11.

That was the first time someone spoke in other languages. However, in 1 Corinthians 14: 27-28, the Bible has made it clear that: "And if someone speaks in tongue, let it be limited to two or three at the most, and in turns, someone must interpret. But if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the congregation and speak himself and God."

From the above scriptures do we have to believe thousands of people ‘who receive the gift of speaking in tongues’ on Sundays, babbling repeatedly with strange unfamiliar words without interpretation? In my opinion, since most of these babblings aren't interpreted, that’s enough for us to know that strange the language from the person's mouth is totally false.

Note the latter part of 1 Corinthians 14: 27-28, it reads: But if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the congregation and speak himself and God. How many times during church service in Ghana we have witnessed people speaking in tongues without any interpretation?

Dear readers, I will share my own experience to confirm that most of the foreign languages we hear on Sundays at many church premises are not genuine.

I am the elder son of seven children. My father died when I was just nineteen. To help my mother, who never married again, I need to struggle daily. I was still a student at the Accra High School when I became a taxi driver. I supplied my mother’s bread in most of the big supermarkets in Accra three times a week before going to school each morning.

I left Ghana to Nigeria for five years, I was in Guinea, Gambia, and worked in Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, before I finally made it to Europe in the late eighties. Once in one of the European countries in the Scandinavia, things became extremely hard for me, without food, money and a place to sleep.

My only consolation was the Bible which was always by me. One day, while reading the scriptures, a white man came close to disturb my peace: “Oh! You are reading the Bible. I can help you to speak in tongues.” He took the Bible from me and asked me to pray together. I obliged.

While praying, I wasn’t concentrating on his ability or God’s will to receive the gift of speaking in tongues because I was hungry, tired and weak. The man prayed over fifteen minutes and when the Holy Spirit failed to pour on me to speak in tongues, he gave back my Bible to me and left.

I watched him as he leaves, and said to myself: "If you are aware of how I am suffering you’ll not bother me at all with the speaking in tongues issue."

God can speak to many people through vision but the gift of speaking in tongues doesn’t exist any longer. If anyone speaks in tongues and no one interprets it means its false.

Joel Savage
Joel Savage, © 2019

Joel Savage is a Ghanaian-Belgian journalist and author. The accredited press-card holder of the Flemish Journalists Association once contributed regularly to the features column of the Daily Graphic, The Mirror, Ghanaian Times and the Weekly Spectator. The writer currently lives in Belgium.,

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