Identity - Week 26
Today, the topic is tongues; that New Testament phenomenon where a person speaks in a language that is unknown to him or her. This language is either the language of angels or other earthly languages. It occurred at Pentecost, in the first century church, and since then in churches all around the world. The New Testament describes tongues as a gift, given by the Holy Spirit to the church for the purpose of building up the Body of Christ and glorifying the Lord. Over the centuries however, confusion surrounding this gift may well have caused more harm than good and what was meant to build up the Body of Christ has often played a role in tearing it down.
Most Christians hold one of four views regarding the use of tongues in the church. Many consider them to be a private prayer language that is very personal and cannot be interpreted. Others view tongues as a public gift, a language through which God communicates to the church and it must be interpreted. Still others assign tongues strictly to the mission of evangelism and cross cultural outreach. Some believe that tongues no longer have any usefulness at all in the life of a Christian or the church and that their relevance ceased by the end of the first century.
Christians may be confused on this issue but the Bible is pretty clear. It doesn't answer all our questions but it gives some fairly strong instruction regarding when, where, and how the gift of tongues is meant to be enjoyed. I pray that God will use his word today to correct our thinking and to change our lives.