Paul, Chrysostom, Calvin and speaking in tongues

Before we dig deeper which I have, let us see what some Bible commentators have said which represent quite a large section of the Church.  Historically in about ad 400 Chrysostom had a few words also to say about the gift.  Have they any words of wisdom for us as it seems to be the case that in various parts of the church anything goes, and I think this is not healthy and comes from a lack of understanding.  It is dangerous I think to read out of the text our culture or to read into the text our culture.  God speaks to us by his Holy Spirit and we must be humble and keen to learn.

Calvin wasn’t negative about tongues, but it had to be in its rightful place.  Prophecy was more important because it edifies the Church.  Tongues only edifies the person who does it and it is speaking to God.  Prophecy is speaking God’s message to the people.  As said earlier, I agree with Margaret. E Thrall that prophecy was more like preaching.  In verse 3 the functions of prophecy were “for edification and exhortation and consolation”.  Tongues doesn’t do any of that.  Tongues was in a sense ecstatic speech and it differed from the miracle of Acts of the Apostles when Peter preached, and many were converted. As Paul said this tongues that was spoken at Corinth was speaking to God. It didn’t touch on edification and exhortation and consolation.

The early church fathers were not negative either but an interesting thought from Chrysostom AD 407;  

“The Corinthians thought that speaking in tongues was a great gift because it was the one which the apostles received first, and with a great display. But this was no reason to think it was the greatest gift of all. The reason the apostles got it first was because it was a sign that they were to go everywhere, preaching the gospel. “ https://catenabible.com/1cor/14

He goes on to say;

“At this point he makes a comparison between the gifts, and lowers that of the tongues, showing it to be neither altogether useless, nor very profitable by itself. For in fact they were greatly puffed up on account of this, because the gift was considered to be a great one. And it was thought great because the Apostles received it first, and with so great display; it was not however therefore to be…”

Tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit but unfortunately for the Corinthians they were too puffed up and only thought about themselves.  Anyone seeking any gift of the Holy Spirit needs to start from humility but unfortunately today many churches prioritise this gift and they are as puffed up as much as the Corinthians.  Order in the church is very important but I get confused when I see ‘new gifts introduced’ which are not found in the Bible.  The Toronto blessing for example its characteristics;

Freshwind band leading worship at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship in 2008

The Toronto Blessing has become synonymous within charismatic Christian circles for terms and actions that include an increased awareness of the God’s love, religious ecstasy, external observances of ecstatic worship, being slain in the Spirit, uncontrollable laughter, emotional and/or physical euphoria, crying, healing from emotional wounds, healing of damaged relationships, and electric waves of the spirit.[1][4] “Holy laughter”, as a result of overwhelming joy, was a hallmark manifestation,[5] and there were also some reports of instances of participants roaring like lions or making other animal noises.[6][7] Leaders and participants present in these services claim that most of these manifestations, including some people roaring like lions, were physical manifestations of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power, while some Pentecostal and charismatic leaders believe these were the counterfeits of the Spirit as is mentioned in the biblical passage of 2 Thessalonians 2:9.[8][9] In December, 1994, Toronto Life Magazine declared TAV as Toronto’s most notable tourist attraction for the year.[10]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_Blessing#Characteristics

The Azuza street phenomenon of 1908 was different and it claimed that this was the tongues found in Scripture and it is possible to argue for it.  The Pentecostal movement was born from this.   However, this phenomenon from Toronto has to perhaps be rejected as unscriptural.  In other words, the experience is not found in the Bible at all.

Paul made the point that there has to be order in the Church.  Has your church thought through these issues?  The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He gives good gifts to his children not ‘electric shocks’.  One needs to be careful with the religious ecstasy as well.  Even though Paul himself had such as experience in 2 Corinthians 12 he would not put his name to it;

12 Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations [a]of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses. For if I do wish to boast I will not be foolish, for I will be speaking the truth; but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me. NASB

Boasting is dangerous and it can puff up the selfish human Spirit.  All I am saying is that we need to be careful before our Holy God and give him the worship that is due to him alone.  None-charismatics will reject both Azuza Street and the so-called Toronto blessing.  I have a Pentecostal background in my faith but unfortunately, I have seen too much greed and unprofessional practices.   I used to enjoy the AOG.  The preaching of the word was central and Bible studies on top with the prayer meetings.  In a lot of these Churches; Where is the Bible? Where is the prayer meeting?  Tongues as a gift shouldn’t be pushed out but it ought not to be rejected either. 

You can also visit my other blog at; https://hasan-godtalk.blogspot.com/

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