The Spurious Gift of Tongues


Posted by Matt Postiff October 24, 2017 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Sanctification  Bible Texts 

Early in his Christian life, Pastor Ed Stelling (later, minister of Charleston Harbor Bible Church) was caught up in the tongues movement. He offered his testimony as to why he left the movement. Here are some arguments he repeated from a Brethren writer named Louis S. Bauman, who wrote a book entitled The Modern Tongues Movement, as to why the Pentecostal movement is false.

1. The gift of tongues was the least of the gifts (1 Cor. 12:28), not the greatest.

2. Tongues were a sign to the unbeliever (1 Cor. 14:22), not to the believer whereby the believer knows that he is filled with the Spirit.

3. Tongues was only to be spoken when there was an interpreter present (1 Cor. 14:27-28), but many times in public services that Stelling experienced there was no interpreter. No one ever asked if an interpreter was present.

4. The true gift was under the speaker's control (1 Cor. 14:32). In contrast to this, the Pentecostal believers had often told Stelling to "let go and let God." When he experienced the strange power and spoke in tongues, he was in a trance and could not stop speaking in tongues.

5. No woman was to speak in tongues in the public service (1 Cor. 14:34). But women were the chief speakers in the services Stelling had attended.

Stelling testified of several issues that caused him doubts about the Pentecostal experience that he had. One was that it was suggested he divorce his wife because of her unbelief in the baptism of the Spirit and tongues.

He reiterated that the tongues experience he had was supernatural. It was beyond what he could have generated in the flesh. "Since the Word of God proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was not the Holy Spirit, it could only be a deception of Satan, a counterfeit of the true baptism, the true fullness of the Holy Spirit." He was told by his old Pentecostal friends that he had committed the unpardonable sin by turning away from their doctrine.

He says very clearly that, "the experience taught by tongues people, 'that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is an experience apart from salvation, and evidenced only by the individual speaking on tongues,' is of the devil." Also, "the teaching that 'only those who have spoken in tongues have been filled with the Spirit' is of the devil." Their experience is "instigated by Satan himself." He makes it very clear that he is not saying all Pentecostal believers are of the devil, but their doctrine and experience is. He is convinced that he himself was saved, though under this strange supernatural power for a time early in his Christian life.

Listen to his entire testimony here.

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