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"Christian Spiritualism Is Not In The Bible But Tongue-Speaking Is!"

This is a curious objection usually coming from our so-named Charismatic "tongue-speaking" Fundamentalist friends or perhaps those who float between Pentecostal churches and other churches. One wonders what the Fundamentalist supposes that Paul meant by "discerning of spirits" (diakrisis pneuma, 1Cor. 12:10), and why we are warned by John: "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God" (1 John 4:1). Is this then the reason for Fundamentalists attributing evil to Christian Spiritualists? Have they "tested" our spirits and found us belonging to the antichrist?

Perhaps they should remember the warning given by Jesus not to judge unless one should be judged in like manner (Luke 6:37). Of course these verses are referring to Spirit Communion and ensuring that the spirit is from God; the disciples knew what deep trance states were and used them to comfort, guide and edify others who listened. This was one aspect of the Holy Comforter sent after the Beloved had left them, and other early Christians also gained direction from such guidance - some did indeed talk with the tongues of Angels. The discerning of spirits is not a gift to judge whether ones fellow man is "saved" or not.

However, what of the "tongue-speaking" Fundamentalists, some of whom can be somewhat trumpet-tongued in their condemnation of others because they have adopted a certain interpretation of the Bible which denies salvation for anyone who does not accept their particular dogma? Have they seriously looked at what they are doing themselves?

It is somewhat ironic that the stalwart Biblical Christian, so-named, can condemn a Christian Spiritualist, so named, by saying that his or her gift is not spiritual because it is not mentioned in the Bible, although in reality that gift is explicitly referred to by Paul and John - and yet the same Fundamentalist says that his or her incoherent ecstatic babblings (so-called talking-in-tongues) is Biblical, when in reality that person is speaking about something that is never mentioned explicitly in the Bible!

Throughout the New Testament, there is no positive indication from any writer that the documented and Biblically-mentioned gift of speaking in the tongues of human foreign languages at Pentecost was superseded by tongues of "ecstatic utterances" employed by modern-day Charismatics. Words used such as glossa, apophthengomai, eteraivglwssaiv and laleo are associated throughout the New Testament with human language, especially with foreign human language, and are used by both Luke and Paul - who knew each other - to describe the events both at Pentecost and Corinth respectively.

There is no direct indication that the gift of tongues at Pentecost (when men in the flesh were used as instruments of Spirit to speak and interpret foreign human tongues unknown to themselves) and the tongues spoken at Corinth (which the Charismatics claim to be their unintelligible gibberish sounds) were different.

The etymological evidence showing that the tongues spoken at Corinth were the same as the tongues spoken at Pentecost is extremely strong - the words commonly applied to foreign human language are consistent throughout and never portray an exalted ecstatic humanly incomprehensible form of language, such as the Charismatics would have us believe - that phenomenon is not explicitly named or described, neither does the Biblical language used indicate such.

Conversely, one of the gifts used by Christian Spiritualists is explicitly named by Paul as a spiritual gift, i.e. "discerning of spirits"; furthermore, the fact that John specifically mentions to "believe not every spirit", reiterates the direct Biblical confirmation as to the authenticity of Spirit Communion.

It is only assumption on the part of the Fundamentalist Charismatics that their 'ecstatic babblings' are those spoken at Corinth, because no Bible writer has made any reference to the Corinthian tongues being different from the original tongues spoken at Pentecost (when humans were used to speak and interpret foreign human tongues), as one would certainly expect if a form of tongues more exalted than the phenomenal bestowal at Pentecost had come to the early Christians - after all, the events at Pentecost were considered important enough to be described, so surely there would be some record or description of a newer and different bestowal of an even more 'exalted' gift?

No, there is nothing, not even a slight hint as to the introduction of a 'newer' or more 'elevated' form of tongues; there are simply references to the original gift of speaking in human languages heretofore unknown by the speaker.

The Charismatic or Pentecostal assumes that Paul, when writing to the Corinthians, refers to a higher and more exalted 'language' than the original gift of tongues, but this, ironically, is an imposition by those claiming to adhere to a literal interpretation of the Bible, to 'Biblically verify' their own use of something apparently supernatural.

Paul did indeed preach in Biblical tongues - he spoke to his hearers in languages he could not previously speak - and his hearers understood him. This is far removed from the incoherent mutterings proselytised by the modern-day Charismatic as 'tongues'. Paul spoke in many more different lands than other early Christians: "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all" (1 Cor. 14:18).

These were lands where the indigenous inhabitants spoke, quite naturally, different languages and dialects, and Paul had to preach the gospel of the Love of Jesus Christ to such as these. How, apart from the nigh impossible task of learning the language and dialect of every stranger he addressed, could Paul do such a thing effectively? Paul used the Biblical gift of tongues - speaking in the hitherto unknown language of his hearers - to speak of the Love of Christ as a "sign to unbelievers". Paul never actually refers to the 'exalted' gift of incoherent tongues of the Pentecostals, so-named.

As for what the modern day Charismatics term the gift of interpreting tongues, there is usually only the calling out of Biblical phrases or something quite vague, and while much is made of any apparently "correct" interpretation, it is a very infrequent event, and it is not common for two Charismatic "interpreters" of a claimed "ecstatic tongue" to produce the same interpretation of one modern-day Charismatic "tongues-speaker", unless the speaker is speaking in an earthly foreign language. It should also be remembered that a clock which has stopped will be correct twice in every twenty four hours.

The original purpose of the gift of speaking foreign tongues was for the spreading of the Message of Divine Love brought by Jesus the Christ to speakers of foreign languages, and there is no direct Biblical reference to affirm that the tongues spoken at Corinth were anything else.

Basically, Paul says that if everybody is talking in tongues (words understood by human foreign language-speakers) and there is nobody to interpret them to their own congregation, then there is no point talking in tongues because they would be of no use to anyone as nobody amongst themselves would understand! Thus it would be better to say just five words to a (local) non-believer who walked into their midst ("ekklesia": where they were "assembled") but who couldn't understand what was being said because tongues of foreign human languages were being spoken (someone, presumably, who spoke the local language and who therefore couldn't understand any foreign languages being spoken by the early tongue-speakers).

When the early Christians spoke to speakers of unknown languages, they also spoke mysteries and prophecies, but these were not always understood, for it matters not what language a mystery is in, there must be spirituality present to understand: "In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord (1 Cor. 14:21)".

All of this is usually assumed by the modern-day Charismatics to mean their form of incomprehensible whispering, muttering and babbling. However, if it is considered that no direct mention of this modern-day phenomenon appears in the Bible and that talking in tongues has definitely been described in the Bible as speaking in comprehensible foreign languages previously unknown to the speaker but understood by the foreign listener, then all of what Paul says makes perfect sense.

With a rigorous investigation into the contextual, as well as etymological usage of 'tongues', it does in fact appear that Charismatics or Pentecostals have literally transposed their own wishes concerning an 'ecstatic babbling' upon texts which refer to human languages. When 'tongues' appear in Acts, it is always with reference to real human languages; and references to tongue-speaking by Paul are contextually used to define the futility (and boasting in the case of the Corinthians) of speaking in unknown foreign human languages when no user of that language is present and therefore there is no interpreter to explain what is being said to the congregation itself! It is that simple.

Furthermore, when modern-day speakers of incomprehensible 'gibberish' refer to themselves as speaking in 'the tongues of angels' based on something that Paul has written, it appears as yet another twist and imposition by themselves upon the original meaning and intent of the writer. Paul, with his powerful use of symbology, was never referring to 'tongue-speaking' being 'the language of angels', but was merely speaking hypothetically concerning the main thrust of his writing, which was that nothing at all - no matter how elevated it was, even if it was possible for one to speak in the tongues of the angels - was as nothing at all if love was absent.

Perhaps it is the tongue-speaking Fundamentalists who should be asking themselves if they find their gift fascinating and question their own literalist theology and the origin of their expressed supernatural phenomenon? If they are going to adhere to such literalism, then instead of criticising others, they should most definitely be consistent and literal where original Biblical text and context is concerned and not depart from it in order to fit it to suit their own experience and desires. However, live and let live is a good motto to abide by - if only the Fundamentalists could truly live by it.

Thus, in essence, this short discourse reveals that those tongue-speaking Fundamentalists (Charismatic or otherwise) who accuse Christian Spiritualists of utilising satanic supernatural influence - even though Spirit Communion is confirmed in the Bible as being Divinely sanctioned - do in fact themselves (tongue-speakers) utilise a supernatural power that is not explicitly mentioned in the Bible let alone sanctioned, nor is it explicitly separated from a different supernatural gift which is mentioned in the Bible, namely tongue-speaking in foreign tongues to foreigners at Pentecost.

The difference between tongue-speaking Charismatic Fundamentalists and Christian Spiritualists is one of theology and hope. The lesser hope of the Fundamentalist is one of eternal life for themselves and solely for the minority who believe their theology which contains salvation based upon believing a concept alone.

The Larger Hope of the Christian Spiritualist is one of eternal life for every single one of God's children and it is restitution or restoration based upon the spiritual evolution of the soul and its purification. It is left up to the individual to choose which belief and hope they consider to be of a Divinely moral, which will, of necessity, involve a lesser or greater understanding of the Love of God.

Prompted by their experience with the supernormal, the Fundamentalists have developed from the Bible a teaching of limited salvation for themselves only, while all others are subjected to eternal torment - a teaching which makes its first appearance as yeast belonging to the Pharisees of the New Testament (it is not found the Old Testament), and is strongly promoted by such characters as Tertullian (A.D. 160) and Augustine (A.D. 354) with their heathen influences, the latter being the first writer to oppose the Divine teaching of Universal Salvation (ultimate restoration).

Before then, all known records of Greek-speaking Christians never once oppose, let alone condemn, the type of Universal Salvation that is expounded within the Greater World. It was after the first five centuries of Christianity had unfolded that condemnation of Universal Salvation reared its ugly head. Indeed, Universal Salvation was the prevailing doctrine for the first five centuries A.D. - the focus was on the wonderful and inspiring Message of Divine Love brought by Christ Jesus, the Gospel of Divine Love which would touch the hearts of men and women and change both themselves and the world forever.

One should not be guilty of declaring what the Holy Spirit can and cannot do to bring the children of God out of darkness into the Light of His Love, for His ways are known only in little part, and it would be extremely foolish to think that every spiritual gift that God can bestow has actually been mentioned in the Sacred Record.

It is not being claimed here that the spiritual gift of "discerning of spirits" grants one spiritual discernment, far from it. Spiritual discernment is very different to the discerning of spirits. But God means that those who use the gift of the discerning of spirits should only do so if they have their spiritual discernment released - but man with his freewill sometimes works against the Will of God and builds up trouble for himself in time to come.

Spiritual discernment is a spiritual gift in itself, and while the discerning of spirits is meant to bring comfort and spiritual education to the masses, without spiritual discernment, it is better that the discerning of spirits is left completely alone. Spiritual discernment is perhaps the most valuable gift a person can have - the true value of which will only be recognised in the Hereafter - and that person may never have consciously seen, heard or felt a spirit.

What is being claimed here is that there are supernatural phenomena in use, one form, the discerning of spirits, is mentioned in the Bible for what it is. Another form, "tongue-speaking" in a so named more "exalted" form than that used at Pentecost, is not mentioned specifically. What is also established here is that through a careful study of the historicity, etymology and lexicology of the early Christian era, the theology of the modern day Charismatic did not exist within the first five centuries A.D. - it has been created by the mind of man.

However, it must be said that the self-imposed limited salvation of the modern-day Fundamentalist can sometimes create a bigotry which works against spiritual growth through the Holy Spirit - as God intended.

Those tongue-speakers, Pentecostals, Charismatics or otherwise, who think that they have reached their goal are gravely mistaken, they have yet much to learn and work out. Those who think that they have received their spiritual salvation because they utilise a supernatural experience and are therefore fit to reside in spiritual Perfection, have been deceived, they have but touched the very outer hem of the Garment of His Love. Those who are satisfied with their ecstasies of adoration have been misguided, they have not understood the law of God which is to work out ones own salvation and the salvation of those around, in the Way He laid down Himself for man to follow.

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