PMT 2014-066 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This is the fourth installment interpreting tongues as eschatologically-significant. If you have not read the previous articles: Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. It is important for you to get the full study before you.
In this article I will begin dealing with the purpose of tongues. I see two main purposes for tongues: apostolic confirmation and Israel condemnation. Let us begin with the first purpsoe.
In the study of biblical phenomena it is imperative that we seek out the underlying, compelling divine purposes motivating them. God is a God of order and design: “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints” (1 Cor. 14:33). He operates according to his own rational decree, so that when he acts, he acts in terms of a wise plan and a holy goal.
For instance, in Jesus’s choice of parabolic discourse as a teaching tool we can discern a biblically-defined purpose. The Lord does not speak in parable to be clever, to appear profound, or to draw crowds. Rather, he expressly informs us that the intent of his parables is to obscure the truth to the non-elect, while opening it up to the elect: “And He said to them, ‘To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that “Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn and their sins be forgiven them’’” (Mark 4:11-12).
By the same token miracles in Holy Writ are for a particular purpose. They serve as signs from God, validating the message which they accompany, as in the case of Christ’s miracles: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).
In like manner tongues serve a particular divine purpose in the plan of redemption. That purpose is two-fold: (1) Tongues are a validational sign of the apostolic message serving (2) as a sign of covenant curse upon Israel for rejecting that message.
Miraculous phenomena are always attached to revelation from God. In biblical history, eras of new special revelation are punctuated by validating sign-miracles.
• In Exodus God clearly endows Moses with miraculous power in order to underscore the divine origin of his message. When Moses initially balks at his task, he expresses a concern that the people might say: “The Lord hath not appeared to you” (Exo. 4:1). In response to this fear the Lord endued him with miraculous abilities (such as the power to turn his staff into a serpent, Exo. 4:3) “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their father. . . has appeared to you” (Exo. 4:5; cp. Acts 7:36-38).
• In 1 Kings when Elijah raises the widow’s son from death, the widow exclaims: “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth” (1 Kings 17:24).
• In Elisha’s ministry at the cleansing of Naaman from leprosy, Naaman says: “Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15). And the Lord Jesus Christ performs many miracles for this purpose: “Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these bear witness of Me’” (John 10:25; cf. John 20:30-31).
As redemptive history progresses into the post-Pentecost, new covenant era we discover the same purpose in the miracles of the revelation-bearing apostles. The Lord confirms their message with many signs and wonders: “Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles” (Acts 2:43). “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it” (Acts 4:16).
As a matter of fact, Paul, being the late-comer to the apostolate (I Cor. 15:8- 9), draws attention to his miraculous signs as proof of his apostleship: “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs and wonders and miracles” (2 Cor.12:12, cf. also Gal. 3:5; Rom. 15:17-19).
The ability to bestow miraculous gifts upon believers is itself a validational ministry of the apostles.
• In Mark 16:17 the Lord promises his disciples that “these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues.” This assures the apostles of their authority from God.
• After Pentecost, tongues-speaking episodes occur in connection with the apostolic ministry: In Acts 10 after Peter preaches to Cornelius’ household, the gift of tongues is poured out upon the converts in the presence of the apostle Peter (Acts 10:44-46). This is important because of Peter’s reluctance to minister to the gentiles (Acts 10:9-16) and the Jerusalem church’s alarm (Acts 11:1-3).
• In Acts 19 after Paul preaches to the disciples of John the Baptist and lays hands on them, they speak in tongues and prophesy (Acts 19:6).
Blame It on the Brain?
Sub-title: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience
by Edward T. Welch
Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Alcoholism, Homosexuality. Research suggests that more and more behaviors are caused by brain function or dysfunction. But is it ever legitimate to blame misbehavior on the brain? How can I know whether my brain made me do it?
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
• The Corinthian church is obviously filled with tongues-speakers (cf. 1 Cor. 14: 26-27). This seems related in part to Paul’s eighteen month ministry among them, which provides him ample time to endow many of them with charismatic gifts (Acts 18:1, 11).
• Paul longs to visit churches and individuals in order to impart spiritual gifts to them. In Romans 1:11 he writes: “For I long to see you in order that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established.” In 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul writes: “And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God, which is in you through the laying an of my hands.”
Consequently, the bestowing of supernatural-miraculous gifts upon believers serves as a confirmation of the apostolic message. This is clearly taught in the locus classicus on the matter: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, by signs and wonders and by various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will” (Heb. 2:3, 4). It is further emphasized in the narrative of the expansion of the apostolic church in Acts: “Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3).