Is speaking in tongues evidence of salvation in Jesus Christ and thus something all Christians should be practicing?
The question was posed before Hank Hanegraaff, also known as the “Bible Answer Man,” during his radio show. Hanegraaf made it clear that what happened on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit allowed followers of Jesus to speak in tongues, as described in the book of Acts, was a “non-normative event.”
“You think for example of what happened back in the Old Testament, when men were trying to excel by their own humanistic endeavors, God divided the languages, so that their plans and plots would be foiled. In the Pentecost you have a reversal of what you have at the Tower of Babel,” Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute, said.
“It is as if a unification takes place in a miraculous way so that the Gospel can go out to the far reaches of the world. I think that the fact that this is communicated as a historical narrative, something that actually happened, is wonderful, but to project this in such a way that this is now normative for all people at all places at all times, simply does not fit what you have in the didactic portions of Scripture,” he argued.
He listed 1 Corinthians 12 as an example that proves that not all believers speak in tongues.
“That gift is not a gift given to everyone. And even if people speak in tongues in the context of Acts, in 1 Corinthians 14 we are told that there has to be an interpretation, otherwise it edifies the person, but doesn’t edify the body,” the radio host, who converted from evangelicalism to Eastern Orthodoxy last year, said.
“The ultimate goal is for the strengthening of the body so that the body of Christ might be equipped, and the body of Christ might be extorted and encouraged, and therefore there is a purpose for the tongues if they are used within the context of the body of Christ.”
He said that the debate on whether speaking in tongues is or is not for today will “go on until the Lord returns,” and said that it’s a valid one to have within the body of Christ.
The CRI president noted that plenty of Christians do believe that speaking in tongues is a gift that God gives to people, and they have various explanations for how that gift is used.
“But to say that this is the evidence of the in-filling of the Holy Spirit I think goes beyond Scripture,” he said.
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Source: Christian Post