SGBC Modesto

Speaking in Tongues (outline)

April 13, 2024 by

William Heinrich

Part One

I. Sign Gifts Were Temporary in the New Testament

A. Hebrews 2:3-4 “Confirmed” = past tense; apostles only

B. Gifts of apostle and prophet were “foundational” – Ephesians 2:20

C. Gift of healing was temporary

1. Philippians 2:25-30 ~ A.D. 60

2. II Timothy 4:20 ~ A.D. 67

D. Later epistles omit mention of sign gifts

1. I Corinthians 12-14 ~ A.D. 56

2. Romans 12 ~ A.D. 58

3. Ephesians 4 ~ A.D. 61

4. I Peter 4 ~ A.D. 63


A. Church Fathers

1. Origen (©. 185-253) in his apologetic against Celsus explicitly argued that the signs of the Apostolic Age had been temporary and that no contemporary Christians exercised any of the ancient prophetic gifts.

2. Chrysostom (©. 347-407) in his Homilies (XXIX) on I Corinthians 12 said, “This whole place is very obscure; but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur, but now no longer take place.”

3. Augustine (©. 353-430) in commenting on Acts 2:4 said, “In the earliest times, ‘the Holy Ghost fell upon them that believed; and they spake with tongues’…. These were signs adapted to the time. For there behooved to be that betokening of the Holy Spirit…. That thing was done for a betokening, and it passed away.”

B. No tongues for over 1800 years (except heretical groups)

C. This fulfills I Corinthians 13:8-10


A. Sign of judgment for unbelieving Jews before A.D. 70 – I. Cor. 14:22

B. Sign to confirm/authenticate the apostles and their message –
II Cor. 12:12; Hebrews 2:3-4

C. Most Biblical miracles “clump” around three great eras

1. Moses/Joshua (when the Law was written)

2. Elijah/Elisha (when the Prophets were written)

3. Christ/Apostles (when the New Testament was written)
* Each time miracles serving the purpose of confirming the divine
origin of new revelation.


A. Acts 2:4-11 (dialects known to man) (cf. Matthew 6:7)

B. Gift of interpretation = Translation from one language to another

C. Current glossolalia is not knowable languages with form and structure.

D. To be valid, tongues must meet the Scriptural criteria; it must be:

1. A foreign language spoken on earth

2. Used as a sign to unbelieving Jews

3. Followed with a translation

4. Used not privately, but publically for the edification of believers

E. No modern “tongues” meet these criteria. Tens of thousands of neo- Pentecostal tongues-speakers have submitted their utterances for linguistic analysis in order to prove that they were speaking in foreign languages. The following factors prove that they are not languages:

1. High frequency of repetition; similar-sounding syllables are repeated over and over.

2. The similarity of tongues speech to the speaker’s own language background

3. The excessive use of one or two vowels

4. The absence of any language structure

5. The markedly greater length of the interpretation as compared with the tongues utterance

6. The inconsistency of the interpretation of the same phrase or clause

7. The predominately King James style in interpretation

8. No known relationship to any known languages of the world


A. In a word, it is PSYCHOLOGICAL.
Psychologist John P. Kildahl concludes: “Tongue-speaking is a learned phenomenon, learned in a semi-hypnotic atmosphere where there is heightened suggestibility to the words of the leader.”

1. It is a matter of auto-hypnosis, following suggestions to “yield to the Holy Spirit.” Hypnotizability (which is limited to certain personality types) is a prerequisite.

2. It is a learned skill, often with “coaching” involved in a training session. Usually there is great admiration for the church leader, and his particular style of tongue-speaking is copied and adopted.

3. Prolonged seeking after a vital spiritual experience, and anxiety over not being spiritual enough are prerequisites. The emotional experience gives the tongue-speaker a sense of assurance concerning his or her relationship with God, which compensates for their insecurity produced by their not believing the doctrine of eternal security.

4. It is an experience that can easily be duplicated by non-Christians, showing that the source of the utterances is not the Holy Spirit. Historical records show ecstatic speech in Egypt in 1100 B.C.; Plato (400 B.C.) refers to religious ecstatic speech of the prophetesses at Delphi; Virgil (30 B.C.) in the Aeneid says the priestess of Sibyl spoke obscurely and unintelligibly in an ecstatic state. Today it occurs among Mohammedans, witch doctors of Haiti and Greenland, Monks of Tibet and China (Buddhist and Shinto priests), and Mormons. (At the dedication of the temple in Salt Lake City, hundreds of Mormon Elders spoke in tongues.)


A. Living by experience rather than by the Word

B. Poor testimony to unsaved (“fanatic”)

C. Fostering of pride

D. Division in the churches


Since all of the evidence points to the conclusion that what is happening today is not genuine Biblical tongue-speaking, we can forbid “ecstatic utterances” in the church service without violating Paul’s command.