We are so grateful for the comments many of you are emailing to us. We would love if you could post any of those comments and/or questions here. We are looking forward to getting some dialogue going.
Just read your book and wanted comment and ask a couple of questions. I am a Jewish believer for much of my life. My dad became a missionary for The Chosen People organization when I was very young. I attend a local Messianic Jewish congregation with the MJAA here in Florida.
1. I am one of those people who, long ago, accepted Yeshua as my Messiah on an “intellectual” basis. So I take issue that people don’t accept Jesus on that basis alone. And of course, you know there are thousands of people like me.
2. With that being said, your book was the first time I’ve read some really compelling evidence and reasoning for the “emotional” aspect of the “Holy Spirit” being part of our lives. It’s not that I’ve never gotten emotional about my faith and in my prayer life, I’m just very suspicious of people (and definitely have a wall up!) claiming to speak in tongues and all they say is gibberish. Or they only have a “prayer language.”
3. I’m told that “every” believer can speak in tongues and all they have to do is pray for it. That it brings you closer to God. The Apostle Paul says we should ask for the gift of prophecy. Which I do ask for. During the course of my 66 years of life, I’ve definitely seen the hand of God in my life with much wisdom and his protection from some very difficult times. So, if I can’t “speak in tongues” or have a “prayer language,” does that mean I don’t have the Holy Spirit dwelling within me? Can every believer get the gift of Tongues? I feel some people focus on this because it’s the only gift that can be “faked” by being hyper-emotional. Which we can all do!
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments. It’s the first time I’ve read a Pro-Charismatic book like yours about the “Gifts” that actually made sense and was biblically sound. Celia
First, thank you so much for writing to us! One of the most enjoyable aspects of writing a book is having the honor of conversing with our readers. I, like you, entered into a saving relationship with Jesus on what seemed to me to be an intellectual basis. I believe this is true for many of us and nothing we write attempts to discount belief based on reason alone.
Without a sound intellectual understanding of our faith, spiritual/emotional experiences lack a context which gives the experiences greater trans-formative power in our lives. The fact is, we need both intellectual understanding AND supernatural spiritual experience.
We were designed by God for both and our faith is hampered when either is missing or unfulfilled. It is noteworthy that the gift of tongues is the “stumbling block” for you, as it is for many Christians. It has been the dividing issue between Charismatics and Evangelicals for the last 100 years. Perhaps not co-incidentally, it is the only supernatural spiritual gift which the Holy Spirit gives solely for the edification of the practitioner [other than in a meeting in which the gift of interpretation of tongues is present to “make sense” of the word.
Isn’t it interesting that the only gift that is “just for me” is the one that causes the most problems? This may be because the early Pentecostals have taken the position that the gift of tongues is the primary evidence of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This theology is responsible for the great divide we see today. Personally [Mark speaking] I do not hold this belief.
Ephesians 1:13-14 makes it clear that upon our conversion we are marked by the Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance as Christians. To accept Jesus as Lord is to receive His Spirit. Whether or not you speak in tongues, you have the Holy Spirit, but having Him is not the same thing as experiencing all He has for you. Tongues is one of His gifts available to all His children.
We receive the gift of tongues in the same way we receive all of the supernatural gifts – through faith. By faith we believe that God has good gifts for us and we open ourselves to receive them. The problem that I have observed for most people regarding the gift of tongues is that they believe that when it occurs they will be overwhelmed emotionally with the love of God. They have been told to expect the gift to come with this emotional component. When the emotion does not come first, or with the gift, they doubt the gift as being real, even though some sort of strange sound came out of their mouths.
I began operating in the spiritual gifts of physical healing and prophecy long before I received the gift of tongues. I didn’t receive the gift of tongues earlier because I did not ask for it. I did not ask for it for all the reasons you have described. I thought it was silly and irrational. I had already experience the overwhelming love of our Father, so I had no reason to ask for tongues to receive the emotional component they promised would accompany the gift.
Several years after moving in the supernatural power of God I was reading a book about the gift of tongues. A desire arose within me for that gift. I became rather militant and began calling out to God to speak in tongues. He interrupted my demand by dropping this thought into my mind “OK, just start making sound come out of your mouth”. I said, “no that is not how it is supposed to work. You are supposed to overwhelm me with power and then YOU make a heavenly language come out of my mouth!”
He said “no, just let sound come out of your mouth.” I said, “Are you trying to tell me that if I begin to make sound inside of my chesty, you will turn it into the gift of tongues when it comes out of my mouth?” He said “yes”. It took me about 20 minutes to muster the courage to begin to let sound come from my chest. What came out surprised me. It was a short sentence, but it seemed to sound like a language. That was about 30 years ago, and the gift remains to this day but, it has never had the promised emotional accompaniment.
Does any of this help you to come to peace with the gift of tongues? You definitely can function without it, I did for years but, it is a valuable gift and one we have every right to ask for.
Of much greater concern to me is that you have had the experience of the Holy Spirit witnessing in the core of your identity that the Father loves you and that you have that experience. Of all the works of the Holy Spirit, in my opinion, that is the most transformational and valuable. In this regard you might want to consider reading my first book “Is God Religious?”
Thanks again for responding. It would be a pleasure to hear more from you. God Bless You!