www.pentecostal-tongues-theology.org

Pentecostal Apologetics

KNOWN LANGUAGE
"Biblical Tongues Were Always Known Languages--Not The 'Gibberish' You Hear in Pentecostal Churches Today."

Romans 8: 26 and "gibberish"

It should be noted that cessationists believe that the Spirit prayer of Romans 8: 26 (below) is for us today. What they do not realize is that Rom. 8:26 either describes quiet/silent tongues-speaking, or it is a prophetic phenomenon that is 99% the same as "tongues."

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Rom. 8: 26-27

Does the Holy Spirit pray to the Father on our behalf in a known earthly language? Or does He pray/talk/intercede for us in a Spirit-language? Why then, must every prayer to God by the Spirt's power be in a known earthly language?

The problem, of course, is that cessationists can not pray by the Spirit's power; so they assume that you and I can not either; then they must assume that all tongues-speech is not for prayer and praise to God, but rather, for it is for evangelism--to speak to people in their own language. This charge is answered in the  "TONGUES EDIFY" article on this site which refutes  the "gibberish theory" by showing that there are many different kinds of tongues-speaking. There is a tongues that is a prayer to God, (quietly, or silently), and there is a tongues that is a message for the church (out loud). There is a tongues-speaking from the prophetic spirit that dwells inside of a man (qiuetly, silently, or loudly), and there is a tongues-speaking that is from God's Spirit that is outside of man--coming directly from God speaking through a man (qiuetly, silently, or loudly). There is a tongues that is strictly a praise of God, (quietly. or loudly), and there is a tongues that is a more serious heart prayer to God (silently, and described in Rom. 8: 26)


In Context

The context of the above verses is that of the saints praying (Rom 8: 26); therefore, it is a time when one prays and the Holy Spirit takes over and prays through him ("through him" because his heart is being searched as he prays. This is not a case of the Holy Spirit or Jesus in heaven interceding for a man while that person may or may not be in prayer ). The man has initiated the praying himself, therefore he cannot be separated from what is going on; in fact, he continues praying while the Holy Spirit prays through him. This is probably "tongues." But if not, it is very similar (a variation of tongues; a manifestation of tongues), as the man could very well be making vocal sounds or groans as the Spirit prays through him--and that certainly would not be in an understandable foriegn language. 1 Cor. 14: 28 (below), speaks of "tongues" that is either similar, or identical to Rom. 8: 26.
 
"But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God." 1 Cor. 14: 28

The above verse is similar to Rom. 8: 26 when a man is praying prophetically (in tongues), but silently. He does this by the prophetic spirit that lives inside of him. But 14: 28 is identical to 8: 26 when the man is praying prophetically (in tongues--a variation of tongues) but it is God's Spirit--from God Himself, who is actually initiating and doing the praying. This is similar to when God has a message for the congregation, and He speaks to the congregation through a man in tongues and interpretations, or prophesies through a man--this is not when a man is simply praising God in tongues by the prophetic spirit that dwells inside of him; but, rather, God Himself operating the Holy Spirit within a man.

If a cessationist says that " tongues are always foriegn languages," or "there is no tongues speaking today;" then he is saying that he knows everything about Rom. 8: 26-27, and that he knows for a fact that as man and Spirit pray together, there will not be one prayer-sound coming from the mans mouth (which would then make it a vocal prayer language), and that the word, "groanings" in that verse does not actually mean "groanings." The two verses below show a tongues that is from man to God, that is not in a foriegn language for other men to understand:
 
"For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries." 1 Cor. 14: 2
 
"Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?" 1 Cor. 14: 16
 
If tongues are always foriegn languages, then there is no reason for anyone to do it alone (where no foriegners could hear). Also, there would have been no reason for the Ephesians (of Acts 19) or for Cornelius' family (Acts 10) to speak in tongues since there were no foriegners there to understand it. Because God has the ability to cause one to pray to Him in a foriegn dialect, He can also cause one to pray in a better, more expressive heavenly language. When a cessationist says that "tongues are always foriegn languages;" he is saying that he has heard every single tongues-prayer, tongues-praise, and tongues-message that anyone anywhere has ever spoken, and has realized that they are always foriegn languages.


A Note:  The "TONGUES EDIFY" article on this site thouroughly refutes  the "gibberish theory" by showing that there are many different kinds of tongues-speaking. There is a tongues that is a prayer to God, (quietly, or silently), and there is a tongues that is a message for the church (out loud). There is a tongues-speaking from the prophetic spirit that dwells inside of a man (qiuetly, silently, or loudly), and there is a tongues-speaking that is from God's Spirit that is outside of man--coming directly from God speaking through a man (qiuetly, silently, or loudly). There is a tongues that is strictly a praise of God, (quietly. or loudly), and there is a tongues that is a more serious heart prayer to God (silently, and described in Rom. 8: 26)


Heavenly Language

Is it not possible that a heavenly language can be more dynamic, and express a far more complexity of thought than any man-made language can? Why do cessationists insist that all tongues-speaking must be in known foriegn languages? If tongues-speaking is always to men okay; but much tongues-speaking is to God. Does God only understand earthly languages? Does the Holy Spirit only speak through earthly languages--the silly languages of man? When we pray to God in an earthly language, we cannot express complex thoughts very fast. He has to wait for us to speak one word at a time, with our limited earthly vocabulary. For instance if I am outside and I see a blue 1966 Pontiac drive by, I might say, "I like that 66' Pontiac." But the complex thought that I would be trying to express by those words are as follows: 1) "I like that aqua blue color--it reminds me of the ocean." 2) "I like that real metal, and the shiny, silver chrome looks of a pureness that makes me think of living on a beautiful planet that has no litter, trash, or anything that defiles." 3) "It reminds me of the good-old-days when there was less crime, and children would pray in their school buildings". 4) "The reflection of the sun on the car reminds me of being at the beach on a warm sunny day." And many other such thoughts would all be contained in the statement, "I like that 66' Pontiac." But why try to communicate such detailed thoughts in an earthly language? For there would never be enough time to do so! And cessationists would have us believe that when we pray to God it must always be in a one-dimensional earthly language--even when it is God's Holy Spirit that is praying to God (through us)!
      Paul makes it clear that there is a heavenly language, as he goes so far to describe it as angelic speech:

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels" 1 Cor 13:1

Paul makes sure to say that the angelic speech is beside that of human languages, as he uses the word, "and" to show that it is in addition to the languages of men. But cessationists have come up with an answer for 1 Cor. 13:1. They say that Paul is using the literary technique of "hyperbole" (exagerration to make a point) to show that love is more important than prophetic speech. They refer to the verses below:

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." 1 Cor. 13: 1-3


Hyperbole

Cessationists say that there are exagerations in the above verses. They point out that Paul certainly cannot understand all mysteries, or move mountains whenever he pleases. Therefore, they say that he cannot speak the (heavenly) language of angels either. But they are actually reading too much into the text. For angelic speech is an excellent way to describe heavenly tongues. There is a bad implication of what the cessationists are saying; for hyperbole is used to clarify something--To make a point clear. But cessationists imply that Paul did not know how to use hyperbole correctly; so instead of clarifying the issue, he confused it. If cessationists are correct, then Paul used the wrong example of hyperbole. If cessationists are correct, the hyperbolic statement that Paul should have made (to show that all tongues are earthly languages) is thus:

"If I speak in the tongues of all nations but have not charity ..."

The hyperbole exageration would then be realized because Paul certainly does not speak the tongues of every single tribe on the planet; rather, he would be using hyperbole to show that "tongues" are the many earthly languages. That is why; as mentioned earlier, that Paul uses the word "and" (in 13: 1) to show that he speaks in a language that is beside that of men. Notice how accurately Luke uses hyperbole:

"And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven" Acts 2: 5

Of course there were not Jews there from "every" single nation on the entire planet. But Luke's hyperbolic statement, "every nation under heaven" is accurate; meaning that there were Jews gathered there from all over the place. Cessationist will admit that Luke knows how to use hyperbole properly; and if asked, they will admit that they, themselves (and millions of school-children), know how to use hyperbole correctly, to clarify--not confuse an issue. Why, then, do they insist that Paul does not use hyperbole correctly by saying that "tongues of angels" actually means "tongues of men," As "earthly," rather than "heavenly" languages. 

This whole issue of earthly/heavenly languages "hyperbole" is cleared up by reading something from the Old Testament (below): Remembering that God rained down manna (miraculous grain) from heaven to sustain the wandering Israelites:
 
"And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it." Numbers 11: 7-9

Now, there are weak Christians (or non-Christians) who doubt the miraculous nature of the manna. They say, "The 'manna' is actually the coriander seed that is still found in the East today." They then say that Asaph, who wrote Psalm 78 (below) was actually using "hyperbole" when he wrote that "Man did eat angels' food." They say that Asaph used a hyperbolic _expression, "angels' food" to describe an earthly bread that the Hebrews never had before. However, according to Asaph (The Psalmist), it is a miraculous, heavenly food:
 
"Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels' food" Psalm 78: 23-24
 
About this hyperbole; ask the cessationist if Asaph used the phrase, "angels' food" to describe earthly food or to describe heavenly food. Cessationists are in a dilemma. They are forced to use a double standard by saying that "angels' food" is a hyperbole that describes heavenly, rather than earthly bread; but that "tongues of angels" in 1 Cor. is a hyperbole that describes an earthly, rather than a heavenly language.

Copyright 2006 - 2007. Peter Kwiatkowski. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License.