Pentecostal Apologetics

 "Tongues are Immature. We Need to Grow Out of Them and Grow Into Love"

Cessationists Get The Above Idea From a Misunderstanding of Several Verses in 1 Corinthians. They Read The Following:

"are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts:" 1 Cor. 12: 29-31

Following the above verses is chapter 13, where Paul teaches that love is most important--even more important than the "gifts." Therefore, cessationists say that Paul was teaching the Corinthians that love is to be eagerly desired instead of gifts.  The cessationist argument is that the Corinthians were being immature because they were seeking to speak in tongues instead of seeking to live in "love." Tongues-speaking, according to  cessationists, was something that was only to be temporary. "Tongues-speaking," according to them, was only for a sign of judgement against the Jews (this charge is answered in the next section of this site) per the verse below:

"Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men... Wherefore tongues are for a sign" 1 Cor. 14: 20-22

The cessationist argument continues as they read of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 (below), and say that Paul is instructing the Galatians on how the Spirit-led-life is to be. They say that since there is no mention of tongues in the Galatian passage, this can only mean that tongues are not part of the normative Christian life:
"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh... But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meakness, temperance:" Gal. 5: 16-23

Paul Disagrees

From the above passage, cessationists have decided that speaking in tongues is immature, and that Christians should grow out of it and grow into love. The obvious problem with the cessationist argument is that Paul does not agree with it. For, even though Paul tells the Corinthians to seek after love, he also tells them to seek to have spiritual gifts (tongues included). It is interesting that while Paul tells them to seek after love, he also mentions that, "I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all" (1 Cor. 14: 18). Was Paul really saying, "I thank God that I am more immature than all of you?" Looking at one of the the cessationist's "proof text" of 1 Cor. 12: 29-31 (above), it is seen that they have been less than honest in their interpretation. For, as seen below, there are also gifts of "helps" and "administration" that Paul is supposedly saying we should grow out of (how then shall the church operate?) for they are not mentioned in the Gal. passage either.
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way" 1 Cor. 12: 28-31

In The Church
Also, it needs to be mentioned that the greater gifts that Paul wants them to seek is not love, but as he goes on to say (after his digression of chapter 13), that it is the gifts of prophecy and interpretation that is greater than tongues-speaking in the church. He begins this teaching with the first verse of chapter 14:

"Follow after charity [love], and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy." 1 Cor. 14:1
Another obvious weakness in their argument is their interpretation of 1 Cor. 14: 20-22; For Paul is not saying that tongues are childish, and he certainly is not teaching there, to grow into love. Actually, verses 20-22 are part of Paul's argument that tongues without interpretation does not help the church--so do not do it loudly without the interpretation (which would be prophecy; which is beneficial to both the church, and to any unbelievers who might be there).

Concerning the Galatian passage, the cessationists are confused. For Paul, in that passage, is not discussing a temporary nature of the gifts of the Spirit (even the "conservative" gifts of helps, teaching, and administation are not mentioned). He has simply listed 9 aspects of the fruit of the Spirit that each Christian is to have. When Peter wrote his epistle (1 Peter) to Galatia (and to others), he rejected any cessationist idea that Christians are to grow out of spiritual gifts and into love. Instead he holds to Paul's doctrine that believers are to have both love, and operate in the spiritual gifts:

"And above all things have fervent charity [love] among yourselves: for charity shall cover a multitude of sins... As every man hath received the gift, even so minister... If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God" 1 Peter 4: 8-11

And in Romans and Ephesiains Paul teaches that Christians are to have both; gifts and love:
"Having then gifts differing... let love be without dissimulation... Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love" Rom. 12: 6-10

"But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men... And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us" Eph. 4: 7-8, 5: 2

Paul's words in 1 Cor. 14, as seen in the first paragraphs of "1 Cor. 1" of this site, shows that the prophetic gifts are here to build-up/edify the church (not to bring us to a level of immaturity). And in Eph.4: 11-15 (highlighted below) shows that Christians mature by hearing the words of prophets (and teachers etc.), and will grow up from infancy to maturity while having love and prophetic speech (i.e. 'prophets'):

"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting [maturing]of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" Eph. 4: 11-15

Were the Ephesians being guided into immaturity by Paul because he had led them into tongues-speaking:
"And when paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." Acts 19: 6

Tongues-speaking is always a part of prayer and praise. When a cessationist says that pentecostals over-emphasize tongues; he is saying that Pentecostals over-emphasize prayer and praise. If questioned, cessationists will admit that praise is good. Why then, is supernatural praise by God's Holy Spirit (in tongues) suddenly immature? The bad implication of cessationist teaching is that the Holy Spirit is a bad influence--turning mature praise into something immature!

Powerful Prayer Meeting

In America, on Monday night a cessationist will get real excited and emotional while watching a football game. While this is going on, a pentecostal group is praising the Lord fanatically, with tongues and prophecies at a powerful prayer service. Later that evening, after hearing of the powerful prayer meeting, the cessationist shakes his head in disgust, saying that the pentecostals were wasting their time in immaturity.

This brings us to a question: Is it more mature to get excited over a football game; or to pray in tongues? Cessationists do not understand tongues; they are on the outside looking in, which is why they liken it to emotion. They, for some reason, cannot see or feel things through the Spirit, so all they see (through their eyes) at a pentecostal prayer meeting is "emotion." Praise, by its very nature is excitement (if it is in Spirit and in truth). According to 1 Cor. 14 (below) tongues is praise--and not just praise from the intellect, but praise from the prophetic spirit in a man (or from the Holy Spirit Himself):

Glorious Praise

"Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit [in tongues]... For thou verily givest thanks well [in tongues]" 1 Cor. 14: 16-17
Cessationists say that since others cannot understand the tongues, they will say "that ye are mad " (1 Cor. 14: 23). However, there are times when pentecostals have prayer services where all understand what tongues-speaking is, and therefore, they will not say, "ye are mad" when there is a lot of tongues-praising. Below, are written some verses from the New Testament. Let the reader decide if praising God is immature:

"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour" Lk. 1: 46-47
"And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel" Lk. 1: 67-68

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest" Lk. 2: 13-14
"Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God" 2: 28-29
"And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediatly cry out." Lk. 19: 37-40

"And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" Matt. 21: 15-16
"and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns beforew the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power... and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever... After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen." Rev. 4: 8- 7: 12

Copyright 2006 - 2007. Peter Kwiatkowski. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License. http://www.pentecostal-tongues-theology.org Peter Kent Kwiatkowski