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Particulars of Christianity:
310 Pentecostalism,
the Charismatic
and Faith Movements

Comparing Modern Tongues to Biblical Tongues

Our Background and Objectivity
Comparing Modern Tongues to Biblical Tongues
Basic Introduction to the Charismatic Movement
Opening Remarks and Introduction to the Gifts
Survey 1 - Continuity of the Gifts in the First Few Centuries
Survey 2 - Decline of Orthodox Gifts and Rise of Counterfeit Gifts
Survey 3 - A Change in Tune Regarding the Gifts
Survey 4 - From the Renaissance to the Modern Era
An Introduction to the Gifts in Modern Times
The Origins of the Modern Charismatic Movement

Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4
| Section 5

This brief segment is intended to "break the ice" and hopefully open things up for consideration. The goal is to highlight some important contrasts between speaking in tongues today and speaking in tongues in the New Testament. These comparisons are significant and eye opening, but they often go overlooked.

1. In modern contexts speaking in tongues is almost always a personal ministry rather than a public ministry. (With regard to public ministry, the function of tongues will be highlighted in the next point below as well.)

2. In modern contexts speaking in tongues virtually always involves unknown or angelic tongues rather than identifiable human languages. New Testament tongues which were originally used to communicate with foreigners in actual human languages, and consequently, their occurrence could be confirmed by those who spoke those other languages.

3. Speaking in tongues is usually the only type of spiritual gift experienced by most Christians who otherwise do not experience or witness genuine confirmable physical healings, scripturally correct or confirmable prophecies, etc. In contrast, New Testament tongues occurred in concert with other genuine and confirmable, miraculous workings of the Holy Spirit. In other words, in the New Testament speaking in tongues occurred in an environment where other supernatural gifts identifiably and tangibly occurred.

4. Also, in the New Testament people were enabled to speak in tongues through a Pentecost like experience where the room shakes and there are tongues of fire or through the laying on of hands of those who'd had a Pentecost like experience. Modern-day tongues do not originate in these New Testament ways.

These striking contrasts break down the ability to assume that modern tongues are just modern-day occurrences of biblical tongues. If they are the same biblical phenomena, why are they so different in practice, content, purpose, and origination? In light of these factors as well as other points that we will cover throughout this study series to demonstrate, we believe that there is no reason or evidence (biblical or otherwise) to conclude that modern speaking in tongues comes from God, is miraculous, or should be identified with the New Testament gifts of the Spirit.