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辨别“方言”与赝品

作者:道格·巴契勒 牧师日期:2017-12-23 13:57:17浏览数:4323
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中文:

奇妙真相: 传说希腊人攻打特洛伊城十年之久,仍无法破城。最终,他们想出一个妙计。希腊军队佯装撤军,并在海岸上留下了一个巨大的木马,特洛伊人以为这是战利品,喜不胜收。疏不知在这个“礼品”里,潜伏着一批全副武装的希腊勇士!特洛伊城内的希腊间谍西农,劝诱特洛伊人将木马运至城内,谎称这样做能使特洛伊城天下无敌。那天夜里,西农偷偷地放出了藏在木马里的希腊战士,他们杀死特洛伊的城门卫兵,并使城门大开,于是等候城外的希腊士兵一拥而入……围城十年不下的特洛伊,就这样被攻陷,且付之一炬,被大火烧毁。

第一章 解释的差异

来自敌人的礼物或许是致命的。恐怖分子曾将包装精美的炸弹当作礼物奉上,一打开就会爆炸。他们用同样的方法杀死了许多目标人物。如今,魔鬼正在伪造圣灵的礼物(恩赐)——方言的恩赐——通过这一“礼物”潜入上帝的教会,以便由内而外摧毁教会。

在我成为基督徒之后不久,有一次,从棕榈泉搭便车去洛杉矶看望母亲。中途,我搭乘了一位好心的中年女士的车。她是灵恩派的,听说我刚刚受洗归主十分高兴。途中她问我:“你受了圣灵没有?”

我有些吃惊,因为从没有人问过我这个问题。“我想…我已经受了圣灵。”我吞吞吐吐地回答。我还说:“我确实在生活中感受到了上帝的灵,是祂改变了我。我已经不再吸毒、偷窃、撒谎、说脏话等等。”

“哦!不,我不是那个意思。”她显得有些失望,说:“我是指你受过圣灵的洗吗?会说方言吗?”她的反应令我感到奇怪。比起战胜长久辖制我的罪,她似乎对我是否说过令人迷乱的“呓语”更感兴趣。

这位好心的女士坚信:我漏掉了基督徒经验中一个至关重大的要素。本着不想错失此等“特权”的初衷,我开始深入探究关于方言这个有争议的话题。我拜访的前几个教会,都是灵恩派,他们全部相信令人心醉神迷的方言——一种常被描述为“语义不清”的经历。那里圣经研究小组的新朋友大都“说方言”,所以,我要分享的信息,是我多年研究的第一手经验的结果。

尽管我不赞同灵恩派的某些教训,但我坚信这些团体中也有众多上帝的真儿女。我还发现,即使在灵恩派当中,对于方言这一恩赐的解释,也存在极大的差异。所以,如果我偶尔言语不当,以偏概全,还请谅解。本文不针对任何人,只针对错谬。有时,使人痛苦的真理也恰恰是让人得以自由的真理!(约8:32)

第二章 真正的方言

先来对方言下个定义。圣经中的“方言”就是指“语言”。

所有上帝赐下的恩赐,都是为了满足实际的需要。我们需要方言吗?

耶稣吩咐门徒:“所以,你们要去使万民作我的门徒,奉父、子、圣灵的名给他们施洗。”(太28:19)但问题来了,使徒们只会讲一两种语言,如何将福音传遍地极?为了完成这项伟大的使命,主应许赐下独特的恩赐。为了传福音的缘故,圣灵要赋予他们一种不可思议的、超自然的能力——他们能瞬间开口讲说从未学过或听过的外语。

“信的人必有神迹随着他们,就是…说新方言。”(可16:17)

这里的新“方言”,或者语言,乃是一个“神迹”。这表明说方言的能力,不是通过正常的语言学习而产生的结果,那是瞬间的恩赐——用一种从前完全陌生的语言,流利地传讲福音。

说方言的实例,在圣经中只有三处(徒2、10、19章)。通过这三段经文,我们会对这个颇具争议的恩赐,获得更为清晰的认识。

“五旬节到了,门徒都聚集在一处。忽然,从天上有响声下来,好像一阵大风吹过,充满了他们所坐的屋子;又有舌头如火焰显现出来,分开落在他们各人头上。他们就都被圣灵充满,按着圣灵所赐的口才说起别国的话来。”(徒2:1-4)

火是能力的象征。在上帝赐予这个恩赐时,祂让舌头如同火焰一般,分开落在各人头上,因此他们就知道,上帝是要坚固他们软弱的舌头。正如祂当年赐给摩西以力量,去直面法老,(出4:10-12)又曾从坛上取下红炭,沾以赛亚的口。(赛6:6,7)

上帝为何要等到五旬节,才赐下这一恩赐?使徒行传2:5-11节这样记载:“那时,有虔诚的犹太人从天下各国来,住在耶路撒冷。这声音一响,众人都来聚集。各人听见门徒用众人的乡谈说话,就甚纳闷,都惊讶稀奇说:‘看哪,这说话的不都是加利利人吗?我们各人怎么听见他们说我们生来所用的乡谈呢?我们…都听见他们用我们的乡谈,讲说上帝的大作为。’”

五旬节是犹太人的神圣之日,在逾越节后的第五十天,虔诚的以色列人会从罗马帝国的各地赶往耶路撒冷敬拜。上帝挑选这个适当的时机,将方言的恩赐赐给门徒,以便他们能向来访的犹太人,用这些人生来的乡谈(方言)传道。那一天,在过节的群众当中,至少有十五种语言。(徒2:9-11)门徒们用方言传扬福音,结果有数千人悔改归主。五旬节过后,这些归主的人又将新的信仰带回到当时的世界各地。

由此看来,上帝赐下方言的恩赐,显然是为了打破语言的障碍,从而更为便捷地宣扬福音。

有人错误地认为,五旬节的奇迹仅仅是能听懂不同的语言。事实上,那并不是赐予听者的恩赐,而是赐予说话之人的。(徒2:4)这种恩赐并不是开了听者的耳朵,而是赐予说者讲说自己所不知道之语言的能力。此外,这个神迹不是有耳朵如火焰落在听者头上,而是有舌头如火焰落在传道者的头上。

有人称方言为“天国的语言”,只有上帝和翻方言的人才能晓得。然而,圣经明确记载,说者和听者都明白这是在讲述“上帝的大作为”。(11节)

现在来看第二个例证,彼得向哥尼流一家讲道:“彼得还说这话的时候,圣灵降在一切听道的人身上。那些奉割礼和彼得同来的信徒,见圣灵的恩赐也浇在外邦人身上,就都稀奇,因听见他们说方言,称赞上帝为大。”(徒10:44-46)

哥尼流是意大利人(徒11:1),而彼得是讲阿拉姆语的犹太人。历史记载,罗马人的家仆可能来自世界任何地方。可见,这次聚会有明显的语言障碍,彼得很可能先是通过翻译来布道。然而,当圣灵降在哥尼流及其家人身上时,和彼得一起的犹太人便听出这些外邦人突然讲起了外语。圣经记载,犹太人听见他们用这种语言“称赞上帝为大”。事后,彼得向教会领袖讲述这段经历时说:“圣灵便降在他们身上,正像当初降在我们身上一样。”(徒11:15)

彼得清楚地说明,哥尼流及其家人像五旬节时的门徒一样,领受了说方言的恩赐。换句话说,他们以别人能听懂的方式讲说自己以前不会讲的语言。

来看关于说方言的第三个也是最后一个例子。当保罗向12个以弗所的门徒讲道时:“保罗按手在他们头上,圣灵便降在他们身上,他们就说方言,又说预言。”(徒19:6)

保罗是使徒中受教育最多、游历最广的,而且他能说许多方言。(林前14:18)当圣灵降在这12个人身上时,保罗注意到他们在用新的语言说预言、讲道。他们所讲的很可能是罗马帝国常用的语言,因为用这样的语言传福音非常实用。保罗并未指出这一次的方言与前两次有何不同,我们有理由相信,它与五旬节赐下的方言恩赐为同一类型。

你会发现,只有当操持不同语言的人聚在一起时,圣经才会同时提到方言和圣灵的浇灌,以此打破语言的障碍。

在使徒行传第4章,门徒像第2章所述一样,再次被圣灵充满。那地方震动,他们就被圣灵充满,但这一次没有外国人在场,所以他们就没有说方言。经上说:“祷告完了,聚会的地方震动,他们就都被圣灵充满,放胆讲论上帝的道。”(徒4:31)

圣灵之所以沛降,并不是要人发出令人费解、含糊不清的声音,而是让人具有传道之能。所以,耶稣说:“但圣灵降临在你们身上,你们就必得着能力;并要在耶路撒冷、犹太全地和撒玛利亚,直到地极,作我的见证。”(徒1:18)

第三章 写给哥林多的信息

在保罗所写的十四卷书中,哥林多前书是唯一记述过方言的一卷。显然,哥林多教会的特定问题是暂时的,因为保罗在写给他们的第二封信中(哥林多后书)对方言只字未提。

哥林多古城以两个国际海港而闻名。哥林多教会是一个多民族的熔炉,他们的敬拜仪式混乱无序。有些信徒会用在场的其他人所听不懂的语言祷告、见证或讲道。所以,保罗在信中写道:“若没有人翻,就当在会中闭口,只对自己和上帝说就是了。”(林前14:28)换句话说,讲一种听众不懂的语言很不礼貌。请看使徒保罗清晰的阐述:

“弟兄们,我到你们那里去,若只说方言,不用启示、或知识、或预言、或教训,给你们讲解,我与你们有什么益处呢?就是那有声无气的物,或箫、或琴,若发出来的声音没有分别,怎能知道所吹、所弹的是什么呢?若吹无定的号声,谁能预备打仗呢?你们也是如此,舌头若不说容易明白的话,怎能知道所说的是什么呢?这就是向空说话了……但在教会中,宁可用悟性说五句教导人的话,强如说万句方言……若有说方言的,只好两个人,至多三个人,且要轮流着说,也要一个人翻出来。若没有人翻,就当在会中闭口,只对自己和上帝说就是了。”(林前14:6-9,19,27,28)

令人惊讶的是,有人竟然以这节经文为借口,声称在敬拜中可以说虚谈。然而,保罗在圣经中一贯的教导恰恰相反。他曾特别提到要“躲避世俗的虚谈”。(提前6:20)保罗在提摩太后书再次强调:“要远避世俗的虚谈,因为这等人必进到更不敬虔的地步。”(提后2:16)换句话说,语言恩赐的真正目的,是交流思想。如果在场的人听不懂你的信息,就当闭口不言。

第四章 天国的祷告语

许多灵恩派的朋友承认,使徒行传中的方言就是世界上一般的语言。但他们很快又补充说,还有另一个恩赐——天国的祷告语。他们说,这个恩赐是为表达圣灵“说不出来的叹息。”(罗8:26)还说其目的是为了不让魔鬼听懂我们的祷告。然而,圣经从未教导要避免让魔鬼听到我们的祷告。反之,魔鬼听到基督徒的祷告会战兢!

有关“天国祷告语”的教义,主要是基于林前14:14节,保罗说:“我若用方言祷告,是我的灵祷告,但我的悟性没有果效。”

他们解释说,保罗用灵祷告,他使用的是“天国的语言”,连他自己都不知道在祷告什么。这难免会让人提出一个重要的问题:既然祷告的人不知道自己在求什么,他怎么晓得祷告是否蒙了垂听?

保罗这节经文(林前14:14)究竟是什么意思呢?它之所以难懂,主要是由于圣经翻译上的“词不达意”。请允许我用现代英语表达这节经文:“如果我用周围人听不懂的语言祷告,我或许在用灵祷告,但我的思想对听者来说,却毫无果效。”

保罗坚持认为,如果我们大声祷告,要么让周围的人听懂,要么就闭口!注意接下来的几节经文:“这却怎么样呢?我要用灵祷告,也要用悟性祷告;我要用灵歌唱,也要用悟性歌唱。不然,你用灵祝谢,那在座不通方言的人,既然不明白你的话,怎能在你感谢的时候说‘阿们’呢?”(林前14:15,16)

这段经文说明,无法理解祷告内容的是听者,而不是祷告的人。如果有人用你听不懂的语言祷告,你就明白为什么保罗说“怎能……说‘阿们’呢?” (“阿们”意为“诚心所愿”)如果没有翻译,你都不知道那个人在向主祷告什么,自己又怎么能说“阿们”呢?你都不知道自己赞同的是什么,或许你会在不知不觉中为魔鬼祈福都未可知!

哥林多前书14章明确指出,说方言(外语)的目的是为了传福音,从而造就教会。如果听者不懂所讲的语言,他们就得不到造就。所以如果没有翻译,说者只是向空气说话,在场的,除了上帝和说的人没有人能懂。这就是常被误用的那节经文的真正含义。“那说方言的,原不是对人说,乃是对上帝说,因为没有人听出来。然而他在心灵里,却是讲说各样的奥秘。”(林前14:2)

保罗再次强调所讲的语言要让听的人明白,否则想分享福音奥秘的人,就该自己在上帝面前静坐默想。“你们也是如此,舌头若不说容易明白的话,怎能知道所说的是什么呢?这就是向空说话了。”“若没有人翻,就当在会中闭口,只对自己和上帝说就是了。”(林前14:9,28)

有人或许会问:“保罗不是宣称他能说天使的话语吗?”

不!保罗说:“我若能说万人的方言,并天使的话语……”(林前13:1) 这里的“若”字意思非常明确,保罗并不具备这样的能力。例如,保罗在第2节说:“我若有……全备的信”,他并没有全备的信。第3节又补充道:“我若……舍己身叫人焚烧”,保罗是被斩首的,不是被烧死的。因此我们可以知道,保罗并不会讲天使的话语。

第五章 正确的优先权

我相信今日的教会若需要,也可以获得所有的属灵恩赐,包括真正的方言恩赐。但圣经教导,恩赐也有轻重之分,我们应把注意力集中在最重要的恩赐上:“你们要切切地求那更大的恩赐。”(林前12:31)

事实上,当圣经列举属灵的恩赐时,方言通常在名单的最后。“上帝在教会所设立的:第一是使徒,第二是先知,第三是教师,其次是行异能的,再次是得恩赐医病的、帮助人的、治理事的、说方言的。”(林前12:28)“那作先知讲道的,就比他(指说方言的)强了。”(林前14:5)

然而,有些灵恩派的传教士却颠倒了这个名单,将方言的恩赐列在了榜首。他们让人觉得,不会说方言的基督徒,属于二等公民。但保罗指出,不同的人领受不同的恩赐,不要指望某个人会集所有的恩赐于一身。保罗问道:“岂都是使徒吗?岂都是先知吗?岂都是教师吗?岂都是行异能的吗?岂都是得恩赐医病的吗?岂都是说方言的吗?岂都是翻方言的吗?”(林前12:29,30)答案显然是“不!”

经上说:“圣灵所结的果子,就是仁爱、喜乐、和平、忍耐、恩慈、良善、信实、温柔、节制。”(加5:22,23)但这些传教士却要让我们相信,圣灵所结的果子是方言,任何被圣灵充满的人都会说方言。然而,在圣经中有50多次记载上帝的子民被圣灵充满,提到说方言的却只有三次。

此外,耶稣是我们的榜样。祂是被圣灵充满的,但祂却从未说过方言。施洗约翰“从母腹里就被圣灵充满了,”(路1:15)却也没有记载他说过方言。

在新约的27卷中,只有三卷涉及了方言的恩赐。圣经作者约有39位,在这39位作者当中,只有三个人——路加、保罗和马太——提到了方言。可见,我们应当把重点放在上帝所重视的主题上。

第六章 赝品

真正的方言乃是推进福音的利器。要记得,魔鬼针对上帝的每一则真理制造了赝品。

在今日,“说方言”(Glossolalia)一词,常用来描述灵恩派信徒的普遍经历。该词在美国传统词典中的定义如下:“编造的、毫无意义的言语,此类言语特别是与精神恍惚或某种精神分裂症的并发症症状有关。”

请看该词典对于“语言”一词的定义:“人类使用的声音,这些声音通常是以文字写成的符号来代表,用有条理的组合方式来表达或交流思想情感。”从任何定义上讲,没有条理的、语意不清的声音,都不能算作是一种语言。

相信我,我多次目睹此种场面。在我过去常去的一个灵恩派教会中,那位牧师和他的妻子就是一对“方言组合”。每个星期,在那位牧师讲道期间,他的妻子都会突然站起来,在空中挥舞手臂,咕哝一连串没有人能听懂的话。她始终在说同样的东西:“罕达喀拉沙弥,罕达喀拉沙弥,罕达喀拉沙弥…”一遍一遍地说。这立刻引起了我的质疑,因为耶稣曾说:“你们祷告,不可像外邦人,用许多重复话。”(太6:7)

每一次发生这种情况,那位牧师就会停下讲道,为她所谓的信息给出一个令人怀疑的解释。通常都是以“主如此说”作为开头。尽管她的妻子每一次都在重复“罕达喀拉沙弥”,牧师的解释却每一次都不同,有时甚至比她妻子的话长三倍。我过去总想知道为什么,既然是来自上帝的信息,为何不直接用英语?

第七章 受洗的异教

这个由牧师夫妇组成的“方言组合”,使我想起了在历史书上读过的一些内容。这种所谓的“方言”并非源于圣经,而是始于古代异教徒的通灵仪式。公元前六世纪,特尔斐(Delphi)的“神谕宣示所”是坐落于帕纳萨斯山脚附近的一个庙宇。对于狄俄尼索斯(Dionysus,掌管酒、繁殖和舞蹈的神)和九位音乐的缪斯女神(Muses)来说,特尔斐也是神圣不可侵犯的。

当令人兴奋的音乐响起时,女祭司皮提亚就会呼出醉人的气体,进入狂乱的、恍惚的状态,并说出一些没人能听懂的话。然后,另一位祭司会以诗歌的形式翻译皮提亚的怪语。皮提亚的话被认为是来自光明之神阿波罗的指示,由于含糊不清,没有人能证明它的正误。(注1)

当年在新墨西哥州与印第安人一起生活时,我多次目睹了类似的仪式。印第安人会吞下能引起幻觉的皮约特(迷幻药),然后坐成一圈,不停地击鼓吟唱达数小时之久。然后,会有人看到令人痛苦的幻像,并阵发性地喃喃自语。如今,灵恩派在美洲印第安人中最受欢迎,因为从他们古老的宗教中转变过来非常容易,也十分自然。

在许多非洲部落,为了祈求神明的眷佑,人们会供奉鸡或山羊,然后围着火堆跳个不停,他们用鼓敲出催眠的节奏,不停地吟唱。最终,有人会被他们的神附体,开始讲说灵异怪诞的语言。紧接着,当地的巫医或祭司,就开始翻译这些信息。在西印度群岛的伏都教天主教徒当中,这样的仪式至今还在进行。

这种异教习俗最初是于1800年代早期进入北美基督教会的。许多被带到美国并强制接受基督教的非洲奴隶自己不能读圣经。尽管他们来自不同的部落,但大多数部落共同保持的习惯就是“灵舞”,同时会有“被灵附体的”人不停地咕哝呓语。

奴隶们错把此习俗与基督教的“说方言”联系在一起,他们进行了一定的修改之后,便把这种仪式加入到敬拜之中。这些狂乱的仪式,伴随着节奏强烈的音乐,最初只在美国南部传播,参与者被主流教派嘲弄为“圣滚者”(狂热分子),甚至有人在入魔的状态中抓住毒蛇,以此证实自己受了“灵”。(他们误解了可16:18节“手能拿蛇”,保罗传道时是意外被蛇咬了,却未受毒液的伤害。参见徒28:3-6。)人们故意去捉拿致命的毒蛇,以此证明自己得到了圣灵,这无异于试探上帝!

高加索人的灵恩派运动延伸至全美国是在1906年,起始地是洛杉矶阿诸萨街的“使徒信仰福音会”。他们的领袖是一个名叫威廉·塞默的黑人,他先前是圣宣教士。从那时起,灵恩派的领袖们继续调整教义,使之对其它主流基督徒更具吸引力,更令人惬意。“约在1960年,灵恩派开始在传统教派中发展自己的信徒。从那时起,灵恩派急速壮大!如今,全球的新教和天主教中已有数百万灵恩派教徒。”(注2)

有一点值得注意,这些异教徒“说方言”的时候,音乐扮演着重要的角色。这种假方言先是通过“受了洗的”异教音乐和敬拜形式立足于主流教会。重鼓点、强有力、重复的节奏和切分节拍的音乐,解除了人们理性的武装,使人的潜意识处于被催眠的麻木状态。在这种脆弱的状态下,胡言乱语的灵,便掌控了人心。

如今,魔鬼正在利用假方言,就像利用特洛伊木马一样,将异教的敬拜形式引入了基督教,他已经取得了显著的成功。撒但企图让基督徒关注自己的感觉,而非信心。某些灵恩派的教义尤为偏激,他们甚至声称圣经是古老的书信,而方言中的信息才是圣灵最新的启示,因此方言更为可靠。

现在,舞台已经在众多教会中搭建完毕,只等撒但在其上进行最后的表演!

第八章 上帝的灵如何感动我们

人们认为,一个“被圣灵击倒”的人,应该倒地打滚,并不停地咕哝乱语,这种观念是对圣灵的侮辱。上帝之所以赐下圣灵,是要我们恢复祂的形像,而不是剥夺我们所有的尊严和自制力!

在迦密山上,巴力的先知们在坛的四围扭身踊跳,尖声呐喊。他们撕掉头发,割破身体,呼求他们的神。相比之下,以利亚静静地跪下,献上一个简单的祷告。(王上18:17-46)

“因为上帝不是叫人混乱。”(林前14:33)如果上帝不可靠,还有谁可靠?

人在领受圣灵时会失控的概念与圣经不符。“先知的灵原是顺服先知的。”(林前14:32)

再来看另一个例子。耶稣曾在格拉森拯救了一个张牙舞爪、被鬼附着的人。蒙了拯救之后,那人“坐在耶稣脚前,穿着衣服,心里明白过来。”(路8:35)上帝的邀请乃是:“耶和华说:‘你们来,我们彼此辩论。’”(赛1:18)祂希望我们动动脑子。

读了此文,某些人必然会想:“你怎敢这样说?我说方言已有多年,我知道这是出于上帝!”作为基督徒,我们决不能凭着自己的感觉下结论。毕竟,魔鬼的确有能力让我们感觉良好。然而,我们必须以上帝的圣言作为信仰的基础。

我的一个朋友是灵恩派的活跃分子,他常说方言。通过研究这一主题,他开始质疑此种“恩赐”是否来自上帝的圣灵。于是,他真诚地祈祷说:“主啊,倘若这不是祢的旨意,倘若我所经历的并不是真正的方言的恩赐,请把它拿走!”他告诉我,从那一天起,他再没有说过所谓的方言。

一名真正的基督徒应当乐于将自己重视的观点和做法,交托在上帝神圣旨意的坛上,还要摒弃一切与圣经教导相悖的做法——不论此等做法多么受其他基督徒的欢迎、接纳或青睐。有些东西深受人的爱戴,而在上帝眼中却是可憎的。(路16:15)

第九章 巴比伦变乱的语言

为何了解“方言”的真要,对于今天的我们实属必要?我认为圣经早已预言了现代的灵恩派运动。

启示录18章告诉我们:“他大声喊着说:‘巴比伦大城倾倒了,倾倒了!’……我又听见从天上有声音说:‘我的民哪,你们要从那城出来,免得与她一同有罪,受她所受的灾殃。’”(2,4节)

我们须牢记,古巴比伦(巴别塔所在地)的主要特征之一就是语言变乱。(创11:7-9)启示录告诉我们,末后,上帝要呼召祂的子民从巴比伦及其混乱、虚伪的宗教体系中出来。

“我又看见三个污秽的灵,好像青蛙,从龙口、兽口并假先知的口中出来。”(启16:13)“从…口中”代表说话,请不要忽略这个事实,青蛙的主要武器是它的舌头——污秽的舌头。或许上帝在试图告诉我们什么。要牢记,巴别塔时代的语言变乱,绝不是圣灵的祝福,而是对他们悖逆的咒诅。事实上,英文单词“babbling”(意为:胡言乱语)就是源于巴别塔的故事。在五旬节,巴别塔的咒诅被彻底打破了,以便前来过节的人可以听懂福音。

第十章 赐予顺从之人

有人声称自己已受了圣灵的洗,因为他们能说方言。然而,他们却毫无与圣经教导一致的敬虔。甚至是一只手夹着香烟,另一只手拿着一罐啤酒。毫不避讳地讲,领受圣灵——最珍贵的礼物——需要具备一些基本的条件。

耶稣说:“你们若爱我,就必遵守我的命令。我要求父,父就另外赐给你们一位保惠师,叫祂永远与你们同在,就是真理的圣灵。”(约14:15,16,17)

“我们为这事作见证,上帝赐给顺从之人的圣灵,也为这事作见证。”(徒5:32)

几年前,几位著名的电视布道家偏行己路,跌倒了。他们都声称自己被圣灵充满,而且拥有说方言的恩赐。然而,他们的生活却放荡不羁。他们在电视上说方言,离开演播室之后却又回到妥协的生活之中。这一定是有问题。他们曾令我感到不解:“倘若这些灵恩派的布道家真的拥有说方言的恩赐,为什么他们在国外布道时,还需要许多人为他们翻译呢?”

上帝为何赐下圣灵?“但圣灵降临在你们身上,你们就必得着能力;并……作我的见证。”(徒1:8)上帝赐下圣灵,并不是要我们胡言乱语,而是得着能力,作主的见证!

如何领受真正的圣灵的恩赐?全然降服于上帝,乐于饶恕他人,顺从主并求告祂。经上说:“你们虽然不好,尚且知道拿好东西给儿女,何况天父,岂不更将圣灵给求祂的人吗?”(路11:13)

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注1.简明哥伦比亚百科全书和康普顿交互百科全书,根据"Delphi"条目

注2. 康普顿交互百科全书,根据" Pentecostals "条目。

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英文:

Understanding Tongues

 Doug Batchelor

An Amazing Fact

 Legend has it that when the Greeks were unable to capture the city of Troy even after imposing a 10-year siege, they finally resorted to a clever stratagem. The Greek army pretended to sail away and left on the shore a huge, hollow wooden horse as an apparent victory gift. However, the gift was actually filled with several armed warriors! Sinon, a Greek spy inside Troy, persuaded the Trojans to bring the horse within the city walls, saying that to do so would mysteriously make Troy invincible. That night Sinon released the troops hiding in the gigantic horse. After killing the Trojan guards, they opened the gates to the waiting Greek soldiers, and Troy was captured and burned. 

Differences of Interpretation
A gift from an enemy can be very deadly. The underworld has successfully dispatched many human targets by beautifully wrapping a bomb as a gift with an ornate bow and paper that explodes when opened. Today the devil is using a counterfeit gift of the Spirit -a pagan form of the gift of tongues- to gain access to the church of God and destroy it from within. 

 Shortly after becoming a Christian, I was hitchhiking from Palm Springs to Los Angeles to visit my mother. About halfway to my destination, I caught a ride with a kind, middle-aged Pentecostal lady who was very pleased to hear of my recent conversion. As we drove along, she asked, "Have you received the Holy Ghost yet?" 

 I was a little surprised by her question, because no one had ever asked me that before. "Well, I think I have," I said slowly. "I ve certainly felt God s Spirit in my life. The Lord is helping me make so many changes-you know, like giving up drugs, stealing, lying, cursing, and much more." 

 "No, that s not what I mean," she said, looking a little frustrated. "Have you received the baptism of the Holy Ghost? Do you speak in tongues?" It struck me as odd that she seemed far more interested in whether or not I had experienced an ecstatic utterance than she was in the fact that I was having victory over the sins that had long held me captive! 

 Even still, this kind lady was convinced that I was missing out on a primary element of the Christian experience. And not wanting to be deprived of something so important, I began a very deep search into the controversial subject of tongues. The first few churches I attended were all charismatic, which means they believed in speaking in ecstatic tongues-an experience often described as "glossolalia." Most of my new friends at our Bible study group "spoke in tongues," so the information I am about to share is the result of firsthand experience as well as years of research. 

 I need to address some unpopular facts in this study, and I must begin by saying that although I disagree with some of the teachings of my charismatic brothers and sisters, I firmly believe that God has thousands of His children in these fellowships. I also recognize that even among charismatics there are vast differences of interpretation regarding the gift of tongues, so forgive me if I generalize at times. The war I wage is not against people, but against error. The same truth that at times can hurt will also promise to set us free (John 8:32)! 


The Genuine Gift of Tongues
 Let s begin with a definition. The word "tongue" in the Bible simply means "a language." 

 God gives all the gifts of the Spirit to fill a practical need. What was the need for tongues? 

 Jesus told His followers, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). This command posed a problem. How could the apostles go out preaching to all the world when they spoke only one or two languages? After all, Jesus disciples were very bright, even though most of them were not formally educated. In order to fulfill the great commission, He promised to give them a unique gift from the Holy Spirit. It was a miraculous, supernatural ability to speak foreign languages they had not formerly studied or known for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. 

 "And these signs shall follow them that believe; ... they shall speak with new tongues" (Mark 16:17). 
 The fact that Jesus said these new tongues, or languages, would be a "sign" indicates that the ability to speak them would not come as the result of normal linguistic study. Rather, it would be an instantaneous gift to fluently preach in a previously unfamiliar language. 

 There are only three actual examples of speaking in tongues recorded in the Bible (Acts chapters 2, 10, and 19). If we look at these three cases, we should find a clearer picture of this controversial gift. 

 "When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven [divided] tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1-4). 

 Fire is a symbol for power. God sent this gift in the form of tongues of fire so they would know that He would empower their feeble tongues in the same way He strengthened Moses to go before Pharaoh (Exodus 4:10-12) and touched Isaiah s lips with a coal from the heavenly altar (Isaiah 6:6, 7). 

 Why did the Lord wait until Pentecost to bestow this gift? Acts 2:5-11 sets the scene: "And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? ... We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." 

 The day of Pentecost was a Jewish holy day that fell 50 days after Passover. Devoted Israelites would come from all over the Roman empire to worship in Jerusalem. God chose this timely opportunity to bestow this gift of tongues upon the disciples so they could preach to the visiting Jews in their native languages. At least 15 different language groups were represented in the crowd that day (Acts 2:9-11)! As a result, thousands of these visitors were converted. Then, after Pentecost, they in turn carried their new faith home to their respective countries. 

 From this example it should be very clear that the gift of tongues was given to communicate the gospel in different existing languages of the world. 

 Some have mistakenly suggested that the miracle on Pentecost was a gift to hear and understand different languages. It was not a gift of hearing given to the listeners, but rather a gift of the Spirit given to enable the believers to speak (Acts 2:4). It is not called the gift of ears for the listeners, but the gift of tongues for the speakers. Furthermore, the sign was not ears of fire on the listeners, but tongues of fire on the ones preaching. 

 It is also sometimes suggested that the gift of tongues is a "heavenly language" understood only by God or those with the gift of interpretation. The Bible is clear in Acts chapter 2 that both the disciples and those listening understood what was being preached-"the wonderful works of God" (Verse 11). 

 Let s look now at the second example when Peter preached to Cornelius and his household: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God" (Acts 10:44-46). 

Acts 10:1 tells us that Cornelius was Italian, while Peter was a Jew and spoke Aramaic. History also tells us that the servants in a Roman home could be from anywhere in the world. Because there were obvious language barriers at this meeting, Peter likely began to preach through an interpreter. But when the Holy Ghost fell upon Cornelius and his household, the Jews with Peter could understand the Gentiles speaking in languages other than their native tongues. The record is that the Jews heard them "magnify God" in these languages. When later reporting this experience to the church leaders, Peter said, "The Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15, emphasis added). 

 Peter here plainly tells us that Cornelius and his family received the same gift of tongues in the same way the disciples did on the day of Pentecost. In other words, they spoke languages they had not formerly known in a way that could be understood. 

 The third and final example of speaking in tongues is when Paul preached to 12 Ephesian disciples. Acts 19:6 records, "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." 

 Paul was the most educated and widely traveled of the apostles, and he spoke many languages (1 Corinthians 14:18). When the Holy Spirit came upon these 12 Ephesian men, Paul recognized that they were prophesying, or preaching, in new languages. Most likely they spoke in languages common throughout the Roman Empire, since that would be practical for spreading the Gospel. Luke does not say that they received a form of tongues different from the first two examples, so we must assume that it was the same type of gift given at Pentecost. 

 You ll find that the only times the gift of tongues was associated with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is when people from more than one language group were gathered together, thus creating communication barriers. 

 Notice that in Acts chapter 4 you have a repeat of the experience described in chapter 2. The place was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, but because there were no foreigners present, the gift of tongues was absent. Acts 4:31 says, "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." 

 The purpose for the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not to mutter or babble unintelligible sounds, but rather to have power for preaching. This is why Jesus said, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). 

The Message to Corinth
 Of the 14 New Testament books written by Paul, 1 Corinthians is the only one in which he deals with the subject of tongues. The Corinthian church obviously had a specific, temporary problem because Paul s second letter to Corinth never even mentions tongues. 

 The ancient city of Corinth was famous for its two international seaports. Because the Corinthian church was a melting pot of many different nationalities, its services often became chaotic and confusing. Evidently some of the members would pray, testify, or preach in languages unknown to the others present. This is why Paul commanded that if they spoke in a tongue unknown to the majority, they should remain silent unless there was someone there to interpret or translate (1 Corinthians 14:28). In other words, it s not polite to speak in a language that your audience cannot understand. Listen to these plain statements from the apostle: "Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. ... Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. ... If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God" (1 Corinthians 14:6-9, 19, 27, 28). 

 It is truly amazing that some people take this passage and use it as an excuse to babble during services! The consistent message of Paul throughout Scripture is the very opposite. In 1 Timothy 6:20, he specifically mentions "avoiding profane and vain babblings." And in 2 Timothy 2:16, Paul repeats that counsel: "But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness." In other words, the very purpose for the gift of speech is to communicate your thoughts. If those present do not understand your communication, then keep silent. 


Heavenly Prayer Language?
 Many of my charismatic friends would agree that the tongues spoken in the book of Acts were normal languages of the world. But they quickly add that there is a second gift-a heavenly prayer language. This gift, they say, is to express the Spirit s "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26). The purpose, they say, is so the devil cannot understand our prayers. But nowhere are we taught to hide our prayers from the devil. He trembles when he hears Christians pray! 

 This doctrine of a prayer language is based mainly upon 1 Corinthians 14:14 where Paul says, "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful." 

 They interpret this to mean that when Paul prayed in the Spirit, he used a "heavenly tongue" and did not himself know what he was praying. This theory raises an important question. How would the supplicant ever know if his prayer was answered? 

 So what is Paul really saying in 1 Corinthians 14:14? The problem in understanding this verse comes largely from the cumbersome translation. Please allow me to rephrase the verse in modern English: "If I pray in a language those around me do not know, I might be praying with the Spirit, but my thoughts would be unfruitful for those listening." Paul is adamant that if we pray out loud, we should either pray so others around us can understand or else keep quiet! Notice the next few verses: "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 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 Corinthians 14:15,16)? According to this text, who has the problem with understanding? It is the listener and not the speaker as is commonly taught. If you have ever prayed with someone who is offering a prayer in a language unknown to you, then you know what Paul meant when he said it is difficult for you to say "Amen" (meaning "so be it") at the end of the prayer. Without an interpreter, you have no idea to what you are assenting. You may have just asked a blessing on the devil as far as you can tell! 

 It is obvious from the context of 1 Corinthians 14 that the purpose of speaking in tongues, or foreign languages, is to communicate the gospel and thereby edify the church. If the listeners do not understand the spoken language they cannot be edified. Consequently, if there is no interpreter, the speaker is simply speaking into the air and the only ones present who know what is being said are God and himself. This is the clear meaning of the often-misquoted verse 2. "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." 

 Paul emphasizes again that the languages spoken need to be understood by the hearers or else the one who wants to share the mysteries of the gospel needs to sit quietly in meditation between himself and God. "So likewise ye; except ye utter by tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air." "But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God" (verses 9, 28). Clearly, the entire purpose of tongues is to cross language barriers and communicate the gospel! 

 Some have asked, "Didn t Paul say he spoke with the tongues of angels?" 

 No. Paul said, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels ..." (1 Corinthians 13:1, emphasis added). If you read this verse in its context, you will see that the word "though" means "even if." For example, Paul also said in verse 2, "Though I have all faith ..." He did not have all faith. And verse 3 adds, "Though I give my body to be burned ..." Paul was beheaded, not burned. So we can see that Paul here used the word "though" to mean "even if."

Right Priorities
 I believe that all the gifts of the Spirit, including the true gift of tongues, are needed and available to the church today. But the Scriptures teach that some of the gifts are more important than others and that we should focus on the most important ones. "But covet earnestly the best gifts" (1 Corinthians 12:31). 

 In fact, when the Bible lists spiritual gifts, tongues is usually found at the bottom of the list. "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" (1 Corinthians 12:28). "Greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues" (1 Corinthians 14:5). 

 Yet some charismatic preachers have turned the list upside down and made the gift of tongues the primary emphasis of their preaching. They would have us think that a Christian who does not speak in tongues is a second-class citizen. But Paul makes it clear that different gifts are given to different people, and no one is expected to have all the gifts. He asks in 1 Corinthians 12:29, 30: "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?" The answer is obviously NO! 

 The Bible says, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22, 23). But these same preachers would have us believe that the fruit of the Spirit is tongues or that every person who is filled with the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues. Yet out of more than 50 examples in the Bible where God filled His people with the Spirit, only three times is tongues connected with the experience. 

 Furthermore, Jesus is our example. He was filled with the Holy Spirit, yet He never spoke in tongues. John the Baptist was "filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother s womb" (Luke 1:15), but there is no record that he spoke in tongues, either. 

 Of the 27 books in the New Testament, only three make any reference at all to the gift of tongues. There are about 39 Bible authors. Of the 39, only three-Luke, Paul, and Mark-mention the subject of tongues. In other words, we should put the emphasis where God puts the emphasis. 


Creative Counterfeit
 The genuine gift of tongues is a powerful tool for the proclamation of the gospel. But remember, the devil has a counterfeit for every truth of God. 

 Glossolalia (glô′se-la’ lê-a) is the word often used to describe the popular experience found in most charismatic churches. It is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as: "fabricated and non-meaningful speech, especially such speech associated with a trance state or certain schizophrenic syndromes." 

 Contrast that with the same dictionary s definition for a language: "The use by human beings of voice sounds, and often written symbols representing these sounds, in organized combinations and patterns in order to express and communicate thoughts and feelings." By any definition, the disjointed sounds of glossolalia are not a language. 

 Believe me, I have seen this practice many times. In one charismatic church I used to attend, the pastor and his wife were a "tongues team." Every week in the middle of the pastor s sermon, his wife would jump to her feet, throw her arms in the air, and break out in ecstatic utterance. But she always said the same thing. "Handa kala shami, handa kala shami, handa kala shami... ." Over and over again. This instantly seemed suspicious to me because Jesus said, "But when ye pray use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do" (Matthew 6:7). 

 Each time this happened, the woman s husband would stop preaching and provide a dubious English translation for her so-called message. Usually it began with "Thus saith the Lord." Yet in spite of the fact that she always repeated the words "handa kala shami," the pastor s vague interpretation was different each time-and sometimes three times longer than the utterance. I used to wonder why, if this was a message from God, wouldn t He give it to us in English the first time. 


Baptized Paganism
 My exposure to this charismatic "tongues team" reminded me of some things I had read in my history books growing up. This modern manifestation of tongues finds its roots not in the Bible, but rather in ancient pagan spiritualistic rituals. In the sixth century B.C., the Oracle of Delphi was housed in a temple built near the foot of Mt. Parnassus. Delphi was also sacred to Dionysus, the god associated with wine, fertility, and sensual dance, and to the nine Muses, patron goddesses of music. 

 While exhilarating music was played, the chief priestess named Pythia would breathe intoxicating vapors, go into a frenzied trance, and then begin jabbering. The weird sounds the priestess muttered were then interpreted by a priest, who usually spoke in verse. Her utterances were regarded as the words of Apollo, but the messages were so ambiguous that they could seldom be proven wrong. 

 While living with the Native Americans in New Mexico, I witnessed a similar ritual several times. The Indians would eat the hallucinogenic peyote, then sit in a circle and chant and pound drums for hours. Before long, several were spasmodically muttering as they experienced their tormenting visions. Today the charismatic churches are by far the most popular among the Native Americans because it is such an easy and natural transition from their old religions. 

 Among many heathen African tribes in order to invoke the blessing of their gods, the people would sacrifice a chicken or goat and then dance around a fire for long hours, chanting songs to the hypnotic rhythm of a pounding drum. Eventually some of the people would become possessed by their gods and begin speaking the eerie languages of the spirit world. Then the local witch doctor or priest would translate the messages. This ritual is still practiced today among the Voodoo Catholics in the West Indies. 

 This pagan practice first found its way into the North American Christian churches in the early 1800s. Many of the African slaves who were brought to America and forced to accept Christianity were unable to read the Bible for themselves. Even though they came from a variety of tribes in Africa, one practice most tribes held in common was the "Spirit Dances" with the "spirit-possessed" person muttering. 

 The slaves mistakenly associated this with the Christian "gift of tongues" and began to incorporate a modified version into their meetings. These frantic services, which were accompanied by heavy rhythmic music, began to spread at first only in the South and the participants were mocked by the mainline denominations as "Holy Rollers." Some even went so far as to grab venomous serpents during their possessed trances as a means of proving that they had the "spirit." (This was a misuse of Mark 16:18, which says, "They shall take up serpents," in reference to the time Paul was accidentally bitten by a serpent but was unharmed by the venom. See Acts 28:3-6.) For people to hunt down and pick up deadly snakes in order to prove that they have the Holy Spirit is, in reality, tempting God! 

 The national expansion of the Pentecostal movement among Caucasians began in Los Angeles at the Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission on Azusa Street in 1906. The leader was a black former holiness preacher named William Seymour. From there, leaders continued to refine the doctrines and make them more attractive and palatable to other mainline Christians. 

 "Then in about 1960 the charismatic movement began attracting followers within traditional denominations. From then it continued to have explosive growth until now there are several million charismatics in Protestant and Catholic churches throughout the world."2 

 It is important to note the prominent role music plays in all the pagan religions that practice glossolalia. This counterfeit gift of tongues first found its foothold in mainline churches through "baptized" pagan music and worship styles. The dominant, repetitious rhythms and syncopated beat disarm the higher reasoning powers and put the subconscious mind in a hypnotic state. In this vulnerable condition, the spirit of ecstatic utterance finds easy access. 

 Now the devil is using this counterfeit gift of tongues, like a Trojan horse, to introduce pagan worship styles into Christian churches with a frightening degree of success. Satan wants to shift the attention of Christians from faith to feeling. Some of these charismatic churches go so far as to say that the Bible is the old letter, and that messages which come through tongues are fresh revelations of the Spirit and therefore more dependable. 

 So now the stage is set for Satan s final performance!

How God s Spirit Affects Us
 The concept that a person who is "slain in the spirit" should fall to the ground and wallow and mutter is an insult to the Holy Ghost. The reason God gives us His Spirit is to restore in us His image-not to rob us of all dignity and self control! 

 On mount Carmel, the pagan prophets of Baal jumped on the altar and shouted and moaned. They prophesied and cut themselves. By contrast, Elijah quietly knelt and prayed a simple prayer (1 Kings 18:17-46). 

 "For God is not the author of confusion" (1 Corinthians 14:33). If God is not responsible, then who is? 

 The idea that we lose control when we receive the Spirit is not consistent with Scripture. "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (1 Corinthians 14:32). 

 Here s another case in point. After Jesus saved a berserk, demon-possessed man by the sea, the healed man was seen "sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind" (Luke 8:35). The invitation of God is "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord" (Isaiah 1:18). He wants us to use our heads. 

 Some of you reading this study are no doubt thinking: "How dare you say these things? I have spoken in tongues for years and know it is from God!" As Christians, we should never base our conclusions on how we feel. After all, the devil can certainly make us feel good. Rather, we must base our beliefs upon the sure Word of God. 

 A friend of mine was an active charismatic who often spoke in tongues. When he studied these things, he began to question if this "gift" was from the right spirit. So he sincerely prayed and said, "Lord, if this is not Your will and if I am not experiencing the true gift of tongues, then please take it away!" He told me that from that day on, the experience of glossolalia never returned. A true Christian should be willing to surrender every cherished view and practice on the altar of God s will and forsake any practice that may be questionable-no matter how popular, accepted, or beloved among other Christians. There are some things that are highly esteemed among men but are an abomination in the sight of God (Luke 16:15). 

Babbling in Babylon
 Why is understanding the subject of tongues so essential for us today? I believe the modern charismatic movement was foretold in Bible prophecy. 

 Revelation chapter 18 tells us: "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. ... And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (verses 2, 4). 

 We must remember that one of the principal characteristics of ancient Babylon at the tower of Babel was a confusion of tongues (Genesis 11:7-9). Revelation is telling us that in the last days, God s people are to be called out of Babylon and its confusing counterfeit religious systems. 

 "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet." Revelation 16:13. The phrase "out of the mouth" represents speech, and please don t miss the fact that a frog s main weapon is its tongue. Unclean tongues? Perhaps God is trying to tell us something. Remember that the confusion of tongues at Babel was not a blessing of the Spirit, but rather a curse for their rebellion. In fact, we get our modern word "babbling" from the story of ancient Babel. At Pentecost, the curse of Babel was reversed so others might understand the gospel. 


Given to the Obedient
 I have met people who told me they ve had the baptism of the Holy Spirit because they spoke in tongues; yet they held a cigarette in one hand and a can of beer in the other. Now let s get something straight. There are some basic requirements for receiving this most precious gift of the Holy Spirit. 

 Jesus says, "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:15, 16, 17). 

 "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32, emphasis added). 

 A few years ago several famous TV evangelists fell by the way. They all claimed to be filled with the Holy Spirit and have the gift of tongues. But they were living in gross immoral disobedience. They would speak in tongues on TV, then leave the studio to live a compromising life. Something just wasn t right. These men also caused me to wonder, "If this is the genuine gift of tongues, then why do these charismatic evangelists need an army of interpreters to translate for them when they preach overseas?" 

 Why does God give the Spirit? "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me." Acts 1:8. God does not give us the Spirit to babble, but as power for witnessing! 

 How can we receive the genuine gift of the Holy Spirit? Totally submit to God, be willing to forgive others, obey Him, and ask. Luke 11:13 says, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"