Friday, October 27, 2006

Tongues - The NT Kind

In order to give Southern Baptists a thorough understanding of issues, we pursue them in great detail here (no drive-bys or spin). Therefore, we are continuing our study on tongues. The following “white paper” was also given to the SW Trustees at their last meeting. It was written by Dr. Malcolm Yarnell. For space considerations we have once again not included the foot-notes. To view the foot-notes as well as other excellent papers please visit - a ministry of SWBTS.

I have noticed that very few blogs have commented on how SW numbers are up this year. I wonder why blogs are not mentioning this? By the way, SE reached an all-time high this year…and I am confident that Southern’s and Midwestern’s numbers are up also (under the leadership of Dr. Mohler and Dr. Roberts respectively). Dr. Kelley shared in SE chapel how well NO is doing, especially in being a light to the community in ways it never could before…and I am sure Golden Gate (Dr. Iorg) is doing well also. (Of course if I were sending a young pastor to seminary, SE would be my first choice:)

While there are some in the blogosphere who claim the full glass SB have been given by God, is half empty, I disagree. SB have long been blessed by God and He has in His grace chosen to bless us now as much as ever. The seminaries, IMB, NAMB and all of our institutions are truly feeling the hand of God. Praise His name. And thank God for our leaders. Concerning the doomsday nay-sayers, let me encourage you to stop trying to make SB a people we have never been under the guise fixing problems. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it:) With that in mind we will turn to Dr. Yarnell’s paper.

Speaking of “Tongues,” What Does the Bible Teach?

When two African theologians, Arius and Athanasius, squared off concerning the ontological relationship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to God the Father, they both treated Scripture as authoritative. Today, both men would probably affirm modern evangelical terminology concerning both “inerrancy” and “sufficiency” with regard to Scripture. However, facile or superficial affirmations of Scripture’s inerrancy and sufficiency are simply not enough when it comes to forming true doctrine; there is also the critical issue of the orthodox “interpretation” of Scripture. Orthodoxy separates the Christian, Athanasius, from the heretic, Arius. Thus, interpretation can lead to either orthodoxy or heresy.

Unlike postmodern Christians, who naively consider differing interpretations of Scripture to be a mere matter of openness or adiaphora [“indifference”], conservative believers recognize that the orthodox interpretation of Scripture preserves the faith of the people and glorifies God. (We pray the Holy Spirit will guide the churches to the orthodox conclusion in the particular matter under discussion here.) On the other hand, errant and heretical interpretations may lead to unhealthy churches at best or false Christianity at worst. Misinterpreting the biblical teaching regarding “speaking in tongues” is, fortunately, closer to the former than the latter.

This essay is written in an effort to set out what this Southern Baptist believes is the orthodox doctrine of Scripture regarding glossolalia, or speaking in tongues. What follows is a popular presentation of one tertiary aspect of the rich biblical doctrine of the Spirit. Those desiring historical and experiential reviews of the modern phenomena of tongues should consult other sources. The author recognizes that a number of close Christian friends will disagree; however, he begs those friends to consider the text and correct his interpretation according to the witness of that text. Let us not allow the Corinthian corruption of glossolalia to bring division; may Love instead reign.

The Biblical Witness Regarding Glossolalia

There are a number of biblical passages cited by advocates of the various modern practices of “speaking in tongues.” Rather than beginning with the positions of these modern advocates, it is best to consider the biblical passages in their canonical context.

While modern enthusiasts begin with their personal experience, it is proper to begin with the witness of Scripture. The relevant biblical passages shall be considered below according to their primary or secondary impact upon the doctrine of glossolalia.

The theological implications of the biblical teaching will be drawn out. Thirteen conclusions regarding the biblical doctrine of glossolalia follow our scriptural review. Please take the time to consider the Scripture’s witness with me rather than jumping to the thirteen conclusions, for the truth is in the biblical text. Historical tradition, personal experience, and rational conclusions are subservient to the Bible and must always be judged by the Bible.

Primary Biblical Passages Regarding Glossolalia

Mark 16:17-18: In this critically questioned yet infallible passage, after delivering the Commission, Jesus declares concerning believers, “And these signs will follow those who believe: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues [glossais lalasousin kainais]; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” These five amazing occurrences are labeled “signs” [semeia]. A biblical sign is an indicator of a deeper spiritual reality. In this case, the signs are intended to provide divine verification of the gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. Heb. 2:4). This gospel concerns Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and continuing ministry, and the salvation available in and through Him by personal faith, a faith evidenced in the first submissive act of a disciple, baptism.

Among the five signs, glossolalia appears second. The languages spoken would be “new” [kainais], indicating their relation to the speakers as something they had previously not learned. These prophesied signs found their fulfillment in the early days of the church, as recorded in the book of Acts, thus verifying the movement of God in the life of the early church (cf. Acts 3:7, 5:16, 28:3-6). The prophecy of Jesus concerning glossolalia was soon fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 2), while there were subsequent fulfillments in Acts 10 and 19, echoing the structure of Christ’s command concerning the successive movement of the gospel beginning from Jerusalem (Acts 1:8).

Acts 2:4: After watching Jesus ascend to heaven, the disciples were gathered in prayer on the day of Pentecost. A fourfold phenomenon occurred where they had gathered: a heavenly sound of rushing wind filled the whole house, tongues like fire settled on each head, they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they “began to speak with other tongues [lalein heterais glossais], as the Spirit gave them utterance.” According to Peter, this event fulfilled the prophecy of Joel. Peter was clear that the coming of the Spirit upon the church occurred in this miraculous, wondrous and significant manner (Acts 2:22) for the purpose of letting Israel “know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” (2:36). The Holy Spirit’s gifting of tongues at Pentecost was explicitly to verify to Israel that the crucified Jew named Jesus is indeed God.

According to Peter and Luke, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit respectively to speak and write what we have in Acts 2, the sign of speaking with other tongues publicly conveyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are four aspects of this significant event which must be grasped. The first three aspects tell us about the speakers, the hearers, and the meaning communicated. The fourth aspect tells us why the communication occurred in the way it did.

First, there is no doubt whatsoever that this was a miracle of speaking in languages that the individual speakers did not know but that others in the Jerusalem crowd did know. From Parthia to Asia to Arabia to Egypt to Rome, multiple languages were being spoken by these provincial Galilean Christians.

Second, these multiple languages were heard and understood by witnesses from around the world. The Christians conveyed information in actual languages to actual people that heard and understood those languages. What amazed the hearers was that the speakers should not have known their unusual languages. Their attention had been effectively obtained.

Third, this event centered on the communication of certain information. That information concerned the gospel of Jesus Christ and prepared the hearts of the hearers for what Peter would soon proclaim and draw to an invitation. In other words, the gospel was being manifested through this miraculous working by the Spirit. Speaking “with other tongues” was not for personal edification but for public proclamation of the gospel to other people.

Fourth, the accompanying and attention-gripping nature of speaking in tongues was intended to draw attention to the gospel of God. Fulfilling His own prophecy (Mark 16:17), the phenomenon of tongues was given by Christ Himself as a sign (cf. Acts 2:22, 34). Signs draw attention to something; Christ intended the sign of speaking in tongues to draw Israel’s attention to the gospel. Peter’s role was then to call the hearers to turn from their sin to Jesus Christ and to be baptized in His name, receiving for themselves the Holy Spirit.

It is also important to grasp what did not occur here. The existing believers received the gift of speaking in tongues, but there is no evidence whatsoever that the new believers received that same gift when they too received the Spirit. Rather, in converting to Christ by repentance and faith, the new believers simultaneously received the Gift Himself, the Holy Spirit. The focus of Peter and the early church was not upon the sign gift of speaking in tongues but on converting their neighbors to Christ. The points emphasized by Peter as he concluded his sermon with an invitation concerned forgiveness, repentance, Jesus Christ, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And when the hearers responded to Peter’s repeated fervent invitations to be saved, they were baptized and brought into the church. Incredible awe overcame the growing church and the lasting effect of the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost upon the Jerusalem church was the growth of the church and the fostering of unity, fellowship, and community in that church (2:41-47).

Acts 10:46: The unique experience of the Jerusalem church at Pentecost in Acts 2 occurred in similarly public and significant ways for non-Jews in Acts 10 and for followers of John the Baptist in Acts 19.

In Acts 10, God specifically dealt with Peter to help the Jewish Christians overcome their opposition to Gentile conversion. The Holy Spirit came upon these foreigners when Peter preached to them. The Holy Spirit then manifested Himself in these Gentiles in the same way that He had shown Himself upon the Jews at Pentecost.

The Jews who were present in Caesarea heard the Gentiles “speak with tongues [lalounton glossais] and magnify God” (10:46). This wondrous event had a significant impact upon Peter. The sign of the Spirit’s coming upon the Jews was now evident in His coming upon the Gentiles. The Jewish Christians heard these foreign Gentiles magnify God as they communicated intelligibly in languages. Peter therefore commanded that his Jewish Christian companions baptize the Gentile Christians, thus bringing Gentile believers into fellowship with the Jerusalem church (10:47-48).

Afterwards, when word of these events spread, other Jewish Christians questioned Peter. Peter relayed to them that the Holy Spirit had come upon the Gentiles at Caesarea as He had come upon the Jews. The sign-value of this event was not lost upon Peter’s questioners, for they too glorified God that He had graced the Gentiles with repentance and life (11:12-18). Similar to the events at Jerusalem, speaking with tongues at Caesarea publicly magnified God. Moreover, like the Jerusalem occurrence, the purpose of the sign of speaking with tongues was to verify that the Father was active in saving people—here, the Gentiles—by sending His Son and His Spirit. While speaking in tongues, they “magnified God:” the gift both helped publicly convey the gospel and uniquely signified divine verification of that gospel.

Acts 19:6: The dual role of the gift in proclamation and in verification occurs once again in Acts 19:6. Here, the followers of John the Baptist, who were expecting the Messiah but had not yet surrendered to Jesus Christ, were also converted and received the Spirit. For the third and final time in the book of Acts, a unique group of people was publicly verified as coming into the church through the sign of glossolalia. The former followers of John the Baptist were now Christians and “spoke with tongues [elaloun glossais] and prophesied.” Again, the gift functioned as verification that a new people were brought into a church. Again, the gift intelligibly conveyed the gospel. The verification concerned the conversion of the followers of John the Baptist. The proclamation can be seen in the coupling of prophesy with the gift.

These three passages—Acts 2:4, 10:46, and 19:6—are the only instances regarding speaking in tongues in the book of Acts. Pentecostal theologians assert glossolalia also occurred in Acts 8;4 however, there is no textual support for such speculation. All three passages treat the gift of speaking in tongues as the public and intelligible communication of truth about God. These passages also treat the gift of speaking in tongues as a verifying sign of the unique coming of the Holy Spirit upon a new group of people, thereby incorporating that group into the church. There are numerous other instances of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon new believers without any indication of the gift of tongues being present (Acts 2:41-42, 8:12, 9:17-19). Although Scripture teaches that the Spirit must accompany the proclamation of the Word to be effective (1 Thess. 1:5-6), there is no specific reason to assume that the verification provided by the particular spiritual gift of speaking in tongues is required beyond the verification of the incorporation of these three main communities – Jews, Gentiles, and followers of John the Baptist.

1 Corinthians 12-14: In contrast to the churches in Acts, the church at Corinth was an extremely unhealthy and fractured church. Its membership included a number of former pagans who were finding it difficult to leave behind their ungodly ways. In discussing spiritual gifts, a major concern for these former pagans, Paul found it necessary to re-educate the Corinthians by placing the gift of tongues in its proper context. First, he reminded the Corinthians that before converting to Christ they had followed “dumb [aphona] idols” (1 Cor. 12:2). An aphonic idol is literally an idol “without a voice” or “without meaning.” In the Old Testament, God’s powerful voice [translated as phona in the Septuagint] indicated His self-revelation by His Word. In the New Testament, phona may indicate a powerful voice expressed through those who bear the Spirit of God.

Opposite the biblical examples of God speaking phonically, powerfully and clearly, through His servants, idols are known to be aphonic, incapable of speech and meaningless. Pagans believed their idols could express themselves in speech through an oracle, but their speech was unintelligible and a religious poet was required to translate. Examples of ecstatic, untranslatable speech may be found in the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi as well as the cults of Dionysius and Cybele. The pre-Christian background of the Corinthians indicates that ecstatic religious experiences involving unintelligible speech conferred special status upon those who practiced such. Unfortunately, the Corinthian believers brought their pagan religious practices, its attendant elitism, and the resulting social divisions into the Christian church (cf. 1 Cor. 1:10-11; 3:1-4, 18; 11:17- 22).

Where the healthy churches of Jerusalem and Ephesus experienced tongues as a significant verification of popular conversion which proclaimed the gospel and united the people of God, the unhealthy Corinthian church was experiencing tongues as a sign of personal status which was unintelligible and resulted in divisions among the people of God. Paul was therefore forced to put the idea of glossolalia in its proper Christian context as intelligible and significant speech, in opposition to the pagan context where glossolalia was unintelligible and insignificant speech. He began fulfilling that difficult task by reminding the Corinthians that the Spirit will never lead people to curse Christ; instead, the Spirit’s role is to lead people to confess Jesus as Lord. The pagan practice of glossolalia, characterized by unintelligibility, could apparently lead some to ignorantly curse Christ (1 Cor. 12:3).

Paul then taught the Corinthians that spiritual gifts are not subject to human manipulation, but are under the sovereign gifting of the Triune God (12:4-6). Paul affirmed that glossolalia is a spiritual gift, but he clearly taught that in the hierarchy of gifts, it was the least (12:10, 28). Moreover, not every Christian possessed this gift (12:30) and this particular gift should be desired the least (14:1).

God’s gifts are given for one primary reason, the common good (12:7). This overarching goal of communal welfare is expressed in three important ways through the remainder of chapters 12-14 of 1 Corinthians: First, the diversity of the members with their various gifts finds its single purpose in the mutual care of the members in the “one body” whose head is Christ (12:12-27). Second, although Christians should desire the better gifts, their goal must always be the “more excellent way” of radically selfless love on behalf of the other (12:31-14:1). Third, Paul then outlines his understanding of the gift of proclamation [propheteia] as better incarnating love for the other because it allows Christians to practically fulfill the important theological end of the “edification” [oikodoman] or mutual “up-building” of the church (14:3).

In light of Paul’s understanding of the common good as the one body, the way of love, and ecclesial edification, his description of the Corinthians’ glossolalia as intended for self-edification shows that this fractured church’s understanding of the spiritual gift is grossly perverse (1 Cor. 14:4). Spiritual gifts, as Paul repeatedly indicated, are for mutual edification, thus the Corinthians should re-orient themselves away from their selfcentered doctrine of tongues.

In chapter 14, Paul shows how the Corinthians’ doctrine of tongues differs from the orthodox Christian doctrine: the Corinthians’ doctrine of glossolalia is insignificant and unintelligible as well as disorderly and indecent, while the orthodox doctrine of glossolalia is significant and intelligible as well as orderly and decent. Paul reconstructs the orthodox doctrine of glossolalia for the Corinthians by closely correlating it to prophesying, or euphemistically, the public proclamation of the gospel. In some detail, Paul denigrates the idea that true glossolalia may occur apart from meaningful communication, which involves the full engagement of the mind with the spirit and the speaker’s intentional edification of his hearers.

Everyone must communicate with languages, but even more than merely speaking, they should clearly proclaim the gospel. Speaking without regard for the correct transference of the meaning of the gospel (i.e. “interpretation”) does not edify the church (14:5). If a person speaks without being concerned for communicating meaningfully, his sounds are meaningless [aphona], like a trumpet which cannot call troops to battle or like a person in a foreign land who cannot understand the local language (14:7-8, 10-11). Those who are zealous for spiritual gifts should above all seek to edify the church (14:12). If one speaks in a tongue, one should pray that God will help him speak with understanding (14:13).

Paul concludes that the idea of unintelligible speech is extremely odd, for the human spirit must not be disconnected from the human understanding in prayer or in song (14:15). After all, how can others be edified if we speak meaningless words (14:16)? Speaking tongue-in-cheek (pardon the pun), Paul lets the Corinthians know that their meaningless speech may represent their sincere effort to thank God, but he is more thankful that he can publicly proclaim the gospel intelligibly with five words rather than mumble on with ten thousand meaningless words (14:17-19).

Echoing his previous reference to the passing childishness of speaking in the tongues of angels (cf. 13:1, 11), Paul exhorts the Corinthians to cease being immature in their understanding (14:20). Those who are mature will understand that language indicates not only blessing but judgment. Unknown tongues in Scripture signify divine wrath. The biblical significance of unintelligible tongues is worryingly different from the biblical significance of intelligible tongues. Paul quotes Isaiah 28:11-12, regarding God’s judgment of unrepentant Israel by sending an invading army of foreigners. The vivid imagery of Isaiah 28 recalls the horrors of watching the occupation of Jerusalem by an invading army, an army which speaks in a meaningless language. In the Old Testament passage, Israel was noted for its refusal to think clearly (Isa. 28:9): will the Corinthians be the same way? The biblical significance of intelligible Christian speech is that the gospel brings life to those who will believe; the biblical significance of unintelligible speech is that God will judge. Unintelligible tongues are intended by God to serve as a sign of judgment on unbelievers; intelligible proclamation of the gospel is intended to bring life to those who believe (14:22). The unbeliever who enters the church and hears unintelligible speech will leave with the understanding that the Corinthian Christians are senseless (14:23). The person who enters the church and hears an intelligible proclamation of the gospel’s power will be convicted of sin, and may repent and turn to worship God (14:24-25).

After carefully distinguishing the orthodox doctrine of glossolalia as intelligible and significant speech from the Corinthian doctrine of glossolalia as unintelligible and insignificant speech, Paul then launches into a discussion of order and decency. If these Corinthians believe they have the true spiritual gift of tongues, then they must practice it in such a way that they function intelligibly and significantly. Paul indicates how the gifts of tongues and of prophecy must be conducted so that all things are “done decently and in order” in the church (14:40). With regard to tongues, it must be practiced for public edification, there must be an orderly presentation, and there must be an interpreter. If these requirements cannot be met, then Paul is clear that the Corinthian enthusiasts must “keep silent in church” (14:28). Paul did not forbid the practice of speaking in tongues in the church (14:39), but he severely qualified its practice with requirements that still apply to churches today (14:26-28).

Secondary Biblical Passages

Romans 8:26: Some scholars consider various other biblical passages in relation to the issue of glossolalia. Romans 8:26 is often utilized in this regard; however, the passage does not address the phenomenon. First, in the prayer of Romans 8, there is an explicit inability to utter words [alalatois], while glossolalia explicitly concerns the utterance of words (cf. Acts 2:4). The only way to equate the phenomenon of Romans 8 with that of glossolalia is to engage in contradictory logic and say that “not speaking” is “speaking.” Second, through much of Romans 8, Paul discusses the Spirit’s role in salvation, and as Martin Luther demonstrated, Paul here expounds the prayer of faith which concerns personal regeneration by the Spirit. Third, if Paul had the gift of tongues in mind in his letter to the Romans, he would have included it in the gifts discussed in Romans 12:3-8. Although many Charismatics as well as the odd higher critic have tried to place this text within the conversation over glossolalia, the most authoritative modern commentator on Romans has declared, with typical British understatement, that such a connection is “not likely.”

Other Passages Cited in Support of Modern Practices: Other biblical passages have also been brought forward by Pentecostal and Charismatic theologians seeking to buttress their modern practices. These passages include Ephesians 5:18-20 and 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:19, and Jude 20. However, glossolalia is not mentioned in any of these texts. Modern enthusiasts freely equate biblical glossolalia with various modern practices of “speaking in tongues.” Included among the modern practices are the Pentecostal requirement of speaking in unknown tongues as the initial evidence of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit; the congregational practice of simultaneous expressions of unintelligible ecstatic speech; and, the private practice of unintelligible ecstatic speech as a prayer language. The modern advocates of these various practices assume that the biblical doctrine of glossolalia is what is being practiced today under the name of “speaking in tongues.” This is a precarious assumption, for not all that calls itself biblical actually is biblical.

The Cessation of Glossolalia: On the other hand, advocates of Cessationism have gone to Hebrews 2:3-4 to argue that “signs” [semeiois] were intended to verify the original dissemination of the gospel message. Since that message has now been recorded in the apostolic writings, there is no longer any need for sign gifts like speaking in tongues. W.A. Criswell affirmed this interpretation: “One of these sign gifts was speaking in tongues. When the authenticating necessity for the sign gift ceased, the phenomenon ceased. It was needed no longer. It had served its purpose. For us to seek to re-create the sign is not faith but presumption.” In the debate over whether the miraculous gifts are for today, the Cessationist argument makes valid points; however, the “Open but Cautious” view is also worthy of consideration. The open but cautious view allows for the continuation of many spiritual gifts into the modern churches, but is unwilling to make a one-to-one correlation between modern practices and the biblical witness. Unfortunately, the “Third Wave” and “Pentecostal/Charismatic” positions too often begin from the vantage of personal experience or tradition.

Thirteen Conclusions Regarding Biblical Glossolalia

1. Biblical glossolalia is a gift of the Holy Spirit from Jesus Christ.
2. Biblical glossolalia involves a Christian using an existing spoken language that he or she has not previously learned.
3. Biblical glossolalia involves non-Christian hearers who understand an existing spoken language they previously knew.
4. Biblical glossolalia involves the public communication of intelligible information concerning the gospel.
5. Biblical glossolalia was intended by Jesus as a sign to verify the proclamation of the gospel concerning salvation through His death and resurrection.
6. The sign of biblical glossolalia was fulfilled in the unique events surrounding the incorporation of the Jews, the Gentiles, and the followers of John the Baptist into the New Testament churches.
7. Biblical glossolalia is not intended for every Christian.
8. Biblical glossolalia is the least important of all the various spiritual gifts.
9. Biblical glossolalia is intended for the common good and results in unity, loving fellowship, and congregational edification.
10. The biblical sign of intelligible language indicates divine blessing, but the biblical sign of unintelligible language indicates divine wrath.
11. Biblical glossolalia must be distinguished from Corinthian glossolalia.
a. Biblical glossolalia comes from the Holy Spirit while Corinthian glossolalia comes from the pagan religious background of Corinth.
b. Biblical glossolalia involves intelligible speech concerning the Gospel while Corinthian glossolalia is unintelligible speech that may curse Christ.
c. Biblical glossolalia results in unity, love, and edification, while Corinthian glossolalia results in division, discord, and destruction.
12. In light of the problem of Corinthian glossolalia, if a church wishes to discern whether biblical glossolalia is present, Scripture establishes some guidelines:
a. It must involve the congregation.
b. It must result in public edification.
c. There must be a decent and orderly practice.
d. There must be an interpretation.
13. Biblical glossolalia may be allowed by the church, but those who embrace Corinthian glossolalia must keep silent.


Jerry Corbaley said...

Hi Brad,

It is a long article, but worth the effort to read.

Dr. Yarnell's distinction between "Biblical glossolalia" and "Corinthian glossolalia" seems less clear than it could be. One wonders whether he would consider "Corinthian glossolalia" something that could be forbidden.

brad reynolds said...


I would never presume to speak for him...but it appears he leaves the door open for forbidding Corinthian glossolalia with his final point 13.

You are right it is well worth the read for those who are serious about these issues.

Thanks my brother.
And let me add, I admire you Trustees for what ya'll have endured from blogs.

RevBubbaBear said...


Thank you for such a clear post today. I read it and understood it perfectly. I thank even a fight grader can understand this one.

However I do hav one question.

Today you said in a comment thread to me:

“Dr. Mohler believes it teaches anywhere from 3 to 5 points, according to a message delivered by Dr. Akin in Southern's Chapel. I think Dr. Akin probably knows better than this blogger...but feel free to ask Dr. Mohler.”

On October 26 Wade Burleson stated on his blog:

“Even though they signed a document that teaches all five points of Calvinism, and anyone with a modicum of theological acumen would understand that the Abstract is teaching all five points --- ask Dr. Mohler.

What exactly is Wade sayin bout Dr. Akin?


volfan007 said...


what would you say to those who say that believing as dr. yarnell does is fine, and believing in cessation is fine, but we shouldnt keep tongue speakers from serving as m's and from leadership positions in the sbc?

from the hills of tn,


Anonymous said...

As a misioonary serving on the field (and I have written to you personally as well to express the same) let me publically say the same affirmation. Recently I was at a gathering of misisonary personnel (about 20 units) and all were unanimous in their support of the trustee action on the tongues thing. (That does not mean they agree with every trustee aciotn mind you :)) So in spite of soem bloggers saying that NO misisonaries see this as problematic - I know of at least 20 near methat do and probably know at least twice that many in other place that do. And since I cannot post anonymously on your blog Jerry - I wanted to post here assuring you of the prayers and support of this misisonary for you and the trustees. You will know who I am as I emailed you several weeks back.

brad reynolds said...


You are a Wade chaser. I have told you before I really want to stick to issues and leave personalities out. However, I think Dr. Akin knows what he is speaking of...having sat under him as a student as he taught theology and also having known him for almost 20 years. I trust him, if he says something concerning his and Dr. Mohler's belief you can take it to the matter which blogger disagrees.

brad reynolds said...


I would warmly disagree with those who said such. It is not who we have been, as Dr. Caner makes clear, and it does not have the biblical support they claim, as Dr. Yarnell makes clear.

brad reynolds said...

Anonymous M

Thank you for your words. I have recieved numerous e-mails from other M's, affirming your comments. But thanks for your words and thank you for your service my brother.
May God bless you and protect you and bless your work for the kingdom. I will pray for you tonight.

Jim said...


It was good meeting you the other day at SEBTS. Ted is a good friend of mine. Don't give him too hard a time in class.

Thanks for the article. I'm having trouble reconciling two of the conlusions. If the gift of languages is always intelligible, why is there a need for the gift of interpretation?

Also, if we take 1 Cor 14:28 as referring to other known languages (consistently with Yarnell's view), why does Paul tell the speaker to speak to himself and to God if no interpreter is present? If God gives me the gift of language, but no interpreter is at church, am I supposed to speak Japanese to myself and to God?

Mind you, I'm not trying to make an argument for the "modern tongues" view, just trying to understand our sacred text.

Jim said...

Also, here is a good article on being a "winsome" blogger.

The post is by Melinda at Stand to Reason and is entitled, Blogging Winsomely

brad reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
brad reynolds said...


It was really good meeting you also. Would love to have lunch with you next time. Ted is a great young man, and I am honored to have him as a student.

Again, I don't like answering for others but I will try and reconcile your questions. Let me state that I may differ a little...I will give my view next week. As I read it, he seems to distinguish between Corinthian tongues and biblical tongues. The first needing an interpretor the later not. More next week.

brad reynolds said...


Excellent article you recommend. I need to sit down some time and think through some ideas for this blog. I need to find the time:)

RevBubbaBear said...

Dear Brother Brad,

I am so sorry that you think I am a Wade chaser (what ever that is). The reason I post comments here is that Wade want post mine on his site. I am not as educated as some of you fellers. I simply needed you to tell me what Wade meant when he said "anyone with a modicum of theological acumen would understand that the Abstract is teaching all five points."

I dont no what acumen is. I am sorry I upset you.


Kevin Holmes (and still baptist by conviction) said...


Dr. Yarnell's distinction between "biblical tongues" and "Corinthian tongues" is quite clear. However, he seems to leave the door open for non-cessationists. Am I misreading?

brad reynolds said...


I don't think you are misreading it. Most people I know are not full cessationist...per their understanding of bilical tongues.

brad reynolds said...


You didn't upset. I just see that you read Wade's and have lots of questions...I am not bothered by answering your questions...I am just surprised at your tenacity...are you a grizzly?

RevBubbaBear said...

Brother Brad,

I am not a grizzly. That foto is the only one I could find to upload. I am a teddy bear. I just wish Wade would answer my questions but he want even allow me on his site. I thought about askin CB some questions, but Lenny said he shot that there rabbit feller, so I aint goin to his site.

You never did tell me what acumen is.

And what does Wade mean when he says "anyone with a modicum of theological acumen would understand that the Abstract is teaching all five points."?

I really want to know.


Oh yeh, I hope your Cowboys win this weekend.

Jim said...


You should try It helps me out quite a bit.

Here's the entry for acumen.

brad reynolds said...


I think Jim has helped you with acumen.

Wade is saying, IMHO, that some of the greatest theologians our SBC have ever known have no modicum of theological acumen.

Quite a statement for anyone to make.

Les Puryear said...


Is it possible that "tongues" means what the Greek says, i.e., "languages"? Is it also possible that those who are able to learn to speak in human languages other than their own have the "gift" of tongues (languages)?

When I went to Cuba two years ago, a good friend of mine who spoke Spanish fluently told me that although he could speak Spanish, translating Spanish into English or vice versa was very difficult. The interpreter we had assigned to us by the Baptist church in Cuba could interpret either direction on the fly! My friend told me that was truly a "gift." Is it possible that this is the "interpretation of tongues" to which scripture is referring?

Grace and peace to you.


CB Scott said...

Billy Bear,

I think we have come far enough in our relationship for me to tell you about the death of Harvey the Rabbit. It goes as follows:

Me and my four bulldogs trailed Harvey way up a long "holler". There was alot of brush and it was hard to see. I was afraid Harvey might circle and go back down the holler. I strung three Claymores about half way up.

Sure enough Harvey did circle. He started back down as fast as he could go. I do believe he was laughing that silly laugh of his.

Harvey is one smart Rabbit. He must have smelled those Claymores because he tripped all three with rocks.

That really did make the bulldogs mad. Bruce and Springsteen took off down the holler and got ahead of him and turned him back.

He started back up the holler flying as fast as any rabbit I have ever seen. I could not help but admire his grit and steel.

Calvin and Luther came toward him from up the holler. Harvey realized he might not make it with two bulldogs at him from both ways. He stopped and grabbed up a big stick to fight the bulldogs off with. He hurriedly pulled out his laptop and emailed his folks that he loved them and to give his carrot patch to SBC Disaster Relief.

Well, I am a hard man, but that was all I could take of seeing such bravery. I called Bruce and Springsteen to heel. I did the same with Calvin and Luther. They stopped dead in their tracks, but continued to growl and lick their teeth.

I yelled down to Harvey that "HE WAS SAFE". I put my "pump" down. Harvey looked at me. He looked at the dogs.

He looked back at me and grinned real big and said: "YEAH, SURE" and took off running toward the east. I held the dogs off. Suddenly I heard him scream out. I tied the dogs and took off running after Harvey.

What I saw almost made me sick. Harvey had ran right over a cliff.

He was splattered all over the ground about 300 feet below.

We gathered up the pieces and buried Harvey in a beautiful meadow. Calvin carved him a marker that said, with a tear in his eye, Harvey was the toughest rabbit I have chased since Micheal Servetus. I agreed.

Now, Billy Bear, Harvey would be alive today if he had only trusted me and my bulldogs. You can trust us also, so come on and eat lunch with us.

Also, you can comment on my blog anytime if you behave with what you say:-)

Truly sorry about Harvey.


brad reynolds said...


I think you are on to something here:)

Could it be that "tongues" means what is means (languages)?

CJ said...

The paper had: "Thus, interpretation can lead to either orthodoxy or heresy. ...conservative believers recognize that the orthodox interpretation of Scripture preserves the faith of the people and glorifies God. ... On the other hand, errant and heretical interpretations may lead to unhealthy churches at best or false Christianity at worst."

If there are only two choices on every doctrine - orthodoxy and heresy - what does this say about those in the SBC who disagree concerning election? It seems to say that one side holds to a heretical doctrine. At the very least, it appears he is saying that those who teach PPL/tongues are teaching heresy.

I think the Arius/Athanasius intro to this paper is a little extreme. We should find ways to talk about this without implying heresy on one side.

brad reynolds said...


It appears that what he is saying is that at the very least those who teach a PPL are teaching error not necessarily heresy. I agree with him.

The point is that Scripture can't be teaching two contradictory concepts (God is not psychotic). One has to be right and the other is either ERRONEOUS or heresy.

Thanks for your thoughts my friend and may God bless you

volfan007 said...


i think that you have hit the nail on the head in your answer to cj. there are many things that are erroneous, and extreme, and they will lead the church to be unhealthy. they are not heresy, but they are errors in minor things that will hurt a church. ppl is one of those errors, or extremes.


Alan Cross said...

Thanks for posting this, Brad. It is good to be able to read discussions like this. I only hope that Dr. Yarnell stretched before he wrote this paper, because the theological gymnastics that he had to perform to come to his conclusions are truly astounding! :) But, thanks again for the post. It lets me know that I have nothing to fear from the theological or interpretive acumen of cessationists. But, you guys are more than welcome to stay in the SBC! I'm sure that we can agree on the gospel!

Please take this tongue in cheek, Brad - I disagree with Dr. Yarnell's position and was just trying to have some fun in stating it. God bless!

brad reynolds said...


I was not offended at all. Anyone who knows the amazing intellect and Biblical faithfulness of Dr. Yarnell knows very well you were providing a humorous interlude. Thanks.

God Bless My Friend

CJ said...

You said: "The point is that Scripture can't be teaching two contradictory concepts (God is not psychotic). One has to be right and the other is either ERRONEOUS or heresy."

Or they are both wrong and there is a third position.

This article actually presents three views (or is it 4): Cessationist, “Open but Cautious", and Charismatic. At least two of those have to be erroneous.