The False Security of Private Glossolalia

May 18, 2015

Dr. Rick Patrick | Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL

My own cessationist convictions notwithstanding, this essay does not intend to discuss the wisdom of the new policies adopted by the International Mission Board relative to a private prayer language. Furthermore, I am not concerned in this essay with the impossibility of a private spiritual gift, in light of the fact that the spiritual gifts were all given for the edification of the entire Body of Christ and not merely for one’s own personal edification. Let us also put aside, for the moment, whether or not the Scriptures speak of known languages or ecstatic utterances, and our debate concerning the precise meaning of Paul’s statement that “tongues will cease.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Although these are all important questions, none of them are germane to the thesis of this essay, the purpose of which is to disabuse Southern Baptists of the notion that a private prayer language practiced by a missionary (or anyone else, for that matter) is somehow protected from becoming a public prayer language at a moment’s notice, in the twinkling of an eye or at the snap of a finger, with some sort of instantaneous, uncontrollably ecstatic utterance in a public worship service.

Some have argued that a private prayer language should not be considered a charismatic practice at all, strictly on the basis of its private nature. Their logic is apparently rooted in the notion that what people do in the privacy of their own prayer closet is simply nobody else’s business. Because they are not engaging in a public prayer language, but rather in a private prayer language, no one ever needs to know about their uncontrollable, ecstatic utterances. I see in this notion a glaring flaw.

I would argue that what is done in secret often becomes exposed to the light. Paul makes a similar argument in Ephesians 5:12-13 in the context of sin. Exactly what type of barrier exists capable of keeping private glossolalia private? On Wall Street it is common for companies to “go public” with their stock offerings. Homosexuals celebrate a National “Coming Out” Day when their previously private practices become openly displayed to the world. The separation between private and public is not exactly a steel fortress. It is a grain of sand, a bowl of jello, a feather or a piece of string.

This is especially true when one considers the uncontrollable nature of these ecstatic utterances. By all accounts, a person who speaks in an ecstatic language, regardless of its source, possesses almost no capacity to control it, to stop it from happening, to turn off the faucet. It is a phenomenon that “comes upon them.” How, then, can we be certain that it will remain private? The only thing necessary for a private prayer language to become a public prayer language is for the ecstatic utterance to visit the individual in a public setting. Whenever SBC missionaries practicing a private prayer language go out in public, it is possible that private glossolalia will become public. When that happens, the openly charismatic practices displayed will render false our private glossolalia security.

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Bill Mac

Having never experienced PPL and not knowing anyone who has, I don’t know if my knowledge is correct, but it is not my understanding that PPL is uncontrollable. In fact I have never heard it described as uncontrollable. Can you point to your sources?

The real question is whether the SBC officially a cessationist organization. It seems to me it is not.

    Les Prouty

    Bill Mac,

    To your question, I think the question is who controls tongues according to the scripture. Now I don’t think the gift is for today. But assuming for a moment it is for today, what does the scripture say about from where or whom does the gift originate? The Spirit or man? Then we can explore what “tongues” means. Unintelligible (to anyone) utterances or languages?

      Bill Mac

      Les: Tongues is a tricky issue in some respects, but I think scripture is clear on a few things.
      1. Tongues are a gift of the Spirit.
      2. Tongues, when spoken aloud, must be understandable by someone.
      3. Tongues is man speaking to God, not God speaking to man.
      4. Tongues can be done privately.
      5. Private tongues edifies the speaker, public tongues, when understood, edify the body.

      I think scripture is pretty clear that tongues were not some kind of “possession”, wherein the speaker had no control, as is being implied here.

      Let’s face it, the real concern here is not the unwise use of a legitimate gift, it is cessationism pure and simple. I get that, but I would prefer that cessationists oppose this from that angle, and push to make the SBC (and thus missionary service) closed to non-cessationists.

        Andy

        But don’t forget that all entities set limits beyond what is required for mere sbc members, or even churches…an openly charismatic Baptist church can have voting sbc messengers, and doesn’t have to subscribe to the bfm!

        Robert

        Bill Mac,

        I believe that you are correct about some things but also mistaken about others.

        You wrote:

        “Les: Tongues is a tricky issue in some respects, but I think scripture is clear on a few things.
        1. Tongues are a gift of the Spirit.
        2. Tongues, when spoken aloud, must be understandable by someone.
        3. Tongues is man speaking to God, not God speaking to man.
        4. Tongues can be done privately.
        5. Private tongues edifies the speaker, public tongues, when understood, edify the body.
        I think scripture is pretty clear that tongues were not some kind of “possession”, wherein the speaker had no control, as is being implied here.”

        Let’s start with the last comment: you are correct that it is not some kind of “possession”, modern “tongues” speakers can start and stop at will, they have total control over it.

        (1) Is true because 1 Cor. 12 says it is a gift.

        (2) Is close, Paul says that tongues may be used in the public service as long as they are interpreted/translated (as it is a human language). It will be understandable by native speakers of the language (compare in Acts 2 where they were amazed to be hearing in their own tongues) and by those with the gift of translation. But Paul in 1 cor. 14 is concerned not only with people exercising their gifts but with the edification of all who are present (hence the instructions about always translating or keeping it to yourself if it cannot be translated for the sake of all). Love does not seek its own and gifts are to be exercise in an orderly way and with love according to Paul.

        (3) Tongues in Acts 2 were clearly not Man speaking to God, they were declaring the wonderful works of God, they were witnessing to the crowd in their own native languages. In 1 cor. 14 the tongues were used for prayer, singing, worship, praising God so while they were directed to God they were useless for the edification of others unless translated.

        (4) Well technically that is true, but this is a false teaching invented by charismatics who claim it is a private prayer language. This concept completely ignores the context of 1 Cor. 14 which was a PUBLIC worship service where all were gathered. Shared speech was superior to merely speaking in a tongue (hence Paul’s comments that prophesying is superior to tongues speaking that is not translated). If you look at 1 Cor. 14 the whole chapter is aimed at providing guidelines for an orderly and edifying PUBLIC SERVICE. Charismatics ignore this context and read in their private prayer language concept based primarily on a misinterpretation of 1 cor. 14:28. The text **says** “but if there is no interpreter let him keep silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God.” Note the tongue speaker is AT THE PUBLIC SERVICE because he is told to “keep silent in the church” (he cannot keep silent in the church unless he is physically at the public service). So he is told to keep silent during the service (“let him speak to himself and to God”): he is not told to go do in it private. This is reading in the concept of private prayer languages into the text: it is not exegesis of the text.

        (5) You are mistaken on this one as you ASSUME the private prayer language concept is true. But the concept is not biblical and is invented by charismatics. You assume their error and then make your comment. But if your assumption is false, then the rest of it is mistaken as well.

        “Let’s face it, the real concern here is not the unwise use of a legitimate gift, it is cessationism pure and simple. I get that, but I would prefer that cessationists oppose this from that angle, and push to make the SBC (and thus missionary service) closed to non-cessationists.”

        I am a non-cessationist and I oppose the private prayer language concept and practice at ***it is not biblical***. So the issue is not primarily cessationists versus non-cessationists, it is what does the Bible teach about the nature and practice of tongues?

        If they were always human languages in the scriptures, then the modern practice of ecstatic utterances or private prayer languages is not biblical and should not be allowed whether you are a cessationist or not.

          Bill Mac

          Robert: I think my #5 is supported by 1 Cor 14:4,5. Number 3 is supported by verse 2.

          My post was about the biblical use of tongues, not modern charismatic practices. This is one of those situations where I am highly skeptical of what charismatics say they are doing. My being a continualist is simply because the case for cessationism isn’t credible.

            Robert

            Bill Mac,
            Paul begins in v. 1 and says they ought “especially that you may propesy” (THAT is always spoken to others not only to self). He then contrasts this with tongues in v. 2 saying that “one who speaks in a tongue [singular] does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands”. Why is it not spoken to other men in v. 2, because the tongue speaker uses it in their private devotion? No, Paul has said nothing about a private use of tongues. Earlier in 1 Cor 12 which was to set the stage for his words in 1 Cor. 14 all of the gifts are said to be given to individuals but intended for the edification of others. In v. 3 Paul contrasts prophesying with tongues in that prophesying is spoken to men in an understandable way so it edifies, exhorts and consoles people. In v. 4 Paul then contrasts tongues with prophesying yet again “one who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but one who prophecies edifies the church. Why is Paul contrasting the two? And in particular what is the context of this whole discussion and contrast between the two?

            The context is the Corinthian problems that were happening in their public worship service. This is shown by repeated comments about doing what edifies all in contrast to what edifies only self. You could look at Paul’s words as like listening to one end of a phone conversation: based upon what Paul says we can reconstruct what the problems were at their public service. The problem was not the tongues speaking per se, the problem was using tongues without interpretation/translation. This is why Paul emphasizes prophesying over tongues (prophesying is in the shared language Greek and is understood by all, while tongues are only understood if interpreted). Paul uses repeated illustrations in the chapter regarding tongue speaking and its unintelligibility WHEN NOT INTERPRETED. The solution? Only use tongues in a limited way, and make sure whenever they are used that they are interpreted for the sake of all who are present. In v. 12 Paul says they are zealous about spiritual things, so seek to abound for he edification of the church (again do what edifies others who are present).

            Paul says he uses languages more than any of them (when, in private or during his misisionary travels?). He says but in the church he would rather speak five words in an intelligible way so that he can instruct others rather than 10,000 words in a language (that they do not know), v. 18-19. He says they ought to seek maturity not just be like children only concerned about their own needs, v. 20.

            He talks explicitly about the effect on nonbelieving visitors who come to their public service (not to their private devotions) and says that if they are all speaking in tongues simultaneoulsy the nonbeliever will think they are insane! v. 23 In contrast if all prohesy which again assumes the use of Greek the shared language, v. 24-25 the nonbeliever may come in and hear words so that they end up being saved! So the contrast is between unshared and uninterpreted tongues which could lead to an awful witness and speaking in the shared language Greek which could lead to salvation for the person. Insanity versus evangelistic possibility of salvation for a visitor.

            From verses 27-35 he addresses a series of problems at the public service: uninterpreted tongues, people prophesying simultaneously, and women speaking out in a disorderly way. All of this goes together, it is all about problems at a public service. To argue that the tongues were private tongues is to completely ignore the context of 1 Cor. 12-14 and the immediate context of 1 Cor. 12. It is to read in a concept that is foreign to what Paul was discussing. It amounts to eisegesis of the concept of private tongues into the text.

William

A private prayer language is a mystery to me – charisma lite. Pre-2007, a few of our people practiced, or did practice such. Jerry Rankin said field personnel reported that such did not cause problems in the field. The new policies have the addendum that if any practice is disruptive it will be addressed. I trust imb administrators to handle such things.

Michael Labate

Amen

Jon Estes

Interesting approach. What is it about a private prayer language which frightens us? Would we consider those with a private prayer language not SBC worthy? Or, if we do, then how do we explain we accept them into the SBC fold but refuse them service in the SBC ministries we / they support?

I have never spoke in tongues and have no plans to even want to. I do not think about it unless someone else brings the subject up.

Mark 9
38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me.
40 For he who is not against us is on our[c] side.
41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

    Robert

    Jon,

    “Interesting approach. What is it about a private prayer language which frightens us?”

    I don’t think it is **fear** of a supposed private prayer language, so much as concern that the practice is not biblical. Those of us who are in church leadership have a responsibility to protect our people from error. If the private prayer language concept is not biblical, then why would we want our people to be engaging in unbiblical practices? I also know from direct experience and observation how divisive the issue of tongues can be. So why would we want both an unbiblical practice and an extremely divisive practice to be done in our local churches?

    “Would we consider those with a private prayer language not SBC worthy?”

    It is not an issue of “worthiness”, biblically speaking none of us is worthy of anything from God. That is why it is a faithful saying to give God the praise and thanks for all the undeserved grace he so freely lavishes upon us. From that perspective it is not that those who practice private prayer languages are either “less worthy” or “more worthy” (as some tongues speakers believer themselves to be). Instead they are mistaken and doing something that will bring division among other believers.

    “Or, if we do, then how do we explain we accept them into the SBC fold but refuse them service in the SBC ministries we / they support?”

    I keep saying this and it bears repeating yet again: we start with scripture, what does it say about tongues? If it says it was a human language, not a private prayer language, if it was a gift intended to be used for others and not merely for self, then that will determine how you handle it and those who practice it. I don’t think you base acceptance or non-acceptance of someone in a church based upon merely their using or not using private prayer languages.

    Jon you end by citing Mark 9.

    [[Mark 9
    38 Now John answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we saw someone who does not follow us casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow us.”
    39 But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me.
    40 For he who is not against us is on our[c] side.
    41 For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.]]

    The mistake you appear to be making here is that you are suggesting a parallel between this passage and the tongues being practiced today by those who claim it to be a private prayer language.

    The disciples in Mark 9 want to tell others WHO ARE LEGITIMATELY doing exorcisms to stop.

    You appear to be trying to establish a parallel with private prayer language advocates practices (as if what they are doing **is** biblical and so they are legitimately doing tongues speaking and others are telling them to stop as the disciples did those who were legitimately doing exorcisms).

    But if the modern practice is not biblical, which I and others maintain, then it is not legitimate and so is not parallel with Mark 9 at all.

      Jon Estes

      So the foundation of your position is that “private prayer language” is unbiblical. which you and others maintain. There are others who maintain it is biblical truth.

      I do not think one should use the Mark 9 passage as a comment only against EXORCISM.

      Jesus stated in that passage – :Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me”. I cannot tie His term “a miracle” to a specific miracle but to any miracle done in His name. I hate to think that any of those fine men or women the IMB has turned down due to a private prayer language are totally being as true in their walk with God as they can as they grow.

      You also state: ” a gift intended to be used for others and not merely for self, then that will determine how you handle it and those who practice it.” I find this in conflict with Romans 8:26.

        Robert

        Jon,

        “So the foundation of your position is that “private prayer language” is unbiblical. which you and others maintain. There are others who maintain it is biblical truth.”

        I am quite aware that there are differences on this point: if there were not then there would not be charismatics and non-charismatics! :-)

        [[“I do not think one should use the Mark 9 passage as a comment only against EXORCISM.
        Jesus stated in that passage – :Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me”. I cannot tie His term “a miracle” to a specific miracle but to any miracle done in His name. I hate to think that any of those fine men or women the IMB has turned down due to a private prayer language are totally being as true in their walk with God as they can as they grow.”]]

        I don’t know about the circumstances about why they were “turned down” as you say. Again, my concern is first establish what the bible says about “it”. Then you can evaluate people’s claims and practices. But only after you establish what is what is in the Bible. If it was always human languages then this brings much of the contemporary practice into question.

        “You also state: ” a gift intended to be used for others and not merely for self, then that will determine how you handle it and those who practice it.” I find this in conflict with Romans 8:26.”

        You are neglecting the contexts of 1 Cor. 12 and Romans 8 then.

        1 cor. 12 is specifically discussing gifts given to INDIVIDUALS and the text is very clear that not everyone receives every gift or receives the same gifts (cf. the body illustration in 1 cor. 12 makes this point as well). Romans 8 is not discussing spiritual gifts or a private prayer language (unless you read into the text that concept): instead it is discussing a work of the Spirit that ANY AND ALL believers may experience. What Romans 8 says is true of ALL believers: what 1 Cor. 12 says is about SOME believers (some receive this gift others receive that). Charismatics for a long time have tried to proof text from Romans 8 for their private prayer language concept, but it **is** proof-texting, it is eisegeting their private prayer language concept into the text rather than deriving it from the text/exegesis. Again as someone else said so well: a private spiritual gift is a oxymoron.

          Jon Estes

          Robert –

          Thank you for the exchange.

          “I am quite aware that there are differences on this point: if there were not then there would not be charismatics and non-charismatics! :-)”

          I am not sure I want to label any Southern Baptist who shares they have a private prayer language with the IMB (as in the past) as Charismatic. I really do not think that is fair to the person(s) who have had such experiences.

          “I don’t know about the circumstances about why they were “turned down” as you say. Again, my concern is first establish what the bible says about “it”. Then you can evaluate people’s claims and practices.”

          I am surprised that you are unaware of people being turned down by the IMB for a private prayer language. It was big news a decade ago. Than again, I am not sure of your age or tenure with SB’s so maybe I should not be surprised. Nothing wrong with that just an observation with someone I read is aware of SBC life.

          “Again as someone else said so well: a private spiritual gift is a oxymoron.”

          That’s good of someone but I do not find the Bible saying such a thing. Maybe we should reconsider keeping the gifts to the church private so that we do not hide the gifts of those who have the gift of giving. TIC

            Robert

            Jon,

            “I am not sure I want to label any Southern Baptist who shares they have a private prayer language with the IMB (as in the past) as Charismatic. I really do not think that is fair to the person(s) who have had such experiences.”

            It is perfectly fair and appropriate, someone who claims they have been given this private prayer language to help them worship and pray better **is** advocating charismatic theology and so the designation is appropriate. Pentecostals tend to see the tongues they practice as actual human languages spoken somewhere in the world, whereas charismatics invented the later concept of a private prayer language which is given to the individual. “Charismatic” refers to their emphasis on “charisma”/Greek word for gifts and hence a Charismatic is someone who believes the gifts are for today and practices them today (in line with how charismatics view and define these gifts)

            “I am surprised that you are unaware of people being turned down by the IMB for a private prayer language. It was big news a decade ago. Than again, I am not sure of your age or tenure with SB’s so maybe I should not be surprised. Nothing wrong with that just an observation with someone I read is aware of SBC life.”

            Could you elaborate a bit on this IMB problem/situation/controversy? I really don’t know much about it.

            [[“Again as someone else said so well: a private spiritual gift is a oxymoron.”
            That’s good of someone but I do not find the Bible saying such a thing.”

            Have you read 1 cor. 14 with its repeated and emphatic argument that all things ought to be done for the sake of all present?

            Have you read 1 Cor. 12’s body illustration where everything the body parts do, they do together or for the common good?

            Have you read the description of Love in 1 cor. 13 where love is described as “does not seek its own”?

            Have you read the beginning verses of 1 Cor. 13 where Paul argues that the greatest gifts without love are worthless? [note = if love is necessary and superior and if love does not seek its own, how does that square with a private practice that is expressly intended only for one’s own?]

            And especially: have you read 1 Cor. 12:7 which presents the explicit purpose of spiritual gifts: “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit FOR THE COMMON GOOD.’?

            If that **is** the explicitly stated purpose of gifts (and it is, and the “common good” was a well-known concept/phrase in the first century in both Christian and non-Christian contexts) then again “a private spiritual gift is an oxymoron” as has already been said.

            So far Jon all that you have expressed is your opinions, you have not given proper scriptural support for your opinions (the closest you got to this was the misuse of two Bible texts, Mark 9 and Rom. 8, Mark 9 does not endorse private prayer languages and Romans 8 is not referring to a spiritual gift given to and experienced ONLY BY SOME Christians but refers to an experience that ALL Christians may have, by definition what is given only to some is a spiritual gift, what may be experienced by all is not a spiritual gift). Throughout this thread I have tried to make my points supported by explicit scriptural texts. If one ignores contexts and just cherry picks Bible verses unfortunately anything can be proved in this way.

Les Prouty

Rick,

I also am a cessationist as well. So I do not see PPL as a valid gift. But in the hypothetical, if PPL exists I 100% agree with you on this. There would be no controlling whether it remains private or occurred in public.

norm

From personal testimony and that of others, I can attest to the “other-worldly” influence and atmosphere that can accompany what some claim is the biblical expression of “tongues.” In my Christian sojourn, I have witnessed to self-avowed Wiccans and Satan worshippers. In such encounters, the warring of the Holy Spirit and the spirits was palpable. And in the few times I have heard (involuntarily) another person or persons speak in tongues, I have sensed this same spiritual conflict. There is a much greater danger of the private becoming public, and that is the so-called private prayer language being something other than holy.

Andy

Sometimes, on some issues, I really want to sympathize with Rick Patrick’s views, and yet I just can’t agree with his logic and arguments…

…and other times, I really really want to disagree with His views, and yet I cannot overcome the force of his logic and arguments.

(I think this article is the latter)

David Rogers

This whole article is based on the false premise that the exercise of modern-day glossolalia is “uncontrollable.” You preface your assertion with the phrase, “by all accounts.” It might help your case to document some of those “accounts.” The majority of the defenders of this practice of whom I am aware do not, in fact, believe it is “uncontrollable.”

    Donald

    David Rogers, I would think that when Dr. Patrick says “by all accounts” he means exactly that. Would the name of his tongue-praying first-cousin really make a difference here? By all accounts (personally heard by me) this is exactly the witness of those who practice such. If you have a different account, do tell! If it’ll help, one of those is my friend Jimmy.

    Donald

Jim P

Dr. Patrick,

I find it difficult to understand what you are aiming at here, your goal in your article.

Jim P

    Rick Patrick

    Jim,

    My goal is simply to point out that private matters often become public. Some Southern Baptists who do not wish to financially support missionaries practicing glossolalia have been pacified by the assurance that this will only be done “in private.” I believe such assurances are, if not false, at least extremely weak.

    As soon as one missionary that we send to the field begins taking his private prayer language public, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and it will happen sooner or later, the IMB will become a charismatic missionary sending agency with public glossolalia being openly practiced.

    Now, at that point, the IMB may ask our tongue speaking brother to begin receiving his financial support from a denomination more openly charismatic than the SBC. If so, why not ask the same thing of this brother when his glossolalia is merely being practiced privately? If, however, we intend to keep such a brother on the field, then the matter is not really an issue of a *private* prayer language, but of any kind of prayer language at all—private OR public.

    I am arguing for the insignificance of the terms “private” and “public” in this debate, since they are separated by such a very thin membrane.

Jim P

Thank you for your reply Dr. Patrick,

Jim Poulos

David Rogers

Donald,

Here is one account from Sam Storms:

“Is tongues-speech an ecstatic experience? It’s important to remember that the NT never uses this term to describe speaking in tongues. It is found in some English translations but is not in the Greek text. Many define “ecstatic” as a mental or emotional state in which the person is more or less oblivious to the external world. The individual is perceived as losing self-control, perhaps lapsing into a frenzied condition in which self-consciousness and the power for rational thinking are eclipsed.

There is no indication anywhere in the Bible that people who speak in tongues lose self-control or become unaware of their surroundings or lapse into a frenzied condition in which self-consciousness and the power for rational thinking are eclipsed. Paul insists that the one speaking in tongues can start and stop at will (1 Cor. 14:15-19; 14:27-28; 14:40; cf. 14:32). There is a vast difference between an experience being “ecstatic” and it being “emotional”. Tongues is often highly emotional and exhilarating, bringing peace, joy, etc., but that does not mean it is “ecstatic”.”

Copied from Storms’s post found here: http://www.samstorms.com/all-articles/post/tongues:-praying-and-praising-in-the-spirit–2—1-corinthians-14:20-25-

    Donald

    David Rogers, thanks for the reply. I may have stated my request poorly. I was asking for an account, perhaps personally know to you, of a practicing tongue-prayer who describes his experience in the same way that you say Paul does: “Paul insists that the one speaking in tongues can start and stop at will”

    I realize that the loss of self-control is not supported biblically…which is THE point in all this. Inasmuch as those accounts I have heard all tend to describe the event otherwise.

Lydia

I think people are forgetting that SGM, Piper, Driscoll and others have had enormous influence on the SBC and guys like Platt, Chandler, etc over the last 10 years. They are all some variation of Charismatic style Calvinists. For crying out loud, for a while People of Destiny (SGM) had a prophecy mic during services. Does that sort of thinking go away because one changes their name to something less cult like?

Just stop and take a look at who has been the major influeces on young men in the SBC over the last 10 years.

    Les Prouty

    And what does the influences of others or not have to do with the point of Rick’s post?

      Lydia

      “And what does the influences of others or not have to do with the point of Rick’s post?”

      When policy changes like this it is usually due to some “influence” from some quarter. I even forgot to mention the biggest influencer of Charismatic Calvinism for the last decade in the SBC: Wayne Grudem. Check out the book he wrote with Jeff Purswell (of SGM), “Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith”. Part VI: The Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

      Other than that, I think your question is strange unless you are the moderator. I don’t necessarily agree with Rick in totality but understand his concerns. I am more interested in why the policy changed after the last war over it.

      Les Prouty

      Lydia,

      No I’m certainly not the moderator (though I am a Ruling Elder…emphasis on the “ruling”… and I did recently stay in a Holiday Inn Express :) ).

      Just given that Rick started out by stating that “this essay does not intend to discuss the wisdom of the new policies adopted by the International Mission Board,” your references to among others Platt seemed odd and not germane to the post, re “policy changes like this.” Of course you have free will to make whatever comments you like. :)

        Lydia

        “Just given that Rick started out by stating that “this essay does not intend to discuss the wisdom of the new policies adopted by the International Mission Board,” your references to among others Platt seemed odd and not germane to the post, re “policy changes like this.”

        Then It would probably be wise to just ignore my comments if you do not think they are germane to the post.

          Les Prouty

          “Then It would probably be wise to just ignore my comments if you do not think they are germane to the post.”

          Will do. Thanks.

Scott Shaver

If SBC really doesn’t know anymore whether to have deacons or elders, believers baptism or paedobaptism … if it’s ashamed of its historic distinctives and as Russell Moore says “longs to see the demise of the Bible Belt”…….I doubt very seriously whether any official “SBC action” for or against glossalalia is going to clear up the current confusion. If the design is to become an eclectic mix gathered around a statement (BFM2000), it would appear that glossalalia has claim to a seat at the table along with a whole host of other “practices” including “prophecy mics”.

Is that kinda like open mic Lydia?

    Andy

    1. SBC churches have always had BOTH deacons and Elders…they just called their elders pastors…

    2. Russel Moore’s actual quotes: “Bible Belt near-Christianity is teetering. I say let it fall. For much of the twentieth century, especially in the South and parts of the Midwest, one had to at least claim to be a Christian to be “normal.” SO, if you read his entire article…he is very obliviously NOT saying he longs to see true biblical southern christianity erased…RATHER, he is saying that the old situation in which many people claimed Christianity in order to be socially accepted was not necessarily healthy for true christianity. IF you disagree with what he actually is saying, please explain why.

    3. Unless you are arguing for ANOTHER tightening of SBC Limitations beyond what the CR brought about, we will always be an exlectic mix of various beliefs and practices…(not really around the BFM2000 either, since NO church has to agree with it to be a fully participating, voting sbc church.)

      Scott Shaver

      Andy:

      Don’t know where in the South you’re from, but where I’m from…..never heard of a “Baptist Elder” until I was 45, that following 2 degrees from an SBC seminary and 20 years pastoring SBC affiliated churches in 3 states.

      If I missed em, they sure must have been in the minority.

        Scott Shaver

        As far as Russell Moore Andy:

        I’m afraid he’s conjured himself a popular sociological view of the “Old South” which may or may not be “spiritually” or “historically” accurate …. sound-bytes, however, are what matters among SBC pastors, leaders, the “news” channels, and among the proponents of the sociological issues Moore seeks to address.

        Would not assume because of my comments that I did not read the “whole” article.

        As for arguing for “tightening”….you’ve obviously not read all my comments on this particular thread.

          Lydia

          “I’m afraid he’s conjured himself a popular sociological view of the “Old South” which may or may not be “spiritually” or “historically” accurate …. sound-bytes, however, are what matters among SBC pastors, leaders, the “news” channels, and among the proponents of the sociological issues Moore seeks to address”

          Media positioning. Much like the “race” issue.

          Andy

          Thanks for the Clarification.

          I think you are right about his overly negative description of southern Christianity. He is painting something as mostly negative that has been a great positive in the lives of many people for more than 100 years. Further, I remember in 2006 the first time I heard Rus speak, that He very strongly tried to impress upon us young seminarians that we should not abandon our down-home folk christianity roots, and that much of our problems have come when we have gotten more sophisticated and more accepted among cultural elites…It is odd to now hear him speaking bad about folk religion…

          HOWEVER, i still think the truth is likely somewhere in the middle…Southern bible-belt Christianity is not all pearly gates, but neither is it a cesspool.

        Lydia

        “Don’t know where in the South you’re from, but where I’m from…..never heard of a “Baptist Elder” until I was 45, that following 2 degrees from an SBC seminary and 20 years pastoring SBC affiliated churches in 3 states”

        Thank you. My SBC roots are long and wide with many in extended family seminary grads, missionaries, etc. We were in many SBC churches because of a music ministry and I never once met an “elder”. I met many in the priesthood of believer. I did meet quite a few of them later in life with the advent of the mega’s and cult of personality Christianity.

        Me thinks some of the young’ens have bought into whatever they were told by the gurus. Were there ANY SBC churches with elders? Most likely but I think it was much more rare than what they have been convinced.

        Andy

        Oh, I’m not from the south at all… :-)

        However, I suspect you and Lydia are absolutely right about the terminology…My point is simply that Elder is by far the more common biblical term, with in fact Pastor (Shepherd) only being used as a noun describing some office only ONCE. So if a church has any pastor, they likely take the elder passages, such as those describing qualifications, and apply it to their pastor, because they, like most, believe them to be the same office. It is why most SBC churches don’t want a divorced “pastor”… Because scripture says an “Elder” should be the husband of one wife.

          Lydia

          “My point is simply that Elder is by far the more common biblical term, with in fact Pastor (Shepherd) only being used as a noun describing some office only ONCE. So if a church has any pastor, they likely take the elder passages, such as those describing qualifications, and apply it to their pastor, because they, like most, believe them to be the same office. It is why most SBC churches don’t want a divorced “pastor”… Because scripture says an “Elder” should be the husband of one wife.”

          that was the popular interpretation with the advent of the Megas back in the later 80s who had so many Baptist joining. :o)

          My experience was that “pastor” was more of a function within the priesthoid considering the word “office” was added by the translators. I just did not see all of these authoritarian church leaders engrossed in titles/offices/strict ecclesiastical structures like we have today. To me it is not progress biblically speaking.

          I can understand the need to find the most spiritually mature person in a young 1st century church. I do not see appointing elders as a command all through the New Testament letters. I would hope any church has been around for a long time has many spiritually mature members.

          And trying to pass of unseasoned YRR as elders reminds me of ‘Elder Joe Smith” with pimples in a white shirt and black tie knocking on my door to recruit me into Mormonism.

Scott Shaver

Also loved the way Platt referenced allegiance to the BFM while excluding any mention of accountability to “Southern Baptists” or The Bible.

IMB will soon stand for independent missions board…I’m sure with an eclectic mix of advisors/sitting members and financial supporters.

Lydia

“Also loved the way Platt referenced allegiance to the BFM while excluding any mention of accountability to “Southern Baptists” or The Bible.”

I would wager that most in Platt’s former “Radical” church had no idea they were supposed to be Baptists. :o)

Robert

Hello Rick,

Rick I know that you seemed to say: let’s put aside the two issues of cessationism/non-cessationism and the nature of New Testament tongues (actual language/”ecstatic utterances”) so that we could just discuss whether those who practice “it” privately might at times end up practicing it publicly. But I have to disagree with your approach.

FIRST , we start with what the Bible says about “it” (putting my own cards on the table so people know where I am coming from, I am non-cessationist and absolutely convinced that NT tongues were **always human languages** never ecstatic utterances or a “private prayer language” or the “tongues of angels”), then we will know whether or not it may become a public problem.

If the NT teaches it was always human languages then we **know** those who believe it to be ecstatic utterances/private prayer languages/angelic or heavenly languages that are best practiced in private are mistaken on the nature of tongues. This also coalesces nicely with the cessationism issue because it simultaneously makes the cessationist/non-cessationist issue a moot point if both cessationists and non-cessationists agree that it was always a human language in the NT then whatever that is not a human language that is being practiced today is not the tongues of the NT and should be seen as both mistaken and ought to be prohibited.

We also know that according to scripture it was always under the control of the tongue speaker. They could stop or start at will, which is why Paul’s instruction in 1 Cor. 14 says not to use it in a public service unless an interpreter/translator of the particular language is present. 1 Cor. 14 is concerned about the **public practices** of the Corinthians during a public worship service (cf. this is why prophesying or speaking forth in Greek the shared language is superior to an untranslated language/tongue according to Paul). So as one commentator already mentioned Rick your premise that those who engage in ecstatic utterances (the better term is glossolalia) cannot control these utterances is mistaken.

Seems to me the real issue that this whole thing is getting at is whether or not missionaries who hold the mistaken view on tongues ought to be financially supported or not (and whether this will further lead to further division between the cessationists and private prayer language advocates in the SBC). Though I could be wrong this appears to be the concern here.

And again people should start with the NT teaching on “it”. If the NT teaching is that “it” is always known human languages, then (whether we are cessationists or non-cessationists) we know that any other teaching is necessarily false and ought not to be supported.

Tim G

I think we need to ask simple questions: What is the definition of PPL? Is there a Biblical reference that matches the definition given? Is there a consistency in this definition and reference? How can a policy be changed if the answers to these questions are not known? I ask these for I keep getting different answers – and that seems to point to a huge problem.

    Robert

    Tim,
    Let’s answer your question because this goes with what I said in my post: first start what does the Bible say about “it”.

    The definition of a “private prayer language” is that it is a language or praise and prayer given to an individual to help them in their worship of God. Early Pentecostals viewed tongues as actual human languages primarily based upon the Acts 2 narrative where they most certainly are human languages. Later charismatics developed the teaching of tongues as a private prayer language.

    Charismatics believe that the biblical basis for their conception of private prayer languages comes from 1 Cor. 14:4 where Paul says the tongue speaker edifies himself and from 1 Cor. 14:28 where Paul says that if there is not translator/interpreter, the tongue speaker must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. They also emphasize that in 1 Cor. 14 it speaks of prayer and praise so the focus of the gifts including tongues ought to be for the purpose of worship. They are half right here, the context of 1 Cor. 14 is prayer and praise and other activities that occcured during a public worship service. Where thy are wrong is their invention that tongues are primarily for individual edifcation rather than edification of others.

    Now having shared their conception of tongues/a private prayer language: I believe they are mistaken about this. When Paul first discusses the spiritual gifts (including tongues and translation of tongues) in 1 Cor. 12 Paul explicitly says the gifts are given not for individual use but in order to bulld up/edify others. In 1 Cor. 14 Paul does not switch to an individual focus but is still concerned about public worship in the congregational meetings. All of his instructions are discussing the context of public worship services. Charismatics and others ignore this context and end up proof texting from just a few verses to develop their private prayer language view. If they are wrong, then tongues are not meant as a private prayer language but are meant to be used to build up others.

    Regarding the answers to these questions not bing known, it seems to me again that first the nature of tongues must be determined THEN you can talk about policies only after your conception of tongues is first bibically based.

      Tim G

      Robert,
      But is the definition you give the one and only definition? I hear much more than that. I agree with your comment. It is why I ask the questions. Problem is, no one will put it in print. Wonder why?

        Robert

        Tim,

        “But is the definition you give the one and only definition?”

        Well I cannot say it is the **only** definition as others may have different definitions. I can say it is the **standard** definition. I know this to be true both from reading and personal experience (i.e. the first church that I attended as a new believer was a Pentecostal church where I learned their theology on tongues very well (though I never practiced it myself). I also knew charismatics who advocated the private prayer language concept. So I know these things first hand from experience but also have read on this subject as well.
        Funny but telling story. At that congregation they believed that the tongues were actual human languages of some sort which would then be “interpreted” by someone with the supposed gift of interpretation (or often the Pastor). I asked them the following question to which I never received a good answer, they also thought I was a “trouble-maker” for asking. I asked: “If the gift of tongues is the supernatural ability to speak languages that you have never learned, and some of our people here have this ability, then why do our cross cultural missionaries still have to go to language school before they go out to the field? If they had this gift they would not need to go to language school would they???” :-)

        “I hear much more than that. I agree with your comment. It is why I ask the questions. Problem is, no one will put it in print. Wonder why?”

        Actually it **is** in print, check out Dennis Bennett the father of the charismatic movement (he was the first major proponent of the private prayer language concept back in the 60’s and 70’s) and also note that someone earlier in this thread quoted Sam Storms who is a calvinist charismatic (Storms statement is in print so it could be quoted).

        Scott Shaver

        For what it’s worth, here’s another definition:

        E.Britannica, “Glossalalia occured among adherents of various ancient religions including some the ancient Greek religions. There are references to ecstatic speech in the Hebrew Bible (1Sam10:5-13, 19:18-24; 2Sam 6:13-17; 1Kings20:35-37).”

        “Xenoglossia” is the ability to speak fluently a language the speaker has never learned.

        In just about every part of the world, glossolalia can be observed. Pagan religions all over the world are obsessed with tongues. I understand such would include the Shamans in the Sudan, the Shango of the West Coast of Africa, the Zor of Ethiopia, Voodoo sects in Haiti and the Aborigines of South America and Australia. Murmuring or speaking gibberish construed to be deep mystical insight by holy men is an ancient practice.

        Remember the Toltec priests performing human sacrifices during a solar eclipse as depicted in the movie “Apocalypto”……ecstatic trances and glossolalia is what you were looking at.

          Scott Shaver

          Sounds to me like Paul would have encouraged “Xenoglossia”…….”Glossolalia”……not so much.

            Scott Shaver

            The issue here is not whether cessationists or non-cessationists are right or wrong or should be respectively included or excluded.

            The question is, what do you want your representative missionary force (IMB) to look like?…….because both heaven and earth are watching.

            Robert

            Scott,

            I think your distinction here is valid:

            “Sounds to me like Paul would have encouraged “Xenoglossia”…….”Glossolalia”……not so much.”

            Paul spoke about human languages and their orderly use in the public service at Corinth (Corinth was a major seaport city at that time, kinda like Hong Kong today, a place where with constant visitors coming in and out they would bring their different languages with them to the Corinthian services) he was not talking about “glossolalia”/ecstatic utterances/private prayer languages.

            Proper use of human languages in a public service ought always to be welcomed as all will be edified as long as the languages are translated for the sake of all present. One of the problems we have today is that we divide everybody up by language so the Korean church is down the street, the Spanish speaking church is the other way, and the English church is on the other side of the tracks! :-) The Corinthians did not have this luxury and they all met together in a multilingual/multi-cultural service.

            What is practiced today in Pentecostal and charismatic churches and is claimed to be the tongues of the New Testament is not the gift of tongues discussed in the New Testament. That is why it causes such confusion and controversy whenever it appears. Especially when some come along and mistakenly claim that everyone is supposed to have one of these private prayer languages OR that you are less spiritual if you do not engage in the practice of ecstatic utterances/private prayer languages.

              Scott Shaver

              Not to mention, Robert, that the Pan-Hellenic Games were a very big draw in ancient New Testament times to the region of Corinth.

              The diversity of languages in that ancient “international” city would have required an interpreter on every corner for folks sell their wares.

          Andrew Barker

          Scott: You are right on the money! Glossolalia is probably an inbuilt ability which all of us have and some of us seem to be readily able to ‘activate’. It is certainly no guarantee of true spiritual life, or for that matter maturity. Unfortunately I know of Christians who spoke in tongues who no longer even name the name of Christ at all. I gave up trying by the way (many years ago). It could also make sense of 1 Cor 12:3 which I’ve always found a bit of an odd statement. Why would any Christian come out with the words, Jesus be accursed, other than when they were speaking in an unknown language and not immediately aware of what they were saying? But I’d be happy to hear other people’s take on that.

            Scott Shaver

            Thanks Andrew, we’re obviously working from the same perspective.

            Again. The question is not so much whether folks ought not be forbidden to pray any way they want in private (or privately in the company of others) or to be forbidden from doing so (organizationally speaking).

            The question is: What does the “SBC” want its “representative” missions sending agency (IMB) to look like? Cessation or Non-Cessation is not the issue until that question is answered.

            The majority of comments I read on these SBC-flavored-baptist-blogs, especially from active pastors, seem to reflect a desire to transcend denominational (i.e. “Southern Baptist”) identity for the “greater good” of the “Christian” whole. At least one commentator in this particular thread has already stated “we/SBC have always been and always will be an eclectic mix of various belief and practices”.

            My question becomes was the eclectic mix always of various belief and practices or, from a purely historical observance of the SBC, was it an “eclectic mix” of various and characteristically BAPTIST beliefs and practices?

            My point: If the IMB bound only by the BFM2000 should be/desires to be an “eclectic mix of various beliefs and practices”, can you tell us “Southern BAPTISTS” still paying the bills exactly what that’s going to look like five years from now?

Allen M Rea

Thank you for these wise words. A “private” spiritual gift is an oxymoron. I, too, have cessationist convictions. I am confused by the charismatic tendencies of the Y,R,R crowd. I am more confused and frustrated in the direction of the IMB by Platt.

    Robert

    Allen,

    “A ‘private’ spiritual gift is an oxymoron.”

    Exactly, according to Paul in 1 Cor. 12-14 the gifts are given to individuals but their purpose is to build up others.

    If that is true and biblical, then if someone comes along claiming they have the gift of tongues or interpretation of tongues, but their gifts are for private use, for themselves primarily, then for those knowing the scripture the red lights ought to be flashing in their minds when they hear these kinds of claims.

Jim P

Paul’s greatest concern in the letter to the Corinthians was not whether prophecy, languages, or the temporary gifts continued or not.
His greatest concern for the believers to work together what in ‘love’. Isn’t that the focus in Chapter 13? If this is so(?????), shouldn’t that be where the emphasis should be in working together? Am I missing something?

    Robert

    Jim P,

    “Paul’s greatest concern in the letter to the Corinthians was not whether prophecy, languages, or the temporary gifts continued or not.”

    Actually his concern seemed to be to bring unity and order to Christians who were engaging in practices that led to a disorderly and unedifying and confusing public worship service. His answer to this problem was twofold: to remind them that they all had received gifts and that these gifts were to be exercised in an ORDERLY and LOVING manner. 1 Corinthians 12-14 function as a unit. He describes the gifts in 1 Cor. 12 and brings up the body illustration to show that different body parts/people with differing gifts can and should function in an orderly and mutually edifying way. He then brings up the fact that the gifts are temporary in the whole scheme of things and that the greater concern ought to be for faith, hope, and love. He then describes love, because if they exercise their gifts in a loving and orderly manner then the gifts will function as intended and all will be edified and the disorderly services they were having would be replaced by orderly and edifying gatherings.

    “His greatest concern for the believers to work together what in ‘love’.”

    I would say his greatest concern was to deal with certain problems that were occurring at Corinth (gifts is just one of them and is discussed in chapters 12-14). He brings up love in the context of the discussion of public worship problems because if they love one another they will seek to do what edifies others first, they will seek not to just have their own experiences (which is one of the reasons they were having the worship service problems in the first place).

    “Isn’t that the focus in Chapter 13?”

    Love is the focus of part of chapter 13, but this occurs in the context of 1 Cor. 12-14 which again functions as a whole. First Paul contrasts love with the gifts, the gifts being temporary while love was to be eternal. Second he describes what love is like.

    “If this is so(?????), shouldn’t that be where the emphasis should be in working together? Am I missing something?”

    Paul was not instructing first century Corinthians about how SBC Baptists ought to be handling tongues speakers in their denomination! :-)

    His concern was that the Corinthians had a problem (i.e.. disorderly public worship services caused by people doing their own thing without regard to edifying others during the service). His solution was to give them guidelines as to what would make for an orderly and edifying public service. This is seen throughout 1 Cor. 14 and is especially clear in the final and concluding verse: “But let all things] be done properly [lovingly= with a desire to edify others ahead of yourself, to not seek your own first but to seek the good of the other first] and in an orderly manner [i.e. orderly = following the rules that Paul laid down for them throughout chapter 14].

    Scott Shaver

    JIm P:

    Respectfully, what you’re missing is a “Southern Baptist” consensus on the way and by what criterion The Bible should be interpreted.

Max

While we have ceased believing as we ought, the Holy Spirit continues where He is not quenched nor grieved.

Jim Drake

I’m on my phone so my comment is short… With the reduction of giving and the waiting list of qualified IMB candidates waiting for funding to hit the field, why are we repeating the same scenario we experienced when missionaries were required to sign the BFM 2000? There are charismatic entities who would allow application to their agencies if a missionary wants to explore biblical errancy at someone else’s cost. Is our current IMB leadership that materialistic to be held up by the threat of financial reduction or another sit down strike by missionaries who went to the field knowing what the theological position was and now want amendments? This will cause more division and dissolution if IMB and the SBC doesn’t clarify its orthodoxy and orthopraxy with its global representatives.

Bob Cleveland

“Uncontrollable ecstatic utterances”? Hardly. Why would that be true of tongues any more than the gift of preaching being uncontrollable?

Praying in a tongue: Paul acknowledged that by saying if you pray around others, interpret it. Otherwise, how can one “Amen” it? But then, how many of you pastors accept “Unspoken prayer requests”? Wouldn’t that be tantamount to what Paul warned against?

Prayer: Jesus said go into your closet … private place … and pray to the Father. Are you denigrating that’?

If it’s never happened to you, it’s unlikely you’ll ever understand it. But that lack doesn’t keep people from trying to disprove what can only be credited to a Sovereign move of the Holy Ghost.

Easy to fake? Sure. But have you ever heard a sermon or a lesson or a song from someone who just doesn’t seem to be gifted in that area? Why don’t I see folks attacking that?

    Robert

    Bob,

    You appear to be defending the practice of private prayer languages. Unfortunately I find your analogies and arguments for this to be very weak and unpersuasive.

    ““Uncontrollable ecstatic utterances”? Hardly. Why would that be true of tongues any more than the gift of preaching being uncontrollable?”

    We agree that neither gift will involve people engaging in uncontrollable utterances.

    “”Praying in a tongue: Paul acknowledged that by saying if you pray around others, interpret it. Otherwise, how can one “Amen” it? But then, how many of you pastors accept “Unspoken prayer requests”? Wouldn’t that be tantamount to what Paul warned against?”

    No, I think that is very different. In some cases a person sharing an “unspoken” prayer request is sharing something very painful or something they do not feel comfortable sharing with an entire group at that time (e.g. I have had cases where someone is dealing with a very recent murder, suicide or rape and not surprisingly they did not want this out there for public consumption just yet). With tongues Paul is saying don’t use them in a public service unless you translate them for all present so that all may be edified. Two very different situations in other words.

    “Prayer: Jesus said go into your closet … private place … and pray to the Father. Are you denigrating that’?”

    No one here is “denigrating”that as Jesus told us to do so and this instruction (in contrast to the use of spiritual gifts) is for ALL BELIEVERS.

    Furthermore, you make reference to v. 6 of Matthew chapter 6. You left out the previous verse which is talking about hypocritical prayer in public by those who want to be **seen** as spiritual ( “And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites: for the love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners in order to be seen by men.”) In my past experience I saw some tongue speakers who appeared to be doing this praying in public in their supposed tongue so that everyone could see how spiritual they were!

    “If it’s never happened to you, it’s unlikely you’ll ever understand it.”

    I have seen it and know lots of people who practice it: I don’t have to experience poison first hand to know that it is harmful. God never experiences all sorts of things that we experience and yet he knows all about them. That is a really weak argument.

    “But that lack doesn’t keep people from trying to disprove what can only be credited to a Sovereign move of the Holy Ghost.”

    Another weak argument: how do you know that “it can ONLY be credited to a Sovereign move of the Holy Ghost”?

    Mormons and witch doctors and other non-believers practice “tongues”, are those sovereign moves of the Holy Spirit?

    And if you claim they are demonic spirits, then how do you know your experiences are just as demonic as their’s?

    The only way to know and test these experiences is to properly interpret scripture. Scripture properly interpreted shows them always to be languages and to be human languages. I will not go into a tit for tat discussion with a tongue speaker (well my experience is X, Yeh but my experience is Y, but my experience is from God and yours is not, etc. etc.). We are to test all things by scripture and tested by scripture private prayer languages fails.

    “Easy to fake? Sure. But have you ever heard a sermon or a lesson or a song from someone who just doesn’t seem to be gifted in that area? Why don’t I see folks attacking that?”

    A less than stellar sermon is not a fake gift, it is just someone not as skilled in presenting messages.

    But a false experience of tongues in which someone claims something is from God when it is not is something much worse and much more divisive.

    Why should we be attacking other believers if they are less skilled in certain areas?

    Should we attack Joe because he evangelizes but does not have the gift of evangelism?

    Should we attack someone who is not a gifted teacher because they are teaching kids in Sunday school?

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