Reflections and Ruminations on the SBC and Her Future: Part 1 – IMB Tongues Policy (by Wm Dwight McKissic, Sr)




Revisiting the IMB Tongues Policies: A Response to a Reasonable and Respectful Request

The SBC is a branch of the Kingdom of God that He has used mightily in days past and gone, and is still using, to advance His Kingdom and to bring Him glory. It is quite apparent though, to anyone remotely observing, that the SBC light is not shining quite as bright as it once did. If the SBC is to return to her former glory and surpass it, there must be some major shifts and adjustments made, and commitments to follow through on initiatives already in progress.

There are three SBC related issues that I will address in three separate posts under the above topic:

PART I:      Revisiting the IMB Tongues Policies: A Response to a Reasonable and Respectful Request.

PART II:     Reasons and Remedies Regarding the SBC “Free-Fall.”

PART III:    Race and the Return of the SBC to Her Former Glory.

My thesis is, if the SBC remains a predominately Southern, Anglo, Republican, “conservative” and a cessationist-oriented institution—nothing substantially will change, and the free-fall decline will continue. But if the SBC becomes a Kingdom-focused, multi-ethnic, biblio-centric, Spirit-empowered and “orthodox,” as opposed to “conservative,” expression of the Kingdom of God—the SBC’s future light will shine greater than ever before.

My purpose for addressing these issues is toward the end that the Lord might sovereignly choose to lay His hands upon what’s written here, and touch the hearts and minds of those who read this. Necessary tweaks and adjustments need to be made to aright the SBC ship toward kingdom advancement. It is my prayer that these three posts will offer some value to the conversations regarding renewal in the SBC.

I.  A Reasonable Request From Jerry Corbaley

Jerry Corbaley—a former IMB Trustee who served during the development and deployment of the “policy on tongues and prayer language” (link) at the IMB—made the following request to me in the comment thread at SBC Voices:

“Dear Brother Dwight,

It is my opinion that you are an influential Christian brother who is more committed to Christian integrity than the American cultural rationalization of “spinning the truth” to win political decisions.

Several times in the last month or so you have referred to IMB Policies as “cessationist”. I would request that you personally get a copy of the policies you refer to and review them. Your assertion that the policies are cessationist has potential for “spin” but little accuracy.

SBC Voices is influential among Southern Baptists. What is repeated often here can be accepted as fact.

I am glad that you write and comment here. I look forward to learning more from you.”

It is in response to Jerry’s request that I offer the following comments:

  • When persons disagree, or want to challenge an opposing viewpoint in the blogosphere, it is sometimes done in a less than civil and respectful tone. I must first applaud and express appreciation to Jerry for registering his objection and stating his request in a fair, reasonable and Christian manner. The Apostle Peter commanded believers to approach others with gentleness when a addressing matters of the faith (I Peter 3:15). Jerry has certainly modeled this in his approach.
  • Is it accurate, honest, reasonable, or fair to refer to the IMB “policy on tongues and prayer language as a ‘cessationist policy’”? This is the essence of Jerry’s question.
  • Let me first of all thank Jerry for asking the question. It forced me to review the IMB Tongues Policy and to read for the first time the “Position Paper concerning the IMB Policy on Glossolalia” that appears on the IMB website. I want to respond to Jerry’s question and to interact with the IMB policy and position paper on “Glossolalia.” I want to be as courteous, cordial, fair, and respectful to Jerry and the IMB trustees as he was to me in asking the question.
  • Jerry, I will stipulate that the IMB policy never references the word “cessationism” or any derivative of that term.
  • I will also stipulate that there is not one line, phrase, sentence, paragraph or word in the policy that I could honestly summarize or characterize as “cessationist,” in the technical sense of the term.
  • I will also stipulate that the IMB Position Paper acknowledges that “not all of the trustees who voted for this policy are strict cessationists.” However, that statement seems to me to also be a tacit admission that some of the trustees who voted for the policy were “strict cessationist.” Therefore, cessationism influenced this policy, just as continuationism influenced me and a minority of trustees who opposed this policy.
  • The IMB Position Paper defines cessationism as “(those who believe the revelation producing gifts ended with the death of the Apostles.)”
  • The IMB Position Paper explicitly state, “We would not forbid to speak in ‘languages” in a supernatural fashion (I Cor. 14:39). If such is permitted, then the experience must match all the guidelines in the passages. Thus, we included an exception statement for any possible use that can be clearly understood as being in harmony with Paul’s guidelines, as stated above.”
  • Jerry, based on the above bullet points, and a technical definition of cessationism, you are correct:  It is probably inaccurate and unfair to characterize or summarize the IMB policies as cessationist—if by cessationism you are using the term in a technical sense.

Dr. Bart Barber coined the term “a Posteriori Cessationism” and gives it this definition:

“An a posteriori cessationist (which I am) I am defining as someone who, if he were to encounter something resembling the biblical gift of tongues, would acknowledge it as such, but who sees no evidence of that gift in operation in present-day Christianity. “

Barber summarizes or characterizes his position by saying to believers who speak in tongues today:

“There may be a gift of tongues in operation today, but you certainly aren’t exercising it.”

Barber and the IMB trustees hold to identical positions, definitions and explanations of speaking in tongues. Barber is honest and forthcoming enough to label his position “a Posteriori Cessationism,” because practically and functionally, he ends up at the same position as the cessationist. He simply takes a different route to get there.

What is the difference between classical cessationism and “a Posteriori Cessationism”? Barber answers the question. Jerry, it can be said of the IMB policy as it relates to cessationism, as Bart Barber said of his “a Posteriori Cessationism” position:

“The difference between myself and standard cessationists lies not, as far as I can tell, in where we wind up, but in how we get there.”

Paul Chitwood of Kentucky who served as Mission Personnel Committee chairman during the adoption of the IMB tongues policy admitted that:

“…ad hoc committees found that field-related data and consultation with regional leaders have ‘not indicated a systemic problem with charismatic practices among field personnel.’”

According to Chitwood this policy was not developed because of abuses or violations of speaking in tongues by missionaries on the field in public or private. Chitwood added that this possibly was adopted because of:

“the rapid spread of neo-Pentecostalism and its pressure exacted on new churches in various regions of the world warrants a concern for the clear Baptist identity of our missionary candidates.”

Jerry, I will admit that the IMB tongues guidelines do not reflect classical cessationism. But based on Chitwood’s stated reasons for adopting the IMB tongues policy, you must admit he confessed to “charisphobic cessationism.”

Charisphobic cessationism is a term I coined based on two polar opposite terms on the subject that I learned from the late SWBTS Missions Professor, Dr. Jack Gray. Dr. Gray admonished his students to avoid two extremes as it relates to the charismatic gifts: “Charismania and Charisphobia.” The IMB has opted, by their own admission, for Charisphobia.

SWBTS has adopted, by their own admission, Charisphobic Cessationism. In response to my admission that I pray in tongues in private, SWBTS released a statement saying that my message was “harmful to the churches.” While at the same time Dr. Patterson maintains that he is not a cessationist; I agree; he is not a classical cessationist, but a charisphobic cessationist, or to use Barber’s term, “a Posteriori  Cessationist.”

Therefore, what Barber calls “a Posteriori Cessationism and what I call “Charisphobic Cessationism,” I admit is not classic cessationism. Nevertheless, functionally and practically, —as does Bart Barber—I see no difference between the two. Thus, respectfully, I will continue to refer to these policies as cessationist, or if you prefer as, “a Posteriori cessationism,” or charisphobic cessationism—as opposed to classic cessationism.

II. Points of Respectful Disagreement with the IMB Policy, Position Paper and “a Posteriori” Cessationism

In response to specific statements contained in the IMB Policy, Position Paper and the Barber “a Posteriori Cessationism” Post, I offer the following responses:

  • Baptists don’t build doctrines on assumptions, assertions, arguments, majority opinion or phobias. Baptists build doctrine on the authority of the inerrant and infallible Word of God. The IMB Policy, Position Paper and “a Posteriori” cessationism fails at this point.
  • The IMB Tongues Policy states:

“The New Testament speaks of a gift of glossolalia that generally is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group “(IMB Policy on tongues and prayer language) 3/6/2006.

Where does the Bible say that tongues is “generally considered to be a legitimate language of some people group”? The Bible is clear in I Corinthians 12:7, 10 that the Holy Spirit gives to certain believers based on His sovereign will (I Corinthians 12:11) “different kinds of tongues” (I Corinthians 12:10d). Clearly among the “different kinds of tongues” that Paul referenced—all did not meet the IMB standard of being a “legitimate language of some people group,” based on Paul’s teaching on the subject.

Paul said in I Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels.” If Paul described one of the “different kinds of tongues” as “the tongues of men and of angels,” how can the IMB announce so boldly that glossolalia is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group when Paul refers to “different kinds of tongues” and “tongues of angels”?

What verse says that tongues are always a language that existed on earth? The Bible does not restrict or limit tongues to “a legitimate language of some people group.” Paul is very clear in recognizing human languages or angelic languages (I Corinthians 13:1). No one at the IMB could interpret or translate the Apostle Paul when he spoke with the “tongues of angels” (I Corinthians 13:1). Angelic language may sound like ecstatic utterance or gibberish if you are not an angel. Any language of any people group in the world can sound like gibberish or ecstatic utterance if you don’t know that language. Who knows the language of the angels?

The late Dr. L. Jack Gray, in his booklet, Studies of the Holy Spirit, on Page 16, provided this definition of “tongues” that is totally and absolutely opposite from the IMB trustees’ and Barber’s definition:

“TONGUES—(I Cor. 12:10, 14:2, 13-16) This is the Spirit’s gift to speak to God in ecstatic languages, other than human language. It is the gift of a special language for communication with God. It is a special instrument for praise, singing and praying. It is not for communication with people. There is no biblical record of God sending a message to be delivered by people in ecstatic utterances. It seems also to be the liberation of the spirit of a believer for praise and adoration of God, communion with Him, and exalted worship of Him.”

Dr. Gray, a former professor at SWBTS, unfortunately would not be allowed to teach his students this definition in today’s SBC. How tragic!

  • The Apostle Paul stated in I Corinthians 14:2:

“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

It almost appears that Paul wrote that verse in anticipation of the IMB tongues policy. Again, how can the IMB assert that “glossolalia is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group” exclusively when Paul emphatically states when one speaks in tongue they are not speaking “to men but to God, for no one understands him.” If “no one understands him” how could tongues always in every instance in the Bible have been a “legitimate language of some people group”? The word “mystery” in the original language means “a hidden or secret thing not obvious to the understanding.” The meaning of the word mystery here contradicts the “legitimate language of some people group” based on which the IMB policy is founded. Paul said “…in the spirit he speaks mysteries.” Paul referred to tongues here as a spiritual language—not a human language—as the IMB and Barber asserts.

Not all tongues require interpretation (I Cor. 14:2). If the IMB policy is true, it directly contradicts the Apostle Paul. I’d rather trust Paul and place a greater stake in what he says, rather than what the IMB says. Tongues as spoken in private devotions are cognitive content spoken to God and understood by God, but not understood by man. This is the clear teaching of I Cor. 14:2 that the IMB trustees reject.

The IMB statement(s) and Bart Barber’s “a Posteriori Cessationist” statement makes no distinction between the tongues of Acts and the tongues of I Corinthians. However, Dr. Jimmy Draper see’s great distinction between the two. His writing certainly contradicts the IMB position that the general assumption is that all tongues recorded in Scripture is a “legitimate language of some people group.” Certainly in some instances, they were, but not all, as Dr. Draper so ably points out.

  • In his book, The Church Christ Approves in Chapter 5, entitled “Tongues, Yes or No?,” Dr. Draper addresses pertinent issues on this subject that interface with the IMB and “a Posteriori Cessationism.” Draper’s book was published in 1974, so clearly he was not speaking regarding the IMB policy, but the subject matter in general. Dr. Draper strikes the right balance and biblical accuracy on this subject because he approached it with no agenda or “preconceived ideas.”

In the introduction of his “Tongues” Chapter (5), Draper writes:

“I come to you with only the Word of God for my basis. I am confident that this Word is sufficient because it is the inerrant, infallible revelation of God to man. I have endeavored to approach this subject objectively with no preconceived ideas. I have not spoken in tongues, but I do not have to condemn those who say they have in order to justify myself.”

I endorse, embrace and agree with almost every single word that Dr. Draper wrote in his “tongues” Chapter with a few minor exceptions. In fact, I could have written the chapter myself. The only major difference would have been this: He says that he has not spoken in tongues, and I have. Other than that, if the IMB had adopted Draper’s position on tongues as recorded in his book, we would have avoided the entire IMB “tongues” fiasco, that I believe resulted in our inability to fund six hundred IMB missionaries. How tragic!!! What a price to pay for the adoption of “a Posteriori Cessationism”!

The following quotes are from Draper’s book that clearly contradicts the IMB’s and Barber’s position on this subject:

“There is…a great difference in the tongues on the day of Pentecost…and those at Corinth. At Pentecost all the believers spoke in tongues (Acts 2:4). Not everyone spoke in tongues at Corinth (I Corinthians 12:30). The languages spoken at Pentecost were understood by all (Acts 2:11). At Corinth they were understood by none (I Cor. 14:2). At Pentecost they spoke to men (Acts 2:11). At Corinth they spoke to God (I Cor. 14:2). No interpreter was needed at Pentecost (Acts 2:7, 8). Tongues were forbidden at Corinth if no interpreter was present (I Cor. 14:28). Pentecostal tongues filled strangers with awe and amazement (Acts 2:7). At Corinth, Paul warned them that strangers would say they were mad (I Cor. 14:23). There was perfect harmony at Pentecost (Acts 2:1, 42-46). Corinth was filled with contention, division and confusion (I Cor. 1:10-11). At Pentecost the disciples went out into the streets preaching in tongues (Acts 2:6-8). At Corinth, it was done within the church group (I Cor. 14).

“Because of the tremendous difference in these two languages, it would be false interpretation to build a doctrine on the assumption that they were the same.” [Emphasis mine] This is exactly what the IMB and Barber have done.

“Tongues in both Acts 2 and 10 meant languages understood by men…Apparently these people spoke in unlearned languages at Pentecost.”

“When we come to Corinth, we are faced with a vastly different expression on tongues. Here it is not a language others could understand. [Emphasis mine] It was basically an ecstatic utterance directed to God and not man.”

“Here at Corinth the gift of tongues was a private and personal gift which edified the individual.”

“The point here is the difference between the “languages” of Acts and Corinth. Do not build a system of theology that equates the two.”

Draper affirms the Apostle Paul and modern day believers who speak in tongues in private:

“The restrictions on the public use of this gift are such that the primary use has to be private. Paul said, “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all: yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue” (I Cor. 14:18-19). He apparently spoke in tongues in private, but in public he preferred to speak his natural language.”

“Tongues were now primarily valuable as, a private and personal gift for devotions.”

Draper affirmatively quotes, Luther B. Dyer who wrote a book entitled Tongues. On Page 145 of Dyer’s book, Draper lifts the following quote:

“As a doctrine, then, tongue speaking without interpretation is strictly confined to the Christian’s private devotion before God. When the Christian engages in this activity before God alone, he knows the source of the gift, there is no temptation to impress his fellow-man, and he is not liable to fall into sin. Neither is he likely to try and make converts among other Christians since he cannot very well share his experience and promote a following without breaking God’s command. Perhaps this is why Paul, though a tongue speaker himself (1 Cor. 14:18), never featured it in any of the churches.”

I found it necessary to quote Draper extensively because so much of what he says, again, is in direct contradiction to the IMB Policy that they claim reflects general Southern Baptist thought. The IMB trustees are far out of line with the SBC man and woman in the pew and the majority of Southern Baptists in pulpits with regard to restricting people from praying in tongues in their private devotions.

  • The IMB Position Paper (in the section, “The Historic Baptist Understanding”) states the following:

“The policy purposely stays within the historical practice of Southern Baptist churches.”

Southern Baptist roots can be traced back to Sandy Creek Baptists who were also known as Separate Baptists.

Dr. H. Leon McBeth in his book The Baptist Heritage describes the Separate Baptists most distinctive feature was their emotional style preaching and worship. Outcries, epilepsies, and ecstasies attended their meetings. [Emphasis mine] Shouting, weeping, and falling down in a faint were not uncommon. They often danced in the spirit during worship. The historian Walter B. Shurden referred to the Sandy Creek worshippers as “semi-Pentecostal.”

Furthermore, many Anglo Southern Baptist pastors have told me that they have members of their churches, even among their leadership who speak in tongues in private. The above quoted statement from the IMB is simply not true. Nor does it reflect the Lifeway Poll that documented fifty-one percent of Southern Baptists believe in the legitimacy of speaking in tongues in private as a valid gift of the Holy Spirit. And a percentage of those who believe in speaking in tongues in private is a valid gift, actually practice it on a regular basis. The official SBC policy on “tongues” is neutrality, not “a posteriori cessationism.” The IMB statement quoted above is misleading and inaccurate at best. It is functionally and practically a false statement, based on the Lifeway Poll.

  • Another IMB Position Paper statement that I take exception to is:

“The modern practice of speaking in tongues began with Charles Parham in Topeka, Kansas, and the so-called [emphasis mine] Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, CA, in 1901 and 1906. Prior to this, the subject raised little concern among Christians.”

It would require a separate post to point how false and historically inaccurate this statement is. This statement represents shoddy scholarship. There is an unbroken historical stream of believers speaking in tongues from Bible days through the present hour. Prior to 1906 there are accounts of believers in America speaking in tongues among all evangelical groups. The Azusa Street Revival certainly flamed the fire, and perhaps popularized the thinking that “tongues” is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence; but that is not where it began.

The IMB Position Statement’s reference to the Azusa Revival as “so-called” is at best, an expression of emotional prejudice toward Pentecostals. At worst, it is a statement of racial prejudice toward William J. Seymour, the Black preacher who was the catalyst for the Azusa Revival. I am going to opt for emotional prejudice being the best way to understand the “so-called” statement; and I certainly will forgive the IMB for making this statement, without them asking. The “so-called” statement delegitimizes the entire Pentecostal movement and church. Does IMB really want to be known for this position?

Prior to Azusa, how do you explain the emotional worship—including the “ecstasies” spoken by Sandy Creek Baptists? The basis, on which the IMB Position Paper refers to the Azusa Revival as a “so-called” revival, could also be stated about the Sandy Creek Revival. Descriptions of both revivals by historians are almost identical with regard to emotional expressions including “ecstasies.”

  • IMB Position statement:

“Because of the divisiveness of the practice of tongues, the vast majority of Southern Baptist churches do not endorse speaking in tongues, especially in its ministry leaders.”

Where is the evidence to support this statement? Broadman Press published at least 3-4 books affirming the validity of praying in tongues in private—including Draper’s book. The Lifeway Poll certainly does not support that statement. Where is the proof?

  • “This policy was not retroactive to missionaries on the field or to stateside staff.”

Jerry, if this policy is biblical, why wouldn’t it be retroactive? Why would the IMB tolerate unbiblical practices within their organization?

  • “We would not forbid to speak in ‘languages’ in a supernatural fashion (I Cor. 14:39).

Jerry, the IMB has adopted a very narrow and unusual interpretation of “languages” in I Corinthians that is not supported by the Bible (I Cor. 14:2), Jimmy Draper’s book, or common sense. Why would you first ask this invasive question of a missionary? And exactly what would the process be to determine the “legitimacy” of their private tongues

I find the IMB Policy and Practice on this matter most offensive and egregious. Churches are being asked to fund these far out theological conclusions of the IMB. This is tragic. I certainly understand churches that with a good conscience cannot support these policies. The previous policy was working fine. It not only did not contradict Scripture, it didn’t cause a controversy. Why not go back to the prior policy, inasmuch as the trustees admit that there were no personnel violations that triggered the current policy? The tragedy of the IMB Policy is that all Southern Baptists are subjected to the interpretation of a minority of Southern Baptists. The adoption of these cessationist policies, I know for certain, is partly responsible for declining enrollment in some of our seminaries and the reduced funding and lethargic attitude that some SBC churches hold toward the Convention.

III.                A Response to Bart Barber’s “A Posteriori Cessationism” Post

Perhaps the only statement that I agree with Dr. Barber is this:

“Although I do see a New Testament statement that tongues will cease (1 Corinthians 13:8), I tie this event with the occasion when we no longer ‘see through a mirror darkly, but then face to face.’ I connect it with that time when ‘I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.’ In other words, I think that this prophecy is connected to our eternity in heaven. I remain unconvinced by a priori arguments in favor of cessationism, although I love and respect greatly many who seem to hold this view.”

I don’t know Jerry Corbaley personally. I do know Bart Barber. And I can say concerning him as he said of the “a priori cessationist,” “I love and respect greatly” Dr. Bart Barber. If he ever runs for President of the SBC, I would be inclined to vote for him as I supported his election as 1st Vice President.

I fully understand why Jerry Corbaley objects to the labeling of the IMB policy as a “cessationist” policy, given the fact that Barber, Corbaley and I would probably all agree with Bart’s statement quoted above. The three of us are not classical cessationists.

I deeply appreciate Barber labeling his position as “a posteriori cessationist” that he, again, defines as “someone who, if he were to encounter something resembling the biblical gift of tongues, would acknowledge it as such, but who sees no evidence of that gift in operation in present-day Christianity.” As best I can tell, this is Corbaley’s and the IMB’s position on speaking in tongues, which again, is technically not a classical or a “priori cessationist” position, but it is as Barber admits, but not Corbaley “a posteriori cessationist” position.

The basic assumption of “a posteriori cessationism” is that any exercise of speaking in tongues today is to be evaluated or tested to determine whether or not it is authentic or a language spoken somewhere on the face of the earth.

I give Barber credit for arguing his position from a biblical perspective. In my opinion, Barber articulates the IMB position far better than the IMB articulated their position. The biblical basis that Barber gives for requiring an evaluation or test to determine the genuineness of tongues spoken-even in private—today are proof texts found in I John 4:1, “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” and I Corinthians 14:32, where Paul instructs the Corinthian congregation to apply a test to the highest gift. Therefore, Barber concludes, “I think it is safe to say that we are authorized to apply it to all of the gifts.” Barber presents much more of a challenging scriptural and almost convincing argument than the IMB.

Barber argues that “the basic assumption of “a posteriori cessationism” is that such evaluations can and ought to be performed. Barber’s “assumptions” and “evaluations” and “tests” regarding the legitimacy or authenticity of tongues are based on three premises:

“First, tongues-speaking in the bible involved communication. A tongue is a language, not the utterance of random sounds. Somebody somewhere will understand it.”

“Second, all genuine tongues-speaking in the bible was capable of interpretation. …It assumes that the sounds given are coherent, but further assumes that there is such a thing as the gift of interpretation.

“Third, in every sanctioned glossolalia event in the New Testament, somebody did indeed understand or interpret what was said.”

Barber then raises the question, “…do the modern cases that people claim for speaking in tongues measure up to the biblical definition?”

The problem with Barber’s question is that he has not given us the biblical definition, but rather Bart’s definition of tongues. His definition certainly contradicts the explanation of tongues presented by Dr. Draper and Dr. Jack Gray. Bart further argues that, “as the bible clearly demonstrates speaking in tongues (in the genuine spiritual gift) is linguistic and capable of being interpreted.” If Bart’s three premises are correct, then his conclusions are correct. I will demonstrate later why his premises contradict Scripture.

Three more phenomenal quotes form Barber and I will respond:

“Every sanctioned occasion of speaking in tongues in the New Testament had a human audience present.”

“Biblical speaking in tongues, whether in proclamation or in prayer, requires a human audience in order to be effectual, to accomplish the stated goals given for this phenomenon in the New Testament.”

WOW!!! These are startling claims by Bart. But unlike the IMB, I’m grateful that he didn’t label his position the historical Baptists understanding, or what Southern Baptists generally believe. Dr. Malcolm Yarnell in his position paper on “Tongues” mentioned in the introduction, “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.” [Emphasis mine] I deeply appreciate Barber and Yarnell—who holds similar views—for not purporting to speak for all Southern Baptists, as the IMB Position purports to do repeatedly.

Billy Graham, Ken Hemphill, Jimmy Draper, Jack Taylor, Joyce Rodgers, David Rodgers, Jack Gray, Dr. Jack McGorman and other Southern Baptists all have published writings or made statements that are in contradiction to what Barber and the IMB have published on the subject of tongues. Barber is a man of great conviction. He made this startling statement which communicates how confident he is in “A Posteriori Cessationism”:

“Listen to me, I do not make that claim lightly. If the present-day practice of speaking in tongues were a genuine occurance of the biblical gift, then I would be guilty of a serious offront against the Holy Spirit to decry it as false. Yet knowing the stakes here I am willing to make the claim anyway. That is how strong the evidence is, in my opinion.”

  • Bart insists that tongue speaking in the Bible was always a language that somebody somewhere will understand. Paul specifically stated that there is a legitimate tongue spoken that “no one understands” (I Corinthians 14:2). He further stated that if one is speaking in tongues in a public assembly where there is no interpretation, they were simply to do it within as opposed to cease doing it at all. Those of us who speak in tongues certainly understand Paul’s instruction here. “But if there is no interpreter let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and God” (I Cor. 14:28). [Emphasis mine] The IMB Policy does not allow the gifted believer to “speak to himself and God” in tongues within.
  • Bart argues that all genuine tongues speaking in the Bible was capable of interpretation. Again, that statement is a direct contradiction of I Corinthians 14:2. Paul makes it clear in I Corinthians 14:2 that the tongues spoken in prayer to God is a “mystery” understood by no one but God. Again, this verse specifically and clearly refutes Bart’s assertions. There was no audience present in I Corinthians 14:2 as Bart asserts. It was a conversation in prayer between God and the believer. When Paul prayed in tongues in private, there was not human audience present (beyond Paul). Why Bart insists that it is biblically necessary to have an audience present is beyond me, if he takes I Cor. 14:2 at face value, and Paul’s testimony of his own private prayers.
  • It is interesting that the IMB and Bart limit their “a posteriori cessationist” theory to the gift of tongues. If tongues could be disqualified based on these spurious claims, you could also as easily concoct spurious reasons to disqualify the other gifts—which we know that some have done.
  • Paul never instructed persons praying in tongues in private as in I Corinthians 14:2, to submit or subject their private prayer lives to the scrutiny, evaluation, or testing of other believers, to weigh the authenticity of their private prayers. Paul gave instructions as Bart points out, to certainly subject prophecy to a test. If Paul found it necessary or valuable to subject private tongues to an evaluation or tests, it appears that the guidelines he thought were necessary related to private tongues and the gifts, he delineated them clearly and understandably. Paul would have instructed the Corinthian Church to evaluate or test private speaking in tongues if he thought that was necessary as Bart, Corbaley, and the IMB thinks. Why the IMB and Bart would impose an evaluation, examination, or test on believers’ private prayers that Paul did not insist on, is a mystery to me.

Again, I trust Paul as a greater authority on this subject than Barber or the IMB. Either we have to trust the way Bart and the IMB connect the dots, or trust what Paul said. I’d rather trust Paul.

  • If Bart’s and the IMB’s assertion is true, that tongues in every instance spoken in Scripture, is a legitimate language of a people group spoken, then, I don’t know that I would disagree with Bart or the IMB policy. The Bible never states that tongues is always a legitimate language of a people group. Why then would we build a doctrine and alienate believers over an assertion, argument, or assumption that cannot be backed by Scripture? If Barber’s assertions are true, many other Southern Baptists are flat wrong. But why build a doctrine or policy on an issue where we as a Convention lack a unity of understanding and practice?
  • I agree with Bart on another statement. The “a Posteriori Cessationism” position is borderline blasphemy. I also believe that we are seeing and experiencing the displeasures of God with these policies with the inability to fund missionaries. It is almost unfathomable that the SBC would have qualified missionaries ready to go on the mission field, but cannot go because of a lack of funds. Prior to the adoption of the IMB Policy, I never heard tell of the SBC laying off missionaries and not funding others, due to a lack of funds.
  • The IMB brand of cessationism is a blatant act of discrimination against those SBC believers who desire to be missionaries but who are gifted by the Holy Spirit to pray in tongues in private. Thank God, it is not a discrimination based on skin color; it is based on charismata—“charis”- grace, “mata”- gifts. This discrimination is based on gifts of grace. The SBC requires no other gift to stand up to this type of test and scrutiny. Why tongues?
  • It reminds me of the poll tax, literacy tests and questionnaires that many of American Citizens were subjected to for the privilege of voting.

Why does the SBC engage in this kind of discrimination toward persons who speak in tongues? If the SBC took church planters through these kinds of evaluations or tests to see if they were gifted evangelist, the church planters’ failure rate would not be so unusually high.

The SBC reserves this level of test and evaluation only for people who pray in tongues in private on the basis of I Cor. 14:2. God cannot be pleased with this.

  • Bart’s argument that prophecy requires testing and evaluation is scriptural. Bart’s argument for testing and evaluation of tongues is not scriptural.

Prophecy was done publicly, and it could have a binding effect on the lives of fellow believers and the Church. Praying in tongues in private is not public nor does anything said in private prayer hold a binding effect on others or the Church. Therefore, you cannot compare the two with regard to test and evaluation. This is simply a case of emotional prejudice toward tongues that is now IMB Policy.

  • Finally, Jerry, Bart, and/or whoever cares to answer:  Men who are highly regarded and loved in evangelicalism have openly admitted to speaking in tongues. Men such as Jack Taylor, Peter Lord, Jim Cymbala, Jack Hayford, Sam Storms, Ken Ulmer, Jerry Rankin, E.V. Hill, Jr. (who followed his father as pastor of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in LA) and multiple thousands of believers.  Do you believe that these men should submit themselves to the assumptions, evaluations, and test that are required by your brand of cessationism? And, what do you attribute their tongues speaking to:  (1) The Holy Spirit, (2) Their natural mind, (3) The Devil, (4) or some other source.

Thanks again Jerry, for asking the question. I hope that I answered you adequately and respectfully. My bottom line is this:  Either we believe the assumptions, arguments, and assertions of the IMB Position Paper and Bart Barber, or we are going to trust the Word of God. I choose to trust God’s Word.


  1. Dave Miller says

    The strange fact is that many of you have little knowledge of the 2005 IMB policies adopted that were the genesis of much of the popularity of Baptist blogging. For those many of you who don’t like me, blame those policies. It’s what got me involved!

    This was a hot topic – those were unruly wild west days for Baptist bloggers.

    But the issue is still real. Please read the post.

    Posts responding to this one will follow.

    I will share this with you – my “vision” for SBC Voices is that it would be a place of serious theological and methodological debate for Southern Baptists. This post (and the responses) will hopefully spur that kind of debate!

    Two issues are key here:

    1) The Biblical – what does the Bible teach about the work of the Holy Spirit today?
    2) The Practical – will the SBC be a welcoming place with those who differ on this issue? (ie – is there a place in the SBC for those who practice a private prayer language?)

    • cb scott says

      “The strange fact is that many of you have little knowledge of the 2005 IMB policies adopted that were the genesis of much of the popularity of Baptist blogging.”

      Dave Miller, you have stated a fact. You are also right. It is a strange fact. That one issue birthed a nation, the Baptist Blog World. I am often amazed how little of that history is known by the new “citizens” of the Baptist Blog World.

      • Doug Hibbard says

        Well, some of us entered Blog World for other reasons, then realized that we were Baptists and came looking for Baptist Blog World.

        Although I knew the debate was occurring in 05, I mainly heard it characterized as on “internet message boards.” And in the company that I was frequently among at the time, that was akin to claiming that the dissenters were strategizing in strip clubs amid moonshine and whiskey.

        I personally became concerned over the direction of IMB personnel policy, and the SBC in general, over the manner in which implementing BFM2K occurred. I saw the IMB personnel policies as an extension of that event–but that was years ago, and I may seem them differently now. I’m not sure.

          • volfan007 says

            The reason I started blogging was because I heard about a Baptist blogger promoting the idea of drinking hooch…that it was okay.


      • Jake Barker says

        CB & Dave,
        I agree with both of you in this regard. But those of us that I label as “baptismatic” were in this bold new frontier of “email groups and news groups” as early as 1995, shortly after Algore invented the internet. 😉 Dwight, I thank you for your studied and intelligent post. You have expressed very well the argument that I have tried (and failed) to make for years.

      • says

        For the record, my site was actually set up many, many months before the start of the IMB debacle.

        –cue the Barbara Mandrell background music–I was blogging, when blogging wasn’t cool.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      Your two questions here are crucial. It appears to me that many have concluded the answer to your question # 2 is, No!!!! I recently attended a meeting of Association of Related Churches with about 3000 pastors and churches represented. Their main thrust is church planting. Many of them were former Southern Baptists or those who do not wish to be Southern Baptist. Not because of the BF&M, but rather, because of the IMB policies that broad the whole convention with the stigma of being charisphobic cessationists. I really wish that the SBC would give a definitive answer to this question. At this point there are those of us who are unsure whether or not we belong to or are really welcome in the SBC family, because the SBC thus far has refused to answer this question. It baffles me as to why that can’t have the backbone of a Bart Barber, or a David Rogers and give a definitive answer to this question. Thanks for letting me be a part of the family at voices. I deeply appreciate it.

      • says

        Brother Dwight,

        Thank you for your gracious words, and your efforts toward generating a reasoned discussion. Currently there are 67 comments. And I would thank everyone for having a kind and Christian conversation.

        • Dwight McKissic says

          Brother Jerry,

          Glad you stopped by. I wrote with some trepidation because it was my goal not to offend you or address this subject in response to your question in a manner that was inconsistent with the beautiful spirit by which you raised the question. Your comments relieve my concerns that I might not have accomplished my goal. Thanks again for answering the question.

          I hope that you will write a post responding to this one, that includes answers to questions that I raise in this post. Be blessed, and I sure hope to meet you one day.

          • says

            Brother Dwight,

            Eternity is a long, long, time. We are sure to serve and worship together eventually. And I hope we meet as mortals, too.

            I am not offended by what you wrote, not even close.

            I look forward to the discussion.

  2. John Wylie says

    Outstanding article even though I tend to be more in agreement with Bart Barber on this, but if we could all discuss this with Christian charity this affords us a tremendous opportunity to come to some mutual understanding.

    First, I am of the camp that tongues in the Bible was never some heavenly language. I think Paul was using hyperbolic language in 1 Corinthians 13 and he was basically saying, “Even if I could speak with the tongues of angels and men…” He never says that he or anyone else actually spoke with the tongues of angels.

    Also, I would like to know the difference in your opinion between orthodox and conservative. I actually believe they are synonyms insofar as theology is concerned.

    Thank you so much for writing this article and providing all of this opportunity to have a respectful and fruitful conversation on this subject.

    Also, I know I pastor a small church in southern Oklahoma, but would it be possible for you to come and preach for me some time? I would take you to the bbq place in the whole world. believe or not I’m a Texan but this place has us beat.

      • Dwight McKissic says


        I have appreciated your blog commentary. Thanks for your commentary here. I love good BBQ, and I love preaching in small towns. Just recently, I preached in Houston on a Thursday on a Thursday morning; in Cuero, Tx. on that Thursday Night and Friday Night. Caught a plane from Austin(near Cuero) and flew back to Dallas to address ten thousand church leaders in Bishop Jakes conference, and returned to preach in Cuero. Yesterday I was scheduled to preach in Mt. Pleasant, Tx. So, yes!!! I would love to meet you and if you continue to feel led, I would welcome an opportunity to share Christ through the preaching of His Word at your church.

        • John Wylie says

          Thanks Dwight,

          Here is my email address: so that we correspond about a possible date. I’m certain that I want you to come and preach for a number of reasons that I will correspond with you about in either email or over the phone if you wish.

  3. volfan007 says

    Hi Dwight,

    I hold with the position that real, Biblical, tongue speaking is speaking a known language, which is unknown to the speaker. And, I’m a Cautious Cessationist….lol. I believe that this gift has faded out…no longer a need for it. But, if God wanted someone to have this gift, again, then, of course, it would happen. For instance, if someone went to a remote tribe in South America, and they spoke some unusual language, and God gave some missionary the ability to speak this language, in order to convert this tribe; then, amen! But, for the most part, I believe this is one of the gifts that began to fade away after the Scriptures were written, and the Church was going strong.

    Also, Dwight, and please don’t get mad at me, Brother….but, I do believe that the ecstatic utterance, “tongue speaking” that goes on, today, is nothing more than the natural mind and emotionalism. I do believe that people can work themselves into an emotional state where they can speak in ecstatic utterances.

    And, Dwight, I believe Paul talked about this kind of tongue speaking…. not to teach it as alright and okay…but, to show that it’s not a good thing… doesnt benefit anyone, but the person, who works themselves up….and gives themselves an emotionally high feeling. But, it’s not sinful. It’s not a sin to have a prayer language. And, if it does someone some emotional good…well, there’s nothing sinful about it. But, in my opinion, and from my studies of this topic, ecstatic utterances is not the real, true, Biblical gift of tongues.


    • Frank L. says


      What is the language of “angels?” Where is this spoken on earth? (1Corinthians 13:1). The genitive “of men” is set off distinctively from the genitive “of angels.” They cannot be the same but two different categories.

      And, what did Paul mean that “if a man speaks in a tongue he speaks to God and not to man?”

      I understand your position because I grew up with it. Unfortunately, not everything I learned as a child about the Bible has stood the test of time, scholarly inquiry, or my experience.

      • Frank L. says

        I think the bigger question is why tongues is singled-out as out of bounds according to official agency policy. It seems to me that would be as wrong as singling out a particular eschatological view, or even Calvinism or Non-Calvinism.

        Where do we stop cutting? When are we into the good flesh?

        • Doug Hibbard says

          Frank, tongues isn’t the only position, though it may be the only gift. IMB also has a position on alcohol that some would dispute.

          Not wanting to stir that pot, but just to point out it’s not the only one.

          • Frank L. says

            I was speaking in regard to “gifts.” I was aware of the baptism issue also, as well as alcohol.

        • volfan007 says


          My view would be a “dont ask…dont tell” position…..or, a “dont do it in public, and dont teach it, and we’re okay” position.


      • volfan007 says


        “Speaks to God” means that no one else can understand the ecstatic utterance…..only God could understand it…because it means nothing… it’s emotional.

        Something else to keep in mind….Paul was actually “getting onto” the Corinthian Believers in 1 and 2 Corinthians. They were very fleshly, worldly Believers, who had a ton of problems. And, one of those problems was that they were practicing ecstatic utterance, just like the Temple Prostitutes in the Temple of Aphrodite were doing. They were doing the ecstatic utterance thing…..and, Paul was teaching them that ecstatic utterance was no benefit to the Body of Christ…..emotionally, it might do the one speaking it some good…in an emotional sense… but, it was confusing and would make lost people think Believers were crazy if they saw them doing these things in public worship….


        • David Rogers says


          If Paul’s real issue was the Corinthians’ “ecstatic utterances,” why didn’t he just tell them that was false, and to quit it?

          As I read 1 Cor. 12-14, there is never any instruction to quit speaking in tongues, but rather just to quit doing it in church if there were no one who could interpret what they were saying.

          If Paul didn’t believe what they were doing was authentic tongues, this doesn’t make any sense. Why not just tell them, straight up, what they were doing was not the real thing, and to quit it?

          • David Rogers says


            I’m happy to hear you agree with me on this. I do see how it is consistent with your overall argument. To move the discussion one step further, though, I would ask you to take into consideration 1 Cor. 14:14: “For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful,” and 1 Cor. 14:17: “For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up.”

            If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the person speaking in tongues may well not understand what they are saying, but what comes out of their mouth will be perfectly understandable to people from one particular people group on the globe without the need for interpretation. At the same time, though, following v. 17, though you don’t understand enough to be able to interpret, you do understand enough to know that, behind the words you are speaking, what you are doing is “giving thanks” to God.

            So, following this line of thinking, a person with a supernatural gift for speaking XYZ-language (but without a corresponding gift for understanding or interpreting it) might be tempted to use this gift in a church meeting, even though there was no one present from the XYZ people group who understood the XYZ-language.

            To be honest, I guess that is a technically possible scenario, but one I find very unlikely. Why would someone want to pray in XYZ-language if there were no one there to understand it?

            Unless… there were some way in which praying in XYZ-language was a particularly satisfying spiritual experience that connected with them and edified them at a spiritual level that praying in Greek did not. In such a case, it would seem to me, we are right back at PPL though. Praying in XYZ-language in a congregation of Greek speakers is no better than praying in a supposed angelic language or “ecstatic utterance.” It all amounts to the same thing, since neither the one praying nor the ones hearing understand a word of what is being said.

            Also, why would Paul encourage them to go ahead and pray in XYZ-language if there were an interpreter present? Would it not make a whole lot more sense just to pray in Greek and skip the need for an interpreter?

            So, why allow for praying in XYZ-language without understanding it, while at the same time forbid praying in so-called angelic languages or “ecstatic utterances”? Would not the better solution be to not pray in either XYZ-language (if no XYZ speakers are present) or in a so-called angelic language in church, while at the same time allowing for doing either in one’s private devotions?

            *I know this argument is a bit convoluted, but hopefully you (and others) can follow what I am getting at here.

          • says


            I do have difficulty following all your line of reason. But I may have some of it.

            Would it help you to understand where I am coming from if I restate that I have always believed it is possible for tongues to include the utterance of an angelic language? In such a case, an interpreter would be most helpful, yes?

            As a side note, pure speculation, it is possible that the evil angels developed words for thoughts and practices that holy angels had no use for; and that in that sense there could be more than one heavenly language. But I cannot see any basis other than wild speculation that there are many, many, many angelic languages.

            (I think we may both be taking for granted that we remember past conversations on this topic. And those who read us for the first time here might think we can’t put many sentences together without being off on a tangent. )

          • David Rogers says


            I think it may be worthwhile to try to work through together what I am saying, even if it is a bit convoluted. If, perhaps, you follow me on the first two paragraphs, but something in the third, or fourth, etc. causes confusion, let me know… that would help me in trying to clarify myself. I think it may be a worthwhile endeavor, because I think our differences of interpretation on glossolalia may well hinge on what we each do with my line of reasoning here.

          • David Rogers says


            Though I wouldn’t mind discussing this over the phone, I think it makes more sense in this case to try to do it here in the comment stream, since we can go back and look more carefully at what is said, and, this way, others can follow along in the conversation, and jump in as well.

            Let’s try it this way.

            Part 1.
            I would ask you to take into consideration 1 Cor. 14:14: “For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful,” and 1 Cor. 14:17: “For you may very well be giving thanks, but the other person is not being built up.”

            If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the person speaking in tongues may well not understand what they are saying, but what comes out of their mouth will be perfectly understandable to people from one particular people group on the globe without the need for interpretation. At the same time, though, following v. 17, though you don’t understand enough to be able to interpret, you do understand enough to know that, behind the words you are speaking, what you are doing is “giving thanks” to God.

            Do you follow what I am saying thus far? Any points of clarification or of disagreement?

          • David Rogers says

            Also, with regard to “tongues of angels,” I should probably clarify that I am not 100% convinced that private prayer languages are necessarily “tongues of angels.” I think there is valid reason to take the reference in 1 Cor. 13:1 as rhetorical and hypothetical, though I do not rule out the possibility there are actual tongues of angels and that at least some of what goes on in PPL is speaking angelic languages. If, however, that is indeed what Paul has in mind, I see no more evidence favoring only one tongue of angels over plural tongues of angels. After all, Paul does not say “the tongues of men and the tongue of angels.” He says “the tongues of men and of angels,” which I take to mean “the tongues of men and the tongues of angels.”

          • Frank L. says

            David, part of the problem in 1Corinthians in regard to “tongues” is that the text focuses on the misuse of tongues in a public service (among other things).

            It mentions “different kinds of tongues” which cessationists interpret as “different human languages.” The “kinds” of tongues could refer to different operations of varying languages.

            For example: Ford, Chevy, etc. are different kinds of transportation, just as trains, planes, and automobiles are different kinds of transportation (my apologies to Steve Martin).

            I don’t think one can automatically suppose that Paul is dealing with all the different ways in which supernatural utterances can manifest in 1Corinthians.

            Several instances in Acts indicate that some language other than an earthly language is being spoken.

            I don’t know enough Greek to make a case of how much weight to put on singulars verses plurals. You may have a point there.

        • says


          As you correctly note, the context of this passage is of paramount importance. The priestess cult had invaded the Corinthian church, and brought with them a plant that they would inhale the fumes from, get high and babble incoherently, Paul understandably said this must stop, and aimed his command particularly toward these women by telling them to “be silent in the church.”

          The application here is equally important. I think we have the authority based on these passages to tell our people not to disrupt the service while on an acid trip. But I’m equally sure Paul didn’t have cessationism in mind.

          • Frank L. says

            So we should avoid any interruption by God if it is not in the order of service? Seems Baptist have mastered this.

        • Frank L. says

          So it means nothing to God when a child pours out His heart?

          Why then does God not say stop?

          Someone else has pointed this out

          I’m assuming “it’s emotional” implies emotions are bad. Many Baptist churches practice emotionless worship but I see no injunction in the Word to avoid emotions.

          • volfan007 says


            The spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet. I am not saying that we shouldn’t have emotions, or that we can’t change the order of a worship service…of course, we should have emotions…God gave us emotions, and we should use them. In fact, if you’d be in Church with me, today, you might’ve thought you were worshipping with a Pentecostal…a mild Pentecostal… lol.

            But, we weren’t talking about emotions, or changing the order of the worship service….we weren’t talking about the Holy Spirit moving and working, today….of course, He does…thankfully, He does…

            We were talking about tongues and miraculous sign gifts… when the Apostles died….the sign gifts faded…..


          • Frank L. says

            “””when the Apostles died….the sign gifts faded…..”””

            David, this is quoted all the time in support of cessationism. Can you give me the text that you base this on, or is it just an assumption?

            Or, is a presumption based upon what you think “should” be the case?

          • John Wylie says

            I believe according to 1 Corinthians 13 tongues and prophecy are partial, temporary and for a time of spiritual immaturity. 1 Cor. 13:8-11

            But tonight after supper I’m going to go back and revisit those passages used to justify a private prayer language. Insofar as the book of Acts is concerned I don’t know of a passage that indicates that the gift of tongues is anything other than known languages. But I’m certainly willing to look at them if anyone could tell me where they are.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      Thanks for weighing in. You told us what you thought Paul was saying, and your conclusions on the subject. But what I really want to know is; does your position represent the SBC? And if it does, why won’t the SBC make this the official position?

      You certainly are entitled to your opinion as I am to mine. But, before NAMB, SWBTS, and IMB adopted these charisphobic policies, the SBC was fine. It was only after we adopted these policies that the decline took place in our convention. I certainly believe that there is a correlation.

      • volfan007 says


        I just cant agree that the Cessationist positions of the IMB, NAMB, and SWBTS is what led to the decline of the SBC. I think there’s a whole lot of other factors going on…leading to the lower baptisms, lower attendance, etc. I just dont believe the Cessationist position has nothing….absolutely nothing….to do with any decline.

        Dwight, I really think the SBC should take a “Dont do tongues in public….dont teach it….keep it private, prayer language….and we’re okay” should be followed. I think the problem would be if someone started teaching “tongues” to new Believers in new Churches, or in Seminary….THEN, it would be a big, big problem in my opinion.


        • Dwight McKissic says


          Wow!!! We are on the same page. What you described was basically the policy before it was unnecessarily was changed. Please understand that my position is not that we become like “Benny Hinn” or any charismatic leader or church. My position is that we simply return to the previous policy, that was obviously working very well.

          Volfan, Dr. Gray only taught about spiritual gifts. He did not teach people to speak in tongues. I have no way of knowing whether or not he did. He never sais in the class that I was in. If a person has the gift, why do they have to keep quiet about it? I agree that we should only be evangelists for Jesus, not tongues. Why would we single this gift out as the only one you can’t acknowledge?

          But, by and large, I agree with what you have said here. Again, what you’ve stated represent the policy that worked.

          As it relates to the decline and the policy? Have you ever heard the word-judgement? If the Bible affirms the gift of tongues, if we adopt official policies denying tongues, why wouldn’t God judge us?

  4. Dwight McKissic says

    I will be engaged in a ministry responsibility for the next 3-4 hrs. When I return, I plan to respond to comments.

    Dave, thanks for facilitating dialogue with the SBC family. Thanks for allowing me to contribute to this process & discussion. You asked a pertinent question: are persons who pray in tongues in private welcome in the SBC? And if so, to what extent are they welcome? I wish those who comment would respond to your question. Thanks.


    • cb scott says

      “I will be engaged in a ministry responsibility for the next 3-4 hrs.”

      Interpretation = For the next 3-4 hours, I will be downloading an old R.G. Lee sermon and practicing preaching it in front of the mirror for tomorrow’s service. Then I will get back to you fellows and set you straight on a few things.

      • John Wylie says

        ROFL!!! CB you are crazy. How did you know how I get messages when I’m in a pinch?

        • Doug Hibbard says

          John, just find some good sermon podcasts and learn to lip-sync.

          My people are convinced that on my best days, I sound like Adrian Rogers, Fred Luter, or John MacArthur.

          On my normal days, I sound more like… (redacted)

          On my bad days, I sound like me. They think I have a special voice when preaching :)

      • Dwight McKissic says


        You know me all to well -:). That is sometimes my Saturday Night routine. But, thankfully I got a guests preacher Sunday. That allowed me time to devote to this post. I had to pick him and his wife up, and take them out to dinner. Therefore, I was absent from my post of duty here for a few hours. We ate quail, elk, bison, and deer at Bonnel’s in Ft. Worth. You need to come and see me so that I can take you there.

  5. Christiane says

    Hi Dr. McKISSIC,

    I found something that I wonder if you could comment on, this:

    “St. Paul’s test for judging gifts of the Spirit may still be the best.

    If speaking in tongues (or any other gift) brings genuine wisdom, understanding, right judgment, knowledge, and reverence to a person or a community,
    it’s likely to be a genuine gift of the Spirit.

    If a community which practices speaking in tongues is also characterized by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trust, gentleness, humility, generosity, mercy, justice and truth,
    then it seems evident that the Holy Spirit is at work there.

    If, however, speaking in tongues leads to elitism, a sense of some Christians being “in” and others “out”, anger, dissension or divisiveness, then that particular faith community may be focusing too much on the gift of tongues to the detriment of other gifts which might more effectively build up its unity. ”

    I would appreciate your thoughts, if you have the time and inclination to respond, and thank you for being a voice for the end of racism among all Christian people . . . if your gift of tongues has inspired you with the courage to fight the good fight, then it is a valid and holy gift in my opinion. God bless.

  6. dean says

    I am sure that over the next few days we will dissect the various passages that have been mentioned in Dwight’s post. I want to make two confessions and three observations. 1) I read through the post quickly and need to read it several more times to digest it all. 2) I am a modified cessationist. I believe the sign gifts have ceased but not the work of the Holy Spirit in the everyday life of the believer.

    My three observations are: 1) It seems the premise is that we must reverse the IMB policy on tongues in order for the SBC to return to her glory. That is a very difficult position to hold. Southern Baptist have had little if any charismatic practices throughout her history. We were known as a convention that did not practice speaking in tongues throughout our glory days. 2) Dwight says it is “shoddy scholarship” not to recognize the unbroken chain of speaking in tongues since the days of the apostles and he would need a separate post to discuss the shoddy scholarship. I recommend he begin working on that. The number of resources that state such are numerous. Millard Erickson in his systematic work says the data from history can be used by both the charismatic and the cessationist to argue their point. 3) “So called” Azusa Street Revival does not have to be emotionally hostile toward Pentecostals or racially motivated. One argument by cessationists is that those who did practice tongues throughout history had unorthodox beliefs on a number of major doctrines. “So called” revival could simply mean that one does not believe it to be a genuine revival. That belief can be arrived at without emotional hostility and racial motivation.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      The IMB policy on tongues prior to the adoption in 2005 of the more restrictive policy, as I recall it, was basically that missionaries could not speak in tongues in public. In our glory years that was the policy, and much more in line with Scripture. I am not at all arguing that we adopt charismatic practices–whatever they are. I am simply asking that we return to the policy that served us so well for so long. The IMB admits that the policy was not changed to personnel abuse. So why did it change? Was God pleased with the change? Did the change line up with Scripture?

      If the Azusa Revival was not a genuine revival, would you please list the reasons why not? And would you contrast and compare your reasons with the Sandy Creek revival? Whatever reasons that you give to disqualify Azusa as a genuine revival, if you are historically honest and accurate you will also have to disqualify Sandy Creek.

      • Dean says

        Dwight, you have failed to prove the link to the IMB position on tongues with the decline in the SBC. The decline started about the time churches quit having revivals, that worship styles changed, that preachers quit wearing ties and MTV became popular. One has to demonstrate the coralation somehow. Our convention had few practice speaking in tongues in its glory days

        I am not saying Asuza was legit or not only that your conclusions why the IMB used “so called” were narrow. If a person rejects charismatic practices as being legitimate they can say “so called” revival without emotion or race being a reason.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          I am not saying that my observation belongs in the canon of Scripture. I don’t recall the IMB not being able to fund missionaries before the policy change. I am watching the churches that God has His hands on, and the growth of the church worldwide. I can’t think of one of them who holds to the charisphobic cessationism position. Neither are many of them “charismatic.” They simply hold the same view and practice concerning tongues that the IMB did before 2005. You are right about the fact that I can’t prove a correlation, neither will I attempt to prove this. It is simply my belief and observation. I respect your right to not accept at face value my belief and observation regarding this matter.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          One more thing. If the reason the IMB referred to Azusa as “so-called” is because of charismatic practices, then they are simultaneously saying the all Pentecostal/Charismatic churches are illegitimate. And because the eyewitness descriptions of the Sandy Creek worship services very much fit the descriptions of many charismatic churches today; please explain how do you justify and defend the IMB labeling the Azusa Revival as “so-called” but not Sandy Creek?

      • says

        Brother Dwight,

        I’m curious.

        You said, “The IMB policy on tongues prior to the adoption in 2005 of the more restrictive policy, as I recall it, was basically that missionaries could not speak in tongues in public. In our glory years that was the policy, and much more in line with Scripture”.

        How does that compare with 1 Corinthians 14:39b? “Do not forbid speaking in tongues”?

        • Dwight McKissic says

          Brother Jerry,

          I really would need to review the pre-2005 policy in order to properly respond. Your question again is a valid question. As Dr. Draper said, the primary purpose & value of tongues today for those so gifted by the Holy Spirit is for private devotions, not public display. I don’t recall if the pre-2005 policy forbade public tongues where there was interpretation or not? But even it did, I recognize that that would be a compromising position on my part. But for the sake of peace & the advancement of the Kingdom, it is a compromise that I could live with. Certainly, The Lord’s hand of blessing was on our convention when that was the policy. Hope this sufficiently answers your question, if not, let me know & I will try again.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      If Millard Erickson’s….”data from history can be used by both the charismatic and cessationist to argue their point,” doesn’t that prove my point? And that is there is sufficient historical evidence to show that tongue speaking in the modern era did not begin in 1906 at Azusa, but there is historical evidence that it was occurring ongoing from biblical days until today. I plan to eventually compile the evidence and perhaps write s post on it. But based on what you quote from Erickson–if I am understanding his quote correctly–he acknowledges that the charismatic can argue their point that data from history documents a pre Azusa existence of tongue speaking in the modern era.

      • Dwight McKissic says



        In Sam Storm’s book on Twenty Five Answers To Questions, he answers the question about the existence of tongues in history prior to Azusa, back to the Bible days. He provides ample evidence to refute the false notion that modern tongues launched at Azusa.

        • dean says

          Dwight, brother I certainly don’t want this to be a tit for tat discussion. I want to honor you and the Lord with my response. I would share with you that I can name as many sources as you who offer ample evidence to refute the false notion that tongues has been in existence throughout church history. I will begin with Anthony Hoekema’s book, “What About Tongue-Speaking?” which was published by Eerdmans in 1966. (Dwight I may never forgive you for making me use a Calvinist as a resource for my argument) :)

          As for as your interacting with my Erickson comment, your reply proves his point completely. Erickson is arguing that interpretation of history can be done my both groups in such a way to argue from history cessation and continual beliefs. However, notice that you chose to agree with the portion of his statement you liked and did not interact with the other portion the one that states- one can argue from history tongues have not continued. His point is we do the same thing with history. We tend to interpret it through the filters of our life experiences and beliefs.

          If it matters, while I am a modified cessationist I do not believe it is necessary for the IMB to draft such a position. What we were doing throughout our history was not overly problematic. I say this because I was told that Keith Parks did remove some missionaries for unBiblical practices concerning tongues.

          • Dwight McKissic says


            I am thankful & impressed with the # of persons who have commented on this thread that they are cessationist but have no problem with the pre-2005 policy. If the cessationist & contiualist can agree on restoring the pre-2005 policy, then this problem is solved. I hope that the trustees are at least reading & weighing what’s being said on this blog. Thanks for your response. Occasionally a Calvinist will get it right, but not in this case -:).

          • Frank L. says


            I have not read this source, yet. But a question comes to mind. If scholars can use historical study to prove tongues ceased, that is not the same as proving tongues ceases because men were faithful to God’s Word. So, what would have been proved.

            Could it not prove that there were times when God’s people were not faithful to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Were there not times when godliness ceased full expression in the life of Israel? So, I’m not sure what is being proven, or disproven, from history–regardless of what track you follow.

            Second, I would ask: does your sources only prove (according to your reading) that tongues ceased? If so, why just tongues? Why not all manner of Spiritual manifestations? It just seems suspicious that it’s all about tongues for many people.

            I’d submit that most churches never see any manifestation of God’s Spirit moving in power like in the Book of Acts. It seems that when one throws out tongues, all Spiritual manifestation goes with it.

            If the IMB was wrong about “tongues,” then I think it is very sound reasoning to say that they parted ways with the blessing of God when they voted the full operation of His Spirit out.

            I am a very conservative person by nature. I began my young educational career as a chemist. I am very skeptic by nature of anything that cannot be proven in a laboratory.

            But, I cannot deny how God has manifested Himself to me in regard to the miraculous.

            I really don’t think the problem surfaced at IMB in regard to tongues alone. I think Baptist have an issue with the Holy Spirit in general. As someone has said above, or maybe below, Baptists have always resisted anything that looked “charismatic.” Of course, that is an overly broad statement, but i think it has wide application.

            I’m concerned we have indeed put a governor on our spiritual engine because of the issue of tongues, and broader issue of the Holy Spirit’s activity in our world.

          • Dean says

            Frank, I am in Academies resting while my teenage boy shops. I will have to be brief. I would say that I stayed out of the fray on the exposition and answered Dwight on a few observations I made. One is that he took the position that it was poor scholarship to declare tongues ceased. I argued that there are tremendous scholars who hold the opposite view on history and tongue speaking. I gave one who is a world class scholar by most any standard. Dwight cited another world class scholar on the opposite side. My point is that this history is open for interpretation and Dwight’s statement was mighty bold.

            You are correct that history is not the standard. I do not arrive as a modified cessationist from history. I arrive at that conclusion from a study of I Cor. In particular chapter 13 and the first few chapters of Hebrews. I also do not believe in an apolstic succession through history. For this reason I believe the sign gifts identifying apostles have ceased.

            As for your suspicion of only tongues being debated, it is the only one that is necessary. I don’t see anyone raising the dead or having their shadows fall on crippled people and them hopping up. I’m am equally suspicious that the other sign gifts are not practiced with regularity by those who speak in tongues regularly. Frank, thank you for the exchange.

          • Frank L. says

            Thanks Dean. We differ in some significant ways. Your position if I am understanding you correctly rests on an arbitrary differentiation of gifts.

            What verse or verses justify this categorization? What verse tells us that certain gifts passed with the death of the last apostle?

            It seems this position lacks biblical warrant. At least enough to make such significant decisions

  7. says

    Dwight, in our previous exchange on this issue, you asked what I thought people were doing when they were claiming to speak in tongues. Here’s a documentary of an evangelist who came clean on how he manipulated Christians to do all sorts of things. I’m not saying this represents what’s taking place all across the movement. I’m just suggesting that this is one possible way how the gifts can be manipulated and produced in people:


    • Dwight McKissic says


      You are correct. The gifts can be manipulated, including the gift of evangelism. Many false professions have been made because of abuse by evangelists. However, as you know, that is not a good reason to not allow evangelists to exercise their gifts; and neither is someone manipulating and abusing tongues a reason to outlaw the gift of tongues. To allow tongues because of abuse is a charisphobic response. Paul gave us some good rules to regulate tongues. If we practice tongues according to his rules, all will be well.

      Congratulations, Mr. Vice President.

      • says

        Dwight, I agree brother. I wouldn’t disallow the use of the gifts because of their abuse. People abuse “expository” preaching as well, but I still pursue it.

        I, however, am an unashamed cessationist because I believe that’s what the Bible teaches. I believe the purpose of the miraculous spiritual gifts has been fulfilled and they are no longer needed. Thus, I believe they’ve ceased. I hope to write a book on the subject one day.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          Can you say in a few sentences–if you don’t mind please sir,–what is your biblical basis for your unashamedly cessationist position? What I am asking for is not you r argument or rationale; but what is your biblical basis? Thanks in advance for your response>

          • says

            Dwight, I believe the purpose of the miraculous gifts was to validate the truth being presented. Since the New Testament truths have been validated, they do not need constant re-validation. Thus, I believe the miraculous spiritual gifts have ceased. It must be noted, however, this does not mean that miracles do not take place. God can do what He wants. He’s God.

          • Dean says

            Jared Moore, for the first time in your reign of terror I am proud to have you as an officer of the SBC. Now I must go shower for I feel dirty. :)

          • Dave Miller says

            I think the request, Jared, is that you support that not with philosophical statements, but with exegetical proofs.

            The NT is a “charismatic” (Spirit at work) docusment and strict cessationism asserted without much textual support. Cessationism is a philosophy, not exegetically supported.

          • says

            Dwight & Dean, I, however, believe CP monies should go to support church plants and missionaries that believe the miraculous spiritual gifts are continuing and those who believe they’ve ceased, so long as the gifts are practiced biblically, found in Scripture, done in order, and are viewed as the lowest of the gifts (as Paul says). The word of God (Scripture) must be the emphasis, not the miraculous spiritual gifts.

      • Dwight McKissic says


        You gave me an argument or explaination for your cessationist viewpoint. But the question was/is what is your biblical basis for holding to cessationism?

    • Frank L. says

      Jared. That is a classic genetic fallacy. This similar to saying Hitler wore boots so people who where boots hate Jews.

      This link is no proof of anything.

      • Frank L. says

        Except it proves there are liars and cheats in the world.

        A counterfeit implies an original.

  8. says


    As I already said over at your posting of this article on your personal blog, this is a great article. I hope people will seriously engage the exegetical and practical issues at stake. Yes, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, but I agree with you this is an issue that still calls out for resolution, and may indeed possibly be one reason (among others) for a lessening of our effectiveness as Southern Baptists and God’s blessing upon us.

    There is so much to be said about this subject. And I have already done so elsewhere. I give a summary with a lot of other links here:

    I also gave some exegetical insights responding to an article on PPL and the IMB written by Hershael York, who was one of the leading scholars on the IMB BoT advising them regarding the position they ended up taking, here:

    I believe the answers to the questions at stake here are not going to found in “drive-by” comments, but rather in serious engagement with the evidence of Scripture and an open mind to consider options than what one has traditionally believed.

    As I mentioned on the first article I link to above, a few years back Alan Cross wrote one of the best expositions on this subject I have seen to date. For some reason, his articles on PPL are no longer available on the archives at his blog. Perhaps he will check in here and add his valuable insights as well.

  9. David (NAS) Rogers says

    While I do not support every expression of so-called tongues-speaking today I wish to chime in and say that I believe Bro. McKissic, Sr. has made some excellent points. I do not currently practice speaking in tongues but I hold to the position that Bro. McKissic and the late Dr. L. Jack Gray present. In my opinion their conclusions conform more strongly with what is presented in the Scriptures.

    P.S. The “NAS” in my comment name stands for “Not Adrian’s Son”. I should not be confused with Dr. Adrian Rogers’ son David who makes blog comments frequently on various sites. I don’t know who of us was born first and thus may claim chronological priority of name. I certainly know that he can claim a public awareness of name priority.

    • Dwight McKissic says

      David Rogers(Not Adrian’s Son),

      My daddy wasn’t famous either. But thank God that we have been adopted into the family of God. If God had wanted anything other than a family, He would have had us to call him something other than Father. Therefore, you and I have a famous daddy too!!! He is also the Father of David Rogers’ who is Adrian’s son. And one day we will be together in heaven, with God the Father, and we will also get to meet David’s dad Adrian. What a great God we serve.

      Thanks for weighing in here. Your comment was most encouraging.

      • David (NAS) Rogers says

        You have both chronological and public awareness priorities. That is why you have no need to distinguish yourself, and I am glad to make sure no one smears you with any inanity that I may express. I have always enjoyed your dad’s ministry. If I have to pick favorites among the older generation of leaders who I think demonstrated great Gospel faithfulness and integrity of Christian charity I think I would put your dad at the top of the list. While I did not know him personally I was inspired by what I had heard and seen regarding him.

        • David Rogers says


          Thanks for your graciousness. I am totally cognizant neither you nor I chose our names, and that you in no way are trying to “upstage” me. It is what it is. We are both David Rogers. I appreciate your graciousness in using the (NAS) moniker in order to avoid confusion.

  10. says

    OK, a few things here, I think Brother McKissic’s exposition of scripture on this subject is very good, and franlly, better than Barbers.
    Next, I am a former Charismatic, and now a cessationist. But, that doesn’t mean that a “prayer language” should be used as a limit test for Baptist service.
    This is not an issue of sin or a clear violation of orthodoxy, its largely interpretation. So I am with Bro. McKissic in this way.
    What I don’t know is why this is tied to some sort of downhill slide of the SBC. I’m not saying it’s not, just that I don’t know there is a correlation.
    Still I think the policy should be changed.
    I also have done enough reading about the Azusa St. events to know that you can in fact reject what was happening there and not reject the Sandy Creek revivals. In my opinion. Even though I think the Azusa St and Sandy creek enthusiasts were led primarily by emotionalism.

    So, what can I do? How can I inform the ‘powers that be’ that while I am not a continuationist, I don’t think the policy should be that restrictive.

    Rather the inspiration of God’s Word should be emphasized and the fallacy of saying “this saith the Lord” to non-biblical utterances should be explained. There is too much opinion promoted as “God told me this” even by others who consider themselves cessationists.

    So lets teach the canon as closed, the Spirit as illuminator of what Christ has already spolen, and the freedom of people to pray privately insofar as they believe the Spirit gives them utterance.

      • Dwight McKissic says


        Amen. I can’t believe that as a cessationist, and volfan being also in your camp, we actually agree largely in principle, that this does not have to be a winner take all situation. What you are suggesting–as I understand your comments–is that we effectively go back to the policy that worked before. And then we don’ t have to debate or discuss this issue, because the previous policy was in line with what the Scripture taught on this subject. Jerry Rankin could not have been hired under the current policy. He obviously was hired under the former policy. And that is probably the real reason why the policy was adopted. And I believe that is why our convention is under judgement.
        There are consequences for mistreating people and for bad decisions.

        • volfan007 says


          I don’t believe our convention is under judgment just because we’ve taken a more Cessationist position. I just cannot agree with you on this….but, I still think you’re a big man! 😉


  11. Joe Blackmon says

    if the SBC remains a … Republican, “conservative”…oriented institution

    I find it rather strange that you constantly, consistently call for the SBC to “repent” (a word you’ve used in at least one blog post) of support of the Republican party, but you have never once called for black churches to likewise repent of their support for the Democratic party. Until you do, I think some will perceive you as having a bias.

    As for me, I am thankful that the SBC, by and large, supports the party that is anti-abortion and anti-gay rights. In contrast, there is no plank, whatsoever, of the Democratic platform that reflects any biblical principal whatsoever.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      You are thankful that the SBC supports the Republican Party? You cannot see where Republicanism and the Kingdom of God don’t march in lockstep? Mike Huckabee did a great job at the Pastors Conference placing distance between the SBC and the GOP. I was sso encouraged by his message. As long as the SBC is viewed as an outpost of the GOP, we can forget about winning people to the SBC who don’t view Republicans and conservatism in a positive light. Should the SBC’s identity and the GOP’s identity be so inextricably combined?

      You are correct. A similar message needs to be given to the NBC. I have sat in their meetings utterly disgusted with the clear embrace and endorsement of the Democratic Party. President J. H. Jackson, who was a Republican, was actually booed in a NBC meeting in the mid to late seventies, because he endorsesd the Republican presidential candidate. He also endorsed President Reagan. This was also a very unpopular move with the vast majority of his people.

      The vast majority of Cornerstone’s money and her identity has been with the SBC until the most recent years. The SBC birth us. That is a major reason that I am not comfortable leaving. But if the Lord leads me to address the NBC leaders about this issue I will. As a matter of fact, I’ve only had one conversation with Dr. Scruggs the NBC president. And in that conversation I did voice to him my conservative views, of which he was already aware; and my reasons for not being able to support or vote for President Obama. Thanks for reminding me of my conversation with him just before the election.

        • Dwight McKissic says

          Adam G.,

          I don’t think that everyone who have read much of my posts or commentary would agree with you, but that certainly is my goal; to be cordial, respectful, gracious, and even gentle, as we are commanded to do so in 1Peter 3: 15. Thanks for the affirmation and encouragement.

      • Joe Blackmon says


        Referencing a conversation you had with some guy 30 years ago and making the point in every blog post you write that it is a sin to support the Republican party (“repent”) are no where near the same thing.

        If you, in the same breath, called for folks to repent of supoprting the Democratic party when you make that call related to the Republican party, your comment would have credibility. Until then, I think it’s going to appear that you have an agenda.

        As long as the SBC is viewed as an outpost of the GOP, we can forget about winning people to the SBC who don’t view Republicans and conservatism in a positive light.

        Should the SBC’s identity and the GOP’s identity be so inextricably combined?

        I didn’t say they should be.

        • says

          Joe, wouldn’t calling on the SBC to repent of supporting the Democrats be kind of like calling on me to repent of my love for David Ortiz?

          I’m guessing the GOP gets 75% or more of the SBC vote – probably higher among pastors.
          Lot’s of Republican/conservative politicians have been invited to speak at the SBC. Who is the last Democrat that was there?

          So, there seems little need to chastise the SBC for excessive identification with the Democratic Party, does there?

        • says

          In other words, if this was NBC (National Baptist Convention) Voices, perhaps there would be validity to this.

          You seem to be attempting to paint Dwight as partisan. He spoke out forcefully against the President and some of his policies. I’m just guessing, but I’d wager that this did not make him a lot of friends in certain circles.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          The conversation that I referenced with President Julius Scruggs–who is the current President of the NBC, of which I have a casual affiliation with–took place perhaps a month before the November 2012 election; not “thirty years ago” as you have suggested.

          The thirty years ago references were to the Presidency of Dr. J. H. Jackson, who served as president of the NBC for 29 years. He was a Republican, as well as well Dr. E. V. Hill who served as one of the Vice Presidents of the NBC. Both Jackson and Hill would often reference their political preferences in NBC settings. Both of them were well loved and respected because of their preaching and leadership skills; yet because of their politics, there was also a strong undercurrent of disdain for them, that actually rose to the top when Dr. Jackson was loudly and publicly booed when he announced his support for Ronald Reagan as President.

          To the extent that I am known in NBC circles, it is also well known that my political preference is Republican for reasons that I have stated many times. However, I do respect the NBC persons who prioritize issues other than the ones that I prioritize and vote for the Democrats.

          I am not suggesting that the SBC pastors and people not vote Republican; or the NBC pastors and people not vote Democrat. What I am suggesting is that both conventions need to reduce the obvious political affinities that they hold to in the annual sessions of their conventions.

          I read on another blog that this is the first time in thirty years that we don’t know how the President of the SBC voted in the last election. That is a positive sign in the right direction. Again, Mike Huckabee’s comments at the Pastors Conference that made it clear that the SBC should not have a close affiliation with either party was also an encouraging sign.

          If the SBC continues to move in the direction of political neutrality it will bode well evangelistically for our convention.

          Finally, I read where Mark Driscoll led a man to Christ in Seattle(a hotbed of liberalism) and the man’s first question after coming to know Christ was–a sincere question BTW, from the man’s perspective–do I now have to become a Republican?

          There are people who view the SBC and Republicanism as synonyms. Richard Land is partially to blame for this. However, this identity and association needs to be toned significantly for the health of our convention evangelistically.

          • Tom Parker says


            You said-“If the SBC continues to move in the direction of political neutrality it will bode well evangelistically for our convention.

            Wow and double wow comment!

            Southern Baptists for too long have made a marriage with the Republican Party and it has not worked and will not work IMO.

          • Dwight McKissic says


            Let’s pray and believe that the convention leaders and program planners begin to see this. The Houston convention-at least while I was in attendance–did not come across as a Republican Party meeting. Other than, somewhat surprisingly, the audience still appeared to me to be predominately Anglo. With a declining Anglo participation and presence, I thought more minorities would have been visible in the audience. But I really didn’t see that. Perhaps others did. The Democratic Party Gathering always have a huge multi-ethnic presence. The Republican Party Gathering, well, not so. The SBC has to figure out away not to look ethnically like a gathering of the Republican Party.

      • says

        That last comment was spot on! I keep hearing politics from Christians and yet I do not hear the sharing of the Gospel. Neither party will help this nation at all – only Jesus! Keep keeping on my friend!

        This is a great post and comment stream. And yes, Dwight is one of the most gracious bloggers of all time!

        • Dwight McKissic says

          Tim G.,

          One of the blessings of “blogdom” is that you meet people that you might not otherwise know. My life is richer because I’ve gotten to know you. I read your blog often; comment over there seldom; but I want you to know that your posts over there enlighten me and bless me greatly. Thanks for weighing in over here.

    • Frank L. says

      Joe, I agree with everything you wrote. I think that the perpetuation of the myth that the SBC is in “lockstep” with the GOP does injustice and harm to the fight for the sanctity of life.

      The GOP’s platform is solidly and historically pro-life. The Democratic platform is solidly pro-choice. Framing the discussion in any other way distracts from the battle for justice for the innocents. These are the options, at least for the time being.

      I am surprised at how up in arms everyone gets when the “r-word” is used. The calls for justice are deafening. But, what about the calls for justice for the most innocent?

      I usually vote Republican because there is only one issue that matters: the sanctity of life. Without that, America is a house of cards.

      Also, the idea of “repentance” is a shallow argument when applied to the SBC. It is a “convention.” It cannot repent. At best it can form resolutions that may or may not have some impact on persons in the pew.

      If the choice continues to be between the GOP and the Democratic Party, then I pray that the SBC continues to “choose life.”

      Is this problematic? Yes, it is. There are many things about the GOP that I do not like–and increasingly so. But, nothing trumps life.

      • Tarheel says

        I expalin to people that I have a strainer/funnel that all candidates must pass through before they even get in to the “pot” of candidates that may get my vote.

        1. Pro life. Must. Non negotiable.
        2. Family centered moral values in both platform and life (as best I can tell not actually knowing them.)

        Without straining through those two…they do not even get entertained in my mind for a vote.

        I have found that the ones who meet those criterion best – typically meet other “my” politically/governance based philosophies better than those who do not.

        I agree with what you said above, Frank. Without the sanctity of life, America is a deck of cards.

        The issue of life’s sanctity (from conception till natural death) is truly the foundational issue spiritually, morally, governmentally, and economically…it is the one issue on which everything truly hangs.

  12. Doug Hibbard says

    Dr. McKissic,

    A few questions:

    1. I’m looking at the Greek lexicon, and it seems that glossa is seen as meaning the tongue or languages, which is logical. Here is my problem: it appears that, outside of the passages in 1 Corinthians that are in question, the NT usages of the word do speak of known languages, though unknown to the speaker. The unknown/heavenly/ecstatic language idea appears to be common in describing Hellenistic religions but not common in Christian usage.

    This appears to my eyes that the NT usage in 1 Corinthians should be interpreted alongside the other NT usages of the term more than the non-Christian citations, which would lend more weight to the idea that Paul is speaking of people speaking human languages that they do not understand, themselves.

    I think it is putting too much on the term to say it always means this, but the weight of the text leans more in that direction.

    2. Paul’s list in 1 Corinthians 13 of actions that are meaningless without love includes several stretches on spiritual gifts: there is no evidence that Paul actually moved mountains or knew all mysteries and knowledge. Is it not possible that he is simply making the point that if his tongue-speaking went beyond being able to address humans and increased beyond human ability to addressing angels, it still would not matter without love?

    If he is claiming that speaking in the tongues of angels is possible here, then he must be claiming in 13:2 that it is possible that one could know all mysteries and knowledge. This is hard to compute for me–Paul seems to readily admit that we only see in a glass dimly and do not know fully. (13:12, in the same letter) If this is how he is speaking in v.2, it is likely how he is speaking in v.1.

    These are two places in your explanation that I am struggling with.

    I find the labeling of Azusa Street as a “so-called” revival backwards-looking on the history: if you are going to deny the manifestations, then you must deny the source. The theological view must shift if the history is going to be viewed differently. I would note that the one story I heard from Azusa and its beginning was of a woman who spoke in Chinese, I believe, which would actually fit the definition of a known language. Given California’s population at the time, sounds like an empowerment for evangelism.

    I was part of a church that went from moderately charismatic to charismaniac over the course of a year, so I will admit to leaning charisphobic at times. My own conclusions on private prayer language fall to a point where I do not see it in Scripture and wonder at the purpose of it, but I will not deny your (or my relatives!) experience of it. I tend to avoid the family discussions because the idea is presented as why my own prayer life is weak: I do all my praying in English, so I don’t pray well. (NOTE: this is not AT ALL what you have said, implied, or suggested–this comes from others.)

    All told, I have my reservations about the continuation of tongues, prophecy, and many of the so-called sign gifts. I hold that God still heals, but that no person should claim to have the “gift of healing” and that it falls to all of us to pray, especially the elders, and let God heal. It is certainly at least partly confirmation bias: some passages could be taken two ways, and I take them my way.

    However, given that Southern Baptists as a whole and as a heritage have been of multiple opinions, it is odd to have entrenched only one view in IMB policy. I agree with the comment above that this would be like locking down that only one eschatology, beyond “Jesus comes back and wins,” as the only acceptable view. I admit the possibility that God may work in accordance with His Word in ways that I neither expect nor understand–but that we should, as Paul said, seek the greater gifts: faith, hope, and love.

    So, while I am uncertain I agree with your theological view, I agree with your point: this needs a revisit and a revision from IMB.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      Great comments. If you are Doug form Almyra, Ar. I sure would love to drive there one day. I’ve never been there, but prior to my birth, my daddy pastored there. I don’t even remember the name of the church that he pastored there. But I’ve always wanted to see it, because I love my dad, who is now in heaven, very much.

      I appreciate the things that you have said. I am aware of the exegesis and commentary on the subject that you and volfan mentioned that would contradict my conclusions. But, having read those for years, I am convinced that I can trust the plain reading of Scripture. I agree with Jack Deere, who was a professor at DTS, and a cessationist, but came to the conclusison that one would never adopt cessationism based on the reading of Scripture, even in the original language. One only adopts cessationism because of the influence of others. So, I respect your right to your conclusions on this subject; but as for me, I am going to stick with the plain reading of Scripture.

      I am greatly encouraged though, that our view of these texts are different, but our belief that these policies need to be revisited are not. Thanks for weighing in.

      • says

        I am indeed in Almyra, Arkansas, and you would be welcome to come anytime. I cannot promise you the BBQ or other great food that others can, though I reckon that with warning I can arrange a fish fry.

        And I absolutely would love to hear about your father pastoring here!

        I will agree that adopting cessationism comes more from the influence of others than anything else. Honestly, until I hit the internet, I had never given it a thought: I knew I had never spoken in tongues and that Pentecostals were different, but never had a theological basis for any direction on it.

        My difficulty on the plain reading in the original language is this: being taught Greek from a cessationist perspective, “glossolia” means “language spoken by people.” So, when I hit those words in Greek, that is my understanding.

        I think it comes back to getting out what one puts in: if one is taught that the Greek can mean something else, then you get a different view.

        I also see that the typical cessationist perspective comes from this view: tongues (and other “sign” gifts) were given to authenticate the Word of God, and given that we have the infallible Word of God, we do not need them anymore.

        Yet I have a hard time find that logic fully based in Scripture, either.

        What I do see is this: God always had a purpose, from Bezalel forward to Timothy, for any time He gave a gift of, in, through the Spirit. That is where I get hung up in many cases: what is the purpose of the gift?

        I think my tendency is to see any type of claim to a “gift” that stands out (healing, tongues, prophecy” with extreme skepticism, because of personal experience.

        Didn’t Jack Deere write “Surprised by the Power of the Spirit”? I’ve read that one and found it well-grounded.

        This is why I am fine with cooperation around this–I struggle with the interpretation of the relevant texts and want to learn more than bicker.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          Great. Every since my father passed, I’ve kind of wanted to visit the different cities that he pastored in. Guthrie, OK., was one of those cities he pastored in also before I was born. I only found one very older gentlemen who remembered him. Who knows; I may find no one in Almyra who remember him. But I would like to at least visit the community & see the current facility that he once pastored the people or their grandparents who now worship there.

          One reason I am so big is there is not a whole lot of foods that I don’t like. And Wow!!! Some of the best fish in the world is fish that I have eaten from your part of the state.

          Yes. Jack Deere did write “Suprised By The Power of the Holy Spirit.” I agree with you: it was a well grounded book. His perspective being a scholar & former cessationist at a school renown for it’s cessationist beliefs made his perspective quite interesting.

          My wife & I have a 5 day sermon planning retreat scheduled for Hot Springs, Monday, a week from today. I will try & talk her into driving to Almyra one of those days. Here is my email address: If u would be so kind & share with me your contact info, I will let u know what day we might drive over to Almyra. But , again, it all depends on if I can talk my wife into it.

  13. says

    Brother Dwight,

    Above, you quote the Position Paper of 3/6/2006: “This policy was not retroactive to missionaries on the field or to stateside staff”, and you ask me “Why would the IMB tolerate unbiblical practices within their organization?”

    In my opinion, the IMB Trustees were looking for a course correction into the future. They were never interested in a charisphobic purge of those appointed in the past. Field missionaries would become aware of the IMB “Guideline on Tongues and Prayer Language”, and if they had questions or opinions they wanted to express, they could do so.

    This may be a good time to express a couple of other points that are commonly misunderstood among Southern Baptists. The Guideline was never intended as a theological treatise, but an administrative guide to applicants and candidate consultants. A theological treatise of the research done, and scholars consulted, and missionary experience reviewed, would run into thousands of pages. The Guideline was not constructed to please the public; it was constructed to give direction to the appointment process. Also, the Guideline was never intended as an attempt to foist a particular theological position upon the local churches. With current SBC Polity, no SBC entity can make authoritative theological decisions for any individual, church, or other SBC entity; nor vice-versa.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      Thanks for your response here. If the IMB truly believe that praying in tongues in private is unbiblical or must pass some kind of test imposed by man, I find it amazing and highly inappropriate, that for whatever reasons they are willing to tolerate what they consider to be an unbiblical practice? Nevertheless, I receive and appreciate your answer. The fact that they were willing to tolerate this “unbiblical” practice, leads me to believe that they deep down in their hearts know that this practice is not unbiblical.

      • Dwight McKissic says


        An additional comment here.

        The guideline may not have been “…intended as an attemot to foist a particular theological position upon local churches.” However, intended or not intended, the guidelines have branded or stigmatized–depending on your perspective– all SBC churches with their brand of cessationism. Our convention is suffering in part today because of the branding given to the SBC unintentionally, by the IMB.

        • Dwight McKissic says

          “intended as an attempt to foist a particular theological position upon the local churches.”

      • says


        Actually, the IMB Policy states:

        3. The board is not persuaded that ecstatic utterance as a prayer language is a valid expression of the New Testament teaching on prayer.

        The IMB does not believe the current practice qualifies Biblically.

        The IMB spent years evaluating the question of glossolalia. On the board of trustees you have about a hundred people (over the years of the evaluation) who have exemplary education and many decades of ministry experience. Among the Richmond Staff you have the same, though their languages experiences and across-the-language-barrier experiences are far greater than the average trustee. In addition, the IMB maintains a close working relationship with the Missions Chairs and staff at our seminaries, who are not only scholars of the Bible and Missions, but participants in missions. Further, the evaluation was not done in a corner; many, many other educated and experienced Southern Baptists participated.

        A rather impressive case can be made that the IMB evaluation of glossolalia was conducted by the most qualified grouping of individuals since the first century.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          Two questions, maybe three. (1) Did these trustees & staff review any of the writings of R. T. Kendall a Southern Baptist who pastored G. Campbell Morgan’s church, on this issue? Or any of the persons I affirmatively quoted? (2) Did they get any input from Dr. Rankin? Wasn’t this policy intended to embarrass him & force him out? We’re there any ethnic minorities who weighed in on this issue? Yes, there are ethnic minorities who are cessationist; but from my observation & conversation, & Phillip Jenkins writings, it appears to me a much wider acceptance on this issue from ethnic minorities than Western Anglo’s. Western Anglo’s are the only people group that I am aware of that officially categorically reject tongues. Thanks again for sharing.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          “A rather impressive case can be made that the IMB evaluation of glossolalia was conducted by the most qualified grouping of individuals since the first century.”

          Jerry, thank God for the learned men who contributed a wealth of scholarly input into the IMB tongues policy.

          There were a hosts of scholarly men who contributed a wealth of info to the SBC decision for the support of slavery, segregation, non-support of the women’s suffarage movement, denying the women of the SBC the right to vote the first 50 or so years of SBC history, non support of the civil rights movement, the support of abortion in the ’70’s, and denying women an opportunity to teach Church History and Hebrew at SWBTS.

          Jerry, the IMB tongues policy would not be the first time in history that the SBC has stood on the wrong side of history and the Bible.

          • says


            If you wish to verify the competence and socio-cultural diversity of the scholars, missionaries, IMB Richmond Staff, and SBC leaders who participated in (possibly) the largest organized evaluation of glossolalia in the last 1900 years, then I recommend contacting the IMB and asking for that information. Since the purpose was never to publish the findings, but only to make an internal guideline, I am not sure what records are available. Further, all Southern Baptist had access to contacting their local and national trustees to give their own opinions about the matter. And all other means of communication to the IMB was forwarded to the sub-committee who collated the findings. It is a lot easier for you to ask the question than for me to provide the answer; and unlikely you would be satisfied with any answer I would give. While you are polite, your opinion of the character and competence of the IMB trustees seems very low.

            You also ask: “Did they get any input from Dr. Rankin? Wasn’t this policy intended to embarrass him & force him out?”

            Dwight, those accusations are non-sense. They are the residue of a tempest in a blogspot.

          • cb scott says

            Jerry Corbaley,

            You are not going to stand there flatfooted and blog openly and before the whole world that the Tom and Jerry Show had not rats in the cast are you? Surely not.

          • cb scott says

            Well, you know, Jerry, it was a cartoon show that came on in the earlier days of television

            The whole show was about a cat named Tom and a rat named, well, ahh . . . ahh . . . Jerry.

            Surely you remember? First it was in black and white then later, in color.

            Is it coming back to you? If not, just close your eyes and think back. Soon it will start coming back to you. And when it does, it will be with clarity and not tainted by commercial interference.

          • says

            Brother CB,

            You did such a marvelous job on the posts about churches and pastors responding to sexual sin. You were articulate and reasonable. You didn’t come anywhere near to insinuating insults toward your brothers and sisters in Christ.

            If this was the “old days” of the “blogging wars” as some call them; I would be within common etiquette to accuse you of calling Tom Eliff a cat and Jerry Rankin a rat.

            The vast majority of the information and accusations flying around the world on the blogs were one-sided and off target.

            Blogs and bloggers who practice such poor practices flame out like meteors hitting the atmosphere.

          • cb scott says

            Jerry Corbaley,

            I guess my problem is that I think guys should just be truthful. Gets me in a lot of trouble, I know. But it is just a little too late for me to change or break the mold.

            Jerry Corbaley, I don’t agree with Dwight on the primary subject of this post in some respects, but I know what happened on that board during the “IMB Wars” as some folks refer to the time you served and I know he (Dwight) is being truthful.

          • Dwight McKissic says


            I have great appreciation and respect for all the men and women who serve as trustees of an SBC entity.

            Our conversation has been mutually respectful and cordial. I believe that the both of us and the gracious blog host would like for it to remain that way. Certainly, the Spirit of God advocates gentleness and self control.

            Here is my question though; you don’t have to feel compelled to answer it: If the SWBTS trustees led an initiative or policy change to shift from a belief in inerrancy or to Calvinism, while Dr. Patterson is still President there; would that not be reasonably interpreted as an embarressment to Dr. Patterson, and an attempt to dismiss him, or pressure him out as President? Isn’t that scenario analogous to what the IMB trustees did to Dr. Rankin?

  14. says

    Jared and Dwight,

    Above, you both referred to the “gifts” being manipulated. I think I know what you mean; so I would ask for a bit of clarification.

    1 Corinthians 12:7 says, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”.

    The way I understand this is that the gifts are the “manifestation” of the Holy Spirit Himself. Whether in word or deed, the result is God Himself, “expressing Himself”, or “physically acting” through the spiritual gifts. The “gift” is God Himself expressing Himself through Christians; not giving the Christians supernatural power to use in any way they see fit. If this is so, then how is it that the Holy Spirit allows Himself to be “manipulated” by man?

    I think you would both agree, yes?

    • Dwight McKissic says


      The Word of God is inerrant and infallible, the humans-although saved by grace through faith-who have received Christ and His gifts are not infallible. The manipulation has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the process, but mankind saved by grace.

      Just like the Holy Spirit can be grieved, ignored, disobeyed, and blasphemed, He permits or allows fallible man to errantly exercise his gifts. The gift of prophecy, preaching, hospitality, and on-and on- can and have been manipulated.

      • says

        Brother Dwight,

        I don’t think you quite got the point to which I am calling your attention. The spiritual gifts are the activity of God, Himself (1 Cor. 12:7). How can one manipulate the activity of God?

        Put in an instance in which we are sure to agree: If one claims their teaching is an example of the spiritual gift of “teaching”, and the Holy Spirit is not empowering them, leading them, guiding them; then they are actually a false teacher, right?

        • Dwight McKissic says


          I think I do get the gist if what you are asking. But I don’t know that I have a different answer. Once the Holy, Soveriegn , All Powerful Holy Spirit begins to work through an imperfect, fallible, flawed human being, “we see through a glass darkly.” I can recall hearing John McArthur say once: everyone’s theology has a blind spot or element of imperfection-including his. My point: although McArthur rejects certain gifts of the Spirit, he equates prophecy with preaching. He certainly believes in the gift of teaching. Yet, McArthur believes that gifted preachers/teachers can be in error at times with their communication. Because the Spirit is the source of a gift, I am not quite comprehending why you believe that once that gift is in the hands of a flawed fallible man, it cannot be manipulated or exercised in a less than inerrant manner?

          • says

            Dwight, best explanation I’ve heard on such a thing. Makes total sense to me. We are not robots. We have the Holy Spirit and God works through us, but we are flawed and fallible. It is amazing to me how much Biblical theology gets thrown out the window when discussing spiritual gifts and how many arguments made of straw are set up and then knocked down.

  15. says


    Thanks for a thorough and thoughtful post. Your term :charisphobia” is one that I find interesting, and as I think back on all the issues that were in play back in 2005, I tend to agree that the bru-ha-ha about the practice of glossialalia by missionaries in reality detracted us from a very real and more important issue.

    On the one hand, there is a reason Baptists have been historically suspicious of the charismatic movement, but speaking in tongues (even the abuse of the gift) , while related to this concern, really should be a secondary issue at most.

    In short, a focus on tongues exclusively ignores the more ominous issue: a classical Pentecostal understanding of Holy Spirit baptism. For reasons I won’t elaborate on here because they are not germane to this post, the Pentecostal view poses real dangers to the body of Christ (in fact, many charismatic groups no longer subscribe to the classical Pentecostal understanding for the same reason, such as the ARC group to which you refer). Additionally, the Pentecostal understanding runs counter to the historic Baptist understanding of Holy Spirit baptism; namely, that it occurs at the moment of conversion (as opposed to being manifest in a “second blessing”) and is not necessarily dependent on the “sign gifts” for its validity. Truthfully, the BFM in all of its expressions (1963 and 2000) would affirm this.

    In light of these observations, the solution back in 2005 would have seemed rather simple to me. Upon discovering that a missionary candidate practiced glossalalia, require them to present in writing their understanding of what the Bible teaches about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. We should not be sending Pentecostals to the mission field. But there is a real difference between a Pentecostal and a Baptist who speaks in tongues.

    Our myopic focus on glossalalia not only excludes otherwise highly qualified missionaries, but also fails to take the much more serious doctrinal issues into account. I hope your post here is the beginning of what will become a serious and careful exegetical discussion that will lead us to address the right concerns.

    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    • David Rogers says


      As I understand it, classical Pentecostal teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit has never been within the parameters of accepted beliefs for IMB missionaries, because, as you point out, it is in direct conflict with the BF&M. Thus, this concern was already covered, and there was no need to make a new policy.

      The old policy on tongues, by the way, was covered in the section on “reasons for termination,” in which one of the reasons given was:

      “A persistent emphasis of any specific gift of the Spirit as normative for all or to the extent such emphasis becomes disruptive to the Baptist fellowship.”

  16. Bart Barber says


    As Dave hinted above, I plan to author an entire post as a counterpoint. If you don’t mind my using this comment stream to do so, I’d like to pose a question to you that could assist me in the composition of my own post. The purpose of my question is to make certain that I understand your position fully before I reply to it. Here goes:

    It is clear that you at least believe that the biblical phenomenon of speaking in tongues at least extends to include the utterance of sounds that are not words in any human language (nor, presumably, in any extra-terrestrial one either, for all you Trekkies in the readership). In other words, at a minimum, you assert that there exists one or many “tongues of angels”…dialects of angelic language…which are spoken by select members of the human race under and through the influence of the Holy Spirit, and that “speaking in tongues” at least INCLUDES this phenomenon. My questions:

    1. Are you further asserting not only that biblical speaking in tongues INCLUDES this “private prayer language” phenomenon, but further that speaking in tongues IS this “private prayer language,” that is, that speaking in tongues includes ONLY the phenomenon of “private prayer language”? Or alternatively, would you say that speaking in tongues includes BOTH the ability (at least for some) to speak in known human languages that one has not studied and cannot know in any non-miraculous way AND the ability (at least for some) to speak in “the tongues of angels”?

    2. If you believe that the ability to speak in human languages that the speaker has never known nor studied is a phenomenon that constituted some part of the biblical gift of speaking in tongues, do you believe that the exercise of this gift continues today? Have you witnessed this happening today, and can you therefore direct me to what YOU would consider to be an authentic occasion of this phenomenon?

    Thanks in advance.

    Yours in Christ,

    • Dwight McKissic says


      I hope to adequately answer your questions. We start VBS at 6:30 tonight. So if you have a follow-up question, it may be as late as 10pm before I have time to respond. I promise to follow up if necessary, before I go to bed tonight.

      I appreciate your effort to understand my position before you respond. I trust that I in no wise misrepresented your post on cessationism. If by chance I did, charge it to my head, not to my heart.

      What is clear is that I believe that the biblical phenomenon of speaking in tongues includes cognitive content understood by God, that is meant to build up the believer in prayer for Kingdom and ecclesiastical good.

      Because the private devotional type of praying/praising/giving thanks in tongues is a conversation between that person and God in private, it is a moot or irrelevant issue whether or not anybody else understand what is being said but God. And according to Paul in 1 Cor. 14: 2, God understands what is being said, and man does not understand what is being said. It is understandable to me that man does not understand, because man is not being spoken to. God is being spoken to.

      I believe the Acts 2 type of tongues rarely occurs today. The 1 Corinthians 12-14 type of tongues occur all over the world where men have named Christ daily. Jimmy Draper in 1974 in his book that I’ve referenced in my post clearly delineates the difference between the Acts 2 tongues and the Corinthians tongues. I buy what he said ther as quoted above “hook, line and sinker.”

      Yes, God is sovereign and as He wills, He can and sometimes does moves on the hearts of born again men and women to communicate with others in a language that they have not learned. John Bisagno in his book “In Search of Charismatic Theology” and Jack Hyles in his book that If I recall correctly is named “The Holy Spirit” both give accounts of Acts 2 type of tongues speaking that they observed in their ministries.

      “I am not saying that there are “dialects of angelic language…which are spoken by select members of the human race under and through the influence of the Holy Spirit, and that “speaking in tongues” at least INCLUDES this phenomenon.”

      I am saying that God is sovereign, and He does what He chooses to do. I don’t believe that it is beyond the correct meaning of that passage that when Paul mentioned, “though I speak with tongues of angels” that he possibly was referencing speaking in tongyes. I don’t know for certain. But I do know that in I Cor. 14: 2, Paul is affirming praying in tongues in private in cognitive content understood by God, but not man.

      Now to respond specifically to you points # 1 and 2:

      1. I prefer the term praying/praising in tongues in private. The term “private prayer language” was not a part if the church vernacular used in my childhood, therefore, I am not totally comfortable with that term. Speaking in tongues includes primarily in my understanding, what Paul describes in 1 Cor 14: 2. Again, it could also include the Acts 2 type of tongues.

      I am npt classifying the gift or ability given by the Holy Spirit to some as “the tongue of angels.” I am saying that it is possible that this is what Paul had in mind when he said that. I simply don’t know, and whatever Paul meant has no bearing on his affirmation of praying in tongues in private.

      2. The reference works that I have referred to by Bisagno and Hyles are examples of what I have been told that has happened even with IMB personnel, but they really can’t talk about that and other gifts and moves of the Holy Spirit in the culture and climate of today’s SBC.

        • says


          If I could weigh in on your questions here, 1 Corinthians 12:10 says,
          “and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Corinthians 12:10 NASB)

          The “various kinds of tongues” is plural, obviously, which means that there are different kinds of tongues in view here. I do not find it a stretch, considering the context of Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 12-14, to posit that there are tongues available for proclamation that are human languages (as in Acts 2), there are tongues that are to be interpreted that are prophetic exhortations for the body as we see in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, and that there are prayers in the Spirit that occur in tongues that Paul was referring to in 1 Cor. 14 that are NOT to be spoken in the assembly to other believers because they have no value to edify because they cannot be understood.

          Various kinds of tongues.

          All three types are clearly in view from the Acts and 1 Corinthians passages as well as Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 1:20 if you consider that one way that one might pray in the Spirit (not the only way) is through a private prayer language, as seems to be the case in 1 Corinthians 14.

          What causes this view to differ from a Pentecostal/Charsimatic view is that those groups believe that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of a separate baptism of the Holy Spirit that happens subsequent to salvation. A Continuationist view that sees a private prayer language as an expression of a gifting of the Holy Spirit for prayer/intercession is not the same as the Pentecostal/Charismatic view because it is simply one gift among many and does not delineate any kind of separation in believers or is the mark of a special empowerment of the Holy Spirit any more than any other gift.

          I know that you disagree with this perspective and you want to make all instances of speaking in tongues submit to the control passage of Acts 2. But, I don’t think that you can do that fairly, especially when you consider that the accepted hermeneutic in regard to Acts is to see it as descriptive of what happened, not theologically proscriptive. The epistles would be more proscriptive, no? If so, then it seems that the teaching in 1 Corinthians 14 that clearly shows that there are different kinds of speaking in tongues that are not related to human languages would then allow for and actually require us to see that there are at least three kinds of “speaking in tongues” in view here which the text clearly supports in 1 Corinthians 12:10. Even if you reject that, one can make a strong case that the descriptions of the types of tongues explained in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 varies from one kind to another.

          Acts 2 and 10 – Human languages that are known.
          Acts 19 – tongues that are undefined.
          1 Corinthians 14
          – tongues that are prophetic and to be interpreted for the edification of the body.
          – tongues that are a means of prayer in the Spirit between God and the prayer that is different from praying with the mind or the understanding.
          – A form of “singing in the Spirit” that is different from singing with the mind or the understanding.
          – tongues that are a sign to unbelievers if they enter the assembly because it demonstrates that they do not have the Spirit and cannot understand what God is doing – this speaks to their judgment.

          Seeing “speaking in tongues” ONLY through the lens of Acts 2 is an error, I believe and one that disregards what is actually happening in 1 Corinthians 14.

          • says

            One last thing: If what was happening in 1 Corinthians 14 was what happened in Acts 2, then Paul’s admonitions really don’t make any sense. If people in the church were talking to one another in human languages that they didn’t understand, then I don’t think that Paul would say that what they are saying has no value. Also, of what purpose would it serve for God to enable Corinthians to speak in say, Chinese, when there were no Chinese speakers there to hear in their own language? What happened in Acts 2 involved the people to “hear in their own language.” No interpreter was required. The miracle was in the speaking AND in the hearing. We do not see that at work in 1 Corinthians 14 which requires that something DIFFERENT from Acts 2 was taking place. Using Acts 2 as a hermeneutical key of all instances of tongues-speaking does not match up with the various texts.

            It is clear that what was happening in 1 Corinthians 14 was different from Acts 2. If it were false or pagan, then Paul would have commanded it to stop. Instead, he said that he does it more than all of them. The admonition is to not do it TO each other because that has no value. Instead, one should speak to God privately in his spirit. That is what PPL is.

  17. volfan007 says

    I would like to add that 1 Corinthians 14 looks to me like Paul is admonishing the Corinthians for getting into ecstatic utterance type of tongues. And, the going back and forth between singular and plural use of the word for “tongue/tongues” should be looked into, Dwight. It seems that when Paul was using the singular, tongue, that he was talking about the ecstatic utterance type, and tongues when talking about Biblical tongue speaking.

    Also, notice that Paul was “getting onto” some Believers for being so wrapped up in edifying themselves, when they should’ve been more concerned with edifying the Body….and, speaking a tongue was not edifying the Body….but instead, was a personal, emotional uplift.

    It seems to me that every time we see the gift of tongues being demonstrated in the Bible, that it’s known languages being spoken by people, who couldnt speak that language before….it was supernatural in that way.


    • Frank L. says

      “”” speaking a tongue was not edifying the Body….but instead, was a personal, emotional uplift”

      Where is this connection made in the text? ARe you assuming that “not edifying in the public setting” equates to “improper in any setting?” Again, if this is the case why does Paul not instruct that tongues should never be used in private?

      I think you taking Paul’s “correction” and expanding it beyond where he was applying it — the public worship service. He says clearly that speaking in tongues without and interpreter is inappropriate for public worship.

      This has at least two derivatives: 1) speaking in tongues with an interpreter is proper; 2) praying to God in tongues without an interpreter is proper.

    • David Rogers says

      So, are you saying that “tongues” in 14:6 and 14:23 is referring to the legitimate gift, while “tongue” in 14:26-27 is referring to spurious ecstatic utterances?

      • Frank L. says

        “”””every time we see the gift of tongues being demonstrated in the Bible, that it’s known languages being spoken by people, who couldnt speak that language before””””

        Look at Acts 10:44-48. What in the text indicates that the Gentiles were speaking in an earthly language to persons for the benefit of the hearer in regard to the communication of knowledge?

        This seems very clear to me that they were speaking to “God not man.” It is also NOT in the context of a “worship service” as in 1Corinthians.

        • John Wylie says

          I don’t know Frank, it would appear to me what happened in Cornelius’s house was virtually the same as what happened on Pentecost. Notice here that the hearers were Jews. In 1 Corinthians 14:21 Paul loosely quotes Isaiah 28:11, 12 which indicates that God would speak to the Jews with tongues of the foreign nations as a sign. And indeed these tongues were a sign that on the Gentiles was poured the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  18. Frank L. says

    By the way . . . I understand that for every explanation that someone gives supporting cessationism, I can give a counter-point. This has been done by men much more learned than I, such as the author of one of my textbooks in seminary, Dr. Gordon Fee.

    The fact that both sides use Scripture, and often the same Scripture, indicates to me that this is not a primary doctrine of Scripture that should divide. Reputable people stand on both sides.

    I do think that the discussion, even if conclusions are hard to come by, is very helpful in clarifying one’s position.

    I remember arguing this very point nearly 40 years ago in college. I was on the cessationist team at that time. I was put on waivers in 1976 on the Island of Guam and picked up by the Continuationists.

    I want to thank those that have taken time to discuss this matter.

    The main point of the post was, if I am interpreting it correctly, should this divide us as Baptist as it did with the circumstance at the IMB? I have no problem with the IMB trustees right to do what they did, but I question the necessity of it, and it’s outcome.

  19. says

    Hi David,

    I have limited time and poor internet reception. On occasion my comments can be lost when the internet connection is broken. Further, when posting online, one must be far more exact in what one says, or the trolls come out from under the bridge.

    Further, I really don’t want to make this comment stream about my opinions/interpretations, nor yours either. It is possible we both have a reputation for being long-winded, brother.

    With a phone conversation, if we can keep our sentences brief, we can interact much, much more quickly; and if one of us senses agreement with the other we can say so and move right on to the next topic without needing to finish typing our entire train of thought.

    Also, especially if others jump in as well, it will be difficult to follow in the comment stream. As it is, if one wants to keep up with the entire conversation of everyone at the same time, then one must peruse all 118 comments every hour or so.

    • David Rogers says


      That is fine. I totally understand about not having the time to go tit for tat on this. I have been there on occasions myself, and if it were to get too complicated now, I would have to say the same thing.

      If you really want to talk this out over the phone, e-mail me at and we can try to set up a good time. As I understand it, though, this is not so much about me convincing you personally of my viewpoint on this (or viceversa), but rather both of us, as representatives of two of the main perspectives being discussed on this post, having a public dialogue for the benefit of all.

      Having said that, I hope that my comment above will not get lost in the shuffle. I think there are some important points there, which, if they cannot be adequately answered, might help to sway people over to the an acceptance of the legitimacy of PPL, and if they can be adequately answered, might help to sway me (and others like me) over to a rejection of the legitimacy of PPL.

      Since, from what I understand, Bart is already preparing a whole new post on this topic (and others may eventually jump in as well), I envision there may well be good opportunity to discuss this further in the next few days as more people weigh in.

      In the meantime, I continue to invite thoughtful response from anyone reading this to the points I raise in this comment:

  20. says


    Thanks for the post. The old issue that brought us all together in the first place in this wonderful forum for discussion, the Baptist Blogosphere! Well, this and the Baptism policy of the IMB of course.

    I wrote massive amounts on this back in the day and my position still stands. I see this the way that I see the Calvinism debates. Bible-believing Christians who are inerrantists read passages of Scripture and with every tool available come to differing conclusions on this non-essential area of doctrine. Therefore, we should be able to work together. The IMB policies on PPL and Baptism were massive errors, in my opinion, and were entirely unnecessary – but, I have said that before.

    This is the area that I disagree with Bart Barber, David Worley, Jerry Corbaley, et al, on most definitively. However, we are brothers and I love and respect them. Therefore, I am happy to cooperate with them in mission and ministry. Over years of discussion, we have hopefully come to a place of understanding and mutual respect.

    My friend and blogging partner, David Rogers, again says it well. He has written nothing on this issue that I have ever disagreed with and is a much better articulator of a Continuationist position than I. Dwight McKissic too.

    I have always maintained that PPL is neither Pentecostal nor Charismatic. It is simply a Gift of the Spirit and 1 Corinthians 12-14 explains how it is used as well as Ephesians 6:18. It is something that God makes available to His children and not all have it – for reasons that only God knows. It is NOT something that is to be a big deal or to be divisive or to be used in public or in worship services without an interpreter. Acts 2 and what happened at Pentecost was not normative – we have no reason to believe that it was – but it accompanied the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a sign of the Gospel going to the Nations. Acts 8, 10, and 19 had similar meanings. This is where the Pentecostals get it wrong, in my opinion. But, what is happening in Corinth and Ephesus and possibly even in Romans (although what is described in Romans 8 is disputed as to whether or not that could be PPL) and what is described in Jude 1:20 seems to speak to the idea that there is a way of prayer that God gives those who seek it or who He sovereignly gives it to that involves the Spirit praying through us in ways that we cannot comprehend. Perhaps God gifts some with gifts of intercession in ways that He does not others? Surely, the giftings are varied, no?

    Perhaps God does this to remind us that there is a spiritual realm that we do not grasp or that we cannot control. 1 Corinthians 2 seems to speak to this as we see the Holy Spirit making the deep things of God that are beyond our comprehension known to us. God is knowable, to be sure, but the spiritual realm is not within our control in the sense that we can schedule God and keep Him under our thumb. The wind blows where it will.

    I do not advocate PPL or make it an emphasis in our church. In the 13 years I have been in pastoral ministry and the almost 8 years I have been senior pastor of our church, I have probably even mentioned it only a handful of times – usually in relation to the broader array of gifts as a gift that is valid. Honestly, if not for the IMB controversy back in 2005-07, I would have mentioned it less. It is just not a major issue. But, when people say that those who read the Bible in a Continuationist perspective proclaim a doctrine that is “dangerous to the churches,” I must respectfully and adamantlely disagree.

    One major reason that the SBC is in decline is that we have trusted in our methods and strategies and size and money and might far more than we have really trusted in God over the years, in my experience (not saying that has been the case everywhere – far from it – I am simply saying that that is what I have largely seen). Whatever you believe about PPL, the fact that the SBC pushed out every missionary who silently and privately prayed in tongues was a very bad move in that it established us as a denomination that had to be in control of even the private prayers of our missionaries. I opposed that then and I oppose it now.

    If we have missionaries advocating practices that the IMB has decided are divisive or that should not be advocated on the mission field, then I am fine with those missionaries being corrected and asked to not advocate those things. A church/entity can say the same thing about Calvininism if it wants to. But, to say that all who believe that PPL is for today or all who are Calvinists or all who are Traditionalists or whatever cannot even work with our entities – even though the BFM2000 takes no position on the issue – is a bridge to far. But, it is one that we have crossed in the areas of PPL and Baptism and, in my opinion, the seeds of the current Calvinist controversy that we have experienced the last few years were sown when one group decided that it would narrow the parameters of cooperation and they were successful in doing so.

    But, with all of that said, all of this is a minor issue and it should stay as such. Even if we disagree here, we should seek to work together in other areas and support and encourage one another. We should put aside differences on disputable matters and work together to promote the gospel. The SBC became a Cessationist denomination through our missions agencies in 2005-06. That grieved me. I fought it. I lost. But, I continue to be a Southern Baptist and am willing to work with other Southern Baptists. Polls state that at least 50% of Southern Baptist pastors are Continuationists, so the policies of the IMB, NAMB, and others do not reflect the reality of our denomiation. They surely do not reflect the beliefs of our local church. But, even though they are restrictive and, I believe in error, I will still support and work with Southern Baptists and pray for their renewal because we still have a platform where we can focus on Jesus and the Gospel together and if you are proclaiming Christ, you are my brother.

    Let’s work together.

    • Dwight McKissic says


      You know that this discussion made many of us think of you. I am so grateful that you weighed in here. I recall many of your posts from back then, but after reading David Rogers raving review of your posts on this subject, I wonder are you comfortable linking to your old posts in the comment section here?

      I am grateful for this conversation and for the spirit by which it is being discussed. I agree that we should work together. But just as a document was put together that acknowledged the differences and the unity of the Calvinist and Traditionalists, I hope that the IMB will reverse their decision to brand all of the SBC as cessationists. At that point we will be where we were before the policies took effect, and hopefully it would usher in a unity, and cooperation in our convention that would propel us to higher heights.

      Nevertheless, I’m grateful that “blogdom” is what brought us together. And my life is richer because of it. BTW, David Miller preached our Annual Heritage and Hope Sunday, this past February. Frank Page preached the year before. I will ask my assistant to send you an invitation for the 4th Sunday in February 2014. And please say, yes. You will be free to preach your manuscript or on any subject matter that God lays upon your heart. Thanks again for weighing in here. And please consider linking to your old posts here, the one(s) David Rogers referred to.

  21. says

    Dear Dr. McKissic: While I am not a complete cessationist, indeed, I know of some instances where such gifts were made manifest, I still am very skeptical of the claims of speaking in tongues, be they other languages or ecstatic words, if such distinction can be made. First, I will point out only one example that I know of for sure. A friend in World War II with a unit of the Filippino army in the bush under the command of an American Captain was called in by the Captain, since she was Filippino, concerning some small Black men (Pygmies) approach the unit with baskets on their heads (radio message from a scout). Mrs. Mamerta de los Reyes Block (her married name after the War. She married a U.S. Marine) did not know the language of the Pygmies, but she did use words that she did not know and gestures in communicating with them. What they communicated was that the Great Spirit had told them to bring the unit food as they were starving to death (Mrs. Block died in 2005 and is buried in the Marine cemetery at Quantico, Va.). Another example also from the Philippines is that of a Southern Baptist Missionary who was seized in a Jungle from behind and he began talking but did not know why he was using words that he himself did not understand. It caused the native to release him and take him to the village where the native lived. This story is hearsay. The first from Mrs. Block was direct from her, and she was not a Charismatic. I have heard of other cases, but cannot vouch for any of them.

    However, I have a long experience with the folks of the Charismatic churches. My first one being the Assembly of God woman minister in the home town where I grew up. She had the people speaking in tongues, supposedly. Then she ran off with her deacon who had four sons, something that really got me around the age of 10-12. Across the years I met and conversed and, yes, liked some of these folks and thought they were Christians…just misled or under a delusion of some sort. The examples of falsehood in these exercises of tongues amounted to a quite a list at one time, but I have since forgotten about them. I shall never forget hearing my professor of Bible at East Texas Baptist College, Mr. Roark, tell of hearing a person who claimed to be speaking in an unknown tongue, and he stood up and said, “She has just recited the Lord’s prayer in Spanish,” and he translated it for the audience, putting the individual to shame for having done some memorization. Cases like this are too numerous to mention and are recorded in the literature about speaking in tongues. Dr. Block, the Marine who married Mamerta de los Reyes, had been raised an Orthodox Jew. He said that he heard the founder of the International Business men’s Gospel Fellowship, Demos Shakarian (sp?) say that one could learn to speak in tongues by beginning to say, “La, la, la,…” Dr. Block denied that this would be any indication of the work of the Spirit of God. It seems that even the charismatics, when they send out missionaries often have them learn languages just like our missionaries.

    The problems of falsehood, delusion, and etc. seems like sufficient reasons to not encourage such activities. Clearly, I would not utterly reject all such instances, but I would demand clear examples which were beyond question illustrations of the work of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, one who speaks in tongues is not any more spiritual than one who does not, something that has often been promoted by those who advocate such practices. I have heard of folks being converted, but I do not know of any personally. I have read of instances of tongue talking in religious meetings that were not Christian at all, a phenomena noted in some of the mission areas of the world.

    Personally, I would not want the IMB to simply give free rein to those who talk in tongues. Most of the Christian Faith is a matter of checks and balances in any case, and I prefer caution in this case as I would in the case of prophetic utterances by the so-called Prophets…just as John Wesley reject such in his day.

    • Dwight McKissic says

      Dr. Willingham,

      Thanks for weighing in here. Your thoughts and insights are interesting. Know one is suggesting that the IMB missionaries have a free reign with tongues. I am suggesting that the IMB return to the pre-2005 policy, which did not give the missionaries free reign either. Would you object to a return to the pre-2005 tongues IMB policies?

  22. Bart Barber says

    Obviously, as I’ve said above, I’m writing a post to respond, but I thought that this comment might be more appropriate over here:

    I’m deeply moved and flattered by this post. Really, it’s nice to be taken seriously enough for someone to expend so much time and energy to interact with what you’ve written, even if just to show why they think you are wrong. Of course, I plan to articulate why I do NOT believe that I am wrong, but I don’t want that to obscure the fact that I respect you, Dwight, and appreciate the opportunity for dialogue. I think you are the ablest proponent of your point of view.

    • says


      You are writing a post here to defend you viewpoint on tongues/PPL? It will be like 2006 all over again!

      I’m game and find this worth discussing/debating if only to address theological misconceptions that exist around the issue largely because of animus against Pentecostals/Charismatics for their errors, I think.

      And, you also are the ablest defender of your perspective and worth discussing this with because you remain respectful in disagreement and are able to keep the main thing in view. Looking forward to it!

  23. Dave Miller says

    Apologies to those whose posts got caught in moderation because of multiple links – that’s automatic.

    I just don’t get to the blog much on Sundays – it’s the one day a week that I actually work. But this has been a good discussion.

    • Dave Miller says

      OKay, I guess I should tell the truth. I’ve put Alan Cross and David Rogers on moderation for their continual pattern of bad behavior!!!

  24. Jess Alford says

    I agree with the IMB’s policies concerning tongues to the max. I also believe if God sent me to Africa to preach, folks will understand me
    without me having to go to language school. This is the true gift of tongues.

    With all respect, I can’t believe what I have been reading here. We break down scripture like lawyers break down a sentence. We have turned God’s word into something it’s not. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

    If we want to be of use to God, we should actually spend time on the altar and stop trying to add things to the Bible.

    There is no such thing as tongue talking as some of you are trying to describe it. There are lost folks out there, get to work.

    • Frank L. says

      Jess. What does tongue talking have to do with reaching the lost.

      Also. I have several tongue speaking pastor friends who are reaching quite a few lost folk.

      Personally I baptizing three people this week. I speak with lost people about Jesus on a regular basis. I believe in all the spiritual gifts.

      Quote a scripture that proves your point or I will assume it is just a gratuitous assertion.

  25. Jess Alford says

    Frank L.

    What does tongue talking have to do with reaching the lost?

    Nothing now, but was once used to reach the lost when folks heard the Apostles preach in their own language. For example, the day of Pentecost.

  26. Bart Barber says

    I’ve agreed to do a graveside service tomorrow for somebody from the Metroplex named McKissic. No joke.

    If Dwight shows up, we’ll just kick back and enjoy this conversation face-to-face in the cemetery. :-)

    • volfan007 says

      Umm, Dwight, if you’re still with us, please answer. If you’re not still with us, and this McKissic is you, please tell us that, too.



    • Christiane says

      BART BARBER AND DAVID WORLEY . . . I hope your comments get deleted as disrespectful . . . I thought you guys were better than that

      • Dave Miller says

        Why the harsh condemnation and judgmental critique of a friendly exchange. Kinda harsh.

      • Dave Miller says

        And, since I am confused as to how their comments justify your angry and disrespectful comment.

      • cb scott says

        Just goes to show you, huh, Christiane. And all this time you have thought it was me that’s the devil in this crowd!

      • Frank L. says

        Christianne. I get what you are saying. I don’t think they meant any disrespect.

        Joking about or around death in such a personal and public way bothers me a bit also. It was something that just was not done where I grew up. It was considered crude speaking.

        Again. I don’t think they meant any disrespect.

      • Dwight McKissic says


        I appreciate your sensitivity to what might would be legitimate “disrespectful” comments if I didn’t know and have some level of a personal relationship with Bart Barber and David Worley.

        Although we are not the closest of friends, and we obviously are on different pages in some regards theologically, Bart Barber has hosted me for lunch at my requests in his city, paid for the meal; and has come to speak at my church.

        Yes there has been tension in our relationship–we are both men with deep convictions that are not always on the same page–but, we do have the kind of relationship where he can make the type of comment that he made and I will receive it–and actually laugh at it–in the spirit in which he made the statement. You had no way of knowing this about our relationship so I understand why you would view his comment as insensitive and disrespectful. Again, if Bart did not know me personally, you would be right in your assessment. It is also likely that Bart would not have made this comment if we didn’t have a certain level of knowledge, appreciation and respect for each other.

        I don’t know David Worley as well as Bart, but we are both literally big 300-400 lbs, big natured fellows, who have met before, and have shared a laugh or two, in times past. Therefore, I am not offended by Bart’s or David’s comments, and I ask you to extend understanding and grace to them as well.

        I just got out of a staff meeting, Christiane. I did see where you asked me a question earlier in the comment thread that I have not yet responded to. But before I retire for the evening, I will do my best to respond to your question.

        Thanks for your commentary here. And as I’ve told you before, I appreciate you and the fact that we bring perspectives, personalities, and input to Voices that are not SBC DNA. It is my belief–though I’m sure not shared by all–that because you and I represent, somewhat of a different tribe–we add value to the conversation here.

        • Christiane says

          thank you for responding, Dr. McKISSIC

          I’m glad you have friendship with Dr. BARBER and I know that DAVID WORLEY has assured all that he was only joking, so all that remains for me to do is to ponder my own reaction and sort out if perhaps there was not some better way to express my thoughts to those two gentlemen.
          I could learn a thing or two about patience with others from your own gracious example, and I would be the better for it, I’m sure.

        • Dwight McKissic says


          You asked a question in a comment thread to me today that I can’t seem to find at the moment. I promised to answer your question before I retired for the evening, but I can’t find your question at the moment. I’m also embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember exactly what your question is/was.

          If you will be so kind as to restate your question near this comment, I will find it and answer at first opportunity. Thanks.

          • Christiane says

            yes, Dr. McKISSIC, I would be honored to do this,
            and I appreciate your kindness as always:

            Christiane June 22, 2013 at 6:40 pm

            Hi Dr. McKISSIC,

            I found something that I wonder if you could comment on, this:

            “St. Paul’s test for judging gifts of the Spirit may still be the best.

            If speaking in tongues (or any other gift) brings genuine wisdom, understanding, right judgment, knowledge, and reverence to a person or a community,
            it’s likely to be a genuine gift of the Spirit.

            If a community which practices speaking in tongues is also characterized by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trust, gentleness, humility, generosity, mercy, justice and truth,
            then it seems evident that the Holy Spirit is at work there.

            If, however, speaking in tongues leads to elitism, a sense of some Christians being “in” and others “out”, anger, dissension or divisiveness, then that particular faith community may be focusing too much on the gift of tongues to the detriment of other gifts which might more effectively build up its unity. ”

            I would appreciate your thoughts, if you have the time and inclination to respond, and thank you for being a voice for the end of racism among all Christian people . . . if your gift of tongues has inspired you with the courage to fight the good fight, then it is a valid and holy gift in my opinion. God bless. “

    • Bart Barber says

      I know it isn’t Dwight. I just don’t know whether it is a distant relative. By “shows up” I did not mean as the guest of honor. I just meant “shows up.”