|Sanctification is a
Sanctification is a
continuous process also known as growing in truth. This cannot be
accomplished without conscientious Bible study, yet, once a glossolalist
has received the "Spirit," all further development of truth in
him is usually ended. He is convinced that through his experience he has
received Heaven's approval and that additional spiritual development
will be a spontaneous act of God—not the result of his growing toward
perfection through following the "Spirit of truth."
It is not the spectacular that proves
godliness. Even in His own life, Christ used His miracles mostly for the
purpose of service to humanity. When King Herod wanted Him to perform a
miracle, Christ refused even to speak a word to him, least of all to
demonstrate His supernatural powers. They wanted Him to come down from
the cross to prove His divinity, but again He refused; for Christ did
not involve Himself in the spectacular for the sake of vanity.
The opposite, however, is often true of
the charismatics today. In a recent discussion, Gary Patterson, pastor
of the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists, enlarged on this:
"As things become less
spectacular, they tend to become more significant. Being overawed with
the spectacular is not exactly the way to build a personal relationship
with someone," he pointed out. "God seeks a personal
relationship with His people, and that is what salvation is all about;
to restore us to a face-to-face relationship with God.
"It may sometimes be necessary for
God to use the supernatural to reach us, but after He has done that, He
desires to teach us with His own wisdom. Jesus came to us in a
spectacular manner, but it would have been impossible for Him to do an
effective work in that fashion. It became necessary for Him to go away
and send the Holy Spirit, which admittedly is less spectacular, that He
might teach us and lead us into all truth.
"The Christian who wishes to stay
with the spectacular and never moves on to an understanding will never
really know God. The spectacular can be counterfeited, and a mind that
never moves on to a higher plane of thinking will be taken in."
Another point easy to ignore is that
none of the great men of the Old Testament are reported to have spoken
in tongues in their endeavor for God. Spiritual giants such as Abraham,
Moses, Isaiah, Elijah, Samuel, and David can certainly be ranked among
God's own men. No exercise of glossolalia is recorded of any of them.
Michael contended with the devil for the body of Moses, and Moses was
subsequently taken to heaven; he was certainly filled with the Spirit,
but again, no gift of tongues! Isaiah was one of the greatest of
prophets; Samuel was a man who spoke for God in a most difficult time,
but here, too, the gift of tongues was nowhere to be found. And even
King David, a poet and songwriter, and a "man after God's own
heart" lacked tongues but certainly not the Spirit.
The New Testament relates basically the
same story about many of its great men of God. John the Baptist, the
"voice crying in the wilderness," was sent by God to prepare
the world for the coming of the Messiah without the use of glossolalia.
John Mark, the author of the book of Mark, does not mention the
phenomenon in his Gospel. Lazarus, the resurrected friend of Jesus did
not have the ability. James, the author of the epistle of James has
nothing to say about the gift-and he was the brother of Christ!
Can we honestly believe that all these
men of God lacked the Holy Spirit in their lives? It is a conclusion I
find hard to accept.
Chapter 2 - The Mysterious Tongue