Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 4, 1968
NUMBER 34, PAGE 4-5a

"Forbid Not To Speak In Tongues"


Robert H. Far Ish

The heading of this article is the scriptural quotation which brother Robert Meyers uses to rebuke, or is it "needle", those who oppose the modern day claimants to the miraculous power to speak in tongues. He tortures the scriptures in an attempt to put in a bad light those who seek to "handle aright the word of truth" and oppose those who are unstable, and carried about by every wind of doctrine. He wrote, "Despite Paul's clear imperative, 'forbid not speaking in tongues,' they have been forbidden." The character of modern day scholarship is shamefully compromised when a "scholar" will stoop to such a trick. How would this "wise" one go about correcting a person who set about to "prepare an ark to the saving of his house"? How would brother Meyers oppose such a character's effort to persuade others to build arks? When some young impressionable person came to him desiring an answer to the ark building promoter, how would brother Meyer handle God's imperative, "Build thee an ark of gopher wood". Actually what would be brother Meyer's reaction to such? Would his love for humanity impel him to seek to correct the modern day ark builder and promoter? Does it make any difference to him how one handles the truth?

Brother Meyers has pursued as dangerous a course as those poor deluded persons who claim to speak in tongues. They wrested the scriptures in an effort to justify a claimed power in which they have neither part nor lot; he wrested the scriptures by quoting a passage and seeking to apply it in an inapplicable situation. Ignorant and unsteadfast people have engaged in scripture wresting all during the gospel age and likely will not abandon the practice as long as the earth stands. Peter wrote about this type character and said that they wrested the "scriptures to their own destruction" (II Pet. 3:16). With no intention to improperly judge, we must yet admit that in view of the academic attainments and opportunities this man has had to understand the will of the Lord and knowing as surely he knows the Lord's requirements to handle aright the word of truth, we cannot believe that this is anything but a case of wresting the scripture. Is not this a case of "the sleight of men in craftiness, after the wiles of error" being exercised? Right in the midst of this wresting effort the man has the effrontery to condemn "scissoring the New Testament into proof texts"!

Surely a scholar knows that scriptural imperatives are to be applied to the persons addressed and to the situations and time that the writer had in view. The devil quoted scripture to Christ when he tempted him. To this original scripture wrester Jesus said, "Again it is written." To brother Meyers we say, "Again it is written" in I Cor. 13:8 "whether there be tongues they shall cease." So long as the gift of tongues continued among members of the church, God's clear imperative, "forbid not to speak with tongues", was binding; but God's clear statement of fact, "whether there be tongues, they shall cease," must be believed, respected and contended for; we dare not ignore it. Those who believe God's statement, "whether there be tongues, they shall cease", realize that "forbid not to speak with tongues" is inapplicable to any situation in our day and time. God has "ceased" tongues and the orgiastic emotional experiences of unstable men cannot be taken as evidence that this phenomenon, which characterized the introductory period of the gospel has been reactivated. The "calmness" manifested by people who claim to have the gift of tongues does not prove their assertion. Over the years we have heard people deny the inspiration of the scriptures, and even the existence of God with great calmness; this however does not add weight to their assertions. I know of no one who thinks that the quality of calmness changes the character of subjective testimony. Subjective testimony is still subjective whether the witness be calm or excited! Brother Meyers spoke approvingly of the "quiet intelligence" of these men as they "calmly" described their experience. Calmness and intelligence are certainly to be commended and sought, but the thing needed here is a "Thus saith the Lord." Human experience no more provides proof in spiritual areas today, than it did when the Holy Spirit guided Paul to write, "For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (I Cor. 1:21.)

There is a pressing need for men to investigate, not what some worldly prominent person or any other human being thinks, but what is revealed in the scriptures. The thing lacking in the church is the word of Christ dwelling richly in the members.

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