by Dr. Ken Matto

There is nothing more divisive in the modern church than the question of tongues. The question which must be posed is, are the tongues of today equal to the tongues of the first century? Before we continue, we should learn a little about the nature of tongues. The word "tongue" or "tongues" in the entire book of 1 Corinthians is the word "glossa" [glwssa] which means "language." It is a legitimate, established language. The proof of this lies in Acts 2:1-13. In verse 6, we read there the apostles were heard speaking the languages of all those present at Jerusalem. The word language in vs. 6 is the Greek word "dialektos" [dialektos] which is translated language or tongue. We derive the English word "dialect" from it.

There were about seventeen languages among all those who were present at Jerusalem. We see this according to Acts 2:4, 7, 9-11. The bottom line is that in Acts, the tongues (languages) were all legitimate, established languages. Now comparing the tongues of Acts with modern day tongues, we find an inconsistency to the biblical paradigm. The tongues of the modern day church are unintelligible gibberish and therefore do not identify with the biblical standard. Any teaching which does not conform to biblical standards does not find its source in God but in Satan. The tongues in Corinth were an aberration of the biblical standard set forth in Acts. About 22 years had passed between Pentecost and the letter to Corinth which is sufficient time to create a false doctrine.

The tongues of Acts did not require an interpreter, while those of Corinth did. The tongues of Acts edified while the tongues of Corinth caused confusion. When someone spoke in tongues, whether in Acts or in Corinthians, it was a legitimate gift from God to send forth the gospel. All biblical tongues until the completion of the Bible were legitimate and carried messages from God, which is considered revelation. However, when the Bible was completed with the book of Revelation about 95 A.D., God declared there would be no more revelation. He declares this in Revelation 22:18-19; Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; and Proverbs 30:6. If today’s tongues are legitimate, then we have a contradiction in the Bible because God said verbal discourse would cease.

(Deu 4:2 KJV) Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

(Deu 12:32 KJV) What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

(Prov 30:6 KJV) Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

(Rev 22:18-19 KJV) For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: {19} And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

There are no contradictions in the Bible and revelation has ceased. There are many false gospels in this world which boast of speaking in tongues. This fact alone would cause me to be suspect of tongues. How could I be sure what I am doing is of God if those who hold false gospels that reject Christ are doing the same thing. The answer is simple, I would want nothing to do with it. I once held a discussion with a charismatic and I asked him the following question, "Have you obeyed everything in the Scriptures?" He said, "no," then I proceeded to ask him why would he want more revelation?

Tongues must be avoided because on the coat tail of tongues come the other companions in false ministry: visions, dreams, signs and wonders, false prophecies, and miraculous healing. The easiest method for determining whether a church is true or not is if they seek these supernatural events. If they do, they are false. If the authority of the church is confined to the Bible alone with no other authority, except Christ, then you have a true church. The two most warning packed verses in 1 Corinthians 14 are Verses 21 and 22.

Verse 21

(1 Cor 14:21 KJV) In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

An interesting insertion is made by Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which seemingly has nothing to do with the flow of discourse in Chapter 14. Paul makes reference to Isaiah 28:11-12 which was a warning to Jerusalem.

(Isa 28:11-12 KJV) For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. {12} To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

They rejected the words of God’s prophets which were sent to them in their own language and now judgment was to come on them. The vehicle of judgment God used were the fierce Babylonians who spoke in a different language or tongue.

What must be transferred from the Babylonian epic is the principle God is enunciating, which is the fact that judgment did happen. Now what does that have to do with tongues? Let’s see. The fact that God mentions the destruction of Judah in conjunction with the church must be seriously considered. There is nothing written in the Bible incidentally, ALL has a reason for being there.

As Paul continually brings to light that edification of the people is more important than tongues, this teaching must be factored into the equation. When a person walks into a church where people are speaking in tongues, they are not edified but confused. Since God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), the confusion of tongues in the modern church must be of different origin.

(1 Cor 14:33 KJV) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

The event of tongues in the modern church causes divisions which means it cannot be of God. The awesome principle which God is transferring from the Babylonian captivity of Judah to the church is that the judgment of God is on all those churches which have willingly accepted tongues as part of their spiritual composition. Those churches who accept tongues have widened their authority from the Bible alone to the Bible plus! The same principle applies to the church as it did to Judah. Why? Look at the following verse which the charismatics always misuse to foster their tongues belief.

(Heb 13:8 KJV) Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Jesus is the Great I Am of Sinai and the Great I Am does not tolerate disobedience nor spiritual fornication, whether yesterday, today, or tomorrow. Many churches have rejected the Bible as their sole authority which was written in their own language resulting in God judging them by the vehicle of other tongues. "Other tongues" is the Greek word "heteroglossos" [eteroglwssos] and this is the only place in the New Testament this word is used.

Those churches which have widened their authority are false churches. They are under the judgment of God and have had their candlestick removed.

(Rev 2:5 KJV) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

One of the most devastating verses in the Bible which is aimed at the corporate church is Revelation 3:3:

(Rev 3:3 KJV) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

This verse states the Lord Jesus Christ will visit a church in judgment and that church will be unaware of the moment they went from being a true church to a false church. When a church accepts tongues normally the other false signs will follow which I have already listed. It is these which cause a church to go from true to false. This is the primary reason God placed verse 21 in the midst of the tongues discourse. It is a testing program for the church to see whether they will remain faithful to the Scriptures or will seek other revelations which will cause it to become adulterous. If they fail the test, they become a false church and you must leave quickly.

Verse 22

(1 Cor 14:22 KJV) Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

Here the Bible gives another serious principle regarding tongues. It says they are a sign for those who do not believe. The word "sign" is the Greek word "semeion" [shmeion] which means an indication of a sign, wonder, token, or miracle. So we see that tongues are a miraculous phenomenon to those who are unbelievers. He also says that prophesying (declaring God’s Word) is for believers. Those who seek signs and wonders are unbelievers because they are seeking what God has forbidden plus they are attempting to widen the authority of the Bible which God has completed with the book of Revelation. Jesus deals with this mindset in Matthew 12 as he faced the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted a sign of His authority and authenticity. The same word for sign in Matthew 12:38-39 is used in this verse.

(Mat 12:38-39 KJV) Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. {39} But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

How did Jesus respond to this? He told them to refer to Jonah. How would they refer to Jonah? By reading the Hebrew Scriptures. What principle is Jesus giving us? The principle is, DO NOT LOOK OUTSIDE THE SCRIPTURES FOR UNDERSTANDING THE THINGS OF GOD.

This is precisely what those in the tongues movement do, they search outside the Bible for revelation from God and as a result they are considered adulterous by God. Have no union with the teachings of the Charismatic Movement. If you find yourself seeking the supernatural phenomenon of this movement, the possibility exists you were never saved. If you were truly saved, you would be seeking what God allows not what He forbids.

(2 Th 2:11 KJV) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: