I have spent some time today reading through some of the blogs that I visit on occassion. One of the hot topics is still PPL and tongues. I began to think of this subject and have an observation that I want to make.
Tongues is a legitimate gift of the spirit, according to I Corinthians 12. But what position should it take in Christian life, and what position does it take in some Christians lives? In this passage of Scripture Paul gives a list of spiritual gifts, it is not the only list in Scripture, but it is one of the most clearly stated. In it Paul states that the first (and therefore the greatest gift, the first item listed in such a manner in the Greek always demonstrates importance as to order given) gift is apostles, the second greatest gift to church, in the context of these gifts, is prophets, third is teachers, fourth is miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administration, varieties of tongues (v. 28).
One of the problems that I see with charismatic tendencies is the idea that, especially with tongues, that everyone should manifest this gift of the Spirit if he is a true believer/saved. And yet Paul says very clearly, in my opinion, in verses 29-30 that everyone will not receive all the gifts. "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have the gifts of healings? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?" These are questions that he is asking in which he knows and assumes that the reader already knows the answer, which is NO, not everyone has all or some of these gifts. You may only possess one or even none.
This is where, IMHO, it gets very interesting indeed. When the reader of I Corinthians 12 comes to verse 31 he see something that is very important. This verse says, "But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I will show you a more excellent way." The list has been given. The gifts are listed in order of importance. And Paul says that if you are going to desire or persue any of the gifts listed; persue or desire the most important ones.
I too do not believe that there is biblical support for what McKennsic and others are defending in the SBC concerning ppl. I base this belief on Paul's statements in I Corinthians 13:8-11. It seems to me to be very clear that these things, although biblical, should not be given a greater emphasis or focus. Elsewhere Paul says that he too spoke in tongues, but he said that he would rather say 5 words the encouraged and strengthened the body of Christ than a thousand words in tongues that did not strengthen and edify.
As I stated in a previous blog, as Christians, we sometimes get so caught up defending a personal preference or belief that we lose sight of the task at hand. Our "enemy" is very crafty and cunning. I believe that many times he "helps" us focus on the minor so that we will forget about the major. The major is fulfilling the Great Commission, "...making disciples of all men..." As we continue to discuss the minusha, may we be ever mindful of the main thing.