August 22, 2013

Recommended Resources: Speaking in Tongues

I'm definitely not a Pentecostal/Charismatic, but I'm not really a cessationist either (not strictly speaking, anyway). For those of us who don't completely identify with either side of the spiritual gifts debate, it can be quite hard to find good resources on the subject. I have, however, come across a few good resources on "speaking in tongues." These resources critique the modern practice of "tongues" without resorting to exegetically-tenuous arguments* for the cessation of all the charismata.

Here they are:
  • First of all, there is Tongues Revisited: A Third Way by Renton Maclachlan. This is "a unique book which challenges all traditional views on biblical tongues—both Charismatic (prayer language / heavenly language etc.) and non-Charismatic (1st century language miracle)." It's available for free in pdf here.
  • Also, check out this two-part interview with Ryan Habbena (part one and part two). Habbena advocates the same view as Machlachlan.

*A clarification: I'm not saying that all cessationist arguments are "exegetically tenuous," just that many of those I've encountered are. And, while I remain unconvinced by their argumentation, I'm very sympathetic to the cessationist position. However, the question of whether or not the modern practice of "speaking in tongues" is biblical must be kept separate from the question of whether or not the practice (whatever it is) continues. So, I'm what one might call a "practical cessationist" in that, while I'm not convinced that Scripture teaches that certain operations/manifestations/gifts of the Spirit ceased at some point early in church history, I have absolutely no sympathy for the unbiblical "gifts" practiced in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches.

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