I know this will probably could cause a stir, because I know many of my friends believe in speaking in tongues. Right now I am reading a book called “Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?” (www.amazon.com) and it talks about four theories on it. I have to discuss the book with one of my teachers and I am interested in what it will have to say about it. Am I against tongues? Well that is a whole other blog that I can save for another day. The question that I do want to pose however is, “Can Tongues become a Crutch?” I was talking yesterday with a friend of mine who is still a fairly new Christian and he is in a Pentecostal church. I am Southern Baptist now but this is part of my background so I know a little bit of the teaching on it. However, he said some things that caused me to contemplate this question. “Can Tongues become a Crutch?”
First what is a Crutch?
Crutch – www.dictionary.com
1. a staff or support to assist a lame or infirm person in walking, now usually with a crosspiece at one end to fit under the armpit.
2. Anything that serves as a temporary and often inappropriate support, supplement, or substitute; prop: He uses liquor as a psychological crutch.
I do want to say that crutches are not always a bad thing, if it is being used for the purpose that it was made for, but it can also be something that can hold you back as well. Usually crutches are temporary so that someone can heal properly, till they get back on their feet – so to say.
I have another friend that sometimes stutters that I have seen utter tongues under his breath while praying before that helped him get a grasp on his words as he was praying. In this case I would say that it probably is not, because it helps him not be so tongue tied. LOL! I have even seen it in other application that I cannot deny that something was happening. Although I disagree with how it is taught in many ways, I have seen some fruit by it.
The reason that I am asking the question is that I wonder if at times people don’t use tongues out of the fact that they don’t know how to talk to God straight and in their own understanding. I am in Seminary and have trouble talking to God at times. It comes many times because of the distance that we cause between him and us. Walls we erect, or have unconfessed sins, and so forth and so on. All these become barriers to us and God in our pray life.
Sometimes I think that it would be easier to just say something that I don’t understand just so that I can talk to him, but what good does that really do? We got to remember that even silence before God is prayer too. Tongues may be directed to God in some “Unknown Language” but how do I know when to give God the glory for the answer, if I don’t know what I asked him? If done in public, there always has to be an interpreter – what happens when there is not one? How do I know that I don’t just sound like someone out of a funny farm who is just creating words like some kid struming his lips as he makes sound? How do I know if what I am asking for is something that I am really wanting to deal with? Sometimes God asks us to do difficult things and how would you know that you are supposed to do something if you don’t know what you said?
It is all confusing to me on how this benifits the Christian life. I know that Scripture states that Tongues edify the person, but Paul also says that he would rather have some Prophecy (teaching gods message) because it helps edify the whole church instead of the individual. Do people use it as a Crutch because we don’t know how to talk to God? Do people use it because they are supposed to talk to God and they don’t want to take the time to have a meaningful conversation with him they can understand? If it is a crutch is it a bad thing?
Please if you do answer and someone has an opposing view – be kind. Please don’t take this as an attack on this theology, I just want to know your thoughts.
Jason and I have talked about our differences in this area and we’ve both come to the agreement that until we get to heaven, we just don’t know the final truth about tongues. I think sometimes the spirit inside you just cries out in utterances that you can’t put English words to, and at these times, like you said, it does edify you. These are times when you don’t really know what to say; you can’t find the words to express what the rivers of living water inside you is trying to pour out. (I don’t know if that makes sense or if it is even technically biblical, but there are times when I’m definitely enveloped by the spirit and I just don’t have human words.)
Anything can become a crutch if you let it, and God will allow it for a time, but then He removes those crutches if we allow Him (and I believe He wants to).