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Pastor says there is no Biblical support for speaking in tongues

Published:Thursday | July 9, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Speaking in tongues is one of the most controversial topics in Christendom as Pentecostal churches place heavy importance on it.  It is the norm for Pentecostal pastors to encourage their members to ardently seek this gift which they say is evidenced by speaking in tongues.

For them, being filled with the spirit is a way of being empowered with strength to face the spiritual warfare ahead and to effectively live a victorious Christian life.
The reality is that there are those who speak fluently in tongues, while others are yet to have this experience – does that make them any less of a Christian?
Believers are also made to feel as if they are missing out on something because they have not yet been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Family and Religion sought the opinion of Reverend Garnett Roper, president of the Jamaica Theological Seminary, who explained that speaking in tongues as a show of being filled with the Holy Spirit, is not a requirement of the Bible. He sees it instead as cultural rather than religious. “We have a cultural retention that makes us think this way,” he said.
“Tongues is a gift which was manifest in Pentecost. Apostles were given this supernatural ability to communicate by others hearing them say the things of God in their language. What Pentecost represents was a breaking down of barriers  to effective social inclusion and communication,” said Roper.
Acts 2 began the unfolding of the whole issue surrounding Pentecost with the Apostles being filled with the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, cloven tongues like fire sat upon their heads and they began to speak in tongues – languages recognised by those visiting from other countries.
He said tongues should be seen as a gift and just that and not a requirement for salvation or being filled with the Holy Spirit.
“There is no biblical support to say so. It’s their (Pentecostal) little thing and they recite it every Sunday. Pentecost started in 1830 with a woman having a dream, and it has resonated with black people,” he said.
Throughout the books of Acts where many healings and other miracles are recorded, there are just three mentions of speaking in tongues. There are verses referring to believers being filled with the Holy Spirit, yet no tongues mentioned.
For Roper, the real sign of a believer being under the control of the Holy Spirit is “more and more in your life Jesus Christ is being seen as the one you are trying to live like. You manifest the fruits of the spirit".