Tongues: The Biblical Case Against Today’s Gibberish

Brian Worley 

Any Christian believer with integrity would have to admit that their Bible allows for a diversity of interpretation on many doctrines, topics and verses. Any honest inquiry seeks to discern what the Bible teaches and proclaim THAT message; anything short of this makes you a charlatan! A good minister ALWAYS seeks to proclaim the BIBLICAL message; and not something personal or contrary to what the text actually says. 

In my opinion, the Bible is not that difficult of a book to understand. The Scriptures themselves reveal the simplicity of understanding the scriptures, 2 Timothy 3:15, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation.” The real question that needs to be asked is “Does one WANT to follow the Scriptures?” This is a rather deep question being posed here! If Christians suddenly decided to start following their Scriptures, I suppose that 30% of their denominations would need to fall by the wayside!  

Speaking in Tongues: The Four Biblical Rules 

The quickest way to alleviate the bloated state of Christian denominations would be to defacto “declare a Biblical adherence law” (on Christians only) and enforce the scriptural mandate concerning the usage of tongues within the Christian churches! 

What was the scriptural mandate concerning the usage of tongues within the church? There were a few basic rules:  (see I Corinthians 15:27-37)

1)     No more than 3 speakers per service

2)     There must be an interpreter

3)     If no interpreter is present…no one is allowed to speak in tongues

4)      Women were NOT allowed to speak in the church * (I see two possible interpretations of this…1) Women not allowed to speak in tongues in the church   2) Women not allowed to speak at all (total silence) while they are at church. Personally, I think the first option of women being denied the opportunity to speak in tongues was the intention of the scriptures.) 

Christians can debate amongst themselves on many aspects surrounding the subject of tongues, but these four rules are very clear. The question of point #4 isn’t an obstacle at all: both interpretations deny women the permission to speak in tongues while inside of a church!  Those that visit or attend a Charismatic or Pentecostal church would have to confess that their churches often fail to conform to the Biblical mandate (women quite frequently indulge in the practice of tongues speaking)!  

Speaking in Tongues Today Isn’t Biblical! 

The scriptures taught, “tongues shall cease” (I Corinthians 13:8). Christian sources indicate that this was written sometime around A.D. 56.  There must have been some distinction intended between the initiation of tongues ceasing and the end of time, wouldn’t you think? I Corinthians 13:10 states: “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”  The consensus is that which is perfect refers to the completion of the writing of the scriptures (closing of the Christian Canon). Then that which was in part (tongues) was to be done away with! 

Today’s Christian’s have no Biblical grounds whatsoever to speak in tongues! Biblical tongues ceased to exist with the writing of the apostle John’s book of Revelation. Severe warnings (Rev. 22:18-19) with penalties were given to those that would add or take away from this book!  Yet many Christians will tell you that God still speaks to them today!  

Is the Gibberish They Repeat Words Spoken By a Ghost? 

Frequent visitors to Ex-minister know that I am respectful to Christians. I do not wish to be unkind here, but with the god of the Bible being a fictitious being, one must consider the source from where these Christian tongues speakers’ vocal expressions originate?  Don’t try to get me to believe that a ghost (Holy Ghost) is speaking to these folks! Like I said, the god of the Bible doesn’t exist!  

Those voices that “they hear” are clearly coming from within themselves. If one “hears voices” and or repeats whatever that voice tells them to say in a psychiatrist’s office; they would diagnose this person as hallucinating or to be schizophrenic. Evidently, hallucinations and schizophrenia are considered to be within societies acceptable behavioral norms while one frequents churches and is only considered problematic when the same behavior resurfaces outside of the cathedrals. What, do they transform the moment they walk out of the church’s doors? If one is schizophrenic in the pew, then they are still schizophrenic in the real world on other days! 

Far too many people with “imaginary friends” hold strategic positions of trust and importance in society. Hallucinations and schizophrenia can so easily be forgiven (undiagnosed/overlooked) if it happens within a cathedral on Sundays.  One never knows when the believer might suddenly hear the voice from their imaginary friend or how that delivered message might affect the lives of those affiliated with the psychotic.  

Think that I am being melodramatic here? What if that voice tells a distressed mother to do something detrimental to a child? Consider that a Muslim suicidal bomber and our last unsuccessful US Vice Presidential candidate both hear the voice of “God” speaking to them! How bad is the problem? Consider that American’s cast some 57.7 million votes for a candidate with a solid Charismatic background in November 2008.  

Dealing with psychotic religious ideology 

This crowd is much different than the Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Catholics. Many of them bring their crazed ideas into the public arena with gusto! Anyone heard of Pat Robertson? You never know what “God” might tell his “chosen one” to do. Since we cannot put a muzzle on “God,” how should one deal with this element of society that hears voices and speaks back/communicating with that voice?  

First let me say as an American, I strongly cherish and concur with our Bill of Rights. Religious folks are just as entitled to these as I am as a secular humanist; but church and state need to be kept separate! I am a fan of pluralism and know that we as a society would be better off if we found ways to work together (religious and secular).  

Facing the facts, the religious folks have done a better job of pushing their worldview than we have as humanists! I am not a fan of the new atheists or what the Christian’s like to call “The War on Christianity”. In my opinion, the “blast them, ridicule/sarcasm,  or combative approach" is anger based and isn’t all that effective to produce change, it just stirs the pot!  

Think with me. When you were in school, did you learn as much from those teachers that you thought didn’t give a damn about you? This is why I just don’t think that needless confrontation works! If one thinks that you hate them, whatever you say or do will probably not find a receptive audience!  

What I sense would work better involves the re-examining of the egalitarian concept of society . This is an entitlement often rendered to folks that haven’t earned it! I had addressed this once before, but I need to further develop the thought in a future post as time permits.


Brian Worley    April 3, 2009     All rights reserved.

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