Since I was saved in the summer of 1973, I have seen many attempts at «tongues speaking.» Not once have I heard anything like a biblical tongue, which is a real earthly language. For example, while attending Celebration Jesus 2000 in St. Louis with press credentials, I witnessed great confusion about tongues.
Jack Hayford’s book on tongues was published a few years ago by a non-Pentecostal publisher, and while speaking in St. Louis, he reported that many non-Pentecostals and non-Charismatics have learned to «speak in tongues» by reading his book. The charismatic phenomena are increasing rapidly in non-Pentecostal groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention. In Christianity Today, May 16, 1986, Pastor Don LeMaster of the West Lauderdale Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, estimated that five percent of SBC congregations were openly charismatic at that time. That number has surely increased during the past 16 years. Charisma magazine, March 1999, contained a report entitled «Shaking Southern Baptist Tradition,» which gave many examples of charismatic Southern Baptist congregations.
I remember being very perplexed about tongues as a new Christian. I was led to the Lord in the summer of 1973 by an old-line Pentecostal man; and the night that happened in a motel room in Daytona Beach, Florida, he prayed that I would receive the gift of tongues. The next day we parted ways and I have never seen him again, but for the first few months after that, I sought wisdom from the Lord on the subject of tongues. I visited Assemblies of God churches, attended a Nicky Cruz crusade, and diligently studied the issue in the Bible. Instead of giving me the gift of tongues, though, the Lord gave me the understanding that it was a temporary gift that is not for today.
The reasons I rejected the tongues of the modern Pentecostal-Charismatic movement 29 years ago are the reasons I rejected the «tongues» I witnessed in St. Louis in 2000. Consider four of those reasons: