Face-off with a tongues-speaker:
Modern tongues is demonic

by David Cox

Summary: This study is what I present in talking to a tongues speaker to show them why I do not speak in tongues as
they consider it, and why it is wrong and plainly demonic.

Position of the typical tongues speaker: "Tongues speaking is clearly in the Bible, and we are biblical because we speak in tongues whereas you being Baptist refuse to follow the New Testament in this point of tongues speaking. You are missing out on all the blessing of the Holy Spirit because of this break with the Bible."

Okay, for the sake of argument, let's take the tongues speakers position at face value, that it is true, (and we non-tongues speaking Christians are missing out) and examine it in the light of the Bible and see how it squares with the Scriptures.

Preliminary # 1
Tongues-speaker's definition of "tongues". The critical issue in tongues is that the tongues speaker holds that tongues is a supernatural event in which a person invites the Holy Spirit to enter his body, and the manifestation of this Holy Spirit entrance is a loss of control of all or part of his body (sometimes he is unconscious during a tongues session), with always at least the tongue and vocal cords which begin to utter sounds without intervention of the person, all done by the spirit.

Preliminary #2
Our Authority as a Christian -
We must agree that our final authority that we all have to submit to is the Word of God, not emotions, impressive events or feelings, etc. Therefore we must judge the "rightness" or "wrongness" of anything on the basis of what God's word says about it, not anything else, even our own personal experience with it.

Preliminary #3
What actually happens in most modern tongues speaking -
In almost all tongues-speaking churches, the events are basically the same. When the Spirit comes over a person, he loses control of himself, often falling (slain in the spirit) or rolling around on the ground, or sometimes losing consciousness of his actions and the things happening around him. At this point, the Spirit takes over his body and he begins to speak in tongues. It is normal or common that many people will speak in tongues during such a service, and the majority are women, and seldom are there interpreters for every person who speaks in tongues. These people are moved by the Holy Spirit and all speak at the same time.

Principle of Hermeneutics: Clearest passage carries most weight

Okay, with these foundations we go to the Bible to study what the Bible teaches about tongues, comparing it to the modern phenomena. There is a principle of biblical exposition that when the Bible presents various passages about a topic, the most clearest passage is always interpreted first, and what it teaches cannot be overthrown by an unclear or less clear passage on the same topic. All unclear passages must have an interpretation that "fits" with the conclusions from the clearest passages on the subject.

What are the clearest passages dealing with tongues speaking in the Bible? There are two very clear passages, the first and most important is Acts 2, and then next clearest or most important is 1 Corinthians 14. For the moment we will leave Acts 2 for last and go to 1 Corinthians 14. (See Acts 2 - The Blessing of Pentecost)

For just a minute, let's assume everything that the tongues-speaker says is true and biblical. By his own definition, tongues is the entrance of the Holy Spirit into the person speaking in tongues and he loses control over his body (at least his tongue). So let's posit that as a point in our understanding.

Point #1 - Modern Tongues speaking is loss of control to the Holy Spirit.

This is not our observation or presumption about the matter, this is what tongues speakers assert that is the work of the Holy Spirit in a tongues event.

Point #2 - A person who loses control of his body is not responsible for his actions.

When a person goes into an operation, he is unconscious, and legally he cannot be held accountable for anything that he may inadvertently do. For example, if while on the operating table unconscious, his hand falls and hits the table of instruments and a surgical knife flips over and stabs the surgeon, the patient is not responsible for this, but rather the surgeon is.

Point #3 - Paul's instruction relating to tongues speaking in 1 Corinthian 14.

Now we examine 1 Corinthians 14.

1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

Paul sets out rules for what is proper relating to tongues in a church assembly or service. What Paul sets out is basically the will of God, or in other words, to not follow Paul's instruction here would be sin.

Rules for order of service and tongues:

  1. Everything permitted has to edify (14:26)
  2. Maximum limit of tongues speaking in a single service is 3 (14:27)
  3. Order is to be maintained by forcing only one person to speak at a time (14:27)
  4. Everything spoken in a tongue must be interpreted for the congregation (14:27)
  5. Without interpretation, the tongues speaker must shut up and sit down (14:28)
  6. Preachers (prophets who rebuke sin) must speak with a limit of 3 per service (14:29)
  7. The congregation is to judge the validity or "biblicalness" of what is spoken (14:29)
  8. Strict order is to always be enforced, that is, never is it God's will that several people speak simultaneously (14:30)
  9. All of God's prophets which speak will be able to restrain their words if necessary ("hold their peace") so that others may participate and speak in the service also (14:30)
  10. God's will is that things in a worship service should be done "one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted" (14:31)
  11. Understanding of the content of the speaking is an absolute necessity (14:31)
  12. God declares that the very own spirit of the prophets are always subject or under control to that prophet (14:32)
  13. Anything leaning towards a confusion is not of God, but rather God's presence is in orderly peace, not scandalous riot (14:33).
  14. Women are never permitted to speak in a church service, their obedience to God and men is seen in their refusal to speak, preach, lead, preside, or otherwise have authority over men or in the presence of men (14:34) (See 1 Tim 2:11-15)
  15. Even questions by women can be construed as exerting authority or teaching, and even these are to be done in the privacy of the woman's home with her husband, and not in the public church service (14:35).
  16. It is a shame when a woman speaks publicly in a church service (14:35)
  17. God did not in this passage prohibit the Corinthians from speaking in tongues (14:39)
  18. Order and decency (everything according to the plan of God) is what must be forced over anything else (14:40)

Point #4 - Most tongues speaking services break many or all of the rules Paul laid out for tongues.

By simple observation one can quickly see that modern tongues where they are practiced in public worship services (which is the entire point of Paul's instruction in 1 Corinthian 14) is very different from what is practiced by modern tongues speakers. In general, there is no order, a great and grand confusion is the rule of these services even when there are no tongues. The typical Charismatic-Pentecostal service is scandalous, having people showing, running, screaming, speaking in tongues, and music, noise, all happening at the same time, just like a riot. Women not only speak in tongues, but they are pastors, preachers and teachers of the congregation (men being present). If women speaking is a shame, then the entire service is a shame. Interpreters are seldom present or active, and what is given as "the interpretation" of what was said is not always biblical when compared to other Scripture passages. It is given in contradiction to what God has clearly said elsewhere in the Bible.

Point #5 - The character of modern tongues is different from tongues in Corinthian (chapter 14).

The very fact that Paul was giving the Corinthians principles to deal with a problem (tongues in their services) means that they had the ability, power, disposition to change how tongues was being implemented in their services. So the very essence and definition of modern tongues (a loss of control) is alien to the biblical narrative. They did not succumb to a spirit that took control of them (even their tongues). This passage clearly Paul declares, "the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet", and he points out that when somebody else begins speaking when you are talking in the service, one or the other should sit down and shut up, and yield the floor to the other. This is how God works, and to do otherwise is confusion, and a mark of the devil.

Conclusion from these points: Sin happens in these services

The unavoidable fact is that what is done in the typical tongues speaking is totally out of line with the instructions that Paul gives, revealing the will of God (what is not in the will of God is sin). So sin happens when God is not obeyed.

Most Important question: Who sinned then? Who is responsible for this break with the will of God?

You see, the tongues speaker has defined tongues as a supernatural event, whereby he himself loses control over his body (his tongue) and the spirit controls him. Okay, let's take that at face value. Then if God's Holy Spirit is controlling him against or outside of his own will and consciousness, and we can discern that under this supernatural force, the person sins, who did the sinning? Who is responsible for this break with the will of God (which is sin)?

Well, at first we say the person speaking in tongues sinned - No. By definition he has no power over his actions when the real Holy Spirit tongues speaking happens. He cannot be responsible for the sin he caused because he simply yielded his body to be used of the Holy Spirit, and outside of his own control, the sin happened.

Well then,  the Holy Spirit made the person sin - No. How can the Holy Spirit who is God cause somebody to sin? Why would He do that anyway? Is He not the Spirit of Holiness which causes people to stop sinning instead of causing them to sin? This is totally unacceptable either.

Well then, other human beings provoked the person to sin - No. This is not acceptable either, because remember we accepted the tongues-speaker's definition of tongues from the very first that IT IS SUPERNATURAL, completely out of the control of the tongues speaker except the opening or inviting or yielding of his body to the spirit.

Well then, perhaps a good angel caused the person to sin - No. This is unacceptable also, because very simply put, any good angel that would cause a person to sin would fall into the very same pattern as Lucifer who provoked Adam and Eve to sin. He immediately becomes a demon.

Well then, the only possibility left is that demons are behind this modern tongues speaking - Yes, this is the only possibility. Let's examine how this squares with Scripture but first let me deal with an objection here.

You mean to say if you preach, say or do something wrong (sinful) in a church service (especially as a preacher) then it is the work of demons? No. By definition of the very same tongues speakers, their tongues speaking is supernatural. It is not the simple act of a bilingual person speaking in a foreign language to communicate the Word of God to foreigners or interpreting foreign brethren's comments and sermons into the language of the people present. It is a supernatural event that can only happen if God's Spirit is present and moves people to speak. When I as a preacher say something wrong, it is in my flesh that I do it, by ignorance of God's word, my personal misunderstanding of God's word, or even by my stubbornness, but no outside force takes over my body and does it without my will being involved.

So can it be possible that modern tongues speaking is demonic? Yes

We examine secular records and we find that tongues is a common event existing in false religions that don't take the Jesus of the Bible as God and Savior. Mormons speak in tongues. Witch doctors in animistic religions speak in tongues. Within Satanism and witchcraft, tongues speaking is common. So is the Holy Spirit giving these antagonistic religious leaders tongues?

So there must be a false tongues and a true tongues. The false tongues very obviously is that which is related with things that are against God's will (1 Corinthian 14). True tongues must be related to things which are related to God's will (Acts 2 for example).

Overview of Demonic Activity

If we make a simple survey of the Scriptures looking for answers, what conclusion do we come to? Is there any passage or verse that would indicate that God has ever or even intends to make a person do God's will against that person's own will? Never.

We find the pattern of God very consistent here. God first speaks His word to that person, laying in his mind and understanding a choice, this is God's will, do it and live, or don't do it and die. This is how God presented things to Adam and Eve, and to everybody since then.

We find a fruit or something that naturally proceeds from the Holy Spirit is self-control.

Galatians 5:23 Meekness, temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.

We see in 1 Corinthians 14, clearly in the context of tongues, Paul asserts that a true work of God is that the believer will ALWAYS have control over his own body and actions, and that the spiritual believer will submit himself to the laws, commands, examples of God.

Matthew 17:15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

The complaint of this father is that his demon possessed son was being controlled by the demon to do things against his own will. This is the trademark characteristic of demons, they try to control people against their wills. God never does this. He does not work in this manner.

Is it possible for a Christian believer in the New Testament to not have the Holy Spirit?

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

This is key here. Very simply, if a person in this New Testament dispensation does not have the Holy Spirit, then he is not saved. He has nothing to do with Christ. Yes he should seek the Holy Spirit by simply accepting Jesus as his personal Savior!

But Christians are not commanded to seek what they already have. God gave us the deposit or anticipatory part of what will later come when we are saved.

Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Then according to the Scriptures, this present day waiting or seeking of the Holy Spirit to come into a person is clearly not what God has presented to us. It is a fabrication of heretics that are dabbling in demonic activity.

The Tongues Speaker's Rebuttal

I have presented these Scriptures to a number of tongues speakers (some seeking to make me have the "gift of tongues" like them). The normal and typical consistent response is now predictable. First they cannot answer the logic of who causes a person to sin that speaks in tongues. Then their rebuttal is usually the same, "But brother David, if you only would try it once, you would know it is of God!"

My reply to that is the following, "I have a bottle of rat poison under my sink that I want you to drink. If you do, you will have an experience that will truly be out of this world!" They laugh. I ask why they don't take me seriously. Because they would die! Right! How did they discern that rat poison would not be good for them even though somebody says it is great? Because they use their senses of discernment to pick up on certain details, the skull and cross bones on the bottle, the warning, "Poison", etc. They do not have to try it to discern it is harmful. Experience is not always a good thing. A lot of experiences we want to avoid. Why? Because they are bad for us.

I look at modern tongues speaking and I see indicators that God does not work that way, and even if He did, God never caused any minister of His to lose control of himself and speak in tongues. It simply is a mark of demonism, not of the Holy Spirit.

What to do if you are a tongues speaker and you understand the argument of this page

(1) Confess to God your sin. Turn from unrighteousness and follow God.

(2) Get away from ungodly influences in your life. That means find another biblical church that does not promote tongues.

(3) Deal with your basis of authority. You need to commit to following God's word, not your emotions or feelings. Feelings are deceptive many times, God's word is never deceptive.

(4) Refuse to allow yourself to yield to the influence or desire to speak in tongues. It is demonic influence that is pulling you, it has nothing to do with God. Reject it wholly, and run from it anything, anywhere it should present itself.

For further study on tongues