I’ve been born-again for 20 years.
Being born-again is the best thing — by far and without question — that ever happened to me. I lived as an atheist into adulthood, and then one day suddenly I was born again.
I woke up one morning an atheist and went to bed that night a believer.
It can happen that fast.
What also happened fast was the sea-change in the words that came out of my mouth and out of my pen. My voice stayed the same, but a whole different vocabulary emerged. I said and wrote things I never thought in my life I would say or write (the words of Jesus Christ), and I stopped saying and writing things that my soul could no longer abide (curse words, persecution of believers, and taking God’s name in vain). This, too, was instantaneous and happened automatically. I didn’t consciously work at it; it just happened.
Jesus says that one of the signs of a true believer is that he or she will “speak with new tongues.”
And so I did, and so I do.
These “new tongues” are not gibberish and are not forced. At the miracle of Pentecost, shortly after Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples were both speaking as I did (the words of Jesus the Christ) as well as speaking foreign languages they had never learned before. These are the “new tongues” referenced by Jesus as being one of the signs of true believers. The disciples didn’t pray to speak the words of Jesus Christ in different foreign languages; it just happened.
And here’s where I point out to you the virtual emergency exit (the little “x” in the upper right-hand corner) because what I’m about to say will likely offend you and you’ll want to click off as quickly as possible. You might want to go ahead and position your mouse now.
There is a relatively recent drive in some allegedly Christian churches to promote demonic utterances as speaking with new tongues. The outbursts typically come after a period of “prayer” and mood music, which actually serve as a demon invocations. In the invocations, people are praying specifically for the ability to “speak in tongues” rather than praying to do God’s will or praying for spiritual healing and guidance.
Jesus told us what to pray for. He gave us a laundry list:
- Say hi to God, referring to him as your Heavenly Father.
- Praise him.
- Ask him to establish his kingdom on Earth.
- Ask him for his will to be done on Earth,
- Ask his for your daily bread.
- Ask him to forgive you as you forgive others.
- Ask him not to be too hard with the tests and temptations.
- Ask him to deliver you from evil.
Nowhere in that list does Jesus ever mention asking God for the ability to utter gibberish. It’s just not there. Neither is there anything about picking up snakes, drinking poison, casting out demons, or laying hands on the sick. Those things aren’t on the list of things to pray for, either. Do you know why? BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL DIFFERENT SIGNS THAT ATTEND ON AND FOLLOW TRUE BELIEVERS, they are not things to be prayed for in and of themselves. They happen automatically, when and where needed.
This is a critical distinction.
True believers do not need to pray for the ability to speak with new tongues; it will just happen automatically.
Uttering demonically-inspired gibberish is not speaking with new tongues.
I will say it again: UTTERING DEMONICALLY-INSPIRED GIBBERISH IS NOT SPEAKING WITH NEW TONGUES.
As I mentioned at the outset – I have been born-again for 20 years. During that time, God’s spirit has been with me night and day. Not once have I had black-out phases when God allegedly worked through me. That doesn’t happen when God’s spirit works through you. On the contrary, when God’s spirit works through you for a specific task, you become hyper-conscious of what you’re doing and saying. There is no black-out; you remember and recall everything in minute detail.
During his ministry years on Earth, was there any evidence that Jesus experienced black-out phases when he didn’t remember something he had said or done?
No, never. He was acutely aware at all times what was going on around him, even when he was dying on the cross.
With those who allegedly “speak in tongues”, however, a common trait is that they do not remember having done the speaking. This is typical for demonic oppression and possession, where the person being oppressed or possessed has no recollection of what he/she said or did.
We all need to get as close to God as we can by following faithfully behind Jesus. Asking God to give us the ability to do something that is demonically-inspired will not bring us closer to God and is definitely not following in Jesus’ footsteps.
We are to follow the example set by Jesus, not the example set by people who are not born-again and love signs more than God. Jesus called those who constantly asked him for a sign a “wicked and adulterous generation”.
They still are.