Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from Jan. 18-22 are provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (Ph.D.) who is the AMI Teaching Pastor. He and Insil have been married for 28+ years and they have three children: Christy (teacher), Joshua (grad student) and Justin (college freshman). They live in Philadelphia.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?
I wonder how Jerry Rankin, then-President of the International Mission Board, felt as the vote was being counted. In 2005, the board members of this Southern Baptist Convention organization voted on whether to accept anyone who speaks in tongues as its missionary candidates. The board overwhelmingly decided against it. Rankin, who had been speaking in tongues for 30 years, couldn’t have felt too comfortable.
I, too, have been speaking in tongues for a long time; in fact, I received that gift on the day I became a believer in 1981. Actually, I had stopped praying in the gift of tongues for a time while attending Talbot Seminary that taught that tongues disappeared in the 1st century. But I resumed, after studying the Scripture and finding that it doesn’t say anything to that effect.
One vocal opponent against the gift of tongues is the renowned John MacArthur, a graduate of Talbot. As a mega-church pastor and seminary president, MacArthur has many arguments against tongues, one of which is, whereas the tongues spoken in Acts were real languages, the tongues spoken today aren’t.
MacArthur has stated, as agreed by many theologians, that “the only teaching in Acts that can be called normative (absolute) for the church are those that are doctrinally confirmed elsewhere in Scripture.” In other words, the Epistles by Paul or John should have the final word. If this is so, then shouldn’t MacArthur put more weight on the writings of Paul? In 1 Corinthians 14:2 Paul writes: “For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God.” Whereas the onlookers in Jerusalem from the nations understood what was being spoken, no one understood the tongues spoken by the Corinthians because it wasn’t a real language; and that’s the tongues spoken by people like Rankin and me.
And I second Rankin who said that tongues as a private prayer language has been a tremendous help in his relationship with God. You may or may not speak in tongues, but ultimately, what matters is whether we have a consistent prayer life to sustain our intimacy with God. If not, start today.
Lord, You are the God of redemption, and for that, I am infinitely grateful. Like useless and rusty junk, we could’ve easily been discarded for our sins, but You saw fit to send your Son to take our place to redeem us. Thank You that we can be close to You through prayer. Help me seek to You always. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 16
Lunch Break Study
Read Acts 19:11-2: God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
Acts 5:3-5: Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.
Acts 5:15: As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.
Question to Consider
- Solely based on these passages from Acts, what should be happening today?
- Without necessarily saying that these things can never happen again, what justifies the view that these occurrences are not normative for the church today?
- Ultimately, why is thinking in this manner (putting epistles ahead of Acts when theologizing) important?
- The sick people should be healed by the shadows and handkerchiefs of some powerful, anointed people of God. Everyone who lies to God should be dying soon thereafter.
- These things shouldn’t be normative experiences for the church today because none is taught or advocated in the Epistles, which are instructions for the church (1 Thess. 4:8; 2 Thess. 3:14).
- Paul says to Pastor Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16). While not all doctrines are same in importance, some are more crucial to our salvation (i.e. salvation by faith, the deity and humanity of Christ, etc.). We must be careful and thoughtful when theologizing, doctrines being its outcome.
Close your eyes and think about any ongoing conflicts (small or large) with someone at work and at home. Review the way you have been arguing. Are you being principled or talking out of both sides of your mouth? Perhaps an apology is due. Perhaps you have been arguing for the sake of winning! Pray.