Beit Gamaliel

The House of Gamaliel: The confluence of knowledge and faith.


Doctrinal Flaw of Charismatics

Dr. E. T. Quanabush was an ordained evangelist of the Assemblies of God denomination who passed away decades ago. He was staunch defender of the Charismatic movement, while he remained concerned about erroneous understanding and expression of several of the “gifts of the spirit” as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12 of the Christian Bible. One of his unpublished papers dealt with the lack of accurate biblical understanding of “speaking in tongues” and it’s subsequent non-biblical application in the Charismatic church service.

“Speaking in tongues” has been a lightning-rod issue for pentecostals, and one which has drawn significant fire from other evangelical denominations and reform theologians (see information about the recently held Strange Fire Conference). This blog installation is the formerly unpublished work of Dr. E. T. Quanabush. I am including the content entirely, however, have included some clarifying statements for non-pentecostals [additions will be noted by brackets].

  • Justification was the emphasis of Martin Luther
  • Sanctification was the emphasis of the Wesleys
  • Second Coming of Christ was the emphasis of the Baptists
  • Healing was the emphasis of the Christian Missionary Alliance (CMA)
  • Baptism with the Holy Spirit is the emphasis of the Charismatics [or, Pentecostals]
[The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is] the last in the dispensation of grace. The prime purpose of this [resurgence of this phenomenon] is to

  1. [To] fulfill scripture. “This Gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations and then shall the end come” Matthew 22:14
  2. To counteract the “perilous times” of the last days. [“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self,…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 abridged]

pentecost[Pentecostals believe that the infilling of the Holy Spirit that took place at Pentecost in Acts 2 and was evidenced by tongues of fire on each persons head and accompanied by men speaking in other tongues is active in the church today and should be evident in pentecostal services. It is most traditionally observed by an individual speaking in an unknown language and then ‘translated’ or ‘interpreted’ into the known language. Despite the teaching of the modern pentecostals that lumps ‘speaking in tongues’ as one gift of the spirit, there exists a clear distinction between the ‘initial physical evidence’ of speaking in tongues as described in Acts 2, and the ‘Gift of Tongues’ described in 1 Corinthians. The following demonstrate the biblical differences, as well as provides a scriptural model and framework for the use of the ‘Gift of Tongues’ in the church service. This Biblical evidence should be weighed heavily against what has been taught and/or practiced for decades in pentecostal services.] The purpose of this [article] is to provide a clear SCRIPTURAL teaching on the difference between the ‘Initial Physical Evidence’ and the ‘Gift of Tongues.’

The Initial Physical Evidence

[Acts 2 records the events that occurred at the Feast of Pentecost after the Ascension of Yeshua (Jesus).

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.”

While the initial ‘sticking point’ is one of syntax, it is an important one. What the Bible records is one-hundred twenty (120) people (Acts 1:15) spoke in fifteen (15) languages (Acts 2:9-11) to at least three-thousand (3,000) people (Acts 2:41). What is clear from the passage is that the “other tongues” of Acts 2:4 were intelligible and understood by foreign bystanders. Therefore, the tongue was not an “unknown” tongue, but a tongue of a ‘known’ language–just unknown to the one speaking. Therefore, the definition of the Greek word of tongue, “glossa” remains accurate in this interpretation: “the language or dialect used by a particular people.” This then becomes the patter observed elsewhere in Acts (chapters 8, 9, 10, 19).

The Gift

In contrast to this distinction, Paul addresses an issue of the church. Apparently there lacked significant teaching on the Gift of Tongues and it was being misused in the church service. His teaching tries to bring clarification. But as we considered above, this “tongue” of which Paul writes is best translated as “unknown tongue”. In contrast to Acts where men from fifteen different nations could understand the languages spoken, Paul writes of a language that is known to no one but God:

“For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.”

Paul’s use of the Greek ‘glossolalia’ differs not just in syntax and usage, but also in the way it is perceived, and used. Consider Dr. E. T. Quanabush’s comparative table below.]

Dichotomy of Glossolalia

Initial Physical Evidence (Acts 2)

Gift of Tongues (1 Cor. 14)

One-hundred twenty spoke in fifteen languages to three-thousand foreigners all at once.And without an interpreter “If the whole church speaks with tongues [simultaneously] will they not say you are mad?” (v. 23)“If any speak with an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or, at the most, three and let one interpret” (v. 27)
Glossolalia was a known human language (v. 8) Glossolalia is an “unknown tongue” (v.2)
Intended for EVERYONE who is saved:“And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (v. 38-39) Intended for SOME who are saved:“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.” (1 Cor. 12:7-10)
Evidence of Baptism:Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6 Evidence of the Gift of Tongues:I Cor. 12:10
Fulfills Prophecy:Joel 2:28 (v. 16) Fulfills Prophecy:Isaiah 14:32 (v. 21)
No teaching prior to reception Much teaching prior to reception:1 Cor. 12, 13, & 14
Purpose:Power to Witness (Acts 1:8) Purpose:Edification (v. 4)
Sign to UNBELIEVERS:“We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (v. 11) Sign to BELIEVERS:“Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves,” (v. 4)“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues” (Mark 16:17)
Tongues were a message to MEN:“Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?” (v. 7 & 8) Worship to God, NOT TO MEN:“For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.” (v. 2)Directed toward God, not men:

“praying and singing in the Spirit” (v. 14 & 15)

[Side by side, it is clear that these two Charismatic experiences are distinct from one another in purpose and expression! The only similarity is that the tongue is NOT KNOWN to the speaker!

In reference to church order and expression during services, we are left with] a question: If the Gift of Tongues [which requires interpretation in order to edify the church] is a prayer or a song of worship to God, why, then, do we not interpret a prayer in the “Gift of Interpretation?” [It would be clearly taught from scripture (1 Cor. 14) that the interpretation of this ‘Gift of Tongues’, would not be interpreted as, “Thus says the Lord…”, but would rather be much more akin to a Psalm or prayer, or Mary’s song of worship, The Magnificat.]

Every single instruction Paul gives to regulate the Gift of Tongues is [diametrically] different from what happened in the [initial] evidence [of the baptism in the Holy Spirit]. The Jerusalem Tongue is NEVER to be confused with the Corinthian Tongue! They are NOT the same!

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