Pirate Christian Radio purports to present the gospel correctly and examines the doctrine of other ministries to check for accuracy.

A noble cause you might think, provided the person checking the teaching gets the doctrine right themselves.

Now the irate pirates have posted a YouTube video from a group calling themselves wwutt, which is an acronym for ‘when we understand the text’. They also claim to be pointing out the errors in some ministries’ teachings.

So what does the video tell us? It’s asking the question ‘Are the miraculous spiritual gifts still at work today?’ Then follows two minutes of completely incorrect doctrine on the gift of speaking in tongues and the gifts of healing, deliverance and prophecy.

Doo wot?

The team at wwutt actually make the astounding claim that scripture teaches us that the early Christians ‘shared the gospel in other tongues’.

This is absolute nonsense, of course. Nowhere in scripture does it tell us that anyone shared the gospel in other tongues. They spoke with other tongues, or languages, but they were not preaching the gospel. The gospel is to be preached in a known language to the hearers.

What the wwutt team are claiming is that the early disciples and apostles spoke in other tongues and the hearers heard them in their language. This, wwutt claims, was the way they preached the gospel.

If someone went to another country and shared the gospel in a different language they had not learned before, that would be speaking in tongues as it is given in the New Testament.

Bunkum.

Of course, on the day of Pentecost, the people who heard the 120 speak in tongues heard them magnify God in their languages, but it wasn’t until Peter preached the gospel in the known language of the day that they repented and were saved – some 3,000 people added to the Church.

What did the hearers hear, then?

Acts 2:11b We hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.

They heard them speak the wonderful works of God. Their languages were poetic and exaltation of God. The Greek word is megaleios, meaning, ‘magnificent, splendid, marvellous, wonderful’. They spoke of God’s wonders, they did not preach the gospel. Peter did so after this to explain what was happening.

Gospel

The gospel is the message that Jesus went to the cross to pay the price of our sin, He was buried, and then, after three days, raised so that we could be resurrected through faith in Him. This was not what they were saying when they spoke in tongues. They were extolling the virtues and wonders of God.

To say that speaking in tongues is preaching the gospel is a misuse of scripture. In fact, Paul makes it clear that, generally, except on the occasion of the Day of Pentecost, when a person speaks in tongues no one understands what the speaker is saying. He or she is speaking in the spirit to God in mysteries. Mysterion, ‘hidden things’.

Paul doesn’t reject the spiritual gifts. On the contrary, he admonishes us to pursue them, but gives clear instruction on how they are to be used in the assembly.

Corinthians 14:1-5 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.

For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.

But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

For this reason, he tells us, it is better for the speaker, if and when he has a tongue, not to say anything in the assembly unless there is an interpreter. Better, he says, for the speaker to prophesy because then the people will understand what is being said.

The clincher

1 Corinthians 14 makes it very clear that speaking in tongues was not for public speech unless there was an interpretation, so it’s clear that the languages of tongues were not understood.

1 Corinthians 14:18-19 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Surely, if tongues were preaching the gospel with a supernatural interpretation for the hearer Paul would say the reverse. This doctrine alone refutes the wwutt claims.

1 Corinthians 14:6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching?

So Paul is not decrying revelation, knowledge, prophecy or teaching. He is not refusing speaking in tongues. He is saying that if we have a tongue we should keep it for our own devotions and edification, unless we know there is an interpretation that can edify the assembly.

1 Corinthians 14:13-15 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

So, then, in their context, both tongues and prophecy are not only acceptable, but encouraged.

When we understand the text!

Limited sources

As ‘evidence’ for their assumptions, as if they have a need to lend some kind of weight to their claims, wwutt produce a line of, to some, controversial televangelists who occasionally speak in tongues on air and prophesy. This is the limit of the imagination of the critics. They do not realise, it seems, that there are literally thousands of ministries at work in the vineyard who do not have TV shows, magazines, books, or even YouTube channels, blogs or radio shows.

An increasing number of local church ministers speak with other tongues as part of their God-given spiritual toolkit. It is a grace of God to edify the speaker. These ministers are not famous, just dedicated to the truth. They conduct themselves according to Paul’s teaching in Corinthians, which tells us how to operate in the gifts and manifestations, not how to reject them.

However wwutt sneakily make the following claim regarding the gifts and manifestations of the Spirit as revealed in 1 Corinthians:

There are no faith-healers revealing new prophecies with the gift of gibberish.

This of course is a strawman. It is a made-up phrase that has no bearing on the actual gifts and manifestations of the Spirit. At best it is an unlearned opinion. It is also a slap in the face of the Holy Spirit, whose gifts and manifestations are made available to the Body of Christ. “Forbid not speaking in tongues” we are told. Yet they would prevent us and grieve the Spirit.

It is cessationist talk. It is the real gibberish, only written in a poorly coded language we can easily decipher and understand. It is cessationist theology speak, and not related to anything taught by continuationists, nor in scripture.

If they understood the text they would not reject huge portions as finished when there is no evidence to support it, and, more to the point, no scripture to endorse the cessationist point of view.

1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant.

Indeed.

 

 

 

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