Speaking In Tongues by E. G. Cook
Speaking In Tongues
by E. G. Cook
Former Pastor – Philadelphia Baptist Church
Birmingham , Alabama
(Now In Glory)
Now that so much interest is being shown concerning speaking in tongues, you and I need to study the subject seriously and prayerfully. If the adherents of the tongues movement are right, it behooves us to join them. We want to be right. And we should be able to learn what is right. If true Baptists, who have had an indisputable succession from the days of Christ’s earthly ministry, cannot learn the truth concerning this question, who under Heaven can do so? If the tongues movement is wrong, we certainly need to know that. This question is on the minds of many sincere saints. So may it please our dear Lord that we study it humbly and prayerfully together.
All the adherents of this movement that I now anything about tie it in with a second work of grace, usually called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As to this Holy Spirit baptism I know absolutely nothing. Though I have searched the sacred pages prayerfully, I have never been able to find such a baptism in the precious old Book. On the day of Pentecost our Lord baptized His church in the Holy Spirit. But there the Holy Spirit was the element in which the church was baptized (should be immersed). So far as I am able to see, the Holy Spirit has never baptized anybody or anything.
It seems that most, if not all of the adherents of Holy Spirit baptism, hang their all on I Corinthians 12:13. And though this verse, like all the others, is stronger than Gibraltar and Thor combined, it still will not support this teaching. It is true that our translation says, „For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body.” Now if we say the Holy Spirit is doing the baptizing here, we must also say the „one body” is same universal, invisible thing. But there cannot be any such thing as an invisible body. Even our Lord and His accompanying angels took unto themselves bodies in Genesis 18 in order that Abraham might be able to see them. Our language just simply cannot accommodate an in visible body, whether it be a human body or whether it be a body made up of a group of people. There is just no way for a group of people to be an invisible body. They must be assembled in order to be a body. So any one who teaches an invisible body made of people is showing his ignorance of what a body is.
Some may say, Why does this verse mean ‘by one Spirit”? That is a good question. And I must say I simply cannot see why our translators put it this way. I can understand why they say, baptize with water” in Matthew 3:11 and also in Mark, Luke, and John, because that supports their homemade mode of baptism. But so for as I am able to know, the Church of England did not espouse the teaching of Holy Spirit baptism. So I simply cannot understand why they say „by one Spirit.” This word „by” comes from the little Greek word EN. And in our King James version some authorities say this word EN is translated „among” 114 times. It is translated „with” 139 times, „by” 142 times and „in” 1363 times. So you see this word is translated „in” more than thirteen times as many times as it is translated „by.” In a case like this it is the responsibility of the translator to use the meaning that will make the passage under consideration harmonize with the plain teaching in other places. With that in mind, let us compare this verse with Romans 8:9, where we read „But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” Here we see that they had to use „in the Spirit” simply because none of the other three meanings of EN would make any sense. So in order to make I Corinthians 12:13harmonize with Romans 8:9, we simply have to say ‘For in one Spirit are we all baptized (immersed in the original) into one body.” If we are in the Spirit (Romans 8:9) we are eligible to be immersed into one body, the assembly.
In Luke 8:35 we see the man, out of whom our Lord had cast the demons sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and in his right mind. But it seems that when people get this so-called Holy Spirit baptism they go completely out of their mind. They are in a state of frenzy and frustration, and seem to be ready to climb the waIl. It is my firm conviction that it is some other spirit that brings about such a state of mind as this. It doesn’t even resemble the workings of the precious Holy Spirit. In Isaiah 32:17 we read, „And the work of righteousness shall be peace; the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” The effect of something causes these people to lose control of themselves and to act as if they were having an epileptic seizure. But righteousness causes quietness and assurance for ever. Paul says in I Corinthians 14:40, „Let all things be done decently and in order,” but those who do this so-called speaking in tongues seem to be devoid of either decency or order.
Now with all this in mind, let us see what the Book has to say about the tongues. Does it say anything about the jabbering these people do? The first reference that might be used by those who are devoid of quietness and decent order, so far as I am able to see, is Acts 2:4. Here we read, „And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost (Spirit), and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Here Peter and the other apostles were speaking in other tongues. But in verse 6 we read, „every man heard them speak in his own language.” In this chapter, and in 21:40, 22:2 and 26:14 the word is DIALEKTOS in the Greek, and it means a language. It is so translated in 2:6. Here we see a miracle among miracles. In Genesis 11 :7 God confused the followers of Nimrod by causing them to speak languages that others of the group could not understand. Due to this they were not able to finish what they had started. But those who were in the group that was speaking could understand what was being said. But these people who jabber like frustrated joy birds do not understand what they are saying themselves. That is confusion, pure and simple. In fact, that is the very worst kind of confusion when the one who is speaking does not know what he is saying. And in I Corinthians 14:33 we are told that „God is not the author of confusion.” So, since God is not the author of all this confusion, who is?
I Corinthians 14 seems to be the little Bible to those who adhere to the tongues movement. In verse 2 we see the expression „unknown tongue.” But this word „unknown” is not the Word of God. It is the word of the translators. If you notice, it is in italics which means it is not in the original Greek. The original says, „For he that speaks with a tongue.” The word „tongue” here is from GLOSSA which can mean the tongue in your mouth with which you speak or sing, or it can mean the ability to speak in another language. During the early stages of church history, and especially on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit enabled the apostles to speak in other languages. If you check Acts 2:7-10 you will find there were some seventeen language groups present on the day of Pentecost. And in verse 8 we are told that they all heard in their native tongues.
So in I Corinthians 14 when you see the word „tongue” just remember, it is speaking of an other language. Several years ago, before Castro took over Cuba, my family and I were vacationing in Clearwater, Florida. One afternoon while we were enjoying the lovely beach, a group of people from Cuba came to the beach. They were a few yards away from us, but we could hear them as they all seemed to be talking at the same time. They sounded to us like a drove of black birds. We could not understand a word they were saying, but they could. That is what is meant in I Corinthians 14:4 where we read, „He that speaketh in an (unknown) tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.” If a preacher from some foreign country were to get up in your pulpit and preach in his native tongue he would be built up himself, but he would not help the congregation In the least because they would not know what he was saying. However, in the case of someone speaking in what is commonly known as ‘tongues” in our day, no one is edified, because no one, not even the old devil himself knows what is being said. In fact, nothing is being said unless you express your thoughts in somebody’s language
Paul was a well educated man. He could speck in several different languages. Still in I Corinthians 14:19 he says, „Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in on (unknown) tongue.” He s saying that the congregation will get more good from five words they understand than they would from ten thousand words in a language they do not understand.
The word „unknown” is found one time in the New Testament in the original. And there (Acts 17:23) it is speaking of God. It comes from AGNOSTOS, and is never used in connection with the tongue. There is no such thing as a tongue, or language that nobody knows.
We should stop and think who it is that speaks in the so-called tongues. Are they a people who stand for the whole counsel of God? Have they been speaking like this from the days of Christ’s earthly ministry? If so, we should join up with them. But if we find they had their beginning less than one hundred years ago, in 1886, and that they are mode up of false cults, and in these last few years, false Baptists, we should shun them as if they were a rattlesnake with small pox.