Q. We used to receive a lot of Messages in Tongues long ago, but it seems to be dying out. What’s happened? Isn’t that important anymore?
A. A recent secular publication touched on this very subject! Even the world has noticed that Pentecostal Christians are changing. The article has some suggestions as to why this is happening:
- Speaking in Tongues is quite weird to a lot of people;
- ‘Seeker-friendly’ Churches want to be successful in attracting members, so they de-emphasise practices that offend visitors;
- Some Pentecostal Churches want to identify more closely with ‘mainstream’ churches;
- Their members are embarrassed by the criticism of unbelievers and non-Pentecostal churches;
- Gifts of the Holy Spirit are not being encouraged by leadership;
- ‘Tongues’ was important to the Azusa Street converts who were mainly poor and dispossessed people uplifted by ‘having a direct link to God’. People have become more affluent and educated and don’t need the trappings of Tongues.
The article unwittingly defines the real reason for the decline. Matt 24:12 tells it plainly – iniquity shall abound … the love of many shall wax cold. Many have left their first love and closeness with God!
However, the article also tells that, at a recent General Council Meeting of the largest Pentecostal Church with 3 million members in the USA and 66 million worldwide, the leaders were worried about the decline of Messages in Tongues.
By God’s Grace may this not be so amongst us.
Without question we believe in Speaking in Tongues, in private worship and also in Messages of the Spirit in local Churches.
We encourage God’s people to steer clear of similar trends and, more than ever, to ‘be being filled with the Spirit’. This is yet another Sign of the Times with love for the Lord cooling off with believers becoming ashamed of God and His ways. It really amounts to hearts hardened by pride rejecting the Holy Ghost.
Sadly, the rise of intellectualism, accompanied by worldly compromise and powerless lives and ministries, soon shows up. As for ‘evolving beyond the need for God and His Gifts’, we prefer to embrace His injunction to ‘desire Spiritual Gifts’, which will enable us to ‘follow after love’ – 1 Cor 14:1. Our roots go back somewhat further than Azusa Street; right to Jerusalem’s Upper Room!
If you’re not filled with the Spirit, get filled soon so that you may be used of God to witness to the world and be a miraculous blessing to the Body of Christ. Your own relationship with the Lord will blossom too!
The Gifts of the Spirit are indeed supernatural, valid, current and essential in the Church today!
And, by the way, there are 8 other Gifts of the Spirit apart from Tongues! Don’t be scared or ashamed of your heritage in Christ; stir up what you have, or had, and receive from God what He yet has for you – with which to bless the Church of Jesus.