What Questions Would You Ask Pastor MacArthur?

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Dr. Brown is scheduled to interview Pastor John MacArthur this Thursday on the Line of Fire. What questions would you like him to ask about Strange Fire? Dr. Brown will also share more about his India trip as he broadcasts one more time live from India. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.


Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Jesus said God must be worshiped in Spirit and Truth. That tells me there’s something of the Spirit and something of the Truth that go hand in hand together; both are essential!

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: When Jesus is healing the sick and pouring out His Spirit and working miraculous gifts shouldn’t we be rejoicing?


Dr. Brown’s just-written 420 page book Authentic Fire: A Response to John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, is about to be printed and will be shipped to you in plenty of time for the Christmas holidays. It is yours postage paid for a suggested donation of $25. (The print version of the book is only available through AskDrBrown Ministries.) US ONLY

Call 1-800-278-9978 or Order Online!

Other Resources:

Pastor John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference: Something Helpful or Something Harmful?

Dividing Over Truth, or Just Plain Divisive? Dr. Brown Interviews Christian Leaders Regarding the Strange Fire Conference

Dr. Brown Shares His Concerns Before Pastor MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference and an Appeal for the Real Work of the Spirit

  1. Ask what (if any) sociological studies he’s conducted or consulted to support his sweeping claims about charismatics and the charismatic movement in general.

  2. Hello Line of Fire team

    Wow, what a coup, to get John Macarthur to talk to you. I would like to ask the obvious questions:

    1. Was the purpose of the conference to communicate with those who are already cessationist or was it directed at those who are part of the modern Pentecostal movement? Did that goal affect the tone and content of the conference?

    2. Why did he allow himself to be led into the remark that compared Pentecostal believers to Mormons? (Footnote: I think the jocular tone of the interviewer might have contributed to the comment. would that be a correct assumption?)

    3. If Pentecostal believers should point out gross error in their camp (which you have done, Dr Brown), why did he not have a conference about the prominent Calvinistic leaders who have committed wrong? The implication is that there is nothing in Calvinist churches to point out.

    4. Tongues are often characterised as senseless babbling and not a real language. Since there are many many languages are spoken on earth, can we Western Christians be absolutely certain that we are not hearing a real language?

    Thanks for all you’re doing. Try to get some rest when you get back from India, Dr B.

  3. Here is my question, for Dr. MacArthur:

    “Since the Bible gives us no description of early church tongues, how can you condemn modern church tongues as un-biblical?”

    This is similar to my question for Dr. Brown:

    “Since the Bible gives us no description of early church tongues, how can you be so sure that modern church tongues are biblical?”

  4. Anthea,

    >>Tongues are often characterised as senseless babbling and not a real language. Since there are many many languages are spoken on earth, can we Western Christians be absolutely certain that we are not hearing a real language?

    I think you have asked this one before. This one is pretty simple to answer.

    Language is distinctly different than babbling.

    Language has structure, patterns and a minimum set of sounds. Any decent linguist could distinguish a real language from babbling, even without knowing that language.

  5. What is his basis for claiming that the charismatic movement has brought ‘zero social benefit to the world’ when you have charismatic ministries like Teen Challenge (of the Assemblies of God USA Home Missions) setting people free from drug and alcohol addictions throughout the world with a success rate of about 85%? This is one of many charismatic led social service ministries I could mention.

  6. I was interested in the caller who thought that the visions of Muslim converts was proof of Pentecostalism.

    I have spoken with numerous converts from Islam to Christianity and, indeed, they nearly all had some sort of vision or miraculous experience before they converted.

    It never occurred to me that this was a form or Pentecostalism/Charismaticism… but why not?

    For sure, this need for dreams and visions comes from Islam. This is well-known. I have always assume that the Holy Spirit was meeting the needs of Muslim seekers of Jesus.

    Many people have remarked on the similarities between Islamic Fundamentalism and Christian Fundamentalism but I can’t remember reading any article noticing the similarity between Muslim folk-mysticism and Christian folk-mysticism (aka Pentecostalism).

    But why not? The two do seem similar.

  7. Lastly — on today’s show, Dr. Brown asked, “Was Mandela a sinner or a saint?”

    I would say — both!

  8. I’m very grateful that Dr. MacArthur is taking the time to speak with Dr. Brown. Excited to hear from these wonderful men of God!

  9. >>I’m very grateful that Dr. MacArthur is taking the time to speak with Dr. Brown. Excited to hear from these wonderful men of God!

    It’s like getting an audience with the Pope!

  10. Dr. BROWN, Ask him about the greek word zozo. It means saved, healed, set free, delivered, and made whole. The word apears 130 times in the NT, using all the different meanings. Has this word deminished in meaning and power?

  11. To Greg’s comment 9th Dec 7.24: I am not asking YOU about the patronising descriptions of tongues as “babbling” — I am asking John MacArthur to justify his blanket condemnation of tongues. It is not a professional linguistic analysis that he makes, but a scornful pejorative contrast between what he will and will not accept in the body of Christ.

  12. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/nelson.mandela.and.his.faith/34956.htm

    In any of these quotes, he never mentioned Jesus. The later quote about people needing to learn to hate in order to be taught to love because love comes easier than hate is counter to the Gospel. We are born in sin and it is much easier for us to hate. We must be taught to love.

    To some this may be enough to convince them he knew Jesus, and I hope he did. To me, however, these quotes suggest he might have been some sort of Universalist who took the wide path and didn’t truly follow Jesus. I believe he served man, but not God.

  13. Josh,

    You’ve concluded Nelson Mandela to be a Universalist and didn’t truy follow Jesus (based upon the quotes in the article)? I am surprised that you have judged him in such a manner with so little information.

    I ask you, do you have his autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”? If you don’t, and if you haven’t read his life, then it is a bit presumptuous of you to judge him in such a manner. I have his autobiography, and his language and life did portray him to be one who followed our Lord.

    Notwithstanding, your interpretation of the above quote you cited is grossly mistated. He said, in context,

    “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

    I do believe that this statement does run in line with the gospel, when it is read in the context that it is stated.

  14. Anthea,

    Was you’re question not a real one? (aka, if we can know whether a “tongue” is a real language or “babbling”.)

    I’m pretty sure the answer is surely yes.

    I did a quick Google search on it. Here is one study:

    Westminster Theological Journal 42/2 (1980) 367-388. Reprinted in Speaking in Tongues: A Guide to Research on Glossolalia. Watson E. Mills. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986

    >>In almost all instances, linguists are confident that the samples of T-speech represent no known natural language and in fact no language that was ever spoken or ever will be spoken by human beings as their native tongue. The phonological structure is untypical of natural languages. Some samples of T-speech, however, are more complex and cannot be clearly distinguished from a natural language on these grounds.

    (PS T-speech is academic lingo for”Christian religious competent free vocalization” aka tongues.)

  15. As I have said before, I am NOT a cessationist.

    I think the label is even a little silly.

    Clearly, tongues have NOT ceased, even if tongues took a 1900 year break.

    I think the most important question is — is the modern practice of tongues good for Christians and the church?

    I would say — obviously yes.

    Millions of Christians would testify to how tongues made them feel like they were in better communication with God, had a more meaningful worship experience, etc.

    As for the church — tongues is fully linked to the most dynamic church growth of the century.

    Another important question — “is the modern practice of tongues biblical?” — is probably not answerable since first century tongues are not described to any meaningful extent.

    Pentecostals just assume they are doing First Century practice and “cessationists” assume they are not. But neither side can base this opinion fully in the bible.

    Although it’s been years, I have studied this fairly extensively and, for me, it comes down to the phrase “tongues of angels” in 1 Cor. 15.

    Clearly, the modern practice of tongues is not what happened in our only description of tongues in Acts 2.

    (IMHO, miraculous “tongues of men” has probably ceased. I sure haven’t seen it or read a credible report of it. As a missionary I dearly wished it existed! It would have saved me years of language study.)

    But, also clearly, there was another practice of tongues, which is spoken-of but never described. Quite possibly, this is the “tongues of Angels” referred to by Paul in I Cor 13 (and some extra-biblical writings.)

    People wildly infer and conjecture from the Pauline teachings _about_ tongues but there is only so far they can go since the First Century practice of tongues is probably lost to history.

    So, since we can’t be “sola scriptura” on the subject, we have to judge modern tongues on their own merit — and I think they pass the test.

  16. Josh,

    >> [Mandella] didn’t truly follow Jesus. I believe he served man, but not God.

    Why do you make just judgments? Aren’t they the domain of God, not men?

    I was saved out of a judgmental form of Christianity and found tremendous freedom in Christ when I starting trusting God as judge.

    You don’t know Nelson Mandella’s heart and nor do I. But God does. I trust God 100% to judge him correctly.

    Whew! What freedom not to have to!

    For me, this freedom from judgmentalism has liberated my soul from bondage. It has given me so much peace in the Lord.

    As for Mandella, I hope that Nelson, you and
    me will sit together at the feet of Christ in eternity.

    But, God will be the judge of that. Not you. Not me. And we can thank God for that.

  17. William,

    I’m sure John MacArthur believes in “sozo”!

    I can’t imagine how this Greek word or biblical concept would prove or disprove Pentecostalism.

  18. Greg Allen,

    You wrote:
    “Clearly, the modern practice of tongues is not what happened in our only description of tongues in Acts 2.”

    Actually this is not clear. Acts 2 is also not our only description of tongues. Acts 10 and 19 also tell us about it. These are all historical instances, but Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 teaches specifics about the gift of tongues.

    Acts 2
    5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
    6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
    7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
    8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

    13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

    It is obvious from the narrative in Acts 2 that the 120 in the upper room did not speak in known languages. The devout people from all over the world “heard” them in their own languages. It does not say that the 120 spoke in multiple earthly languages. The devout “heard every man” in his own language. Others did not understand the tongues and mocked the disciples as being drunk. Drunkenness does not cause us to speak a language we do not know. It sounded like babbling to them.

    1 Corinthians 14
    2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

    13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
    14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

    Paul states emphatically that when someone speaks in tongues that “no man understands him” naturally for he is not speaking to men, but to YHWH. The one speaking in tongues does not even understand himself. The interpretation of tongues is what gives miraculous understanding. This is why tongues is supposed to be used along with the interpretation of tongues during an assembly.

    1 Corinthians 14
    21 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
    22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
    23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

    In Acts 2, just like always, the tongues was not understood by natural means. YHWH gave the devout men the gift of interpretation of tongues. The mockers were left out in the dark. And so it is today. The mockers and unbelievers of our day accuse those that speak in tongues of insanity or demon possession and talking out of their mind (as if they were drunk). Paul relates to us that this was prophesied in Isaiah.

    Isaiah 28
    11 For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
    12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
    13 But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
    14 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.

    The scornful, mocking, unbelieving men are left out in the dark…stumbling and falling backward and being snared and taken. These rulers of the people are so caught up in their little kingdoms and their doctrines of men that they cannot understand YHWH’s ways that look like foolishness to them. But according to Isaiah, Paul and Jude, speaking in tongues is for our spiritual good since it edifies us, builds us up and causes the weary to rest. But those mocking, scornful rulers just refuse to hear.

    1 Corinthians 14
    4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

    Isaiah 28
    12 To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest…

    Jude 1
    20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

    These rulers and mockers end up only being able to learn in the smallest of chunks. Just a little here and a little there so that they fall backwards and are snared and taken. They have need that someone teach them the very basic principles of the faith once again. They just want milk and not meat. Meat is too big of bites for them. They have had enough time to become teachers, but they ruined themselves by rejecting the words of scripture and YHWH’s miraculous gifts that He gave to edify the body.

    Hebrews 5
    12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

    Matthew 22
    29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.


  19. I would like to know what would be on John MacArthur’s list of things that have ceased, or are no longer available to the Church.

    Also, in his opinion, could God not restore those things to the Church?

  20. I found it intersting about how tongues is so connected to the growth of the first century Church.

    When I was in a cult (or what was called a cult)in which we all (nearly) spoke in tongues, I remember hearing from one sister in Christ, (at a time of trouble in the ministry {or cult}) that
    “this ministry would be nothing without tongues.”

    I thought about that and I take it in two ways, first that it’s growth would not have been much at all, if even anything, without tongues, and secondly, the quality of faith, love, etc, would not have been what it was without tongues.

    In Acts we read about how Gentiles were accepted, and one of the evidences was that they too received the gift of the holy Spirit, and spoke in tongues.

    Those people in that “cult” were accepted by God. So was I, and we had the proof of his acceptance.

    I believe that no man will receive the holy Spirit and speak in tongues without first having come to the cross of Christ by faith through hearing the gospel of salvation. That is so clearly evident to me.

    It’s proof one has been forgiven of his sins, been accepted into God’s family, become one of his children by spiritual birth, now have a hope, a real, enduring, solid future with Christ, laid up for him, one that doesn’t change concerning it’s purposes, for it’s all about the will of a saving, restoring, loving, heavenly Father, and his perfect, holy, and good will in Christ Jesus.

    It seemed to me that they were living in the favor of God. That was so clearly evident. And it wasn’t by their works, but by his grace in Christ Jesus.

  21. I would like to add to the above post, that if ever there was a new group being established in a community, and they were not speaking in tongues, (something I never heard happen) that Without A Doubt, ledership would have come down there, opened up their Bibles, or laid hands on, or something until it was received. I suspect that if ever that happened, they would have spent as much time as needed in the scriptures, teaching and ministering.

  22. I would ask him if he had seen some of the debates the Michael Brown has done with the Rabbi’s.

    Second, Why not engage in a conversation about your own view John MacArthur? Your own book? Does your book stand up?

  23. Bo,

    It appears from Acts 2 that those who didn’t understand and were mocking the others is because they didn’t speak another language. It’s evident the ones to whom it was directed heard it in their native tongue. There were Jews from all over the world who gathered in Jerusalem for the various Feast Days, that one being Pentecost. They all spoke different languages.

    Paul says of a tongue that even we don’t understand ourselves (not that I’ve ever spoken in tongues) is that which is spirit lead and directed at God not men. The tongue of man is in a normal language albeit sometimes not our own.

    I’d use the same verses as you to interpret it differently.

  24. I’d like to know of John McArthur’s conversion, on the day he was saved. Was he saved by way of a cerebral experience or it was the Spirit convicting him? That should answer whether it was a move of the Spirit in his own life or just reasoning. At what age was he saved?

  25. Sheila,

    I used the exact words. Look closely. “How hear we every man in our own tongue?” is pretty miraculous. If 120 people are speaking in tongues and I hear them all in my language and so do 12 guys next to me that all speak different languages, it is not that they are all speaking different languages, but that we are hearing in our languages…thus interpretation of tongues is also operating…just like Paul said it should.

    The others that mocked are not necessarily, or even likely, only local guys that do not understand foreign languages. At least the passage says nothing of the sort. Plus Paul does say that when anyone speaks in tongues, no one understands him…not even himself. If we have people understanding in a natural way in Acts 2, it contradicts Paul’s teaching. If we have them “hearing” in their own language, it shows that YHWH is using tongues and interpretation of tongues in concert…just like Paul teaches.


  26. Sheila,

    Plus, if it was just the locals that did not understand, how appropriate would that be to the devout locals. Certainly there were also devout locals and mocking foreigners. The issue is between the devout and the mockers, not between the foreigners and the locals.


  27. Greg, you have a lot of good points. I am not his judge. Doesn’t one need some sort of authority to judge? I have no authority over him or anyone. We are told to test the spirits. How can we test the spirits if we are not to make a determination without being called a judge? I hope he accepted Christ and is at home with him, but should I blindly accept his reverence? Should I hold to what the nations leader’s say of him? Should I trust what our American media says of him? He was loved by men. He was highly respected among men. What does that mean to God?

    Isaiah asks an even better question: “Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?”

  28. Bo,

    It sounds like you’re saying that everyone hearing those speaking in tongues heard “every single one of them” at once speaking in their language! That would be a cacophany of confusion. Don’t you think?

  29. What I mean is that it sounds like you’re saying that each man heard everyone of them speaking only to him. Does that explain what you’re saying or am I thoroughly confused in how I’m reading what you wrote?

  30. Sheila,

    Acts 2
    5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
    6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
    7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
    8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

    11 …we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

    13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

    Evidently the mockers thought that it was a cacophony of confusion…but the hearers didn’t.

    Let’s think about this together.

    If you have 120 people dispersed in a great crowd, you would hear the ones closest to you the clearest. It seems that each devout person “heard” in his own tongue the ones that he could hear well. It would be no more a cacophony of confusion if you had 120 people yelling in 16 or more different languages. And if the 120 were all together, instead of dispersed, it would be difficult for anyone but those closest to them to hear them distinctly.

    But by the time that it was “noised abroad,” I would suspect that they were starting to spread out from the upper room. If not you would have to have them all together yelling at the top of their voices for the noisy multitude to hear much of anything, barring a miracle in clarity and/or volume. It is easier to believe that YHWH gave a miraculous gift of tongues (which Paul says no one understands) coupled with a miraculous gift of interpretation. There is no spiritual gift listed that is the gift of volume 🙂

    It says that the the ones that understood the tongues were confounded. If we have Galileans speaking different languages, it would be somewhat of a novelty. But if you have someone close to you that says, “He’s speaking French.” and another that says, “He’s speaking Dutch.” and you know for sure that you are hearing him in English, then you are quite confounded indeed. And if you have someone else close by that says, “He isn’t making any sense at all. I think he’s drunk.” then it is even more confounding. And if this is happening all throughout a very large crowd of people…then you have true confoundation. 🙂

    How confounding was it? I say really confounding. So confounding that it was noised abroad and everyone was amazed. Not just slightly confounding where they eventually figured out that all the speakers were all Galileans that happened to have learned an extra language.

    And if you have every nation under heaven represented, and lets just say there were 120 of them, then you have to get your groups of people segregated into companies and have one of the 120 speaking their language. If there were only exactly 16 then you have 7 to 8 pockets of each language. But it is not easy to get the groups organized into the right spot even then. An Paul lists no spiritual gift of crowd organization. 🙂

    We are talking about a lot of people all some how jostling through each other to find those that speak their language and hear the one or 7 – 8 that has been gifted that way. Or you have to have each of the 120 speak a few words in one language after another so that those around him can be astonished.

    Remember we do not have all day to get this done. It was quite rapid. It was only the third hour of the day when Peter addressed the crowd in a common language. He preached the gospel. I do not think that there is a gift of time warp…though Hezekiah and Joshua may disagree. 🙂

    The tongues was not preaching the gospel, but was declaring YHWH’s wonderful works. This is also what Paul says happens when someone speaks in tongues…they speak to YHWH in mysteries. It seems that tongues is either prayer or praise directed toward YHWH and not a message for the congregation. Interpretation lets us in on the divinely inspired communication with YHWH.

    Considering all the that the scripture says about tongues and applying what we know to Acts 2 seems to leave us with the tongues being not an earthly language and the gift of interpretation being given to the devout while the mockers were left with tongues being a sign to them that they were missing out on what YHWH was doing…like Isaiah says.

    Have you ever had someone lay hands on you and pray for you to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit?


  31. Too funny! But I see the picture you’ve painted and it certainly could be interpreted that way. Seems they were all struck with the “gift of gab!”


  32. Those who spoke in tongues (Acts 2) spoke in a lanugage which they (the one speaking) did not understand, but was in a language someone there understood. I suspect each of those speaking in a tongue, spoke in a different language, and those present who understood the language they spoke in, understood, while those who did not understand the language, they did not understand what was being said, God giving different men different languages (tongues) which they did not understand, but some of the people present knew the meaning of it, for some of the people present understood that particular language.

    There was no manifestation of interpretation of tongues recorded in Acts 2.

    Interpretation of tongues is a manifestation of the Spirit whereby one interprets what has been spoken in the tongue, doing so by faith, speaking in the language of the people present (and in every case I have experienced, was also the common or known language of the speaker, or interpreter) as being led by the holy Spirit.

    It’s been called an inspirational manifestation of the Spirit, as is also speaking in tongues, and prophecy.

    The interpretation is the jist of what has been spoken in the tongue, and is speaking the wonderful works, character, atributes of God, and does contain comfort, edification, and exhortation.

    Let’s examine this and look for God’s wonderful works, character, attributes, comfort, exhortation, and comfort. Also see if it is Biblical.

    God has called each one of us from before he made this world. He knows each one of us and has a unique plan for each of us. All of us are members of his one Body, the Body of Christ Jesus his Son
    and we each have a unique purpose and function within that Body. To fulfill his plan, we must continue in Christ, continue in his word, and grow up in him. It is a high and eternal calling
    which God has purposed before he made the world.

    Interpretation of tongues and prophecy is often heard spoken in the first person, something like:

    I’ve called you before the foundation of the world

  33. Ray,

    Where does it say that the disciples in Acts 2 spoke actual earthly languages? Paul says that when someone speaks in tongues “no man understands him.” “No man” means “no man.” Also Acts says that they “heard every man speak in his own language.” It does not say that they spoke those languages. Why did some of the witnesses think that the disciples were drunk? No one thinks that it is normal for a drunk man to speak in a language he does not know. He may mess up the one he does know, but not all of a sudden speak in French because of intoxication. Paul says that unbelievers will think that we are mad if they hear us all speak in tongues. What is the practical difference between thinking that someone is speaking incoherently when intoxicated or that they are mad? If they have consumed too much alcohol there is a physical explanation. If they are not under the influence of some drug and speak the same way, we would say they are mad.

    Please pay close attention to the actual words that the scripture uses instead of picturing it in your mind from your own experience. Was Paul mistaken to say that no one understands the person that speaks in tongues? How do you reconcile Paul’s teaching with your view?


  34. Bo, the reason I know they spoke a language that was known on the earth is because there were men on the earth that heard what they said and understood it, being in their own language.

    If they would have spoken in a language of angels, would anyone there have known what they said?

    The men did not speak in a strange language that was unknown to everyone present, for some of the people present understood what they said.

    Someone’s tongue (language unknown to them, the one speaking) was in the language of the Parthians, anothers tongue (unknown language to the one speaking) was the language of the Medes, another’s tongue, that of the Elamites, etc.

    Usually in a church setting when one speaks in a tongue there will not be anyone there who understands that language. This us usually the case, likely 99% or more of the time. However it has happened that a man will hear it in a language he understands. I’ve heard of it happening at a very large meeting, and one person there, (among thousands) had been doing missionary work in a remote area of the world (Africa I think it was) and he happened to know that language. When the interpretation was given, he said that both it and the tongue was right on.

    On this particular day of Pentecost, God gave the men who spoke in tongues, languages that the people present could understand. This is God’s choice to do so. He decides what language to give a man who speaks in tongues. On that particular day he choose to give them languages that the people present would be able to understand, though not all of the people present would understand all of the languages spoken which were the tongues.

    Why do you suppose God did that?

  35. Quiz. T for true, F for false. Choose the best answer.

    1. When a man speaks in tongues, nobody understands him.

    I would put down a T for that one, because that is generally true. Such is usually the case. It’s usually the rule. That is the norm.

  36. It’s interesting how some people thought those who spoke in tongues in Acts 2 were drunk, for they spoke sounds they could not understand.

    I’ve tried to make out things a drunken man said in the past, and I tell you the truth. I could not make it out, though that is not always the case. Sometimes we can make out what is said, even though it may be slurred, but not always.

    Sometimes people think all kind of things. Many times our thoughts are not directed by the Spirit of God.

    Can I tell you a funny story about a drunk? This really happened to me. I was riding my motorcycle one day and decided to have a beer for my thirst so I stopped in at a bar along the highway. I sat down and an old man with slurred speech next to me who was wobbling on the bar stool, his head swaying as if in the wind, asked me what my name was and where I lived.

    I told him my first name and where I was from.
    Then he asked in slurred speech as his head was swaying around, “Does your Mother know you live in _______?”

    I felt bad about this because I had moved and did not tell my mother, and wondered how it is that this man knew about this. I told him that I needed to tell her I had moved. He bought me my beer.

    Just as I had finished and was leaving, another man walked in, and he went into what must have been his routine, with him,saying “Does your Mother know…?” after asking the man some question.

    So was he a prophet, just a drunk, or both?

    God works in mysterious ways sometimes.

  37. I’m looking at Dr. Brown’s bottom line, hour 1, thinking about how I heard one man say that only God knows how God is to be worshipped.

    The Spirit of God and truth work together. One goes with the other. The Spirit of God leads us into all truth. Heaven then is full of truth. Nothing that is a lie will be in heaven with God.
    There will be no liars in heaven. Jesus is the truth.

    Carnal man by himself can not know how to worship God. He must be led by the Spirit of God. If a man is willing to worship God and is willing to find the truth, if he seeks after it, will he not also find a connection with the Spirit of God? Since the Spirit of God leads a man into all truth, he will lead a man to Jesus.

  38. Pilate asked, “What is truth?”. (John 18:38)
    I find it intersting that this is in the gospel of John.

    I just looked up truth in my English dictionary.
    What Pilate asked in John 18:38 is there also.

    I can’t show a man what Jesus looks like, but I could show him what the dictionary says about truth.

  39. Bo,

    Acts 10 and 19 do not describe tongues. It just says that it happened.

    The references teach _about_ tongues. This is very different than describing them. It’s we have caught a pastor in mid-conversation. We can only guess the full picture.

    No offense, but you are a case study for the point I’m making.

    You infer and conjecture wildly about tongues bases on the precious few facts we have about the practice.

    Acts 2 gives us a pretty good picture — and clearly that’s is not what is happening in modern Pentecostal churches.

    But, there was another type of tongues that seemed to be happening back then. Of this, we know precious little since it is not described.

    There is teaching regarding it. We know it caused problems. (so that’s the same!)

    But, if you are being “sola scriptura” you can’t claim that the tongues your church practices in 2013 is the same as the New Testament practice.

    I mean, what are the odds that a spiritual practice which was revived in Los Angeles in 1906 is exactly the same as was practiced in Corinth in 55? Seems very improbable.

    Especially, when we have no clear biblical description to model it after.

    But, — TO BE ABSOLUTELY CLEAR — that’s doesn’t mean it is not filled by the Holy Spirit!

    Lots (most?) of our spiritual practices have changed radically since bible times. God still blesses them.

    I bless you in you and Dr. Brown in your tongues.

    It’s just that he keeps bringing up this “sola scriptura” argument. It’s very weak argument — on BOTH sides of this debate.

  40. Bo,

    I don’t always check in that often, it’s not that I’m ignoring you.

    If you’re asking if anyone “has anyone ever prayed over me to receive the Holy Spirit,” the answer is no. I can assure you, though, that my personal experience with conviction by the Spirit was very real the day I encountered Him! Brought me to my knees!

  41. I’m not a Charismatic; it’s more that I tend to get lost in my prayers to the point where it feels like a direct line from me to God through the Spirit. I think that’s a normal experience for most people. I’ve no problem at all with the worship of Charismatics and their earnest petitions to God. People should worship in the way they feel comfortable.

    There was a time in the recent past that I one day realized I was angry with God for probably over a year for what I thought were broken promises on His part (I know). Once I snapped out of it my prayer life became one of praise again.

    I’d like to find an example of the way in which John MacArthur prays. I haven’t looked in to it, just curious.

  42. Sheila,

    I accept your “personal experience with conviction by the Spirit,” but the scripture indicates that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is a different thing than conversion/being born again or being filled with the Spirit or walking in the Spirit. Speaking in tongues is directly connected to being baptized with the Holy Spirit.

    We can talk about the correct interpretation of whether the disciples in Acts 2 spoke human languages and never get down to where it affects us personally. The power to be witnesses is wrapped up in being baptized with the Holy Spirit according to Messiah. Along with this power, speaking in tongues is given as a sign and blessing for personal edification and faith building.

    It seems that the “normal” way that believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit is by having someone (usually leadership) lay hands one them and pray for them to receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. There are exceptions, but true elders have a very important place in body of Messiah to impart spiritual gifts by the laying on of hands…the most important being the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

    Let me encourage you to seek out elders, that have themselves been baptized with the Holy Spirit and have the gift of tongues, to lay hands on you and pray for you to receive this power from above. You will be amazed at the difference this will make in you walk with YHWH.


  43. Sheila,

    >>I’m not a Charismatic; it’s more that I tend to get lost in my prayers to the point where it feels like a direct line from me to God through the Spirit. I think that’s a normal experience for most people.

    Most? Maybe. You could be right.

    I do know, the Christian mystics have worked hard at this issue in a way that I have learned to appreciate.

    Rather than “tongues” they tend to use silence, often with a reflection on God’s creation. But the end-goal is to have a “direct” non-linguistic communication with God above and beyond language.

    This is why I and some others consider Pentecostalism a kind of folk-mysticism.

  44. Bo,

    >> It seems that the “normal” way that believers are baptized with the Holy Spirit is by having someone (usually leadership) lay hands one them and pray for them to receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

    That might be “normal” in your church but it was done only once that way in the Bible.

    I don’t see any “normal” formula for being baptized in the Spirit. I’m not even sure it was meant to be “normal.” The Holy Spirit has that unpredictable quality.

    The epistles are famously void of any instruction or encouragement to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

    There is a vague baptismal reference to “drinking of one Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 12:13 but it’s not clear, to me, that this is even referencing what we are talking about here.

    My guess is that the experiences in Acts did not translate into a routine spiritual practice in the first century church.

    It certainly was not prescribed in the Bible and, importantly, the epistles where one would expect it to be.

  45. Greg,

    You are mistaken about the laying on of hands only being done one time in scripture. I was not speaking about “normal” in my church, but in the Bible. Here are the times that hands were laid on for receiving the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 8
    17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

    Acts 9
    17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

    Acts 19
    6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

    So, there are three out of five for receiving the Holy Spirit. I Acts 2 no one was qualified yet, so it does not exactly count. So 3 out of 4 once the Apostles had received the baptism with the Holy Spirit. In Acts 10 Peter and the apostles would not have received the gentiles into the assembly without there being divine intervention. It is not too likely that this type of special case exists today. So it is not the “nomal” experience in scripture either.

    Acts 10
    44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
    45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
    46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
    47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
    48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

    As far as spiritual gifts being imparted by elders, here is a list:

    Ac 6:6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

    Ac 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

    Ac 28:8 And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

    Ro 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

    1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

    2Ti 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

  46. Greg,

    You wrote:
    “I don’t see any “normal” formula for being baptized in the Spirit. I’m not even sure it was meant to be “normal.” The Holy Spirit has that unpredictable quality.

    The epistles are famously void of any instruction or encouragement to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.”

    Once again you are mistaken. All four gospels encourage the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Not too many things besides the crucifixion and resurrection are mentioned in all four gospels.

    Mt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

    Mr 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

    Lu 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

    Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

    And then there is Messiah Himself commanding for His disciples to not go as His witnesses until they have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 1
    4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
    5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
    6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
    7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
    8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

    Are we able to be the kind of witnesses He wants without the baptism with the Holy Spirit, if those that were with Him for His entire earthly ministry weren’t?

    Paul started his conversation in Ephesus with, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” Then he proceeded to lay hands on all of them. He didn’t just single out a few that the Messiah wanted to baptize with the Holy Spirit. This baptism is for all believers.

    The Holy Spirit is not unpredictable in the sense that you assert. Messiah is the one that baptizes His believers with the Holy Spirit. Does there need to be some direct statement in the epistles commanding us to be baptized with the Holy Spirit when in all likelihood virtually every believer already was? An argument from silence does not deal with what was given us to go on.

    Peter and John were sent to Samaria for the express purpose to lay hands on the believers so that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

    Acts 8
    14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
    15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

    How much more encouragement do we need?

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