About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Miracle Of Tongues
am Pentecostal by experience but not by doctrine," I told my
Pentecostal pastor friend Todd. Being
curious and a bit surprised, he asked, "What does that mean?"
Doctrinally speaking, I'm neither Pentecostal nor non-Pentecostal
concerning what is called the Baptism in the Spirit.
Like many doctrinal issues I'm caught in doctrinal limbo, not fully embracing any one set of
denominational distinctives. All
that being said, if you insist on labelling me, I am Pentecostal
Charismatic by experience because every day since December, 1971, I have
prayed in tongues.
was raised in a non-Pentecostal church environment that was definitely not
excited about tongues. It was
my friends Jim and Marlene Williams, back in the spring of 1971 that
redirected my path on this issue. They
took me and my friend Dawne Brown to
desire to pray in tongues was met with opposition in the church in which I
was raised. One man told me
that I should seek the giver of the gifts, not the gifts.
I got his point, but I was seeking the giver of the gifts.
There was no doubt about that.
I just figured that if Jesus was handing out gifts, I'd stand in
line and ask for one. I didn't
see any harm in that. I had
already learned by then that we are to eagerly desire spiritual gifts (1
controversy over tongues in my home church led me to fellowship with my
new found Charismatic Movement friends led by my high school teacher Glen
Shaver. This provided the
atmosphere where the gifts of the Holy Spirit could be distributed among
us according to God's will, as stated in Hebrews 2:4.
my search for tongues I asked my best friend,
was told that the denomination in which I was raised believed in Acts 2
style tongues, which it claimed was a form of preaching the gospel.
This meant that if a missionary could not speak a foreign language
on the mission field the Lord might give him the gift of tongues so he
could preach in the local language, as was supposedly the case in Acts 2.
There's a problem with that thinking.
Those speaking in tongues in Acts 2 were not preaching the gospel.
They were praising and glorifying God according to Acts 2:11.
Peter proclaimed the gospel in his own language after the tongues
had subsided, resulting in 3,000 people coming to Jesus.
According to 1 Corinthians 14:2 tongues is a prayer; mysteries
spoken to God. It's not a
message spoken to people. Most
traditional Pentecostals miss that.
the spring of 1971 Jesus gave me 3 words of tongues; one word on 3
different occasions. I was
excited about that, but I eventually got discouraged.
I questioned that 3 words constituted valid tongues.
So, over the next few months I gave up on my quest for tongues,
thinking my 3 words were fake tongues.
My friends could pray in tongues.
I'd stick with English.
all changed in December, 1971, when I was alone in my bedroom worshipping
Jesus by singing and playing my 1969 Southern Jumbo Gibson guitar, which
sadly, I regret trading away. For
some reason, why I'm not sure, I sang my 3 words in tongues.
Then it happened. The
Holy Spirit overwhelmed me with His presence.
I sang in tongues for the next hour.
A flood of new words and paragraphs exploded from my lips, as they
have done every day since.
the record, my 3 words were not fake.
I neither invented them nor copied them.
All 3 words came to me in prayer meetings where the Holy Spirit was
prayed in the spirit and sang in the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15).
In agreement with Pentecostal and Charismatic teaching, I
understand Paul to say he prayed and sang in tongues.
I follow his example. I
thank Jesus, the giver of the gifts, that He has given me, not only the
gift of tongues, but other spiritual gifts as well.
Every generation of Christians needs the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
not just for their sake, but for the sake of Jesus and His kingdom.