Why I Believe in Speaking with Other Tongues
by Gary Carpenter

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I was raised in the Southern Baptist denomination. They taught the gospel of Jesus Christ very accurately when it comes to being born again. There was power to be saved in those messages because they were the truth. For example, I've seen many a man who was a lazy drunk go forward to receive Christ and become a good husband, father, and honest businessman or employee after doing so. The power to "save" was present in those services because what they taught from the pulpit concerning the cross of Jesus Christ was the truth.

However, when it came to all of the other forms of power that are demonstrated in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the book of Acts I never saw any of it demonstrated in the Southern Baptist denomination. For example, Jesus said in Mark Chapter Sixteen that believers would cast out devils. I never saw a devil cast out. He also said believers would speak with new tongues and would lay hands on the sick and the sick would recover from their illnesses. I never saw anybody speak with new tongues. I never saw anybody lay hands on the sick in order to see them recover. When it came to divine healing, the normal practice was to pray, "Lord, please heal them if it be thy will."

Now don't get me wrong. The Southern Baptist Denomination is filled with good folks who love God and who love people. They will give of themselves to preach the gospel, help the poor, and tend to the sick and dying. They are born again and have much of the compassion of Christ within them. When it comes to anything that pertains to the "supernatural" working of the Holy Spirit, however, they seem to be in a permanent state of unbelief.

Even when I was a youngster in the sixth grade I used to wonder why there was so little of what was written in the four gospels being duplicated in the church services. Even at that age I had been reading my bible for years (not just in church services) and to me it plainly said that the works Jesus did then were to be done by His followers now.

John 14:12   Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

When I would ask the adults about why we didn't see the lame walk, the deaf hear, the blind see, and so forth in our normal Sunday church services, they would reply, "We have doctors now to care for the sick. The days of miracles are over." They would never go so far as to say God couldn't do a miracle, but they sure gave the impression that it was near to impossible that He would do so. When it came to speaking with other tongues, however, they were much more hostile in their doctrine. They taught plainly from the pulpit that, "Speaking in tongues is of the devil and all who do it are going to Hell." That's pretty scary stuff for a youngster to hear from the "man of God" standing in the pulpit. After all, he is speaking for God, isn't he?

I still remember, even at the age of eleven and twelve, I would sneak into the living room of our mobile home and watch the black and white TV screen on Sunday afternoons because Oral Roberts was on. They would rebroadcast those early tent crusades when sick people would file by Oral Roberts. When he would lay his hand on them and pray, the power of God would often fall and the people would be miraculously healed on the spot. Sometimes people came and gave testimony of how they were healed later, after they had been prayed for in a previous crusade. I noticed, however, that once in a while (not often) Oral would mention that he spoke with other tongues. That fact registered down in my brain somewhere that the only man I knew of (at the time) in my generation through whom miracles still flowed was a man who spoke with other tongues.

I began to notice that same pattern throughout my life. Time after time, it seemed that the only people who believe that miracles are for today, and that healing is for today, were the same people who also believed that speaking with other tongues is for today! Everywhere I looked it seemed to be the same. Where the people did not believe in speaking with other tongues, there was very little (if any) manifestation of the supernatural power of God. Where the people did believe in speaking with other tongues, I saw many of the same things that are recorded in the four gospels: devils were cast out, the sick were healed, prophecy was spoken, words of knowledge and words of wisdom were made manifest, etc..

But even that was not enough to make me a candidate to speak in tongues myself. I was still too afraid because of the strongholds put in me during my years of growing up in the Southern Baptist denomination. I was still afraid that those who speak with other tongues are of the devil and that all of them will go to hell. One thing was for sure. I did NOT want to go to hell. So, I did not seek after speaking with other tongues.

I began attending a bible study in 1979 where the instructor taught us very well concerning the subject of FAITH. He taught us that real faith was based on God's Word. The only way to have faith is to know what God says to us in His Word concerning any subject. It doesn't matter what man thinks about it. It only matters what God says about it. He often quoted this verse:

Rom 10:17   So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

He said, "If you want to know what to believe about any subject, learn to read the bible and to pray, asking God to teach you what it means." Well, I wanted to know what the truth was concerning whether or not speaking in other tongues was something for us today. It didn't take very long to find a lot of biblical evidence supporting the fact that is. Here are just a few examples:

Jesus said believers would speak with new tongues:

Mark 16:17   And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

People thought the 120 were drunk when they first heard them speak with tongues. Peter told them the 120 were not drunk, but were speaking in tongues as a result of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon them as had been foretold by the prophet Joel. Peter then declared that this promise of the Holy Spirit being poured out upon believers was not just for the 120, but for all who would believe upon the name of the Lord, in all generations to come:

Acts 2:38-39   Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

The apostle Paul was ordained to ministry AFTER Jesus had been resurrected. He was not a member of the original twelve apostles, nor was he one of the 120 in the upper room who first spoke with other tongues. Yet Paul himself spoke with other tongues. In fact, he declared he spoke in tongues more than anybody in the Corinthian church.

1 Cor 14:18   I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

The apostle Paul said he desired that every member of the Corinthian church also speak with other tongues. These were gentile converts who were living in the same dispensation as us in the modern day church. If Paul desired them to speak with other tongues, then it is a pretty sure bet he would desire that we speak with other tongues today.

1 Cor 14:5a   I would that ye all spake with tongues

Then to cap it off, Paul commands the elders of the church to NOT forbid the people to speak with other tongues. Again, that Corinthian church was in the same dispensation as us today.

1 Cor 14:39   Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Well, they sure did forbid it in all of the Southern Baptist churches I grew up in. I began to come to certain conclusions:

  1. Jesus said believers would speak with new tongues.
  2. Peter said the experience would continue throughout the generations.
  3. Paul himself spoke with tongues.
  4. Paul desired the church members to speak with tongues.
  5. Paul said to forbid not speaking with tongues.

It seemed the only people who were against speaking in tongues were the Southern Baptist preachers I had grown up listening to. On the one hand I had Jesus, Peter, Paul, not to mention the current day ministers who were operating in an anointing of power who also recommended speaking with other tongues. On the other hand I had the Baptist preachers. I had to choose whom I would believe. It did not take me long to decide that speaking with tongues is something that belongs to us today.

Within two weeks of making that choice, I was speaking in other tongues myself. Nearly a quarter of a century later I can say without exaggeration that the benefits derived from spending time praying in other tongues have been foundational in accomplishing all that the Lord has called me to do in His kingdom.

Your fellow servant for Christ,

Gary Carpenter

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