SBC leaders clash over speaking in tongues

06 Sep

The following is a news report about a Southern Baptist pastor who shared stories during a seminary chapel about praying in tongues. My comments are at the end…

Raging Tongues at SBC Seminary
Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson has issued an extraordinary rebuke to the Rev. Dwight McKissic, a seminary trustee and prominent Arlington pastor, for acknowledging during a chapel service that he sometimes speaks in tongues when he prays.

After Tuesday’s chapel service, Patterson issued a statement that the video of McKissic’s sermon will not be posted online nor saved in seminary archives, as are the sermons of all other chapel speakers. Patterson withheld McKissic’s chapel message from the school’s Web site, the statement said, “lest uninformed people believe that Pastor McKissic’s view on the gift of tongues and ‘ecstatic utterance’ is the view of the majority of the people at Southwestern.”

The rest of the story is at Southwestern Seminary went on to release a statement saying, “But “we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which we fear may be harmful to the churches.”

Here is the comment that I posted on the webpage…

I thougth the war between the charismatics and the evangelicals was over? I guess the SBC didn’t get the memo that we aren’t fighting over the issue of tongues anymore. I understand McKissic’s frustration and criticism with the IMB exclusion of missionaries who pray in tongues.

What concerns me is the seminary’s statement: But “we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which we fear may be harmful to the churches.” First, what are they so afraid of? And second, do they believe that a theology and practice of the gift of tongues as a private prayer language of the Spirit is harmful? I can see the harmful nature of a strict Pentecostal doctrine of initial evidence, but what is the harm in tongues as a part of a Christian’s prayer life?

I have no problems with the SBC’s theological critique of the prayer language of the Spirit. Too often their prohibition of tongue-speaking is not theological, but cultural. Too often they are allowing a modern, rationally-driven mode of thinking cause them to “fear” tongues because it is non-rational. From my experience, members of the SBC have put their theological heads in the sand and ignore the tongues, instead of dealing with the biblcial material concerning the proper use of tongues.

What I mean by that is that in my experience Baptist have an underdeveloped theology of spiritual gifts, specifically related to speaking in tongues. They ignore it or they say that it passed away, but they typically do not engage the biblcial texts the talk about speaking in tongues. Furthermore, their theological distance from the issue causes a lack of experience of tongues in their churches. And when a Baptist person speaks in tongues the Baptist leaders do not know how to deal with is. When a Baptist tells me that they disagree with tongues as a prayer language, because 1 Corinthians 14 says that it must be followed with an interpretation, I ask, “Is that the way it happens in your church?”

I really do think the war between the charismatics and the evangelicals is over. The SBC just needs to get with the program. Shan-da-la-ka!

1 Comment

Posted by on September 6, 2006 in Uncategorized



One response to “SBC leaders clash over speaking in tongues

  1. Anonymous

    January 15, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Your post is refreshing. It seems that the issue of tongues is so misunderstood to be so simple that it takes theologian to make it complicated. The cart and the horse are all turned around in every direction in the blogs and writings I have seen on the subject. Speaking in tongues seems to catch all the attention when actually is subsequent to something else that doesn’t even seem to get discussed. I am going to post my thoughts from another place that may help clarify what I mean……..

    I was in the Southern Baptist Church for about 40 years of my life and still am at heart at 65. I am glad they were there for me from the time I was kept in a nursery and far into my adulthood. They imparted into me much of what I still have today. The Baptist domination is dear to my heart and will continue to hold it there. It grieves me to see a schism in the SBC about anything. If indeed much of it is over Spiritual Gifts it is evident from the blogs and all I have read elsewhere that there is a gross Biblical ignorance about Spiritual Gifts, speaking in tongues, etc. I know, because I was ignorant about it myself at one time and am still learning. When taught under an anointed teacher it is so simple that it really does take a theologian to come in and make it complicated. Now, I am also amazed why anyone would not want ALL that God has to offer that was paid for and is freely given by Christ. Why would anyone take out their spiritual eraser and use it on God’s Word except for them being sorely confused..

    I see all the labels of Calvinist and so on being used in this SBC discussion and wonder where the Bibleist are in all this. Why will some people just not embrace all of the New Testament as God’s Word and Covenant for us today. Then they wonder why they are having problems trying to explain away and or to try to understand a further step in the Christian life clearly laid out in the New Testament and prophesied in the Old Testament. That being the Baptism in the Holy Spirit that is subsequent to salvation to empower us to better walk the Christian walk and witness. I am still wondering how Romans 8:26, that is often used, is a base for any argument by itself. How anyone could think that God is not still the same yesterday, today and tomorrow as He had said He is. How or why did anything God has for us went away with the Apostles or anything else?

    First and foremost, without the Baptism in the Holy Spirit there is no one who is going to speak in tongues. It is not the only evidence, but it is an evidence of the “In-filling” of the Holy Spirit. That comes after the “Indwelling” that is received at salvation. John the Baptist made this plain in Matthew 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 Spirit, and with fire. Then later the Apostle Paul ran into some Baptist boys (disciples of John the Baptist) and ask them a question in Acts 19:1-6… While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?” “John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. The same Spirit Jesus said he would send in John 14:16 (AMP) “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever–“

    If it was needed then……how much more do we need it now!!! Especially in these times. God said He was going to pour out His Spirit on all flesh at the end of this age and He is going to do it. Yes, and it is going to cause problems between those who receive the in-filling, that comes with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit that happened for the first time in the Upper Room at Pentecost as Jesus said it would when He sent the Holy Spirit, and those who don’t believe it is for us today for some weird reasons I cannot reason from scripture. They try to base that, I think, on 1 Corinthians 12:27-31 that is listed with other Spiritual Gifts and is talking about the special Spiritual Gift of Tongues which is when the Holy Spirit speaks to people through a person and must be interpreted by someone with the Gift of Interpretation of Tongues. It says that all will not have that Gift and they won’t, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the way they are trying to use it to prove something. Taking it out of context. This “Gift of Tongues” is not given to every believer who is Baptized with the Holy Spirit. It can operate in them if the Holy Spirit wants it to at some time, but is not always a permanent Gift. THIS IS NOT the personal prayer language that is given to anyone Baptized in the Holy Spirit. Anyone can have that baptism who is “born again” and wants it. They will get a “personal prayer language” at that time, but not necessarily the special Gift of Tongues I have already explained.

    It is easy to understand why there is so much confusion. It happens when you are not where it is not believed, taught or preached by all. Or taught by people who are not anointed to teach in those areas and the result is confusion and discord. The Holy Spirit cannot function in an atmosphere of discord. That is why when I was Baptized with the Holy Spirit I had to find a place that could explain what had happened to me and help me to grow in the grace God had given me during one of my “head prayer” times and really did not know how to pray or what to pray for. I have not and will not look back since that day. My Christian walk exploded to a new level on that day. The Bible seemed to become a new book after that. I saw things now just jump of the pages at me that after many years of previous in-depth Bible study that I had not seen before.

    I often wonder why Christians who are interested
    in these matters will go to a minister or anyone else who not been Baptized in the Holy Spirit and ask them what they think. What could they possibly tell them about something they have never experienced? Can we explain the spiritual results of salvation to someone who has never experienced it? Can we reduce a spiritual experience to carnal understanding? Poorly at best. That is the reason the Holy Spirit has to speak to the person we are speaking to about what we are telling them about God or there is no result. The Holy Spirit must draw them. It is the same thing with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and the resulting speaking in tongues as a personal prayer language, the Gift of Speaking in Tongues and all the other Spiritual Gifts that the Holy Spirit gives as He wills to each. I can also tell you that anyone who is Baptized in the Holy Spirit will never grow in it and will eventually dry up if they do not find a place where it is practiced and has an anointed teacher to help them. You cannot keep it active when you are in a place that the Holy Spirit is not always in charge. I have personally seen this happen time and again.

    You shouldn’t care what I think. I don’t even care what I think or what anybody else thinks, but we all should care what God thinks. It is amazing that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was prevalent in denominational churches, including Baptist Churches, up until early in the last century. Where did it go? No church or person has it “just right” anywhere today. We are all a work in progress. God is pouring His Spirit out on all flesh at the end of the age just like He said He would on anyone that would receive it and walk in it. He is going to have His way in the end. Pick and choose Cafeteria Bible Christians with spiritual erasers at work in God’s Word are going to remain weak and confused. That is exactly what “the adversary” wants. He loves a good fuss in the churches anywhere.

    Here is an article I think you will find interesting.
    Especially the comment a Chinese gentleman made about his observation of the American churches he visited in Kevin Turner’s article “Why Isn’t The American Church Growing” I hope you will read every word of it as I did. Sobering to say the least.

    I wish you all to be blessed In Him and that The Truth in all things that are of Christ will prevail in all of us.

    In His Love,


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