July 2007

Go to http://www.sbcoutpost.com/ to read the above article.

While I’m preparing to do a post in the near future on the competing visions in the Southern Baptist Convention for those who log on to my Blog looking for something new, I thought I would share with you the notes that I used to guide my discussion/debate with Russell Moore at the Criswell College booth at the recent SBC Convention.  I hope this clarifies any misunderstandings about my belief and I would welcome dialogue on this matter. 




Statement on Praying in Tongues in Private By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Southern Baptist Convention

San Antonio, Texas

KCBI Radio Interview/Criswell College Booth

June 11, 2007

 Opening Statement The inerrant, infallible word of God addresses the subject of praying in tongues in private. It is my goal to provide the scriptural basis for the validity and legitimacy of believers gifted by the Holy Spirit to pray in tongues in private. It is not my belief that every believer has the gift of praying in tongues. It is not my belief that believers who pray in tongues are spiritually superior to believers who do not pray in tongues. It is not my argument that tongues is the evidence of the baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit. It is not my position that believers should pray or speak in tongues publicly unless there is interpretation. My thesis is praying in tongues in private is a valid and vital spiritual gift that the Sovereign Holy Spirit equips certain believers with to edify the believer and the church, to glorify and communicate with God uniquely in prayer for His own sovereign purposes.  A Biblical Definition of Praying in Tongues in Private 

1.      Paul clearly envisioned the gift of tongues included prayer to God (1 Cor. 12:10; 14:2, 13-14). Since Paul said, “He who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God,” we know for sure then it is prayer. Furthermore, Paul makes it clear the person speaking in tongues in worship can control it and speak to himself and to God. If a person, speaking in tongues in worship can speak to God then, again, it is prayer. The Bible says in 1 Cor. 14:28, “…and let him speak to himself and to God (emphasis mine).  THE STANDARD HERMENEUTICAL APPROACH IS IF THE PLAIN SENSE OF SCRIPTURE MAKES SENSE, WHY SEEK ANOTHER SENSE?

2.      Praying to God in private tongues involves praise, “If you bless with the spirit,” thanksgiving, “At your giving of thanks” (1 Cor. 14:16), and general communication with God (1 Cor. 14:2).

3.      Praying to God in tongues is not intended to be understood by man because the believer speaks “mysteries” to God (1 Cor. 14:2). The word mystery in the original language means “a hidden or secret thing not obvious to the understanding.”

4.      Praying in tongues, in private, is speaking to God in a language not understood by man, “For no one understands him” (1 Cor. 14:2).

5.      The person who is praying to God in tongues does not understand what he or she is saying. That person is praying as Paul said, “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful” (1 Cor. 14:14).

6.      Since the Bible describes tongues as speaking to God and not to men, whether or not the speaking to God would be with words understood (a language known on the face of the earth) or not understood (unintelligible or indeterminate speech) is somewhat irrelevant. Whatever the speech consists of, it is still prayer to God (1 Cor. 14:2).

7.      Praying to God in tongues in private edifies the believer (1 Cor. 14:4). Paul said, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself….” An edified believer edifies the church and glorifies God.

 Summary Statement 

Tongues is praying to God with words that may or may not be understood by man, but certainly understood by God that edifies the believer, glorifies God, and blesses the body of Christ.

Let’s suppose that praying in tongues in private is a gift of the Holy Spirit. I would hate to be responsible for quenching the Spirit and prohibiting called missionaries to the ends of the earth to preach the gospel simply because of their private prayer practice that they believe is based upon God’s inerrant and infallible word.