Charismatics generally define the gift of tongues as a devotional prayer language that is available to every believer. This prayer language, according to its proponents, is not bound to the linguistic structures of earthly, human languages. In other words, it is not a real language — but rather “angelic” speech which supposedly transcends human language.
But therein lies a problem. On the one hand, the charismatic version of tongues does not consist of real human languages. On the other hand, Acts 2 makes it clear that the tongues spoken at Pentecost were real human languages.
So how can modern charismatics justify a type of “tongues” that does not fit the biblical description in Acts 2?
Proponents of modern tongues usually answer that question by asserting that there are at least two types of tongues in the New Testament. Charismatic blogger Adrian Warnock summed up the charismatic position like this:
One thing that most of us agree on is that there are different kinds of tongues…. I think it is fair to say that the tongues of 1 Corinthians are different from those of Acts 2. Paul himself speaks here of different kinds of tongues. It is at least possible that at different points in this passage [1 Cor. 12–14] Paul is talking about different forms of tongues.
In this post, I want to briefly respond to the idea that the gift of tongues in 1 Corinthians 14 is somehow qualitatively different than in Acts 2.
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