Have you ever wondered why religious bookstores, Christian schools, and other religious organizations are allowed to discriminate based on religion in their hiring? Why is it legal for a radio station, or a charity, or a halal butcher to only employ those of like faith? The answer goes back to a legal right enshrined by World Vision, and a right that World Vision last week considered leveraging to advance the same-sex agenda in the United States.
This post is part 5 in our series on the gift of tongues. (To access previous posts, please click here.)
In particular, we are considering the continuationist claim that tongues in the New Testament were not necessarily real human foreign languages. One leading evangelical proponent of this position is Sam Storms, who articulates his views in The Beginner’s Guide to Spiritual Gifts. In this series, we have been responding to the arguments presented by Storms in that book.
In today’s post, we will consider one of the most common arguments for a type of tongues-speech that is non-earthly and non-human in character.
Continuationist Argument 4: The reference to “tongues of angels” in 1 Cor. 13:1 demands the possibility of heavenly (non-earthly) languages.
Sam Storms articulates this argument as follows:
Paul referred to ‘tongues of men and of angels’ (1 Cor. 13:1). While he may have been using hyperbole, he just as likely may have been referring to heavenly or angelic dialects for which the Holy Spirit gives utterance.
I am thankful that Storms (as well as other continuationists like D. A. Carson) allow for the possibility of hyperbole in 1 Corinthians 13:1, because I am convinced from the context that that is exactly how the phrase ought to be understood. Why?
It was dark in the wee morning hours of Feb 4, 1999. Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea, was standing outside his low-income apartment building on Wheeler Avenue in the South Bronx. The neighborhood was ear-marked for surveillance by a special police unit in an effort to curb drug related crime.
Diallo was not typically considered to have a threatening presence. He was a short, light-weight man with an unassuming demeanor, and a shyness stemming from a severe stutter. But on that fateful night, his loitering attracted the suspicion of four police officers in an unmarked car. Spotting the halted car, Diallo’s curiosity was piqued enough to look around for what might be holding their attention. When he realized he was the object of their scrutiny, he became nervous and quickly retreated into the shadows. The cops interpreted this as the skittishness of a lookout abetting a crime.
Two of them, wearing civilian clothes, concealed bullet-proof vests, and not-so-concealed sidearms, ominously approached him. They asked if they could have a word. Apparently the fearful guy’s stutter prevented him from answering. Diallo freaked out and instinctively darted to his apartment door. He grabbed the doorknob with his left hand and started digging frantically in his pocket with his right. One policeman shouted “Show me your hands!” but Diallo turned his body and crouched low in what appeared to be a classic close-combat tactical stance—one the police were familiar with from their own training. Suddenly he presented a black, rectangular object and proffered it to his presumed assailants.
“Gun!” shouted one officer and drew his weapon. A shot rang out.
Startled, the other cop retreated, clumsily falling backward and in panic also discharged his weapon. Instantaneously the other two policemen appeared in the mêlée of crackling gunfire. Seeing one colleague on the floor and the other shooting, they joined the fray.
The whole incident was over in a few seconds. In that time 41 shots were fired. When the smoke cleared they found bullet-ridden Amadou Diallo’s body, with an outstretched hand, clutching a black wallet.
If Wendy Davis and Planned Parenthood are the face of the pro-abortion movement, then there may yet be hope that this is the last generation for legal abortion in the United States.
First some background: Yesterday the 5th-Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and allowed Texas’ new restrictions on abortions to remain in effect. This case will certainly be heard by the US Supreme Court, and is probably the most significant case in the struggle to end legal abortion. Continue Reading…
Many years ago, I was an upperclassman at a bible college. Like most upperclassmen in bible college, I had spent a few years learning vast quantities of information and was both eager and embarrassingly incompetent to make “real world” applications of all the things I had learned. In an effort to connect the theological dots I had assembled, I–along with several other Bible geeks–had a lunchtime discussion club where we would entertain issues of what we called “theoretical theology”. We would think of (usually) bizarre theological questions, analyze them, and then attempt to come up with solutions to those conundrums. Most of the time, the questions were ridiculous but still involved big theological issues (i.e. dispensationalism, creationism, pacifism, Calvinism, the second coming, etc.) in a roundabout way. The questions often were hilarious and allowed us to address serious issues in a humorous way that often ended up in carefully articulated responses.
One of the questions I remember the most was:
- If I am a New Testament Christian and I got a DeLorean with a flux capacitor and went back to the time of Moses, would I still be saved by grace or would I suddenly lose the Spirit and have to keep the law?
Now that question is both silly and impossible, but it was the manifestation of a few budding theologians attempting to struggle through and apply the numerous biblical/theological truths they were learning. I’m sure that some people now want me to address that crazy question, but that’s not the one I’m going to focus on. In my first post in this series, I gave an illustration of how the scripture often addresses matters more clearly than we may think. In my second post in this series, I gave an (ill received) illustration of how the Bible directly speaks about far more issues than we often expect. Both of those two involved matters that the scripture directly addresses and in the first post I made passing reference to “applying hand lotion to a penguin” as a theological question. I mentioned in the comment thread that I would get back to that idea and now, here I am.
Am I seriously going to talk about the application of hand lotion to penguins as a “theoretical theology” question?
Not the whole bird of course; that would be silly and needless. Just their feet.
Let’s not be totally absurd! Continue Reading…
You can complete a form. Maybe there’s a phone number to call. Or in some cases, you might even be able to make an appointment with a real live individual. In business and government services, it’s a mark of sound practice to provide people with a means of filing complaints. But what are Christians to do with their complaints over another Christian – or even an entire church? What we find, as with most things, is the Church is called to practices quite different from that of a business or government agency.
Complaints in the Church?