Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Testimony on tongues -- history in the book of Acts

The testimony of the history of the early church in the book of Acts -- believers were accepted as converted, without the evidence of speaking in tongues.

1. Acts chapters 1 & 2 -- Jesus promises the disciples that they will be baptized with the Holy Ghost in a few days (1:5), and indicates they will receive power to be witnesses unto the uttermost part of the earth (1:8). The promise is fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. The 120 are filled with the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues (2:4). Of this group of 120 (1:15), at least ten of them had already received the Holy Ghost (John 20:20-23), with no corresponding evidence of speaking in tongues. Notice also it is the 120 disciples that speak in tongues (some even believe only the 12 apostles). There is no evidence that the 3000 spoke in tongues, yet they were received as believers and baptized (Acts 2:41-47).

2. Acts 4:4 -- About 5000 believe, with no evidence of speaking in tongues.

3. Acts 8:1-25 -- The account of the outpouring in Samaria records that many believe and were baptized -- and makes specific mention of them receiving the Holy Ghost (v. 17) -- but with no evidence of speaking in tongues.

4. Acts 8 -- Philip preaches/witnesses to the eunuch. The eunuch is converted and there is no mention of speaking in tongues (8:26-40). Yet Philip baptized him and he goes on his way rejoicing.

5. Acts 9 -- Saul (Paul) is converted, his eyesight is restored, and he is filled with the Holy Ghost (9:17-20), with no mention of the initial evidence of speaking in tongues (He does exhibit the evidence of being a witness; cf. 1:8 with 9:20).

6. Acts 10 -- Peter preaches to the household of Cornelius; they believe, they Holy Ghost falls on them and they speak in tongues (10:44-48). Peter likens this experience to the one of the day of Pentecost (11:15).

7. Acts 11:21 -- A great number believe and turn to the Lord. The evidence of speaking in tongues is not mentioned.

8. Acts 13 -- A number of Gentiles believe (vs. 47-48), and are filled with the Holy Ghost (v. 52). Speaking in tongues is not mentioned.

9. Acts chapters 14-18 -- Paul and other disciples travel to numerous places -- such as Lystra, Derbe, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, Philippi, Athens. Many are converted, with no mention that they spoke in tongues.

10. Acts 19 -- The disciples at Ephesus receive the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues.

11. Acts chapters 20-28 -- Numerous journeys are made by Paul and others. People are converted. Speaking in tongues is not mentioned.

Looking at records of conversion throughout the book of Acts, speaking in tongues is only mentioned on three occasions -- the day of Pentecost (2:3,4,11), the household of Cornelius (10:46), and the disciples at Ephesus (19:6). The obvious conclusion is that speaking in tongues was not an evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit for the converts in the days of the early church.


Bro. Matt said...

Excellent post. This is great information for those who would believe otherwise.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Matt, you were asking awhile back about I Cor. 13:8. The following was posted on a thread about Sam Storms' 12 Bad Reasons for Being a Cessationist.

"If the voice of the verb here is significant, then Paul is saying either that tongues will cut themselves off (direct middle) or, more likely, cease of their own accord, i.e., ‘die out’ without an intervening agent (indirect middle). It may be significant that with reference to prophecy and knowledge, Paul used a different verb (κατάργέω) and put it in the passive voice. In vv 9-10, the argument continues: ‘for we know in part and we prophecy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial shall be done away [καταργηθήσονται].’ Here again, Paul uses the same passive verb he had used with prophecy and knowledge and he speaks of the verbal counterpart to the nominal ‘prophecy’ and ‘knowledge.’ Yet he does not speak about tongues being done away ‘when the perfect comes.’ The implication may be that tongues were to have ‘died out’ of their own before the perfect comes. The middle voice in this text, then, must be wrestled with if one is to come to any conclusions about when tongues would cease. The dominant opinion among NT scholars today, however, is that παύσονται is not an indirect middle. The argument is that παύω in the future is deponent, and that the change in verbs is merely stylistic. If so, then this text makes no comment about tongues ceasing on their own, apart from the intervention of ‘the perfect.’ There are three arguments against the deponent view, however. First, if παύσονται is deponent, then the second principal part (future form) should not occur in the active voice in Hellenistic Greek. But it does, and it does so frequently. Luke 8:24 is brought into the discussion: Jesus rebuked the wind and sea and they ceased (επαύσαντο, aorist middle) from their turbulence. The argument is that inanimate objects cannot cease of their own accord; therefore, the middle of παύω is equivalent to a passive. But this is a misunderstanding of the literary features of the passage: If the wind and sea cannot cease voluntarily, why does Jesus rebuke them? And why do the disciples speak of the wind and the sea as having obeyed Jesus? The elements are personified in Luke 8 and their ceasing from turbulence is therefore presented as volitional obedience to Jesus. If anything, Luke 8:24 supports the indirect middle view. Third, the idea of a deponent verb is that it is middle in form, but active in meaning. But παύσονται is surrounded by passives in 1 Cor. 13:8, not actives. The real force of παύω in the middle is intransitive, while in the active it is transitive. In the active it has the force of stopping some other object; in the middle, it ceases from its own activity. In sum, the deponent view is based on some faulty assumptions as to the labeling of παύσονται as deponent, the parallel in Luke 8:24, and even the meaning of deponency. Paul seems to be making a point that is more than stylistic in his shift in verbs. But this is not to say that the middle voice in 1 Cor. 13:8 proves that tongues already ceased! This verse does not specifically address when tongues would cease, although it is giving a terminus ad quem: when the perfect comes."

Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 422-423.