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Fourth Reason

Because the most spiritual saints of history have not stood for it.

We do not worship saints—we worship God. At the same time, I believe John Wesley to have been the greatest all-around man since the days of Paul. He wrote nearly three hundred books and booklets on various themes. He and his assistants resurrected and revived practical Christianity in the earth and saw displays of God’s power almost equal to apostolic times. It is passing strange that not one of these mental and spiritual giants received or taught the gift of tongues. It would seem, since God saw fit to reveal great and precious truths to these Spirit-filled men, that if the gift of tongues were so essential, somewhere along the line one or more of them would have received it and said something about it. But they do not say one word in favor of it.

On the other hand, hear what Mr. Wesley says in that wonderful classic, Christian Perfection:

Beware of that daughter of pride—Enthusiasm. Oh, keep at the utmost distance from it! Give no place to a heated imagination. Do not hastily ascribe things to God. Do not easily suppose dreams, voices, impressions, visions, or revelations to be from God. They may be from Him. They may be from nature. They may be from the devil….

Another ground of these and a thousand mistakes is, the not considering deeply that love is the highest gift of God, humble, gentle, patient love; that all visions, revelations whatever, are little things compared to love: and that all gifts are either the same with, or infinitely inferior to it.

It were well you should be thoroughly sensible of this—the heaven of heavens is love. There is nothing higher in religion; there is, in effect, nothing else; if you look for anything but more love, you are looking wide of the mark, you are getting out of the royal way. And when you are asking others, “Have you received this or that blessing?” if you mean anything but love, you mean wrong; you are leading them out of the way, and putting them upon a false scent. Settle it then in your heart, that from the moment God has saved you from all sin, you are to aim at nothing more but more of that love described in the thirteenth of the Corinthians. You can go no higher than this till you are carried into Abraham’s bosom.

[John Wesley; A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, “Farther Thoughts on Christian Perfection”]

Since Wesley’s day there have arisen great and good men who have likewise witnessed wonderful outpourings of the Spirit. They were not prejudiced against any particular manifestation, hence the Holy Spirit had free course; multitudes were converted and sanctified wholly. Some shouted, some wept, while others fell and lay for hours as though dead. But why did they not speak in tongues? I take it that had God ordained that this gift should be perpetuated as one of the chief doctrines of His church, He would have repeatedly given us witnesses, even though we were too stupid and unspiritual to teach the same.

What is the answer? The writer ventures to assert that the main reason why seekers among us (though sometimes mightily exercised) do not get the gift of tongues, is the fact that we do not exert a psychic influence over them. There is much in this. For instance, a seeking soul is supposed to be passive in the hands of his instructors. Now, if these instructors hold to a certain mental test, say jumping, falling, or speaking in tongues, the result will be that converts, as a rule, will ring true to that test. The leaders need not say a word, yet mind over matter will produce this identical effect. This is exactly what transpires in many of the Pentecostal gatherings. I have witnessed it with pain.

A hungry heart becomes a seeker and eventually receives a great blessing. But being under the influence of those who hold tenaciously to speaking in tongues, he not only receives from the Lord what he needs, but from others what he does not need—a babbling, imposed upon him from one or more master minds; yea, sometimes from a pseudo-religious demon. For remember, angels have a tongue: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels.”* (1 Corinthians 13:1) Now, since there are evil as well as good angels, is it not possible for one of these demons to speak through a seeker in an unknown tongue? Positively so, especially when this seeker or his instructors persist in placing “gifts” as an evidence of grace. This opens the floodgates to demonic influences, and no marvel if strange and weird things pour in.

It is well known that false religions like Spiritualism, Mormonism, and a host of other devilisms are possessed with a supernatural power, capable of performing wonderful cures and miracles, including the speaking in tongues. Yea, to go so far as to make “fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.”* (Revelation 13:13)

Pentecostal leaders urge their seekers to “Praise Him! Praise Him! Say ‘Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!’ ” This is unscriptural. God’s route is not to shout your way into an experience, but rather confess and believe. “If we confess our sins [or carnality], He is faithful.”* (1 John 1:9) Humiliation always precedes exultation.

One of the sad things in it all is that so many well-meaning souls become an easy prey for these false theories. When an innocent soul associates with those who have some truth with their error, it is not long until this unsuspecting one unconsciously imbibes the error as well as the truth. Wesley said of Dr. Crisp and George Bell: “They have much truth in their teachings, but this makes them the more dangerous.”