Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stott on Private Speaking in Tongues

What, then, about the contemporary practice of private tongue-speaking as an aid to personal devotion? Many are claiming to discover through it a new degree of fluency in their approach to God. Others have spoken of a kind of 'psychic release' which they have found liberating and which one would not want to deny them. On the other hand, it needs to be said (from 1 Cor. 14) that if Paul completely forbids public tongue-speaking without interpretation, he strongly discourages private tongue-speaking if the speaker does not understand what he is saying. Verse 13 is often overlooked: 'He who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret'. Otherwise his mind will be 'unfruitful' or unproductive. So what is he to do? Paul asks himself. His reply is that he will pray and sing 'with the Spirit', but he will do so 'with the mind also'. It is clear that he simply cannot contemplate Christian prayer and praise in which the mind is not actively engaged.

--From "Baptism and Fullness" (London: IVP, 1975), p. 113. Rest with Christ JRW Stott.

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