Malankara World

40 Questions Answered

By H.G. Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios

QUESTION 10. Should We speak in Tongues to know that we have the anointment of the Holy Spirit?

Not at all. Even in the time of St. Paul all did not speak with tongues (I Cor. 12: 30). We have no record of Christ Jesus speaking in tongues when the Holy Spirit descended on Him at the time of His baptism. The Blessed Virgin Mary received the Holy Spirit at the time of the Annunciation (Lk. 1: 35), but she did not speak with tongues. When Elizabeth was "filled with the Holy Spirit" she did not speak in tongues.

Tongues is found only in the three beginnings namely Pentecost when the Person of the Spirit took charge of the Church (Acts 2), in the household of Cornelius, the beginning of the Gentile conversion (Acts 10: 46) and in Ephesus the beginning of Jewish converts outside Jerusalem (Acts 19: 6). The Samaritan converts received the Holy Spirit when Peter and John laid their hands on them, but did not speak with tongues (Acts 8: 17).

The bible clearly say, "as for tongues, they will cease." (I Cor. 13: 8). We know that the earthquake, the mighty wind, 'tongues as of fire' etc. that accompanied the Pentecost event ceased. I Cor. 14 is a chapter which is written in answer to the question what is superior, tongues or prophecy and the answer is that prophecy is better than tongues and love is "a still more excellent way." (I Cor. 12: 3).

We need not pass judgment on the charismatic groups of people today who speak with tongues as time will show whether it is from God or not. When certain Pentecostal sects quote isolated texts and teach that Tongues is the one sure sign of the anointment of the Spirit, there are sects among them who deny their claim and refute their teachings.

We who ought to know the tradition as well as the scriptures, must realize that: there were innumerable saints in the history of the Church who were full of the Spirit, but did not speak with tongues. Hence, we need not be carried away by sectarian movements.

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