I do not believe that Christianity is a religion. Religions are man's ways of worshiping God. Christianity is what God did for us in Christ Jesus. Christianity is truth. Christianity is the way of a father [God] with his family [us]. Truth does not have "sides to argue about"; nor does it need to be defended. Truth simply needs to be presented and believed. So, if you want discussion . . . God bless you - but this is not the site for you.
John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is [almost here], when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Jesus Christ declared that believers would "speak with new tongues." It does not say apostles. It does not say "only in the first century." It says "them that believe."
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
Ten days later these men (and about 3 thousand others) received the promised holy spirit and they spoke in tongues. Speaking in tongues is not a special gift as some declare. Speaking in tongues is the proof on the outside that you are born again with holy spirit on the inside. You cannot see spirit. But you can see the evidence of it when a believer speaks in tongues. They saw it on Pentecost as the apostles spoke in tongues and asked "What do we have to do to be saved and have this ability as well?" They were not asking about the spirit that they could not see. They were asking about the tongues they heard. "How can we speak in tongues, Peter?"
Peter told them about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because to be saved you must "confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead" [Romans 10:9-10]. Once they believed, the promise of holy spirit [which includes the ability to speak in tongues] was theirs:
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent [change!] and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall [absolutely!] receive [the Greek word is lambano which means to receive outwardly in evidence or manifestation] the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The people asked Peter about the tongues they had just heard. Peter told them that when they believed they too would speak in tongues. They too would receive the gift of holy spirit and they too would manifest it outwardly by speaking in tongues. There is only one gift: the holy spirit from God. There are many ways to use it, tongues being one. Speaking in tongues is the proof you have the holy spirit on the inside. Its main function is your private worship of God - it is perfect prayer. But in every record in Acts where a group of believers is first born again of God's spirit the outward evidence or proof to those "witnessing the birth" is the new believer speaks in tongues.
Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Speaking in tongues as a manifestation of the holy spirit was not just for the apostles, nor just for those who heard that day. It is for you who believe today as well. It is for "all that are afar off - as many as the Lord our God shall call." Speaking in tongues is for you.
Do I have to speak in tongues?
NO. But anyone who studies God's Word regarding tongues should have a great desire to speak in tongues and to operate the other manifestations of the spirit once they are born again. If I gave you a shiny new car, wouldn't you want to drive it? Sure, you can let it sit in the garage - it is your car. But think of the fun and enjoyment you would have if you used it. God gives you holy spirit. It is a gift to you. It is now your spirit. But are you just going to put it in the garage and never use it? The benefits of operating the spirit to an individual believer and to the body of Christ as a whole are tremendous. Some of the benefits of speaking in tongues are listed on the following web page: Speaking in Tongues page.
What is the will of God?
I Corinthians 14:5 I would that
ye all spake with tongues
I Corinthians 14:14-15 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth...What is it then? I will pray with the spirit...
I Corinthians 14:18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.
I Corinthians 14:37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
The apostle Paul wrote this section of Corinthians to correct error in use of the manifestations in public worship. When the Corinthians got together they all wanted to (because of course all can!) speak in tongues. In fact they were all doing it together at the same time. So Paul wrote to let them know what should be the order of things in public. But he also made it clear that tongues in your private worship of God was not only good. It was God's will, it was Paul's practice [more than ye all], and it was a commandment of the Lord. Does God want you to speak in tongues? ABSOLUTELY!
Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about their wrong practice. He pointed out that when they all got together and all spoke in tongues at the same time that people would think they were crazy.
I Corinthians 14:23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
I Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
The mad or crazy things people add to the operation of the spirit of God are not God's will. God wants things done decently and in order. God wants you to speak in tongues. But God does not want everyone speaking at the same time, throwing things, knocking others over, or any of the other odd practices that people have added. Tongues is primarily between you and God. It is not wild. It is worship. When the apostles received on Pentecost they were seated in the temple praying. They were not acting crazy.
Does the spirit take over and control you?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! The true God never possesses. He gives you His gift - holy spirit. It is now your responsibility. You use it or not. Paul would not have to have written to the Corinthians about use of spiritual things if they were not responsible or in control of the gift. With all things from God free will of the individual is vital. You worship because you want to, not because God makes you. You speak in tongues. You control the spirit in you. If it happens any other way it can not be from the true God.
I Corinthians 14:32-33 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
When will tongues cease?
Many people declare that tongues were for the original apostles but that tongues ceased. This is not the witness of the Word of God. We have already seen that the Word declares that tongues are for "all that are afar off - even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Corinthians also deals with this question.
I Corinthians 13:8-10,12 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part , and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away ...For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.
Did tongues cease? NO. Did knowledge vanish away? If knowledge is gone then I guess we wouldn't be able to know if tongues ceased. This is a silly argument. The Word says these will cease when "that which is perfect is come" and "when we see him face to face." The return of Christ will bring spiritual perfection including a "body fashioned like unto his glorious body" (Philippians 3:21) and we will meet him in the air and see him face to face. 1 John 3:2 says "we will be like him; for we shall see him as he is." Until that day speak in tongues much. God gave you the abiltiy so you could worship Him. USE IT!
How do I speak in tongues?
First - get born again of God's spirit. You can't use something you don't have.
Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him form the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Second - Don't wait for God to make you speak in tongues. God NEVER controls you. God gives you the ability. Now you use it. You must speak. The only difference between speaking in tongues and speaking in your native language is what you speak. You do the speaking. You just don't have to think about what to say. God provides the words AS YOU SPEAK. By the way. You won't understand it!
I Corinthians 14:2 [without the added italics words - they were not in the texts anyway] For he that speaketh in an tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
When you speak in tongues you do not understand the words. The language is foreign to you - the speaker. But it is a language "of men and of angels" - I Corinthians 13:1. It will NOT be just noise - like "beep beep beep." It will be a language. You speak. God gives the words. It is really that simple.
I don't want to do anything weird or odd. I am afraid I might not be getting the true experience from God. How can I know that it is really from God?
God NEVER possesses or controls you. If you can start and stop at will. If you are in complete control. If you are even asking this question... God will not let you down. God wants you to worship Him by the freedom of your will - by speaking in tongues. God will do His part. He will supply the words - WHEN YOU SPEAK. You must be in complete control and trust God.
Luke 11:9-13 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth [lambano - in manifestation or evidence]; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
ASK God - and ACT.
Enjoy the power of God in your life and speak in tongues much!