Tongues: My Testimony

by C. Parker Thomas

The Question of Tongues

More than 50 years ago when the Lord came into my life this old world lost its beauty, glamour and riches for me. I had to say as Solomon did, “all is vanity and vexation of spirit and there is no profit under the sun.” Ecc. 2:11.

The unsearchable riches of Christ became the controlling influence in my life. I began immediately to witness to every soul I met. The eternal things of God became very real while the transitory things of this life faded into obscurity. With an insatiable hunger and thirst for God, I began to pray and study the Bible. Almost immediately I became aware of the fact that the church world did not have the reality for which my heart hungered. Almost all of them were proud of their doctrinal extremes and considered themselves sound in the faith.

Although I started out in the church system and God blessed me to a degree, I continued to seek God with all my heart. I read some of the historical accounts of men like D. L. Moody, Charles G. Finney and others, which only increased my hunger for God. I was praying for reality in preaching and witnessing to people. I became almost desperate in my desire.

Finally, I asked the Lord if He would just give me five years of a fruitful ministry, I would rather have that than twenty-five years of just marking time in the church system. I believe it could be said that I bombarded heaven with my prayers.

I was pastoring a little church in the country at the time when I attended a union revival at the school house in Lake City, Florida. I got home around midnight and went to bed with my oldest child, Sherry, the elder of two children. Dan, the baby at that time, was sleeping with his mother.

My Experience

I was awakened from a sound sleep around 1:30 AM. All of my senses seemed to be quickened and it seemed a window was opened in heaven. A voice spoke and said, “The Power Is Down Now!” To me this was audible. At the end of those few words God’s power fell on me like thousands of volts of electricity. I cried out, “Lord, it’s going to kill me!” With that statement the great surge of power seemed to be lifted and the power in a much milder form rolled over me from head to toe for a short time, and then it was gone. However, I knew that God had answered my prayers. That anointing has been a very real force to me for these 45 years.

I was just starting a revival meeting in the church that I had just accepted to pastor. The first night of the meeting I could not detect any difference in my preaching. I suppose I was anticipating something different.

Great Conviction

The second night of the meeting I was not thinking of what might happen. However, as I walked to the pulpit to start my message I consciously turned my vessel, my body, and my faculties over to the Holy Spirit. That night the Holy Spirit came upon me in a most unusual way and it seemed I had great power and authority. I walked out from behind the pulpit and began walking up and down the aisles as I observed horrifying expressions on the faces of the people. I could point them out and tell which ones to come. It seemed as though I was walking about two feet off the floor. People began to run forward, church members, choir members, and others who just happened to be there.

One lady who became the post mistress in the little town was so convicted she wept all the way home. She could not sleep and didn’t want anything to eat all the next day. Another man who worked for the State Forestry Division was under great conviction. He started on a trip to Tallahassee that night and thought he may never have another chance. He was so convicted until he turned around and came back to the parsonage where I was staying, to talk to me about his soul. Another man came, whom I had known before my conversion, in fact, I had sold him moonshine liquor by the load, was smitten with such conviction until he asked customers coming into his grocery store the next day if they had been down to that revival where I was preaching. His testimony was that when I would open my mouth some invisible force would hit him in the face like a hammer.

My experience was not attended with tongues. However, I knew God had answered my prayers. This has become evident throughout these many years of ministry.

My Search

It also served to inspire me to make a search of the Bible with regards to the teaching that tongues is the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This tongues doctrine has caused multitudes to seek that experience. As a result, no doubt, many do receive genuine experiences and it could be demonic, because they are seeking something as an evidence that they have received or have been filled with the Holy Spirit. However, I was simply seeking God, not specifying any kind of experience. God’s response to my prayers was a genuine supernatural experience to let me know that he had heard the cry of my heart. I could have made a doctrine out of my experience, but I didn’t. I personally believe you can have many genuine experiences that God designs to meet your own personal needs, but it is wrong to try to get everybody to fit into your experiences.

Doctrinal Confusion

Some believe in three works of grace, each one separate and apart from the other. Salvation, sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit (with the evidence of speaking in other tongues), some believe in just two. There are other groups that believe in a second work of grace which is called sanctification but not with tongues. Then of course, you have those who believe you can get all these and then lose it because you don’t measure up to their concept of righteousness. These varied concepts have been used by Satan to bring many divisions to the body of Christ.

Complete In Him

I personally believe we are complete in Him which is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:8-10 says, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”

These varied experiences are the means used of Satan to spoil many of God’s children. According to 1 Corinthians 1:30 “He (Christ) is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”

Tongues evidence believers are some of the most deluded religious people I know. This is because they have a genuine supernatural experience which they believe is from God. Sometimes they become desperate in their quest for the evidence (tongues). Around and in this spiritual atmosphere as a child I remember many times hearing of some dear old saints referring to someone as seeking the Holy Ghost. Sometimes they would come to the altar every time an invitation was given, seeking tongues as evidence that would convince them they had been filled with the Holy Ghost. It was common to hear someone say, “The Holy Spirit comes in talking,” (tongues).

A Great Principle

This makes void one of the greatest principles in the Bible. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Paul says, “ O foolish Galatians who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:1-3.

How To Be Filled

Paul the apostle tells us exactly how to be filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18-20. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit: Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The key to being filled with the spirit is simply worshipping God from your heart.

Saving Faith

Where does faith come from? Saving faith comes from God through anointed preaching. This is what Paul meant when he said in 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

The message that is called the gospel by today’s apostate church is not the incorruptible word of God. For people to be born again they have to hear the gospel. 1 Peter 1:22-23 “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

People believe what their religious heritage tells them; whether true or false. The errors, traditions and heresies are all handed down by their particular religion.

Many Names

This conglomeration is called by many names. “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.” Today’s apostate religion is not the gospel preached by the apostles. A picture of religious Babylon is also found in Genesis 11:1-9.

When you seek any kind of experience or manifestation more than God, you open up your spirit to Demons. Demons can speak in tongues and curse God without you even knowing what is being said. 1 Corinthians 12:3 says, “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

Cause Of Divisions

All kinds of divisions exist among the groups who make doctrines out of experiences. The group that believes in two works of grace but no tongues say all tongues-speaking is of the devil. A second work of grace is called sanctification, in which some of them say that the carnal nature is eradicated. Some of these groups don’t believe that Christians sin. They say Christians don’t sin, but they make mistakes.

Whatever they have makes them worship the Holy Ghost more than Christ. I heard some preacher the other day singing, “Oh, that Holy Ghost Power.” I also heard another preacher, whose mother had passed away, refer to his mother as, “his little tongues talking mother.” To them it’s a badge of honor.

Purpose of The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is not given for us to glory in or to puff us up, nor is it given to us as an evidence. The main purpose of the Holy Spirit is to guide us into all truth. In John 14:17 and in John 16:13 the Spirit of God is referred to as the Spirit of truth. The scriptures also say he will glorify Christ. Jesus said in John 16:13-14, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Schools Teach Division

Every religious movement starts schools to teach their religious doctrines and experiences thus making void the Word of God. This is also responsible for the many divisions. They do this despite the fact that Jesus said, “When he the Spirit of truth is come he will guide you into all truth.” This is also confirmed in 1 John 2:27 which says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

I heard another one of today’s most popular healing and blessings preacher say specifically in his message on the anointing, “The way to have more anointing is to pray more in tongues”. Yet Paul’s instruction to the church is plain, “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the understanding also.” 1 Corinthians 14:15.

Purpose of Tongues

The tongues evidence doctrine has made tongues a sign to the believer which is just the opposite of the truth. The purpose of tongues is for a sign to the unbeliever. On the day of Pentecost the disciples were waiting in faith, they were not seeking tongues at all. In fact, they were just sitting there waiting as the Lord instructed them. 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.”

The tongues they spoke were languages which told the eighteen or more nationalities supernaturally the things of God. And they marveled because the men were all Galileans and they heard the word of God in their own tongue (language) of which they were born.

In fact, I do not know of a single instance where anyone in the New Testament was seeking tongues or was instructed to seek tongues. Whenever and wherever people spoke in tongues it was a sovereign act of God without any effort on the part of the person speaking in tongues.

Day of Pentecost

Actually, it was an eight year period from the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-13, until Peter’s preaching to Cornelius and his household, Acts 10:44-48, before we have another recorded instance of speaking in tongues as they did on the day of Pentecost. This was also God’s way of showing the Jews that God was extending his grace to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

In fact, the apostles and brethren in Judaea contended with Peter when they heard about him ministering to the Gentiles. In recounting what happened at Cornelius’ household, Peter said, “and as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.” Acts 11:15.

No doubt, multitudes were saved and filled with the Spirit between Pentecost and Peter’s experience at the household of Cornelius. Yet, he had to refer back eight years and point out that the Holy Ghost fell on them as it did on the disciples on the day of Pentecost.

Why I Sought Tongues

When I began to learn these things I had a desire to teach God’s people the truth. For that reason I knew it would be good if I had the gift of speaking in other tongues, so no one could say the reason I didn’t believe in tongues was because I had never spoken in tongues.

Motivated by this desire I asked God to give me the gift of tongues, and he did. However, I do not encourage people to seek this gift because of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.

Prophecy Greater

1 Corinthians 14:5: “I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.” My desire is to edify God’s people, by and through the gift of prophecy. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:28-31, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” And I repeat verse 29 and 30 “Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?” Obviously the answer to all these questions is an emphatic NO!

Sometimes the gift of tongues is given to some believers to strengthen them because they are weak in the faith. For example, Bro. Andrew Bureau was driving back to North Carolina from a car sale in Florida and his wife Jolene was following him in another car. She had a cassette tape of one of our services playing in the car. She was worshipping the Lord when suddenly she began speaking in other tongues. She wasn’t thinking about tongues and certainly wasn’t seeking tongues.

In fact, they were not thinking about tongues or seeking tongues on the day of Pentecost, nor were the people at the household of Cornelius. The same is true of the twelve disciples that Paul ministered to in Acts 19:1-7.

Beyond doubt, demons are responsible for the tongues that many people speak. However, there is a true tongue as well as demonic inspired tongues.

Another great mistake that some make is in teaching that there are two different kinds of tongues, one being the evidence variety and the other the gift of tongues. This is not true. It is simply a way of confirming the false concept of tongues evidence.

Some of the phenomena that are being experienced today -- barking like dogs, growling like animals, shaking uncontrollably and uncontrollable laughter breaking out -- I question very seriously!

I am not anti-tongues nor anti-healing, but there is such excess in what is going on that it has brought about much confusion. Our Number 1 priority in the ministry should be to preach the gospel in such a way that the elect will hear it and be saved. Paul the apostle says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

However, everyone, including the cults, Baptists, Pentecostals, Mormons, etc., says they have the gospel. The only safe thing I can tell you is to will to do the will of God and he will lead you to the truth.

Signs Following

In the ministry God has given me, I have not majored on phenomena, healing or miracles, but certain signs have followed this ministry according to God’s word. Mark 16:15-20. In fact, I was preaching in Greenville, S.C., I believe about thirty years ago. I was praying concerning this desire to do God’s will and God spoke to me and said in my heart, “you be concerned about having my word and I’ll take care of the signs.”

I have cast out as many as five spirits in people who have spoken in tongues. In one case the woman, who had a son just back from Vietnam who understood what she was saying, was cursing God and didn’t know it.

Every time I would cast the spirit out she would start praising the Lord and would begin speaking in tongues. She did this three or four times and I finally told her I was going to cast the spirit out one more time and for her to praise God in English. I told her not to yield herself to speak in tongues, which was obviously a demon. This lady had called on the phone to tell me that she felt strongly that the Lord had a work for her to do. Needless to say, after observing her house and unmade beds and five children with dirty ears, I told her that she had a big job just cleaning her house and washing her kids’ ears and making up her beds. The same demon that gave her tongues also made her believe the lie that she was to do a great work for God. This is also the inspiration responsible for the religious Babylon we have in the world today. Revelations 18:1-5.

God’s Will

I hope this testimony will be a blessing to some people who desire to do God’s will. I challenge God’s people to do His will and they shall know whether what I’m telling you is truth or not. I don’t mean will to do his will according to any church doctrine, I mean just will to do his will. John 7:17 says, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”

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