Speaking in Tongues Debate - 02 - Foreword

    How surprised I was when, the day after my conversion from the world to Jesus Christ, I found that supposedly stable, spiritual and dedicated people-people being used by the Holy Spirit for the salvation of souls-bristled at the mention of the gifts of the Spirit, especially that of speaking in tongues. I sadly listened to them run down the work that God was doing through those whom they ironically called "holy rollers". With the delicacy of a bulldozer plowing into a mountain they silenced any objections, like "the gift of tongues no longer exists" or "that was only for the apostolic period" with sweeping declarations which I considered to be dogmatic and hollow. I was more impressed with their conviction than by their arguments. For, to tell the truth, they did not defend their beliefs biblically. In their churches the subject of tongues was as taboo as sex or healing; they just did not talk about it, and that was that! It was as if they said with an air of superiority, "I know all that by heart..." (An ironic song known by the French which makes fun of the school "inspector" who wants to teach a lesson to those who know more than he does.)

    I didn't dare discuss the subject with them because I was young, inexperienced and had little Bible knowledge. But as elementary as my knowledge of the Word was, I wondered how these people could miss the many texts in the New Testament which refer to speaking in tongues.

    As for myself, even if I wanted to ignore them (which was not the case), I could not do so. I wondered how a small part of the evangelical world was able to play hide-and-seek with these passages. They might be ignored in preaching, but it was impossible in the reading and personal study of the Scriptures. To me they seemed to be everywhere in the New Testament.

    To ignore them seemed as serious as ignoring the Apostle Peter in the Gospels. Had not Jesus said, "And these signs will accompany those who have believed in My name: they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents; and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:17-18)? Certainly all those who have believed unto salvation do not have to prove their faith by each one casting out demons or by all drinking a poisonous beverage or by all eating poisonous mushrooms without harm or by all speaking in tongues or by each one healing some sick person. But do we have the right to take away such a piece from the marvelous puzzle of the whole Bible picture? One day someone told me in all seriousness that it was satanic. Wow! I have learned that he has since modified his opinion. How can we ignore that so many Christians have had the experience of speaking in tongues and that they testify of having received great blessing? Can we pass over in silence, or try to hush the fact that in the world it is the Pentecostal Churches that are growing the fastest (except for Islam and perhaps Jehovah's Witnesses)? The work done among the gypsies of Europe is due to their activity, and it is remarkable. Did not the Apostle Paul, who has been called the greatest since the Great One, say, "I speak in tongues more than you all (I Cor 14:18)? This citation of the great apostle to the nations has been chosen as the title of this book.