In many churches today, there’s a myth floating about, which says that salvation and tongue-speaking go hand-in-hand. This myth has been alive and well in churches for a long time now, and it will likely be so until Jesus returns. My mission today is to expose this myth for the lie that is (especially for the newcomers to Christianity), and to give you a quick background on why it is a lie.
Firstly, Paul says, in Romans 10:9-11, that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.’”
So, as you can see, at no point in this passage does Paul say that you must speak in tongues to be declared saved, nor does he say that not speaking in tongues will be an indicator that you haven’t been saved. He says that if we believe on Jesus Christ (the whole of His mission to redeem mankind), we shall be saved. (See also Acts 16:27-31.)
Next, in 1 Corinthians 12, we learn that there are a variety of spiritual gifts, which are distributed to believers by the Spirit, as He wills. There you can also see, in the given list of gifts, that tongue speaking is one of those spiritual gifts distributed as the Spirit wills. Just as He doesn’t give all the gift of prophecy, or all the gift of exhortation, or all the gift of teaching, etc., He doesn’t give all the ability to speak in or interpret tongues (verses 27-31). Again, He apportions to each one individually, as He wills (verse 11).
Today, however (as noted previously), tongue speaking is a major issue in many churches, with leadership and their followers deeming those who don’t possess this gift unsaved. I’ve even seen it go so far as people faking the gift, in order to satisfy or impress their leaders and to fit in with other members who were (supposedly) speaking in tongues (there was never an interpreter as the Bible instructs there should be when tongues are spoken in the church).
But sisters, this isn’t to be (and if you’re in a church such as this, you should leave immediately). The Holy Spirit bestows all gifts as He wills. If He’s given you the gift of tongues, great. But if He hasn’t, understand that, contrary to the opinion of some, it doesn’t make you any less of a Christian than your brother or sister He has given it to.
Issues such as this one point us back to the NEED to study and understand the words of God; because when we don’t, we can be taken captive by all kinds of man-made, deceptive philosophies, which have absolutely nothing to do with the truths of Jesus Christ.
*Tongues (glossa) = a language. Those who have the gift of tongues have the ability to speak in a language not previously known to them.