I recently received an email from someone who equated "women deacons," "tongues," "homosexuality,' and "abortion," as all problems associated with "liberalism."
If the sender were not so high up in the SBC I might laugh. As it is, I want to cry.
Have we come to the point in our convention that we do not know the differences between conservatives interpreting Scripture, using sound exegetical methods, and arriving at opposite conclusions, and liberals who deny the veracity of Scripture all together?
Take tongues and homosexuality for example. Every conservative I know believes the Scriptures are clear that homosexuality is a sin,, but some liberals, who deny the inerrancy of Scriptures will try to defend homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. The problem is not different interpretations of the text but different views of the text itself.
But tongues is different. I know many conservatives who exegete the Scriptures and come to different conclussions regarding the practice of tongues today. Conservatives interpret the inerrant text differently. But conservatives all agree about the nature of the text -- it is inspired by God.
For example, when Dr. Rankin was interviewed by the Search Committee seeking a new President of the IMB in 1993, the Search Committee investigated Dr. Rankin's belief regarding tongues. The Search Committee and Dr. Rankin had various interpretations regarding "tongues" (there were several varying interpretations), but nobody ever doubted Dr. Rankin's high view of Scripture.
In fact, it could be argued that Dr. Rankin "out-inerranted the inerrantists." In other words, he based his belief of tongues on the infallible, inerrant Word of God, not a speculative, "neo-orthodox," "this is what the Spirit has revealed to me" type of philosophy.
Is it possible to have a solid, exegetical approach to Scripture, and still believe in a modern day "private prayer language"?
Dr. Sam Storms, one of the brighest, sharpest theologues of our day, has written two excellent articles on "Tongues and the Southern Baptist Convention." I would encourage you to read both articles and then realize that conservatives can, and should, cooperate with each other in reaching the world for Christ.
See Dr. Storm's article at The Southern Baptist Convention and Tongues: Part 1 and The Southern Baptist Convention and Tongues: Part 2.
I do not personally possess a private prayer language, have never sought one, and do not see a need for one, but I have a great deal of respect for conservative men and women who base their beliefs in a prayer language on solid biblical exegesis.
Tongues is not like homosexuality.
In His Grace,