"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Sometimes The Tongue I Don't Understand Is the English One

I am sure much will be made of Dr. Rankin's interview with state Baptist editors, but as an insider let me tell you the shocking statement in that interview. It did not come from Dr. Rankin, but rather, in the form of a question from one of the state editors, Bob Terry.

Bob Terry (The Alabama Baptist) -- Jerry, yesterday, I was told that the discussion of, uh, behind the new policy that the board has adopted concerning private prayer language was really advocated by board members who favored using a private prayer language and they were hoping to get it approved so there could be a broader use of a private prayer language . Do you have any feeling as the president of the organization that that scenario is founded in reality?

I don't understand that statement in bold print. In fact, I would go further and say that the statement is over the top. I understand that Bob is a wonderful editor, and I have enjoyed his erudite editorials, but I have two questions I will be asking him, that as a reporter, he may not be able to answer.

(1). Who told you that Bob? A trustee? Surely not.
(2). What is the purpose of someone saying that to you Bob? To scare people? Surely not.

Let me reiterate, I am not faulting Bob Terry for what he said, or for even asking the question, but I am just hoping that there is not underlying this question an attempt by people somewhere, using maistream media, to give intentionally misleading information to cause the Southern Baptist Convention to be scared of something that does not exist.


The old policies of the International Mission Board were very effective at controlling any abuses of the gifts on the field. In fact, they were so good, there was never a problem that was NOT handled quickly, firmly, and ultimately effectively.

Those of us trustees who opposed the new policy on tongues simply were concerned about going into a person's PRIVATE prayer closet and saying, "YOU CANNOT HAVE A PRIVATE PRAYER LANGUAGE." We believed that going into a person's prayer closet and demanding they not pray in tongues is not only a violation of Scripture, but is going way beyond the BF&M and the duties of the trustees in establishing qualifications for missionaries.

However, the question posed to Dr. Rankin by the editor of the Alabama Baptist paper sounds to me like somebody is spreading false information to try to explain the rationale for the new policy. It is hard for me to understand why someone would intentionally give the editor of the Alabama paper FALSE information.

Sometimes the tongue I don't understand is the one that uses English.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...

Wade said;

"The old policies of the International Mission Board were very effective at controlling any abuses of the gifts ..."

"the new policy on tongues simply ... concerned about going into a person's PRIVATE prayer closet and saying, "YOU CANNOT ..."

"...demanding they not pray in tongues is not only a violation of Scripture, but is going way beyond the BF&M..."

I am confused. In theory is there a difference?

Signed Okie.

Wade Burleson said...

Is there a difference between speaking in tongues in public and praying in tongues in private?

Of course.

One is public, the other private.

Missionaries are paid to share the gospel intelligently in public.

What they pray in private is between them and the Lord.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Wade,

That question made a red flag go up in my mind, also. Someone gave him a tidbit, and evidently it was false. Was it fed to him malisciously?

I'm glad God has good vision, because we really can't see what maneuver is coming next.

Hang in there---we're all praying for you!

Love in Christ,


Anonymous said...

Misinformation is a component of propaganda which is designed to confuse the real issues at hand. Confusion within the ranks caused by misinformation is designed by "someone" to slow the momentum that has been gained in this quest for Truth and Transparency by the IMB. Misinformation is designed to create a fog that conceals the real issues at hand.

This is a clear attempt at a diversionary tactic designed to take our eyes of the ball to watch a squabble in the stands. The ball is in play. We cannot loose our focus on the "ball" or on the "goal."

It is highly unlikely that there will be a person or persons to stand up an take full or even partial accountability for the misinformation. That is the nature of misinformation and the desired anonymity that goes along with it.

Those that know the Truth will not be deterred by a little "smoke and mirrors." Truth does really come by hearing and hearing really does come from the Word of God. Truth has a way of coming into full visibility in due time.

Keep the faith Brother!

Bill Scott

art rogers said...

What I thought made this question confusing was that I understood him to be asking about the motivations of people who advocated the policy (restricting PPL) in order to bring about a broader use of PPL. From your post, I now see that he is asking about the advocation of discussion of the policy, rather than its acceptance, as is.

In light of that, I would have to say that someone fed that information to Bob from a malicious standpoint. Not that Bob was being malicious in asking.

In fact, if he is fed that info, he has to ask the question. There is a bright side. By making the issue public, it gives Dr. Rankin and the trustees in question the opportunity to address it.

Still, it smacks of underhanded manipulation of the Baptist media.

Vicki A. Davis said...

Overall, I thought the interview with Dr. Rankin was incredible. He is a godly man. I pray that the IMB board will be wise and learn to follow the principles they have had many of us SBC churches learn in Experiencing God.

If there is disunity and the matter is not against scripture -- WAIT!

I still believe that the prayer closet is as private and intimate as marraige and should remain between God and the person.

Anonymous said...

You are right. Sometimes I don't understand English.

Anonymous said...

Well Okie did you understand that? One is private and the other is public. If I dribble my basketball in my garage alone is that the same as dribbling my basketball on the playground????? Certainly not one is private and one is public. See how simple that is.

Anonymous said...

Yes! In theory.
Well, technically,
Sorry !!!

Signed Okie

Anonymous said...

What anonymous replied concerning Okie,s question of,"in theory is there a difference?" I don't know about theory. But in FACT where lies the difference? Do I need a Ph/D to understand this grey area? GLOSSOLALIA: An uttering of unintelligible sounds, as in a religious ecstacy. That is tongues private or public. What's going on? Either we except tongues or we don't. Inch by inch, open the door a crack---. James speaks of the tongue very plainly, he says we need to learn to control our tongue that knows what it is saying. I may never be as spiritual as some but I will always know what I am saying.

Elizabeth said...

So. . . now we have equated the holiness and sacredness of prayer with dribbling a basketball? Anonymous, what IS your point?


Nathan Ficklin said...

You do not know me, nor I you. Your position and public statements do concern me as a Believer and as a Southern Baptist. Now, through your web site I have learned the head of the IMB also believes he has a "private prayer language." I do not expect you to publish these comments on your web site (you should) and I am probably one of the least qualified to criticise your actions, but if others have not I will attempt to persuade you to re-think your position as I believe it to be a very dangerous one and potentially very harmful to the unsaved and to the Southern Baptists. Did the recent passing of Adrian Rogers, the staunchly conservative former head of the SBC, have anything to do with your recent public pronouncements?

God tells us through the Scriptures that Spiritual Gifts are NOT selected by the Believer (those who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior), but are what the Holy Spirit bestows (1 Cor 12:11). The Scriptures also tell us that there are two types of Spiritual Gifts: those to each Believer (1 Cor 12:7); and those to the Church (the body of Believers) (1 Cor 12:28).

Before the Scriptures were written and completed spiritual gifts were used by God as signs to authenticate the messenger and the message. These spiritual gifts included the gift of healing and the gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues. Other spiritual gifts were and are used by God to edify (instruct, build up) the believer and the church (Eph 4:11-12).

The spiritual gifts of Tongues and their Interpretation are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers (1 Cor 14:20-22). (Christians do not seek signs - see 2 Cor 5:7, "...for we walk by faith, not by sight...")

If someone believes they have a "private prayer language" (read "Tongues"), even if they only "experience" this in private (which was what could apparently be experienced before the Scriptures were written - 1 Cor 14:28), why would a true Believer believe this to be bestowed today by the Holy Spirit? Tongues ceased as a spiritual gift when the Scriptures became available and "signs" were no longer needed to authenticate the messenger and the message (1 Cor 13:8 - 10). God listens to the heart - not to words (Mt 7:22-23, Jn 2:25, Heb 4:12)!

(Scripture also teaches Believers are to "test the Spirits," Jn 4:1-3, and a receptor of the "gift" of Tongues in this the Church Age in the Dispensation of Grace should truly do this. I believe such a "gift" is either from Satan or created by desires of personal ego,)

Two facts from the Scriptures expose modern glossolalia (ecstatic utterances claimed to be "Tongues") to be false. In addition to the spiritual gift of Tongues being a temporary sign gift, each reference to the use of this gift in Scripture identified the Tongue as a known foreign language. Secondly, as proof that the sign gifts had ceased or begun to cease, Paul, who had the gift of healing early on in his ministry (father of Publius, Acts 28:8), apparently was later unable to heal Trophimus at Miletus (2 Tim 4:20). Can any Believer accept as fact that Paul would fail to heal a sick friend if he had the power to heal? (Spiritual gifts never fail in their purpose.)

Nathan Ficklin

P.S. If you wish to repond to my comments here is my e-mail address: nathjo@brightok.net

Anonymous said...

Bright gifted scholar’s through-out the NT age have not agreed,
nor conclusively convinced all on these positions. Nor shall we, most likely.

Thank you again for the forum.
And the stance.

Remember the Mission GIVER!

Signed Okie

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, Please forgive my childish way of saying tongues are tongues weather in private or in public just as dribbling a basketball is dribbling weather in the garage or on a playground. If you believe in one you must believe in the other. I know it is not humorous, its far too important. I just want to say I'm a baptist and baptist's do not believe that tongues are for today. Okie, I apologize to you too.

Anonymous said...

Amen to Nathan Fickling.

Wayne Hatcher said...

Pastor Burleson,
Yes sir, the language that is best able to convey all that the human heart can imagine is also the language that is best able to convey all that the fallen heart can imagine.

One of the Anonymous's said "James speaks of the tongue very plainly, he says we need to learn to control our tongue that knows what it is saying. I may never be as spiritual as some but I will always know what I am saying." James 3:1-12 is not speaking about tongues, but about THE tongue and how it reflects the contents of the human heart, and how we hurt and deceive one another with it.

A passage that might be a bit more relevant is Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. God knows the heart. Even though I am a 99% secessionist, no one has any business in any one elses private prayer life.

Many of us who are older (I turned 50 this last year. That's old to me.) have seen charis-mania (my term of endearment to all of my charismatic friends) creep into the SBC gradually for many years. That has been largely our own fault. We have gradually slipped away from defining ourselves as a denomination of the Word of God. By that, I don't mean, "The Bible says you can't do this, and you can't do that in a worship service." Certainly there are doctrinal guidelines in God's word, and we should seek to patern our church polity and ecclesiology along those lines. What I am talking about is the 1 Corinthians 2:2 principle: Paul was concerned about nothing that did not revolve around the central issue of "Christ and Him as crucified". As a denomination we need to regain a singular passion for exalting the Person and Work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and making Him known in power to every nation, tribe, and tongue, above everything else. If we will do that, everything will fall into place, in its proper place, even PPL, under the lordship of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).

Nathan, you say "Tongues ceased as a spiritual gift when the Scriptures became available". I agree with you in principle, but this is not a valid argument. You cannot find this stated objectively in Scripture. 1 Corinthians 13 is not a valid proof text, because "when the perfect comes" can be interpreted (and many do) to mean the new heavens and the new earth in the eternal state. Sorry, brother.

Concerning this issue with the IMB, many are confused about its real nature. It is not about who we will put on the mission field, but 1) how we will go about determining the guidelines for missionary service, and 2) how the IMB will conduct its business; openly or behind closed doors.

1) In the past the Baptist Faith and Message has been that guideline, but now there are some who want to add special qualifications not addressed in the BF&M. If we want to change those guidelines, we need to ammend the BF&M. Personally, I do not believe that PPL is a slippery slope toward a more general charismatic influence. I know a few men who profess to have a PPL. You would never know it. They are the quietest, most sober, and rational people you could ever fellowship with.

2) As is clear by the contents of Pastor Burleson's post there are some who don't want to play thouroughly out in the open, nor did they when this whole issue first began.

Pastor Burleson, this household is praying for you. Keep your heart,
Wayne & Suzan Hatcher
Trinity, Tulsa

Greg Hicks said...


You wrote, "Before the Scriptures were written and completed spiritual gifts were used by God as signs to authenticate the messenger and the message. These spiritual gifts included the gift of healing and the gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues..." and "In addition to the spiritual gift of Tongues being a temporary sign gift..."

Can you point me to Scripture that supports what you are saying?

Wade Burleson said...


You are missing the point. You are attempting to argue a cessationist interpretation. I am closer to your interpretation than you may imagine.

However, there are other Southern Baptists who interpret these texts differently. I am not afraid to go on the mission field with them or cooperate with them.

I don't want our convention demanding conformity on non-essential interpretations. What does your interpretation have to do with sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The old policy forbad the public speaking of tongues. Is that not good enough? Why enter the prayer closet?

Bowden McElroy said...

To borrow the sports analogy from above, "the ball in play" isn't tongues. It is the exceeding of the BF&M for the purpose of limiting cooperation among conservative SBCers. And of the use of misinformation to prop up this ploy.

Elizabeth said...

In the Old Testament when the leaders were trying to bring Daniel down, they had to resort to going after his prayer life. It was all they could attack since he had an excellent spirit in him.

Maybe the "powers that be" are trying to do the same thing with the IMB's president Jerry Rankin.

It does seem strange since Wade has said that this "tongues issue" was already dealt with under the old policies.


Anonymous said...

Before Adam disobeyed God, he did not know right from wrong (good from evil)i.e. he was like an innocent child. Language, as we know it,does not exist for a very young child who communicates with a parent through, what could only be described as a very different tongue. The child is totally dependent on the parent and the parent lovingly provides for the needs of the child. When the child develops conscious language, and a sense of self,he comes to recognize that he and the parent are separate beings. The intimacy of their private language is lost. What I am describing is a metaphor for what happens in private prayer language. By going back to that preconscious intimacy with God,there is a spiritual total dependence that,for the moment, reestablishes a sense of oneness with the Father that transcends consciousness. It is not a gift that many of us have. It cannot be self engendered,and it should not be coveted, but for those who experience it, it is a great source of spiritual renewal. If Jerry Rankin finds this gift a source of spiritual power, more power to him. No one should interfere with a person's private communication with God.

Anonymous said...

That was exactly my message! Tongues is not the primary issue at hand nor is the baptism issue.

While these issues are certainly important, these issue are just the symptoms of the greater problems at the IMB.

Though these issues are troubling, I am thankful that this "illness" became symptomatic. Otherwise, the rank and file of the SBC may not have been aware of the the issues that need to be addressed. I believe these issues to be of trust, transparency and accountablilty to the WHOLE of the SBC. It is also about playing by the rules and heaven forbid at least knowing what the rules (policies and procedures)are.

Thanks for the redirect brother!

Bill Scott

darren said...

Wade, you replied to Nathan that you are "closer to your(his) interpretation than you may imagine."

He did argue from a cessationist position.

So what do you mean when you say this? From what I can tell, Dr. Rankin never claims that his prayer language is a spiritual gift.
Nonetheless, do you hold to a cessationist theology? It's somewhat hard to be in the middle on this one...either these revelatory gifts have ceased or - they have not.

Just curious...

Kevin Lancaster said...

Could some one please tell me why Paul would deal with only the church at Corinth about the Unknown tongue. In the Acts the tongues were known Laungages the list is there. I beleive that God can use men and women who are as scripture says "hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God"Acts 2:8b. What is the wonderful works of God?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I beleive that God can use a okie and speak though him in other tongues to get HIS message across. Is that the tounges the BOT are worried about I doubt it but i do wonder sometimes if the apostel Paul would be let into a baptist Chuch to speak "the wonderful works of God"

IN HIM <><
Kevin Lancaster

Clif Cummings said...

I agree totally with bowden. Let us not take our "eye off the ball". Either the BF&M represents our confession of faith and outlines the boundaries of cooperation or it doesn't. Baptism and glossalia are the issues in 2006. What keeps the BoT (board of trustees) from continuing to change the "rules" which will ultimately elinate "more players."
What was the use of having the SBC vote to approve the BF&M changes in 2000 if each BoT can decrease or expand at will the parameters it represents? Shouldn't the BoT operate in a manner which is very similar to committees in our local church. If a committee wants a new policy or ministry action to become permanent, it must be voted on by the entire church. If it is not presented to and ultimately approved by the whole church, then the new policy is only as good as the tenure of that committee (or the strongest personality on the committee.) If this doesn't happen, what one committee votes to enact, another committee in another year can simply revoke. Is that what we are left to with the BoT of the IMB? Returning to the tactics and politics that was implemnted during the Conservative Resurgence of having to vote in a like minded President of the Convention and pray that eventually the "trickle down" effect of his appointments will create the change that is needed? OH, LORD I pray not! There is too much Kingdom work to be accomplished. Too many people groups left to reach. Let's keep our eye on the ball!

Wade Burleson said...


I could argue both sides of the issue.

I have friends on both side of the issue.

The Convention has people on both sides of the issue.

The gospel can be shared clearly by evangelists on both sides of the issue.

Churches can be pastored by men on both sides of the issue.

The BF&M is silent on this issue.


Freedom to disagree on this issue IS THE ISSUE!

Do we have freedom in the SBC do disagree on non-essential doctrines (non-essential meaning those doctrines that do not pertain to salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who gave His life for sinners)?

Kevin said...

I have started a blog and would like some comments the link is
Kevin Lancaster

JUSTAMOE said...

The IMB board, the board of deacons of the church I serve, the WMU's board--none of them ethically can insist that a biblical doctrine not-essential to salvation become a doctrine essential to cooperation or fellowship, can they? Not ethically! Regarding the tongues matter: the IMB board can't insist that its candidates either practice only or entirely refrain from the practice of any spiritual gift understood to be valid (which may be the rub--who knows for sure about tongues: clearly valid in the past, but self-ceased now as Paul foretold??).

I think Baptists' biggest difficulty with the gift of tongues is its forced-connection by Pentecostals/Charismatics/Neo-pentecostals to a supposed "baptism of the Holy Spirit" (which doesn't exist in the New Testament; search the Greek). Properly separated based on accurate biblical exegesis, the whole issue simmers down to exactly what Wade has said all along: let non-essentials remain non-essentials and cooperate.

art rogers said...

I will say this about cessationism, dispensationalism and ecclesiology... they are important to discuss... over coffee, a meal or even in more formal places of theological discussion. They do not need to be debated in a place where the MISSION is on the line.

We have come together and made a statement of our collective theology and it is the BFM2000. If you want to change it to reflect a more restrictive policy, (I do not advocate this, but it is the prerogative of Southern Baptists to do if they so choose)then move that agenda through the proper committees and make that change. It is not the place of the BOT of any agency to make decisions restricting our cooperation without those concepts having been agreed upon by the SBC as a whole and reflected in the BFM.

Anonymous said...

To Nathan Ficklin,
By the way, you mentioned “true believer.” What’s the difference between them and a
believer? Is that like the Jewish Christians thinking they were better than a Gentile Christian?
You say 1 Cor. 8:10 ended tongues. That brings us to Wade’s topic of not understanding English. We agree they will cease but the question is WHEN? (KJ) ...when that which is perfect is come...” (New American Standard and Holman) “...when the
perfect comes...” Living) “...when we have been made perfect and complete...” (New Living) “...when the end comes...”
Who is perfect? Only Jesus. When He comes, all ‘tongues’ will cease. Of course ‘tongues’ will cease for each person when they die and are made perfect in heaven.
Moses complained that he could not speak well, and God asked him who made mouths. His lack of faith cost him a new mouth and he used his brother to do the talking.
Since God can change mouths, he can change ears. At Pentecost the Christians may have been talking in ‘tongues’ and God changed the ears of listeners so the sound they heard was their own language.
You said, “I believe such a "gift" is either from Satan or created by desires of personal
ego.” I don’t speak in tongues, but I wouldn’t say what you said to save my life. What if you are wrong? You would be contributing to the devil the things of God. Is that the unpardonable sin? Are you willing to take that risk? I could ask the same of the IMB.
Rex Ray

darren said...

Wade and Art...I believe we are certainly in agreement.

May this be true of our SBC

Anonymous said...


Fancy seeing your comments on these issues. But, then again It does not surprise me (smile) Frankly, I agree with the final premise of you last entry.

We must always be careful about how we disagree. The reality because we are imperfect beings we have imperfect perspective. There is absolute truth and God in is grace has revealed enough truth to save us, help us grow to be like Christ, and offer hope to a lost and dying world. I cannot help but if He has allowed enough ambiquity to keep us humble and dependent on Him. I believe you and I had a similar discussion while I was still at New Zion where you and I actually agreed to disagree!!!!

We must always be careful when we claim to speak for God (by claiming a right position and interpretation on certain issues) As you said what if we find ourselves in the words of Gamaliel "fighting against God"

RMS (Rodney Sprayberry)

Steve Grose said...

Dear friends,
While I agree enirely with Nathan's cessationist position, I do not think that the use of tongues is the main dificulty with Pentecostalism. it is the attitudes that go with it derived from a false idea of
special blessing received outside of the simple gospel faith (eph 1:13 In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation—in Him when you believed—were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Gal 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has hypnotized you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was vividly portrayed as crucified? 2 I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so much for nothing—if in fact it was for nothing? 5 So then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law or by hearing with faith?

This leads to the "super spirituality" of 2 Cor 10:7 Look at what is obvious. If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should remind himself of this: just as he belongs to Christ, so do we. 17So the one who boasts must boast in the Lord. 18 For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends. 11:5 Now I consider myself in no way inferior to the “super-apostles.”

This superspirituality does not find its sole good in thorough dependance upon God, but in special visions, experiences etc. rather than God Himself.
I think AB Simpson, founder of the CMA, summarised it well,
Once it was the blessing; now it is the Lord.
Once it was the feeling; now it is His Word.
Once His gifts I wanted; now the Giver own.
Once I sought for healing, now Himself alone.
Once 'twas painful trying; now 'tis perfect trust.
Once a half salvation; now the uttermost.
Once 'twas ceaseless holding; now He holds me fast.
Once 'twas constant drifting; now my anchor's cast.
Once I tried to use Him; now He uses me.
Once it was my working; His it hense shall be.
Once the power I wanted, now the Mighty One.
Once for self I labored, now for Him alone.

It is my concern that the modern Pentecostal movement and its proponents (either by public or private "prayer languages") have brought about an actual decline in true godliness, although their motives may have been very good.

My concern is that we preach Christ and Him crucified, instead of me and my experiences.

I hope I haven't stirred a hornets nest on the issue, but I believe the message of the gospel is actually at the heart of the issue. We are saced by grace alone, through faith alone, and no man can boast of anything... experiences in private prayer languages included! Forbid it Lord, that I should boast, save in the cross of Christ my God!

Every blessing
(already ours in Christ :) )
Steve in Australia

Baptist Theologue said...

Steve, your point is well taken. Notice what Dr. Charles Howe Jr., a professor of church history at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, said back in 1981:

"In many respects, a charismatic experience is foreign to Southern Baptist life, stressing a second blessing where Baptists prize the first. Charismatic experience tends to establish a spiritual elite by distinguishing between Christians who have had the experience and those who have not."

Howe, Glimpses of Baptist Heritage (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1981), 121-122.

Stephen said...

I am new to the SBC, and really find myself somewhat amused by this discussion. What really amuses me is that the SBC is really a broad accumulation of thought. I have met those who are strict five point Calvinist, those who are Reformationalist, and have even met in person the possible next president who said that "all are elected."

To tell you the truth, that is what has attracted me to the SBC. Reminds me of some of my family members who are Democrats! Yeah, can you believe that? They even voted for John Kerry for president! But you know what? They are still part of my family, and our differences seem to make us stronger and cause us to grow.

While I realize the fear of the SBC becoming a radical charismatic organization, I am also certain that most of us know that would never happen. But to allow "in family" theological latitude seem to be the status quo for the SBC in my opinion.

Discussion is good...so keep it up!


darren said...

This appears to be translated into English...

"So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues."
I Cor. 14:39 ESV

The only way around this is cessationist theology. I say, let's allow the Southern Baptist tent be large enough to allow our dear conservative brothers who do hold to cessationism as well as the non-cessationist.

Just because Dr. Rankin or anyone else say thye have a private prayer language doesn't mean he or they have an "attitude." Or think they are "super spiritual."

I've met some obnoxious Cubs fans, but not all Cubs fans are bad. ha ha

Baptist Theologue said...

It's interesting how the new Holman Christian Study Bible translates 1 Corinthians 14:39:

"Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in other languages."

The section editor for the New Testament in this new translation was William Warren (Director of the Center for N.T. Textual Studies and Professor of N.T. and Greek, New Orleans Bapt. Theol. Sem.; M.Div., Th.D., New Orleans Bapt. Theol. Sem. Text-critical reviewer New Testament). For a complete list of names on the translation team go to this link and click on "translation team":


RH Cowin said...

Your comment in quotes summarizes what mystifies me most about the private prayer language issue. My prayer language is private, even though it is usually english. Sometimes my private prayer language is silence. But is that anyone's business but mine and God's. I don't think so. You are in our prayers, private and public, and regardless of language.

Anonymous said...


The dispensationalist theology that you adhere to all fits together so nice and neat. Sign gifts (tongues and healings) were for the first generation church and as soon as the NT was written down, these sign gifts ceased.

I was raised in a baptist church that taught the same thing and I believed it most of my life. After graduating from seminary my beliefs in dispensationalism and ceasationalism did not change. I was now educated in the Word, equipped with theological books that supported my beliefs and ready to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Ten years ago, I headed off to the uttermost ends of the earth, where I continue to serve the Lord as a church planter in a highly restricted country who's government is extremely hostile to the gospel but where the people are responding to the gospel in droves.

There are networks of house churches all over the country where I serve and I have had the privilege of serving along side some of most godly men and women I've ever known from these networks. For a lack of a better word, these networks are denominations. And while they differ slightly in theological interpretation, the vast majority of them are not dispensationalists. These networks are so large that they make the SBC pale in numbers.

Once at a training of some of their local evangelists, I asked them to share their testimonies as an "ice breaker" to begin the training and get them comfortable with one another. Eighty percent of them came to faith by either they or someone in their immediate families being miraculously healed.

Some of them even claim to have a private prayer language, but I've never heard anyone speak in tongues because they do not use it in public worship.

And while I do not speak a private prayer language, fellowship and relationship with these believers has definitely challenged my own beliefs where I no longer carry God around in a nicely packaged box.

Two months ago, I was out in a village meeting with a house church challenging them to share the gospel with their lost friends, family and neighbors when a young lady came up to me and shared that she had injured her arm doing farm work. The pastor asked me to pray for her arm to be healed. As I prayed for her, I made it very clear that I did not have the power to heal, but that God did. I begged Him to heal her if it be His will. The next month when I returned to visit this church, everyone was excited to see me return. The young girl was healed and through this testimony, the church had grown by eleven new members.

The reason that I am responding to you anonymously is because I am fearful of sharing this story with my home church for fear that they will think that I have turned into some type of chrismatic.

I also share this anonymously for fear that I might one day be singled out and sent home from the field as an IMB missionary for practicing a gift that is contrary to SB practices.