A classic textbook on Systematic Theology, written by Southern Baptist theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem, and used by some of our Southern Baptist seminaries, has on page 1072 this explanation about tongues:
"Some have objected that speaking in tongues must always consist of speech in known human languages, since that is what happened at Pentecost. But the fact that speaking in tongues occurred in known human languages once in Scripture does not require that it always happen with known languages, especially when another description of speaking in tongues (1Cor 14) indicates exactly the opposite. Paul does not say that foreign visitors to Corinth will understand the speaker, but he says that when someone speaks in tongues "no one" will understand and the outsider will not know what the person is saying (1Cor 14:2,16). In fact, Paul explicitly says that quite the opposite of the phenomenon at Pentecost will happen in the ordinary conduct of church life: if "all speak in tongues" and "outsiders or unbelievers enter," far from understanding the message, they will say "that you are mad" (1Cor 14:23). Moreover, we must realize that 1 Cor 14 is Paul's general instruction based on a wide experience of tongues-speaking in many different churches, whereas Acts 2 simply describes one unique event at a significant turning point in the history of redemption (Acts 2 is historical narrative while 1 Cor 14 is doctrinal instruction). Therefore it would seem appropriate to take 1 Cor 14 as the passage that most closely describes the ordinary experience of New Testament churches, and to take Paul's instructions there as the standard by which God intends churches to regulate the use of this gift.
Are tongues known human languages then? Sometimes this gift may result in speaking in a human language that the speaker has not learned, but ordinarily it seems that it will involve speech in a language that no one understands, whether that be a human language or not." (page 1072)
The endorsments of the book on its flyleaf includes this glowing declaration, "Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem is a fair-minded, thorough text in systematic theology---the best I have seen in recent years in terms of convenient organization, clarity, and a willingness to tackle the most salient issues of the day. This is an admirable blending of the scholarly and devotional elements seldom achieved in academic books." Paige Patterson.
I guess one can only hope a missiological student in the seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention doesn't pay any attention in class.
In His Grace,