Why Speaking in Tongues Is Treated Like the 'Red-Headed Stepchild' in the Family of God

(Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash)

Dr. Sam Storms releases his latest book, The Language of Heaven: Crucial Questions About Speaking in Tongues, on June 4, 2019. In this book he speaks to both his Reformed and charismatic brothers and sisters in Christ to show how spiritual gifts and biblical doctrine go hand in hand.

Dr. Storms' message echoes a global movement that is sweeping through today's church. Christianity Today calls it "The Rise of Reformed Charismatics" in which Calvinist darlings like Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll are now exhorting their followers to seek the power of the Holy Spirit and to embrace the spiritual gifts.

But despite this radical shift, the gifts of the Spirit and solid Bible knowledge are still seen as being on opposite ends of the spectrum. How does one approach the spiritual gifts—most controversially, the gift of tongues—when they are too often associated with weak, emotion-based doctrine?

Sam Storms, a self-defined Reformed continuationist, parrots today's perspective by saying, "Tongues is just plain weird. It's only people who lack self-control and have little regard for their public image who admit to possessing and making use of this spiritual gift."

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His book The Language of Heaven emphasizes how this disdain is not biblical.

"I have found the gift of tongues to be a tremendous boost to my spiritual zeal and an immensely effective way of deepening my relationship with Jesus," he says.

Dr. Storms offers Bible-based answers to the following questions:

  • Is the gift of tongues still valid today?
  • Is speaking in tongues only used for evangelism?
  • Are tongues always human languages or the language of angels? Or can they also be "wordless groans" (Rom. 8:26)?
  • Is it OK to seek personal edification by speaking in tongues?
  • If I don't have the gift of tongues but desire it, what should I do?

Dr. Storms has spent four decades in ministry as a pastor, professor, and author. He was visiting associate professor of theology at Wheaton College from 2000–2004 and is currently lead pastor for preaching and vision at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. He has authored more than 20 books and founded Enjoying God Ministries. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma (B.A.), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.) and the University of Texas (Ph.D.). Dr. Storms has been featured on Desiring God, Crossway, The Gospel Coalition and Gospel Relevance.

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