God Is Not Hard of Hearing

During yesterday’s service my friend criticized another church in the midst of his sermon for not allowing people to speak in tongues without an interpretation during their services.  He said something about certain people being so “puffed up” that they don’t allow the Spirit to lead them and they don’t understand what Paul is saying [in 1Cor. 12-14].  Now I disagree to be sure and I’ll discuss it with him as soon as I have the chance (I tried to yesterday but he was busy entertaining his congregants) but here’s my take on the issue:

About a month-and-a-half ago I presented some thoughts on decency and order in church services with reference to speaking in tongues.  To summarize, I think that if a church has a designated time for speaking in tongues with no interpretation then it’s fine to do so and you’re not being disruptive during that time.  If a church has no such designated time then you are out of order and being disruptive to speak in tongues with no interpretation.

But there’s a fair compromise that Paul gives whereby one can speak in tongues without interpretation even in a congregation that doesn’t allow such a practice.  Paul said:

If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter let him keep silent in the church, and let him speak to himself and to God. (1Cor. 14:27-28, NKJV)

It’s that last bit that inspired the title of this post.  If you feel the need to speak in tongues in any church that you find yourself in then by all means do it.  But if the church does not have time set aside for congregational glossolalia with no interpretation then just speak to yourself and to God.  God is not hard of hearing; he doesn’t need you to shout in tongues at the top of your lungs to hear what you’re saying.  


8 thoughts on “God Is Not Hard of Hearing

  1. So then, are you saying I that shouldn’t bless my food when I’m in a restaurant by standing on my chair, holding my food up in the air, and praying out loud in tongues?

  2. Christopher: I make it a point to never believe people if I’m not entirely sure about how to pronounce their name. For that reason Nietzsche is automatically deemed suspect in my mind (as is anyone named Schleiermacher or Kierkegaard).

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