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Charismatic Tongues: False and Foolish

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 Imagine this: A young man, untaught in things of decoration, becomes apprentice to a master decorator. One day the Master tells him to get a tin of red paint and to paint a wall in a house. Later, the Master enters the room to find it painted blue! “What on earth have you done? Your mistake will cost me money and time!”

The apprentice looks hurt and says “But, I looked at all the tins of red and saw this one saying ‘blue’. I preferred it and thought I could just rename it ‘red’.”

Do you think his excuse made sense? Of course not! He saw the word ‘red’ on the tins, but deliberately chose a totally different colour and applied the wrong name to it.

And this is exactly what happened with the word ‘tongues’! I will not pull back on saying that those who think ‘tongues’ can mean an ‘angelic’ or ‘heavenly’ language known only to God, must be not just untaught but rather superficial. Surely this is very arrogant of me? Surely it is very harsh? Well, you tell me...

‘Tongues’ appears 36 times in the 1611 KJV; ‘tongue’ appears 129 times. In each and every case the word has a specific meaning, supported by the actual meanings in Hebrew and Greek. Yet, in only ONE single verse (usually 1 Corinthians 13:1), charismatics choose to ignore the actual meaning and substitute a totally different meaning, that does not find any reference in scripture! And they use this single verse to alter the whole tenor of what God says about the word, to suit their use of foolish gobbledygook and calling it ‘heavenly language’.

The word has a specific meaning in each and every text. Yet, charismatics follow the path of all cults by ignoring what is obvious and plain, rooted in the actual languages, and putting their own meanings in its place. They pretend blue is red, without proper reason or biblical warrant!

Thus, they abuse one single text and reject all the others. They will say they do not – but their very actions deny their claim to truth. You cannot take a word with a specific meaning or set of meanings and just insert your own meanings, pretending it is valid! This is like pushing a ferret into a rabbit hole and pretending it will make friends with the bunnies! No – it will come out again with a rabbit in its mouth! And that is what charismatics do to scripture – they maul it, but call it ‘good’.

Foolish? Definitely!

A charismatic pastor made videos of life at his church. One of them showed a ‘prayer group’ in which he took part. His comment that “I look really foolish” was accurate, because he did look foolish, uttering gobbledygook!

I have listened to many supposed ‘heavenly language’ clips. If they speak like that in Heaven there must be a lot of confusion and very brief discussions! In many cases all you hear are continuous sounds, unbroken by commas, full stops, or even separate words! They all roll into one until the one ‘talking’ breathes in again!

I also hear the same sounds repeated continuously, such as ‘lah-lah-lah-lalah’ and so on. Any intelligent being would thereby conclude that very little is being said, or, that what was being said made no sense. We can seriously doubt if God is prompting men and women to stand there repeating the same words ad nauseum! Apart from any other consideration, if God is actually telling you to speak, He will not cause you to be so infantile, or with such fruitless repetition which would compromise His image as a God Who uses words economically; that is, He does not waste His words but is always to the point.

Mental Imbalance

When I worked as a psychiatric nurse, I heard this kind of speech every day! Some would use ‘word salads’, where they just strung together words randomly to form meaningless sentences. Others would concoct their own words, and sounded just like charismatics-on-a-bender! So, what is the difference?

The charismatic idea of ‘tongues’ is just nonsense, but is more serious than nonsense. It is a nonsense that proves an underlying psychological distance from truth, a cognitive dissonance, and an insistence on personalised notions of what God says. We know this because charismatics totally ignore the warning that ‘tongues’ has a far more pedestrian meaning in scripture than the one they have invented. They ignore and even reject the linguistic fact that ‘tongues’ has a specific meaning in each context, and there is NO scriptural context in which it can mean something as ludicrous as ‘heavenly language’. I call it ‘ludicrous’ because there is nothing in scripture to even remotely give the charismatic meaning of ‘heavenly language’.

Otherwise we have a very weird situation, in which God spoke to man in a known human language from the very start, and did the same throughout history, and yet, in just one solitary verse, all this is upturned and inverted by a desire to make a single word mean something it cannot possibly mean. The word has definite meanings and NONE of them includes the meaning of a language spoken only by God or the angels, requiring someone special to speak it and someone else to interpret, there being NO-ONE to verify what has been said or to prove it has come from God!

Some hold all-night ‘prayers’ in which they constantly call out these silly invented ‘languages’ until they are exhausted. And each person present calls out their own versions, so that the overall effect is that of a rowdy, undisciplined cacophony! Again, this contradicts the word of God, which demands everything is done in proper harmony and order. Thus, these people are just being self-indulgent.

Psychological, Not Spiritual

Why do they do it, when there is no scriptural basis and no God-led reason to utter these absurdities? It is for psychological release. They have been instructed by wolves in sheep’s clothing (pretending to be teachers, preachers and pastors) to obey the charismatic commands produced by unstable and unscriptural imaginations. By going away from the actual meanings of the original languages, they can enter into uncharted territories, sanctioned only by their leaders and not by God. They can talk and shout in ridiculous ways, repeating gobbledygook, pretending it has meaning. And in doing so they look more and more like people with psychiatrically unbalanced minds.

They insist on using ‘tongues’ because the ‘tongues’ take control of them. They are unable to break free from their influence, and so live lives always dictated-to by inward urges to utter gobbledygook. Thus, ‘tongues’ is an example of the mental imbalance known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are just as ‘hooked’ as a drug addict, and the more they use the fake language the more they will do so, because when they stop, their minds compel them to continue. If they do not obey this compulsion, they suffer the consequences of anxiety and guilt – withdrawal symptoms.

Where do these compulsions come from? They come from a mind and heart that have eaten poisoned fruit. They are the fruit offered at the dawn of time to Eve by the serpent. And the results are just as deadly. What we are seeing, then, in people who continually speak in ‘tongues’, is a mental aberration based on a spiritual blindness. This is Satan’s work. God does not compel anyone to do anything. Charismatics who are stopped from speaking in their fake ‘tongues’ become distraught; they are anxious, and will quickly degenerate into a state of completely frantic panic. All of which points to mental imbalance.

Are You Saved?

Such people can sometimes include men and women who are indeed saved by grace, but who have been seduced by Satan. They have shown interest in his lies and so he gives them what they want to see and hear. They are drawn into his web and are caught. The longer they stay the more they imbibe his poisons. These are the ‘saved charismatics’ whose lives are always at odds with God and so always based on anxiety and loss of spiritual truth.

The rest, the majority, are just ‘true charismatics’, people who have never been saved, and are more akin to the thousands who followed Jesus for what they could get out of Him. They make up the majority of charismatics, because charismaticism as a movement is satanic, fake. They are spiritually dead and CANNOT live righteously. Those who are caught in deception and are saved, are living unrighteously by choice, and their lives cannot ever be filled with joy, except they repent. It is why so many charismatics are what I call ‘glazed-eyed’... they raise their arms in false joy but their eyes prove otherwise – they are glazed over, like those of dead fish. Next time you see these folks supposedly praising God – look at their eyes, and you will see the same phenomenon.

Proof of Fakery

What is it? It is proof of their fakery. Their minds know the truth but their appearance denies it. So, their eyes betray how fake it all is by taking on the appearance of deadness. Also, watch these folks avidly discussing how wonderful their lives are... their faces will take on an obviously animated appearance and yet their eyes will glaze over. It is a sure sign of their insincerity, glossed-over by a psychological need to comply with their bad teachings. They are saying what they do not mean.

They do it because the alternative is to admit that everything they say, do and believe is fake. And such a conclusion would be devastating. Yet, this is exactly what is needed! You do not heal a person by nurturing the disease they have! You do not keep a man alive if his whole leg is gangrenous – it must be cut off! But, in his delirium, he will insist on keeping his leg. This is because the poison within deludes his mind to the point of life-threatening danger.

Of course, another reason for speaking in fake tongues is to feel somehow superior, or more virtuous, for being chosen by God to speak in fake tongues. This is an exciting prospect in what is often an humdrum church existence (made humdrum by being superficial, or by sitting under bad teaching). Yet others join in because not to do so would make them feel ‘left out’ or spiritually inferior. Far better to garble than to be estranged from your social group! I can only suggest that these people listen to themselves to see just how foolish they sound.

The worst part is that they all KNOW they are faking it. None of them has any idea of what on earth they are saying, but it does not matter. All they care about is glazing over their eyes and shutting down their critical faculty, so they can be part of a drama manufactured by cultists.

One commentator says, interestingly, that on the day of Pentecost Peter did not speak in other tongues – but the people he was speaking to heard what he said in their own tongue. I have caveats to that suggestion, but he does rightly say that the apostles never sought tongues – they were given as and when God thought fit, for specific moments. He also asks when was the last time we heard a Pentecostal/charismatic speaking in tongues in a public place? Usually, he says, they restrict it to their meetings, which, he says, are demonic. I tend to agree.

“The distinctive doctrine of the Pentecostal churches is that speaking with tongues is the ‘initial evidence’ of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This article of belief is now incorporated in the official doctrinal schedules of practically all Pentecostal denominations” (Donald Gee, Now That You’ve Been Baptized in the Spirit, 1972)

“Speaking in tongues is always manifested when people are baptized in the Holy Ghost” (Kenneth Hagin, Sr., Concerning Spiritual Gifts, 1974, p. 89).

For Paul, tongues is one of the least of the gifts, but modern men make it the foremost. It is certainly not the primary sign of being baptised in the Holy Spirit. If this were so, then all manner of wicked or cultic men could claim to have the Holy Spirit – Mormons, Spiritualists, shamans, Satanists, for they all speak in tongues! That it is supposedly the ‘initial evidence’ of having the Holy Spirit, is a complete fallacy, a lie.

Genuine Tongues

EVERY person who is saved has the Holy Spirit within! Every single one! But, only a few actually speak in genuine tongues AFTER salvation. And when I say ‘few’ I literally mean it. The ONLY time someone speaks in tongues is when A (who is saved) meets B (who is unsaved and foreign), and B hears the Gospel from A in his own language. But, as he speaks, A has no idea what he is saying. Yet, B hears what he says, perfectly! Afterwards, A will not know what he said, unless B translates through another person who is present and who speaks both languages!

Everything else is ‘stuff and nonsense’. People who claim to speak in tongues without prompting, without being faced with a foreigner, for their own benefits in prayer or other reason, are lying. They are also lying if they say they pray in tongues, or, they speak in tongues to each other in their meetings. None of this is tongue-speaking, because speaking in tongues is simply speaking to a foreigner in his own earthly language. And such incidents are invariably very few, because translation is now so easy and widespread. We can even put words into a computer and it will translate instantly! So, we can expect to hear almost no tongues in the West in particular.

If speaking in tongues is to speak in a foreign language, prompted by the Spirit to do so, when faced with a foreigner who actually speaks the language, then ALL the supposed tongues found in charismatic circles are false! And those who claim to pray in tongues are also talking nonsense... why should God give us a native language to talk to Him in and then make us talk in a language we do not understand when praying to Him... especially as we do not understand what we are saying? It is ludicrous and deceptive, because there is no way we can ‘test the spirits’.

Demonic Tongues

It is my serious warning that while most supposed tongues are just plain fakes and psychological devices used to allay anxiety, some cases are more worrying. These are the tongues incited by demons, and these are also rife in charismatic circles. These tongues are real languages, but are always from remote peoples or ‘dead’ languages such as Sanskrit. That is, not easily discovered, known, or translatable.

On these occasions they are always spoken through the speaker by demons. Their purpose is to ridicule Christ, condemn Him, or to blaspheme and curse. We know this happens because, on such occasions people who CAN speak the languages are present. Elsewhere, I give the example of Africans in England who attended a big charismatic campaign meeting, and heard an English person suddenly burst out with ecstatic words that he thought was an ‘heavenly language’. As he spoke, another person stood up and ‘translated’. But, what was ‘translated’, was NOT what was actually said! In other words, the translator was fake and gave the impression that he or she had a real gift from God. The speaker as also fake, because he thought his words were from Heaven.

It also turned out that the fakery was twice-over, for the Africans left the meeting immediately, very upset and afraid. They testified that what they heard was a curse on Jesus in their own remote language! But, the man who used the language thought he was uttering something wonderful. That is, he was, at that time, either possessed by demons or influenced by them, to curse God. This one example alone is sufficient to stop any right-thinking person from saying another word in a so-called ‘angelic tongue’. Would YOU dare to continue, knowing that you may be used by Satan to curse the Lord you claim to follow? If you say ‘yes’, then you are a fool.

“In his autobiography, David DuPlessis said God showed him that tongues was a means for determining the divine will. “… the light clicked on. I was speaking to God in tongues, and He was speaking back to me in my mind. I began to find beautiful revelation that way. ... Praying in tongues proved to be a wonderful step in working my way out of such an impasse [in not being able to discern God’s will]. I would merely pray in tongues, and if the idea held firm, then I knew it was real.” (A Man Called Mr. Pentecost, pp. 76-78 and quoted in

DuPlessis is followed by Roman Catholics, too, which should warn people of his true spiritual condition. To say that tongues can be used to discern the divine will is not just nonsense, it is a blatant lie. A biblical ‘tongue’ is – a foreign language. (There are other possible meanings, such as the actual tongue in the mouth, a piece of land sticking out into the sea, and so on, but we are referring to times when it is used for language). So, if a tongue is a foreign language and nothing else (as scripture testifies), then how can one possibly use it to discern God’s will? It is like saying you can use a bucket of water to make a skyscraper! There is no connection.

Cults Love Obscurity

DuPlessis, like all who say similar things, are liars. They are inventing what they say, without any kind of scriptural support. It is fact that a few examples of genuine tongues (earthly foreign languages) have been found today, in our time, so I will not disparage the gift itself. I simply warn that with the way languages can so easily be translated in modern times, God will hardly use tongues to communicate. Sometimes He does, and these have been verified, but such times are extremely rare today.

However, it is my general observation that cults operate at the obscure level! They pick on obscure or hard to understand texts, and claim to have absolute knowledge about them, and so form their own idea on the texts, taking them far beyond their original meanings. This is what charismatics have done with many topics.

The early Pentecostals believed tongues were actual foreign languages, and even thought that if they went away as missionaries they would be given the languages to speak by God, without having to learn the languages. But, this notion (itself askew) gradually developed into the idea that tongues were an ‘heavenly language’. Thus modern tongues can be said to be a corruption of an error.

Yet, modern Pentecostals/charismatics insist that speaking in tongues is ‘essential’ to Christian life! How can it be, when the more honest of them admit they have no idea what they are saying? Michael Harper, another ‘big name’, says that sceptics should ‘try it and see’. What utter foolishness! If a chemist handed me a jug with liquid in it and said “try it and see”, would I do so? No, definitely not! It could be harmless, but it could also be poison or acid!

The charismatic taunt, that if we have not experienced their ways then we cannot know, is illogical. If scripture tells me what something is, then I believe it. And scripture tells me that tongues is a foreign language used for a very specific purpose. Anything else is, by definition, a lie and I need not try it. Indeed, I would be a fool to do so. I have never tried murder, but I can still confidently and authoritatively say that murder is wrong. gives a number of examples of this charismatic trickery:

“Former Pentecostal Fernand Legrand of France describes the Pentecostal “interpretation dilemma”--

“IN ALL THE CASES OF INTERPRETATION THAT I HAVE CHECKED PERSONALLY WITH THE GREATEST CARE AND WITH AN OPEN MIND, I HAVE DISCOVERED NOTHING OTHER THAN HUMAN FABRICATION AND DELIBERATE TRICKERY. What surprised me was the unacceptable difference between the brevity of the tongues and the disproportionate length of the interpretation. ... Having taken offence at such deceit, I was candidly told that the interpretation was not a real translation but a heart-felt translation!! So it was just any odd thing left to the fantasy of a pseudo-interpreter. ... Someone else, to try to get himself out of this embarrassing situation, told me that the interpretation was not the translation of what was said in tongues, but the response from heaven to what had just been said! Here we are completely rambling. Scripture is deliberately trampled underfoot, that very Word that points out (v. 16) that giving thanks in tongues must be interpreted so that we may understand ‘what thou sayest,’ so the congregation can show their agreement and join in the thanksgiving by saying, Amen’!

“Another Pentecostal leader dared even to tell me that the same case of speaking in tongues could very well have several interpretations!! ... Do you expect that a cat can give birth at the same time to kittens, puppies, and chicks? But no one gets upset when, in the spiritual realm, we are asked to believe that ONE kind of speaking in tongues brings forth several kinds of interpretation? Does Pentecostal Darwinism exist? Are we witnessing a sort of mutation of the species? Am I just supposed to accept all this passively without pointing out the fraud? ...

“I personally noted that this counterfeiting was a known thing in the circles concerned. I was present in a meeting when a Christian from the Cape Verde Islands had just prayed in his own language, a Portuguese dialect. Scarcely had he said, ‘Amen,’ that an elder who was wiser than the others interrupted the word of interpretation by saying, ‘Our brother has just given thanks in his native tongue.’ This means that without this intervention, there would have been the ‘miracle’ of an interpretation, evangelical in terms of the vocabulary used, but in the spirit as false as the words of the young fortune teller of Acts 16:17. ...

“One can imagine how attentively I listened to one incident of speaking in tongues that was as jerky, staccato and incomprehensible as all the others, in the middle of which suddenly stood out a thrice-repeated ‘spiriti santi’ [Holy Spirits, plural] in Italian. Having grasped this triple repetition, I watched for its reappearance in the interpretation. I waited for it in vain...”


“Profoundly saddened by this newly discovered dishonesty, I made up my mind to move on to a more advanced verification. I asked a Scottish brother who had the typical broad accent of his country, to put ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ twice in a row onto cassette. Armed with this recording and that of two other ‘genuine’ tongues followed by their interpretations taped ‘on location,’ I went to see some very moderate Pentecostal friends, for whom exaggerations and digressions were only found amongst others. No one in the community doubted their conversions, or their sincerity, or the reality of their ‘charisma.’ After praying together, I asked them to interpret the pseudo and ‘real’ tongues. This was done without objection or reticence. Alas, and alas again, the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in English transformed itself into a message of encouragement in French! As to the rest, it was as different from the first as the Rhone is different from the Rhine and flows in the opposite direction. ...

“Indeed can we still call ourselves Christians when we team up so closely with him who disguises himself as an angel of light?

“In order to get out of this sticky situation, many people claim, without really believing it, that one does not submit a gift of the Spirit to an electronic test. But it must be pointed out that it is not the test that created the trickery, it only confirmed it and it demonstrated moreover that these so-called gifts are not among those good and perfect gifts that come down from above (James 1:17).

“In addition, what more than sufficiently demonstrates that everything is purely human and subjective in today’s gift of tongues and that the Holy Spirit has nothing whatsoever to do with it, is that the interpretation is always the reflection of particular tendencies and feelings. The Roman Catholic charismatics show their allegiance to the doctrines of their Church. The spiritualists find occult revelations. The Pentecostals, being evangelicals, adopt an evangelical language, as well as phraseology and convictions specific to their group.” (Legrand, All about Speaking in Tongues, pp. 47-51).

Remember that Lagrande is ex-Pentecostal, so has experience in what he says. He proposed a simple test for authenticating a true tongue... but no charismatic has yet submitted his ‘tongues’ to the test. His idea is similar to one I had myself:

“Prepare a meeting where one of you will speak in tongues and three others will make a recorded interpretation in isolation. The interpretations that ought to say more or less the same thing will then be compared. ... HERE IN WRITING I STAND BY THIS YET UNANSWERED PROPOSITION AS A CHALLENGE TO ANY CHARISMATIC TONGUES-SPEAKING COMMUNITY. Why has there not yet been, and will there never be, an answer to this offer, which is, nevertheless, an honest one?” (All about Speaking in Tongues, p. 52).

Of course, in this we have a problem, if the ‘tongue’ is given by demons. The problem is this – demons will know if the challenge is issued, and three of them will collude to give each person an exact replica of the ‘interpretation’, making an heretical or demonic saying into the words of truth. An easy answer to this, is to have a secret fourth person to ‘interpret’ in a separate building before the three others give their versions. Only with this fourth person, do so in written form at a time separate from the others receiving the instruction verbally. I think you get the gist.


Those who are what I call ‘true charismatics’ will automatically reject the above arguments. This is because they are unsaved but think they are safe before God. This paper is not really for them – for only God can cause their spirits to come alive and listen. The paper is really for those brethren who have been seduced by lies and deception. They have taken the drug slowly, starting with small doses. But, as they stay within the charismatic fold, they start to inject, mainlining the deception, until their minds superficially ‘accept’ what they are told.

In reality, what they are taking is harmful and their minds are tolerating greater and greater deception, just as a drug addict builds up resistance to drugs he takes. In the end he thinks he cannot survive without them, craving their presence. Some folks are thus driven by their experiences and do not just ‘experience’. They are as much addicts as the person taking drugs. Their only way out is to stop taking what they are being fed with. Then, what they thought was essential will soon be seen as rubbish without worth.

Charismaticism is not biblical or Christian. Those who enter its circles after charismatic preaching come to Arminianism and lies, not to the truth. Therefore, their claim to salvation is itself false, and this is why they are so eager to follow every charismatic whim.

Tongues are a crude but effective deception. I call them ‘crude’ because they exist even though scripture plainly refutes them! And we may note that a true charismatic of this kind will read only so far, and then throw the paper away in disgust. Some may even provide a rebuttal, but use warped texts. Both prove the deception to be active in their souls.


© August 2012

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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