Order in the Church! - 1 Corinthians 14

Order in the Church!

1 Corinthians 14:1-40

This chapter ends with two statements that some Christians cannot reconcile.  The first statement is this: "Do not forbid to speak with tongues."  The second: "Let all things be done decently and in order."  Many churches don't know how to deal with this. 

Some churches ignore the first, insisting that the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues has ceased.  Their proof text is 1 Corinthians 13:8.  They claim that the gift ended when the New Testament was completed.  They would tell us that the gift of tongues is not for today, so there's nothing to forbid.  Unfortunately, they are ignorant, or simply unwilling to accept the fact that some believers do exercise the gift.

Others consider speaking in tongues as an unnecessary nuisance (or worse), not good for today.  Some Christians note that churches have been divided over this issue.  To them speaking with tongues creates disorder, and in some assemblies it does.

The apostle Paul, who wrote these statements, didn't have a problem with either one of them.  In fact he said, "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all."  Besides that he had a sincere desire for the believers at Corinth, saying, "I wish you all spoke with tongues."  He viewed tongues as a spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit for the building up of the church of Christ.  (The gift of prophecy was more to be desired.)

However, the gift of tongues was abused at Corinth.  This was a noisy bunch.  When the whole church came together, they all spoke in tongues at the same time, causing visitors to think they were crazy.  This is often the sad case today.   

How do you permit believers to speak in tongues and maintain order at the same time?  Paul wrote, "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 church, and let him speak to himself and to God."  1 Corinthians 14:27, 28.  This is how Paul's statements are reconciled.

Be aware that Christians who speak in tongues are not super spiritual.  The church at Corinth, where the gifts of the Spirit were freely distributed, was the most carnal church in the New Testament.  Spirit-filled believers are not led to abuse spiritual gifts.  The Lord is not glorified in disorderly assemblies.  It's also true that He isn't glorified in orderly churches, where the gathering resembles a funeral service.   


Lord, teach us to worship You in spirit and truth.  We know that You are not the author of confusion, but of peace.  Guide us by Your Spirit in ways pleasing to You.  In Jesus' name.  Amen!  


No Resurrection? - 1 Corinthians 15



All About God

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