Do gypsies speak in tongues and perform miracles?
DO GYPSIES SPEAK IN TONGUES AND PERFORM MIRACLES?
If we doubted what we saw or seemed to question authority, we were seen as rebels, unsaved, or just plain unspiritual
by Gary Nixon
As a Christian brought up in a Pentecostal church, recognised as an evangelist, combining work in Romania and planting my own church in Darlington, it would seem a classic story of a man who knew his God and his Bible, sound in all that he believed.
I’ve prayed for the sick to be healed, the dead to be raised, spoken in tongues, and prophesied. I’ve had dreams and visions, and convinced myself that they were all gifts from God given to me directly for the help of the church.
I was told, and assured from the beginning, if it says it in the Bible, it is just the same today.
As I grew in grace however, I began to see things quite differently, realising that though many gifts are still given for the encouragement of the church, the sign gifts had long gone, and had ceased.
I had come to know the Lord, thankfully, on the 4th February 1986, in what would be considered a typical Pentecostal meeting where the preacher spoke on the text, Isaiah 1:18.1 didn’t at that time take much notice of what was going on around me, because I was gripped by the message, my sin, and the love Jesus had for me. That night I became a child of God, unaware of doctrines, or how I had come to my new-found faith, or even what lay ahead.
At once my desire was to share my faith with everyone else and, inevitably, became part of the church where I had come to faith. As the months and years began to roll on however, I found myself increasingly, although not realising it at the time, reforming and coming to the same understanding of scripture as so many believers have before us. This eventually caused me to repent of the error I had been involved with, and been taught, and sadly had taught others. This left my family and myself in the situation, which cost us our friends, church, and many tears. Tears which still fall after three years.
However, the love of God’s Word thankfully has been stronger than the human bond, and helped us to proclaim the truth and refute error whenever possible, knowing that we don’t fight flesh and blood, but rulers, powers and authorities and forces in heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
Many people, including my family and I, from the outset of our pilgrimage, had doubts. Unanswered questions flooded our minds and hearts. But like so many others we were told, “just believe,” “just believe.”
If we doubted what we saw or seemed to question authority, we were seen as rebels, unsaved, or just plain unspiritual. Yes, most definitely they are in the Bible, but our questions would be, “Is what we are seeing the same as in the Bible?”; “When we pray for the cripple to walk, and the dead to rise, do they?”; “When people speak in tongues, how come nobody really knows what they mean?”; “When we hear prophecies, and prophetic messages, and they don’t come to pass, why are they not challenged?”
But, just like the crowd in our emperor’s story who didn’t want to be the odd ones out and thought of as fools, our questions would cease and we would be led along with the rest of the crowd, for fear of being the odd ones out.
My own problems began when I was first saved, and going to my first meetings. It wasn’t long before I was told, “Gary you are saved, but you haven’t got the Spirit yet.”
At first I never questioned any of this, thinking, how would I know? All I knew at this point, was that Jesus had opened my eyes to his love and forgiveness, giving me a whole new life. Hey! If there was more that God can give me, then I want it all.
I was told, “you need to speak in tongues, and when you do, this will be a sign you have been baptised with the Holy Spirit.” I asked, “How do I receive the Spirit?” I was told, “Get closer to God, stop sinning, and seek the gift.”
Many times from that day, leaders would pray for me, laying their hands on me, praying, often speaking with their foreign tongue, as I thought, and saying, “speak, speak, just speak it out.” “It’s there,” they would exclaim, “just speak it out.”
My mouth, as I recall, would be dry and my fists clenched. My eyes would be tightly closed and my mind crying out to God,”Oh please, please, if you love me, give me this gift like the others.”
After what seemed like ten or twenty minutes of prayer, the leader praying for me would say something like, ‘Ah, you haven’t enough faith”; “Are you living right?”; or, “Maybe there are some unconfessed sins?” all of which left me feeling unwanted, or even condemned. To finally discover texts that showed me that faith was a gift from God and thus freely given, (Ephesians 2:8), and that all my sins were dealt with, leaving no condemnation (Romans 8:1), was such a relief.
It was also a revelation to discover texts like John 14:17 “.. .the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” or 1 Corinthians 12:13 “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
Yet, with these and other scriptures in my heart telling me I had the Spirit of God living in me, my head was still telling me that, unless I spoke in these tongues, I hadn’t yet received the Spirit into my life and I was still incomplete as a Christian.
It was about eighteen months later in an evangelistic meeting at Newcastle: the speaker was Reinhardt Bonke and he wanted everybody speaking in tongues. This could be it, I thought.
People stood up and began to pray, shouting – usually in what seemed to be tongues – whilst others, with accompanying music, were singing in tongues.
Within moments I also began to speak in tongues (as I thought). Now; in hindsight, I realise my desire was so strong to do so that I thought of nothing else. Being caught up in the emotion of the moment with so much influence around me, I began to speak in the tongues of those around me.
In My heart I loved God, I was worshipping God, thanking him, and I was with like-minded people. How could this be anything else other than the real thing? I was encouraged by my pastor at the time to, as he put it, “let go; just let yourself flow ” In other words, when words come into your mind, or mouth, just speak them out in faith. The word ‘faith’ was always used, and if nothing happened, or the recipient never spoke in tongues, he or she was accused of having no faith. In the Pentecostal church we attended, many were encouraged, as they put it, to “just step out in faith; don’t try to reason or work it out.”
Now I realise that this was not the faith spoken of in the Bible, but that it was blind faith, presumption, even brainwashing. So, I finally ‘spoke in tongues’! I was so excited, I think…, yet deep down I was so disappointed that doubts began to enter my minds straight away.
My first thought was, ‘surely this isn’t the tongues of the Bible.’ But just like those in the story of the Emperor’s clothes, who did not dare to admit they doubted for fear of being thought of as fools, I also was afraid and convinced myself it must be from God.
When I did have the courage to share doubts with elders and friends who also spoke in tongues, I was simply told, “Oh the devil will try and tell you, and convince you, that you’re talking rubbish, but just ignore the voice.
Now; twelve years later, I realise it wasn’t the voice of Satan at all but the voice of common sense, or maybe even the convicting work of the Holy Spirit.
The problem was that I believed that I was an incomplete Christian without this gift and so wanted what others seemed to have. Doubts were pushed aside while I convinced myself everything was just great.
Many may say of me,”Oh he can’t have what we have received from God.” Well, in answer to this, I would like to say that many times I kept my doubts to myself, afraid that I was the only one who felt this way, and sometimes thought maybe it’s only my tongues that are not real. I often thought I was the only one who thought this way. However, today I realise that many, if not all those in the Pentecostal churches today, think and feel the same way. Admitting it on the other hand is a very difficult thing, though many today are beginning to do so.
Today I only have to bring up the subject and many begin to admit to the same experiences, doubts, and fears, confessing they have felt this way from the beginning. Well, maybe just like the little boy in our story, it’s time to shout out, “THERE’S NOTHING THERE!”
If you know what I am saying, and can relate to it, let me encourage you by saying, YOU’RE NOT ON YOUR OWN! To teach us how to receive the gift of tongues, relaxing was encouraged, or opening your heart, or even clearing your mind to let the Spirit work.
Maybe if you were involved in the Toronto experience, you will recognise some of the methods used. An example would be the manipulation of people convincing them that they were being, as they put it, slain in the Spirit. These methods are not new as similar methods are used in hypnosis, in the mystical cults, and in other religions.
Men and women are encouraged to reach another emotional level, plane, or experience. The resulting sensations become part of what they seem to think is the work of the Holy Spirit. This wrong understanding of the Holy Spirit leads many to believe they need to experience some kind of power: not the power that leads to repentance from sin, but to feel something, and speak in supernatural languages.
I was told in the beginning, having been shown in scriptures, that without this extra power I was incomplete and couldn’t walk on with God. I was taught that, without such gifts, many Christians from other denominations were dead and had no faith.
I recall on one occasion being told, “If C. H. Spurgeon was used of God so much without the Spirit, imagine what he could have done with it.” My goodness, what nonsense! For years I believed the Baptist church I am now thankfully part of was dead and had no faith. If only I could have the faith some of the brethren I now fellowship with have, I would be a much better man for God.
But deep down in my heart, when I was told these things, I knew something was not quite right. The scriptures taught that the Spirit was living in me, yet I was being told that he wasn’t. I was told: he doesn’t live in you until you’re ‘baptised with power , or ‘clothed with power.
I wanted desperately to understand what I was being told to accept, but as I began to look around the problem in my heart just grew worse. I looked to men who claimed this power. There was one particular person who stood out especially since he was in authority and had a position in the church. Sadly, I must confess this man was far from godly.
Then there was a man who came from the local Baptist church; he wasn’t apparently clothed with power, yet his life was, and is, a wonderful encouragement to me to be what a Christian ought to be.
When I questioned this, leaders would quote Luke 11:11, “If your son asks you for a fish, will you give him a snake instead?” With this scripture, I was told, “It’s not how you live, it’s if you believe, and have the faith to receive.” But my thoughts would go right back to when I was seeking the gift and being prayed for. They had said to me, “you have no faith” and, “maybe you’re not living right before God.” Which explanation was correct I wondered?
Again, not understanding fully the Word of God, I would push these and other thoughts to the back of my mind, especially when they would encourage me with certain parts of the Bible relating to the gifts, e.g. Mark 16:17; Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 12:28, to name but a few.
At first glance, it would be impossible for a young Christian to come to any conclusion other than that these gifts were for today, especially with so many of the same view However, as I know now; and hope you will realise a little later, it was a misuse of the Word of God. The main reason for today’s misunderstandings, it seems, is the lack of knowledge. This is partly due to the fact of appointing men just because they claim to have a calling from God. I know men within the gypsy work, for example, who are ministers of God’s sheep, yet cannot read a word. This is overlooked through the belief that the clothing with power will overcome this difficulty The reality is, however, that many people are not being fed the Word of God and, when they are, it is taught incorrectly.
Gary Nixon’s book with the above title is published by Tentmaker Publications, 121 Hartshill Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 7LU. These are the opening pages of the 100 in the book.
He mentions some literature that has been helpful to himself. “A good book for you to start with on the subject we have looked at, one that is simple to understand, is “The Final Word” by O. Palmer Robertson. Another would be, “Signs of the Apostles” by Walter Chantry. The Banner of Truth publishes both these books.” (p.97).
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