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Steve Bremner: Nine Lies People Believe about Speaking in Tongues

Third, Bremner will argue for consistency in the way scripture is interpreted. He challenges exegetes to be even-handed in the absence of tongues in the lists of gifts. Tongues is not listed in Romans 12, but then neither is pastoring, thus we cannot presume this to mean that both are discontinued. He asks, “Can you see how this falls apart on itself if we try applying this logic all over the place whenever Paul mentions anything in his letters that appears to be in a specific order?” (118). Bremner continued this hermeneutical theme into the next chapter when Paul speaks a challenge to tongue-speakers in 1 Cor. 14:19. “This does not negate the value of speaking in tongues privately for personal edification, but reinforces that when we come together as a gathering of believers for fellowship, it’s beneficial to build up others, not just ourselves” (132). His point is for consistency and for the guidelines of interpretation to be applied equally to the texts.

Finally, Bremner concluded the final chapters with practical application of the premises he argued. He gives an example of how we live out the experience of being led by the Spirit as a collaboration and cooperation. “Maybe you are praying for a friend to give his life to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit places it on your heart to call the person on the phone, and so in obedience to that gentle nudging you reach for your phone and call that particular individual. Wouldn’t you know, it just so happened to be a great thing that you called them because right at that moment they needed to be encouraged. The Holy Spirit didn’t call the person, you did” (155). The point being made is that with the exercise of speaking in tongues we physically speak as the syllables are prompted by the Holy Spirit. There should be no passive yielding to being robotically controlled and there should be no aggressive making something happen on our own initiative.

Bremner summarized his thesis as identifying three primary obstacles to receiving the Holy Spirit and exercising the gift of speaking in tongues. First is unbelief, “Not believing in the baptism in the Holy Spirit.” Second is an error in thinking “the Holy Spirit is going to take them over, control them, make them speak, or talk through them.” Third is the stumbling block of “expecting a spectacular supernatural experience” (211).

Reviewed by John Miller


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Category: Spirit, Spring 2017

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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