The Gift of Interpretation of Tongues

July 9, 2008

Are tongues and the interpretation of tongues really spiritual gifts? The Bible says that they are:

1Co 12:8-10; For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

What do you suppose would happen if we put the gift to the test? What do you suppose would happen if two people with the gift of interpretation of tongues were to interpret the same utterance from someone who had the gift of tongues? A test would be easy to set up: get someone with the gift of tongues to speak in tongues into a microphone. Put two people with the gift of interpretation of tongues in different rooms and let them hear the utterance of tongues over headphones. Let them interpret the utterance while someone else records the interpretations. Compare the interpretations; they should be identical or nearly so.

If the interpretations are not identical, it could simply mean that at least one of the two interpreters was a phony; if the speaker of tongues was a phony, then neither interpreter should be able to interpret at all. To be fair, in the off chance that the interpretations don’t match, repeat the test with new interpreters. If the interpretations are still not identical, it could mean the at least one of the two new interpreters is also a phony. Try it again. And again.

The real test is this: how many interpreters would you test before you would admit that the bible is wrong: there is no such thing as the gift of interpretation of tongues?


The Gift of Faith

July 5, 2008

I recently wrote about a spiritual gift test I had taken online. Besides being amused that fundamentalist Christians seem to believe that ordinary talents that we all possess are somehow supernatural gifts, I was struck by one gift in particular: the gift of faith. I thought about this when J.D., another poster on this blog, took the test and came out with a score of 0 (that’s zero: zilch! nichts! nada! zippo!) for his gift-of-faith score. According to SpiritualGiftsTest.com, the saved receive their spiritual gifts, including the gift of faith, upon salvation. They justify their claim with the following verses:

1Co 12:4-10; Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Rom 12:3; …God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

But wait a minute – isn’t faith required for salvation? Then how is faith one of the gifts that one receives after salvation?

It gets worse. If our faith is a gift from God, and if salvation requires faith, then those who are saved were chosen by God to be saved (just as Calvin thought). Then those of us who do not believe were not meant to believe. If God created us and we were not meant to be saved, then it was clearly God’s plan to create us for the purpose of torturing us throughout eternity for our unbelief.

One popular (if inane) chorus that Christians often chant is that it takes too much faith to be an atheist. Rather than respond with reason which all to often falls on deaf ears and sluggish intellects, we should simply quote 1Co 12:4-10 and respond: “it’s a gift from God.”


Breaking News: Atheist with Spiritual Gifts

June 28, 2008

According to SpiritualGiftsTest.com,

A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to a person at the moment of his or her salvation.

The webmasters at SpiritualGiftsTest.com attend The Vine Church who are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Their site seems to reflect mainstream SBC theology. They provide the following list of gifts, as well as the biblical verses to support their list:

Administration/Ruling Giving Miracles
Apostleship Healing Pastor/Teacher
Discernment of Spirits Helps/Serving/Ministering Prophecy
Evangelism Interpretation of Tongues Teaching
Exhortation Knowledge Tongues
Faith Mercy Wisdom

I took the test myself (you can take it too, the test is here) and guess what! I’ve got spiritual gifts! I answered all of the questions as honestly as I could. I didn’t do it as a joke, I did it because I was genuinely curious about the test. I became curious about it because I’d seen Christians on other blogs claiming to have spiritual gifts and they cited various spiritual-gift test sites as evidence for their gifts; evidence that was accepted by other Christians on the blogs. Since the test results seemed to be an excepted way to know what spiritual gifts you had, I decided to see what the tests were like. I searched on Google.com using the search string “spiritual gifts test” and SpiritualGiftsTest.com was near the top of the list. I took the test.

It turns out that I have every one of the gifts that they test for. My top 4 (20 or more points) are the gifts of Teaching, Wisdom, Knowledge, and Administration/Ruling. SpiritualGiftTest.com says they don’t test for the gift of Tongues among a few others because those gifts are self-evidence – evidently, I have that gift too.

How can this be? According to the site, these gifts are spiritual and they are obtained at the moment of salvation. Possibly I’m actually saved even though I don’t believe that I am. Possibly the claim that spiritual gifts are only for the saved is false. Possibly the test isn’t reliable, and Christians that believe that they have spiritual gifts based on tests like these are being duped by their fellow Christians who run the spiritual-gift test sites. Of course it is also possible, as far as you the Reader knows, that I lied on the test or that I’m lying about my test results. But you can easily verity the plausibility of my claim by taking the test yourself (if you believe you are not saved) or asking an unsaved friend to take the test.

How do you explain my spiritual gifts?  What spiritual gifts do you have?


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