I have spent time in churches who make the statement that speaking in tongues is an essential sign or evidence of a person’s “successful” conversion. This is how you know your saved in other words. That is simply not biblically supported. The fact as supported by the bible is that while tongues are a gift of the spirit it is not one that all possess. “To some” as Paul teaches, is the gift of tongues just as “to some” the gift of interpreting tongues.
Mark 16:17-19 (NASB)
17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
Listed among these is speaking in “New” tongues, also listed is casting out demons, surviving poison, and handling snakes. Some if not all of these ideas have been taken to extremes among some groups of believers. I personally believe in totality that a believer can do these things in the line of service to the lord, however Jesus himself said, when Satan told him to throw himself off a cliff because the angles would surely catch him. He said, “thou shall not tempt the lord your God”. (Luke 4:12 Matthew 4:7)
On the other hand Tongues isn’t a bad thing. There are two different scenarios where the idea of “Tongues” is an imperative part of the life of a believer.
The first is as it speaks of in
Romans 8:26-27 (NASB) In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
These groans of the spirit can be considered praying in tongues. A prayer that is deeper than you understand but that is specifically meant for God. Some might ask “what is a prayer that you would say but somehow not understand?” When we are all honest with ourselves we have all had the occasion in life of being so emotionally overwhelmed that our feeling leaves the realm of the words we have to explain them, and we are just speechless. We can accept that the relationship we have with God is super natural and that our human language cannot do justice to it so we, having this holy spirit within, can pray to God in a supernatural way. Its not necessarily that you don’t understand what you’re saying you simply can’t explain it you do not have words for it.
The second scenario is shown in Acts chapter 2. The gift of tongues came upon the apostles and they spoke, and all present were able to understand in their own native tongue or language. Its like sporting events. They have correspondents that watch the game and announce in the language of their native land and all who watch the game get the same information is it is broadcasted in all the languages. The difference is that with the apostles there was no representative correspondent from all the different countries and dialects present on that day in Jerusalem. No! they spoke and by the supernatural gift of tongues all there were able to understand.
I have found there to be some differing opinions about tongues. Some use the idea as a means to diminish fellow Christians, saying they aren’t true believers because they don’t speak in tongues. Some think the whole idea is evil, that it was an incorrect understanding and that those whom speak in tongues in any instance are demon possessed or deceived. We can see here in light of the scripture speaking of it that there are some different ideas being combined, there is a place for tongues in our Christian lives however most of us I’d venture to say, haven’t seen it in its proper context.