Wednesday, June 10, 2009
That Puts It Plainly Enough
It is not. This is clear from the following factsWhoa, that's a little blunt!. Torrey's essential points:
- First–The present “Tongues Movement” makes speaking with tongues the one and only decisive evidence that one has the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
- Second–The practical effect of the teaching of the “Tongues Movement” is to make speaking with tongues the most important of all manifestations of the Spirit’s presence and power.
- Third–The “Tongues Movement” leads its followers to seek for speaking with tongues more than any other gift, while the Bible plainly teaches us that we ought rather to seek some other gift than this.
- Fourth–The leaders of the “Tongues Movement” persistently disobey the plain teaching of God’s Word in the matter of speaking with tongues in public assemblies.
- Fifth–The “Tongues Movement” has been accompanied by the most grievous disorders and the grossest immoralities.
Torrey wrote this in 1913!
Now, I cannot argue with him much in his essential points, but his tone is remarkable and troubling. After his fifth point, something I agree with, he goes on to call the movement "demonic."
Here is my concern. Torrey argues, rightly I believe against the "tongues movement" because it is not efficacious - that is to say because it is accompanied with "the grossest immoralities." I have seen it and I agree. But we have seen such issues in virtually everything - from Catholic priests, to Baptist preachers. No one has ever done the statistics, but I would agree with Torrey that Pentecostalism in general has a higher percentage of this kind of issue than other movements, but why is an important question. There is an emphasis on the sensual (tongues is nothing if not sensual) and, importantly I think, there is a lack of accountability in the movement in general. That accounts for things more than the gift of tongues itself, or even the pursuit thereof.
But the bottom line is this - if effectiveness is important, how effective is Torrey's tone here? Does his tone reach out in grace to those that may be misguided by the problems associated with the charismatic movement? There is only condemnation, there is no grace.
There is a problem with plain speaking.