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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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"Strive to Excel in Building Up the Church" -- 1 Corinthians 14:1-19

The Twenty-Sixth in a Series of Sermons on 1 Corinthians

One of the most divisive theological controversies of my lifetime was the charismatic movement with its stress upon speaking in tongues.  Whenever the charismatic renewal spread to a new church, it immediately divided the church into two camps–those who experienced what they claimed was a new work of the Holy Spirit which manifested itself in the speaking with tongues, and those who thought such a thing was demonic and who did everything in their power to stamp out the movement before it could spread.  Thankfully, that controversy has long since died down.  It amazes me that we now are able to tackle with little if any sense of controversy, what was once considered to be a very controversial biblical text and subject.

As we continue our series on Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we come to chapter 14 and Paul’s discussion of speaking in tongues and proper behavior in Christian worship.  It is clear from the Apostles’ discussion that the Corinthians were greatly divided about the role and purpose of tongue-speaking in public worship, and they wrote a letter to Paul in which they asked him about this very thing.  Although we don’t have their letter to Paul, and so we don’t know what exactly the Corinthians asked Paul, we do know that it takes Paul three chapters to answer the Corinthian’s question.

In the opening verses of chapter 12, Paul begins by addressing the Corinthian’s faulty understanding of spiritual things (pneumotikon), before taking up a discussion of gifts of the Spirit (the charismata) in which Paul uses the metaphor of the human body as an illustration of the church of Jesus Christ.  In chapter 13, Paul pointed out that love of our brothers and sisters is the context in which any discussion of spiritual gifts must take place.  In chapter 14, Paul turns his focus to the specifics of the controversy causing so much consternation among the Corinthians, speaking in tongues during worship. 

It is clear from Paul’s response that certain individuals among the Corinthians who had the gift of tongues, thought themselves to be superior to others who did not.  Once he has established the proper categories to discuss such things (“spiritual things” and “spiritual gifts”), Paul can now proceed to the specifics of the controversy plaguing the Corinthians, how to properly exercise the gift of tongues so that this gift strengthens the body and that it is exercised in love.  Those who claim to be spiritual, must demonstrate love for others, or else they demonstrate that they are nothing but windbags.

To read the rest of this sermon, Click Here

Reader Comments (2)

I happen to think that John Wimber was correct in this. Read the passage of this from Chapter 11:17 to 14:40 verse and see that it is talking also about when the church gathers. something like 11 or 12 times throughout it talks about when the church is together.
July 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterroger olson
So I would want to ask of the alternative view:

Why is it called a gift if the speaker is only speaking in their native tongue?
Likewise, why is it a gift to interpret said tongue, weren't many people multi-lingual in that day?
Didn't the language of the day have a way to speak about a person speaking out loud 'in their own language'? Why then does Paul seem to make these utterances more unique, as if, perhaps, the speaker was making utterances in a language they didn't acquire naturally?
Thank you
July 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Johnson

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