Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Luther and Calvin Both Accepted the Continuing Validity of Tongues?

I came across the following posted on a discussion board: "Luther and Calvin both accepted the continuing validity of tongues, speaking positively of the gift, primarily in terms of missionary preaching." So, searching around, it appears to come from this 2006 blog entry: The History of Tongues. I could not determine if the blogger actually wrote it, or cut-and-pasted it from another source. Here's what was put forth:

By the middle of the fourth century, the practice seems to have diminished in the West, [7] 

 [7] Chrysostom (ca. 347-407) was quite negative about it. Augustine (354-430) taught that it had been given only for the New Testament times. However, Luther and Calvin both accepted the continuing validity of tongues, speaking positively of the gift, primarily in terms of missionary preaching. Similarly, John Wesley believed that tongues-speaking was still a valid gift.

No documentation is given. I've gone through this in regard to Luther, many years back now:

Pentecostal Luther who 'Spoke in Tongues' 

 Luther Spoke In tongues?

If the popular Pentecostal gift is what we're talking about, the actual evidence from Luther’s writings suggests that Luther did not speak in tongues and did not think others were either. Luther held "speaking in tongues" means simply the public reading of Scripture.

 In regard to Calvin:
The gift of the tongues, and other such like things, are ceased long ago in the Church; but the spirit of understanding and of regeneration is of force, and shall always be of force, which the Lord coupleth with the external preaching of the gospel, that he may keep us in reverence of his word, and may prevent the deadly dotings, wherein brain-sick fellows enwrap themselves, whilst that, forsaking the word, they invent an erroneous and wandering spirit. But it doth not, nor shall not, always so fall out, that all those which hear the word with their outward ears, do or shall also receive the Spirit; and the ministers do seldom light upon such hearers as Peter had, who are willing, with one consent, to follow God. Yet he bringeth to pass that all the elect feel in themselves the consent of the external word, and of the secret power of the Spirit.
I'm sure there's much more information from Calvin's writings and more statements could be pulled out.  Note the following comment:
Calvin noted that glossolalia had not merely facilitated preaching in foreign languages but had also served as an "adornment and honour of the Gospel itself."This second ability had been "corrupted" by human "ambition" (e.g., Corinth), and, Calvin reflected, it was not at all strange that God had chosen to remove glossolaic utterances from the church rather than permitting them "to be vitiated with further abuse." George H. Williams and Edith Waldvogel, “A History of speaking in Tongues and Related Gifts” found in Michael P. Hamilton (editor), The Charismatic Movement (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Publishing company, 1975) p. 73.

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