Although the college does not have creeds or written doctrines on individual special topics of interest, some sense of the kind of views likely to be encountered may be deduced from professor publications.
In addition, the college held a seminar for students on the topic of speaking in tongues. Portions of the seminar are available and can be listened to in .mp3 format (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) or RealAudio format (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). A packet of articles and the powerpoints of the seminar may be downloaded here.
The following is an excerpt from professor Professor Gareth Reese's
New Testament History:
A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Acts
(1976), p. 109-116..
III. WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ABOUT
"SPEAKING IN TONGUES"?
There are several passages usually involved in any discussion of speaking with tongues. The plan of this section of the study is to offer a series of brief notes on these relevant passages.
A. Mark 16:17
The passage Promises that one of the "signs" that would follow believers was the ability to "speak with new (kainos) tongues." The fact that kainos is used rather than another word for new (neos) is easily explainable if the "tongues" are foreign languages unfamiliar to the speaker. Neos has the implication of "new in time, never existing before"; whereas kainos simply means "fresh, recently made, unused." "New tongues" are a language unused by the speaker before.
Behm's article on "tongues" in Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, shows four different meanings for the word glossa ("tongue"). It might speak;
1. of the tongue, as an organ of the body, as in James 3:5.
2. A language or dialect, including foreign words that need translation or explanation, as Acts 2:6.
3. Anything shaped like a tongue, like the tongue of a shoe, or a tongue of land jutting out into the sea, as in Acts 2:3.
4. The ecstatic utterances of pagan priestesses as at Delphi. Thus any time "tongue" appears in Scripture, it must be determined which of the four ideas is in the writer's mind.
There is no reason to understand Mark 16:17 as being other than foreign languages, as Thayer's Lexicon defines this word in the article under "Glossa (2)."
B. Acts 2:1-111
1. The filling of the Holy Spirit was accompanied, in the case of the apostles, by utterances given by the Spirit, so that those from throughout the Roman empire heard what was being said in their own native LANGUAGES.
2. The things that the apostles talked about, when they spoke these native languages, were "the mighty works of God" (verse 11).
3. The author is not describing ecstatic speech. It was a "language."
4. There is no evidence that these men have been praying for the coming of the Holy Spirit, or that they were desiring the "sign" of his coming.
5. Various objections have been raised to the idea that Acts 2-1-11 teaches that the "tongues" on Pentecost were "foreign languages."
a. Some deny the reliability of Acts. It is said that Acts is a much later book than I Corinthians, and that the tradition about Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 is perverted; therefore, Acts 2 cannot be used to interpret I Corinthians.
REFUTATION: The date of I Corinthians is 57 A.D. The date of Acts is 63 A.D. Six years would not make that much difference. Further, Luke is an A-1 historian. He conversed with many of the eye and ear witnesses of the events of the Day of Pentecost. The account of Acts 2 is reliable.
b. Some hold that Acts is not clear and understandable. It is claimed that you must interpret Acts 2 in the light of I Corinthians 12-14. Doing this, the scholars lead us to the place that the "tongues" of Acts is made to be "unintelligible babblings" (such as the scholars believe were spoken at Corinth).
REFUTATION: This does not fit the record of Acts 2: 11.
c. Some have held that the hearers just imagined they heard their own language on the day of Pentecost.
REFUTATION. This theory also does not meet the requirements of the Acts record.
d. Another says, "What need was there for the Apostles to speak in unlearned foreign languages? The whole world was bilingual. Everyone knew Greek."
REFUTATION: It is true that Greek was a universal language in the early days of the church. But, it is also true that many would understand their mother tongue better than Greek.
e. Another difficulty is found in Acts 2:13. It is said, "If the apostles were actually speaking in foreign languages, what was the occasion for the accusation of drunkenness?"
REFUTATION: We are not told who made the accusation. Could it have been the Jewish religious leaders? Had not these men on numberless occasions tried to put Jesus in a bad light by saying He acted by the power of the Devil? Surely they have not had a change of heart. They are making similar slanderous remarks about the Apostles, in an attempt to discredit them.
C. Acts 8:14-19
1. There is no direct reference made in these verses to "speaking in tongues." But since it is said that at the laying on of the apostles' hands, they received "spiritual gifts," it might be assumed that some received the "gift of tongues."
2. "The Spirit fell on them" at some time subsequent to their baptism into the body of Christ.
3. This "gift" was imparted by an apostle laying his hands on some of the Christians at Samaria.
4. Spiritual gifts were not received by every individual Christian - Simon didn't.
1. This "falling of the Spirit" was similar, if not identical, to Pentecost; see Acts 11:15-17.
2. The "speaking with tongues" appears to have signified that Cornelius and his household had been baptized of the Holy Spirit.
4. There was no seeking of such a gift or manifestation on the part of Cornelius or his household.
5. The problem arises - what language did Cornelius and the others speak? Being a Roman soldier, he would know Latin and probably Greek. Peter and the others recognized the language. It would seem that the language that Cornelius spoke, then, was Aramaic - a language which a Roman soldier, particularly an officer, would not normally know nor take the trouble to learn, since it would be a provincial language.
E. Acts 19:1-61
After these people became Christians, Paul laid his hands upon them, and they received "spiritual gifts," one of which was the ability to "speak in tongues." 2. Paul desired them to receive the gift here, not the Ephesians themselves, as they did not so much as know that the Spirit had been given to men. 3. This passage would be parallel to what we have in I Corinthians 12-14, for not only did the Ephesians receive the "gift of tongues" but also the "gift of prophecy."
F. I Corinthians 12-14
1. Though most scholars agree that Acts 2 speaks of foreign languages, a number of present-day scholars favor the idea that I Corinthians 12-14 speaks not of languages, but of ecstatic or unintelligible utterances. This writer SEES NO REASON FOR MAKING THIS DISTINCTION.
a. As we compare the accounts in Acts 2 and I Corinthians 12-14, we see some points that are identical. In both the Corinthian and Pentecostal cases, an extraordinary influence and gift of the Holy Spirit was responsible for the speaking.
In both cases, the people were speaking as the Spirit led them to speak. The intention of speaking in tongues in both cases was to bring praise and honor to God, and to edify the heaters. b. And the verses in 1 Corinthians 12-14 that are alleged to show that "tongues" in Corinth were different than the "languages" of Pentecost, when interpreted under the hypothesis that "tongues" at Corinth were "foreign languages," make marvelous sense.
For example, it is said that the speaking of the apostles (Acts 2) was intelligible, and consequently was understood by the hearers without assistance from others (verses 8, 11); whereas, the Corinthian speaking with tongues was not understood without the aid of an interpreter (I Corinthians 14:2, 13, 16,27, 28). (REFUTATION: It seems rather that I Corinthians 14 is saying, "Why desire the gift of tongues when there may be only a few present in the services who can understand? If you did use your gift of speaking, an interpreter would have to make clear to most of the congregation what you have said. Why not desire one of the other, more useful, gifts?")
b. 1 Corinthians 14:14 is no evidence that "tongues" is unintelligible babbling. A/man could pray, using a language he had never learned or Studied, and it might still be said of him that he did not understand what he was saying.
c. Nor can I Corinthians 14:23 be used to show that what was happening at Corinth was ecstatic syllabication. The verse reads, "If therefore the whole church be assembled together, AND ALL SPEAK WITH TONGUES, and there come in men unlearned and unbelieving, will they not say that ye are mad?" The point being made is not that there is a bedlam of all speaking at once. Rather, Paul is assuming an extreme case for the sake of argument, that everyone present in the worship service had the gift of tongues, and that one after another they get up and speak a foreign language. Suppose a visitor comes to the service. The Christians, one after another, get up, and instead of speaking the language of the locale, uttered a speech in a foreign language that the visitor did not understand (he was "unlearned"). On his way home, after hearing a whole service of nothing but words in languages he did not understand, he would conclude that the Christians were crazy.
d. 1 Corinthians 14-27, 28 gives the instruction that if there is no interpreter present, the one speaking in tongues is to "keep silent" or "speak to himself." Rather than being evidence that "tongues" at Corinth was ecstatic speaking, these verses point in the other direction, that "tongues" at Corinth were languages. The supposition is, that at Corinth, there might be days when no visitor would come to the services whose native tongue was the same as the language of the one who had the "gift of tongues." (Each person who spoke in tongues evidently was able to speak one foreign language - I Corinthians 14:18). Since his gift was not really needed that day, there would be no "edifying" of those present, unless some one could interpret what he said - and there were people who had the gift of understanding when some one else spoke in a foreign language. Such an ability was called "the gift of interpretation."
e. Finally, I Corinthians 14:2 need not be so interpreted as to prove that "tongues" in Corinth was unintelligible babbling. The verse reads, "He that speaketh in a tongue, speaketh not unto men, but unto God; for no man understandeth, but in the Spirit he speaketh mysteries." In the context, this verse is designed as an explanation of why men ought to desire the gift of prophecy rather than the gift of tongues. Men who were "prophesying in the vernacular of the people" would edify the church, whereas men speaking in a language that none of the church members understood (unless an interpreter were present, verse 5) would leave the hearers "in the dark" as to what was said. And this would be true, even when the speaker was guided by the Holy Spirit in what he said.
f. So, this writer sees no reason that one must say that speaking in tongues in Acts 2 differs basically from the speaking in tongues in I Corinthians 12-14. IN BOTH CASES WE HAVE FOREIGN LANGUAGES REFERRED TO.
2. Now that this problem has been answered, let us examine several other pertinent points to be found in I Corinthians 12-14.
a. The Holy Spirit has given and does give gifts to the members of the body of Christ. In the Corinthian church he gave "spiritual gifts" to some, in addition to the "talents" which He gives to every Christian.
c. In I Corinthians 12:4 we note that there are "diversities of gifts." The chapter then lists nine of them. There are the gifts of: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues. In the 28th verse of the same chapter, a similar list is given in the following order: first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; after that, workers of miracles; then healers, helpers, administrators and speakers in tongues. It is noteworthy that the gift the Corinthians most wanted (and the gift most wanted today) is put last in all the listings.
d. When the context is considered, I Corinthians 14:5, "1 would that ye all spake with tongues," is no way intended to show that Paul believed that the ability to speak in tongues was a sip of spiritual maturity. Paul's expressed desire that all might speak with tongues is immediately qualified by "but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying" (14:5). Of course, if one "prophesied" (spoke by inspiration in the vernacular of the people), more people would be edified, than if one spoke the same message by inspiration, but in a foreign language. This is not the only time in which Paul has contrasted the relative unimportance of tongues to the obvious importance of preaching the Word for the edification of the church. Furthermore, Paul has already told us that ALL would NOT speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:10, 30). It must be remembered that this gift (like all the others) is imparted by God as it pleases Him, not to all, but to whomever He wills.
e. I Corinthians 14:16 speaks of the "ungifted." Perhaps this means that not all the Corinthian Christians had received spiritual gifts. Note the marginal reading in the NASB, "unversed in spiritual gifts."
f. Nor is Paul's statement in 14:18 to be taken as proof that all the Corinthian Christians had spoken in tongues. His statement of thankfulness that he is able to speak with tongues is qualified by the statement that immediately follows, "Howbeit in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than 10,000 words in a tongue." The idea is, if you are just getting up to "show off," I could put on a better show than all of you who have the gift of tongues put together, for I (an apostle) have the ability to speak more foreign languages than you (ones who have only spiritual gifts) all put together. Ibis strongly worded contrast places the gift of tongues in a relatively unimportant position. It is always wise to place importance where God places it, and dangerous to overemphasize the relatively unimportant.
g. As Paul closes his treatise on spiritual gifts, he says, "Forbid not to speak with tongues" (14:39). This, too, he qualifies by a preceding statement, "Desire earnestly to prophesy," and by a statement that follows, "Let all things be done decently and in order." Here Paul seems to be correcting a possible false conclusion. The gift of tongues was useful, and had its place, because it, as well as prophecy, was Spirit inspired. He says, "One gift is to be greatly longed for, i.e., the power to preach by inspiration. The other, speaking with tongues, was not to be forbidden so long as the proper conditions were met and the rules of decency and decorum were met." In its own place, the gift of tongues was a valuable endowment; on proper occasions it was to be exercised.
He says, "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body; so also is Christ" (I Corinthians 12:12). He then points out that the various members of the body are interdependent upon one another. No organ of the body is independent of the body as a whole. No single organ of the body stands as ultimate proof that the body is either alive or healthy. The combined labors of all the organs contribute to the life and health of the body.
As no one member of the body can claim to be the whole body, so no single gift of the Spirit can claim to be the whole ministry of the Spirit. Nor is one gift of the Spirit given to every member of the Body of Christ, any more than the faculty of seeing is given to every organ of the physical body. No single gift of the Spirit is for everybody. All are not apostles. All are not prophets. All are not teachers. All are not workers of miracles. Much less then do all speak with tongues or all have the gift of interpretation of tongues, 1 Corinthians 12:29, 30.
I. It is important to remember that the gifts of the Spirit are GIFTS. One does not dictate to another when, how, or what gifts he is to receive. Gifts are given when, how, and to whom as the giver pleases. The apostle strongly emphasizes this point. First, he tells us that the diversity of gifts has been made by God Himself (12:4-6). It is also clear that the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the distribution of these gifts, "dividing to every man severally as he will" (12: 11).
J. I Corinthians 12:13, properly interpreted, is no reference to the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" as being for everyone. The verse reads, "By one Spirit have we all been baptized into one body, and have been made to drink of one Spirit." Paraphrased, "By the influence of the Holy Spirit we have all been led to be baptized (in water) into Christ. And the Spiritual Gifts that are in the church are the result of the activity of the Holy Spirit, too." So understood, the verse harmonizes beautifully with all Scripture elsewhere, and fits into this context very beautifully, too. And it says nothing at all about people becoming members of the church through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. k. Whatever else I Corinthians 14:34 may mean, it clearly forbids women to speak in tongues in the public assembly. As one is able to observe the present situation, women are quite prominent in the performance of tongues-speech and interpretation in the public assembly. To say that this verse was valid only in a first-century culture, is to cause all other commands of the Lord (14:37) to be subjected to the whims of culture and circumstance. This clearly will not do! 1. There are indications that tongues are associated with the infancy of the church (see 1 Corinthians 13:11 and 14:20).
G. Conclusions Drawn from the Basic Scriptures
ACTS 2 IS THE KEY PASSAGE. It is clear that in the New Testament "tongues" had reference to FOREIGN LANGUAGES; and this is true, we believe, even in Corinth! And if the tongues of the New Testament passages were unstudied foreign languages, then much of the current tongues movement is not like what one reads about in the Bible.