Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Are You Allowed To Pray In Tongues In Public


By Rev Albert Kang

In our Pentecostal culture, when a person, while in the sanctuary, begins to pray loudly in tongues, it normally indicates that his unknown tongue is meant for himself or someone to interpret. Therefore, interpreting tongues is required only when there is a definite prophetic message for the congregation. It’s on a need-to basis. Not every unknown tongue is meant for interpretation.

1 Corinthians 14:2 – “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”

What cessassionists do not distinguish is the difference in “praying tongues” and “speaking tongues”.

“Praying tongues” is meant to communicate with God and God alone. When a worshipper prays in tongues quietly or in a normal tone of voice while worshipping in a public place, it is understood that his is not in a “speaking tongues” mode but in a “praying tongues” mode. Thus his unknown tongues should not be interpreted. And such “praying tongues” is not disruptive or disorderly at all.

To claim that the Bible absolutely disallowed praying in tongues in a public setting is therefore not accurate or scriptural at all.

The Apostle Paul said, "So, my brothers, be eager to prophesy and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything must be done in a proper and orderly manner." (1 Corinthians 14:39-40)

From the above two verses, it is obvious that prophesy and tongues are allowed publicly. Paul admonishes us to “be eager to prophesy” and almost in anticipation of the cessationists, Paul added, “do not forbid speaking in tongues.”

By this context, the location of both activities was in the same vicinity. Prophesying and speaking in tongues were frequently practiced in the Church sanctuary– a public place.

They should never be “artificially” divided to mean that the “praying tongues” should be confined to private homes while the “speaking tongues” are the only one allowed in the Church sanctuary.

To further enhance our understanding, consider this fact - even in a public church's setting, all worshippers are allowed to pray privately, especially for private and personal matters. As long as they are not shouting and screaming for attention, this personal prayer should be allowed.

Paul did say that praying and singing in unknown tongues and praying with understanding are both acceptable in the Church setting (1 Cor 14:14-15).

14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.

Now, let’s see another scenario - what happens if a worshipper wants to pray in Cantonese privately in the Church? What if during the prayer time, another wants to pray in Vietnamese to the Lord? Would both believers be asked to leave just because they are using languages other than the language of the local congregation? Would they bring confusion to the other worshippers? Obviously not!

During the time of the Apostles, there were members of the congregation who spoke only Greek. While most spoke Aramaic and Hebrew. There were of course, believers who understood all three languages. As far as we know, these different language groups worshipped together. Even though, earlier in the Book of Acts, there were complaints by the Greek-speaking believers of their widows being discriminated in the distribution of food by the Hebrew-speaking believers (Acts 6:1), the Bible never states that they were worshipping separately.

By all these comparisons and reasonings, isn’t it true to state that Paul was not so much concerned about what languages the believers used in the Church sanctuary - whether the language be in a known or unknown tongue - especially when the individual worshippers are communicating their private and personal prayers to God.

On the other hand, if any worshipper screams and shouts his prayer in whatever language, he would be interrupting. He would be behaving wrong and will be considered as being out of order. The Church leadership will not allow him to continue in this loud and interruptive manner.

So, in conclusion, what was Paul concerned about? During his time, the Church in Corinth was not behaving maturely. After they had received the gift of tongues, they were all excited. There was a lack of self-control. Everybody spoke loudly and was screaming in tongues, in a childish desire and display for attention.

Those of us who had this type of “Pentecostal” encounter in the 1970s can testify to that kind of immaturity displayed among the members of the congregation. It was chaotic because every believer thought that by speaking in tongues loudly, they were holier, had more power and were more accepted by the Lord.

Paul's rebuke was for such kind of immature believers. He practically told them to behave and emphasized that everything should be done in order.

The key to the question whether one should be allowed to publicly pray in tongues is found in what Paul instructed - "So, my brothers, be eager to prophesy and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything must be done in a proper and orderly manner." (1 Corinthians 14:39-40). 

Everything should be done in order whether it is praying in known or unknown tongues.



Monday, November 6, 2017

One Solitary Life



Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years, He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself...

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.


This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Another Reformation Needed



Martin Luther and Christian Reformation

In honor the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, I'm offering my own list of needed reforms in the modern charismatic/Pentecostal movement. And since I can't hammer these on the Wittenberg door, I'll post them online. Feel free to nail them everywhere.
  1. Let's reform our theology. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is God and He is holy. He is not an "it." He is not a blob, a force or an innate power. We must stop manipulating Him, commanding Him and throwing Him around. (And we should also stop ignoring Him, as if He is an optional "add-on" to our scripted agendas.)
  1. Let's return to the Bible. The Word of God is the foundation for the Christian experience. Any exotic experience must be tested by the Word and the Holy Spirit's discernment. Visions, dreams, prophecies and encounters with angels must be in line with Scripture. If we don't measure them against Scripture, we could end up spreading deception.
  1. It's time for personal responsibility. We charismatics must stop blaming everything on demons. People are usually the problem.
  1. Stop playing charismatic games. Spiritual warfare is a reality, but we are not going to win the world to Jesus just by shouting at demonic principalities. We must pray, preach and persevere to see ultimate victory.
  1. Stop the foolishness. People who hit, slap or push others during prayer should be asked to sit down until they learn that gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
  1. End all spiritual extortion now. Christian television ministries must cease and desist from all manipulative fundraising tactics. We must stop giving platforms to prosperity preachers who make outlandish claims of supernatural financial returns, especially when Scripture is twisted, deadlines are imposed and the poor are exploited.
  1. No more Lone Rangers. Those who claim to be ministers of God—whether they are traveling evangelists, local pastors or heads of ministries—must be accountable to other leaders. Any who refuse to submit their lives to godly discipline should be corrected.
  1. Expose the creeps. Preachers who have been hiding criminal records, lying about their past marriages, preying on women or refusing to pay child support should be exposed as charlatans and shunned if they do not repent.
  1. Stop faking the anointing. God is God, and He does not need our "help" to manifest Himself. That means we don't sprinkle glitter on ourselves to suggest God's glory is with us, hide fake jewels on the floor to prove we are anointed or pull feathers out of our sleeves to pretend angels are in the room. This is lying to the Holy Spirit.
  1. Let's return to purity. We've had enough scandals. The charismatic church must develop a system for the restoration of fallen ministers. Those who fall morally can be restored, but they must be willing to submit to a process of healing rather than rushing immediately back into the pulpit to cause more damage.
  1. We need humility. Ministers who demand celebrity treatment, require lavish salaries, insist on titles or exhibit aloofness from others are guilty of spiritual pride. Christians should avoid prideful leaders instead of rewarding them with applause.
  1. No more big shots. Apostles are the bondslaves of Christ and should be the most impeccable models of humility. True apostles do not wield top-down, hierarchical authority over the church. They serve the church from the bottom up as true servants.
  1. Never promote gifts at the expense of character. Those who operate in prophecy, healing and miracles must also exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit. And while we continue to encourage the gift of tongues, let's make sure we don't treat it like some kind of badge of superiority. The world needs to see our love, not our glossolalia.
  1. Hold the prophets accountable. Those who refuse to take responsibility for inaccurate statements should not be given platforms. And "prophets" who live immoral lives don't deserve a public voice.
  1. Stop the politics. Our deadly mixing of nationalism and party politics with the gospel has diluted our message and ruined our credibility. We are not Democrats or Republicans first—we are followers of the Lamb. Our allegiance is to Jesus, not Trump or Obama. Christ's kingdom transcends presidents.
  1. Quit trying to be so cool. Our desire to be popular has ruined our witness. Today we care more about our giant LED screens, our coffee bars and our stage lighting than whether people have an experience with the Holy Spirit.
  1. No more racial division. Let's get rid of the idea of a "black church" or a "white church." There is only one body of Christ, yet we pretend we are integrated if one person of color serves on our greeter team. True Pentecost is multicultural. The Holy Spirit builds bridges, not walls.
  1. Let's make the main thing the main thing. The purpose of the Holy Spirit's anointing is to empower us to reach others. We are at a crossroads today: Either we continue entertaining people with our charismatic sideshows or we throw ourselves into evangelism, church planting, missions, discipleship, and compassionate ministry that helps the poor and fights injustice. Churches that embrace this New Reformation will stop trying to please the crowd so they can focus on God's priorities.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

BEWARE OF THE SPIRIT OF ABSALOM


The spirit of Absalom is actually similar to the spirit of Lucifer. Such personality will at first try to marginalize the leader and then subsequently seek to demonize the leader.

It's a usurping spirit that thrives upon hidden motives, hidden agendas, hidden alliances with hidden strategies. It's manipulative and full of deception.

The Absalom spirit works to usurp authority by spreading discontent among the people. Such person will use half-truths or divisive topics to sway the hearts of the people. It will try to reach its devious purpose by destroying the influence of the leader among as many followers as possible.

The Absalom spirit will claim that:

• The leader in authority is not to be trusted.

• The leadership who runs the organization is incompetent.

• “He knows of a better way solve the problems at hand.”

The person, who is infected with such spirit, seems to live with a deep frustration in his life and ministry. He does not submit to authority and finds ways to show that defiance. He does not respect anyone or any protocols.

He is his own authority and is constantly burning with an unquenchable inner dark fire.

He thinks that he deserves more recognition than his personal achievement would merit.

The ultimate end of the real Absalom was sad.

2 Samuel 18:9, 14
His head got caught in the Terebinth tree; so he was left hanging … Joab … took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom’s heart.

Indeed, as the Bible has warned for ages that such people will fall - pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:18

Albert Kang

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christian Hope



Christians are people of hope, and that is the secret of their lives. 

We see believers doing the most menial and wearying work, taking the basin of water, washing and drying disciples’ feet. 

They are strengthened to do so because they see the day approaching. 

They know that there’s soon going to be a complete transformation of themselves and those whom they love. 

That body sown in weakness is going to be raised in might. 

A glory is going to be shown not to them, it’s going to be revealed in them. 

They are going to glorified together with Christ in just a few more years. 

Can you imagine that day? 

An old missionary to Peru named Michael Smith died seven weeks ago. 

He kept hiking into remote villages on narrow jungle trails visiting scattered groups of Christians when he was in his eighties. 

At the end of the summer he was told that he was in a terminal condition. 

An old friend said to him, “Michael, you’ve climbed many mountains in your life and now you have to climb the highest one of all.” 

“Yes, I’ve often thought of it like that,” he replied, “and the best part of climbing a mountain is the view from the top.” 

That is the Christian hope.

Alfred Place Baptist Church 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Danger of the Double-Ambush.


The devil sets up a small temptation and you overcome it easily.
Thinking that you are now spiritually powerful, you continue on your journey of faith without putting on the Armor of God.
You take pride in the fact that you have just overcome an ambush.
While you are bragging about it, you are actually walking into the real ambush designed just for you.
Then without warning, you step into the zone of the devil's second ambush.
It looks similar to the first ambush but its intensity is 100 times stronger than the former.
You got hit and down you go!
Your pride, lack of alertness and spiritual preparation have led you to your downfall.
Be careful and always watch out for the double-ambush.
Albert Kang

Friday, August 19, 2016

Self-centeredness Destroys Relationships


Self-centeredness is a sad thing. It is the basis for many relational problems. Generally, everybody needs acceptance. And that can only happen when the person is recognized and appreciated for his character, personality, gifting and contribution in a relationship or society. When a person's contribution is not recognized and appreciated, something dies in that person. 

The desire to be appreciated may lead to a form of distorted appreciation that is self-focused. That is to recognize only one's own efforts and contributions and totally forget about what other party or parties have contributed. 

For example, in a relationship such as a marriage, trouble begins when the couple refuses to recognize the contributions that each has brought to the relationship. 

Many a time, one spouse may become totally blind to what the other spouse is contributing to the marriage and begins to make unrealistic demands. The regular quarrels are mostly which person contributes the least and wastes the most. 

For example, in one counseling session concerning a marital dispute, after spending time counseling a man, I asked him to wait outside while I talked to his wife. The wife walked in and even before she sat down, she shot me the question, "What lies did my husband told you?" 

What this lady did not realize was that her husband was extremely honest about his own short comings and mistakes that he had made. In short, he confessed that he needed help so that he could be a better spouse. When I asked the lady to evaluate her own short comings, she could only name one. She said, "My mistake is that I choose to marry him." 

She felt that she had done no wrong and therefore was not to be responsible for the conflicts in their marriage. Every problem arose because of "his anger management problem" and "his pride" and "his side of the family".  In fact, she shared lavishly about all the sacrifices she had made such as taking care of her mother-in-law by bringing the elderly lady shopping once a while. One of her sacrifices was to avoid prolonging the quarrel by going back to her parents' home. She was tired of the "cold war" but she claimed that God had given her to patience to overcome. 

The couple had no children and so the lady, as a homemaker, spent a lot of time looking after her six cats. She spent lots of money and time grooming them, feeding them special food, and taking them for competitions. In fact, her cats won many prizes which she proudly showed some photos with her mobile phone.

This lady did admit that she neither cooked, washed or ironed for the husband. She claimed that she had to take care of her cats and so she had no time to take care of her husband. She justified, "Anyway, he is a grown man and should be able to take care of himself." 

This lady went on to describe, unlike her commitment to the Lord, her husband was a spiritual slob. He did not read the bible regularly, disliked praying and serving God. A few times, I heard the word, "hypocrite" being repeated while she painted a very negative picture of the man she married.

The husband had his mistake too. He retaliated by working and staying late in the office. Even though he served in a church and headed up some committees, his life was a mess. He admitted that he had anger-management problem and suffered lots of inner hurts since childhood. He had an intense hatred for his mother and siblings. His whole desire to achieve success was to "show them who he really was"

Because of his arrogant nature, this man had few friends. During the counseling, he revealed great pride in his professional achievement and social status. He felt that he was highly intelligent and that his wife was absolutely "brainless". He could see nothing good in her, except that she was good at spending his money and nagging at him. He wanted to leave her on many occasions but his church elders had counseled him against it.

The wife was more religious and knew how to talk the "Christian" way. She sounded like a Christian alright but from what she had revealed, she was full of deep-seeded unforgiveness, bitterness and self-righteousness. She had done"absolutely no wrong" in this marriage and proudly proclaimed that she was the ideal wife. All the faults and problems that caused the marriage to deteriorate were caused by her "stupid" husband. She did not believe in divorce and so she lamented that her husband was God's "thorn in the flesh" for her. She said that she would "bravely endure this miserable life until God changes my husband".

I really like to say that this couple resolved their problems and learned to love each other. The truth is that the man left his church after he was caught having an extramarital relationship with someone. He filed for a divorce with his wife and after two years, remarried.

The "righteous" wife had lost financial support and so is now back in the work force, serving as an administrative assistant in a small company. She lives with her aging parents and her cats, continues to attend church and is not looking for another husband. 

Self-centeredness has its foundation on pride in oneself rather than honoring God and others. Even if a person were to repent, he (or she) has to ask whether he is repenting because of his own guilt alone or he is repenting because of his love for God. If the the ultimate goal of repentance is to rid oneself of the feelings of guilt, then it is definitely not true repentance. If God, is not the center of the person's motivation to repent, then once again it is a self-centered rather than God-centered decision and action.

Many couples do not realize that the solution to their marital woes lies with their relationship with God. There is of course a great difference between the Pharisaic relationship with God and that of Christ and His disciples. Here are some pointers that may help us understand how our relationship is with God and whether we 

He is more troubled by how he feels than what he’s done.
He returns to the sin as soon as the guilt leaves.
He is unwilling to change other sinful desires and actions; he only cares to reform the desire or action that is causing the guilt. Again, his main concern is getting rid of the guilt, not becoming more Christlike overall.
He is not primarily concerned with being totally reconciled to God. He is only concerned with getting rid of his feelings of guilt.