11. Dear Mr. Butindaro …. I want to ask you a question. I hope you will give me an exhaustive answer. I have attended several worship services in a free Pentecostal Church, and I have noticed something which I have not understood well: at a certain point many (not to say all) begin to speak in other tongues, but no one interprets what is spoken in other tongues. My question is this, ‘Is this not a wrong behaviour according to what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28 (NKJV): “If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God”?’ Furthermore, consider that those I heard speaking in tongues were not 2 or 3, but the whole assembly, that is, 100-150 persons at the same time. What answer can you give me?




Here is my answer. Yes, in the light of what the Scripture teaches, the behaviour you have eye witnessed several times is wrong. For the Scripture says: “If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God” (1 Corinthians 14:27-28 – NKJV).

First of all, I would like you to notice that if in a Church there are believers who speak in other tongues, not all of them are allowed (either together at the same time or one at a time) to speak in tongues with a loud voice in order to draw the attention of those who are present, but only two or at the most three. And secondly, notice that those who are allowed to speak in tongues, must speak one at a time and not at the same time. Therefore, even if only two or three speak in tongues with a loud voice at the same time, what they do is not in accordance with the Word of God, and consequently it must be rejected. Thirdly, notice that what was spoken in other tongues must be interpreted by one who has the gift of interpretation of tongues (therefore it is unacceptable that two or three or more people interpret what was said in tongues), but if there is no one who is able by the Spirit to interpret, then they must keep silent in the church and speak to themselves and to God (therefore, they can continue to speak – even in another tongue – but only in a low voice).

In the light of these orders given by the apostle Paul, therefore, if all the believers assembled together speak in tongues – no matter how beautiful it may appear – they don’t act rightly, and this is confirmed by Paul himself when he asks the Corinthians the following questions: “Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” (1 Corinthians 14:23 – NKJV). This is why, therefore, Paul exhorts believers not to speak in tongues all together: because if unbelievers or those who are uninformed come in, they will look upon us as people who are out of their mind. Therefore, it is a matter of decorum and order.

I conclude by pointing out to you that the custom of speaking in tongues all together at the same time, when the whole church comes together in one place, is widespread not only among the Free Pentecostal Churches but also among those Pentecostal Churches who are not called or don’t call themselves in this way (that is, Assemblies of God Churches, Elim Churches, Foursquare Gospel Churches, etc..). Unfortunately this wrong custom is very widespread among Pentecostals, and it is censured by those believers who are not Pentecostals. They refute it by saying that such a practice is contrary to the Scripture, and they are right in saying this. However, some of them say also that such a practice shows that speaking in tongues which is among Pentecostals is not of God! I disagree with them on this because, as I say always, Paul did not question the genuineness of the speaking in tongues among the saints at Corinth, even though they did not conduct themselves in the right way concerning speaking in tongues. He rebuked them, he corrected them, but he did not say that their ‘tongues were of the devil’.

Therefore, even though very often during Pentecostal meetings the above mentioned commandments of God concerning speaking in tongues are not observed, I exhort you not to think nor to say that tongues among Pentecostals are of the devil.