Discourse 76 – Distinguishing the spirits.




The roots of the Charismatic movement. / Lecture, Helmut Haasis 00, 2004-03-13

Is the spirit of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements a false spirit? / Lecture, Helmut Haasis 01, 2004-03-13

Report from the Charismatic camp / Elisabeth. / Information service TOPIC 00, 2004-07-28

God is not pragmatic - Congregation Marketing. / Book Wilfried Plock, 2005-05-13

Report on the Charismatic camp / Joachim. / Information Service TOPIC 01, 2004-07-28

Distinguishing the spirits.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

The Berlin Declaration.


The Charismatic and Pentecostal movements are at present being subjected to a battery of criticism in Evangelical circles - not least because of their having been officially authorized by the Catholic church. Helmut Haasis documents the support given to the Charismatic camp by the Catholic Church in his lecture “Die Ausbreitung des Pfingstgeistes” [“The spread of the Pentecostal spirit”], in the following terms:

“The Catholic initiator was the Pope, who at Pentecost 1998 called a great many Catholic movements together on St. Peter’s Square and spoke to them about the Holy Spirit. Addressing an audience of 500,000, Pope John Paul II said, “Do not forget that every charism is given for the benefit of the whole church… I would like to call on all men and women to open themselves to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Accept thankfully the charisms that the Holy Spirit continually bestows on you… Such movements are the response of the Holy Spirit to the dramatic challenge of our times” (sc. of secularization). So much for the Pope’s words.”


(See also Discourse 70: “The spread of the Pentecostal spirit.”)

Interesting and revealing as this invitation of the Pope to the Charismatic movement may be, in this discussion it should not divert attention from the actual topic at issue, which is the question how far the Pentecostal spirit disseminated through the Charismatic movement is identical with the Holy Spirit of the Bible. While it has been claimed on repeated occasions that the “Pentecostal spirit” of the Charismatics is a false spirit, a pertinent argument to this effect based on Scripture is rarely brought forward. In our evaluation of the Holy Spirit, however, we are warned by Scripture that we must proceed with special care. In Mt 12,31-32 the Lord tells us that any sin and blasphemy will be forgiven by God, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable.

Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him.

Mt 12,31 "Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 12,32 "Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. Mt 12,31-32;


Scriptural commentators often shy away from the interpretation of this passage, and some Christian brothers and sisters feel threatened by it, or at least question the sense of it with some discomfort, because they are not quite clear about the true significance of the statement. But what the Lord means by “blasphemy against the Spirit” is plain to be seen if we look at other passages in Scripture.

Because they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit".

Mk 3,20 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 3,21 When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses." 3,22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons." 3,23 And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 3,24 "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 3,25 "If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 3,26 "If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 3,27 "But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.

3,28 "Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 3,29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin"- 3,30 because they were saying, "He has an unclean spirit." Mk 3,20-30;


(See also Discourse 64: “What is the sin against the Holy Spirit?”)

Going by what the Lord tells us here, this unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit is found when the actions of the Spirit of God are judged to be a manifestation of the evil one - or, for that matter, vice versa. And that, now, is precisely the risk we run in this discussion of the Pentecostal spirit. The one side - namely, the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements - claims that the spirit that manifests in their ranks is the Spirit of God, without any attempt to test or demonstrate this on the basis of Scripture. The other side - made up for the most part of Evangelicals - contradicts their claim, and opines that we here have to do with an unclean spirit, likewise without any kind of convincing scriptural examination. So we need some criteria for evaluation, which might enable us to recognize an unclean spirit.

In the above passage (Mk 3,23-27) the Lord Jesus tries to refute the assertion that he casts out demons with the help of the ruler of the demons on the basis of logical argument, by putting the question “How can Satan cast out Satan?” This argument was doubtless easy enough for his hearers to understand. Today we have the problem that the medical science of today does not recognize “possession” as a form of mental illness at all. Based on the symptoms, possession lends itself most readily to being explained as schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is the splitting of the personality into several components, provided the possibility can be excluded that the individual’s questionable behavior is attributable to an organic mental disturbance. These, then, are not organically sick (mentally sick) individuals, nor are they possessed by fixed ideas or subject to compulsion to carry out certain activities (compulsive neurosis), they are purely and simply people in whose mind two or more personalities coexist, and regularly manifest themselves to the outside world (as in the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde syndrome).

So there are people, for instance, who suddenly and without any visible transitional phase start to utter vulgar and filthy swearwords - to return to perfectly normal discourse 5 or 6 seconds later and continue with the sentence that they have just interrupted. And there are others who combine as many as five different personalities in one consciousness, and whose entire behavior - language, facial expressions, physical posture - is completely different depending on which of these personalities happens to be uppermost. Although this condition has long been known and studied, it has not been possible hitherto to identify the root cause of schizophrenia: “There is no generally accepted root cause of schizophrenia, though there are many theories… The sad truth is that we do not know what causes schizophrenia, nor do we even know what schizophrenia actually is.” (Edward Drummond, M.D., Associate Medical Director at Seacoast Mental Health Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in his book “The Complete Guide to Psychiatric Drugs”, New York, 2000.)

But since this spiritual affliction is not recognized as possession, naturally enough no endeavor is made to treat it in an appropriate way through the prayers of believers, as was the customary practice in the early Christian congregations (not exorcism!! - this would be the area in which the Catholic church operates, and in view of what the Lord tells us in Mk 3,23, it is hardly likely to be successful). Today the demons are for the most part ‘cast out’ by medicine, by stuffing the possessed, as people who are mentally ill, with psychiatric drugs until a point is reached where it becomes too much even for the demon, who takes flight and leaves the field vacant. Less serious cases on the other hand, in spite of their conspicuously abnormal behavior, are not even classified as psychically disturbed, and often go on to have an artistic career and make a lot of money in literature, painting, sculpture or as a pop idol.

But there are also stubborn demons who are less cooperative and are not so easily driven out. In the lifetime of the Lord even the disciples had painful experience of this.

I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.

Mt 17,14 When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 17,15 "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 17,16 "I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him." 17,17 And Jesus answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me." 17,18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. Mt 17,14-18;


Today as well, as has been sufficiently demonstrated, there are demons - unclean spirits - among us. But unfortunately we do not have the Lord’s authority to enable us to decide at a glance what is the Holy Spirit and what is an unclean spirit. So to avoid falling into the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit, we need scripturally based, reliable and practical methods which will offer us the possibility of distinguishing the false spirits from the Spirit of God in the congregations. As the background to such manifestations of false spirits is particularly important for our theme, we would like here, by way of an introduction, to quote once more an extract from Helmut Haasis’ lecture, already cited in Discourse 70. This contains a number of interesting indications both of the origins of the Charismatic movement and of Charismatic teaching.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The Roots of the Charismatic Movement. / Lecture HH 00, 2004-3-13+))

It is an uncontested fact that the Charismatic Movement forms part of the Pentecostal Movement. We find clear documentation of this in the Charismatic Movement’s writings. Members of the Pentecostal Movement are those individuals who feel at home in the classic Pentecostalist congregations. These congregations have come into being through the explosion of the Pentecostal Movement in the years since 1906. Members of the Charismatic Movement, on the other hand, are those individuals who, having had similar spiritual experiences, have deliberately remained in the official Protestant (or even in the Catholic) church in order to live out what they are convinced is the work of the Holy Spirit in them. But this causes us to raise the question of the identity of the spirit we here have to do with.

Are all the phenomena - visions, appearances, speaking in tongues and prophecy - that occur in the Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements really and undoubtedly the effect of the Holy Spirit? The answer must be a resounding No. This is because, in most cases up to the mid-Nineties, it is possible to trace where someone has received a particular extra gift and the spirit that goes with it. Many charismatics say quite openly - and I have experienced this in Bremen - where it was that they, as already believing Christians, received additional gifts (like speaking in tongues or other associated gifts) - namely, through the laying on of hands or personal contact in religious services or in Christian groups that were focused on the achievement of such effects. We plainly have to do here with a spirit that is transmitted. A spirit like this was brought to Kassel in 1907 by two Norwegian ladies, Dagmar Gregersen and Agnes Teile, and subsequently spread in the congregations of the Pentecostal Movement.

+) This extract has been taken from a lecture by Helmut Haasis, delivered at the Spring Conference of the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bekennende Gemeinde” [“Confessing Congregation Working Group” in association with the 85th Bünde Conference of 12-14 March 2004 in Bünde-Hüffen.



These statements are very clear. All the same, if we take an objective point of view we have to comment that neither the “Berlin Declaration” cited by Mr Haasis in his lecture, nor the impressive report based on direct experience of the Charismatic camp - see below - gives us any help towards a scripturally based examination of this phenomenon.

For instance, when in the above extract from this lecture the transmission of the false spirit by the laying on of hands or through personal contact is referred to -

“Many charismatics say quite openly - and I have experienced this in Bremen - where it was that they, as already believing Christians, received additional gifts (like speaking in tongues or other associated gifts) - namely, through the laying on of hands or personal contact in religious services or in Christian groups that were focused on the achievement of such effects. ”


- it is of course the case that we can also find reports in Scripture relating to the early Christian congregations where such gifts as the gift of tongues and healing of the sick through the laying on the hands are fully documented as having been present among the brethren. And the Lord Jesus made the same promise to those disciples whom he sent out to preach the gospel:

In My name they will speak with new tongues, they will lay hands on the sick.

Mk 16,15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16,16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 16,17 "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;16,18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." 16,19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 16,20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Mk 16,15-20;


But this means that the fact that “believing Christians” have received “additional gifts like that of speaking in tongues, or others have received additional gifts through the laying on of hands” does not yet constitute a proof that these are gifts of the false spirit - unless at least we take the view, widely represented in Evangelical circles, that according to Paul’s statements in 1Cor 13,8 these gifts have already been abolished, so that Scripture tells us that they no longer exist at all.

If there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.

1Cor 13,8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 13,9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 13,10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

13,11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 13,12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1Cor 13, 8-12;


But the idea that Paul is here announcing the end of spiritual gifts in his own lifetime, so that today we have long been barred from practicing either speaking in tongues or the laying on of hands, fails to do justice to the context of this statement. Paul here is not speaking of the fact that these gifts will cease at an early stage; rather he says that they will only cease “when the perfect comes”. This means that these gifts are to be abolished so as to make room for the perfect, when we will see “face to face” (Gen 32:31; Ex 33:11; Deut 34:10). And you can twist and turn this whatever way you like, it remains true that we will only see face to face when the perfect comes - which is to say, on the Second Coming of the Lord. Until that time, then, Scripture tells us that all those gifts of the Spirit which the Lord promised to the first disciples will still continue in being.

(See also Discourse 73: “Did the Lords command to preach the gospel in Mk 16 only apply to the 11 apostles?”)

And even if Mr Haasis now seeks to characterize the Pentecostal spirit as a “spirit of transmission”, his opponents who are familiar with the Bible could also show him that the Holy Spirit too, according to Scripture, is “transmitted” by the laying on of hands.

Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit!

Acts 8,14 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 8,15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 8,16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 8,17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit. Acts 8,14-17;

So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands…

Acts 9,17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 9,18 and immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; Acts 9,17-18;

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them.

Acts 19,3 And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John’s baptism." 19,4 Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 19,5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 19,6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 19,7 There were in all about twelve men. Acts 19, 3- 7;


But perhaps what Mr Haasis means here is to point to the fact that according to Scripture the Spirit of God is poured out by God himself, directly from heaven onto human beings, and is not transmitted from one individual to another - even if the laying on of hands does take place.

How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

Lk 11,9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 11,10 "For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. 11,11 "Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? 11,12 "Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? 11,13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" Lk 11, 9-13;


(See also Discourse 51: “The reception of the Holy Spirit - how does it happen?”)

Now we often find the counterargument issuing from Charismatic circles that Lk 11,10 explicitly states that “Everyone who asks, receives”. There is nothing said here about our having to do anything special on our own account in order to be blessed by the Holy Spirit. We only have to request it of the Father. But this very statement also involves an important consequence: if we ask the Father in this way, then we must be children. We must be children of this God whom we call Father. But this implies that we must be believers. No unbeliever will be accepted by God as his child, and so also no unbeliever would ever receive the true Holy Spirit from God.

So we can exclude the possibility of unbelievers receiving the Holy Spirit. Anyone who refuses to recognize Jesus Christ as his Lord and only Savior can never have the Holy Spirit. But now, if someone comes and tells us that he is a believer and has received the Holy Spirit, and apparently gives evidence of this by speaking in tongues, how are we then to recognize whether he has the true or the false spirit? - when, what is more, Paul says (in 1Cor 12,7) “To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”. How did the signatories of the Berlin Declaration, for instance, manage to make this distinction?


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Is the spirit of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements a false spirit? / Lecture HH 01, 2004-3-13+))

In this context we would state it as definite that the separation called for by the Berlin Declaration is a separation for which there are good spiritual reasons. The Berlin Declaration still refers to those brothers and sisters who are under the influence of the Pentecostal spirit as brothers and sisters. It is not as if the attempt were being made to deny a person’s faith. But the matter of real importance here is that people should be warned about this false spirit, because this spirit can lead people away from Jesus Christ. That is why the brethren who issued a warning against the Pentecostal Movement in the Berlin Declaration of 1909 wrote as follows: “Do not get involved with this movement.”

This declaration was a joint statement at the time, emanating from the leading representatives of the congregations of the German Protestant Alliance and of the Gnadauer Verband [Gnadau Association]. And here we have to emphasize the words “at the time”. The separation called for by the declaration was the result of an intensive testing of the spirits, in what was a desperate struggle to arrive at the truth. This was a painful process, and it is just as painful to have to warn people the whole time against events like the ‘Jesus House’, the ‘Christival’, Jesus Day, the Gemeindeferienfestival Spring [Congregational Spring Holiday Festival] or against cooperating with these brethren in any way at all. Painful at first glance, that is; but when we know what ties might otherwise result, we can accept the consequences. A warning just has to be issued! For this whole development, taken all in all, amounts to seduction: the influence of the Pentecostal spirit does not bring about any kind of spiritual unity in the truth of Jesus Christ. Instead, the individual comes under the influence of a false spirit, a spirit from below, who comes in a guise of piety (vide Mt 4,3-10!) but leads him away from Our Lord Jesus Christ - in other words, the aim is to take him into the darkness. And this can be recognized when we look at the fruits of this spirit.

+) This extract has been taken from a lecture by Helmut Haasis, delivered at the Spring Conference of the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bekennende Gemeinde” [“Confessing Congregation Working Group”] in association with the 85th Bünde Conference of 12-14 March 2004 in Bünde-Hüffen.



If, with Mr Haasis and the signatories of the Berlin Declaration, we brand the spirit of the Charismatic movement as a false spirit, we must also be aware of the consequences of such a judgment. As already indicated above, in view of the Lord’s warning conveyed in Mt 12,31-32 we would be making ourselves guilty of the sin against the Holy Spirit, resulting in our eternal damnation, if this spirit then should prove really to be the Spirit of God. On the other hand the same scriptural passage permits us to conclude that those who claim that the spirit of the Charismatic movement is the Holy Spirit would fall under the same condemnation, if it were really to be a false spirit.

In view of the fact that plainly here each party is denying the other its chance of eternal life, that is to say of salvation in Our Lord Jesus Christ - and is even, based on Scripture, compelled to this denial - and goes so far as to consign its opposite numbers to eternal perdition, we are objectively forced to conclude that the term “brothers” (as Mr Haasis and the signatories of the Berlin Declaration would like to use it) is no longer in any way appropriate. Anyone who designates a false spirit as the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit as a false spirit, can no longer be a brother in the Christian sense of that word - whichever side this should prove to apply to. If we are reluctant to draw this logical conclusion, we align ourselves with the ranks of those who mislead with the most pious of intentions, and we can hardly be surprised if we then find that our congregations remain in the dark on this crucial point.

So it would be extremely helpful to know what biblical foundations this “intensive testing of the spirits” was based on at the time, and what scriptural proofs provided support for this “quite portentous struggle to arrive at the truth”. But alas, we do not learn this either from the Berlin Declaration or from Mr Haasis. And as a result we find ourselves, when faced with this argument, on the same level as the Charismatic movement. Both sides assert that the other side is in error, but they themselves fail to advance any kind of scriptural proof in confirmation of their statements.

We would therefore like here to make the attempt - in spite of the unquestionable difficulty involved - to make up for this lack, and to examine those statements in Scripture which might confirm the assertions of the one or the other side. Seeing that the speaking in tongues that is common in the Charismatic movement is the target - not the only target, but a major target - of the criticism coming from the Evangelical camp, we would like just to take a look at those statements found in Scripture that refer to this gift of the Spirit. And here the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians can again help us out. As we are given to understand by the following scriptural passages, speaking in tongues - by contrast with inspired utterance or prophecy - is not a spiritual gift that is meant to be used for the congregation and for the benefit of the faithful: rather it is a sign to unbelievers.

So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers.

1Cor 14,19 However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. 14,20 Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. 14,21 In the Law it is written, "by men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to me," says the Lord. 14,22 So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe. 14,23 Therefore if the whole church assembles together and all speak in tongues, and ungifted men or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are mad? 14,24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 14,25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you. 1Cor 14,19-25;


Superficially viewed, the above statement of Paul’s in 1Cor 14,22 that “tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers” would seem to be an indication that speaking in tongues is a particularly suitable tool for the conversion of unbelievers, and so for evangelization.

But here appearances are deceptive. In the verse before this, 1Cor 14,21, Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah, who tells us:

He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue.

Isa 28,9 "To whom would He teach knowledge, And to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? 28,10 "For He says, ‘Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’" 28,11 Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, 28,12 He who said to them, "Here is rest, give rest to the weary," And, "Here is repose," but they would not listen. 28,13 So the word of the LORD to them will be, "zaw la zaw, zaw la zaw, kaw la kaw, kaw la ka." That they may go and stumble backward, be broken, snared and taken captive. Isa 28, 9-13;


As we can see from the context of this passage, Isaiah is speaking here of the people of Israel. They have not been willing to listen to the prophets of God, who summoned them to conversion to their God, speaking in their own tongue; and now, on the coming of the Messiah, the announcement of salvation through grace will be addressed to them in a foreign tongue, which they will then no longer be able to understand. So when Paul quotes these words in the above passage (1Cor 14,21), he is plainly referring to the unbelieving Jews in the Christian congregation, and prophetically declaring that this prophecy of Isaiah’s has now been fulfilled in them. Because they have resisted their God and all his prophets for a period of many centuries, they now can no longer understand the message of salvation through grace. In the light of these statements of Paul’s, then, speaking in tongues in the congregation is a sign of perdition for the unbelievers, who are unable to understand it. Together with what is stated in 1Cor 14,23, this shows that according to Scripture speaking in tongues is anything but a tool of evangelization.

Based on this analysis, we can now also define the term ‘sign’ in 1Cor 14,22 - which has been repeatedly subject to misinterpretation - with a fair degree of accuracy. Paul’s formulation - “So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers” -points to a sign of God for the unbelievers in the apostate people of Israel - only for them, and not for the faithful! - so that they may see that God has now finally bereft them of understanding. The same applies to the second part of the statement: “but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe”. Here too the circumstance that people may feel personally convicted by a prophecy, as described in 1Cor 14,24-25, and may repent and give glory to God, is a sign for the faithful that God is among them, as Christian believers, and is acting on those unbelievers who are ready to be converted.

Then Paul also writes in the passage below (1Cor 14,2): “One who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men, but to God; for no one understands”. This once again confirms the conclusion we have already come to, that speaking in tongues cannot be a tool for evangelization. But it is also the crucial point in this entire discussion of this particular gift of the spirit. For it has been a common experience, in many parts of the world, that pompous idiots, impostors and charlatans take advantage of the fact that speaking in tongues is incomprehensible to most members of the congregation, and so seek to make a name for themselves in certain circles by rattling off all kinds of meaningless babble and then claiming that it is the gift of tongues, thus demonstrating that they have received the Holy Spirit.

For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands.

1Cor 14,1 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 14,2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 14,3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.14,4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church.14,5 Now I wish that you all spoke in tongues, but even more that you would prophesy; and greater is one who prophesies than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying. 14,6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking in tongues, what will I profit you unless I speak to you either by way of revelation or of knowledge or of prophecy or of teaching? 1Cor 14, 1- 6;


While Paul here unambiguously states that not speaking in tongues, but prophecy or inspired utterance is the gift of the Spirit that should be aspired to, he also gives us to understand that in the congregation speaking in tongues stands for self-edification, and so represents a kind of egotism. In 1Cor 14,4 he says “One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church”. And in verse 5 he adds, “unless he interprets, so that the church may receive edifying”. And this now gives us an important touchstone which would seem to be suitable for the testing of speaking in tongues in the congregation. Anyone who speaks in tongues in public - in the congregation, that is - should also be able to interpret his utterances himself.

Unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.

1Cor 14,9 So also you, unless you utter by the tongue speech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 14,10 There are, perhaps, a great many kinds of languages in the world, and no kind is without meaning. 14,11 If then I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be to the one who speaks a barbarian, and the one who speaks will be a barbarian to me. 14,12 So also you, since you are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek to abound for the edification of the church. 14,13 Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 1Cor 14, 9-13;


But if the speaker in tongues is not capable of interpreting his own utterance, then the question should be put to the assembly whether there is someone there who can interpret it. If an interpreter is found, then two or three - in succession - should speak in tongues, and the interpreter should explain the meaning. But if there is no interpreter present, then speakers in tongues should be silent while they are in the congregation.

If there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.

1Cor 14,26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 14,27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; 14,28 but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. 1Cor 14,26-28;


These fundamental rules for speaking in tongues, laid down by Paul in the above passages, are however hardly observed in the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements. As the following extract from Joachim’s report (quoted in full below) about his “baptism in the Spirit” by the Charismatic Olli (Reiner) Ewers shows, for the Charismatics speaking in tongues is not a “speaking to God” in which the speaker in tongues “speaks in the Spirit of mysteries”, as Paul explains the matter in 1Cor 14,2 - instead, they use it as a basis for their most spectacular stage presentations.

“The closer Olli approached me, the greater became my inner tension. I heard him repeatedly praying in tongues in short bursts as he laid his hands on me, while he kept saying ‘Reason must go!’ He also kept on regularly snapping his fingers, as if this was all a part of it… With me too, Olli prayed in tongues briefly. He put his hand on the upper part of my forehead and enjoined me as well that reason must depart… Suddenly I felt myself tipping backward as if I had become weightless.”


In an inversion of Paul’s statements, formulated for us in 1Cor 14,2 as follows:

1Cor 14.2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

- the Charismatics plainly do not speak to God, but only so that people will hear and marvel at them, and so that they may make these same people pliable for the ensuing “baptism in the Spirit”. This manner of proceeding is thus patently unbiblical. According to Scripture, speaking in tongues is not a magic formula with the help of which one may have an influence on other people in faith spectaculars, but rather a wholly personal discourse of a believer with his God, which should be restricted as far as possible to the intimacy of private prayer. As a fundamental biblical principle, then, Paul’s injunction in 1Cor 14,13.28 should be observed:

Therefore let one who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.
But if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God
.

So if a person is unable to interpret his speaking in tongues himself, and no one else is able to do it either, then speaking in tongues should not form part of the agenda, and the speaker in tongues should keep his utterances to himself.

As this analysis demonstrates, speaking in tongues as practiced by the Charismatics is in contradiction, in terms both of form and of content, with the biblical statements made by Paul in 1Cor 14. We must therefore conclude that here it is not a case of true biblical speaking in tongues, and so it is certainly not the true Holy Spirit that is being poured out here either. This is already a very bad business as it stands. But even more problematic - and more dangerous - are cases of demonic possession, of which we have had various accounts. Here we have, for instance, the reports of Elisabeth and Joachim (not their real names) about their experiences in the Charismatic camp.


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Report from the Charismatic camp / Information Service TOPIC 00, 2004-07-28 +))

Elisabeth is a person who since her conversion has experienced almost everything you can experience in eight years within the Charismatic movement. She has visited the famous Vineyard congregation - the Air­port Vineyard Fellowship in Toronto three times. This was the place from which, in the early nineties, the Toronto Blessing emanated, which had dramatic effects all over the world, supposedly through the action of the Holy Spirit - with people screaming, laughing, or falling to the ground cackling like hens. Elisabeth visited a charismatically oriented Tabernacle Festival in Jerusalem eight times, and was present at numerous events led by Walter Heidenreich, Christoph Häselbarth, Benny Hinn, Garry and Lilo Keller and Mahesh Chavda.

It was particularly through books that Elisabeth came to be curious about the Charismatic movement, and she wanted to have the opportunity of getting to know personally “the many shining stars in the great expansive Pentecostal heavens”, for as she says, “Our congregation just seemed to me too small.”

Elisabeth therefore began to attend major Charismatic events, for example the “Get Ready Get-Together” of the Freie Christliche Jugendgemeinschaft Lüdenscheid (FCJG) [Free Christian Youth Community of Lüdenscheid] led by the well-known Charismatic Walter Heidenreich. Heidenreich organized Charismatic happenings in the nineties for thousands of visitors at the Lüdenscheid Schützenhalle (now the FCJG has a hall of its own), at which well publicized international prophets, healers and star Charismatics appeared.

After an FCJG evening event where there was deafening rock music, Elisabeth recollects: “The following night I had dreadful dreams about Jesus, saw him first as a grotesque, then as a sexual pervert. I went on my knees in my hotel room and did penance weeping. It wasn’t me.” In spite of this experience Elisabeth kept on going to the Sauerland hamlet, and describes the conclusion of a Heidenreich appearance as follows: “On the last evening we were all standing on the chairs and tables, completely drunken with the Holy Spirit, and singing under Walter Heidenreich’s direction, ‘Drink, drink, brother drink’ and ‘Another one goes, another one goes in’ …[1] It could just as well have been the Munich Beer Festival.”

In Lüdenscheid Elisabeth happened to meet a woman who told her with enthusiasm about a fantastic baptism in the Spirit at the Jewish Tabernacle Festival of the Internationale Christliche Botschaft Jerusalem [International Christian Mission of Jerusalem]. It was a place, she said, where you could find the “umbilical cord from heaven and the entire fullness of blessing”. Elisabeth traveled to Israel, and did indeed experience the Charismatic baptism in the Spirit at a healing service given by the Indian Mahesh Chavda. “Chavda yelled out, ‘Who hasn’t been baptized in the Spirit yet?’ Somebody shoved me from behind. Now or never! So with many others, I went up to the front.

“Each person individually was given the laying on of hands. Those who did not fall over were breathed on as well. What I then experienced, lying on the floor, was in excess of anything I had ever known: feelings of love without end. I did not want to and actually couldn’t get up again. I was a different person. Now I knew Jesus as a lover as well. And from now on I could speak in tongues (glossolalia / ecstatic utterance), lay hands on others or breathe on them and they fell prostrate. Even healing was no longer a rarity. Now I was a ‘somebody’, I had gone up a notch on this hierarchic ladder.”

+) Taken from the Information Service TOPIC / Issued by: Ulrich Skambraks (Kreuztal bei Siegen).
See also the complete “Report on the Charismatic Camp.”)



If we wish to form a judgment on the situation, it would perhaps be as well to take a closer look at the person who reports these experiences. We learn from the original report that Elisabeth is 58 years old. So she has just a few years to go till retirement, and we might suppose that increasing age brings wisdom. We would be far wrong. We are then told that she had been converted - a statement that one cannot simply contradict out of hand when standing in the person’s presence, let alone in a situation, as here, where one is only acquainted with her by report. And then she writes that her congregation was “just too small” for her, and that she wanted to get to know personally “the many shining stars in the great expansive Pentecostal heavens”.

The fact that Elisabeth became aware of the Charismatic movement for the most part through books shows that she is a person who is open-minded and interested in self-development. It shows, too, that she was curious, and this is also a sign of intelligence. People without curiosity remain stuck in the narrow bounds of their experience, and cannot attain to new discoveries. So we have here to do with a person who would seem ideally suited, after having once experienced conversion, to further growth in the life of faith and to becoming a true child of God. So just what happened to make this woman deviate from the true path and come under the influence of the false spirit?

The statement that “It was particularly through books that Elisabeth came to be curious about the Charismatic movement” can undoubtedly give us some help in our endeavor to understand these unfortunate developments. The development of the spiritual knowledge of a believing Christian is comparable to the building of a house: if it is not established on a firm foundation, the next storm will make its walls collapse. And the higher the walls are, the greater will be the damage. So the book that we should read in the very first place after our conversion is the Bible. The Bible is not just the secure foundation of our faith, it is also the helmet of salvation and sword of the Spirit (Eph 6,17) against incorrect doctrine, and the breastplate against attacks of unclean spirits.

Now this is not to say that we should not read any other books at all. But we should avoid those books which are patently in opposition to the Spirit of God, because they concern themselves with esoterica, magic, supersensory events, witches and maguses and so on. But even writings on the subject of faith must be examined to see whether they are founded on the Bible or not. Any supposedly spiritual literature which does not contain the Christian doctrine of the Bible is detrimental when we embark on the life of faith. This includes of course all books about alien religions - especially those of the Far East - and also those developments in the extreme Christian fringes which have abandoned the path of proclaiming the Gospel as founded on Scripture, whether in sects like the Jehovah’s Witnesses or the Seventh Day Adventists, or even in the Catholic church (the Marian apparitions) and all the denominations that are melting into the latter under the auspices of the so-called ‘ecumenical’ movement.

Even in those writings that refer expressly to the biblical background - like the books about the Charismatic movement that Elisabeth mentions, for instance - and also in various texts put out in churches and congregations, it is unfortunately the case that we frequently find elaborations which over the years lose Scripture from view and attribute a dangerous importance to the Zeitgeist - the spirit of the times - and to other spirits as well. Before accepting such writings, it is up to the Christian reader first to check, on the basis of random sampling, to see whether these authors are building on sand or whether their edifice of faith has been erected on the firm foundation of the Word of God. And in this connection one of the most important features is whether the text quotes Scripture in support of its statements on the subject of faith.

Scriptural passages in a text are like a compass on the sea: the one tells us where the captain wants to take his ship, the other where the author is tending with his book. But just as it is not going to help the passengers if the Captain tells them that the compass points north-north-east or west-south-west, when they have no notion what is to be expected in the one or other direction, so it does not help the reader when the text only gives references to biblical passages, in the form of “Isa 45,13” and so on. Apart from those references which are inserted more or less as “decoration”, to raise the credit of the author, many writers assume that the reader is after all able to find the passage and read it in his own Bible. Unfortunately, in the first place the reality of the matter is very different: even with Christian readers, only very few of them will actually consult their Bible. And then too, the author’s making such a demand shows that he is not primarily concerned that the reader (who may not even be a Christian) should actually understand what he is saying.

Then there are some authors who actually do quote the text of the passage they refer to. And this of course is praiseworthy. Only if you then do, in spite of this, consult your Bible do you find that the verse has been ripped out of its context - as a result of which it then frequently acquires a completely different meaning, being dressed up to serve as a confirmation of the author’s own opinions. So it is extremely important to look up the quoted passage as well, and especially to examine the context, to see whether the verse quoted is actually the key point of the statement as a whole or whether it is just a more or less insignificant incidental remark, which on being taken out of context almost ceases to be biblical at all. A reassuring sign that the author is grounding his statements on the Bible is the inclusion of parallel biblical passages that direct the reader further. This moreover is a way of proving that the author is really anxious for the reader to understand his writings.

Just after a conversion, of course, one is hardly likely to be familiar with such matters. You become acquainted with them over the years, or sometimes over decades; so it is not surprising if at times you get onto the wrong path, or at least end up in a blind alley. But one thing that you absolutely must bear in mind, as a recently converted child of God, is this:

Take your faith seriously, and do not shy away from the effort which you can fully expect it to involve.

Those who offer a pleasant, a ‘cool’ path of faith with loads of fun and good times are in direct contradiction with the statements made in the Bible, and with the experience of every "born-again" Christian. Entering on the Christian faith is not a pleasure trip. It is hard work. First of all, in what concerns the individual directly: new points of view, new fundamentals, a new way of looking at the world. And then too in what relates to a person’s surrounding circumstances: new targets, new priorities and new friends. Anyone who is not prepared for such changes had better not embark on the path of faith in the Bible in the first place. He would go in by the wrong door, and come out by the wrong door! And if someone suggests that certain persons can only be drawn into the congregation and kept there by events, festivals, concerts and theatrical performances, he must also be aware that it is just people like this who are unprofitable or even damaging to the congregation. They are not on a spiritual wavelength, and if we adapt ourselves to their level, this is not going to help either them or us.

What it takes is strength, patience, constancy, self-discipline and loyalty - all qualities which today are unfortunately hardly even valued, and still more rarely met with in practice. But those individuals who have taken this to heart in the worldly sphere are among the richest and most successful people living in the world today - people like Bill Gates or Michael Schuhmacher. On the spiritual level it is much the same. Only here the reward is not material wealth, but spiritual power and joy in the Lord. Here it is a matter of biblical faith, not ‘penitential exercises’ such as those taught by the Catholic church, or martial techniques as practiced by the Shao Lin priests of the Far East - or even the speaking in tongues and laying on of hands of the Charismatics. The key event of biblical faith does not take place in public at all, but at the place where I can speak with God, who is Spirit, in the spirit and without distraction.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Jn 4,23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 4,24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.". Jn 4,23-24;


And this also seems to be the reason why many congregations are more and more coming to behave like purely worldly associations. They no longer teach the brethren the importance of personal dialog with God, of quiet private prayer. Instead, they pray in public - with their lips and not with the spirit. Their eyes, at the time, are focused on the new dress a neighbor’s wife is wearing, and their thoughts are already preoccupied with the next meal. And no one is even aware that to pray in this manner is an insult to God!

When you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret.

Mt 6,5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6,6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 6,7 "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 6,8 "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Mt 6, 5- 8;


More than the evangelization of the young people of the congregation, then, what we need is an evangelization addressed to its leaders. They are the ones, more often than not, who have lost their way, and who endeavor to lure our young people with false promises. They act like the managers of a company, concerned only to catch customers. They propagate seminars, festivals, concerts and any number of events. And all this for people who are not even conscious of their responsibility before God. Wilfried Plock has analyzed and commented on these tendencies in congregation leaders in his book “Gott ist nicht pragmatisch” [“God is not a Pragmatist”]. Here is a short extract from his assessment:


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(“Gott ist nicht pragmatisch” [“God is not pragmatic”] - congregation marketing / Book by Wilfried Plock, 2005-05-13 +))

In the first part of this book we defined pragmatism as a mode of thinking dependent on method. George Barna proves that this conceptual definition hits the nail on the head. Market research always sees the world from a definite angle. That is its strength, and at the same time its weakness. Marketing always starts from the careful analysis of the target group. After that it tries to sell the product as effectively as possible. Experts develop strategies. They make use of communication technologies. They search the market for available niches. They seek out the best marketing channels. All these are controlled processes. The market researches have got it all taped. After all, they call their approach ‘scientific’. With this corporate toolkit, Barna and his imitators now set about the matter of “building up the congregation”. First of all the target group is defined. These are the “unchurched” (estranged from the church), like Harry and Mary in Willow Creek or Sam and Samantha in Saddleback in the writings of Rick Warren (Leben mit Vision [Life with Vision]; note). Then carefully planned questionnaires are developed to discover what kind of ‘divine service’ the target group is fondest of. If people do not like organ music or choral singing, they will be offered a program of contemporary music. Because they have grown up in the age of the media, video clips and multimedia inserts will be included. In extreme cases these ‘Christian market researchers’ will adjust all the elements of the service - up to and including the color of the preacher’s tie - to the preferences of their imaginary target group. In this way, they suppose, they will find it easier to win converts for the Gospel.

+) This extract has been taken from the book by Wilfried Plock: “Gott ist nicht pragmatisch” [“God is not pragmatic”]



(See also the comments by Wilfried Plock on the book by Rick Warren currently popular in German-speaking circles “The Purpose driven chirch? - God is not pragmatic!


This concern lest the faithful be led astray by their own leaders is likewise voiced in the following statement by Archibald G. Brown, taken from the journal ‘Philadelphia Kreuz+Reich’ [‘Philadelphia Cross+Kingdom’] (www.philadelphia-verlag.com):

“In our day the concern that those who attend a service should be kept entertained is seen as a responsibility for the leaders of the congregation, one that is seen as being almost equally as important as a divine command. Entertainment events have been raised to an acknowledged strategy, an important area of work, in the struggle to promote the Gospel. But in parallel to this we can also trace a steady development in a downwards direction in our congregations. (…)

“The dependence on diversion that is becoming ever more widespread among the faithful is the devil’s halfway house. It brings about the downfall of the congregation of God, making it unprofitable for the service of the Lord. Under the covering mantle of Christianity, in reality it promotes the intents of Satan. And under the pretence of coming across better to the world, it actually smooths a path into the world for the feet of our sons and daughters. While it claims that it is winning over the world, it actually converts the vineyard of the lord into a public playground.

“Put an end to titillation! Wake up! Have no need for the applause of an audience! Rather pay heed to the sighing of the soul in those people whom the Spirit of God may have been able to convert by touching their conscience.”


Now if Elisabeth, in the report above, tells us of an “FCJG evening event where there was deafening rock music” and of the fearful dreams she had of Jesus in the night following, in which she saw the Lord “first as a grotesque, then as a sexual pervert”, there can be no doubt at all that here it was not the Holy Spirit but another, unclean spirit that was exercising its power. Likewise her statement - “On the last evening we were all standing on the chairs and tables, completely drunken with the Holy Spirit, and singing under Walter Heidenreich’s direction, ‘Drink, drink, brother drink’ and ‘Another one goes, another one goes in’ - is sufficient proof for any biblically sound Christian that the people there were not “completely drunken with the Holy Spirit” but rather in the clutches of devilish spirits and demons.



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Report on the Charismatic camp / Information Service TOPIC 01, 2004-07-28 +))

At an event held at the Freie Christliche Jugendgemeinschaft Lüdenscheid (FCJG) [Free Christian Youth Community of Lüdenscheid]) by the Charismatic Olli (Reiner) Ewers, Joachim was ready to receive the Baptism in the Spirit. Ewers moved along the ranks of the audience, and by the laying on of hands passed on supersensible effects of power, which made people fall to the ground. “The closer Olli approached me, the greater became my inner tension. I heard him repeatedly praying in tongues in short bursts as he laid his hands on, while he kept saying ‘Reason must go!’ He also kept on regularly snapping his fingers, as if this was all a part of it… With me too, Olli prayed in tongues briefly. He put his hand on the upper part of my forehead and enjoined me as well that reason must depart… Suddenly I felt myself tipping backward as if I had become weightless. I continued to be aware, inwardly, of all that was happening. I realized that I had fallen, and that people had caught me and laid me on the ground. But at the time of falling I had completely lost all sense of my own physical being. It was a kind of floating sensation.”

Two days after this experience, Joachim attended another FCJG event, at which the participants were invited to sing a song “in tongues”. “When the singing began, I experienced a sensation of movement in the larynx, such as I had never known before. I felt that I was actually being forced to raise my voice likewise. I opened my mouth, formed a sound and then it just took off of its own accord. Without having any further thought on the matter, I experienced how the spirit was making use of my vocal chords in order to form some sequence of sounds that was wholly foreign to me… And although I had no idea what I was uttering, at least I realized at that moment what had just happened: the gift of speaking in tongues had been awakened in me. So now I had the certainty that I had received the baptism in the Spirit, as it is taught in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles.”

But these experiences were not the end of it. On returning home, Joachim found to his horror that when he was in prayer phenomena occurred with which he was familiar from his former dabbling in esoterica: “One morning in my Quiet Time, I found the gentle rocking of my body that I regularly experienced when speaking in tongues suddenly change to a violent shaking. My arms, which I had extended in prayer to the sides above my head, now began to move powerfully back and forth, and the whole of my torso was suddenly subjected to vigorous agitation… the first time I had this experience of shaking was at an initiation ceremony on the first Reiki level. When I let myself be opened by the lady teacher to receive this energy, I really sensed a strange force entering my whole body and agitating it vigorously.” This Reiki shaking phenomenon recurred frequently, and only came to an end when Joachim, following his conversion, freed himself from it with a prayer. Now here it was again, and the young Christian wondered “whether the Holy Spirit would really be expected to manifest in just the same way as this Reiki spirit?”

+) Taken from the Information service TOPIC / issued by: Ulrich Skambraks (Kreuztal bei Siegen).
See also the complete “Report on the Charismatic camp.




With Joachim too, we would first like to consider what kind of a person he is. He is 32 years of age. So he is no longer an inexperienced youth, and at the time of these occurrences he must have been in possession of a certain capacity for judgment, at least in the context of worldly life. Before his conversion in 2001, he had been active for seven years in esoteric circles. As a Reiki disciple he received from a “lady teacher” the first Reiki degree in an initiation ceremony, at which “a strange force entered my whole body and agitated it vigorously”, as he describes it. After his conversion his curiosity was also awakened by “an exciting book” about the youth mission to drug addicts carried on by the FCJG in Lüdenscheid. And he also confesses: “As a result of what I experienced in Lüdenscheid, I was no longer able to accept the warnings I had from home.” These were the warnings of his brethren in the faith from his home town congregation of Baptists, who told him on no account to let hands be laid on him in Lüdenscheid. But he threw caution to the winds.

Finally his admission that after his ‘baptism in the Spirit’ at the FCJG the same unclean spirit of Reiki manifested itself in him that he thought he had banished forever through his conversion to the Christian faith and through the power of the Holy Spirit, is reminiscent of what our Lord tells us in Lk 11,24-26:

When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest.

Lk 11 24 "When the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 11,25 "And when it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. 11,26 "Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first." Lk 11,24-26;


And finally his question “whether the Holy Spirit would really be expected to manifest in just the same way as this Reiki spirit”, seen from a biblical point of view, allows of only two conclusions. Either his conversion was not a real conversion in the first place. This however seems to be contradicted by the fact that Joachim did, in the final resort - no doubt with true penitence and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit - return to the right path. Or else, on the other hand, the view of some brethren that on conversion the Christian believer receives the Holy Spirit once and for all, and in such a way that the Spirit will never again abandon him, has to be incorrect.

So it is clear from this account that Joachim was a converted and "born-again" Christian, certainly, but he was abandoned by the Holy Spirit. After his conversion Joachim continued to be interested in spiritualist rather than spiritual information, sought out contacts in keeping with this interest and even rejected the warnings of the brethren who were concerned about him with a reference to his “experiences in Lüdenscheid”. All these quite plainly amount to sins that the Spirit of God cannot abide, and can no longer support through his presence in the spirit of this person. As the Lord Jesus tells us below, in conclusion to the above account of the casting out of an evil spirit (Mt 17,19-20), we can cast out evil spirits by means of faith.

Why could we not drive it out? Because of the littleness of your faith.

Mt 17,19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" 17,20 And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. Mt 17, 19-20;


(See also Discourse 44: “Can faith move mountains?”)

And in the just the same way as it is possible to drive out evil spirits with a word of faith, so will such serious sins as those described by Joachim grieve the Holy Spirit in turn, so that he can no longer maintain his dwelling in this particular individual, but will abandon him.

Now this account of Joachim’s contains a very interesting statement. His report on the Charismatic Olli (Reiner) Ewers tells us: “I heard him repeatedly praying in tongues in short bursts as he laid his hands on me, while he kept saying ‘Reason must go!’” This leads us to suspect that the spirit that was here transmitted was actually a false spirit. As biblically established Christians, we know that our God is not a God of disorder, but a God of order and peace. If we have to switch off our reason to receive the Holy Spirit - which is our only protection against false spirits - we lose the possibility of a controlling examination, and have no idea what kind of spirit we are receiving. This seems to have nothing to do with order and peace, but rather with concealment and deceit. And John warns us of this in his first Epistle:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God

1Jn 4,1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1Jn 4, 1:


But how can we test the spirits when we are asked to switch off our reason? In a situation that is so delicate, seen from the standpoint of faith, only a wakeful and attentive reason will enable us to test the spirit that is being transmitted. If our reason is switched off here, it is hidden from our consciousness and we do not know what is happening to us. But the Lord Jesus has told us that he does not act in secret, but publicly and in such a way as to be understood by all.

I have spoken openly to the world. I spoke nothing in secret.

Jn 18,20 Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. Jn 18,20;


And what is more, this is the reason why he came into the world - to utter things that have been hidden since the foundation of the world.

I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.

Mt 13,34 All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable. 13,35 Ths was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world. Mt 13,34-35;


Now if the Son of God himself has come into the world to make known things that have been hidden, why should the Spirit of God have to hide himself in order to make his dwelling in us? And here we cannot avoid asking the question whether the spirit of the Charismatics really is the Holy Spirit? All the signs would seem to indicate that we here have to do with a false spirit, one that must switch off the individual’s reasoning powers so as to avoid being recognized before it has penetrated the person’s spirit.

Some Charismatics advance the argument that the apostle Paul himself offers confirmation of the Charismatics’ way of proceeding. On the one hand he explains to us in 1Cor 14,18 that he himself talks more in tongues than all the brethren in Corinth, but that he would rather speak five words with his rational mind than any amount in tongues. By implication this seems to confirm that in speaking with tongues the reason is switched off. On the other hand he also tells us quite specifically in 1Cor 14,14 that when speaking in tongues the reasoning power is “unfruitful” - that is to say, uninvolved.

I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.

1Cor 14,18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; 14,19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. 1Cor 14,18-19;

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

1Cor 14,14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 14,15 What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. 14,16 Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 14,17 For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. 1Cor 14,14-17;


The assurance in the following verse (1Cor 14,15) - “I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also” - after all merely confirms that there is prayer “with the spirit” and prayer “with the mind”. And this cannot but mean that when praying with the spirit the mind is switched off - otherwise you would not need to have prayer with the mind as a separate category. And the following comment, that the other members of the congregation will not be able to add their Amen to a discourse given in tongues, because they do not know what has been said, is repeated by Paul in 1Cor 14,2:

For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

1Cor 14,1 Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 14,2 For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 14,3 But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation. 14,4 One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. 1Cor 14, 1- 4;


This apparent contradiction, however - on the one hand “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits” (1Jn 4,1) and on the other “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful” (1Cor 14,14) - is not based in the Bible, but results from the arguments of the Charismatics. They quote the comments Paul made with reference to speaking in tongues (praying in the spirit), and apply them to their own practice of passing on the Spirit through the laying on of hands. These are two completely different situations, which cannot be compared with one another in any way. Even if Paul accepts speaking in tongues, and confirms that he speaks in tongues himself, he limits this to the context of private and personal prayer, and only allows it in the congregation when the speaking in tongues can also be interpreted - or translated:

-  One who speaks in a tongue edifies himself; but one who prophesies edifies the church. (1Cor 14,4)

-  Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only (speak in tongues), how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying?? (1Cor 14,16)

-  However, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. (1Cor 14,19)


Paul thus repeatedly indicates that speaking in tongues cannot be an end in itself, but should rather provide edification for the brethren in the congregation, and so requires to be translated or else, if this is not possible, should be omitted altogether. This is a biblical injunction which the Charismatics completely ignore. In the practice of many Charismatic and Pentecostalist congregations you will find the whole congregation speaking in tongues simultaneously - and of course an outside observer will not hear anything in this but an incomprehensible and deafening bibble-babble. Nor do the individual members of the congregation understand one another or have any idea what their neighbor is saying when he speaks in tongues. Well indeed, no one speaking in tongues even has any idea himself what words are coming out of him.

Distinguishing the spirits.

This, though, should not be allowed to disguise the fact that the general incomprehensibility of speaking in tongues, even as practiced by the biblical community in Corinth - as confirmed by Paul - has destroyed the foundations of one of the strongest arguments against this being the activity of unclean spirits. I refer to the deep conviction that “the holy and living God does not go by such detours or make use of language that cannot be understood, rather than sending his messages in a down to earth way in language that the hearers can understand” (Werner de Boor, Der erste Brief des Paulus an die Korinther [Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians], Wuppertaler Studienbibel [Wuppertal Study Bible]). But as we will see a little further on, the mistake involved in this view is not based on the calling in question of incomprehensible speaking in tongues as such - rather it lies in the presumption that this kind of speaking in tongues is a message from God. In fact it is not a message from God to human beings, but the other way around - it is a ‘message’ from human beings to God. A prayer, in other words. More specifically, a prayer uttered by the individual in his innermost spirit.

Now seeing that it is not possible to reject the Charismatic practice of speaking in tongues in view of its incomprehensibility, as Paul attests that in the biblical congregation in Corinth speaking in tongues was equally incomprehensible, we could still try to follow the advice of John, who urges us in his first Epistle to test the spirits:

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.

1Jn 4,1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 4,2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;

4,3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4,4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 4,5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.

4,6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1Jn 4, 1- 6;


Here John tells us that every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ, as God’s Son, has come in the flesh - that is to say, in human form - is from God. But if we test this indication in the light of statements made by Scripture, we will soon see that this possibility does not seem capable of helping us either. Even in the lifetime of our Lord - and so in John’s lifetime - there were spirits who confessed as much. The idea that they were from God, however, would seem to be refuted by the circumstance that the Lord cast them out from the people whom these spirits were inhabiting.

I know who You are-the Holy One of God!

Lk 4,31 And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; 4,32 and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority. 4,33 In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 4,34 "Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-the Holy One of God!" 4,35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm. 4,36 And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, "What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out." 4,37 And the report about Him was spreading into every locality in the surrounding district. Lk 4,31-37;

What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?

Lk 8,26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 8,27 And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs. 8,28 Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me." Lk 8,26-28;

For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice.

Acts 8,4 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 8,5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. 8,6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. 8,7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8,8 So there was much rejoicing in that city. Acts 8, 4- 8;

Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, "You are the Son of God.

Mk 3,11 Whenever the unclean spirits saw Him, they would fall down before Him and shout, "You are the Son of God!" 3,12 And He earnestly warned them not to tell who He was. Mk 3,11-12;

What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God??

Mk 5,6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 5,7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!" Mk 5, 6- 7;


The outpouring of the Holy Spirit

We would now like to let the results of the above analysis rest for the time being, and approach the problem from a different angle - by examining not the transmission of the false spirit, but the reception of the true spirit, the Holy Spirit, in the light of Scripture. And here of course our attention first falls on the events of Pentecost, where the disciples (now again numbering twelve) were filled with the Holy Spirit and for the first time began to speak in different tongues.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues.

Acts 2,1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2,2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 2,3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 2,4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 2,5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. 2,6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. 2,7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 2,8 "And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 2,9 "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 2,10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 2,11 Cretans and Arabs-we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God." 2,12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" 2,13 But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine." Acts 2, 1-13;


We learn here that on this occasion the disciples did not just speak in another language from their own (or tongue: the Greek word glossa covers both) - they were also understood by the foreign visitors who came hurrying to the spot, each in his or her own language. The attempt some commentators make to explain this peculiar circumstance - according to which each of the disciples apparently was indeed speaking in a different language - breaks down on the fact that we are given a listing here of some fifteen different languages and dialects (Acts 2,9-11) in which the disciples’ discourse was understood, while as we have pointed out, there were after all only twelve of them. But quite apart from this it is rather unlikely that every member of the audience of foreign extraction would have found himself standing right by that disciple who happened to be speaking his language.

It would appear then that the Holy Spirit filled not just the disciples but the audience as well, and functioned as a “translator” in the spirit of these individuals so as to make this miracle of hearing possible. Here of course the question suggests itself whether on that occasion the Holy Spirit can have been poured out not just on the twelve disciples but also indiscriminately on all the bystanders present. But if we look at what is stated in Acts 2,6, we see that these people who came running because of the tumult, and so heard the disciples speaking, were all Jews, who are also described as “devout men from every nation under heaven”. So they were believers - by contrast with the “others” mentioned in Acts 2,13, who were also standing around but were not filled with the Holy Spirit, so that they understood nothing of the disciples’ discourse and supposed them to be inebriated.

Now the view advocated here is based on two biblical facts - that the Pentecostal event was unambiguously and without any doubt a manifestation of the Holy Spirit through speaking in tongues or the utterance of strange languages, and that all those believers who were present understood what the disciples were saying. But this point of view has significant consequences for the fundamental understanding of the phenomenon of speaking in tongues as brought about by the Holy Spirit. If we consider the situation on the occasion of this first Pentecost, we find here the exact opposite of that described by Paul in connection with speaking in tongues in Corinth. Whereas the disciples at Pentecost spoke in one language, and all those believers who were present understood them in different languages, (Acts 2,6), the speakers in tongues in Corinth speak in different languages (1Cor 12,10) and no one understands them, unless they are translated.

Now we often hear reports of people speaking in an incomprehensible language which a linguist then recognizes to be Hebrew, Greek or whatever - even though the people in question have never learned the language in their lives. But then there are also cases where mediums in a trance state have spoken in very ancient languages - Egyptian, Assyrian and so on - while asserting that they lived millennia ago. We would certainly not be justified in dismissing such reports as cheats and trickery. As we know from Scripture, people can come to be possessed by unclean spirits. And these spirits live for millennia and change their habitation - as Scripture also tells us - from one human being to another. And if a person is put into a state of trance, so that his own conscious mind is switched off, while a spirit that is dwelling in him is accorded complete freedom of action, it is perfectly easy to imagine that it is this unclean spirit that speaks, drawing on its own past from millennia ago, and speaking in the languages of ancient times.

But with reference to the pouring out of the true Spirit of God, and the speaking of tongues that occurs in Christian believers in consequence, we have two more unambiguous demonstrations in Scripture. These events likewise are reported in Acts - one during a sermon by Peter, the other in connection with Paul’s laying on of hands.

The gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also for they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God.

Acts 10,44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. 10,45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 10,46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, 10,47 "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" Acts 10,44-47;

And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.

Acts 19,3 And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John’s baptism." 19,4 Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." 19,5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 19,6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. 19,7 There were in all about twelve men. Acts 19, 3- 7;


While we find in the text of Acts 10,46, as with the story of Pentecost, that the brethren’s speaking in tongues was understood by the bystanders - for it is stated there that “they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God” - in the case of the twelve men of Ephesus there is no explicit mention of this. But since these men did not just speak in tongues, but also prophesied - and this must after all have been in comprehensible terms - we can be sure that it was in truth the Spirit of God that came upon them.

And here an unmistakable characteristic of all the manifestations of speaking in tongues of which we are told in Scripture (apart from 1Cor 14) comes into focus: the effects of the Spirit of God were comprehensible to the believers who were present. Not just the prophecies, but the speaking in tongues itself was plainly understood by all the others. There was nothing ‘encrypted’ here, and there was no need of an interpreter. And if we look at the associated promise of our Lord in his commission to the disciples to preach the gospel, we find nothing there to the effect that the speaking in tongues will be incomprehensible to the other brethren in attendance, or that an interpreter is going to be needed. In this passage the Lord promises to those who believe the sign (or grace) of speaking in tongues, amongst others, but there is no mention here of a sign or grace of “interpretation” such as Paul refers to in 1Cor 12,10.

In My name they will speak with new tongues and they will lay hands on the sick.

Mk 16,15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16,16 "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 16,17 "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 16,18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." 16,19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 16,20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. Mk 16,15-20;


So what are we to say? Is it possible that Paul made a mistake? It is rather astonishing that the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians gives us the one and only report, in the entirety of Holy Scripture, where speaking in tongues figures as being incomprehensible to the brethren present and so calling for interpretation. And precisely that is the source of this problem of uncertainty in the distinguishing of spirits, with which we are today confronted and which evidently Paul was also familiar with. This is why he keeps advancing arguments that militate against this form of speaking in tongues (1Cor 14,2.4.5.6.9.11.19.23.28). And he also writes to the Corinthians that it would be far better for them to exercise the gift of prophetic utterance than that of speaking in tongues (1Cor 14,1.3.4.5.6.22.24). But all the same we do not find a single statement in Paul’s letters that actually forbids this form of speaking in tongues. On the contrary, we have a repeated indication in this Epistle that Paul himself spoke in tongues - and did so, too, more than any of the believers in Corinth.

I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all.

1Cor 14,18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all; 14,19 however, in the church I desire to speak five words with my mind so that I may instruct others also, rather than ten thousand words in a tongue. 1Cor 14,18-19;

For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful.

1Cor 14,14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 14,15 What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. 14,16 Otherwise if you bless in the spirit only, how will the one who fills the place of the ungifted say the "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not know what you are saying? 14,17 For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified. 1Cor 14,14-17;


But Paul’s formulation in 1Cor 14,14 and 15 above - “… if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays… I will pray with the spirit…” - now gives us another important indication: the speaking in tongues of the Corinthians was not actually a speaking in tongues at all, but rather a praying in tongues. And this enables us to set it at its correct value. As all prayer is a dialog with God, and as the Lord directs us in Mt 6,6:

Mt 6,6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”


- so the Corinthian speaking in tongues is an element in each individual believer’s intimacy of personal prayer; in the public gathering of the congregation it has no place.

All the scriptural passages referred to here thus lead us to the conclusion that the form of speaking in tongues that occurred at Pentecost and is mentioned in other similar reports in Acts should be fundamentally distinguished from that form of speaking in tongues practiced in Corinth, as reported in 1Cor 14. While the original, apostolic speaking in tongues was plainly understandable for all believers in the audience, the Corinthian praying in tongues is evidently incomprehensible even to believers, and requires a translator or interpreter.


Conclusion

The biblical practice of praying in tongues, as described by Paul in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, is therefore incomprehensible in just the same way as that of which we are told in the experiential reports from the Freie Christliche Jugendgemeinschaft Lüdenscheid (FCJG) which we quoted earlier, with reference to the speaking in tongues practiced by this Charismatic congregation. But if we compare the effects of these two manifestations:

o Biblical praying in tongues in the Holy Spirit:
The person does not speak to human beings but to God, 1Cor 14,2
He speaks in the spirit of mysteries, 1Cor 14,2
He praises and sings the glory of God in the spirit, 1Cor 14,15

o The speaking in tongues as it manifests in Lüdenscheid:
They stand on tables and chairs and sing “Drink, drink, brother, drink”
They fall flat on their backs
They have infinite feelings of love and experience Jesus as a lover

- based on the Lord’s promise in Mt 7,16, “You will know them by their fruits”, we can state quite plainly and without any doubt that this spirit manifesting in Lüdenscheid was not the Holy Spirit but another spirit altogether.

But inasmuch as it is unfortunately the case that a demonic spirit can only be recognized after it has already taken possession of the spirit of its victim, we should take seriously the warnings of our brethren, and most particularly those of Paul, and have regard to the precautionary measures he urges on us:

Any speaking in tongues must be interpreted immediately

If there is no interpreter present, then the speaker in tongues should remain silent in the congregation, and should be permitted to speak in the spirit only when he is alone, so that the congregation will not be disturbed. 1Cor 14,28







Endnotes

[1] German drinking songs