Tongues by Kenneth E. Hagin

RNLP

This spiritually deep volume consists of writings of the founder of RHEMA Bible Training Center in Texas compiled posthumously by his son, Kenneth W. Hagin.   The doctrinal viewpoint is traditional Pentecostal.   The numerous personal testimonies are inspiring; the teachings are challenging expositions of Scripture and the overall effect of the book is to encourage a deepened life of prayer.   The book was given to me and I read it because I find it is often helpful to read books from other strands of Christ’s church.   It enriches me and gives me a fuller understanding of the Gospel. 

Wesleyans reading this book will have a problem from the outset with his treatment of Objection #1 as I did.   I did not agree with his assertion that “speaking with other tongues is always manifested when one is baptized with the Holy Ghost” (p. 3).  His use of Mark 16:17 to support this I found especially weak, not just because of the section of Mark it is from, but also because he argues that it means all believers should speak in tongues.   If that were so, then the same logic would have them all handling snakes too.   I do, however, agree with Rev. Hagin that in Acts, the sign of the Baptism of the Spirit was tongues (chap. 3).  But the answer to the rhetorical question of 1 Cor. 12:30 is still “no.”  I did not find Rev. Hagin’s attempt to get around this by referring it to church offices satisfying.  However, if the reader will put this issue aside and keep reading you will find much profit.    I agreed with Rev. Hagin’s writings on all the other objections covered in chapter 1.

Chapters 10-13 contain the best exposition of the purpose of tongues that I have ever read.   Each one listed is taken from a passage of Scripture and consistent with Scripture and testimonies.   I was personally impressed with the phrase that Rev. Hagin points out taken from Paul’s exposition “anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God” (1 Cor. 14:2).   And not so much because it might buttress our Wesleyan idea that glossalalia is not for public services; but more because there is an attraction in my spirit to talking to God; and the more means are available, the better.   I also was challenged by some questions raised by Rev. Hagin’s exposition of 1 Cor. 14:14,15 concerning praying with the spirit and/or the mind. 

I profited from the book in several ways.   First, I have a much better understanding of Pentecostal theology.  I recommend the book highly for this purpose.   Second, the book is full of rich testimonies to the miraculous power of intercessory prayer.   Since this is a Pentecostal book, the kind of prayer in the examples is tongues prayer, but I have read and experienced testimonies of such prayers in English too.   The issue is not the language of prayer, but whether we are open to allow the Holy Spirit to call us to prayer, to pray through us, and keep us in prayer until the burden lifts.   So I found the testimonies a welcome call to a deeper life of prayer.

In the last chapter, Rev. Hagin speaks out of long life experience about the revival waves that he had seen in his ministry lifetime.  He urges us to keep in tune to the next wave of God’s working.  There is a profound thought here.  I believe that there are probably successive waves of God’s working even within various movements of his church.    The Wesleyan Church itself is the product of more than one tremendous wave of the Holy Spirit’s working, but primarily the post Civil War holiness movement.   The question for us to wrestle with is this.  I have wondered about it long before reading this book, but now wonder anew.  What happens if in being faithful to the movement that birthed us, we miss successive movements of God’s Spirit in order to maintain our identity?  I believe Rev. Hagin points us to our task; to be open to the Holy Spirit’s next wave of revival power; may it not tarry!

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