Back in the day, when there were few born-again churches, speaking in tongues was uncommon. Christians would go for prayers and complete a service without a reverend or a priest speaking a peculiar language.
Nowadays, with the mushrooming of many Pentecostal churches, this once-rare gift of tongues is now very common. Could this mean that the Holy Spirit used not to dwell in Christians in the 1940s to 1960s? What does it take for someone to speak in tongues?
According to Pastor Robert Prince Manana of Revival Worship Center Naguru, speaking in tongues is one of the gifts given to believers by the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit is one of the Trinity. In the Gospel of John (John 16:7-8) Jesus told his disciples that he had to go to heaven so that the helper (Holy Spirit) would come. Some of the functions of the Holy Spirit include helping believers to pray, to convict people of their sins so that they can repent, guide believers in their everyday life and to remind them of the second coming of Christ.”
Pastor Manana explains that the act of speaking in tongues was first recorded in the Book of Acts, when Jesus told his believers to wait so that they could be filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
“Speaking in tongues is not a recent behaviour. It has been around since time immemorial,” he says.
Do not misuse the gift
Reverend Enos Kitto Kagodo of Seeta Church of Uganda says speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift that can be given to Christian through believing.
“Speaking in tongues is a sign of the presence of the Lord. Christians should always be filled with joy in case they get this gift. However, many believers are misusing this gift by forging unknown languages whenever they are in prayer to fool other believers.”
He adds that a number of people are faking this gift, pretending to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Reverend Father Ronnie Mubiru, the youth chaplain for Wakiso Vicariate says speaking in tongues is a glorious gift that Christians should embrace. However, he warns those who are misusing this gift.
“There are people who are faking speaking in tongues to attract believers and get a huge following. The Catholic Church highly condemns such acts. People who do not speak in tongues should not be deceived that they do not have the Holy Spirit. Christians do not necessarily have to be speaking in tongues to have the Holy Spirit because there are various gifts.”
Pastor Manana says, “There are various ways through which a Christian can be filled with the Holy Spirit, who gives many gifts. There is the gift of healing, interpreting dreams and interpreting tongues.”
He adds that for one to be filled with these gifts, he or she has to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, to be born-again and then, ask God to fill them with the Holy Spirit.
Tongues are a heavenly language
Pastor Manana says, “The believers who have a gift of speaking in tongues do not speak to men. They are speaking to God directly, according to 1Corinthians 14:1-2. In fact, even demons cannot understand tongues because they are a heavenly language.”
He adds that not everyone who speaks in a language that cannot be understood is possessed by the Holy Spirit. “Some of those languages are demonic. In some cases people who are being delivered from bondage speak in languages that cannot be understood because they are possessed by demons.”
The bible urges that in any place where tongues are spoken, there should be someone to interpret them.