In a list of the Evan­gel­i­cal church’s great­est con­tro­ver­sies of the 20th Cen­tu­ry, the gift of tongues would have to be near the top. This con­flict abat­ed some­what dur­ing the mid-eight­ies when some lead­ers of the charis­mat­ic move­ment down­played the impor­tance of the gift.

The con­tro­ver­sy arose over three main ques­tions: Was it a sign of the bap­tism of the Holy Spir­it? Was it essen­tial for spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, and was it a gift to be exer­cised in today’s church?

There many oth­er dif­fi­cult ques­tions about the nature of this gift and we do not labor under the illu­sion that we are going to defin­i­tive­ly answer ques­tions that have been debat­ed for decades. Rather, the goal of this brief­ing is to clar­i­fy the issues: Of what can we be sure, and what areas require fur­ther debate and study

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