Tuesday, June 27, 2006


In the late 1960's, I worked with a lady who belonged to an Assembly of God Church. The topic of unknown tongues came up one day, and we discussed it briefly. She stated that the bible said that gift would follow all believers around, so we should all have it.

I talked to my mentor at the time, and he cited the passage. It was Mark 16:17-18. A couple days later, I asked her if that was the verse, and she said it was. I then asked if she also drank poison, and if she was also snake-proof. She said "Oh .. we don't believe THAT". Since I figured the two verses were equally true, or not, I disregarded the entire matter. I did, however, envy how she said she felt when God manifested that gift.

Then, in the early 1970's, I was traveling around central Indiana every day, and I listened to Christian radio stations. I enjoyed hearing Jimmy Swaggart, and normally heard him 2 or 3 times a day, on different stations. One day he was talking about unknown tongues, and I pulled off the side of the road amidst the cornfields between Eaton and Dunkirk, Indiana, and asked God for that gift. As earnestly as I knew how.

Nothing happened, so I told Him I'd not mention it again, but if He ever reconsidered, I'd sure like to have that one.

In the summer of 1994, our church had a mission trip to Winfield, Missouri. I went along as a Backyard Bible Club "overseer" and we had a wonderful time. Our men worked repairing flood-damaged homes, and then we all put on "Block Parties" in the evenings. On the last night, we had an exceptionally spiritually-charged evening, and at the close, Sam Neugent led us in a group prayer. After a few seconds' silence, he said "Lord, words fail us....". Thats exactly what was going through my mind, and when he said it, I began speaking syllables I did not understand. Since I had no intention of doing that, it shocked me, and I stopped after perhaps two seconds.

I was flabbergasted. I thought "Was that what I think it was?" Since I had no one to review it with, I said nothing. But I could not forget it.

About 2 years later, we were in Jamaica on a mission trip. In a morning prayer time, the man across the circle (Baptists love to stand or sit in a circle and hold hands while praying, which I don't like to do) said "Lord, fill me". I shook loose and walked to him and laid my hands on his head and began to pray for him. But what came out was some unknown words ... not gibberish .. but words I could not understand. This time, I didn't stop myself. After 20 seconds or so, I sat back down in the original chair, and placed my hand on the man next to me, asking God to cure his bad back (he'd announced he couldn't work that day as he was in great pain).

After the prayer time, the man with the bad back asked what I'd done to him. I told him, and he asked "Did you feel it?" I asked feel what, and he stated "When you put your hand on my back, the pain turned to heat and flowed out through your hand". Needless to say, I was dumbfounded. As I was standing there trying to collect my thoughts, the first man came to me and asked "What did you do to me?"

I told him I'd heard his prayer and wanted to pray for him. He responded that he'd said that because he had a terrible headache, from a bad disc in his neck. He then said "When you put your hand on my head, the pain turned to heat and flowed out through your hand". He had several other questions as to what had happened, which was understandable. I had a bunch of them myself.

What was obvious was that I hadn't known what He needed, but God did. God chose that time to manifest the gift, again, in a manner I couldn't ignore. And He affirmed it by miraculously paralleling it in the second man, who also needed healing at that time.

So ... let the Cessationists rationalize as they wish. I know better. I KNOW my God can do anything He wants, any time He wants, anywhere He wants, any way He wants, to anybody He wants.

Having seen Him do just that, I long to see more of it.

ps: My overall view of unknown tongues seems to be contrary to the accepted wisdom of the church. And I mean ALL of it. I'll write about that next time.


At 9:53 PM, June 28, 2006, Blogger Nancy White Kelly said...

You are the FIRST credible, respected (by me) person who has ever given a first hand experience of speaking in tongues. I have asked for the gift too, but he has never manifested it in me. I am open minded though. I am a member of the family, so why not me too?

At 10:26 PM, June 28, 2006, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


The Bible says the gifts are distributed as the Holy Spirit wills. We don't get to choose them, sadly, as I'd sure like to have healing in my "bag of tricks", too.

I'm no different or more saved or more useful than I was before. I just have that gift. And neither are you any less for not having it, either.

I also have the gift of teaching, and I've seen God use that one to change lives. I'll take teaching over unknown tongues any day of the week.

Thanks for commenting. God bless you.

At 9:57 PM, January 17, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob, I have goose bumps just reading your accounts of tongues. I never took you to be a man who did that (no offense intended). Keep writing 'em and I'll keep reading 'em. Thanks.

At 9:42 AM, January 19, 2013, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think that you could have shook off a smake,that bit you, at the time the two men were healed?

At 10:30 AM, January 19, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

There weren't any, there. If there had been, I wouldn't have been.


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