There is much debate today concerning whether the gift of tongues has ceased or whether it continues today. The historic Reformed position is that the gift of tongues was used by God at a particular point in history to authenticate God’s revelation. However, now that God’s revelation is complete, the gift of tongues has now ceased.
1689 London Baptist Confession on the Gift of Tongues
The 1689 London Baptist Confession says this:
Therefore it pleased the Lord at sundry times and in divers manners to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church; and afterward for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan, and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing; which maketh the Holy Scriptures to be most necessary, those former ways of God’s revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.Chapter 1 Paragraph 1
The gift of tongues occurred during a time when God’s revelation was still being established. One major purpose of the gift of tongues was to authenticate this revelation. Now that the Bible is complete, the gift of tongues has now ceased.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10
One major passage that is used to argue for the cessation of the gift of tongues is 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, which says this:
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
There is debate concerning when exactly tongues “cease,” according to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. Some argue that the “perfect” refers to the completion of the biblical canon. If this is true, then the “perfect” has already come and the gift of tongues has therefore now ceased.
Others argue that “perfect” can only refer to Jesus’ second coming.
Tongues Is Speaking in Another Language, Not Gibberish
What many people call “tongues” today is gibberish, not another language. In Scripture, tongues refers to speaking in another language.
6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.Acts 2:6
Some argue that tongues can refer to a non-human language, for example the language of angels. However, there is no Scriptural support for such a position. 1 Corinthians 13:1 refers to “the tongues of men and of angels,” but it does not specific what is meant by “the tongues of… angels.” Whenever angels appear in the Bible, they speak in a human language.