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The Shepherd's Chapel and Pastor Arnold Murray Are Wrong About Tongues

The Question/Comment:

----- Original Message -----
From: Name and Address Withheld
To: <> (Paul Stringini)
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 8:24 PM
Subject: Hey


 I too count myself as a 'graduate' of Shepherd's Chapel. If [he] did one
thing that was he taught me how to study.

 I agree with you on all you issues except the 'tongues'. This is something
I have battled with for some time and have attended a church that 'speaks'.
But no where in scripture is it an 'angelic' thing. :) I know you can take
this comment based on your website. :)

 Are you the one that put out a CD? I have a copy that I got from someone at
Passover. I have been to 5 of them and was probably at one you were.

 I totally agree with you on that most of the 'students' follow the man
rather than his teachings.

 If you have any comments I would love to hear from you too.



My Response:

----- Original Message -----
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, January 21, 2008 5:03 PM
Subject: Re: Hey

I did put out a CD,  it was a music CD, called the Fear of Yahveh, I don't know if that is the one you are referring to but if you look as the music portion of my site you'll see I have a lot more music than that.
I was at the Passover in 1995.
What I'm about to say is not intended to provoke you into a friendly debate, unless you wish to have one.  I'm just saying what I'm saying because I like to practice saying it. I'm glad you feel you can speak with confidence, and that my writing communicates that sort of safety to you, I don't mind being disagreed with. 
The people I used to study with (also ex-SC students) were astonished when I told them about what happened to me and we parted company.  I know that if the roles were reversed, I probably wouldn't have believed them either, but it happened to me and, as such, I cannot deny it.  I never think of it as angellic, per se.
1Co14:15 "I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."
There is some sort of division there, if I am speaking tongues such as French or German, there is understanding,  There is something that is set in opposition to understanding, it is spirit. 
Tongues is simply the use of languages which the speaker has not learned nor understands.
1Co14:13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
If I understand what I'm saying, then I would not have to "pray" that I may interpret.
1Co14:14:For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
When I read 1 Corinthians 14 I find it much easier and natural to interpret it in favor of tongues as they are commonly understood by those who use them than  to try to interpret them to be limited only to foreign languages.
Sometimes the hearers understand, (Acts 2)
Sometimes they don't:
1Co14:16 "Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?"
1Cor 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
To interpret that last one in favor of the languages theory one has to do alot of interpreting.  I know, this passage used to irritate me.  When people open the bible up to me and start reading it, and the obvious interpretation which they press is irritating to me, or if I have to really "explain things," that is a sign that my interpretation is probably wrong.  The simplest interpretation is to be preferred over one that requires lots of explanation, such as the "Serpent's seed" and others I could name.  
As a side note, I have heard some people "speak with tongues" and felt that what they were doing was just repeating the same syllables over and over,  I have an instinctive revulsion to it, of course, Morse code and binary are also "languages" that use only two "sylables"  It is a stretch though. 
 In any case I'm glad you enjoyed my site and that we mostly agree, I'm glad you have found some fellowship with spirit filled believers.  I hope you get more out of my site and I hope I hear from you again, saying "You'll never believe what happened to me, well, you probably will"

Emailer's Response:

 ----- Original Message -----
From:  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 9:46 PM
Subject: Re: Hey

Well, I wasn't there in '95 so I wasn't there the same time. I went 4 or 5 years in a row. I think 2001 was my last year. I did meet a lot of great people but also a lot of nuts. Even Pastor Murray would warn against 'those' people and the studies they would conduct. :)) I really don't keep up with any of them any longer though. 
 Yes that is the CD that I have of yours. I have not listened to it in quite some time though. I have it on my iPod.
But like I said, I too count myself as a graduate of Shepherd's Chapel. I came from the S. Baptist church and taught sunday school and gave a few sermons. But I got scared when I realized I didn't know how to check out the quarterly I was teaching from to see if what they were saying was true. So I left the church and studied from our house for 3.5 years with Shepherd's chapel tapes. I too have quite a few of them and could quote just about anything. :)
The one thing Murray did show me was how to study. To find the subject and follow it. The one thing that you are leaving out about tongues is that Paul is talking about addressing others and if you do so (speak in another language) without being able to interpret you sound like a barbarian or a clanging symbol. If you are praying in whatever your native tongue is but no one else speaks it then only your spirit and God will benefit from it. I definitely believe in tongues but the way the church practices it is totally incorrect. The subject is not that you understand what is being said but rather do the other people understand what you are saying. You are to edify the church with your prophesies and how can you do that if no one understands you? I totally agree with you on the repititive type of babble that is uttered in the church.
I know you can take what I'm saying based on your site. After all, we're just having a conversation about this subject rather than trying to argue with one another. :))

My Response:

----- Original Message -----
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2008 5:34 PM
Subject: Re: Hey

Ah-haaaah... so I bet when Dr. Murray started in about teaching from quarterlies it really rang a bell with you.
I understand that Paul is primarily concerned with how tongues fits in with the church, and how they effect other people.  Don't follow the subject so hard that you ignore conventions of language when reading sentences.  What I mean is that following the subject of a larger passage  is not a law to be followed, for one,  speakers do not always directly stick to the subject, they digress, they also bring in independent facts and information.  The greater subject is always more dependant on the meaning of the sentences within the context, because the sentences dictate what is being communicated about the subject. And sentences do have to abide by rigorous subject-object laws, that, if broken, make understanding impossible.  The sentences within the context must be interpreted within the greater subject; but one cannot break the normal conventions of language in so doing. 
"I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:"
"I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."
I want to show you why this statement cannot be true of that verse:  "The subject is not that you understand what is being said but rather do the other people understand what you are saying." 
The problem with your interpretation is that it ignores the subject of these clauses.  The subject of the chapter may be "addressing others,"  but if the object of this sentence (understanding) was talking about others then it would have to say so or the language would have to make some sort of allowance for that reading.  As in:"I will pray with the spirit and I will pray to be understood." 
The subject is "I" 
Subject               Object 
     I,       with the spirit;
     I,       with the understanding. 
"I" is doing something different in each instance.
To say "I will pray with the understanding," while we really mean, "I will pray with others understanding" breaks down the possibility of meaningful communication; because that is not how we express such thoughts.That is not how we talk, that meaning cannot be read into this clause simply by invoking the broader context.
You cannot violate the basic conventions, that is not an interpretation.   I either pray using the spirit or I pray using the understanding.  That is what the preposition "with" means. If, perhaps, it said "I will pray to the spirit and to the understanding."  It may then refer to "others" But "with" means what "with" means, it points back to the verb and the subject.  "I, with, understanding"
Also, the chapter may be talking about "others understanding," but we know that when someone speaks in a language unknown to the hearers that the hearers do not understand, this clause is not seeking to reestablish that fact. (and I suppose one may regard the earlier term "no man understandeth him" as a subjective exaggeration, but I do not)  The subject of this clause is "I" and the objects are spirit and understanding.  So, it is "with" one or the other, the spirit or the understanding.  And it is "I" that is the subject of those objects; it cannot be other persons.  No, not when it is written like that.
I just thought of a good example, I speak only English, if I pray right now in English I will be praying "with the understanding," Agreed.  Now, if I am suddenly transported to some place where no one understands me;  am I now praying without the understanding?  No, I am still praying with understanding.   The others do not understand, but if I wish to express that in a sentence I have to say something else because in the sentence "I will pray with the understanding,", "understanding" is the object of the sentence and "I" is the subject. 
I cannot insert another subject without changing the language into something that draws another subject in, something like this: "I will pray to be understood"  In that sentence the words "to be understood" imply another subject, which may be drawn logically from the larger subject matter  which would be "others in the church."
If I pray with something, either spirit or understanding, then it is I  that am the subject of that which is "with" the object; either the spirit or  the understanding.  And so long as it is "I" with something; then it is "I" that is the subject of whatever that thing is, that "with" is referring to. 
I scored a perfect 36 on the reading section of my ACT,  I'm not trying to impress you (but to impress upon you an important fact, which is a fact), I assume you went to school, I'm just reminding you, if the subject is "I" then an object like "with the understanding," cannot refer to someone else, not in that sentence, the language won't allow it. The greater context has no influence on basic conventions of language, otherwise meaningful communication becomes impossible. 
Other Examples:
I will speak in tongues with (the) conviction. (But Is it correct to say this means I speak in tongues with the conviction of other people?  Because the greater context of what I'm saying may be about that?  Well,  It may inspire me to greater conviction to know that others are convicted, but in that sentence, the meaning is, that the conviction is mine [the presence or absence or the article "the" does not effect the subject object relationship])
I will work with (the) zeal.  (But Is it the zeal of others?  Again, a greater context referring to the zeal of others may lead me to interpret that their zeal inspires me to greater zeal but I cannot corrupt the conventions of the language and say that the "with zeal" actually refers to their zeal)
So your statement, in regard to the verse I'm talking about,  "The subject is not that you understand what is being said but rather do the other people understand what you are saying." is absolutely wrong.  That is the sort of interpreting I came to realize, in my gut, was wrong.  It was hard to see why, because I "knew" I was right.  It was hard to see why,  because 1Cor14 had to fit my interpretation, the babblers could not be right!  But I was the one  who was turning the meaning of simple sentences on their heads, I was the one ignoring the subject and the object.
These sentences mean what they mean regardless of broader contexts they may be found in.  So there is a distinction.  I can pray with the understanding, or without it, with something we call the spirit. 
I guess that I have come to see a great distinction between spirit and understanding, I know that the following passage is not about tongues (not directly).
Ro8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Still, if we look at what is being said here, there is a principle, that beyond intellectual understanding,  the spirit makes intercession by "unutterable groanings"  which goes beyond speech or even tongues and even less than very basic grunts and monosyllables.  I've definitely experienced this kind of prayer, when something truly vexing comes on me, and I don't know how to describe the vexation or even how to begin to ask for relief, I just turn to the Lord and, sort of,  "feel" at him, its not something that I "do" it is just something that happens, by the spirit.
My point is that the spirit operates in realms which go beyond human understanding and independent of it, not just that the things of God are too high for us; but sometimes the spirit of God in us operates in realms which do not involve any intellectual action on our part (and sometimes it is better like that).
I don't know if you read any of my history, but I used to view Christianity as a sort of intellectual exercise.   I understood Romans 8:26, I even performed it unknowingly on several occasions.  But I definitely know that I had a spiritual awakening after I, "got the holyghost" it was, in many ways, also an intellectual awakening, but in opposition to the kind of intellectualism I had been following.  But my understanding in many areas literally blossomed.  I see the struggle against tongues (formerly my struggle) as the struggle of intellectualism and the dominance of man-controlled structures of religion.  Whether is be in formal churches or in living room fellowships, it is about stricture and control. 
Personally, I have begun to see the wisdom of the Catholics saying sola scriptura is a self refuting doctrine. I still have trouble with this, but God can command us to do something not written in the scriptures, something new something different, I know it is true because, in the scriptures, he does that.  Like when Jesus' disciples were picking corn on the Sabbath; in the old testament God was angry when the people went out just to look for manna on the Sabbath, there was not even any to gather, but he still considered it a breach of the law.  Why was it righteous for Jesus to do otherwise?  To shake things up?  To change things? Since you were a Baptist you will probably correctly assert that the coming of Jesus had changed things. Yes, but when you are living in the times that things change in how do you recognize it?  How do we know that something has waxed old and is passing away?  Are we so confident and sure that what has been revealed to us is all that there is we need to know.  The spirit searches all things, yea the deep things of God, but the scriptures don't always do that.  How will there be this great deception in the end, unless the Lord has hid things from our eyes, unless they only be hinted at, in dark sentences.  Unless they only be revealed by the spirit? Earthly religious authorities hate that sort of thing, they want to say "sola scriptura," or "scripture plus tradition," but to trust the spirit of God not knowing where it may lead them?  That is hard, how to you write a charter for that?  How do you codify something that comes "without understanding"?  Men love rigor and rules, the spirit is an infusion of (perceived) chaos which systemic churches find hard to tolerate.  It is also hard for systemic minds to tolerate,  we want to take "everything done in order" by the letter and according as a man sees it; that is something I could go on about, the letter and the spirit:  When do we need to stick to the letter? when is it imperative to follow rather the spirit?  Because they are in opposition to each other. The one kills and the other makes alive.  So, when do we kill, and when do we make alive? Because there is a time for both.
Pr26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Pr26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
Ok, so how do I know when to do which?  By the understanding?  By the Letter?  Or by the spirit? 
We talk about prophesying edifying the church, but I noticed this, churches that do not speak in tongues do not have prophecy either, and teaching prophecy is not prophesying, and preaching is not prophesying.  I know because I have prophesied and it is a totally different spirit than those, besides, the scriptures distinguish them all from each other.  Even churches that speak with tongues don't have true prophesying, nor true prophets.  How does one tell the difference, when voices speak of new things, are they all to be condemned?  The old testament never spake of water baptism, yet John the Baptist came baptizing. How would one know to be baptized of him?  By the letter? Or by the spirit?
I was talking to an old friend from my former fellowship, who was always a little more spiritual than the rest of us; but he still does not believe in tongues ( I use the term as they are commonly understood among those who use them)  And I was talking to him about 1Cor14, like we are.  He knows I used to think about it the same was as you do.  And now I changed my mind, so what?  This is the thing, I know that your interpretation is relatively sound (but not at the point just discussed), and you may not see it, but I know that my interpretation is relatively sound (but why do I think everyone should speak with tongues?).  You say, it is about this, I say, yes, about this, about this, and about that 
What pushes one person to one interpretation and another to another, and one or the other to change, or not?  For me it was the singular experience of my life, standing in the middle of that church and having a literal and strange power come over my body that made my hands pulsate with power, then my ears, then my lips, and the soles of my feet.  Things like that cut right through intellectualism, they cut right through understanding.  Not only did my lips move completely independently of my mind, they were just jumping around on my face,  I'll admit it, when I speak with tongues now, it is not like the first time (sometimes it is close).  I was not ready to believe in such things yet they happened to me.  That is what it took to convince me.  I really don't expect it will take anything less to convince you.

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