Paige Patterson is (was) Right about Southern Baptists and PPL’s

Posted on 12/19/2006


Will the real Paige Patterson please stand up…(see below) 

Alan Cross has posted what he calls “Blatant Baptist Ramblings” here.  He is certainly not “rambling” but making salient points in light of the facts that:

1.  There are Southern Baptists who are continualists. 

2. There are Southern Baptists who have a PPL.

3. That there is no Scriptural support for excluding full cooperation with and allowing the full participation of individuals solely based on their being continualist or solely based on the practice of a PPL. 

I fully agree with Alan Cross and his concerns regarding this issue!  Please consider that our Baptist Faith and Message and a proper exegesis from God’s Word both stand in opposition of these exclusionary attitudes and actions!

The Baptist Faith and Message Speaks Against Forbidding PPL’s

It is a shame that many so called “People of the Book” are unwilling to let the light of God’s revealed Word be our sole authority concerning this issue.  Certainly there are those who do not think that those practicinga PPL today are practicing the same phenomenom that occurred in Corinth, but neither can they find Scruputral authority to forbid the practice.  Some have forgotten that our confession of faith states that:

1. The Scriptures are: the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. (pg.7)

2.  God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left if free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it.  (pg.20)

Paige Patterson Agrees that We Should Not Forbid the Speaking in Tongues! 

Do you remember that fateful day when Dwight McKissic shocked the SBC with his bold confession of being a continualist but also went on to bare his soul and reveal that the Lord had blessed him in his prayer life by granting to him a PPL?  Was he being disrespectful, he honestly says not.  Was he ignorant of Dr. Patterson’s view on this subject? NO!  It was precisely because he understood Dr. Patterson’s publishedview that he felt that he was not teaching in total opposition of the President’s position!   Consider the following; 

After the infamous or famous message, depending on your biases, McKissic referenced that he had read Patterson’s writings and did think that his message varied that much from Patterson’s stated views and interpretations.  This is a reference to Patterson’s commentary: The Troubled Triumphant Church: An Exposition of First Corinthians,  1983, Criswell Publications, Dallas: Texas. 

Well you read and judge for yourself:  (emphasis mine)

1.He recognizes that the Corinthians were expressing ecstatic utterances!  This is in clear opposition to those who want to deny modern PPL’s on the basis that Corinthians is describing simply “different languages” and that to say that they were speaking in ecstatic utterances would be misinterpreting the passage. 

The legitimate gift of tongues is the one given to the apostles in Acts 2.  The Corinthian effort to imitate that gift is under discussion in portions of Chapter 14, in which it is contrasted.

 the authentic Acts 2 gift.  Three things are affirmed concerning this Corinthian imitation. (1) Those who utilized the gift were speaking to God and not to men. This of course is precisely the opposite of the experience recorded in Acts 2, where the gospel of grace was preached to men.  (2) The Corinthians did not speak to men, nor did man understand what was being said.  This again is in startling contrast to the Acts 2 situation in which the inhabitants of Jerusalem at Pentecost were amazed at hearing them speak in their own languages.  (3) In the Spirit, the speaker of Corinthian tongues spoke “mysteries.”  This last affirmation has been taken as Paul’s tacit approval of the practice, based on the general New Testament usage of the word “mystery” (musterion). However, “mystery” may have good, evil, or neutral significances, depending upon the context.  Here Paul was not suggesting that the man was speaking the “mysteries of God,” a phrase which implies the unveiling of truth that could not be ascertained except through revelation.  If that kind of mystery were the subject in verse 2, then it would not be necessary for Paul to insist on an interpreter for the others who listened and apparently even for the speaker himself (v. 14).  Consequently, Paul simply stated that whatever one who spoke in Corinthian tongues might have been saying remained a mystery in need of explication.  This again is the very antithesis of the pentecostal experience in Acts 2 where clearly those who knew the language being spoken understood its meaning.  (Page 246)

14.14 The reasons for Paul’s insistence upon such interpretation was now elucidated.  “If I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit may indeed be involved in the act of prayer, but the understanding is unfruitful.”  Two things about this verse are important.  First, it is clear that what was under consideration was not a known language but rather a rush of unintelligible sounds.  Not even the one who uttered these sounds comprehended what was happening, and thus he needed interpretation first of all in order to explain some sense of the matter to himself.  Second, Paul did not say that the spirit prayed, but there was no understanding; rather, he said the spirit prayed, but the understanding was “unfruitful.” Literally, the word “mind” (nous) employed here gives the meaning that “the mind is unfruitful.”  In the Corinthian experience of tongues, the mind of the believer was completely disengaged and thus not even the whole man was involved in the act of worship.  The mind, having been cut adrift, was simply neutralized and, hence was totally unfruitful or unproductive.  This would have to mean that the experience was primarily an emotional one, loosely attached to reality and void of either intellectual or volitional significance. 

2. Now for the most important part, Patterson clearly teaches that it is wrong to forbid one to speak in ecstatic utterances! On page 268-269, dealing with 1 Corinthians 14:39: (word for word)

14:39 Paul then arrived at the conclusion of the whole matter. The church was to covet the gift of prophecy and was not to forbid speaking with tongues. “Forbid” (Koluo) means to “hinder,” “restrain,” or “prevent.” The statement once again emphasizes the relative unimportance of tongues in comparison with prophecy. However, the Corinthians were not to prevent speaking with tongues. Precisely what Paul meant by this must be understood in light of the total emphasis of chapter 14. The Corinthian effort at tongues had been reduced in every conceivable way to a position of relative unimportance.
In addition to this, six principles governing the use of tongues in the Corinthian congregation have already been given, and a seventh will follow in the last verse. These principles effectively circumscribe the use of tongues altogether in the assembly of believers. Nevertheless, for two reasons Paul said that tongues are not to be forbidden. First, he had already allowed that if one engaged in ecstatic utterance in privacy, while there was no real significance, edification, or meaning to be found in it, it was not thereby evil or wrong. That private experience might be permitted to the person. In the second place, Paul knew that the Acts phenomenon of speaking the wonderful works of God in a language in which the speaker was untutored had really happened. Furthermore, Paul knew that under the right circumstances it might happen again. The necessity for the revival of these sign gifts such as tongues seems to be unlikely, but Paul did allow the possibility. ”

The NAMB, the IMB, and SWBTS, Have Adopted Policies that are in Violation of God’s Inerrant and Sufficient Word! 

After closely reading Patterson’s response to our brother Dwight, after listening to Dwight’s sermon, and after reading Patterson’s exposition – a couple of things occur to me,

1. SWBTS, the IMB, and NAMB, according to Patterson’s interpretation of this passage as found in his book as written by his pen, are in violation of Scripture!  Dr. Patterson should publicly disavow this published work or apologize to Dr. McKissic. If Dwight’s view was “dangerous” then you tell me how Patterson’s differs?

2. The only difference between Dwight’s theology on this matter and Patterson’s is that Dwight sees tongues as a Spirit-given gift and Patterson sees it as an imitation of the Acts 2 experience. This being said, Patterson in his own words has stated that according to Scripture, one must NOT be “hindered, restrained or prevented” from this exercise. Dwight and I would disagree with Patterson’s assessment that tongues has no personal edification, nevertheless from this writing, we are in agreement that this practice is not, as Patterson stated “EVIL OR WRONG.”

3.Again, is it not interesting that Patterson interpreted Paul as teaching that practicing ecstatic utterances is “not thereby evil or wrong?”

4. We must be people of the Book and practice what we preach! 

YES I can see how Dr. McKissic, using Patteson’s own commentary as he prepared his sermon, would think that he was on safe ground. The problem was Dwight put a real human face to the practice and for some reason, for lack of a better word, it freaked people out.


Posted in: Tongues