Miscellaneous brief reviews
11th October, 2006
R – UK
I’ve been searching for the truth on ‘tongues’ for a while because I was brought up (from the age of 14/15) to believe that after you were filled with the Holy Spirit you should speak in ‘tongues’. For me this was a mere copying of other peoples’ sounds. When I tried to study tongues, there were a number of confusing things that I couldn’t understand, although after doing just a little of my own study, could clearly see that Acts 2 was all about languages, and didn’t align with the ‘current phenomenon’.
The last month, I have spent trawling the internet, printing and reading loads of other peoples’ studies. I learned a lot, but there were still things that didn’t make sense. Roughly two weeks ago I typed into Google search: ‘biblical tongues pdf’ , hoping to find a free pdf book. I found yours and read it in a couple of nights.
I’ve found it so helpfull, I wanted to purchase a few copies. One for my own easy reference, and another to give away/lend out. I’ve recently informed my local Pastor of what I now believe. I will doubtless, debate the whole ‘tongues’ issue with him, as we do with many topics, and if he is willing, let him read/have the second copy.
Thank you very much for the time and effort you have put into researching and studying this issue.
7th November, 2003
L – Australia
…I have given my “lending” copy of TR to our new pastor, who is very switched on and gospel oriented…
There’s no question that the debate you have fired is extremely relevant. Even now there is fiece division amongst those who consider themselves pentecostal, between those who accept tongues-speaking as a gift only, and those who consider it an essential to full salvation. It seems you’ve spoken out at just the right time, evidence perhaps that the time was decided for you.
I trust you’ll long be spared to continue the work you’ve started.
30th May, 2003
J – NZ
I have started your book – it is very well written…
16th May, 2003
D – UK
Nice Web site.
14th May, 2003
H – British Columbia
Thank you for the speedy arrival of your book! I have been meaning to order it for quite some time now and am very excited to read it. I had been taught from the time I was born that “tongues were real” during Pentecost, but they are “not for us”. I ventured on my own to a Pentecostal church which told me I could not be filled with the Holy Spirit unless I “spoke in tongues”. Confused, I went to a friend who had at the time just learned of your particular view and it sparked an interest in me. Through him I have received your theory second-hand, but I am able to take the time now to do a thorough study of the topic and figured your book would be an invaluable asset!
28th April, 2003
B – Canada
…Most often, such talks would be over the most *wonderful* Chinese food in a particular restaurant the next city over. The waiter there was a truly *great* guy; his name is Jason and he speaks in somewhat broken English, Cantonese being his native tongue [ hah!]. In that beautiful and thoroughly Cantonese/Chinese environment it was almost surreal the depth of wisdom and practicality – the truthfulness’ – this ‘third way’ took on. I doubt it could have been so elsewhere; I often pointed this out as proof.
19th April, 2003
B – Canada
When I first read “Tongues Revisited,” I was moved to laughter of happiness and a little shouting. As I read the first 2 pages of chapter one where Renton deals with the “charismatic capture of language” I felt as though I had scales fall from my eyes. “OF COURSE!” Prior to this, I could never put my finger on what frustrated me so…For Renton’s initiation to this concept…I am indebted.
19th April, 2003
R – USA
…I was looking at Renton’s book again to see the “infamous” footnote about modern tongues. I remembered again, one of, at least in my opinion, Renton’s most important observations (i.e., what Renton calls the “capture of language”)…
18th September, 2002
D – USA
I realize it has almost been a year since my order, but I am closing in on finishing my second reading of your book. The second time through has been a very fruitful experience…Very good reading and I agree whole-heartedly with the position you present…Thanks again for the efforts you put into the book.
28th May, 2002
S – NZ
I was very pleased to read an encouraging review of your book…in this months Banner of Truth Magazine…I am amazed at how much research you were able to do for the book and congratulate you on a well argued and important work…I hope it is getting a wide circulation.
5th April, 2002
L – Australia
I have read the book for the first time and thoroughly appreciated it, but I want to read it again before I make further comment. Suffice it to say that I am now about to submit a further order…for two more copies. Thank you for your splendid work.
23rd March, 2002
B – Canada
I would also like to reiterate that I found (and will continue to) the last section of your book eminently helpful.
15th March, 2002
B – NZ
Hi I stumbled accross your page about speaking in tongues. You seem to have managed to convince yourself that you can be religious without experiencing the power of God that was described in the Bible…many of the languages spoken were those of angels, not just languages of men. By missing out on this experience you are missing out on the Holy Spirit. And thats the only thing that can save you!(A fellow NZ’er who spent many years fruitlessly believing in God till he received the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, as is recorded in Acts 2, 10, 11, 19, etc.)
(The author of ‘Tongues Revisited’ had a letter in a newsletter [‘Contending Earnestly for the Faith’ [CETF], Vol 7.2, Issue 24, Dec 2001, website: www.christian-witness.org, Editors email: email@example.com] dedicated to calling for a return to an old time Pentecostal approach in contrast to the Toronto, Pensacola approach and that of the Benny Hinn’s of the world. The newsletter comes out of Australia and is highly critical of the Australasian and UK leadership of the AoG. The Editor (a former General Secretary of the AoG Australia), Phillip Powell, made the following comments after the authors letter. A letter has been submitted in reply to the comments below.)
We appreciate the points made in all of the above letters (regarding an article by Powell critiquing cessationism, CS) and will hope to deal with each as the series progresses. The author of Tongues Revisited kindly sent me a copy of his book, which I have read in part. I propose to include a critique of his view in the series that I have projected. Renton Maclachlan starts from the premise that really there is nothing that is clearly “supernatural” in the initiation or general practise of tongues speaking in the New Testament. While I would agree with him that no one has bothered to publish a book based on such a proposition, I am quite sure such is not because his is a novel idea, but rather because it is so contrary to the facts that no one would venture forth on such a mission. Oh yes the author writes some very interesting things, but his basic premise and at times his self imposing assumptions are so way off as to be untenable. Is there anyone else who has read this book and has a view on it?
26th Feb, 2002
B – Canada
Renton. I am on the second reading of your book, this time a thorough one, and am most impressed and thankful. I received, but had to put off reading it a few weeks till I had made more sense of another issue: preterism. (Is the world about to end; is that babble tongues… hhmmm…) These two issues are going to make me quite a hit at my Dispensational/Pentecostal church!
That you start your argument (ch. 1) with the linguistic/semantic element of the debate is beautiful, and most necessary. Never having made that point explicit, though sensing it underneath all along, I struggled constantly against a mysterious, omnipresent foe. Of course! Debate must start here. (“Let us define out terms.” – Socrates) I was shocked to discover how hard it was for me to drop, even if temporarily, my presuppositions regarding the relevant verses and terminology – it almost prevented me from seeing them any other way! But now, consistency, has supplanted confusion, conflict and contradiction. For that I am grateful.
I feel I am almost out of the ‘biblical woods’, though I still have a ways to go. Looming before me, however, is the forest of ‘I Know My Experience With Holy Spirit was/is Real’. It’s main tree is the ‘Subjective Coniferous’- stays green all year round. “This calls for wisdom…” (May God grant it.) I will leave it at that for now,
Again, Thank you.
2nd Jan, 2002
J – UK
Hi Renton. You put a good case for your approach, which has not been, to my knowledge (although I haven’t followed this literature for some years), seriously argued by anyone else. In the course of your argument you make a lot of very good points related to the problematics of the Pentecostal/Charismatic position. I too continue to place a very big question mark over this whole movement. It seems to me to be built on some of the worst features of evangelicalism and, in terms of direction, to have entered a cul-de-sac. Your argument appears sound and has a consistency not found in the other approaches which all seem to require special pleading at some point or other – well done!
17th Dec 2001
J – USA
I enjoyed reading your book. Your theory is intriguing that the “other tongues” spoken in Acts 2 were Aramaic or Greek, as opposed to the “high” religious Hebrew language, and you make a good case. Your theory does explain especially well why some of the onlookers thought the disciples were drunk, since only a drunk would use one of these vulgar languages in the temple.
I was already convinced, before I read your book, that speaking in tongues involves normal human languages rather than the babble spoken by charismatic groups (what you refer to as “the current phenomenon.”) I agree with what I perceive is your opinion too that “the current phenomenon” is at best something produced in the mind of the tongues speaker, and at worst something demonic – probably in some cases it is just a self-delusion and in others truly demonic.
The most valuable thing I got from your book was regarding the term “spiritual gifts.” I think many Christians may err by focusing this term on miraculous experiences (or in the case of charismatics, ecstatic experiences). I frequently hear my Christian friends wringing their hands and asking, “Why don’t we have spiritual gifts in this age? We must not be pleasing God or he would pour out His Holy Spirit on us as he did on the early church.” I think this it is sad that they are troubled with such self-doubts. Jesus and the apostles went out of their way to explain that the heart of Christianity is repentance from sin and the practice of love towards God and man. God uses miracles at times to accomplish his purpose, but I think people are barking up the wrong tree if they feel inadequate just because they aren’t displaying miraculous “spiritual gifts.”
14th Nov 2001
B – Canada (commenting on receiving book in mail)
P.S.- Nice packing! (It showed up at my door in practically new condition! NOT what I expected. I am happily surprised.)
30th Oct 2001 – Forwarded
D – USA
I visited that web site you offered about a new interpretation of speaking in tongues. The idea that speaking in tongues in Scripture was a learned language is ridiculous. Furthermore, the author of this idea is apparently seeking money because rather than publishing his thesis online for all to read, he offers places for people to put in their credit card numbers to buy his book. It seems to me that this person is as money hungry as some of the worst Pentecostals who have fallen into the error of covetousness.
17th Oct 2001
J – Scotland
I took a look at your web site, which looks good.
12th Oct 2001
B – Canada
I eagerly await the arrival of your book…This is an issue for which I am in sore need of new light. Seven years a Christian and I am still, deep down, not sure what to make of this issue. It has been years since I’ve “spoken in tongues”. I can not do it. Mechanically, yes; my conscience, however, will not allow me. It had to be three years ago- no, four years- that I really started to feel a tension in what was expected and thought of as normal to my church ( Pentecostal! What could be more expected?!) and nagging thoughts and feelings on my part. When I was in dead earnest with myself about my “experiences”, I had to conclude that they really were not what I expected things to be like – this is hard to explain: I felt as though I was living in the children’s story, “The Emperors New Clothes”: everybody knew he was naked but no one wanted to say what everyone else was thinking. Surely I was not the only one harboring such doubts? However, I also have issues with a cessationist position. For years now, over this and related issues, I have been living in a kind of tension. Your book, I have a gut feeling, will be deeply interesting. It would not be the first time God has used a serendipitous book to answer deep questions…
8th Oct 2001
S – ??? [as received]
The believers in Acts 2 were to poor to go to rabinnical school. Your account on the languages they spoke has done a great disservice to the miracle working power of the Holy Spirit who Jesus Himself promised to those of us who believe in Him, See John 7:37-39. When one is fill with the Holy Spirit in the post-resurrection era they should speak in other tongues and preach the gospel with signs following. Isn’t this what happened to the first century believers.
2nd Oct 2001
J – USA
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the book “Tongues Revisited: A Third Way”
17th Sept 2001
R – USA
I just placed an order for your book. I am very eager to get it…I’ve been doing research on the subject for some time, reading everything I can get my hands on regarding it. That has included periodic searches of the internet. I had thought that I had exhausted the internet on the subject, and haven’t done any searches for several months, but today was almost like Divine Providence. I sat down to my computer and had this strong thought that there had to be more out there, so I did a search. Your website was in the list that Google returned…
4th Sept 2001
C – NZ
…Praise God for your work. I have read almost all of your website and it is good, good, good…
A – NZ
Thanks so much for writing your ‘Tongues’ book – it’s a real life saver!…I am impressed to write to you because I find in your book a kindred spirit, in that you are one who believes in the ‘Bible and the Bible alone’ and in obedience to the truth no matter what the cost (Aren’t you glad they don’t burn people like you at the stake anymore.)
C – NZ
Congratulations again on a great book. It is so clear and unflinchingly tackles all the issues surrounding this subject: and I mean ALL the issues…you look at them so simply and clearly, it makes guys of the stature of MacArthur look a bit waffly they way they’ve pussyfooted around the issues.
K – NZ
I have appreciated your book…Thank you…
R – NZ
Found the book hard going but interesting.
C – Australia
Impressive website for a book.
M – NZ
Your site is truly amazing…awesome.
P – NZ
Very impressive and well done.