For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. - 1Corinthians 14:2-4 (ESV)
Charismania is the term used to describe the modern-day evangelical experience in America. It is littered with false teaching stemming from a mixture of the purpose driven heresies, the seeker friendly models of church growth and a marked shift away from biblical truth in pursuit of "churching" people instead of saving them. Charismania is heavily influenced by the New Apostolic Reformation teachings including dominionism that worships our country over our God. It is a showy-look at me spirit that dominates the services provided, sermons delivered and worship music created. It usurps God's power and glory and repeatedly commits the sin of Lucifer who wished to ascend to the throne of the Most High. Charismania is baked in a butchering of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This has fueled many to believe in cessationism, where the gifts ceased at the end of the Apostolic Age but that position is simply not supported by logic or scripture. The problem is not whether the gifts still exist but rather are they being manifested correctly as the bible outlines or are people simply making it up as they go along?
A simple example would be the falsification of words of knowledge and the easiest example of a transgressor here is Shawn Bolz from Bethel. Shawn Bolz is a false prophet who specializes in pretending God is giving him a word about someone in the audience he has never met. For some reason however, Bolz utilizes his smart phone to "download" the information. He then plies the same trick fake psychics use to make the victim feel as if private information has been magically imparted to them. It is abuses like this that make people run towards cessationism and I get that but let us not throw out the baby with the Charismaniacal bathwater. Another area of abuse is regarding speaking in tongues. This abuse has been sanctioned and encouraged by well-intended pastors across the evangelical landscape because it is simply how they were taught. Heck, it was how I was taught, being saved in a Charismaniacal church. Something funny happens though when you do the work of a Berean and read the bible for yourself. God always shows you what you have right and what you have wrong - if you are willing to listen. The above linked article is a very short attempt by a pastor to teach people how to speak in tongues. Let that sink in for a second while you read the following two verse sets that explain the essentials of tongues:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. - 1Corinthians 12:4-11 (ESV)
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. - Romans 8:26 (ESV)
There are two distinct manifestations of what we commonly refer to as tongues. The verses from First Corinthians describes all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and cannot be clearer that it is the Spirit who decides when, where and through whom these gifts will be apportioned. While to each a manifestation is given, it differs from person to person. The bible expressly says that not all will prophesy or speak in tongues. This fact makes it impossible to teach someone how to manifest a gift of the Spirit. Remember what we discussed earlier about usurping the power of God? The verse from Romans describes what we refer to as our heavenly prayer language. It describes how sometimes in prayer we can reach our end but the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf with groanings too deep for words. This is not one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit but it is often conflated with such that most people are too confused about the subject to weigh in. The bottom line is what occurs in Charismaniacal church services every week is not a gift from God. This random hodgepodge of illiterate mumblings is not the biblical manifestation of tongues. At Pentecost, the scripture makes plain that these were other worldly languages. Every visitor heard the apostles speak in their own langue, not some heavenly version of gibberish. Now people have been taught this for so long and so wrong, that they feel they can teach you how to fake it. Let us reason once more through this article.