Mrs. Meg Logan attempted to answer this question from her point of view and with Scripture and did a pretty thorough job; however, as you expect, I disagree. In the last post I laid out the basic framework of what I believe, and I hope to go further in this post.
Of the gifts that God blessed the early church with, there were many that were not able to be physically witnessed– did not have the powerful demonstrable quality– that tongues, healing and prophesy did. When the Apostles and the rest that were gathered in the Upper room on Pentecost came down and Peter gave the first message, the miracle was so amazing that the people in attendance murmured amongst themselves that the disciples must be drunk. How could they hear the message in their own mother tongues?
So, let’s look at tongues and its uses in the New Testament and see what we find.
The first reference to tongues in the New Testament is from Acts 2. The setting of the passage and its events I’ve already detailed. If you were to examine the Greek word here for tongues, you would find that “The word glossa (Acts 2:4, 11) and the word dialekto (Acts 2:8) both refer to legitimate languages as revealed by the text and the context. The believers who spoke in other tongues were not babbling unintelligible gibberish; they were miraculously glorifying God in a language other than their own.” (Source: www.fundamentalbiblechurch.org) This is obvious from the context.
Why did this happen? Mark 16:20 states a specific purpose for sign gifts– a confirmation of the word which they were preaching. Simply put, God was placing His stamp of approval on His Apostles, showing that they were giving the true message by allowing them to perform miracles that He performed. He did this before in the Gospel account when they were sent out two by two. It was an identification with Jesus and His ministry.
Looking right above that verse, however, we see more interesting things that make us wonder about tongues and its place in the modern church. Notice Mark 16:17-18:
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Again, this is what Jesus told the people to expect of His followers right before He left. Since tongues is one of these “sign gifts”– gifts that were to prove that the disciples were Jesus representatives on Earth, should we also be taking up serpents, drinking poisons, etc.? Where are those that truly lay hands on the sick and they recover? Surely if you believe that one is still around and should be practiced, all should be in order to be consistent?
Tongues were for a sign to the unbeliever, not to the believer, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:22. Certainly they had a purpose, but Paul says that their purpose (at least primary purpose) was as a sign to unbelievers. The only case that we have recorded that it was a sign to believers was in Acts 10 where Cornelius has tongues come upon him (before water baptism, I would add) to prove to Peter that the Holy Spirit had saved him. This is still consistent with the sign gift.
What about “Speaking of the tongues of men and of angels” or the fact that Paul said that we could pray in tongues? If you’ve read other books by Paul, he introduces hyperbole in passages and it’s not a stretch to believe he is using it in his reference to speaking in an angelic tongue. A more appropriate reading could be “Even if I spoke in the tongues of angels and had not love…”
Does 1 Corinthians 14 prove that tongues are not for today? I take this from www.learnthebible.org:
1Corinthians 14 is proof that:
1. Tongues were already unimportant in the service of Christ by about 60AD.
2. The most carnal church Paul wrote to (see 1Corinthians 3:1-4) was caught up in tongues-speaking and gave way too much emphasis to it.
3. No speaking of tongues should be done unless the tongues are interpreted (v.27-28).
4. No more than three should ever speak in tongues in a church service (v.27).
5. Only one should ever speak in tongues a one time (v.27). That’s what “by course” means–in order, one after the other.
6. Those who truly speak in Spirit-given tongues can speak if they want or refrain from speaking if they want (v.32). God-given tongues is not some uncontrollable urge that comes over someone. It is a gift that they can use when they want just like preaching.
7. Women are not to speak in tongues in a church service (v.34).
8. Truly spiritual people will agree that these restrictions are necessary (v.37).
9. Paul clearly told the Corinthians that tongues were going to “cease” (13:8). When would they cease? Tongues were a form of divine revelation; thus, the importance of interpretation (14:5). They would cease when God’s perfect revelation was completed—that which is in part is replaced by that which is perfect (13:10). God’s perfect revelation is found in His completed Bible and no new revelation is needed (Revelation 22:18).
You see, Paul was kindly regulating tongues to a minority role in the church at Corinth so that it could die out gracefully when it was no longer needed. It was no longer needed when the New Testament was completed.
I would like to add that it seems to me hard to try to base a consistent doctrine on what a church was doing that was wrong. We know from the Scripture that the Corinthian church was full of sin: fornication, abuse of Christian Liberty, abuse of tongues, pride… the list goes on. So for us to discuss what a church was doing that was wrong and Paul’s attempt to reign in the chaos, introduce order, and have them glorify God shows me that perhaps the tendency of churches that have these elements in their service may also tend toward these same vices.
However, I do not believe that the Biblical use of tongues is present in the modern Pentecostal movement. From what I’ve studied, how can one be edified by something he hasn’t heard– and yet Paul said that tongues only edify the believer? How come Paul claims it is a sign gift, and yet where we’re discussing its use is primarily (only?) inside a church building? If it’s present, why isn’t it being used as it was intentioned– to bring unbelievers to Christ? Why do you believe it’s still around? Should we still be doing the other signs? Are the faith healers, snake handlers, etc. right?