PART ONE OF FOUR-PART SERIES OF REV HOWARD C BURNHAM’S DEBATE AGAINST REV E PARKER BUCK’S POSITON BOOKLET “THE UNKNOWN TONGUE THEORY.”
THESE NOTES WERE RECENTLY FOUND IN A BOX WHEN NOLAN’S MOTHER MOVED OUT OF THEIR FAMILY HOME.
It is with great enthusiasm and excitement that I prayerfully decided to take my grandfather’s notes and put them into a four-part series for hopefully the illumination of thousands of readers around the world.
It was my grandfather’s experience that he spoke about to my parents when I was a young boy that allowed my heart to be open to this powerful truth when a young woman in Jacksonville Florida, began to tell me about this glorious experience in God.
There are millions in this world that like Acts chapter 18 says “knowing only the baptism of John“. I was one of those believers. I desired more of God in my life, and because of my grandfather‘s pioneering efforts and bold decision to leave behind what for so many was a “good enough Christianity“ to embrace the “MORE” that God has for every disciple of Jesus Christ who wants to be empowered by the Spirit of God in a way that’s more wonderful than they could’ve ever imagined.
It’s for that purpose that I gladly took on the responsibility of transcribing my grandfather‘s notes and making them available as an author to the world at large who may by God’s design have the opportunity to read them”
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Author/ Journalist Nolan J Harkness
Grandson of Rev. Howard C Burnham
The True Bible Teaching
The Unknown Tongue
Theory -Rev. E. Parker Buck
Dear Brother Buck.
This is my reaction to your booklet. You say that you know there are many good people among them and saved people perhaps. So far as I am concerned there are thousands or millions among them that are not only saved but full of the Spirit. I’m sure in the past there have been so many irregularities and corruption among them and no doubt there are yet. There are many branches among them and probably some of them are not good. But I am also sure that there are many great leaders anomaly’s who like Paul concerning the Corinthian church are trying to keep their believers on an even keel, putting value where it belongs.
The more real fire you have the more wildfire you are likely to have. The devil doesn’t bother the dead modernistic churches. I believe that Oral Roberts University is destined to be one of the greatest if not the greatest religious institutions in the world. (New truth) underlined is disturbing. It always has been, and it always will be, so much so that the Jews crucified Christ. Truth sometimes is more fantastic to believe than fiction.
Like you, I’m aware that the word “unknown” in connection with tongues is not in the original, but as you used it so I will, although I believe we could get a better grasp on the tongues to question if we didn’t. I doubt if there is such a thing as an unknown tongue unless we find it in Mark 16:17, “new tongues” or concerning the tongues of angels 1 For 13:1.
What makes a tongue known or unknown is its setting. For instance, the Arabic tongue used in Corinth was no more unknown than that used at Pentecost. It’s the people that hear that make the tongue known or unknown. If Peter had got up in the Corinthian Church of believers who had a common language and spoke in the Arabic tongue would not have understood him – unknown but if he had also spoken in the same tongue at Pentecost to sinners or unbelievers, the Arabians would have heard him in their native tongue known to them.
You say that the Apostles or the 120 spoke in a known tongue, but I say that they also spoke in an unknown tongue, that is that there were some there that did not understand them. Let me relate something that I discovered some 2 or 3 years ago. The Pentecostal people say that speaking in tongues when baptized by the Holy Ghost was the pattern set at Pentecost. Being open-minded I decided to examine the second chapter of Acts to see if he records supposed their contention. I discovered that contrary to general belief, the purpose was not for propagating the gospel. One of the purposes was to convict the sinners or unbelievers of sin, righteousness, and judgment – 1 Corinthians 14:22.
Speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost was incidental, I did say incidental, I did not say accidental, because God was working according to plan.
Since Cornelius and his house, kin and neighbors, and the 12 men at Ephesus spoke in tongues, when they received the Holy Ghost and since there was no apparent or convincing reason for doing so other than confirming the gift of the Spirit, I concur that what happened at Pentecost did set a pattern. Peter acknowledged that when he said: “For they heard them speak in tongues and extolling God. However, I do not believe as some or all of them teach that unless you speak in tongues when baptized by the Holy Ghost that you do not have the Holy Ghost. On the face of all evidence that would be silly. Yes, I believe that was the pattern of the early church. But as they cooled off and departed from the “faith once delivered to the saints” the various aspects of the gospel disappeared.
Yes, I dare put it in print, Chrysostom, who lived during part of the fourth and fifth centuries wrote: “Whoever was baptized with tongues” Also Augustine wrote in the fourth century “We still do what the apostles did in when they laid hands on the Samaritans and cold down the Holy Spirit on them the laying on of hands. It is expected that converts should speak with new tongues.” I expect that imply means some tongue other than their own.
You might ask why does God baptize people with the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues since that was the pattern of the early church? I believe that God sometimes respects our prejudices and changes the normal procedure. I think we see that demonstrated in connection with Cornelius’ experience. I think normally they would have received the Holy Spirit when baptized or immediately after by laying on of hands. But what do we see? We see them baptized by the Holy Ghost right when pardoned or when they believed before they were baptized in water. God knew the church at Jerusalem was prejudiced against the Gentiles, so the Spirit fell on them without Peter’s having anything to do with it, thus the apostles had no ground to accuse Peter or reject what happened.
Now we will go back to what happened on the day of Pentecost and that they also spoke in an unknown tongue, so-called. “Let’s examine the record. There they were, 120 of them in an upper room when the Spirit came upon them. Out on the streets, they went speaking in tongues or languages. The crowds soon gathered, and they heard them speak in their native tongues. Now right here in this word “native” is contained one of the secrets to the right interpretation of what happened. If they heard them speak in their conventional tongue there would have been no miracle because the Greek language was universal around the Roman Empire at that time, and furthermore, Peter got up later and no doubt spoke in that language as nothing was said about his peaking in tongues nor through an interpreter. Now, remember they were not prejudiced concerning tongues as we are, and.
SEE PART TWO OF THIS ARTICLE ON THE NEXT PAGE
Rev. Howard C Burnham was born in 1898 in Bentley Creek Pennsylvania. He lived out his faith in a loving and very practical way touching countless people in his lifetime. He was best known for his love for nature and was very much a naturalist and a sportsman. He grew a large portion of the produce that became much of his family’s food source. He remained a picture of health until a rare blood disease took him at 81 years old.
He was so loved that everyone in his hometown area had stories to tell of the many acts of kindness that he showed through the years.
He spent much of his latter years telling of his Pentecostal experiences to his family and acquaintances. Sadly the telling of his experiences was not well received.
He went to be with his Savior in 1979 people agreed at his funeral that they never remember him saying a bad word personally about anyone his whole life.
A large stone in his memory is engraved on the wall of Bentley Creek Wesleyan Church. Rev Howard C Burnham who would never have used his rightful title, was truly a man of God who was dearly loved by untold people throughout his lifetime!