I have already written on the issue of Spiritual Gifts and commented on the use of tongues and prayer language among Southern Baptists. A number of Baptist bloggers contine to support prayer language. Among them include Baptist Blogger (Ben Cole), and Grace and Truth to You (Wade Burleson).
There are important subjects that we need to debate, but this is not one of them. It is not about freedom to do whatever we want to do–we Christians do not have that freedom. We are compelled to follow Christ. It is not about recent theological discovery, this debate has been going on for some time. It is not about the younger pastors discovering something that older, less spiritual men do not know. It is about biblical truth. Unfortunately, the current debate, seems to be a political tool of some to try to shift power and control within the SBC.
It is obvious that Paul was not advocating private prayer language. In order to get prayer language from Paul, you have to read the idea into the text. It is obvious that Paul was countering an irrational argument over the use of tongues. But besides the biblical argument based on First Corinthians, one needs to see the issue in the context of the larger New Testament picture.
Why would it be profitable to speak to God something we don’t understand? Sin placed a veil on us and we were not able to know God or to speak to him directly. God removed the veil, we have been invited to go to the throne of God directly, to call him Abba Father. Why would we then resort to mysticisms in which we pray, even in our prayer closet, (an act of ultimate intimacy) and do so in such a way that we don’t know what we are saying to God? If marriage is to be understood as a model of our relationship to God, the last thing that husband and wife need is a kind of communication that communicates nothing. The very last thing that God wants us to have is unclear communication. In fact, in Scripture, unclear communication was an act of judgment to keep the people from repentance.
God has been about the business of removing mysteries. Pagan religions rely on mysteries to show one’s power and to keep others from being on the same level as the one who understands mysteries. God has removed the cloud of mystery, he has make Christ known to us. He has clarified our relationship to him. All of this seems to contradict a hidden, mysterious prayer language.