This is the concluding part of the interview with Afolabi Dollars, a teacher of the word and founder of Wordites Reformation Network. He is an entrepreneur who is into oil and gas business and CEO of Pragmatos Empires. You can read the first part by following this link:
How the Holy Spirit led me from Islam to Christ-Afolabi Dollars (Part 1)https://churchtimesnigeria.net/holy-spirit-islam-christ-dollars/
Tongues: How people abuse it
You said you used to speak in tongues earlier in the interview. Is it that you don’t speak in tongues again?
I did a series on Facebook on speaking in tongues. People say speaking in tongues is a language the devil does not understand. Some say it is heavenly language. There is nothing like that in the Bible. When Paul said if I speak in tongues of Angels, he was using hyperbole. When angels visit people, they speak the language of the people they are speaking to. The challenge people have is caused by the KJV rendition of the word tongue. This is throwing people into confusion.
Many of the doctrines we have issues with today are because of the misunderstanding of KJV. Tongues simply mean languages. Jesus gave a prophecy that we will speak in new tongues, drink deadly poison, heal the sick but we only talk about tongues. When the baptism happened, they began to speak in new tongues (languages). People who saw them, heard them speak in their own languages.
This happened because they needed the new language to preach to others. But unfortunately, our lack of understanding has made us misinterpret what the Bible is saying. In the tower of babel experience, God used language to create disunity among humans. In the New Testament, he used language to bring unity, to bring people from Arab, Greek from different parts of the world together. In Acts 2 all of them heard what they were saying. God used language to bring unity in that situation.
Some people say the tongues in chapter 2 are different from the one in Acts 1.
From chapter 12 of 1 Corinthians to Chapter 14, Paul was talking about the same subject of tongues. At that time there were not too many languages in the world. Then it was a supernatural way of learning the language you have not learnt. The time we were talking about there was no English.
You need to understand Acts 1v5-8. He said we will receive power and we shall be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea to Samaria, and then the uttermost part of the earth. This can only be done through the speaking of new languages. The same person prophesied that we will speak with new languages
But the Bible says those who speak in tongues speak a mystery to the Lord
I addressed that too in the series. That is another misconception. He speaks in a foreign language, that is just the meaning of speaking in tongues. If you are to talk about this newfound faith, the Holy Spirit will give you the ability to speak the language of the people you are to meet. That is what Christ meant when he said they will speak in new tongues. When the Corinthians were now abusing it, Paul had to address them and said when you are in the congregation and you are speaking a language that the people don’t understand, you are speaking mystery. What the person speaking a language I don’t understand is speaking is a mystery because it is unknown.
He that prays in a foreign language speaks mystery simply means he is saying what people don’t understand to the Lord. And that does not mean there are no people to interpret the language. I was leading a prayer and all the responses were tongues. Just wondering the way tongues have been abused. In the Corinthian church, there was the tendency for the people to abuse speaking in tongues the way we are abusing it today.
But then the Bible also says those who pray in an unknown language edify themselves?
Prayer is a way to edify yourself. When you pray your spirit is connected. The flesh is put aside. Many of the things we speak in the name of speaking in tongues are blabbing. There are real tongues no doubt. The condition is when you pray in an unknown language. You pray in the spirit because it is the spirit that enables you to speak the language. The question we should be asking is what happens to the gift of interpretation?
Do you then think we have been hoodwinked on this issue of speaking in tongues?
The point I am making is that the language must be understood by somebody. People from other parts of the world must understand what we are speaking the way it happened in the Acts of Apostles. The person speaking may not know it, but somebody should be able to interpret it.
So, what has been your experience pursuing this line of thought?
When I go to a church and they say let us speak in tongues I just wonder what they are saying. I was speaking in tongues before but I had to unlearn many things. I had to empty my head at a point and started studying the Bible by myself with the help of the Holy Spirit. I used to have books and many Bible translations. I was able to build myself over the years. I was called an antichrist. I had been stoned out of a church because I went to preach in a church on tithe. That was 1998. They were stoning me from the congregation. I was preaching on the tithe because I preached against what everybody knew about the tithe.
There is no such thing as ” let’s speak in tongues”. The modern church has rubbished the gift of tongues. What we have in many cases is concocted syllables being joggled together.
At your conversion, Idahosa was mentioned to you. But you are not in support of many of the things Idahosa believed in?
When it comes to the spiritual journey, God is not about doctrine. When you think you are good in this area of doctrine you will find out that you are lacking in another area of doctrine. I think God just used Idahosa to get my attention. I never attended his church once.
God just used him the way he pointed the name Abdurasheed to me. It is not about Idahosa. I never said there is no real tongue. I spoke in tongues a few days after my conversion. Nobody laid hands on me to speak in tongues. It just came upon me. It was later that people started saying we have to speak in tongues.
The holy spirit led me to go to different fellowships while I was at the University of Ilorin because I was planning to start a fellowship there too. I counted about 52 different campus fellowship groups. The Lord was trying to tell me there was no need to start a fellowship. But then, Ilorin was among the schools heavy in cultism. I was just wondering, with the number of fellowships, there is still cultism? So, I had to forget the idea.
I have argued with pastors that speaking in tongues is not evidence of being filled with the spirit. To be filled with the holy spirit is not to speak in tongues. It is to be led and directed by the Holy Spirit. The issue is what about believers who are genuinely born again who don’t speak in tongues. In the old covenant, we have people said to be filled with the spirit and yet they did not speak in tongues. When the Bible says filled with the spirit, you have to look at the parallel in the old testament.
The tongue is just language that you have been enabled by the holy spirit to speak so as to witness and not to show off. If you speak in a language that is foreign you should be able to interpret or have an interpreter. Have you ever wondered that the way the Celestial Church person speaks in tongues is different from Pentecostal and it is different from C&S., so the question is, is it a denominational gift and why do we have variants depending on the denominations?
There are real tongues but they must be interpretable. It may be unknown to the speaker, but there must be somebody who must be able to interpret. We can’t just be joggling syllables together in the name of speaking in tongues.
So then, what has been the experience of your 30 years of faith?
In the last 30 years, I have risen and fallen. I got distracted. Not that I went back to Islam or went to the occult. I just got distracted. The Bible says in Prov 24v17, the righteous will rise and fall seven times. I can say I am a beneficiary of God’s mercy and grace and living proof of God’s miracle-working power because I have had series of encounters.
I ought to have been dead by now but I am alive. God has kept me till now. It has been a humbling experience for me not to trust in myself but in the mercy of God that has kept me. Though it is not about the years in faith then I think over time the only thing I can say in 30 years is that I have been a beneficiary of mercy.
I have seen things to make me forget about Christianity and make me live anyhow. I have sat under many men of God and seen all kinds of things. I don’t look at the mistake of men of God because we all have ours. I don’t talk about scandals of men of God because I believe we are all humans and we make our mistakes.
On the woman that was caught in adultery, Jesus wrote on the ground and asked whoever had no sin should cast the stone. If he had said whoever had not committed adultery should cast the first stone, the woman would have been dead. If you think you can boast in the area of being free from adultery can you boast in other areas? So, by the time Jesus said whoever had no sin, he put all under condemnation. When God marks iniquity nobody will stand.
How do you balance the scripture about the righteous falling seven times and the issue of once saved, saved forever?
I am not saying it does not matter what I do. I did a series some years ago on eternal security. I believe in the eternal salvation that Christ has procured for us. I believe in the Biblical perspective of it. There is a true concept of it. The false concept is what I don’t align with, that I can do anyhow and still make it.
As children of God, we need to understand we are saved to remain in him but we have to cooperate with him. He is the one holding us, at the same time he needs our cooperation to make sure we are willing to be held by him. Christ is holding you, yes. Are you willing to be held? When I talk about sin, I know there are three levels of sin, thought, action, and word. If you overcome sin by action and speech, what about the mind? We have all kinds of ungodly thoughts running in our minds.
So, if you are not committing sin in the physical sense, you find yourself sinning in your mind. As a child of God when you commit sin, you are convicted and you repent to make a change.
You left Islam for Christ. There are people who left Christianity for Islam. How will you explain that?
I was not actually called from Islam to Christianity but from Islam to Christ. We need to differentiate between the two. There are thousands of religions. God is not a Christian. He is not a Muslim. He is not a Jew, not a Yoruba. Not from Israel. He created the whole world. He created all things, Muslims joining Christianity and Christians joining Islam, are just doing religious porting. The Christians that joined Islam never had any encounter with Christ. When they change religion, they are reacting to what they see not that they have had an encounter. It is different from when one has a personal encounter with Christ.