Adrian Warnock has a post about the Southern Baptist Convention's recent decision not to hire any missionaries who practice speaking in tongues and to require current missionaries to refrain from doing so in public. This decision seems to be getting a lot of bad press, and I think the reasons for criticism are almost all faulty. I don't agree with the details of their decision, but I think the charges of hypocrisy, inconsistency, and disobedience to the scriptures are false charges.
First is the charge of disobedience to a direct command in I Corinthians 14:40. "Do not forbid speaking in tongues" (ESV). If the SBC has told their missionaries not to speak in tongues, doesn't that amount to forbidding speaking in tongues? It does seem as if it violates a direct scriptural mandate. However, if cessationists have the correct hermeneutic, then not following the command not to forbid tongues is like most evangelicals' not following the command that women wear head coverings and like everyone's not following Paul's command to Timothy to bring him his cloak. Given cessationism, it's simply wrong to expect this command to apply today, and thus what the SBC did is not a deliberate violation of scripture. I'm no cessationist, but the SBC is. Challenge their cessationist view, but don't pretend they're deliberately violating scripture unless you can show that they see this command as applicable today. As far as I've ever known, their hermeneutic doesn't take it to apply today. Maybe theiur hermeneutic is wrong, but charging them with disobeying a direct command doesn't, in their interpretive system, making any more sense than complaining that you're not sacrificing goats or calves, which violates numerous direct commands in Leviticus.
The second charge is hypocrisy. I'm not sure at all that this is hypocrisy, even leaving aside the issue of disobeying scripture. Hypocrisy means preaching something and not doing it yourself. Is there anything like that here? I don't see it, but perhaps those who think they see it can put something together in exactly that form if they think this is hypocrisy. I see no statement of what the SBC is saying to do that they aren't doing, and I see no statement of what the SBC says not to do that they are doing. It doesn't seem to be hypocrisy, then.
Maybe these critics mean it's an inconsistency. That's a very different charge. Hypocrisy charges get thrown around all the time nowadays, and I think it's a terrible moral error to call something hypocrisy when it's not. Hypocrisy is a great sin. Simple moral failings that one acknowledges as errors and repents of are not hypocrisy. Repeated sin in an area where one does not repent but constantly tells others to do so is hypocrisy. Simple intellectual inconsistency is also not hypocrisy. In a world without clear moral standards, hyocrisy becomes the favorite charge of those who don't want to see something wrong in itself but wants to paint those with such standards as bad. It may be the only charge left to make by someone who doesn't believe in objective morality. But intellectual inconsistency is not hypocrisy. It's not preaching one thing and consistently and unrepentantly doing another. It's simply holding two inconsistent views. But this isn't even holding two inconsistent views.
Practical inconsistency is also not hypocrisy. This is probably the closest of all of these to what the SBC has done, but I don't think this is practical inconsistency. This is supposed to be a double standard, i.e. treating two groups of people differently. Technically speaking, two groups are treated differently, but it's not a double standard unless you can't come up with a moral justification for rightly treating those two groups differently. If there's a justification for differing treatment, then it's not a double standard. It's a single standard, and one group meets it while the other doesn't.
They're cessationists. They believe those who claim to have the gifts of tongues do not. That means they believe tongues-speakers are either deceptive or unintentionaly mislead people to think that they're using a spiritual gift. Whether they are correct is not the issue. This is about consistency, not correctness, given the particular charges I'm seeing in Adrian's post and his comments (I haven't looked at the posts he links to). So they're preventing people from doing what they see as masquerading as manifesting the Holy Spirit through tongues. So they've banned their missionaries from doing it. So far so good, given their assumptions.
Now the claim is that it's inconsistent to allow those who already their missionaries to continue practicing this gift (which they don't see as a gift) privately, due to their not knowing about this rule when they signed on. I don't see how this is inconsistent. You have two moral principles at work. One is that they don't want their missionaries doing something that's at least view as questionable (and they officially question), so they've banned the public practice of it among all their missionaries. The other principle is that they don't want to hold their current employees (who have made commitments to them) to standards that they're just starting now, even though some of them have been working for them for decades and never had a chance to sign up voluntarily knowing these restrictions. So they're giving a concession to those already working for them that they continue the practice privately. Given that Southern Baptists aren't likely to be speaking in tongues publicly anyway, this should minimize the negative effects related to the second consideration. If these are two important but not absolute principles, then both ought to be accounted for somehow, and that's what they've done. So there's no inconsistency.
Now some in the comments are giving a different argument. They're saying the "don't ask, don't tell" nature of this policy is immoral and oppressive. I simply can't see that. Campus Crusade for Christ has exactly that policy, and it seems to me to be exactly the policy that group morally ought to have. Their reason for the policy is that they are an interdenominational group. The leadership of the group includes people who believe that the gift of tongues is genuine, and they don't want to forbid tongues because Paul says not to. But others within the group, because it is interdenominational, are cessationists. They believe they are following Romans 14-15 by instituting a policy that will minimize offense to cessationists over an issue that tends to divide, for the sake of building the body. This is an entirely Pauline concern. A "don't ask, don't tell" policy is exactly what Paul institutes among other divisive issues in that passage and in I Cor 8-10 (though there it's not about offense but about encouraging those with higher standards from violating those standards, which isn't an issue for this case).
Now the SBC isn't interdenominational, but it's clear given that they felt a need to issue this policy that there's diversity among their ranks, and the same issues must be arising. They're trying to follow Paul's strategy for dealing with such situations. I disagree with not taking missionaries who won't voluntarily abstain (as I do with Campus Crusade's policy about student missionaries wanting people to voluntarily abstain for their brief tenure as a missionary, which I find odd given their normal view for full-time staff). But that is not forbidding tongues. It's asking people who want to do a special service for a specific time to abstain during that time. It's asking a voluntary choice of those who want to work for them. It's not forbidding it, because someone unwilling to surrender such "rights" need not be a missionary with them. Paul voluntarily surrendered a number of things that he thought he had a right to do but wouldn't do for the sake of ministry, including receiving compensation from the church he was ministering to, taking a (or perhaps another) wife, and following or not following the details of the Hebrew Torah. The SBC is asking their missionaries to do the same sort of thing. Even if I disagree with the exact nature of how they've done it, the general sort of stance they're taking here seems to be for the right reasons, and I don't think the hypocrisy or inconsistency charges will stand.