07.02.09

Speaking In Tongues

Posted in Excerpts at 03:29 pm by admin

SPEAKING IN TONGUES

(Glossolatia)

Divine Betrayal is the story of my early years, up to age eighteen, as the daughter of an Assemblies of God missionary.  The Assemblies of God is called ” Pentecostal” which means that they believe that the Holy Spirit manifests itself in believers through  ”speaking in tongues” as written in the Bible in the book of Acts 2:3 and4: “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. “

I spoke in tongues until I was nineteen years old. I’m frequently asked, “What was it like?”  “What do you think of that now?” “How do you explain it?”  My answer is that it was a wonderful experience, and sometimes I miss it, even today.  I will explain what it was like for me.  As I recall,  I went  to the “prayer room.” after Sunday morning or evening service.  Most churches have a room on the side or in back of the sanctuary for believers do go and pray.  I knelt down, closed my eyes, and started praising the Lord, in short simple sentences.  For instance: “Thank you Jesus.”  “I love you Jesus!” ‘Praise the Lord.” I repeated these words over and over.  Often I would get tears in my eyes and be overwhelmed by the presence of God.  The time lapse would differ anywhere from five to fifteen minutes, but eventually a wonderful peaceful presence took over my being, I surrendered voluntary control, I lost control of my speech and started speaking with words I did not understand.  This was involuntary and I totally lost my sense of separateness, and let the sounds flow out.  I felt relaxed and at peace with God. To this day I strongly recommend speaking on tongues with anyone who is so inclined.

The closest I have been to this feeling of total peace and joy has been through meditation, yet it is a different and I could never describe the difference in words.  Recently, though,  I read a book written by a leading neuroscientist that actually measured both the brain activity of Pentecostals while they were speaking in tongues and the brain activity of nuns and Buddhists who do frequent and long meditations.  The book is called “How God Changes Your Brain” by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman.  I recommend this book to anyone interested in either meditation or speaking in tongues.

The most exciting thing Newberg and Waldman discovered was that there was scientific evidence of the “peaceful feeling” people get through meditating, praying or speaking in tongues.  Their research suggests that spiritual practices, are helpful for the health of the human brain.  Different spiritual practices affect different parts of the brain-prayer and speaking in tongues primarily stimulate the “emotional” and “language” centers of the brain, and deep meditation primarily stimulate the “logic” center of the brain.  But tests showed that all the types of stimulation were beneficial. The research is documented on the authors website, and there are picture of brain scans that show how spiritual practices actually stimulate different parts of the brain.  Check out the following websites for more details.

http://www.andrewnewberg.com/reseach.asp  

http://www.camlawblog.com/-518-speaking-in-tongues-result-of-different-brain-function.html.

Many evangelicals shun meditation because of its association with Hindu, Zen, and Buddhists philosophies.  However, in the Bible there are many positive references to meditation, such as: Genesis 24:63 Issac -He went out in the field to meditate.  And Jashua 1:8 Do not let this Book of the Laws depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night. And the book of Psalms has many positive references to meditation.

So it seems that although prayer and speaking in tongues effect the brain differently than deep meditation, both are valuable in their own unique way.  Also, the longer and more frequent one prays or mediates, the more lasting and positive effect it will have for the brain.

177 Responses to “Speaking In Tongues”

  1. Rhonda Says:

    Hello,
    I really enjoyed this blog post on tongues. I agree, it is beneficial. To give ones tongue over to the Holy Spirit is to pray in the heavenly language that goes beyond our understanding, but not God’s.
    I have always believed that when we do not know how to pray , or even who to pray for, the heavenly language of tongues covers all and is led by the Holy Spirit of God. The biggest problem today, In my opinion, is the somewhat common and mistaken belief that one must speak in tongues to be “Holy Spirit Filled”. This is just man, and silly doctrine.
    When a person asks God to save him or her, it is a package deal. There the power of God will save us by the redeeming blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit cannot be separate. When we ask for one, we receive all three! Yes, I believe in miracles today as well. Why not? Do people sometimes think they are hearing from God and really not? Yes, sometimes. As we grow, and learn, and become more intimate with our Savior we learn to more clearly hear his voice and rightly divide the word of truth. Meditation? I am not afraid of this. Only if the meditation were to be tied to something that is against the commandments placed in my heart. We are free in Christ, and nothing will separate me from him. I say, if you miss speaking in tongues-then speak in tongues. Why not meditate and speak in tongues? Very interesting topic here. I loved your book, and found it one I could not put down. Keep on writing and God Bless you richly. Rhonda

  2. Ken Owen Says:

    Grace,

    By way of introduction, my name is Ken Owen. I have been a businessman for forty years and I am married to Sally Owen,who works with Kathy Harmon and your husband, Bill. I was brought up in the Assemblies of God. My father was David Owen, an Assemblies of God minister for 50 years and a professor of theology at North Central University during the last 10 years of his life. He was a magnificent preacher and Biblical scholar. He was also a bit of a Pharisee–a product of his time and his denomination, although I believe he secretly held views that differed from the denomination. Despite some of my theological disagreements with him he was a great man.

    I read your book. “Divine Betrayal,” and did not find it offensive to Pentecostals or the Assemblies of God. As a matter of fact, I was rather impressed with your objectivity, kindness and understanding especially in the light of a few experiences you encountered with some of the pastors and parishioners within the denomination and the local church.

    Over the years I have wrestled with several issues in the Scriptues and with the practices of the Assembly of God as well as the Church of God ( HQ in Cleveland, TN). One of the issues with which I have grappled is the issue of “speaking in tongues.” I believe that the experience of being baptized in the Spirit was not only real and vital for the first century church but that it is still vital and real today–I am a Pentecostal. and approximately 20 million new Pentecostals per year become members of the kingdom of God. The Baptism of Jesus during the Feast of Pentecost, was the beginning of the kingdom of God coming in power, as Jesus had promised. However, I believe that the “gift of tongues” has been misunderstood, misused, and abused within the church.

    Notwithstanding the arguments regarding the differences between the “Baptism in the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues ( the Baptism of Jesus as opposed to the Baptism of John the Baptist), and the “gift of tongues,” I have found that the practice of speaking with tongues in most Pentecostal congregations has been non-scriptural. It seems to me that the apostle Paul speaks quite clearly about this gift:
    #1. It is the least of the gifts. The practice and policy in the main Pentecostal denominations has been to place a priority of this gift. In other words, the Pentecostal denominations have reversed the order of importance and the priority of the gifts.
    #2. This particlar gift, when excercised by one individual commanding attention within the worship service MUST be accompanied by the gift of interpretation according to Paul ( I Cor ). The reason for this is quite clear. Paul states that when an individual speaks in tongues, two things occur: 1. He edifies only himself , and 2. He speaks mysteries to God.

    If the corprate body of Christ is going to be edified by this lone individual speaking in tongues so as to command attention, then the gift of interpretation must accompany it so that all the congregaton can hear what that individual is saying to God. When we hear, by way of interpretation, the thanksgiving or the praise of this individual directed toward God, then we can vicariously enter into his/her thanksgiving and praise, thus the entire worshipping body is edified ( ICor. 14 )

    HOWEVER, what I have noticed in all congregations where this has taken place is quite different. I have heard someone speak in tongues ( commanding attention while the rest of us remain somewhat silent ), then a so-called “interpretaion” is given. The “interpretaion” inevitably begins with, “Thus says the Lord….” This is NOT an interpretation. It is a prophetic utterance. We need to hear what the individual is saying to God. As Paul states, the direction of the conversation when someone speaks in tongues is man to god , whereas the direction of most of the so called “interpretaions” I have heard is God to man. In short, we do not hear anything about this person’s thanksgiving or praise, as Paul says we should. We simply hear a supposed message from God. This is unscriptural. When I have stated this case to pastors ( all the way to the top of the Pentecostal food chain ) I continually hear that , “Well , brother this has been our experience.” When I then argue that THEIR experience should not contradict or take precedence over Scripture, I usually get the “deer in the headlights gaze,” or some claptrap, half-baked hermeneutical comment which is only evidence of a poor, sophmoric theology.

    Since this email could become a long essay. I had better stop now { :) } Suffice it to say, I related to many of your experiences as a child and enjoyed reading your book. I would love to meet you sometime and chat. I’m sure there are numerous issues that would be interesting to the both of us.

    By the way, if you haven’t already read the following books, I really think you would enjoy them immensely:

    “Fire from Heaven” by Dr. Harvey Cox (Mr. Cox is a Harvard professor of religion at Harvard and has written a fantastic book on the rise of the Pentecostals in the 20th century. He focuses quite a bit on the AG.,
    Culture Blind Evangelicals” by Dr.Paul Pomerville. Paul has been an AG missionary to Indonesia and has also served as a detective for many years and the head of the Vice Squad in Seattle–interesting combination.

    Cheers, in Jesus name,
    Kenny O.

  3. Larry Vern Newman Says:

    I recommend my book, “The Ultimate Evidence: Rethinking the Evidence Issues for Spirit-baptism.” Wipf and Stock Publishers, Eugene, OR. Available on Amazon.com.

    In the book I challenge the “Initial Evidence” doctrine and argue that tongues, a charismatic manifestation of the Spirit, is not the ultimate evidence of Spirit-baptism, but that love, an ethical manifestation of the Holy Spirit is the ultimate evidence.

    Dr. Larry Vern Newman
    Professor of Church Growth and Renewal
    Columbia Evangelical Seminary

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  5. admin Says:

    Dr. Newman:
    Thank you for your comment. I will order your book, it sounds like we agree. I’ve always felt too much emphasis was placed on speaking in tongues as a proof of your spirituality. Although, as I said in my blog, speaking in tongues feels good, is a wonderful experience but it is not the altimate proof of spirituality, as so many charismatic followers believe. I have seen very little change in the lives of individuals speaking in tongues and I agree with you, that love,, genuine love of God and humanity is the ultimate evidence of living a christian life.

  6. David Ingenico Says:

    You’re like a writer. Do you have any other sites other than Speaking In Tongues | Divine Betrayal?

  7. Gary Says:

    If the Initial Evidence doctrine fails, it removes the “distinctive” that the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostals have. Not only that, but if this doctrine goes by the boards, the doctrine of subsequence and separability is also at risk.

    Interesting times, indeed!

  8. admin Says:

    While I found your comments interesting, my knowledge of Pentecostal theology is limited. Please explain your comments.

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  10. admin Says:

    Interesting comment! I found it difficult to understand what you meant?

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