Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Speaking In Tongues....

All my life, I have been associated with the Methodist church.  Methodist churches are generally pretty tame places.  The people are friendly, but usually subdued.  The sermons are matter-of-fact, and usually subdued.  The music is generally mainstream hymns or well-established praise.  No surprises.

Well, the subject of speaking in tongues came up the other day with a group of friends.  I wondered aloud what would happen if someone began speaking in tongues in our church.  After all, it has never happened before.  Someone said that EMS would be called and that person would be whisked off to the closest emergency room for treatment of epilepsy.

Someone else opined that most of the congregation would also require treatment.  Probably so.

This topic also arose in a comment stream on another blog I follow---"LION'S SHARE MAJESTY".  It's an excellent blog that I encourage anyone of faith to explore. 

But---what would happen if our sedate Methodist church (we can also include most mainline Christian denominations here) experienced a worshipper's eruption in tongues?  I can tell you that it would shake our church to its core. 

The problem, of course, is this:  it is biblical.  It happened in scripture, and more than once.  It happened to the disciples (Acts 2), and everyone understood what was being said, even though various "languages" were being spoken.  And it happened to others later (1 Cor 14:2 and 1 Cor 14:13---18) when the words were not understood.

Speaking in tongues, also known as "glossolalia", is the vocalization of speech-like syllables in religious practice.  Some consider the utterances to be meaningless jibberish.  Others firmly assert the practice to be the use of the holy language of God.

It has been said that the practice is a sign of mental illness or hypnosis or a learned behavior.  Those who do not practice it are usually at a loss to explain it.  Those who do practice it are at a loss to explain why all Christians do not practice it.

But, just once, how I would love to see a few individuals in attendance at our church service who spontaneously erupt in a volcanic explosion of glossolalia.  How delicious would that be?


  1. What an interesting thought! I have been in Churches where they speak in tongues, but you couldn't understand a word of it. So, I found it distracting and annoying. I prefer understanding what's going on around me. But don't have an issue with people who prefer tongues.

  2. Hi, Clint...

    I had to jump over to LION'S SHARE MAJESTY and leave a comment...this is definitely a very interesting subject and has actually been a point of contention among believers for years! I know I have never fully understood spite of the fact that I've been mostly "charismatic" in my walk with the Lord (at least I guess I would be classified as such but I don't really think I'm all that "charismatic" in my expression of faith). I've been around tongues, heard sermons on tongues, seen it done and done it myself...and I still don't fully understand it, lol!

    But I think that if it is a stumbling block for other believers, then we would do well to avoid it. It's really not a salvation issue, is it? God will not judge us by whether or not we spoke in tongues!

    Great post!

  3. is very intresting, love to learn so much about american life!

  4. A most interesting subject Clint, quite a few issues you raised.

    Have a good day.

  5. I'd imagine if the Spirit moves you, you've gotta let it out... :)

  6. Such an interesting subject! Wow, the video was special and I hope your readers are taking the time to listen to it. I need to study the subject more ... fascinating!

  7. I speak in tongues. :) I don't shake, roll, or foam at the mouth.

    As far as I have read (and I've read quite a bit on the topic), John Wesley was in favor of healing and speaking in tongues. He believed it was scriptural, but that the Church was so dead that it had rejected the Holy Spirit, and had lost its power.

    I recently read something Charles Finney said, which rings SO true: The unsaved are in favor of doing away with the warnings of the Bible, and the church wants to do away with the promises.

  8. God's morning to you Clint. That would be a sight to see within your church if someone would jump up and start speaking in tongues. Of course when they do begin to speak in tongues they better have an interpreter so the rest of the congregation will understand what they are saying. Blessings my friend.

  9. It would be interesting to see. I suspect those sitting closet would slowly begin to slide away and distance themselves. The minister would try to continue but become agitated and request assistance from any doctors in the house. At some point folks sitting in the rear would stand to see what was going on and then move into the aisles. OR, everyone would pretend there was nothing going on. Just guessin' have a great day, Cliff. Blessings...Mary

  10. Interesting subject. I was raised in a church where speaking in tongues was forbidden. The church where I attend now belief is: if one is to speek in tongues publicly, there must be an interpreter. Many people in my church speak in tongues during their private prayer life, but I do not.
    Blessings and thank you for your comment on my blog post.

  11. Thank you for being courageous enough to share this post on the web.

    I have also just come from Sandra's blog post on this topic where I left a comment saying that I agree with everything she wrote.

    Speaking in tongues is a potent weapon for spiritual warfare, which I believe is widely misunderstood, misused, or abused.

    But this post is a good one. I come from a Baptist General Conference church... but there is a handful of us who believe in the full operation of the spiritual gifts. The scenario you described in your post could be true of our church congregation as well.

    I enjoyed reading some of your previous posts as well.

    My humble opinion is that you should definitely grow out your hair - it will suit your style as a gospel singer.


  12. Every day very interesting, thank you Clint


  13. I like to read your blog.
    Have a nice weekend.
    Greetungs Sabine

  14. Courageous, yes! Glossalalia is one of those topics studiously avoided by most and stubbornly argued by too many on both "sides" - point being there should not be "sides" taken; but then again this was even a controversial subject in the earliest days, eh?

    RE: taking sides - please feel free to come wander thru my "other" blog: