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8/08/2010

Tongue Speaking: Of God, Of The Devil, Or Invented By Man?

I believe I have a fairly unique perspective. I was a Seventh-day Adventist for all my life until I was 45 years old. During that time I served as a Deacon and a Sabbath School class teacher. After that I was a member of a Spirit-filled (tongue-talking) Bible-based church, serving the last three years as an Elder.

These experiences were far different from each other. In the photo above (left), some young man has requested prayer for something. Possibly healing of body, mind or spirit. Possibly he is seeking to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Believers of this fellowship are gathered around, laying hands on this young man. I guarantee you that those around him are praying in tongues (their prayer language as it is called to differentiate it from the Gift of Tongues). The one being prayed for looks under strain because, usually it is difficult to just "let go and let God" as they say. Usually they are struggling with giving up their pride and just surrendering to God. Those services were never dull, and the people extremely sincere and good people.

The photo above (right) is a typical Seventh-day Adventist service. A "praise and worship team" are singing. Probably the congregation is also singing. There are no hands raised. There is no speaking is tongues (gibberish, as they call it). There are usually no drums, and beat is kept to a minimum. Sometimes it begins to get louder and more rhythmic which always causes the conservative old-timers of the church to complain to the pastor. Frequently, churches split and pastors are moved "laterally" to another location over this issue. Tongue talking (speaking not-understood language or gibberish) is considered a manifestation of the 3 unclean spirits which come out of Dragon, the beast and the false prophet in Revelation 16.

I have been both places, and I have believed both ways. I have used a prayer language (what Seventh-day Adventists would call gibberish and of the Devil), and as an Elder laid hands on those who asked for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I have taught in Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School classes that prayer languages and speaking in unknown languages is of the Devil.

Having had both experiences, I believe, puts me in a unique position to discuss this subject. I now believe that both views are incorrect. I believe the Bible, particularly the New Testament of the Christian Bible, contains letters which chronicle basically a difference of opinion between the early Christian believers, which, never being clearly passed down to future generations, causes discord, suspicion, name calling, expulsion and separation in todays Christians.

I will discuss this issue in the next posts on this blog. I believe there are texts to support both points of view. But neither side is willing to see it from another perspective. For me, the Bible is the problem. I do not believe it is God's Word, and I believe that holy scriptures from all religions account for much of the fighting in the world. More to come.

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