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The Merry-go-round Epiphany

In Surrender of Sovereignty, I mention the bitterness I struggle with regarding how religious beliefs that I now consider "incorrect, crippling, and unfounded" affected what we could or could not do with our children.

The photos at the left were taken at Fleischaker Zoo in San Franscisco. None of the photos I've taken over the years touch me more than these two. But first, let me give you some background.

At the time, we believed the Bible and were 7th-day Adventists. Such belief, keeping the seventh day sabbath, is not without support from the Bible. It is true, that we emphasized the portions of the Bible which seemed to back up our denomination's peculiar beliefs. Paul's letters were difficult for us, but the Gospels made more sense. Without question, dozens of other denominations were emphasizing the verses in the Bible that promoted their corner of Christianity. But, as Adventists, we also accepted our church's special messenger, Ellen G. White. Our beliefs pertaining to how we observed the seventh day sabbath of Exodus 20:8-11 were guided by both the Bible and EGW's writings.

The Bible spelled out the idea clearly in Exodus: that on sabbath, we were to do no work, nor were we allowed to cause anyone in our employ to work either. Catholicism's Council of Trent moved the 4th commandment to the 3rd commandment's position and watered it down, removing all the labor restrictions it originally held. It was rewritten to read, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Well, we were Protestants and we weren't going to take the Catholic view. In addition, we felt keeping the 7th day sabbath was an important sign of our loyalty to God, and we accepted EGW's revelation on the subject from Review and Herald (September 19, 1854), where she says the following: "Parents, above every thing, take care of your children upon the Sabbath. Do not suffer them to violate God's holy day by playing in the house or out of doors. You may just as well break the Sabbath yourselves as to let your children do it, and when you suffer your children to wander about, and suffer then to play upon the Sabbath, God looks upon you as Sabbath-breakers."

Now, lets go back to these two pictures. They are of my oldest son. He was about 4 years old, and we were visiting San Franscisco. Of course we had bought picnic food on Friday so we wouldn't have to make people work for us by going into a restaurant on Saturday. Of course, we looked for something to do that was acceptable on sabbath. We decided to take our son to Fleischaker Zoo and let him marvel at God's creation. All was going well, and we had not spent any money nor made anyone work for us who wouldn't already have had to work anyway.

And then we came to the Merry-go-round. The calliopes were playing and the colorful characters on the Merry-go-round were going up and down and around. And my son was full of amazement and happiness. That is, until I took him aside quickly and explained that a man was operating the Merry-go-round and we should not make him work for us on sabbath. My son wasn't happy with this development, but he was used to this kind of crap on a regular basis, so he didn't make a fuss. But just then, a light went off in my concrete head. I thought to myself, "I wouldn't want to serve, much less even like a God who for any reason wouldn't let my son enjoy this wonderful moment." I checked with my wife, and she agreed. If what we believed prevented my son from enjoying this special moment, then something was wrong with what we believed.

It was my first experience of responding to my own sense of reason rather that what some man or woman had written about what God wants me to do. It felt wonderful. So I turned to my son and said, "You can ride the Merry-go-round." And then I took these two wonderful pictures. They have always served to remind me that in my life, at least, I'm going to trust my common sense and reason before I trust the writings of men or women. And just because the writings of man claim to be God's words doesn't mean that they are. And just because the Bible says, "There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is destruction," doesn't mean I have to follow blindly and not pay attention to what seems right. From this day on, I began to look at the Bible story differently. I asked myself if the stories and ideas of the Bible were reasonable. My book explains how that turned out.


Prayer Fantasy

Today, John McCluskey and Casslyn Welch were finally caught after a three week manhunt. McCluskey was one of three inmates who had escaped prison in northwest Arizona, hooked up with his fiance, Casslyn Welch, and are believed to have murdered Gary and Linda Haas of Oklahoma in the process. The Haases were in a travel trailer and were on an annual camping trip to Colorado. They were found inside their burned travel trailer.

I have nothing but sympathy for the the Haas family and their friends as they live through this horrendous experience. To use this story in a blog about prayer is uncomfortable, and in no way is meant to demean this family's grief at this time. The family and friends are relieved that these fugitives have been caught and are quoted by the media as saying that this is what they wanted to hear. The following quote was found in an article by the Associated Press: "The family was grateful that their prayers had been answered, and that no one else was hurt during the hunt for the fugitive and his accomplice."

Apparently, for this praying family, God did not supply protection for Gary and Linda, but during the three week hunt for their killers was willing to protect everyone else in their path. Why would God do one and not the other. I know all the standard answers. God knows the end from the beginning, and he sometimes allows things like this to happen for the greater good. Or maybe the Haases were out from under God's protection for some reason. Or maybe even that this life is not perfect, and stuff happens, but God will make all things right when Jesus returns. Maybe God "took" them to spare them something he didn't want them to face in this world. Maybe this family's faith is being tried by fire.

I read the following from "Conversations with God" by Neale Donald Walsch. Neale says that God said the following to him. Whether he did or didn't, it sure caught my eye. He claims God said, "If you believe that God is some omnipotent being who hears all prayer, says "yes" to some, "no" to others, and "maybe, but not now" to the rest, you are mistaken. By what rule of thumb would God decide?"

In my book I describe the heartbreaking losses of several families I know. I do not believe in a God who would allow Gary and Linda to be murdered and then keep everyone else safe. But this is the mentality of Christianity, and I find it absurd.


Gift of Tongues: My View-My Experience

For those of you who like short "posts," I apologize. I cannot write my view on tongues without giving you adequate explanation. I promise, I'll try to do better in the future.

The poll I've been taking in the right column was interesting to me. I have no way of knowing who visits this blog or who takes the poll. Only if you leave a comment do I know who you are. Not surprisingly, my blog had over 150 hits since I've been comparing how the issue of tongues is handled by the two sects of Christianity I have been involved with: Seventh-day Adventism and a part of the charismatic movement called Word of Faith. Also, it does not surprise me that only 8 people took the poll. But even then, the poll is pretty interesting.

No choice received more than 2 votes. 2 people felt that the Gift of tongues was evidence one has received the Holy Spirit. 2 people felt there was a true and a false form. 2 people felt it is of the Devil. 2 people felt it is gibberish. 1 vote each for not sure, gift received at the baptism of the Holy Spirit, really irritating, beautiful, and helpful. Nobody voted for unclean spirit manifestation, baby talk, spiritual deception or spiritualism.

I loved and do still love the friends I have from my two different experiences. And as I sit here writing this post, I'm smiling. Not laughing. Not mocking. Just slightly smiling, remembering some of the enjoyable experiences I have had with my friends in both areas of Christianity. Slightly sad that they will probably never be close to each other as I have been to them. Frustrated that anything should stand between these folks, keeping them from being close friends because some feel that the others are not receiving the Holy Spirit, and yet some thinking that the others are doing something of the Devil. I will eventually tell you what I think, but first here is my experience.

Somewhere around 1988 Judy and I had been studying the Bible: 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 to be precise. Here is a list of the gifts of the Spirit. It concerned us that as far as we knew, we had none of them. And yet all throughout the book of Acts, new believers were quickly ushered in to receive the Holy Spirit. And in John 16:7 Jesus is says, "It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."

We called upon our Seventh-day Adventist pastor to pay us a visit. During that visit we shared our concern that as far as we could see, we were not experiencing the gifts of the Spirit. We mentioned the Gift of Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues and the Gift of Healing. With regard to tongues, he explained the standard view of Seventh-day Adventism. (see my Post from a week ago called Gift of Tongues: Seventh-day Adventist view) And regarding the gift of healing, he said that the church's emphasis on healthful living and it's education with regard to all the health arts, such as medicine, nursing, physical therapy, dentistry and more, was the modern day fulfillment of the Gift of Healing.

I was a dentist. And every day people came in to my office to have their teeth "healed" and I told them what it was going to cost. I watched the frustration they felt when the cost unexpectedly exceeded what they thought it would be. And I remembered the stories in the book of Acts, and I didn't remember anyone getting partially rehabilitated, nor did I remember anyone getting charged money for the healing. This pastor's explanation left a very bitter taste in our mouths. We knew that the Bible said in Mark 16 that one of the signs that would accompany believers would be that they would lay hands on the sick and they would recover. Somehow, I could not envision collecting fees following those signs. And furthermore, other places in the Bible, though we weren't sure of their meaning, seemed to point away from the church's stand on the tongues issue.

And it wasn't just the Gifts of the Spirit that was bothering me, but keeping the 10 commandments and honoring Saturday as a Sabbath were also bothering me. I had read and reread the book of Galatians. Along with it I had also read and reread a book by E. J. Waggoner named "Righteousness by Faith." It is believed to be God's special message for these days by many Adventists. But I came to the conclusion that Waggoner had danced around the texts in Galatians and not walked out in the freedom mentioned there.

In Acts 2, when the early disciples received the Holy Spirit, there was some kind of a convention in town at the time. People from other nations were present. And as they heard the disciples preach, it says they heard them speak in their own tongue. Note that it didn't say that the disciples spoke in their own tongue, but that these people heard them speak in their own tongue. And also note that these people thought the disciples were drunk. It didn't quite seem to line up with the pastor's explanation or books written by accepted Seventh-day Adventist theologians at that time. The fact that we never saw anyone placing their hands on believers and praying for them to receive the Holy Spirit also bothered us. And the icing on the cake for me was that in 1 Corinthians 14, believers were getting out of control with praying in tongues. Paul was admonishing them that unless they interpreted their tongues, it was better not to bring them to church and cause commotion. Probably good advice, but I wondered what were they doing in the privacy of their homes that Paul even said he was doing? Something that they shouldn't bring to church, unless they interpreted it for everyone? Was it a foreign language that existed somewhere on the earth at that time? Why would they do that at home? For practice? I didn't think so. And why did it say in 1 Corinthians 14:2 that "anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God?" Why did Paul go on and say, "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophecy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified?" Later in verses 14-16 it mentions praying with spirit and praying with the mind, singing with the spirit and singing with the mind. Paul does not tell them to stop doing it at home, he merely tells them to stop doing it at church, unless someone interprets. Whew!

At this point we felt that the Seventh-day Adventist explanation was simply not good enough.

One day as we were traveling from Seattle back to Idaho, we stopped in Baker City to eat at a restaurant. While there, I spotted some literature and books that were free for the taking. The pamphlets were by the Full Gospel Businessmen's Association and the books were "The Happiest People In The World" by Demos Shakarian. Needless to say, I was not very happy those days. Frustrated was more the word for it. I hadn't received adequate answers from my church or its leading authors, so I figured why shouldn't I pick up one of these books and one of these pamphlets? The book, for me, was riveting. I longed for a connection with God that these people claimed to have. And what they claimed to have was more in line with the Bible than anything else I had ever read. After finishing the book, I looked at the pamphlet, and decided to look up a chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Association in Idaho. I found one who met during lunch hours in Boise, Idaho.

I took off work one day in time to get over to Boise and attend the meeting. Everything I heard seemed wonderful, and in line with what I had been studying in Paul's writings. They seemed to not avoid and dance around the subject of Gifts of the Spirit like my church did. At the end of the meeting they asked if anyone who had not received the Holy Spirit would like to come forward for prayer. I saw no reason why I shouldn't. They placed their hands on me and prayed. No coercion accompanied the prayer. No lights went off in my head and I did not speak in tongues or prophecy. Afterward, I caught one of the men who had prayed for me and asked him if he was concerned that I had not begun speaking in tongues or prophecying. He told me that he was not concerned and that he was sure that I would.

So the days stretched on, and I saw no evidence that I had received the Holy Spirit. Then one day I was reading 2 Timothy 1:6-7 where Paul reminded Timothy to "fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." It seemed to me that we had the ability to be timid and suppress the gifts which are in us through the laying on of hands. So I decided to be less timid.

As I was walking out behind the huge barn on my dad's property adjacent to mine, I decided to be less timid. And I began to fan the flame a little. So I tried to speak in tongues. And try as hard as I might, all that came out sounded like baby talk. I mean I expected to flip out in the Spirit or something. I mean here I was talking some kind of gibberish baby talk, which I would start or stop at my will. It did not take over my being. I could do most anything I wanted while I talked that way. I could tie my shoe, drive my car, water ski and most anything. Except....I could not reason well with my mind while I was talking that way. For example, I could not balance a checkbook while talking that way. The very instant I would stop, I could continue to balance the bank statement. And I thought of the verse in 1 Corinthians that mentioned praying with the spirit and praying with the mind, singing with the spirit and singing with the mind. It does seem that the two are different. When I go to the Adventist church, to my mind they sing mostly with the mind. When I attended Word of Faith, it seemed that they sang mostly with their spirit.

During the years that I attended Word of Faith, I truly enjoyed the singing in the spirit. I still miss it. It does seem to me that the body has a mental area and a spiritual area. Some call it head and heart. I have seen Eastern religions that do not recognize Christ do similar things. Using mantras or sounds they meditate until they seem to transcend the mind into spiritual.

But as for me, I have not seen much concrete evidence that I ever operated in Spiritual Gifts. My "baby talk" certainly was accepted at Word of Faith as the genuine gift. In fact, one time when a man recognized by many as a prophet was visiting our church and held a "stir up the gift that is within you" type of meeting, I tried to stir up the gift of prophecy. I mean, I felt that I had some talent in teaching and maybe the Holy Spirit would give me this gift if I tried to stir it up. So I did, and when I did, the prophet said, "That's it! Now don't you ever doubt that you have the gift of prophecy again." But it didn't feel like prophecy to me. It sounded just like me talking, and what I was saying seemed to me just crap. So I continued to doubt that experience. Another time I prayed for a dying young lady in a hospital who was believing God just a hard as a young lady can, and she died.

In John 14:12 I read, "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." And what had Jesus been doing? Just before he said this he raised Lazarus from the dead. And about this time my friend's son was found dead from a seizure in their house. I went down immediately to Nevada where this young boy lay in the mortuary. With his parents' consent, I called him forth, just as Jesus did. My whole mind said, "Who do you think you are?" But I ignored it. I knew what the Bible said and I wasn't going to waiver at this important moment. I ignored my pride and just did it in faith. Nothing visible happened. Nothing visible ever happened with my prayers. I just told the parents that for me, he was risen. The rest was up to God.

Some believe that my rejection of Christianity, as explained in my book, is due to some grave disappointment with that experience. But it isn't. My rejection of Christianity is because of a long list of experiences where I have exercised my faith in God and it was like I was talking to a wall. I cannot point back to any single experience where I can say for a fact that my faith in God was listened to by a god who was in fact listening; not to a point where I can say that my prayers were heard by God or responded to.

So where do I stand with regard to tongues? I believe that by making unfamiliar words we can cause the mind to take a back seat in our being. It can be useful and fun. I do it sometimes when I'm listening to inspiring music because it shuts off my mind and my heart seems to become intimately involved in the music. But do I believe that it is a gift from God to aid the believer and take the gospel to the world? No, I do not. All these years of experience, wonderful friends, wonderful praise and worship services, and the hope of thriving in the baptism of the Holy Spirit seem futile. And for me, the Bible is a book with such a colorful and twisted history; and yet, most people are either unaware of it or don't want to see it. It is taken to mean so many things to different people, causing one group of my friends to not associate well with other groups of my family and friends. I simply do not find the Bible reasonable, and I don't like what religion has done to me or to the world. The irony of the situation is that I wish I could believe it. I even miss it sometimes. But for now, I believe what I've put in my book. I hope you find it interesting. I received my first 10 copies Friday. I feel relieved to be at this point.

Gift of Tongues: Charismatic View

Charismatics generally believe in both the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" and the "Gift of Tongues."

"The Gift of Tongues" (I Corinthians 12:7-11) is when they believe the Holy Spirit, at his discretion, moves upon an individual to deliver a public message through a believer, howbeit not in any language generally understood by those present. It is to be followed by another message which is supposed to be the interpretation of the first message, understandable to those present. See I Corinthians chapter 14.

But to charistmatics, this does not rule out a "prayer language" for use by the individual in their own prayer life. They believe that anyone who accepts Jesus may receive this prayer language, and that it is evidence that one has in fact received the Holy Spirit. They note that in the early Christian church, the Bible records believers receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit many ways: in Acts chapter 2 the believers were simply waiting in one accord for the promised Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38 says "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 8 16-17 shows a case where some had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, but had not yet received the Holy Spirit, and so they placed their hands on them and then they received the Holy Spirit. In Acts 10:44-46, The Holy Spirit came upon the believers as Peter was preaching. They began speaking in tongues and praising God. In Acts 19, some had only been baptized for repentance, but nothing else. So they baptized them into the name of the Lord Jesus, and then subsequently placed their hands on them. Then it says the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

So to charismatics, the baptism of the Holy Spirit can happen at almost any time after you receive Jesus, during waiting on God, while someone is preaching, or when hands are placed upon you. They don't care as long as you get it, but to be sure they usually place hands on you and encourage you to speak in tongues.

They are harshly criticized by some for speaking in tongues as a "prayer language," but I believe an honest reading of I Corinthians 14 is describing something different in their personal life than what takes place in public.

And I'll say this one thing more in defense of charismatics. Mark 16 says that certain signs would accompany those who believe. Those signs include driving out demons, speaking in new tongues, handling snakes, not being hurt by drinking poison, and laying hands on sick people and seeing them healed. Almost everyone who criticizes charismatics for speaking in tongues cannot point to one instance in their own lives where they have spoken in tongues, driven out demons, not been hurt by drinking poison or laid their hands on the sick and seen them healed.

Next post will be Gift of Tongues: My View. It's bound to get everyone upset, so I'll see you then.

Not much time left, take the ANONYMOUS POLL over in the column at the right, so I can get a representative sampling.

Gift of Tongues: Seventh-day Adventist View

Mostly, Seventh-day Adventists view the tongues issue through tinted glasses. Most Adventists, believe that the "remnant of her seed" mentioned in Revelation 12:17 refers to the Seventh-day Adventist church, or at the very least those who keep the 7th day Sabbath and believe in Jesus. In this verse they see that in the last days Satan will wage war against them, the last remnant of true believers.

As they interpret all the other imagery of this colorful book, they see it all focusing on those who keep the Sabbath and believe in Jesus. They believe that Protestant Christianity will join forces with Spiritualism (with which they clump Charismatics and "gibberish" type of tongue speaking) and Catholicism. They believe this 3-fold union will ultimately bring about the forces which cause them to be persecuted.

So, they are very uncomfortable with ecstatic tongue speaking that edifies the one speaking. They generally believe that it is of the Devil; and is one of the areas upon which Protestantism, Spiritualism and Catholicism are able to find common ground and thus strengthen their unholy union.

So if you speak in tongues during a Seventh-day Adventist service, most likely you will be quickly silenced or moved to the back room. Only a new convert would try such a stunt, so they may be extended grace once, but they will soon teach them Adventist doctrine on the subject , running them through a series of studies on Daniel and Revelation until they understand that the gift of tongues, should it ever occur, will be in a language currently known to mankind and will be for the purpose of edifying those to whom the gospel is being preached. For example, an English speaking minister in Africa might be heard by someone who does not speak or understand English in a language understandable to that person. No prayer languages or ecstatic utterance allowed. And if someone raises both hands unto the heavens during a meeting, leadership will have their eyes on them and will keep close watch that they aren't one of those charismatics.

Baptism in Seventh-day Adventism is by water in accordance with the example of Jesus when he was baptized in the Jordan River. At that time the Bible says the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove. No attention that I have ever witnessed is given to the example where Paul laid his hands on the new believers later in the book of Acts, and they began to speak in tongues and prophesy. So they emphasize water baptism and let the Holy Spirit descend as and when he pleases. They have been criticized for not laying hands on the believers, so when the water baptism takes place, one arm supports the candidate, and one hand goes over the candidates nose. So nobody can criticize them for not laying on hands then, or they would come up sputtering water. Following the immersion, the Pastor will generally pray for the candidate. They will put a hand on their shoulder or hold their hands, but usually they will not lay hands on the candidates head. Adventism teaches that no actual power is transferred to another by the laying on of hands anyway. Additionally, if that candidate has been watching Sunday morning television and comes up babbling in tongues, they would have the uncomfortable job of explaining that to the congregation as well as muzzling the candidate. So when it comes to praying for new believers and that believer breaking out in tongues, they try not to go there, and hope it doesn't happen on their watch.

At the Seventh-day Adventist website, in their Statement of Fundamental Beliefs , water baptism takes the front seat along with Repentance and the Holy Spirit guiding you into truth, the obvious omission of specifically mentioning the Gift of Tongues, bespeaks their extreme discomfort with the subject.

The next two Posts will be "Gift of Tongues: Charismatic View" and finally, "Gift of Tongues: my view.

Please join the fun, and vote in the "secret ballot" poll in the right hand column. It will be enlightening to see how you feel on this subject. Not even I know how anyone votes.

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.

Please take the poll (in the right column). I can't tell who votes how, so it's a hidden ballot.


Fault The Book, Not The People

Does this picture disturb anyone like it disturbs me?

I wasn't at this noisy meeting, but I've been in some just like them. The Bible says in Mark 16 that signs would follow anyone who believes. And one of those signs would be that they would lay hands on the sick and the sick would recover. Another sign would be that they would speak in new tongues.

These folks, no doubt, were just acting out their faith in the Bible. Laying their hands on this little girl, babbling in tongues, and really "praying this thing through." It does seem strange that no women were laying their hands on the little girl. When such a revered book is placed in the hands of people of all walks of life, all kinds of noisy lunatic mayhem can result. But it's very easy to fault the people. Looking back, I still respect the people who did this sort of thing more than those who prefer ONLY laying on of hands by Elders of the church. Because the Bible clearly says that both ways are used.

The conclusion I"ve come to is that I do not believe the Bible is harmonious or the inspired Word of God. It says one thing here, and one thing there. So some churches think that believers laying on hands and praying in tongues is of the Devil. And the other folks think that churches who don't let believers lay on hands and speak in tongues are dead and lack Spirit. I think the Bible says many different things within its conglomeration of letters, poems and folk stories; and is kindling for fires of discord among its believers. In the first four chapters of Surrender of Sovereignty, I lay out in simple terms where and how the Bible came into existence. It may be a little messier than you thought.