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Speaking in Tongues: Its Origin [Ancient and Modern] , Purpose, and Power

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Speaking in tongues is a controversial subject ;largely, I think, because of its widespread counterfeit manifestations sparked by modern short attention spans and the resulting need for instant gratification, which in turn leads to an unconscious attitude that the Holy Spirit must jump when we crack our whip! This thread will begin with a focus on the powerful spiritual impact of the authentic gift.

(1) To that end, I will first post a video on one of the most impactful revivals of all time, the Azusa Street revival that began in 1908, which has ultimately led to the conversion of 600 million Pentecostal and Charismatic converts globally or 1/4 of the world's Christian population!.

William Seymour was the central figure in that revival. He was the son of a Black slave and had been fired in his first pastorate within a week. That failure led to a heroic prayer vigil that ignited the revival, making William Seymour the most spiritually effective Black Christian who ever lived. Yet in my first 21 years in a Pentecostal church, I had never heard of Seymour! Unwitting racist attitudes seem to be the reason why few Pentecostals had heard of Seymour until recent decades. Seymour and his core group of African Americans sparked that revival, only to be forgotten in the aftermath as white leadership took over most of the fledgling Pentecostal movement. Here, then is the documentary on Seymour's role in the Azusa Street Revival:

azusa street revival documenary - Bing video

In subsequent posts, I will share (2) my own experience of Spirit baptism and then (3) my experience-based perspective on the best way to receive the gift of speaking in tongues. (4) Only then will I embark on a detailed defense of the need to strive for spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues. This defense will include a discussion of the role this gift is intended in the private devotional life of believers and a refutation of common counter-arguments.
 
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Speaking in tongues is a controversial subject ;largely, I think, because of its widespread counterfeit manifestations sparked by modern short attention spans and the resulting need for instant gratification, which in turn leads to an unconscious attitude that the Holy Spirit must jump when we crack our whip! This thread will begin with a focus on the powerful spiritual impact of the authentic gift.

(1) To that end, I will first post a video on one of the most impactful revivals of all time, the Azusa Street revival that began in 1908, which has ultimately led to the conversion of 600 million Pentecostal and Charismatic converts globally or 1/4 of the world's Christian population!.

William Seymour was the central figure in that revival. He was the son of a Black slave and had been fired in his first pastorate within a week. That failure led to a heroic prayer vigil that ignited the revival, making William Seymour the most spiritually effective Black Christian who ever lived. Yet in my first 21 years in a Pentecostal church, I had never heard of Seymour! Unwitting racist attitudes seem to be the reason why few Pentecostals had heard of Seymour until recent decades. Seymour and his core group of African Americans sparked that revival, only to be forgotten in the aftermath as white leadership took over most of the fledgling Pentecostal movement. Here, then is the documentary on Seymour's role in the Azusa Street Revival:

azusa street revival documenary - Bing video

In subsequent posts, I will share (2) my own experience of Spirit baptism and then (3) my experience-based perspective on the best way to receive the gift of speaking in tongues. (4) Only then will I embark on a detailed defense of the need to strive for spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues. This defense will include a discussion of the role this gift is intended in the private devotional life of believers and a refutation of common counter-arguments.
Of interest we had speaking in tongues phenomena in Cape province of South Africa in the Dutch Reform Church run by Andrew Murray. Long before the Azusa Street revival that began in 1908

wiki ( Murray pastored churches in Bloemfontein, Worcester, Cape Town and Wellington, all in South Africa. He was a champion of the South African Revival of 1860. Through his writings, Murray was also a key "Inner Life" or "Higher Life" or Keswick leader, and his theology of faith healing and belief in the continuation of the apostolic gifts made him a significant forerunner of the Pentecostal movement )
 
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(2) At age 16 I was so nagged by doubts about the reliability of Scripture and the authenticity of charismatic manifestations in church that my faith crisis prompted me to spend a week at Manhattan Beach Camp near Ninette, Manitoba with the hope that God would meet me in the Pentecostal camp meetings in the huge outdoor amphitheater there. I responded to the encouragement to seek God at the altar after the services. But my heart felt like stone when I did because I felt tempted to succumb to wishful thinking and just speak gibberish in the flesh. So on Tuesday, I went on a long 7 mile country prayer walk, pleading with God to resolve my crippling doubts and pledging my willingness to die in His service, if He would only make Himself real to me. When I returned from my walk, I was famished and went to the camp dining hall to buy dinner. But then it occurred to me that I should instead fast and put the money I would have spent on dinner into the evening offering plate. So I did and then attended the evening camp meeting.

At the end of the service, I once again walked to the altar up front and knelt in prayer. My heart again felt like stone and I was determined not to succumb to the power of suggestion and wishful thinking by stepping out in faith and speaking in tongues. Soon everyone had left and I lingered in my depressing prayer vigil in the mostly darkened amphitheater. Suddenly I felt a warm breeze, which I assumed had blown in off of the adjacent Pelican Lake. I was shocked when I realized that this breeze was in fact the wind of the Holy Spirit! The Spirit immediately overpowered my resistance and I found myself speaking in tongues at the top of my voice. I was engulfed by wave after wave of liquid love, each wave more intense than the last, until I felt like I might die! At one point, my ego seemed on the verge of collapse into the divine mind. I can only describe this outpouring of divine love as a hundred times more intense and sweeter than I have experienced before or since. This proved to be unquestionably the highlight of my life and, decades later, I continue to draw emotional nourishment from the memory of that epic day.

After several minutes, I noticed a few spectators sitting reverently nearby. I asked one lady why she was staring at me and she replied, "Don't you know? Your face is glowing in the dark!" I returned to my knees to continue feasting on God's presence. Then I was interrupted by a Lutheran minister, who tapped me on the shoulder and said he was there only as an interested spectator of other religious traditions and didn't believe in speaking in tongues. But he could sense that God was doing a special work in my spirit and he asked me to pray for him. I just touched him gently on the forehead and he exploded in other tongues!

When I returned to my cabin, I realized that God had spoken to me, though not in an audible voice or a message printed on the neon screen of my mind. God told me, "You desperately need answers to your vexing questions. But right now answers are not good for you because answers would lead you to live too much in your head rather than from your heart. I'm calling you to live the big questions until they lead you to the center of my heart." That calling led me to get an MDiv from Princeton and a doctorate in New Testament, Judaism, and Greco-Roman religion from Harvard.

Like many others, I believe that speaking in tongues is like a gateway drug that leads to other gifts of the Spirit. Shortly after the experience, I had my first of many experiences of "the word of knowledge (see 1 Corinthians 12:8-10)." I suddenly knew that I would obtain the highest GPA in high school as a gift from God to signify my academic calling. At a funeral a few years ago, my cousin reminded me that I had informed him of this divine message before it was fulfilled. Previously, my academic performance had been nothing special. So I believe that my Baptism in the Holy Spirit had "renewed my mind (as per Romans 12:1-2). Duff Roblin, the Premier of the province, awarded my a scholarship in recognition of this achievement. I believe this recognition supported my earlier attempts to witness to classmates, which had seemed to give me a reputation as a religious fanatic. To God be the glory!
 
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(3) HOW TO AUTHENTICALLY SPEAK IN TONGUES
Bible commentators generally agree that Paul intends speaking in tongues to be included among the spiritual gifts we are to strive to exercise:
"Strive for the greater gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31)."
"Strive for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy (14:1)."
Prophesying is Paul's top priority because, unlike private prayer tongues, prophecy edifies the whole church. But in the context of both quoted texts, Paul discusses speaking in tongues. So just how are we supposed to "strive?"

First a word on what not to do. Pentecostal pastors tend to be results oriented. So they often advise seekers to "just step out in faith and speak it out," with the result that wishful thinking prompts the seeker to experience counterfeit tongues. Similarly, if the pastor lays on hands to incite you to speak in tongues, the pressure you feel to comply with his intent may spark a counterfeit outburst in tongues. As I like to say, the Holy Spirit doesn't jump just because we crack our whip! As a teen, prior to the epic life-changing experience of tongues described in my last post, I had occasionally spoken in tongues "of the flesh." My counterfeit tongues were part of what led to the disillusionment that my later epic experience had to remedy.

The real thing may take a considerable amount of time as a seeker, but it is well worth the wait. Here are 5 tips you might find helpful:
(1) First ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and express your desire and willingness to speak in tongues.

(2) Then replace your petitioning with seeking the Giver, and not the gift. God may choose to baptize you in the Spirit without the initial evidence of tongues.

(3) Then allow your longing for more of God to intensify and until your words seem woefully inadequate to express the purity of your longing and how lost in praise and gratitude you feel for your blossoming intimacy with the Spirit. Meditate on this divine promise:
"When you search for me, you will find me, when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13)."

(4) Your breakthrough may take several prolonged prayer vigils. So remember the caution hat qualifies the glorious promise in Psalm 37:4, 7:
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart...but be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him."

(5) At some point, perhaps when you least expect it, the inadequacy of your contrived words will be compensated by a heavenly language you will find yourself spontaneously speaking and you will be engulfed by wave after wave of liquid love. The way you will discern that you have experienced the real thing is that later in retrospect it will be impossible for you to doubt the genuineness of this self-authenticating experience.
 
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h
Speaking in tongues is a controversial subject ;largely, I think, because of its widespread counterfeit manifestations sparked by modern short attention spans and the resulting need for instant gratification, which in turn leads to an unconscious attitude that the Holy Spirit must jump when we crack our whip! This thread will begin with a focus on the powerful spiritual impact of the authentic gift.

(1) To that end, I will first post a video on one of the most impactful revivals of all time, the Azusa Street revival that began in 1908, which has ultimately led to the conversion of 600 million Pentecostal and Charismatic converts globally or 1/4 of the world's Christian population!.

William Seymour was the central figure in that revival. He was the son of a Black slave and had been fired in his first pastorate within a week. That failure led to a heroic prayer vigil that ignited the revival, making William Seymour the most spiritually effective Black Christian who ever lived. Yet in my first 21 years in a Pentecostal church, I had never heard of Seymour! Unwitting racist attitudes seem to be the reason why few Pentecostals had heard of Seymour until recent decades. Seymour and his core group of African Americans sparked that revival, only to be forgotten in the aftermath as white leadership took over most of the fledgling Pentecostal movement. Here, then is the documentary on Seymour's role in the Azusa Street Revival:

azusa street revival documenary - Bing video

In subsequent posts, I will share (2) my own experience of Spirit baptism and then (3) my experience-based perspective on the best way to receive the gift of speaking in tongues. (4) Only then will I embark on a detailed defense of the need to strive for spiritual gifts, including speaking in tongues. This defense will include a discussion of the role this gift is intended in the private devotional life of believers and a refutation of common counter-arguments.[/QUOT how could we conclude the speaking in tongues is a controversial subject. When we recieve the holy spirit annointing , speaking in tongue is a sign. See acts chapter 2...
 
Active
The gift of tongues Is truly controversial -- based mainly on the happenings on the Day of Pentecost. At that time Peter was speaking to the crowd of Jews from all over the area. Lots of different dialogues of the language. Peter was presenting salvation and everyone was amazed that they were all understanding the same thing , yet, in their own dialect. And That was 'tongues'.

There are Also guidelines given for tongues in a church. No more than three 'speaking' and immediate interpretation is required. Three speakers one at a time. The church service isn't supposed to be about speaking in tongues. It's Supposed to be about learning God's Word. Encouraging one another . And there is apparently a prayer language. Paul talks about that, too.

Mostly tongues isn't used these days Because of people who can interpret from one language to another.

And it's use was when there were unbelieving Jews present.

There's a church I'd heard about that actually teaches a class on how to speak in tongues. Not Biblical. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to each believer at the time of their salvation. We Don't ask for any -- they are Given. They are to help the individual local church function better.

Some years ago in a small church we went to -- there was a wonderful Hispanic couple who Did share that they prayed in tongues at home in private. The husband Had been an atheist in college level biology classes. A couple of his students started praying for his salvation. After a while he Did accept Christ and shared with his wife who Also accepted Christ. He went from being a good professor to being a warm loving professor. He started witnessing to his family / expended family and they all have accepted Christ. They said they still Do their private prayer language and God has blessed them.

I was in a neighborhood Bible study group -- my husband and I started it with simply a guy from town and it grew. Various belief systems involved. Tongues Did come up and discussed. Turns out I was the only one in the group who Hadn't spoken in tongues. My husband said that in the Air Force , a group he was in Did and he did at one point. But hasn't since then. So the one lady was truly concerned as to my own actual salvation. She had taken my hand and was sincerely wanting me to be able to. I shared My salvation experience and assured her that I was very much a believer. I think she was concerned that my own salvation wasn't truly complete. And there are those who feel the same way about baptism.
 
Loyal
The gift of tongues Is truly controversial -- based mainly on the happenings on the Day of Pentecost. At that time Peter was speaking to the crowd of Jews from all over the area. Lots of different dialogues of the language. Peter was presenting salvation and everyone was amazed that they were all understanding the same thing , yet, in their own dialect. And That was 'tongues'.

There are Also guidelines given for tongues in a church. No more than three 'speaking' and immediate interpretation is required. Three speakers one at a time. The church service isn't supposed to be about speaking in tongues. It's Supposed to be about learning God's Word. Encouraging one another . And there is apparently a prayer language. Paul talks about that, too.
There was of course more than one day of Pentecost in the Bible. ( Acts 20:16; 1 Cor 16:8; ) Pente means 5. The Passover feast was 7 weeks (49 days) Pentecost happened on the 50th day after
the passover.

There is no passage in the Bible that says tongues have already ceased to exist. Indeed it says this is one the signs that follow Jesus's believers. ( Mark 16:17; )

Biblical. The Holy Spirit gives gifts to each believer at the time of their salvation. We Don't ask for any -- they are Given
Actually this is un-Biblical.

Luke 11:13; "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

In all 5 instances of people being baptized with the Holy Spirit, not a single one received the baptism at the moment of Salvation. Not one.

The believers in the upper room in Acts 2 had all already been believers for up to 3 years before the initial Pentecost event happened.
Paul meets Jesus on the road to Damascus, but didn't receive the Holy Spirit until 3 days later at Ananias's house. ( Acts 9:17; )
The Samaritans had already been believers for a while, many had already been baptized. But didn't receive the Holy Spirit yet. ( Acts 8:14-16; )
Cornelius the centurion had also been a devout God fearing man for some time, but he didn't get baptized in the Holy Spirit until he met Peter. ( Acts 10:1-2; Acts 10:44-47; )
The disciples at Ephesus had already been believers, and had already been baptized in water, but didn't receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit until they meet Paul. ( Acts 19:1-7; )

Also in every case above, except for Paul... people spoke in tongues when they received the Holy Spirit, but of course we know Paul spoke in tongues as well. ( 1 Cor 14:18; )
 
Active
@B-A-C -- try Acts 2:1 and following verses. and vs 14 and rest of chapter.

Look at 1 Corinthians 12 and vs 11 "and He gives......"

The book of Acts is a transitional book.

Acts 19 passage -- it Is true that the 1st baptisms were by John and were for repentance and those mentioned in that passage -- they hadn't heard that there Was a Holy Spirit to be received.
Paul Did lay his hands on them and they did those following things. They were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

Are all those things part of or required Now for salvation? Gospel unto salvation in 1 Corinthians 15 :1-3 but backing up to chapter 14 Gifts of prophesy and tongues -- comparing the two. Prophesy is considered to be more important. and in vs 18 -19 "but in the church......" vs 22 "Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers" and vs 27-28.

The thief on the cross could not be baptized by immersion. None of the Old Testament saints were baptized by immersion , Jesus Christ went to get them after He died on the cross. They were with Jesus Christ but were never baptized. Nor did they speak with tongues. There was no Church yet.

The baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment of salvation. The coming to indwell is the Holy Spirit immersing our soul -- baptism is immersion. Water baptism is the public action a person takes when they publically identify with Christ as a born-again believer. The person is immersed in water and brought back up immediately. It demonstrates what has already taken place inwardly.

There Are churches Now that do follow the pattern in Acts 19 -- the laying on of hands, tongues, prophesying, Everything as part of salvation. But 1 Corinthians 15 gives us Gospel unto salvation. And Romans 10 -- belief in heart and confession by mouth.
 
Active
I would think that the changed life proves the baptism of the Holly Spirit,.
Well -- the changed life is the result Of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit / the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at the moment of salvation. The same thing !?
 
Loyal
The book of Acts is a transitional book.
2 Tim 3:16; All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

I wonder why it doesn't say "some" scripture.. or "part of scripture"?

Look at 1 Corinthians 12 and vs 11 "and He gives......"
He gives..., because we ask.

Matt 7:7; "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matt 21:22; "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

Luke 11:13; "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

Jas 1:5; But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jas 1:6; But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

Jas 4:2; You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.
 
Loyal
Of interest we had speaking in tongues phenomena in Cape province of South Africa in the Dutch Reform Church run by Andrew Murray. Long before the Azusa Street revival that began in 1908
Even before that... do you know why the Quakers were called "Quakers"? Another similar group was called the Shakers.
 
Active
2 Tim 3:16; All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

I wonder why it doesn't say "some" scripture.. or "part of scripture"?



He gives..., because we ask.

Matt 7:7; "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Matt 21:22; "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive."

Luke 11:13; "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"

Jas 1:5; But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jas 1:6; But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

Jas 4:2; You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.


Let's look closer at the passage I listed from 1 Corinthians 12: 11 "All these are the work of One and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines."
That verse finishes by saying 'them to each one, just as He determines"
It's the section on spiritual gifts.

Context, context
 
Active
Look back at post #11 for the context of 1 Corinthians 12:11 -- it's saying that 'we' don't ask for any spiritual gifts -- He Gives Them ..... just as He determines.
 
Loyal
Look back at post #11 for the context of 1 Corinthians 12:11 -- it's saying that 'we' don't ask for any spiritual gifts -- He Gives Them ..... just as He determines.
WE certainly don't give them to ourselves. Yes He is the one who determines who gets what gift. Once they have asked for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
I've given 5 passages where it happened a certain way. Over a period of fourteen years.

You haven't given a single passage that says it happened differently. But yet you are convinced. This is how false doctrines propagate.
 
Active
@B-A-C --- the baptism of the Holy Spirit happens at the moment of salvation. So You're saying that a person accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior is -- in effect -- asking for the baptism to take place? How about This -- the 'baptism' of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit immersing our soul with Himself as the sealing act Of the Holy Spirit. It happens automatically at the instant Of our accepting Christ.

Okay, you've been teaching That for 14 yrs. That's between you and God.

Your comment about a false doctrine is coming on a bit Strong. A false doctrine would be saying that there is salvation in anything or anyone Other than Jesus Christ. That Jesus Christ is Not the son of God. Or that the Bible PLUS some other literature is Gospel. Or that something we do is required along with the cross. Those are dangerous False doctrines / teachings.
 
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