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Author Topic: Is Charismatic "speaking in tongues" demonic?  (Read 14239 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #45 on: August 03, 2007, 08:30:54 PM »

This is really interesting. It would explain why Pentecostalism sprang up so quickly throughout the South. I wonder if this connexion is the reason the Pentecostals tend to use phrases like "the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit"--power and control of/by spirits is certainly a key component of Voodoo religion.

I think Fr. Seraphim Rose picked up on this in his chapter on the Charismatic Movement in Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.  Not that I accept his take without any critical thought, but I just find this connection interesting.
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« Reply #46 on: August 03, 2007, 08:33:13 PM »

I'd like to read that. My parish's library may have a copy; if not, it would be one we could invest in.
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« Reply #47 on: August 03, 2007, 09:27:48 PM »

Perhaps this  explaination by Elder Cleopa of Romania, a gifted spiritual father, will help to understnd this topic somewhat in view of traditional Orthodox Teachings inn response to questions about the gift of tongues known as glossolalia, he gave the following response:

“…true glossolalia  as a gift of the Holy Spirit can be recognized when it is combined with the following presuppositions.

1)   If someone, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit speaks a language, it should be understood by all those who stand by, as happened in the case that we cited from the acts of the Holy Apostles (Acts 2:1-13),
2)   When someone speaks a language among the residents [of Jerusalem, Corinth, etc.] that they do not understand, then another gift, the gift of translation of this language into the language of the people is necessary. Without this translation the foreign language is babbling and lunacy. [1 Cor. 14:23]
3)   Glossolalia was not given to the Church forever, but only in the beginning of Christianity in order to awaken the idol-worshippers and the Jews to belief in Christ.  This is why the Apostle Paul said that the gift of glossolalia would at some point cease to exist in the Church. [1 Cor 13:8]
4)   Since we believe that Christ us our true God we no longer have need of glossolalia, given the fact that the knowledge of foreign languages by inspiration of the Holy Spirit is a sign (miracle) necessary only for the unbelieving and not the faithful. [1 Cor 14:22]
5)   From the beginning of Christianity glossolalia was among the lesser gifts in the Church of Christ, while the others, such as that of prophecy, interpretation of scripture, of love and the rest, were much greater.
6)   It is totally out of the question for speaking in tongues, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, to mean a delirium in a non-existent and incomprehensible language, for then it wouldn’t be speaking in languages, but our own [exclusive] language. Moreover, it comes into clear contradiction with chapter two of the Acts of the Apostles. [Mark 16:17]
7)   The inarticulate voices, lunacies and incoherent utterances which we often hear from the self proclaims speakers of tongues very much resemble the scenes of the idol-worshippers would make before their idols of Dionysus, as well as with quite a few Montanists, Gnostics, Quakers, and later Pentecostals, all of whom the true Church of Christ anathematizes.

“Thus, brother foreign to the Spirit of God is the speaking of tongues of those who think they are grace-bearers and make bold to misrepresent the true glossolalia, a gift of the Holy Spirit which existed at the outset of Christianity.”

An Excerpt from The Truth of Our Faith: Discourses from Holy Scripture on the Tenets of Christian Orthodoxy by Elder Cleopa of Romania. Translated by Peter Alban Heers, Uncut Mountain Press, Thessalonica Greece and London Ontario, 2000, pp.228-229.

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« Reply #48 on: August 03, 2007, 09:41:42 PM »

Elder Cleopa certainly had some work to do in Romania among the Pentecostals. This is indeed a good outline of the basic arguments against the Pentecostals' concept of glossolalia. Thank you.
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« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2007, 06:58:16 AM »

Today I was at lunch with my Catholic godmother, a friend and another guy. We discussed various issues about Christianity, and then, I can't remember how we got onto it, my Catholic godmother started speaking a whole load of gibberish. It sounded a bit like the Maori language, which she speaks, however what she said had the 'sh' sound which doesn't exist in Maori. She later told me that sometimes she speaks in Aramaic when this happens. I managed to record some of her babbling, and after playing it back, I heard the world "Yeshu" which sounds like "Jesus" in Aramaic. After she had finished, she said, "Many people need prayer. There are many that are in need. Many need peace in their hearts but don't have it."

Is what just happened here a demonic manifestation? I know it's not of God - God has "thousands of archangels and ten thousands of angels" ready to do His bidding, and if He wanted to send a message, he would send one of them. So do you think that this manifestation would be demonic or could she just be making the whole thing up (she doesn't seem like that sort of person, though).

What would also be interesting would be to get the recording translated. Does anyone here speak Aramaic?


To the title question.  I don't think it is, but it can be.   I have read Orthodox polemics against it.   I also have done the glossalia (non foreign language) variety of speaking in tongues.  And bend around church folks that have had similar experiences hearing Latin etc.


As the Aramaic question.  I don't speak it, but have been around folks who have on other message boards (and of course our SOC folks also would qualify here)   Unfortately come to think of it, this is no proof based on that last statement, "message boards".   There is enough stuff on the web floating around that a person could fake this if they wanted to."


Post script - I would add much of the way tongues is employed seems to fit Montanism.   And a number of non christian groups also have this phenomenon manifest from being in an ecstatic state which is deliberately induced by frenzied dancing, loud singing etc.    I would say this way of manifesting the gift is questionable.   As that one bible verse goes that the spirit of prophecy is subject to the prophet (a person cannot claim to be out of control and prophesy).  as well as verses regarding worship being conducted decently and in order.   And of course I would add the Patristic objection to Montanist prophesy they objected to it because it didn't follow the tradition (most likely as expressed in the didache and the scriptures alluded to), and not they objected to it for Cessianist reasons.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2007, 07:12:40 AM by Addai » Logged

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« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2007, 08:02:07 PM »

Interview with Fr. Hopko on charismatic gifts:

http://audio.ancientfaithradio.com/illuminedheart/IH15-FrHopko_052707.mp3
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« Reply #51 on: August 18, 2007, 11:21:13 AM »

I think Fr. Seraphim Rose picked up on this in his chapter on the Charismatic Movement in Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future.  Not that I accept his take without any critical thought, but I just find this connection interesting.

As do I.  When I first read it, I thought that his views were a bit harsh, but when I really started considering my own experiences, I re-evaluated my stance.  Fr. Seraphim Rose probably isn't the best reading for someone who is a Pentecostal who is just discovering Orthodoxy as they will likely have an emotional reaction against it. 

My experiences were ecstatic, but while in college a Buddhist friend shared with me that her religion had experiences that were nearly identical to my own.  I admit that I had a difficult time after hearing this.  I also had spoken with pagans years ago who brought up the Voodoo connection to me.  It was partly this revelation (among many others) that led me away from Christianity altogether for a while.  The truth is, speaking in tongues felt good while I was doing it, but I can honestly say that there was no good fruit in my life as a result of it.  The very last time I spoke in tongues I found myself unable to pray for months after.  Now, I can't say that A necessarily produced B here, but I certainly connect the two.

Anyway, tongues as the Pentecostals engage in isn't at all the same as what you hear about in Orthodoxy.

My grandfather was an AOG minister and was the Superintendent for the KY District for many years.  My mother is a graduate of Evangel College.  I spent my youth going to Camp Crestwood every summer (and first spoke in tongues while there when I was twelve).  I went on an AIM trip to Argentina and I was convinced that I wanted to be a missionary to Russia when I was a teenager.

I am grateful for the love of God that my Pentecostal upbringing instilled in me and I love the people greatly, but I cannot deny that the spiritual deception and the negative and scary experiences had a larger impact on my life.  Orthodoxy was my last chance and I knew it.  I certainly wouldn't be a believer of any sort today if I hadn't ever encountered the Orthodox Church.

(I hope y'all don't mind me posting here.  I don't post enough on message boards to truly connect with people and usually just lurk and I'm afraid my natural reticence comes across more often than not.    Plus, I've only been Orthodox for a little less than two years now and I was Pentecostal for a little over twenty years.  I probably have that gung-ho convert enthusiasm everyone derides and I know that I don't know as much as I'd like to or think I do.)

« Last Edit: August 18, 2007, 11:28:20 AM by jaderook » Logged
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« Reply #52 on: August 18, 2007, 11:42:58 AM »

Jaderook,
Very interesting, thank you for sharing! 

(I hope y'all don't mind me posting here.  I don't post enough on message boards to truly connect with people and usually just lurk and I'm afraid my natural reticence comes across more often than not.    Plus, I've only been Orthodox for a little less than two years now and I was Pentecostal for a little over twenty years.  I probably have that gung-ho convert enthusiasm everyone derides and I know that I don't know as much as I'd like to or think I do.)

I'm coming from the same standpoint; just converted a year ago and came from Baptist/AOG churches (Bapticostal, as we call them here) before that.  My husband is about the same; Orthodox for three years, AOG before that.  I too don't feel particularly qualified to post on the deeper issues, so I just read a lot.  Do feel free to jump in, though!  I especially appreciate hearing from recent converts, since I am one myself.  I'm sure we're all going through about the same experiences of wonder and "what the heck?"
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« Reply #53 on: August 18, 2007, 12:50:16 PM »

brevity is key...

so yeap, speaking in tongues in the Orthodox Church, is Evil, at least in my eyes.
time to break out those komboskini and back out of that church if they ever start that nonsense when i'm around there.
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« Reply #54 on: August 18, 2007, 01:01:28 PM »

brevity is key...

so yeap, speaking in tongues in the Orthodox Church, is Evil, at least in my eyes.
time to break out those komboskini and back out of that church if they ever start that nonsense when i'm around there.
Too simplistic a condemnation of a complicated variety of phenomena...

Just read the whole thread to see that there are some practices of glossolalia that even the Orthodox can accept.
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« Reply #55 on: August 18, 2007, 10:57:48 PM »

Okay.  Now I'm pretty sure I must have met some of you guys in my youth if you're anywhere near my age.

My dad was an AoG preacher for a lot of my childhood.  His parents had been in the movement for a while.

While living in Oklahoma I had a number of odd experiences with this practice.  I remember that they would ask all the people who didn't speak in tongues to come up to the front in some services.  They'd say there was no formula to receiving and that it was a gift of the Holy Spirit.  It was the final step for you if you were *really* saved.  Then they'd give you the formula:  close your eyes and start praising God out loud as much as you could.  Then a whole group of people who had supposedly been "baptised in the Holy Spirit" would put their hands on me and tell me what to do.  Some were adults and others could be kids who bullied me after services.  After a half hour or so they'd get tired of me "not letting go" or not opening up or not praising God out loud enough or whatever.  Then they'd tell me to not give up and they'd go sit back down.  The youth group would then go out for pizza and/or ice cream.

I was pretty annoyed at the whole thing and eventually read the Bible-with the so-called "extra books" as I didn't want to miss anything just in case.  I started to grapple with a number of issues at that time, including the whole "speaking in tongues" thing.  I was taught that tongues was the initial physical evidence of Baptism by the Holy Spirit, which was necessary for mature Christians.  After reading the NT, it was obvious that this was a bunch of baloney.

Is it demonic?  Well, if a person knowingly fakes it to get people to leave them alone or to get respect from others in the church, yes.  I suspect that a lot of the stuff that goes on involves that more than anything.  I still don't talk to my dad about some of his experiences, but I can remember the "highs" from church being followed by severe lows at home.  The practice never seemed to be indicative of any of the other "fruits." 

I've heard other stories about people going into a church and hearing someone speaking in tongues that was in their native language and it was a message from God for them.  Then I've heard the other stories of the people cursing God in other languages.  Frankly, what I've heard has either been clearly gibberish (three to four sounds repeated over and over and over, which would sometimes be "interpreted" into 10 minute expostulations) or highly suspect. 

To be honest, I' not worried about it.  I've got my own problems.
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« Reply #56 on: August 18, 2007, 11:30:50 PM »

btw, I second the notion that these groups are a revival of sorts of Montanism.  When I read Pelikan's description of Montanists I found it oddly familiar. 
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« Reply #57 on: August 19, 2007, 07:56:28 AM »

My brother used to go to a little Pentacostal church in Smithton, MO that did the exact same thing as Cizinec describes.  You weren't fully saved until you could speak in tongues there, almost like you're a second-rate believer without it.  I'm sure there were several people there who were faking it just so they wouldn't feel judged.  I went with my brother a couple of times and I remember one woman who would stand up and say, "Haaaaaaaaa la la la la la la la laaaaaaaaa" and everyone would say she was filled with the Holy Spirit and was praising God in her own prayer language.  I never tried to speak in tongues, but I do remember feeling a little self-conscious since I was the only one not doing it. 

Here's a link to the church: http://www.worldrevivalchurch.com/.  I figured it would have folded by now, so I'm a little surprised to see it around still.
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« Reply #58 on: August 27, 2007, 10:41:27 AM »

It's certainly more "mumbo-jumbo and hodge-podge" than English is Cheesy
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« Reply #59 on: September 14, 2007, 05:31:19 PM »

I just don't see how speaking in tongues can be orchestrated in that fashion and be valid..real...what have you.  It's perplexing. 
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