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JLatimer
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« on: July 20, 2010, 05:53:55 PM »

What is the Biblical/Patristic/Orthodox understanding if "speaking in tongues" and how does it compare with the modern Pentecostal practice. I always thought "tongues" (archaic for 'languages') were real human languages that people were given ability to speak in through the Holy Spirit, similar to the Apostles being heard in different tongues on Pentecost. But when I observe modern Pentecostal Protestants it seems more tongue, less speaking, if you know what I mean.  Tongue
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1 Samuel 25:22 (KJV)
So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.
Antonious Nikolas
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« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2010, 07:28:06 PM »

Hi JLatimer,

I think your understanding of the matter is accurate.  In fact, a former professor of mine, a great scholar of West African and African-American history, was doing research on how the practices you're describing originated among enslaved Africans in the American South and the West Indies when they were forced to abandon their traditional animist beliefs (which included spirit possession and ecstatic shouting) and adopt Protestant Christianity.  Some modern Charismatic preachers, like Carlton Pearson and Willie Wilson, even see this as a good thing.  Wilson's book How African Religion Changed the American Church calls Pentecostalism "an African religion in America".

In this powerful book...  Rev. Wilson makes a case for the retention of "Africanisms" in African-American religion.  He suggests that blacks should not abandon their African roots to embrace only Euro-American thought and culture in their religious expression.   What influence did black Penecostalism in the United States have in American religion?

http://bishoppearson.wordpress.com/2010/01/21/haiti/
http://www.uniontemple.com/litesite.cfm?id=302
http://www.uniontemple.com/content.cfm?page_content=web_store_product_detail_include.cfm&content_id=14

Here is an an excerpt from an academic article called The Paradox of Two Christian Faiths by David H. Healey:

Salvation demanded these men and women to die in the Lord and be reborn. This is reminiscent of the spirit posession that was part of the West African culture. However, the bodies of these people were not possessed by the Gods, or infused with the characteristics and the personalities of their ancestors. They were possessed by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ that filled them with happiness and power, that freed them to shout, sing and dance. ``While the North American slaves danced under the impulse of the Spirit of a `new' God, they danced in ways their fathers in Africa would have recognized'' (Raboteau 72). This type of ecstatic behavior was not well received by Christian evangelists. Attempts were made to discourage shouting and ring dances. In 1878, Bishop Daniel Payne of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) made these comments. ``I attended a `bush meet'... . After the sermon they formed a ring, and with coats off sung, clapped their hands and stamped their feet in a most ridiculous and heathenish way'' (Ibid. 68).

Other Christian evangelists also expressed their aversion to the growing influence of ecstatic behaviors. In 1819 Methodist evangelist John Watson wrote a book entitled, Methodist Error or Friendly Advice to Those Methodists Who Indulge in Extravagant Religious Emotions and Bodily Exercises. It was his belief that the Negro shouts, which consisted of singing for hours, wild body movements, thigh slapping, and foot stomping were beginning to infiltrate white religious worship. He wrote ``... the evil is only occasionally condemned and the example has already visibly affected the religious manners of some whites'' (Ibid. 67). Linda Brent makes mention of this phenomenon in her journal, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; ``... the slaves left, and went to enjoy a Methodist shout. They never seem so happy as when shouting and singing at religious meetings'' (Brent 398). AME Bishop Payne lamented, ``And what is more deplorable, some of our most popular and powerful preachers labor systematically to perpetuate this fanaticism. Such preachers never rest till they create an excitement that consists in shouting, jumping and dancing'' (Raboteau 69).

These evangelists were well aware that certain aspects of West African pagan culture were establishing a safe haven within the confines of Christianity. ``There are close parallels between the style of the dancing observed in African and Caribbean cult worship and the style of the American `ring shout''' (Ibid. 70). However, I am not critical of incorporating these vestiges of the past into the slave practice of Christianity. It was the cultural awareness of their past that formed the first lines of defense against the ravages of slavery.


http://www.iusb.edu/~journal/static/volumes/2000/healey.html

For the Orthodox perspective, here is an article by Elder Cleopa of Romania which you might find useful.

On Glossologia
Ch. 18 from The Truth of Our Faith
by Elder Cleopa of Romania

Inquirer: What is glossologia or speaking in tongues?

Elder Cleopa: Glossologia, or speaking in tongues, as a gift of the
Holy Spirit, is the ability to speak a foreign language without
having to be taught it or knowing it beforehand. This is clear from
the Holy Scriptures in which the events of Pentecost are described,
and at which time this divine gift first appeared. The text is
unabbreviated and unambiguous and recounts for us an actual event.
Consequently, the text itself cannot be explained with some
particular mystical or spiritual meaning alone, omitting the literal
meaning.


To Order
Lets allow the passage from the Acts of the Apostles itself to
explain what the text means and what comprises the speaking of
foreign tongues by the Grace of the Holy Spirit:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one
accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as
of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they
were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of
fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with
the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit
gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews,
devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was
noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded,
because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And
they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold,
are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man
in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and
Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and
Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt,
and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews
and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our
tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and
were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others
mocking said, These men are full of new wine (Acts 2:1-13).

From an examination of these thirteen verses that contain the key to
the solution of the problem, we can educe the following conclusions:

- The speaking of foreign tongues or languages, by the grace of the
Holy Spirit, manifested itself, as a miracle, for the first time in
history. For this reason the reader is provided with an extensive
description, that he may be able to learn what this miracle is and
in what it consists.

- With this powerful gift of the Holy Spirit the Apostles began to
preach in other languages, even 15 different local languages of
other tribes and nations that had converged there for the feast of
Pentecost.

- The Jews of other nations, who had as their mother tongue the
language of the nation in which they lived, marvelled when they
heard the Apostles preach in their own language, for the Apostles
were simple men of Galilee and it was impossible for them to know
another language except the Aramaic they had learned at home.

- The Jews of other nations understood everything from the divine
preaching of the Apostles. They spoke to them with precision in
their own language concerning the greatness of God, without needing
a translator, and it is in exactly this that the miracle rests. The
visitors to Jerusalem were unable to explain what they witnessed and
were full of wonder.

- Among the listeners of the preaching there were also some that did
not understand anything that the Apostles said and subsequently
mocked the Apostles, thinking that they were drunk. This group can
be none other than the residents of Jerusalem, and perhaps those of
nearby Palestine, who didnt know other languages except their mother
tongue, Aramaic. For these men the preaching of the Apostles was
completely unintelligible and they considered it simply sputtering.

Thus, the residents didnt understand anything from the preaching,
unless someone translated it for them. For just as there is the gift
of speaking in tongues or foreign languages, there also exists the
gift of translation. This was given, as is apparent below, when
those listening were only locals ignorant of other languages, as
was, for example, the case in Corinth (1 Cor. 14). In Jerusalem,
however, during this period there was not felt this deficiency. The
gift of translation was itself also miraculous, just as was that of
glossologia, on which it was directly dependent. Not having this
gift the residents who were listening judged the work of the
Apostles according to their personal determination and perception
alone.

Glossologia was a sign of the power of God and, as a decisive means
of proselytism, was manifested among men who ignored the Faith (1
Cor. 14:21-25). For, apart from this, what meaning does it have for
someone to speak about Christ in a foreign language if he was
taught, believed and lived his faith in Christ from his childhood
years?

If there are those who speak foreign languages and they are not
understood by anyone, how do they build up the Church or benefit it?
For the purpose of glossologia was for the Apostles to be able to
spread, via the transmission of the kerygma (preaching) in foreign
languages, the Faith of Christians to all people and to make the
Gospel known throughout the world, as it is written: Their sound
hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of
the world (Ps. 18:4).

If someone had this gift, we must not think that it was the greatest
among the gifts of God. The Apostle Paul says that there are other,
greater gifts of the Holy Spirit than that of glossologia. I would
that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for
greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues,
except he interpret, that the church may receive edification (1 Cor.
14:5). And elsewhere he also says, If therefore the whole church be
come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there
come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say
that ye are mad? (1 Cor. 14:23).

Consequently, the gifts of prophecy, of preaching and of
interpretation of Scripture are much higher than the gift of
glossologia, for with these the Church of Christ is built up and
benefited much more than with the gift of linguistics or speaking
different languages (1 Cor. 14: 2-4). More sublime and higher than
all the gifts is love, about which listen to what the Apostle Paul
has to say: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels,
and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling
cymbal (1 Cor. 13:1).

Inq.: It is claimed by certain people that when the grace of the
Holy Spirit comes to them and they begin to speak in tongues, they
find themselves in a state of ecstasy. It is only at this time that
they are able to speak certain inarticulate and incomprehensible
human sounds, to have certain internal impulses or exclamations of
joy, or to voice a certain remorse for their sins, as well as other
movements of the body which are made by the action of the grace of
the Holy Spirit. Saul had a similar spiritual manifestation when
following David and going to Ramah. He was overcome by the prophetic
spirit and with a flurry he prophesied, ripped his clothes off and
went naked all day and all night (1 Sam. 19:22-24).

EC: It is incomprehensible for a healthy, clear and well-balanced
intellect to reveal the great mysteries of God with inarticulate
exclamations. Such a thing is not at all the same, as we know from
that which was revealed through glossologia as a divine gift (1 Cor.
14: 2-4).

The Greek idol-worshipers of antiquity had similar exhibitions when
they prayed to their gods Dionysus, Zeus and the others. When they
were found before a diabolic idol they would fall into ecstasy or a
trance, shaking and making rhythmic movements with their body, and
tumble on the ground, with a few even foaming at the mouth like the
demon-possessed of olden times. Next they would get up and sing
rhapsodic melodies and make exclamations with demonic delight. The
same happened with the Montanists, heretics of the first and second
centuries after Christ, the Gnostics, and later the Methodists, the
Quakers, the Pentecostals and others. These groups took to making
uncanny and strange turns and movements of the body, had
hallucinations and were in delusion, and thought that all of this
came from God, when in actuality it comes from theologians of
darkness who are familiar with Holy Scripture and who lead into
delusion the unsuspecting, cheating them with words taken even from
Holy Scripture.

Inq.: These people also say that with the charisma of glossologia
that they possess, they maintain unbroken the work of the Holy
Spirit among men and within the Church of Christ as it existed in
the beginning of Christianity. For, they claim, today, as also in
the beginning, with this perceptible sign of the gift of grace, the
Holy Spirit stirs wonder and amazement in those who as yet are not
Christians. Furthermore, with this visible sign of the gift of
speaking in tongues, it becomes known to the faithful that there
still exists a work of the Holy Spirit in the Church as in the first
period of Christians in Jerusalem.

EC: The gift of speaking in foreign tongues or glossologia was not
given by God for all time, until the end of the world. It was a sign
given to the Church only for a time, with the aim of making it
easier for those of other religions to convert to Christianity. We
see, in this respect, that the Jews of Jerusalem, who did not
understand the preaching of the Apostles - kerygma given by divine
grace - did not, in fact, believe but rather said that the Apostles
were drunk. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning their disbelief
before this great gift of grace, saying, For with stammering lips
and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said,
This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this
is the refreshing: yet they would not hear (Isa. 28: 11-12). Indeed,
in Jerusalem they spoke to them with lips of strangers, for the
foreign Jews, or Jews of the Diaspora, heard about the wondrous
works of God in their own languages and believed (Acts 2:11). And
thus it is that the Apostle Paul prophesied that the gift of
speaking in foreign tongues would cease (1 Cor. 13:8 , 1 Cor. 14:22-
28).

The people of that time were spiritually in the age of infancy, for
only just before had they left the worship of idols and their
intellects were blurred, confused and insensible. They were still
captives to the enjoyment of the fleshly pleasures and did not have
knowledge of the divine gifts that one enjoys only on account of
faith. It is for this reason that signs and wonders were then
showered upon them.

Some spiritual gifts are invisible and become accessible to man via
faith. Others, however, are visible on account of the unbelief of
men. Here is an example: The forgiveness of sins is an invisible
spiritual work. We do not see with our sensible eyes how we are
purified of our sins. Why? Because neither is the soul that is
purified visible to the eyes of our body. Speaking in different
tongues or languages is also a work of the Holy Spirit, but it is a
visible sign and more easily persuades those of other religions.
Hence, the reason Saint Paul says the following: Wherefore tongues
are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe
not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for
them which believe (1 Cor. 14:22). He who believes doesnt have need
of guarantees and signs. The first Christians would not have
believed if they had not received signs.

Inq.: From those who I spoke to I learned that besides the gift of
speaking in tongues, they have also the gift of the baptism of the
Holy Spirit and fire (Lk. 3:16) which is totally different from
baptism with water. This baptism showers upon them various
miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially that of glossologia
and the interpretation of Scripture, as happened also at Pentecost
with the Apostles.

EC: Is it possible that there are two Christian baptisms? Doesnt it
say in Holy Scripture that there is one and only one? St. Paul tells
us there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father
of all ... (Eph. 4:5; See also:1 Cor. 12:13). The baptism of the
Holy Spirit and fire (Lk. 3:16) of Pentecost is none other than the
Christian baptism which was pre-announced by both Saint John the
Baptist and the Saviour Himself (Mt. 3:11, Acts 1:5) and which He
said would happen by water and the Spirit - baptism neither by water
alone, as with the baptism of John, nor only by the Spirit (Jn.
3:5). These two elements, the one visible and the other invisible,
constitute the two most necessary prerequisites for the one and only
Christian baptism. If, with respect to the practice of this mystery,
some still speak only of water or only of the Spirit as constituting
the main element of this Mystery, let them know that the Mystery is
one and only one and its two elements are inseparable.

Inq.: Each Christian should have within him the Holy Spirit. The
members of a certain Christian brotherhood say that while they can
give evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit within them through
the practice of speaking in foreign speech, the Orthodox are not
able to show this by any means. Consequently, they say that the
Orthodox are not true Christians due to the absence of this work of
the Holy Spirit in their lives.

EC: It is true that each Christian should have consciously within
himself the Holy Spirit. Yet, the presence of the Holy Spirit is not
only made manifest via glossologia. The Apostle Paul tells us that
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance ... (Gal. 5: 22-
23). Do you see, therefore, that among the fruits of the Holy Spirit
the practice of speaking in foreign languages is not referred to
anywhere? This is the case because it is a gift of the Holy Spirit
that was given for a certain period of time in the Church, while the
gifts referred to here by the Apostle, all Christians, of every
epoch, must have throughout their life. Whoever has the fruits of
the Spirit has also the Holy Spirit within him. The gift of
glossologia is not a common gift of grace but something special and
not given to everyone (1 Cor. 12:10). How, then, can we consider it
a precondition of salvation and a prerequisite for the presence of
the Holy Spirit in our life when it is not given to everyone? The
Apostle Paul says, Do all speak in tongues? (1 Cor. 12:30).
Consequently, then, those who do not speak in tongues can also be
good Christians. In the community of true Christians everyone does
not have the same gifts. The Apostles did not require this gift from
all the Christians, and indeed, in quite a few it was revealed that
this talent was profitless. The Apostles themselves did not use this
gift, apart from exceptional cases when they had a certain aim, as
on the day of Pentecost. So, therefore, it should be clear that they
did not call upon every Christian to have this gift as a means of
salvation.

Inq.: I would like, after all that we have said concerning
glossologia, for you to summarize exactly the main points of our
discussion.

EC: Listen, brother, and guard well within your mind: True
glossologia as a gift of the Holy Spirit can be recognized only when
it is combined with the following presuppositions.

1) If someone, by inspiration [of the Holy Spirit], speaks a
language, it should be understood by all those who stand nearby, as
happened in the case that we cited from the Acts of the 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) Glossologia was not given to the Church forever, but only in the
beginning of Christianity in order to awaken the idol-worshippers
and Jews to belief in Christ. This is why the Apostle Paul said that
the gift of glossologia would at some point cease to exist in the
Church (1 Cor. 13:8 ).

4) Since we believe that Christ is our true God we no longer have
need of glossologia, 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 for the faithful (1 Cor.
14:22).

5) From the beginning of Christianity the gift of glossologia was
one among the lesser 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 wouldnt be speaking in
languages, but our own [exclusive] language (Mk. 16:17). Moreover,
it comes into clear contradiction with chapter two of the Acts of
the Apostles.

7) The inarticulate voices, lunacies and incoherent utterances which
we often hear from the self-proclaimed speakers of tongues very much
resembles the scenes the idol-worshippers would make before their
idols of Dionysus, as well as with quite a few of the Montanists,
Gnostics, Quakers, and later Pentecostals, all of whom the true
Church of Christ anathematizes (See the first and second Canons of
the Sixth Oecumenical Council).

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

* Translators note: Literally, the Greek word translates as
linguistics. Due to a popular misconception among English speaking
people, the translation of ãëùóóïëïãßá is troublesome. In this
chapter the word has been rendered variously as glossologia,
speaking a foreign language, speaking a foreign tongue, linguistics,
and speaking in tongues. The English dictionary gives for
glossology: The science of language; linguistics.

Ch. 18. from The Truth of Our Faith: A Discourse from Holy Scripture
on the
Teachings of True Christianity, By Elder Cleopa of Romania (Greece:
Uncut Mountain Press, 2000).

And another article from Fr. Seraphim Rose of blessed memory:

"Speaking in Tongues"

IF WE LOOK CAREFULLY at the writings of the "charismatic revival,"
we shall find that this movement closely resembles many sectarian
movements of the past in basing itself primarily or even entirely on
one rather bizarre doctrinal emphasis or religious practice. The
only difference is that the emphasis now is placed on a specific
point which no sectarians in the past regarded as so central:
speaking in tongues.

According to the constitution of various Pentecostal sects, "The
Baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is witnessed by the initial
physical sign of speaking with other tongues" (Sherrill, p. 79). And
not only is this the first sign of conversion to a Pentecostal sect
or orientation: according to the best Pentecostal authorities, this
practice must be continued or the "Spirit" may be lost. Writes David
Du Plessis: "The practice of praying in tongues should continue and
increase in the lives of those who are baptized in the Spirit,
otherwise they may find that the other manifestations of the Spirit
come seldom or stop altogether" (Du Plessis, p. 89). Many testify,
as does one Protestant, that tongues "have now become an essential
accompaniment of my devotional life" (Lillie, p. 50). And a Roman
Catholic book on the subject, more cautiously, says that of
the "gifts of the Holy Spirit" tongues "is often but not always the
first received. For many it is thus a threshold through which one
passes into the realm of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit"
(Ranaghan, p. 19).

Here already one may note an overemphasis that is certainly not
present in the New Testament, where speaking in tongues has a
decidedly minor significance, serving as a sign of the descent of
the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) and on two other
occasions (Acts 10 and 19). After the first or perhaps the second
century there is no record of it in any Orthodox source, and it is
not recorded as occurring even among the great Fathers of the
Egyptian desert, who were so filled with the Spirit of God that they
performed numerous astonishing miracles, including raising the dead.
The Orthodox attitude to genuine speaking in tongues, then, may be
summed up in the words of Blessed Augustine (Homilies on John,
VI:10): "In the earliest times "the Holy Spirit fell upon them that
believed, and they spake with tongues" which they had not
learned, "as the Spirit gave them utterance." These were signs
adapted to the time. For it was fitting that there be this sign of
the Holy Spirit in all tongues to show that the Gospel of God was to
run through all tongues over the whole earth. That was done for a
sign, and it passed away." And as if to answer contemporary
Pentecostals with their strange emphasis on this point, Augustine
continues: "Is it now expected that they upon whom hands are laid,
should speak with tongues? Or when we imposed our hand upon these
children, did each of you wait to see whether they would speak with
tongues? And when he saw that they did not speak with tongues, was
any of you so perverse of heart as to say, 'These have not received
the Holy Spirit'?"

Modern Pentecostals, to justify their use of tongues, refer most of
all to St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians (chs. 12-14). But
St. Paul wrote this passage precisely because 'tongues' had become a
source of disorder in the Church of Corinth; and even while he does
not forbid them, he decidedly minimizes their significance. This
passage, therefore, far from encouraging any modern revival
of "tongues," should on the contrary discourage it‹especially when
one discovers (as Pentecostals themselves admit) that there are
other sources of speaking in tongues besides the Holy Spirit! As
Orthodox Christians we already know that speaking in tongues as a
true gift of the Holy Spirit cannot appear among those outside the
Church of Christ; but let us look more closely at this modern
phenomenon and see if it possesses characteristics that might reveal
from what source it does come.

If we are already made suspicious by the exaggerated importance
accorded to "tongues" by modern Pentecostals, we should be
completely awakened about them when we examine the circumstances in
which they occur.

Far from being given freely and spontaneously, without man's
interference - as are the true gifts of the Holy Spirit- speaking in
tongues can be caused to occur quite predictably by a regular
technique of concentrated group "prayer" accompanied by
psychologically suggestive Protestant hymns ("He comes! He comes!"),
culminating in a "laying on of hands," and sometimes involving such
purely physical efforts as repeating a given phrase over and over
again (Koch, p. 24), or just making sounds with the mouth. One
person admits that, like many others, after speaking in tongues, "I
often did mouth nonsense syllables in an effort to start the flow of
prayer-in-tongues" (Sherrill, p. 127); and such efforts, far from
being discouraged, are actually advocated by Pentecostals. "Making
sounds with the mouth is not 'speaking-in-tongues,' but it may
signify an honest act of faith, which the Holy Spirit will honor by
giving that person the power to speak in another language" (Harper,
p. 11). Another Protestant pastor says: "The initial hurdle to
speaking in tongues, it seems, is simply the realization that you
must 'speak forth'...The first syllables and words may sound strange
to your ear... They may be halting and inarticulate. You may have
the thought that you are just making it up. But as you continue to
speak in faith... the Spirit will shape for you a language of prayer
and praise" (Christenson, p. 130). A Jesuit "theologian" tells how
he put such advice into practice: "After breakfast I felt almost
physically drawn to the chapel where I sat down to pray. Following
Jim's description of his own reception of the gift of tongues, I
began to say quietly to myself "la, la, la, la." To my immense
consternation there ensued a rapid movement of tongue and lips
accompanied by a tremendous feeling of inner devotion" (Gelpi, p. 1).

Can any sober Orthodox Christian possibly confuse these dangerous
psychic games with the gifts of the Holy Spirit?! There is clearly
nothing whatever Christian, nothing spiritual here in the least.
This is the realm, rather, of psychic mechanisms which can be set in
operation by means of definite psychological or physical techniques,
and "speaking in tongues" would seem to occupy a key role as a kind
of "trigger" in this realm. In any case, it certainly bears no
resemblance whatever to the spiritual gift described in the New
Testament, and if anything is much closer to shaministic "speaking
in tongues" as practiced in primitive religions, where the shaman or
witch doctor has a regular technique for going into a trance and
then giving a message to or from a "god" in a tongue he has not
learned [4].

In the pages that follow we shall encounter "charismatic"
experiences so weird that the comparison with shamanism will not
seem terribly far-fetched, especially if we understand that
primitive shamanism is but a particular expression of a "religious"
phenomenon which, far from being foreign to the modern West,
actually plays a significant role in the lives of some
contemporary "Christians:" mediumism.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 07:40:07 PM by Antonious Nikolas » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2010, 07:42:00 PM »

Pentacostal services I've seen have no translators. And no one understands. Definitely not Apostolic practice.
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2010, 10:29:59 PM »

Pentecostal's normally will have someone stand up and "prophesy" in tongues and then someone else will stand up and interpret it "in the spirit." Sometimes the same person will do both, but not often. (at least that is what it is like here on the upper left coast)
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 10:32:15 PM »

Pentacostal services I've seen have no translators. And no one understands. Definitely not Apostolic practice.

Yes, it would appear that many Pentecostal congregations speak in tongues en masse, while Paul condemned numerous times the use of tongues if they were not interpreted or understood by the rest of the congregation.
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2010, 10:38:29 PM »

You have to remember there is a difference to Pentecostals between "prayer language" tongues and "prophetic" tongues. They are not considered to be the same spiritual gifts. Prophetic tongues are considered to be a specific gift, whereas prayer language tongues is for everyone. (often it is seen as the only way to prove you have the holy spirit)
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2010, 11:04:04 PM »

Pentecostal's normally will have someone stand up and "prophesy" in tongues and then someone else will stand up and interpret it "in the spirit." Sometimes the same person will do both, but not often. (at least that is what it is like here on the upper left coast)

I've known Orthodox on a visit reciting the Our Father in Slavonic, and were entertained by interesting "interpretations."
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2010, 11:07:55 PM »

You have to remember there is a difference to Pentecostals between "prayer language" tongues and "prophetic" tongues. They are not considered to be the same spiritual gifts. Prophetic tongues are considered to be a specific gift, whereas prayer language tongues is for everyone. (often it is seen as the only way to prove you have the holy spirit)
Just odd for a church that has sola scriptura as a dogma, yet directly contradicts the dictates of Scripture on this issue.
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 03:47:40 AM »

You have to remember there is a difference to Pentecostals between "prayer language" tongues and "prophetic" tongues. They are not considered to be the same spiritual gifts. Prophetic tongues are considered to be a specific gift, whereas prayer language tongues is for everyone. (often it is seen as the only way to prove you have the holy spirit)
Just odd for a church that has sola scriptura as a dogma, yet directly contradicts the dictates of Scripture on this issue.

Yes I saw a documentary in which this "prayer language" thing was mentioned but I didn't know it was an official term. What is the basis, then, of Pentecostals making such a distinction?
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2010, 03:55:13 AM »

I have no idea. I grew up in the Pentecostal church, I can't say I understand it.
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2010, 04:08:44 AM »

Well shucks.
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« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2010, 09:55:41 AM »

Additional reading

http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/charismatic_revival_s_rose_e.htm

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« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2010, 12:07:31 PM »

My wife is always accusing me of speaking in tongues... or is it of not listening? I can't remember which as I wasn't really listening.
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2010, 03:55:18 PM »


Yes I saw a documentary in which this "prayer language" thing was mentioned but I didn't know it was an official term. What is the basis, then, of Pentecostals making such a distinction?

We were charismatic before we converted.  Yes, they believe in two different kinds of speaking in tongues -- one is the type that is spoken outloud in a church gathering and needs an interpretation, the other is a private prayer language as Quinault stated above.  What I write about in this post refers to the second kind, the private prayer language, which is what you were asking about (I believe). 

The belief is that at Pentecost when "all of them" were filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in "other tongues" that the gift is for all Christians. This would be the prayer language (which doesn't have to be in a known language), not the gift of tongues spoken in church that needs interpretation.  They also note several instances in Acts where people convert and "receive the Holy Spirit," then they pray in tongues. For example:

Quote
Acts 10: 44-47 -

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."   

The last bolded part is an example of what is used to say that speaking in tongues (praying in a prayer language) is a sign of having received the Holy Spirit.

Then, beyond Acts, anywhere it talks about things like "praying in the Holy Spirit" (like Jude 20) or "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26), they believe this is referring to the prayer language.  Finally in 1 Cor. 14:29 it says not to forbid speaking in tongues -- so this, to them, means that all that I wrote above is still for all believers up to this very day. 
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« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2010, 05:39:59 PM »

I feel for the folks in those traditions, as many of them have no idea where the stuff they consider "tongues", the falling out, the ecstatic shouting, the trances, and the jumping around and dancing came from.  In fact, when these practices first spread from the enslaved African populations to the poor whites in the American South, the blacks regarded the whites exhibiting these phenomena as being participants in "poor imitations" of their own ceremonies.  And now, all these years later, the African polytheistic origins of these practices have been lost (to all but those in the academic world who make a study of the oldest extant documents) and folks try to squeeze their own notions onto the Scriptures and the Early Church when what's actually described in Acts and Corinthians was something totally different entirely.

There's an interesting article by a professor from Wake Forest University on how some of these West African faith traditions were blended with Southern Protestantism here:

http://www.wfu.edu/~matthetl/perspectives/twelve.html

There are also some very helpful books on the subject.  I can't find links to any of these texts on the web, but for those interested in further research, I'll list the ones I have on my shelf here, with appropriate page numbers:

1.) Milton Sernett's African-American Religious History: A Documentary Witness, which includes some of the earliest documentation of these phenomena and their origins in the "slave rows" of various plantations.

2.) Donald Matthew's Religion in the Old South, especially pages 185-236 which demonstrates the religious cross-pollination between blacks and whites and how some Africanisms were passed on into the universal Charismatic tradition regardless of color barrier.

3.) Albert Raboteau's (who happens to be Orthodox, by the way) Slave Religion, especially pages 10-11, 17-20, 27-28, 35-36, 63-65, and 72-73.

4.) Cheryl J. Sanders Saints in Exile: The Holiness-Pentecostal Experience in African-American Religion and Culture, especially pages 6-9, the section entitled, African Religious Traditions in the Sanctified Church.  This is excellent!

5.) Molefi Asante's Afrocentricity also describes the "truly African expression" of "holiness", "sanctified", or "spirit filled" churches (all of which means charismatic/pentecostal) and describes how the practices of such churches derive directly from Africa and only later spread to American whites.

6.) And of course the indispensible Melville Herskovits with his excellent Myth of the Negro Past which discusses these issues on pages 1-32 and 207-260.

All of this is fascinating as a historical phenomenon, and one cannot blame those enslaved Africans who originated these practices, or those individuals of whatever ethnicity who followed them later in their ignorance, but to try to read these phenomena onto the Scriptures is spurious.

Edit: Should these discussions be merged? http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,25184.0.html
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« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2010, 06:28:27 PM »

Yes I saw a documentary in which this "prayer language" thing was mentioned but I didn't know it was an official term. What is the basis, then, of Pentecostals making such a distinction?

Apologies -- I didn't address the very specific question you asked, "what is the basis of the distinction" between the two kinds of speaking in tongues? That would be that, to them, you see that there's the gift of tongues (which needs interpreting) that some people have, and then you see a kind of tongues that all believers have (as described in my first post above).  So the doctrine of a prayer language was developed to account for this seeming discrepancy.  
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« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2010, 06:29:53 PM »

So many great answers! While Antonious' historical analysis is excellent, for most Pentecostals today the key is Saint Paul's letter to the Corinthians. If we are to understand them, we should understand that they are sincerely trying to follow the Holy Scriptures. I think that as the Blessed Father Seraphim has shown, they are mistaken in their interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14. It may help if we look at thie relevant passage closely.

This section backs up the points made about two kinds of speaking in tongues:

"Prophecy and Tongues
 1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification."

This section emphasizes the importance of praying with the mind and the heart, therefore the Holy Apostle insists on interpretation:

Tongues Must Be Interpreted
  
6 But now, brethren, if I come to you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you unless I speak to you either by revelation, by knowledge, by prophesying, or by teaching? 7 Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? 8 For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle? 9 So likewise you, unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. 11 Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. 12 Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.
13 Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. 16 Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say “Amen” at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? 17 For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.
18 I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; 19 yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue."

In this section, Apostle Paul is clear that speaking in tongues for purposes other than prophecy is not proper in church services:

"22 Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you."

In this passage, Saint Paul gives explicit instruction on how to speak in tongues, if any, during church services:

"26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29  Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints."

Finally, Saint Paul does indeed tell us: "39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order."

My bottom line is that we should not make fun of Pentecostals or belittle their attempt to follow the Lord in their own way. It is true that they are often misinterpreting the Holy Scriptures because they have no Holy Tradition to guide them. I think the best that we can do for our Pentecostal brethren is to pray for them to come to the fullness of faith that is the Orthodox Church.  
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« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2010, 06:45:03 PM »

My bottom line is that we should not make fun of Pentecostals or belittle their attempt to follow the Lord in their own way. It is true that they are often misinterpreting the Holy Scriptures because they have no Holy Tradition to guide them. I think the best that we can do for our Pentecostal brethren is to pray for them to come to the fullness of faith that is the Orthodox Church.  

Yes, please!  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2010, 07:27:43 PM »

Amen.  I agree with both of you, but I would like to add a few points.  Bear in mind that some of my own friends and relatives are Pentecostal, and I say this with all love and charity, but still desirous that the truth should come out.

1.) It seems to me that most Pentecostals and Charismatics, while sincere, are unaware of the origins of some of their practices.  If they knew that they were rooted in pagan belief systems, they would surely abandon them.

2.) Some folks, however, are obstinate.  They've had such "powerful experiences" (which they don't want invalidated by investigating the actual roots of these phenomena) that they try to fit square pegs into round holes by reading their own dogmas onto the New Testament and ignoring the fact that these phenomena were never present in historic (Orthodox) Christianity, or indeed in Christianity at all, until they appeared in slave communities on plantations in the Southern United States.  Some of these folks even go so far as to suggest that the Orthodox are "fighting the spirit" and are actively praying for a Charismatic movement to sweep over Orthodoxy.  I've had long correspondences and face-to-face conversations with otherwise sincere inquirers into Orthodoxy who remain convinced that the Orthodox Church needs to experience a "Charismatic revival" and that they are actively praying and working for such doctrines to be introduced into the Church.

3.) It seems to me that we need to clarify our vocabulary when having discussions with current (and even some former) Pentecostals and Charismatics.  Not all are aware that when the Orthodox use terms like "tongues", "spirit filled", et cetera, we do not mean the same things by these terms that they do.  Like the way the term "dust" is used in the novels of Charles Dickens.  It does not mean what a contemporary American means when he speaks of "dust".  Same term.  Same spelling.  Totally different meaning.  It's no surprise that someone coming from a Pentecostal/Charismatic background would read the events described in Acts and Corinthians and because of the vocabulary of their belief system, get a totally different read on these events than a "cradle" Orthodox Christian, or any Christian of a traditional, conservative tradition.

I think that all interested in this topic would do well to investigate the historical origins of this phenomenon, and most especially to read Elder Cleopa and Fr. Seraphim.
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« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2010, 09:38:26 PM »

I have a couple of comments (NOT disagreements) --

1.) It seems to me that most Pentecostals and Charismatics, while sincere, are unaware of the origins of some of their practices.  If they knew that they were rooted in pagan belief systems, they would surely abandon them.

The charismatics we knew believed that tongues like this sort of came out of nowhere first to Charles Parham and then at the Azuza St. Revival after sitting dormant, I guess, since the NT.  I'd never heard anything about the ties to slavery/the South.

2.) Some folks, however, are obstinate.  They've had such "powerful experiences" (which they don't want invalidated by investigating the actual roots of these phenomena) that they try to fit square pegs into round holes by reading their own dogmas onto the New Testament and ignoring the fact that these phenomena were never present in historic (Orthodox) Christianity

It had never, ever occurred to me before a year and a half ago that this mattered in the least -- or even that there WAS a historic Christianity we could look at.  I had pretty much NO knowledge of the history of the church; I had a vague thought that there was the NT, and then things got a little dicey for many years until the Reformation straighten it out.  That's it -- that's all I "knew."  We were charismatic, after all -- we didn't need the history!  We had the Holy Spirit! It personally told us all we needed to know.   Roll Eyes

I think that all interested in this topic would do well to investigate the historical origins of this phenomenon, and most especially to read Elder Cleopa and Fr. Seraphim.

We did read one of Fr. Seraphim's books.  Loved it.  Helped the final "release" of charismatic/Pentecostal thought. 

Thanks for your post! 
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« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2010, 10:51:09 PM »

And thanks for yours, Thankful.  It's a pleasure conversing with you.  Smiley

I often wonder if the roots of these practices were obscured merely out of ignorance, willfully because some knew they were pagan, or because of the tendency some whites of the time might have had to distance themselves from anything remotely "black" or African in origin.  Perhaps a combination of the three?  Like American racism itself, Parham was a strange and complex character, at times paternalistic, at times disdainful regarding people of African descent.  He allowed black ministers to participate in his movement and study at his theological institution, and yet he was an ardent supporter of the Ku Klux Klan, he believed in West African style spirit possession and yet he described some of his possessed flock who got too out of control as acting as if they were at a "[racist slur] camp meeting", he felt it was okay for him to preach to black congregations, but not for blacks to attend "white" churches.  Bizarre.  And we're supposed to believe the Holy Spirit led such a man?  At any rate, the syncretistic West African polytheist/Protestant origins of this phenomenon are very well documented, at least in the academic record.

P.S. - I had to chuckle when you said, "We had the Holy Spirit! It personally told us all we needed to know" because it made me think of all the conversations I've had with Pentecostal friends and relatives endeavoring to explain to them that the Holy Spirit is a "He" and not an "it", the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, not a cosmic lightning bolt God zaps you with!  Thanks for that.  I got the humor in that line, and I needed a laugh tonight! Grin
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« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2010, 11:14:01 AM »

...the Second Person of the Holy Trinity...

D'oh!  Sorry about that!  Obviously, I meant Third Person.  I was tired last night when I amended that rapidly fired off post script, and I didn't realize my mistake until I'd powered down for the night.
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« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2010, 04:10:19 PM »

The charismatics we knew believed that tongues like this sort of came out of nowhere first to Charles Parham and then at the Azuza St. Revival after sitting dormant, I guess, since the NT.  I'd never heard anything about the ties to slavery/the South.

I hate to drum up a Topic that had sat for a while, but I am new to the forum, and a fresh inquirer to Orthodoxy. I am coming from a varied background myself, currently still attending a pentecostal Church of God until I can step down from my current positions held there. I can't stress more that what the above quote says is almost gospel to those I attend church with. In fact, when you speak of Church History with them...it basically begins at Azusa Street.....and ends there as well. As for the period of time before that, they simply do not know, nor do they want to for the most part. I have always been drawn to authentic, historic Christianity as it was in the early church and in the book of Acts....this first led me to Catholicism. It wasn't until much more recently, and an enlightening crisis in faith, that I stumbled upon Orthodoxy. Praise God! I feel as if I have found the answers to so very many of my prayers. So in closing...I have to agree with other thoughts expressed here. We should pray that pentecostals, and indeed all protestants, would find the Truth of the one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2010, 04:14:01 PM »


Welcome to the forum!

I agree, we should pray that all mankind should find the Truth that is the Orthodoxy Church!
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« Reply #24 on: December 26, 2010, 04:02:45 AM »

May I jump in here a bit? Since I am essentially a holiness/pentecostal Christian?

While I do differ on some points, am presently pastor of a Southern Baptist Church, and self-identify as "non-denominational" still I largely remain within the holiness/pentecostal movement on the theological spectrum. I was raised as such, under classic pentecostal belief no less, and retain much therefrom in my understanding and practice of the faith all the same.  Basically that means I believe in personal sanctification and holiness, as well as a post conversion experience whereby one is baptized with the Holy Ghost and thereby enabled to operate in the spiritual gifts (like tongues, healings, miracles, etc.), and that I have and do speak in tongues.

1st of all, the African/slave connection is interesting & worthy of consideration. nevertheless, I wouldn't to hasty to throw out the baby with the bathwater here. Nor would I be quick to assume the argument so valid as to negate the real, beneficial, biblical, and Christ honoring manifestations among pentecostal believers. Aftr all, why would we think the devil and his demons would not duplicate similar among the heathen and pagan in their forms of worship? A counterfeit has no perceived value except the object of it's mimicry is real , no?

Don't get me wrong, what isn't biblically sustainable or tenable must go. I'm not advocating "charismania" here. I've seen more than enough of that foolishness. But I've seen, and occasionally been used in the performance of, the real as well. I've seen the dead raised, and the sick healed. I've experienced demonic beings and helped to cast them out. And I've witnessed and known first hand encounters of the miraculous in both the lives of others and myself. I know the spiritual gifts are real, valid, and operational today. And among those are tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy.

Alas, now I've forgotten the question proper from the OP. More later then I suppose.

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"Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees” -- John Wesley
Seraphim98
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« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2010, 02:12:25 AM »

Speaking as a former charismatic protestant of over 20 years I can attest that "ecstasy" is often very far removed from the day to day experience of speaking/praying in tongues.  Frankly, after the new wore off it could get a bit boring.  True, you could get your emotions involved, but it was just as easy and far more common for the mouth to be rattling on and one's thoughts be elsewhere.  The key thing tongues seemed useful for was if you needed to pray for a person and situation you had no idea how to pray for…so you just sort of held the person/situation up to the Lord in your heart/mind and rattled on until you reached a "it feels like I've broken through something" phase.  

Over the years I encountered various preachers and teachers who spoke of praying in tongues so much it became automatic…always running in the background waking or sleeping.  Now when I became Orthodox that reminded me of something, namely the Jesus Prayer and how it  became self-working for old ascetics who prayed the prayer many times a day.  The writer of Way of the Pilgrim spoke of a similar experience with the Jesus Prayer.

Having been Orthodox approaching 15 years now I've had a lot of time to reflect upon my previous experience, what was grace, what was ignorance, what was nothing short of prelest…it's not always easy to untangle.  The provisional conclusion I've come to is this.  The common phenomenon of "prayer tongues" is essentially a mental trick called psychomotor disassociation which is mistaken as a spiritual gift. However, the speaker understand the language like sounds to be a type of prayer, and so in the sincere speaker the heart within the limits of the grace given engages in interior prayer of a wordless sort…just holding the person or situation up before God in the attitude of "please help, O Lord as you know best".  Christ being a loving God is touched by and responsive to that simple loving gesture…regardless of its tattered polyester leisure suit external wardrobe. Hence answers to prayer, miracles, etc. attributed to tongues.

Much of the value I take from my former charismatic experience was its insistence on a close and active God in His Church, a heart hungry for direct encounter and mystery and not just another binder full of "God-facts". We brushed against a number of "truths" one finds in Orthodoxy…however they they were disjointed, ill proportioned, and dealt with experimentally as well as experientially without any clear constant paradigm of engagement.  Our understanding of how the Holy Spirit worked was essentially an extrapolation from how we understood salvation to work…legally, contractually.  Yet we sought to experience our "contracts" more mystically and personally. It doesn't work that way. We did not really have a working paradigm of Christ NIKA or of the Church as Hospital. Sin was understood primarily in terms of violated law not sick and fallen human nature…so we missed a hard wired understanding between the genuine acquisition of the gifts of the Spirit and a sustained life of holiness and profound prayer.  

In Orthodoxy though I saw all these fractured pieces of mystical theology put back together and was shown how it functioned properly across the centuries in the lives of the saints.  In the end it was as much the life of the one who is now my patron saint….St. Seraphim of Sarov which ultimately convinced me about Orthodoxy.  In him and those like him I saw all the best hopes and promises of the Charismatic movement fulfilled…and fulfilled in such a way and to such a depth and unto such a height that I knew there was no way may faith as it stood could ever get me there….that meant my only viable option was…if I want even a chance at what he knew in Christ was to follow and serve Christ as he served him…liturgy, saints, perpetual virginity, icons, corporate prayers, incense and all.

I've also seen or read about every one of the "spiritual gifts" active in the Church, most often through her saints and holy elders…every one except tongues.  Coming across an account of speaking in a language foreign to the speaker is very rare.  Coming across cases of people of different nationalities and languages understanding each other as they talked is more common.  I seem to recall an account of how St. Justin Popovich and I want to say Elder Porphyrios when they met from time to time as old men would sit and talk each in his own language which was not really known to the other, yet they understood each other perfectly well.  Functionally, I think the charismatic "prayer language" serves or at least can serve as a kind of place holder for the outworking of the Jesus prayer in Orthodox practice.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2010, 02:24:18 AM by Seraphim98 » Logged
Tags: glossolalia 
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