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Author Topic: Hey, I'm new here! :) What do you think when you hear the term "Charismatic"?  (Read 1816 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: February 26, 2013, 08:24:44 AM »

Hello! I've been browsing this forum for a while, and finding the topics so fascinating. I felt I just had to create an account and join in.

What I love about the posts in this forum is how much people value the insights of ancient authors, Church fathers and the great literary works of the past 2,000+ years. That I feel is something which a lot of people from protestant background (myself included) don't do enough of, and ought to do more. Smiley

To take an extreme example, my first church forbade the reading of any Christian literature other than the bible, whether modern or ancient. It was a very obscure, off-the-wall Pentecostal church and I had left it when I was in my teens. I won't criticise them too harshly, because they didn't do everything wrong, but it was a relief to be out of that and more able to connect with the faith of Christianity as a part of the wider body of Christ.

Long story short, I went to some far more moderate churches after that (none of which forbade reading Christian books! for goodness sake), and the church I currently attend is an Anglican-Charismatic church. Precisely what "Anglican-Charismatic" means I'm not entirely sure, but it seems to imply two things. Firstly it's Anglican, in that our pastor is a reverend licensed by the Anglican church. There is a good emphasis on teaching core doctrines in the sermons, and the sermons themselves are quite carefully considered and researched. There is good respect for the vital teachings such as the Trinity. Secondly, it's young and energetic. About 95% of attendees are aged under 35, and we clap or raise hands when we sing. The church itself is only five years old, but grew quickly to the size of about 500 people.

Youth demographic, and clap-when-sing. Those things are what first come to mind when I think "Charismatic." (There are other things too, and not necessarily restricted just to Charismatic christianity... but that's my immediate impression, upon walking into a Charismatic church.)

So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 08:30:55 AM »

It might sound blunt, but I am thinking about Saint Paul and the early days of the church (charismatica).
And welcome to the forum.

I am personally not much of a charismatic person. Just as a tiny little norsie amongst the slavs. Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 09:50:11 AM »

I think of strongly recommending an excellent book that I just finished reading by Fr. Alexis (Trader) entitled "In Peace Let Us Pray to the Lord".  This was an amazing book which examines the experiences and teachings of the Pentecostals and Charismatics from the standpoint of the Fathers and the experience of the saints.  However, the main focus of the book is on "speaking in tongues" - what the Scriptures say, what Charismatics say and experience, and what we know of this practice in the lives of the saints.  So, if this practice is not part of your experience as a "Charismatic", the book will be a little bit off target for you but still very beneficial to read. 

Here is a link for the book on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/In-Peace-Let-Pray-Lord/dp/1928653065/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1361886765&sr=8-7&keywords=alexis+trader

By the way, welcome to the forum!
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 10:17:59 AM »

Quote
So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

From my experience directly with these folks the first thing that pops into my mind is Self-centered worship versus God-centered worship.
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 11:08:01 AM »

Quote
So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

From my experience directly with these folks the first thing that pops into my mind is Self-centered worship versus God-centered worship.

Yes, I agree. And it may not be fair or charitable, but I also mentally add: "self-indulgent" and "seeking to be entertained."

Full disclosure, though, I was formely Lutheran and my congregation was almost destroyed by a group of self-described "charismatics." (as if "Lutheran charismatic" isn't an oxymoron!  Grin). It seems that the charismatic folk didn't think that the others were Real Christians.(tm)
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 12:10:32 PM »

Thank you for your thoughts so far! I have to admit, when I first signed up to this forum, I wondered how people would react to knowing about my Anglican/Charismatic practice (mostly, the Charismatic slice of that). Indeed it was something I feared a little, joining the forum and making my introduction, because I knew at least some orthodox would be a bit wary of Charismatics and pentecostals. But now I see your replies, even being honestly different in thought, and it's not so bad after all.

It might sound blunt, but I am thinking about Saint Paul and the early days of the church (charismatica).
And welcome to the forum.

I am personally not much of a charismatic person. Just as a tiny little norsie amongst the slavs. Smiley
That doesn't sound blunt to me, it was a pretty subjective question anyway. Smiley
Hehe, little norsie amongst the slavs, thanks for the welcome!


I think of strongly recommending an excellent book that I just finished reading by Fr. Alexis (Trader) entitled "In Peace Let Us Pray to the Lord".  This was an amazing book which examines the experiences and teachings of the Pentecostals and Charismatics from the standpoint of the Fathers and the experience of the saints.  However, the main focus of the book is on "speaking in tongues" - what the Scriptures say, what Charismatics say and experience, and what we know of this practice in the lives of the saints.  So, if this practice is not part of your experience as a "Charismatic", the book will be a little bit off target for you but still very beneficial to read. 

Here is a link for the book on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/In-Peace-Let-Pray-Lord/dp/1928653065/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1361886765&sr=8-7&keywords=alexis+trader

By the way, welcome to the forum!

Nice, I may take a look at that book. I do sometimes speak in tongues as a form of prayer, quietly, in a private place. I don't find it disorderly or disruptive, any more than a quietly spoken prayer. But over the years I've felt more and more that regardless of whether prayer is conducted in tongues or in intelligible words, or in song or verse, or in bowing head and closing hands, it is the humility of one's spirit and genuine yearning to be in a reverent relationship with God that really counts.

And thank you for welcoming~! Cheesy


 
Quote
So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

From my experience directly with these folks the first thing that pops into my mind is Self-centered worship versus God-centered worship.
Really? I'm sorry to hear that that was your experience. I guess I have seen at least one Charismatic/pentecostal church which seemed to slip into that kind of erroneous attitude, in the lyrics of the songs it was singing. A plethora of words relating to the worshipers, but too little a focus on Christ and God in His majesty. and it saddened me to see that. Songs about singing songs to God, songs about the struggles of believers, but not about God per se. Having said that though, I remain hopeful for the Charismatic churches, as I know others where it isn't so much an issue... and I believe that God wishes all of us who have fallen short of worshiping Him with our whole heart, strength, mind, and soul to be renewed and strengthened in our faith.


Quote
So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

From my experience directly with these folks the first thing that pops into my mind is Self-centered worship versus God-centered worship.

Yes, I agree. And it may not be fair or charitable, but I also mentally add: "self-indulgent" and "seeking to be entertained."

Full disclosure, though, I was formely Lutheran and my congregation was almost destroyed by a group of self-described "charismatics." (as if "Lutheran charismatic" isn't an oxymoron!  Grin). It seems that the charismatic folk didn't think that the others were Real Christians.(tm)

I grin a little at the "seeking to be entertained" part, because I know, there's a lot of multimedia and graphic design work done in the church and often a very theatrical feel to the way the service is run. I feel that while the lighting and displays are superfluous to the bare message of the faith, I find they can have a place. It reminds me paradoxically of many older church traditions of sumptuously decorating the interior space of the church to look magnificent in the way people expressed their awe of God.

I'm sorry to hear about the past division in your church, though. Embarrassed Sounds like it was quite rough.

But as an aside, I've even heard of Catholic-Charismatic churches. Though I've never seen one, myself.
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 01:05:13 PM »

Youth demographic, and clap-when-sing. Those things are what first come to mind when I think "Charismatic." (There are other things too, and not necessarily restricted just to Charismatic christianity... but that's my immediate impression, upon walking into a Charismatic church.)

So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?
The Charismata are the diverse and good gifts given by God, through His Word and Spirit; the most fundamental and necessary charismata, in my opinion, being the sustaining Presence of God Himself.

In the context of the Christian Church, Charismata begin with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, which is given as the Gift of the Holy Spirit through baptism and the laying on of hands (see Chrismation in the Orthodox Church).

Among the Chief Charismata borne by those who have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are: Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Humility, and Endurance.

Some specific Charismata are Diakonia, or ministry; that is, the gift of participating in a particular Ministry within the Church. These include the ministries of the Laity, the Deacons, the Presbyters, the Bishops, the Monastics, etc.

The Charism of working Wonders has been the inheritance the Son through the Spirit since before the foundation of the world. These wonders include: The moving upon the deep, the hanging of the earth upon the waters, the growing of plants, the fashioning of man, the Passover, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension into heaven, and the Second Coming, just to name a few here and there.

All of mankind is supposed to have the Charismata and Diakonia to offer Thanksgiving and Glorification to God. This is realized in the Church, the Body of Christ, because we participate in the inheritance and very humanity of Christ, who is high priest and firstborn of Creation. Through Him, we become truly human and fulfill our proper roles as Sacred givers of thanks and glorification.

Through Christ, as high priest of creation, we are given the ability to work other wonders, such as: Speaking in unknown languages, raising the dead, healing the sick, casting out demons, foreknowledge, calming the seas, etc. These Charismata are given through the Economy (dispensation) of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 01:19:21 PM »

I grin a little at the "seeking to be entertained" part, because I know, there's a lot of multimedia and graphic design work done in the church and often a very theatrical feel to the way the service is run. I feel that while the lighting and displays are superfluous to the bare message of the faith, I find they can have a place. It reminds me paradoxically of many older church traditions of sumptuously decorating the interior space of the church to look magnificent in the way people expressed their awe of God.

I'm sure there are "Charismatic" churches that have very beautiful architecture and art, that one would consider "contemporary".

There are also many that borrow shallow buzzwords, art/graphic design, architecture, "evangelistic" practices, etc., from self-help cults, corporate public relations and marketing techniques, and "motivational speakers".


Like this:









I would have a problem with the latter practice, as it is, by design, vapid, unimaginative, and insulting.
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« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 01:40:39 PM »

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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2013, 02:15:48 PM »

Family and childhood. I was never anabaptized with water nor Holy Spirit but otherwise my chilhood was wholeheartedly Pentecostal.
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2013, 03:15:06 PM »

So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

First thought: Suave deceitful politicians.

Second thought: Self-styled Christian cults who believe that writhing and gibbering like a possessed vodouniste is a sign of favour with the Holy Spirit.

I know, I know, knee-jerk reactions and broad brushes. Don't let them discourage you from participating here. Wink
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2013, 03:33:29 PM »

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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2013, 03:36:44 PM »

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Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

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« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2013, 03:55:17 PM »

I think of strongly recommending an excellent book that I just finished reading by Fr. Alexis (Trader) entitled "In Peace Let Us Pray to the Lord".  This was an amazing book which examines the experiences and teachings of the Pentecostals and Charismatics from the standpoint of the Fathers and the experience of the saints.  However, the main focus of the book is on "speaking in tongues" - what the Scriptures say, what Charismatics say and experience, and what we know of this practice in the lives of the saints.  So, if this practice is not part of your experience as a "Charismatic", the book will be a little bit off target for you but still very beneficial to read. 

Here is a link for the book on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/In-Peace-Let-Pray-Lord/dp/1928653065/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1361886765&sr=8-7&keywords=alexis+trader

By the way, welcome to the forum!

Nice, I may take a look at that book. I do sometimes speak in tongues as a form of prayer, quietly, in a private place. I don't find it disorderly or disruptive, any more than a quietly spoken prayer. But over the years I've felt more and more that regardless of whether prayer is conducted in tongues or in intelligible words, or in song or verse, or in bowing head and closing hands, it is the humility of one's spirit and genuine yearning to be in a reverent relationship with God that really counts.

And thank you for welcoming~! Cheesy

I do hope that you will pick up the book.  In case you do not obtain the book for whatever reason, I will give you a bit of a spoiler.  Basically, the Pentecostal and Charismatic practice of "speaking in tongues", as in speaking an unknown language in prayer, has no basis in the Scriptures, the Fathers, or the experience of the saints.  Rather, this practice comes from a misunderstanding of the story of Pentecost in Acts and a mistranslation of St. Paul's words concerning "tongues".  At Pentecost, as recorded in Acts, the Apostles spoke in their own tongue and people from different lands were able to understand what they were saying in their own tongue.  In other words, the Apostles were not speaking in a foreign language but the Holy Spirit translated their words in the hearing of the foreigners and in this was the miracle.  While they were accused of being "drunk with new wine", this was on account of the great things of which they were speaking, but the response of the crowd and the words conveyed in Acts show that the preaching was orderly and sober and did not have the chaotic, ecstatic, or "drunken" character which is often exhibited by "Pentecostal" or "Charismatic" "speaking in tongues" today.

Regarding St. Paul's words on "speaking in tongues", the translators of the King James Version mistranslated as "unknown tongues" what should be translated as "unheard tongues".  The problem in the Corinthian church was not that people were speaking out loud in foreign languages and that people were not being edified because they could not understand the language.  The problem was that the Corinthian church would come together but then pray only interiorly, in their hearts, rather than translating the fruits of their interior prayer to external communal prayer and teaching.  This gift of "speaking in tongues" refers to the ceaseless prayer of the heart from the Holy Spirit.  The need for a "translator" does not pertain to a person who would hear someone speaking out loud in a foreign language and the need to translate what is heard into an understandable language.  Rather, "translators" were needed to translate the fruits of their own ceaseless inner prayer into words and written prayers that could be prayed communally for the benefit of all.  This is the origin of Orthodox hymnography.

The experience recorded in Acts was dependent upon need, namely the fact that so many foreigners were present who would not have otherwise been able to understand the preaching of the Apostles.  There are several cases in the lives of the saints where a similar experience occurred based on need, primarily when someone would visit a very holy spiritual elder for advice but did not speak their language, or when someone was called to preach to a foreign people whose language they did not know.  The holy and deified people in need of this gift would pray humbly to God in such circumstances and God enabled people to understand in their own tongue what was being said by the saints in a foreign tongue.  While there are examples of this both contemporary and ancient, it has always been very rare and has never been manifested without need or simply for show.  The experience of "the gift of tongues", of the Holy Spirit praying ceaselessly in one's heart, is much more common in the Orthodox tradition.

The Charismatic movement and experiences such as "speaking in tongues" does not have any similarity to the spiritual experiences of the deified Orthodox saints, but rather imitates certain spiritual phenomena seen manifested in pagan religions.  While they claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, these Charismatics end up embracing all kinds of errors that are directly contrary to what the truths that the Spirit revealed to the Holy Apostles and has confirmed in the life of the Church over 2,000 years, indicating that the Charismatics may indeed by led by a spirit, but this spirit is not the Holy Spirit. 

These comments do not do the book justice, which examines each relevant verse from Scripture in the light of the interpretation of the Holy Fathers, examines the history the Charismatic movement and the nature of the experiences and teachings which come from this movement, and with illustrations from the lives of the saints which depict the authentic gifts of the Holy Spirit. 
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« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2013, 04:53:07 PM »

Quote
So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

From my experience directly with these folks the first thing that pops into my mind is Self-centered worship versus God-centered worship.

This. Also, too many people seeking an experience - or spiritual high, if you will - and then are let down when that high is gone. I've known people who bounced from one church to another trying to get that "high" back, and when they ran out of churches they started to implement other religions - such as Buddhism or neo-paganism - to attach to Christianity for an added high. Eventually they were leaning more to the other religion than they were to Christianity to the point would you could barely call them a Christian anymore. I was almost one of them.

To be fair, this doesn't happen to everybody, but it happens often enough to note.

And welcome to the Forum!
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« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2013, 05:01:19 PM »

Self-centered worship versus God-centered worship.

With Theocize™, no longer must you concern yourself with this dichotomous grind. Using my patent pending techniques you can you worship yourself while praising the ineffable. For three easy of payments of $89.99, you will receive my results proven system for putting the I am! back into the I AM!.

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You can't afford wait! God might be eternal but this offer is not!

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« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2013, 05:27:11 PM »

That's for me charismatic:

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Luke 18:9-14

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”



There're so many christians(including me) who forgot to pray in the way of the publican -to pray charismatic. This path is difficult. The path of our Lord is difficult.
To give daily thanks to God is quite easy, but to weep daily before him- for that you need the real "vision" of Christ and the sinful state of your soul.


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« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2013, 05:27:40 PM »

What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

Scary.

I just think charismatics like the pentecostals are scary and quite out of their mind. Sorry.
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« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2013, 05:34:06 PM »

I think of myself, naturally!  Tongue
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« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2013, 10:52:44 AM »

Regarding St. Paul's words on "speaking in tongues", the translators of the King James Version mistranslated as "unknown tongues" what should be translated as "unheard tongues".  The problem in the Corinthian church was not that people were speaking out loud in foreign languages and that people were not being edified because they could not understand the language.  The problem was that the Corinthian church would come together but then pray only interiorly, in their hearts, rather than translating the fruits of their interior prayer to external communal prayer and teaching.  This gift of "speaking in tongues" refers to the ceaseless prayer of the heart from the Holy Spirit.  The need for a "translator" does not pertain to a person who would hear someone speaking out loud in a foreign language and the need to translate what is heard into an understandable language.  Rather, "translators" were needed to translate the fruits of their own ceaseless inner prayer into words and written prayers that could be prayed communally for the benefit of all.  

I don't wish to get too thick into debating the issue here, but I gather the author argues that the "speaking in tongues" Paul talks about really means silent prayer in the Hesychast manner. That no sound was involved in the biblical speaking in tongues. I find that interpretation a bit of a stretch. Particularly when Paul compares the effect of speaking in tongues in a congregation with the effect of playing discordant music on a flute or a harp, or an indistinct sound from a battle-trumpet, and talks of the need to interpret the sound.

Quote
(1 Corinthians 14:6-11) "Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is being played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me."

I quoted the NRSV, as you sounded wary of the KJV. But for my own piece of mind, I looked up the passage in the original Greek too to check if the translation was valid (I learned Ancient Greek as part of my studies in Classics). And I see no reason to doubt that Paul was talking about some kind of audible sound.

Nevertheless, I leave it to you to understand what the tongues were. And I understand you are concerned about the possibility that demonic forces might have influenced or be influencing pentecostal/Charismatic Christians. (Indeed, from a particular experience I had in a previous pentecostal church, I would say that's a reasonable concern.)


There are also many that borrow shallow buzzwords, art/graphic design, architecture, "evangelistic" practices, etc., from self-help cults, corporate public relations and marketing techniques, and "motivational speakers".


...

I would have a problem with the latter practice, as it is, by design, vapid, unimaginative, and insulting.

This I find interesting. Smiley I agree, in that the taste of some Christian organisations and/or churches can be quite poor when it comes to their advertising and promotional flyers. But would you object to the actual use of promotional graphic design on flyers circulated to inform church-goers of upcoming events? Or only the use of tacky, self-helpy designs? What I mean is, are you disturbed by the very idea that churches would use advertising materials to encourage a wider awareness of its services and events, or by the way this is implemented?



That's for me charismatic:

Quote
Luke 18:9-14

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”



There're so many christians(including me) who forgot to pray in the way of the publican -to pray charismatic. This path is difficult. The path of our Lord is difficult.
To give daily thanks to God is quite easy, but to weep daily before him- for that you need the real "vision" of Christ and the sinful state of your soul.

Thank you so much for sharing, it's so great when scripture both challenges and humbles us. Smiley


What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

Scary.

I just think charismatics like the pentecostals are scary and quite out of their mind. Sorry.
... BOO!  

Grin Sorry, couldn't resist.
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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2013, 11:32:21 AM »

St. Irenaeus describes a "charismatic" Gnostic preacher from the 2nd century in Against heresies, Book I:

Quote
"Behold Charis (=grace) has descended upon thee; open thy mouth and prophesy.” On the woman replying, “I have never at any time prophesied, nor do I know how to prophesy;” then engaging, for the second time, in certain invocations, so as to astound his deluded victim, he says to her, “Open thy mouth, speak whatsoever occurs to thee, and thou shalt prophesy.” She then, vainly puffed up and elated by these words, and greatly excited in soul by the expectation that it is herself who is to prophesy, her heart beating violently [from emotion], reaches the requisite pitch of audacity, and idly as well as impudently utters some nonsense as it happens to occur to her, such as might be expected from one heated by an empty spirit. (Referring to this, one superior to me has observed, that the soul is both audacious and impudent when heated with empty air.) Henceforth she reckons herself a prophetess, and expresses her thanks to Marcus for having imparted to her of his own Charis. She then makes the effort to reward him, not only by the gift of her possessions (in which way he has collected a very large fortune), but also by yielding up to him her person, desiring in every way to be united to him, that she may become altogether one with him.

But already some of the most faithful women, possessed of the fear of God, and not being deceived (whom, nevertheless, he did his best to seduce like the rest by bidding them prophesy), abhorring and execrating him, have withdrawn from such a vile company of revellers. This they have done, as being well aware that the gift of prophecy is not conferred on men by Marcus, the magician, but that only those to whom God sends His grace from above possess the divinely-bestowed power of prophesying; and then they speak where and when God pleases, and not when Marcus orders them to do so. For that which commands is greater and of higher authority than that which is commanded, inasmuch as the former rules, while the latter is in a state of subjection. If, then, Marcus, or any one else, does command,— as these are accustomed continually at their feasts to play at drawing lots, and [in accordance with the lot] to command one another to prophesy, giving forth as oracles what is in harmony with their own desires,—it will follow that he who commands is greater and of higher authority than the prophetic spirit, though he is but a man, which is impossible. But such spirits as are commanded by these men, and speak when they desire it, are earthly and weak, audacious and impudent, sent forth by Satan for the seduction and perdition of those who do not hold fast that well-compacted faith which they received at first through the Church.

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« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2013, 11:43:45 AM »

Regarding St. Paul's words on "speaking in tongues", the translators of the King James Version mistranslated as "unknown tongues" what should be translated as "unheard tongues".  The problem in the Corinthian church was not that people were speaking out loud in foreign languages and that people were not being edified because they could not understand the language.  The problem was that the Corinthian church would come together but then pray only interiorly, in their hearts, rather than translating the fruits of their interior prayer to external communal prayer and teaching.  This gift of "speaking in tongues" refers to the ceaseless prayer of the heart from the Holy Spirit.  The need for a "translator" does not pertain to a person who would hear someone speaking out loud in a foreign language and the need to translate what is heard into an understandable language.  Rather, "translators" were needed to translate the fruits of their own ceaseless inner prayer into words and written prayers that could be prayed communally for the benefit of all.  

I don't wish to get too thick into debating the issue here, but I gather the author argues that the "speaking in tongues" Paul talks about really means silent prayer in the Hesychast manner. That no sound was involved in the biblical speaking in tongues. I find that interpretation a bit of a stretch. Particularly when Paul compares the effect of speaking in tongues in a congregation with the effect of playing discordant music on a flute or a harp, or an indistinct sound from a battle-trumpet, and talks of the need to interpret the sound.

Quote
(1 Corinthians 14:6-11) "Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is being played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me."

I quoted the NRSV, as you sounded wary of the KJV. But for my own piece of mind, I looked up the passage in the original Greek too to check if the translation was valid (I learned Ancient Greek as part of my studies in Classics). And I see no reason to doubt that Paul was talking about some kind of audible sound.

Here is a quote from the book regarding these verses:

Quote
from pp.104-106

Although the King James version of 1 Corinthians 14:2 reads “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him,” indicating that the one speaking in a tongue is speaking in a foreign language, the word “unknown” is not present in the original in this case or in the other five cases in which the authors of the KJV insert it. [Note: The word “unknown” is added to the word “tongue” in the KJV version of First Corinthians 14:2,3,4,16,20, and 29 presumably for clarity’s sake.  Fortunately, the RSV has removed these additions.]  Moreover, the verb in the last half of the verse is not “to understand,” but “to hear.”  A more accurate translation would have been, “for he who speaks with a tongue does not speak to men, but to God, for no one hears. [Note: This verse is also not mistranslated in the RSV.]  In other words, Paul states quite clearly that when one speaks in a tongue “no one hears,” that is, no one hears, because speaking in a tongue is offered up silently within the heart.  In like manner, the authors of the King James version translate I Corinthians 14:10 as “there are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification” again pointing to the incomprehensibility of a foreign language to one who does not speak it, although a more precise rendering of the Greek text would have been “there are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them are mute (or silent)” [Note: The RSV here follows the questionable translation of the KJV],again indicating that the inaudible speaking in tongues is an exception, since it takes place without the use of the voice (a phonon literally means “no voice”).  In a similar vein, the same translators render I Corinthians 14:8 as “for if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for battle” [Note: RSV here follows questionable translation of the KJV], although Saint Paul here speaks not of an “uncertain sound,” which would be an allusion to speaking in an unknown language or making inarticulate sounds, but of an “unmanifested sound,” which alludes to silent prayer.  Thus a better translation would have been “For if the trumpet does not manifest its sound, who shall prepare himself for battle,” with the implication that if one does not use one’s voice and pray out loud (and thus “sound the trumpet”), how will the others who do not yet have the prayer of the heart be edified.  Finally, those who do not have the gift of speaking in tongues (inner prayer) need to hear the “loudness of the voice,” (which the KJV renders “meaning of the voice”) [note: other possible translations include, the volume, power, or strength of the voice (The RSV here follows the questionable interpretation of the KJV)] in order to respond by saying their “Amen” and thus be benefited, for if everyone is praying the psalms silently in their heart by the Holy Spirit, how would one without this gift “know” [note: which the KJV again mistranslates as “he understandeth not what thou sayest,” although the RSV correctly translates this verse.] what is being said.

Thus at every cross-roads, the translators based on their own experience (or, to be precise, inexperience) selected expressions that would prevent the English-speaking reader from understanding the very nature of the gift of speaking in tongues to which Saint Paul was referring in any way other than the most external and superficial.  If, however, one translates the text more simply, and if one realizes that in Corinthians 14:24-37 Saint Paul is already considering the separate issue of women speaking in the Church, the interpretation of kinds of tongues as prayers offered up silently in the heart through the Holy Spirit is not only not far-fetched, it fits squarely within the parameters of the Biblical text, not to mention the tradition, teaching, and experience of the Church.

I did not include in my quote the Greek words that are provided in the text in the discussion of translation.  Fr. Alexis (Trader), the author, is a monk on Mt. Athos in Greece.  Every day he spends hours in church praying and listening to prayers, reading and listenting to the Scriptures, all in the original Koine Greek.  Outside of the long church services, he also spends a great amount of time reading the Fathers in their original languages and studying the Scriptures in the original Greek.  He is well qualified to discuss accuracy of translations, particularly as he is able to support his explanations with the commentaries of the Fathers as well as the lives of the saints.  For all of this, however, you may need to buy the book. 
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« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2013, 12:59:40 PM »

Regarding St. Paul's words on "speaking in tongues", the translators of the King James Version mistranslated as "unknown tongues" what should be translated as "unheard tongues".  The problem in the Corinthian church was not that people were speaking out loud in foreign languages and that people were not being edified because they could not understand the language.  The problem was that the Corinthian church would come together but then pray only interiorly, in their hearts, rather than translating the fruits of their interior prayer to external communal prayer and teaching.  This gift of "speaking in tongues" refers to the ceaseless prayer of the heart from the Holy Spirit.  The need for a "translator" does not pertain to a person who would hear someone speaking out loud in a foreign language and the need to translate what is heard into an understandable language.  Rather, "translators" were needed to translate the fruits of their own ceaseless inner prayer into words and written prayers that could be prayed communally for the benefit of all.  


I don't wish to get too thick into debating the issue here, but I gather the author argues that the "speaking in tongues" Paul talks about really means silent prayer in the Hesychast manner. That no sound was involved in the biblical speaking in tongues. I find that interpretation a bit of a stretch. Particularly when Paul compares the effect of speaking in tongues in a congregation with the effect of playing discordant music on a flute or a harp, or an indistinct sound from a battle-trumpet, and talks of the need to interpret the sound.

Quote
(1 Corinthians 14:6-11) "Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is being played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me."

I quoted the NRSV, as you sounded wary of the KJV. But for my own piece of mind, I looked up the passage in the original Greek too to check if the translation was valid (I learned Ancient Greek as part of my studies in Classics). And I see no reason to doubt that Paul was talking about some kind of audible sound.

Here is a quote from the book regarding these verses:

Quote
from pp.104-106

Although the King James version of 1 Corinthians 14:2 reads “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him,” indicating that the one speaking in a tongue is speaking in a foreign language, the word “unknown” is not present in the original in this case or in the other five cases in which the authors of the KJV insert it. [Note: The word “unknown” is added to the word “tongue” in the KJV version of First Corinthians 14:2,3,4,16,20, and 29 presumably for clarity’s sake.  Fortunately, the RSV has removed these additions.]  Moreover, the verb in the last half of the verse is not “to understand,” but “to hear.”  A more accurate translation would have been, “for he who speaks with a tongue does not speak to men, but to God, for no one hears. [Note: This verse is also not mistranslated in the RSV.]  In other words, Paul states quite clearly that when one speaks in a tongue “no one hears,” that is, no one hears, because speaking in a tongue is offered up silently within the heart.  In like manner, the authors of the King James version translate I Corinthians 14:10 as “there are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification” again pointing to the incomprehensibility of a foreign language to one who does not speak it, although a more precise rendering of the Greek text would have been “there are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them are mute (or silent)” [Note: The RSV here follows the questionable translation of the KJV],again indicating that the inaudible speaking in tongues is an exception, since it takes place without the use of the voice (a phonon literally means “no voice”).  In a similar vein, the same translators render I Corinthians 14:8 as “for if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for battle” [Note: RSV here follows questionable translation of the KJV], although Saint Paul here speaks not of an “uncertain sound,” which would be an allusion to speaking in an unknown language or making inarticulate sounds, but of an “unmanifested sound,” which alludes to silent prayer.  Thus a better translation would have been “For if the trumpet does not manifest its sound, who shall prepare himself for battle,” with the implication that if one does not use one’s voice and pray out loud (and thus “sound the trumpet”), how will the others who do not yet have the prayer of the heart be edified.  Finally, those who do not have the gift of speaking in tongues (inner prayer) need to hear the “loudness of the voice,” (which the KJV renders “meaning of the voice”) [note: other possible translations include, the volume, power, or strength of the voice (The RSV here follows the questionable interpretation of the KJV)] in order to respond by saying their “Amen” and thus be benefited, for if everyone is praying the psalms silently in their heart by the Holy Spirit, how would one without this gift “know” [note: which the KJV again mistranslates as “he understandeth not what thou sayest,” although the RSV correctly translates this verse.] what is being said.

Thus at every cross-roads, the translators based on their own experience (or, to be precise, inexperience) selected expressions that would prevent the English-speaking reader from understanding the very nature of the gift of speaking in tongues to which Saint Paul was referring in any way other than the most external and superficial.  If, however, one translates the text more simply, and if one realizes that in Corinthians 14:24-37 Saint Paul is already considering the separate issue of women speaking in the Church, the interpretation of kinds of tongues as prayers offered up silently in the heart through the Holy Spirit is not only not far-fetched, it fits squarely within the parameters of the Biblical text, not to mention the tradition, teaching, and experience of the Church.

I did not include in my quote the Greek words that are provided in the text in the discussion of translation.  Fr. Alexis (Trader), the author, is a monk on Mt. Athos in Greece.  Every day he spends hours in church praying and listening to prayers, reading and listenting to the Scriptures, all in the original Koine Greek.  Outside of the long church services, he also spends a great amount of time reading the Fathers in their original languages and studying the Scriptures in the original Greek.  He is well qualified to discuss accuracy of translations, particularly as he is able to support his explanations with the commentaries of the Fathers as well as the lives of the saints.  For all of this, however, you may need to buy the book. 

There's a good criticsm of Fr. Alexis on the amazon-link, which you gave us.

One of my favourite saintly contemporary fathers - Archimandrite Zacharias (his books are great!) - have another explanation:

http://findingthewaytotheheart.blogspot.ch/2011/08/gift-of-speaking-in-tongues.html
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« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2013, 09:14:18 PM »

I don't wish to get too thick into debating the issue here, but I gather the author argues that the "speaking in tongues" Paul talks about really means silent prayer in the Hesychast manner. That no sound was involved in the biblical speaking in tongues. I find that interpretation a bit of a stretch.
I agree.

Quote
(1 Corinthians 14:6-11) "Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is being played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me."

I quoted the NRSV, as you sounded wary of the KJV. But for my own piece of mind, I looked up the passage in the original Greek too to check if the translation was valid (I learned Ancient Greek as part of my studies in Classics). And I see no reason to doubt that Paul was talking about some kind of audible sound.

Nevertheless, I leave it to you to understand what the tongues were. And I understand you are concerned about the possibility that demonic forces might have influenced or be influencing pentecostal/Charismatic Christians. (Indeed, from a particular experience I had in a previous pentecostal church, I would say that's a reasonable concern.)

I don't wish to get too thick into debating the issue here, but I gather the author argues that the "speaking in tongues" Paul talks about really means silent prayer in the Hesychast manner. That no sound was involved in the biblical speaking in tongues. I find that interpretation a bit of a stretch.
I agree.

I would have a problem with the latter practice, as it is, by design, vapid, unimaginative, and insulting.

This I find interesting. Smiley I agree, in that the taste of some Christian organisations and/or churches can be quite poor when it comes to their advertising and promotional flyers. But would you object to the actual use of promotional graphic design on flyers circulated to inform church-goers of upcoming events? Or only the use of tacky, self-helpy designs? What I mean is, are you disturbed by the very idea that churches would use advertising materials to encourage a wider awareness of its services and events, or by the way this is implemented?
Oh, no, we use flyers and whatnot all the time in the Orthodox Church.

St. Irenaeus describes a "charismatic" Gnostic preacher from the 2nd century in Against heresies, Book I:

Quote
"Behold Charis (=grace) has descended upon thee; open thy mouth and prophesy.” On the woman replying, “I have never at any time prophesied, nor do I know how to prophesy;” then engaging, for the second time, in certain invocations, so as to astound his deluded victim, he says to her, “Open thy mouth, speak whatsoever occurs to thee, and thou shalt prophesy.” She then, vainly puffed up and elated by these words, and greatly excited in soul by the expectation that it is herself who is to prophesy, her heart beating violently [from emotion], reaches the requisite pitch of audacity, and idly as well as impudently utters some nonsense as it happens to occur to her, such as might be expected from one heated by an empty spirit. (Referring to this, one superior to me has observed, that the soul is both audacious and impudent when heated with empty air.) Henceforth she reckons herself a prophetess, and expresses her thanks to Marcus for having imparted to her of his own Charis. She then makes the effort to reward him, not only by the gift of her possessions (in which way he has collected a very large fortune), but also by yielding up to him her person, desiring in every way to be united to him, that she may become altogether one with him.

But already some of the most faithful women, possessed of the fear of God, and not being deceived (whom, nevertheless, he did his best to seduce like the rest by bidding them prophesy), abhorring and execrating him, have withdrawn from such a vile company of revellers. This they have done, as being well aware that the gift of prophecy is not conferred on men by Marcus, the magician, but that only those to whom God sends His grace from above possess the divinely-bestowed power of prophesying; and then they speak where and when God pleases, and not when Marcus orders them to do so. For that which commands is greater and of higher authority than that which is commanded, inasmuch as the former rules, while the latter is in a state of subjection. If, then, Marcus, or any one else, does command,— as these are accustomed continually at their feasts to play at drawing lots, and [in accordance with the lot] to command one another to prophesy, giving forth as oracles what is in harmony with their own desires,—it will follow that he who commands is greater and of higher authority than the prophetic spirit, though he is but a man, which is impossible. But such spirits as are commanded by these men, and speak when they desire it, are earthly and weak, audacious and impudent, sent forth by Satan for the seduction and perdition of those who do not hold fast that well-compacted faith which they received at first through the Church.

Source
It is a very common practice across cultures for a holy man or woman to whip themselves into an endorphin ecstasy and make language-like sounds. Oracle of Delphi, Berserkers, Ghost Dance, take your pick. The Hellenistic world was also filled with this sort of thing.

Now, the question is, how does your typical endorphin ecstasy relate to the biblical tongues, when we're talking about, say, the Corinthian church?
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« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2013, 10:14:41 PM »


There's a good criticsm of Fr. Alexis on the amazon-link, which you gave us.


In this criticism, attention is drawn to apparent inconsistencies between Fr. Alexis' interpretation and the interpretations given by other Fathers.  Unfortunately, the critic does not address the fact that Fr. Alexis discussed the quotes and the fathers which the critic claims are in contradiction to Fr. Alexis' interpretation.  The critic comes across as having not read Fr. Alexis' book very carefully, or not reading Fr. Alexis explanation of these patristic quotes, or simply not wanting to address what Fr. Alexis said regarding these quotes.  The critic also does not address Fr. Alexis' remarks concerning the different levels of meaning in Scripture, and the comments from St. Nikitas Stethatos that Fr. Alexis depends on for his views (and not simply the writings of Fr. John Romanides).  The critic seems to overlook also the fact that Fr. Alexis distinguished the gift of "speaking in tongues" (prayer of the heart) from the gift of languages.  At the end of the book, Fr. Alexis provides examples from the lives of the saints illustrating the fact that God has, in response to particular needs, granted people the ability to understand and speak foreign languages in order to communicate with, and edify, one or more foreigners.  He emphasizes, however, that this gift  has only been given when there has been such a need, and would not be manifested "for show", in the midst of a church service, or even in one's private prayers.  This gift was only given for the sake of communication, and not for the sake of prayer or as a "sign", and is something different from "praying in tongues" which refers to the silent prayer of the heart.     
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« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2013, 10:20:43 PM »


There's a good criticsm of Fr. Alexis on the amazon-link, which you gave us.


In this criticism, attention is drawn to apparent inconsistencies between Fr. Alexis' interpretation and the interpretations given by other Fathers.  Unfortunately, the critic does not address the fact that Fr. Alexis discussed the quotes and the fathers which the critic claims are in contradiction to Fr. Alexis' interpretation.  The critic comes across as having not read Fr. Alexis' book very carefully, or not reading Fr. Alexis explanation of these patristic quotes, or simply not wanting to address what Fr. Alexis said regarding these quotes.  The critic also does not address Fr. Alexis' remarks concerning the different levels of meaning in Scripture, and the comments from St. Nikitas Stethatos that Fr. Alexis depends on for his views (and not simply the writings of Fr. John Romanides).  The critic seems to overlook also the fact that Fr. Alexis distinguished the gift of "speaking in tongues" (prayer of the heart) from the gift of languages.  At the end of the book, Fr. Alexis provides examples from the lives of the saints illustrating the fact that God has, in response to particular needs, granted people the ability to understand and speak foreign languages in order to communicate with, and edify, one or more foreigners.  He emphasizes, however, that this gift  has only been given when there has been such a need, and would not be manifested "for show", in the midst of a church service, or even in one's private prayers.  This gift was only given for the sake of communication, and not for the sake of prayer or as a "sign", and is something different from "praying in tongues" which refers to the silent prayer of the heart.     
Thank you. You've convinced me. I'll buy his book!=)
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« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2013, 12:44:56 AM »

So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?
In the context of Christian congregations, my first thought is of the Church of God-Cleveland, Tenn. church down the road where they speak in tongues, prophesy over people and have a strong emphasis on healing by laying-on of hands. Preaching from the KJV. The music is usually a mix of hill-people hymn standards and contemporary praise tunes played to sound like rockabilly music. Three or for ladies play tambourines in and out of time with the music from the pews. Most folks wear their best Wranglers (with Skol rings in the back pockets), boots and work shirts. The people there would feed you in a heartbeat, and most of them could and would fix your car if it broke down in their parking lot, and if they couldn't fix it they'd pray over the car in the hopes that that would fix it. They don't handle snakes, but some of the older folks might know people who do.

My second thought is the more mainline Assembly of God and independent churches of similar mind with which most folks who have spent time in the evangelical movement are familiar.
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« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2013, 10:25:48 AM »


Here is a quote from the book regarding these verses:

Quote
from pp.104-106

Although the King James version of 1 Corinthians 14:2 reads “For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him,” indicating that the one speaking in a tongue is speaking in a foreign language, the word “unknown” is not present in the original in this case or in the other five cases in which the authors of the KJV insert it. [Note: The word “unknown” is added to the word “tongue” in the KJV version of First Corinthians 14:2,3,4,16,20, and 29 presumably for clarity’s sake.  Fortunately, the RSV has removed these additions.]  Moreover, the verb in the last half of the verse is not “to understand,” but “to hear.”  A more accurate translation would have been, “for he who speaks with a tongue does not speak to men, but to God, for no one hears. [Note: This verse is also not mistranslated in the RSV.]  In other words, Paul states quite clearly that when one speaks in a tongue “no one hears,” that is, no one hears, because speaking in a tongue is offered up silently within the heart.  In like manner, the authors of the King James version translate I Corinthians 14:10 as “there are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification” again pointing to the incomprehensibility of a foreign language to one who does not speak it, although a more precise rendering of the Greek text would have been “there are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them are mute (or silent)” [Note: The RSV here follows the questionable translation of the KJV],again indicating that the inaudible speaking in tongues is an exception, since it takes place without the use of the voice (a phonon literally means “no voice”).  In a similar vein, the same translators render I Corinthians 14:8 as “for if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for battle” [Note: RSV here follows questionable translation of the KJV], although Saint Paul here speaks not of an “uncertain sound,” which would be an allusion to speaking in an unknown language or making inarticulate sounds, but of an “unmanifested sound,” which alludes to silent prayer.  Thus a better translation would have been “For if the trumpet does not manifest its sound, who shall prepare himself for battle,” with the implication that if one does not use one’s voice and pray out loud (and thus “sound the trumpet”), how will the others who do not yet have the prayer of the heart be edified.  Finally, those who do not have the gift of speaking in tongues (inner prayer) need to hear the “loudness of the voice,” (which the KJV renders “meaning of the voice”) [note: other possible translations include, the volume, power, or strength of the voice (The RSV here follows the questionable interpretation of the KJV)] in order to respond by saying their “Amen” and thus be benefited, for if everyone is praying the psalms silently in their heart by the Holy Spirit, how would one without this gift “know” [note: which the KJV again mistranslates as “he understandeth not what thou sayest,” although the RSV correctly translates this verse.] what is being said.

Thus at every cross-roads, the translators based on their own experience (or, to be precise, inexperience) selected expressions that would prevent the English-speaking reader from understanding the very nature of the gift of speaking in tongues to which Saint Paul was referring in any way other than the most external and superficial.  If, however, one translates the text more simply, and if one realizes that in Corinthians 14:24-37 Saint Paul is already considering the separate issue of women speaking in the Church, the interpretation of kinds of tongues as prayers offered up silently in the heart through the Holy Spirit is not only not far-fetched, it fits squarely within the parameters of the Biblical text, not to mention the tradition, teaching, and experience of the Church.

I did not include in my quote the Greek words that are provided in the text in the discussion of translation.  Fr. Alexis (Trader), the author, is a monk on Mt. Athos in Greece.  Every day he spends hours in church praying and listening to prayers, reading and listenting to the Scriptures, all in the original Koine Greek.  Outside of the long church services, he also spends a great amount of time reading the Fathers in their original languages and studying the Scriptures in the original Greek.  He is well qualified to discuss accuracy of translations, particularly as he is able to support his explanations with the commentaries of the Fathers as well as the lives of the saints.  For all of this, however, you may need to buy the book.  

I want to look at this passage again. The author claims that when Paul uses the metaphor of the trumpets and instruments, he is actually talking about the instruments as if they were not producing any sound at all. I would refute this based on the Greek.

This is what both I and the translator of the NRSV: Catholic Edition believe the passage says:

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(1 Corinthians 14:6-11)  "Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is being played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me."

And this is what the author wants it to say:

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(1 Corinthians 14:6-11) "Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give audible notes, how will anyone know what is being played? And if the bugle gives an inaudible sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not audible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. If then I do not know the loudness of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me."

I find that the author's reading is quite an awkward reading of the Greek, and in parts it doesn't even fit at all. I highlighted the revisions in bold. In the first one, Paul says "if the flute or harp does not give distinction to the notes", and the word for "distinction" here is διαστολη (diastole), which can also mean "parting, separation". In no way can that phrase be bent to mean "if the flute or harp does not make any sound at all". The second and third revisions are very unlikely, but not impossible, since αδηλος (adelos) can mean either "unknown" or "unseen" and ευσημος (eusemos) usually means "clear to understand" but can also be "clear to see". One might just about stretch the metaphor of "unseeable" to "unhearable".

The final revision is almost gibberish. It is typical to say that the δυναμις (dynamis) of a word or speech means the force of a word, that is, the meaning of a word, or the meaning of speech. The word dynamis by itself does mean "force, power" but when used to describe speech it doesn't typically describe the volume of the speech. But let us assume, for a moment, that Paul really does mean "loudness" here, as the author wants him to. What does his sentence now say? "If therefore I do not know the loudness of a sound..." The verb for "know" here is οιδα (oida), it means to "know, understand", and indicates mental comprehension. How can someone not know the loudness of a sound? Wouldn't that mean "If I don't know how loud a sound is"? The revised definition makes little to no sense in the context of the sentence. Even if we read dynamis as meaning "loudness", Paul can't be forced to say "If I can't hear a sound". At most he might be made to say, "If I can't work out the loudness of the sound".

I do trust that the author has had a lot of practice with reading Koine Greek and knows the language. Unfortunately the author simply does not want to believe that the text indicates that a sound was made in the course of speaking in tongues. Otherwise, why else would the author be pulling words out of context and trying to paste over them the only definition that could support his contention, however unlikely and tenuous or even impossible that definition might be? I've seen many a pentecostal preacher do exactly that, quote Greek words and try to redefine them in whatever way suits them best. It gives an impression that they know what they're talking about, because here and there they say something in Greek. This makes me wish more people knew the language, and knew how to refute that.

Sorry. When I saw that author's arguments, I had to get that out.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 10:39:23 AM by Remora » Logged

It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
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« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2013, 09:42:06 AM »

Charismatic Movement is quite similar to the Montanist in 2nd-3rd century, which put more attention on holy spirit, miracles, the gifts,second coming of Jesus, prophecies,practice spiritual dancing, againsting the the institution of church,etc.

Was there any Saint or Church Father who openly criticize the Montanist in 2nd -3 rd century?
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« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2013, 10:00:58 AM »

Charismatic Movement is quite similar to the Montanist in 2nd-3rd century

How so? From what I remember my brief studies on patristics Pentecostals do not believe in same heresies that Montanist preached.
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« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2013, 10:58:23 AM »

Now, the question is, how does your typical endorphin ecstasy relate to the biblical tongues, when we're talking about, say, the Corinthian church?

I think that St. Paul scolds the Corinthians precisely because they started valuing charismata more than the Gospel they were meant to confirm. It all became about the endorphin rush to them. This disturbed the order of their worship meetings to such an extent, that St. Paul was worried that if an outsider happened to walk in, he wouldn't find out anything about Christ, but just witness a bunch of mirthful people enjoying their "supernatural" gifts. In other words, their immature Christianity would have had the appearance of any Oriental cult in vogue throughout the Hellenistic world at that time.

True charismata always serve a purpose - they are not for personal enjoyment. So, in the light of the excerpt from St. Irenaeus, I would ask any Charismatic or Pentecostal Christian: does he/she speak in tongues (usually "angelic", i.e. not understandable.edifying to anyone) or prophesy whenever he prays (feels like it) or just under very special circumstances when God has a higher purpose in view? If it's a regular happening and it is more or less at their disposal (something they engage in to "feel like" they're really praying), I would say it's unlikely to be the Holy Spirit. It's probably nothing supernatural (demonic possession) either - just "the soul heated with empty air".       

"Where the King is present, order also prevails".
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 11:30:31 AM by Romaios » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2013, 11:07:41 AM »

I wish I had a nickle for every "Ancient Greek expert" I've encountered over the years. This recalls for me too many threads over on the old CARM where I had to argue with some of these "experts" who, unfortunately, learned their "Greek" in Protestant schools. GIGO...
We've a concurrent thread about Illegal Vs. Immoral somewhere that shows a similar problem with the translation of Romans 13, but there even the OSB's commentary ignores the bad KJV/NKJV translation of the Greek text, and hence I can't blame the OP too harshly for his/her opinion, even if it's wrong.




(BTW, nice post, NicholasMyra).
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« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2013, 03:16:31 AM »

Hello! ....

...What I love about the posts in this forum is how much people value the insights of ancient authors, Church fathers and the great literary works of the past 2,000+ years. That I feel is something which a lot of people from protestant background (myself included) don't do enough of, and ought to do more. Smiley



...So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

If you are interested in reading Patristics, you could start with the section that seems to have the greatest interest to you at this point in time.  St. John Chrysostom wrote on I Corinthians.  You can find all sorts of reading on CCEL, though the translations are pretty rough.  

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.toc.html

or specifically here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/220135.htm

If you want to read the Fathers you can read what they have to say on the passage you want to debate.

To answer your question, the 'charismatic' I think of a person who draws others in and for whatever reason people find the person to be attractive.   The other meaning is the church people, sometimes called 'rug chewing' something or the other.  

After that, I think of people who could easily fall into states of prelest, either from following charismatic people or by practicing questionable spiritual methods.  

Your interpretation of that passage may just be that of your Charismatic church.  It doesn't seem to mean what you think it means.  
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« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2013, 10:35:15 AM »

Hello! ....

...What I love about the posts in this forum is how much people value the insights of ancient authors, Church fathers and the great literary works of the past 2,000+ years. That I feel is something which a lot of people from protestant background (myself included) don't do enough of, and ought to do more. Smiley



...So here's my question, after a long diversion. What do you think of when you think "Charismatic"?

If you are interested in reading Patristics, you could start with the section that seems to have the greatest interest to you at this point in time.  St. John Chrysostom wrote on I Corinthians.  You can find all sorts of reading on CCEL, though the translations are pretty rough.  

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf112.toc.html

or specifically here: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/220135.htm

If you want to read the Fathers you can read what they have to say on the passage you want to debate.

To answer your question, the 'charismatic' I think of a person who draws others in and for whatever reason people find the person to be attractive.   The other meaning is the church people, sometimes called 'rug chewing' something or the other.  

After that, I think of people who could easily fall into states of prelest, either from following charismatic people or by practicing questionable spiritual methods.  

Your interpretation of that passage may just be that of your Charismatic church.  It doesn't seem to mean what you think it means.  


(Sorry for disappearing from the thread just then, I was travelling in another city)

Thanks so much for the links! It was really good to read St. John Chrysostom's homily on 1 Corinthians. I have a quick question though. Are there any other church fathers you would recommend who also wrote about the passages in Paul's letters on speaking in tongues? Thank you for the Patristic readings, they are much appreciated.
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It is a small fish, about six inches long, but when it attaches to a ship the ship cannot move, but seems rooted in the sea, despite raging storms and gales. This fish is also called "delay" (mora) because it causes ships to stand still. 
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« Reply #34 on: March 12, 2013, 10:57:40 AM »

Are there any other church fathers you would recommend who also wrote about the passages in Paul's letters on speaking in tongues? Thank you for the Patristic readings, they are much appreciated.


Quote
St. Nikitas (Stithatos)
On Spiritual Knowledge, Love, and the Perfection of Living: One Hundred Texts

Philokalia, Volume 4, pp.169-170

89. If in your aspiration for spiritual gifts you have pursued and laid hold of love, you cannot content yourself
with praying and reading solely for your own edification. If when you pray and psalmodize you speak to God in
private you edify yourself, as St Paul says. But once you have laid hold of love you feel impelled to prophesy for the
edification of God's Church (cf. 1 Cor. 14:2-4), that is, to teach your fellow men how to practice the commandments
of God and how they must endeavor to conform to God's will. For of what benefit can it be to others if, while
charged with their guidance, you always converse with yourself and God alone through prayer and psalmody, and do
not also speak to those in your charge, whether through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, or out of knowledge of the
mysteries of God, or by exercising the prophetic gift of foresight, or by teaching the wisdom of God (cf. 1 Cor.
14:6)? For which of your disciples will prepare for battle against the passions and the demons (cf. 1 Cor. 14:8 ) if he
does not receive clear instructions from you either in writing or by word of mouth? Truly, if it is not in order to edify
his flock that the shepherd seeks to be richly endowed with the grace of teaching and the knowledge of the Spirit, he
lacks fervor in his quest for God's gifts. By merely praying and psalmodizing inwardly with your tongue - that is, by
praying in the soul - you edify yourself, but your intellect is unproductive (cf. 1 Cor. 14:14), for you do not prophesy
with the language of sacred teaching or edify God's Church. If Paul, who of all men was the most closely united
with God through prayer, would have rather spoken from his fertile intellect five words in church for the instruction
of others than ten thousand words of psalmody in private (cf. 1 Cor. 14:19), surely those who have responsibility for
others have strayed from the path of love if they limit the shepherd's ministry solely to psalmody and reading.
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« Reply #35 on: March 14, 2013, 05:45:20 PM »

There are some interesting (short) sermons of Saint Augustine for Pentecost: numbers 266 to 272 - especially 268 (Patrologia Latina 38). I couldn't find an English translation online, but I think you understand Latin. If you follow the link, there's a window on the left - Elenchus - where you can type the number of each sermon. 
« Last Edit: March 14, 2013, 06:13:34 PM by Romaios » Logged
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