I’ve been neglecting this blog. This was brought to my attention in two ways. First, it keeps coming up in Google Analytics as having a constant stream of visitors, so someone must be interested. Second, and more importantly, a prayer ministry colleague recently referred to an article I wrote years ago about Tongues – making it happen, on the Healing Prayer Ministries Network website. He said it was the best thing on the subject that he had seen and wanted to put it on his own site. I thought I’d better go and see what I said!
While it’s hardly the definitive exposition on speaking in tongues, I find that I still stand by what I said. However, I have learned much since that time and clearly a new overview of the whole glossolalia phenomenon is overdue.
I often see Google ads relating to tongues on my websites, and when I check them out the greatest number seem to be from people or groups who disapprove, sometimes quite vehemently, and sometimes even try to use their arguments to spread suspicion about other groups who have little or no connection with the topic at all. Obviously, speaking in tongues is still a topic that divides the church, at least on the Internet. This is particularly significant as I write this, on the day that Pilate confronted Jesus with his famous comment, “Truth! What is truth?”
I don’t know whether I will be able to shed any light on the subject, but I plan to try my best, and I am sure the Holy Spirit will keep me on track, or correct me when I lose it.
My own background is that of growing up in a church that effectively taught against anything to do with the Holy Spirit, including tongues – not so much out of doctrinal conviction, but more out of fear of intellectual weakness (read pride of mind), or fear of what might happen if they allowed God to do whatever he wanted. I never found their arguments convincing. As one of the members once exclaimed in frustration at a leaders meeting, “You talk all the time about living a holy life, but you never tell us how to do it!”
Since that time I have learned and experienced a great deal that contradicts that early teaching. I now know that the main reason people are reluctant to allow their experience to shape their theology is lack of trust in Jesus when he says that he will send the Spirit, who will lead them into all truth. They think they have to work it all out first with their minds before they can risk trying something out, and since most people are not capable of doing a thorough job of this (though they might think they are), they instead rely on the secondhand ‘knowledge’ of authorities other than Jesus. How often have these authorites also done exactly the same thing?
Instead, I have pursued everything that Jesus promised his followers, and tested each gift out for its validity and effectiveness, while at the same time seeking out the Biblical basis for each experience. Jesus has not let me down, and Diana and I have been able to move in an effectiveness of ministry I could once only have dreamed about.
Some warned us about being deceived by demons (sometimes the same people who say there are no demons!) Instead, we have found that demons are never the primary issue, but instead can be made, unwillingly of course, to serve the purposes of God. The authority Jesus gives to a believer is far greater than that of any demon, if only they would take hold of it.
Others say tongues speaking is irrational. I’ve often thought that the Western version of rationality was highly overrated anyway. But seriously, isn’t that the point of tongues – to offend the mind and allow the human spirit to act without its interference?
I will write more on these things, but let me conclude for now by saying the journey I have been on with Jesus is one I wouldn’t have missed for all the intellectual prizes in history. As a result of trusting him in this even my mind works better, and is more satisfied with the wonders that I have discovered about the true nature of God’s creation.