Friday, June 24, 2005

Pentecostalism and Speaking in Tongues


I have been to several Pentecostal churches, and have prayed with several varieties of charismatics. I even conducted a Communion service at a charismatic Catholic mass once.

The history of Pentecostalism traces itself to the "Day of Pentecost," celebrated by Jews in the first century. "Pentecost" means "fifty days," and has something to do with the Jewish calender. Pentecost came fifty days after another holy day.

In the first century, in the book of Acts, the record reveals how early Christians needed to communicate their message (the evaggelion or "good news") to a wide variety of people who did not understand the common tongue (Greek). Strange lights over their heads ("tongues of fire") symbolized and revealed that the Holy Spirit was present, and the Christians began to speak in different languages.

They knew nothing about the languages (were not educated in them). This is a phenomenon called "glossolalia," and was present in a number of early Christian churches. One can "have" the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues, of course, and there is much blah-blah gibberish that is supposed to imitate glossolalia, but, once in a while, the "real thing" occurs.

Perhaps not everyone who "speaks in tongues" is "possessed" by the Holy Spirit. But, especially if it is the real thing-- not just repeating nonsense syllables such as "io shonda," the Holy Spirit is possibly the cause. One can also speak in a tongue or language spoken in a previous life, in which case, the phenomenon originates with the soulevel of the Unconscious. Or you can also "tune into" "other" minds in the collective Unconscious. So, all the events of this type do not originate within the Coremind or Lovemind (God). Glossolalia was also accompanied by other charismata (Greek word for "gifts" of the Spirit). Miraculous healings, precognition, telepathy, and a list of other "parapsychological" phenomena manifested, interpreted as evidence that the Holy Spirit was present. At times, these same phenomena occur outside of the church as well; so they might represent genetic predispositions too. (Some people might just be born with the dna that permits them to occur.)

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