I’m diligently working on the script for my next documentary film: it is about the GLOSSOLALIA (speaking in tongues). Growing up Pentecostal, and having parents who both knew of the Azusa Street Revival (second hand), I felt I had a handle on this…until I started research. I quickly learned how little I knew of the origins of Pentecostalism. I’m overwhelmed by what I’ve uncovered over the past seven weeks. And, moreover, how teaching and practicing the GLOSSOLALIA has been always been a ‘third-rail’ issue for Christianity—this goes back to second century writer Montanus (who was labeled a heretic for his promotion of the GLOSSOLALIA, prophecy and healing.)
The reality is that the GLOSSOLALIA should have been a joyous binding action amongst all Christians but became a source of pride and spiritual ‘one-upmanship.’ (And, a point of divisiveness!)
The GLOSSOLALIA is two parts of a twin-themed expression emanating from a common source: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As an external expression of this indwelling, GLOSSOLALIA provides a link between the human being and the Supernatural.
There is a supernatural aspect to Christianity that both offends and conflicts with Western sensibilities. I often wonder whether Christians even believe the Bible—especially when it talks about exorcism, levitation, talking animals, enough fresh water flowing from a rock to quench the thirst of 2M people, gold coins from the mouth of fish and a guy being bitten by a poisonous snake who simply unhooks the snake’s teeth from his arm and continues with his conversation— with no more concern that we’d have for swatting a fly.)
Could this be the root problem people have with GLOSSOLALIA… that it appears as supernatural. But then, how can one doubt the GLOSSOLALIA and believe Christianity? The whole notion of Christianity opens with a supernatural event: A man is raised from the dead after a Roman crucifixion and three days in a tomb.
If one can trust that God raised Jesus from the dead, what is difficult about God’s Spirit (the Holy Ghost) taking over one’s tongue? Wasn’t it King Solomon who wrote, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue?”
If there is a living force field of God’s nature implanted in a human being—which is what Christianity teaches—it seems near certain that this force (which raised Jesus from the dead) would create a physical manifestation. How could there not be?
Although the reality of the conversion experience cannot be validated by an external physical trait, the New Testament is abundantly clear: there is a subsequent experience: “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” asked one of the Apostles.
The One who was from the same essence of God came to us and joined himself with us. To me, this seems supernatural. And, if one can accept that as a matter of trusting—and based their life on Earth and eternal salvation on it—speaking in tongues is hardly worthy fighting over.