Friday, March 02, 2007

Speaking in Tongues

Recently I had been sharing with my family the thought I have long held that the Holy Spirit is present with all believers and thus enables all believers to be able to manifest the gifts of the Spirit as needed. This time though I took it one step further. I began to expound on the thought I had initiated several weeks ago in my preaching and teaching.

I wondered what the church is missing by not making use of all the gifts of the Spirit, including those of glossolalia (speaking in tongues) and ekballism (casting out of demons). It seems that these two are the two that refine our understanding of good and evil and the very real presence of both in our world today. Glossolalia would seem to indicate the ability to connect more directly with God, through the use of the tongues of angels. I suppose the proper wording would be to say that it is a gift of languages, to communicate with those who are "other". The angels are others, as are those who do not speak our language. The casting out of demons, as it has made its way to the side of ministry also seems to indicate that we are fighting "evil" rather than Evil. The "evil" defined as that which separates us from God, or is not according to God's will. Evil with a capital "E", then, is that which is a very real and actual set of beings we call demons that are trying to set us off course, take over our being and keep us from God by any means necessary.

The two seem inextricably tied to one another and I worry that we may have lost a very important function of the church, necessary to every church, in setting these gifts aside as specialty gifts and reserved for "those other guys" if allowed at all.

The upshot of this is the interesting question my father posed to me at lunch today. He asked whether or not either of these gifts are being taught in seminary like teaching, or preaching, or mercy, or discipleship are being taught, as actual usable gifts practiced in the seminary and theoretically dissected.

So what are your thoughts? Is there a seminary with this in the curriculum? What might happen if these were taught and embraced in your local congregation?



At March 04, 2007, Blogger Brother Marty said...

Thanks for bringing up the question of gifts of the Holy Spirit. I've never been to seminary so I can't address the question of whether the gifts of tongues or any gift is taught. I would think not.
I was inspired reading Ben Witherington's post on the subject Jan. 20th: http://benwitherington.blogspot.
I do know that we can cultivate ourselves to be more open to the Holy Spirit and at "It's" behest become a vessle for the gift's manifestations. While I've never spoken in tongues or cast out any demons, I can't say that I never will.
Very interesting and challenging post!


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