Pentecost questions

Yesterday was Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church.  In celebration and contemplation of the day and the new season of the church year that we will be in for awhile, I would like to pose a couple questions:

(1)  At the first Pentecost, those upon whom the Holy Spirit descended spoke in tongues.  But why is this associated with the charismatic practice of glossolalia?  Wasn’t what the disciples did the opposite of that?  The whole point is that their languages were understood.   People from every nation, speaking many different languages, were all hearing the apostles preach “the mighty works of God” in their own language.  Isn’t Pentecost fulfilled even today as people all over the world are hearing the apostolic testimony recorded in the Word of God, which has been translated into so many of the world’s languages?

Speaking in  tongues that no one can understand is referred to in the epistles to the Corinthians, so I’m not totally discounting the phenomenon.  But I’m just saying that the Pentecost account is describing something very different.

(2)  Some theological traditions think of the Holy Spirit as coming to us from the outside (for example, through God’s Word); others as coming from the inside (inspiring us through inner voices or impulses).  And yet both perspectives speak of the Holy Spirit guiding us.  Is that just a matter of reading the Bible to see what the Holy Spirit tells us?  Or do you think–and I’m especially addressing those who stress the external work of the Holy Spirit–that He guides us in other ways?  If so, how does that work?  For those of you who stress the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, how can you discern what inner senses are  from the Spirit and what isn’t?

I don’t particularly want to provoke a bitter theological debate about the charismatic movement.  I’d just like to hear from different people on how they perceive the Holy Spirit in their lives.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • LAJ

    For an excellent explanation of the problems caused by believing the Holy Spirit is a voice in your heart, read “Good News for Anxious Christians” by Phillip Cary. Very, very helpful book for those troubled by what is taught by today’s evangelicals.

  • LAJ

    For an excellent explanation of the problems caused by believing the Holy Spirit is a voice in your heart, read “Good News for Anxious Christians” by Phillip Cary. Very, very helpful book for those troubled by what is taught by today’s evangelicals.

  • Paul

    I believe that the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, and enlightens the whole Christian Church and keeps it in the one true faith through the external Means of Grace. The means are water, bread, wine, and words. Baptism is delivered once, usually by the Pastor. Holy Communion is delivered frequently, always through the Office of the Holy Ministry. But the Word of God is delivered not only through the teaching and preaching of Pastors, but also and quite frequently, even regularly, through fellow Christians as they are moved by the Spirit (received in them through means) to speak. I learned “the faith which is believed” primarily through my father who was also my Pastor. But I received “the faith which believes” primarily through my mother. The Holy Spirit worked through each of them in their vocations (aha!), but whether it was through water, bread, wine, and words through my pastor/father or through the external word of my mother, it was the same Holy Spirit at work.

    As a pastor myself today, I am struck by how frequently the Spirit of God reminds me of His Word in Scripture through fellow Christians, calls me to repentance and faith through fellow Christians (usually not pastors), instructs me regarding His will through fellow Christians at work in their vocation as Christians and/or as Elders or mere members of the Church. Example: “Pastor, even Jesus went off in the hills to be by himself and pray” to remind me that I am not a strength unto myself.” Or: “Pastor, even Jesus left His Disciples to work, knowing that they would be guided by His Spirit” to remind me that I don’t have to do everything myself; that God can use others also.

    So as we heard in the readings yesterday, the Spirit is now poured out upon all God’s people. They receive the Spirit through the external means, but they also provide the external means through their words based upon the The Word by which the Spirit works now in the lives of others – no longer exclusively through the Prophets (office/vocation), but through all Christians as they say, “Thus spake the Lord” — that is, pointing us to the written Word we have already received.

    Like Caiaphas and others they don’t even realize that they’re

  • Paul

    I believe that the Holy Spirit calls, gathers, and enlightens the whole Christian Church and keeps it in the one true faith through the external Means of Grace. The means are water, bread, wine, and words. Baptism is delivered once, usually by the Pastor. Holy Communion is delivered frequently, always through the Office of the Holy Ministry. But the Word of God is delivered not only through the teaching and preaching of Pastors, but also and quite frequently, even regularly, through fellow Christians as they are moved by the Spirit (received in them through means) to speak. I learned “the faith which is believed” primarily through my father who was also my Pastor. But I received “the faith which believes” primarily through my mother. The Holy Spirit worked through each of them in their vocations (aha!), but whether it was through water, bread, wine, and words through my pastor/father or through the external word of my mother, it was the same Holy Spirit at work.

    As a pastor myself today, I am struck by how frequently the Spirit of God reminds me of His Word in Scripture through fellow Christians, calls me to repentance and faith through fellow Christians (usually not pastors), instructs me regarding His will through fellow Christians at work in their vocation as Christians and/or as Elders or mere members of the Church. Example: “Pastor, even Jesus went off in the hills to be by himself and pray” to remind me that I am not a strength unto myself.” Or: “Pastor, even Jesus left His Disciples to work, knowing that they would be guided by His Spirit” to remind me that I don’t have to do everything myself; that God can use others also.

    So as we heard in the readings yesterday, the Spirit is now poured out upon all God’s people. They receive the Spirit through the external means, but they also provide the external means through their words based upon the The Word by which the Spirit works now in the lives of others – no longer exclusively through the Prophets (office/vocation), but through all Christians as they say, “Thus spake the Lord” — that is, pointing us to the written Word we have already received.

    Like Caiaphas and others they don’t even realize that they’re

  • http://theplugers.wordpress.com Chris Pluger

    A question related to Pentecost, posed to me by my then 6-year-old son several years ago: Did the disciples who were speaking other languages at Pentecost retain the ability to speak in those languages after the event? Or was this just a one-day episode?

    If they could continue to speak those languages, of course, it would have been quite handy in the mission expansion that went on afterwards, and could have helped them make the decisions that ended up with Mark in Egypt, Thomas in India, etc.

    Do we have any reports from Church history one way or the other on this?

  • http://theplugers.wordpress.com Chris Pluger

    A question related to Pentecost, posed to me by my then 6-year-old son several years ago: Did the disciples who were speaking other languages at Pentecost retain the ability to speak in those languages after the event? Or was this just a one-day episode?

    If they could continue to speak those languages, of course, it would have been quite handy in the mission expansion that went on afterwards, and could have helped them make the decisions that ended up with Mark in Egypt, Thomas in India, etc.

    Do we have any reports from Church history one way or the other on this?

  • WebMonk

    I’m not excusing the abuse and silliness that glossolalia so often generates in the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches, but rather giving a counter-example to the statement that the practice is the “opposite” of the first Pentecost and the assumption that glossolalia is always in a non-understandable language.

    I was visiting a Pentecostal church where they had a guest speaker who was a Hebrew professor at a Texas university, and a Baptist (not sure which denomination). During the singing there was a time for public prayer during which there were a couple short prayers in tongues. I had no clue what they were saying. Then the guest speaker went up to preach, and he interpreted one of the prayers – it was in Hebrew. The guy who prayed it was a Kansas farmer and didn’t know any language but English, and it was an instruction for the church more than a prayer. (My wife’s family passed on to my wife and me that the guest speaker was a bit shaken and had gone back to speak with the church’s pastor several times afterward. I don’t know what happened beyond that.)

    So, we can’t say categorically that all glossolalia in the Char/Pent churches is the ‘opposite’ of the original Pentecost and is all ‘unknown’ languages.

    The Pentecost outpouring was both a communication tool and a demonstration of God’s power to establish the authority of the speakers to their audience. Is God’s ‘communication tool’ aspect of the original Pentecost being accomplished through more mundane means most of the time today? Absolutely. Does that mean there’s no more happenings like the first Pentecost’s? Certainly not.

  • WebMonk

    I’m not excusing the abuse and silliness that glossolalia so often generates in the Charismatic and Pentecostal churches, but rather giving a counter-example to the statement that the practice is the “opposite” of the first Pentecost and the assumption that glossolalia is always in a non-understandable language.

    I was visiting a Pentecostal church where they had a guest speaker who was a Hebrew professor at a Texas university, and a Baptist (not sure which denomination). During the singing there was a time for public prayer during which there were a couple short prayers in tongues. I had no clue what they were saying. Then the guest speaker went up to preach, and he interpreted one of the prayers – it was in Hebrew. The guy who prayed it was a Kansas farmer and didn’t know any language but English, and it was an instruction for the church more than a prayer. (My wife’s family passed on to my wife and me that the guest speaker was a bit shaken and had gone back to speak with the church’s pastor several times afterward. I don’t know what happened beyond that.)

    So, we can’t say categorically that all glossolalia in the Char/Pent churches is the ‘opposite’ of the original Pentecost and is all ‘unknown’ languages.

    The Pentecost outpouring was both a communication tool and a demonstration of God’s power to establish the authority of the speakers to their audience. Is God’s ‘communication tool’ aspect of the original Pentecost being accomplished through more mundane means most of the time today? Absolutely. Does that mean there’s no more happenings like the first Pentecost’s? Certainly not.

  • DonS

    I’m not charismatic, but I don’t think too many charismatics who understand their faith confuse the first Pentecost with the gift they define as involving the “tongues of angels” (I Cor. 13).

    I have seen, in Mexico, a person who spoke very halting Spanish being given the ability, when confronted with the opportunity to lead a person speaking only Spanish to Christ, to speak fluent Spanish in that situation. Afterwards, she was no longer able to do so. That was, I believe, a gift of the Holy Spirit for the occasion, and fits exactly into the role of the Helper which Christ promises in John 14:16, who will be with us forever. Especially in Third World missions settings, manifestations of the Holy Spirit such as that one are quite common.

    God speaks through His Word, the Bible. If you believe that you are receiving words of wisdom from the Holy Spirit on a frequent basis, you are being duped. That is not to say that the Holy Spirit does not prompt us to do certain things, or to take a certain direction in life, but those promptings are rooted in Scripture, and do not add to or change the Word of God, and they come about because of study and prayer on our part.

    In Acts 1: 5 and 8, we read that “…John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” The Holy Spirit indwells us and is a source of power for us from God, to help us fulfill the ministry He has for us.

  • DonS

    I’m not charismatic, but I don’t think too many charismatics who understand their faith confuse the first Pentecost with the gift they define as involving the “tongues of angels” (I Cor. 13).

    I have seen, in Mexico, a person who spoke very halting Spanish being given the ability, when confronted with the opportunity to lead a person speaking only Spanish to Christ, to speak fluent Spanish in that situation. Afterwards, she was no longer able to do so. That was, I believe, a gift of the Holy Spirit for the occasion, and fits exactly into the role of the Helper which Christ promises in John 14:16, who will be with us forever. Especially in Third World missions settings, manifestations of the Holy Spirit such as that one are quite common.

    God speaks through His Word, the Bible. If you believe that you are receiving words of wisdom from the Holy Spirit on a frequent basis, you are being duped. That is not to say that the Holy Spirit does not prompt us to do certain things, or to take a certain direction in life, but those promptings are rooted in Scripture, and do not add to or change the Word of God, and they come about because of study and prayer on our part.

    In Acts 1: 5 and 8, we read that “…John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now…but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” The Holy Spirit indwells us and is a source of power for us from God, to help us fulfill the ministry He has for us.

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    Dr Veith,

    You ask why the Acts event and the Charismatic definition of tongues are so often associated? The primary reason, if I am not entirely mistaken, is that the Acts-event and the unknown-tongues of Corinthians both use the same word in the Greek (γλωσσα). So, from a Charismatic theological perspective, since the New Testament authors did not consider it necessary to employ different vocabulary for the two events, why should they? I’m not intending to defend the Charismatic doctrine, mind you, but I can certainly understand whey they associate the events. The biblical authors did too.

    As for how the Holy Spirit operates, I’m not sure I’d want to take an either-or position on the inward-outward question. The Holy Spirit’s inner work in our hearts leads us to recognize that we continue to struggle against sin in this life, and He drives us “cheerfully and from a free spirit” to find guidance in the external Law. “For although [Christians] are regenerate and renewed in the spirit of their mind, yet in the present life this regeneration and renewal is not complete, but only begun, and believers are, by the spirit of their mind, in a constant struggle against the flesh, that is, against the corrupt nature and disposition which cleaves to us unto death.” God’s Spirit at work inside drives us to seek guidance from the Scriptures outside.

  • http://blog.captainthin.net/ Captain Thin

    Dr Veith,

    You ask why the Acts event and the Charismatic definition of tongues are so often associated? The primary reason, if I am not entirely mistaken, is that the Acts-event and the unknown-tongues of Corinthians both use the same word in the Greek (γλωσσα). So, from a Charismatic theological perspective, since the New Testament authors did not consider it necessary to employ different vocabulary for the two events, why should they? I’m not intending to defend the Charismatic doctrine, mind you, but I can certainly understand whey they associate the events. The biblical authors did too.

    As for how the Holy Spirit operates, I’m not sure I’d want to take an either-or position on the inward-outward question. The Holy Spirit’s inner work in our hearts leads us to recognize that we continue to struggle against sin in this life, and He drives us “cheerfully and from a free spirit” to find guidance in the external Law. “For although [Christians] are regenerate and renewed in the spirit of their mind, yet in the present life this regeneration and renewal is not complete, but only begun, and believers are, by the spirit of their mind, in a constant struggle against the flesh, that is, against the corrupt nature and disposition which cleaves to us unto death.” God’s Spirit at work inside drives us to seek guidance from the Scriptures outside.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    As somebody formerly associated with the Pentecostal church, I’ll weigh in on this.

    1.) As Dr. Veith stated initially, the languages of Acts 2 indeed were not “holy gibberish” but actual languages of different nations. This wasn’t what you hear in a typical pentecostal service in which everybody is babbling pell-mell, but real communication given out for the purpose of spreading the gospel.

    2.) Paul is explicitly clear in I Corinthians 14: if a person speaks with another tongue, there is to be an interpreter. Otherwise, that person is to remain silent. There is no provision to blurt out whatever one feels like blurting out. On the contrary, Paul warns against doing this in that same chapter.

    3.) More often than not, when pentecostals do this, it’s often a result of emotionalism rather than the Holy Spirt. Again, I speak from experience on this: I was “coached” on how to speak in tongues after my baptism.

    4.) Can God use tongues? Yes-in their proper place. As was mentioned above, the farmer speaking Hebrew is quite likely the work of the Holy Spirit. I’ve heard of this happening more than once, and do believe it can happen in that manner. Unfortunately, this is not the manner prescribed or encouraged in most penecostal/charismatic churches, and instead there is chaos and emotionalism rather than real tongues.

    5.) Part of this is because pentecostalism, like early pietism, is far too concerned with the “experiential” aspect of Christianity, and not concerned enough with the doctrinal aspect of it. It’s more about getting high emotionally than it is about intellectual engagement with the God of the Bible. Pentecostals too often view loving God with the mind as “dead worship,” and more often than not they driving beats and extroverted joy with the Holy Spirit.

    If some of that sounds too sweeping, again, let me remind you that I spent a good five years involved intimately with pentecostalism, and saw firsthand the doctrines and practices of the movement. While there are some exceptions, this is the general thinking of pentecostals, and it’s sad that such thinking gets in the way of sound doctrine.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    As somebody formerly associated with the Pentecostal church, I’ll weigh in on this.

    1.) As Dr. Veith stated initially, the languages of Acts 2 indeed were not “holy gibberish” but actual languages of different nations. This wasn’t what you hear in a typical pentecostal service in which everybody is babbling pell-mell, but real communication given out for the purpose of spreading the gospel.

    2.) Paul is explicitly clear in I Corinthians 14: if a person speaks with another tongue, there is to be an interpreter. Otherwise, that person is to remain silent. There is no provision to blurt out whatever one feels like blurting out. On the contrary, Paul warns against doing this in that same chapter.

    3.) More often than not, when pentecostals do this, it’s often a result of emotionalism rather than the Holy Spirt. Again, I speak from experience on this: I was “coached” on how to speak in tongues after my baptism.

    4.) Can God use tongues? Yes-in their proper place. As was mentioned above, the farmer speaking Hebrew is quite likely the work of the Holy Spirit. I’ve heard of this happening more than once, and do believe it can happen in that manner. Unfortunately, this is not the manner prescribed or encouraged in most penecostal/charismatic churches, and instead there is chaos and emotionalism rather than real tongues.

    5.) Part of this is because pentecostalism, like early pietism, is far too concerned with the “experiential” aspect of Christianity, and not concerned enough with the doctrinal aspect of it. It’s more about getting high emotionally than it is about intellectual engagement with the God of the Bible. Pentecostals too often view loving God with the mind as “dead worship,” and more often than not they driving beats and extroverted joy with the Holy Spirit.

    If some of that sounds too sweeping, again, let me remind you that I spent a good five years involved intimately with pentecostalism, and saw firsthand the doctrines and practices of the movement. While there are some exceptions, this is the general thinking of pentecostals, and it’s sad that such thinking gets in the way of sound doctrine.

  • Jeremy

    “I’m not excusing the abuse and silliness that glossolalia so often generates in the Charismatic ”

    The only reason you consider it silliness is because you are educated. Even in a fundamentalist church, modern day members have at least some education, and explicit miracles will be met with skepticism. Sure, a modern day fundamentalist might believe in a “miracle” like how a family member overcame cancer or drugs, but if you talk about explicit miracles like speaking in tongues or levitation, don’t expect them to believe, unless it happened thousands of years ago where they can’t see what happened exactly. It’s no wonder that speaking of tongues has been witnessed and believed by congregations in Paul’s letters, as something like 90% of the Roman empire couldn’t even read or write. But in modern times, the second somebody starts talking gibberish like Adam Sandler, you can even expect fundamentalists to laugh at you.

  • Jeremy

    “I’m not excusing the abuse and silliness that glossolalia so often generates in the Charismatic ”

    The only reason you consider it silliness is because you are educated. Even in a fundamentalist church, modern day members have at least some education, and explicit miracles will be met with skepticism. Sure, a modern day fundamentalist might believe in a “miracle” like how a family member overcame cancer or drugs, but if you talk about explicit miracles like speaking in tongues or levitation, don’t expect them to believe, unless it happened thousands of years ago where they can’t see what happened exactly. It’s no wonder that speaking of tongues has been witnessed and believed by congregations in Paul’s letters, as something like 90% of the Roman empire couldn’t even read or write. But in modern times, the second somebody starts talking gibberish like Adam Sandler, you can even expect fundamentalists to laugh at you.

  • George A. Marquart

    1. Re. glossolalia. I have long felt that when St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about it, he did not really believe that what was happening in Corinth was a true manifestation of the Holy Spirit. It’s as if he does not want to offend the people, but he is saying, “this is just a game you are playing. The God of Truth and Order does not speak to people in a language they cannot understand.” As you point out, what happened at Pentecost was precisely that everyone understood. Even though the Apostles spoke in one language, everyone understood them in their own. Nobody heard babble that they could not understand.

    2. Sasse wrote more than 50 years ago that the “doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its citizenship in the Lutheran church.” It is not that we proclaim a false doctrine; we avoid talking about the Holy Spirit at all. But Scripture is not silent about Him. Indeed He is portrayed as working through the external means of Word and Sacrament. The fact that Scripture clearly and unequivocally teaches that the Holy Spirit dwells in each member of the Elect, does not contradict the working through means.

    Whether one “stresses” the doctrine, or ignores it, the Holy Spirit continues His work as He wills. We do not sense anything different from any other of the people of God, just as those who stress “the real presence” or “justification by faith” do not sense anything different by virtue of the emphasis they make. When St. Paul writes in Romans 12:26, “but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words,” is this Word or Sacrament? Scripture does not make the distinction; it is one we have made to preserve order in the Church.

    Without the doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we begin to believe in our own virtue, such as when we say that the good we want to do and do, we do out of gratitude for what God has done for us. But the Lutheran Confessions, although we mostly ignore them on this point, have this to say: (The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord VI. The Third Use of the Law) “17] But when man is born anew by the Spirit of God, and liberated from the Law, that is, freed from this driver, and is led by the Spirit of Christ, he lives according to the immutable will of God comprised in the Law (presumably in the sense of “Torah”, not the “Decalogue” as the Apology asserts. GAM), and so far as he is born anew, does everything from a free, cheerful spirit; and these are called not properly works of the Law, but works and fruits of the Spirit, or as St. Paul names it, the law of the mind and the Law of Christ.”

    There are, however, millions of Baptists and Pentecostals who are misguided into believing that the Holy Spirit constantly chirps specific instructions to them about what they should do, where they should go, what they should say, and so on. They believe that the ones who do not hear these whisperings have not found a way to “open themselves” to what God is telling them. It is reasonably certain that George W. Bush became obsessed with going to war against Iraq because of what He perceived as God telling Him to do. In the Eastern churches this kind of pride and arrogance is called “rapture”, in the sense of being blinded by the bright light of one’s own pride. It is considered one of the greatest sins a person can commit. The Baptists and Pentecostals consider it a great gift. Go figure!

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    1. Re. glossolalia. I have long felt that when St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about it, he did not really believe that what was happening in Corinth was a true manifestation of the Holy Spirit. It’s as if he does not want to offend the people, but he is saying, “this is just a game you are playing. The God of Truth and Order does not speak to people in a language they cannot understand.” As you point out, what happened at Pentecost was precisely that everyone understood. Even though the Apostles spoke in one language, everyone understood them in their own. Nobody heard babble that they could not understand.

    2. Sasse wrote more than 50 years ago that the “doctrine of the Holy Spirit has lost its citizenship in the Lutheran church.” It is not that we proclaim a false doctrine; we avoid talking about the Holy Spirit at all. But Scripture is not silent about Him. Indeed He is portrayed as working through the external means of Word and Sacrament. The fact that Scripture clearly and unequivocally teaches that the Holy Spirit dwells in each member of the Elect, does not contradict the working through means.

    Whether one “stresses” the doctrine, or ignores it, the Holy Spirit continues His work as He wills. We do not sense anything different from any other of the people of God, just as those who stress “the real presence” or “justification by faith” do not sense anything different by virtue of the emphasis they make. When St. Paul writes in Romans 12:26, “but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words,” is this Word or Sacrament? Scripture does not make the distinction; it is one we have made to preserve order in the Church.

    Without the doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we begin to believe in our own virtue, such as when we say that the good we want to do and do, we do out of gratitude for what God has done for us. But the Lutheran Confessions, although we mostly ignore them on this point, have this to say: (The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord VI. The Third Use of the Law) “17] But when man is born anew by the Spirit of God, and liberated from the Law, that is, freed from this driver, and is led by the Spirit of Christ, he lives according to the immutable will of God comprised in the Law (presumably in the sense of “Torah”, not the “Decalogue” as the Apology asserts. GAM), and so far as he is born anew, does everything from a free, cheerful spirit; and these are called not properly works of the Law, but works and fruits of the Spirit, or as St. Paul names it, the law of the mind and the Law of Christ.”

    There are, however, millions of Baptists and Pentecostals who are misguided into believing that the Holy Spirit constantly chirps specific instructions to them about what they should do, where they should go, what they should say, and so on. They believe that the ones who do not hear these whisperings have not found a way to “open themselves” to what God is telling them. It is reasonably certain that George W. Bush became obsessed with going to war against Iraq because of what He perceived as God telling Him to do. In the Eastern churches this kind of pride and arrogance is called “rapture”, in the sense of being blinded by the bright light of one’s own pride. It is considered one of the greatest sins a person can commit. The Baptists and Pentecostals consider it a great gift. Go figure!

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • WebMonk

    Jeremy @8 – you didn’t actually read my post, did you? You grabbed that one line and then didn’t bother to read anything else.

    Go back and read the rest of the post. Then you might see that the rest of my post is completely contrary to what you accused in your post.

    Is your name Peter Leavitt? :-) (very joking)

  • WebMonk

    Jeremy @8 – you didn’t actually read my post, did you? You grabbed that one line and then didn’t bother to read anything else.

    Go back and read the rest of the post. Then you might see that the rest of my post is completely contrary to what you accused in your post.

    Is your name Peter Leavitt? :-) (very joking)

  • http://mikeerich.blogspot.com Mike Erich The Mad Theologian

    I started out as a hardcore anti-charismatic (God speaks only through the written Word) and have since come to broaden my ideas to believe God does direct in our lives through inner impressions. But I believe this must be approached with caution and guided by grounding in the Word of God, prayer and careful consideration. It is mistake to assume every emotional impulse is guidance from God. 1 Thessalonians 5:21

  • http://mikeerich.blogspot.com Mike Erich The Mad Theologian

    I started out as a hardcore anti-charismatic (God speaks only through the written Word) and have since come to broaden my ideas to believe God does direct in our lives through inner impressions. But I believe this must be approached with caution and guided by grounding in the Word of God, prayer and careful consideration. It is mistake to assume every emotional impulse is guidance from God. 1 Thessalonians 5:21

  • George A. Marquart

    Mike Erich at 11. Through inner impressions, and maybe external circumstances which He guides? Because “all things work for good to them that love God.” “All things” must include sin and evil. God is the only one who can make good come from evil, as He did on the cross. He looks after us, for “we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Mike Erich at 11. Through inner impressions, and maybe external circumstances which He guides? Because “all things work for good to them that love God.” “All things” must include sin and evil. God is the only one who can make good come from evil, as He did on the cross. He looks after us, for “we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.”

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Radical Metamorphosis

    I’m a cradle Lutheran, yet I have personally experienced glossolalia, though I didn’t know until today that’s what it was called. Although there are plenty of footholds for skeptics in my story, I am convinced that it was of God, of the Holy Spirit. The fruit included some very badly needed edification for my own spirit during the darkest time of my missions service; instant, complete, and to this day permanent freedom from a long-standing, long struggled-over, very private addiction in my life; and in a situation that was very confusing to everyone present, for a woman who had hesitated over baptism, the discernment needed to recognize and cast out a demon in Jesus name, enabling her to finally be baptized a few hours later. I never really had any control over when or for how long these words would come, though I did have control over the volume of my voice, and the most I could understand was that I was praising God.

    In the year or so since I have been back in America, this gift has not come once.

    I should admit that the idea of the gift of speaking in tongues was suggested to me, but I prayed earnestly that nothing would come unless it was really from God. The first time it might have come, all I thought to do was open my mouth, yet nothing came out. The next time after that, I began singing a hymn, which then turned into words I couldn’t understand and a joy that words cannot express.

    I have also experienced times of God improving my foreign language ability to speak more fluently when sharing the Gospel.

    I don’t doubt that there are some who imitate, flaunt and abuse this gift. But it does make me sad that the topic never really comes up among my Lutheran friends, because for me it was so extremely encouraging and life-giving. Even today, I still believe that there is nothing more encouraging, strengthening, and life-giving to me than my regular receiving of Christ’s body and blood. Yet, in those days, my spirit was so darkened by struggles in that land with so few Christians, that after this gift came I once again began to have enough light to see and appreciate the Lord’s Supper for the precious gift that it is.

  • Radical Metamorphosis

    I’m a cradle Lutheran, yet I have personally experienced glossolalia, though I didn’t know until today that’s what it was called. Although there are plenty of footholds for skeptics in my story, I am convinced that it was of God, of the Holy Spirit. The fruit included some very badly needed edification for my own spirit during the darkest time of my missions service; instant, complete, and to this day permanent freedom from a long-standing, long struggled-over, very private addiction in my life; and in a situation that was very confusing to everyone present, for a woman who had hesitated over baptism, the discernment needed to recognize and cast out a demon in Jesus name, enabling her to finally be baptized a few hours later. I never really had any control over when or for how long these words would come, though I did have control over the volume of my voice, and the most I could understand was that I was praising God.

    In the year or so since I have been back in America, this gift has not come once.

    I should admit that the idea of the gift of speaking in tongues was suggested to me, but I prayed earnestly that nothing would come unless it was really from God. The first time it might have come, all I thought to do was open my mouth, yet nothing came out. The next time after that, I began singing a hymn, which then turned into words I couldn’t understand and a joy that words cannot express.

    I have also experienced times of God improving my foreign language ability to speak more fluently when sharing the Gospel.

    I don’t doubt that there are some who imitate, flaunt and abuse this gift. But it does make me sad that the topic never really comes up among my Lutheran friends, because for me it was so extremely encouraging and life-giving. Even today, I still believe that there is nothing more encouraging, strengthening, and life-giving to me than my regular receiving of Christ’s body and blood. Yet, in those days, my spirit was so darkened by struggles in that land with so few Christians, that after this gift came I once again began to have enough light to see and appreciate the Lord’s Supper for the precious gift that it is.

  • http://www.pentecostal-tongues-theology.org Peter Kwiatkowski

    I like Radical Metamorphosis’ comment. Reminds me of the first time I ever prayed in tongues; it was in English, but it was the Spirit praying through me. I was a conservative at the time (and for a few years later). I like conservative (Baptist) teaching of salvation truths, I might also be part Calvinistic. I attend a Charismatic church because they enjoy “praising.” I quote Radical Metamorphosis:
    “I never really had any control over when or for how long these words would come, though I did have control over the volume of my voice, and the most I could understand was that I was praising God. “

  • http://www.pentecostal-tongues-theology.org Peter Kwiatkowski

    I like Radical Metamorphosis’ comment. Reminds me of the first time I ever prayed in tongues; it was in English, but it was the Spirit praying through me. I was a conservative at the time (and for a few years later). I like conservative (Baptist) teaching of salvation truths, I might also be part Calvinistic. I attend a Charismatic church because they enjoy “praising.” I quote Radical Metamorphosis:
    “I never really had any control over when or for how long these words would come, though I did have control over the volume of my voice, and the most I could understand was that I was praising God. “

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