Speaking in Tongues


#1

I have a close friend that is a minister For an Assemblies of God church. He has brought up the subject of “speaking in tongues” but I didn’t quite understand it for some reason. Can someone please try to expain it to me?


#2

I don’t understand all of speaking in tongues but there are plenty of good articles on various Catholic websites to refer too.

My question is similar to yours. I have Evangelical friends who start speaking in tongues while praying in front of an abortion mill. They are very sincere and fully convinced that they really are speaking by The Holy Spirit. It’s fascinating to listen to them. It always sounds somewhat like Arabic. “Shaba o nie quika arama” - something along those lines. They start tongues immediately, straight from “have you seen my car keys” to toungues – no “warm up” prayers. The teenagers speak more tongues than the adults. I praise them to Heaven for teaching their teenages to fight against abortion at any early age, but it is odd to hear a 15 year old girl speak tongues. Not that it couldn’t happen, it’s just unusual to me. (By the way, that 15 year old girl is incredibly gifted at talking to the women and saving babies).

Who knows?

Chris G


#3

Remember Paul’s exhortation that if you can speak in tongues, but have no interpreter, you should keep it to yourself, so as not to confuse anyone. This whole “speaking” in tongues that runs in the Charismatic Fundamentalist circles violates most of the principles about the subject in the Holy Scriptures. Are Pentacostals (et al) more open to the gift of tongues because of their denomination, or are they reacting to their pastors who tell them they need to babble unintelligibly to authentically communicate with God?


#4

[quote=Apologia100]Remember Paul’s exhortation that if you can speak in tongues, but have no interpreter, you should keep it to yourself, so as not to confuse anyone. This whole “speaking” in tongues that runs in the Charismatic Fundamentalist circles violates most of the principles about the subject in the Holy Scriptures.
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Very much so. That is why they came up with the “personal prayer language”. In Charismatic circles, they have 2 kinds of speaking in tongues, one that Paul warns of having an interpreter for and one that is this personal prayer language. The tongues described in the OP would fall under the latter category.

The personal prayer language is based off of one verse and is contradictory to Paul’s message about tongues. I would put it in the same category as Rapture theology, it’s based on one book and has only been around for about 100 years. No where else in church history or teachings do you find these teachings.

Are Pentacostals (et al) more open to the gift of tongues because of their denomination, or are they reacting to their pastors who tell them they need to babble unintelligibly to authentically communicate with God?

I was in the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement for years, and I would claim with confidence that it is the latter. In fact, tongues is almost always the “gift” that manifests itself first. Here is how a typical prayer meeting where “tongues” are received for the first time goes. I’ve been to quite a few of these.

The meeting is not in church, but in a home study group in which the pastor is in attendance. He speaks before the praying and such start, and instructs people on what the gift of tongues is (at least his own intepretation) and how to best receive it. (BTW, the instructions here is to sincerely ask for it and then free your mind, think of nothing and just let the Holy Spirit wash over you [more on that in a moment]). Then usually songs are sung, very emotional songs. People get worked up and start praying in tongues. Then the person or persons wanting to “receive” are surrounded while people pray in tongues around them, laying hands on them. Sometimes you’ll get people in crying fits around them, sometimes other physical manifestations happen. The pastor then instructs them to empty their mind and start speaking. Most times (99/100) what comes out is the “gift of tongues”. Everyone continues to pray and finally things start winding down (although sometimes this can take hours). After that, the person speaks in tongues all the time, the more they speak, the easier it is. I can still do it at will, although I don’t believe this is any kind of Godly gift now. I have heard over and over the new tongue speaker repeat words and phrase sounds just like the pastor. Coincidence? I don’t believe so.


#5

Several years ago I was invited by my non-denominational charismatic friend to a Bible study that was at someone’s house. I brought my Bible with me but it was never opened. Instead it was very much like what you described, Vitus. I didn’t speak in tongues then (or ever). My friend wanted very much for me to have the experience and kept bringing up the topic. She told me “it’s such a great feeling”. My thinking was that I don’t base my faith on feelings. But I did ask God that if it was something that He wanted me to experience, I wanted to. It never happened. One thing that bothered me about that experience was that they called it a Bible study, like a cover-up to get people in there that wouldn’t have come otherwise…not very honest! :frowning:


#6

My family has a story which might interest you. It wasn’t relayed to me as an “urban legend”, and I believe it is true. A missionary from an overseas country was visiting a church in which speaking in tongues was being practiced. The missionary reported later that he understood some of what was being said as it was a language he worked with overseas. At least some of what was being said was reportedly pretty blasphemous. I think the key is that speaking in tongues did have a purpose, and it is identified as a spiritual gift. I would suggest, however, that the purpose is not exaltation of the self, but ministering to those who understand what is being said. If no one can understand what is being said, it serves no Biblical purpose in my mind.


#7

I was at an Assemblies of God service one Sunday where the pastor explained speaking in tongues as evidence of Baptism of the Holy Spirit. He stated once one is baptised in the Holy Sprit, the devil tells them that they won’t be able to “speak in tongues” and not to listen to the devil. During the service, there was an alter call (very frequent). At the pastors instruction, some people in the congregation began to speak in tongues. As this was happening, the pastor walked along the people lining the alter, placing his hand on their heads yelling, “POWER” “POWER” “POWER”. He then would say something like, “go ahead, don’t listen to the devil, you can do it.” Eventually, after many "POWER"s, the people would begin to “speak in tongues”. I do believe in the gift of speaking in tongues, but it is just that, a gift; the Holy Spirit does not force his gifts on us. The whole experience seemed to be one that was forced rather than one of reception.

Please pray for Christian Unity
Most Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us!
AMDG


#8

Some info on tongues from a practicing Charismatic Catholic.

Scripture seems to indicate that there is more than one “variety” of tongues. There is public prophesy with interpretation as said in 1 Cor.; there is speaking in another earthly language, as was done by the disciples in Acts; and there is the “groanings of the Spirit” or private prayer in tongues as in Romans 8:26. It would seem to me (and to some others) that the first two would need interpreters, and the third one does not.

In 1 Cor 14:28 it says “But if there is no one to interpret, there should be silence in the assembly, each one speaking only to himself and to God”. This says two things - first, that just because there is no one interpreting for humans does not mean that the tongues do not exist. Second, this says silence “in the assembly”, as in, not speaking in tongues so that all can hear. Rather, one is indicated here to keep “silent” – to keep it to themselves rather than speaking publicly. This then ties into Romans 8:26 (groanings of the Spirit) and shows that one could have the gift of “silent” tongues, only between the individual and God.

The young woman at the abortion center that you metioned was spekaing in this third, more private kind of tongues, which is by FAR the most common use of the gift. Tongues is also considered to be one of the lesser gifts, not nearly as valuable as prophecy or teaching to the Community.

As for private speaking in tongues, this is the Holy Spirit which speaks through us to express things which are beyond words. For most of us Charismatics, it happens when the words of praise/prayer no longer suffice. It can either be in Earthly (“foreign”) languages (which can sometimes be understood by their native speakers), or in the languages of the angels. Both of these could be interpreted through the gift of interpretation of tongues. But it does not HAVE to be interpreted, as it is not for anyone else but me and God, and He already knows. As stated, this form of personal communication differs from the ones requiring interpretation.

And yes, sometimes it does sound like Aramaic. :smiley: Sometimes I have heard it sound distinctly like a real language that I might recognize, were I well educated enough. Sometimes I wonder if tongues are ever languages long since dead, from civilizations who left behind no record of their language, or from tribes deep in the jungles or the steppes somewhere. Sometimes it sounds to me like four or five syllables repeated in a pattern, as one might pray, “Jesus Jesus, have mercy on me” repeatedly.

Scott Hahn in his “Scripture Matters” explained that that revival of the gift of tongues could be a warning from God. It also happened in the Old Testament before some disaster struck, and also in the New, before the Romans invaded.

Hope this helps.


#9

Do you understand the history of Corinth and why Paul instructed people as he did? It has nothing to do with a “variety” of tongues, and everything to do with stopping the confusion created by the problematic conversion of the Corinthians out of their previous religious practices which already practiced in the art of ecstatic speech. Paul know requiring interpreters would stem this problem and refocus the Corinthians on the real message of Jesus.

and there is the “groanings of the Spirit” or private prayer in tongues as in Romans 8:26. It would seem to me (and to some others) that the first two would need interpreters, and the third one does not.

What a horrible exegisis, it’s like Darby’s Rapture theology. One verse used to explain a whole movement. I can’t tell you how many times I heard this verse used in Protestant circles. It didn’t make sense then, it certainly doesn’t now. Everything that Paul taught in Corinthians was that tongues was an outward sign for the church and was NOT for the believer.

And look at Romans 8 and it’s context! Paul is comparing spirit and flesh, nothing is mentioned about the charims. He is instructing people to leave behind the life of flesh ( which is difficult) and yearn for life in the spirit (which God helps us with). Look at the other verses in Romas 8:

Romans 8:12-16 *Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. *

Paul is saying that by living in Christ, we are no longer slaves to our carnal nature. That we are given a new nature when we walk in the Lord, and with that new nature the Spirit helps us.

continued…


#10

Romans 8:17-21 *For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. *

Paul is suffering with this task as well, but He’s got his “eyes on the prize” so to speak. Before Christ, it was damn near impossible to leave the flesh behind, but because of Christ, we can expect more, we have hope for deliverance.

Romas 8:22-25*For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. *

Christ’s church is being born on earth. He is comparing the building of the church with labor pains and the groaning associated with it. NOTHING to do with charims. And while a new church is being born, the very people who are a part of it are being reborn as well. So much so that our own spirit reaches out for our redeemer, and we will become part of God’s family with hope and pereverance.

**Romans 8:26-28 ** *Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. *

The Spirit helps us, even when we do not know what is needed. The “groanings which cannot be uttered” is the Spirit interceding for us. Notice the “cannot be uttered” part. How can you claim a “personal prayer language” when it cannot be uttered! Keep in mind that Judaism does not have silent prayer, all prayer to God is spoken alloud. But now God has sent his Spirit to even help with that!

To draw out a “personal prayer” from this chapter makes no sense.


#11

QUOTE:
Originally poste by** Makerteacher:**

<As for private speaking in tongues, this is the Holy Spirit which speaks through us to express things which are beyond words. For most of us Charismatics, it happens when the words of praise/prayer no longer suffice. It can either be in Earthly (“foreign”) languages (which can sometimes be understood by their native speakers), or in the languages of the angels. Both of these could be interpreted through the gift of interpretation of tongues. But it does not HAVE to be interpreted, as it is not for anyone else but me and God, and He already knows. As stated, this form of personal communication differs from the ones requiring interpretation. >

<And yes, sometimes it does sound like Aramaic. :smiley: Sometimes I have heard it sound distinctly like a real language that I might recognize, were I well educated enough. Sometimes I wonder if tongues are ever languages long since dead, from civilizations who left behind no record of their language, or from tribes deep in the jungles or the steppes somewhere. Sometimes it sounds to me like four or five syllables repeated in a pattern, as one might pray, “Jesus Jesus, have mercy on me” repeatedly.>

Dear Makerteacher,
I was just getting ready to explain my experience with Speaking in Tongues and found that you have already said what I was going to say! Praise God!:slight_smile: I basically use it when I’m unable to express my joy in prayer or when I’,m so overwhelmed w/sadness that I can’t pray in the usual way… Annunciata


#12

In 1 Cor 14:28 it says “But if there is no one to interpret, there should be silence in the assembly, each one speaking only to himself and to God”. This says two things - first, that just because there is no one interpreting for humans does not mean that the tongues do not exist.

All of Chapter 14 speaks of tongues being a sign for the unbeliever. The Corinthians were speaking in “tongues” before they even heard of Jesus. The problems was that they weren’t gifts from God, just utterings of men.

Second, this says silence “in the assembly”, as in, not speaking in tongues so that all can hear. Rather, one is indicated here to keep “silent” – to keep it to themselves rather than speaking publicly.

This was because Corinth was a trouble spot, being the center of the mystery religions. This is also why Paul instructed women to keep silent, because they ofter led others into these ecstatic fits of emotion. Hence the verse that leads into it “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”

This then ties into Romans 8:26 (groanings of the Spirit) and shows that one could have the gift of “silent” tongues, only between the individual and God.

This does not tie into Romans in any way, shape or form. You are taking a verse out of context and building a theology around it. This is how Rapture theology started, and this is how Tongues started on Asuza Street back in the early 1900s.


#13

The young woman at the abortion center that you metioned was spekaing in this third, more private kind of tongues, which is by FAR the most common use of the gift. Tongues is also considered to be one of the lesser gifts, not nearly as valuable as prophecy or teaching to the Community.

So much for the “cannot be uttered” part of the verse, eh? Paul was de-emphasizing tongues because of the people of Corinth. And it is common now because it’s was common then, which is exactly why Paul instructed people to keep silent.

And tongues was for the unbeliever. Prophecy was for the believer. Both of which the early church fathers said passed away with the apostles.

As for private speaking in tongues, this is the Holy Spirit which speaks through us to express things which are beyond words. For most of us Charismatics, it happens when the words of praise/prayer no longer suffice. It can either be in Earthly (“foreign”) languages (which can sometimes be understood by their native speakers), or in the languages of the angels. Both of these could be interpreted through the gift of interpretation of tongues. But it does not HAVE to be interpreted, as it is not for anyone else but me and God, and He already knows. As stated, this form of personal communication differs from the ones requiring interpretation.

You sure you aren’t Protestant? Because in all my dealings with the Charismatic movement in the Protestant church, this is exactly the same interpretation. It’s like I’m sitting at the pastor’s kitchen table all over again. And yet I still don’t believe it’s supported biblically, historically or traditionally.


#14

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And yes, sometimes it does sound like Aramaic. Sometimes I have heard it sound distinctly like a real language that I might recognize, were I well educated enough. Sometimes I wonder if tongues are ever languages long since dead, from civilizations who left behind no record of their language, or from tribes deep in the jungles or the steppes somewhere. Sometimes it sounds to me like four or five syllables repeated in a pattern, as one might pray, “Jesus Jesus, have mercy on me” repeatedly.

Deja Vu!! He claimed his sounded Aramaic and also some sort of Asian to him. What vivid imaginations!

The repeated patterns are very, very common. They are fillers, like when people use “like” and “umm” in conversation. And they are catchy. I recall one person “receiving the gift of tongues” and his filler “Baraba baba ba ba” was exactly the same as the pastor’s.

Scott Hahn in his “Scripture Matters” explained that that revival of the gift of tongues could be a warning from God.
Yep, heard that one too, based on the verse about God pouring his Spirit out in the last days. Bad exegisis runs wild once again. One would have to believe that this not only refers to the renewel of the charims but also that we are truly in the last days, neither of which I’m convinced of.
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#15

Many years ago as an Anglican charismatic I discovered the ability to speak in what I thought sounded very much like another language and it took no laying on of hands. As a matter of fact it took no effort whatsoever. I still can at any time I want but I never do anymore. I became very disturbed over the abuses to it. ie: if you don’t speak in tongues then you are lacking faith or you don’t have the Holy Spirit. When I listen to some of the TV evangilists babelling on it quite turns me off. There are to many beautiful avenues to God in the Catholic Church without it. I quite agree with Vitus on this subject.
Walter


#16

In reference to sounding like Protestants, so much of what I see is an agrument over interpretation of Scripture. What says the mageterium? I know the Charismatic Renewal is an approved apostolate, but is tongues specifically approved? Do any of you in this movement know the answer?

I will feel very foolish if I arrive in heaven to find every one speaking in tongues as a heavenly language. Of course on my way through purgatory, I might speak latin only, or worse yet, English!


#17

[quote=Vitus]What a horrible exegisis, it’s like Darby’s Rapture theology. One verse used to explain a whole movement. .
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Whoa, Vitus! I assure you that I was not attempting to “explain a whole movement” in a < 3000 word message board post using only one Scripture passage. :o Promise! I am not pretending to be some theologian nor was I proof texting, just trying to START to address this issue of tongues. Your interpretation and mine clearly differ, so let’s stick to what the Church teaches on this topic. The Pope supports this movement within the Faith and the fruits of the apostolate are many.

I would refer you and others interested in understanding this Charismatic phenomenon to many other, far more qualified Scripture scholars than I, such as Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa (The Pope’s preacher) and so on. I’m happy to post links. :thumbsup: God bless!


#18

[quote=Vitus]You sure you aren’t Protestant? Because in all my dealings with the Charismatic movement in the Protestant church, this is exactly the same interpretation. It’s like I’m sitting at the pastor’s kitchen table all over again. And yet I still don’t believe it’s supported biblically, historically or traditionally
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Yep, I’m sure! :thumbsup: I converted over 20 years ago and continue to love the Catholic faith.

I am not going to get into a battle with you over the roots of this movement, there’s more than enough support for it on the Web and the Scriptures have been posted repeatedly in many threads over this issue of Charismatics and tongues. If anyone is interested, please email me privately and I’ll be happy to send you about ten pages in a Word document with lots of more detailed info, historical data, Scripture references, Church documents etc etc.

Vitus, you don’t have to believe in the Charismatic renewal. Thats perfectly OK, it’s not a dogmatic teaching of the Church. I would not want you to do anything that went against your informed conscience. The Renewal is, however, an approved lay apostolate that’s been given the repeated blessing of the Pope and is now one of the largest lay apostolates in the Faith, encompassing about 10% of Catholics worldwide.

So while you don’t have to like it, my brother in the Faith, you do have to let ME like it. :smiley:

We are many parts: we are all one Body!! :stuck_out_tongue:


#19

[quote=walter]Many years ago as an Anglican charismatic I discovered the ability to speak in what I thought sounded very much like another language and it took no laying on of hands. As a matter of fact it took no effort whatsoever. I still can at any time I want but I never do anymore. I became very disturbed over the abuses to it. ie: if you don’t speak in tongues then you are lacking faith or you don’t have the Holy Spirit. When I listen to some of the TV evangilists babelling on it quite turns me off. There are to many beautiful avenues to God in the Catholic Church without it. I quite agree with Vitus on this subject.
Walter
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I don’t think anyone on this thread or any other on this topic has said that “If you don’t speak in tongues you are lacking faith or you don’t have the Holy Spirit.” How appalling! That is certainly not a teaching of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Please recognize also that what TV evangelists preach is not related to what the Catholic Charismatic renewal is about, even if some of the terminology might be similar.

I recommend a book called “A Call To Holiness”, written by Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, available from The Liturgical Press in Collegeville, Minnesota, for a far more detailed explanation of the Scriptural and historical basis for this movement, and for an understanding of its function with the Catholic Church.

There are abuses within EVERY movement involving mankind, INCLUDING the Catholic Church. That does not in ANY way invalidate the entire movement.

There are indeed many avenues within our Faith, and not every avenue is for every person. Thats OK! This is an avenue that works well for me and about 10% of Catholics worldwide, however, so while you certainly do not have to like it personally, and you certainly do not have to speak in tongues, you also DO have to recognize that **it is an approved lay apostolate of the faith and has the blessings of the Pope. **

*“In the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit I welcome the Council of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Office. As you celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the beginning of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, I willingly join you in giving praise to God for the many fruits which it has borne in the life of the Church. The emergence of the Renewal following the Second Vatican Council was a particular gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. It was a sign of a desire on the part of many Catholics to live more fully their Baptismal dignity and vocation as adopted sons and daughters of the Father, to know the redeeming power of Christ our Savior in a more intense experience of individual and group prayer, and to follow the teaching of the Scriptures by reading them in the light of the same Spirit who inspired their writing. Certainly one of the most important results of this spiritual reawakening has been that increased thirst for holiness which is seen in the lives of individuals and in the whole Church.” *

from Address of Pope John Paul II to the ICCRO Council March 14, 1992)


#20

Please do. The article by Fr. Cantalamessa you linked to in the thread about Baptism in the Spirit was interesting (although I wouldn’t call it support for the renewel of the charims described in 1 Corinthians, but that’s another thread, now isn’t it :wink: )

Well to be fair, it did take me 5 posts to answer you. :stuck_out_tongue:
My point was if one is to justify the Charismatic movement (and personal prayer tongues in particular) by the bible alone, they will not be able to do it. It’s akin to Rapture theology, the idea of a personal prayer language is built off of one verse and done so within the last 100 years.

Does he support the movement or the people in the movement? I’ve seen support for the former. Of course he supports the people. Who wouldn’t support people looking to strengthen their relationship with the Lord. It’s not the ends I question, it’s the means.

I know, I’ve participated in most of them! Believe me, I have an open mind. Yet I have still yet to be in the slightest way convinced that today’s glossoholia is nothing but ecstatic speech, that the Catholic movement was not born out of the Protestant movement, or a reasonable explanation for 1500 missing years of charims as practiced today in church history.


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