Re: Skepticism - its uses and abuses

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Sun Dec 11 2005 - 23:49:35 EST

At 10:33 PM 12/11/2005, D. F. Siemens, Jr. wrote:
>While the disciples gathered on the day of Pentecost spoke in
>languages that the people assembled in Jerusalem could understand,
>there are grounds to doubt that glossolalia as practiced in some
>churches are true utterances. I do not have a reference, but I
>recall running across a study of glossolalia that concluded that the
>utterances did not have the structure necessary to language. I also
>learned that the early Mormons spoke in tongues. Some years back, a
>leader in the tongues movement in the Los Angeles area was an
>Episcopalian who was at the extreme liberal end of that denomination.
>I have encountered the report that the Hebrew professor at BIOLA
>once went to Aimee Semple McPherson's Temple and, during a service,
>recited the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew. Two persons who claimed to have
>the gift of interpretation got into an argument over whose
>interpretation was correct. Neither came close to the original.
>I have heard a report that a charismatic Christian was impelled to
>speak in tongues to a stranger who reported being given the gospel
>in Mandarin. I cannot confirm the claim, which is what was told me.
>I did observe a parishioner speak in tongues and the pastor
>translate. However, the speaker used the word "gloria" repeatedly. I
>am certain that the utterance was not Italian, Portuguese or
>Spanish, where I know the word occurs. However, the meaning is
>constrained by its etymology. Unfortunately, the interpretation did
>not include any reference to glory, heaven or any related term.
>Many years ago when my parents were missionaries in Ambato, Ecuador,
>a chap came through declaring that the Lord had given him a language
>which he was sure was Jivaro. He claimed it was between Hebrew and
>something else that I don't recall. It definitely was not Jivaro.
>Dad interceded for him with a conductor he knew to get the guy to
>the coast where he might be able to work his way back to the States.
>While I cannot dismiss all tongues, my direct encounters with claims
>of glossolalia are negative. The historic evidence indicates that it
>is not divinely inspired. Additionally, the gift leads to claims of
>spiritual superiority which seem more like pride than anything else.
>I do not find pride listed in the fruit of the Spirit.
>On Sun, 11 Dec 2005 17:29:30 +0000 Iain Strachan
><<>> writes:
>I'm writing on a new topic that I hope will provoke some useful discussion.
>I'm sure we're all aware as scientists that we always need to
>evaluate data and theories critically, and to beware of falling into
>the trap of believing what we want to believe.
> But at the same time, it seems to me that skeptics want to blow
> everything away. Another very useful site is
> <>, a Skeptic's dictionary, which has
> lots of useful stuff about the placebo effect etc. But it also
> dismisses things like glossalalia (speaking in tongues) as a load
> of rubbish as well, and I don't know how I feel about that.

### You may find this of interest from back on 11/24/2005:

<>New Policy:
Southern Baptist Missionary Candidates Can't Speak in Tongues
^ | Nov. 23 2005Beliefnet | Adelle M. Banks Posted on 11/24/2005
9:32:38 AM EST by

The Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board has
adopted a new policy that forbids missionary candidates from speaking
in tongues. The policy, adopted Nov. 15 during the board's trustee
meeting in Huntsville, Ala., reflects ongoing Southern Baptist
opposition to charismatic or Pentecostal practices.
(Excerpt)
<> ...

My reply to: whispering out loud; tutstar

"The scripture is very clear in Corinthians .." ~ whispering out loud

Adults and children see things differently. The emotionally (and
spiritually) immature (babes) should never be placed in "leadership"


What Does 1 Cor. 13:8-10 Say About Cessation of the Gifts? James
Patrick Holding

1 Cor. 13:8-10 Charity never faileth: but whether there be
prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall
cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know
in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is
come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

One of our biggest internal bones of contention in the church today
is the question of what this passage means with reference to the
charismatic gifts.

Some offer arguments that this points to modern expressions of such
gifts today being impossible.

I take the position that whatever this indicates, a person who claims
to have one or more gifts needs to prove it.

But let's have a look at what the scholars have to say with reference
to some popular positions in terms of what "the perfect" is.

[1] It means the finishing of the NT canon. Fee [1 Corinthians
commentary, 643-4] rejects this one on the grounds that Paul could
never have conceived of a completed NT canon. I would disagree, given
that there was already an OT collection and that Paul could have
easily anticipated a new one for the Christian church, and signs are
that he may have been the one who first conceived of a canon.
However, this would be a rather obscure reference to the completed NT
canon and must therefore be considered unlikely.

[2] It means the eschaton. This is the most popular view among
commentators (see Collins, 1 Corin. commentary, 486; Conzelmann, 1
Corin. commentary, 226) and it notes that the passage uses the
eschatological term "come" (erchomai).

If this were true then as a partial preterist I would have to decide
that the gifts were to cease after the 70 AD destruction of
Jerusalem! But is it the right way to read this?

Counting against this point is that erchomai isn't an exclusively
eschatological word. It refers to anything that "comes" or "goes" or moves.

It is also noted that in v. 12 Paul uses eschatological language:
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I
know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." This
and the "mirror" metaphor Paul uses were used by Jews and pagans
alike to describe our encounter with and understanding of the deity.
Some may then wish to connect this not with the eschaton of 70, but
with final resurrection and judgment, and hence claim that the gifts
were meant to be sticking around. Perhaps so.

But there is one other intriguing answer:

[3] It means, love. Lost at that one? Consider this: Paul's verbiage,
when connected up with the Johnanine lit on love, takes on a
significance we may not have expected:

Compare "But when that which is perfect" and Paul's "face to face"
metaphor to 1 John 4:12: "No man hath seen God at any time. If we
love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in
us." Then "is come" with 1 John 5:20: "And we know that the Son of
God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him
that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ."

Note as well the connection of unity in believers (the ultimate
expression of agape) with being "perfect" in John 17:23, and 1 John
4:18: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:
because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."

The contrast is especially interesting because Paul speaks to the
Corinthians as immature believers, while John's recipients are
obviously at a higher level of maturity (while still needing instruction).

This would also fit with Paul's "growth" metaphor in v. 11: "When I
was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought
as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."

If this is correct, tongues, etc. are indeed supposed to cease in the
life of each believer once they have obtained a certain degree of maturity.

In conclusion, while I consider option 2 to be possible, option 3
seems more likely -- and in either case, while option 3 offers no
definitive view that the gifts were supposed to cease, it does
suggest that the Benny Hinns of the world are pulling a fast one!

posted on 11/24/2005 8:29:22 PM EST by

I also have replies at these two links in this thread, but they have
to do with eschatology rather than tongues, specifically:

~ Janice
Received on Sun Dec 11 23:51:30 2005

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