Glossolalia and Such

This tends to be a sticky issue because too many people take themselves too seriously. As a consequence, they take their positions on things too seriously, and get mightily offended if your position is different. I’ve had considerable experience working with folks who espouse these gifts, and frankly a significant portion of them are unpleasant company.

You can read 1 Corinthians 12 for a discussion of the gifts (with a wider context of 1 Corinthians 12-14), but I take the position it’s not a closed list. I’ve experienced too many things myself that don’t fit on the list, but clearly arise from the same kind of encounter with the Holy Spirit. I’m convinced Paul was simply discussing what the Corinthians had experienced, and his guidance to them based on his own experience. I don’t think it’s wise to try limiting God to Paul’s advice to them in their context. He also mentions different categories of gifts and I’ve written about those, as well. The emphasis here is on manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Naturally, this leads to talk about the “baptism of the Holy Ghost” and similar terms.

Let me make one thing clear: The Radix Fidem covenant ignores this issue. What you will get is my leadership on this issue, for the simple reason that something like this is a moving target. After I’m dead and gone, it’s quite likely there will be new conflicts arising from new teaching and practices. Meanwhile, I’m hoping I can set a wise example in avoiding boundaries that exclude people on the wrong basis. A certain amount of exclusion is unavoidable, but I take the position it needs to be functional, not a matter of orthodoxy and calling each other names. If your home cell group is “charismatic,” that’s fine. But if you want to remain affiliated under the Radix Fidem covenant, you can’t stir up trouble for other members who aren’t like you.

I reject the common test you run into in charismatic circles (Pentecostals, etc.) that says you must speak in tongues or you are somehow spiritually second class. There are plenty of places and groups where you can find that, so stay with them and leave us alone. I also reject the notion that the charismatic gifts are inherently fake. Granted, my experience has been that way too many folks who flaunt those gifts are fake, and their practices tend to bring moral rot. But let that be the basis for building barriers. Our whole purpose as a community is to encourage moral purity, so your charismatic expressions have to serve that purpose.

The charismatic gifts are optional.

The Scripture flatly says you do have control over letting them show (1 Corinthians 14:32-33) and that you should seek shalom, not self. Furthermore, the proof of the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life is not some ecstatic manifestation, but the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:13-26, 1 Corinthians 13). Show me your humble devotion to each other first, then we’ll talk about your gifts of the Spirit. Furthermore, in broad terms I reject the common doctrines about the term “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Don’t try to drag that into Radix Fidem. Your personal ecstasy does not grant you authority; authority arises from the simple fact that God’s people follow you. It’s a matter of moral instinct, not some imaginary legal right. Meanwhile, we do have a covenant and it’s pretty open, but the emphasis avoids making too much either way of the charismatic gifts.

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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2 Responses to Glossolalia and Such

  1. Iain says:

    I used to work with a guy who was fine until it came to “haveyoureceivedthebaptismoftheholyghostwiththeinitialevidenseofspeakingintongues”.
    Seriously , came out as one word!


  2. Ed Hurst says:

    Sounds familiar, Iain.


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