How I learned to speak in tongues, and then never do it again. The Conclusion

After that night I would speak in tongues often. I could conjure up this heavenly language in a heartbeat. I would start praying “I love you father- you are so perfect and good, you are the shunda-ra-saka- to-to-to…” and off I went. It was a seamless transition between my worldly, untamed tongue into my redeemed, holy tongue.

When I was at home, on the bus, in line at the supermarket- everywhere. My pastor told me a story of man who went and visited a pastor in Africa. The man greeted him and they spent several days together. While the pastor was friendly and conversant, the man noticed that whenever he wasn’t speaking out loud, his lips would always be moving- all throughout the day. Finally the man asked the pastor what he was doing, and the pastor replied that every second of every day that he wasn’t talking to people he was speaking in tongues quietly and talking to God.

That story resonated with me and that’s who I wanted to be. I wanted to be that kind of person and for a while, maybe a few weeks, I felt like I was living it. It was a beautiful month. On one level, in one particular way, it was the nearest I ever “felt” to God. So many burdens lifted- so many of the old aches, scars, and spiritual cigarette burns began to heal and clear up.  I began to engage with the Church again. Whereas before I was sullen and quiet in worship, now I was bouncing up in down on my feet in the front row- hands raised high. In fact, I even grabbed a flag from the bin up front and started waving it until my arms were spent, speaking in tongues between sets, the first and only time I have ever done that. I would participate in fire tunnels and when it was my turn to pray and prophecy, I would speak in tongues and people I touched would fall to the floor. It was a sacred and awesome power.  I witnessed and shared my faith more, speaking in tongues before and after the encounters.  I began going to all night prayer meetings [From 8pm to 8am] because I knew that I could just sit in a corner and speak in tongues and the time would fly as I connected to God, blessed by these charisms that he had bestowed upon me.

Most importantly though, I felt saved. I felt like a child of God. I didn’t feel like a disappointment to him and in that period I was able to “forgive God” for how I felt deserted and unloved because he never spoke to me. It was, as I look back, a fragment of my life that was wholly unique.

But slowly things started to shift. I realized after a few weeks that the elated feelings began to fade and that the high I was riding was beginning to level out. I thought that If I was speaking directly to God in a language that only him and I understood, that surely that would be more than sufficient to keep me in a state of peace and worship-that I wouldn’t experience the emotional and spiritual lows and highs, but rather would always be high. And yet here I was, falling….falling….falling.

Coupled with this is that I realized that my tongues-vocabulary wasn’t very big. I mean, I would essentially say the same 20 words over and over again, just in different arrangements and sequences. I brought this to the attention of my pastor and he told me that even though I was saying “shundara” over and over again, that because it was a private prayer language,  each time I said it it meant something different.  And so even though it sounded to me like I was saying the same phrase repeatedly, in reality I was not, and in fact was saying all sorts of things in the spiritual realm.

I also found myself praying and speaking in tongues, running through a favorite phrase at breakneck speed, when suddenly I was at a loss for words.  It was a jarring stopgap that yanked me out of the heavenly places. Silence would interrupt me and I would have to think for a moment about what I wanted to say next, and then resume where I left off.

This whole process continued for a year, a slow decline into uncertainty and uncomfortable realities. I could still speak in tongues, but it had none of the energy, vitality, and rush that it had once brought me. While speaking in these tongues brought me a small comfort, in some ways I began to grow disillusioned with them because they seemed more forced as time went on, and none of that emotional spark was there. I didn’t feel like I was talking with God in a private prayer language- it just felt like I was saying “shundara” a lot, over and over, without that connection to something deeper and more profound.

[Note, I’m skipping tons of story here which relates to this, but long story short, I began to realize that much of the teaching from the pulpit was deceptive in nature and was more imaginative than biblical.  I was becoming increasingly alarmed at some of the things that the Pastor said and taught which I believe did not line up with the scriptures. I began to learn enough about basic theology to know that not all was well. I left the Church I had been attending for years, after a showdown in the sanctuary with my Pastor over something he said that I found intolerable. Very shortly after this, I moved up here to Fort McMurray.]

I arrived here a bruised and battered reed. I felt lied to, betrayed, burned, and keenly aware of my own ignorance.  I felt far from God and felt like I really didn’t know him- that I only knew him emotionally and experimentally, but not intellectually or theologically. I knew how he made me felt during worship, but not how my worship meant to him. I eventually began working the night shift at a local retail store stocking shelves. The job was simple enough and so to pass the time, I would load my iPod pass the time. I would scour iTunes and the internet and would load up hundreds of hours of sermons at a time and would play them all night. It didn’t matter who it was- I didn’t know who was good or bad, who was sound or unsound. I listened to everyone across the spectrum, from seeker sensitive pastors to independent fundamental baptists,usually  for fours hours a night. The other four hours I would listen to the audio version of the Bible. I did this for 4 years. Sometimes I would listen to the Bible for the whole week, about 36 hours. Other times I would load up Lutheran homilies, which are about 15-20 minutes each, and would listen to 5 years of that pastors sermons in a matter of days. Other times I would load up lecture series from Christian universities and would listen to 25 lectures on “Christian life in the 8th century” or 18 lectures on”Reformed apologetics”. Still other times I said to myself “I want to listen to the Book of Galatians today” and then loop it for the next 6 hours.

I listened to thousands upon thousands of Bible and sermons in this time frame, and it didn’t take long for my life to change. As it relates to this story, I very quickly began to gravitate toward reformed preachers and teachers. Men like John Piper. John Macarthur. Matt Chandler. R.C Sproul. James White. Ligon Duncan and D.A Carson. These were men whose sermons most closely reflected what I was hearing from the Bible. It seemed they took it extremely serious, and took the greatest pains to exegete the texts rather than prooftexts to score points. That’s what really stuck out to me. And these were men who, to varying degrees, did not believe that the gift of tongues was active and present today. That they were mostly all cessasionists and were able to argue and articulate why that biblically is was incredibly disturbing and challenging for me. In fact, early on I was outright hostile to this part of their beliefs, believing them pretty knowledgeable on most things, but definitely missing it on this one. This was a difficult spot to be in. These were my heroes, and yet they were saying that what I was experiencing was not legitimate.

I began to do research, and as I had in this time developed the ability to study and exegete the biblical texts, found their argumentation extremely compelling. I did my own research and poured over tomes and ancient primary sources,  fervently researching and investigating the glossolaia. I listened to the best defenses and argumentation for speaking in tongues, desperately wanting them to offer an excellent refutation and positive presentation of why biblically they were still for today.

What I found crushed me. My speaking in tongues side, from my perspective, had nothing to offer. They were re-soundly refuted. The arguments that I used to regurgitate for speaking in tongues seemed to me all of a sudden silly and a little bit embarrassing. I understood what tongues were in the Bible, in that time frame, and how it  vastly different than how its practiced now. In short, I became convinced from the biblical evidence that speaking in tongues was an early Christian phenomena that was unique to that period and was not in play today. It was a painful time of self-examination and self-doubt, as I desperately tried to search my heart and figure out what was going on, and how had I gotten there.

And so what was my experience? Some people say its either demonic. Others say it’s emotional hysteria and gibber-jabber. I look back at myself, all my friends and my entire former Church, many of whom spoke in tongues, and I don’t believe it was demonic. Was I caught up in the moment and due to emotional manipulation worked myself up to the point where it burst forth? Was it a psychosomatic reflex- my body birthing what my mind wanted so badly? I don’t know. In retrospect  I can see how maybe that initial gift of tongues may have been bought about by a heightened emotional state, but afterwards? On the bus? At work? Was I that self-deceived? I have come to terms with the fact that I probably was a learned behavior. I think I was encouraged to produce sounds which my brain could then take hold of in an unconscious way and create strings of syllables to speak forth, and once I learned how to do that I was able to keep it up.  I think that might account for the riffs and improvisations that I tended to use. I think that’s probably about it.

The point is this. I became convinced that it was not for today, and because I am committed to binding my conscience to the word of God, I’ve stopped speaking in them. It was an achingly hard thing to do- when everything in your experience tells you that its good, and in fact you can start speaking them right then and there- to have to take that and say “regardless of what my feelings, desires and experiences tells me, I have a higher authority and I must be obedient to it.”

Its been about six years now since I’ve spoken in tongues, and I have no plans to every try to speak in them again. In the years since any and all desire to speak in them has pretty much waned and dissipated. I don’t think of them as a private prayer language that I let go cold and die from disuse, but rather as a childish thing from another life that I’ve shrugged off and have been set free from.

Percentage of abortions performed to save the life of the mother? 0.006%

A few days ago I got into a skirmish with a woman on facebook regarding this issue. She made a comment something along the lines of “Christians “conveniently” forget that the majority of abortions happen to save the life of the mother.” I took exception to that stunningly bad assertion and we went off from there. Today I came across this interesting article, and seeing as how I’m being slack on this site, it might be worth posting.

Via Gene Veith

Abortion is called a woman’s health issue, with the right to abortion necessary to protect a woman’s life, in many instances, and physical well-being in many more.  So what percentage of abortions are to save a mother’s life or to protect her health?  Not very many, according to a British study of abortion in that country:

A report to Parliament has revealed abortions performed in the United Kingdom to save the life of the mother are a stunningly low 0.006 percent of procedures.

David Alton, who for 18 years was a member of the House of Commons, wrote, “When the case for allowing legal abortion was first placed before Parliament it was argued that the law needed to be changed to deal with extremely serious situations.

“More than six million abortions later the figures reveal that in 99.5 percent of the cases where an unborn child’s life is ended there is no risk to the health of the mother,” he said.

The details came in a response from Earl Howe, the parliamentary undersecretary of state in the nation’s Department of Health, to Parliament. He confirmed from 1968 through 2011, the last year for which details were available,there were 6.4 million abortions for women in England and Wales.

“Of these, 143 (0.006 percent) were performed under Section 1(4), i.e. where the termination is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman,” he wrote.

He noted another 24,778 were done on the grounds that a continued pregnancy would involve more risk to the mother than if the unborn child were destroyed.

Source[s]

51 Biblical Proofs Of A Pauline Papacy And Ephesian Primacy- Contra Rome

 

I heard a really bad argument for the primacy of the Petrine papacy  few days ago, which was that Peter was the first person to raise the dead, after Jesus, and therefore this biblical evidence demonstrated his primacy and his designation as the Pope. I found this quite silly  and amusing, but did not think much of it, and did not argue it. Then today I ran across this brilliant article by Jason Enwer [here]who demonstrates a more sure and true Pauline papacy and  Ephesian primacy. In it he purposefully and intentionally utilizes the same curious reasoning that Roman Catholics use when they are trying to demonstrate their beliefs.  I thought it a sting well worth enduring to see how the RCC can manufacture evidence of “Primacy” by selective citation and out-of-context “snippetry”

1. Paul is the only apostle who is called God’s chosen vessel who will bear His name before Jews and Gentiles (Acts 9:15).2. Paul is the last apostle chosen by God, apart from the other twelve.3. The resurrected Christ appears to Paul in a different way than He appeared to the other apostles (Acts 9:3-6).

4. Paul is the only apostle who publicly rebukes and corrects another apostle (Galatians 2:11).

5. Paul is the only apostle who refers to his authority over all the churches (1 Corinthians 4:17, 7:17, 2 Corinthians 11:28).

6. Paul is the only apostle to call himself “father” (1 Corinthians 4:15).

7. Paul is the steward of God’s grace (Ephesians 3:2). This means that Paul is the overseer of salvation. Fellowship with Paul and his successors is necessary for salvation.

8. Paul is mentioned more in the New Testament than any other apostle.

9. The book of Acts, which mentions all of the apostles, discusses Paul more than any other apostle.

10. Paul was the first apostle to write a book of scripture.

11. Paul wrote more books of the New Testament than any other apostle.

12. Paul is the first apostle to be taken to Heaven to receive a revelation (2 Corinthians 12:1-4).

13. Paul is the only apostle Satan was concerned about enough to give him a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7).

14. Paul seems to have suffered for Christ more than any other apostle (2 Corinthians 11:21-33).

15. Paul seems to have received more opposition from false teachers than any other apostle did, since he was the Pope (Romans 3:8, 2 Corinthians 10:10, Galatians 1:7, 6:17, Philippians 1:17).

16. Paul seems to have traveled further and more often than any other apostle, as we see in Acts and his epistles, which is what we might expect a Pope to do.

17. Only Paul’s teachings were so advanced, so deep, that another apostle acknowledged that some of his teachings were hard to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16). Peter’s understanding of doctrine doesn’t seem to be as advanced as Pope Paul’s. Paul has the primacy of doctrinal knowledge.

18. Paul was the first apostle whose writings were recognized as scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16).

19. Paul singles himself out as the standard of orthodoxy (1 Corinthians 14:37-38).

20. Only Paul refers to himself having a rod, a symbol of authority (1 Corinthians 4:21).

21. Paul initiates the council of Acts 15 by starting the debate with the false teachers (Acts 15:2) and delivering a report to the other church leaders (Acts 15:4).

22. Peter’s comments in Acts 15:7-11 are accepted only because Pope Paul goes on to confirm them (Acts 15:12).

23. When the Corinthians were dividing over which apostle to associate themselves with, Paul’s name was the first one mentioned (1 Corinthians 1:12).

24. Paul was the only apostle with the authority to deliver people over to Satan (1 Corinthians 5:5).

25. Paul had the best training and education of all the apostles (Philippians 3:4-6).

26. Paul is the only apostle to call the gospel “my gospel” (Romans 2:16).

27. Paul writes more about the identity of the church than any other apostle does (1 Corinthians 12, Colossians 1, Ephesians 4-5), which we might expect a Pope to do. Paul is the standard of orthodoxy and the Vicar of Christ on earth, so he has the primary responsibility for defining what the church is and who belongs to it.

28. Paul writes more about church government than any other apostle does, such as in his pastoral epistles.

29. Paul discusses church unity more than any other apostle does (1 Corinthians 12-14, Ephesians 4), suggesting that he was the one responsible for maintaining church unity because of his papal authority.

30. Paul writes more about the gospel than any other apostle does (Romans, Galatians). As the leader of Christianity, Paul was most responsible for explaining the gospel and other Christian doctrine.

31. After Jesus, Paul speaks more about the kingdom of God than anybody else does (Acts 14:22, 19:8, 1 Corinthians 4:20, Galatians 5:21, 2 Thessalonians 1:5). After leaving earth, Jesus passed on the responsibility of teaching about the kingdom of God to Paul, the king of the church on earth.

32. Paul speaks of revealing mysteries more than any other apostle does (Romans 11:25, 1 Corinthians 15:51, Ephesians 5:32, 6:19, 2 Thessalonians 2:7), since he was the chief teacher of the church.

33. Paul was the only apostle other people tried to impersonate (2 Thessalonians 2:2), since he had more authority than anybody else.

34. Paul’s clothing works miracles (Acts 19:11-12).

35. Paul is delivered from death more than any other apostle (Acts 14:19, 28:3-6, 2 Corinthians 11:23).

36. The Jewish exorcists in Acts 19:13 associate themselves with Paul rather than with any other apostle.

37. The demons in Acts 19:15 recognize Paul’s primacy.

38. The Jews in Acts 21:28 recognize Paul’s primacy, saying that he’s the man they hold most responsible for teaching Christianity everywhere.

39. Paul had authority over the finances of the church (Acts 24:26, 2 Corinthians 9:5, Philippians 4:15-18).

40. Paul acts as the chief shepherd of the church, taking responsibility for each individual (2 Corinthians 11:29). For example, Paul was Peter’s shepherd (Galatians 2:11).

41. Paul interprets prophecy (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).

42. Only Paul is referred to as being set apart for his ministry from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15).

43. Jesus Christ is revealed in Paul (Galatians 1:16), meaning that Paul and his successors are the infallible standard of Christian orthodoxy.

44. Paul is the only apostle who works by himself, only later coordinating his efforts with the other apostles (Galatians 1:16-18).

45. Only Paul is referred to as bearing the brandmarks of Christ (Galatians 6:17).

46. Every Christian was interested in Paul and what was happening in his life, looking to him as their example and their encouragement (Philippians 1:12-14).

47. Christians served Paul (Philippians 2:30).

48. Paul worked more than the other apostles (1 Corinthians 15:10), since he had more responsibilities as Pope.

49. Paul was to be delivered from every evil deed (2 Timothy 4:18), meaning that he was infallible.

50. Only Paul is referred to as passing his papal authority on to [Ephesian] successors who would also have authority over the church of God (Acts 20:28).

51. Among the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2-3, the church of Ephesus is mentioned first, since the bishops of Ephesus have primacy as the successors of Paul. The church in Ephesus “cannot endure evil men” (Revelation 2:2), meaning that the bishop of Ephesus is infallible when speaking ex cathedra on matters of faith and morals. The Ephesian church puts false teachers to the test (Revelation 2:2) by exercising its papal authority. The bishop of Ephesus has the responsibility of evaluating all teachers and declaring which are orthodox and which are not. None of the other churches in Revelation 2-3 are described as having this authority.