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The Glossolalia Movement of Today


The "speaking in tongues" in the New Testament as described above is far different from the new glossolalia, tongues movement, of today. Although the word, glossolalia, is a term which was lately adopted, in the 19th century, the phenomenon of speaking is very ancient, as mentioned before. The difference is that in the past, and especially in the Bible, the speaking in tongues was the speaking of a human foreign language, which could be understood directly or through an interpreter. Glossolalia today has another meaning entirely, nor should it be associated with the Pentecostal Church, either. This new movement of glossolalia of today started in 1960 with an Episcopal priest in California. This movement has flourished, but not without opposition. The point of this movement of glossolalia is that the "tongues" are not human languages, but inarticulated speech. All agree that from a linguistic point, glossolalia is not a human language, for one cannot identify any positive language being spoken, and there is no evidence that the glossolalia contains actual speech. Despite the claim of the members of this movement, they cannot provide any case to stand up under scientific investigation.

There is an explicit difference between real human languages and the glossolalia of today. The "interpretation" of the various utterances of glossolalia is not the same for all speaking it; there is no similarity whatsoever between interpretation given. Thus, from a linguistic point of view and through scientific scrutiny, the result is that glossolalia does not involve a real human language. Close examination of this new movement reveals that it has attracted many troubled people who display increased anxiety and instability. Their frenzied actions indicate they lose some of their mental self-control, resulting in a turning of their minds to something beyond their control. Studies of this new movement of glossolalia also indicate that the persons involved are seeking a different religious experience, for they are not finding satisfaction in their churches. This may explain the sudden interest in and growth of the glossolalia.

Many people are turning to this glossolalia movement, mystic cults, oriental philosophies, witchcraft, astrology, etc., because they do not find inner satisfaction in the material wealth of our affluent society. This dissatisfaction is partly due to the materialism and technological advances of this present century. It is obvious that material possession cannot satisfy the spirit of many people. People today need an "awakening spirit." But the Church seems unable to provide this, because the Church itself is not involved with materialism. People today are turning to diverting mystical movements and drugs to get beyond themselves in search of inner satisfaction and contentment. The actions of today's society clearly reflect the lack of spiritual values, and indicate the need to return to the true concepts of Christianity. It is a sad situation that even though more and more people are dissatisfied with material wealth and possessions and are turning to the various cult movements, society strives for even greater materialism.

The more materialism, the more dissatisfaction and unhappiness. The more unhappiness, the greater the exodus to the occult world. The loud cry from growing numbers of people is a sound that must be listened to by all segments of society, especially by the Christian Church. The question that must be asked is whether or not these people who are turning to the occult - especially the glossolalia movement 3/4 are really finding the spiritual satisfaction they are seeking. Examinations of these movements clearly indicate that the people who seek spiritual reawakening through them fail in the long run to realize their quest of the fountain of spiritual life and its inner satisfaction. Studies reveal that the people are turning to this glossolalia movement because they are looking for a new religious experience. The desire for these searching people ought to be satisfied in the Church of Christ. Since the Church is the people themselves (the Ecclesia), it depends upon their attitudes and activities to indicate whether or not the "established Church" is fulfilling their needs.

The "movement" for the reawakening of the spiritual life of the people should start within the Church itself, both by leaders and people. There is no true "satisfaction" outside the Church. It is easier to renovate spiritual methods within the Church than to create new, far-out movements which as the past has already shown, in the end fail anyway. This is a lesson of the past, for these movements are not new, but date back thousands of years. This is why Apostle Paul puts prophecy 3/4 the preaching and teaching of the Church 3/4 above the "speaking in tongues," saying: "He who prophesies is greater than he who speaks in tongues. . . so that the church may be edified" (1 Cor. 14:5). Paul clearly indicates that the people who seek spiritual uplifting should not find it outside the Church "since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church" (v. 12). This is the answer for those who leave the Church, rather than the present glossolalia movements, or others. What is needed today to overcome this dissatisfaction of many people is the reawakening and strengthening of the spirit, something that is needed in the Church as well.

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