Having been raised in a charismatic church (a sect which is now considered main stream) I have watched those "consumed by the spirit" roll on the floor, babble in gibberish, pee their pants, and do all sorts of wild things including dancing and hopping like a bunny. I have twenty years experience witnessing these happenings. Each and everyone on the planet is an eternal, holy spirit, residing in our temples our bodies. What these charismatic folks do is to channel demons. Only demons treat bodies in that manor. Real demons, who "speak" "languages" that nobody has ever translated, except of course for the "translators" who stand up and channel other demons.
I agree with what is written in the book of Acts that on the Day of Pentecost people spoke in tongues that others understood - and they didn't roll on the ground and pee their pants or dance a jig while doing it either.
As I said, we are all filled with the holy spirit already - we don't need any crazies to channel to remind us of that.
I have heard glossolalia many, many times and much of it is meaningless, childish, tongue clucking, to repetitive nonsensical chatter. Lots of church services that I attended were interrupted by a member breaking out in this type of utterance and interrupting the service. The denomination that I attended now has many services broadcast on TV - including national TV, and this type of thing is rarely shown on screen.
From Abracadabra to Zombies
Glossolalia is fabricated, meaningless speech.
According to Dr. William T. Samarin, professor of anthropology and linguistics at the University of Toronto,
glossolalia consists of strings of meaningless syllables made up of sounds taken from those familiar to the speaker and put together more or less haphazardly .... Glossolalia is language-like because the speaker unconsciously wants it to be language-like. Yet in spite of superficial similarities, glossolalia fundamentally is not language (Nickell, 108).
When spoken by schizophrenics, glossolalia are recognized as gibberish. In charismatic Christian communities glossolalia is sacred and referred to as "speaking in tongues" or having "the gift of tongues." In Acts of the Apostles, tongues of fire are described as alighting on the Apostles, filling them with the Holy Spirit. Allegedly, this allowed the Apostles to speak in their own language but be understood by foreigners from several nations.
Glossolalics behave in various ways, depending on the social expectations of their community. Some go into convulsions or lose consciousness; others are less dramatic. Some seem to go into a trance; some claim to have amnesia of their speaking in tongues. All believe they are possessed by the Holy Spirit and the gibberish they utter is meaningful. However, only one with faith and the gift of interpretation is capable of figuring out the meaning of the meaningless utterances. Of course, this belief gives the interpreter unchecked leeway in "translating" the meaningless utterances. Nicholas Spanos notes: "Typically, the interpretation supports the central tenets of the religious community" (Spanos, 147).
Uttering gibberish that is interpreted as profound mystical insight by holy men is an ancient practice. In Greece, even the priest of Apollo, god of light, engaged in prophetic babbling. The ancient Israelites did it. So did the Jansenists, the Quakers, the Methodists, and the Shakers.
There is evidence that while speaking in tongues people experience a sharp decrease in frontal lobe function, the area of the brain that enables reason and self-control. There is also increased activity in the parietal region of the brain, which takes sensory information and tries to create a sense of self relating to the world. Psychiatrist Andrew Newberg, Director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania, studied five African-American Pentecostal women who frequently speak in tongues. As a control activity, Newberg had the women sing gospel tunes while moving their arms and swaying.*
Newberg gave the Pentecostals an intravenous injection of a radioactive tracer that allowed him to measure blood flow and "see" which brain areas were most active during the behaviors. Newberg and his associates published their findings in the November 2006 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging. During glossolalia, the part of the brain than normally makes a person feel in control was essentially shut down. The findings make sense, says Newberg, because speaking in tongues involves giving up control and feeling a "very intense experience of how the self relates to [a] god."*
Newberg noted that the glossolalia responses were the opposite of those of people in a meditative state. When people meditate their frontal lobe activity increases, while their parietal activity decreases. In meditation, one loses the sense of self while controlling one's focus and concentration.
The Pentecostal movement seems to have originated in the 19th century, although the Biblical basis for the practice is traced to the Acts of the Apostles. The practice of Pentecostals differs, however, from what is described in Acts. Pentecostals utter gibberish and claim that they are speaking in a language understood by some god but not by other Pentecostals, but in Acts we are told that those present not only spoke "with other tongues" but "every man heard them speak in his own language."
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of [some] god. [Acts II; 1-11]
This story is supposed to support the notion that such an event really did occur and it was prophesied by Joel that this kind of thing would happen in the last days. There is nothing in Joel, however, that prophesied that, when the last days didn't come as predicted, plan B would be to wait 1900 years and have a revival and claim that when you speak gibberish it is a sign that some god loves you.
Thanks for a more in depth look at this phenomena.
I wonder if this "speaking of tongues" introduced into the church eminates from such beliefs as "witchcraft".
Witchcraft is a combination of control, manipulation and domination and indeed it is demonic, though not always of the pointy hat, broom riding, spell casting variety that has been popularized. Unfortunately this non-pointy hat version of demonic witchcraft is fairly widespread including in the USA and is common even in many churches. Many such church goers thus need deliverance from these spirits (demons) of control, manipulation and domination, though most do not realize it and would never consent to it. They are blind to the reality that this unholy behavior is in no way Christ-like and often believe themselves to be wonderful christians. When such "christians" stop abiding in the Lord Jesus as branches to the Vine which they long since have stopped doing, they open themselves up to such delusions. This topic of witchcraft in the church is something Derek Prince among others have spoken on.
I am currently working on helping a witch get set free from 3000 miles away, but it is having to be done the long slow way since she is not able to see that she is a witch and that she needs to repent from a long list of unrepentant and continuing unholiness in her life. Think proverbs 31 wife... and now imagine the exact opposite. Those around her including her husband and immediate family can clearly see that something is seriously wrong, but she is completely blind to it, believing herself even to be a wonderful christian woman. Recognition and true repentence would make this a simple and instantaneous deliverance, but the absence of both due to the curses of spiritual blindedness and delusion make it much more difficult... but there have been minor breakthroughs and eventually this battle will be won : ).
It is true that the demonic realm has their own version of tongues and it is also for certain that some people speak out in gibberish from their own flesh genuinely believing it to be holy tongues and even believing it to be the "evidence" that they have been baptized in the Holy Spirit...
but it can't be denied that there is also such a thing as true holy tongues which is an actual gift of the Holy Spirit, fully biblical and discussed by Paul as a personal prayer language, a language which in part can be used when the believer is unable to express in words what s/he wants to express. It is therefore a means of "praying in the Spirit". In 1 Corinthians 14:39
Paul says, "Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues."
If you read all the scriptures about tongues, it would require a particularly strong level of spiritual blindedness to conclude that every tongue has to be a real modern day planet earth language that exists exclusively to evangelize people of that language. Paul talks for example about tongues of angels and he speaks of tongues being spoken in churches that require interpretation to be of any value in that setting.
As with many supernatural manifestations, there is the true Holy Spirit manifestation, the unholy demonic counterfeit, and the flesh counterfeit. What some "believers" seem to consistently do is to conclude that since some supernatural manifestations are false, they must all be false, which is to often reject actual holy manifestations of the actual Holy Spirit which is quite an evil thing to do and should be avoided at all costs by anybody who wishes to walk in holiness. Careful discernment is thus required, not blanket rejection of every supernatural manifestation.
"In Africa one of the most prominent issues- spiritually speaking- is witchcraft. In my experience here in Tanzania I have witnessed the effects of the Africans' involvement in witchcraft. My first encounter was a few weeks ago when we were doing door to door evangelism. Pastor took us to the home of a woman who is a member of our church. The woman called Pastor to cast out a demon that she thought was in her daughter.
The daughter, "Grace", came into the room with a deep sadness in her eyes. Her grandmother played a significant role in teaching Grace to rely on witch doctors and to send demons to other people. We spent three days talking to Grace, speaking truth into her life, getting to know her story, and showing her love. Grace had a painful problem in her stomach which felt like something was moving up and down her insides. On the third day Grace returned with trinkets that she wanted us to destroy. She had been given the trinkets by the witch doctor to use for witchcraft activities. Grace accepted the Lord and the next thing I know Grace is writhing on the floor and Pastor is casting out a demon from her. Her body lost complete control, even to the point that she urinated on the floor. It took two of us to hold her legs down. A few moments later, Grace stands up, set free from the demon that influenced her. She smiled, gave us huge hugs, and returned home with her mother after offering us enthusiastic gratitude.
First we need to ask ourselves if we believe that the bible is true and if we believe that demons exist just as the bible says they do... as a quick refresher, my bible says that 1/3 of the angels rebelled against God and became demons. Do we believe as the bible states that they existed 2000 years ago when the Lord Jesus was casting them out of people everywhere He went including 2000 of them out of one man and 7 out of Mary Magdeline as just two of many examples? Do we believe as the bible states that these demons are eternal beings? If yes, then mustn't we conclude that they still exist today? If demons were a big problem 2000 years ago and they are eternal beings, then shouldn't it follow that they are still a big problem today? If we conclude that they do exist today and that they are indeed problematic today, we then need to ask ourselves if a woman who is visiting witch doctors, who is herself practicing witchcraft, who has demonic trinkets in her posession... is this the type of person who is likely to have unwittingly invited demons into herself? If yes to all of the above, then it should come as no surprise that this woman did indeed have demons. So she is wonderfully ministered to by genuine servants of the Lord Jesus for 3 days and receives Jesus and now the demons are getting cast out... creating a struggle initially which causes her to writhe on the ground and even pee herself. Is this really so difficult a scenario for a true believer to fathom?
So this girl receives the Lord Jesus, her demon gets cast out and then afterwards she is smiling and hugging and offering gratitude. I don't know what everybody else thinks, but i very much believe that this girl got set free from actual demonic possession. How is this a bad thing? Do we object to the writhing and the peeing that took place during the struggle? Sorry everybody, but deliverance from demons is not always pretty, or prim and proper... and nor is it always for the faint of heart. Why would a true believer have such a hard time believing that this could happen?... that a person being delivered from a demon could writhe on the floor and/or pee? What is demonic deliverance supposed to look like? If people in churches are sometimes writhing on the floor, is it not possible that... at least in some instances... they too are being delivered from demons just as was this new believer?
As always, it is a good idea to look at the fruit. What was the individual like before this happened and what were they like afterwards? In our friend's case above, beforehand she "had deep sadness in her eyes", had something seriously wrong going on in her stomach that was moving around... and she was practicing witchcraft. Afterwards, she was smiling, hugging and offering gratitude. This is the exact instantaneous transformation i would expect to see in a person who was set free from demons and i therefore conclude that this was a battle won by the kingdom of holiness.
Hunter, judging by your many confused responses over the months, you seem to have very serious comprehension issues. My advice to you is to re-read my post as many times as necessary until you begin to understand it before attempting to comment. For starters, never once have i cast out a person as a demon. I cast out the demon, not the person. Are you unable to see how this is different? God did not give me or other disciples of the Lord Jesus the right to "cast out people as demons". He gave us the right rather to cast out demons from people. My Lord Jesus gave His disciples including me authority over demons/unclean spirits/fallen angels and instructed us to cast them out of people. It's all quite biblical, i assure you. You continue to appear deeply confused about this. Are you willing to seek and see truth instead of continually perpetuating lies?
Many who call themselves believers just sit in their pews on sundays and never once experience the supernatural, denying it every step of the way including every true act of the Holy Spirit. Sorry guys, but God Himself IS supernatural and the bible tells us that we are all participants in a very real supernatural war whether we choose to believe this or to bury our heads in the sand and say it just isn't so.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
If anybody feels s/he may have been caught up in a delusion or is otherwise demonized not unlike the african lady in the above example or the many examples of modern day witches who are over-ridden by spirits of control, manipulation and domination... or people afflicted with depression, anxiety, fear, anger, lust, addictions, infirmity, pain, confusion or many other actually demonic issues... i am happy as a disciple of the Lord Jesus and in His name to help you to get set free from these things in any way i can. Like the african lady, you will be able to compare the fruit in your life both before and after the instantaneous deliverance. Hunter, do you skype?