TONGUE SPEAKING by Morton T. Kelsey


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Glossolalia- the technical term for speaking in tongues- is a mystic phenomenon in which seemingly random speech sounds are uttered. Generally it occurs at church services and has been known to occur in one way or another for centuries. Though official Protestantism blanches at the thought, as do Catholics, proponents point to New Testament passages relating to the gift of the Holy Spirit. In America it's all part of what's called the Charismatic revival, embracing Pentacostals, Fundamentalists, and to a degree some Lutherans and Baptists. The clergyman-author here, while never himself a glossolaliate, has written a well-researched study which in its strange way swings somewhere between subjective enthusiasm and objective scholarship. It ranges from St. Paul to the moderns. Siding with Platonic reality as against Aristotelian rationalism, the author contends that tongue-speaking is neither schizoid or demonic, but something sacramental- an ecstatic lingual communion with God- healing mind and body (""testimonials"" are offered), and that its structure is similar to the Jungian idea of the collective unconscious, etc.. All of which while potentially ""dangerous"" is still necessary for the wholeness of man, the reconciliation of matter and spirit, and isn't life ""dangerous,"" anyway? As participants describe it, the glossolalia experience seems largely ineffable, like low-grade LSD report. Its demonstrable value remains an issue of faith; and the remains an interestingly inclusive (not conclusive) defense.

Publisher: Doubleday