Monthly Archives: July 2015

Tongues, modern tongues, and studying tongues

You may not see very many new articles this month, but a lot is happening under the hood. In preparation for the book, A History of the Christian Doctrine of Tongues, many of the blog articles within the Gift of Tongues Project have been updated.

The most recent is Nazianzus on the Tongues of Pentecost Paradox which traces the longest running debate ever on the doctrine of tongues – was Pentecost a miracle of speaking or hearing? It is an interesting read that dispels the notion that the Church Fathers were silent on the issue of speaking in tongues.

It adds to my premise that the greatest problem in the tongues debate is our ignorance of historic literature. Only a small percentage of the Church Fathers has ever been translated into English, and so we have only tidbits of information on any given subject. Many Church Fathers await to be translated and there is a treasure waiting to unfold for any that are looking. This same thing also applies to the gift of tongues.

However, a big problem is too few people, at least in the Pentecostal, and even worse in the Charismatic traditions, know Greek, Latin, or any other ancient language. These people represent the largest audience outside of Catholicism that integrates an active mystical element to their Christian faith, and are doing it with little or no reference to the ancient Christian faith which has much to offer. Hopefully this will change with the next generation.

The second dilemma is that few want to learn ancient languages. This is unfortunate given the fact that the digital revolution has provided a plethora of tools for learning ancient languages, a network to connect with such enthusiasts, availability of online original manuscripts, and books. This opportunity makes the pre-internet book-and-paper generation of scholars drool with envy, and roll over in their graves. It has never been easier to study the topics of historical literature than it is today. Unfortunately, it is not a popular subject, and study of this genre is in serious decline, especially from a religious perspective.

One of the greatest attributes of the Gift of Tongues Project is that it is a digitized repository for all the ancient texts on Christian tongues in the original languages. My website statistics show that very few are taking advantage of this. Locating and collating the ancient texts was one of the hardest parts of the Gift of Tongues Project, and is offered to anyone to peruse for free. Everyone with the necessary skills should be taking advantage of this.

As the study of the Gift of Tongues Project winds down, I will continue my journey through ancient literature. What mysteries will be uncovered? The plethora of subjects never ends, and the breadth will never be tamed by one person. There are always surprises and new discoveries lurking around the corner.