The Orthodox Pages


15th May 2014






































































































































































Yesterday the Church celebrated Mid-Pentecost, in other words the half way between the feast of the Resurrection and the feast of Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church. By the time we reach Pentecost we will have stopped our talks for the long summer break, but hopefully we can talk of this most important feast in the last two weeks before we break up.
Today I want to talk to you about something that many modern churches associate with the feast of Pentecost and which some have even taken the name of Pentecost as the name of their church. Of course I'm talking about the various Pentecostal churches and others that call themselves Charismatic churches. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning fifty and refers to the fiftieth day after Pascha and Charismatic is from another Greek word "Χαρίσματα" meaning gifts and by calling themselves Charismatic they are claiming that they are blessed with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. St Paul lists nine of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; they are: the word of Wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, the gift of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the discernment of spirits, speaking in tongues and the interpretation of tongues. Of these nine gifts of the Holy Spirit St. Paul says that the gift of speaking in tongues is the least, yet the Charismatic churches who claim they have the gifts of the Holy Spirit disregard all the gifts except the least of these gifts – the speaking in tongues and even preach to us that as we do not have this gift in our church then we do not have the Holy Spirit and therefore we are not true Christians. For them the most important of the gifts is speaking in tongues: you can have all the other gifts like healing and performing miracles, but if you don't have the gift of speaking in tongues then you are not a Christian and therefore will not be saved. Why, of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, did the Charismatics concentrate on the speaking in tongues we will see further down, but before we get there let's see how it all began.
The proper name for Speaking in tongues” is “Glossolalia, Again it is a Greek compound word made from glossa meaning tongue and lalia meaning to speak thus together it means speaking in tongues. In the New Testament there are two types of Glossolalia which are very different from each other. The first is called the "Pentecost Glossolalia" and the other the "Corinthian Glossolalia". The Pentecost glossolalia is found in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles which occurred on the day of Pentecost. Let's then first hear the passage from Acts which I believe explains itself as to what the speaking of foreign tongues by the Grace of the Holy Spirit was:
“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 marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 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 God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.” (Acts 2: 1-17)
What makes the Pentecost glossolalia special is that when the Apostles spoke, everyone present heard them speak intelligible language; the miracle was that everyone simultaneously heard them speak in his own language. The Jews of other nations, who had as their mother tongue the language of the nation in which they lived, marvelled when they heard the Apostles preach in their own language, because the Apostles were simple men of Galilee and it was impossible for them to have leant all these different languages. They spoke only Aramaic which was their native tongue and possibly Greek which was the universal language of the empire. The Jews of other nations understood everything from the divine preaching of the Apostles. They spoke to them with precision in their own language concerning the greatness of God, without needing a translator, and it is exactly in this that the miracle rests. The visitors to Jerusalem were unable to explain what they witnessed and were full of wonder.
But among the listeners there were also some that did not understand anything that the Apostles said and subsequently mocked the Apostles, thinking that they were drunk. This group can be none other than the residents of Jerusalem, and perhaps those of nearby Palestine, who didn’t know other languages except their mother tongue, Aramaic. This is evident from the fact that Peter addressed himself only to these men: “Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” For these men the preaching of the Apostles was completely unintelligible and they considered it simply incoherent babbling. Thus, the residents didn’t understand anything from the preaching, unless someone translated it for them. So why then didn’t the residents understand? The answer is simple: because they had already heard and experienced Christ in the flesh. They saw and heard many miracles and that should have been enough for them to believe. The purpose of the Gift of Tongues was for the Apostles to be able to spread, by their preaching in foreign languages, the Faith of Christians to all people and to make the Gospel known throughout the world, as it is written: “Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Ps. 18:4). Glossolalia was a sign of the power of God and a decisive means of proselytism, to teach people who were ignorant of Christ and his teaching. It was not intended or necessary for the locals who had first hand experience of Christ.
Now the other New Testament experience of talking in tongues; "The Corinthian Glossolalia" is very different and is found in St. Paul’s 1st Epistle to the Corinthians from where it received its name. The text is the following:
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as he wills.” (Corin. 12: 4-11)
In 1 Corinthians there are two more chapters that deal with the gift of tongues which we will refer to as we progress into our examination of the gift. The Corinthian Glossolalia was different to the Pentecost Glossolalia. Both were an activity of the Holy Spirit, but whereas the Pentecost Glossolalia was understood by the speaker and the listener, the Corinthian Glossolalia was not.
The Glossolalia manifested in Corinth was the utterance of words, phrases, sentences, etc., intelligible to God but not to the person uttering them. What was uttered needed to be interpreted by another who had the gift of interpretation. When the person spoke, his soul became passive and his understanding became inactive. He was in a state of ecstasy. While the words or sounds were prayer and praise, they were not clear in meaning and gave the impression of something mysterious. The phenomenon included sighs, groanings, shoutings, cries and utterances of disconnected speech, sometimes jubilant and sometimes ecstatic. There is no question — the Church of Corinth had Glossolalia; St. Paul attests to that and makes mention of it. But he also cautions the Corinthian Christians about excessive use; especially to the exclusion of the other more important gifts.
Now why was this gift manifest only to the Corinthians and not to all the Church? At that time Corinth was greatly influenced by Greek paganism and in particular worshipped the pagan god Dionysius. Their religious practices were intricately interwoven with demonstrations, frenzies and orgies. One of the characteristics of the Dionysian cult was going into ecstatic prayer, in other words the person goes out of the body. The early Greeks believed that being in the body was a bad thing, the soul was trapped by the body and couldn't pray with a free spirit, but when you could pray out of the body the soul was freed from the body and could pray purely in the spirit and could commune with the gods. When they found themselves before a diabolic idol they would fall into ecstasy or a trance, shaking and making rhythmic movements with their body, and tumble on the ground, with a few even foaming at the mouth like the demon-possessed we read of in the Bible. Next they would get up and sing rhapsodic melodies and make exclamations with demonic delight.
When St. Paul preached to the Corinthians they were still worshipping the pagan god Dionysius and were living under the influence of Dionysiac religious customs. It was therefore natural that they would find certain Christian similarities more familiar and appealing and began to put more stress on certain gifts like Glossolalia. St. Paul was concerned about their ties and memories of the old life and was compelled to warn them of using the gift of tongues excessively.
In chapter 14, St. Paul tells them: “I would that ye all spake with tongues but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?”
Here St. Paul mentions that he would like all of us to speak in tongues but a greater gift that tongues is the gift of prophesying because speaking in tongues needs to be interpreted for the good of the whole church. What would be the need for unintelligible language if no-one can profit from it.
Paul continues: “except you utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air.” (Cor. 14:9)
“Therefore if I know not the meaning of the language, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.” (Cor. 14:11)
St. Paul continues to say that the person speaking in an unknown tongue should also pray that he may interpret what he says. And if someone prays in an unknown tongue and his spirit prays but his understanding is unfruitful then what would the be point of it? What purpose does it serve? When someone prays in the spirit he must also pray with understanding. When someone sings in the spirit, he must sing with understanding also. How can someone in the same room say Amen, at any giving of thanks, seeing that he doesn’t have a clue to what you have said? (Cor. 14:13-16)
St. Paul testifies that he himself speaks with tongues more than any of his listeners but in the Church he would rather speak five words with understanding, that have meaning, so that his voice would teach and edify others than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. (Cor. 14:18-19) St. Paul continues to explain the reason for tongues, he says: “tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not.” (Cor. 14:22) In other words if one believes in Christ he has no need of tongues. Its use should be to teach people who are ignorant of Christ and his teaching as it was used at Pentecost to teach people from other countries.
Special attention should be given to what St. Paul says next: If the whole church was to come together into one place, and everyone spoke with tongues, and someone came in who hadn’t heard of Christ or was an unbeliever, wouldn’t he say that you were all mad? So how is it that when you come together every one of you has a psalm, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation. He mentions that if they speak in tongues only two or three persons at the most should speak and another person to interpret, but if there is no interpreter then they should keep silent. (Cor. 14: 23-30) “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” (Cor. 14: 33)
The gift of speaking in foreign tongues or Glossolalia was not given by God for all time, until the end of the world. It was a sign given to the Church only for a short period of time, with the aim of making it easier for those of other religions to convert to Christianity. St Paul himself prophesied that the gift of speaking in foreign tongues would cease. “Love” he said “will never fail: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Cor. 13:8) The Gift of tongues therefore served its purpose in the beginning of Christianity in order to awaken the idol-worshippers and Jews to belief in Christ. The first Christians would not have believed if they had not received signs. We on the other hand should not seek for signs to believe. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:29) It should be noted that the gift of tongues was regarded as one of the lesser or minor gifts of the Holy Spirit. When St. Paul explained to the Galatians what the fruits of the Holy Spirit were he said “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance . . .” (Gal. 5: 22-23).
Speaking in foreign languages is not referred to anywhere as being fruit of the Holy Spirit. This is because it was a gift that was given for only a short period of time in the church while the other gifts referred to by the Apostle are gifts that all Christians in all times must have throughout their lives. The gift of glossologia is not a common gift of grace, in other words it was not given to everyone (1 Cor. 12:10). How, then, can we consider it a precondition of salvation and a requirement for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our life when it is not given to everyone?
The Orthodox Church does not rule out Glossolalia. She simply does not regard it as one of the important gifts of the Spirit. She feels along with St. Paul that it is better to “speak five words that can be understood … than speak thousands of words in strange tongues.” If Glossolalia has fallen out of use it is because it served its purpose in New Testament times and is no longer necessary. This phenomenon, of speaking in tongues, disappeared as a gift of the Holy Spirit after the death of the Apostles, but was adopted by certain heretics like the Montanists and Gnostics of the first and second centuries after Christ. In the centuries that followed it was unheard of again until the Renaissance.
It reappeared in the late 17th century among certain French Calvinists, in the 18th century among British Quakers and American Methodists and in the 19th century among members of the Catholic Apostolic Church, in the Mormon churches and other churches. Most notably we find it with the founding of the Pentecostal movement. The modern Pentecostal movement dates its origin precisely to 7:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve of the year 1900. For some time before that moment a Methodist minister in Topeka, Kansas, Charles Parham, and a small Bible study group in Kansas began to study the Bible with the aim of discovering the secret of the power of Apostolic Christianity, in other words why people in apostolic times were blessed with various powers of the Holy Spirit which were not apparent in western Christianity in Parham’s time. They deduced that the secret of their power lay in the "speaking in tongues" which, they thought, always accompanied the reception of the Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles.

With a lot of excitement and tension, Parham and his students decided to pray as an experiment until they themselves received the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” together with speaking in tongues. On December 31, 1900, they prayed from morning to night with no success, until one young girl suggested that one ingredient was missing in this experiment: “the laying on of hands.” Parham put his hands on the girl’s head, and immediately she began to speak in an “unknown tongue.” Within three days there were many such “Baptisms,” including that of Parham himself and twelve other ministers of various denominations, and all of them were accompanied by speaking in tongues. Soon the revival spread to Texas, and then it had spectacular success at a small Black church in Los Angeles. Since then it has spread throughout the world, especially from 1960 onwards and today claims more than ten million members. Believers who spoke in tongues began to form Charismatic groups with existing denominations, both Protestant and Catholic.
So we must now ask: is this modern day speaking in tongues the same gift of tongues given by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles or is it the gift of tongues given to the Corinthians, or is it something else? Does it have any similarities to any of the two New Testament experiences? To make an analysis we need to understand how the modern day “speaking in tongues” is understood and received by those who speak it. Let’s hear what Tom Brown, the founder and pastor of “Word of Life Church” in El Paso Texas has to say on the subject. “Many people inaccurately define speaking in tongues as “speaking gibberish” or “talking nonsense.” The truth is, speaking in tongues is the most intelligent, perfect language in the universe. It is God’s language. What language do you suppose people speak in heaven? Languages are given their name based on the countries they come from. For example, English comes from England. Spanish comes from Spain. Italian comes from Italy. Well, where does tongues come from? It comes from Heaven! Tongues is the heavenly language. It is what is spoken in heaven; the only difference is that the people in heaven understand what they are saying. Here on earth Paul says, “For anyone who speaks in tongues does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit”.

I was baptized in the Holy Spirit at the First Assembly of God church on Montana. The preacher asked for those wishing to dedicate themselves to the ministry to come forward for prayer. The first to come forward was a tall, slender fellow named Timmy. I thought, “If Timmy can go forward, I can too.” So I followed him down to the front of the podium. Without notice, something invisible hit Timmy, and down he went on the floor. Almost immediately, something hit me too. Down I went, prostrate on the ground. I began to weep uncontrollably. God’s presence was all over me. This went on for several minutes. The thought occurred to me, “This must be what my church has been talking about all these years. What is happening to me must be the baptism in the Holy Spirit.” No sooner did I think that when I heard this scripture in my mind, “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues.” If I’m filled with the Holy Spirit, then I’ll speak in other tongues, I reasoned in my mind. Right then, I began speaking in other tongues, and I haven’t stopped yet! Glory to God! You see, the physical proof of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the same evidence that the disciples had: speaking in tongues. You may have other evidences as well, but the one evidence you should have is speaking in tongues.”
So now let’s compare Tom Brown’s experience with the cloven tongues of fire on the day of Pentecost. Tom say’s that something “hit him and he fell down”. In comparison the Apostles remained as they were when the Holy Spirit descended as cloven tongues of fire. Already here we see that it cannot be the Holy Spirit that hit Tom Brown; some other force must be at work. Nowhere in the Old or New Testament is there mention of people being hit by the Holy Spirit and falling down. This applies also to the phenomenon of “being slain in the spirit” where people fall backwards and often remain in a trance-like state for some considerable time. This gift, if we can call it a gift, is also received by the “laying of hands.” Apart from “speaking in tongues” and being “slain in the spirit” there are other manifestations of unusual activities such as “Laughing in the spirit” where the person exhibits uncontrollable fits of laughter, Getting drunk in the spirit, Weeping in the Spirit, barking like a dog and many kinds of tremblings and contortions, and falling to the floor. Do these people who experience these activities really believe that the Holy Spirit makes them act in such ridiculous, undignified and humiliating mannerisms? Tom mentions that he reasoned in his mind that “If I’m filled with the Holy Spirit, then I’ll speak in other tongues. Right then, I began speaking in other tongues and I haven't stopped yet! Of course the key word is “If”: “If I’m filled with the Holy Spirit”.
Modern day people who speak in tongues often talk gibberish, sounds that make no sense. They of course justify their speech as being heavenly language so of course we cannot understand. If this is so then it cannot be the same gift the Holy Apostles received at Pentecost because we are told that everyone present heard them speak intelligible language, everyone simultaneously heard them speak in his own language.
It is evident that the Pentecost experience has nothing in common with the Modern day Pentecostal experiences and so they very wrongly call themselves the Pentecostal Church. Let's now look to see if there are similarities with the Corinthian speaking in tongues. Certainly both sound as gibberish, but Paul warns that only two or three persons at the most should speak and another person must interpret what is being said for the edification of those listening, but if there is no interpreter then they should keep silent. (Cor. 14: 23-30) The Modern day Charismatics say that no interpretation is necessary because it is not meant to be understood by men, it is the language of heaven and only God and the angels understand it. Also most of the congregation begin speaking this gibberish language all at the same time and people act in a frenzy with uncontrollable fits of laughter and weeping and shouting, some barking like dogs, some trembling and falling to the ground in contortions and many other weird things. They are so overcome by their experiences that they believe that it all comes from God and cannot see that their actions are very ungodly, even when Paul warns them "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." (Cor. 14: 33) The confusion in their assemblies is proof that what they have is not from God – God is not the author of confusion. What Tom Brown describes has in fact many similarities with the ecstatic state of the Dionysiac pagan rites.
Modern day Charismatics are deluded when they say that they are Baptized in the Holy Spirit. They say there is a baptism of water and a baptism of the Spirit which is totally different from baptism with water. This baptism of the Spirit showers upon them various miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially that of Glossolalia and the interpretation of Scripture, as happened also at Pentecost with the Apostles. Is it possible that there are two Christian baptisms? Doesn’t it say in Holy Scripture that there is one and only one baptism? St. Paul tells us there is but “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all…” (Ephes. 4: 5)

The baptism of “the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16) of Pentecost is none other than the Christian baptism which was pre-announced by both Saint John the Baptist and the Saviour Himself (Matth. 3:11, Acts 1:5) and which He said would happen by “water and the Spirit”. In other words not a baptism by water alone, as with the baptism of John, nor only by the Spirit (John. 3:5). These two elements, the one visible and the other invisible, constitute the two most necessary requirements for the one and only Christian baptism. A baptism not of the Holy Spirit alone, neither of Christ alone, but a baptism in the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit as Christ himself instructed: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matth. 28: 19) The gifts of the Holy Spirit are received with the anointing of the Holy Myron, (Chrismation) which in the early church was received by the laying of hands. It is symbolic of the tongues of fire that descended upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost and were thus filled with the Holy Spirit. The Apostles in turn, passed on the gifts of the Holy Spirit to others by the laying on of their hands upon the heads of the faithful: “Then laid they their hands on them, [those who were baptized] and they received the Holy Ghost” (Acts 8: 17). “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them” (Acts 19: 6).
The Apostles also ordained bishops who were also empowered with the laying on of their hands to give the gift of the Holy Spirit. As the Church grew, it was impossible for the bishops to be present at all the Baptisms and so the Church introduced the use of the Holy Myron which through prayers by the bishops was sanctified and then given to the priests to anoint the newly baptized. In this way it was not necessary for a bishop to be present. Whether the recipient received the gifts of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the bishop’s hand or through the Chrism, the Sacrament was truly administered, for both these are the sensible and visible elements of the Sacrament. The invisible and supernatural element is always Divine Grace.
Each Orthodox Christian receives at baptism the gifts of the Holy Spirit but these remain invisible and become manifest only in Orthodox Christians who have attained Christian perfection, purified and prepared beforehand by repentance. They are given to Saints of God solely at God's good will and God's action, and not by the will of men and not by one’s own power. These gifts serve entirely the needs of salvation. Certain charismatics who claim that they can give evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit within them through the practice of speaking in foreign tongues, say that the fact that Orthodox cannot do this is proof that the Orthodox are not true Christians. The absence of the gift of tongues shows the absence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. I would say that they cannot read and are quite illiterate because St. Paul clearly says that this gift as many others are not required from all Christian.
“And God has appointed these in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts: and yet I show you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not boast, is not puffed up, Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (Cor. 12: 28 – 13: 8)
To summarize we should understand and guard well within our minds what true Glossolalia as a gift of the Holy Spirit is and how to recognize it.
1) If someone speaks a language it must be understood by those who speak it as well as by those who hear it as in the case of the Pentecost experience of the Apostles. They didn't speak gibberish and never claimed that what they spoke was the language of heaven; they spoke intelligent earthly and human languages.
2) If the language is not understood by those hearing it as in the case of the Corinthians, then there must be present someone with the gift of interpretation. Without this interpretation the foreign language is just babbling and lunacy.
3) Glossolalia was not given to the Church forever but only in the beginning of Christianity in order to awaken the idol-worshippers and Jews to belief in Christ. This is why the Apostle Paul said that the gift of Glossolalia would at some point cease to exist in the Church.
4) The gift of Glossolalia was a sign necessary only for the unbelieving and not for the faithful. Since we believe that Christ is our true God we no longer have need of Glossolalia.
5) From the beginning the gift of Glossolalia was considered one of the lesser gifts of the Holy Spirit, while the others, such as that of prophecy, interpretation of Scripture, of love and the rest, were much greater.
6) Speaking in tongues, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, does not mean behaving unseemly, with shaking and making strange movements with the body, with lunacies and incoherent utterances which resemble more the scenes the idol-worshippers would make before their idols of Dionysius, and lastly the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not accompanied by being hit by the spirit and falling backwards. These are signs that are clearly in contradiction with the Scriptural account found in the Acts of the Apostles.
In the beginning of the talk I posed a question; Why, of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, did the Charismatics concentrate on the speaking in tongues? Why didn't Charles Parham in his search for the Apostolic power deduce that in lay in the power of healing or in performing miracles? Certainly that would have been more in line with what Christ said: that if we have faith we could do the miracles that he did and much more. Why in the first place did Parham think that he could claim any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? The gifts are not there for anyone to just grab and take for themselves; they are gifts from God and are given at God's will. Can we claim the gift of healing or the gift of teaching? Certainly all the gifts that Paul speaks of exist in the Church to this day, probably even the gift of speaking in tongues, but no one can just put forth his hand and grab them for himself. They are given by God to men who have through their way of life attained humility, virtue and holiness. Parham showed none of these things and in fact showed great arrogance thinking that he could force the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon himself.

This is what we call a "name it and claim it theology;" God said we can do this thing therefore I claim it for myself. So why didn't he claim the gift of healing? Well it could easily be verified if he had the power to heal or any of the other gifts, but who can verify speaking in tongues. If I say to you gougou gaga gougou and say to you that I am speaking the heavenly language how could you prove that I wasn't? What did I say in the heavenly language, well I don't know because I don't have to know, I only have the gift of speaking in tongues but I don't have the gift of interpretation. Of course I could have a friend who has the gift of interpretation so we could ask him. So friend what did I say? Oh you said gougou gaga gougou which interpreted means Glory to God.
I don't believe for a moment that you are so gullible to believe me, but neither do I believe that all these people who say they talk in tongues actually pretend and don't have some sort of experience. Something is happening to them, but comparing their experiences with what we are told about speaking in tongues in the New Testament, their experiences have nothing in common with the Scriptural gift of Speaking in tongues which was a gift of the Holy Spirit. Some other spirit is at work here which has deluded these speakers of tongues into thinking that it is good and comes from God. These people would seem to be correct in calling themselves "spirit-filled" - but it is certainly not the Holy Spirit with which they are filled! What then? Are all these people possessed by demons? It is possible that some are, but in most cases the spirit or spirits are not working from within but from without. By their own description of their experiences it is clear that these experiences are mediumistic in character.

To understand this better we can compare it with spiritual séances. Firstly the atmosphere is spiritually induced by artificial means, such as by singing hymns, music, prayer, clapping hands as well as everyone holding hands, ect." Then they give themselves up totally in body and mind so that the spirit can take full possession. They become a medium for the spirit to manifest itself in them which is triggered by the laying of hands by others who themselves are channels of this spirit. A mediumistic initiation takes place and they experience what they call the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. This is not something new it has been around long before Christianity itself. Almost all non-Christian religions make large use of mediumistic gifts, such as clairvoyance, hypnosis, "miraculous" healing, the appearance and disappearance of objects as well as their movement from place to place, etc. What is new is that it has managed to convince a gullible generation that it is Christian in character.
It is the result of what the Church fathers call prelest or spiritual deception. It occurs when a person strives for a high spiritual state or spiritual visions without having been purified of passions and relying on his own judgment. To such a person the devil grants great “visions.” There are many such examples in the Lives of Saints which serve as warnings for those who have high opinions of their own religiousness, thinking that they are “Good Christians” with exalted “religious feelings.” Everyone who does not have a contrite spirit, who takes pride in himself, who recognizes any kind of merit or worth in himself, who believes he is worthy to receive miraculous gifts, who does not hold unwaveringly to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, who has followed a non-Orthodox teaching or some other tradition is in this state of deception. The Orthodox Christian is protected against deception by the very knowledge that such deception not only exists, but is everywhere, including within himself. It is the greatest deception to acknowledge oneself to be free of deception. Acknowledgement that we are all in deception is the greatest preventative against deception.