Demons And Glossolalia

It is written:

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints…. Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40).

Some of my friends who have been involved in charismatic churches have told me that their experiences were more reminiscent of demonic influence then the Spirit Of God as described in Holy Scripture. Even the modern day phenomenon called “speaking in tongues” is an example. In the Bible, speaking in tongues was the miraculous ability of a person to speak fluently in the language of another nation without having previously studied such (see Acts 2:4-16). Yet today, “tongue-speaking” is often described as speaking gibberish in an emotional frenzy. Some disciples recognize the distinction between the two, yet a multitude does not. Even more shocking, the modern gibberish speaking is very similar to what transpired in ancient paganism.

“Tongues of a sort have been manifested in pagan cults which existed before Christ came to earth, and in others which have not been influenced by Christianity. Virgil (70-19 B.C.) tells of one who inquired of the Priestess of Phoebus, at the cavern of the oracle of Sibyl.’ ‘They had gained the threshold, when the maid exclaims: Tis time to ask the oracles; lo! The god, the god! Before the doors thus speaking, suddenly nor countenance, nor hue, nor braided locks Stayed in one fashion; but her bosom heaves, her heart swells wild with frenzy; and more vast she seems, nor mortal rings her voice, when now touched by the nearer breath of deity. He made an end of speaking. But the seer, not yet patient of Phoebus, I the cavern storms Immeasurably, if haply from her breast she make shake off the mighty God; but he so much the rather plies her raving mouth, tames her wild heart, and moulds her to his might. In such words from the shrine doth Cumae’s Sibyl chant her awful riddles, and echo through the cave, in darkness shrouding truth; so shakes the reins Apollo in her raving mouth, and plies deep in her breast the goad. Soon as had ebbed her frenzy, and the frantic lips were still.’ ‘Oracular possession of the kind above described is also common among savages and people of lower culture; and Dr. Tylor, in his Primitive Culture, ii. 14 gives examples of ecstatic utterance interpreted by the sane. Thus in the Sandwich Islands the god Oro gave his oracles through a priest who ‘ceased to act or speak as a voluntary agent, but with his limbs convulsed, his features distorted and terrific, his eyes wild and strained, he would roll on the ground foaming at the mouth, and reveal the will of the God in shrill cries sounds violent and in distinct, which the attending priests duly interpreted to the people’ (Encyclopedia Britannica). L.C. May wrote: ‘As a rule, speaking-in-tongues and kindred phenomena are confined to those areas where there is spirit possession and where inspirational shamans hold forth. Glossolalia can be and often is the result of spirit-induced ecstasy making it possible for the inspirational shaman to cure, exorcise, and prophesy…speaking-in-tongues is widespread and very ancient. Indeed, it is probable that as long as man has had divination, curing sorcery, and propitiation of spirits, he has had glossolalia.’ (As quoted by Pattinson, 74). These were manifestations of what these people called ‘spirit-possession,’ and these spirits which possessed them were not viewed as the Holy Spirit, for of the Holy Spirit they either knew nothing; or if they had heard anything about the Spirit they had not accepted Him. Concerning the Shango cult in Trinidad, George J. Jennings pointed out that ‘The induction of possession is at religious feasts or sacrifices where the combination of crowd excitement, singing, darkness, candles, circular rhythmic dancing, and other ceremonial phases are intensified by incessant drumming. The expected and common result is possession by the spirit or ‘Powers’ with a dramatic physical transformation including body vibrations, rhythmic bending of the body forward and backward, dilation of the eyes, and a fixed stare…The spirit then speaks through the he possessed individual in a mixture of genuine language and nonsense syllables-in short, a form of glossolalia.’ (10). This certainly reminds one of some of the meetings in which people get the gift of ‘tongues.’ There are others, of course, that are not so visible in their display of emotional involvement, but even in these cases we find the testimonies, prayers, and the repetition of certain words such as the name of Jesus. Other examples of tongues in pagan religion can be found in the worship of Amon around 1100 B.C., the writings of Plato who died around 347, Pythoness of Delphi, in some of the mystery religions, in Islam, and among Eskimos in Greenland. (Gromacki, 6-9).” (Dr. James D. Bales, Pat Boone And The Gift Of Tongues, 61-63 (Searcy, Arkansas).

We need to return to Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

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