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Orthodoxy and Pentecostal/Charismatic teaching

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#41 H. Smith

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 03:38 PM


Just a note on the Corinthian church. They were suffering from various spiritual problems that are commonly associated with spiritual pride. (challenging authority, excessive asceticism, the disorderly problem with ecstatic manifestations, etc.)  

I don't believe that the Charismatics typically have real "miracles" - I think their visions and incomprehensible tongues are usually Prelest and delusions.
Yet despite their disorderliness that you mention above, the Corinthians' frequent prophecy and incomprehensible "tongues" is presented in Paul's letter as a real gift.

This is confusing for me.



But St Paul is gentle and pastoral in his approach to correcting them, not trying to cut off everything wrong all at once, but adjusting his corrections to what he knows they can hear.  There are warnings throughout our Orthodox spiritual writings to beware and not to take advice given at a particular time, to a particular person or group of people, and try to make universal principles out of it.

Sure. Some advice is fundamental and broad like the Sermon on the Mount. If an elder recommends, on the other hand that a young person try more or less asceticism, that can't be broadened to other people.


In the Bible, Paul teaches the Corinthians, who already have exaggerated use of "gifts" by our standards, to zealously desire these gifts and doesn't dissuade them, only requires them to do it in an orderly way. Why would he encourage them to be zealous in this desire  when they are already practicing it so intensely, unless he believes in zealous, but orderly desire and use of the gifts?

Are there other places in the Bible where large groups of people, eg. Christian believers, are advised to desire or perform these gifts?

Edited by H. Smith, 19 November 2015 - 03:38 PM.

#42 Anna Stickles

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 06:26 PM


Yet despite their disorderliness that you mention above, the Corinthians' frequent prophecy and incomprehensible "tongues" is presented in Paul's letter as a real gift.

This is confusing for me.


This is St John Chrysostom's explanation. Homily on I Cor 12:1, quotes from "The Church's Bible)  "This whole passage is hard to understand because we do not know the situation in those times and how this differs from our own experience." He goes on to ask, Why did it (the speaking in other languages, the prophesying, etc. ) happen in the past but not now?  "Because they were not raised on Scriptures but had worshipped idols, their understanding was insufficient."


He goes on to explain that in order to confirm them in the faith God gave these gifts as ways to make obvious the Spirit's activity.   He then goes on to comment, "These gifts however, led to division, not because of the nature of the gifts themselves but the folly of those who received them."  He also goes on to say that further confusion was caused because of not discerning between the pagan practice of divination and the spirit of prophecy in the Church. This is why they were given the gift of distinguishing between spirits and of course St Paul himself addresses this through reinforcing their ecclesiastical vision of being one Body animated by the one Holy Spirit. 


 Why would he encourage them to be zealous in this desire  when they are already practicing it so intensely, unless he believes in zealous, but orderly desire and use of the gifts?

He is not encouraging them to desire more of what they have (ie these beginning gifts given for the sake of confirmation) instead he wants them to move on and he is specifically encouraging them to desire the GREATER gifts, and what is the next chapter? The Love chapter.  This is completely consistent with tradition. 


If we look at these verses in the wider context of Tradition - what is meant by "the greater gifts"?  What is meant is Christian perfection, the fruit of the Spirit and the life lived from God and in God where it is no longer the saint who lives, but Christ who lives in them. The greatest gift is the new creation in Christ.  This is where St Paul is trying to lead them as he moves into chapter 13.


St Gregory of Nyssa comments in On the Christian Mode of Life.  (pp. 129, 140-143)

"For, brethren, holy Baptism is important, important for the
things perceptible to the mind of those who receive it with fear; for the rich
and ungrudging Spirit is always flowing into those accepting grace, filled with
which the holy apostles reaped a full harvest for the churches of Christ.

For those who have taken possession of this gift sincerely, it endures as co-worker
and companion in accordance with the measure of faith, the good dwelling in
each one in proportion to the eagerness of the soul in its deeds of faith, ….


Later he goes on....


And in another epistle concerning these same matters, he also speaks to
his disciples, revealing to them the treasure of the Spirit and calling upon
them to share in it. He says: ‘Strive after the gifts of the Spirit and I point
out to you a yet more excellent way. If I should speak with the tongues of men
and of angels, but do not have charity, I have become as sounding brass or a
tinkling cymbal. And if I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all
knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, yet do not have
charity, I am nothing. And if I distribute all my goods and if I deliver my
body to be burned, yet do not have charity, it profits me nothing.’(1 Cor.
12.51; 15.3) And what the profit of charity is, what sort of fruit it produces,
from what the possessor of charity is re­moved, and what it provides, he makes
abundantly clear: ‘Charity does not envy, is not pretentious, is not puffed up,
is not unseemly, is not self-seeking, is not provoked; thinks no evil, does not
rejoice over wickedness, but rejoices with the truth; bears with all things,
believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Charity never
fails.’(1 Cor. 15.4-8) Altogether wisely and accurately, he says: ‘Charity
never fails.’ But what does it mean? Even if someone receives the other gifts
which the Spirit furnishes (I mean the tongues of angels and prophecy and
knowledge and the grace of healing), but has never been entirely cleansed of
the troubling passions within him through the charity of the Spirit, and has not
received the final remedy of salvation in his soul, he is still in danger of
failing if he does not keep charity steadfast and firm among his virtues.

Do not acquiesce in His gifts, thinking that because of the wealth and ungrudging
grace of the Spirit nothing else is needed for perfection. When these riches
come to you be modest in thought, ever submissive and thinking of love as the
foundation of the treasure of grace for the soul, struggle against all passion
until you come to the height of the goal of reverence to which the apostle
himself came first

Edited by Anna Stickles, 19 November 2015 - 06:36 PM.

#43 Anna Stickles

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 06:46 PM

Just a PS, part of our maturing in the Spirit is striving to use what we have been given in a way that is consistent with God's order and will. This is also what St Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to do.  If something is broken, don't abandon it, but struggle to purify it, struggle to purify yourselves. 

#44 H. Smith

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Posted 19 November 2015 - 08:43 PM



You asked:

One question in regards the Pentecostals which we have to ask is why are they trying to imitate the Corinthians who are being rebuked for lacking love, being immature, disorderly, and in rebellion against their spiritual father? 

It's probably desire for magical powers. They see these miraculous abilities in the Bible, and for whatever reason they picked the foreign languages one. Maybe they were bored with Christian accounts of healings and visions like Traditional Christianity has in ongoing form. One lady prayed for this ability, and Charismatic speaking in babbling tongues is easier to prove as something real (although not a real language) than their visions, which could be a form of mental roaming or loose daydreaming.


Of course if they were serious enough about Paul and his letter they would at least restrict themselves to two "speakers" at a time like he instructed.


If we want to go to the NT and find a mature and more perfect example of spiritual gifts we should look to St Paul himself. 


The miracles that he did (There is a list here which does not include his several visions, or the times God kept him miraculously alive)  are much more substantial and more selfless than anything we see going on in the Corinthian church, and we do not see the saint himself talking about these miracles or the Spirit's gifts, nor promoting himself because of these, nor seeking these.

You are presenting it as a dichotomy between Paul's miracles and the Corinthians' when it might not be. Paul told them he spoke in tongues, and as you said, visions were ascribed to him. He healed peple and drove out demons, I think. I can't remember any "prophecies" he made, except maybe what were probably normal expectations among Christians, like his prediction that he would still be alive at the second coming. (1 Thess. 4:15-17)

Paul might have implied that the Corinthians used healings in 1 Corinthians 12:30, but he didn't open assert it.


In any case, what you say has more than a grain of truth, because while the Corinthians apparently emphasized their own prophecies and tongues, Paul emphasized more his evangelisation. I like his style of writing because he is thoughtful and easier to understand than, say, John's apocalypse, however enjoyable the latter is.


Rather the example that he sets is one of dying to himself so that Christ can live in him. He does not look at what he has accomplished but keeps striving for what is ahead, he does not base his confidence on these, but says that God gave him a thorn in the flesh to humble him. We don't hear about these from St Paul himself except for his vision on the road to Damascus, and when he is painfully forced to put forward His many times of miraculous preservation in the face of death in an attempt to reassert his authority and credibility to his weak and doubting spiritual children who were being led astray by leaders teaching a false spirituality.


#45 H. Smith

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Posted 20 November 2015 - 05:19 AM

It seems to me that if you were sitting in the audience with the Corinthians or Greek pagans, and you heard them speaking an "unknown" tongue, then whether it was some real language like Eskimo or the flow of consonants and vowels like Charismatics make, one would not "know" whether this was a real human language or not.


Take for example, this young lady who appears to pray sincerely next to crosses and then speak various "words" in a row. I thought I heard her say "Gospodi" twice and "Kyria", but I doubt she knows Russian or Greek: youtube.com/watch?v=vsrwgd7rnR0

It caught my interest for a moment, but then I remembered that Russians in referring to God use the old Church pronunciation, eg. "Hospodi", "Boh", not to mention that she didn't say "Kyrie" like in Greek. So I believe that she is just releasing a mental flow of semi-random phonetics, like when I saw a stage performer hypnotize someone into speaking "Martian", which doesn't exist.


It seems that a bystander would have to make a guess whether the Corinthians, surrounded by pagan practices and oracle priestesses and perhaps having the spiritual problems Anna ascribed ti them, were pronouncing real unknown languages or else tongues that no one anywhere could understand.


One might note that Paul instructed the Corinthians to have interpreters, and then guess that this must have been something a real interpreter could recognize and translate - say, someone from Persia. However, remember that Paul said no one could understand the unknown language and to pray for tongues-interpretation as a "gift". In that case we would not be talking about a certifiable foreign interpreter recognizing and translating the Corinthians' speech from his own native language into Greek.


So realistically, it seems that when it comes to the Corinthians, if one was there watching it, the most that one could say would be that they were not speaking in a major language for the Roman empire. That is because Corinth had all kinds of foreign travelers, being a major city, and Latins, Arameans, and Greeks, at least would all know that their language was not being spoken. Besides, we hear about other foreign Christians like the Ethiopian slave in Acts, so there would have been chances to see what languages these were.

Edited by H. Smith, 20 November 2015 - 05:24 AM.

#46 H. Smith

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 12:42 AM

Dear Kosta!

I used to believe that the Corinthian experience was a combination of human languages and ecstatic utterances as well . Though I always believed that Paul was gently rebuking them for abnormal behavior. That the whole thing was just pagan baggage (as i said before). This is because of the uncanny similarities to the explanations of the oracles by the ancient greeks.

I stopped believing that this was ecstatitc utterances after i started looking at the passages closer. What you are implying (if i'm not mistaken) is that Paul is refering to three types of languages. First is that of foreign human languages, secondly angelic languages which can be interpreted and thirdly another form of angelic language which cannot be interpreted into human understanding.


He mentions the languages of humans and of angels. I suppose the angels' languages could all be interpreted, but it would take a special, maybe miraculous understanding. Presumably the angels' "language" has a sound, because he said that if he talks in the angels' language and humans' language without love he is like a clanking bell.


It is interesting that Paul doesn't specify whether the "unknown" language of the Corinthians is of angels or humans. He simply says that it is an "unknown tongue", that is, an unrecognized pattern of speech. Persian, Ethiopian, Scythians, northern Indian, Celtic were all known languages in the Roman world. But in this case the tongues of the Corinthians were unknown.


This is what I think the best interpretation is. Despite discussing the topic at length, Paul never says that this is a real human language for anybody, but always denies it. It is simply a pattern of speech that God knows but we - at least Paul in the Corinthians - could not identify as any real human language. They simply did not know what kind of language it was.


Long ago after I took a closer look at what was being said in the 1 Corinthian epistle, I rejected the non-human angelic tongue interpretation. It is said, "No one understands him" because no one present was comprehending the language. In fact i do not find the word 'understanding' in the koine at all! It says 'No one hears him" just bad translation./(gr: akou)

Sure, "no one" was comprehending the "language", even though there were people from across the Roman empire in Corinth. This is why Lopukhin believed that it was not talking about real human languages.Besides, Paul wrote 1 Corinthians with a general broad style of reference or as general principles when it came to the discussion on the gifts. In that case, it suggests that he was not just talking about whatever language they spoke on a certain date in tongues, but that as a general phenomena, "no one" understands such unknown tongues in general.


I understand you prefer "No one hears him" as more literal, (and I usually prefer the plain meaning too) however that does not really make sense, because the people around the speaker of tongues would naturally all hear him.


In verse 5 Paul says these 'mysteries in the Spirit' are less in value than prophecy UNLESS one can interpret it so the entire church can be edified. In other words the mysteries in the spirit are only mysteries because no one is there to interpret them but once they are interpreted the mystery is converted to a knowledge, or a psalm or a revelation or a teaching (verses 6 & 26)



This leads to a good point - if it can be interpreted, then it must have meaning. However, in this case Paul writes that this unknown tongue is used to talk to God, not to men. So this must have a meaning, but only for God. as for the interpretation, interpretation is
also a gift from God requested in prayer.


Verse 11 is certainly speaking of human languages, "But if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a barbarian (foreigner) to the speaker and the speaker a barbarian (foreigner) to me. This is no different that the complaints of converts to Orthodoxy in America. Converts find certain parishes to ethnic. An all greek speaking parish will look at the native as a foreigner and the native will feel like a foreigner. Refering to foreigner as 'barbaroi' would be nonsensical if he had in mind angelic utterance..

It can just be straightforward reasoning as follows: People who speak unknown tongues are to others a barbarian(foreigner). It doesn't actually matter if the person's language is a human one, an angelic one, or one known "only to God". In any of those cases, the person making incomprehensible speech patterns will still come across as a foreigner. If the people who speak Charismatic tongues today go to you and try to speak in their unknown tongues, it's as if they are a foreigner. You don't now if they are speaking an African language or what, but it doesn't sound like a language of which you know.





In verse 13 Paul also says the one that speaks in a tongue should be the very same person who should strive to receive to interpret his own message. Otherwise if there is no interpretor and no one understands this language; he should just use the gift of tongues in private prayer and not publicly in church, hence back to 'no one understands (or hears) him'.

This is further advanced when Paul says in verse 16 "Otherwise if you bless with the Spirit, how can anyone in the position of unlearned (idiot) say the 'Amen' to your Eucharist . This can only make sense if the speaker is using a human language, the foreign christian will be able to answer with AMEN, and the unlearned (inquirier or catecumen) should be able to also when its interpreted as well.

I don't know why this shows that they were talking about a real human language, Kosta. It only means that the tongue had some meaning, eg. of thanksgiving, such that the Amen could be stated at the end. Even if it was an angelic tongue or a speech pattern known only to God (what Paul says), it would still have enough meaning to be answered with Amen and to be interpreted if the divine ability to do so was instilled on the interpreter.



He then brings this point home by quoting a prophecy from the OT, "In the Law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people, and yet they will not hear me(v.21). Obviously men of other tongues can only refer to the languages of the gentiles.


In the OT (Isaiah 28), yes, this was a statement made about God trying to educate Ephraim, who it says have God's instrutions "line by line". Strictly speaking, I am not sure if this would not be a case of gentiles speaking their own languages to Ephraim, which is what Isaiah 28 would imply if it meant "With 'gentiles' will I speak unto this people (Ephraim)".


In the KVJ it says not "other lips", but "stammering lips" and "another tongue". With this reference to "stammering lips", could it be a reference to glossolalia? Maybe that was what Paul was thinking of. However, I think that these are all bad translations of the Hebrew (at least in the Masoretic). The Hebrew says not "stammering" or "other" lips, but rather "mocking" lips: http://biblehub.com/hebrew/3932.htm

This meant that the foreigners were mocking Ephraim and God used these mocking lips to talk to Ephraim.


In any case, Paul nowhere says that these "other tongues" are real human tongues of the gentiles in verse 21. "Men of other tongues" could, in Paul's use of it mean people who speak glossolalia.


So: You are proposing "With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people (Ephraim)" means God using gentiles (people of other languages) to speak to the Jews." And from this you conclude that the gentiles were speaking gentile languages.


However, this verse in Isaiah does not specify if the speakers use:

(A) Their own languages

(B) Real human languages unknown to the Corinthians like an African tribal one.

(C.) Speech patterns that literally "only God knows" (ie. someone from India doesn't), which is what Paul labels the Corinthians' speech.


Presumably, reading Isaiah 28 by itself, we would think that it meant (A). On the face of it, Paul is using Isaiah 28 as a reference to C from the Corinthians, but I suppose that it can theoretically mean (B), even though that is not what Isaiah or Paul specify.

Edited by H. Smith, 21 November 2015 - 12:42 AM.

#47 H. Smith

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Posted 21 November 2015 - 01:38 AM

In these five passages you cited, the Fathers all speak of the "apostles", whom Acts said spoke in national languages a Pentecost,
rather than of the Corinthians:

There are a few Fathers that spoke about this, My conclusion is that none ever meant ecstatic utterance. I will give some examples:

Hillary Poiters:
The phrase Spirit of God denotes also the Paraclete, and that not only on the testimony of the prophets but also of apostles, when it is
said...It shall come to pass on the last day , says the Lord, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and their sons and daughters shall
prophecy. And we learn ALL this prophecy was fullfilled in the case of the apostles, when, after sending of the Holy Spirit, they all spoke with the tongues of gentiles.(On the trinity bk8)

Eusebius of Emesa:
But when God gave literary ability to ignorant men so they could write gospels, giving the ability to write he gave the Roman tongue to Galileans, and the languages of the world to his apostles, for the teaching and admonition and exhortation of the nations of the world.

Cyril of Jerusalem: John and the reast of the apostles
spoke every tongue of those of gentile extraction...This is in truth vast wisdom, this is power divine. What a contrast of their long
ignorance in times past to their sudden, complete and varied and unaccustomed exercise of these languages.(catechetical lectures 17)

Rufinus of Aquilea: They
were thus enabled to speak a variety of different languages, with the result they found no nation strange to them , and no foreign speech beyond their powers of comprehension." (commentary on apostles creed)


Here the fathers do not mention the Corinthians:

Severian of Gabala 390 AD:
'The person who speaks in the Holy Spirit speaks when he choosesto do so and then can be silent, like the prophets. But those who are posessed
by an unclean spirit speak even when they dont want to. They say things they do not understand.(Pauline commentary of the Greek church)

Eusebius of Ceasaria quoting from an earlier document on the Montanists:
There is said to be a certain village called Ardabau in that part of Mysia, which borders upon Phrygia. There first, they say, when Gratus was proconsul of Asia, a recent convert, Montanus by name, through his unquenchable desire for leadership, gave the adversary opportunity against him. And he became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to
the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning.


8. Some of those who heard his spurious utterances at that time were indignant, and they rebuked him as one that was possessed, and that was under the control of a demon, and was led by a deceitful spirit, and was distracting the multitude; and they forbade him to talk, remembering the distinction drawn by the Lord and his warning to guard watchfully against the coming of false prophets. But others imagining themselves possessed of the Holy Spirit and of a prophetic gift, were elated and not a little puffed up; and forgetting the distinction of the Lord, they challenged the mad and insidious and seducing spirit, and
were cheated and deceived by him. In consequence of this, he could no longer be held in check, so as to keep silence. (church history bk5 ch16)

However, I note that here , Severian had criticized those who spoke things that they themselves did
not understand, which is what Paul  explicitly said of the Corinthians.


Finally, you gave two examples from the Fathers;

Pseudo Constantius 405 AD:
(After quoting 1 Cor 14.3-5 he adds)..'He says, If I shall come to you and shall speak to you in the Syrian or Persian tongue, what good is that to you who do not understand?" (commentary on 1Corinthians)

Theodoret of Cyrus:
"To another the interpretation of words". This also was a spiritual gift. For often a person who knew only the Greek tongue, after discoursing with another in the language of Scythia and Thrace, brought an interpretation to the hearers... For one who speaks in a tongue, speaks not to people but to God, for no one hears....(commentary on 1 Corinthians)

However, Paul did not actually mention Syrian or Persian in his talk to the Corinthians. Further, even in Pseudo Constantius (Does that count as a Patristic writing?), Constantius doesn't say that the Corinthians were speaking Syrian, but only proposes a hypothetical to help would-be Corinthians understand the
flaw in their practice: if i speak to you in Syrian and you don't understand, how does it help you? The same thing can be said of tongues
that no one but God understands.

In what you cited, Theodoret does not directly specify that the Corinthians were speaking Thracian (I presume that Thracian would have been at least recognized by the Corinthians). However, see that Theodoret implies that the Corinthians were, since Theodoret's commentary was about Paul's letter to them. So I would add Theodoret to John Chrysostom as a proponent of your interpretation of Corinthians' "gift".


Next, you said:

(((I don't know why that would automatically be the language of an angel, since angels and people are different categories of beings and can both talk to God. Lopukhin's answer about this distinction as I understand it was that angels are spirits and so they don't use phonetic words for their language. So an angel could just ask god something without putting it into actual words.)))

"This could actually make sense, as angelic contemplative prayer is meant to be inaudible. It may also make sense in his reference to "no one understands". As i said my google translate on the link didnt do it justice and I would be surprised that with his credentials that he did not pick up on the original koine greek word (akouw) which
means hear or listen."

I can see personally why an angel's speech is inaudible, since an angels as Lopukhin points out is not a material being. However, for Paul in Corinthians, he said that if he speaks with an human's tongue and an angel's tongue without love, he is a clanking bell. And a clanking bell makes a sound. So speaking in an angel's tongue doesn't rule out that it has a sound.


It's true that I think it says NO ONE HEARS, and Lopukhin would realize this like you said, because in our liturgical slavonic it says "hears". Only in modern Russian church translation (nonliturgical) does it say understand. But in any case i think it means "hears" in the sense of understand, since the Corinthians were physically heard.

Next, you write:


(((The plain meaning is that she spoke in a different "tongue"(language) or "dialect", the language of angels. Next it says that you can look at the hymns of Kassia. However, are the hymns of Kassia the same hymns that she sang when she was transformed and speaking the angels' language? Were the hymns of Kassia a supposed translation of the angels' language into Greek?)))

"I still believe it was in a melodic form of worship (Psalm 148.1-3& 150) possibly sung in hebrew psaltery (this writing originates no later 100bc from greek or aramaic speaking jews)"

There is a jewish tradition that there are 70 human languages of the gentiles (reference to genesis and 1Cor 14.21)) and the one angelic language of hebrew. There maybe something to it as the angelic praises sung in heaven of Rev 19.1-6 uses the untranslated hebrew word Alleluia four times, but in Rev 21.6 and 22.13 the revelation is assumed as being dictated in the greek tongue with the saying. 'I am the alpha and omega.

Lets say this is indeed a non-human language of angels. At the very least we can say it can be interpreted, that it can be conveyed using human words accompanied with musical notations.

Sure. In that case, if it were the untranslated speech of the Corinthians, it would be an incomprehensible "angelic" language that required interpretation as Paul instructed.


Next, you write:

(((Here it says not to use "vain repetitions" (βατταλογήσητε), hence Jesus noted that their words were extra, that is, the fact that they were many did not make them really efficacious as they thought. In the case of the Corinthians' incomprehensible glossolalia they were not necessarily repetitions.)))
Not really batta means to stammer (usually in an uncontrolable manor). It means to speak foolishly without self restraint. Its translated as vain repititions because the english translator is translating Batto as 'stutter'. Of course the quote is not implying heathen have speech impediments.

It's neat that you know Greek.

It appears that Jesus criticized the pagans for both 1. praying foolishly/stammering unrestrainedly and 2. for using extra words, because they thought that "God would hear them for their many words".

1. "Speaking foolishly and stammering without restraint" could happen in either Greek or in any other national language. The pagans' and Charismatics' nonsense languages would definitely be foolish. However if Jesus was only talking about the pagans' nonsense languages, he wouldn't have to add in the part about their words being extra or too many, right? Really just their insane phonetics (not even "words") would be enough to criticize them for.

2. It is hard to say that the Corinthians and modern Charismatics use "extra" words. As far as the amount of phonetics, in both cases they just say whatever they open their minds to flow out.
So maybe there Jesus was just talking about a foolish, extra wordy praying practice that pagans used.



Edited by H. Smith, 21 November 2015 - 01:40 AM.

#48 Father David Moser

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 03:08 PM

I haven't really been following this closely, however, I do skim through the posts.  It just struck me that I don' t think there is any support for the assumption that anyone did ever actually speak "with the tongues of angels" in Corinth or anywhere else.  There's that pesky little "if" in that statement that takes the whole thing out of a description of reality and places it in the realm of imagining.  Paul was not saying that someone did talk in the tongues of angels - he just said that IF they did it still wouldn't be better than speaking with understanding.  So the whole conversation about what the tongues of angels might be or how they might sound is irrelevant at best.


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#49 Lakis Papas

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Posted 25 November 2015 - 08:48 PM

When man meets God there is an expectation of special gifts to be offered from the superior God to the imperfect man. But, God's gift is beyond supremacy. When Crist became man took nothing special and eventually reseived death. This 'kenosis' is the path in life of Christian. We begin with prayer and grow spiritually into silence.

#50 H. Smith

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Posted 06 December 2015 - 01:22 AM

I haven't really been following this closely, however, I do skim through the posts.  It just struck me that I don' t think there is any support for the assumption that anyone did ever actually speak "with the tongues of angels" in Corinth or anywhere else.  There's that pesky little "if" in that statement that takes the whole thing out of a description of reality and places it in the realm of imagining.  Paul was not saying that someone did talk in the tongues of angels - he just said that IF they did it still wouldn't be better than speaking with understanding.  So the whole conversation about what the tongues of angels might be or how they might sound is irrelevant at best.


Fr David Moser

I understand. Paul says that if he spoke with the angels tongues then it would be like a clanking instrument, but he did not specify that this is what the Corinthians were speaking. He only said that no man understood their tongues, only God, and as such their prayers in tongues were only useful for talking to God.

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