Guest / Limited Access /

Pentecostals, it is said, believe that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The charismatic gift was at the center of Charles Parham's Bible school revival in 1901 and William Seymour's Azusa Street phenomenon in 1906. It is, after all, one of the main reasons for the name Pentecostals (see Acts 2). But in an October survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, at least 40 percent of Pentecostals in six of the ten countries surveyed said they had never prayed or spoken in tongues. Only half of U. S. Pentecostals had spoken in tongues.

That's not to say that tongues have ceased. Expect to hear much about it—or at least the phrase "private prayer language"— as the Southern Baptist Convention's June annual meeting draws closer. Following the International Mission Board's ban on missionary candidates who practice a private prayer language, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has told staff they may not "endorse in any way, advertise, or commend" charismatic practices, "including [a] private prayer language."

The lone board member to vote against the policy—with 36 votes in favor—was Dwight McKissic, whose August seminary chapel service message in which he said he sometimes prays in a private prayer language ignited the controversy. As a tongues-speaking member of a denomination not historically identified with Pentecostalism, McKissic is classified as a charismatic. But globally, the distinction between Pentecostals and charismatics is unclear. In Brazil, Pentecostals are far more likely than charismatics to speak in tongues (there, charismatics are as unlikely as the general population to do so). In India, charismatics are more likely than Pentecostals ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedCan You See Too Much Jesus in the Bible?
Can You See Too Much Jesus in the Bible?
Why one seminary thinks so and is sending an Old Testament scholar into early retirement.
TrendingNine Current Mars Hill Pastors Tell Mark Driscoll To Step Down from All Ministry
Nine Current Mars Hill Pastors Tell Mark Driscoll To Step Down from All Ministry
(UPDATED) Mars Hill responds Friday to leaked letter, says 'our team is Jesus, not one group of elders or another.'
Editor's PickLife Together, Again
Life Together, Again
After Hobby Lobby, vibrant corporate life is needed more than ever.
Comments
Christianity Today
What Really Unites Pentecostals?
hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.