Sunday, February 04, 2007

On Various Kinds of Tongues

"Paladin D" asked the following question in the Q&A board at Phatmass:
You may know what I mean, but yet again you may not. I heard there are two types of Speaking in Tongues.

- One type is the kind where the 12 Apostles with Mary in the Upper Room spoke in tongues, in many different human languages.

- Then there is another I heard, has to do with an "angelic" tongue, or a mysterious prayer language to God.

I definatly know the 1st one is true, but what about the 2nd? Is the 2nd one true? Does it even exist?
The second one exists as well. Many think that the "unspeakable groanings" from Rom 8:26 is this tongue. In 1 Cor 12:10, Paul refers to "various kinds of tongues" which would mean that there is more than one type. He seems to explicitly mention both types in 1 Cor 13:1 when he refers to "the tongues of men and of angels." Note that the unintelligible tongue requires also the gift of interpretation if it is to edify those who are present (cf. 1 Cor 14:9-19).

I hope that helps.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

12 comments:

Adam said...

The question always being for Catholics not if it exists, but if 99% of the time whether or not it is forced or made up.

Jason said...

With responsible leadership, that should never be an issue among Catholics. In Pentecostal churches that teach that you aren't saved unless you have the gift of tongues, then there's obvious pressue to fake it. Regardless, I don't know many people who have the physical ability to fake the "tongues of men," so it wouldn't matter if they wanted to fake it or not. And as for the angelic tongues, it's not from God if someone else isn't given an interpretation or if the "interpretation" contradicts Scripture or Church teaching. So, I dunno... the whole point is to give God glory, we decrease so that He may increase, so there's no incentive to fake this stuff.

Adam said...

The incentive is peer pressure, fitting in, and even though it contradicts Church teaching some Catholic charismatics believe that if you don't "speak in tongues" you don't have the holy spirit and are going to hell. Even though I'm very 'traditional', I've experienced tremendous pressure to start attending charismatic prayer services and start praying for the gift of tongues.

phatcatholic said...

The charistmatic preacher also finds an incentive in the fact that if he speaks an intelligible language intermitently while he preaches, then his audience will see this as validation of his message and of the preacher himself as God's messenger.

Jason said...

Well, that stuff isn't from God and I wouldn't get involved with a Charismatic group like that any more than I would support some "Catholic" colleges or reform movements.

And speaking an unintelligible language intermitently while preaching? That's a direct contradiction of Scipture where Paul says an interpretation from another person must be provided to show that any unintellible prophecy was from God. And, of course, the interpretation must not contradict the Church.

Anyway, I imagine your charismatic friends have good intentions... they're just excited about God and need a little more solid grounding. Tell them you'll go to a prayer service if they go to Adoration with you :)

Adam said...

I should probably mention I go to the same school as Nick. Most of my charismatic friends have weekly adoration hours. I love them, but I just disagree with some of their theology.

Jason said...

Are you saying some Catholic charismatics believe you're not saved if you haven't received the gift of tongues? That is troubling.

Adam said...

Yes, but I would not say that is the norm. As a 'convert' to the Church I find the whole movement troubling, but that isn't a discussion for Nick's blog.

Jason said...

Well, the Church does live on in spite of itself. :) I'm curious what you find troubling about the movement... drop a comment on my blog if you want.

Marsha B West said...

In the early days of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, there was a good deal of "protestant/pentecostal" cultural baggage that was imported into Catholic prayer groups. Good consistent teaching from national leaders eliminated much of that.

The gift of tongues can be seen in many ways, but never as an evidence of salvation.

I have known of two instances in my personal experiences where the pray-er prayed in a language unknown to the speaker, but known to someone listening. In one case it was a dialect of Greek. In another, an archaic form of Aramaic. In the latter case, the "listener" was a priest-scholar who was wrestling with a problem in translation. A nun who had received the gift of tongues went to him with a question as to its validity. This was a new experience for most Catholics. So he asked her to pray in his presence, using this gift. What she spoke was the key to the problem this priest-scholar was wrestling with. When she stopped her prayer and looked up, he was weeping.

A priest who was the diocesan liason to the Charismatic Renewal in my diocese told me he thought the gift of tongues, in most cases, was an instance of meta-language, of the same order as weeping, cheering, groaning - an inarticulate prayer of the heart, bypassing the intellect.

I have been praying in tongues for nearly 40 years. I am a mass-going, typical Catholic old lady. The prayer group in my parish flourished for some 13 years, then attention turned to other devotions and practices. I seldom pray with others, using this gift, but use it often when I pray without understanding of what God's will would be. I believe it is a primarily a gift for personal prayer, a way to let the Spirit pray in us, "in sighs and groans too deep for words."

I have a video from the early '80's in which international leaders of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal were meeting with Pope John Paul II. When they began to pray aloud in tongues, and it turned to song, tears poured down the pope's face.

Don't dismiss too easily what you have not experienced.

phatcatholic said...

Thank you for your comment, Marsha! I have no doubt that the gift is real.

sally said...

The gift of the Holy Spirit itself is real and you know that you have the Holy Spirit by speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. There is also a gift of speaking in tongues that some people have but there is not 'two' different tongues. It might sound different coming from one person versus another but it is still the Holy Ghost and God said he will give the gift of the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks for it. ASK FOR IT. In Christ

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