Monday, May 18, 2009

speaking in tongues

This past weekend was on the last section of the Nicene Creed: We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

That’s a motherboard of theological hot-circuits: baptism, resurrection, judgment and the big apocalyptic finish.

At the uptempo close of our worship in the 11:40 celebration, someone suddenly spoke out in tongues for what felt like a lengthy time, though probably a minute. It was quite emotional and fairly loud. I was in a back room getting ready to go on when I heard it. Our worship leader, Charlie Hines, paused for a few moments and then closed in prayer, though the woman was still speaking. She slowed down to a finish and then Charlie did what we always do—have people say ‘hello’ to someone before you sit down. The vibe in the room was a little uneasy.

Brad was backstage getting ready to do the transition and said, “Should I say something?” I told him no and that I would talk about it. It really was a pastoring-moment.

Before I walked out, Brad asked, “What are you going to say?”

“I don’t know. I’ll shoot from the hip.” (I think that’s an old cowboy term for not taking time to aim with the gunsight. It ain’t accurate but it’s fast…)

Of course, depending on your church background, this is either a mystery, a big deal or a non-issue. The charismatics were probably thinking, “Finally! Now let’s get the interpretation…”. The evangelicals were wondering, “I knew it! I thought there was something suspicious about this place…”. And the clueless were thinking, “What the…? Is she having a nervous breakdown?”

Even more interesting to me was the “emotional field”, in psychologist Rollo May’s language, that rippled out. There was a palpable uneasiness. I think it was not only the fact it’s a rare occurrence (I can’t remember the last time in a large corporate setting like that), but accompanied with serious emotion. Imagine being at a family reunion in a local restaurant, everyone’s eating and laughing and telling stories and suddenly Uncle Frank breaks into a very emotional, passionate diatribe…in Latin. Suddenly, the emotional field shifts radically.

Speaking in tongues is an important piece of the Christian experience. But it’s not without difficulties in practice; just look at the various theological viewpoints, not to mention the methodologies. I won’t go into that here…that’s a month’s worth of blogs; Paul devotes three whole chapters to addressing its use, abuse and context in the Corinthian church.

Let me just preface this by saying I speak in tongues myself; it’s personal and a critical part of my prayer life. But how it’s used corporately is debated, even among charismatics. And in our post-modern, dechurched and yet weirdly religious American culture, it’s even more strange when your weekend gatherings are designed to have a user-friendly attractional element.

But that’s not the point of this post. I just wanted to let you inside a communicator’s head (as if you were interested…) from a pastoral perspective.

For instance, my first thought was: “Uh-oh…we have some ‘splaining to do.” Thought number two: “Oh. That’s me.” Third thought: “Dang. I’m giving a hefty message today about judgment. Plus, this?” Fourth: “If I brought someone for the first time today, what would I be thinking?” Fifth thought: “Do this in two minutes, change the vibe in the room…and move on.” Thought number six: “Wow, this is actually cool—an opportunity to teach on how to handle this.” Seventh thought: “Am I spiritually discerning anything about this expression of tongues?”

My intuition was that this was more of a personal release from someone who was emotionally troubled, and was giving personal expression to God from that…not a corporate message.

Anyway, after setting up the message, I mentioned how I needed to take a moment and ‘pastor’ what just happen. It was the classic elephant in the room. I briefly explained how we have a theology open to the gifts of the Spirit, but that the gifts work best in the right context and that it’s not a normal custom for us to use the gift of tongues in the weekend setting. I relayed that we believe the ideal place to learn and practice spiritual gifts is in your small group where there is relationship and accountability and that in a large gathering like this with people all over the map in their spiritual journeys and backgrounds, anyone can walk in off the street and say they have a message from God; it can quickly get confusing and disorienting. As leaders, we have to carefully shepherd the mission God has clearly given us.

Leaders have a responsibility to navigate and interpret. It isn’t always pretty, it isn’t always simple and you’ll never please everybody. I have been in charismatic and word-of-faith circles in just about every imaginable shape and size for thirty-five years. I think I’ve seen the best and worst; I’ve embraced some and jettisoned equal amounts of teaching.

And then I went on with a message on baptism, resurrection, and judgment. Sheesh.

Interesting postscript, though. Today a friend called me who was on the prayer team Sunday. He said a woman came to them for prayer afterwards and said, “Uh, I’m the one who spoke in tongues.” He smiled and said, “It’s okay. What can we pray for you about?” She wept as she told them she was a struggling single mom, pregnant, and with news that her baby has serious physical difficulties and will not live after birth. She was in deep, deep pain. I have no doubts that she was crying out from that place.

And the truth is, most of us regularly project messages from God through our own lenses.

At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for God’s people the way God wants him to. (Romans 8:26-27 God’s Word Translation)


  1. Yes I was sitting near the lady that was speaking in tongues after the musical worship.

    In my past experience with it, it always scared me terribly and I wanted to flee. Still do not understand it or the language she spoke ( bable).

    This time I did not flee. I felt compassion and concern for her. She definitely was in need and distressed. You did the right thing the way you handled it.

    She did come forward to the prayer team and I felt they were wonderful with her. The leader of the prayer team ( didn't get his name ) did his best to console her as well as the Lady member with him. I pray that she does get help for her crisis some where. If I was a member of a prayer team, I don't know how I would have handled that.

    Odd that I had just finished reading a book called "Empowered Evangelicials" by Nathan and Wilson that covered this topic. Perhaps that is where my compassion for her came from.

    One question though. If a person is filled with the spirit and speaks in tongues, should you be able to understand them or recognize the tongues as a viable language?

    Sorry for the long windedness.

  2. Great post. I have seen people wait too long for an interpretation to a tongue that was not a prophecy. Eventually someone will feel such unease that they yell out some "Thus saith the Lord" that God never said.

    I have also seen where a tongue was spoken with interpretation and the hearts of the people in the very large service broke forth with praise. It was really awesome.

    It is so important that leaders operate with discernment.

    Again, great post.

  3. I thought that Charlie handled it exceedingly well. "Lord, let these be fresh words to You."

    It totally wierded me out, but I think you explained it quite well. I forgot about it until the end of your message. My 9 and 12 year old nieces, however, needed a good bit of explination.

    As a recent Catholic convert, the idea of speaking in tongues is more-than-foreign to me. I don't even know how I would start.

    To photogr: my understanding is that Paul told the church in Corinth that unless someone can translate, you shouldn't be doing it in a large setting. That is the same philosophy that Dave seems to be embracing, which makes sense to me.

  4. Dave, I wanted to say something to you after the service on Sunday, but you were speaking to a couple and I didn't want to interrupt.

    I think you handled it appropriately, and after thinking it through and talking about it with my husband, we came to the same conclusion you did.

    We were sitting near her as well, and its amazing how the spirit of the Lord works in people, and honestly...I'm glad I was able to witness it. Its the beauty of the Vineyard, bringing people together from all learn, love and accept one another, no matter how seemingly uncomfortable it may have been for some visitors.

    I have recently found the Vineyard as my church home. I feel a part of the church, not just the large crowd anymore. I haven't felt that way in almost 4 years since leaving the church I attended through high school. I love it there, feel God's presence each Sunday, and TOTALLY believe that we are following what He wants for us, and what He wants to accomplish through an outward focused church! GO VCC!!! :)

  5. Thanks Jon. I had understood that too from Pauls teachings and was surprised this happened in a large setting.

    I had experienced this in a Church in the Carolinas at a group prayer meeting which led me and the wife to get out of the church as quickly as we could and never returned.

    In her defense though, I felt she had met the end of her rope and did not know Vineyards proper protocol thus the crying out.

    Perhaps she found a message we were not aware of and could not contain her emotions. Irregardess, I hope she can get help with her crisis.

    I am new to Vineyard (8 weeks) and was looking at the wife with a questioned look of what did we get into here when this happened.

    We can only wonder what mysteries and surprises God will put before us in worshiping Him.

  6. We were sitting near her as well - I'm not used to speaking in tongues so it was a little uncomfortable. With Pentecostal roots, of course, my wife was saying Hallelujah! Clearly this woman was upset and crying out to God. I felt compassion for her at the time and I'm so glad that the prayer team was there to assist. I pray that she can see the Lord's hand in her personal trial. Charlie and Dave handled it so well. You guys were great.

  7. my only thought was that maybe if she didn't have to wait til the end to get prayer? esp. if so many folks knew who it was.

    Coming from a church where this was commonplace, I was a little put off that it was so quickly turned off. I understand that we have highly structured and well planned celebrations(I'm on tech team so I really know!), but the pentecostal in me wants to give the spirit a little moving room!
    There are often times at the end of a worship that I wish we could keep going, but know we cant with how the services are scheduled. Maybe if we had more chances to do this, maybe an all worship night every few months??

    We were in the tech booth and I couldn't hear what was happening, just could tell that Charlie was frazzled by whatever it was. I felt bad for any new comers in the crowd, but agree Dave did a great job explaining things!

  8. The agony she must feel is deeply touching and so sorrowful. Tears came to my eyes as I read here about her plight. (I was at the 10 am service.) Thank you for sharing this and for the wisdom in handling it, Dave.

  9. what would jesus do?
    probably would of healed her
    what would john winburn do?
    never met the guy
    what would lonnie frisbee do?
    saw his video, probably would of prayered for her.
    what would a pentacostal do?
    not one or ever have been
    what would a baptist do?
    condemn that person
    what would a catholic do?
    who knows but some catholics are ok, jk
    what would you do?

    what would I do? Let people have the freedom to express themselves.

    Stuctured, is the word that rings out in the big meetings. There is no room for it there. But why?

    Are we just putting the holy spirit in a box? I think so

    Its funny that even the prayer team cant speak in tongues when they pray, or maybe its changed but I doubt it.

    I think God is shaking people and believe it will be more often seen, when people are at their wits end. So i think giving someone a help and not hinder is the next good step.

  10. I guess I am mostly evangelical in thought. Or that is what I am learning here. I think there is a time & a place for things like this & the big worship...or even the prayer team is not the time or place.

    A few weeks ago my neighbor told me a story about her experience with the Vineyard. Her son has multipule health issues & one of her friends (a vineyard member) asked her to bring her son to Mercyworks so that they could pray over him. My nieghbor is a believer in Jesus but not a church going person. At any rate she went & as she tells me they put holy water on his head & started speaking in tongues & screaming about the holy water turning red on his forehead. She could not get out of there fast enough.

    It upset me to say the least. This was not the impression that God wanted us to put out on this person & this was not the way to bring them into a good church family. I minister to her little by little about what we are really about but it is a slow & will be a long battle to win her back to trusting Vineyard people in the faith department. It helps that we are such good friends & she knows me & knows this is not what I am like. But it seems like she thinks there is a part of me I am trying to hide because my church did this weird ritual over her child.

    I just pray that the people who were at this service who were new to VCC or who are frightened by this type of thing were not frightened away from a good church & a good relationship with God.

  11. Wierd ritual, speaking in tongues, and red Holy water? Ok I will try to be rational here.

    Possibly the prayer team grabed the bottle of grape juice for communion by mistake. Holy water? I thought for water to be Holy it had to be blessed by a Preist or a Cardinal (a higher ranked priest).

    Speaking in tongues. I have experienced it only a couple of times before this week. When one speaks in tongues it has to be divine in either old Hebrew or Latin verbage and discernable as a language. Right? Other wise it is only self inflicted bable right? If they were doing Hail Marys that would be a better definition.

    If you speak in tongues and don't know what you are saying, you might be inviting something sinister into your or another persons soul which is exactly what you don't want to do. I would think one should be cautious in that respect unless they are highly trained beyond that of a layman. Right?

    This is very unsettling information to figure out.

    Considering these issues are rather new territory for me, I will have to trust in the Lord to lead me in a new direction (church) or stay put.

  12. As someone raised pentacostal I appreciate that VCC is open to the different ways the Holy Spirit moves. However, I'm no longer pentacostal so I'm also relieved that speaking in tongues is not required. Excellent response, Dave.

  13. This is all very good. It will get people thinking and hopefully looking to the Lord for answers. My hope is that people will recognize the pain in the expression and consider the Lord's compassion rather than focusing on any "weirdness" in the experience. You're steering a big ship Dave. Sounds like this was handled very well.

  14. In a church as large as VCC that is known to be Spirit filled, why was there not someone there with the actual gift of interpretating ?
    That would have taken care of the 'situation' immediately.
    In just checking VCC's statement of faith it says : ' We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and in the exercise of all of the Biblical gifts of the Spirit'.
    In your blog you say VCC's theology is 'open' to the gifts of the Spirit. I am confused. It is either yes or no, that door is either open or closed.
    The gifts of tongues you say are to be used in the right context and that means not on weekends.
    So, am I not allowed to pray or sing in tongues in my personal prayer language when praise and worship music is happening during weekend worship time ?
    You believe that the best place to learn and practice the spiritual gifts is in small groups . Are small group leaders actually trained about the gifts and how to teach them so others can learn ? I doubt it, but maybe I am wrong.
    If someone spoke in tongues in a small group I think most people present would be weirded out also.
    There is one thing I find quite disturbing. I know for a fact that any communication between a prayer team member and the one asking for prayer is to be kept confidential and only shared with other team members or team leaders as needed.
    And yet this woman's prayer request was fully revealed in this blog for all the world to see. And by doing so it also seems to give the impression that only people who are emotionally upset would dare do such a thing.
    Yes, things should be done in order. And God is not a God of confusion. And yet God is the one who gave us the gifts.
    There seems to be more concern as to not offend anyone.
    We sing and pray 'Come Holy Spirit Come' during and at the end of celebrations.
    We'd better be careful. What if He were to decide to come in a way different than what we want ?
    Should we even be asking for Him to
    come if it is with our restrictions? It is like us saying, 'you can do this, but not that.'
    God can come as a still quiet voice and He can chose to come as a mighty rushing wind.
    Maybe this incident that was so unsettling to so many is perhaps a bit of a wake up call.

  15. Some very valid points have been brought up here. Quite frankly I do not believe any one has an idea of how to handle it. I don't and am battling with this issue looking on both sides( pro or con).

    I for one do not subscribe to tongues if not coherent but others may. As I've said before, one can be deceived and possibly invite sinister forces if you are not aware of what tongue content you are speaking. A priest told me that once.

    There are other ways that the Holy Spirit or God works to give you grace.

    Tears of joy and emotions that you can't contain, relief of all tension in your body,A sensation of possession that feels wonderful as you say praise God, You become so animated that you dance with joy, you raise your hands up to God and give thanks/ praise, you become passionate about speaking of the scriptures, and some times you only feel a cool soft breeze blow across your face in an enclosed room with no visible air movement.

    I beieve these are true messages from God or Jesus.

    Being a non denominational Church, I can imagine Vineyard will have more of these episodes in the future as I talk to other members and found they all come from other denominations to worship here.

    We can only accept the tongues as valid and help that person to understand Vineyard's creed all the while administering to what one is seeking while in distress.

    I think that is what God is leading me to do and be a little more compassionate to others.

  16. Not trying to answer for Dave. Just answering from my own perspective.


    You make some good points and ask some interesting questions. My thoughts:

    People are flawed. People lie and manipulate. People get caught up in emotional moments that have nothing to do with God.

    A large part of VCC's mission (and one of the reasons I am a Christian today) is to provide a safe place where people can come and hear truth / experience God.

    If you open those doors (to speaking on tounges), yes, some people may have legitimate experiences, but it will also free up (remember, I don't speak for Dave or anyone at VCC) the freakjobs who will drive away people like me.

    Although I believe the scripture speaks specifically about individuals, I also believe the Church is a Body. Each individual church plays its part. Crossroads has its part. The Vineyard has its part. And churches where people are free to speak in tounges during worship have their part.

    Thank God they all exist or the Body would be really deformed with 100 eyes or 30 feet.

    Again, you raise some excellent questions that any church leadership team should explore, but if I would have attended the Vineyard back in 1999 and people were speaking in tounges everywhere I turned, I probably wouldn't be a Christian today.

    At the end of the day, would you prefer five Christians experience speaking in tounges, or five non-Christians take another step closer to God?

  17. Holy cow, what an interesting conversation. I was at the 11:30 service. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit the whole time, pretty strongly. Before and mostly after the women prayed in tougues. I say prayed because from my experience I felt like that is what it was. After hearing the explaination, I feel confirmed in that thought. Theres a difference (big) difference between speaking and praying in tougues. Sounds to me a lot of people who read this blog could benefit from going to Alpha where speaking and praying in tougues is taught very well. All from God and all good stuff. Way to go Dave, in explaining and putting folks at ease...well husband (former catholic) I am pretty sure wanted to run, but I'm proud to say he did not.

  18. Photogr : I would suggest that you carefully read the book of Acts and First and Second Corinthians for yourself. This way you can get answers to your questions directly from the Bible and not have to depend on anyone else for information on all the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
    Steve, glad you think I had some good thoughts and ideas.
    I think everyone is getting just a little too upset and scared about all of this.
    And I am looking forward to leadership addressing my concerns.
    Steve, I am surprised that you ask such a trick question.
    But I will address it anyway. At the end of the day it would be wonderful for all ten
    people to have personal relationships with Jesus Christ, whether or not they spoke in tongues.
    It is good that people are talking about these things and not attacking each other. As Scripture says the most important thing is love.

  19. What concerns me the most is we took a very teachable moment in the church and turned it into a moment of correction, because we had an agenda that needed to be followed. In our quest not to offend anyone have we left God out of the equation? It grieves the Spirit in me. I also struggle with the breach of confidentiality with what occured during prayer. As a past member of the prayer team I remember that being foremost in what occured during prayer. It all makes me so sad

  20. This could so quickly turn into a flame war. I'm wondering why you (eaglegirl) feel it necessary to question Dave's discernment in this situation? It seems that he was correct in his discernment that this woman was crying out from a place of great emotion. Why do you think he was wrong? (I'm being serious, not snarky, asking in love, sister!)

  21. Eagle girl:

    Thanks for the tip.

    I Corinthians Chapter 14 and Acts first three chapters deals with this issue but to get a deeper understanding, I would like to suggest Ologive for acts, Chaffin for Corithians,and Briscoe for Romans. I just finished Romans and will dive deeper into Corinthians and Acts with these authors when time permits.

    Another book I found that explains some of this issue is Empowered Evangelicals by Nathan and Wilson. Finished that one about two weeks ago. SO much to learn and not enough time. Wished I could have stated this quest a long time ago when I was younger.

    As I stated before: We can only accept the tongues as valid and help that person to understand Vineyard's creed all the while administering to what one is seeking while in distress.

  22. This could go on from here to eternity, but this is it for me.
    To St., I was not questioning Dave's discernment, he along with most of the people there saw this woman was in distress. That was not the point or the question.
    But as I said before, why could no one interpret what she prayed ?
    And there were a number of other valid concerns I brought up.
    As I said, that's it for me folks on this subject.

  23. Ouch, the Lord just showed me a big mistake I made. That I did not immediately pray for this woman spoken of before I even made any comments. Definitely my bad.
    Lord, bring her comfort and healing.

  24. Wow! Lots of opinions... whatever happened to being led by the Lord?

    1 Cor 14 does not say, if each one has an opinion, let him judge. No, as Christians we should be judging all things by the spirit, not our paradigm, lens, worldview etc., this is how we got so denominational-ized in the first place. How can that be the unity called for in Ephesian 4? Does God have an opinion? Then why do you need one? That said, some good points, and obvious questions needing to be answered for folks that attend regularly. As a 16-year vet of the Vineyard movement - I will do my best to refrain from an opinions, but I would like some answers if anyone has them.

    - Does the church have someone(s) that is gifted in interpreting?
    - Does the church have someone(s) that is gifted in discernment - seems like the prefect time for it.
    - Does the church teach about all the ALL the gifts, their use (and abuse), and mentor folks into to them? Or is it an occasional Holy Spirit free-for-all? Just because the the Vineyard promotes the use of the spiritual gifts, doesn't mean folks know what they are, or how to use them. In the Vineyard there seems to be a lot of focus on getting a "picture" with an interpretation and speaking quietly in tongues while waiting for a ministry objective from God. Oh, and healing. Aren't there more?)
    - Why would the details of the situation be public (Vineyard Values)?
    - Why does the church have to be seeker friendly? Why can't we simply do what we see the Father doing, and let him decide if today is the day for swinging from the chandeliers, or quiet and reflective repentance, or outlandish worship, or edge-of-your-seat teaching, or healing with mud and spittle, or brunch?
    - Is it enough to say folks are flawed, or should the church be doing something more when it comes to the gifts?
    - When we ask the Holy Spirit to come, what are we looking for?
    - If small-group is the place to practice, then how would God deliver a corporate tongue and interpretation, or prophecy for that matter?

    I have loads of opinions, and some answers... you can read my blog if you like. What I hate to see is divisiveness, when the word of God is very clear about a lot of this. I mean, if we are going to promote the gifts, shouldn't it be all of them with teaching? And one more question, if we choose worship style and content, then what does God get to choose?

  25. Ok, well that was weird. I'm going to leave this alone now as well. Great post, Dave.

  26. great post...good wisdom in the moment. I've been thinking about the gift of administrations concerning spiritual gifts...I think one of the neglected the gift of administrations in this context you helped pastor people in the use of spiritual gifts, they may need help understanding when, where, how, and that they have an ability to use self-control a fruit of the Spirit to administer the gifts God has given to them properly... thanks for the post.

  27. I appreciate the feedback. I ma sure that it is hard to disciple folks in a Sunday service and one and half hour home-group. For those that care, here is my take on the gifts in the church. I am not perfect, but I dear say that I have never had good teaching on them, save some C. Peter Wagner stuff.

    Having experienced Christianity in a number of denominations and cultures, there are more then a few bad teachings regarding spiritual gifts floating around out there. They come in three types.

    1) NONE - The gifts do not exist since the apostles died. Any supernatural activity in the church, is of the Devil.

    2) EXTREMELY RARE - They are not something that you have, or can even predictably enjoy as part of your faith, they are something that God sends when he darn well pleases.... and that is not very often. Or they exist, but we don't know how to use them.

    3) WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU IF YOU DON'T HAVE THEM? - The "Everybody has them all" and your faith is so low you can operate in them... or worse yet you are not even saved!

    All three positions, in my view, are Biblically off. There is just too much information about spiritual gifts in the Bible for this issue to end up in one of the above named "catch alls". If we look at all this scriptural information as historical, then Jesus and the church become the same, historical. If Jesus is alive, then He ought to show up once in a while; or send a representative, don't you think?

    The gifts:

    The Fruit, Not the Tree:


  28. Good thoughts David. I knew you had some answers. Now if we can all pray to God to lead us in the right direction on this issue and allow us to further understand His desires. Let us not cast judgement but seek understanding and love.

  29. So where do we go from here?

    In the service
    Let people speak in tongues?
    let others interrupt?

    Let people who choose who want to when they pray to speak in tongues?

    So if Dave thinks speaking in tongues is ok, then why all the scared people posting?

    If we as a church believe in the Power of God, why have i not seen it in small groups, tongues and intereptation of tongues?

    Btw, how come the prayer team is prohibited from praying in tongues?

  30. I also want to point out that the Vineyard has always been a safe haven for folks wanting to explore faith OR folks who have been burned in the past by toxic faith.

    Both of those groups could really be freaked out by some of the more charismatic gifts manifesting themselves during worship.

  31. Charismatic Gifts are from God as I have read. Speaking in tongues is fine if some one is present to interpret what is said as I have read.

    I do feel the churches as a whole may be overlooking these important aspects and failing to become more open to the congregation about their possibilities or offer training.

    I have also read that some churches look on the charismatic gifts as something that is not done any more since the apostles time.

    I have to say I do not totally understand what the charismatic gifts really mean but if it is by the grace of God, I don't think I or any one else need to be demeaning those gifts passed to others or be petrified by these actions such as I have been and done.

    In the "Body of Christ", it is not up to us to set procedures for worship.It is up to us to follow the Lords will what ever it may be and not be judgemental.

    This past week I have been doing plenty of reading, soul searching, praying , and seeking answers from others more learned than I.

    I will put my trust in the Lord to guide me through the minefields of doubt, uneasiness, and new surprises. It is not what I want or perceive. It is about what God wants. That is my new found goal at Vineyard

  32. It's interesting reading the comments. For those that tongues is a normal Christian experience, this is not problem, and they long for more of God's voice. For others, for whom this is not normal, it is scary (and I remember some of the folks coming in from Toronto). In the same way that Jesus gave a word of wisdom to the those asking about paying taxes and tithes, this needs supernatural wisdom. I think any church will find it hard to legislate polices for the Holy Spirit to abide by. I did attend one church where they had a pamphlet that described many of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit, from tongues to prophecy and falling etc. They did find that the newcomers meetings were very popular- staring a 1/2 hour before the regular service. It was a place to ease people into these types of things, answer questions etc. They were allowed to come for a whole year! I think that was pretty much their response to the concerns that Steve Fuller was referring to.

    In the final analysis, God has to be God... not just to the new folks, but to those of us that have been around awhile.

    One thing that I do find helpful, is the entire chapter 10 in the book of Acts. This is God's normal v 44-46, and maybe not ours.

    In a service, God also has a normal. 1 Cor 14.

  33. David:

    Issuing pamphlets or new commer meetings. This makes sense. Had I not been advised by the Minister of Vineyard Northwest ( another smaller Vineyard church) to read the book Empowered Evangelist I might not have known that this may happen in the future.It wasn't that I was not fore warned, just didn't expect it so soon.

    There in lies the problems with a Mega Church. Hard to get to the ones with the answers.

  34. Wow what a service that must have been! That will teach me to get up and go to worship at 8:30.

    So many interesting comments.
    I know that anyone within ear shot was feeling something.

    God can open up or close up mouths and ears as He sees fit. Wether or not this is from Him is not really important. We could debate that forever. He says He uses "ALL things for the good of those who love Him." good, bad or uncomfortable. It is what we do with it that matters. I believe that God has dominion over everything (remember the Creed... we just learned that) (yes, Dave I was listening) and if He chooses to speak in His native tongue or in ours that is up to Him. How I react to it is up to me.

    God also promises that His word will not come back void. I'm sure He will use this to be glorified in some way, for some people, for His purpose. This I trust and will continue to act upon regardless of how others choose to use the gifts of the Spirit.

    PS This may be a good time to do a study of 1 Corinthians ?? Dave, just a thought??

  35. Dave, I appreciate your gentle framing of the "tongues" issue. When I was in high school, afraid I would somehow commit the one unforgiveable sin by accident, I was told that speaking in tongues would be a sign that I was really a Christian. I stayed up all night with a friend praying that I would speak in tongues. Begging, negotiating and simply praying.

    I never did speak in tongues. the message that really good Christians speak in tongues haunted me and, to be honest , alienated me for a long time.

    I was frightened when I first came to the Vineyard. I was afraid I would be judged for not speaking in tongues. I have not been. So, so far, no tongues, no judgement.

    Yours in Christ,

    a saturday 6:30 regular

  36. Ah men! Praise God All mighty for He will some day give you the words to speak in His own time. Let us not be judgemental for it is up to Him to give out His gifts as He sees fit.

  37. Anonymous,
    Pray for the gift of prophecy since Paul says that one is better! ;-)

  38. Why should anyone has tried to interpert what she was saying? It was her prayer. If there was no message to the church body as a whole, there shouldn't have been an interpertation, correct?

  39. Wow, this has been so interesting reading these posts! It never amazes me to see the emotion that this particular spiritual gift seems to stir. I'm not so sure that anyone gets so emotionally charged over the gift of hospitality, administration, teaching or leadership. Most do not deny that those exist and certainly do not debate as to what forum they need to exist or not exist. It just seems to be the more the gifts we view as "supernatural".

    It sounds like Dave that you did a wonderful job in discerning that this woman was praying (albeit loudly) in her personal prayer language versus giving a corporate message from God. But it does raise the need for biblical teaching regarding spiritual gifts. My bias is for that to be done in small groups, where questions and discussion can happen and the gifts can be experienced in a smaller, safer environment.

    My understanding regarding the gift of tongues is there is two operations of it. The first is a personal prayer language (Romans 8:26) which is meant for the spiritual strengthening and building up of the person with the gift. Second is a corporate gift of tongues in which God will give a message to a body of believers through it. This one is validated through an interpretation and is meant for the building up of the church.

    As with all spiritual gifts I can deny they exist or choose not to use them. The Lord gives us these gifts and we can reject, accept, use or not use them. With the gift of tongues I will CHOOSE not to use my gift of tongue in an environment where I know there are people who could be pushed further away from God than closer due to a lack of understanding of the gift. In environments where I am praying for someone who has a different religious background than mine, I CHOOSE not to speak in tongues or use religious language because it is more about God encountering that person in a way they can receive versus my "right" to pray in tongues. It is way more about showing love to others and helping them to encounter God than my gift or my right to use it in any environment. I am not quenching the Spirit but facilitating an environment where that person can receive. I believe God honors this. That is why we have this guideline on public prayer teams.

    I am saddened to hear about the experience at the Healing Center and will check into it as it did just exactly what I just stated. It pushed the person further way than closer to God.

    Don't get me wrong, God knew the pain this woman was in and met her in that celebration. I am proud of how my teams handled the situation with her, with love and tenderness, not with religious protocol of how tongues should be used in a corporate setting.

    Thanks Dave for your spiritual leadership!

  40. Karin,
    You made some good points, but not have addressed that this woman's confidentiality was broken when what she told the prayer team was blogged for all the world to read. She was not just some anonymous person, she was someone who many people knew from at that celebration.
    You addressed your not using tongues while praying with others while not to offend them. I can understand that. One member of the prayer team can always pray in tongues in their mind, or head so so speak, while the other prayer team member prayers normally. This way no one is bothered.
    What you do not address is the use of true corportate tongues being used during a celebration. Tongues that are spoken for the edification of the church. What is to be done then ? VCC has so little experience with this and so few people who are taught about it. If that were to happen during a celebration there would probably be no one to to interpret.
    You know,I have the feeling that God is not finished with this subject yet as far as VCC goes.
    He just might surprise everyone again.
    And again if people pray "Come Holy Spirit", is it really 'come Holy Spirit, but only in the way we want you to come ? It seems to be to me.
    Maybe one of the reasons there was such a reaction to this is that so few people are properly taught and immediately freak out when they even hear tongues.
    There is a wonderful book by Pastor Jack Hayford called "The Beauty of Spiritual Language" that is a wonderful complete teaching on this subject.
    Of course there is more than one spiritual gift, tongues is not the only one. All the others are important too.
    I think all would agree that it is more important though that we have the fruit of the Spirit. Because all of the manifestations of the gifts meaning nothing without them. The greatest is Love.

  41. Eagle girl has a major point here... speaking in tongues it not only for interpretation thought. It is part of worship. The Lord said we should worship him in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. Through prayer in tongues we are worshiping the Lord in the right way and there should be no designated time and place for this. It is sad that some may think this only occurs through people who are distressed when happy praising people should be praying in tongues as well. I think God may surprise you with more of it as He tries to reveal Himself to you all. As to the question about it turning off new members... I think you are putting the Holy Spirit in a box. God's Spirit knows what should be done and the best thing to do is let go and let God, because possibly those tongues were interceding for the new converts and not only for the woman herself. I think this church will be surprised at God revealing Himself MORE through the gifts as His return gets closer. GET READY you've been praying for it.

  42. This is so interesting! I just want to make two observations.

    1. We need to be careful when we use the word, "you." It has an accusatory undertone and only Satan accuses b/c accusing leads to division. He very much LOVES to divide and THIS subject matter is one of his favorites...just look at the denominations. It's so very important for us to use "us" language b/c we're ALL learning and in our processes. Grace needs to grow deeper within each of us...all of us.

    2. Jesus knows each and every heart that is in each and every service. He "gets" us. He knew that was going to happen and He knew why and how it was going to happen. My bottom line? We need to receive. He's fully God, fully good, and fully in control. He's "Adonai" and I love that it's one of His names. There will never be a time when He is not in control. We don't have to worry. The key in all of this is humility and I trust our leadership. I honestly can't say I've ever trusted a church leadership more. Jesus gave us the leaders He did b/c of their humility. They submit to Jesus. You can see it in their fruit. I trust Dave and I trust Charlie b/c of their humble leadership. They walk in what I like to call "bold humility."

    Jesus, thanks for gently walking w/ each of us in and throughout our processes. Thanks for "getting" us and NEVER looking down on us w/ shame. No, I believe You call all of Your angels around and point us out individually when You say, "See that one. He's mine and not because of what he does, but just because he belongs to me. The very essence of WHO he is pleases me. This is my will." Jesus, You really are just SOOOOOO cool!!! Thanks for loving us!

  43. As pastor of a Pentecostal church, the issue of proper operation of the gifts is important to me.
    1 Corinthians 14 deals with this extensively. A summary would be that tongues speaking edifies the individual and is to be a part of our Christian experience. However, in a corporate setting the exercise of tongues should be dictaed by the provision for interpretation. If there is no interpreter, Paul says, the tongues-speaker is to speak between himself and God. And so it is my policy that if a person speaks loud enough that it is capturing the attention of the service - that needs interpretation. If a person is praying in a personal manner at an appropriate time during service, such as worship or group prayer, so long as the focus is on the leader who is speaking in an intelligable language, such tongues-praying is permittable.
    Also, there is much said about "languages." Paul notes in chapter 14 that the tongues of which he is addressing "speaks to God ... on one understands him." This would be a misplaced statement if tongues, as some say, refers to known languages.

  44. Read 1 Cor 14:23-40, you will find that it is never permited for women to speak in tongues in a Large Church setting. they are to be silent, also as it says in verse 27 "if any man speak in tongues" kjv. Showing clearly it was a role for men alone. Lastly tongues are known languages of the world not babble.14:10 voices, or tongues are langauges. At pentacost the tongues were clear earth langauges understood even to the local dialect. Tongues as used by the pentecostal movement is likely either a fleshly emotional outburst ( sensual) or demonic.