Tongues in the Seventh-day Adventist Church

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Seventh-day Adventists believe that the spiritual gifts such as "speaking in tongues" are used to communicate the truth to other people from differing languages, and are skeptical of tongues as practiced by charismatic and Pentecostal Christians today.

Spiritual gift An extraordinary power given by the Holy Spirit.

A spiritual gift or charism is an endowment or extraordinary power given by the Holy Spirit. These are the supernatural graces which individual Christians need to fulfill the mission of the Church. In the narrowest sense, it is a theological term for the extraordinary graces given to individual Christians for the good of others and is distinguished from the graces given for personal sanctification, such as the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Charismatic movement trend of historically mainstream congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostalism.

The charismatic movement is the international trend of historically mainstream Christian congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostalism. Fundamental to the movement is the use of spiritual gifts (charismata). Among mainline Protestants, the movement began around 1960. Among Roman Catholics, it originated around 1967.

Pentecostalism Renewal movement within Protestant Christianity

Pentecostalism or Classical Pentecostalism is a Protestant Christian movement that emphasises direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.



Belief "17. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries" of the official 28 Fundamental Beliefs of Adventists affirms that spiritual gifts do continue into the present. [1] While the gift of tongues or "glossolalia" is not specifically mentioned, Adventists more often limit it to the ability to speak unlearned human languages, or "xenoglossy"; and have generally rejected the form of tongues practised by many charismatic and Pentecostal Christians, described as ecstatic speech or a "personal prayer language". [2]

Continuationism is a Christian theological belief that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have continued to the present age, specifically those sometimes called "sign gifts", such as tongues and prophecy. Continuationism is the opposite of cessationism.

Glossolalia phenomenon in which people speak in languages unknown to them

Glossolalia or speaking in tongues is a phenomenon in which people speak in languages unknown to them. One definition used by linguists is the fluid vocalizing of speech-like syllables that lack any readily comprehended meaning, in some cases as part of religious practice in which it is believed to be a divine language unknown to the speaker. "Orawashia dela sende" for example is one of the many variations of words that can exist when a person is experiencing glossolalia. Glossolalia is practiced in Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity as well as in other religions.

Xenoglossy putative paranormal phenomenon in which a person is able to speak or write a language he or she could not have acquired by natural means

Xenoglossy, also written xenoglossia, sometimes also known as xenolalia, is the putative paranormal phenomenon in which a person is able to speak or write a language he or she could not have acquired by natural means. The words derive from Greek ξένος (xenos), "foreigner" and γλῶσσα (glōssa), "tongue" or "language". The term xenoglossy was ostensibly coined by French parapsychologist Charles Richet in 1905. Stories of xenoglossy are found in the Bible, and contemporary claims of xenoglossy have been made by parapsychologists and reincarnation researchers such as Ian Stevenson. There is no scientific evidence that xenoglossy is an actual phenomenon.

Supporting this position is Gerhard Hasel, who believed the practice refers to unknown human languages only, and not angelic languages nor ecstatic speech. [3] His document has been frequently cited by Adventists. The Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology takes the position that speaking in tongues refers to "previously unlearned human languages" (xenoglossy), using the experience on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 as the "criterion" for later interpretation. [4] David Asscherick also believes tongues are xenoglossy only. [5]

Gerhard Hasel American theologian

Gerhard Franz Hasel (1935–1994) was a Seventh-day Adventist theologian, and Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology as well as Dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.

David Asscherick Conservative Seventh-day Adventist evangelist

David Asscherick is the co-founder of ARISE. David currently pastors the Kingscliff Seventh-day Adventist church in Chinderah, New South Wales, Australia. He is the former pastor of the Troy Seventh-day Adventist Church in Troy, Michigan. In 2011, ARISE merged with Light Bearers and David became co-director of Light Bearers. He has been featured on 3ABN and Hope Channel and has been a regular presenter at the annual Generation of Youth for Christ conferences.

Ellen G. White wrote concerning this issue. She states...

Ellen G. White American author and co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Ellen Gould White was an author and an American Christian pioneer. Along with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders such as Joseph Bates and her husband James White, she was instrumental within a small group of early Adventists who formed what became known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Smithsonian magazine named Ellen G. White among the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.

Some of these persons have exercises which they call gifts and say that the Lord has placed them in the church. They have an unmeaning gibberish which they call the unknown tongue, which is unknown not only by man but by the Lord and all heaven. Such gifts are manufactured by men and women, aided by the great deceiver. Fanaticism, false excitement, false talking in tongues, and noisy exercises have been considered gifts which God has placed in the church. Some have been deceived here.

Testimonies for the Church Vol 1, p. 412

She also stated... "They give themselves up to wild, excitable feelings and make unintelligible sounds which they call the gift of tongues, and a certain class seem to be charmed with these strange manifestations. A strange spirit rules with this class, which would bear down and run over anyone who would reprove them. God's Spirit is not in the work and does not attend such workmen. They have another spirit." [6]

See also other Adventist commentators. [7]


Early Counterfeit Incidents in Adventistism

The first counterfeit instance in regards to a doctrine issue occurred in 1848. James White recorded the incident writing "There has been some division as to the time of beginning the Sabbath. Some commenced at sundown. Most, however, at 6 P.M. A week ago Sabbath we made this a subject of prayer. The Holy Ghost came down, Brother Chamberlain was filled with the power. In this state he cried out in an unknown tongue. The interpretation followed which was this: 'Give me the chalk, Give me the chalk.' Well, thought I, if there is none in the house then I shall doubt this, but in a moment a brother took down a good piece of chalk. Brother Chamberlain took it and in the power he drew a figure on the floor." [8]

Counterfeit copy which is represented as the original

To counterfeit means to imitate something authentic, with the intent to steal, destroy, or replace the original, for use in illegal transactions, or otherwise to deceive individuals into believing that the fake is of equal or greater value than the real thing. Counterfeit products are fakes or unauthorized replicas of the real product. Counterfeit products are often produced with the intent to take advantage of the superior value of the imitated product. The word counterfeit frequently describes both the forgeries of currency and documents, as well as the imitations of items such as clothing, handbags, shoes, pharmaceuticals, aviation and automobile parts, watches, electronics, software, works of art, toys, and movies.

James Springer White Seventh-day Adventist Church co-founder

James Springer White, also known as Elder White, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and husband of Ellen G. White. In 1849 he started the first Sabbatarian Adventist periodical entitled "The Present Truth", in 1855 he relocated the fledgling center of the movement to Battle Creek, Michigan, and in 1863 played a pivotal role in the formal organization of the denomination. He later played a major role in the development of the Adventist educational structure beginning in 1874 with the formation of Battle Creek College.

Brother Chamberlain then gave his own interpretation to his unknown tongue and the drawing...

This represents Jesus' words, 'Are there not twelve hours in the day?' This figure represents the day or the last half of the day. Daylight is half gone when the sun is south or halfway from each horizon, at 12 o'clock. Now go each way six hours and you will get the twelve-hour day. At any time of year the day ends at 6 P.M. Here is where the Sabbath begins at 6 P.M. Satan would get us from this time. But let us stand fast in the Sabbath as God has given it to us and Brother Bates.

Brother Chamberlain's words as recorded by James White - Letter to "My Dear Brother," July 2, 1848, written from Berlin, Connecticut.

This experience carried weight with the believers and they continued to observe the beginning of the Sabbath at six o'clock. [9] Later on, through a study of the Bible, this incident was later discovered as a counterfeit manifestation of the gift of tongues. In the summer of 1855, James White urged J.N. Andrews to investigate the Sabbath commencement issue. After several weeks of a "careful investigation of the Scriptures, (he) demonstrated from nine texts in the Old Testament and two texts in the New that the Sabbath began at sundown. Andrews' conclusions were read at the conference in Battle Creek, November, 1855, and, from the scriptural evidence set forth, those present accepted the responsibility of shifting from six o'clock to sundown as the time to begin the Sabbath." [10]

There are four documented cases of people claiming to speak in tongues in the early history of the Adventist church, according to Arthur White: [11]

Arthur White states "There is no record of Ellen White's giving explicit support to, or placing her endorsement upon, these ecstatic experiences with unknown tongues, although she was an eyewitness to three of the four." [15]

There have also been other counterfeit claims. In June 1853 on her trip to Vergennes, Michigan, Ellen White rebuked a certain "Mrs. A." who "professes to talk with tongues, but she is deceived. She does not talk the language she claims to speak. In fact, she does not talk any language. If all the nations of the earth were together, and should hear her talk, no one of them would know what she says; for she merely goes over a lot of meaningless gibberish." [16] The woman claimed to speak the local Native American language. [17]

"At a meeting she held the next day, this woman spoke on the subject of holiness, and during her talk broke out again in the unknown tongue. An Indian who had been invited to come in to hear her speak his language jumped to his feet, declaring: "Very bad Indian that! Very bad Indian that!" When asked what the woman said, he declared: "Nothing; she talk no Indian."

A few days later in the presence of an Indian interpreter who knew 17 of the languages, she spoke and prayed in her gibberish, and he declared that she had not uttered a single Indian word. Her influence was short lived, not only because of this experience, but because of the disclosure (from one of Ellen White's visions) that the man with whom she traveled and lived was not her husband. This in time was confessed." [18]

Later experiences

Ralph Mackin and his wife claimed to experience gifts of the Holy Spirit such as prophecy, speaking in tongues, and even casting out demons. At an Adventist camp meeting in Mansfield, Ohio; they also claimed the gift of tongues, with Ralph speaking Chinese and his wife Yiddish as the result of a vision. [19] Ellen White was cautious if not skeptical, and ultimately rebuked their testimony stating...

"I was shown that it was not the Spirit of the Lord that was inspiring Brother and Sister Mackin, but the same spirit of fanaticism that is ever seeking entrance into the remnant church. Their application of Scripture of their peculiar exercises is Scripture misapplied. The work of declaring persons possessed of the devil, and then praying with them and pretending to cast out the evil spirits, is fanaticism which will bring into disrepute any church which sanctions such work." [20]

She continues to state...

I was shown that we must give no encouragement to these demonstrations, but must guard the people with a decided testimony against that which would bring a stain upon the name of Seventh-day Adventists, and destroy the confidence of the people in the message of truth which they must bear to the world.

Selected Messages book 2, chapter 4

Pentecostal-turned-Adventist E. C. Card says he gave up speaking in tongues. [21] Howard Blum shared his perspective. [22]

One website article, part 2 - "A False Concept Of the Son" claims Demos Shakarian (1913–1993) and the FGBMFI held a meeting to distribute their Voice magazine to Adventist workers. It mentions Adventists Bill Loveless and Dr. Lowe. [23] This was viewed with concern by Adventists, as one editor stated, "Already we have lost members to the delusions of this phenomenon. Some have been young people." [24]

In 2007, Australian administrator Gilbert Cangy reported receiving the gift of unlearned human languages (xenoglossy), when in the Vanuatuan island Ambrym, local Bislama speakers understood his English presentations. [25]

The 1991 National Church Life Survey in Australia found that approximately 5% of Australian Adventists approve of and/or speak in tongues, whereas 11% have no opinion and approximately 85% disapprove. This was the highest disapproval rating amongst all denominations surveyed. [26]

See also

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  1. "Fundamental Beliefs". Seventh-day Adventist Church. Retrieved 2008-08-18.. See "17. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries"
  2. Bacchiocchi concurs in End Time Issues #194 and #195 below
  3. Gerhard Hasel. Speaking in Tongues: Biblical Speaking in Tongues and Contemporary Glossolalia. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Adventist Theological Society, 1991 (publisher's page); as quoted in the Handbook. One review (DjVu) is by Herbert Kiesler. Andrews University Seminary Studies 32:1–2 (Spring–Summer 1994), p137–138. See also "A Symposium on Speaking in Tongues". Presented at the meeting of the Midwest Chapter of the Adventist Theological Society, 22 February 1992
  4. "Spiritual Gifts" by George E. Rice in Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology , edited by Raoul Dederen; p616–17. See also p648 for selected Ellen White quotations
  5. "What the Bible Says About Speaking in Tongues" [DA106] by David Asscherick. Presentation Archived 2011-07-12 at the Wayback Machine available for purchase
  6. Testimonies vol. 1, p414
  7. "Tongues in Early Adventism" by William Fagal. Adventists Affirm 1997, v11, p26–34
  8. Charismatic experiences in early SDA history - subheading "Bible Study Versus Ecstatic Experiences" - Arthur White Page 6
  9. Charismatic experiences in early SDA history - subheading "Bible Study Versus Ecstatic Experiences" - Arthur White Page 7
  10. Charismatic experiences in early SDA history - subheading "Further Bible Study Urged" - Arthur White Page 7
  11. White, Arthur L. (1973-03-15). "Tongues in Early SDA History" (DjVu). Advent Review and Sabbath Herald . Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald. 150 (11): 1, 4–7. ISSN   0161-1119 . Retrieved 2008-08-01. Reprinted in White, Arthur L. (7 May 1973). "Tongues in early Adventist history". Australasian Record . Warburton, Victoria: Signs Publishing Company. 77: 12–14. ISSN   0819-5633. Reprinted in one section of White, Arthur L. "Charismatic Experiences in Early Seventh-day Adventist History". Ellen G. White Estate . Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  12. Affidavit signed by Mrs. S. Howland, Mrs. Frances Howland Lunt, Mrs. Rebeckah Howland Winslow and N. N. Lunt at Battle Creek, Michigan. Ellen G. White Estate document file no. 311. As quoted by Arthur White
  13. Hiram Edson, in The Present Truth 1:6 (December 1849) (DjVu), p35–36. Oswego, New York
  14. Letter (DjVu) to James White from [Ms.] F. M. Shimper on 30 July 1851. The Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald2:2 (19 August 1851), p15
  15. Charismatic experiences in early SDA history - subheading "Further Bible Study Urged" - Arthur White Page 8
  16. Charismatic Experiences in Early Seventh-day Adventist History p. 9
  17. "Recollections of the Past.–No. 7" (DjVu) by J. N. Loughborough. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald61:24 (10 June 1884), p378–79
  18. Charismatic Experiences in Early Seventh-day Adventist History p. 8-9
  19. Daily Shield 22 August. Mansfield, Ohio. As quoted by Arthur White
  20. White, Ellen G. (31 December 1908). "A Warning" (DjVu). Pacific Union Recorder . Mountain View, California: Pacific Union Conference. 8 (22): 3. Retrieved 2008-08-20. Republished in Selected Messages book 2, chapter 4, "Warnings Against Deceptive Claims of the Spirit's Guidance", p46–47
  21. Card, E. C. "I gave up speaking in tongues" Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 1974, v151, Jan 31, p4-5(120-121)
  22. Blum, Howard; "My experience with speaking in tongues" Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 1974, v151, Aug 1, p9-11(833-835)
  23. authored by and concerning a "William Loveless";
  24. "'Insight' Announces a Series on the Tongues Movement" by Michael A. Jones. Pacific Union Recorder 72:41 (April 16, 1973)
  25. "Surprised by the Spirit" by Gilbert Cangy, in Adult Sabbath School Lesson 4th quarter (October-December) 2007 titled "The Refiner's Fire". Lesson 13, December 22–28, "Christ in the Crucible", p111. Reprint on the independent Sabbath School Network website
  26. Kaldor, Peter; John Bellamy; Ruth Powell; Merilyn Correy; Keith Castle (1994). Winds of Change: The Experience of Church in a Changing Australia. Lancer books. p. 76. ISBN   0-85892-536-2.