Re: 1Cor. 14:14

From: David Moore (
Date: Mon Oct 09 1995 - 18:48:20 EDT

On Mon, 9 Oct 1995, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> At 8:16 PM 10/8/95, Kenneth Litwak wrote:
> >I think I would have to take exception to the word "ecstatic". That
> >sounds like the "under the influence of foreign substances" Oracle at
> >Delphi (to use German word order), not what Paul is talking about.
> >Paul makes clear, IMO, that the person speaking in tongues can
> >turn it on and shut it off, so to speak, at will, which is not how
> >one would normally understand being in an "ecstatic" state.
> >Perhaps Stephen and others mean something else by "ecstatic", in whih
> >case a little more precision in definition is needed.
> I'd have to go along with the interpretation of the phenomenon involved in
> 1 Cor 14 as glossolalia in the sense of ecstatic utterance, and yes, I
> would even say that it is similar to the glossolalia of the Sibyl at
> Delphi, which does not, in fact, appear to have been drug-induced at all,
> but which does appear to have been ecstatic and to have involved babbling
> utterances which the priests of Apollo "interpreted" in Greek verse form to
> give to those consulting the oracle. When Paul first takes up this subject
> in 1 Cor 12, PERI DE TWN PNEUMATIKWN ..., he says (12:2) OIDATE hOTI hOTE
> translate, "You know that when you were Gentiles how you would be drawn,
> carried away toward speechless idols." It seems to me that Paul clearly
> recognized that there recognized religious experiences--psychic
> experiences--were indeed characteristic of pagan religion. In these
> chapters 12-14 of 1 Corinthians he's trying to make clear what he
> undestands to be the difference between a pagan kind of religious
> experience (which he seems to think of in terms of the keyword "GNWSIS"
> characterizing Corinthian attitudes elsewhere in the letter) and a
> Christian kind of religious experience. He seems to me to be less than keen
> on glossolalia but recognizes it as an admissible component of worship;
> what bothers him about it is that it's not rational and it doesn't
> communicate anything to other worshippers. So he urges that if the
> Corinthians are determined to indulge in it, they ought to make sure that
> someone is able to make sense of the ecstatic babbling for the sake of the
> rest of the congregation. And if there are outsiders there, they would be
> wiser not to indulge in it. I think Paul is also relativizing the same
> phenomenon and again associating it with ecstatic, irrational utterance in
> 1 Cor 13:1, "If I speak in languages of human beings and of angels but have
> no AGAPH, then I've become clanging bronze or jingling cymbals."

        But, then, how could Paul, in the context of Pagan practices - if
they were essentially pagan - say "Thank God I pray in tongues more than
you all"?

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

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