Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oliphant's Ignorance

I'm not easily offended and when I am I usually get over it pretty quickly. Holding grudges can prevent you from moving forward. This time, the Washington Post has managed to offend me deeply, so much so I am demanding and expect a thorough apology.

On September 9 cartoonist Pat Oliphant slammed Sarah Palin, showed his complete ignorance of Pentecostals, and mocked God. I hope his life insurance policy is paid up. I wouldn't stand near him outdoors.

See the cartoon here.

Many people, including many Christians, are ignorant about Pentecostal beliefs. The difference is Mr. Oliphant chose to ridicule what he does not understand. Speaking in tongues is not some condition like epilepsy or Tourette's syndrome as Mr. Oliphant seems to think. His example of speaking in tongues was completely random and sounded more like something from a bad sci-fi alien movie.

I am not asking you to believe as I do. Read your Bible and judge for yourself. If you choose not to believe in speaking in tongues you will not die and go to Hell. Nor will I for believing it.

Speaking in tongues has been described as a "heavenly language." I don't mean to make this sound humorous but being somewhat of a geek, I have a good analogy. Speaking in tongues is like communicating with God on an encrypted line. The difference is only God knows what is being said. Even the person speaking in tongues does not know what they are saying. We believe there is a real spiritual enemy who seeks to disrupt and destroy our lives. That enemy knows more about the Bible than any Christian on Earth and can understand all human languages.

Let me clarify something else. People don't just speak in tongues at will. It should only happen when the person is prompted by God to do so. The "encrypted" language is there because (a) some things are better off not uttered in an understandable human language and (b) some things don't need to be heard by the enemy. Imagine if General Petraeus broadcast American battle strategies over commercial radio frequencies. How stupid would that be?

I have heard people pray in tongues, speak in tongues, and sing in tongues all over the world. There are virtually indistinguishable differences between what is heard in the United States, Mexico, Africa, Europe, Asia, etc. Why is that? Compare English to Chinese or Spanish to German. They are completely different. Could one person start a false language and spread it around the world virtually unaltered? I don't think so.

All of this may sound a little freaky to you and that's okay. I felt the same way before I experienced it myself. I am a very logical thinker who analyzes everything to death before I accept it. I've been part of a Pentecostal denomination for 20 years and if this were a hoax or nothing more than random emotional outbursts I would have discovered it by now.

Again, I encourage you to find out for yourself. Don't just believe what someone else tells you. Research it and make your own judgement.

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