The following is a news report about a Southern Baptist pastor who shared stories during a seminary chapel about praying in tongues. My comments are at the end…
Raging Tongues at SBC Seminary
Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson has issued an extraordinary rebuke to the Rev. Dwight McKissic, a seminary trustee and prominent Arlington pastor, for acknowledging during a chapel service that he sometimes speaks in tongues when he prays.
After Tuesday’s chapel service, Patterson issued a statement that the video of McKissic’s sermon will not be posted online nor saved in seminary archives, as are the sermons of all other chapel speakers. Patterson withheld McKissic’s chapel message from the school’s Web site, the statement said, “lest uninformed people believe that Pastor McKissic’s view on the gift of tongues and ‘ecstatic utterance’ is the view of the majority of the people at Southwestern.”
The rest of the story is at www.mondaymorninginsight.com. Southwestern Seminary went on to release a statement saying, “But “we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which we fear may be harmful to the churches.”
Here is the comment that I posted on the mondaymorninginsight.com webpage…
I thougth the war between the charismatics and the evangelicals was over? I guess the SBC didn’t get the memo that we aren’t fighting over the issue of tongues anymore. I understand McKissic’s frustration and criticism with the IMB exclusion of missionaries who pray in tongues.
What concerns me is the seminary’s statement: But “we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which we fear may be harmful to the churches.” First, what are they so afraid of? And second, do they believe that a theology and practice of the gift of tongues as a private prayer language of the Spirit is harmful? I can see the harmful nature of a strict Pentecostal doctrine of initial evidence, but what is the harm in tongues as a part of a Christian’s prayer life?
I have no problems with the SBC’s theological critique of the prayer language of the Spirit. Too often their prohibition of tongue-speaking is not theological, but cultural. Too often they are allowing a modern, rationally-driven mode of thinking cause them to “fear” tongues because it is non-rational. From my experience, members of the SBC have put their theological heads in the sand and ignore the tongues, instead of dealing with the biblcial material concerning the proper use of tongues.
What I mean by that is that in my experience Baptist have an underdeveloped theology of spiritual gifts, specifically related to speaking in tongues. They ignore it or they say that it passed away, but they typically do not engage the biblcial texts the talk about speaking in tongues. Furthermore, their theological distance from the issue causes a lack of experience of tongues in their churches. And when a Baptist person speaks in tongues the Baptist leaders do not know how to deal with is. When a Baptist tells me that they disagree with tongues as a prayer language, because 1 Corinthians 14 says that it must be followed with an interpretation, I ask, “Is that the way it happens in your church?”
I really do think the war between the charismatics and the evangelicals is over. The SBC just needs to get with the program. Shan-da-la-ka!