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PROJECT TOPIC: THE CONCEPT OF SPEAKING IN TONGUES IN THE PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES IN NIGERIA (A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES IN LAGOS STATE)

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.2. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

One of the most dramatic features of the story of twentieth century global Christianity has been the rise and expansion of the Pentecostal movement. Wherever the Pentecostal movement or church is found the subject of speaking in tongues comes to the fore. Pentecostals differ, however, as to what role speaking in tongues play in worship and in the church as a whole. Sundkler postulates that “Pentecostal churches whether they are lead by Europeans or Africans are definite on the gi of speaking with tongues. The baptism of believers in the Holy Ghost is indicated by the initial physical sign of speaking with tongues, as the Spirit of God gives them utterance. Horton (2011) supports this when he also writes “it is inconceivable that a supernatural experience like the baptism should exist without distinctive supernatural evidence. A tongue is that necessary evidence and these statements clearly support the idea that tongues must accompany baptism in the Spirit. Pentecostals consider the events on the Day of Pentecost (Act 2) as repeatable in terms of the promise that the gift of the Spirit was for the attendees and their offspring (Act2:39) as part of their hermeneutics that reads Acts as a model for the church today (Menzies 2016). They argue that speaking in tongues serves as precedent and archetype of Spirit baptism (Mittelstadt 2010) but also as repeatable evidence of the Holy Spirit’s continued presence (Synan 2011). Speaking in tongues do play an important role in the Pentecostal Movement in order to sensitive the believer to the promptings of the Spirit, to give confidence to witness, and provide power to live a holy life (in the language of pioneers like Taylor [2010] and Haywood [2011]). However, it is argued here that the claim that the events during the Day of Pentecost should be repeated and replicated in the modern church is only valid if the tongues of Acts 2 can be proved to be identical with the tongues in 1 Corinthians 12–14 and contemporary experience. Larry Christianson, a Lutheran pastor, stressed strongly the significance of speaking with tongues for personal prayer life and found in it a source of spiritual refreshment but he refused accepting that speaking in tongues is the only sign of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues, singing praises to God, dancing for the Lord and declaring the mighty acts of God are distinctive in Pentecostal churches around the world


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