Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Thu Oct 4 16:09:02 EDT 2001


Thank you for your excellent comments and further background.

I only want to comment briefly on one aspect you brought up, so I have
deleted the rest:

> I find somewhat problematic the claim here that "the Holy Spirit is a
> gentle voice--it never carries me away against my will." It's the "NEVER"
> that disturbs me: I think Jeremiah might have questioned this proposition
> and I rather think that Paul too might claim that his experience of the
> Holy Spirit has on occasion been coercive. Whether or not one
> might feel in
> retrospect that one has been guided toward one's authentic selfhood by the
> experience, the experience itself may be wrenching and something
> other than gentle.

I did not intend to say that all the activities of the Holy Spirit are
gentle. Nor did I intend to say that such activities could not overrule my
will and intentions. I was thinking of how I and others that I know receive
prophetic inspiration. That has always been a still, small voice as Elijah
experienced it. It can result in quite a bit of shaking, heart beat and
agitation, but that is a human response.
Are you thinking of any particular experiences of Paul? In the initial
Damascus road experience the Spirit obviously had to overrule the will and
intentions of Paul, but it was still done in a fairly gentle way through
questions rather than condemnation.
> Nor am I quite so confident that the difference between pagan spiritual
> frenzy and true prophetic inspiration is all that clear-cut. Saul was told
> by Samuel that he would meet a band of prophets and "become another man"
> and would prophesy, and afterwards there was the saying, "Is Saul also
> among the prophets?"--which may have meant that people thought he was at
> least a little bit looney. And it seems to me that Paul's whole discussion
> of GLWSSOLALIA is at least partly a matter of whether non-believers
> observing believers engaging in the practice might wonder whether the
> believers are "a little bit looney."

I am hesitant to apply prophetic experiences in the OT as standards for NT
prophecy. The case of Saul is atypical and I don't think it fits with NT
prophecy or anyone's experience of prophecy today.

Yes, the misuse of glossolalia can easily make outsiders think that those
people are more or less looney. That is one major reason why it is a misuse
and Paul says that it should not take place.
There are different types of glossolalia. Some types involve prophetic
inspiration, and some do not, but discussing this would take us too far away
from b-greek.

Iver Larsen

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