The Demythologization of Private Prayer Languages…

Southwestern Seminary, the International Mission Board trustees, and a host of pastors have been lying. Private tongues, they say, is the limited practice and belief of the marginal periphery of Southern Baptists, who really aren’t Southern Baptists at all.  Rather, they are Pentecostals. So dangerous is the practice of private tongues, in fact, that the practice warrants the exclusion of missionaries and professors from service in Southern Baptist life, they argue.

Well, with this latest report from Lifeway Research, we must ask our narrow cessationist and exclusionary brethren one question:

What half of their bodies are they willing to amputate?

Private Prayer Chart
Tongues Chart 1
Tongues Chart 2

Let the spin begin…

7 thoughts on “The Demythologization of Private Prayer Languages…

  1. “6/1/07 — A recent study from LifeWay Research on the use of private prayer language indicates that half of Southern Baptist pastors believe the Holy Spirit gives some people a special language to pray to God.

    The study also indicates the majority of Protestant senior pastors (63 percent) and laity (51 percent) believe in the gift of a private prayer language.”


  2. Ben, help me out here.

    Why are the “usual suspects” so adamant about eliminate the practice of “private prayer language” from SBC life?

    The best reason that I can conjure is the desire to separate themselves from the perceived abuses of the charismatic movement. However, this explanation seems inadequate to explain the wanton aggression I’ve been witnessing for the past two years.

    What is your opinion of the reason?


  3. How many were polled? I haven’t seen the stats on that.

    Isn’t there a bit of a disparity between pie #1 and pie #2? Maybe it’s my own bias, but I thought “private prayer language” = “special utterance”. Only a bit over half of those who believe in a Spirit given language believe its a heavenly language. I guess I’m starting the spin.

    Not being the sharpest knife in the box on this matter, do any leading proponents of PPL advance it being either “special utterance” or “another language”?

  4. I posted this same note on Wade’s Blog and on Marty’s. There were several comments asking about the numbers involved so here is what I came up with…

    Wikedpedia is admittedly not the most trusted of sources but here is a link that may answer the question of whether or not this was a large enough sample to generate honest results. In other words is a sample of 405 SBC Pastors representative of pastors of, say, the round number of 45,000 churches?

    There is a graph at the top of the first page which, if I understand it correctly, shows this number (405) would deliver a margin of error of somewhere between 5% and 10%. (Closer to the 5 than the 10.

    There is an illustration about ¾ of the way through the article involving the statistics behind the polling of the 2004 US Presidential election. I notice there that a sampling of a little over a thousand voters was representative produced a slight edge for Mr. Kerry. Still, the actual results of the election were within the polls margin of error.

    From this I “un-expertly” conclude two things. First, the sampling size of 405 seems large enough to deliver an accurate analysis. Second, even if the margin of error was as high as 10% there would still be a statistical result that revealed a very significant portion of SBC Pastors grant much more leeway over this issue than we have so far seen in the actions of some Southern Baptist entities.

    Absent of any conclusive word in Scripture that renders itself an unassailable position we should keep the tent open to both cessationists and continualists.

  5. this is an unbelievable report! I make the motion that we disassociate with Lifeway because of this nonsense! how dare they release this? when it became apparent that their numbers were contradicting what we all know to be true they should have scrapped this study immediately! I can not believe they’d actually do this to us and hurt all that we’ve worked so hard for in the conservative resurgence!

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