Wednesday, June 10, 2009


That Puts It Plainly Enough

Middlebrow often reprints the writings of R.A. Torrey, and this one is a whopper. Asked if the "'Tongues Movement' was of God" Torrey replied:
It is not. This is clear from the following facts
Whoa, that's a little blunt!. Torrey's essential points:

Torrey wrote this in 1913!

Now, I cannot argue with him much in his essential points, but his tone is remarkable and troubling. After his fifth point, something I agree with, he goes on to call the movement "demonic."

Here is my concern. Torrey argues, rightly I believe against the "tongues movement" because it is not efficacious - that is to say because it is accompanied with "the grossest immoralities." I have seen it and I agree. But we have seen such issues in virtually everything - from Catholic priests, to Baptist preachers. No one has ever done the statistics, but I would agree with Torrey that Pentecostalism in general has a higher percentage of this kind of issue than other movements, but why is an important question. There is an emphasis on the sensual (tongues is nothing if not sensual) and, importantly I think, there is a lack of accountability in the movement in general. That accounts for things more than the gift of tongues itself, or even the pursuit thereof.

But the bottom line is this - if effectiveness is important, how effective is Torrey's tone here? Does his tone reach out in grace to those that may be misguided by the problems associated with the charismatic movement? There is only condemnation, there is no grace.

There is a problem with plain speaking.

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