André Gagné Profile picture
Jun 30, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/ Reading Diamond’s _Spiritual Warfare. The Politics of the Christian Right_ brings back memories of my Pentecostal days. We were strongly incited to engage in “Speaking in tongues”. It was the social practice that made us feel like part of the group.

2/ As Diamond points out, “Speaking in tongues” (glossolalia) is clearly a learned behavior. At the time, I believed in the idea that the outward sign of being “baptized in the Holy Spirit” was the ability of “Speaking in tongues”; so everyone wanted “the fullness of the Spirit”.
3/ The idea that one needed to be “baptized in the Holy Spirit” evidenced by “Speaking in tongues” was based on a peculiar reading of Acts 2:1-12. Note that the disciples are speaking in KNOWN LANGUAGES according to the ability given by the Spirit (see 2:5-11).
4/ This is completely different from the “glossolalia” one can hear in Pentecostal or Charismatic churches today; that is, a free form expression of unintelligible syllabes uttered in rapid succession and often referred to as the “tongues of angels” in need of interpretation.
5/ What we see in today’s Pentecostal and Charismatic churches is learned behavior. When someone sought the “baptism in the Spirit”, we collectively laid hands on them and prayed out loud, sometimes screaming “in tongues” in their ears! No wonder they came to “speak in tongues”!
6/ Now Acts 2 cannot be used as a proof-text for “Speaking in tongues” today; it’s not a justification for such a practice. The writer of Acts 2 composed what we call an “etiological narrative”. This genre is used to explain the origin (how & why) of something. What is he saying?
7/ As the author of Acts 2 looks at the expansion of the gospel message throughout the Roman Empire of his day, he tries to explain to his reader how the disciples managed to proclaim their message to various people across the Empire - this is the meaning of those in Acts 2:9-11.
8/ Acts 2 says that the expansion of the gospel message to various people in multiple languages throughout the Roman Empire, is due to the empowerment the disciples received by the Spirit. It’s the explanation given for the origin (etiology) of the growth of the early church.
9/ Now, people in today’s Pentecostal and Charismatic churches do experience something, but it is not the same as what we read in Acts 2; rather, it is the learned behavior of “Speaking in tongues”, a social practice which serves as a way to construct one’s social identity.
10/ I might pursue this thread at some other time to discuss Paul’s instructions concerning “tongues” in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.
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More from @profagagne

Sep 15, 2018
1/ This summer, after many years, we moved back to the south shore of Montreal. This afternoon, I decided to drive down memory lane to revisit the two churches where I pastored 20 yrs ago. Some of my students don’t believe I once was an evangelical pastor. I’m glad it’s all over!
2/ Out of curiosity, I might one day attend one of their Sunday morning meeting, incognito of course. Things probably haven’t changed. In the Pentecostal church there’s probably still a lot of emotional singing and preaching, and the Baptists still likely focus on Sunday school.
3/ My wife and I are really glad that both our sons were spared from being indoctrinated into our fundamentalist way of life. We left the pastorate and church when they were very young, when I started university in 1999. Thank goodness they don’t recall anything from that time.
Read 7 tweets
Aug 29, 2018
1/ Read @C_Stroop’s insightful take on the issue “fake Christians”. People should note that anyone slightly familiar with the history and literature of Early Christianities will realize that there is no such thing as normative Christianity in terms of beliefs and practices.
2/ This is why we should be speaking of “Christianities” and not “Christianity”. Even the New Testament authors display the various beliefs and practices of Jesus followers in their writings, as well as the conflicts that existed among believers in Jesus at that time.
3/ Some writers of the New Testament label their enemies as being “not from among them” (See 1 John for example), due to what they considered being another kind of “Christology”, but who’s to say which Christology was the most authentic and true?
Read 10 tweets
Aug 18, 2018
1/ Well for some evangelicals, gifting is far more important than character. My recent threads on sexual abuse cover-ups confirmed this fact. Someone recently shared with me the story of a twisted sexual misconduct cover-up in a French-speaking evangelical church here in Quebec.
2/ A couple of years ago, the lead pastor of an evangelical congregation instructed his entire leadership staff to cover-up the moral failings of another pastor. There were repeated cases of sexual misconduct, targeting vulnerable women in this church over the years.

3/ The pastor said that there was too much at stake (government funding programs, public reputation, influence on other churches tarnished, etc.). There are consequences in taking appropriate actions against leaders who have breached ethical standards.

Read 5 tweets
Aug 17, 2018
1/ The RCC is a highly structured religious organization; priests are supposed to be accountable to some kind of authority. Despite all of this, it did not prevent the massive cover-up of sexual abuse cases that has been going on for several years! Now, what about evangelicals?
2/ There are many evangelical churches that are non-denominational; this means that they are managed independently, without the oversight of leaders OUTSIDE the church. Some pastors are therefore not accountable to anyone; they often go unchallenged in their own congregations.
3/ This lack of accountability can be even more problematic than what is found in the RCC. The fact that many of these churches are not part of any denominational structure, makes it even more difficult for victimes to speak out. Who has the authority to confront abusive pastors?
Read 9 tweets
Aug 14, 2018
1/ Be it in the Catholic Church, the Jehovah's Witnesses or in the Evangelical movement, these church leaders don't treat cases of sexual abuse & misconduct as a crime but as a "sin". For them, "sin" needs to be dealt with internally, not in public. Abusers are thus protected.
2/ I was interviewed on the reasons behind sexual abuse cover-ups in the JWs last March on @CTVW5. Their prescription for "sin" is to adopt a "biblical worldview"; this prevents and discourages victims of abuse to alert the authorities.


3/ I also provided some details concerning the reasoning behind the cover-up of sexual abuse and sexual misconduct cases in the Evangelical church this short @YouTube clip.

#SexualAbuse #ChurchToo

Read 6 tweets
Aug 7, 2018
1/ I was recently asked by James Scaminaci III (@4GWDOTDOTDOT) to comment on this interesting report by Francesca Tripodi, “Searching for Alternate Facts: Analyzing Scriptural Inference in Conservative News Practices”. Here are some of my thoughts.…
2/ Tripodi argues that conservatives apply “practices learned in Bible study… to media interpretation.” (p.6) In other words, conservatives engage in “the same type of close reading that they were taught in Bible study to mainstream media.” (p.3)
3/ Tripodi refers to what she calls the practice of “scriptural inference.” Conservatives “critically interrogate media messages in the same way they approach the Bible, focusing on specific passages and comparing what they read, see, and hear to their lived experiences.” (p.6)
Read 10 tweets

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