The Foolishness of God

“The author, unlike some researchers, is a practitioner of the subject matter not just an observer. He exercises the use of the Gifts of the Spirit. Pasteur Tarr felt “called” to be a missionary to our continent as a young boy. He and I as young preachers witnessed and participated in a life- changing revival in Burkina Faso in 1965, where over 2000 believers received the Pentecostal experience in a 90 day period at the Bible School he directed. In true expression of Acts 1:8, the recipients of this experience then led 3500 new converts to salvation in the ensuing weeks. This revival has never stopped. One in ten citizens of my country is now a Spirit-filled believer!” -Jean Pawentaore Ouedraogo, MA, Président, Assemblées de Dieu, Burkina Faso.

The Foolishness of God can be used as an auxiliary text for courses on communication, pneumatology, doctrine and apologetics, etc.


THE FOOLISHNESS OF GOD: A Linguist Looks at the Mystery of Tongues

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

I  Corinthians 1: 25.

From the Bible and the words of the great apostle Paul, comes the title of this work about one of the most controversial forms of communications: Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, seen through the lens of Communications Theory.

From obscure and pejoratively judged beginnings at the turn of the last century, the largest and fastest extending theological block of Christian believers, apart from the Roman Catholic Church, has grown to an estimated  650,000,000 souls in the space of less than 100 years. The missionary outreach of this multi-denominational movement is unprecedented in modern times. A burgeoning number of martyrs held this religious persuasion.

Because the first recipients of this book of Acts phenomenon were put out of their respective churches as irrational, Pentecostals and later Charismatics have tried to defend this outpouring of New Testament spirituality on the basis of reason. One should not be surprised, as the evangelical world is the epitome of literalism and what is rational.

This author believes that the most effective empowerment of the Spirit of God to be a gospel witness at Christ’s command is as unreasonable for the witnessing Christian today as the cross of Christ has always been in the eyes of an unbelieving world. And, in the plan of God– He has so designed them.

The framework of traditional theological argumentation has been the matrix of hundreds of books on the topic of “tongues” and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Here is a different perspective: that of the social sciences of Communications and Cultural Anthropology. The author has used four living languages to communicate in 70 countries over a 40+ year period. His terminal degree is in Cross-cultural Communications and as an ordained Pentecostal minister has experienced pastoral and educational ministry from a broad perspective. The work will follow a rigorous academic mode but not in a pedantic style so as to attract less the academician as the layperson/minister who is searching to understand this widely acclaimed spiritual phenomenon of our day. Pastors as well as laypersons will find this book a resource for the constant questions regarding glossolalia today.

Inside the broad matrix of Communications Theory (with its own major chapter) will be separate chapters including the Critics of the phenomenon of “tongues” both outside and inside the movement; a brief Historical sketch; Testimonials of past and current recipients of the gift of tongues; the element of Risk and Loss demonstrated throughout the Scriptures and in the opinion of the author, necessary for the gift; the biblical Case for tongues; the Thesis chapter highlighting the incarnational aspect of God’s plan to partner with mankind; and a chapter on the role of tongues in Unity of the Body of Christ. Appendices are available for the academic researcher in Communications as well as one on What Tongues is Not.

A full bibliography of over 350 sources used in the work is included as well as three indices. Endnotes after each chapter will “unencumber” the reading.

All the chapters relating to theology, criticism and history contain numerous Communications Insight sidebars relating the topic to the context of Communications Theory which is the distinctive characteristic of the book.


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