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Old 03-08-2009, 09:31 PM
Sam's Avatar
Sam Sam is offline
Jesus' Name Pentecostal

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: near Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 17,805
They Speak With Other Tongues

In 1964 John and Elizabeth Sherrill wrote a book titled “They Speak With Other Tongues.” The book has gone through several printings and about 2.5 million copies have been sold worldwide. I read it about 40 years ago and was blessed by it. I guess there is no way to know how many people have been informed and influenced by it and how many have received the experience known as “the Pentecostal Experience” or “The Baptism in the Holy Spirit” because of that book.

Here is an excerpt from chapter 2, pages 23-27.

I first heard of Harald Bredesen through Mrs. Norman Vincent Peale, a coeditor, with her husband of “Guideposts.” We were holding a regular Monday night editorial meeting when she came in a little out of breath.

“I’m sorry to be late,” she said. Then, even before her coat was off, “...I’ve just had dinner with a young man who’s given me a real jolt --and a lot to think about.”

I had worked with Ruth Peale for ten years. Everyone on the staff valued her for a quality of balance and levelheaded good sense. She could always be counted on to bring us back to earth, should our thinking ever become too abstract or wishful. I make a point of this because of the strangeness of the story that Ruth told us that evening. It sounded so fanciful that if it had come from someone else, I might have dismissed it rather quickly.

“Have you ever heard the expression ‘speaking in tongues’?” she asked. Most of us had a vague recollection of the phrase. It came from the Bible, I thought.

“’Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels...’ That one?” I said.

“That’s one reference, “ Ruth said. “It’s mentioned in the gospels and Paul speaks of it several times, but most of the references are in the Book of Acts. Apparently, speaking in tongues was a big part of the life of the early Church. Far more than I’d realized.

“Well, my dinner guest said that he had had this experience himself. Not only he, but some of his friends too. Norman and I sat spellbound for two hours while he told us about people all over the country who are having this happen to them. Apparently, the ‘tongue’ sometimes turns out to be a real language, which someone listening will understand, although the speaker has never learned it and has no idea what he is saying. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But there’s something about this man....” She paused. “Well, I for one want to know more about it”

After the meeting I told Ruth that I would like to meet her speaker in tongues. I thought it might make a good story for the magazine. I did meet him. But the deeper I got into the subject, the more I realized that I had stumbled onto something too big for a single magazine article.

Harald Bredesen is an ordained minister, pastor of the First Reformed Church, Mount Vernon, New York. He is about my age, then in his late thirties. He had a clerical collar, a bald spot and an excitement that was contagious. Bredesen and I had lunch together in a restaurant near my office, and there, in a setting of coffee cups and sugar shakers, he told me a story that seemed to come from a different world.

A few years earlier, Harald Bredesen, although he’d been busily involved in the work of his church, had also been a dissatisfied young man. It seemed to him that his religious life had no vitality to it, especially when he compared his experiences with those of the earliest Christians.

“There was an excitement, a stirring of life in the young Church” Bredesen said. “The Church today; by and large, has lost this. You’ve felt it, I’m sure. Where are the changed lives? Where are the healings? Where is the belief that men will die for?”

At home in the evenings Bredesen had begun to read the biblical accounts of the early churches with these questions in mind, and almost instantly fell upon a clue. The more he read, the more he became convinced that first-century Christians received their vitality from the Holy Spirit, and more especially from an experience called, in the New Testament, the baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Bredesen determined that he was going to have this experience for himself, and he went about it by taking a vacation. He headed for the Allegheny Mountains, ensconced himself in a mountain cabin and there began to pray around the clock. He made up his mind to stay in that cabin until he reached a new level of communication with God. Day after day he kept up his prayer vigil.

At last one morning while he was standing outside the cabin praying aloud, a stillness seemed to settle over the hills. Every fiber of Bredesen’s body tensed, as if his whole being were entering into a new plane of awareness. He stopped speaking for a moment. And when he began again, out of his mouth came, and here are his words as I wrote them down that day:

“...the most beautiful outpouring of vowels and consonants and also some strange, guttural syllables. I could not recognize any of it. It was as though I was listening to a foreign language, except that it was coming out of my own mouth.”

Amazed, curious and a bit frightened, Bredesen ran down the mountain, still talking aloud in this tongue. He came to the edge of a small community. On the stoop of a cabin sat an old man. Bredesen continued to speak in the tongue that was coming so easily and naturally from his lips. The man answered, talking rapidly in a language that Bredesen did not know. When it became obvious that they were not communicating, the old man spoke in English.

“How can you speak Polish but not understand it?” the man asked.

“I was speaking Polish?”

The man laughed, thinking that Bredesen was joking. “Of course it was Polish,” he said.

But Bredesen wasn’t joking. As far as he could recall, he had never before heard the language.

I was still drumming the tabletop over that one, when he told me of a second experience, this one in a lobby of a New York hotel. Bredesen was attending a breakfast meeting and had left his hat on a chair outside the dining room. When the time came to leave, he found the chair occupied not by his hat, but by a pretty young lady.

At the time Bredesen was a bachelor, and his male instincts prompted him to extend the conversation beyond a formal excuse-me-have-you-seen-my-hat? The girl noticed the clerical collar, and in a few minutes they were deep in a conversation on religion. After a while the young lady volunteered the information that her own religious life somehow left her dissatisfied. And soon Bredesen was telling her that he too had felt this lack but that he had found a new dimension in his devotional life through speaking in tongues.

“Through what?” asked the girl.

“Speaking in a language that God gives you,” Bredesen said, and went on to tell her a little about his experience. In the girl’s eyes he read disbelief and also something like apprehension.

“Can you speak in these tongues any time you want to?” she said, and he thought she edged imperceptibly to the far side of her chair.

“They’re given us for prayer.”

“Well, can you pray in tongues whenever you want to?”

“Yes. Would you like me to pray this way now?”

The girl looked around the lobby, outright alarm in her eyes this time.

“I won’t embarrass you” said Bredesen, and with that he bowed his head slightly and after a short silent prayer began speaking words that to him were unintelligible. The sounds were clipped and full of ps and ks. When he finished, he opened his eyes and saw that the girl’s face was ashen.

“Why ... why ... I understood you. You were praising God. You were speaking a very old form of Arabic.”

“How do you know?” asked Bredesen.

Then he learned that the girl was the daughter of an Egyptologist, that she herself spoke several modern Arabic dialects and had studied archaic Arabic.

“You pronounced the words perfectly,” she said. “Where on earth did you learn old Arabic?”

Harald Bredesen shook his head. “I didn’t” he said. “I didn’t even know there was such a language.”

My interview with Harald Bredesen left me more puzzled than enlightened. Surely there was a logical explanation for the tales he’d told me. Otherwise what he was claiming were out-and-out miracles, and this just didn’t jibe with anything I knew of the world today.
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Old 03-08-2009, 10:19 PM
jaxfam6 jaxfam6 is offline
Crazy father of 4

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Now? Phoenix, AZ. Before? Newark, OH, Wyandotte, MI, Tampa, FL
Posts: 3,926
Re: They Speak With Other Tongues

Reading this book back in the 90's was the best thing I did. I had been doubting the 'experience' and was wondering if it was just me doing it all. Reading this book I had an awesome experience one night that solidified it for me. I had never prayed in tongues without having prayed for a few minutes in English. My wife had set the table and was putting supper on the table, our two oldest sons were very young and sitting in high chairs. You all know how hungry little ones are. I was reading an portion from one the chapters in this book to my wife and out of no where it hit me and I was suddenly praying in tongues and worshipping God. My wife started also. Our boys did not make a sound they simply sat in their high chair for 20 minutes while my wife and I worshipped and danced around in our dinning room. We finally stopped and sat down to eat and our food was still as hot as it was when she first sat it on the table.
NEVER again have I doubted if it was REAL or not.
Life is .............

I'll get back to you when I figure it out.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:00 AM
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Sherri Sherri is offline
Christmas 2009

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Jackson, TN
Posts: 9,788
Re: They Speak With Other Tongues

I read this book about 30 years ago; I know it has changed a lot of lives.
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:02 AM
A.W. Bowman's Avatar
A.W. Bowman A.W. Bowman is offline
A Student of the Word

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Extreem East Texas, Shreveport
Posts: 1,114
Re: They Speak With Other Tongues

Well, I haven't read "the book" - but I must.

It is amazing that the term "unknown" in the phrase unknown tongues is not in the original N.T. Greek, but is inserted into the text to indicate that the language was "unknown" to the speaker, not a language that was unknown to someone else or that the language does not otherwise exist.

This application does not extend to cover the language of angels, language of heaven, the Spirit, etc., but to be applied to the Pentecostal type experiences as recorded in Acts. We frequently combine the two types of speaking in tongues into one concept or experience. However, from the excerpt given above, even an individual's "prayer language" may well fall under the praying in other (not necessarily an unknown human) tongues category. This has also been confirmed by some receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and begin speaking in Spanish, German, Hebrew, English, Greek, Chinese, etc.

Thanks Sam - again you have brought good things back to light.
It makes no difference whether you study in the holy language, or in Arabic, or Aramaic [or in Greek or even in English]; it matters only whether it is done with understanding. - Moshe Maimonides.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:45 AM
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ForeverBlessed ForeverBlessed is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Indy suburb...Indiana
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Re: They Speak With Other Tongues

I loved the book... read it last year sometime. I have told several people about it who were curious... The book had a great impact on me.
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