The religious phenomenon "speaking in tongues" (also known as glossolalia) first made the headlines back in October 1959 when Reverend Dennis Bennett told 2600 members of St Mark's Church in Van Nuys California about the language. "Speaking in tongues" could be found in the New Testament's Book of Acts, second chapter, verse 3.
The turning point in history took place about 30AD at the biblical Pentecost event. Pentecost was said to mean 50th. For example, in August 1959, Hawaii officially became the 50th state of America. In Sunday School, it was taught Pentecost was a festival celebrated 50 days after the second day of Passover, a Thanksgiving feast. Thanks for the "giving of the law." It was understood in the Christian calendar, Pentecost would be celebrated on the 7th Sunday after Easter.
Retired Navy chaplain, Captain Stanford E. Linzey Jr. told Copley News Service in 1977, "(Speaking in tongues) is an utterance by a speaker in a language never learned that is inspired by the Holy Spirit (*) and not understood by the speaker. There is nothing mysterious about talking in tongues if one accepts the fact that it is a supernatural phenomenon. People can start at will and stop any time they want to. They are not, as some falsely believe, in a trance-like, or hypnotic state. They are fully conscious."
(*) The word "Spirit" in Hebrew said to mean "wind".
In Sunday School, it was learnt, "There are 2 varieties of speaking with tongues. The first is when a person under the power of the Spirit speaks in a language with which he is not familiar. This was the type of speaking with tongues that took place on the first day of Pentecost following Christ's resurrection and ascension into heaven...But there was another variety of speaking with tongues, namely, the crying out of praise to God in an ecstatic manner which appeared to have no connection with any known language."
The Book of Acts told readers, "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire (*) distributed and resting on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."
(*) It was told, "Fire represents the sanctifying power of the Spirit. Fire is a great purifier."
There were said to be 3 meanings for the term "baptism of fire": 1. a soldier's first experience of battle; 2. an ordeal experienced for the first time; 3. the penetration of the Holy Ghost into the human spirit to purify, consecrate, and strengthen it, as was believed to have occurred initially at Pentecost
"I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams…"
Evangelist H. Richard Hall mentioned to Scripps Howard News Service in 1987, "When you go to talking about God, you have to walk pretty careful…I personally am strictly conservative for myself but liberal for others. I do not demand of others what I require of myself. When I fist started, I thought I had all the answers. But after 40 years, I've found I don't know all that much…My true feelings about (speaking in) tongues might astound you. True tongues, I believe, would be like true healing or prophecy or a miracle. It would be irrefutable. If one had the gift of tongues, I believe he could speak in Italy in Italian and in Russia in Russian – be clearly understood by all. The other, the unknown tongues, perhaps are just a man's expression from a depth without any human intelligence…maybe somebody's got something in their mind and they just go ahead."
Reverend Mark Boykin made the comment to Cox News Service in 1994, "Some Christians believe the charismatic (*) gifts aren't for today, that they were for the apostles' time. We don't take a defensive posture. A lot of these critics are uninformed or have a particular theology that's different from ours."
(*) It was noted the word "charismatic" was a Greek word meaning "gifts of the Spirit".
The United Pentecostal Church pointed out in 1973, "Whenever a person receives the Holy Spirit, he will speak with other tongues; this is the automatic result without emphasizing or even seeking the 'tongues'. The difference between the gift of tongues and speaking with tongues is a point of confusion that many critics stumble over. The tongue is the most unruly member of the body, the last part to yield or surrender to God. Its control by the Holy Spirit indicates the subjection of the whole body. Until one surrenders to God completely, he will not experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The evidence is uniform and external."