At Three Crosses Church, Pastor Ken Walters urges his parishioners to join him in song and scripture. The charismatic 58-year-old extends his arms skyward and belts out melodies praising God.
While the small Assemblies of God congregation goes through all the traditional trappings of a Pentecostal service, there is one notable absence: speaking in tongues, a defining trait of the faith.
The 40-member church is among many nationwide that are reducing or cutting out speaking in tongues as they become more popular and move to the mainstream. It’s a shift that has unsettled some more traditional Pentecostals who say the practice is at the heart of a movement that evolved out of an interracial revival and remains a spontaneous way for the poor and dispossessed to have a direct line to God.
The article suggests the Pentecostals want to fit in more and an odd practice like glossolalia seems too exotic. It also notes that it is one of the “fastest-growing segments of global Christianity”. Could it be mainstreaming? Will strange practices keep people away?
They believe speaking in tongues is a language of angels. But it’s just gibberish. Perhaps this critical stance on the practice is discouraging it. People are more aware it’s not a miracle or divine.
No mention of serpent handling though. There’s a self-defeating practice.