The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

In defence of continuationism (allegedly)

with 3 comments

An alleged defence of modern speaking in tongues:

Suppose the message is:

Praise the Lord, for his mercy endures forever.

Remove the vowels to achieve:

PRS TH LRD FR HS MRC NDRS FRVR.

This may seem a bit strange; but when we remember that modern Hebrew is written without most vowels, we can imagine that with practice this could be read quite smoothly. Now remove the spaces and, beginning with the first letter, rewrite the sequence using every third letter, repeatedly going through the sequence until all the letters are used up. The result is:

PTRRMNSVRHDHRDFRSLFSCRR.

Now add an ‘a’ sound after each consonant, and break up the unit into arbitrary bits:

PATARA RAMA NA SAVARAHA DAHARA DAFARASALA FASA CARARA.

I think that is indistinguishable from transcriptions of certain modern tongues. Certainly it is very similar to some I have heard. but the important point is that it conveys information provided you know the code. Anyone who knows the steps I have taken could reverse them in order to retrieve the original message…

It appears, then, that tongues may bear cognitive information even though they are not known human languages–just as a computer program is a ‘language’ that conveys a great deal of information, even though it is not a ‘language’ that anyone actually speaks. You have to know the code to be able to understand it. Such a pattern of verbalization could not be legitimately dismissed as gibberish. It is as capable of conveying propositional and cognitive content as any known human language. ‘Tongue’ and ‘language’ still seem eminently reasonable words to describe the phenomenon…

Unhelpful? Strange? Risible? Can you guess who wrote it?

By all means have a guess in the comments. If I am feeling charitable, and if no one gets it after a while, I will post the answer, with a further link to some astute comments.

UPDATE Yup, it is – as all commenters have guessed one way or another – Don Carson working with a Poythressian perspective. Jesse Johnson has some comments here.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 26 January 2012 at 18:00

Posted in Pneumatology

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. “Remove the vowels to achieve:
    PRS TH LRD FR HS MRC NDRS FRVR.”

    Looks like a teenager texting to me…

    In all seriousness, though, the problem here is that Carson makes the argument based purely on speculation. It can’t be proved one way or another because his argument is, “we don’t know what we don’t know.” Such speculation doesn’t belong in the midst of such solid exegetical discussion.

    Dave

    Thursday 26 January 2012 at 18:07

  2. D.A. Carson ?

    Ryan

    Thursday 26 January 2012 at 22:45


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