The chief concern in this study is the understanding of the true glossolalic phenomenon, in distinction from the confusing element of ecstasy.
The starting point is the assumption that there is an authentic gift of glossolalia that presumably is potentially valid today, although under what conditions and why is a different question. Gifts of teaching, preaching, and pastoring are self-evidently valid or able to be independently validated, but what is the validation of speaking in "tongues"? Indeed, what is "speaking in tongues"? Considering the difficulties of defining the term, and the apparent difficulties in ascertaining and authenticating the gift, one feels compelled to agree with Robinson (Meyer 1975, 142) that the phenomenon has stolen a position out of all proportion to its biblical importance and ecclesiastical value. Robinson, a glossolalist and former Pentecostal preacher states:
There are sixty-six books in the Bible, and only three of them mention tongues. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible, and only seven refer to tongues. There are 31,162 verses, and only twenty-two mention tongues. Sheer quantity is not, of course, a proper criterion for evaluating scriptural teachings. By the same token, however, a practice which is mentioned so seldom, hardly deserves the attention that some give tongues, and the benefits do not seem to be commensurate with the cleavages that are created.
About the Author
Rev Dr David A Swincer is an ordained Baptist Minister, having served almost 40 years in pastoral ministry, including 13 years as a seminary professor.
Raised on a sheep farm in South Australia, David developed a strong sense of the practicalities of life, and this experience has been invaluable in his pastoral and lecturing experience.
He originally trained as a secondary school teacher, specializing in mathematics and science. He acquired a B.A. degree and Secondary Teaching Diploma. He taught for 4 years full-time.
The unmistakable call to Pastoral Ministry led to training in the New South Wales Baptist Theological Seminary, where he did post-graduate study, gaining a B.D. and Dip. R.E. After 8 years of Pastoral Ministry, he moved to the Seminary Position, specializing in New Testament - especially Greek exegesis. Circumstances meant that he also lectured widely in other areas, undertaking some lecturing in OT exegesis, Modern Church History, overview of theology, and a special emphasis in pastoral subjects (including writing several papers on associated topics, notably a Pre-marriage Counseling Course; Marriage Enrichment; Conflict resolution).
He pursued strong personal interest in the nature and practice of worship.
A pastor at heart, Dr Swincer loved to see the practical side of careful exegesis and theological education.
During this time he undertook M.A. and Doctoral studies.
His whole ministry has been marked by a willingness to think laterally, and to challenge common presuppositions, in the search for the truth. His books strongly challenge traditional positions that seem to be held unthinkingly. That will be a challenge to the reader!