Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Aaron Friesen, PhD
Douglas Balzer, DMin
This thesis offers a critical analysis and a comparative study of how glossolalia (tongues-speech) fits alongside traditionally recognized spiritual formation disciplines such as worship and prayer. This dissertation explores how glossolalia as a spiritual discipline develops and promotes a deepened awareness of God’s presence within the believer. Glossolalia has, sadly, rarely been understood as a spiritual discipline in contemporary spiritual practice. Due to an array of factors, Christians often outright reject the practice of glossolalia as a discipline of spiritual formation, thus missing its many benefits (e.g., spiritual growth, empowerment, relationship, and intimacy with God).
Three questions to be considered are: (1) What are the biblical and theological foundations for glossolalia as a spiritual discipline? (2) What are the impacts of glossolalia as a spiritual discipline on both the Pentecostal church and the more extensive church community?2 (3) Does the common practice of Pentecostal tongues adequately address the issue of glossolalia as a discipline of spiritual formation?
First, the boundaries of this dissertation will be outlined using the aspects of the traditional model of spiritual formation: spiritual disciplines within the historical Christian tradition. Second, there will be an examination of biblical support for glossolalia as a spiritual discipline. Third, a review of the experience of glossolalia throughout Christian history will be presented. Fourth, a theological perspective of glossolalia as a spiritual discipline in the life of a Christian will be presented. The culmination of this dissertation will be an expression of spiritual formation that claims glossolalia as a spiritual discipline.
2 I am writing this as a Pentecostal. As a Pentecostal, my spiritual experience (baptism of the Holy Spirit) shapes my theological reflection. The window that I write through is secured by the evidence and effect of glossolalia as a spiritual discipline that I practice in my own life.
Ruse, Patricia A., "Embracing the Experience of Glossolalia (“Speaking in Tongues”) as a Principal Discipline of Christian Spiritual Formation" (2019). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 305.