Christianity, i.e. following Jesus Christ, is a miracle faith. We believe in healing, wonders, signs, casting out demons, prophecy, supernatural knowledge and wisdom, faith that counters the visual reality etc.
But one miracle is being practiced more than ever by Christians in all nations, all denominations and prayer houses: Speaking in tongues!
I´ll bet you that even most bishops of the Church of Norway («State Church») speak in tongues, or have at least desired to do so! Anglicans, Catholics, Baptists…. I´ll bet you that Christian Members of the European Parliament speak in tongues! Academicians and researchers, business leaders and media people. High and low, all over Europe! Presidents of several nations speak in tongues. I have personally prayed with them. Speaking in tongues is the most important common denominator of Jesus-believing charismatics worldwide, both within catholicism and protestantism. Probably, most of the 600 million charismatics of the world speak in tongues! When we note that pentecostals and charismatics are the world´s second largest Christian movement after the Roman Church, and probably will count 740 million people within the next 10-12 years, then we should acknowledge that speaking in tongues plays a very central role. Something powerful happens with a person who discovers that God speaks through us in real languages that we have not been able to learn ourselves.
Personally, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit in a meeting at Aril Edvardsen´s convention in 1972, and four years later, I started to speak in tongues – whisper in tongues, actually – in the library of Deichmanske Bibliotek in Oslo. There was such a power that gushed through my whole being. It wasn´t possible to «make up» these sounds. Here was a language-stream so rich, so mighty, that a kid like me was crying and laughing in joy and awe! Just think that God is speaking through me!
In my study days I experienced a personality transformation by speaking in tongues: I had struggled with great inner insecurity through my first study years, but one day I chose to pray in tongues for two-three hours during a long car drive, totally alone, but the Holy Spirit was there. The secret prayer language was obviously God-given prayers for inner healing. Afterwards, I became unstoppable in my studies!
When people come to me and desire to speak in tongues, I always pray a simple prayer with the laying on of hands, and then I transfer the gift tha God has given me. But I don´t instruct them. Nobody «makes up» sounds! We believe in God´s real intervention!
Speaking in tongues is a New Testament reality that we read about in the Acts of the Apostles chapter 2 during the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Simple men and women began to speak in languages that they didn´t even know, and travelling Jews from many nations recognized the languages as real. The apostle Paul writes that speaking in tongues is to «speak mysteries» unto God. He describes speaking in tongues, «praying in the spirit»; as strengthening yourself, to be charged.
Speaking in tongues in a public church gathering should normally be interpreted, translated, but in a supernatural way. The first time I experienced this myself was in 1985 at Rakkestad (south of Oslo) when I heard a person that I didn´t know, speak loudly in tongues in a meeting. Immediately, I recognized that God was conveying a message to an unknown person, who was in attendance, about a rescue operation from difficult circumstances. I boldly trusted God for the interpretation, and I received an interpretation so specific, so exact, that I trembled in awe as I uttered the interpretation. When the message was delivered, a man jumped up from the pews, ran forward to the altar, and cried out: «It is me, it is me!» Could anyone doubt that this was from Almighty God?!
Some people confuse Biblical speaking in tongues with «glossolalia», which means babble. But Biblical speaking in tongues is first of all «xenoglossia»; whch means to speak a real language that has not been learned by natural means.
I have personally been in settings where people have recognized my speaking in tongues as existing, real languages. At a prayer meeting, an Arabic Christian stopped me and said that my tongues was a tribute to God – in Arabic! I have spoken fluently in Kirundi and Serbian. On two occasions, I have heard people speak tongues in Thai, a language that I speak fluently because I grew up in Thailand untl the age of 14. I could give several similar examples.
There have been conducted a few scientific studies of speaking in tongues. Former professor at the Theological Faculty of Oslo University (TF), Nils Egede Bloch-Hoell, who I was privileged to know, wrote the first doctoral dissertation in the world on the pentecostal revival, and he acknowledged that speaking in tongues is a reality, even though he didn´t practice it himself. Walter Hollenweger wrote a significant doctoral dissertation on the pentecostal revival, and he could document examples of such language-wonders. As yet, there have been conducted too few serious researches on speaking in tongues, but as a charismatic Christian, I welcome all such research, regardless of what the conclusions might be. Honest knowledge is never dangerous!