1 Cor. is all about confronting worldliness with the life-changing power of the gospel. – See, the church had become like the world.
There was too much of Corinth in the church, and too little of the true Church in Corinth.
+ Realise that there was nothing uniquely Christian about ecstatic speech and strange utterances: Many of the pagan Greco-Roman religions, including those active at Corinth, also had bizarre tongues. – Just as recent studies have shown was common in Zulu tradition as well, and in other traditional cultures.
In the ancient world, worshippers of a god or goddess would drink & dance themselves into a frenzy until they went unconscious.
See, this was the state in which you communed most with the gods, (or the ancestors as would be said in Africa). – At such times of drunkenness, they believed their spirits left their bodies and had direct fellowship with the divine (or spirit world). – When such worship reached a climax, their ecstatic tongues would prove they were speaking the very language of the gods!
Sounds just like Corinth. – And just like many churches today.
~ The wife of John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement, describes the ‘watershed event’ that launched her husband into a new stage of charismatic power. – They had a guest speaker who invited everyone under the age of 25 to come forward and ‘receive the Holy Spirit’. – She writes:
One fellow, Tim, started bouncing. His arms flung out and he fell over, but one of his hands accidentally hit a mike stand and he took it down with him. He was tangled up in the cord with the mike next to his mouth. Then he began speaking in tongues, so the sound went throughout the gymnasium (where we were meeting) …The majority of the young people were shaking and falling over. At one point, it looked like a battlefield scene – bodies everywhere, people weeping, wailing, and speaking in tongues, much shouting and loud behaviour. And there was Tim, in the middle of it all, babbling into the microphone.
The Corinthian church has never had more imitators & admirers than today. – All the more reason for us to be studying this crucial epistle. – What a great time in history to be alive and to rediscover the stunning relevance & clarity of God’s Word!