When I started reading news reports about the Wasilla Assembly of God, a certain headline politician’s church in Alaska, I became curious. What is Pentecostal Christianity? Like Scientology, it’s one of those woo-woo religious organizations that’s shrouded in mystery. Do their believers really speak in tongues because I’ve seen Borat and those people are…well, interesting. What about the faith healing? Or demon possession? Is all that true too?
According to what I’ve been able to get my hands on, Pentecostalism is a fundamentalist movement within Christianity. Obviously there are varying degrees, but overall, the belief is that to enter the kingdom of heaven, believers must be saved through their faith and through the grace of Jesus Christ. Helping old ladies cross the street and attending church each Sunday isn’t enough, salvation can only come from the Holy Spirit. (ie: God) Baptism is thus a critical facet of a believer’s experience. The Scriptures say that once a believer comes in contact with the Holy Spirit through baptism, he or she will have the gift of speaking in tongues. This outward manifestation of his or her joining with God will allow not only for a private dialogue with God that mere mortals cannot understand, but also for another member of the church to translate and give prophecy.
The process, called Xenoglossy, reflects that Person A (Bob) has had a talk with God through his Holy Spirit. Bob then starts up with the gobbledy-gook that no one can understand…except Person B (Rita). Rita luckily understands Bob and can give a translation of Bob’s conversation to the entire church.
Bob: Ooooga oooga oooga.
Rita: The end is near.
Bob: Yiyiyi Yiyiyi Yiiii.
Rita: God saves repentful sinners.
Bob: Mmmzzzaa Mmmzzzaa.
Rita: Buy Rita Lanvin flats.
United Nations expert tongue translator: Uh sorry, Rita. But Mmmzzzaa Mmmzzzaa actually means levitate.
Rita: Are you sure? Because I could’ve sworn he said…
UN expert tongue translator: No, it’s levitate. Bob’s about to levitate.
Wasilla Pastor: You heard him people. There’s a demon inside Bob. Let’s get that sucker out!
***For you readers out there who are lighting tourches and buying plane tickets to Los Angeles as we speak, please read the Dear Stalker section. Thank You.