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What Did Jesus Say? (2012) - 7 topics 

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Was the Python Priestess of Acts 16 the source of Paul teaching on tongues explained by an interpreter? 


Anon Wrote on May 10, 2020:


Do you have an article on praying in the spirit. Does Jesus refer to this prayer language or just Paul? Thank you.


My Reply May 10, 2020


Hi [Anon]


Well, I used to go to a charismatic Protestant church denomination in Costa Rica for four years (1999-2002) that promoted spiritual gifts. And there is certainly a way of praying in the Spirit that you might be referring to.

I did enjoy most of such worship, but much of it I was a concerned spectator. I questioned to leadership whether falling backwards emanates from the Holy Spirit. I just did not feel good about it. My questioning it caused a firestorm for a time, but they never gave up on it. I never felt comfortable in praying with people who were praying in "tongues" that no one could understand.


At this time, [anon], I would warn you away from doing in prayer anything other than what Jesus says. Keep your prayers short, Jesus says, because your Father in heaven already knows what you need. Jesus also said do not be like people who pray on street corners to be seen. So while I definitely believe in raising holy hands (with palms up), I would say if no one else is doing it, then I don't want to make myself a spectacle to be seen by others. If I am alone doing it, it is to make myself appear more 'holy" than others, and this is not what you want to give off.  I think praying in tongues possibly appears to others as a spectacle as well and could also be off-limits if you keep reading.


Thus other than raising holy hands, all the aisle rolling, tongues (in sense of unintelligible glossalia) interpreted by another, words of knowledge, groans of the spirit, falling backwards, etc., I would never wish to even observe such practices ever again. 


Here's why. While such practices are seemingly endorsed by Paul if done orderly, where did Paul learn about them? What spirit is in them?


For an answer, please read Paul's "Way of Salvation" Is Endorsed by the Python Priests in Acts 16 For Many Days Before Paul Cast a Demon From Her.


Then consider what most people think it means to pray in the Spirit  is affected by what we learn about the Python Priestess from history - she was a famous figure whose role was rotated over centuries by a series of women controlled by a demon, which Luke  confirms.


At the end of our Python Priestess article cited above, you will learn that the Python priestess' method of prophesying is indistinguishable from what Paul describes is to be done in a church service. Based upon Greek historical works beginning four centuries before Paul met the Python priestess at Philippi, her manner of prophecy included uttering groans in tongues completely unintelligible while slayed in the spirit on the floor, rolling and contorting her body, finished by an interpreter then sharing the prophecy with the listeners by writing it down.  This is mentioned under Notes after the main article cited earlier on the Python Priestess. 


Thus, is it possible this Pythron Priestess left some of her spirit in Paul? 


This may be admitted by Paul indirectly. For Paul says in 2 Cor. 12:7 that his "Lord" (not identified) refused his prayer to release him from affliction by an "Angel of Satan," the "Lord" saying the "grace" so far shown Paul was enough. Christian scholars note Paul appears to admit demonic control, and this passage could not be as Paul intended, and we should simply "ignore" what Paul is saying. [Link.]

(However, more important, would the true Jesus refuse to remove a demon afflicting a true Christian?)

But a discerning Berean can put this together with Acts 16, and have a confirmation of serious concern about modern "gifts of the Spirit" - the rolling, the groaning, the words of interpretation, etc.


Are you chagrined to hear anything negative about Paul? I understand. I was a follower of Paul for decades. However, I now do Berean testing of Paul, to protect my Lord Jesus' words from unwarranted competition.  I believe we are on very solid ground questioning Paul's validity. 


For example, our Lord Jesus gives us a very clear warning about a teacher to not listen to, and this teacher will be called / have the name of "least"  and teaches you not to follow the law. (Matt 5:17-19). My article Paul the Least demonstrates that paulos - Paul's name -- derives from the Latin word "paulus" (as Paul was a Roman citizen, and had to have a Roman name besides Saul, a Hebrew name), and in Latin, paulus is a contraction of a very long word -- pauxillilus which means "least." I show a Latin dictionary from the 1600s where this definition is clearly said in English, long before anyone drew the connection to Matt 5:17-19. So our Lord is advising us clearly not to listen to Paul. See Paul the Least.


Hence, I would simply be wary of what some think it means to pray in the spirit. I recommend you follow Jesus' teachings on prayer. I think singing with holy hands is generally good. (Paul never talks about that; it comes from the Psalms.)





Anon's Reply of May 10, 2020


Wow!!!! Thank you sooooo much Doug. Such a thoughtful answer. Confirmation for sure. We have read a lot of your website. The Lord has given us concerns about Paul for years. It almost at the time seemed blasphemous to talk against Paul. My husband and I are pretty much alone in this. I used to "pray in the spirit" and since we have left the church several years ago and probably for about a year now I have stopped. It felt wrong in my spirit and I started to think that it was of Satan. Totally never agreed with all the barking, laughing, slain in the spirit, rolling etc. 


Your articles about Paul were so affirming and answered so many questions we have had for years. Since we have focused on Jesus's teachings alone and allowed ourselves to see Paul for who he is... the whole Bible has been coming alive to us in a way like never before.


I used to be in the New Age and I see it amongst Christians everywhere. It's so disturbing. [My husband] and I don't refer to ourselves as Christians but rather as believers in Jesus Christ.


The reason I asked you is because my husband is vehemently opposed to praying in the spirit in an unknown language  and he has recently had another encounter with someone who said he must have a prayer language to get close to the Lord and to converse with Him and that he had to practice until he gets it and to pray for it. As I was reading your response to him he had shivers all over his body which for him is confirmation of truth, not to mention it was affirming for him.


I still battle in my mind that I am wrong in this understanding of Paul and that everyone I know can't be wrong and that I am grieving the Lord. But I can't change the truth I now see but I still struggle with this reality. I pray to God all the time and ask Him to show me if I am in error with my thinking. He has not...


Instead He keeps revealing more to [my husband] and myself.


I pray that the Lord wakes people up from this deception of the enemy since the beginning of time.


Bless you Doug and thank you for all of your work,


Anon 5/20/2020.