McKissic: “I think it’s emotional prejudice, because tongues has been associated with poor people…Pentecostal people…sometimes uneducated people. And so, people who… into academia and sometimes put letters above the Spirit and the Word, have decided that we’re…tongues…we’re too embarrassed to deal with the tongues issue."
I was born on the last day of the 1960s as the third of four children to a small household in Lake City, Arkansas. We attended Bethabara Baptist Church out on Cane Island, a used-to-be community less than 200 yards from the East levee of the Saint Francis River.
Bethabara Baptist Church was a typical rural Southern Baptist congregation. The attendance rarely topped 100. The racks contained both the Baptist Hymnal and the Heavenly Highway Hymns. We had Dinner on the Grounds (which sometimes featured Raccoon and Dressing). People said "Amen!" and sometimes they shouted it. The church loved good gospel singing. The preaching was often emotional, pointed, and loud.
Poor and uneducated…these are great adjectives to describe the entire spiritual foundation of my early life. Pentecostal, it was not. No speaking in tongues. No people falling out. No cartwheels. No "Thus saith the Lord" anywhere but in the Bible.
So, imagine my surprise to learn that I am prejudiced against myself, my family, my heritage, and the people who first introduced me to Jesus—that they were prejudiced against themselves!
Pentecostalism will frequently claim that people who differ with its view of the spiritual gifts are operating out of an elitist motivation. I find the argument ironic: It seems like a pretty elitist claim to me when one alleges that the folks across the aisle have abandoned the Spirit and the Word in favor of academia because of embarrassment. It smacks not of emotional prejudice and intellectual elitism, but of charismatic prejudice and glossolalic elitism.