Changing Conceptions of Speaking in Tongues and Spirit Baptism Among Canadian Pentecostal Clergy

Andrew K. Gabriel, Adam Stewart, Kevin Shanahan


In 2014, a strong majority of clergy within the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) agreed that speaking in tongues is the initial physical evidence of Spirit baptism, but less than half agreed that tongues speech is a necessary component of Spirit baptism. This represents a significant departure from a generation ago. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data, this article describes the specific nature of the transformation of Pentecostalism’s central theological and ritual component among PAOC clergy and presents two arguments. First, sociologically we argue that the changing views of PAOC clergy regarding the relationship of tongues speech to Spirit baptism are the result of their participation in the broader generic evangelical subculture, which promotes the adoption of a common evangelical religious identity and experience. Second, historically we argue that, rather than representing a simple capitulation to modern influences, this change, if even unintentionally, shows some similarity to both early American and Canadian Pentecostal views regarding Spirit baptism.



Pentecostalism; Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada; Spirit Baptism; Glossolalia; Initial Evidence

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