To Speak or Not to Speak? 1 Corinthians 12 Ideology and Tongues in Ecclesial Leadership

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Andrew Levi Cavins


Some North American Pentecostal churches require certain prospective leaders to provide evidence of having spoken in tongues (glossolalia) in order to be considered for leadership development and accession opportunities. This paper assesses this contemporary ecclesial leadership practice from a Pauline perspective by conducting a socio-rhetorical interpretation of the 1 Corinthians 12 pericope. This research uses Robbins’ (1996) ideological texture analysis as the exegetical method to control as best as possible for anachronism and ethnocentrism in seeking transferable Pauline leadership principles. The resulting principles from the 1 Corinthian 12 ideological texture analysis form a critique of the glossolalia prerequisite policy with respect to organizational leadership development. The paper concludes with recommending a minor adjustment to the policy to refocus on unity within the body, diverse encouragement and representation of the wider charismata, and alignment with Pauline leadership perspectives.


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Cavins, A. (2018). To Speak or Not to Speak?. Theology of Leadership Journal, 1(2), 96-109. Retrieved from