Kathleen Tonn is an Alaskan GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate.
On her Google+ page Tonn writes, "I stand for limited government, the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution! I hate socialism with a passion!!! When the country collapses, what are you going to do?"
But, as Coyne also notes, all that might change now that Tonn has released a video of herself standing fully clothed in an Anchorage steam room...singing in tongues, as Tonn herself declared.
Here's the clip, which features Tonn explaining how her friend Suzie doesn't know Jesus Christ and describing what Tonn is about to do:
The Christian gift of tongues has been a widely (and often contentiously) debated topic within the church. Speaking in tongues (i.e., a language unknown to the speaker) is typically considered a gift of the Holy Spirit to build up the church; it's generally accepted also that the advent of the phenomenon took place in the biblical Book of Acts when the disciples had gathered in Jerusalem in the days following Christ's resurrection:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesas the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2: 1-4, NIV)
Then others heard their own languages being spoken by these Jewish men and were amazed:
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”
Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” (Acts 2:5-13, NIV)
The latter quotation may be seen as aptly capturing the essence of some Christians' views today regarding the gift, or ministry, of tongues; they hold a skeptical perspective, saying its use has run its course. Other Christians disagree, especially those of a more charismatic perspective.
Charisma Magazine notes that speaking in tongues "is still very much in evidence today. It is not meant to replace normal Christian responsibilities or minimize the importance of the Bible, but it will enhance all the good things of God already in your life."
A short study on the topic from the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry notes the issues in more detail and offers that "there are good arguments on both sides and the Christian church needs to be as gracious as possible to those with opposing views on this debatable issue."
So, to the questions regarding Tonn's self-described act of singing in tongues: Was it proper? Was it legitimate? What does it mean, if anything? The answers are likely as numerous as the perspectives on tongues that Christians hold.
But there's one thing many reading this, from all tongues viewpoints or none, are likely asking: Did she have to tape it in a steam room...with towel-clad friend in tow?
Featured image via YouTube.
(H/T: Fire Dog Lake)