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Transposition and Tongues: Pentecostalizing an Important Insight of C.S. Lewis

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image of Journal of Pentecostal Theology

C.S. Lewis explained the divine-human interface that occurs through the operation of the Holy Spirit in the experience of believers through his principle of transposition, exemplified in the practice of speaking in tongues. The main import of transposition is an adaptation from a higher to a lower medium. Transposition suggests tongues speech is an adaptation of a supernatural experience of the divine Holy Spirit to the natural medium of human expression. Being initially embarrassed by tongues but still intrigued by its biblical precedents, Lewis transports glossolalia from the realm of the hysterical into the realm of the holy. Taking Lewis’ idea even further, a Pentecostal approach to transposition suggests tongues speech is an event including supernatural, incarnational, transformational, sacramental, and eschatological nuances far beyond the status of mere ecstatic speech. The principle of transposition holds incredible potential for Pentecostal theology and spirituality.

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