In chapter 2 of his Pentecostal Theology and the Christian Spiritual Tradition, Simon Chan argues that glossolalia, as the most significant divinely given symbol, is the 'initial evidence' revealing the realness of God through the life-long sanctifying Spirit-driven lives of the believers. (72)
“Glossolalia mirrors the most important characteristic of the divine life. It is a life of love and self-giving between the Father and the Son, in which the Father initiates and the Son yields in humble obedience by the power of the Spirit” (52) A good point. However, there are many expressions such as prioritise the urgent physical needs of others that mirror such a life of love and self-giving. If the Son’s self-giving is ultimately an extension of grace to the inferior, then meeting an urgent need of the unfortunate mirrors better the divine life as compared to glossolalia.
Simon Chan emphasizes on the cryptic-ness of glossolalia functions as “symbol of a spiritual reality and is not just an arbitrary sign.” (53) He endorses Frank Macchia’s view that, “[T]ongues as a cryptic language revealed the unfathomable depth and ultimate eschatological fulfilment of all prophetic speech, pointing to both the limits and the meaning of the language of faith.” (52)
However, a perspective on revelation hardly provides allowance for the act of glossolalia and the cryptic-ness in that act to have such a central attention in their theological construct. This is especially so when glossolalia is seen under the category of prophetic speech. The very idea of revelation itself, the incarnation of the Son – the ultimate example of all prophetic speech as God’s own speech – suggests that ‘cryptic-ness’ is not the most characteristic of divine speech. Neither the act itself mirrors best the divine life, as shown in the second paragraph. The incarnation as the definitive divine speech is sufficiently intelligible and not cryptic to those who have responded positively to it, though we acknowledge that its full implication is still being grasped by the believing community.