Rev. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, told Premier in a recent interview that he speaks in tongues every day. The video interview explored a number of controversial subjects, including the Archbishop’s stances on Brexit and LGBT individuals.
But when Justin Brierley asked Welby about his charismatic background, Welby said, “Part of my daily prayer discipline is praying in tongues every day for a certain period. Not as a sort of occasional thing, but it’s just part of daily prayer. Part of my daily prayer discipline is expecting to hear from God through people with words of knowledge or prophecies. And an awful lot of those come in, and some of them are—shall we say—I read them and think, ‘Hmm, I’m not entirely sure about that.’ Others you think, ‘Oh yes, I can something of the Spirit of God in that.'”
Welby also agreed with Brierley’s suggestion that, for some, speaking in tongues can be “unremarkable.”
“I would say that for me,” Welby says. “It’s very seldom ecstatic. … It’s not something to make a great song and dance about. Given it’s usually extremely early in the morning, it’s not usually an immensely ecstatic moment because I’m kind of struggling [to stay awake].”
Welby also opined that the label “charismatic” unhelpfully suggests a dichotomy between Christians who have the Holy Spirit and Christians who do not. He believes every Christian is Spirit-filled.
“I think the danger with putting charismatic as a sort of tribal category within the church is, first of all, all Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit,” Welby says. “Paul is perfectly clear about that in Romans. So everyone is a charismatic. Every Christian is a charismatic. Secondly, some of the things that historically charismatics are: ‘We do healing.’ Yeah, the church has always done healing. The charismatic and non-charismatic bits pray for healing, anoint for healing, lay hands for healing. So I’m cautious about turning it into a tribal thing.”
You can watch the full video interview with Archbishop Welby here.