Bible students forced to speak in tongues: report

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File photo: Solveig Vikene/Scanpix
12:46 CEST+02:00
Dozens of students at the Oslo International Bible College have claimed they were exposed by staff members to threats, harassment and accusations of witchcraft.

Some 70 students at the college outlined their grievances in a letter to the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), student newspaper Universitas reports.

In the letter, the students accuse the school of widespread harassment, which included forcing them to speak in tongues.

According to the letter, signed by more half the students at the English-language school, staff also charged them with “carrying the devil’s spirit and practising witchcraft”.

Founded in 2010 by Finn Henrik Larsen – a pastor with the Pentecostal Regnbuen (Rainbow) church – the college offers two-year courses with the aim of ”training men and women to become leaders of churches, organizations and in society.”

According to Larsen, the students’ complaints came as a major surprise to staff at the college.  

“I’m trying to figure out why nobody said anything about the issues they are dissatisfied with,” he told Universitas.

“We were not made aware of the contents of the letter until several months after it was sent. What’s more, when you look at some of the complaints it’s impossible that 70 students experienced all these things,” he said.

NOKUT has already met with the management at the college to discuss the letter and is now awaiting the results of a detailed inspection by the Ministry of Education before deciding how to proceed.

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Lars Vassbotten, a divisional director at the ministry, said his department had given the college until September 1st to present a thorough explanation.

He also noted that it was unusual for the ministry to make such a request.

“Only on a couple of occasions has the department seen the need to open a broader inspection beyond the annual reports,”  said Vassbotten.

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