Ask Your Preacher
What are feelings, where do they come from, and what is their purpose?
Full Of Emotion
Dear Full Of Emotion,
Feelings are a gift from God, and they are part of what makes us made in His image (Gen 1:27). God has emotions, just like humans do… or rather, humans have emotions, just like God does. God gets angry (2 Sam 6:7). God can be jealous (Ex 34:14). God has times of sadness and grief (Gen 6:6). God can also have great joy (Lk 15:10). Our emotions are just like God’s – except we have sin in our lives and immaturity in our hearts. When God angers, He never acts inappropriately… but we do. Humans don’t always show proper control of our feelings, and instead, we let them control us. Feelings can be a wonderful blessing (life would be bland without them), but they are only a blessing if we guard our hearts with the truth (Pr 4:23).
In just about every service in Pentecostal churches, there are what the brethren claim to be the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in forms of people constantly speaking in tongues, people running around, people shaking (often aggressively), people jumping around, and people fainting to the ground when they are prayed for. It makes me wonder if they are really feeling the Holy Spirit or if they are simply acting on their emotions. My question is: aside from speaking in tongues, are these type of manifestations of the Holy Spirit biblical? And if they are not biblical, are these people committing a sin for saying that it is the work of the Holy Spirit?
Dear Overly Spirited,
The Pentecostal church believes that the Holy Spirit works by aggressively taking over people’s bodies and minds… this isn’t how He worked in the past, and it definitely isn’t how He works today. 1 Cor 14:40 says that the church should do all things decently and in order... not chaotically with people howling and jumping around madly. It also says that the real prophets that spoke through the Holy Spirit had the ability to control when and with what demeanor they spoke. They were never out of control – their spirits were always subject to dignified restraint (1 Cor 14:32). Furthermore, the Holy Spirit stopped giving the church miraculous abilities (gifts of healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, etc.) after the Bible was completed. Read “Gifts That Stop Giving” and “What The Holy Spirit Does” for specific details on this subject.
What the Pentecostal church is doing isn’t biblical, and anything that can’t be found in your Bible is sinful (Rev 22:18-19). They are teaching the doctrines of demons instead of the Scriptures (1 Tim 4:1-2). Since these behaviors aren’t from God, they are from the devil, and the Pentecostal church is lying to people.
My mom was adopted, so we don't know her family history well. What would you do if you found out your boyfriend of twelve years maybe your cousin? We have no children together. He doesn't know we may be cousins... we live together... WHAT DO WE DO FROM HERE?
Dear Regretful Researcher,
The very first thing you need to do is stop living together before you are married. More important than any biological issues your future children may have, you are sinning, and that is much worse than any physical problem. The reason people don’t get married – but instead (outside of marriage) have sex, live together, have children together, and eventually destroy their lives – is because we spend our lives making up the rules as we go. We live our lives by the “what-makes-me-feel-good-right-now” philosophy. We have no real standard to live by other than what we feel at the moment. Like Pilate, we ask, “What is truth?” (Jhn 18:38) because we don’t know where to find the right answers to life. How can we know what is the right thing to do? Only the Creator can give us a rulebook for life that allows us to comfortably say, “I’m making the right choice.” Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life (Jhn 14:6). All the answers to life are found in His Scriptures (2 Pet 1:3). If we want our relationships, our families, our careers, and our lives to work, we have to use the manual.
Biblically, there is nothing wrong with marrying your cousin – people did it quite commonly just a couple generations ago. You would have to consider the medical ramifications of having children, but that is a medical decision – not a moral one. As we said, more importantly than anything else is that you make your lives right with God.
In an earlier post, you stated that the church of Christ (if following all of the biblical teachings) is the "one true church". Would that also be true if the church name were to be a different "biblical" name (such as church of God)?
Dear Teachable Student,
The name a congregation puts on its door must be a biblical name, but it doesn’t have to be ‘church of Christ’ – it can be any of the names for the church found in the New Testament. Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16). There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world. Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that it makes it easier for brethren across the country to find congregations if they are traveling, moving, etc. Another practical reason is that many of the other biblical names (such as ‘church of God’ – Gal 1:13) are already used by churches that aren’t following God’s Word, and it gets confusing for people when we use a name that our society has associated with a particular denomination. It isn’t required that a congregation use the name ‘church of Christ’; what is required is that we always follow the Bible pattern for everything we do, and that includes the name we use.
I was wondering if it is possible to ever lose your salvation? And what verses back up your answer?
Looking For A Guarantee
Dear Looking For A Guarantee,
Yes, you can lose your salvation – but not by accident. There are two extremes when it comes to discussing salvation.
One extreme is the Calvinistic view that your salvation is never in jeopardy, regardless of what you do. This view is called ‘Perseverance of the Saints’ – the belief that if you are saved, you will always persevere without ever needing to worry about your salvation. This view is simply not biblical. Consider several verses from the book of Hebrews. Heb 6:4-6 talks about ‘enlightened partakers of the Holy Spirit’ (certainly this refers to saved christians) who then ‘fall away’ and ‘crucify afresh the Son of God’. There can be no doubt that this is talking about people losing their salvation. Heb. 10:26-27 talks about knowledgeable christians rejecting the gospel and the terrifying expectation of judgment to come upon them. Paul said he feared that his preaching had been in vain to the Galatian brethren because they were turning away from the pure word of God (Gal 4:11, Gal 1:6). Yes, we most certainly must watch how we live and act so as to not miss the prize of heaven (1 Cor 9:25-27).
The other extreme is to have zero confidence in your salvation. This is the attitude of “unless I am living perfectly, I am going to be lost.” This view is also wrong. Christ died to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15), and it is His blood that pays the price for your entrance into heaven (1 Pet 1:18-19). Your salvation is not dependent upon perfect living but FAITHFUL living (Eph. 2:8): hearing God’s word (Rom 10:17) and then living by that Word (Jas 2:14-18) to the best of your ability. Perfection is not a requirement of salvation in Christ – commitment is. A committed christian, though he often may fall short of who he wants to be, can be confident in his eternal reward.