Ask Your Preacher
I understand that all spiritual gifts are no longer needed and have ceased; I understand why. But a question came up with a Pentecostal friend that I need a little help with. What is the scripture that explains to us that God chooses to no longer speak to people directly? And what would be a good way to explain why He does not speak to people outside the Bible?
Trying To Help
Dear Trying To Help,
There are several places that you can go to explain this concept to your Pentecostal friend. Here are a few verses to show them:
- We are told that the Bible contains everything we need to know concerning life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If the Bible tells us everything we need to know, we don’t need anything else.
- The Bible tells us that we shouldn’t add or subtract from God’s Word (Rev 22:18-19). A vision or prophecy given to an individual would do exactly that. If a “vision” says more than the Bible, we don’t need it, and if it says the same thing as the Bible, we don’t need it.
- Heb 1:1-2 says that God used to speak to mankind through many diverse methods, but today He has spoken to us through His Son. Jesus’ Word is now our only guide.
- Jude 1:3 says that we have the Word of God handed down “once and for all”. God has finished providing revelation to us.
- The silver bullet verses are 1 Cor 13:8-9, but it is a little lengthier discussion to handle all of the arguments in that verse. We recommend you read “Incomplete Understanding” for a complete breakdown of the 1 Cor 13:8-9 argument.
The long and the short of it is that prophecy was needed until the Bible was complete, but now that we have everything God wanted us to know, prophecy has ceased.
With no religious upbringing, I was baptized in 2008 according to Matthew 28:19 at a conservative evangelical church. I moved and attended an apostolic church. I was told I had to be re-baptized in Jesus' name because I was not saved. And then the whole tongues thing. I made the decision to leave because I could not embrace their doctrine of Oneness, Jesus' name only, speaking in tongues… forget all the holiness issues. How do you suppose the Lord looks upon me for leaving? Should I have stayed to be a light of truth? Thank you.
Fleet Of Foot
Dear Fleet Of Foot,
You can only do so much to help others, but in the end, it is more important that you seek the truth and be part of a faithful congregation than it is that you stay and try and be the lone voice for a church that isn’t interested in changing. Your own salvation comes first (Php 2:12). Furthermore, it isn’t like the congregation showed an interest in studying or changing. In such cases, God tells us not to “cast your pearls before swine” (Matt 7:6).
As far as the doctrinal issues, you may find the articles “Just Gibberish” and “Gifts That Stop Giving” useful for future reference, but you are right to not embrace the doctrines you mentioned. Christianity is meant to be simple. If we take what the Bible says and follow its pattern, we will have the truth. All the religious division is wrong and completely unnecessary. Read “Down With Denominationalism” for an in-depth look at how denominationalism has strayed from the Bible. All we have to do is follow the Bible like an instruction manual, and we will be fine. We congratulate you on your stand for the truth, and we would be happy to help you get in touch with a congregation that has your same love for truth. We know of many simple, honest, Bible-patterned congregations; e-mail us at email@example.com if we can be of service.
I love church, and I love being part of God’s family, but I really dislike being a certain type of christian. I don't understand why there are so many different beliefs for one religion (like Catholic, Methodist, and so on); is it possible to just be a christian and not any thing specific? Is there a special church that's just christian?
No Party Affiliation
Dear No Party Affiliation,
All we should ever be is just christians… you are absolutely right for being frustrated. The denominational world is confusing… exactly the opposite of God’s church (1 Cor 14:33). The term ‘denomination’ comes from the idea that a church believes that it is a subgroup of a larger religious body. Lutherans worship and teach differently than Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc., but they all believe themselves to be christians – this is wrong. Jesus said that there is only one path to heaven (Matt 7:14). Denominationalism teaches that how you act and worship are matters of opinion, but Jesus said that how you act and worship are matters of truth (Jhn 4:24). The only way to avoid denominationalism is to find a congregation that simply teaches what the Bible says – no creeds, no opinions, no personal agendas. If we truly love Christ, we will follow His commandments (1 Jn 5:2).
Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15). A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).
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). We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2). We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21). We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible. As you said, you don’t want to go to a church that offers their own thoughts – you want God’s thoughts.
There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world. Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’, but then again, many churches that use that name aren’t faithful. A Bible name for a church isn’t enough to make it faithful. We have helped others, like yourself, looking for New Testament Christianity find faithful congregations in their area by contacting other preachers and christians that we know. We’d be happy to do the same for you. If you feel comfortable, just let us know what general area you live in, and we will try and get you in touch with a congregation that lives like your Bible reads (our e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org). It is frustrating, confusing, and exasperating to deal with denominationalism. Thanks be to God that there is a better option!
Hi, I was wondering: I am christian, and my boyfriend is Pentecostal. They believe we should be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, but ever since I can remember, it was, "I now baptize you in the Father, Holy Spirit, and the Son.” I seem to think that they go by the Old Testament; could you help me please?
Dear Doctrinal Differences,
There is no difference between being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; both phrases are used in the New Testament (Acts 2:38, Matt 28:19). However, the Pentecostal church teaches that baptism isn’t what saves you… which is contrary to the Bible (1 Pet 3:21). The Pentecostal church believes that you are saved when the Holy Spirit miraculously descends upon you, and you begin to speak in tongues. This is a false teaching that pervades the Pentecostal movement. Their belief that God directly speaks to believers apart from the Bible has lead them to change and alter God’s Word radically. God warns us to never do this (Rev 22:18-19). Read our article “Speaking In Tongues” for further information.
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.