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.
You mentioned that the church of Christ is not a denominational church. Each congregation is supposed to use the Scriptures alone to be a guide. What if members of the congregation disagree with a particular doctrine or practice? How are disagreements resolved when both parties use Scripture interpretation to support a point? In Acts 15, there was a council set up to resolve a disagreement regarding circumcision. The decision was binding on the universal church. Do church of Christ congregations hold councils in compliance with the Acts 15 model?
Make A Decision
Dear Make A Decision,
Acts 15 is a good pattern to follow when a congregation has questions or disagreements about a particular doctrine. The only difference would be that the council in Acts 15 affected the entire universal church because the apostles were there, and the apostles had authority over all the church. A local congregation is commended to their elders and to God – each group is autonomous (Acts 14:23), so any decision a congregation makes would affect them alone. No congregation has the right to impose their decisions on another local church.
In Acts 15, we see how we are supposed to find Bible answers when discussing doctrinal issues. When we take Bible verses and combine them together to understand larger principles, we are doing exactly what God intends for us to do (Ps 119:160). In Acts 15, we see that the apostles did that very thing. When the issue came up regarding the circumcision of Gentiles, the apostles listened to the evidence (Acts 15:12), studied the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 15:15-18), and came to a conclusion (Acts 15:19). They looked for commands, approved examples, and then came to a necessary conclusion from the data. That is exactly what every congregation should do.
Hello, I have a question about sacrifice. I have read where the Israelites had to make sacrifices on certain days to atone for their sins. I am also aware that the sacrifice of Jesus has made this unnecessary. But I do not understand how taking the best portion of your livelihood and burning it would atone for your sins. I also do not understand how Jesus' sacrifice atoned for all the sins of the world.
How does destroying the most precious things equal forgiveness from God? How does Jesus’ perfect sacrifice save us? What do these acts actually DO?
Dear Sacrificially Stymied,
The Jewish sacrifices of bulls and goats never did atone for sins (Heb 10:4); all they did was teach that forgiveness from sin came with a cost. God teaches us that when we sin, the wages of that sin are death (Rom 6:23). The Jews learned that lesson by making sin offerings. When the sinner laid their hand upon the head of the innocent animal, they symbolically transferred their sin to that beast (Lev 4:27-29). However, animal blood never was enough to truly pay for sin. It took the God’s Son’s blood to pay the price for our sin; only Deity’s blood was enough to cover the tremendous cost of sin (Heb 10:10).
Jesus had to sacrifice Himself to pay for our sins because God is both a merciful and a just God. By personally paying the price for our sins, God showed Himself to be both just and the justifier of the faithful (Rom 3:25-26). Like a father paying the price for his son’s mistakes, Jesus paid the price for our mistakes.
I don't belong to a church. I grew up in church but stopped going, but I still seek God every day; I always look for Him. And sometimes I dream, and He's in my dreams, guiding me, telling me He's taking care of me from this day forward. And in my most recent dream, He let me into heaven, but I never really saw His face. Is He talking to me?
Dear Hearing Voices,
If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). Prophecies and visions are no longer given to people directly (1 Cor 13:8). Instead, God speaks to us through the teachings of His Son (Heb 1:1). It is normal for our emotions and desires to send us conflicting messages; that is exactly why God tells us to not trust ourselves (Pr 3:5).
Now let’s address the issue of not belonging to a church. The Bible teaches that we shouldn’t forsake the assembly (Heb 10:24-25). God designed the church so that each individual would be strengthened by the power of the whole (Eph 4:16). God never wanted christians to try and serve Him without the support of a local church; that is why He commanded the church to assemble. It is impossible to do God’s work without being a part of a local church. If you would like help finding a faithful congregation in your area, e-mail us at email@example.com or read “Finding A Church” for biblical parameters for finding a congregation.
How does God talk to us? I have been a christian for several years now; I pray to Him everyday; I read my Bible and go to church, but I do not hear God. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
Dear Feeling Deaf,
God speaks to us through His Word. If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). Prophecies and visions are no longer given to people directly (1 Cor 13:8). Instead, God speaks to us through the teachings of His Son (Heb 1:1). It is normal for our emotions and desires to send us conflicting messages; that is exactly why God tells us to not trust ourselves or any "voice" that some churches tell us to listen for (Pr 3:5). Trust God’s Word, and it will be a lamp to your feet (Ps 119:105).