Ask Your Preacher
Hi, I'm loving your website right now; thanks for sharing this great site with us!
I have a question in regards to speaking in tongues. A co-worker of mine (who states she is a christian) and I have many talks about biblical topics. She told me the other day that she has spoken in tongues before. She also said that she was filled with the Holy Spirit prior to her baptism. She believes that since she is filled with the Holy Spirit, she is able to speak in tongues. I know this ability was for the apostles and we do not have this gift today... but how do I go about teaching her this from the New Testament? I know we all have gifts, but I want to show her this is not a gift that we are bestowed with today. Help please!
Dear English Please,
The easiest way to handle someone who says they have spoken in tongues is to simply ask, “Oh, what tongue did you speak in?” Invariably, they will be tongue-tied because they will have no clue what you are talking about. At this point, you can begin to explain that the Bible says speaking in tongues was a miraculous ability that allowed someone to speak in REAL languages that they had never learned (Acts 2:7-11). The charismatic and Pentecostal churches teach that speaking in tongues is a “hidden” or “secret” language that can only be understood by the angelic beings unless an interpreter is present. That is hogwash.
The whole purpose of speaking in tongues was to allow the gospel to be spread rapidly. The gift of speaking in tongues was only useful if it allowed someone to teach another person God’s prophetic word (1 Cor 14:6-9). Unless your friend was miraculously able to speak another real language that allowed her to teach a real person the gospel – then she will have to realize what she did wasn’t from God. Then you can begin to teach her that miracles no longer happen (miracles being defined as things that break the natural laws of this world), and they are no longer needed because we have the complete Word of God. See the posts, “I Dreamed A Dream” and “Three Cheers For Miracles!” for further details on how to explain this concept to your friend.
What was John Gill’s eschatology, and was John Gill a Calvinist?
Gill Seems Fishy
Dear Gill Seems Fishy,
Yes, John Gill was a Calvinist. We here at AYP are not well-read on the history of every false teacher throughout history (we admit; we had to look up who John Gill was) and could not properly explain what John Gill’s eschatological views were. Eschatology is the study of the end times. The Bible provides a spectacular answer of what happens at the end of time, and that is all that concerns us (see the post “What Happens When I Die?” for the Bible’s teachings on the end of time). We can, however, explain the pernicious false doctrine of Calvinism of which John Gill (a Baptist scholar who lived in the 1700’s) adhered to.
Calvinism is best described using the TULIP theory. TULIP is an acronym developed by Calvinists to explain their philosophy; each letter of the acronym stands for a fundamental part of the Calvinist doctrine.
‘T’ stands for “Total Depravity”. Total Depravity means that Calvinists believe that everyone is born completely sinful and depraved. A totally depraved human is incapable of doing good or pleasing God. This is completely false. All babies are born without sin and perfect in God’s sight (even David recognized that his dead child was going to be in heaven [2 Sam 12:23]). Sin is not a birthright; it is a choice (Gen 4:6-7, Jas 1:13-15). Humans sin when they choose to do wrong; they are not born in sin.
‘U’ stands for “Unconditional Election”. If you are born totally depraved and incapable of doing anything good through your own power, then it makes sense that Calvinists also believe that God saves you without any requirements. You can’t require someone to do the right thing if they are incapable of it. This, too, is false. The entire Bible is a book of commandments for mankind to follow. It is FULL of conditions. We cannot be God’s friends unless we obey His conditions and commands (Jhn 15:14).
‘L’ stands for “Limited Atonement”. Limited Atonement means that Calvinists believe Jesus only died to save a limited amount of people. Since they believe everyone is totally depraved and only a few are chosen by God to go to heaven, it follows that Jesus only died on the cross for those few that were chosen. This is blatantly opposite of the Scriptures’ teachings (Jhn 3:16).
‘I’ stands for “Irresistible Grace”. Irresistible Grace means that if God chooses you to be saved, you are incapable of resisting that salvation. If God chooses you to be saved, you cannot tell Him, “No!”. This is a complete lie. People reject God all the time. People rejected Christ as He walked this planet – even one of Jesus’ apostles rejected Him (Matt 10:4). Jesus specifically says that those who reject Him will be judged (Jhn 12:48). Mankind has always had the choice to accept or reject God.
‘P’ stands for “Perseverance Of The Saints”. Perseverance Of The Saints means that christians will always persevere no matter what sins they commit. Calvinists teach that it is impossible for someone to be lost once they become a Christian. That is rubbish. Heb 6:4-6 directly states that someone can enjoy the blessings of fellowship with God and then fall away. Even the apostle Paul believed if he didn’t continually strive to serve God, he would fall away (1 Cor 9:27).
Calvinism is a lie created by man to blind people from the truth of God’s Word. Calvinism teaches a lack of responsibility for our behavior and eternal destiny. It makes God out to be an evil villain that willfully seeks the destruction of the majority of mankind, instead of the loving God that sacrificed His own Son in hopes that all would come unto Him (Jhn 3:16). Calvinism leaves most of mankind tearfully unloved and alone, without the hope of salvation.
How do the seven deadly sins correlate to the Bible or Ten Commandments?
Dear Number Cruncher,
The “Seven Deadly Sins” is a phrase created by the Catholic church. The “Seven Deadly Sins” are sometimes referred to as “cardinal sins” because the Catholic church has deemed them as greater sins than others. These seven “cardinal” sins are lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. The Catholic church teaches that these seven sins can only be forgiven through the act of confessing to a priest.
Of course, the Bible does say that those seven sins are - in fact - sins, but the Bible never elevates these sins as being worse than others. In truth, all sins are equal and cause spiritual death (Rom 6:23). In the eyes of man, one sin may be considered more heinous than another, but in the eyes of God, all sin is equally horrid. The terms “seven deadly sins” and “cardinal sins” are not biblical; they are manmade.
So, you don't think God gives us visions or prophecies today? Do you believe God still performs miracles in our everyday lives (this question is in reference to “I Dreamed A Dream” answer)? If not, why would we read, 'ask and you shall receive', 'knock and the door will be opened' … isn't that asking for a miracle??
I once was failing Latin, and if you had a failing grade, you could not stay on the cheerleading squad. The morning of report cards, I stopped at a large window across from the cafeteria and looked to the sky and prayed for God to forgive me of my sins and to somehow convince Mrs. Martin to give me a passing grade. She called my name to come up to sit by her desk to look at my test scores before she would write my grade on my report card. She looked at me very sternly and showed me my four scores, which only averaged out to 69. I had to score a 75 to make a low C. She then said, “I don't know why I'm doing this”, and she drew out very slowly a ‘C’ on my report card.
I almost broke down but was so happy and KNEW in my heart that God had granted me a miracle. I'll go to my grave believing I had a miracle that morning.
Sincerely, Graded On A Curve
Dear Graded On A Curve,
It is important to define the term 'miracle'. Today, the word 'miracle' describes both the act of raising a man from the dead and the act of a child being born... yet there is a vast difference between those two events. 'Miracle' - in the Biblical sense - is a 'supernatural event that breaks the laws of nature'. Examples of this are raising the dead, walking on water, instantaneous healing of leprosy, etc.
The event you described is not a miracle in that sense. You described a providential act of God’s care. God took care of the situation while acting within the frameworks of natural law. God used circumstances and unseen influence to alter the course of events and answered your prayer. There is no doubt that God still does this every day. The whole purpose of “a righteous man's prayer avails much" (Jas 5:16) is that God hears prayers and acts upon them. The key is that He does so without miracles.
Miracles had one very specific purpose - to give evidence that the apostles, prophets, and Jesus were from God. Paul called miracles "the signs of an apostle" (2 Cor 12:12). Heb 2:4 states that God bore witness to the apostles and prophets through "signs and wonders". Even the enemies of Christ agreed that miracles were a sign of divine approval (Acts 4:16).
Prayers certainly make a difference, and God certainly intervenes for us... just not with supernatural miracles. However, not to worry, God can just as easily care for your needs providentially as He could with miracles.
In answer to a previous question, you said: "The church’s work should be simple. The church of the first century wasn’t involved in every community and political arena. Their work was focused on three things – caring for needy christians (Acts 4:34), preaching to the lost, and teaching the saved (Acts 15:35)."
My church wants to sponsor a speaker to speak (it’s a lecture, not preaching) inside of our church building. We would charge an entrance fee (or ask for a certain donation) and would pay the speaker for his time, accommodations, and travel expenses. My conscious is deeply violated by this idea, and I believe it is unethical to have this forum in the church building itself - I don't mind if it is in a convention center or hotel or other location. I will not be attending this lecture, but I feel like if my church does host this speaker, I can't go there and support them without violating my conscience. What are your thoughts on this?
Sincerely, Conscientious Objector
Dear Conscientious Objector,
A church doing this doesn’t just violate your conscience; it violates God’s laws. The church of the first century wasn’t interested in the things of this world, nor was it involved in furthering secular education and studies. Jesus even said that His kingdom, the church, was not of this world (Jhn 18:36). The church and any teaching it does should impart spiritual guidance to people (Rom 15:27). This trend of congregations getting wrapped up in earthly knowledge, politics, etc. is indeed unethical.
Furthermore, the congregation is using this speaker as a fundraiser! The Bible only provides one way for the church to garner funds – with a collection made every Sunday from amongst its own members (1 Cor 16:1). Bake sales, entrance fees, garage sales, etc. are not Biblical ways for the church to acquire money. Far too often, churches have gotten so wrapped up in how to bring in more money that they are perpetually holding their hand out, begging, demanding, and selling themselves to increase their finances. “Mega-churches” and televangelists are just an extreme form of the epidemic that is sweeping through religion. Instead of giving the gospel away for free, they are selling it to the highest bidder! Simon was swiftly rebuked for this attitude (Acts 8:20), and any church today that tries to “drum up” funds rather than trust the faithful contribution of its members each Lord’s day should be rebuked just as harshly.
This congregation has a serious problem and has made an obvious decision to disregard some of the most basic teachings on the church; you are right to be upset with them. AskYourPreacher recommends that you ask your preacher where he gets the authority for the choices they are making and then swiftly leave unless they change their ways (see “Finding A Church” for help where to go if things don’t improve).