Knowing God the Creator – Power and Wisdom

Overcoming Sin – Commit, Fight/Flight, Be Renewed

Flee Sexual Immorality

A Friend Like No Other – Jesus Christ – QandA

Question:
My concern is about… How could you keep your faith and be constantly encouraged by your brethren when you are not enough confident to trust them your problems? …and you are still more comfortable and even supported by your non-christian friends who have shown more compassion and empathy towards the situations you face than your brethren… Sometimes I feel myself like an empty pot and my brethren wants to pour me with the whole bible when my emotions and needs are also human…

Answer:
We used your question as inspiration for our newest video. I hope what we said provides you with some encouragement in your difficult situation. Many times our Christian brethren are not helping us get through our human, emotional struggles and that is very disappointing. I am very sorry that is your situation. I would ask that you please be careful to not rely too much on your non-Christian friends (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Sometimes they can support us emotionally, but if people are not faithfully walking with Jesus, then they will not help us on our path toward Heaven. This does not mean we stop being friends with non-Christians, but it does mean that we do not seek our strength and courage from them.

When we are feeling sad and discouraged we can only overcome through Jesus. Christian and non-Christian friends will disappoint us and cannot save us from our struggles, but Jesus will take us through. Jesus understands temptation, physical pain, loneliness, emotional pain, being betrayed and every other difficulty we might face. He went through all the same struggles that we endure and he did that so that we could relate to him and trust him and be helped by him (Hebrews 2:9-18). As we walk with Jesus, we also have to learn to trust our brethren and while that may seem impossible, we can take the risk of trusting our brethren (which is something we must do — Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Hebrews 10:23-25) to help us, because our real confidence is in Jesus our Lord, Savior and Brother so even if they disappoint us we will be safe.

Is this helpful? I hope it is encouraging and not in any way a discouragement to you. The Lord loves you as his daughter. We love you as our sister (though we have not even met you). And we want you to live a life full of the joy and peace that comes through the life we can have in the Spirit of Jesus as we stay faithful to him. Let us know how else we can help you!

Speaking in Tongues – Spiritual Gifts

Question:
Hey, so I have a question I need help with. I have a friend that is Pentecostal and he was describing to me what went on in their church and how they speak in tongues and scream and dance and yell and all that stuff and I told him I didn’t believe that you should be doing that in a church. I found 2 scriptures in James (1:26 and 3:2) where it says “…if you cant control your tongue you are fooling yourself…” I took that as basically saying you shouldn’t be babbling on about something in a language you don’t even know (in his case, tongues.) So he came back at me with 1 Corinthians 14:22-25 where it says ” Languages that others don’t know may mean something to unbelievers, but not to the Lord’s followers….. Suppose everyone in your worship service started speaking unknown languages and some outsiders come in. Wont you think they are mad?…..” I don’t know how to take this. Could you maybe help me out? And back me up a little bit more? Thanks, it’d be greatly appreciated.

Answer:
Actually 1 Corinthians 12-14 is a great place to discuss spiritual gifts and how they should/should not be used. I would suggest reading through that passage with your friend and try to honestly discuss with each other what is taught there. Even better would be to read through the entire letter to get the full context of the discussion in chapters 12-14. Sometimes we want to quickly point to verses when those verses are best understood when read within the context in which they were written. While there are times when this slower, more methodical approach is not feasible, I think it is the best way to study so that both sides are anchoring themselves in considering the text which is where we find the truth on any question.

Here are some verses/thoughts I would highlight concerning the use of spiritual gifts as described in 1 Corinthians 14. This does not even address the issue of the cessation of miraculous giftings as described in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, which I would see as a critical part of the discussion you might have with your friend. But just on the level of “How does the Bible say that miraculous spiritual gifts (tongues, prophecies, etc.) are supposed to be used in the church?” I would point to these ideas…

  • Tongues are not useful unless there is an interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:1-11)
  • Purpose of tongues (and all gifts) is for the edification (building up, helping) of others, not so that a person can display a gift given to them by God (1 Corinthians 14:12-19)
  • Use of tongues could actually discourage and unbeliever from accepting the Gospel (14:22-25), which means misuse could become a stumbling block (Matthew 18:6-7)
  • Those with the gift of speaking in tongues still have control over whether they exercise it or not. And if there is no interpreter or if there are others speaking, then they should not use the gift (1 Corinthians 14:26-28)

I would also add that when we see “tongues” referred to in the Bible, it is speaking about various, actual, human languages (see Acts 2:1-11). As a matter of fact, some translations even render the Greek as “languages” instead of “tongues” (Spanish has a similar dynamic–the same word [lengua] can be rightly translated as either tongue or language). The point being, Biblical “tongues” are not some sort of unintelligible word-noises. The gift of tongues described in the Bible is a language that other people could actually understand or one that could be translated by an interpreter. Is that the sort of thing that people are doing today in churches?

I hope this is helpful. We do not ever want to be purposely combative or argumentative, so as we teach we want to be patient, kind and gentle as good servants of Jesus (2 Timothy 2:24-26). At the same time we have to be humble and courageous enough to search the Scriptures and listen to what the Lord has to say about how we should live our lives, and while doing so we have to encourage others to do the same.

Women in the church

Question:
1 Corinthians 14:34 reads, ” …women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says.”

I grew up in the Church of Christ which, traditionally, has a very strong opinion of this verse. I am about to begin my own life and career and am leaning towards joining a nondenominational church that focuses on Jesus. In making that decision I hope to find clarity regarding some of the Church of Christ’s (and other denominations) traditional beliefs. In your opinion, should women have an active role in the church today?

The verse seems very straight forward but I want to be cautious not to read it out of context. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Finally, I really like the idea of an “anonymous” place for Christ followers to ask questions. I pray that this website continues to act as the Body of Christ.

Answer:
I think this is a phenomenal question especially since it is something so widely accepted in the Christian community at large. I want you to know that the answer I give is not in arrogance thinking that I have everything figured out. I will however tell you what my understanding is of God’s will is as revealed in the Word concerning this issue.

First off, yes I definitely believe women have a very important active role in the church! Passages like 1 Corinthians 1 (Chloe), Romans 16 (numerous women), Philippians 4 (Euodia & Syntyche), among others mention women in prominent roles in church involvement and service. Couple this with the example of Aquila AND Priscila being constantly mentioned by Paul and even mentioned together in helping Apollos understand the Gospel more clearly (Acts 18) and we see women working side by side with men. Even when we look at Jesus’ ministry and further back into the OT we see God using women in significant ways (although these last examples of course would be pre-“church” but I think the principle carries carries forward).

With that being said, I do believe the Scriptures teach that there are restrictions given for women’s roles in teaching/leading men and especially in collective worship assemblies. I have a very difficult time seeing the restrictions of 1 Corinthians 14 on women’s roles in teaching in the church assembly as meaning anything other than what it says. “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says” (1 Corinthians 14:34). I know that is unpopular and culturally unacceptable, but if we believe that Paul was an inspired apostle of Jesus (Galatians 1:1, 11-12 among other passages where this claim is made) and if we believe that what Paul wrote to Corinth was the same that he taught to all people (1 Corinthians 4:17), then I think we have to take what he said to apply to us as we try to be followers of Jesus. I think it is also important to note that not only is this restriction listed here but a similar instruction is given in 1 Timothy 2:9-15 where women are limited in taking authority over a man and the reason given there is order in Creation and the circumstances of the fall.

Does that help? Am I speaking to your actual question? Again, I do not relish this position since it hurts some people and prevents some saints who in my estimation would be wonderful teachers from doing so, but at the same time I want to have faith that God’s way is put in place for a reason and his ways are better than mine. The Gospel is very counter-cultural and always has been (husbands loving and being understanding of their wives wasn’t a popular notion in the ancient Roman world). I suppose that is why Jesus called us to forsake all for him.

I’d love to keep up this correspondence. It sounds like you’ve had some discouraging experiences in your church background and I appreciate your desire to search for people who are faithful to Christ in both word and deed and not some denominational label. I can understand where you’re coming from and I would encourage you to seek Christ as it sounds like you are already doing. I hope we can maintain this correspondence and that it will be a blessing for you to have a safe place to talk through the experiences you have had and are currently having. God bless you.