Bible Studies/speaking in tongues
QUESTION: Hi Teacher Scott.. guess who?
Well my question is about speaking in tongues. See, we just recently moved to Gainsville Florida. Its only beena a couple of months and we are still looking for a church we like. We've had a lot of health problems as well. Anyway, I found one on the internet that I would like to attend. I've looked up their 'statement of faith' and like most of what I read. The only problem is that they feel that speaking in tonuges is outdated. I personally don't feel that way. I grew up Pentecostal and know people to this day who speak in tongues. And someone would be hard pressed to tell me that those people were lying, or making it up ect.
The only problem is that I'm not sure if the belief that tongues is "outdated" is a problem. If it really makes that big of a deal or not.
ANSWER: Joyce! So glad to hear from you! It wasn't hard to guess. No one else calls me Teacher Scott! ;^)
OK, I'm going to tell you something, and I hope you won't think any less of me. I also believe that speaking in tongues is outdated. I have many good friends who believe differently, and I'm OK with that. But I believe that tongues served a purpose for a unique period of time, and that time is past.
So obviously I would not discourage you from attending a church that does not embrace speaking in tongues. The fact is, most churches like this do not spend much time talking about it at all, so I doubt you would encounter much discussion of any sort on the subject.
May I suggest you focus on the positives. What is it they do believe, teach, and practice? Do you believe it's Biblical? Do they value the Bible, promote the sharing of the gospel, effectively disciple believers, and provide a friendly and encouraging environment for fellowship, support, and service?
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QUESTION: Well, it makes me feel better that you are ok with people who don't believe it is outdated. But what I need to know is how big of a deal is it?
For example if I a church said they don't beleive the diety of God then obviously that is not a good church to go to.
So is the idea that tongues is outdated a big problem?
In my opinion, it isn't a big deal. And I'm not saying that just because of what I believe on this topic.
There are certain fundamental truths of Scripture that are essential doctrines. These include the belief in God, the deity and humanity of Christ, the inerrancy of the Bible, the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith, and others.
However, there are other doctrines that, while important, are understood differently by good people. Doctrines I would include in this category might include the role of women in the church, the timing of the rapture (pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation), divorce and remarriage, mode of baptism, and speaking in tongues. Different perspectives on such issues need not compromise the fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures. Therefore, I believe it's OK to allow some latitude in such areas.
Think about it. There may be beliefs to which you held strongly at one point in your life. Later, after further study, you came to understand that that belief was wrong, and that the position of others was actually Biblically correct. So, for most of us, we're in transition--good people who love God and respect His Word, but are at different places on our path towards fully understanding the Bible.
The questions you need to ask yourself are these. Is this a church that loves God, loves people, and is effectively carrying out the Great Commission? Do they take a Biblical stand on the fundamental doctrines of Scripture? Do they believe the Bible is God's Word and use it as their standard for faith and practice? Do they exhibit Christ-like qualities? Is it a place where you can be taught, discipled, encouraged, befriended, and welcomed as part of the family? Is it a place where you can plug in and serve with excitement?
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QUESTION: Perfect! Just what I needed to know. Now just out of curiostity, how would one know what is important to belive - such as the diety of God is important. I know. I don't know how I know but in my heart, I just know.
But lets say I had to explain all this to a Muslim and he wanted to know HOW I know.... What would I say. Just curious on this one.
So your question is this: How does one know what doctrines are fundamental to one's faith, non-negotiables, so to speak? That's a good question.
First, let's start with the basics. One must believe in God. Not just A god, but THE God of the Bible. Second, one must accept the premise that God has chosen to speak to us through the Bible, and, having done so, we must trust that He is able to do so in a way that is trustworthy and reliable. In other words, He has communicated to us through the Bible. We must trust that He was willing and able to do so, that He has done so, and that He intended the Bible to be read and understood. That means that He has preserved the integrity of the Bible over the years in order for us to be able to read it and rely on it today. So one must believe in the inerrancy of Scripture--that it is God's authoritative Word on all matters of faith and practice. Without that, we replace God's authority with our own.
Third, it's essential that we understand the true nature of Jesus Christ--that He is both 100% man and 100% God. To deviate from this (as most cults do) is to rob Jesus of His ability to serve as God's perfect connection with mankind, the only one able to serve as a substitute for our death penalty.
One must also believe in the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith, trusting the substitutionary death of Christ to pay for our sins, and trusting the record of His resurrection, demonstrating that He has conquered death. Any deviation to one's belief in the nature and work of Jesus Christ misses the core message of the Bible and God's plan for mankind.
These are essential doctrines. Without a firm conviction in these areas, our faith is without basis. We've missed the big picture.
Other doctrines are important. But good people can be at different places in their understanding of them and still find common ground in their love for God and belief in Him while differing in other areas of teaching. For example, there can be much debate over whether the rapture will take place at the beginning, middle, or end of the tribulation. Good people can turn to various Scriptures to make their case for what they believe in this area. But will their belief on this matter effect their heart, or their conviction on the key doctrines of the Bible? Will it ultimately change their walk with God? Probably not.
Does this help?