What is the gift of speaking in tongues?

The first occurrence of speaking in tongues occurred on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. The apostles went out and shared the gospel with the crowds, speaking to them in their own languages: “We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:11). The Greek word translated tongues literally means “languages.” Therefore, the gift of tongues is speaking in a language a person does not know in order to minister to someone who does speak that language. In 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14, Paul discusses miraculous gifts, saying, “Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?” (1 Corinthians 14:6). According to the apostle Paul, and in agreement with the tongues described in Acts, speaking in tongues is valuable to the one hearing God’s message in his or her own language, but it is u8seless to everyone else unless it is interpreted/translated.

A person with the gift of interpreting tongues (1 Corinthians 12:30) could understand what a tongues-speaker was saying even though he did not know the language that was being spoken. The tongues interpreter would then communicate the message of the tongues speaker to everyone else, so all could understand. “For this reason anyone who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret what he says” (1 Corinthians 14:13). Paul’s conclusion regarding tongues that were not interpreted is powerful: “But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19).

Is the gift of tongues for today? First Corinthians 13:8 mentions the gift of tongues ceasing, although it connects the ceasing with the arrival of the “perfect” in 1 Corinthians 13:10. Some point to a difference in the tense of the Greek verbs referring to prophecy and knowledge “ceasing” and that of tongues “being ceased” as evidence for tongues ceasing before the arrival of the “perfect.” While possible, this is not explicitly clear from the text. Some also point to passages such as Isaiah 28:11 and Joel 2:28-29 as evidence that speaking in tongues was a sign of God’s oncoming judgment. First Corinthians 14:22 describes tongues as a “sign to unbelievers.” According to this argument, the gift of tongues was a warning to the Jews that God was going to judge Israel for rejecting Jesus Christ as Messiah. Therefore, when God did in fact judge Israel (with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70), the gift of tongues would no longer serve its intended purpose. While this view is possible, the primary purpose of tongues being fulfilled does not necessarily demand its cessation. Scripture does not conclusively assert that the gift of speaking in tongues has ceased.

At the same time, if the gift of speaking in tongues were active in the church today, it would be performed in agreement with Scripture. It would be a real and intelligible language (1 Corinthians 14:10). It would be for the purpose of communicating God’s Word with a person of another language (Acts 2:6-12). It would be in agreement with the command God gave through the apostle Paul, “If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God” (1 Corinthians 14:27-28). It would also be in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:33, “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”

God can most definitely give a person the gift of speaking in tongues to enable him or her to communicate with a person who speaks another language. The Holy Spirit is sovereign in the dispersion of the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:11). Just imagine how much more productive missionaries could be if they did not have to go to language school, and were instantly able to speak to people in their own language. However, God does not seem to be doing this. Tongues does not seem to occur today in the manner it did in the New Testament, despite the fact that it would be immensely useful. The vast majority of believers who claim to practice the gift of speaking in tongues do not do so in agreement with the Scriptures mentioned above. These facts lead to the conclusion that the gift of tongues has ceased or is at least a rarity in God’s plan for the church today.

Does God require Sabbath-keeping of Christians?

In Colossians 2:16-17, the apostle Paul declares, “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” Similarly, Romans 14:5 states, “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” These Scriptures make it clear that, for the Christian, Sabbath-keeping is a matter of spiritual freedom, not a command from God. Sabbath-keeping is an issue on which God’s Word instructs us not to judge each other. Sabbath-keeping is a matter about which each Christian needs to be fully convinced in his/her own mind.

In the early chapters of the book of Acts, the first Christians were predominantly Jews. When Gentiles began to receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Jewish Christians had a dilemma. What aspects of the Mosaic Law and Jewish tradition should Gentile Christians be instructed to obey? The apostles met and discussed the issue in the Jerusalem council (Acts 15). The decision was, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood” (Acts 15:19-20). Sabbath-keeping was not one of the commands the apostles felt was necessary to force on Gentile believers. It is inconceivable that the apostles would neglect to include Sabbath-keeping if it was God’s command for Christians to observe the Sabbath day.

A common error in the Sabbath-keeping debate is the concept that the Sabbath was the day of worship. Groups such as the Seventh Day Adventists hold that God requires the church service to be held on Saturday, the Sabbath day. That is not what the Sabbath command was. The Sabbath command was to do no work on the Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8-11). Yes, Jews in Old Testament, New Testament, and modern times use Saturday as the day of worship, but that is not the essence of the Sabbath command. In the book of Acts, whenever a meeting is said to be on the Sabbath, it is a meeting of Jews and/or Gentile converts to Judaism, not Christians.

When did the early Christians meet? Acts 2:46-47 gives us the answer, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” If there was a day that Christians met regularly, it was the first day of the week (our Sunday), not the Sabbath day (our Saturday) (Acts 20:71 Corinthians 16:2). In honor of Christ’s resurrection on Sunday, the early Christians observed Sunday not as the “Christian Sabbath” but as a day to especially worship Jesus Christ.

Is there anything wrong with worshiping on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath? Absolutely not! We should worship God every day, not just on Saturday or Sunday! Many churches today have both Saturday and Sunday services. There is freedom in Christ (Romans 8:212 Corinthians 3:17Galatians 5:1). Should a Christian practice Sabbath-keeping, that is, not working on Saturdays? If a Christian feels led to do so, absolutely, yes (Romans 14:5). However, those who choose to practice Sabbath-keeping should not judge those who do not keep the Sabbath (Colossians 2:16). Further, those who do not keep the Sabbath should avoid being a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 8:9) to those who do keep the Sabbath. Galatians 5:13-15 sums up the whole issue: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

Are there prophets in the church today?

Are there prophets in the church today?

The gift of prophet (Ephesians 4:11) seems to have been a temporary gift given by Christ for the laying of the foundation of the church. Prophets were foundational to the church (Ephesians 2:20). The prophet proclaimed a message from the Lord to the early believers. Sometimes a prophet’s message was revelatory (new revelation and truth from God) and sometimes a prophet’s message was predictive (see Acts 11:28 and 21:10). The early Christians did not have the complete Bible. Some early Christians did not have access to any of the books of the New Testament. The New Testament prophets “filled the gap” by proclaiming God’s message to the people who would not have access to it otherwise. The last book of the New Testament (Revelation) was not completed until late in the first century. So, the Lord sent prophets to proclaim God’s Word to His people.

Are there true prophets today? If the purpose of a prophet was to reveal truth from God, why would we need prophets if we have the completed revelation from God in the Bible? If prophets were the “foundation” of the early church, are we still building the “foundation” today? Can God give someone a message to deliver to someone else? Absolutely! Does God reveal truth to someone in a supernatural way and enable that person to deliver that message to others? Absolutely! But is this the biblical gift of prophecy? No.

Whatever the case, whenever a person claims to be speaking for God (the essence of prophecy) the key is to compare what is said with what the Bible says. If God were to speak through a person today, it would be in 100% complete agreement with what God has already said in the Bible. God does not contradict Himself. 1 John 4:1 instructs us, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 declares, “Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” So, whether it is a “word from the Lord” or a supposed prophecy, our response should be the same. Compare what is said to what the Word of God says. If it contradicts the Bible, throw it out. If it agrees with the Bible, pray for wisdom and discernment as to how to apply the message (2 Timothy 3:16-17James 1:5).

What is Christian apologetics

What is Christian apologetics?

The English word “apology” comes from a Greek word which basically means “to give a defense.” Christian apologetics, then, is the science of giving a defense of the Christian faith. There are many skeptics who doubt the existence of God and/or attack belief in the God of the Bible. There are many critics who attack the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. There are many false teachers who promote false doctrines and deny the key truths of the Christian faith. The mission of Christian apologetics is to combat these movements and instead promote the Christian God and Christian truth.

Probably the key verse for Christian apologetics is 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” There is no excuse for a Christian to be completely unable to defend his or her faith. Every Christian should be able to give a reasonable presentation of his or her faith in Christ. No, not every Christian needs to be an expert in apologetics. Every Christian, though, should know what he believes, why he believes it, how to share it with others, and how to defend it against lies and attacks.

A second aspect of Christian apologetics that is often ignored is the second half of 1 Peter 3:15, “but do this with gentleness and respect…” Defending the Christian faith with apologetics should never involve being rude, angry, or disrespectful. While practicing Christian apologetics, we should strive to be strong in our defense and at the same time Christ-like in our presentation. If we win a debate but turn a person even further away from Christ by our attitude, we have lost the true purpose of Christian apologetics.

There are two primary methods of Christian apologetics. The first, commonly known as classical apologetics, involves sharing proofs and evidences that the Christian message is true. The second, commonly known as “presuppositional” apologetics, involves confronting the presuppositions (preconceived ideas, assumptions) behind anti-Christian positions. Proponents of the two methods of Christian apologetics often debate each other as to which method is most effective. It would seem to be far more productive to be using both methods, depending on the person and situation.

Christian apologetics is simply presenting a reasonable defense of the Christian faith and truth to those who disagree. Christian apologetics is a necessary aspect of the Christian life. We are all commanded to be ready and equipped to proclaim the gospel and defend our faith (Matthew 28:18-201 Peter 3:15). That is the essence of Christian apologetics.

What is truth – Jesus

As a young Christian man, I see that the world is stuck in confusion. My own community more so, if my information be correct (don’t want to be lying) we have in excess of 250 churches within the boarders of Atlantis. However gang violence, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, and all other gruesome activity thrives  here.

This shocking finding led me to ask various questions. The biggest being, “What are our Churches doing wrong?” I then concluded after visiting a few (imagine I went to all…would have to find ’em all) that the Churches all preach a different gospel. Thus leaving our people confused (let’s be real if your partner lies to you will you really still be as enthusiastic every time you see each other) and the saying one thing and doing another is off putting.

So I went out and searched for truth.

We live in a world where, sometimes, knowing the truth can be confusing or difficult.  It is hard to discern right from wrong and, in some cases, to know whether or not there is a right and wrong.
Most times when looking for answers we create little surveys and ask people to answer them and then make our deductions from them right? so I went ahead and created one and named it the “What is Truth survey”. I am still struggling with it, so, dear reader/blogger, take your time.

What is truth survey:

  1. Do you believe in “absolute truth” (that something can be true at all times in all situations for all people)?
  2. Do you believe that some things are right sometimes and wrong at other times? For example. it’s wrong to cuss, but if you’re really mad it’s okay. (Use example if necessary.)
  3. Do you believe that, in some cases, abortion is okay?
  4. Do you believe that you should always tell the truth, no matter what?
  5. Do you believe it is okay, in some situations, to live with someone before you get married?
  6. Do you believe it is okay, in some situations, to talk behind people’s backs?
  7. Do you believe it is okay to stretch the truth or lie if it means not hurting someone’s feelings?
  8. Do you believe it is okay, to cheat on your homework? For example. you were out late the night before feeding the homeless and didn’t finish your homework.(Use example if necessary.)
  9. Do you believe that if you’re a pretty good person and don’t do anything too bad that you will go to Heaven when you die?
  10. Do you think it is okay to get revenge on someone?
  11. Do you think that, in some situations, smoking is okay?
  12. Do you think that, in some situations, stealing is okay? For example, your family is starving, so you steal food to feed them. (Use example if necessary.)
  13. Do you think that religions other than Christianity are true and useful?
  14. Do you think that it is okay to watch MTV?
  15. Do you think that it is okay to listen to secular music?
  16. Do you think it is okay to have a lot of stuff and not share with people who don’t have any?

Okay, okay since I am a Christian I took a dash to my Bible to try and solve this mystery and yes I had help from my best friend, Google (I don’t know where everything is in the Bible, I admit). Normally I just go on my knees and Jesus it, but Googling “what the Bible says about the truth” helps a little too.

In the Bible John 18:33-38 to be exact I read that while Pontius Pilate was interrogating Jesus, Jesus said “whoever belongs to the truth belongs to me.” Then Pilate asks “What is Truth?” The Bible does not give us an answer in this scripture but there are more scriptures that give answers about the truth (once again thank you Google).

The Gospel is the Truth – Ephesians 1:13, Colossians 1:5

God wants us to know the Truth – 2 Timothy 2:15

The Church is meant to protect the Truth – 1 Timothy 3:15

Some oppose the Truth – 2 Timothy 3:2-8 (With emphasis on verse 7)

The Truth should change how we live – 1 John 3:18

I know it’s a mouth full but let me summarise…

When Pilate asked “What is Truth?” he didn’t realise it, but he was looking at the answer. Jesus is the truth according to this verse. Jesus doesn’t just tell the truth, He defines what it is, He is the personification of it. When we say the truth should change our lives, we are actually saying Jesus should change our lives.

Think of an idea to change our world – Then put it into action

So today I’ve decided that theres too much wrong with the world, yes the whole world, and that I need to be changing things within it.
This is one great mission and I guess it will have to start by me so I’m setting out a “To do” list so here goes:

● clean my room
● sort my clothes
● get a hair cut
● workout regularly
● read my bible everyday
● be a better Christian

This seems like an all me thing doesn’t it? Well its not I’m doing it for my world and then THE world… wasn’t it Ghandi who said be the change you want to see in the world? Someone came up with the crawl before you walk thing too, the baby steps saying, one step at a time, slow and steady wins the race, I just can’t remember some of the others. In my weirdness (this is just how my mind works get used to it) one small step for man one giant leap for mankind, thank you Mr Armstrong…not Lance, his world got rocked.

So here I am thinking of ideas. The world will be changed and I will be part of it that I promise.