[peripheral issues: continued]

[peripheral issues: continued]

First of all, thank y’all for contributing to the feedback on “Peripheral Issues” post. If you have missed the discussion, please click here to see it. It sure brought out a lot of great thoughts.

Like I mentioned before, the idea for the post has been inspired by a friendly argument I witnessed on Monday. Not that it was the first time I have been involved into discussions regarding that, but a quote of a friend of mine stopped me in the track.

“Nazarene? Well, that’s a name. Baptists and Pentecostals and other – these are denominations.”

I looked at her. “Church of the Nazarene is a denomination, not just a name.”

I am all for unity between Christians. Way too often we forget about the fact that we are Christians (followers of Christ, if you wish) and start saying “He is wrong because my way is the only way.” No. If the people agree on the core issues (God, Christ, Trinity, salvation, sin, etc) I have no problems calling them brothers and sisters (even if they might worship differently than I do). I might not be able to worship the way they do, but I respect their relationships with God.

The thing that bugs me is when one Church decides to join another Church, yet without accepting what the other Church is teaching.

For our Church in Ukraine, one of the main things was speaking in tongues. While we do not say that speaking in tongues is wrong or that it is unbiblical, we do not teach that you gotta speak in tongues or else you’re not filled with the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues is one of the gifts of the Spirit. NOT the one and only.

And it is annoying when people keep asking the same question over and over and over again, not even listening to the answer unless it is an answer that fits them. Kind of like a discussion in a math class:

“What is 2+2 equal?”
“4.”
“No, no… Forget it.”

“What is 2+2 equal?”
“4.”
“Not the answer we’re looking for. You know, 2+2 really equals 5.”

Before you try to hush me down saying that speaking in tongues isn’t like 2+2=5, I’ll tell you that 2+2 CAN equal 5. Therefore, I am not saying that tongues should be forbidden. I am just saying that

  1. You cannot force the tongues onto a person,
  2. Speaking in tongues is NOT necessary for salvation, and
  3. Just because someone decides to be like the others and starts saying some random things does not mean he’s got a gift of tongues (heard that happen…)…

So when one Church decides to join another Church, it makes me cautious. My mom calls me a hedgehog at those times. If the people don’t agree with what we are teaching, then why join us? Can’t you be your own Church? We will still be Christians all together, but why would you want to become a Nazarene?

I am sorry if I appear too harsh. I guess I have seen too much of the Church’s insides and sometimes it’s just that – TOO MUCH. I don’t want people hurt and I don’t want conflicts later. I just…

UGH. Like I mentioned in one of my Facebook statuses, “Sometimes understanding God is easier than understanding people.” At least, God’s motives are all clear.

Forgive me. I am not sure where I wanted to go with this post. I guess it was just a vent.

  • first of all, i should tell you i'm impressed — or should i say surprised — by your use of the word "ya'll." made me feel back at home in alabama for just a bit.

    secondly, i don't know if i mind so much churches joining together while having some differing beliefs. but what i don't understand is our fascination with numbers. i'm not saying there's never a reason for two churches to join together, but i'm not sure i really understand the rationale behind the idea of mergers of this sort.

    in the business world, mergers are for money or power (i think — but i'm not even sure of that). in Christianity, i'm not really sure of the reasons. larger numbers, to me, seem to make it more difficult in many ways to serve the purposes for which churches exist. i'm not saying big numbers are necessarily bad, but i guess i am asking what the benefits are, and do they outweigh the costs. any ideas?

    • heh, our first missionaries were from good ol' Texas… i was still a wee 6-year-old back then and the first English phrase i learned was "howdy y'all" 😀 and i am a slang junkie, besides being a language junkie…

      i guess my objection isn't against the "merge" itself… the thing, like i said, is that i cannot understand the reasons behind it… and am wondering whether it's because our Church is bigger and more funded or whatever… i don't know.

      and i don't like big churches… maybe someone can prove me wrong, but in my opinion, Church should be all about being a family… and when you got a 1,000+ relatives, you get lost… **shrug** or maybe i just never had a long big-Church experience. dunno.

  • that praying in tongues stuff bugs me BIG TIME! My mom still believes that you are not a Christian if you don't speak in tongues. Little does she know that I do not possess the gift of tongues. Wow, I'm bound for hell.

    quick funny story–I was at my mom's with my kids one day helping her with something. Two of my mom's friends came in and they all started praying jibberish…call it tongues, call it whatever…i call it a bunch of crap. Not that I don't think tongues is biblical, but when you speak in tongues, there also should be one there to interpret it. Instead, my mom and her friends just pray in this silly, ridiculous language instead of saying real words. it's so stupid. Anyway, my 7 year old came up to me and whispered "Mommy! Grandma is speaking Spanish!" I think I laughed for about 5 minutes. It was so funny.

    I have some friends that also believe this way–tongues is a sure fire sign you are a Christian. I think its garbage. There is so much in the Bible that disproves it. I just think that a lot of people who think this way are not willing to actually hear anything else. They just want to think they have a special Holy Ghost language and are better than the rest of the universe. Side note: My mom made me speak in tongues. If I didn't, then I didn't get a treat. How screwed up is that? If you have to bribe me to speak in tongues, isn't that a sign that maybe it isn't legit!
    My recent post The Best Goodbye

    • hey Michelle,

      heh, yeah… it is this interpretation of the spiritual gifts that bugs me. like i mentioned in the comment below, Paul asks in 1 Cor. 12:30 "Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?"…. The answer is "no." Everyone's got their own gift given by God… a few people told me that i got the gift of prophecy. i still am a bit reluctant to admit it (just feels too… pretentious i guess…), but there are times when i definitely can say "ooh, yeah, i guess this is it." *shrug*

      every night, since i got myself an iPod and "Faith Comes from Hearing" audio Bible on it, i set the iPod next to my pillow, set the timer for 20 minutes, and listen to the passages on random. dunno… it's my way of having a "good night story."

      just a couple of days, i was listening to 1 Corinthians 14… it was right to the point.

      1 Cor. 14:2 (Message): If you praise him in the private language of tongues, God understands you but no one else does, for you are sharing intimacies just between you and him.

      1 Cor. 14:5 (Message): I want all of you to develop intimacies with God in prayer, but please don't stop with that. Go on and proclaim his clear truth to others. It's more important that everyone have access to the knowledge and love of God in language everyone understands than that you go off and cultivate God's presence in a mysterious prayer language—unless, of course, there is someone who can interpret what you are saying for the benefit of all.

      1 Cor. 14:6, 9-12 (Message): Think, friends: If I come to you and all I do is pray privately to God in a way only he can understand, what are you going to get out of that?……..So if you speak in a way no one can understand, what's the point of opening your mouth? There are many languages in the world and they all mean something to someone. But if I don't understand the language, it's not going to do me much good. It's no different with you. Since you're so eager to participate in what God is doing, why don't you concentrate on doing what helps everyone in the church?

      The fact that your mom made you speak in "tongues" for a treat is… rather discomforting to think about.
      My recent post [the battle begins…]

  • Linda M

    Hi Zee,
    Sometimes when 2 churches pool their resources they may be able to minister more effectively to the Body or to plan larger evangelism efforts in the community.

    There is a principle taught in the Bible. If a house is divided against itself it will fall. I found that out in my marriage. So perhaps now that the merger has occured it is your job to be as accepting of that as much as God gives you Grace for doing so. The other option I feel is for you to leave the present church you are at. It sounds like you have a position in your church. Your a pastor's daughter, you're on a church board making decisions in the church. What you don't want to do now is create or cause division and polarizing of peoples by your biases. This is harsh but I think I have a scripture for you that is very pointed. Proverbs 6:16 'There are six things that the LORD hates….a man who stirs up discension among brothers'.

    • Linda,

      Trust me, I still believe and pray that this merger will bring good fruit. I haven't given up yet. I am just wondering about the reasons why the other Church wants to join. The merger hasn't happened yet.

      The last thing I want is for my Church to divide. That is why I am reluctant about this "merger" – if some people start saying this and other people will say that, that would be a start for a division.

      And I am not leaving my Church. First of all, my mom is not a pastor of the Church where I am on board. She is a pastor of another Nazarene Church in Kyiv, but I have made a decision that my mom is my mom, not my pastor. Yes, I am on the Church board at my Church, but like I said, the last thing I want is for the Church to suffer. That's why I am trying to understand what is really going on before I make any conclusions. I like the pastor of the other Church that wants to join and I am all for the unity. I just have seen too many… weird issues.
      My recent post [the battle begins…]

    • and something else… please do not judge people you have never met. you do not know me and you do not know what is going on in my Church. forgive me for sounding harsh too, but God is the only one who has a right to judge.
      My recent post [the battle begins…]

  • Linda M

    Hi Zee and MB
    In talking about the silliness and foolish of tongues that the Bible indicates is available to anyone who wants this gift, you need to be careful about what you say. The Bible says that all sins will be forgiven men except the sin of 'blaspheming the Holy Ghost'.

    We've allowed prejudicial teaching and denominational doctrines to create fear, biases, and divisions among believers. I have a feeling that God is working on changing that in the world of believers right now. There is no doubt that the Bible teaches that Jesus is the Baptizer who enables the gift of the Holy Spirit. I know there have been many explanations of what this Baptism is and what it looks like in various denominations.

    I think what we want is more of God's truth no matter what that truth is. God's people will likely have to set aside pride and be willing to humble ourselves and serve one another in the days ahead. I believe if we refuse to humble ourselves we will eventually end up in outer darkness regarding the things of God.

    • Linda,

      Please note that I haven't said that I am against speaking in tongues. I do believe that God can give such a gift to people He needs to have that gift. What I was saying was that speaking in tongues is not the only gift. Even Paul says "Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" (1 Cor. 12:30)… And even then… I speak a few languages. Can it mean that I can speak in tongues? After all, "tongues" means "languages." *Shrug* Not saying I got all the answers.

      "I think what we want is more of God's truth no matter what that truth is." – amen, I agree. The only thing is… I want GOD'S Truth, not men's.
      My recent post [the battle begins…]

      • Linda M

        Hi Zee,
        Speaking in other languages of the world is not the 'tongues' spoken about in the Bible. The apostle Paul said that he probably spoke more in tongues than anyone else. Tongues are not to be dismissed lightly as 'ridiculous and weird'.

        I'm not trying to judge you, I'm trying to give some outside perpective on this merge. Will everything be perfectly fine? Maybe not. But you should not be involved in 'gossiping' with friends or others if some problems do come up.

        I'm not saying that I feel that you would do this. But it can happen, if you are not aware of the tactics of the devil. This tactic of division because of some differences between believers has been used by the devil over and over again to successfully undermine believers and cause strife and contention. I believe James says 'where there is strife there is confusion and there you find disorder and every evil practice.

        I trust you Zee to conduct yourself worthy of being a believer and a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

    • Linda, who made you judge and jury? I'm not really sure what you are getting at? The bible talks alot about false teachings. How is that my problem if you believe in that crap? I never said I didn't believe in tongues. You need to really go read the Bible. It is evident, obvious, and very clear that tonges IS NOT EVERYONE'S GIFT. That is a false teaching and if you believe that and spread that lie, you are being a false prophet yourself. As for judging, you really should be careful how you judge people yourself. Take your own advice. I don't believe I've blasphemed the Holy Ghost. And really, is that your job to judge me if I did?
      My recent post The Best Goodbye

      • Linda M

        Hi MB,
        I pushed your hot button, I'm sorry about that. I guess I did sort of insinuate a 'blashpheming against the Holy Spirit' because of your impressions that your mom and others were 'lunatics' because they spoke in tongues. I don't believe that you blasphemed the Holy Spirit, but, it is possible for someone to do this. In the Bible the Pharisees did this when they accused Jesus of being able to drive out demons because he did it by the prince of demons, Bezelbub.

        I know you're sensitive MB. Your still healing from some intense hurt and that hurt came through a church(s) that had a doctrine of believing in tongues. i don't mind if you do some venting. Just be careful that it doesn't start hardening you to the acts of the Holy Spirit and what he can do for you.

        • I over reacted…sorry. You are right. I am very much on the teetering line of becoming line that. I am not against tongues per se. I guess I get super uncomfortable around it. Maybe if I saw it acted out in the right way, biblically, I wouldn't be, but so far that hasn't happened. Not sure how to get over that. It is what it is.

          I don't think my mom is a lunatic or her friends…I just don't agree with it. I actually have a really good relationship with my mom other than that stuff and even though I had a weird childhood. She is a much different mom than she was when I was a kid. So not trying to say that at all about her or people that pray in tongues. I don't get it or understand it all the time, but I don't think they are "lunatics". Sometimes I think Christians do things and it doesn't make much sense at all. We can make up excuses for lots of things and why we do them, I guess. Anyway, sorry I got upset.

  • Linda M

    Hey MB
    All is well, thank you for saying you are sorry. I am sorry for making you upset too :):D<3

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