First, to quote my question to a friend, and his response:
"You said, "Find wisdom in the Bible, just as I do the Torah, The Koran, the writings of Confuscious..etc."
Question: Do you believe Jesus' claim that he is "The way, the truth, and the life" and that no one can come to the Father except through him? In other words, is Jesus the only way, or are there multiple ways to God?"
"I don't believe that God (and the trinity that is) is restrictive in this sense. It would not make sense to me to have God just build one tunnel or one bridge to him. I believe there has to be multiple paths to God.
I believe that in this entire universe, there has to be other life similar to ours..some more advanced, some less so. For me to believe that God only built one way to him would be for me to be naive enough to say that we are the only intelligent life in this Universe...."
What do I say to him? I'm not sure if he believes Jesus is lying, or what. He claims to be a Christian, says Jesus is his Lord and Savior, and yet this is what he believes about Jesus. Ideas?
I got a lot of responses on my personal journal and in the two communities I posted to. Thanks to everyone for sharing, and for your encouragement. I've thought & prayed about all this for several days, and I'd like to share my conclusions.
But before I do that... My husband pulled up the Wikipedia on glossolalia, which is the technical term for speaking in tongues. Here's the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossolalia
There were several interesting points in the wiki that I'd like to share, but I encourage you to go read the wiki for yourself. It gives a lot of scientific facts, and a lot of Church history. Very interesting. Here are some quotes and comments.
"Samarin found that the resemblance to human language was merely on the surface, and so concluded that glossolalia is "only a facade of language". He reached this conclusion because the syllable string did not form words, the stream of speech was not internally organised, and - most importantly of all - there was no systematic relationship between units of speech and concepts. Humans use language to communicate, but glossolalia does not."
"The material explanation arrived at by a number of studies is that glossolalia is "learned behavior". What is taught is the ability to produce language-like speech."
In the section on Church history, it becomes evident that from about 500 A.D. to 1901, it was almost unheard of for anyone to speak in tongues. Yet the work of the Holy Spirit in spreading the Church is evident.
"Glossolalia has also been observed in the Voodoo religion of Haiti, as well as in the Hindu Gurus and Fakirs of India."
So. My conclusions. First of all, there are two main purposes to speaking in tongues. The first is to bring a person emotionally closer to God in private prayer. The second is to edify the Church, if there is someone to interpret, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:27-28.
As far as what speaking in tongues really is, I'm not sure. Since glossolalia happens in other religions, and it can be taught with little effort, and since linguists conclude that it is not a real language, I don't buy that it's a heavenly language.
However, there is the possibility that speaking in tongues is actually xenoglossy, speaking in an unlearned (human) language. Except that some people went as missionaries to foreign countries and tried speaking in tongues to communicate with the natives, who did not understand them at all. Not saying that xenoglossy doesn't happen, but the typical speaking in tongues you hear at a Pentacostal Church is glossolalia, not xenoglossy.
Thirdly, God has made it clear to me that I do have the Holy Spirit within me. I may not have some of the "flashy" gifts like speaking in tongues, healing and prophesy, but that doesn't mean the Spirit is absent.
1 Corinthians 12:8-11 says, "To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines."
I have the distinguishing between spirits, also known as discernment. This passage makes it very clear that not everyone has the gift of speaking in tongues, and that the Spirit gives these gifts to each person as he determines. It's not my place to try to force the gift of tongues; if God wants me to have it, He'll give it to me.
Which also leads me to believe that gifts are given at the time of need. That need may be for the Christian's edification, or so that they can use the gift to lead others to Christ. In either case, there has not been a need in my life for the gift of tongues. And I'm o.k. with that.
Some of you may disagree with my conclusions, and if you want to share the reasons why you disagree, please do so with love. If you can't speak kindly to me, please remain silent. After all, brothers & sisters in Christ are to treat each other with the same love Christ gave us, right?
Again, thanks to everyone who commented, and especially thanks to those who prayed that God would lead me into the Truth.
So I was reading an article which referenced Acts 8:5-25, and I looked up the passage to read it. (Please go read it yourself, so you will know what I'm talking about.)
O.k. So the people in Samaria believed in Jesus Christ and were baptized in water. But the Spirit of God had not yet come upon them, so the believers in Jerusalem sent Peter & John to pray for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. And they did.
Now, this passage of Scripture does not specify what signs accompanied (or proved) their reception of the Holy Spirit. So I go to Acts 2:1-4, which says that when the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit, they started speaking in tongues. I also look at Acts 19:1-6, where Paul baptized the men in Ephesus, laid hands on them & prayed that they might receive the Holy Spirit, and the men started speaking in tongues and prophesying.
O.k. I was saved as a small child at age 6, and baptized with water at age 12. Granted, most of my life I've gone to Churches where speaking in tongues is not practiced or really even spoken of, but I have spent several years in Churches where it's common.
Here's what bothers me. If speaking in tongues is evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit on a person, does the fact that I don't speak in tongues mean that I don't have the Holy Spirit?
If that is true, well, praise God that He has used me to lead others to Him despite that, but really, how could I have come so far in my walk with Jesus without the Holy Spirit??
I'm really struggling with this, guys, and could use some help.
I'd go ask my pastor, but we only have an interim pastor right now, and besides, they haven't even mentioned the baptism of the Holy Spirit since I started going there. So I don't think they'd be much help.
I'm really concerned about this. Have I missed it all these years? And how is it that I've been used by God so much without the Spirit? I'm confused...
( | )
Matthew 25 (the last part...) for context
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
So life in the kingdom is not just a matter of not doing what is wrong. The apprentices of Jesus are primarily occupied with the positive good that can be done during their days "under the sun" and the positive strengths and virtues that they develop in themselves as they grow toward "the kingdom prepared for them from the foundations of the world" (Matt. 25:34). What they, and God, get out their lifetime is chiefly the person they become. And that is why their real life is so important.
The cultivation of oneself, one's family, one's workplace and community—especially the community of believers—thus becomes the center of focus for the apprentice's joint life with his or her teacher. It is with this entire context in view that we most richly and accurately speak of "learning from him how to lead my life as he would lead my life if he were I."
—Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy
This sort of life is so much richer than "What Would Jesus Do?"
( | )
Took some time to clear out a bunch of inactive accounts from the membership roster in this community. No weird bootings or bannings—anyone is free to (re)join as they wish. I just had the urge to clean up a bit; no idea if I'm going to do anything more here, but it doesn't hurt to put things in better order.|
|» When God shows up...|
About a week ago I told my husband that we ought to put Pedialyte on the shopping list, since our 6-mo-old had not yet caught a tummy bug, but was bound to at some point. I wanted to have it on hand when he did.|
So Sun. afternoon, while the baby & I were napping, Dave went out shopping. Well, the baby woke up with fever, so I gave him Tylenol. Well, he started crying, a high-pitched cry like he was in pain. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I sat there crying with him for a bit.
Then he vomited all over the both of us. Well, at least I knew what was wrong. And remember the Pedialyte? Surely God had prompted me to put it on the shopping list! Dave came home soon after, with Pedialyte in the bag, and I was able to give it to my baby that evening. I love how God shows up!
P.S. My baby is now fine; he did vomit again yesterday, but he hasn't had fever since Mon.
|» Prayer unexpectedly answered.|
We found a new Church home, and chose the one we did mostly because I needed support as a mother of a baby, and couldn't take the time to visit more Churches. Besides, it's Clayton's daycare. They sing a lot of hymns, which Dave really enjoys, complete with big pipe organ. |
But we didn't pick it for the preaching; it wasn't very meaty. We were used to a preacher in our old city who, every single Sun., made you reflect and say, "Ouch!" Made you want to change. Gave you the tools to do so, and the small group we were in encouraged all the members to change.
At our new Church, we had a sermon called It's Never Too Late: To Renew Old Friendships. He pulled two examples of friendships from the Bible, talked about his childhood friend, and then - after about 45 min. of this - finally talked about having a friendship with God, for those who don't know Him. The beginning wasn't really a spiritual message to edify the Church, and the end didn't apply to me.
So anyway, with those kind of sermons, I started praying for God to bring revival and relevant sermons to this Church. Meaty sermons with substance, that would cause people to grow in Christ. And I prayed that I would be able to find something in this preacher's message that I could cling to, that would spur me on to grow.
Yesterday we got a letter in the mail from the Church. It was from the preacher. He's resigning!
I never would have prayed for that! I was praying for his sermons to change, but instead God has called him to step down as preacher! This is just the beginning of God's answer to my prayers; I'm looking forward to the rest of it. Surely it's going to be wonderful for this Church.
|» Praise God!|
Got an e-mail from Dave's Grandpa:|
"I have some awesome news to share with you about my health! As you know, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer back in August of last year. Since then, I have undergone a series of chemo-therapy, which brought on a heart attack, which interrupted my chemo-therapy and put everything temporarily on hold. Nevertheless, last Friday I went into the hospital for texts to determine where I was with my cancer treatment. And that was when I received the most fantastic report: I am cancer free!! Yes, glory to God, despite all the interruptions, setbacks, and only about half of my chemo, the cancer is gone!"
Isn't God wonderful? :D
|» A Thought on Growth|
(Crossposting to my journal, armyofchrist, jesusfreaks, joshuaproject.)|
I must have a vision of myself after growth, or I'll be too scared to give up my security, for fear that the loss of security might be permanent. (me)
Right now I'm seeing myself without an anger problem. I've struggled with this since I was very little; I get frustrated easily, and I tend to snap at those I love about stupid, little things. God has grown me a lot, but I know I have further to go. I'm clinging to that vision of me, a peaceful me who is not easily frustrated, who does not lash out at people. Because I have that vision, I am willing to go through the growing pains.
What kind of growth are you looking at? What is your vision of yourself after growth?
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