Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Day of the Pentecost

So I was at Apostolic Faith Church (my church) on Sunday and they talked about "receiving the holy ghost," which at Apostolic churches is translated into speaking in tongues. Evangelist Barney invited everyone to stay for 30 minutes after church if they want to receive the holy ghost. She said:

"I don't think it takes God all day to do nothing." (Side note: I love country folks at church)

The minister reported that when they offered the holy ghost at a service during the week 50 people received it. He even mentioned that a lot of people had been waiting for it. Evangelist Barney said on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) 120 people received the holy ghost, so she expected that many would receive it at church this Sunday. People hopped up and clapped the way people at a Baptist church would hop up if they said someone was saved.

I'm so torn. I grew up Baptist. They warned of Apostolic/Pentecostal/Sanctified church folk: always talking crazy, wearing long skirts, selling chicken dinners and misinterpreting the word of God.

I don't believe people speaking in tongues is holy or acceptable to God. I think there are just as many demons in the church as angels and though some people may think they're speaking to God, they may really be uttering for devil.

Here's why: In Acts 2 (where the story of the Pentecost is), the people got the ability to speak in another language in order to bring people who do not speak their native language to God, NOT to pray to God in some utterance that no one else understands.

1st Corinthians 14: 1-5, speaks about speaking in tongues being a spiritual gift to speak to God, so [if you believe in the Christian scriptures] it's definitely real. It goes on to say how speaking in tongues to God is edifying yourself, but prophesying is edifying the church. It says if you speak in tongues, you should do so with an interpreter. (Don't take my word for it, go open your bibles).

Due to my understanding of Acts and 1st Corinthians, I truly believe that speaking in tongues has no place in the church.

So, I'm at this weird crossroads. I love my church. I love the Pastor and I love the Word I get every Sunday. However, I was sitting in church with the boo-boo face when they started talking about "receiving" the holy ghost. I feel like if I was running for President, people would say things like "How could you go to a church where you disagree so strongly with the teachings?"

And I'm thinking this is just ONE teaching of many, but I find myself judging people because they believe differently than me. I wonder if I would do better at a church where people's beliefs lined up better with mine? What I've found is that that church doesn't exist. We all have filters do to our life experiences that cause us to interpret the same scriptures differently or hear the same Word and take completely different meaning from it.

I don't really have a conclusion. I guess I'm just wondering 1) What other Christians think about speaking in tongues and 2) If there's something your church teaches that you absolutely disagree with.


ThummyB said...

Ok...I'm also torn on this issue, but here is my take.

I do believe that speaking in tongues is real and a blessing in the same way that I believe that other 'supernatural' abilities are real and a blessing. For example, I also believe that some ppl can truly tell the future or prophesize, just as I believe that some ppl can perform miracles (as the Bible indicates that all Christians have the power to do). HOWEVER, I believe that these individuals are few and far between.

My problem w/what happened at AFC (and w/so many other Christians) is when it's treated like something that ANYBODY can achieve/accomplish if they just believe hard enough. People act like they are just going to designate a day of the week to 'receive the holy ghost (which as I recall all Saved individuals received upon the assension of Christ) or heal someone.

Do I believe that some individuals are particularly moved in Church and speak in tongues? Sure. Do I believe that it's some sort of badge of honor or rite of passage that any 'true' Christian can achieve? Not at all!

ThummyB said...

Sorry - I forgot to also state, that I think that you should stay at AFC. Every Church (as you mentioned) has some azz backwards rule or practice, so there will never be a place where you agree 100% w/the teachings. However, if you leave feeling blessed and uplifted most of the time, then I say to stick with it.

Of course, you're always welcome at The Ship.

K to the... said...

I'm with thummyb. I believe individuals who can genuinely speak in tongues are few and far between. And I don't feel I need to speak in tongue to certify that I've received the Holy Ghost. I believe I received that, along with the Father and Son when I was baptized.

Something I don't believe in is this "come as you are" bit. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that and I've read both the Old and New Testaments thanks to my grammar school & Sunday School as a youth; and in adulthood, One Year Bible. Now I've been told that even though the phrase isn't in the Bible, some people may have interpreted certain scriptures to say, in a nutshell, "come as you are." But one of my friends recently brought up a good point. If you can take the time and effort to get dressed for the club/party...what's wrong with getting dressed up for church. Doesn't have to be an Easter suit/dress, but man...give those jeans and NIKEs a break for a couple hours. Sheesh.

ThummyB said...

@ K to the...I personally agree that you should put some effort into attending Church and show respect to the house of God.

However, I don't think that the 'come as you are' philosophy is claimed to be specifically stated in the Bible. Instead, I think that it is pulling from Christ's example of ministering to and welcoming even the most undeseriable members of the community (leppers, prostitutes, etc). I think it's in that spirit that EVERYONE is welcomed into the Church, whether it's someone's granny in a 'church-lady hat' or a drug dealer w/his pants below his butt.

Ya feel me?

K to the... said...

Yep, I feel ya, ThummyB.

Kimberly said...

If I can add my 2 cents...I didn't study your scriptural references, just commenting from my heart...I do believe in speaking in tongues as one sign of the Holy Spirit (living within you). Although not every saved person speaks in tongues, or desires to, EVERYONE has the ability to do so. It is a gift from God just like salvation. Not all gifts must be asked for, but they must be received (just like salvation).

At my church, I was prayed over to receive the gift of speaking in tongues (like they do for all), but I did not receive it right away; not for quite a while actually. However, because my DESIRE for the gift increased, I did eventually receive it. I wanted to communicate with God on another level and speaking in tongues allows me to do so. I think some people also think it to be un-Godly to speak "at the drop of a hat" so to speak. And to that I say, there's nothing wrong with that, because just like any other gift, no one can take it away from you once you've received it. Now, how much of your "prayer language" is developed is dependent upon how much you use it and how much you desire it to grow.

Also, you referenced the scriptures and made a point that you believe that speaking in tongues is not acceptable to God and that there are demons in the church just as there are angels. I do agree that there are demons as well as angels in church, however, I would caution making the connection that speaking in tongues is a demonic act, especially since your scriptural references do not support that. If you feel like they are edifying themselves, fine. But the scriptures you referenced do not support it being UN-Godly.

I would suggest you pray about it. Ask God why this is being presented to you at this point in your life. Ask Him what the purpose is, and to bring you into an understanding. Maybe it's for you (should you choose to receive it), and maybe it's not. God led you to AFC (for a reason), so I wouldn't leave until HE tells you to do so.