Dear Chief Pastor,
Praise be to God the Father, His Son and our Saviour Jesus Christ and our eternal Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
At the very outset, I want to make it clear that I believe in the Trinity, the Bible as the eternal Word of God revealed to all mankind, salvation through Jesus Christ alone and in the fruits and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The questions that I have listed below are only mine, which I expect that my church will help provide an answer based on the Word of God alone and not on personal experiences or emotionalism. Also, these are not to demean anyone’s ministry or spiritual state but instead, I want that whoever is going through the below questions will himself refer the scriptures and examine his/her own life and come up with answers. Yes, we are always late for meetings and might not be spiritually great but still do have questions.
If you can’t answer, please be straightforward and say so. But please, don’t tell me that I am fallen from grace and back-slidden, demon-possessed, etc. I am just sincerely in search of answers for my Lord says in Isaiah chapter 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together”. In fact, even the Bereans were always verifying the sermons of Paul to see if it met the scriptures (Acts 17:11).
So here I go:
- Where does the Bible say that “speaking in tongues” is the first outward sign of having received the Holy Spirit? Or that it is the evidence of baptism of the Holy Spirit? If it is really, why is it that such worker/believers hardly exhibit the fruits of the Spirit? Isn’t the fruit greater than the gift?
- Where does the Bible say that every person has to or will speak in tongues? Rather does it not say in 1 Corinthians 12:30 that “all will not speak in tongues”!
- Where does the Bible say that speaking in tongues is necessary for salvation or go to heaven? Rather, does not Jesus say that He is the way to heaven (John 14:6) and no one else? And that he who believes in Him will have eternal life (John 11:25)? This very clearly has the mandate of John 14:15 – “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
- In 1 Corinthians chapter 14, Paul repeatedly emphasizes on prophesying rather than speaking in tongues! (1 Corinthians 14:1,3,4,5,19,24,39).
- Also, does not Paul command that if there is no interpretation for tongues, it should not be spoken in a church meeting? (1 Corinthians 14:28)
- Does not Paul, in 1 Corinthians 14:34, specifically state that women should not speak (in tongues or prophecy) in church? This can be done at home, in private with husband, but not in public. Or does it state about women preaching/teaching? Doesn’t seem to be so. Because he has stated so clearly in 1 Timothy 2:12, not in 1 Corinthians 14.
- We claim self-edification as the reason for speaking in tongues, are we not selfish in so doing? Does not Paul say in 1 Corinthians 12:14 – “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up (or edifying) the church” (ESV)? Tongues can be spoken in private for sure.
- The disciples were waiting for the promise. No clapping, singing, asking, shouting, crying? Did not the Holy Spirit still come down as promised on the day of Pentecost itself? Why do we have tarrying meetings today when the Holy Spirit is already present on earth?
- Except for the day of Pentecost, all other incidents of converts (Jews or Gentiles) receiving the Holy Spirit did not involve “tarrying”. It was instantaneous.
- Cornelius and his family received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues as soon as they heard Peter preach the Gospel.
- Disciples of John (unbelieving Jews) received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues as soon as Paul laid his hands on them.
- Samaritans (unbelievers) received the Holy Spirit (no evidence mentioned – can be tongues or prophecy) as soon as Peter & John laid their hands.
- Why then we have to tarry for the Holy Spirit today? Our Lord gave the great commission saying – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” in Matthew 28:19 and “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” in Mark 16:15. Is this command only for the apostles or is it applicable for all believers?
- If you say this was a command given in private to only the apostles, wasn’t the command to tarry (wait) for the promise (Holy Spirit) also given only to the apostles? Why do we tarry today?Also, most of the conversations that are written in the Gospel of John are also between Jesus and the 12 disciples, especially chapters 14 to 16. So are these applicable only to the apostles and not we believers?
- Why are we not encouraging evangelism in our churches? It was not so in the early days of our ministry? Why do we hinder when believers preach? Are we insecure? Should we not have Paul’s attitude as mentioned in Philippians 1:18 – “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice.”
- What is the ministry for our worker sisters other than singing and praying and cooking and washing? Is that their only calling? It was not so in the early days of our mission when they too were active in evangelization! What about preaching the gospel to the nations?
- Every individual is endowed with a talent/gift. Jesus, in the parable of talents, asks us to make use of our talents, else we are answerable on the day of judgement (i.e. outer darkness) – Matthew 25:13-30. Why then don’t we encourage our youths to make use of their talents? Few boys do get a chance in playing musical instruments,but what about girls? And what about the rest who don’t get a chance in church?
- If anyone displays his skills, we discourage him/her stating pride! What’s wrong if we do it for the glory of our Lord? Because we discourage in church, youths go to the world – schools, colleges, etc.
- 1 Peter 3:15 says “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”. Why then we ask our believers to avoid debates with unbelievers instead of empowering them with knowledge on the scriptures?
- Why are we discouraged from singing songs of other churches? But we do take songs from other churches and make our people sing in youth meetings and conventions. Isn’t that hypocrisy?
- Why can’t we have a separate area for kids where believers can take turns handling them? Instead of having to make them sit for the whole meeting in front and disturb the pastor by their talks and games?
- Why do our workers take the term “saints” for themselves when according to new testament, every believer in Christ is a saint? (Philippians 1:1, Colossians 1:2)
- If Sunday school headmaster and the area leaders are “elders”, are we to call them instead of workers, to pray for the sick, according to James 5:14.
- We preach that believers should not wear ornaments quoting 1 Peter 3:3 & 1 Timothy 9, but these verses do not lay down any exclusive restriction! And when we enforce this “law”, people resort to wearing it outside church and removing within. Are we not forcing them to be hypocrites??
Likewise, I have few more questions regarding MY church for which I expect MY church to provide answers. I will be ardently praying to God that the leaders and senior believers will help me in my pursuit for truth.
God bless you.
Your brother in Christ,
A Believer in one of the Branch Faith Homes.