What does the church believe about the gift of prophecy?

The word “prophet” means “mouth.” It means to speak. In that sense I believe that prophets exist today. There are people who proclaim God’s Word. If you ask if I believe that there are people who can foretell the future, the answer is NO. According to the Bible, if someone claims to be a prophet or make a prophecy and they aren’t 100% accurate in what they say, every time they make a prophecy, they are not a prophet of God. In fact, in the Old Testament, they were to be stoned to death.

Deuteronomy 18:20 But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.” 21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.

I do believe that God gives certain people the gift of discernment and that they can see things in certain situations that others can’t see.

We do believe in spiritual gifts. We believe that at the moment someone is saved they receive at least one, sometimes many spiritual gifts. We believe that as they mature in Christ those gifts become evident. We believe that that individual will serve Christ best if he/she works within the circumference of their spiritual gift/gifts.

Where does the church stand on speaking in tongues?

We believe that the gift of speaking in tongues (as a blessing) was first revealed in Acts 2.  We believe that tongues follow a similar pattern every time God is involved.

    Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

However, the story, in the book of Acts, isn’t the first times tongues were given to man.  The first time tongues were given as a curse not as a blessing.  This is found in – 

 Genesis 11:1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we  may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.6 The LORD said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the   earth, and they stopped building the city.9 That is why it was called Babel— because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

I don’t think that you can understand tongues if you don’t bring into account Genesis 11.  You see, man’s work of the flesh brought a curse on man that caused division of the human race, via different tongues.  The work of the cross brought a unity to the human race, via tongues, Acts chapter 2.

This brings up another point concerning tongues.  I can’t find anywhere in the Word where tongues are said to be “unknown.”  In fact, in Acts they are labeled by language.

    Acts 2:8  Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

So where did the idea of “unknown” tongues come from?  I believe that it came from the Corinthians and the book of 1 Corinthians.  In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul talks to the church about speaking in an unknown language.  The thing some people don’t seem to see while reading this portion of scripture is – Paul was scolding them for what they were doing.  He was being sarcastic trying to wake them up.  Someone might say, “I don’t think Paul would be sarcastic.”  Well, 2 Corinthians is full of divine sarcasm, especially chapter 11.  A good example of other sarcasm is found in –

    2 Corinthinas 11:19  You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise!20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes  advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face.21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

I believe what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:18 and following sums it up pretty well.

    1 Corinthinas 14:18  I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20 Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

Paul traveled into areas that required him to have the gift of tongues to speak to many different groups of people.  He had that gift.  What the Corinthians had wasn’t a gift, it was nonsense and actually evil.  He told them to stop it.

I do believe that it’s possible that the gift of tongues exist somewhere in the world today.  It is possible that somewhere a missionary or someone might need that gift to speak to someone or some group about Christ.  He, not knowing their language, might supernaturally be able to speak to them because of a gift of God.  The purpose of that gift would be to share the Gospel with them. 

    1 Corinthinas 14:22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 

I’ve seen something that others called the gift of tongues but by the New Testament definition I don’t believe that it was the gift of tongues.

What does the church believe concerning Spirit baptism?

Our understanding is that every believer is baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ the moment they believe in Jesus.  There are actually seven baptisms mentioned in the Bible.  Four of them are wet baptisms three of them are dry.  The very word “baptize” is a transliterated word.  In other words, it is a word where they took the Greek spelling of a word and translated the vowels and consonants into our English.  The word originally meant, “to identify with.”

There is a portion of scripture that strips away all but the most important of the important things in life.  That place is found in Ephesians 4.

    Ephesians 4:4  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to  one  hope when you were called-5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;6 one God and  Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

You’ll notice that I underlined every “one” in the verse because they are what’s so important.  The one body is the Church, the Lord’s body of which He is the head.  The one Spirit is the Holy Spirit.  The one hope is in Christ, one Lord is Christ, one faith – belief in Him.  Then we come to one baptism.  What is the one baptism that eclipses all others?  It is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  So you ask what the church believes concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  I can tell you that we believe that it is essential to salvation.  But it is a work done by God the moment we believe as I said earlier and not something that we have to do ourselves.  It is a spiritual union that man can’t explain, when the Holy Spirit takes a person and identifies them with the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This baptism also puts them into the spiritual body of Christ, His Church.  There are so many scriptures dealing with baptism that I hesitate to begin to delineate them but I will give just a few.

    Romans 6:3  Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

    1 Corinthians 12:12  The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

    Galatians 3:26  You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

What does the church believe concerning healing?

We definitely believe in miracle healing.  We’ve seen it happen, ask me if I believe in “faith healers” and the answer is no.  I think the gift of healing given to an individual in a wholesale manner, such as the Apostle Paul, began to disapper as the New Testament was being completed.  Up to that point, there were no New Testament writings to verify what was real and what wasn’t. Miracles, such as healings, were used to prove what was from God.  Even the Apostle Paul lost the ability to heal before he was martyred.  We know this because  –

    1 Timothy 5:23  Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

    2 Timothy 4:20  Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.

Some have gone so far as to say that the Paul did not  live up to his own teachings to explain this lack of ability.  The problem with that is found in 2 Timothy where he makes a statement under the direction of the Holy Spirit that refutes that kind of thinking.

    2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

He says he #1 “fought the good fight” #2 “finished the race” #3 “kept the faith.”  I don’t know how anyone, knowing that all scripture is given by inspiration and is God breathed, could read this and then say that Paul didn’t live up to his own teachings.  So we believe that the gift of healing is gone – but NOT supernatural healing!.

Is it OK to raise your hands during worship?

Concerning the lifting of hands during worship, it is absolutely fine to do so. We, new testament believers, are totally free to raise our hands to God in praise. I have done so myself, many times. I also believe Scripture teaches that we are free under certain circumstances to dance before the Lord. We are also free to not lift our hands to God, not dance, not bow and to remain completely still if that is our desired form. Is one form more spiritual than another other? No, no one can say I'm more spiritual than someone else because I do this in my worship or I don't do that. That's the beauty of living in the age of grace. We are saved by faith and we are to live by faith. Paul asks the Galatians, "Are you so foolish, having begun in the Spirit are you now made perfect in the flesh?" (Gal.3:3) In other words what you do physically doesn't make you spiritual.