The Land Called Beulah

Where God Turns Ashes into Beauty

Month: April 2015

Q&A Pentecostals (Apostolic) Part Two

Hi Everyone! It’s been almost a year since Part One was posted (https://beulahblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/qa-pentecostals-apostolic)  and we’ve had a great response to it! We’ve got many more questions that have come in so I’ll do my best to answer them here and hopefully I’ll be able to get them sorted better in the future so they’ll be easier to read and sort through! (In the meantime, if you’re looking for a specific word or topic, use the search bar to the right. It will search all my posts for that specific word.)

Here we go!

Is Pentecostal and Apostolic the same?

Those of us who are Apostolic Pentecostals use the term interchangeably but not technically. To be Pentecostal means to believe that what happened on the day of Pentecost in the Book of Acts still applies to today. In other words, you believe that people still speak in tongues and that the church still has and uses the gifts of the Spirit (healings, miracles, etc). But not all Pentecostals are Apostolic.

To be Apostolic means you adhere to the teachings of the Apostles (much like Lutherans adhere to Martin Luther’s teachings, Wesleyans adhere to John Wesley’s teachings, etc). Now before I move on, let me clarify something: a lot of Christians will say, “Well I’m just a Christian because I only follow Christ.” Great comment, but let me elaborate on Apostolics. Of course we follow what Christ taught. That’s why we’re also called Christians. But Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom (in other words, He told Peter what to preach once He resurrected and went back to Heaven, so people in the New Testament church would know what the plan of salvation was–the people ask this in Acts 2:37 and Peter tells them in Acts 2:38 and 2:39). Jesus also walked closely and taught the Disciples (who would later be called Apostles along with Paul and others) what they ought to teach others and how they ought to win them to Him. So what the Apostles taught was Jesus’ doctrine.

Sadly, over time people have decided that certain verses in the Bible don’t apply to us today and that is why different denominations have formed. When we say we are Apostolic, it means we still adhere to what the Apostles taught in the Bible–which is exactly what Jesus taught. They do not contradict at all. So we do not agree that what the Bible says is necessary is not applicable today. If Jesus told the Disciples/Apostles to teach it–it applies.

So, the Apostles taught that what happened at Pentecost was the salvation experience–and we still follow it today–which is what makes us Pentecostal and Apostolic. So you could say all Apostolics are Pentecostal: if they follow what the Apostles taught, they believe in the Pentecostal experience. But not all Pentecostals are Apostolic. For example, many denominations who are Pentecostal (Assemblies of God, for example) do not teach that baptism is required for salvation–but Jesus and the Apostles taught this. So they would not be considered Apostolic.

How can I find an Apostolic church near me?

The best way is to google “Apostolic Pentecostal Church” along with your city name. Keep in mind that not all results will be actual Apostolic churches, so if you find one, do your research. Do they have a website or Facebook page that has their church description or doctrinal statement on it? You can also look through various Apostolic Organization pages. Here’s a page that lists several Apostolic organizations. I am not familiar with all of them, so again, do your research. But it’s a start: http://www.apostolic-churches.com/organizations.html

What do Pentecostals wear?

Clothes 🙂 Seriously though, we buy our clothes from the same stores everybody else does. In a nutshell, girls and women wear skirts and dresses, men wear pants. A majority of Pentecostal churches also dress to a degree of modesty, so high necklines, longer sleeves, longer length on skirts and pants/shorts. We also don’t wear jewelry and makeup because verses in the Bible teach us to dress with modesty and sobriety/shamefacedness, not with pearls and gold… for a more in depth answers please visit the Q&A page 1 I linked to at the beginning of the article.

Why are Apostolic people not nice?

I hope this isn’t a genuine question! Most of us are, but keep in mind that just like everybody else in the world some people have off days or may be going through difficult times in their life. No excuse to not be nice to people, but please don’t judge an entire group of people due to a small few!

Can Pentecostals read people?

Generally speaking, no. Some people, Pentecostal or not, may have a general ability to sense when a person might be up to no good (women’s intuition? vibes? haha), and some people might have the gift of discernment as mentioned in the Bible, but no, Pentecostals don’t have some special ability to read people.

Do Pentecostals drink?

No; the only exception being that some churches use wine instead of grape juice for communion.

Why should I go to a Pentecostal church?

The best answer I can give to this one can be summed up in my post Why I Left the Apostolic Church – in this post I give my testimony as to why I stopped going to one to begin with, and why, after several years of studying different religions and Christian denominations, came to realize that to this day, I have not found a single other denomination that preaches the whole Bible. This is why I am Apostolic/Pentecostal and would not consider any other denomination. I encourage you to compare any church you are considering attending with the Bible’s teaching. If they are saying that something isn’t necessary but the Bible says it is, time to find a new church.

Do Pentecostal women shave their legs?

Yes. When the Bible talks about women not cutting their hair it is very specific that it is talking about the hair on her head; not her legs, underarms, etc. Now, I am sure there might be someone out there in the nearly 8 billion people in the world who might not shave because of these verses, but as a general rule, yes, we shave.

Do Pentecostals wear jewelry?

The answer to this varies depending on the church. Overall, no. We don’t wear necklaces, bracelets, piercings, etc. The only variation is that some Pentecostals will wear “jewelry with a purpose”. In other words, some are okay with wearing watches or wedding bands, as long as they do not contradict the Bible’s teachings to not wear gold, pearls and costly array. Some churches do no jewelry at all, some do just watches, and some do basic wedding bands (because some women feel that it would be the appearance of evil to be pregnant or have children but not wear one, thus looking like she was pregnant out of wedlock).

Do Holiness Pentecostals believe that women shouldn’t be pastors?

The majority thought is that God’s intended purpose is that it should be a man because the Bible says a bishop should be the husband of one wife. That said, the Bible also shows that God does not believe women to be a lesser sex and that in many cases if no man steps up to the plate, He will use a woman. For this reason, it’s not uncommon to see churches in countries outside the USA with woman pastors. I know a missionary to India who says there are several woman pastors because there just aren’t men in the villages who are living for God. However, as God’s intended purpose, when a man does step up to the plate, the woman is fine putting the leadership of the church into his hands. In the USA you aren’t likely to see as many female pastors because we have many male preachers to fill these roles. And, of course, like with many things, you may always meet a person who doesn’t agree with this view–some believe a woman can be a pastor no matter what, and some believe women should not be a pastor under any circumstances. The answer I give is just the general rule I have observed being Apostolic in the United States.

Where can I find a good Pentecostal man?

Church is the best place! If you are single don’t lose heart! I married a bit older than most of my friends, but God had the perfect one in mind! And it was actually his pastor’s wife who introduced us! If you are interested in finding someone to eventually get married, definitely don’t be shy if friends or church leadership knows somebody–oftentimes people go to meetings or visit other churches and the good man you are praying for may just be a town over (or as was my case, a state over).

Why don’t Pentecostal women wear makeup?

It is true that you won’t find a verse in the Bible that says makeup is a sin. The reason we don’t wear it because the few times it is mentioned in the Bible it is done so in a negative light. Jeremiah 4:30 and II Kings 9:30 are two examples. I Timothy 2:9 and I Peter 3:3 talk about modest appearance. But what about Esther? Someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve read Esther and do not recall seeing anywhere that she wore makeup. I do see that she used ointments and spices, so I’m not led to believe that it’s wrong to wear perfumes or use skin and hair products. These are completely fine. It’s colored products (the Bible calls it painting your face) that we don’t wear.

How do Apostolics keep from checking out women?

They’re not written by an Apostolic but I would recommend the books Every Man’s Battle and/or Every Young Man’s Battle (I believe the main difference is one is directed towards married men, the other at unmarried men). They discuss what they call “Bouncing the Eyes”. Pretty much it is where you teach yourself to automatically look away when you see something that is causing you to lust. I’m not a man so I cannot attest to everything in the book, but my understanding is that it is pretty straightforward in giving men ideas to help. If you are struggling with pornography, I want to encourage you that God is a forgiver and can help you overcome. I am in no way affiliated with them, but I am a strong supporter of Covenant Eyes, an internet filtering company. For a small monthly fee they allow you pick accountability partners who will get a weekly email with a list of sites that you visited. This helps you to not look at pornographic or questionable sites. It also filters photos and sites and features a “panic” button that you can push if you’re feeling tempted. What happens when you push it is that it temporarily disables your internet until you call (24 hours a day availability) and speak with someone. They will talk with you and pray with you until the temptation passes and then re-enable your internet.

I am Pentecostal; how do I know God is with me?

Because the Bible says so. He promised us that He would never leave or forsake us. Sometimes it might not feel like it, though, especially when things go wrong. But this is why the Bible says the heart is deceitful. We can’t trust our emotions because they aren’t truth. When you start to feel like He isn’t there, pick up your Bible and be encouraged by it.

Do Pentecostal women date?

Yes. Most do so with the purpose of marriage in mind, so sometimes they’ll refer to it as courting. It’s the same with Pentecostal men. So it’s most likely that if you are interested, you’ll start by just being friends and talking, and then if you guys see potential in your relationship, dating will come.

I’m a former UPC member and I hate them.

Not really a question but I’ll briefly address this. Ask yourself why. I’ll be honest with you: the reason I left the Apostolic church when I was a teen was because of church hurt. Somebody who claimed to be Apostolic didn’t exactly act it, and it turned my whole family away from God. My family ended up hating the church and believing they were all hypocrites and woman abusers, etc etc. I was almost convinced  as well but knew that I had a bunch of people in the church who genuinely loved me and loved God. I couldn’t believe that they were all like this specific person. So a few years later I went back, and found that they really weren’t all like that. My family let the actions of one person dictate their entire relationship with God. They also misunderstood a few things about some people and ended up very bitter about them. Years later I revisited these people to find out that these misunderstandings were completely wrong, and that those specific people desperately tried to help us. Two of my family members have since returned to God as well, coming to the conclusion that most Apostolics are genuinely good people. My guess is that you’ve had a bad experience. I strongly encourage you to ask yourself why you hate them and what happened to cause this. Then ask yourself if it was just a specific situation or person, and if it is really worth the hate and bitterness and stumbling block between you and God. I found out that it wasn’t worth it.

Apostolic lady doesn’t want to wear skirts anymore.

Again not a question but I’ll address this. Why not? What is it about skirts that makes you not want to wear them? Is it because you don’t see a biblical reason to do so? I encourage you to speak with your pastor or a trusted church friend, and especially study the Bible. Is it because you feel they restrict what you can do? I’ve worn skirts most of my life, and they have never been in the way. When I play sports I merely put a pair of workout capris under it so I’m modest. It’s too cold in the wintertime? With the way leggings and tights are making a comeback, these are simple ways to stay warm and modest, and looking like a lady. With so many reasons why you might not want to, it’s hard to give an answer but definitely think these questions might be a good start.

Why don’t Apostolics want to associate with other Christians?

I haven’t experienced this first hand, so I’m not sure I have a good answer. I have many friends, both Apostolic and not. It was my experience upon getting back into the Apostolic church that it was other people who didn’t want to hang with me. They felt that because I no longer wanted to drink, go to nightclubs, watch movies, etc that we had nothing in common. They felt like I couldn’t have fun anymore. What they didn’t realize is that I feel like I have more fun than ever now. I learned to play music, spend more time being active, volunteering, going on trips and more. Some of my Christian but non-Apostolic friends felt that because I wore skirts all the time that I judge them because they don’t. It’s not the case. I do believe it’s biblical (as well as other things I follow in the Bible) but I’m not going to cut off a friendship because they don’t. I’m not sure what the specific circumstance is regarding the people you have in mind, but generally speaking Apostolics aren’t standoffish to other people.

Why is the Pentecostal Church a cult?

It’s not. I actually wrote a paper on this when I was in college and taking a class that discussed cults. Cults usually have a leader that demands 100% unquestioning authority but has no authority him/herself, tries to separate people from their families, usually requires people to spend most of their time doing things as part of the cult and is highly focused on money, they tell their members not to read negative stuff about their group, members are encouraged to only associate with other members, they usually have extrabiblical authority if it’s a Christian group, and more.

Some people will say we’re a cult just because we speak in tongues (which is odd, given that the Bible is 100% for it, both as a sign of Holy Ghost infilling and as a gift of the Spirit–and also instructs us to not forbid people to speak in tongues). They also think we’re legalists because we follow a holiness lifestyle–they don’t understand that we live this way because we want to, not because we are forced. But to address the cult characteristics I listed, Apostolic pastors are supposed to have authority in their lives. They ought to have a pastor and/or elders whom they submit to. I’ve always been taught by my own pastor that if you ever end up in a church where the pastor says he needs no authority or God is his only authority, get a new church. Apostolics also don’t encourage people to separate from theirs families–on the contrary we support strong families and teach what the Bible teaches–if you have an unbelieving spouse you are to stay with them and be an example to them.

We also have no desire to be cut off from family and friends–in fact, it’s the opposite. We’re huge people persons and instead of pushing people away, we’d rather be closer to people so they can see Jesus through us and hopefully come to Him as well. Our churches also don’t require us to be only at the church or only associate with church people. We have jobs, activities and friends outside the church. My church hosts a homeless feed with a local Lutheran church, my husband and I offer volunteer work to secular organizations, etc. Our churches also aren’t money focused: while we do teach the Biblical principle of tithing and giving offerings, we don’t expect people to pour all their money into the church or give up their necessities and wants as well. You’re not likely to see any megachurch millionaire pastors (although my opinion is, if he worked for it why not). Many of our pastors work a job outside of pastoring to pay his bills and help with church bills. I come from a pastor’s home and have seen mine give their own money to help people with their bills, lose their own homes for the church, etc.

So if someone tries to tell you we’re a cult, trust me, we’re not! We don’t fit the description at all!

Can Apostolics who have sinned come back?

Of course! Hosea is a wonderful book to read about this. It’s a type of the believer. No matter how many times you mess up, God will always forgive you if you repent! Our churches rejoice when someone comes back to God–it is seriously a very happy moment for us. just like the prodigal father, when we see someone walk away from God we are devastated but know that they have to live for God themselves. So we pray for their return and then when we see them come back it is a true joy!

Are you associated with the Apostolic United Brethren polygamist church?

No. No. No. They are a Mormon sect. Apostolics are completely against plural marriage.

How do you know if you’re in love if you’re Apostolic?

The same way as anybody else I guess. Does how you feel towards the person line up with the biblical teaching of what love is? That would be the best measure. I Corinthians 13 is a great chapter to read about love. Song of Solomon also talked about spousal love.

I grew up Apostolic but am now Baptist; something is making me want to go back to Apostolic.

While I believe Baptists do genuinely love God, they are not preaching the full truth (at least the official church doctrinal statement isn’t) . If you are feeling convicted to come back to your Apostolic roots, I encourage you to follow that. When you do, you will realize what it is that you were missing.

What does the Pentecostal church think of a quiet, unfazed female?

I’m going to guess you mean someone who isn’t super outgoing or very demonstrative in praise? We realize that people have different personalities. At my old church there was a lady who was super dear to me (still is) but she was as shy as they come. Well, her 2 oldest girls were in our kids program and she wanted to help with our summer VBS but absolutely dreaded doing anything that would require her to talk to people. Imagine her fear when she heard we volunteers were going to go out dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls (our theme) and invite the neighborhood kids?! But you know what, she ended up being a HUGE blessing to our program! You know why? Because she used her strength. I didn’t ask her to go out and invite people, or get up in front of the crowd and talk or jump around or do worship. She used her talent to be our photographer. And you know what? She took literally over 1,000 photos for us–top notch, great quality. And we were able to use that for our end of week slideshow during our VBS block party and to send the kids home with a picture of themselves. Here was this quiet lady who only really talked in a one-on-one situation, and here she comes blowing us away with her mad photo skills! God gave us all strengths. Maybe yours isn’t being up front or loud or demonstrative; find your strengths and use them for God! (Oh, and PS, I know Apostolic girls are typically thought of as being in frou frou dresses, dainty, and having huge hairstyles haha but we’re not all like that. Yes, I like to dress up and have pretty hair, but truthfully, I’m the one who will kick off my heels and go play volleyball in my church clothes, throw my hair in a pony tail and go for a hike, etc etc. I just went to a demolition derby two days ago! There’s no one-size-fits-all Pentecostal girl!)

What does Catholic Apostolic mean?

To the best of my knowledge, Catholics believe that Peter was the first pope and therefore refer to the Catholic church as the true Apostolic church. I think it’s mostly a specific branch or older Catholics who do so, though if we have any Catholic readers you can elaborate in the comments below! Typically when Christianity talks about Apostolics, though, they are referring to Oneness Pentecostals.

Why don’t Apostolic men wear a wedding band?

Apostolics don’t wear jewelry with the exception of it serving a purpose, like a watch or wedding band. Many don’t even feel that a wedding band is necessary–typically just women who feel that being pregnant or having children while appearing unmarried can be “the appearance of evil” which the Bible tells us to avoid. Many Apostolics feel that a wedding band isn’t needed to prove that, so they choose to not wear one.

Do Pentecostals believe in purgatory?

No.

At what stage do Apostolics consider you married?

In the United States marriages must be done legally, so here it would be when you get a marriage license and the officiant performs the ceremony and signs the license. In other countries, your answer would best come from a local Apostolic pastor who can explain how he officiates it.

What is the Holy Ghost?

It is God’s spirit that lives in His believers.

How can we know if we will go to Heaven?

By following what the Bible says. The Bible doesn’t leave us wondering if we are saved or not. It clearly tells us what we need to do to be saved (Acts 2:38) and then how to live after that. As long as you are following the Bible’s plan of salvation and do your best to follow the rest of the Bible as well, you can take heart that God is faithful to keep His promise.

Why are Pentecostals made fun of?

Doesn’t the Bible say that we will be? God never promised us that we wouldn’t be ridiculed, mocked and persecuted. Jesus Himself was. I think it’s largely because living according to God’s Word is so different than what is popular to the rest of the world. When you’re not in church it doesn’t make sense to not give into fleshly desires. It doesn’t make sense to dress modestly or live holy. People also don’t understand why we get so excited about God, or what in the world tongues is. That’s largely why I make posts like this one, so people can get answers about the whys from an actual Pentecostal, as opposed to the pages made by people who left the church and are disgruntled with it or people who think they understand what we do but really don’t.

How does one become saved in an Apostolic church?

Only the way the Bible says. When Nicodemus asked Jesus what must he do to be saved, Jesus told him that he had to be born of the water and Spirit. It wasn’t a recommendation or suggestion. It was a must. Some people debate this and say being born of the water is a natural baby birth, and that being born of the Spirit happens when you “accept Jesus as your savior”. Here’s why that’s not true. Jesus gave Peter the “keys to kingdom”–in Acts 2 when Peter was preaching, the people asked what they must do, and he said, repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. When all the people received the Holy Ghost it wasn’t when they first believed; in fact, in Acts 19 there was a whole group of Christians who hadn’t even heard of the Holy Ghost! They also all got rebaptized in the name of Jesus because their first baptism wasn’t done that way! Sadly, many churches today preach that baptism is optional, they don’t do it in the name of Jesus, and they tell people that the Holy Ghost infilling happens when you just believe. That is all contradictory to the Bible. At an Apostolic church, we preach that the way people were saved in the early church is still how people are saved today. Peter said in Acts 2:39 that’s how it would be.

Why can’t Pentecostals go to parties?

We can. If a Pentecostal you know turned one down, it’s probably because of something going on at that party that they don’t want to be involved in, like drinking, dancing to music that glorifies sex, drugs, or other ungodly things, etc. Otherwise, we don’t have anything against parties.

When do Apostolics feel it is time to reach the poor?

Now. We don’t discriminate on who we invite to church and many churches support or run programs to help the poor. My church helps run a homeless/community feed and our youth group has done projects where we gather hygiene supplies and make bags for low income and homeless people. The other Apostolic church in my town runs (or did run–I think they still do) an addiction help program. Another friend’s church does community programs where they give school supplies to low income students, hygiene products and food as well, etc. God instructs us to do these things and many of our churches are stepping up!

If a church doesn’t believe in speaking in tongues should I join it?

No. The Bible says not to forbid people to speak in tongues. Also, many churches confuse the gift of tongues (that should have an interpretation) with tongues as the initial evidence of being filled with the Holy Ghost and that can also be done in corporate worship and private prayer time. If a church doesn’t believe in tongues they are preaching against the very sign that the Bible says will accompany all believers when they are filled with the Spirit,

Has anyone else had a bad experience with an Apostolic church?

I had a problem with someone in an Apostolic church–but don’t confuse a problem you have with somebody with a having a problem with the church. People are people and people hurt people sometimes. It’s not a whole church and it’s definitely not God. I learned how to overcome that. I definitely don’t have all the answers but I encourage you to read some of my posts; I’ve written some of my testimony in them.

What are different names for Apostolics?

We’re also known as Pentecostals, Oneness Pentecostals, Jesus Only, Holiness Pentecostals, Apostolic Pentecostals, and the UPC (the UPCI is the largest Apostolic Pentecostal group and generally people call all of us UPC people, although not all of us belong to that organization. My church doesn’t belong to the UPCI, but we associate with churches who do).

I will be listing a Q&A part three soon. If you have a question you’d like answered please comment in the box below. As with all of my posts, I do not approve any comments that speak negatively of a person or church, and I do not approve comments that state “facts” that are not supported by the Bible. I do encourage question asking though, so if you have a genuine question or don’t understand something, please feel free to ask!

What the Duggar Girls Aren’t Saying About Purity and Modesty

To be honest, I don’t watch the show. I don’t even own a TV. But I’ve read the articles, seen the Pinterest pins, the Facebook comments, etc. The most common thing I see in comments posted on these various sites is people offended because they believe that if someone practices a lifestyle of modesty, holiness and purity, that it must mean we believe all who don’t do so are horrible, vile people. This is the farthest thing from the truth.

Now, I am not the same denomination as the Duggars. I don’t believe everything they believe or subscribe to their way of life 100%. That said, I am a conservative Christian–Apostolic Pentecostal–and I do believe that living modestly and following purity in relationships is glorifying to God. In response to some comments I’ve seen people make about their ideas, here’s what I believe they aren’t saying in their answers:

1. It’s women’s fault that men lust over them because of how they dress

The Bible says that each person needs to work out their own salvation. In other words, each person is responsible for themselves to do the right thing. If a man lusts, it is not the woman’s fault. Most Christians attest to this. But you will hear Christian women, especially those who dress with a high degree of modesty, say that one reason we dress this way is so we don’t become a stumbling block to men. Is it our fault if they lust? No. Does it help men to lust less if we aren’t showing cleavage, wearing short shorts/skirts or tight pants? Yes. So for this purpose, we want to help men struggle less by covering up more.

On a related note,

2. We ridicule women who don’t dress like us

This is another false belief many people have. I read an article someone wrote about a passage in the Duggar girls’ book about how they have a code word for women who are dressed so immodestly that they want to warn the guys in their family to not look, that way they don’t see something that might cause them to have lustful thoughts.

Now frankly, I’ve never heard of anyone doing this before. My husband and I are in public pretty much every day and never once have I felt the need to warn him that a woman isn’t dressed modestly and never once have I seen him checking out other girls. It’s the same for me if we pass guys who are shirtless or wearing speedos or whatever. Pretty much we just don’t stare. It’s a societal norm in the US anyway to not stare at people. For many Christians, if we see something that we don’t think is glorifying to God, we just glance away when we see it and don’t dwell on it. Because the Duggars do this, the best assumption is that they are just trying to help the men in their family avoid seeing things that might make them think lustfullly; a lot of times this is also why they and other conservative Christians will avoid places where they know a lot of people will be dressed minimally (like beaches, water parks, nudist colonies, etc).

We definitely don’t ridicule those people or think less of them. Just as we are free to dress how we want, so are they. We are taught to treat all people with respect, regardless if they are Christian or conservative or not. Jesus didn’t treat non-believers horribly; He showed them love so that they would come to Him. We would love it if everybody became Christian because we’ve experienced first hand what it is like and would love to share that with everyone, but we also know that not everybody is a Christian, and we aren’t surprised that non-Christians don’t share our modesty standards. We don’t even really expect it. But we also choose to try and not put ourselves in positions where we might see people dressed immodestly because the Bible teaches us to not put ourselves in those positions. It also teaches us that we do live in the world, however, and it cannot be fully avoided, so you do the best you can.

3. We believe people who don’t have the same purity standards are whores or “Jezebels”

If there is one thing that the Duggars are known for, it’s that many of their kids (of dating age) are choosing to wait until marriage to have their first kiss or to have sex. They have pretty stringent dating (or courting) standards to avoiding putting themselves in a place where they will be tempted to give in to the [natural] desire to do so. I know where they’re coming from. I, too, waited until my wedding day to have my first kiss and to lose my virginity.

But I don’t judge people who didn’t. Let’s be real here: God gave people a natural desire to be intimate with someone. When you love somebody, it is very natural to want to do these things with them. But, we also acknowledge that God designed sex to be within the confines of marriage. And, even with protection, I’m sure most people will agree that abstinence is truly the only 100% effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs. If somebody isn’t a Christian (or of another faith that teaches abstinence until marriage) it doesn’t surprise me if they have sex outside of marriage. The media largely promotes it now, and many people think that it’s perfectly normal. Do I wish it wasn’t? Of course I do. I know that a lot of heartbreak comes from it. Do I also acknowledge that even some Christians have sex before marriage? Yes. Truth is, if somebody plans to not have sex until marriage but does, hey, mistakes happen. We all sin. That’s why Jesus taught us to ask forgiveness and to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and do our best to not do it again. I don’t judge people who fall into sin (and I’m sure the Duggar girls don’t either). We pray that they are able to overcome what happened and realize that there’s grace and mercy in God.

As far as waiting until marriage to kiss? This is a personal preference. Many people will say, no it’s not, the Duggar dad doesn’t allow his kids to kiss before marriage. Honestly, as anyone who was ever a kid (hey, that’s all of us!) knows, if you want to do something you’ll find a way to do it. I don’t know if on the show he has ever said they are not allowed to, but in the articles I’ve read, they kids say that it’s their own decision. As someone who decided to wait, I can attest that it was my own decision. I was never told that I couldn’t, or that I should wait. I just thought it would be a great gift to my husband that I waited for him. I also knew that if he was willing to wait for it, that he valued me for me, and not just my body, and that our relationship would be built on things such as character traits rather than physical things. But never once in all the years I waited to have my first kiss (I married this past December at 27 years old) did I ever once think that anybody who didn’t wait until marriage was wrong, sinning, or less spiritual than me. It was simply my decision.

When I read what the Duggar kids say is why they are choosing to wait, I don’t read judgmentalism and condemnation towards others; I read simply what was my view when I made the same decision. And, I will agree with them as well that another good reason to wait is that when you start kissing, it’s very easy to get caught up in the moment and and get more physical. By waiting, you are giving yourself one less moment of temptation to put yourself in a position you don’t want to be in.

4. If you need a chaperone on your date, you’re not trustworthy (or your parents don’t trust you)

This is also not true. They (and many conservative Christians) choose to have chaperones on their dates because, again, it makes it easier to not be in a position to fall into temptation. When my husband and I were dating we made it a rule of thumb that we would do our best to not be in a private place alone (like my apartment or his) where we knew that if in the heat of the moment we weren’t thinking straight, we wouldn’t be tempted to sin. We didn’t do chaperones, though, because our opinion was that if we were in public, we wouldn’t be doing that anyway. Making this decision ahead of time did ensure that we waited until our wedding day, which is exactly what the Duggar kids decided to do.

I hope this sheds a little light on the motives behind the practices. The last thing a Christian would want someone to take away from their lifestyle is that we are judgmental and disapproving of other people. But while we also don’t go around just commenting to the world 24/7 about our lifestyle, it’s very common for people to ask (which is why you see about a billion interviews with the Duggar girls asking the same questions). Now, like I mentioned, I don’t agree 100% with everything they do in regards to their lifestyle or beliefs, but as someone who dresses similar and has similar dating standards, I wanted to let people know more about our thoughts behind the actions. So next time you read an article about their modesty or purity standards, don’t see it as them putting down others, see it as them explaining why they choose to live the way they do. And if you have more questions about why they (or other conservative Christians) do things a certain way, feel free to ask. I’m not Southern Baptist so I can’t give direct answers on all of their whys, but as an Apostolic Pentecostal I can give biblical answers and reasons behind why we live the way we do or dress the way we dress.

(As with all my posts, while I encourage healthy question asking, I do not approve comments that talk bad about people or make statements stated as fact about the Bible that contradict the Bible. Please keep this in mind when commenting.)

Granddaddy’s Prayer Came Late(r)

“God is never late. His prayer just got answered later.”

 

My grandmother sent me a letter last year that held the key to a long hoped for but seemingly impossible treasure in my life.

Growing up I was rarely introduced to or around much extended family. Family tree projects in school were nightmares because I just didn’t know people or names beyond my grandparents–and even then, I didn’t know much about the people I did know!

So imagine my surprise and excitement when I received a letter from my grandmother that contained just a tiny piece of my history: the names of her parents and grandparents (all of whom are deceased and I have never met). That was it; no other information about her life or anything was included other than what she did for a living for a while. She has never been one to talk about her past, despite my asking several times.

So of course, like any person in 2014, I took to Google. After search upon search I found an obituary. Not one belonging to my grandparents but for a woman who married into my family. Now, some people might think, ok, so what? It’s an obituary. But this obituary took me on a discovery I’d never have imagined. It began when I saw where her funeral was held: Redfield United Pentecostal Church.

Names of family members were listed who attended the funeral, and searching for those names brought up more information leading me to eventually have my grandmother’s line of heritage back to the 1700’s and beyond. What amazed me was that almost my entire grandmother’s family was Apostolic, dating back to her grandfather who got saved in the early 1900’s and spread the message to the rest of the family.

What’s weird about that is that I have been an Apostolic believer my entire life–which she knew–but never mentioned that she grew up in it and had uncles who were preachers and pastors, cousins also, and that her father and grandparents were also in the church. As far as I know, my great grandfather died believing that the faith on my side of the family died out with her.

But God, in his sovereignty, brought my mother to the truth in the 80s. I was raised in it, despite the fact that she left the church when I was only nine years old.

~

I was telling a friend about my discovery and amazement that for all these years I thought I was the only person in my biological family that was living for God, and yet I had all of these cousins in the midwest who are pastoring churches, living for God, helping run major ministries, etc. My friend said something that really sat with me: “Wow. Just think that your great great grandfather was praying all those years for his offspring to be saved, and here you are five generations later living for God. He might’ve thought that would never happen.”

God answered his prayer. This man, who I’ve been told by a 70 year old cousin of mine I looked up through these obituaries, was a man of prayer. He helped start church facilities, led people to Christ and was faithful. I can only imagine all the times he got on his knees and asked God to save me–even though I wasn’t even thought of yet. And though my great great granddaddy never saw his prayer answered before his death, God answered it. Not only am I in church, but my sister and mother have also come back to God. I remember thinking, Granddaddy’s prayer came late. But then I realized, no, it didn’t. God is never late. His prayer just came later.

~

This happened with other individuals, too.

Remember Abraham? He was promised a son who would carry on his family line. He was promised to be the father of many nations, to have offspring that outnumbered the stars. Abraham’s prayer came later. He was old when Isaac was born and he never saw the millions upon millions of offspring that would come over the generations. But it happened. God answered His prayer. The answered prayer wasn’t late, though. It was just later.

Remember Joseph? God promised him in a dream that he would rule over his brothers. Imagine his disbelief when he was sent to Egypt and cast into prison. His promise looked impossible, but it came to pass at the perfect time. It wasn’t late; just later. (Could you imagine if it happened earlier? His family–and the bloodline to Jesus–would’ve died out in the famine.)

Remember Moses? Moses never stepped foot in the promised land but God fulfilled His promised to bring His children there. His prayer wasn’t late; it was in God’s perfect timing. It was just later.

Remember Hannah? She was promised a child. Yet every month when her body showed her that she was not pregnant, she probably wondered when her promise would come. He wasn’t born right when Hannah asked for Him, but he was born at exactly the time God wanted him to be so he could fulfill the call on his life. Her prayer wasn’t late; just later.

Remember David? God promised him that the Messiah would come through his bloodline. David never saw the birth of Jesus, but his promise was answered right on time. Not late; just later.

Remember Peter? Jesus told him that he would give him the keys to the kingdom. These weren’t physical keys to heaven; they were the words that needed to be preached to the New Testament church on how to be saved. Do you think Peter questioned if he really had them when he denied Jesus though? He likely thought that he made such a huge mistake that God could never use him again. That his sin ruined the call on his life. But Jesus doesn’t go back on promises. God restored Peter and on the day of Pentecost, Peter stood and preached the message of salvation to the very first Christian church. Peter’s promise came later, even though he had made a mistake.

What about you? Are you still waiting on your promise? Are you wondering why a prayer hasn’t been answered yet? Are you wondering if a mistake you made has caused you to lose out on your promise? Don’t give up. God is faithful. Just as God answered all of these people’s prayers, and just as God answered my great great granddaddy’s prayer, God is faithful to fulfill your needs as well. If you are waiting for your miracle, no matter how impossible it seems, make a commitment to trust God and His timing. Study the people in the Bible whom God made promises to. Study the verses that show God’s faithfulness. Your prayer isn’t late, it’s just coming later.