Questions and Answers from the 2018 conference.
Questions and Answers from the 2018 conference.
To begin, I will not even assume that I know all there is to know about everything that takes place after we die. Furthermore, we can hardly compare what took place before the Resurrection of Jesus Christ with what took place after. Meaning, death before Jesus was Resurrected was entirely different. The Old Testament saints could only go as far as the blood would take them. We, on the other, live and die on this side of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Perhaps this is why we read David saying in Psalm 16:10, “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (KJV) .
Many Bible scholars consider “Abraham’s Bosom” to be a reference to Paradise. This is not to say that Paradise was a type of “Purgatory” or even a “Soul Sleep”, as many have called it, but rather, a pre-resurrection Heaven, if you will. Or, some have even argued that the pre-resurrection Saints actually stayed in the grave until Jesus came, because the Hebrew word for
“hell”, as it is found in Psalm 16:10, is “she'ôl”, which is also used to reference the grave. So even though “Abraham’s Bosom” is somewhat of a mystery, keep in mind that it is only mentioned one time in the entire Bible, and it is pre-resurrection.
Now, to answer the main part of your question about where we, as saints of God go when we die, we have to consider a couple of things. First, I think it is important to understand that Heaven, as it is now, will be drastically different after the Judgment. Most of our conceptions about Heaven are drawn from the New Jerusalem that John the Revelator saw coming down in Revelation 21, which contains the streets of gold, gates of pearl, and walls of jasper that we so often mention as our loved ones depart. John also says that he saw a new heaven and new earth, in verse 1, so it is completely reasonable to assume that heaven will be different than it is now.
Secondly, we have to consider who the Bible says is there. To begin, in Matthew 6:9, Jesus says that our Heavenly Father is in Heaven, when He says, “Our Farther, which art in Heaven.” (KJV) Secondly, we also know that Jesus is in Heaven. For example, Paul says in Romans 8:34, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (KJV)
Finally, we have to consider what the early Christians thought would happen to them when they died, and know that we can expect the same thing. For example, consider Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, which states, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (KJV) As, we have already stated, Jesus is in the presence of our Father, which is in Heaven. Paul had no doubts about the place he would go when he departed this life and I think it is only reasonable for us to see it the same way he did. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1, KJV) So, to answer the last part of your question, I believe just as Paul did, when we die, our souls will depart to be with the Lord, and that my friend, is Heaven.
-Bro. Terry Garner
First of all, that’s a very good question. As believers, our primary objective should be to please Christ in all we do; and I think Paul makes it very clear, especially in Romans 6, that you can either serve sin or serve Christ, but you cannot serve sin while serving Christ; or vice versa.
Now, I would like to say a couple things about the word “mistake” in reference to sin. I’ve used it myself, I’m sure most of us have.
But I would like to see your generation champion the cause to steer the church away from using the word mistake in a sin context.
The term “mistake” refers to “an error in judgment, or something done unintentionally.”
A mistake might be speeding because you didn’t see the sign indicating a speed-limit change or being late on a homework assignment because you misread the due date.
Those are mistakes because you didn’t intend to do the wrong thing.
They may happen because we get distracted or careless, but it was not our intention.
A sin is more than a mistake.
Sin is a deliberate choice to do something you know is wrong.
The words “transgression” and “trespass” are even stronger; they imply a deliberate act of stepping over a boundary. (1 Joh. 3:4).
Unlike a mistake, sin is a choice to disobey God.
Probably since at least the 60’s, the word “mistake” has made its way into the church’s vernacular when we talk about sin right up there beside transgression and trespass.
And again, I would love to see your generation champion the cause of abolishing the practice of using it to refer to sin.
1 st . Satan will use our mistakes as opportunities to bring us under condemnation.
In Revelation, Satan is called “the accuser of our brethren.”
He will accuse you of intentional sin, even if the act was a genuine mistake.
If you’re travelling down the interstate, or the internet for that matter, you see a billboard sign advertising something evil, you didn’t sin by seeing that advertisement, so long as you don’t punch the address into you GPS or search bar and go there.
Now, you may be tempted to by what you’ve seen; you may even feel the pull of your flesh to go that direction, but you’ve not sinned if you don’t go there.
But the devil will tell you that you’ve sinned just because you’ve been tempted.
And if you allow it, he’ll have you under a dark cloud of condemnation and you’ll begin to pull back from God.
2nd. There's a huge difference between how God judges a sin and how He responds to a mistake.
If I make a mistake, I don't really have to ask for forgiveness, right? If I accidentally bump into you in the hall, I can just say, “I'm sorry,” and we just move on. But, if I deliberately sin against you, that's a completely different action, with different consequences.
One writer said:
If everything I do wrong can be dumbed down to where it's just a mistake, that makes me a ‘mistaker,’ which means I don't have sin. If I don't have sin, I'm not a sinner. If I'm not a sinner, I don't have any need for a Savior.
If you're just a mistaker, then all you have to do is do better. Mistakers just have to try harder. Mistakers just have to break a nasty habit. Mistakers just have to be more consistent. Mistakers just have to try harder next time. But if I'm a sinner, that seems to be more fundamental to who I am. If I'm a sinner, then simply trying harder isn't going to get it done, because I probably owe somebody something. I probably deserve something I don't even really want to know that much about. If I'm a sinner, trying harder isn't going to help me. If I'm a sinner, I need a Savior. (Stanley)
So, you see the difference, right?
Christ did not die on the cross because you made a few mistakes; He died to offer Himself as the eternal sacrifice for your sins!
(1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 Joh. 2:2)
“The first step towards holy living is to recognize the true nature and wickedness of sin.” (Stott)
Alright? I realize we’ve taken the long way around to answer your question, but the only way to arrive at the right answer is to make sure we’re on the right path.
“So, where is the line between a sin, we’ll call it an “initial sin,” and backsliding?”
Two important verses come mind:
1 John 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous...”
Hebrews 12:7 “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”
I think Charles G. Finney gives good insight on these verses:
“…when the gospel justifies a sinner…the sinner is brought out from under the covenant of works and placed under the covenant of grace. He no longer retains God’s favor by the tenure of absolute and sinless obedience. If he sins, now, he is not thrust back again under the law, but receives the benefit of the new covenant. If he is justified by faith; and so made a child of God, he receives the treatment of a child, and is corrected, and chastised, and humbled, and brought back again.
O, how often has the child of God, melted in adoring wonder at the goodness of God, in using means to bring him back, instead of sending him to hell, as he deserved! (Finney)
I don’t think Finney is saying that backsliding is impossible; he’s simply saying that God loves his children enough to chasten us when we do wrong.
I believe there is a process to backsliding:
A person is tempted to sin; they yield themselves to sin; God deals with them through conviction then chastisement to put away their sin; if the erring believer persists in sin, rejecting God’s merciful chastening, they are making a deliberate choice to depart from their relationship with God.
(1 Joh. 3:5-10)
So, Backsliding happens when we resist God’s chastisements.
He uses His Word, His Spirit, and even other believers to get our attention and lead us to repentance. (Rom. 2:4-11)
We backslide when we refuse to allow God to turn us.
Now, as far as saying how long is the longsuffering of God towards a wayward child… That’s not for me, or any other minister to say.
I think if we can see sin in all its horrible offensiveness to God, we will stay as far away as possible, and if we do sin, we will run to God for cleansing.
One of the indicators of true salvation is how seriously you take sin. If sin is no big deal to you, your heart is likely devoid of God’s grace.
(Titus 2:11-13; 2 Cor. 13:5)
Perhaps the most important truth concerning backsliding is that backsliding is by no means a normal part of the Christian experience.
In Christ, God has made every provision necessary for a life of on-going obedience.
If you’ve sinned, don’t run from Christ, run to Christ! (1 Joh. 1:6-10)
-Bro. Jonathon Isaacs
Most of you are too young to really know about the formation of the present denominations and why our forefathers in the holiness Pentecostal movement stayed away from such organization.
Pretty well ALL of the first Pentecostals were in some kind of denomination before they experienced the baptism of the Holy Ghost. My grandfather was a deacon in a Baptist church and my grandmother was a member of the Congregationalists. After some time, when a number of people had experienced the baptism of the Holy Ghost, they began their own churches and a few Pentecostal organizations were started. Some of our forefathers never became part of those organizations because they had experienced the negative aspects of denominations previously. Some of our forefathers were saved in and part of a Pentecostal organization for a number of years. Many of them became disenchanted with the organizations for mostly two reasons:
1) Men gradually exercised too much control over the ministry and the churches.
2) The leadership gradually began to compromise their doctrine, especially in regard to a lifestyle of holiness.
Our founders felt that we needed to hold more closely to the pattern established in the New Testament, where once a church was established, it operated as an independent congregation.
It’s true that in the earliest days of the church, apostles like Peter, John and Paul had recognized authority among the churches, because they were the founders and were called by God to a special position. However, churches were established with their own elders or deacons and their own pastor.
We have followed that pattern so that our churches operate as independent
congregations. We have developed a system of organization called "Fellowship" instead of denomination. Our churches have area groups of churches that share basic common doctrines and standards, and we "fellowship" with one another.
Many of our areas have camp meetings, where the churches in our fellowship work together and have a regional meeting for the edifying of the whole group of churches and pastors.
Our system of fellowship avoids any centralized control over our churches. Each church decides who its trustees, deacons, or elders will be; each church decides who its pastor will be; no one dictates to us in these matters of leadership.
Some who clamor for stronger organization protest that it would deal more effectively with churches or ministers who err from the truth or fail morally. Our system of fellowship does create accountability among our churches and ministers. While we do not exert final authority over a minister or a church, if a minister or a church departs from the basic common doctrines and standards that are distinctive to us, we withdraw our fellowship from them so that they must either correct their errors, or no longer be a part of what we do.
When a minister has erred, we expect that, if he is serious about recovering, he will humble himself, repent publicly, and place himself back in his local church and under the authority of his pastor. If and when the time comes that the Pastor is assured the minister has truly proven himself, he is able to use him and vouch for him to others. Of course, others are not forced to take the pastor’s recommendation, but most will because they recognize the pastor’s ability and authority in such matters.
At the bottom line, we refuse to fully organize, because we see the dangers of organization and want to avoid them. We also see some of the dangers of Not being organized and strive to deal with them as well, without taking local control away from our churches and ministers.
-Bro. Dwain Galiher
I think the first thing one has to do is to define worldly influences.
The world is a system that is opposed to God and going in the opposite direction of God. It is a system of things that seeks to turn us from God. We might speak of a world of sports, finance, and politics and here the world of education. We are not referring to a planet, but certain attitudes, activities, and purposes.
I would like to say that I have been involved in Christian Education for about 30 years either as a teacher or student and all of my 4 children attended a Christian school or were home schooled.
1. There could be a lack of finances. Sometimes it is very expensive to pay public school taxes, and then on top of that to pay for private education. There should be an understanding on behalf of the children if there is simply not enough money in the family budget to cover the cost of private school.
At this point, in America, parents do not have a choice of whether or not they are going to pay for public or private education.
I would recommend an honest conversation on finances and the priorities of the family budget.
2. There could be a lack of understanding of the difficulty that is faced today in public school system as it was in their day. Some parents feel like, “Hey it was good enough for me, it is good enough for them.” possibly in their day the schools were not as bad as they are now.
As a child or young adult you should always feel comfortable telling your parents the difficulties that you are facing in a public school setting, and as a parent we should always be willing to listen and act in the best interest of the child.
I would like to stop here long enough to say that all public schools are not run by God hating Administrators on a crusade to destroy biblical values. We have some fine holiness people that feel like that they are called to make a difference in the public school system.
3. There could be a lack of educational options. There may not be a good Christian School that is close enough for you to attend. Sometimes parents do not feel qualified to give their children the quality education that they deserve.
On behalf of the parents, I would advise them look at the various home school options that are available as well as satellite schools that can assist in Christian education. In my opinion, it is not as much as what is being taught in public school as what is not being taught.
I would also like to challenge the Christian school administrators to be sure that your school is first Christian. Make sure that you and the people that assist you are strong Christians and make sure that your school is dedicated to Academic excellence as much as possible.
We should never settle for a second rate education and say “well at least they did not have to go to public school.”
Churches are going to have to see the need and get behind the education of their young people. When we are as concerned about the proper Christian education of our young people as we are the parking lot then we will put our finances toward hiring good solid bible believing Christians to assist the parents in the biblical training of their children.
I would like to say to young people, if you have to go to public school, then take a stand and be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t be afraid to suffer for the Lord and stand for the principles of His word. He stood for us and He will help us stand for Him. Get full of the Holy Ghost and arm yourself with the knowledge of God’s word. You are going to face the strong winds of adversity in this life and if you learn to yield to the Holy Ghost when you are young, it can be a strength that will carry you through in the
tough times that are ahead for the child of God.
Who knows the effect that you might have on someone’s life.
-Bro. Mike Shelton