Questions & Answers Page 4

Questions and Answers from the 2018 conference.

  • "Is it okay to be friends with people who have opposing beliefs or lifestyles than we do?"

    There are various levels of friendship:

    - Acquaintance- someone we know about through someone else or, maybe we have met them but we have only occasional contact with them.

    - Casual friends- those with whom we share some common interests in life, such as work, or school, or as neighbors, etc. We did not choose to work with them or go to school with them or live near them, it just turned out that way and we know them in a casual manner.

    - Close friends- these are people that we CHOOSE to be close to. Sometimes what we call "chemistry" is involved.

    Who can fully explain why we feel drawn to certain people and repelled by others?

    In regard to friendship, there are two conflicting theories out there:
    1) opposites attract; and 2) birds of a feather flock together.

    I have found that when it comes to close friendships, birds of a feather do flock together. Mutual spirits most often attract, while opposite spirits repel.

    However, in the physical realm of friendship, opposite traits do often attract. A very shy guy may be attracted to a very outgoing girl; an introverted girl may be entranced by a guy who is the "Life of the Party." Still, at the bottom line, when it comes to Close Friends, we Choose them; they are not forced on us.

    Before moving on to the specific answer to the question, let me mention the final stage of friendship,

    - Intimate friends-
    Some do not understand the proper use of the word intimate in relation to friendship, but it is proper and not perverted. It denotes a closeness of soul and spirit. It is illustrated by the friendship of Jonathan and David.

    The Bible says that the "soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul." There was nothing perverted about it; it was Not a homosexual relationship! It was a friendship that caused them to risk their lives for each other. Jesus said that we are to love others as we love our own self.

    The close friend and the intimate friend is a friend whom you can share your heart with and know that it will not be broadcast to the entire world. It’s friendship that is honest; that gives correction when its needed; that loves in spite of faults and helps at all costs. It is this love that eventually draws a man and a woman together for a marriage relationship.

    NOW- clearly we should be Friendly in our dealings with others. We should be nice to our acquaintances; we should be civil and kind to our casual friends at work and at school and in our neighborhood. BUT we should not Choose just any one to become a Close friend or an Intimate friend.

    1 Cor. 15:33 states that "evil communications corrupt good manners." The word "communications" here, means "associations." Paul said that evil associations will corrupt good manners; sinful friends will corrupt the pure.

    Psalm 1 gives a vivid picture of how evil associations often progress: 

    -blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly; 

    notice the man is described as walking. 

    -nor standeth in the way of sinners; 

    now he is not moving by them, he is standing with them.

    -nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful; 

    now he is sitting with them in full fellowship with their scorning.
    Be careful in your Choosing of close friends. 

    Pro. 22:24,25 warns us not to make friendships with an angry or furious man, "LEST THOU LEARN HIS WAYS and get a snare to thy soul."

    If you put one rotten apple in a bushel of good apples, what happens?

    The 99 % of good apples do not make the rotten one good; the 1% of bad apples will start making the good apples rotten; starting with the ones that are closest!

    If you and I associate with those who are unsaved, with those who do not love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind and strength, we are placing ourselves in a very dangerous place. Their spirit is different than ours; they think differently than Christians do; they are controlled by different emotions than the Christian is; they participate in activities and lifestyles that are not only different from ours, but that are Contrary to the very Word of God.

    Do not ignore or be snooty to co-workers or fellow students, but don’t feel pressured to make them close friends. 

    You should not go where they go; talk like they talk; dress like they dress; participate in the all the activities they are involved in. Peer pressure is REAL! And it usually, (not always) but usually, serves a negative purpose rather than a positive one. 

    Paul said in 2 Cor. 6:14-16 that we are Not to be Unequally Yoked together with unbelievers.

    This certainly applies to dating, courting and marriage, BUT it also applies to close friendships. Be not "tied together with unbelievers;" be not "closely aligned with unbelievers."

    Eph 5:11 - And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

    We cannot choose our acquaintances; we cannot choose our casual friends; but We Do Choose our Close and Intimate friends.

    Choose Wisely!

    We are not called to Isolation, where we become spiritual hermits, hiding out from anyone and everyone that is not a Christian just like we are; but we are called to Separation, where we keep ourselves from sinful and worldly influences that would damage our spiritual life.

    Don’t yoke your life in close friendship with those who are not Christians.

    Don’t yoke your life in close friendship with those who do not share your

    fundamental beliefs. 

    If they do not believe and live a lifestyle of purity and holiness, do not allow them to have influence in your life. 

    If they do not believe in the Trinity of God or in the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, do not allow them to exert influence in your life.

    If you do, they will take you away from what you believe; from what you know, deep down in your heart, is really true.

    Let me quickly mention that social media has increased the dangers in this matter.

    There are those that connect with you through social media that at one time believed like you and lived a lifestyle like you, but they have compromised. They will often use their connection with you to pressure you about what you still believe and how you live. They will try to convince you that your beliefs are not necessary and that your lifestyle is not necessary either. 

    Don’t allow such pressure to change your mind and heart, and don’t allow such "friends" to cause you to compromise what you know to be true.

    John Wesley, as a young man, made this resolution:

    "I will choose for friends only those who will help me on the road to heaven."

    I think that is a good plan to follow.

    -Bro. Dwain Galiher

  • "In light of the fact that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, how do you teach the need for an outward standard without teaching salvation by works?"

    To begin, salvation itself is not the result of works. Salvation was not earned, nor was it deserved. Rather, it was imparted. For this reason, we do not teach that you start practicing outside standards until you are saved for the simple fact that you cannot work your way to salvation. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9, which states, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (KJV) Standards come after salvation, not before. Standards mean absolutely nothing unless you have received salvation.

    When we are discussing Biblically appointed standards, we must look at them as fruits of the regenerated man. We live right because we are a new creature and resemble the One who saved us. Remember 2 Corinthians 5:17, which states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (KJV) The actions or the works are a result of what has taken place on the inside and it is a product of regeneration, which is a sovereign act of God. In fact, John 3:6 and Titus 3:5 demonstrate the fact that the convert’s regeneration is a product of the Holy Ghost.

    All of this being said, regeneration does not make null and void mankind’s free will. Meaning, you still reserve the right and ability to make choices, whether good or bad. By regeneration, you now have clean desires and a holy objective, but you still have to “walk in the light, as he is in the light.” (1 John 1:7, KJV) For this reason, outward standards are not a means of receiving salvation but a means of keeping one walking in the ways of Holiness. I think many have blurred the lines between “Holiness” and “Standard,” because they are actually two very different things. Holiness is righteous living. Standards are guidelines put into place, whether by the preaching of God’s inspired Word, or by personal conviction, that keep us walking in the ways of Holiness. Put simply, outward standards are not for the purpose of earning salvation, but rather, standards help us keep our salvation. I have often heard it quoted, “Standards will not get you to Heaven, but you will not get there without them.” (Anonymous)

    As Christians, the pressure of compromise can be felt stronger today than ever before. Tolerance and acceptance has become the new moral standards of our day. We are pressed to compromise our purity, our modesty, and our convictions. Because of this, it has become necessary for God to set boundaries to keep us from drifting. Biblical standards serve the same

    purpose. I liken them to fences that sometimes serve to keep us from wondering off and also to fend off outside influences that could keep us from living righteously in the eyes of God.

    -Bro. Terry Garner

  • "There is a lot of controversy concerning social media. It seems to be that some are picking and choosing what is acceptable and what isn’t. As a young person who is trying to live a godly life, my question would be why some preach against Facebook and Snapchat, but accept the likes of Instagram and Marco Polo... why are certain forms of social media accepted while others are rejected?"

    First, I would like to commend you for desiring to live a godly life. In regards to any type of social media, they should be examined on their merit or the lack thereof on an individual basis.

    Most forms of social media are as good or bad based on the actions and motives of the individual using it. When you use any type of media to go against the principles of morality that are outlined in God’s word

    then it is wrong.

    To answer your question some preachers may preach against a certain type of media because of personal experience. Maybe there has been a gossip thread started on facebook that has torn apart a family or a church and it has caused trouble in God’s kingdom. I have seen that on a number of occasions myself.

    There is a herd mentality and a boldness that comes from a keyboard that people do not have in person that can add to the destruction of churches and the character of an individual.

    If a preacher has recently been effected by a certain type of social media, then it can cause him to preach against that particular form of social media.

    Facebook can be used to encourage people and share things that are family oriented and uplifting. I personally enjoyed all of the family pictures that were shared on Resurrection Sunday.

    Some people chronicle their entire existence on social media and they derive their worth from how many likes, shares, and comments that they get.

    They cannot even sit down for a meal at a restaurant and have a conversation with those at the table

    because people have to take pictures of their food and update all of their social media accounts.

    Marco Polo, of course is a video sharing app that can be used for good or bad.

    Snapchat- can be harmless fun using the filters and making funny pictures etc. but it can lead to promiscuous behavior because of the lack of accountability that it provides through the fact that the snap disappears or supposedly disappears in a certain amount of time.

    I am not a fan of snapchat because of the lack of accountability and the fact that I have never snapped anything except my fingers and some green beans when I was a kid.

    Young people need to follow some guidelines when using social media. First, you should always be accountable to your parents. They should have access to your account. If your parents or Pastors ask you not to be involved in social media because of your age or any other reason, you should immediately comply with them and God will honor your obedience.

    It may be a sacrifice, but probably not as much as Isaac willingly laying himself on the sacrificial altar for his father.

    Never secretly have conversations with people that you do not know. With all of the location sharing apps that there are today, it is dangerous to have conversations with people that you do not know especially if the conversation becomes uncomfortable.

    Put time constraints on your use. Time usage as well as time of day. I have learned through dealing with a lot of young people that not very much wholesome conversation goes on after midnight.

    Try not to just use social media as your sole method of communication. There is more depth and meaning in an actual conversation. It also will help your social skills as you transition into adulthood.

    Back to your original question. Sometimes preachers preach on things to prevent bad things from happening, so it can cause misunderstandings. As preachers we should try to give clear reasons why we are cautioning someone and as church members we should seek to understand why a preacher is giving a warning about something that might not be an out right sin but it is leading them into a bad situation.

    As to why preachers preach against certain types of social media and not others, it could be a recent problem with a specific type of social media, it could be new and if it is new it must be preached against, it could be the only type of social media that they have informed themselves on, or they simply may not like a certain type of Social media and it is always easy to preach against something that you do not like.

    Preachers should do their best give clear reasons for the things that they preach and listeners need to realize that most preachers are doing their best to watch for your souls in a technological age that is moving so fast that it is almost humanly impossible to keep up with everything that can be detrimental to our walk with God.

    Sounds to me like God has us right where He wants us. That is, to examine ourselves daily before Him in prayer, and asking Him to sanctify our lives so that we can be in a right relationship with Him and help others along the way.

    Pray for wisdom, stay full of the Holy Ghost, honor your Parents and your Pastors, and live according to the principles of God’s word. These things will keep your experience with God up to date and will assure your heart before Him until we hear God say, “well done thou good and faithful servant.”

    -Bro. Mike Shelton

  • “My cousin has told me that she has been the victim of youth group bullying. She attends a holiness church where the other girls in the youth group have bullied her about her physical appearance. She is not anorexic but is naturally thin and there’s nothing she can do about her size. I am just wondering, how are we supposed to deal with church youth group bullying?”

    Good question!

    Bullying is a serious problem today, especially with all the new ways people have of communicating.

    Everyone who has suffered from bullying to some degree, so, you’re not alone.

    Bullying is an intentional behavior that hurts, harms, or humiliates a person, either physically or emotionally. (Pacer)

    Generally, children who are bullied have one or more of the following risk factors:

    • Are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool”.

    • Are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves

    • Are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem

    • Are less popular than others and have few friends

    • Do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention (

    But, your question has a twist because the person you are describing “attends a holiness church where the other girls in the youth group have bullied her...

    I became a Christian at 16.

    For the next two years, I attended public vocational school for half a day as well as home school.

    During those two years of public schooling, I certainly did experience incidents of bullying.

    I even had a teacher bully me because of my faith.

    But, I was blessed with a good youth group where I was not subject to bullying…I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but it didn’t happen to me there.

    So, for me, the youth group at church was a refuge.

    I find it very sad that someone would be bullied in that kind of setting where they should feel safe.

    We shouldn’t expect the world to accommodate us as believers; they’re going to persecute us, ridicule us, and yes, bully us at times.

    But, the church should be a refuge from that kind of thing. (1 Thes. 5:11; 1 Pet. 3:8-9)

    Your specific question is “how are we supposed to deal with church youth group bullying?”

    First, I would say that we should all work to facilitate an atmosphere which doesn’t tolerate bullying.

    In every youth group there will be leaders, followers and some who are just there.

    If you’re a leader, one of your areas of responsibility is making sure the weaker kids are not being subjected to bullying.

    One of the main reasons bullying goes on is because those who witness it often refuse to step in and do something.

    In a very real sense, seeing someone getting bullied is like seeing someone getting beat up.

    How can we say we love someone and stand by while they get bashed and beaten?

    So, step in and stop it.

    Remember, a bully is a coward; they only pick on those they perceive as weak.

    When someone strong steps in, a bully will usually back down.

    Just make sure you don’t “bully the bully.”

    The goal for the youth group is to be a place where every young person is treated with kindness, compassion, and respect. (Rom. 14:16-19)

    -Bro. Jonathon Isaacs