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Posted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:44 pm
Alright... My wife and I are currently attending one church, but there are some doctrinal issues that we are concerned with that are taught. So, we are looking for another church to attend as well to balance our beliefs out a little. We attend one church a couple of weeks ago that we liked. They are a little on the "free spirit" side of the spectrum. I engaged in a conversation with a long time attendee asking about how the gifts are exercised. I didnt have much trouble with what she said until I thought to ask if "Holy Laughter" and Dog barking had ever been a part of the service. She said it had occured to a small degree. She and her husband didnt feel to participate. I told her I would be really hesitant attending a church that took part in that sort of thing and she understood but she said that at one such meeting one of the pastors mouth(fillings in the teeth) turned gold. I talked with my sister in law about this church and she told me that thats why they stopped going to a church in another city was because peoples teeth were turning gold in a charismatic setting. Her(sister in law) Parents are Catholic and she said that her mothers rosary beads turned (and are still) to gold. Anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? It disturbs me a little bit. Though I cant think of anything in the bible that speaks against it, its not listed in the "signs of the followers"
Re: Gold Teeth
Posted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 6:06 pm
I find it difficult to believe that God is doing these alleged gold miracles. It is, of course, possible for God to do anything He wishes, and I believe that He does perform certain miracles of other sorts. Turning non-gold objects into gold, however, is not the sort of miracles that are associated with Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. I don't mean simply that this particular miracle is not found in the New Testament, but I do not believe that any miracle in the New Testament, in principle, stands in the same category as these acts of supernatural alchemy.
The miracles done by Jesus and the apostles were of two types: 1) those that brought practical help for someone with a legitimate need (e.g., healing disease; feeding the hungry; restoring the dead; etc.), and 2) miracles of judgment (e.g. Jesus cursing the fig tree; Paul striking Elymas blind; etc.). It is clear that some (or all) miracles of God also serve to illustrate symbolically a spiritual truth (e.g., Jesus restored the paralytic to demonstrate that He has the authority on earth to forgive sins; he healed the blind to show that He is the light of the world; He fed the multitudes to show that He is the bread of life; He made water into wine to show that He is the True Vine; etc.)—but all such miracles also accomplished a practical purpose, so that, on another level, they demonstrated something else about God—namely, that He cares about people's needs.
Turning rosary beads or tooth-fillings from one substance into another does not serve any practical purpose, but is more of the order of either stage magic or genuine sorcery. It's purpose is to dazzle, but it serves no practical purpose. Thus it does not exhibit the fundamental character of a miracle from God.
The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, has made claims throughout history of experiencing such meaningless miracles (such as images lighting their own candles, the appearance of the stigmata, etc.). There are reasonable explanations of such claims that do not involve the conclusion that God is in these cases working miracles. Among the alternative possibilities are the following:
1) The claims are false;
2) There has been a clever trick performed;
3) There is a satanic power at work—remember that the Bible speaks of "power, signs and lying wonders" brought about "according to the working of Satan" (2 Thess.2:9).
The latter are said to be sent against those "who did not receive the love of the truth" (2 Thess.2:10). I am convinced that God sees people as belonging to one of two broad categories—1) those who love the truth most of all (whether they are inside or outside organized Christianity), and 2) those that love something more than the truth (whether they are inside or outside organized Christianity). God is on the side of the former, but sends "strong delusion" upon the latter (2 Thess.2:11).
What would someone love more than the truth? Almost anything—a relationship, money or some material possession, popularity, position, opportunity for advancement, recognition and acceptance by some desired peer group, etc.
It seems that there are two kinds of charismatic Christians, corresponding to these two broad categories. On the one hand, there are those who love and are seeking new and exciting experiences. They easily become bored of the status quo in religion (and in life, in general). They have short spiritual attention spans. They may care somewhat about the truth, but when it comes to chasing the next charismatic fad that promises a new shot of spiritual excitement, they do not seem too particular about testing it against the truth, to see whether or not it is of God. They assume that it is God, and try to catch the wave of His current activity, so as to remain on the cutting edge of the move of the Spirit. Any Bible-based criticism of the phenomena that happens to capture their interest at the moment is simply viewed as modern-day pharisaism resisting the work of the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, you have those who are devoted to the truth first. They would welcome, it may be, a series of spiritual experiences, but they only want the real thing, and are content to remain faithful to the truth that others find so boring, and to pass up fads that do not have God's genuine fingerprints upon them. The barking, laughing and gold-dust phenomena strike me as being this kind of fad. Since I am the second kind of charismatic, I have not taken an interest in them.
Re: Gold Teeth
Posted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:21 pm
Well I guess the search for fellowship continues. The hazard at this point is trying to decide which doctrinal areas to compromise for the sake of just getting together with people. I worry too with the way the whole country is headed I think it is important to plug in somewhere with like-minded people. Anyway... I appreciate your response.
Re: Gold Teeth
Posted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 5:26 pm
I posted your take on the "Gold Teeth" occurences on my facebook page (an attributed you as the author). There are a few people that I am friends with on facebook that are familiar with this phenomenon, and so I linked their names to my page so they would read it. A former college pastor at my church back in Louisville commented on my page. I will put what he wrote here, and hope you can then tell me your thoughts on it.
- The gold fillings that were supposed occurrences in South and Central America were actually a healing of the teeth. People with bad cavities and rotten teeth were miraculously having them filled and healed. Gold was not the only item that people found in their teeth, there was another substance, and I am not sure if anyone really sure what it was.
As for other "manifestations," of the Holy Spirit, if they happen let them happen.
I do believe that there is a lot of flakiness going around in the church and many people truly do not have a biblical foundation and therefore can be lead astray, never produce in fruit, etc, by just paying attention to the sensory (eyes, ears, nose, touch, sight) of the manifestations of the spirit.
It is great that you are asking hard questions, this means that you are taking time to research and work things through.
We should all be careful to criticize those who do the Lords work (if they are really doing it).
Mark 9: 37-401
37 "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." 38 "Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us." 39 "Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us. "