I know you've received questions dealing with similar issues to this one, but I need some guidance.
My girlfriend and I began dating a few months before the end of our senior year and we are now beginning college. We attend different colleges although they are close enough that we are able to see each other every now and then.
Since the beginning college she has joined an on campus ministry whose teachings are Pentecostal. She had been eagerly seeking a group to join as she did not belong to one during her high school years. She has told me all about her church and she believes that this group was the answer to her prayers. The problem is that many of the teachings such as the continued usage of the miraculous gifts, tithing, possession by demons, instruments, irregular participation in communion, women pastors, etc, are not in accordance with God's plan. She is the type of person who gets caught up in the moment, and I can see how these emotional displays can appeal to her, but I really just want to show her the truth. She means a lot to me and although we are pretty much complete opposites we compliment each other well. What I'm trying to ask is whether or not this relationship is worth pursuing?
I pray every day that God's hand guide our relationship and do what is best for us. I have studied with her and read I Corinthians chapters 12-14 straight through to show her that the time of these gifts is up. At first she completely agreed with me and said that it made her question her group and faith to the point where she felt God wasn't with her. After talking with her pastors who told her to "interpret it as she sees" or something to that extent, she said that I Corinthians 13:9 "For we know and part and we prophesy in part" refers to not the end of the apostolic age, rather the "perfection" that comes in verse 10 is love. Her explanation made absolutely no sense to me.
She is open minded and I believe she is seeking the truth but I sometimes feel like our differences in God's Word are massive. I plan on showing her your site and some of the answers to your questions. She believes that certain denominations are saved (basically the ones she deems aren't too crazy i.e. Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Church of Christ) but I come from a Church of Christ and when I see those denominations all I see are man trying to build on the word of God. This is just so difficult on me because I am her first boyfriend and she is my first girlfriend, but I feel the challenges that lie ahead are so great. To what extent do we need to work through those challenges?
She has told me story after story about supposed miracles that she experienced and heard, whether they are about how she felt when someone spoke in tongues to her or how some guest pastor she had never met before gave her confirmation on her re-baptism. The stories mean nothing to me anymore because I have read verses about the deceitful signs of the false prophets, and I understand we both believe in God and Jesus, but honestly sometimes it feels like we are of completely different religions.
When I visit should I attend her church with her? During the service I honestly cannot even worship the Lord. All I do is look around the room at the emotionalism going on as people wave their hands and dance. I feel very uncomfortable, and I am not even able to partake in the Lord's Supper.
I'd prefer to work through this with her rather than end it her because she is definitely worth it, but I don't know when enough is enough. I know it definitely will not be easy because it is going to require her being uprooted from this close-knit group she has formed.
After she told me about some of the conversations she had been having about relationships with some of the members of her group both her and I were shocked. She told me of a girl in her group who makes an effort to attend church every week with her boyfriend yet continually has sex with him because she says "it felt right." My girlfriend and I were astonished because this girl never feels any remorse or anything. I know all Christians fall short of the glory of God and fall into temptation, but there is a day and night difference between the members of our congregations' lifestyles as that story was one of many.
I'm sorry for rambling on but I'm just unsure what to do. Having these conversations with her aren't easy and usually don't end well. That is in part my fault I believe because I don't think I always do the best job of presenting God's word in a manner that isn't "You're wrong I'm right." I'm looking for a cohesive thought to bring all these little pieces and parts together. Thank you very much for your time and I would greatly appreciate a response, even if it is not on your site. Thank you for the topical information it has been very helpful to me especially on some of the "hard stuff" that is uncomfortable to talk about in churches today.
"Open minded" can refer to someone who is willing to believe anything. "The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness" (Proverbs 15:14). I'm willing to listen to what another says, but I listen with an open Bible, not a open mind. In other words, I don't accept everything I'm told; I put it to the test. "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (I John 4:1).
You are of two different religions. She follows a religion that tells her whatever she feels good about is right. You understand that feelings are deceptive. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26). The example of the girl living in fornication because it felt right is a vivid example. God said, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). There is no tolerance for sin here. Nor does God allow tolerance for sin in a church. "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner -- not even to eat with such a person" (I Corinthians 5:9-11).
The fact that the group your girlfriend attends tolerates sin tells us a lot about them -- things that are not pleasant. "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them" (Matthew 7:16-20). The fruit of this group is sin continuing in their midst without rebuke. "Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (I Corinthians 5:6-7).
When you attend services with her, you can't participate because you know what is being done is not in accordance with what God authorized. The reason you go there is not to please God, but to please your girlfriend. "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10). The problem is that you are trying to compromise. Encourage her to live righteously in accordance to God's teachings, but you cannot leave the truth to get her to come to the truth.
Because they are not obeying God in their service or in their personal lives, there is only one future for them. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23). Just because they claim to do good, it doesn't make it good. "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness" (Proverbs 15:2).
The best way to teach someone, is to let God do the talking. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11). So when someone says they can have sex with a man and call it right because it feels right to them, ask them to read I Corinthians 6:9-10 and then ask, "Do you think God agrees with you?" That will make the strongest possible argument.
"And the LORD said to me, "The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the prophets who prophesy in My name, whom I did not send, and who say, 'Sword and famine shall not be in this land' - 'By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed!"" (Jeremiah 14:14-15).
"I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in My name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!' How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who try to make My people forget My name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My name for Baal. The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?" says the LORD. "Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore behold, I am against the prophets," says the LORD, "who steal My words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets," says the LORD, "who use their tongues and say, 'He says.' Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams," says the LORD, "and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all," says the LORD" (Jeremiah 23:25-32).
Religion isn't a feeling. It is understanding. "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17). You can't make your girlfriend love the truth, either she does or she doesn't. If she has so little love for truth that she is willing to accept blatant lies, she would not make you a good wife. It won't be your desire or choice, but you can't sacrifice obeying God just to hold on to this relationship. "But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace" (I Corinthians 7:15).