Series Code: RQRA
Program Code: RQRA000019A
00:01 I don't understand.
00:04 Why did this have to happen to me?
00:08 I feel like I just can't make sense of things.
00:12 I need answers.
00:15 Where is God?
00:21 Hello and welcome to Raw Questions Relevant Answers.
00:25 This is a program designed to answer your questions
00:27 whether it be about life, about God, about church,
00:30 any of these things, we want to hear from you.
00:33 And we're going to do that today.
00:35 We have questions that have been sent
00:36 in via Facebook,
00:37 and specifically today,
00:39 we're looking at the topic of Rules and Regulations.
00:42 My name is Michelle Doucoumes.
00:44 I'm a college professor,
00:45 so I hear a lot about rules and regulations
00:47 and what people like and don't like.
00:50 And I'd like you to meet my co-host.
00:52 This is Dee Casper,
00:53 who is a brand evangelist for ARTV.
00:57 And we also have Mark Paden, who is a freelance filmmaker.
01:02 And so, guys, we're going to dive
01:03 right into this big question right now,
01:06 and I want to ask you a question.
01:09 Why is it...
01:10 When we talk about rules and regulations in the church,
01:13 "Why doesn't the church teach us the reasoning
01:15 behind the rules that we currently have?"
01:18 This is sent in from a man, age 21, in Tennessee.
01:22 You want to start with this one?
01:25 Yeah, I think there's a couple different ways
01:27 that we can look at this question.
01:30 I think the first thing is that oftentimes,
01:32 we don't, as a church,
01:33 don't always know the reasons for the rules that we have.
01:37 You know, God wants us to have a rational faith,
01:40 a faith in which we understand the principles
01:44 behind what He gives us.
01:46 But I think, the other thing too,
01:48 that I would say to this question is,
01:50 regardless of the church's involvement in their exposition
01:54 of the reason for the rules,
01:56 we need to know them.
01:58 As individual Christians,
01:59 we are going to be held individually
02:01 accountable to God.
02:02 And at the end of time, we can't say,
02:04 "Oh, but the church didn't teach me
02:06 the reasons for these rules."
02:07 You know, we have to go to God ourselves,
02:09 and ask him, "Lord, what is my duty?
02:12 What do You want me to do?"
02:13 And earnestly seek His Word to find those answers on that.
02:16 I would say that,
02:18 like when we use the word the church, in a general sense,
02:20 the people who are enforcing or teaching those things now
02:23 may not be aware of the discourse of the context
02:26 and why we, as a church,
02:27 originally adopted these positions
02:29 just to kind of separate the two like...
02:32 I wouldn't say that we aimlessly
02:33 came to these positions as a corporate body,
02:35 but that there were rationales behind it,
02:37 but it's because it's what we've done for so long,
02:39 that's just what we do.
02:40 Like, don't question that,
02:42 this is just who we are and what we do.
02:43 Sometimes, people may feel
02:45 that's the way that they're addressed,
02:46 but I just want to make it clear
02:47 that there is a rationale that goes into it
02:49 when we have these things to start.
02:50 I think something that could be done better,
02:52 at this stage, is communicating the why,
02:55 not just the what,
02:57 and even sometimes the how.
02:59 We may know what God expects,
03:00 but we don't know how to get there.
03:02 So I think that kind of helps
03:03 to give a context for these things.
03:04 But two, I think that it would be far more helpful
03:08 in the way in which we lead our children
03:09 whether it be as parents or as leaders or as mentors,
03:13 instead of just disciplining someone by saying,
03:16 you know, "Don't do that, that's bad."
03:18 It's very, very helpful to explain,
03:21 "This is the reason
03:22 why this isn't a good thing to be doing."
03:24 This is what the Word of God
03:25 says about this particular topic.
03:27 It makes a big difference.
03:28 But a lot of times,
03:29 the young people are just dealt with quickly of,
03:31 "Don't. That's bad. Moving on now."
03:34 And it is kind of leading to this bitterness
03:36 because they just feel controlled
03:38 as opposed to reasoned with.
03:41 One of the things we're told in some of our writings,
03:43 as a Church,
03:44 regarding how to raise children and education,
03:46 particularly in context of education,
03:47 is that we should bring them to a point
03:49 where they recognize
03:50 that what they've done is wrong,
03:52 and then enlist their will in its correction.
03:55 And I think the only way that's going to happen
03:57 is if we communicate why what has happened is wrong
04:00 so they understand.
04:02 Why this is an ideal way to live.
04:04 And then three,
04:05 inviting them to be part of the process of the solution.
04:08 I think this is an ideal answer
04:10 to mishandling of this in other contexts.
04:14 It's like a maturing
04:15 in the Christian faith then I guess.
04:17 You know, when a child is really young,
04:18 you might say, "Hey, just don't run in the street."
04:22 And they might be too young to fully understand,
04:23 but as they grow up,
04:25 they need to understand that context in order
04:27 to really be able to apply
04:28 that principle in different situations.
04:31 And unfortunately,
04:32 sometimes our churches have failed at that.
04:35 Maybe not knowing how to explain
04:37 or maybe even because, sadly,
04:41 some of us in the church may not have studied ourselves
04:43 why we do some of these things.
04:45 So I like what you said, Mark.
04:47 It is important that we study for ourselves...
04:49 We are the church...
04:51 And we do need to be able to know the reason
04:53 for what we believe and why.
04:55 And it could be a multi-generational
04:56 systemic failure that,
04:57 you know, our parents may not have been told the why,
05:00 and so they just told us the what,
05:02 and so that could be,
05:03 but the buck stops with me.
05:06 I'm going to be accountable to God
05:08 for the decisions that I make,
05:09 and I need to know for myself what I believe and why.
05:11 And I think that's a good answer.
05:13 It doesn't excuse the abuse of how it's happened before,
05:15 but we individually still have a role to play
05:17 in searching for ourselves.
05:19 That's a great point.
05:21 Here's another question, pretty heartfelt one.
05:23 This comes from a 15-year old young lady in Tennessee,
05:28 it says, "I want to go to heaven,
05:30 but I feel like I will never be good enough
05:33 or able to follow all the Christian standards.
05:36 And I don't even know if I want to.
05:40 I feel like God is too controlling
05:42 even though I realize it might just be people
05:45 making Him out to be that way.
05:48 But then I think, they're spiritual,
05:51 so maybe they're right."
05:53 What would you say to someone like that?
05:55 First of all, I just want to say
05:56 that I appreciate your transparency
05:58 and your honesty,
06:00 like the whole point of this program
06:01 is raw questions, not to be crass,
06:03 but it's best and helpful,
06:05 I think, for people to communicate
06:06 as honestly as possible.
06:08 I think one of the main issues at stake here
06:10 is that they have not been communicated within a way
06:13 that shows the value that they have,
06:15 for one, and two,
06:16 that God has no desire to control people.
06:20 God only operates under the tenets of love,
06:23 and His ideal situation is self-governance,
06:26 a well-informed person
06:28 exercising their will with the information
06:30 necessary to make right decisions.
06:32 That's the way that God operates.
06:34 But sometimes, when people fail us in this regard,
06:37 our assumption is, "This person claims to know God,
06:40 this person hurt me,
06:41 God must endorse what they did to me."
06:43 And that's not necessarily true.
06:45 There are many instances, we'll cover this,
06:47 I think, in a later episode, on the topic of bad religion.
06:49 There are many instances
06:51 in which people were hurt by religious folks,
06:53 and in the Bible,
06:54 and God literally distances Himself
06:57 from the behavior of those religious individuals,
06:59 and says, "I didn't do that,
07:00 I'm not like that,
07:02 and I'm having to clean up that mess."
07:03 And so maybe even if people are good,
07:07 that doesn't mean
07:08 that they have correctly represented God...
07:10 Yes. In every instance.
07:11 Yes. Yeah.
07:12 Here's another thing that I would say to this to.
07:14 You know, it's this...
07:17 One of the sentiments in this is,
07:18 "I feel like I can never get all of these right."
07:27 We sometimes feel like
07:28 we have to be the ones to get it right.
07:30 But listen to the words of Christ to Isaiah,
07:33 "The whole..." And this is in Isaiah 1:5, 6.
07:36 "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.
07:39 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
07:40 there is no soundness in it,
07:42 but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores."
07:45 This is our spiritual condition.
07:47 And in another verse,
07:48 I'm blanking on the reference right now,
07:50 but it says "Can the Ethiopian change his skin
07:51 or the leopard its spots?
07:53 Then may you also do good
07:54 who are accustomed to doing evil."
07:56 We cannot just change ourselves and love these things,
07:59 but the power is in...
08:02 Ezekiel 36, the God promises to transform our hearts,
08:06 to take the sinful polluted heart
08:09 that loves sin and hates righteousness,
08:11 and changes it into a heart
08:13 and a mind that is in love with the commandments of God,
08:16 that it finds its joy and the beauty of holiness
08:19 and loves to do all of God's requirements.
08:22 And then it's not about trying to find
08:24 the lowest possible standard for right
08:29 so that we can barely scrape by,
08:31 then it becomes our goal to go exactly
08:34 with what God wants us to be,
08:36 and that all has to start with a heart change.
08:38 So if you feel like,
08:39 "I just can't get all this right."
08:40 Praise God.
08:43 You know, I'd like to add something
08:44 to that that has to do with
08:46 how do we know if that's God saying those voices.
08:50 Well, something that's really helped me as remembering...
08:52 If that voice is causing me to say, "All right,
08:55 I need to go to Jesus.
08:57 I lack, I don't have this right,
08:59 I need to go to Jesus."
09:01 Then that that's the Lord,
09:02 that's the Holy Spirit that brings that conviction.
09:04 If the voice is saying, "You're never good enough.
09:07 You're not going to get it right.
09:09 You're just never going to make it,"
09:11 that's the voice of shame and it's not of the Lord.
09:13 That's of Satan.
09:15 And so when it is God convicting us,
09:18 it'll be a voice that drives us
09:19 to the feet of Jesus to go to Him.
09:21 That's it.
09:23 When men see their nothingness,
09:24 then they're prepared to be close
09:25 with the righteousness of Christ.
09:27 We have to recognize our inability
09:28 to then put our full trust in His ability.
09:30 I think it's a great point.
09:33 Another big question, guys.
09:34 This comes from a 16-year old girl in Maryland.
09:38 "I am here, but I am not here,
09:42 in my place is someone who follows the rules
09:46 because I have to.
09:48 I put the right answers on my Bible quizzes
09:50 because I'll get an F if I don't.
09:53 If I ever had a chance, my school ruined it.
09:57 My teachers judge people who live differently than them,
10:00 and it makes me wonder how they would view me
10:02 if they saw me outside this place."
10:05 This strikes my heart as someone
10:07 who is a teacher myself.
10:10 But this is a big deal.
10:11 How do we deal with this?
10:13 I think it's super important, again,
10:14 to understand the principles
10:16 and the Spirit in which God intend,
10:18 and those things are found in the Word of God
10:21 as opposed to the misrepresentation
10:25 and the failed approach of someone meaning well.
10:28 First of all, these people in these positions of authority
10:31 in a majority, if not all the situations,
10:33 are as sincere as the day is long,
10:35 not intending to cause harm,
10:37 not intending to push people away.
10:39 "They have a zeal but not according to knowledge,"
10:41 the Apostle Paul says.
10:43 And there were many people in his day
10:44 that practiced religion that looked just like that,
10:47 not understanding that the law was a means to an end,
10:50 not the end itself.
10:52 The whole point of rules or regulations or reforms
10:55 is to enhance our relationship with Jesus,
10:57 to remove the hindrances,
10:59 the things that kind of encumber the ground
11:01 and make our growth less easier and more difficult,
11:05 and they make it more difficult.
11:06 The whole point of those was to draw us closer to Him.
11:08 And so if we understood that God gave us these
11:10 because He loves us
11:11 and wants a closer relationship with us,
11:13 we would give Him the benefit of the doubt in the things
11:15 we don't understand initially.
11:17 And this is why we, as leaders,
11:18 need to take this one on the chin
11:20 and recognize that how I communicate
11:22 what God expects is just as important
11:25 as communicating what He expects.
11:28 And I just want to take a moment to apologize
11:30 on behalf of people
11:31 who have failed you in your life,
11:33 who should have given you a better picture
11:34 but didn't.
11:36 God doesn't operate that way.
11:37 God is reasonable, He's rational,
11:40 He's filled with love,
11:41 and His precepts only lead to pleasures evermore
11:45 when followed as He intended them to be.
11:47 And so I just want to make sure that that's clear.
11:49 You know, there's one other thing, too,
11:50 that I kind of want to touch on here,
11:51 and we were kind of talking about this a little bit before,
11:56 the fallacy fallacy.
11:59 In other words, if you're familiar with this,
12:01 with the different fallacies,
12:03 it's basically how things that...
12:07 Logical fallacies that don't actually work in reasoning.
12:10 So for instance, the fallacy fallacy states that just
12:13 because somebody's reasoning is fallacious or bad, wrong,
12:17 doesn't mean that their point is necessarily bad.
12:23 And this is something, too,
12:24 that I think really applies to us as Christians
12:27 just because an authority figure, a pastor,
12:31 a teacher treats us in a bad way,
12:34 doesn't mean that the God
12:36 that they represent is bad.
12:39 So I would just encourage you,
12:41 be intellectually honest with yourself.
12:45 Don't listen to...
12:48 I mean, I think all of us have been hurt
12:50 by some religious person at some time,
12:52 and like I've been hurt, right?
12:55 But that doesn't mean
12:56 that we have to push back against God,
12:58 against even maybe
13:00 what they were trying to tell us,
13:01 what it means is,
13:03 let's disambiguate God from the negative behavior
13:06 and seek earnestly, and say,
13:07 "God, what are You trying to teach me?"
13:09 And then, I think, we'll have a lot more clarity.
13:11 I think, on this question
13:12 we need to ask is, "Is it true?"
13:14 Not, "Do I like how it was done?"
13:16 Not, "Do I like how this person
13:17 went about it or what was said?"
13:18 "Is it true?
13:20 And I owe it to God to search that out for myself
13:21 before I reject it outright."
13:23 I love how the Bible says,
13:25 you know, calm now and let us reason together,
13:28 and that's another big thing,
13:29 it is God wants us to ask these questions.
13:32 And so I really love
13:34 how people are asking these questions.
13:36 If you're asking that, that's a good thing,
13:38 and God understands that,
13:40 and He sends His Holy Spirit to help us,
13:42 to empower us so that we can do the things
13:46 that otherwise we could not do on our own,
13:49 and that's the beautiful part.
13:51 And so thank you so much for joining us for this.
13:54 And I hope that as you continue to ask and seek the Lord,
13:58 that the Lord through His Spirit
13:59 will come in and lead and guide.
14:01 If you want to send your questions,
14:04 find us on Facebook,
14:05 Raw Questions Relevant Answers
14:07 or RQRA3ABN.
14:10 And we will see you next time.
14:12 God bless.