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New believer, I have some problems...

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  • New believer, I have some problems...

    I'm Beshoy Adel from Egypt. I'm 23, studied architecture and am pursuing a career in web design and development. I am attending an evangelical presbyterian church, I started attending about a month ago. I accepted Jesus Christ spiritually but not yet logically _if that makes any sense_ I was an atheist since I was 16... sometimes now when I pray I feel that I'm talking to myself. Also when I went to the church I was alone, I didn't know anybody, the first person I knew was the pastor, and then I started getting to know some of the people there, I know about 6 of them now, none of them are of my age, I need friends and a community to encourage me to keep going.

    Another problem is that I was born to a family of a traditional denomination (Coptic orthodox) but I stopped believing in rituals, transforming of bread and wine to physical body and blood, praying to saints, praying for the dead, salvation by works next to faith, keeping saints remains in the church, and liturgical prayers... I stopped believing in all of these and this is why I chose to join a protestant church, but the problem is my family, friends, and people I know who are orthodox like to argue a lot, they ask a lot of questions about my faith and I don't have great theology knowledge, can you recommend some resources to learn about every aspect about protestant theology, I know that I shouldn't argue but they insist that I argue with them (I don't know how to refuse). What do you think I should do about the community thing (I feel that I'm going to the church to get to know people because I was very introverted and I avoided people for the last 6 years because of psychological problems and I want to be normal now), and what should I do about my feeling that I am talking to myself when I pray. I'm sorry for the long post but as English is not my mother tongue I can't express what I want to say in few words.

  • #2
    I am glad to hear that you have become a Christian.

    Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
    can you recommend some resources to learn about every aspect about protestant theology
    Here are two sites that can help you:

    Back to the Bible

    carm |

    Don't worry if you can't answer a lot of the questions you are asked. Just answer the ones you can. If you have problems you can post them on this site and we will try to help you.

    Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
    What do you think I should do about the community thing
    Christians are one body and we need to maintain a close relationship with other members. You should keep attending church even is you don't feel completely comfortable there and have trouble getting to know the people. You need to pray about your problem and ask God to help you make friends.

    Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
    what should I do about my feeling that I am talking to myself when I pray
    Keep praying anyway. It is likely that this feeling comes from Satan and is intended to discourage you from praying. And it will take time for you to completely free yourself from the beliefs you held as an atheist.

    Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
    I'm sorry for the long post but as English is not my mother tongue I can't express what I want to say in few words.
    I think you expressed yourself very well. I had no problem understanding you.
    Clyde Herrin's Blog
    Comment>

    • #3
      Thanks a lot Theophilus, I prayed this morning about this problem that I don't know the people and have no community, Amen, pray for me that I maintain a relationship with Jesus. Thanks again :)
      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
        what should I do about my feeling that I am talking to myself when I pray.
        Hi Brother BA - The most effective way to learn a system is to go to its source, for Christianity (only way the God now - John 14:6) it's the written Word of God. I suggest reading the Gospel of John then on through to Jude, don't be concerned yet with the OT (unless you need to reference it) or Revelation. The Gospels, Acts and Epistles (1Cor-Jude) teach many of the essentials for receiving and confirming salvation, so after a few rereadings in these you will see more clearly, and you'll have the Word to confirm experiences, instead of confirming the Word with experiences!

        The first three Gospels are called Synoptic because they are nearly the same in context but John's a stand-alone Gospel because his teaching varies enough from the synoptics, plus he was the Lord's favorite (John 12:23; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20). After going through to Jude, read Matthew, then after reading through again, Mark then Luke after reading through to Jude.

        Of-course this will require a lot of time, patience and prayer for guidance so don't be concerned if your learning at the pace you think you should. The Spirit always teaches much slower than we anticipate, as the seed of the Word requires time for watering and growth (1Cor 3:6-8). The rest of concentrated reading for the OT and Revelation can come after getting a working knowledge of the Gospels and Epistles.

        There's no demand on you to learn at a certain pace or in a certain way, you will discover how you want to do this by your desire and however you choose, it will be the Spirit of God teaching you--if you're seeking truth (1Cor 2:13; Mat 7:7). The only interference to learning truth is not truly seeking it (truth unlearned is truth unsought).

        If you find any of this useful you may ask me whatever you wish concerning your learning needs.

        If you're certain of your faith in Christ, you do not need to argue but rather forgive instead and wait it out until the better way is shown you, which has the best results for all for--"The servant of the Lord must not strive (argue); but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will (2Tim 2:24-26).

        "Speaking the truth in love" (Eph 4:15) shows you need not to defend that you are a believer and the Lord will eventually show you your growth in your faith He has given you.

        God's blessings to your Family!

        Comment>

        • #5
          Thanks a lot NetChaplain, I think I really need to read the bible, I'm reading from the bible, a verse here and a verse there but not in an organized way... Pray for me that God give me understanding to his word, and pray that I become filled with the holy spirit.
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
            I'm Beshoy Adel from Egypt. I'm 23, studied architecture and am pursuing a career in web design and development. I am attending an evangelical presbyterian church, I started attending about a month ago. I accepted Jesus Christ spiritually but not yet logically _if that makes any sense_ I was an atheist since I was 16... sometimes now when I pray I feel that I'm talking to myself. Also when I went to the church I was alone, I didn't know anybody, the first person I knew was the pastor, and then I started getting to know some of the people there, I know about 6 of them now, none of them are of my age, I need friends and a community to encourage me to keep going.

            Another problem is that I was born to a family of a traditional denomination (Coptic orthodox) but I stopped believing in rituals, transforming of bread and wine to physical body and blood, praying to saints, praying for the dead, salvation by works next to faith, keeping saints remains in the church, and liturgical prayers... I stopped believing in all of these and this is why I chose to join a protestant church, but the problem is my family, friends, and people I know who are orthodox like to argue a lot, they ask a lot of questions about my faith and I don't have great theology knowledge, can you recommend some resources to learn about every aspect about protestant theology, I know that I shouldn't argue but they insist that I argue with them (I don't know how to refuse). What do you think I should do about the community thing (I feel that I'm going to the church to get to know people because I was very introverted and I avoided people for the last 6 years because of psychological problems and I want to be normal now), and what should I do about my feeling that I am talking to myself when I pray. I'm sorry for the long post but as English is not my mother tongue I can't express what I want to say in few words.
            Hello Beshoy, glad to meet you.

            The simple fact is that doctrine divides. One thing I would caution you about is that while you are found to be in disagreement with family members concerning doctrine, there is no reason to think that they, though perhaps confused through the teaching they have sat under, are not sincere in their relationship with Christ. One is not brought into relationship with Christ through doctrinal prowess, in fact...we all start basically ignorant with the exception of the simple message of the Gospel.

            Now, how long one remains ignorant, lol, is up to them in large part.

            For you, in whom I see a desire to understand better, you have come to a good place to accelerate your understanding, because I honestly feel that there is no better way to gain understanding than through Doctrinal Discussion. It's a little different than the method most will undergo, in that, unlike simply hearing a message once, twice, three times a week, in which you cannot stop the speaker and ask questions, in discussion with brethren you can challenge, and be challenged, in regards to the beliefs you currently hold.

            In regards to feeling like you are praying to yourself, don't let that bother you too much. As you have revealed to you, by God, the Word of God, you will begin to see things more clearly, particularly as you see His influence in your life. There will be a transformation in your life. It is my belief that all believers go through stages, and it sounds like you are in the beginning stages. When it comes to interaction with your family, while there may be some contention, doctrinally, at this point, I can assure you that as you grow in knowledge and can better address the issues that currently divide, you will be able to, at least, give them something to think about. But again, doctrinal prowess is not something we look to in regards to our witness and declaration of the Word of God as something that stands alone. We must first understand the love of Christ for us, before we can convey that love to others. As one said, "They'll never care how much you know until they know how much you care."

            So I would first encourage you to be patient, as in time you will receive the answer for every man you are actually commanded to have, if you are diligent in your studies. Secondly, do not let doctrine divide you from your family, for God created the family before He created the Church, and demands that we honor our mothers and fathers, and love the brother we have seen. It is typical, really, for many who are raised up under certain denominations, when they come of age, to seek out denominations that agree more with those things that person disagreed with, or did not embrace in the faith they grew up under. But what is important to understand is that though we seek out the fellowship that agrees with us, among even that fellowship you will find disagreement among those believers. So if we set a standard that unless one agree with us completely, and separate ourselves from those who hold different views...we will never a find a fellowship we can worship God with, lol. Another said, "You will never find the perfect Church, and if you do, don't join it! You'll only wreck it." lol

            God will train you up in the way you should go, my friend. If He demands that of us, should we think our Heavenly Father would do any less?

            My suggestion is to become active in Doctrinal Discussion, and ask those questions you have. And as you do, you will overcome obstacles that may inhibit social interaction among brethren. I use to play music, and could perform in front of large crowds, and never think twice about it. But to interact in a group of real people? Forget it, lol. Now I can. That may be a psychological problem, but, you are not alone in that. Most have to learn to interact with others, and the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Secondly, as you grow in knowledge and wisdom through study of the Word, your faith will be strengthened, and you will gain confidence unlike that which you have experienced before. But again, diligence is required. In Hebrews 5 we see a rebuke of one Hebrew to his brethren for their laziness in regards to the Word, and it is a rebuke we should all take seriously.

            So again, be patient, the Lord will help you in the matters that trouble you now, and if you are diligent in seeking Him, you will arrive at the day when those troubling matters become a thing of the past.


            God bless.
            Comment>

            • #7
              Thanks a lot S.T.Ranger. Of course I would not think that anyone is not sincere in their faith whatever their church is, the thing is that a couple of years ago there is a Coptic orthodox bishop who have said that Protestants (and Catholics) are not going to heaven, and I think my family and friends are concerned with my salvation (If _in their understanding_ the bishop's words turned out to be true) I never seek those arguments actually, they accepted that I join a protestant church only because I was an atheist, and they thought they would convince me with orthodoxy after that. I don't look for differences to divide, but also there are things that I can't accept in the orthodox faith and I cannot join a church that I don't agree with only to satisfy my family. Pray for me that God gives me wisdom and love for everybody whatever the differences are.
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
                Thanks a lot S.T.Ranger. Of course I would not think that anyone is not sincere in their faith whatever their church is, the thing is that a couple of years ago there is a Coptic orthodox bishop who have said that Protestants (and Catholics) are not going to heaven,
                Don't let that bother you, lol. Everyone says that. Of course if you don't go to our Church you aren't going to make it, lol.


                Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
                and I think my family and friends are concerned with my salvation
                And that is a good thing. And this is a lesson you can learn about that, we have to keep in mind that salvation seldom resembles what the world thinks it should look like. The Lord on several occasions taught concerning the outward appearance, probably the most notable instance being that of the Good Samaritan. The farthest thing in the minds of the religious Jews would be that a Samaritan fulfilled the Law they missed.

                One thing you can do to ease the concerns of friends and family is to continue. The single greatest evidence of salvation and relationship with the Lord is continuing in faith. Secondly, when it comes to interacting with them, keep discussion centered on the topic of salvation itself. One area of study I would highly suggest is New Birth. It is amazing to me that the Lord can, in john 3, state that regeneration is required for entrance to the Kingdom of God, yet so few have taken the time to actually study it. Kind of odd, no?


                Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
                (If _in their understanding_ the bishop's words turned out to be true)
                It is natural for most to take the word of their leadership, we can understand this. And unfortunately, many, though we would not necessarily question their salvation, do not have a faith that actually belongs to them...they have borrowed the faith of their leadership. It is only when we become obedient to the Word of God and become diligent in our seeking out God that we begin to develop a faith that is rooted and built upon relationship with the Lord Himself. We don't believe doctrinal positions because we were told "This is what the Bible teaches," but because God has shown us these things are true. There is a difference between simply hearing and reading from actual study. Again, find those issues that perhaps intrigued you, or perhaps you rejected...and study them. It's always easiest to begin study in areas that interest us. That is kind of a typical approach. Study is similar to eating, if you eat a little, it actually motivates the appetite. Stop eating, and you will come to the point where hunger passes away. I can assure you that those who study will continue to study, they will be hungry for the Word of God.


                Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
                I never seek those arguments actually, they accepted that I join a protestant church only because I was an atheist, and they thought they would convince me with orthodoxy after that.
                Understandable. The easiest thing to do is to not let them lose that hope. I have learned the hard way about burning bridges in regards to family. Make it clear that at this point your intention is to rely on God to teach you, and while you might be going to a fellowship not their own, that doesn't mean you intend to be indoctrinated. Your intention should always be first to understand what Scripture teaches, then you compare that with what any particular denomination teaches. There are some very simple elements in understanding Scripture, it is basically a scientific process that most can learn. As you interact with other believers on this forum or another, you will learn that process. Our goal is to bring out of Scripture what is in there, rather than impose into it something that is not. We learn the importance of context which helps us from making a statement in Scripture mean something it doesn't.

                And I would just say that you will probably not find a denomination where you may not disagree with at least some of their views. Doesn't mean you have to reject them. There is simply no faith that is flawless in their Doctrine, all of them have some issues. And when you learn this, you may be able to place your families fellowship in a different light.

                Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
                I don't look for differences to divide, but also there are things that I can't accept in the orthodox faith and I cannot join a church that I don't agree with only to satisfy my family.
                And I applaud you for that, stick to your guns. Just be careful not to offend as you grow. Our faith has no justification for violating that which is taught of God, and as I think I mentioned earlier, despite our disagreement with our parents, that doesn't mean we are not still obligated to honor them out of reverence for God.


                Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
                Pray for me that God gives me wisdom and love for everybody whatever the differences are.
                I will be praying for you my friend, and am confident that our Father will train you up in the way you should go. There is a little effort on your part involved, which is of course that you seek Him diligently. That doesn't mean you maintain your salvation, it simply determines the depth of your relationship with Him. Not that much different than your relationship with your parents, you are in large part going to determine how that relationship will go. You can draw near, or you can be distant. And God has made it clear that in both relationships, between Him and yourself, and your parents and yourself, He expects sincere love. And love for God and parents grows as we better understand the sacrifice God has made for us, without justification on our part, but simply based on grace He has shown to us.


                God bless.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
                  I chose to join a protestant church, but the problem is my family, friends, and people I know who are orthodox like to argue a lot, they ask a lot of questions about my faith and I don't have great theology knowledge, can you recommend some resources to learn about every aspect about protestant theology
                  Hello Beshoy,

                  First I noticed you posted your thread in the Reformed/Presbyterian sub-forum. Since I hadn't any indication from the content of your thread that you were seeking advice from Presbyterians I moved it here in the general faith category where all could participate. Though I can understand why you approached Presbyterians for Protestant information, in general the Lutherans and Presbyterians would be my first choice too as they are historically rich sources for the Protestant Reformation.

                  I also ask that members fill out their profile information. Specifically, profile information to do with the topics you wish to participate in. Example, choose a political party if you're going to engage in political type topics, and denominations if you're going to participate in them.

                  To answer your question, I recommend Monergism.com. The search engine there is pretty good and the information plentiful with the exception of a dead link now and then.

                  I usually offer this video series to new believers, but it will cover a historical overview of the Protestant Reformation: Amazing Grace - The History and Theology of Calvinism


                  Lastly, I recommend a good bible software program like Esword. If you have a dedicated computer for your biblical studies, download the program for free. Then I will help you search for Protestant Reformers whose commentaries are available to upload to the program. Besides uploading early Reformers' commentary to walk you through Scripture, I recommend looking up some of their works. Names like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Matthew Henry are just some that will take you years to cover.

                  For me personally, I prefer dead theologians to living theologians, because the works of the dead theologians have withstood the test of time, being subjected to the highest scrutiny. We can know whether a particular theologian fell off his "rocker" per say and made failed prophecies just by doing a little historical leg work.

                  Having said this, I hope I got you started with some source material. If you run into problems with Esword or finding commentaries by the Protestant greats, please feel free to private message me, as it will ensure that I get your message.

                  God bless,
                  William
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Thank you S.T.Ranger... pray for me.
                    William, Thanks for moving my thread to the right forum, I'm new here, sorry if I made a mistake. I already downloaded E-sword but I got confused on which commentary I should download so I didn't download any, I started reading the bible and started with John as NetChaplain suggested, So far I have one problem with the presbyterian church that is infant baptism, I can't understand how can anybody join a religion based on their parents faith... Pray for me that I keep on going to church as I know that if I stopped going I will be lost again as I was for the last 6 years. Thanks again for your recommendations and I started watching the video series by the way :)
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Get yourself a concordance and study your Bible. The concordance will show you where in the Bible words in particular verse appear, so you can more easily locate the verse which addresses the questions being asked. The word of God is the most powerful source you can use, and is the most reliable. Ask God to provide the answers. He answers prayer. Do this in Jesus' name. The more you meet the challenges in your life, the closer you will get to God, as you trust Him and lean not unto your own understanding. Remember, they may or may not be saved, and if not, cannot understand the Scriptures at a Spiritual level. I hope this helps, and it is good to hear from a Christian who is humble enough to admit not having all the answers. Arguments don't go very far, but just speaking the truth from the Scriptures speaks great power.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Stratcat View Post
                        Get yourself a concordance and study your Bible.
                        Esword has the ability to use multiple concordances, dictionaries, besides commentary, an added benefit is paralleling multiple translations.
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          Beshoy, when you attend meetings and have to answer questions be honest. Tell them you are a new Christian. That you are still learning the word. I notice that you are quite interested in theology but my counsel would be to learn all you can about Christ first. Theology should come after you know Christ. If you know Christ, you'll know what Christianity is all about. Everything else, theories, etc, etc, those don't matter much. First thing you should focus on therefore is getting to know Jesus, the Savior. As for the feeling that prayer feels like talking to yourself, initially it will feel that way. But have faith that God is listening and eventually you'll know that He's right there with you.
                          Comment>

                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Beshoy Adel View Post
                            So far I have one problem with the presbyterian church that is infant baptism, I can't understand how can anybody join a religion based on their parents faith.
                            Is there a Baptist Church nearby that you could attend? It sounds as if you might find it a better fit than the Presbyterian Church.
                            Clyde Herrin's Blog
                            Comment>

                            • #15
                              - Thanks Stratcat, pray for me.
                              - Smithee, I told them in the church (The pastor and his brother the leader of the youth meeting) that I was an atheist and that I still have some doubts and they're very friendly but they think that I need to take it more slowly and they told me that whenever I have questions I can ask them) the only thing that is making me sad is that there are very few people of my age in the church and they didn't make an effort to introduce themselves, one of the reasons I returned to the church is that I wanted to be socially "normal" again and get to make friends. About studying theology, I feel that I'm compelled to defend my position in choosing a protestant church, yea I know that I don't know everything about Jesus or Christianity but I know that if I left the church I would be lost totally and that's what scares me.
                              - Theophilus, there is a baptist church nearby (Though I don't know the detailed address) but the thing is baptist churches (to my knowledge) baptize kids when they're 14 I think, and to me that's still not mature enough to make a choice that big... I know in my heart that baptizing kids is not logical but it's what Christians did for centuries and I want to understand the practice to accept it mentally.
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