Ask Your Preacher
Is it wrong to go to tanning beds or use spray-on tans?
UV is Ultra-Vain?
Dear UV is Ultra-Vain,
There are two issues to consider with tanning – the health issue and the vanity issue. First of all let’s look at the health concerns. Overall, the Scriptures lay out a general principle of healthy living and not overindulging. Moderation is the key, and there is a time for everything (Eccl 3:1). We are told that we need to take care of our bodies because they are a gift from God (1 Cor 6:19). Every activity involves certain health risks, and tanning is no exception. Each christian needs to assess the arguments for and against tanning for themselves and be a good steward of the body God has given them.
The second issue is vanity. God tells us that we need to be careful to not be the type of people that are vain and focused on our outward appearance all the time (1 Tim 2:9-10). Tanning is typically done as an act to beautify the body – this isn’t inherently wrong, but it can be if not kept in proper perspective. Remember that beauty fades, but character is forever (Pr 31:30).
Will people who have not heard about Christ go to hell?
Let’s look at a few teachings on this topic and see what the Bible says about those who aren't christians because they haven't heard about Christ.
- Just because someone is ignorant, doesn’t mean they aren’t at fault. God tells us that anyone who seeks the truth will find it (Matt 7:7-8). The Bible is the most widely available book on the planet – just because someone hasn’t read it, doesn’t mean they didn’t have opportunity.
- People go to hell because of their sins (Rom 6:23), not because of Jesus. Jesus’ death on the cross is a cure for mankind’s self-inflicted spiritual death sentence. It is the same as a disease outbreak – the disease kills people, not the lack of a cure. If Jesus had never come, and none of us had ever heard of Jesus, we would all have been lost.
- God tells us that everyone has been given enough information to seek Him. Rom 1:20 says that the very beauty of the created universe speaks of God’s existence and leaves mankind without excuse. God has provided an “all call” message anyone can hear through the wonder of His creation.
- God doesn’t desire anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). God won’t make any mistakes on the Day of Judgment, and no one will accidentally end up in heaven or hell. He is compassionate, loving, and ready to show mercy (Ps. 86:5). If someone goes to hell, it is because the most faithful and loving Being in existence believed that is where they should be.
God is the final judge. We will all face Him when we die (Heb 9:27). The best thing we can do is make sure we are prepared for that day.
Men (and a woman, Deborah) like Ehud, Samuel, Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, and Othniel served as judges. Then men (whether good or bad) like Jehu, Omri, Solomon, Pekah, David, Josiah, Amon, Saul, and Uzziah served as kings. A king and a judge ruled over Israel, but Jehovah was still supreme over them, so in biblical terms, what's the difference between a judge and a king?
Don’t Judge Me
Dear Don’t Judge Me,
Kings ruled the nation; judges delivered the nation. When the kings were instituted, it was because the people wanted a king to guide them in place of God (1 Sam 8:4-7). Kings were in total control of the laws, military, and executive powers of the nation.
On the other hand, the judges were sent by God to deliver the nation but didn’t necessarily rule the nation. Take Samson for example. Samson never functioned as a legal guardian or lawgiver for Israel, but he was sent by God to deliver the nation from Philistine oppression (Judg 13:5). We often get confused because when we think of the word ‘judge’, we think of someone presiding over a courtroom, but that wasn’t what the Old Testament judges were. The judges of the Old Testament were sent to bring judgment upon the nations that were oppressing Israel. When Israel was suffering and cried to God, God sent them judges to deliver them from suffering (Judg 2:16).
I am the one from "A Chosen Lifestyle". First of all, I want to say I’m sorry for asking another question; I truly am, but I have nowhere else to turn. I went to church the other night for the first time in a long time, and I asked God to change my heart; I begged and asked for forgiveness. Here is the problem: I "fell" again and sinned against God. I’m taking your advice, and I refuse to give up; however, at this point, I’m not entirely sure what to do or think. I really want to change for God, and I honestly thought I had succeeded, but now I’m back to square one, but I know God doesn't work like that. I just need some advice from a good christian.
Turning The Tide
Dear Turning The Tide,
You don’t need to apologize for asking for help; Bible answers are exactly what we designed this website for. In the future, it will probably be useful if you gave us an e-mail address to respond to because anonymous questions are hard to give quick and consistent responses to – if you are concerned about keeping your anonymity, just create a free e-mail account dedicated for this type of correspondence.
It sounds like you are already giving yourself the right advice. Pr 24:16 is the key to long-term success over addictions – keep getting back up. You can learn something from every failure… something that can help you succeed next time. Look at the last time that you sinned in this area. Where did things go wrong? What would you do differently to prevent this from happening again? Would you have called a friend for help? Maybe you need to change something about your routine? Pr 4:23 says that all the issues of life come from our heart – so examine yourself… what needs to happen differently, so you can succeed next time? You know better than anyone else what triggers your behavior and where to start improving.
Some teach that there is only one church. Is this true? And if so, which church is the TRUE church... according to the Scriptures?
The Truth And Nothing But The Truth
Dear The Truth And Nothing But The Truth,
The denominational world is confusing… exactly the opposite of God’s church (1 Cor 14:33). The term ‘denomination’ comes from the idea that a church believes that it is a subgroup of a larger religious body. Lutherans worship and teach differently than Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, etc., but they all believe themselves to be christians – this is wrong. Jesus said that there is only one path to heaven (Matt 7:14) and there is only one true church (Eph 4:4-6). Denominationalism teaches that how you act and worship are matters of opinion, but Jesus said that how you act and worship are matters of truth (Jhn 4:24). The only way to find the one true church and avoid denominationalism is to find a congregation that simply teaches what the Bible says – no creeds, no opinions, no personal agendas. If we truly love Christ, we will follow His commandments (1 Jn 5:2).
Everything a church does (worship, membership, how they teach to be saved, how they spend their money, even their name) needs to have Bible verses backing them up (1 Tim 3:15). A church needs to be able to explain the reasons for why they do what they do (1 Pet 3:15).
Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a Biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16). We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2). We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21). We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible. If you want to be the Lord’s church, you just stick with what the Lord says.
There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world. Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’, but then again, many churches that use that name aren’t faithful. A Bible name for a church isn’t enough to make it faithful. We have helped others, like yourself, looking for New Testament Christianity find faithful congregations in their area by contacting other preachers and christians that we know. We’d be happy to do the same for you. If you feel comfortable, just let us know what general area you live in, and we will try and get you in touch with a congregation that lives like your Bible reads (our e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org). It is frustrating, confusing, and exasperating to deal with denominationalism. Thanks be to God that there is a better option!