Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

ANGRY MAIL

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En Garde!

Monday, June 10, 2019
     In your response to a question about calling clergy “father”, you once again led the reader to accept your personal, fallible interpretation of Scripture. Unless you are claiming your interpretations are infallible?  Why not give your reader a more complete picture of what Scripture has to say on this subject?  Why not point out that Jesus Himself used the term “father” in a spiritual sense?  Unless you are saying that the rich man was Abraham’s physical (biological) son (Lk 16:24-25)?

Why does Paul refer to christians in Corinth as his children? Are they all his biological children (1 Cor 4:14-15)?

What about the apostle John? Are they all his biological children (1 Jn 2:1)?  What about the Old Testament?  Joseph tells his brothers, “So it was not you who sent me here, but God, and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt” in Genesis 45:8.  Job has a similar statement, “I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know” (Job 29:16).

I think you guys know better than that.  I think you know Jesus, John, and even Paul all used the term “father” in a spiritual sense.  Again, I find it interesting that you leave these verses out in order to “hit a home run” against a faith system you disagree with.  The Catholic Church is not, nor ever has been “wrong” concerning this issue.  How could they be?  If every christian is meant to search the Scriptures and determine doctrine based on the Scriptures, why are your interpretations correct and my interpretations incorrect?  I see the term “father” used in a spiritual sense all throughout the Bible.  Thus, if I am interpreting Scripture the same as you are, who are you to tell me I am wrong?  You even admit in a previous response to a question ("Trust No Man"): “We aren’t infallible here at AYP; we are just men.”  You might want to consider your previous statements before going and making an “infallible” proclamation concerning the practices of others.

Sincerely,
Swiss Guard

Dear Swiss Guard,

Oh, Swiss Guard, how we have missed you and your anonymous rants.  It is too bad that you never provide your e-mail address, so we could personally search the Scriptures together… it seems like all you want is to use our website to publicly voice your frustrations – but we digress.

First off, we have dealt with the way that Peter, Jesus, and John used the term ‘father’ – feel free to read the post from January 13th, 2011 entitled “Parental Paradox” for an explanation of all those verses that you say we leave out.  We’ve handled this concern before.  We don’t avoid verses – we just keep them in context… unlike the Catholic church.

As far as Lk 16:24-25, the rich man was a Jew, and he would have considered Abraham his biological ancestor – just like all the Jews did (Jhn 8:39).  And Job 29:16 is literally saying that Job treated the poor like they were his children.

Now lastly, let’s deal with the idea of interpretation.  The Bible tells us that it isn’t a matter of private interpretation (2 Pet 1:20).  What you think and what we think doesn’t matter at all – what matters is what God said.  That is why we always give lots of verses to back up our answers, so readers can check the Scriptures for themselves.  People are fallible, but the Bible never changes and we encourage people to double-check for themselves.  But that doesn’t mean that we can each believe whatever we want and all be okay – if that were the case, there would be no such thing as right and wrong at all!  Instead, God’s Word is right though every man be found a liar (Rom 3:4).  Just like a roadmap or an instruction manual – it says what it says... not what you want it to say.

In the end, Catholicism is a false religion because it isn’t built upon the Bible.  Any religion that doesn’t use the Bible as its standard of measure is false (Gal 1:8).  The Catholic church tells people that they can’t eat certain foods, and it tells their priests that they can’t marry – which is wrong (1 Tim 4:3).  The Catholic church teaches that the Pope is directly in contact with God and that people should follow him… once again, wrong.  Christ is our direct connection to God (Heb 1:1-4), and the Bible is what we should follow (2 Tim 3:16-17).  Everything about the Catholic church’s organization is in direct opposition to the Scriptures.  The question isn’t how old a church is; the question is whether or not Christ is its head (Eph 5:23).  There is only one pattern for the church (Eph 4:4-6), and the Catholic church is not it.  But, don’t take our word for it – take His.

Out Of Context

Thursday, June 21, 2018
God says all gays are going to hell because they are gay, but God also said anyone who eats hoofed animals is going to hell, so does that mean anyone that has ever eaten at McDonald’s, Burger King, etc. is going to hell also?  Also, it says a women has to kill a goat when menstruating.  Isn’t sacrificing animals a pagan thing?  So won’t they go to hell for that, too?  Also, if God gives us free will, why do we even have commandments?  The irony in that is just too blunt.  Free will, then we have laws???  Why is Jesus born for man but made a god?

Sincerely,
Conflicted

Dear Conflicted,

We think you have an issue of receiving a lot of misinformation.  God does say that homosexuality is a sin (Rom 1:26-27), but the dietary habits and sacrifices that you referred to are Old Testament commandments.  First of all, it wasn’t all hoofed animals – just certain types (Deu 14:4-8).  Beef is from cattle and perfectly permissible, even to an Old Testament Jew.  As for animal sacrifice, that was a consistent part of Old Testament worship, but now that Jesus has come, we no longer are bound by the old law (read “Changing Of The Guard” for further information).

Last but not least, let’s address your concerns about Jesus and freewill.  Freewill doesn’t mean that you are incapable of doing anything wrong – it actually means the exact opposite.  Freedom to choose means that you can choose to do the right thing or choose to do the wrong thing.  God didn’t make us to be robots; He gives us the ability to live by His rules or to rebel against them.  He has set life and death before us, and we get to decide for ourselves how we want to live (Deu 30:19).  All mankind has sinned (Rom 3:23), and Jesus, God’s Son, came down from heaven and died on a cross, so we might have forgiveness of those sins.  Jesus is Deity (Jhn 1:1), and He emptied Himself that He might give us the freedom to choose life in Him (Php 2:6-8, Jhn 3:16).  If you would like more information about what it takes to choose Christ and be saved, please read “Five Steps To Salvation”.

 

Animal Angst

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
On July 5th, the only animal that ever loved me (and I her) died next to me in my bed.  She was sick for a while, and I had prayed for her healing.  However, your god took her from me peacefully.  I am so angry at your god that I am cursing him with as much anger as I can stand.  He has really hardened my heart against him.  If there is a god, why doesn’t he hear me, and why didn’t he heal my baby?  I may never believe in him again, and this was all his fault.  If he cares so much for us, then why did this happen?  I just can’t pray on his deaf ears anymore.  I can’t explain the anger that I have against him… if there is a him up there.  I have been a believer all of my life, and this is changing my mind to go over to the other side and start over again.  Maybe the worship of a cow or a monkey isn’t such a bad idea.   All of those people can’t be wrong, could they?

Sincerely,
Grieving

Dear Grieving,

We are so sorry for your loss.  Losing a beloved animal is a very difficult loss.  We often have people write into the site after a great trial in their life and ask us, “Why?”.  We wish we could give you a specific answer, but we can’t.  We can tell you that God didn’t bring death into our world – sin did.  In the Garden of Eden, all life was blessed, and everything was perfect (Gen 1:31).  It is only after mankind sinned that death and suffering were introduced (Gen 2:17).  All of creation was affected by sin (Gen 3:17-18).  The devil would have us blame God for our suffering, but he is the one that created all the chaos and hurt (Gen 3:13).

Our hearts go out to you in your time of suffering.  We cannot imagine how you must be feeling (Pr 14:10), but we hope your hurt eventually draws your heart nearer to the Lord for comfort (2 Cor 1:3).  If you are in need of a congregation in your area to edify and encourage you at this time, we would be happy to help you find one (our e-mail is askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org).

Playing God

Tuesday, April 04, 2017
If God is omniscient (knows the past, present, and future things to come), how come He created people that He knew would only end up in Hell to suffer forever and forever without ever being able to repent or escape… and yet says He loves people?

Even if you say, "it is each person’s choice on whether or not they go to heaven or hell", set that aside and ask yourself: what loving, caring couple, if they knew in advance, that a child they could conceive, raise, etc. would only ultimately end up in an eternal hell would go ahead and procreate that child?  I don't think any good, loving parent would do that.

Also, how come we think God is "pro-life" when He condoned the killing of men, women, and children (including infants) in the Old Testament?  Whatever the excuses or rationalizations are... they would just be making excuses for acts of atrocities.

Sincerely,
Where’s The Good?

Dear Where’s The Good,

God could have made us without the freedom to choose, but then we wouldn’t be “in His image” (Gen 1:26)… we would be automatons.  You told us to set aside human choice, but setting aside the freedom to choose isn’t as easy for us as it is for you.  If every parent had the choice between having a child that may break their heart or purchasing a robot that would obey their every command… well, the choice is obvious.

God has to make complex decisions that allow individuals the freedom to choose while still keeping the rest of mankind safe.  Every time that God has destroyed a nation, He has done it for the safety of other nations and because that nation had become so corrupt that it was unsalvageable (Gen 15:16, Gen 6:5).  God knows that infants will be safe in His arms when that nation is destroyed.

In short, your argument makes perfect sense – if people weren’t people and freewill wasn’t important.

Back To Bullies

Friday, December 02, 2016
(This post is a follow-up to “Bullycide”.)

Sorry, I disagree on a couple of points.  I've been in the line of fire, so I know from firsthand experience that some kids are sinners of the worst kind.  I believe some kids ARE aware of what they're doing, and if God let evil people like that into heaven, it wouldn't be heaven anymore.  Kids who drive other kids to their grave are guilty of MURDER in the sight of God.  You can't let the wicked off the hook.  Jesus put no age limit on repentance.  He said, unless you repent, you shall ALL likewise perish (Luke 13:3-5).  Paul says in I Cor.7:14: Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy.  Merely being a child doesn't bring holiness.  There are clean children and unholy children.

The prophet Elisha was teased (apparently, only verbally) by a gang of youths for being bald in 2 Kings 2:23-24.  Elisha pronounced judgment on those kids.  He didn't absolve them of blame just because they were young.  NO WHERE in scripture does God say you're automatically innocent if you're below the age of 18, 13, or whatever.  What's missing in modern pulpits is good, old-fashioned, fire-and-brimstone preaching.  God's love is so overemphasized to unrepentant sinners that they never suspect there might be a fiery hell awaiting them on the Day of Judgment and God's righteous wrath against sin.

Sincerely,
Done Being Bullied

Dear Done Being Bullied,

We appreciate your points and think there might be some miscommunication.  There is an age where a child reaches young adulthood - often known as the "teens", and children do begin to be responsible before God for their choices.  There is a point where a child ceases to be simply a product of their environment and transitions into being a culpable adult who has chosen a path of righteousness or wickedness.

However, children are not born in sin as you seem to be stating.  1 Cor. 7:14 is being used out of context.  In 1 Cor. 7:14, the children are 'holy' because they are purified by their believing parent's influence.  Otherwise, 1 Cor. 7 would be literally saying that a child is bound for hell or bound for heaven based off of whether or not their parents are christians.  Jesus died to save the whole world (Jhn 3:16), and every human has an opportunity to obey Him.

2 Kgs 2:23-24 is dealing with teenagers (or young adults), not small children.  Yes, many of today's youth exhibit the same hateful and rebellious attitudes that are shown by that gang of young adults that Elisha interacted with.  Children that rebel against parents and show a lack of respect for authority are clearly condemned in the Scriptures (Col 3:20, Deu 21:18-21).

We couldn't agree more that there is a need for preaching on hell and the judgment to come (if you read the answers to many of our questions, we think you will see that we don't shirk our responsibility to that topic).  Once we reach the age where we are old enough to make decisions and repent of those decisions on our own – we must prepare ourselves, so that we won't perish (Lk 13:3-5).  Children eventually become adults, and as adults, we must be prepared to meet our God.

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