Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

DOCTRINE

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Wet Ink

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Once saved always saved… is that true?  Is every person’s name already written in the Book of Life, and if we don't receive Jesus as our Savior, is that when our name is blotted out?

Sincerely,
Wanting A Guarantee

Dear Wanting A Guarantee,

It is the exact opposite of that.  We don’t lose our salvation if we don’t receive Jesus; we gain salvation when we do believe in Jesus.  It may seem like a trivial difference, but it has huge implications.  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.

As far as the issue of “once saved, always saved”… it is possible to lose your salvation if you turn your back on Christ.  Read “Salvage And Recovery” for specifics on that issue.

Parental Paradox Pt. 2

Tuesday, December 26, 2017
To follow up on your response about calling men ‘father’ (the post entitled “Parental Paradox”), are you saying it is all right to refer to men as ‘father’ as long as you are not putting them above God?  Including, not only a biological parent but even a person of spiritual fatherhood?  Some folks in my Lutheran congregation refer to our pastor as ‘father’ or ‘reverend’ or even ‘brother’ but never revere him above God as you pointed out in your post.

Sincerely,
Taking Titles

Dear Taking Titles,

In order to understand why it is wrong for religious leaders to take the name of ‘father’, we need to put that statement in context.  Jesus said to not call anyone ‘father’ (Matt 23:9) at the same time as He condemned the scribes and Pharisees for loving the praise and honor of men (Matt 23:4-6).  When ‘father, ‘rabbi’, and ‘master’ are given as titles of prestige and honor, this is exactly what Jesus was condemning.  The titles you mentioned are often used in exactly the same manner – ‘reverend’ especially.  The word ‘reverend’ is never even found in the Bible.  The only one who deserves our reverence is God (Heb 12:28).  Anytime that religious leaders take on titles like these, it is a sign that they are seeking to distinguish themselves from other christians.  This is the exact opposite of what the apostles did (Acts 10:25-26).

A Dirty Word

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Is there a difference in the meaning of ‘unclean’ in the Old Testament and the New Testament?  It is my understanding that many things in the Old Testament that were considered unclean weren't necessarily wrong or sinful, but in the New Testament, my understanding is that the word ‘unclean’ is for things that are wrong or should be avoided.  Thanks!

Sincerely,
Scrubbed Up

Dear Scrubbed Up,

The word ‘unclean’ refers to anything that is ‘contaminated or unholy’.  Many times that is in reference to something contaminated by sin – in which case, ‘unclean’ is referring to something sinful (some good examples of this are Rom 1:24, Eph 4:19, and Lam 1:8).  However, some things that were unclean were simply things that a Jew needed to purify themselves from if they came in contact with it (i.e. leprosy, dead bodies, pus, or other body ailments – Num 5:2-3).  It wasn’t a sin to be a leper, but it was a contaminated condition, and there was a need for quarantine.

In both the Old and New Testaments, we must always use context to decide whether the word ‘unclean’ is in reference to sin or merely referring to something that is contaminated in some way.  For example, 1 Cor 7:14 refers to the children of unbelievers as being ‘unclean’… but that isn’t referring to sin.  All children are born without sin, but the children that are born into a christian home are purified from many of the struggles that an unbeliever’s child must face.  We give this example simply to show that not all New Testament uses of the word ‘unclean’ refer to sin.  The deciding factor is always context.  The word means ‘contaminated or unholy’… context will tell you whether the contamination is sin.

Parental Paradox

Thursday, December 07, 2017
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says not to call any man "father".  Then later, Jesus Himself refers to Abraham as "father" in the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16).  Also, when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, God Himself commands us to honor "father" and mother. Even if Jesus means "father" in a spiritual sense and not a strict literal or biological sense, then why does Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit refer to himself as a spiritual "father" to the Corinthians? (1Cor 4:14-15)  There are many more New Testament passages where the term "father" is used in both physical and spiritual senses.  Is this an example of a biblical contradiction?

Sincerely,
Taking Titles

Dear Taking Titles,

There are three basic senses in which the word ‘father’ is used in the New Testament – and as you mentioned, context is very important in understanding which definition is being used.

  1. ‘Father’ can mean ‘biological founder’.  This is the most literal sense of the word ‘father’.
  2. ‘Father’ can refer to a ‘spiritual founder’.  This is what Paul meant when he talked about being the Corinthians’ father (1 Cor 4:14-15).  However, it is worth noting that even when Paul says this, he clauses the statement by saying that he “begat them through the gospel”.  Paul recognized that he was only their father inasmuch as he led them to the true Father of their souls.
  3. ‘Father’ can also refer to ‘him who guides and rules’.  This is what Jesus was referring to in Matt 23:8-10, and it is the same in Heb 12:9.  It is wrong for a christian to place their total faith in any man.  We must always turn to God and trust His will above man’s.  Paul may have started the Corinthian congregation, but he wasn’t their leader.  In fact, Paul made it very clear that no christian should ever revere a person above God (Gal 1:8).

When we keep in mind the context of the various passages, each verse is using the word ‘father’ in a way that matches perfectly.  It isn’t a contradiction but simply a matter of multiple uses for the same word… something we see in normal speech all the time.

Eternal Torment

Friday, November 10, 2017
Do you believe in Annihilationism… because there are some people like the Jehovah's Witness, United Church of God, and Seventh-Day Adventists that believe a person's soul is annihilated (or extinguished) in hell, instead of being punished.  To me Annihilationism isn't biblical!  Some say it's a heresy!  But, also, there are some verses in the Bible that annihilationists interpret as "Annihilation" (Ex: Isaiah 66:24).  Also, annihilationists interpret the "second death" as annihilation.  Like I said before, though, I don't believe in Annihilationism!  It's also unbiblical!

Sincerely,
Keep The Flame Alive

Dear Keep The Flame Alive,

There are several very clear texts that deal with what happens to lost souls when they die.  Mk 9:47-49 says that hell is a place where “the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched” – the exact opposite of annihilation.  Jesus also told the story of a rich man that died and went to torments (Lk 16:22-23).  In torments, the rich man was in constant burning anguish without relief (Lk 16:24).  Abraham told the rich man that he would remain in anguish and that there was a great gulf eternally fixed between those in Paradise and those in torment (Lk 16:25-26).  Though some good brethren believe that hell is not an eternal location and that the wicked are destroyed at death, we don’t believe that this holds up to biblical scrutiny.  Hell is a real place, and you really don’t want to go there.

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