Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

GRAB BAG

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Wine Ain't Fine

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Is it a sin to drink wine?

Sincerely,
Just A Sip

Dear Just A Sip,

God never specifically condemns drinking wine, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13).  Almost all alcohol that is consumed today would fall into the category of ‘strong drink’ because our alcoholic beverages are artificially fermented to increase their alcoholic content (unlike the wine of Jesus’ day – read “That’s Just Grape” for further details on the wine Jesus drank).  We would all do well to heed the words of Pr 23:31-32 and avoid alcohol as much as is possible.

Shake, Rattle, & Roll

Thursday, September 21, 2017
I was at church Sunday night, and I "fell out", and while I was lying there, I saw flashes of bright white lights, and my body was trembling.  What does this mean?

Sincerely,
Knocked Flat

Dear Knocked Flat,

It means one of two things:

  1. You need to see a doctor.  Something medically is wrong and needs to be addressed.
  2. You have been taught that it is part of religious service to have strange visions, bodily reactions (such as convulsions, etc.), and direct supernatural “zaps” from heaven.  This is common in the Holy Roller movement, as well as in many Charismatic and Pentecostal churches.  The Bible never teaches this.  Many people are conditioned to believe they are having “religious experiences” because that is normal in the churches they attend.  This simply doesn’t match the Bible pattern.  People are pleasing to God when they follow His commandments (Jhn 14:15) and live by faith in His Word (Rom 10:17).  Do not be fooled by false pretenses of religion.  The Bible never discusses the “religious experiences” seen in many of today’s churches.

Nox Potter?

Friday, September 08, 2017
There is a large interest in vampires and magic in books and movies.  It concerns me that they glorify witchcraft, including the Harry Potter books.  Young people today can't seem to get enough of this stuff.  I have been told they are harmless books and movies, but when I watched a Harry Potter movie, it looked like kids doing black magic and having fun.  The Bible tells us black magic is from the devil.  When we allow our children to read these books and see these movies, aren't we saying a little magic and vampires are okay when it is totally against God’s teaching?

Sincerely,
Not Bewitched

Dear Not Bewitched,

Harry Potter books, just like Halloween, can be sinful or harmless – it all depends on how we treat them (read “Costumes, Candy, And Controversy” for more on the subject of Halloween).  If someone is treating the Harry Potter books as factual, or if they are glorifying Satan worship, occult practices, etc., that is obviously a problem.  However, most readers are well-informed that the Harry Potter books are fiction (just like vampires) and aren’t how-to guides for life.

We must remember that the magic and occult practices that the Bible strictly condemned (1 Sam 15:23) were actually performed as a form of worship and a way to gain supernatural power.  Harry Potter books are similar to watching a magician – everybody knows it isn’t real.  This isn’t anything like the witchcraft condemned by the Bible.  Those who practiced magical arts really did believe that they worked, and they really did believe there was supernatural power in their various spells and recipes.  Every parent must make their own decisions regarding what is best for their children (and that includes what reading material they can handle), but it is unfair to say that Harry Potter books in and of themselves are a direct correlation to an occult lifestyle.

Hoo-Don't

Monday, September 04, 2017
Hi.  My grandmother does hoodoo; I know the name after researching the things she owns.  Is she going to hell; is hoodoo a sin?  The biggest thing is that she is a christian, a very godly woman; she attends church every Sunday and even gives one hundred dollars every month.

Sincerely,
Grandma Grief

Dear Grandma Grief,

Hoodoo is wrong and is a warping of the Scriptures.  Hoodoo is a term used for those who use the Bible like a magic spell book and protective talisman.  Instead of treating the Bible like an instruction book for life (which is the right attitude – 2 Pet 1:3, Rom 1:16, Rom 10:17), Hoodoo treats the Bible like a lucky rabbit’s foot.  If you open to the right Psalm or the read the proper verse at the proper time, you will be given special protection, health, or powers.  This is totally opposite of what the Bible teaches.  In fact, during the days of Paul, there were exorcists that tried this tactic.  A group of Jewish exorcists saw that Paul had power from God, so they tried to talk and act like Paul in order to receive the same powers Paul had… it didn’t work (Acts 19:13-16).  The Bible isn’t a tool to gain magical powers; it is a pattern for living (2 Tim 1:13).  No matter how much money your grandmother gives and how regularly she attends services, this practice is sinful.

Four, For, Fore!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
What does the word ‘for’ mean?  Example: for forgiveness, for remission of sin, etc.

Sincerely,
Looking ‘For’ Answers

Dear Looking ‘For’ Answers,

In English, the word ‘for’ can mean ‘because of’ or ‘in order to receive, acquire, or achieve’… but in the Greek language, it can only mean one of these things (more on this a little later).  For example, if someone said, “I went to the store for my wife”, they probably mean that they went to the store because their wife asked them to.  On the other hand, if I said, “I went to the store for milk”, I probably mean that I went to go and get milk… not that the milk asked me to go to the store!  In the English language, the word ‘for’ can be used with either definition, and context has to decide which is the more appropriate use of the word.

However, the Greek language (the original language of the New Testament) is much more precise.  The word used in the phrase “for forgiveness of sins” in places like Acts 2:38 is a word that specifically means “that you might receive, acquire, go towards, unto”.  The Greek word translated most often as ‘for’ in most modern translations is ‘eis’ (pronounced the same as ‘ace’), and it always means the same as “I went to the store for milk”… never “I went to the store for my wife”.

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