Ask Your Preacher
Should people be getting up in front of the congregation and giving testimonies in the Lord’s church today?
Dear Speaking Up,
We are given a couple of requirements regarding speaking in the church assembly. Any testimony that someone gives of how Christ had helped them, how they had been converted, etc., must fit within the biblical guidelines for the church assembly.
One guideline is that women are not supposed to be speaking or in leadership positions during worship (1 Cor 14:34). Therefore, any woman that has a testimony to give about her life wouldn't be able to do it in that setting.
Another guideline is that everything should be done decently and in order (1 Cor 14:40). Many of the churches that have people give testimonials do so in a chaotic fashion with people jumping up to speak or yelling out during services... this is wholly inappropriate. A congregation is required to be thoughtful and prepared with how the worship service is run.
These two guidelines alone clarify things. If a man had a worthwhile teaching to give or biblical message to present, and it was prepared and presented in a way that was proper and decently in order, it would be permissible. Realistically, very few of the churches in the religious world that use the "testimonial system" do that.
How many false prophets does the Bible mention?
Counting The Corrupt
Dear Counting The Corrupt,
The Bible doesn’t mention a specific number of false prophets – it just says that there are many (Matt 24:11). The world is fraught with false prophets who seek to use the Bible for their own gain and lead people astray. This is why John warns us to test all teachers and compare what they say to the Bible (1 Jn 4:1). Sadly, most of mankind is either duped by these false teachers or frustrated. Even within the Lord’s church, false teachers and sin cause people’s love to grow cold (Matt 24:12). False prophets are innumerable, and the way of truth is spoken against because of them (2 Pet 2:1-2). It is an uphill battle, but if christians continue to refer people to the Bible instead of their own wisdom, God’s Word will be glorified.
I am leading a weekly Bible study. Yesterday was our first study, and we talked about why Jesus came to this earth. Now, I don't know how to incorporate the Gospel for new people and change the study for the people that have come multiple times. What should I do?
Bible Study Leader
Dear Bible Study Leader,
We aren't exactly sure what advice we can give you. One of the easiest ways to study the Bible is to study it expositorily. Take a book of the Bible, and study it from start to finish. This way you get exactly what God intended for mankind to learn. Being a teacher is a very solemn thing and puts us under a stricter judgment because of the power to lead people astray if we don't adhere to the Bible's teachings (Jas 3:1). If you aren't feeling that you have a comfortable grasp on the Scriptures, better to stick with an exact study of a book than to potentially veer into manmade doctrines.
(This question is a follow-up to “Blasphemous Preaching”)
Thank you so very much for the quick response. I left church early tonight and felt very guilty even taking communion to my Holy Father because I had to excuse myself right after communion, so I could leave. I just had to get out of there. The Sunday night service was worse than the morning. I am beginning to think that my pastor has serious mental problems, and I don't know what to do about it. I am teaching Sunday school, and I am able to teach one hour of truth, and I am able to sing worship songs to God. But the preaching is making my nerves shaky. He either tells news stories that he gets from the internet that are so far fetched it's like something from the Globe or the Enquirer, or he reads history books, or he shows videos on a big screen. This morning, when he said what he did about Jesus, it was about the worst! But nobody seems to mind. If they do, I don't hear it. I am wanting to get away and seek the Lord for wisdom as to whether or not to quit the church, but I am certain that the Lord has called me to work for Him. I just don't know what to do about this preacher. I e-mailed him the Scripture that proves that Mary and Joseph were married before Jesus was born, but he won't say anything about it. Would you please pray that God will show me what His plan is and what His will is? I need to sing, and I love teaching Sunday school. Thank you.
We appreciate your dedication to your congregation and your righteous indignation over false teaching. May we offer some thoughts on the issue? You have written to us on numerous occasions because of the unscriptural things that are coming from your church’s pulpit. You are trying to balance your desire to work for Christ and your desire to avoid false teaching. Have you considered that by leaving and going somewhere faithful, you would be doing both? God says that a faithful congregation should be “a pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). In your own words, the church you are currently a part of isn’t – and the membership doesn’t seem to care about changing that. Your labors (which you intended to offer to the Lord) are being used to support false teaching and unscriptural practices. Since it seems clear that the congregation is at peace with their preacher’s sermons and teachings… you are now in the vast minority and propping up a sinking ship. Looking at the character and honesty your letters have conveyed – you simply aren’t with a like-minded group of people. We know of faithful, biblically-sound churches all across America… churches you could feel comfortable in, grow from the teaching of, and use your zeal and energy to support. Would you consider letting us recommend one to you? If so, e-mail us at email@example.com.
My preacher teaches that Joseph and Mary were not married when Jesus was born, and today he said that Jesus was a "bastard". I am sorry to write that, but it's what he said. I teach Sunday School and had just taught that Joseph and Mary were married (Matthew 1:18-25), and I need to tell him we can not be teaching two different Bible teachings. Would you tell me please if Joseph was married to Mary, and should I correct my preacher about using such strong language when talking about Jesus? Thank you.
Joseph was definitely married to Mary, and the term your preacher used was both incorrect and vulgar. As you said, Matt 1:18-25 clearly teaches that Joseph married Mary. Joseph planned on putting her away before their marriage because he found out she was pregnant (Matt 1:19). Understandably, he was unwilling to continue their engagement. An angel appeared to Joseph and explained the entire circumstance to him and told Joseph to take Mary as his wife (Matt 18:20). After the visit from the angel, Joseph went forth and made Mary his wife (Matt 18:24). As further proof, Jesus’ genealogy describes Joseph as “the husband of Mary” (Matt 1:16). Ask your preacher how he reconciles his teaching with these plain Bible verses.