Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

PRESBYTERIAN

Just Christian

Thursday, October 11, 2018
I love church, and I love being part of God’s family, but I really dislike being a certain type of christian.  I don't understand why there are so many different beliefs for one religion (like Catholic, Methodist, and so on); is it possible to just be a christian and not any thing specific?  Is there a special church that's just christian?

Sincerely,
No Party Affiliation

Dear No Party Affiliation,

All we should ever be is just christians… you are absolutely right for being frustrated.  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).  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 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.  As you said, you don’t want to go to a church that offers their own thoughts – you want God’s thoughts.

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 askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org).  It is frustrating, confusing, and exasperating to deal with denominationalism.  Thanks be to God that there is a better option!

 

Premillenialism

Tuesday, May 03, 2016
My question is about the "Rapture".  Although this word doesn't appear in the Bible, I have been reading about this event and would like to know more about it.  I was raised in a Bible Presbyterian church and now attend a United Methodist church.  My wife and I both believe the Premillennialist point of view.  1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 points this out very clearly.  We also believe this because Scripture is clear in 1 Thessalonian 5:9 that we as the church and christians are not appointed to wrath, so we will not be here during the tribulation.  One scripture that isn't clear is Daniel 12:10-12. The 'abomination of desolation' is clearly the anti-Christ, but I don't understand the daily sacrifice and the period of time referenced in the Bible as 1,290 days.  Please help us understand or clarify this passage of Scripture.

Sincerely,
Preferring Premillenialism

Dear Premillenialism,

There are quite a few problems with the premillenialist viewpoint.  ‘Premillenialism’ comes from ‘pre’ and ‘millenial’ because it teaches that Christ will come back before (pre) He sets up a 1,000-year reign (millennial) on Earth.  Premillenialism gained popularity in the 1800’s and has gained even further popularity because of the fiction series ‘Left Behind’.  Popular is not the same as correct.  1 Thess 4:15-17 simply addresses what will happen to christians when Christ returns – it never says anything about a tribulation event or a millennial kingdom reign.

The problem with premillenialism is that its teachings are based upon the idea that Christ failed to set up His kingdom on this earth.  Premillenialism teaches that when the Jews crucified Christ, they “rebuffed” His efforts to set up a millennial kingdom and that Jesus started the church as a temporary measure until He could return and set up His kingdom for real.

If this is true (and it isn’t), Jesus was lying when He said that His kingdom would be set up within the lifetime of those He was preaching to (Mk 9:1).  In fact, it would make Jesus a false prophet (Deu 18:20-22).  The truth is that Jesus has already set up His kingdom – the church is that kingdom (Col 1:13).  Jesus never planned on setting up a physical kingdom on this earth (Jhn 18:36).  Jesus’ kingdom is a spiritual kingdom that reigns forever within the hearts and lives of christians (Lk 17:20-21).  In fact, it was Jesus who rejected the Jews when they tried to make Him king of a physical kingdom (Jhn 6:15).  Premillenialism isn’t a doctrine from God; it contradicts Scripture.

Writer's Block

Monday, April 11, 2016
Hey, I am writing a book exposing False Christian churches.  I have looked into it, and I found that Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist were the last three churches that teach the true Jesus Christ and His true Word.  Would you please tell me if I am correct on this thinking?  I have gathered information and come to this conclusion.  Please respond back ASAP.  I want to warn people of the false teachings.  God Bless You!!  Thanks!

Sincerely,
Nom De Plume

Dear Nom De Plume,

We agree with you... and disagree with you.  All denominations are wrong, including the three you mentioned.  Think about it... where do you find the terms "Presbyterian church", "Baptist church", and "Methodist church" in the Bible?  All of these are man-made religions.  They have all turned aside from the simple church we see in the Bible.

In fact, the Baptist church disagrees with the Methodist church on major points of doctrine.  The same goes for the Presbyterians.  If they were all in harmony with God's Word - they would only be one church!  God teaches that there is only one church (Eph 4:4-6).  The pattern for Christ's church can be found in the Bible and nowhere else.  All of these groups that you have mentioned have their own creeds, manuals, and extra-Biblical procedures.  That is wrong.

God's church follows very basic patterns found in the Bible.  We recommend you read, "Finding The Church""Preacher Interrogation", and "What Must I Do To Be Saved" to look at this topic further.  If you are interested in really understanding this subject further, please let us know what area of the country you live in, and we will give you the information for a faithful church in your area, so that you can discuss this topic in person.

Another Perspective

Thursday, November 28, 2013
After reading your interesting replies to my questions, I was wondering how mainstream Christian denominations view each other in terms of the issue of salvation through Jesus.

Does your denomination view Christians who are Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Calvinists, Presbyterians, Eastern Orthodox, etc. as all attaining eternal salvation because of their faith in Jesus?  Do they all view your denomination and each other that way, or might Catholics, for example, view everyone else as losing salvation because they reject Catholicism, the sacraments, etc.?

I am aware that some Protestants refer to Catholicism as ‘Papism’, so would that mean that some Protestants view Catholics as "unsaved"?

Sincerely,
Just Wondering Jew

Dear Just Wondering Jew,

Each denomination views other denominations in an “equal but different” light – however, we here at AYP aren’t part of that denominational world.  Much of mainstream Judeo-Christian religious groups have given up on taking the Bible seriously and literally – a philosophical shift that God warned against (2 Tim 4:3).  The term ‘denomination’ comes from the idea that a church believes it is a subgroup of a larger religious body (i.e. Presbyterians, Lutherans, and Episcopalians are all subgroups of Protestantism). 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).  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 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.  Denominationalism is prevalent in society today because it caters to tastes and opinions of the moment… but that doesn’t make it right.