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RELIGIONS

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Taking Different Paths

Wednesday, July 31, 2019
     I have a difficult decision to make.  This guy that I am dating is Hindu.  I just found out today.  I don't know what to do; is it okay to date people outside of your religion? I have always believed it wouldn't be, but I am not sure.  Please help.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Hindu Hindered

Dear Hindu Hindered,

You are right to be concerned.  It isn’t necessarily wrong to date someone who is Hindu, but you should be working toward his conversion WAY before marriage.  ‘Inter-faith’ marriages have disastrous results, an awful track record, and God warns against them. The Bible’s most notorious example of this is Solomon. Solomon’s idolatrous wives turned the heart of the wisest man on the planet away from God (1 Kgs 11:4). If Solomon in all of his wisdom couldn’t resist the pull of a false religion, we should consider ourselves just as vulnerable. There is too much at stake. If your heart is turned away from God, your soul will be eternally destroyed (Heb 3:12).

No matter how much two people love each other, there are only five possible outcomes for a christian marrying a Hindu, and only one of them is good:

  1. He eventually converts and obeys the gospel, becomes a christian, and is saved (GOOD).
  2. You eventually convert and follow Hinduism, and you are both lost (BAD).
  3. You both make compromises in your beliefs, and you no longer fully serve the Lord (BAD).
  4. You both eventually renounce both of your belief systems, and are both lost (BAD).
  5. You bear through a lifetime of disagreement on the most important thing in life.  You stand strong in the faith, but are hindered in the amount of service you can provide the Lord (BAD).

The only positive outcome is the first one, and that isn’t any more likely to happen after marriage than before. Either he will eventually convert, or he won’t – serious romantic commitment and/or marriage won’t increase those odds.

God warns against being ‘unequally yoked’ to someone with different values than you (2 Cor 6:14-16). Once you get married, you are ‘yoked’ to that person with a lifetime agreement. A godly marriage is designed around unity (Gen 2:24). If you aren’t unified on your core belief system, then everything else will be affected. Where would your children go to church? How much money would you contribute to God’s church – would he, being a Hindu, be okay with contributing anything at all? What happens when he wants to put up Hindu emblems around the house? These are just a few of the thousands of day-to-day problems inter-faith marriages present. God tells us that a christian should marry someone ‘in the Lord’ (1 Cor 7:39).  It is time to have a serious heart-to-heart with this fellow and see if it is possible to get on the same spiritual page.

M,m! M,m! Good!

Friday, July 12, 2019
You say you are a New Testament church and not a denomination, but isn't the Church of Christ just an offshoot of the Campbellite movement of the 19th century?

Sincerely,
Fess Up

Dear Fess Up,

Historically speaking, the Restoration Movement (sometimes referred to as the Campbellite Movement because Alexander Campbell was a prominent preacher at that time) is a bunch of different churches that adhere to similar doctrines… biblically speaking, the movement to restore New Testament Christianity is a principle, not a denomination.  The Monroe Valley church of Christ isn’t affiliated with any other congregation; we aren’t associated with a grouping of churches or national religious body.  Our congregation is completely independent of all others – our responsibility is to the Lord and none other, just like the first-century churches (Acts 14:23).

In the darkest days of the nation of Israel, a young king named Josiah rose to power.  The nation had reached such a state of wickedness that the temple was near ruins and in complete disrepair.  Josiah made a decision to have the temple repaired (2 Kgs 22:3-5).  In the process of repairing the temple, the workers found a copy of the Bible (2 Kgs 22:8).  The Old Testament Law was brought to Josiah, and he read it for the very first time (2 Kgs 22:10).  Josiah was mortified when he heard the words of the law; never before had he realized how wicked the nation was and how deeply entrenched in sin Israel had become (2 Kgs 22:11-13).  Josiah decided then and there to simply return to doing what the Bible said.  Josiah let the Bible be his guide in restoring the nation of Israel to what God intended it to be (2 Chr 34:30-31).  That is the ideal of the Restoration Movement.  Regardless of what man says, the church in Monroe is not a part of a denomination or some earthly hierarchy.  We appeal to the New Testament as our guide and daily attempt to restore biblical Christianity in our little corner of the world.  If other congregations around the globe take this same attitude, that doesn’t make us a denomination; that makes us brethren all serving the one true head, Jesus Christ (Eph 5:23).

Joseph Smith's Peeps

Tuesday, July 09, 2019
What's a Mormon?

Sincerely,
I’ve Seen Their Bikes

Dear I’ve Seen Their Bikes,

Those well-dressed, bike-helmet wearing young men traveling in pairs through your community are known as Mormons, and they are part of the Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).  The LDS church was formed in the early 1800s by a man named Joseph Smith, Jr.  Joseph Smith professed to have been visited by the angel, Moroni.  Supposedly, Moroni directed Mr. Smith to a set of golden plates which he then dug up and translated from their ancient language into English.  This “translation” is known as the Book of Mormon and is one of four books that the LDS church uses for guidance.

Okay, now that we’ve explained who they are, let’s see what the Bible says about Mormonism.  God tells us that even if an angel preaches a different message than the Bible, he is accursed (Gal 1:8).  That means that even if Moroni were real, Joseph Smith shouldn’t have listened to him.  Secondly, the Bible tells us everything we need to know about life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).  We are also told to never add or subtract from the Word of God (Rev 22:18-19).  Either the Book of Mormon says more than the Bible – in which case, we shouldn’t listen to it, or it says exactly the same thing as the Bible – in which case, we don’t need it!  Ultimately, the LDS church is a false religion that is leading people astray and destroying their souls.

Two Paths Diverge

Friday, July 05, 2019
     My boyfriend of thirteen years told me he can no longer have a relationship with me because I don’t attend church.  He said I need to follow his path.

Sincerely,
Ex-Girlfriend

Dear Ex-Girlfriend,

We would have to side with your ex-boyfriend on this… but give us a second to explain why.  The end goal to your relationship is marriage, and ‘inter-faith’ marriages have disastrous results, an awful track record, and God warns against them.  No matter how much you love each other, there are only four possible outcomes to a marriage between to people that don’t have the same spiritual goals, and only one of them is good:

  1. You eventually convert, obey the gospel, become a christian, and are saved (this would be a really GOOD outcome).
  2. He eventually forsakes the Lord, and you are both lost (BAD).
  3. You both make compromises in your beliefs, and neither of you is fully committed to anything (BAD).
  4. You both eventually renounce both of your belief systems, and are both lost (BAD).

The only positive outcome is the first one, and that isn’t any more likely to happen after you are married than before.  From your boyfriend’s perspective, if you aren’t with him on this journey to serve Christ – neither of you is going to be happy, with potentially eternally disastrous consequences.

God warns against being ‘unequally yoked’ to someone with different values than you (2 Cor 6:14-16). Once you get married, you are ‘yoked’ to that person with a lifetime agreement. A godly marriage is designed around unity (Gen 2:24). If you aren’t unified on your core belief system, then everything else will be affected. Where will your children go to church? How much money will you contribute to church?  What happens when you disagree on moral decisions – what is the standard you will use to come to an answer? These are just a few of the thousands of day-to-day problems you will run into. God tells us that a christian should marry someone ‘in the Lord’ (1 Cor 7:39).  If you are serious about this guy, you need to ask yourself if it is worth looking into Christianity to see if there is a reason that this wonderful man finds it so important.  Either way, you are both better off knowing where you stand before entering into a heartbreaking marriage.

Duper-stitious

Monday, June 17, 2019
     I have a very interesting question, and I'm hoping you can help.  I know the Bible says you shouldn't mess with spirits, and fortune telling is sinful.  However, what if someone didn't ask for this gift?  I know it says no one knows the future but God, but what if He gave a gift to someone, and they were using it for good?  And what about Ouija boards?  I've always been taught they are of the devil.  One last thing, I'm from the south, and I've heard a lot about conjurers.  In fact, as a child, my grandfather visited one to get a growth removed, and it worked.  This woman was a christian and claimed it was a gift from God and not sinful.  Is this sinful and of the devil?  I am, by the way, very superstitious; however, I do believe the Bible is clear on the boundaries that should not be crossed.  Sorry for being so lengthy, but I believe there's a lot of people asking the same things.

Sincerely,
Magically Minded

Dear Magically Minded,

The dictionary defines ‘superstition’ as ‘a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief’.  Superstition means that you are placing trust in the supernatural power of a rabbit’s foot, not walking under ladders, four-leaf clovers, Ouija boards, etc.  This is always wrong.  We are supposed to place our trust in God (Ps 56:11), and God has clearly said that He doesn’t give people the gifts of fortune telling; all these things are of the devil.  Even if a conjurer removed your grandfather’s growth, being a conjurer is still sinful.  There are lots of sinful things that have short-term benefits… but long-term consequences.

Superstition is a mild and socially acceptable form of witchcraft or divining.  There is no difference between trusting in a lucky coin and trusting in the astrological tables.  Astrology and horoscopes are wrong (Deut 4:19, 2 Kgs 23:5); witchcraft and magical arts are wrong (Acts 19:19).  Superstition falls into the same category as those practices.

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