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.
Where we worship, there are a great number of people in need of healthcare. It seems every time the announcements are made, we mention several who have missed because they are sick or in the hospital. Where does the burden of responsibility lie for a church meeting the needs of its sick? Considering the purpose of the church includes assembling, where do we stop in our efforts to help people assemble?
Dear Support Staff,
Technically, it isn’t the job of the church to make sure people get to church services; it is the church’s job to make sure services happen. That distinction can be seen in Heb 10:24-25 because individuals were rebuked for forsaking the assembly. It is the individual’s responsibility to make it to services, not the church’s job to drag them there.
Having said that, we shouldn’t be cold-hearted toward people’s needs. If there is a way for others to “do good to the household of faith” (Gal 6:10) by providing rides, that is more than appropriate and a great example of christian hospitality (1 Pet 4:9). But once again, we are talking about individuals helping other individuals.
The church is told to assemble on the first day of the week as a minimum (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2). That is the sum total of God’s command for the collective local body – it is very generic. Within that generic command, a congregation can decide where, when, etc. based upon what is expedient and useful. The specifics are left up to the local church to decide using wisdom (Pr 4:7). The church has to factor in the needs of every member (ailing and healthy) when deciding when to meet. It isn’t about meeting the needs of one particular group of people; it is about trying to balance everyone’s needs. That looks different in each congregation because each congregation is made out of a unique collection of people.
Is it right or wrong to use musical instruments during church services?
Dear Musically Minded,
Before we go into the specifics of this issue, it is important to note that how we feel about a topic is not the same as the truth on a topic. We may feel that a certain activity is pleasing to God, but that doesn’t mean it is. God tells us that His ways are not our ways (Isa 55:8) and that every man’s ways are right in his own eyes (Pr 21:2). The issue isn’t whether or not you feel that you are pleasing God when using instruments to worship – the question we have to ask is: “What do the Scriptures say about instruments in worship?”
The fact is that God has given us instruments to use for worshipping Him – our hearts (Eph 5:19). In the New Testament, God tells us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to Him. He wants the only melody He hears to come from our hearts. Instrumental music wasn’t introduced into the church until over three hundred years after Christ. In fact, ‘a cappella’ singing (singing without instruments) literally means ‘as the church’. There are no examples of the church using instruments to worship God in the New Testament. If we start using them, we are adding something to God’s Word (Rev 22:18-19). All we are ever told to do is “sing and make melody in our hearts”… pluck your heartstrings as you sing to God, and you will make God happy. If a congregation begins to use instruments in worship, they must do so without any New Testament Scripture to back up the practice.
The problem with instrumental music in worship is that it isn’t a part of the Bible pattern, and the moment we start doing things outside the Bible, we have gone beyond what God intended (1 Cor 4:6). Instrumental music may sound appealing to us, but it is just one more manmade additive that adds to the division and confusion found in the religious world.
Why do we take the Lord's Supper?
Dear Not Hungry,
Christ told us that whenever we take the Lord’s Supper, we should do it in remembrance of Him (Lk 22:19). In the book of Acts, we see how often the church observed the Lord’s Supper. In Acts 20:7, we see that christians ‘broke the bread’ in remembrance of Christ on Sundays. That is when they did it, so that is when we do it.
Paul says that we are to take the Lord’s Supper when the church is gathered together (1 Cor 11:20). Taking the Lord’s Supper is an act of worship done by every congregation of the Lord each Sunday. When we take a look at all the teaching on the Lord’s Supper, we get the truth (Ps 119:160). Christ commands that we do it in remembrance of Him (1 Cor 11:23-28), the church gives us the example of doing it on the first day of the week, and Paul teaches that we should do it when we are assembled as a church.