Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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H2O x 2

Friday, February 14, 2020
     Sixteen years ago, when I was nine years old, I made a profession of faith and was baptized, but I don't think I fully understood what it means to truly follow Christ until years later when I was in college.  As a child, I thought you just had to mentally believe and not follow Christ.  Is there any biblical reason why I could not be baptized a second time now that I fully understand what it means to be a Christian?

Sincerely,
Older And Wiser

Dear Older And Wiser,

The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act.  When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us.  Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet.  You will have to evaluate for yourself whether or not you understood what you were doing when you were baptized.  If you did, there is no need for re-baptism.  If you believe you didn’t know what you were doing, then you should be rebaptized.

Jesus' Last Name

Thursday, February 13, 2020
     I have been hearing that Jesus’ real name is Yeshua.  Is this right, and if it is, then what is His last name?

Sincerely,
Identity Please

Dear Identity Please,

‘Yeshua’ is Jesus’ name in Hebrew.  Jesus is the Anglicized version of the Hebrew name that is used in English Bibles.  The name ‘Jesus’ or ‘Yeshua’ mean ‘God is salvation’.  Jesus didn’t have a traditional English last name.  In His day, a man’s last name was their father’s first name, so Jesus would have been called ‘Jesus, son of Joseph’ (Matt 1:16).

Don't Be Talkin' 'Bout My Mama

Wednesday, February 12, 2020
     My grandmother died this year; she was ninety-four years old.  She had two daughters.  In her will, she left the major portion of her estate to her younger daughter.  When my grandfather was alive, they had a living trust; their estate was divided equally between the two daughters.  My grandmother always favored her younger daughter and her family, and it was very noticeable to an outsider.  When the reading of the will was done, it hurt my mother, making her feel even more unloved.  My mother never did anything to deserve this.  My mother is a God-fearing Christian and has always done the right thing.  My aunt won't have a thing to do with my mother, which was another blow to my mother.  What does God think of a woman who would cause so much pain?

Sincerely,
Appalled

Dear Appalled,

Your question is a loaded one.  Realistically, we all cause others pain, and every story has two sides to it.  We won’t even begin to talk about the eternal fate of someone we’ve never even known.  After hearing your perspective, we can’t imagine why anyone would behave like that, but that is always the way you feel when you only hear one side of a story (Pr 18:17).

Jesus was once asked by two men to settle a family dispute about money, and His answer was, “Who made Me a judge or divider over you?” (Lk 12:13-14).  We would have to take the same tact – it isn’t our place to try and unravel family financial squabbles.

We are very sorry for your pain, and we are so sorry that your mother is hurting.  The best advice we can give is to not focus on what others think of us and remember that if we serve the Lord, He will cause all to work together for good (Rom 8:28).

Too Much Poetry

Tuesday, February 11, 2020
     Should the 151st psalm have been included in our Bible?

Sincerely,
Plus On

Dear Plus One,

Psalm “151” is a title given to a psalm that is accepted by the Eastern Orthodox Church as part of the Bible, but that is about it.  Even the Jews consider it to be apocryphal.  An apocryphal book (‘apocrypha’ means ‘hidden’) is a book that was rejected from the Bible because it was considered inauthentic. These books are not written by God and never were accepted by God’s people as divinely inspired.  Some apocryphal books (such as the aforementioned Psalm) were included in the Septuagint, which confuses people at times, but even though some apocryphal books were included in the Septuagint, they were never considered God-breathed Scripture.  Printed Bibles include maps, commentaries, and footnotes… and yet, we don’t consider those things to be Scripture; in the same way, the Septuagint included apocryphal books that were never viewed as the Word of God.

It is well documented that Jews didn’t consider the apocryphal books to be authored by God.  Josephus, a venerated Jewish historian, specifically stated that the apocryphal books weren’t from God in his writing Against Apion.  The Manual of Discipline in the Dead Sea Scrolls stated that the Apocrypha wasn’t inspired.  To further prove the point, the Apocrypha itself says that it isn’t Scripture!  The apocryphal book, 2 Maccabees, specifically says that it isn’t inspired by God in 15:38-39, and the author apologizes for any inaccurate information he might have provided.  Though the apocryphal books are unique historical accounts, they are never quoted in the New Testament, and they were never accepted by the church or the Jewish community as divinely inspired text.  That is exactly why it isn’t necessary that they be included in modern translations of the Bible – they aren’t Bible, just secular history.

What Prevents Me?

Monday, February 10, 2020
     I just started going to church about three months ago, and I feel so blessed to be a part of what God is and His message.  I have a friend who inspired me to go to the church in the first place, and I told him recently that I want to get baptized.  My church does group baptisms and won’t be having one probably for months.  My friend really wants me to get baptized ASAP even though I’m okay with waiting.  He thinks it’s bad for me to wait.  Is it a bad thing to wait?

Sincerely,
Patient

Dear Patient,

A church that only does group baptisms every three or four months doesn’t understand what baptism is all about.  In the Bible, when people were ready to be baptized, they were baptized immediately (Acts 16:33).  The word ‘baptism’ simply means ‘immersion’ – it is the reason for your immersion that makes baptism a soul-saving act.  When we understand that baptism saves us from our sins (1 Pet. 3:21) and are baptized by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38) and believe in His Name (Mk. 16:16), then that baptism saves us.  Many people are baptized without understanding these things… in which case, they just get wet.  Baptism isn’t merely an “outward showing of an inward faith” or “for membership”.  Baptism is what saves us (1 Pet 3:21).  Baptism is the point when someone goes from being lost to being saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5).  Baptism is the final requirement to become a Christian.  There is not a single example of someone becoming a Christian without baptism.

It is definitely a bad thing to wait, and as attached as you may be to your church, you should seriously consider that they aren’t teaching the total truth of God’s Word.  We would be happy to point you toward congregations in your area that teach everything the Bible says and don’t leave important details out.  Your friend is right.  E-mail us at askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org if we can be of help.

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