Ask Your Preacher
(This post is in response to “Only The Best”.)
Does your local congregation use incense in your worship service? If the "pure offering" referred to in Mal 1:11 is the lives of the people of the New Testament Church (as you say), then when does your congregation "offer incense" in God's name? Remember, you have previously stated, "If you avoid or ignore verses, that is just as bad as adding to the Bible (Rev 22:18-19). We have to take every Bible teaching, no matter how unpopular, and accept it in order to truly call ourselves a ‘Bible-only’ congregation."
Burning To Know
Dear Burning To Know,
Just like the offerings mentioned in the previous post aren’t literal animal sacrifices, the “incense” that the church sends up to God isn’t literally on fire. Mal 1:11 is a verse dealing with general principles of the church’s behavior in the way that an Old Testament Jew acquainted with Old Testament worship could understand. The Bible says that the lives of the righteous are like the sweet smell of incense before those that are perishing (2 Cor 2:14-16). Rev 8:3-4 also compares our prayers to burning incense. In either case, nowhere is the church asked to burn incense as a part of worship. Mal 1:11 would have to be taken out of context to use it as a proof text for incense as an act of New Testament worship.
Why are women no longer required to cover their hair when they come into a church? Are we being disrespectful to God and our husbands by not covering our hair?
Lady In Wonder
Dear Lady In Wonder,
Women must always have their heads covered while praying (1 Cor 11:5), but God has built into every woman a permanent head-covering – her hair (1 Cor 11:15). God designed men and women differently… this should be no surprise to anyone that has ever dealt with the opposite gender! Men are to be the leaders in the home (Eph 5:23) and the church (Tit 1:5-6). Women are the heart of the family (Tit 2:4-5), and men are not complete without them (1 Cor 11:12). Both genders are equal heirs of salvation, but they are designed with different strengths and roles (1 Pet 3:7). One way that God signifies this is by having men look different from women. When women have long hair and men have short hair – it pleases God (1 Cor 11:14-15). There are varying degrees of long and short hair, but ultimately – men are to look like men, and women are to look like women. This principle is even borne out in the Old Testament (Deut 22:5). The teachings of 1 Cor 11:1-16 are simply teaching that a woman’s long hair is a God-given covering for her head, and men are not to have that same covering due to their varying roles in leadership.
I am having an issue with the last piece of my Wiccan past – my tarot cards. I know that I need to get rid of them, but it is becoming painful physically and mentally to even think about getting rid of them. I got past the part of where they are a crutch because of loneliness (having "someone" to talk to and respond back), but I still am hanging on. Any suggestions?
Burn them. Do exactly what the christians in Ephesus did. In Acts 19:19, there were people just like you that had once practiced magical arts. When they converted to Christ, they stopped their practices and burned their books. That is exactly what you should do. You’ll have a fresh start and the relief that only a clean break from evil can give.
If a couple gets married by a christian pastor but does not record it with the local government, how does God view it? I would assume He deems it legal and binding. But, of course, the government does not view it as legal and binding. Thank you for answering my question!
Dear Veiled Vows,
Whether or not the marriage is legitimate could very much be debated, but there is really no Biblical precedent for being “married before God” and not married before the law. Christians are supposed to obey the laws of the land (Rom 13:1-3). In fact, you can't even find a verse that says marriages need to be performed by religious figures. If a religious figure could perform a marriage ceremony without legal documentation... why couldn't a Justice of the Peace perform the same ceremony without legal documentation? The religious leader doesn’t have any more biblical authority to skip the paperwork than the civil leader would.
The Scriptures say that people should get married rather than live together in a sinful relationship (1 Cor 6:18), AND they say that we should obey the laws of the land (1 Pet 2:13-15). In your scenario, the couple would be obeying one command… but not the other (if they are “not legally married”, that – by definition – means they would be doing something they believe/know is illegal). We can’t simply obey some of God’s laws and forsake the others. The sum of God’s Word is truth (Ps 119:160).
How am I to understand Psalm 19:1-4 when it says, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them, He has set a tabernacle for the sun."(NIV)?
Declaring My Confusion
Dear Declaring My Confusion,
Ps 19:1-4 is dealing with the same issue as Rom 1:20. God designed the world, so it would be a testimony to Him. God’s invisible attributes are so clearly seen in this world that it is as if the heavens are literally crying out about God’s glory. Paul quoted Psalm 19 in Rom 10:18 as a proof that all mankind has evidence of God’s existence. His creation leaves us without excuse.