Ask Your Preacher
I was married for twenty years, and we separated due to another female in church; I prayed that our marriage would not end and we would reconcile. But that didn't happen; we were divorced, and he remarried after two weeks. Can you tell me why my prayers were not answered? And why they committed adultery, lied, and even stole from the church but still think that what they did was not wrong? Thank you.
God desires for all of us to purify our hearts and minds and turn from sin, but He also gives us the freedom to choose for ourselves. God has multiple principles that He must keep in balance at all times. God hears prayers, but He also allows people to decide for themselves whether or not to be righteous or wicked. If God simply forced people to become better people, that would remove our freedom of choice. After all, He tells us that we reap what we sow in this life (Gal 6:7).
We cannot imagine the amount of pain you have been through. It isn’t that God doesn’t hear prayers; it is that your husband chose to do something sinful. God doesn’t like it (Mal 2:16), but as we said, God still respects our freewill. As for how these two people can believe that what they did was okay… sadly, when we choose to do wicked things, it can sear our conscience (1 Tim 4:2), and people rationalize all sorts of sinful behavior because they “feel” it is right. Every man believes he is right in his own eyes, but in the end, the Lord makes a just judgment (Pr 21:2).
In heaven, are there animals?
Pets In Mind
Dear Pets In Mind,
If you’re wondering whether or not animals go to heaven when they die, the answer is ‘no’. Animals have spirits, and humans have spirits, but humans were also made in the image of God (Gen 1:26). Our spirit is eternal and will go up to be with the Father, and animal spirits are temporary and will return to the dust of the earth (Eccl 3:21). God made our spirit of a different caliber than He made those of the animals.
However, if you are wondering whether there will be creatures in heaven for us to enjoy just like there is animal life on this planet that brings us joy and wonder… the only way to find the answer to that question is to make sure to go to heaven and see it for yourself.
We apply the four gospels to our life today, but, of course, Jesus had not died yet during the time of His preaching. So are the gospels still under the Mosaic Law?
Dear Timeline Troubles,
Jesus was a Jewish man who lived under the Jewish law, and His life records that fact. Jesus commanded His fellow countryman to obey the Mosaic laws for cleansing and sacrifices (Lk 17:12-14). He taught that Moses’ law was right and good, even when the Pharisees and scribes weren’t (Matt 23:1-3), and He answered questions regarding Moses’ laws – like the laws concerning divorce (Matt 19:3-9). So if Jesus’ entire life was a Jewish one, why are the gospels part of the New Testament? The answer: Jesus’ preaching.
Jesus lived as a Jew, spoke to Jews, answered Jewish questions, and preached Christianity. Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom which was to come. Matt 4:23, Matt 9:35, Matt 11:5, Mk 8:35, Lk 4:18-19, and Lk 7:22 all say that Jesus came preaching the gospel to His kinsmen. Jesus preached that there was a change coming and that all the world needed to be prepared for it. Jesus preached the message of a kingdom that was soon to be, the kingdom of Christ that He would buy with His own blood (Acts 20:28). Another reason that the four gospels are part of the New Testament is that we are commanded to be imitators of Christ (1 Cor 11:1). The way Jesus lived is the way christians should live. Jesus preached about a new law, He lived as an example for those under the new law, and He died that we might have a new law. The four gospels are all accounts of the life of the Man that gave us the New Testament.
I was recently reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, specifically the chapters involving the first few hundred years of Christian history. I attend a local autonomous congregation whose structure seems entirely different than the hierarchical structure of the church described in the book. They use terms like the bishop’s “see” which, when I looked up the definition, is the official seat of a bishop. The bishop's seat is the earliest symbol of a bishop's authority. During periods of Roman persecution, they list bishops of Rome and other cities and mention their successors. They also describe bishops as being “appointed” and “governing the church”. The book states that a man named Ignatius was appointed to the bishopric of Antioch next after Peter in succession. (The same term “bishopric” in Acts 1:20 KJV describes the office of Judas). The book also alludes to a hierarchy amongst the clergy (bishops, presbyters and deacons). In over a dozen historical examples of Roman persecution, it is the bishop of Rome (singular) that seems to be targeted for execution. All of this hierarchical structure pre-dated Constantine and future state involvement in the Christian Church by up to hundreds of years. Our local congregation just has a few elders, who say they are equals, and take turns leading worship and preaching a message. Why such a difference in church structure?
Dear History Student,
The reason you see the difference is because Foxe’s Book of Martyrs covers all those who called themselves christians while the Bible specifically only follows the pattern for the church laid down by God. Paul warned that the church would quickly be attacked by false teachers (2 Pet 2:1), and as early as the end of the first century, we see the seven churches of Asia being exhorted and rebuked by Jesus to hold to the truth in Revelation 2 and 3. Paul told the church at Ephesus that wolves would arise from amongst their eldership to try and devour the church (Acts 20:28-31). Your congregation is right to stick to the Bible pattern – after all, the Bible is the book that we are saved by (Rom 1:16).
Gen 11:1 states that there was only one language, but how is this possible if Gen 10:5, 20, and 31 seem to say that there were more languages before the tower of Babel was built?
The book of Genesis is like all history books and sometimes gives us a big-picture view of events and then goes back to fill in the details. Genesis 10 gives us the genealogies of the nations and peoples that descended from Noah after the Flood (Gen 10:1). These genealogies cover the time before the Tower of Babel, and they also cover the generations after the Tower of Babel. After giving a full picture of those who descended from Noah, Genesis 11 goes back to fill in the details of how people got their different languages and what caused them to spread out across the globe.