Ask Your Preacher
Why do people want to be satanic? What exactly does it mean to be satanic? About what percentage/number of people are satanic?
Dear Weirded Out,
It is an infinitesimally small percentage of Americans that specifically refer to themselves as “Satan worshippers”… less than one percent. Satanic cults have existed in small pockets around the globe for years and have varying practices and beliefs that differ widely. Satanic practitioners hold one common belief – an admiration for rebellious and anti-establishment religious figures. Obviously, this religion is totally wrong and destructive to those who practice it. Satan is not a hero; he is the great villain and adversary of mankind – the word ‘satan’ actually means ‘adversary’. The Bible describes him as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8).
Is it a sin to work on Sunday? I want to go to church, but I have to work to support myself. I tried to get off, but my job won’t let me.
It isn’t a sin to work on Sunday, but it is a sin to forsake the assembly of christians (Heb 10:24-25). Many christians face the same issue that you do – balancing work and worship. We are commanded to worship God on the first day of the week so that we can take the Lord’s Supper (Act 20:7) and remember His death (1 Cor 11:20-26). Sunday is the Lord’s Day (Rev 1:9-10), and we can’t neglect it. You have a couple of options. One option is to find a way to work and still make it to services. Some christians find ways to come in early, take midday shifts between services, etc. Others, after becoming christians and realizing that their job now conflicts with their spiritual goals, have started to look for employment elsewhere. It has been our experience that when people prioritize the spiritual over the physical, God provides (Gen 22:14). If your job consistently forces you to miss services - the job isn't really supporting you.
Why did the people from the city ask Him to leave after Jesus cast the demons out of the two men and into the herd of pigs?
The story you are referring to can be found in Matt 8:28-34, Mk 5:1-17, and Lk 8:26-37. This was one of the few trips that Jesus made into Gentile territory. That is why there was a herd of pigs there when He cast out the demon. Jews would never have accepted pigs because they were unclean, but on the Gentile side of the Sea of Galilee, such things were normal (Lk 8:26). The account in Luke says why they asked Jesus to leave. They begged Him to leave because they were afraid of Him and the power He had (Lk 8:35-37). After Jesus cast out the legion of demons, and those demons destroyed an entire herd of pigs, the people were terrified of Him.
I was reading your post on "ghosts", and it got me thinking of the situation in the Bible where the spirits arose from the dead and appeared to people just after Jesus had been crucified. This has always intrigued me. Do you think this was a one-time thing specific to the crucifixion? Not that we could ever know, but I've always wondered who they appeared to and how those people responded to it.
Dear Post-Mortem Ponderer,
Matt 27:50-53 describes events that happened immediately after Jesus breathed His last breath. The temple veil was miraculously torn from top to bottom, rocks were rent asunder, the earth quaked, and some of the faithful who had died were raised from the dead and appeared to people in Jerusalem. This was a one-time event because all of these things were used to point to the fact that Jesus really was the Christ. Matt 27:54 says that these events caused people to confess Jesus as the Son of God. Just as further clarification, even the people raised in this event wouldn’t be characterized as ghosts because the physical bodies were raised from the dead and came out of the tombs… ghosts don’t have bodies.
As for the last part of your question: we too have often wondered how people reacted to their dead loved ones coming back to life. It certainly would have been quite the event – which, of course, was the point.
The Corinthian church had a lot of problems that Paul had to correct. One of their deviations from the truth was the way they were taking the Lord's Supper (or communion). 1 Corinthians 11 tells us they weren't treating it as the holy memorial that it is. In verses 21 and 33 of that chapter, they were rebuked for not waiting for each other or, in other words, for taking it at different times. It seems like a tradition in the church to have communion more than once on the first day of the week. Is this a scriptural practice we have authority for, or is this a problem we should change? I hope my question was clear.
Dear Multiple Problems,
This is an issue that many good brethren wrestle with. Does a congregation have the right to offer the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday? Is it biblical for a local church to offer communion in the morning and then offer it again at a Sunday evening service? We believe so, but we also believe that there is room for disagreement on this issue, and if a brother or sister doesn’t feel comfortable with a second serving of the communion, they should abstain. We must all seek to serve God with a clear conscience (1 Tim 1:19), and if you can’t do something in faith, you shouldn’t do it (Rom 14:23). Having said that, here are our thoughts on the subject of offering the Lord’s Supper twice on Sunday.
The Bible never tells us the amount of times that a congregation must offer the Lord’s Supper; it only tells us that it must be taken by the saints sometime on Sunday (Acts 20:7). This leaves us a twenty-four hour period in which a christian can gather with the church and fulfill this command. The specific times we choose to meet are an expediency… simply a matter of preference.
1 Cor 11:33 says that a congregation must “wait for one another”. 1 Cor 11:21-22 clarifies that the problem in Corinth was that they were eating the Lord’s Supper as a common meal and not waiting to do it solemnly together. The problem in Corinth was that they were eating communion for the purpose of filling their bellies instead of remembering the Lord’s death (1 Cor 11:34). The goal of waiting for one another was to provide a scheduled time to fulfill this command together. It didn’t mean that every christian needed to be present (otherwise, a congregation couldn’t partake of the Lord’s Supper unless every member was accounted for), and it didn’t mean that they couldn’t schedule multiple times to wait for one another. It simply meant that they had to treat the Lord’s Supper as a holy and spiritual meal of remembrance. The church is responsible for doing things in a decent and orderly way (1 Cor 14:40). Offering the Lord’s Supper in the morning and evening fulfills that command for order and decency. The congregation is providing specific orderly times for members to fulfill their command to gather with the church and take the Lord’s Supper.
The church is commanded to provide opportunity for christians to take the Lord’s Supper with the church, but the individual is responsible for taking it. If a congregation offers the Lord’s Supper in both the morning and evening, it is doing its job – providing opportunity. It is the same as the command to take up a collection. Most congregations provide opportunity for individuals to give financially at both the morning and evening services – which matches exactly with the command in 1 Cor 16:1-2. No one bats an eye when a congregation offers the collection basket twice. In fact, we would probably be shocked if a congregation refused to take someone’s contribution because they missed morning services. Yet, this is exactly the same as offering the Lord’s Supper twice. It is a matter of expediency. When a congregation offers the collection and the Lord’s Supper at both services, it is simply trying to provide opportunity for all (even those who were unable to attend in the morning) to fulfill God’s commands to give and take the Lord’s Supper on Sunday.