Ask Your Preacher
In the Bible, does it state that at least two witnesses had to agree to the charges before the trial could be declared valid? If so, where and what section?
Dear Legal Advice,
The verse that you are looking for is Deut 19:15. In the Old Testament, God made the laws for the courts. The nation of Israel, like all other societies, had people that broke the law. God designed the law, so someone couldn’t be accused of a crime unless there were multiple witnesses. Incidentally, America’s court system was originally modeled after Israel’s court system. Why? Because God’s ways work.
In our congregation, on Monday or Tuesday, we call members who were missing on Sunday. Some of these members have not attended worship for months. One of these members asked that we not call her anymore, and when we went ahead and called her anyway, it did not turn out well. How do we handle this? Do we stop calling, just send an occasional card, or do we take no action now and pray she will return when her heart is right? The statement: "You can't help someone until they are ready to help themselves" appears applicable.
Jesus made a very concise statement about how to treat the person that is clearly not interested in spiritual things. He said, “Don’t throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (Matt 7:6). This is exactly what you experienced when that woman was called again after showing her total disinterest in the gospel – she turned and attacked the messenger. As much as it can pain us, we must accept that not everyone wants to hear the good news, and sometimes, it is best to simply leave them to their spiritual bankruptcy. There is nothing wrong with moving on in such situations; the church has done its job. Like the prodigal son, until life outside of Christ gives them enough of a beating, there is nothing you can say that will help (Lk 15:11-19).
Is it true that no matter what we do, as long as we have said the Sinner’s Prayer, we will go to heaven because of what Jesus did for us?
Praying It’s True
Dear Praying It’s True,
The sinner’s prayer is not how people become saved. If we want to know what it takes to be saved, we should see what people in the Bible did to become saved. The Bible outlines five separate requirements for salvation, and all of them are necessary.
- Hear the Word. Faith comes through hearing, and hearing comes through the Word of God (Rom 10:17). Until someone hears God’s Word, they are incapable of obeying it.
- Believe the Word. It is impossible for someone to become a christian unless they believe that Jesus is the Savior and Son of God (Jhn 20:31, Acts 16:31, Jhn 3:16).
- Repent of your sins. ‘Repent’ means to ‘change your mind’. That change of mind always involves a change of action as well. Repentance is when we change our mind about what is important and submit ourselves to Jesus and His Word. Repentance is a necessity of salvation (Mk 6:12, Lk 13:5, Lk 15:7).
- Confess Jesus to others. If we have sworn our allegiance to Jesus, we must be prepared to publicly confess Him as our Lord. If we won’t confess Jesus before men, He won’t confess us before God (Matt 10:32-33, Lk 12:8-9).
- Be baptized in the name of Jesus for salvation. Many groups baptize people, but very few baptize people for the right reasons. 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 where someone goes from being lost to saved because they are buried and resurrected with Christ (Rom 6:4-5). Baptism is the final requirement to become a christian (Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Acts 2:41). There is not a single example of someone becoming a christian without baptism. Baptism is just as necessary as the other four requirements.
If we want to have total confidence that we are saved, we must do everything the Bible says to receive salvation (Ps 119:160). Prayer is a wonderful thing to do, but it isn’t a part of the conversion process.
I have a friend who believes he has been given a responsibility from God and a desire from God, but they conflict, and he doesn't know what to do. I told him that one of them probably is not from God because God will not send us conflicting information. Can you help me find some verses to help him?
Dear Wires Crossed,
If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). Prophecies and visions are no longer given to people directly (1 Cor 13:8). Instead, God speaks to us through the teachings of His Son (Heb 1:1). It is normal for our emotions and desires to send us conflicting messages; that is exactly why God tells us to not trust ourselves (Pr 3:5). Tell your friend to trust God’s Word, and it will be a lamp to his feet (Ps 119:105).
What is dangerous about the charismatic church?
Dear Treading Carefully,
The charismatic church teaches that they can perform miracles and that they receive new prophecies and direction from God apart from the Bible. This is wrong. We should never add or subtract from God's Word (Rev 22:18-19), and that is exactly what the charismatic movement does. The Bible teaches that the days of miracles, speaking in tongues, etc. have ceased (read "Three Cheers For Miracles" for more details). The charismatic movement deceives people for money, power, and prestige... that is dangerous and sinful.