Ask Your Preacher
The Bible says we all must give an account before God. But it also says the blood of Jesus covers our sins, and God remembers them no more. If we are in Christ and do our best to be faithful and obedient, what is the account christians will give before God? What if the account we give is displeasing to God?
Don’t Judge Me
Dear Don’t Judge Me,
The verse that says we all must give account for ourselves before God is Rom 14:12, and it is in the context of explaining that brethren shouldn’t judge one another but leave the judgment up to God (Rom 14:10). The point of that verse isn’t that we all need to be able to eloquently speak to God on the Judgment Day; it is that we each are responsible for our own behavior and choices in life. You can’t get to heaven riding anyone else’s coattails.
If you are in Christ, then on the Judgment Day, your meeting with God will be a pleasant one – He has forgiven your sins and will tell you to enter into His joy (Matt 25:21).
I am having a difficult time with a situation at my church. It seems that there is so much honor for the pastor, but none for his wife. There are many of the members who don't care for the pastor's wife, and it is evident around the church. I feel that I should not participate in any of the activities they have because of the situation. Is there any Scripture that can help me with this?
Dear Sticky Situation,
Have you considered that the problem is rooted in the fact that having only one pastor is outside of the Bible pattern? Pastors (also known as elders and bishops – Tit 1:5-7, Php 1:1) are the overseers of the church and should never be left to serve by themselves. The Bible never gives examples of lone pastors; there is always a plurality (Acts 14:23). 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:5-9 give the qualities a man must have in order to serve as a pastor. We recommend you read “Elders” to see more scriptures on the topic. We often have people write into the site with problems similar to yours. We have found that the common thread is that when a man serves as a pastor and has that kind of authority without the checks and balances of other pastors – inevitably, there are problems. Sometimes he becomes power hungry, sometimes he becomes lazy, sometimes he simply becomes indifferent, sometimes he receives too much honor… no matter what, the root cause is the same. We would recommend your church adopt the Bible pattern of multiple pastors to lead the flock. The closer we adhere to the Bible’s model for the church, the fewer problems we have.
Is it biblical to raise your hand(s) during praise and worship songs? Why do people raise their hand(s) during song? Is there a right and wrong way to lift your hand(s)?
Dear Palms Up,
The practice of lifting up your hands during worship is traced to 1 Tim 2:8, but unfortunately, many people misunderstand this verse. There is nothing wrong with literally lifting up your hands to God, but Paul is telling them to “lift up holy hands, without wrath and disputing”. The context is about a certain lifestyle that people were to have. It is similar to the saying, “Put your hand to the plow” in Lk 9:62. ‘Lifting up holy hands’ refers to working, laboring, and serving in a godly way. Christians are to serve God faithfully, without arguing and disputing with each other. ‘Lifting up holy hands’ has nothing to do with how high your arms are raised when you pray; it has to do with the character of the life you live. Are we living holy lives when our hands serve God (1 Cor 4:12)? Raising your hands during worship has the impression of godliness, but living faithful lives actually fulfills God’s command to ‘lift up holy hands’ (2 Tim 3:5).
I have always heard, and still do, that a congregation cannot have one elder. I cannot seem to find any Scripture to support this. Thanks again for your help.
Count Me In
Dear Count Me In,
The more accurate way to deal with this issue is to make your statement in the positive – a congregation must have a plurality of elders. In everything that a congregation does, it needs to find biblical authority. Acts 14:23 says that they appointed elders in every church. Acts 15:2-6 points out that the church in Jerusalem had multiple elders. In Acts 20:17, Paul called for the elders of the church that met in Ephesus. Jas 5:14 recommends that the sick call for the elders of the church to pray for them. Also, Peter exhorts the elders of each congregation to tend the flock amongst them (1 Pet 5:1-3). There is not a single example of a lone elder in the New Testament. Every congregation was led by a multiplicity of pastors. The final kicker on the issue is that Paul specifically commanded that elders (plural) be appointed in every congregation (Tit 1:5). If we let the Bible be our guide, we have no precedent for a single elder congregation.
Just a reminder regarding questions asked anonymously: we appreciate your questions so very much, and we love answering them. Due to the volume of questions we receive, we cannot guarantee an answer to an anonymous question. We always respond to questions that come with a contact e-mail, but we can only post so many answers a day on the site, and therefore, anonymous questions don’t receive the same guarantee. If we haven’t answered your question, it’s not that there isn’t an answer; it wasn’t chosen for posting, and we had no way of contacting you directly. If you’d still like an answer, please feel free to re-submit your question.
The AYP Team