Ask Your Preacher
How are creeds different than publications preachers write?
Looking At Leaflets
Dear Looking At Leaflets,
Religious publications, commentaries, tracts, and other religious writings are not in and of themselves wrong until a church or denomination turns that document into an essential element of their faith – that is what a creed is. A creed is someone’s commentary on Scripture that is given equal weight to the Scriptures.
It doesn’t matter whether it agrees with the Scriptures or not – the wording is man-made and, therefore, not exactly as God intended. A creed draws the lines of fellowship around a human writing. A creed is a statement of faith that superimposes itself over the Bible. Now, instead of using the Word of God as the guide for what makes a congregation and a christian faithful – we use a creed to decide what verses and concepts are (and are not) important. We have no right to do that! God specifically said that we don’t get to decide what is or isn’t important from His Word; we must take the whole thing, no more, no less (Rev 22:18-19, Ps. 119:160). If God wanted mankind to use creeds as measures of faith and fellowship – He would have given us one.
My husband was baptized at the age of sixteen by full immersion; however, it was done by the Mormon church where he had made several friends and had begun attending church with them as a youth. My question is: does he need to be re-baptized? Thank you!
Dear Do Over?,
Yes, he does need to be re-baptized because he was baptized for the wrong reasons and by the wrong authority. People are baptized all the time without being saved. The word ‘baptism’ comes from the Greek word ‘baptizo’ which means ‘immersion’. The word ‘baptism’ is the same word that Greeks used when a ship sank to the bottom of the ocean or when someone dove to the bottom of a swimming pool. In the most technical sense, people are baptized when they take baths, go swimming, etc. Taking a bath will baptize you, but it definitely won’t save you.
Baptism is only effective when it is done by faith (Col 2:12) and by the authority of Christ (Acts 2:38). The Mormon church baptizes people based upon the teachings of the Book of Mormon and their prophet, Joseph Smith… not the Bible. Now, any of our Mormon readers will immediately begin to yell and wail at that last sentence and tell you that it isn’t true. They will tell you that they baptize people because the Bible says so, but we can guarantee you that if the Book of Mormon said “don’t be baptized” and the Bible said “do be baptized”… they would go with the Book of Mormon’s doctrine. It is merely convenient for their argument that the Book of Mormon and the New Testament both teach baptism. Mormons baptize people to put them in the Mormon church, and they do it because Joseph Smith said so. The Bible teaches that we should be baptized to wash away our sins (Acts 22:16), to put us into the Lord’s church (Acts 2:41), and by Jesus’ authority (Matt 28:18-20). Your husband definitely needs to be baptized for the right reasons.
Why do many preachers preach, and they say that when a son or daughter have drifted to the wrong path (meaning the worldly life), it is the parents’ fault? Yet, you see that in there own household, they have youth who aren't serving God and are roaming the world... why do many preachers say that?
Double-Checking Double Standards
Dear Double-Checking Double Standards,
We don’t pretend to represent all preachers; we can only tell you what the Bible says on the subject. When we preach on the topic of raising children, we talk about the fact that parents have a huge influence on the future of their children. God tells us that we should “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old they will not depart from it” (Pr 22:6). That is one of many verses that address a parent’s responsibility to instill the truth in their children. When kids grow up, they still have the freedom to choose right and wrong for themselves, but how their parents raise them sets them up for failure or success.
The fact that we preach on the responsibilities of parents doesn’t mean that all preachers are perfect parents – in fact, it is quite the opposite. We are always preaching Bible concepts that we personally fail at. Preachers fall short just like everyone else (Rom 3:23). We don’t preach on moral issues because we are perfect men; we preach on these issues because God has given us His Word to guide us (Ps 119:105). The message is perfect, not the messengers.
When we are born, are we guilty of sin?
Not Born Yesterday
Dear Not Born Yesterday,
The teaching that we are born sinful is a Calvinist teaching called ‘Total Depravity’. Total Depravity means that Calvinists believe that everyone is born completely sinful and depraved. A totally depraved human is incapable of doing good or pleasing God. This is completely false. All babies are born without sin and perfect in God’s sight (even David recognized that his dead child was going to be in heaven [2 Sam 12:23]). Sin is not a birthright; it is a choice (Gen 4:6-7, Jas 1:13-15). Humans sin when they choose to do wrong; they are not born in sin.
The false teaching of ‘original sin’ is very common in today’s society. If a congregation teaches that you are born in sin, they are false teachers. Sin is a choice we make in life (Isa 7:15-16), and all humans are born upright and good (Eccl 7:29).
Why am I so numb to Jesus' love?
It is impossible to say why you (or anyone else) feel a certain way. Emotions are fickle and can be deceiving. Some people feel that they are saved when, in fact, they are lost (Matt 7:21-23), but whether our heart condemns us or not isn’t what saves us (1 Jn 3:19-21). It is our adherence to God’s Word that saves us (Rom 1:16). If you are doing what God says you must do to be saved, then you can have confidence regardless of how you feel (see “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” for further details). Serving God is often an issue of doing what is right without regard to our emotions… showing bravery when we are afraid, working when we are tired, praying when we feel we aren’t heard, and persevering when we are discouraged. One of Satan’s greatest tools to destroy us is that we often don’t feel as we ought, and sin has a way of numbing us to the truth of God’s Word (Heb 3:13). The only way to combat the callusing effect of sin is to choose that which is right and reject that which is wrong. Do that, and we guarantee you will see your heart begin to soften.