Ask Your Preacher
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.
An atheist friend of mine asked me if I supported the death penalty. Thinking back to the Old Testament, I know they stoned people for certain offenses, so I answered, “Yes.” I have been thinking about it a lot in a New Testament context, and I haven’t been able to come up with any passages that address this. One big problem I have thought of is that if I condone the death penalty, then I am in a sense taking away that person’s chance to repent and be baptized later in life. I believe in some of the lists of sinners in several New Testament books, murderers are included (idolaters, sexually immoral, murderers, etc.) in the phrase "such were some of you". Are there any passages in the New Testament that address the death penalty under the New Covenant? And if not, are there any principles that can be applied to figure out what God’s will is on this subject?
Looking For Laws
Dear Looking For Laws,
The death penalty is a function of the government, and, as you said, when God designed Israel’s government, He believed certain deeds were worthy of the death penalty (such as blasphemy – Lev 24:16). God’s attitude hasn’t changed about the death penalty (Heb 13:8, Mal 3:6). What has changed is that God’s people are no longer a physical nation with national laws. Christ’s church exists within all the nations of the world, and we must abide by our respective government’s laws (Rom 13:1-2).
So, is it okay for a government to put people to death for certain crimes? The answer is ‘yes’. God specifically says that He has given governments the authority to punish evildoers, and that governments are used by God to sustain order and be His avengers of wrath upon those that do evil (Rom 13:3-4). Obviously, not all government decisions are good ones, and God never condones immorality, but in the case of the death penalty, governments are on solid ground when they execute justice.
Are the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Christ the same?
Dear Drawing Borders,
Those two kingdoms are synonymous. Eph 5:5 states that the kingdom belongs to both Christ and God, and Rev 11:15 points out that the kingdom belongs to the Father and to His Christ.