Ask Your Preacher
Jesus says in Matt 23:9 not to call anyone “father”. A buddy tells me that since Catholics call their priests “father”, they’re disregarding this verse (not that I care about this because, for me, they can call their clergy any name they want). But I hate to be the one to ask this because this may seem idiotic, but does this also mean that we cannot call our dads “father”?
Honoring My Father
Dear Honoring My Father,
Calling a priest ‘father’ is wrong because it is referring to ‘father’ in a spiritual sense. That is what Christ is condemning in Matt 23:8-10. Christ is rebuking people who elevate themselves above others within the church. Catholic priests place themselves in a position of spiritual superiority and authority above others. That is wrong and exactly what Christ told His disciples never to do.
On the other hand, the term ‘father’ is perfectly fine when used to refer to a physical parent. The Bible itself uses the word ‘father’ almost 1,000 times, and the vast majority of those times refer to fleshly parents. Gen 2:24, Gen 9:22, Lev 20:9, Pr 17:25, Mk 10:29, Lk 11:11 are just a few examples. Our fathers are a blessing from God given to us for a time to guide and discipline us (Heb 12:9-10). They are worthy of honor and the title ‘father’ (Eph 6:2).
My boyfriend and I have been living together for about four years. We have a one-year-old son and are both very active in his daily life. To us, we have a perfect family, although we are not technically married. We love each other very much and do plan to spend the rest of our lives together and have made that commitment to one another. We would, however, like to wait until we are more financially stable to have a wedding ceremony as that can be quite expensive. We recently rededicated our lives to Christ and are wondering if we are living in sin. I believe that we are, but I am not sure what we should do about it. Does God expect us to no longer live together, to rip our family apart and destroy our son’s happiness? My boyfriend will not get married now as he does not believe we are living in sin as long as we are 100% committed to one another and have made a vow to one another and God that we plan to spend our lives only with one another. I really want to live my life for God and I do in all ways but this. I cannot imagine allowing this to destroy my family. Please offer some advice.
Mixed Emotions Mom
Dear Mixed Emotions Mom,
There is nothing more important to God than you, your boyfriend, and your child. God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us (Jhn 3:16). As a parent, can you imagine how deep His love for us must be to make such a sacrifice?
God wants what is best for us. The best thing is for you and your boyfriend to get married. Living together is wrong, and no matter how committed you are, it isn’t the same as being married. In Jhn 4:18, Jesus told a woman that she was not married even though she was living with a man. No matter how your boyfriend feels about you, he isn’t your husband. Show him Jhn 4:18, and then ask him (since you said you are both committed to serving Christ) what he wants to do about it.
As far as the costs involved with getting married, you don’t have to have a big wedding – a quick trip to the courthouse is perfectly fine. Save up and have a big party later. A big, extravagant ceremony is just a luxury, but being married is an issue of morality.
God doesn’t want to rip families apart; He wants us to be saved and to build our lives upon a proper foundation – Jesus Christ and His Word (1 Cor 3:11). It may seem like your life is working well now, but we can guarantee you that not listening to the Bible always makes things worse. There are some things that your child doesn’t fully understand but that you, as the parent, realize are dangerous or important. God is the same way. You don’t see why it is so important to be married, but God says it is. Will you trust Him, or will you trust yourself (Rom 10:17)? The answer to that question will decide your future and set the tone for your life and for your son’s life (Pr 22:6).
What would you tell a high school-age school student about Ouija boards and why it is wrong to use one? The student is not a christian. I am one of his teachers.
Teaching The Truth
Dear Teaching The Truth,
The Bible says that we should always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us (1 Pet 3:15). If this student asks you what you think of Ouija boards, all you have to do is say that you don’t use them because your faith is in the Bible, not superstition. The Bible has evidence that proves it is trustworthy; the Ouija board doesn’t. Our goal is always to direct people to the Bible. It isn’t about proving the Ouija board is wrong (although it is!); it is about showing people that the Bible is right. If someone learns to embrace God’s Word, they will naturally begin to repel that which is wrong. After all, there is only room for one master (Matt 6:24).
How do you put all your trust in God?
Another way of saying ‘trust’ is ‘faith’. If you put all your trust in God, you are putting all your faith in God. Rom 10:17 says that faith comes from hearing God’s Word, and Jas 2:18 says our level of faith is seen in our actions. So, we place our trust in God by studying His Word and then actively living lives of conviction based upon what the Bible says.
I was reading in Rev 22:19, and I firmly believe that once saved, always saved, but I’m having a tough time figuring this verse out. What are your thoughts on it?
We wouldn’t be so quick to hold firm to the teaching “once saved, always saved”. The idea that you can’t ever lose your salvation is a warping of Christ’s message in Jhn 10:27-29. “Once saved, always saved” is a basic doctrine of Calvinism (read “Calvin And Sobs” for more details on the errors of Calvinism).
The Bible clearly says that you can lose your salvation. Heb 3:12 says that we must be wary and protect our hearts because an evil, unbelieving heart can fall away. 2 Pet 3:17 says that we can lose our salvation if we get caught up in false teaching (1 Tim 4:1 also states this). If we return to a life of ungodliness, then we crucify Christ again (Heb 6:4-6). Rev 22:19 is another great example of how our lives must be faithful unto death if we wish to receive the heavenly prize (Rev 2:10).