Ask Your Preacher
Why is there a New Testament if God never changes?
God never changes, but humans do, and mankind wasn’t ready for Christ’s law in the beginning. Gal 3:24 says that the Old Testament law was a tutor to lead people to Christ. Just like beginning arithmetic must be taught before you dive into calculus, the Old Law prepared people for a greater and more perfect law. The Old Testament taught people about sin (Rom 3:20), and it showed that all mankind had sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Rom 3:23). The Old Testament law was added because of sin and as a preparation for Jesus’ entrance into the world (Gal 3:19). The Old Law could never save people because all a law can do is condemn the law-breaker – only the gift of Christ’s blood can provide forgiveness for the sinner (Gal 3:13). The New Testament combines God’s laws with a plan to provide forgiveness for those who break those laws.
I have a difficult decision to make. This guy that I am dating is Hindu. I just found out today. I don't know what to do; is it okay to date people outside of your religion? I have always believed it wouldn't be, but I am not sure. Please help.
Dear Hindu Hindered,
You are right to be concerned. It isn’t necessarily wrong to date someone who is Hindu, but you should be working toward his conversion WAY before marriage. ‘Inter-faith’ marriages have disastrous results, an awful track record, and God warns against them. The Bible’s most notorious example of this is Solomon. Solomon’s idolatrous wives turned the heart of the wisest man on the planet away from God (1 Kgs 11:4). If Solomon in all of his wisdom couldn’t resist the pull of a false religion, we should consider ourselves just as vulnerable. There is too much at stake. If your heart is turned away from God, your soul will be eternally destroyed (Heb 3:12).
No matter how much two people love each other, there are only five possible outcomes for a christian marrying a Hindu, and only one of them is good:
- He eventually converts and obeys the gospel, becomes a christian, and is saved (GOOD).
- You eventually convert and follow Hinduism, and you are both lost (BAD).
- You both make compromises in your beliefs, and you no longer fully serve the Lord (BAD).
- You both eventually renounce both of your belief systems, and are both lost (BAD).
- You bear through a lifetime of disagreement on the most important thing in life. You stand strong in the faith, but are hindered in the amount of service you can provide the Lord (BAD).
The only positive outcome is the first one, and that isn’t any more likely to happen after marriage than before. Either he will eventually convert, or he won’t – serious romantic commitment and/or marriage won’t increase those odds.
God warns against being ‘unequally yoked’ to someone with different values than you (2 Cor 6:14-16). Once you get married, you are ‘yoked’ to that person with a lifetime agreement. A godly marriage is designed around unity (Gen 2:24). If you aren’t unified on your core belief system, then everything else will be affected. Where would your children go to church? How much money would you contribute to God’s church – would he, being a Hindu, be okay with contributing anything at all? What happens when he wants to put up Hindu emblems around the house? These are just a few of the thousands of day-to-day problems inter-faith marriages present. God tells us that a christian should marry someone ‘in the Lord’ (1 Cor 7:39). It is time to have a serious heart-to-heart with this fellow and see if it is possible to get on the same spiritual page.
What are the dangers of church hopping?
Dear Bunny Steps,
Being a member of a congregation is about more than just hearing God’s Word; it is about being a committed, active participant in supporting and encouraging God’s people. There are no examples of christians in the Bible who weren’t members of a local church. Even the apostle Paul, with all of his traveling, was a member of the church in Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). God tells us that part of the purpose of the church assembly is to stimulate and encourage one another to love and good works (Heb 10:24-25). Is it enough to just stay at home and watch sermons on television or listen to ones you have downloaded from the internet? If the only purpose of church attendance is to hear the Word, then those would be acceptable alternatives to going to church. We are supposed to get together each Sunday and partake of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 11:20), and God intended for christians to be a part of a local congregation with elders and deacons to help shepherd them (1 Pet 5:2). God knows what is best for us, and it is in our best interest to assemble with other christians in a local church. We are all different, and our differences help to strengthen us, protect us, and better serve Christ (Eph 4:14-16). If all you do is “church hop”, then you don’t have the blessings of the local eldership, interwoven lives with other local saints, and participating fully in the growth of the church’s work. Church membership isn’t just about what you get; it is about what you are able to give.
I believe, or should say I want to believe, I am love and called for something more, but have yet to feel the full presence of God. But tonight, in a very real time of doubt, I was called to a non-existent verse, yet it led me straight to a passage that read, "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;” (Mk 16:17)
Please tell me this is not false faith? Am I not just as important as Moses, Noah, Job, or other "men" of faith?
Hoping For Spirituality
Dear Hoping For Spirituality,
We are all equally important in God's eyes, but that doesn't mean that we all are called for the same purpose or that we all should receive miraculous abilities to prophecy, speak in tongues, or cast out demons. Miraculous gifts are no longer present in the church. They are no longer needed because we have the complete and perfect Word of God (1 Cor 13:8-10). For further details on this, read “Speaking in Tongues”, “The Lost Art of Prophecy”, and “Spoken Like A True Friend”.
Mark 16:17 is not referring to all Christians, but instead it is referring to the “signs that would accompany” Christianity. As the gospel first spread, God used miracles to attest to the authenticity of the apostles’ claims that Jesus was the Son of God (Mk 16:20). These signs and wonders were God’s way of supernaturally bearing witness to the preaching (Heb 2:2-4). Miracles do not make you a Christian; obedience to the will of God does (Rom 12:2). Read “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” to understand, verse-by-verse, what it takes to become a Christian. Do not accept anything but the Scriptures. Only God’s Word holds the answers to our salvation (Rom 1:16).
I have a question. Are sport bars sinful? Some people say that they are because there is nothing good in those places. The lust of the women who work there and that go there, beer, drunkenness, and fights – all of those are wrong.
A Sporting Chance?
Dear A Sporting Chance,
You’ve answered your own question. Bars and taverns are not the kind of place a Christian should be. Our responsibility as Christians is to try and flee immorality (1 Tim 6:11) and flee temptation (2 Tim 2:22). Alcohol is part of a culture that emphasizes worldliness. Christians should use wisdom in every situation to discern between habits that are generally beneficial and habits that are generally destructive. God never specifically condemns all alcohol, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13). A sports bar is an establishment designed as one big drinking party. Avoid bars at all costs.