Ask Your Preacher
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.
Is it bad to listen to heavy metal music?
Dear Rock On,
There is nothing wrong with listening to music of any type as long as it:
- Does not teach or profess evil ideas (such as drunkenness, promiscuity, immorality, violence, etc.)
- Is not full of foul or crass language (Eph 4:29).
Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Cor 15:33), and bad music is a form of bad company.
Having said that – any other type of music is perfectly permissible. Jesus even used music as an example of general happiness in the parable of the prodigal son (Lk 15:25).
Was Jesus actually God in the flesh? Is the trinity a true, factual idea? Or was Jesus created by God, and is He indeed His Son, like I am my dad's son? Thanks for your time.
Dear Family Facts,
Jesus is God. Jhn 1:1-3 and Jhn 1:14 say that Jesus is God. Col 1:15-17 says that all things were created by Jesus… which means Jesus wasn’t created. We often say that there is only one God… but technically, that is not the complete story. There are three Gods in the Godhead, and They all work together in perfect unity. Jesus is God (Matt 28:9), the Father is God (2 Thess 1:2), and the Holy Spirit is God (Gen 1:2). The word ‘God’ just means ‘deity’. Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are all deity. They function with complete unity (Jhn 10:30), but They are separate Beings. Jesus emptied Himself and became a human (Php 2:4-8). Jesus is God’s son because He was miraculously born (Matt 1:18), because the Father raised Him from the dead (Acts 13:33), and because Jesus obeyed Him as a Son (Jhn 8:28). It is that unique honor and connection that creates the Father-and-Son relationship between these two members of the Godhead.
(This question is a follow-up to “His Money”)
Is money given to the Lord attached to a particular church location, or is it to be used by the members that gave it? For example, when a church dissolves its membership, if the money is simply "the Lord’s", can it be used by another body of Christ for the Lord's work?
Dear Membership Required,
The location of the building isn’t the important thing; it is the organization of people who are guided by the elders that makes up a congregation (Php 1:1). The elders are in charge of properly using the money that sits in the local treasury (Acts 11:29-30). The local congregation’s leadership is held accountable for the distribution and use of the church’s funds. This Bible pattern ties the money to the congregation (even if they move down the street), not the specific physical building they meet in.
In the sad circumstance that a congregation dissolves, the faithful thing to do is to make sure the funds are properly used before dissolving – and one proper use would be to give the funds to another faithful congregation that could use them – just like Acts 11:29-30 shows.
You said getting baptized is a requirement to be saved. What happens if someone accepts Jesus and the same day that person passes away? For example, one of the criminals on the cross did not get baptized, and Jesus said to him, “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Dear Making Exceptions,
Part of accepting Christ is being baptized; those who obeyed Christ didn’t wait to be baptized later; they were baptized as soon as possible (Acts 16:33, Acts 8:36-38). In almost all cases, when someone makes the decision to obey Christ, there isn’t anything hindering them from being baptized immediately. In those extremely rare circumstances when someone can’t make it to water, God is a perfect judge and won’t make any mistakes in who does or doesn’t go to heaven (Heb 12:23).
As far as the thief on the cross, there are four solid explanations for why Jesus told him that he would be in Paradise. Read our article “The Thief On The Cross” for a full write-up on that particular question.
Regardless of how God deals with unique circumstances, the Bible tells us what we should do. If you are willing and able to be baptized, it is a commandment the Lord gives for salvation (1 Pet 3:21).