Ask Your Preacher
I am a minister that has been called to minister for about six years. Though I have been called, I have not always followed; I have recently accepted the position of youth pastor. I am expected to teach on purity and abstinence before marriage; how can I teach something that I myself did not preserve?
Dear Feeling Hypocritical,
If it is impossible to teach on something unless you have done it right yourself, nobody could say anything about morality because all have sinned (Rom 3:23). Paul preached on peace after killing Christians (Rom 12:18), and Peter preached on boldness after denying Christ (1 Pet 5:15-16). The truth is the truth regardless of how well we have personally followed it.
On a separate, but related note: a minister is different from a pastor – which one are you? If someone is going to be a pastor, he must meet the qualifications found in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:5-9. Another thing to consider is that the Bible never talks about ‘youth pastors’ and ‘senior pastors’. We would encourage you to read “Senior Citizen Pastor” because it sounds like you are caught up in a religious movement that doesn’t take God’s pattern for the church seriously, and if we don’t take God seriously, it doesn’t matter how much we clean up our lives.
I wanted to know if when you read I Timothy on the qualifications for a bishop, you read "...must be the husband of one wife" as excluding women from the office of a bishop. I always understood that particular verse to address having more than one wife since Israel had practiced that in their history. Also, the Scripture in I Corinthians as pertaining to women teaching was based on the Corinthian church at that time, etc. I would love to hear your expanded thoughts on this.
Dear Ladies’ Lib,
Pastors (Eph 4:11) – also known as elders or bishops (Tit 1:5-7) – are always men. The qualifications for pastors are given in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:5-9. As you said, one of those qualifications is that he must be “a husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2, Tit 1:6) – that clearly rules out females from becoming bishops. People have tried to say that these verses are just cultural or that they only pertained to those particular churches, but there is nothing in the Bible that says that. If we just take the Bible for what it says – elders must be men.
Everyone agrees that women can be servants in the church – the question isn’t whether women can serve; it is how they can serve. Phoebe was a servant of the church (Rom 16:1) and was praised for her service. Priscilla was also commended for her labor on behalf of the church (Rom 16:3). The Bible clearly shows women working in the church and in a very positive way. Women are seen serving in many capacities in the church, but they are never seen in positions of authority. Women are forbidden from having authority over men in the church… they are also forbidden from publicly teaching men (1 Tim 2:12). Women cannot be preachers or have positions within the church that allow them to have dominion (the word ‘dominion’ means ‘to have authority over’). Women are encouraged to teach other women (Tit 2:3-5) but to take a less authoritative role than men within the church and family. Paul explains the reason for this structure in 1 Tim 2:13. Adam was created first, and Eve was created as his helper. In both the family (Col 3:18-19) and the church (1 Cor 14:34), this principle is carried out. Eve was no less valuable than Adam, but she was designed for a different role.
As a child, what is the estimated age you have to be to not know Christ and not be saved and not go to Heaven? If a baby dies, will they go to Heaven? If a two-year-old dies, will they go to Heaven?
Dear Maturity Matters,
The age of accountability is the age when a child becomes accountable to God for their sins and would be judged for them… exactly at what age that happens is the tricky part of your question. We can tell you what the Bible says on the subject, but it doesn’t say much.
We know any baby that dies goes to heaven. David’s son died, and David made it clear that his son was in heaven (2 Sam 12:23). Also, Paul uses the immaturity of children as an example (1 Cor 13:11). This tells us God doesn’t have the same expectation of a child’s behavior as He does of an adult’s. Children are not bound by the same rules as adults. A child doesn’t have the mental capacity or maturity to be held accountable for their mistakes like adults are.
In order to become a christian, there are several things God expects you to be capable of doing:
1. Take responsibility for your sins (Acts 3:19).
2. Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
3. Be responsible for your own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
If a child is not capable of doing those things, they cannot be held accountable for their eternal future.
This still doesn’t answer the question though because every child matures at a different rate. Everyone agrees that a five-year-old can’t be held accountable, and that a twenty-year-old can. It is the age spectrum in between where our judgment gets fuzzy. Only God, who knows our hearts (Lk 16:15), can accurately judge the hour in which a child makes that transition into accountability.
How do you know if God is telling you to do something or if it is just a thought? Thank you.
Trying Not To Overthink It
Dear Trying Not To Overthink It,
God speaks to us through His Word. If we want to know God’s desire for our life, we must use the Bible to get our instructions. Faith comes from the Word (Rom 10:17), and the Bible contains all the information we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). If we want to understand what God wants for us, we can find the truth in the sum of His Word (Ps 119:160). Prophecies and visions are no longer given to people directly (1 Cor 13:8). Instead, God speaks to us through the teachings of His Son (Heb 1:1). It is normal for our emotions and desires to send us conflicting messages; that is exactly why God tells us to not trust ourselves or any “voice” that some churches tell us to listen for (Pr 3:5). Trust God’s Word, and it will be a lamp to your feet (Ps 119:105).
The human mind is a complex and wondrous thing (Ps 139:14). It is perfectly normal for our mind to make mental connections as we pray, study, sleep, etc. Those mental images aren’t visions; they are just your own thoughts as your mind meditates upon what you have said, read, or heard.
Do angels and demons appear to people today?
Keeping My Eyes Peeled
Dear Keeping My Eyes Peeled,
There is absolutely no way of knowing whether or not angels and demons appear to people today, but we do know that they don’t make themselves evident by demon possession or angels coming with new messages from God. Gal 1:8 says that angels have no new message to provide us with, and therefore, there is no need to visit people in the unmasked fashion they once did. In the days of the Old Testament, God spoke to mankind in various forms, including through angels, but now we only need to listen to His Son (Heb 1:1-2).