Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Canon Fodder

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
My question pertains to one omitted book of the Bible, in particular, the book of Enoch.  I have learned that certain religions have omitted certain books, mainly the Gnostic gospels.  I have found adequate reasons for these New Testament scriptures to be omitted in certain cultures, but what about the book of Enoch?  I have recently purchased a book containing the writings of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and it includes the book of Enoch!  I was SOOO excited because I had previously purchased a single copy of this book, but couldn't find any evidence of it containing any truth.  The Dead Sea Scrolls and my purchased book of Enoch are in correlation. Also, in the book of Jude 1:6, there are references made to the fallen angels which are made known in the book of Enoch!  What is this mystery all about?  Did they omit it because people were somehow calling upon fallen angels (or their offspring) by name (demonic worship)?  Is this book valid?

Sincerely,
Connecting Dots

Dear Connecting Dots,

There are many writings that were included with the Dead Sea Scrolls that have non-biblical origins.  There are non-biblical writings that include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and wisdom writings.  Just because the book of Enoch was included in the Dead Sea Scrolls doesn't mean that it ought to be included in the Bible.

The question of what books to include in the Bible and what books to exclude as false is a major issue – and it is an issue that the early christians had to face.  Twenty-seven books are included in the New Testament canon (the word ‘canon’, when applied to Scripture, means ‘the officially accepted list of books’), and each one of these books is documented by early christians as being a divinely-inspired piece of literature.  In other words, the early christians believed that God wrote it.

The key to understanding why some books are included in the Bible and other books (even books from the same time period) are excluded is to remember that the Bible claims to be God’s Book (2 Pet 1:19-21).  The early christians (or Jews in the case of the Old Testament) lived during the time when these books were being written, and they were fully aware of who was doing the writing.  Today, we can’t tell which religious documents were written by apostles and which documents were written by heretics… but the early christians certainly could!  If someone claimed that a letter was written by the apostle Paul, all they had to do to verify the authenticity of the letter was to ask Paul for themselves.  The early christians were in the best position to differentiate between authentic apostolic writings and manmade documents.  This is exactly why the early church quickly adopted the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, and they have been almost universally accepted as the only New Testament books ever since.  Numerous historical documents verify that the New Testament canon that we use today was accepted, read, collected, distributed, and used by the early christians from very early on.  People who seek to say that they have “found” some new Bible books that have been missing from the canon have to prove that their books were accepted by christians (or Jews if discussing Old Testament canon) from the beginning – no one has been able to do that.

 

Choosing A New Lifestyle

Monday, April 18, 2011
Hello, I am the friend in “A Chosen Lifestyle“, and I am writing this as an update/question.  First, I want to say thank you for the advice, and this site is wonderful!  I have made lots of progress thanks to God's grace, and I am trying hard to repent; however, I am still struggling to some extent.  Although I am reading my Bible almost every day and asking God for His grace to give me a new mindset and a healthy christian life, I’m still having to deal with this terrible thing.  I know I’m beating this slowly but surely, but it’s very hard and troubling.  I was just wondering if you had any advice on beating the devil and his temptations.  Thank you so much!  God bless!!

Sincerely,
Turning The Tide

Dear Turning The Tide,

Words cannot express how happy we are for you and how proud we are that you are fighting this addiction!  Thank you so much for giving us an update.  Aside from the verses that we already mentioned in “A Chosen Lifestyle Pt. 2”, here are some other verses to consider.

When a sin becomes so entrenched in your life that you are enslaved to it (Jhn 8:34), you are dealing with an addiction.  Addictions are formed by habits, and habits are formed by repeatedly making the same choices.  James describes this process in Jas 1:13-15.  All sins begin with a mental decision.  If you want to remove an addiction, isolate the choices that are putting you in the position to commit that sin.  If you change the environment and circumstances that lead you to a sin, you change the future playing field.

We are also told that a powerful tool in defeating sin is confessing our sins to one another (Jas 5:16).  Sin likes to be kept secret (Jhn 3:20), and bringing it to light by making it public goes a long way in defeating habitual sin.  A very popular way of getting this sort of accountability is by using accountability software that forwards your browsing history to a friend or trusted individual.  Companies like x3watch and CovenantEyes make accountability software, and many struggling pornography addicts have found it to make a huge difference.  If you want to defeat sin, you must expose it.  Confess your sin to others, and you will begin to see change.

Assemble with a faithful church (Heb 10:24-25).  If you read our posts regularly, you have probably already seen that many churches aren’t biblically sound.  Read “Down With Denominationalism” for some insight into the religious confusion of America.  If you aren’t already a part of a congregation that follows the Bible pattern, we would be happy to help you find one.  There is no greater help to our spiritual growth than to be stimulated and encouraged by people of like-precious faith.  There is strength in numbers (Eccl 4:12).

And last, but not least - don’t give up.  A righteous man falls, but he keeps getting back up (Pr 24:16).  A failure doesn’t become permanent until you let it.  Keep trying.  Congratulations on your current successes, and we pray for many more victories on your behalf.

 

Possession-Proof

Sunday, April 17, 2011
Can a demon enter the spirit of a saved christian?

Sincerely,
Thick-Skinned

Dear Thick-Skinned,

Demons no longer have the power to possess people, but even when they did, they couldn’t possess just any soul.  Jesus bound the demons and prevented them from ever again possessing people (read “Exhorting The Exorcist” for details).  Furthermore, Jesus taught that a demon needed an “empty home” to possess.  If someone filled their lives with good behavior and godly faith, there was no room for a demon to take over.  This is what Jesus taught in Matt 12:43-45.  Demons never had the power to take over the life of a faithful individual.

 

The Missed Messiah

Saturday, April 16, 2011
Why don't Jews acknowledge the fact that Jesus is the Messiah?

Sincerely,
What Are They Waiting For?

Dear What Are They Waiting For,

The Jews of the first-century and the Jewish community of today don’t want to accept the New Testament because Jesus wasn’t the kind of Messiah they were (and are) expecting.  Jesus came to set up a spiritual kingdom (Jhn 18:36), and instead of creating a powerful, physical Israel… He died a gruesome death.  The Jews were anticipating a physical restoration of their nation (Acts 1:6), but Jesus created a spiritual kingdom that dwells within the hearts of faithful men and women (Lk 17:21).  When the Jews tried to make Jesus an earthly king, He refused (Jhn 6:15).  Jesus’ death is a stumbling block and offense to any Jew expecting a powerful and mighty Messiah (1 Cor 1:23).  Jesus just wasn’t the kind of king they wanted.

 

The Santa Clause

Friday, April 15, 2011
Is it wrong for Christian parents to lie to their children about Santa Claus and the Easter bunny, etc.?

Sincerely,
The Truth Hurts

Dear The Truth Hurts,

It is always wrong to lie; the question is whether telling your kids about Santa Claus is lying or not.  Many christians have many different views on this.  Some christians tell their children that Santa is imaginary because they feel that is honest.  Other christians allow their children to believe in Santa and simply don’t dissuade them from the notion until they ask point-blank.  No matter what, christians must in good conscience do what they believe is honest.  Lying is always wrong (Rev 21:8).  The debate isn’t over whether or not lying is a sin; the debate is over whether or not allowing your children to believe in something imaginary counts as being deceptive.  Each must do what they believe is faithful and right… it would not be good to be too dogmatic on this point.

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