Ask Your Preacher
What is with Mormons?
Scratching My Head
Dear Scratching My Head,
Those well-dressed, bike-helmet wearing young men traveling in pairs through your community are known as Mormons, and they are part of the Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). The LDS church was formed in the early 1800s by a man named Joseph Smith, Jr. Joseph Smith professed to have been visited by the angel, Moroni. Supposedly, Moroni directed Mr. Smith to a set of golden plates which he then dug up and translated from their ancient language into English. This “translation” is known as the Book of Mormon and is one of four books that the LDS church uses for guidance.
Okay, now that we’ve explained who they are, let’s see what the Bible says about Mormonism. God tells us that even if an angel preaches a different message than the Bible, he is accursed (Gal 1:8). That means that even if Moroni were real, Joseph Smith shouldn’t have listened to him. Secondly, the Bible tells us everything we need to know about life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3). We are also told to never add or subtract from the Word of God (Rev 22:18-19). Either the Book of Mormon says more than the Bible – in which case, we shouldn’t listen to it, or it says exactly the same thing as the Bible – in which case, we don’t need it! Ultimately, the LDS church is a false religion that is leading people astray and destroying their souls.
Why did Jesus have to die for our sins in order to be forgiven by God? Couldn't God have just forgiven man without the sacrifice of His son?
Let’s Make A Deal
Dear Let’s Make A Deal,
Rom. 3:21-26 covers that specific question. Jesus died on the cross because the Father wanted to justify us, and He also wanted to remain just. It wouldn’t be fair for God to simply forgive our sins because He liked us. That would be like a judge that punished the guilty… unless they were his friends. Only a crooked judge would show that sort of partiality. However, God is a righteous God. God doesn’t deny that our sins deserve eternal death (Rom 3:23). The Father sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. It wouldn’t have been fair for God to show partiality, but it is fair for Him to pay the price of our sins for us. It cost Jesus’ blood, but those who trust in Christ have been given the gift of having their punishment paid in full.
(This question is a follow-up to “Providing For Your Own”)
If a christian adopts a child, and many years later the biological parents of the child come to believe (based upon 1 Tim. 5:8) that they have a responsibility to be raising the child – what should the christian do?
Does God no longer hold them to be responsible for parenting the child?
Do I have the right to keep the child and keep them from doing what they believe is their responsibility to the child and to God? This is a serious matter. Please advise.
Dear Family Ties,
Once someone makes a vow, they are bound by it even if they later regret making it. When a child is adopted, the adoptive family has promised to take that child and make them part of their family – that is exactly why those parents are required to fulfill all biblical responsibilities of parenting. In like manner, when someone terminates their parental rights, they also become bound by their word, even if they later regret their decision.
People often make promises and decisions that they later regret and cannot change. When Esau gave up his birthright for a bowl of stew, he later regretted the decision but couldn’t change it (Heb 12:16-17). Esau gave it up, and that was that. He had to live with the consequences.
The nation of Israel did the same thing when they made a truce with the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites tricked Israel into making a pact with them even though God had warned Israel that this would cause them trouble. Israel murmured about the vow, but they were bound by it (Josh 9:18-20). We are bound by our word even if later we realize we should have done differently.
An adoptive family has total rights to keep the child, and the birthparents have zero rights to take them back. Both have made a vow and are bound by them.
If you have further questions on this issue, feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com, and please remember to include an e-mail address.
Should you shoot somebody in self-defense?
Dear Trigger Unhappy,
When the Bible commands us to not kill, the word used for ‘kill’ is the word that we would use for ‘murder’. Some of the most faithful men in the Bible were soldiers and had to kill people in the defense of their country. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), and yet David killed many people as a soldier. Jesus marveled at the faith of a centurion soldier (Matt 8:8-10). The first Gentile convert was Cornelius, a well-known Roman soldier (Acts 10:22). When a group of soldiers asked John the Baptist what they needed to do to live a faithful life, he told them to be honest and faithful… but he never told them to stop serving in the military (Lk 3:14). These are all examples of the difference between murder and self-defense (or war-time killing).
In the Old Testament, God made specific rules that allowed an individual to kill if they were defending their home or family (Ex 22:2). In Lk 22:35-39, Jesus tells His disciples that persecution will begin after He leaves and that they ought to “buy a sword” – this is certainly an endorsement of self-defense. All of these point to the fact that God distinguishes between defensive force and vigilante murder.
What does it mean to be born again?
Womb To Grow
Dear Womb To Grow,
A born-again person is just a christian; it is another way to say that you are saved. The terminology comes from Jhn 3:1-6 when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about salvation. In Jhn 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born again in order to enter the kingdom (the kingdom is the church – read “A Kingdom For All Nations” for further details on that). Nicodemus asks how it is possible for someone to be born again (Jhn 3:4), and Jesus explains that we must be born of the Spirit and water (Jhn 3:5). We are born of the Spirit when we listen and obey the words of the Holy Spirit found in the Bible (Jhn 6:63, 1 Cor 2:13), and we are born of water when we are baptized (1 Pet 3:21, Rom 6:4). When we heed the Scriptures and are baptized, we are born again… and we become christians (Mk 16:16, Matt 28:19).