Ask Your Preacher
I am a woman, and an opening has come up to teach the teenage class in my congregation. Upon mentioning my interest, one of the women said it probably wouldn't be a good idea since there are boys in the class, and some members might have a problem with that. When is a boy considered too old to be taught by a female in a church Bible class?
Ready To Educate
Dear Ready To Educate,
The Scriptures are clear about a woman teaching a man – she can’t do it (1 Tim. 2:12). Your question doesn’t deal with a woman teaching a man. Instead, it is addressing when a male becomes a man. That issue is a much more difficult one because there is no exact answer. There are two parts to your question:
- When do we recognize a boy as a man?
- What should a congregation do in order to have harmony when a boy is baptized or is nearing adulthood?
The first question is easily answered – we don’t know. The Scriptures never say. Society recognizes eighteen as adult enough to be considered completely responsible for oneself. Even that is just an arbitrary number. In reality, every child matures at a different rate, and there is no magic moment of transition from childhood to adulthood. Everyone agrees a ten-year-old is a child and a twenty-year-old is an adult, but it is the ages in between that leave us scratching our heads.
The second question is an issue of dealing with opinions. Realistically, when a young person is baptized, some will consider him or her an instant adult; others will recognize it as a decision that shows maturity but not adulthood. Consequently, in the case of a boy, a congregation will have some that feel he can no longer have a woman Bible class teacher, and others will think it is still appropriate. Both views are an opinion, and we can’t stand hard and fast on either view. Rom 14:13 says that in such cases, we should do whatever will not cause division or hurt anyone’s conscience. If the congregation is being torn apart by a woman teaching a newly baptized boy, put him in a different class with a male teacher. If a woman has been teaching him and no longer feels she can do it in clear conscience, she should be allowed to recuse herself as his teacher. No matter what, in issues of opinion, peace and edification should be sought above all else (Rom 14:19). Wisdom will have to be used to decide what is the best course in each circumstance.
I'm really confused now, and I need some help. Why does the Bible talk about the Pharisees when they are referring to something bad? Did they do anything bad, or are they bad or anything?
Not A Pharisee
Dear Not A Pharisee,
The Pharisees were a group of religious teachers that imposed their traditions and opinions upon people. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for adding to God’s Word and following tradition instead of truth (Mk 7:10-13). The Pharisees were constantly laying burdens on people that couldn’t be found in the Scriptures (Matt 23:4). The Pharisees were hypocritical because they pretended to be very righteous people, but it was all a public show done out of pride (Matt 23:27). The Pharisees are a great example of what is wrong with much of religion. When we don’t follow the Scriptures, our religion just becomes an act that doesn’t please God.
My question is this: what will happen to Jewish people upon His return who don't believe in Jesus Christ?
Dear Hebrew Hopeful,
Under the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s nation (Deut 7:6). The Jewish nation was warned that if they rejected God’s Son, they would be rejecting God, and God would make a new nation out of those who believed in Christ (Jesus explained this to the Jews in the parable of the vineyard – Lk 20:9-19). The vast majority of Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, and therefore, they never became a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ chosen people are those that love Him and keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). The Jewish people rejected God because they would rather have had their traditions than God’s Son (Mk 7:9). Today, Jews would be bound by the same rules regarding salvation as every other person on the planet.
When we are born, are we guilty of sin?
Not Born Yesterday
Dear Not Born Yesterday,
The teaching that we are born sinful is a Calvinist teaching called ‘Total Depravity’. Total Depravity means that Calvinists believe that everyone is born completely sinful and depraved. A totally depraved human is incapable of doing good or pleasing God. This is completely false. All babies are born without sin and perfect in God’s sight (even David recognized that his dead child was going to be in heaven [2 Sam 12:23]). Sin is not a birthright; it is a choice (Gen 4:6-7, Jas 1:13-15). Humans sin when they choose to do wrong; they are not born in sin.
The false teaching of ‘original sin’ is very common in today’s society. If a congregation teaches that you are born in sin, they are false teachers. Sin is a choice we make in life (Isa 7:15-16), and all humans are born upright and good (Eccl 7:29).
Why am I so numb to Jesus' love?
It is impossible to say why you (or anyone else) feel a certain way. Emotions are fickle and can be deceiving. Some people feel that they are saved when, in fact, they are lost (Matt 7:21-23), but whether our heart condemns us or not isn’t what saves us (1 Jn 3:19-21). It is our adherence to God’s Word that saves us (Rom 1:16). If you are doing what God says you must do to be saved, then you can have confidence regardless of how you feel (see “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” for further details). Serving God is often an issue of doing what is right without regard to our emotions… showing bravery when we are afraid, working when we are tired, praying when we feel we aren’t heard, and persevering when we are discouraged. One of Satan’s greatest tools to destroy us is that we often don’t feel as we ought, and sin has a way of numbing us to the truth of God’s Word (Heb 3:13). The only way to combat the callusing effect of sin is to choose that which is right and reject that which is wrong. Do that, and we guarantee you will see your heart begin to soften.