Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Church Or Synagogue?

Monday, November 28, 2011
     My friend invited me to go a Jewish church, and I feel kind of funny about going since I am a Christian, and I don’t know anything about their type of services and what they believe.  Should I go?  Don’t they follow the first five books of the Bible and don’t believe in Jesus?  I thought we weren't under the Laws of Moses in the Old Testament since Christ came.

Sincerely,
Not A Jew

Dear Not A Jew,

There isn’t anything wrong with visiting a Jewish church as long as you understand that they are lost and need our help.  Paul used to visit the synagogues to preach Jesus to them (Acts 18:4).  The Jews are not Jesus’ chosen people; the church is.  Jesus says that Christians are His royal priesthood and chosen race (1 Pet 2:9).  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 decided to keep their traditions instead of accepting God’s Son (Mk 7:9).

Practice What You Preach

Monday, November 28, 2011
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?

Sincerely,
Feeling Hypocritical

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.

Feminine Ways

Sunday, November 27, 2011
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.

Sincerely,
Ladies’ Lib

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.

Needless Tribulation

Saturday, November 26, 2011
     When God returns for the seven-year trial on Earth from Revelation, and they say that in order to eat, you have to get the devil’s signature… if you do that to feed your kids, do you go to hell for getting the signature, or do you still go to heaven?

Sincerely,
For The Children

Dear For The Children,

The tribulation taught by many denominations is based off of a misinterpretation of Matthew chapter twenty-four.  Matt 24 is dealing with the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Jewish temple that would happen in 70 AD.  If we carefully pay attention to the context, Jesus is talking about the Jewish temple’s destruction, not a worldwide trial thousands of years in the future (Matt 24:1-2).  Jesus specifically said that the tribulation would occur within that generation’s lifetime (Matt 24:34).

There will be a day when all the faithful are caught up to meet Christ in the heavens.  The day He returns (Acts 1:11), all mankind will be judged at the same time (Jhn 5:28-29).  In that great day (Jude 1:6), the whole world will be burned up with fire (2 Pet 3:10-12).  There will be no post-tribulation, pre-tribulation, semi-tribulation, etc.; there will only be the great Day of Judgment (2 Pet 3:7, 1 Jn 4:17).  If you would like a more in-depth look at the book of Revelation, we have a series of classes on the book that can be found at sermons.mvchurchofchrist.org.

An Age Old Problem

Friday, November 25, 2011
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?

Sincerely,
Maturity Matters

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.

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