Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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Accidental Stumble

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
      In the Old Testament, it talks about unintentional sin.  Is there also unintentional (accidental) sin in the New Testament, like Paul before his conversion?  Thank you.

Sincerely,
Sinful By Mistake

Dear Sinful By Mistake,

Unintentional sins are committed every single day.  Paul said that all of his sins had been committed out of ignorance and in a clear conscience (1 Tim 1:13, Acts 23:1).  Paul also pointed out that he still needed mercy for his unintentional sins.  Ignorance is an explanation for our sins, but it doesn’t excuse our guilt.  God is patient with us, but eventually, we are responsible for seeking to remove our ignorance by finding the truth of God’s Word (Acts 17:30).  It is understandable when people sin because they don’t know any better, and that understanding engenders God’s compassion (as it should ours), and that is exactly why God’s love sent His Son, so we might have a way of escape from our unintentional rebellion (Jhn 3:16).

That Sinking Feeling

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Do you have to be baptized to go to heaven?

Sincerely,
Immersed In Questions

Dear Immersed In Questions,

The most well-documented and clearest doctrine in the New Testament is baptism… yet, it is also the most commonly ignored topic in the religious world.  It is impossible to be saved without being baptized.  Peter said it best when he said, “Baptism saves you” (1 Pet 3:21).  Every person that became a christian in the New Testament was baptized – immediately.  You won’t find a single person in the book of Acts that wasn’t baptized.  When the first sermon was preached after Christ ascended into heaven, the apostles told the people that they needed to “repent and be baptized… for the remission of their sins” (Acts 2:38).  Paul tells us that baptism is a burial with Christ, and only after that burial do we receive a new life (Rom 6:3-4).  Baptism was so important to Paul that he was baptized even before eating or drinking (Acts 9:18-19), which shows how important it is because Paul hadn’t had food or water in three days (Acts 9:9)!  Belief is not enough; even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19).  It is only when our belief is combined with obedience that we have living faith (Jas 2:17-18), and the very first command to obey that God gives us is to be baptized in the name of His Son (Matt 28:19, Mk 16:16).

A Day Of Accounting

Tuesday, August 16, 2011
     The Bible says we all must give an account before God.  But it also says the blood of Jesus covers our sins, and God remembers them no more.  If we are in Christ and do our best to be faithful and obedient, what is the account christians will give before God?  What if the account we give is displeasing to God?

Sincerely,
Don’t Judge Me

Dear Don’t Judge Me,

The verse that says we all must give account for ourselves before God is Rom 14:12, and it is in the context of explaining that brethren shouldn’t judge one another but leave the judgment up to God (Rom 14:10).  The point of that verse isn’t that we all need to be able to eloquently speak to God on the Judgment Day; it is that we each are responsible for our own behavior and choices in life.  You can’t get to heaven riding anyone else’s coattails.

If you are in Christ, then on the Judgment Day, your meeting with God will be a pleasant one – He has forgiven your sins and will tell you to enter into His joy (Matt 25:21).

Baptist Bewilderment

Monday, August 15, 2011
     Is the Baptist religion one that goes by the Bible?

Sincerely,
Looking For The Truth

Dear Looking For The Truth,

We will admit that Baptist churches are much more Bible-centered than most of the denominational world, but just because they say that they do exactly what the Bible says doesn’t make it true.  Many of the things that the Baptist church believes are right, but there are some glaring practices that simply ignore Scripture.  Remember, if you avoid or ignore verses, that is just as bad as adding to the Bible (Rev 22:18-19).  We have to take every Bible teaching, no matter how unpopular, and accept it in order to truly call ourselves a “Bible-only” congregation.  So let’s take a look at a couple of areas that this Baptist church is ignoring obvious Bible text.

  1. Baptism is necessary for salvation.  This is one of the clearest teachings in the New Testament.  Peter literally wrote, “Baptism saves you” in 1 Pet. 3:21.  Mark 16:16 teaches that when you believe and are baptized, you are saved.  There is not a single example of someone becoming a christian without baptism.  If a church is teaching that baptism is only symbolic… it is ignoring the text.  In fact, the Baptist church’s manual specifically says, “Baptism was the door into the church; now it is different” (Standard Manual for Baptist Churches pg. 22).  Feel free to read our article “Baptism” for further Scriptures on this topic.
  2. The Bible openly teaches that you can lose your salvation.  Gal 5:4 says that people can be “severed from Christ” and “fall away from grace”.  1 Tim 4:1 also warns that people will fall away and follow false teachings.  Heb 3:12 also mentions falling away because of an unbelieving heart.  The clearest verse on this topic is Heb 6:4-6 because it talks about someone who was “enlightened” and had “tasted the heavenly gift” and yet were “crucifying Christ again”.  Once again, these are simple verses with clear and direct implications.  Most Baptist churches teaches that you cannot be lost.
  3. The Lord’s Supper.  The Baptist church only takes the Lord’s Supper every once and a while.  Where is the Bible authority and support for that?  Where in the Bible does it show christians taking communion every four months, two weeks, yearly, etc.?  Acts 20:7 mentions christians taking the Lord’s Supper on the first day of the week.  Once again, this is a plain teaching with a simple consequence.  If we want to be like the first-century christians… we take communion every first day of the week.

This is hardly an exhaustive answer to everything that the Baptist church does, but it should be enough to give you an idea that there are some clear verses that are being avoided.  God tells us to test all teaching against the Scripture (1 Jn 4:1).  No congregation advertises that they are ignoring parts of the Bible, but many churches do exactly that.

Hands In The Air

Monday, August 15, 2011
     Is it biblical to raise your hand(s) during praise and worship songs?  Why do people raise their hand(s) during song?  Is there a right and wrong way to lift your hand(s)?

Sincerely,
Palms Up

Dear Palms Up,

The practice of lifting up your hands during worship is traced to 1 Tim 2:8, but unfortunately, many people misunderstand this verse.  There is nothing wrong with literally lifting up your hands to God, but Paul is telling them to “lift up holy hands, without wrath and disputing”.  The context is about a certain lifestyle that people were to have.  It is similar to the saying, “Put your hand to the plow” in Lk 9:62.  ‘Lifting up holy hands’ refers to working, laboring, and serving in a godly way.  Christians are to serve God faithfully, without arguing and disputing with each other.  ‘Lifting up holy hands’ has nothing to do with how high your arms are raised when you pray; it has to do with the character of the life you live.  Are we living holy lives when our hands serve God (1 Cor 4:12)?  Raising your hands during worship has the impression of godliness, but living faithful lives actually fulfills God’s command to ‘lift up holy hands’ (2 Tim 3:5).

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