Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

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En Garde!

Monday, October 10, 2011
     In your response to a question about calling clergy “father”, you once again led the reader to accept your personal, fallible interpretation of Scripture. Unless you are claiming your interpretations are infallible?  Why not give your reader a more complete picture of what Scripture has to say on this subject?  Why not point out that Jesus Himself used the term “father” in a spiritual sense?  Unless you are saying that the rich man was Abraham’s physical (biological) son (Lk 16:24-25)?

Why does Paul refer to christians in Corinth as his children? Are they all his biological children (1 Cor 4:14-15)?

What about the apostle John? Are they all his biological children (1 Jn 2:1)?  What about the Old Testament?  Joseph tells his brothers, “So it was not you who sent me here, but God, and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt” in Genesis 45:8.  Job has a similar statement, “I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know” (Job 29:16).

I think you guys know better than that.  I think you know Jesus, John, and even Paul all used the term “father” in a spiritual sense.  Again, I find it interesting that you leave these verses out in order to “hit a home run” against a faith system you disagree with.  The Catholic Church is not, nor ever has been “wrong” concerning this issue.  How could they be?  If every christian is meant to search the Scriptures and determine doctrine based on the Scriptures, why are your interpretations correct and my interpretations incorrect?  I see the term “father” used in a spiritual sense all throughout the Bible.  Thus, if I am interpreting Scripture the same as you are, who are you to tell me I am wrong?  You even admit in a previous response to a question ("Trust No Man"): “We aren’t infallible here at AYP; we are just men.”  You might want to consider your previous statements before going and making an “infallible” proclamation concerning the practices of others.

Sincerely,
Swiss Guard

Dear Swiss Guard,

Oh, Swiss Guard, how we have missed you and your anonymous rants.  It is too bad that you never provide your e-mail address, so we could personally search the Scriptures together… it seems like all you want is to use our website to publicly voice your frustrations – but we digress.

First off, we have dealt with the way that Peter, Jesus, and John used the term ‘father’ – feel free to read the post from January 13th, 2011 entitled “Parental Paradox” for an explanation of all those verses that you say we leave out.  We’ve handled this concern before.  We don’t avoid verses – we just keep them in context… unlike the Catholic church.

As far as Lk 16:24-25, the rich man was a Jew, and he would have considered Abraham his biological ancestor – just like all the Jews did (Jhn 8:39).  And Job 29:16 is literally saying that Job treated the poor like they were his children.

Now lastly, let’s deal with the idea of interpretation.  The Bible tells us that it isn’t a matter of private interpretation (2 Pet 1:20).  What you think and what we think doesn’t matter at all – what matters is what God said.  That is why we always give lots of verses to back up our answers, so readers can check the Scriptures for themselves.  People are fallible, but the Bible never changes and we encourage people to double-check for themselves.  But that doesn’t mean that we can each believe whatever we want and all be okay – if that were the case, there would be no such thing as right and wrong at all!  Instead, God’s Word is right though every man be found a liar (Rom 3:4).  Just like a roadmap or an instruction manual – it says what it says... not what you want it to say.

In the end, Catholicism is a false religion because it isn’t built upon the Bible.  Any religion that doesn’t use the Bible as its standard of measure is false (Gal 1:8).  The Catholic church tells people that they can’t eat certain foods, and it tells their priests that they can’t marry – which is wrong (1 Tim 4:3).  The Catholic church teaches that the Pope is directly in contact with God and that people should follow him… once again, wrong.  Christ is our direct connection to God (Heb 1:1-4), and the Bible is what we should follow (2 Tim 3:16-17).  Everything about the Catholic church’s organization is in direct opposition to the Scriptures.  The question isn’t how old a church is; the question is whether or not Christ is its head (Eph 5:23).  There is only one pattern for the church (Eph 4:4-6), and the Catholic church is not it.  But, don’t take our word for it – take His.

A Parent's Sorrow

Sunday, October 09, 2011
     My daughter thinks it's okay for women to love women in a way that men and women are supposed to be in a relationship.  She tells me, “God is love,” and that's what her relationship is, and she also believes that I am judging her.  I know that the devil has blinded her, and my heart aches because I raised my children in church, and I pray for her deliverance.  What do I do?

Sincerely,
Sick Over This

Dear Sick Over This,

If you are looking for verses to show your daughter on the subject of homosexuality, the clearest two in the New Testament are Rom 1:26-27 and Jude 1:7.  However, as you implied, the problem is more than just finding the verses; it is how to act toward a child that has chosen a sinful lifestyle.

There may not be any greater pain on this planet than the pain a parent feels on behalf of their children.  Whether your children have hurt you or you are watching your children hurt, it is a devastating heaviness upon your soul (Pr 10:1).

All you can ever do for your grown children is be a good example, pray for their souls, and stand firm in the truth.  Be that light of Christ that they need to see (Matt 5:14).  Hate the sin, but love them.  Sin causes pain in people’s lives, and hopefully, when that pain gets deep enough – they will choose to look to your example and the Lord’s Will for answers.

Don't Oversimplify

Saturday, October 08, 2011
Is it a sin to be married when I was divorced before?  Will my husband go to hell if he stays married to me even if I was married before?

Sincerely,
Worried Wife

Dear Worried Wife,

It isn’t necessarily a sin for you to be married when you have been divorced before.  The situation depends on a lot of various factors, but be wary of anyone that tells you that Matt 19:9 forces you to divorce your current spouse and nullify your current marriage; there is more to it than that.  This issue is a big issue, and each individual must study the Scriptures concerning this before making a personal decision about it.  Whenever people send us questions dealing with marriage, divorce, and remarriage, we always point them toward our sermon series on the topic.  That series should answer most questions about the subject.  If there are still questions after listening to those five lessons – feel free to write back, but please make sure to include your e-mail, so we can contact you directly.  Here is a link to that series of sermons: “Marriage, Divorce, And Remarriage”.  We appreciate your desire to find and do what is right.

Hardening Of The Arteries

Friday, October 07, 2011
     Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart when Aaron went to tell him to let His people go?  Doesn't that go against free will??

Sincerely,
Chisel In Hand

Dear Chisel In Hand,

It is true that Ex 7:3 says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, but Ex 8:15 says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.  Both are true.  God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by sending Moses to take Pharaoh’s slaves away, and Pharaoh chose to allow the plagues to anger and harden his heart instead of soften it.  God sent the events that affected Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh chose how he would react to them.

It is the same as the statement, “I made him angry” versus “He got angry with me.”  It is true that our words and actions can cause a reaction from others, but at the same time, when someone gets angry, that is still their choice.  Pharaoh was the kind of person that when confronted with the signs and wonders from God, he hardened his heart and became angry.  God sent the signs and wonders; Pharaoh chose to react like he did.

Breaking The Cycle

Thursday, October 06, 2011
     I'm a born-again christian.  I believe the Bible and have faith in Jesus Christ.  However, there is one sin that I seem to continuously go to willingly.  After this sin, I pray and ask God to forgive me and to give me help to not commit the sin again, yet, I find myself committing it once more.  After sinning, I'm always fearful for my spiritual life and repent saying that I will never do it again.  Idle hands truly are the devil’s work!  Should I be fearful for my salvation?  I'm not looking for a ‘yes’ in hopes of continuing to commit the sin.  I'm just trying to put my mind at rest and for answers on how to stop committing this sin.  Thanks and God bless.

Sincerely,
Repeat Offender

Dear Repeat Offender,

There are two parts to your question:

  1. How many times can I ask for forgiveness for the same sin?
  2. How do I remove this sin from my life?

The answer to the first question is simple. You can ask for forgiveness an innumerable amount of times. Christ told Peter that we should forgive ‘seventy times seven’ (Matt 18:21-22). Paul was forgiven of his sins even after killing christians and actively persecuting the church (1 Tim 1:16). As often as we truly repent, God is ready to forgive (Lk 17:4). It is quite possible to truly repent of something and then find yourself doing that same thing not minutes later. It happens in arguments all the time! You say something mean, apologize, then find yourself upset again, and again use rash words. The repeating of the cycle is not necessarily an indication of false sorrow.

However, the second part of your question deals with stopping this cycle. God will forgive you for stumbling again into the same sin, but only if you are truly attempting to change your mind. Paul reminds us that we are to do everything we can to flee from the slavery to sin (Rom 6:1-2, Rom 6:12-13). Without knowing what sin you are caught up in, I can’t give specific advice, but I recommend getting help if it is as consuming as you say. Many sins can become addictions that are very hard to break. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Are you trying to change all on your own? God says two are stronger than one (Eccl 4:9-10). In the case of sin like pornography, many people try and struggle through it alone without seeking help because of the shame involved in it becoming known. This rarely, if ever, works. Telling someone, even just one trusted friend, and using things like Covenant Eyes accountability software can make all the difference in such circumstances.
  2. Are you putting yourself in compromising situations? People with drug and alcohol addictions are often tempted back into their old habits by drinking buddies or parties where drugs are made available. You may need to cut off certain people and habits from your life in order to escape that sort of sin. Remember, Christ said it would be better to remove even your own hand if it would free you from a sin (Matt 5:30).

Removing sin from our lives is a constant struggle. God is ready to forgive you ‘seventy times seven’ as you fight to defeat this sin, but you must look yourself in the mirror and make sure you are taking the steps necessary to change your life.

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