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Ring In The New 2

Saturday, March 05, 2011

(This post is a follow-up to “Ring In The New”)

To follow up on your response to the question of wearing wedding rings, you seem to be saying traditions are fine as long as the intention behind them is good.  There seems to be no New Testament evidence of using rings in a wedding ceremony.  In previous responses to questions regarding using musical instruments in worship, you have made statements such as, “The problem with instrumental music in worship is that it isn’t a part of the Bible pattern, and the moment we start doing things outside the Bible, we have gone beyond what God intended (1 Cor 4:6).”  Also, “There are no examples of the church using instruments to worship God in the New Testament.  If we start using them, we are adding something to God’s Word (Rev 22:18-19).”  I assume you, as elders and pastors of your local congregation, have conducted many wedding ceremonies (probably involving the exchange of rings).  How is allowing extra-biblical traditions such as exchanging rings in a wedding not in opposition to your previous statements?  If man-made traditions are fine as long as the intent behind them is good, why have a problem with congregations that use musical instruments in worship?

Sincerely,
Ringing In My Ears

Dear Ringing In My Ears,

The difference between instruments in worship and wedding rings is that God has given specific commands regarding singing, but He hasn’t given specific commands about wedding ceremonies.  The Bible specifically commands the church to sing and make melody in our hearts to God (Col 3:16, Eph 5:19).  When God gives a specific command, we cannot go beyond what He has written (1 Cor 4:6) and decide that since God wants us to sing, we should sing and play instruments – that is adding to the Bible (Rev 22:18-19).

However, weddings are an entirely different situation.  God tells men and women to get married (Matt 19:5), but He leaves it at that – the details are up to us.  This is a general command.  General commands leave the specifics up to the individuals.  For example, if your told someone to fill your car with gas, they would have the option to use premium or basic gas, they could decide which gas station to go to, etc.  The specific details would be left up to the individual.  Since God authorizes marriage, we are left to make our own decisions regarding what the marriage ceremony will entail.

 

Study Schedule

Friday, March 04, 2011
I feel a fascination with Islam.  Not one that would make me convert (I don't think), but rather, I enjoy studying it.  If I am christian, which I am, then should I study my own religion rather than another one?  Is it bad to learn about another religion?

Sincerely,
Cross-Referencing

Dear Cross-Referencing,

There isn't anything wrong with studying other religions, but it would be a problem if you spent more time studying a false religion than you did studying the Bible.  How we spend our time is indicative of our priorities.  God tells us to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15) and that we should grow in our knowledge, so we can teach others Jesus' message (Heb 5:12).  It is useful to know what false religions practice (even Paul had studied the pagan poets of his day – Acts 17:28), but not nearly as useful as knowing what the Bible says.  The best way to prepare yourself to "give an answer for the hope that is within you" (1 Pet 3:15) is to make sure to study your Bible diligently.  Once again, studying Islam isn't wrong, but you need to make sure it is properly balanced with other study habits.

 

Falling Short

Thursday, March 03, 2011
What are some Scriptures that show the depravity of man and our need for God’s salvation?

Sincerely,
Give Me Book, Chapter, Verse

Dear Give Me Book, Chapter, Verse,

The term “depravity of man” is normally used by those who teach that people are born sinful – there are no Scriptures to show this teaching because it is false (read “Calvin And Sobs” for more details on this teaching, also known as Calvinism).  However, there are lots of verses that show that mankind has chosen to sin and that we need God’s salvation.  Many of them are found in Romans because the book of Romans spends a lot of time dealing with that particular subject.  Here are a few:

  • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23)
  • “Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned.” (Rom 5:12)
  • “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)
  • “What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God; they have all turned aside; they have all together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no, not, so much as one.’” (Rom. 3:9-12)
  • “For God appointed us not into wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess 5:9)
  • “And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation.’” (Acts 2:40)

 

Many Marys

Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Is their definitive proof that Mary Magdalene and Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, were two different people?  I say they were different people.

Sincerely,
Positive Identification

Dear Positive Identification,

Mary Magdalene received her name from her hometown.  Mary was from the town or area of Magdala – this is an important distinction because we know where Mary, the sister of Martha, was from.  Jhn 11:1 says that Mary (Martha’s sister) was from the town of Bethany.  This clearly shows that they are two different people.

 

Think Again... Again

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

(This question is in reference to “Think Again”)

You answered a question on baptism and twisted some verses all around then never actually got to the saved by grace issue.  The question you answered was whether baptism was necessary for salvation.  The correct answer is: no, it's not.  My question is how do you explain all of Ephesians 2 if we need to be dunked in a tub to go to heaven?  It plainly says we are "saved by grace through faith so no man may boast".

Sincerely,
Unsatisfied

Dear Unsatisfied,

First of all, let’s address the subject of “twisting” verses.  It is much easier to simply say that someone is twisting verses when you don’t like their conclusions than it is to give examples of how they are twisting a verse.  If we are twisting the verses for our own gain, we absolutely want to change.  It is a sin to pervert the Word of God (Gal 1:7-8).  Since you say we twisted multiple verses around, could you please correct us on one of the verses we used?  When Jesus says, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk 16:16)… how is baptism not necessary then?

Now, let’s dive into the issue of being saved by grace.  Eph 2:8 says, “For by grace, you have been saved through faith.”  There is no doubt that salvation is a gift from God (‘grace’ means ‘gift’ or ‘unmerited favor’), but do you notice how God puts a condition upon that gift?  The only way to receive grace is through faith.  Faith is a condition of salvation.  God does place conditions upon receiving His grace.  We must have faith to get grace.  Rom 10:17 says faith comes through hearing God’s Word, and Jas 1:22 says that we must hear and do what the Bible says.  So, in order to receive God’s grace, we must live faithfully by His Word.  What does His Word say about baptism?  It says baptism washes away your sins (Acts 22:16) and saves you (1 Pet 3:21).  If we are in error, we look forward to your reply with specific verses clarifying our error.

 

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