Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher


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Church Conception

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Was there ever a time that the churches of Christ taught that artificial birth control was always sinful?  Can you tell me the earliest teaching you can identify within the churches of Christ that teaches that artificial birth control is permissible?

Sincerely, History Lessons

Dear History Lessons,

Your question assumes that the title ‘church of Christ’ is the name of a denomination with a unified creed and leadership - it isn’t. The name ‘church of Christ’ is taken directly from the Bible (2 Thess 1:1). The church belongs to Christ because He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28). Though some groups that use the title ‘church of Christ’ are denominations, our congregation professes to only stand by the Bible and nothing else, just like the churches of the first century. Each congregation was independently led by elders and commended to the Lord’s guidance (Acts 14:23). Many people have attempted to classify these kinds of churches as another denomination (a quick Google or Wikipedia search shows the ways people have tried to define these congregations), but ultimately they are simply groups that have all independently asserted to use the Bible (and the Bible only) as their standard of measure.

The New Testament’s teachings on birth control (see this post for more on that topic) are the only place I can direct you to regarding the church of Christ’s teachings on the topic. Each individual person and congregation must study the Scriptures and rightly divide the Word concerning the subject of birth control (2 Tim 2:15)… as we seek to on any topic. There is no board of directors, theological center, or creed book that decides for us. God’s people should be beholden to His Word and His Word only. A faithful congregation turns to the Scriptures and imitates the first century church seen in the Bible. May Christ alone be our head and guide (Eph 5:23).

Get Me To The Water

Monday, August 17, 2015

I was baptized at age twelve (Baptist Church), but my husband was sprinkled in his Methodist Church when he was a baby.  He is wondering, should he be baptized as an adult?

Sincerely, Sprinkled, Poured or Plunged

Dear Sprinkled, Poured or Plunged,

There are two important elements to baptism:

  1. Why you are baptized
  2. How you are baptized

God requires that we be baptized for the right reasons. Baptism should be for salvation (Mk 16:16, 1 Pet 3:21). When we are baptized, we must be baptized under Jesus’ authority and for His reasons. Being baptized for membership into a church, as “an outward sign of an inward grace”, for public recognition, as an infant, etc. are not Biblical baptisms. An easy way to find out why you were baptized is to ask your preacher why your congregation baptizes people. Even Paul re-baptized people who hadn’t been baptized under Christ’s authority (Acts 19:3-5). The great preacher Apollos was also re-baptized when he found out he hadn’t been baptized for salvation (Acts 18:24-26). We must be baptized for the right reasons, or we are just getting wet.

We must also be baptized in the right way. This wasn’t much of a problem for the first century christians because they understood what the word ‘baptize’ meant. The only reason we have trouble today is because many religious groups have twisted and altered the Scriptures. ‘Baptize’ comes from a Greek word that means ‘to immerse’; it is the same word that the Greeks used for a ship when it had sunk. Baptism has nothing to do with sprinkling or pouring water on someone. Baptism is a full immersion under water; that is why John baptized where there was “much water” (Jhn 3:23). The whole symbolism of baptism as a burial would make no sense if baptism were sprinkling (Rom 6:4). Biblical baptism is full immersion in water for the remission of sins.

A Man Above Reproach

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Can someone who has had an adulterous affair in the past and since repented be qualified to be an elder?

Sincerely, Credential Control

Dear Credential Control,

Theoretically, it doesn’t disqualify him if a congregation feels completely comfortable that he is no longer capable of that behavior. Your question is very similar to another question we received on appointing deacons. The qualification he has to meet is ‘husband of one wife’ (Tit 1:6, 1 Tim 3:2) which literally means ‘one woman man’. In order to be qualified as an elder, a man has to show that he is completely and totally devoted to one woman.

Though it is possible that someone could have committed adultery long ago (say, before they were a christian) and is completely different now – any adulterous affair raises a gigantic red flag. A congregation would have to be able to unequivocally feel that the adultery was a thing of the past and inconceivable to ever exist in the future.

Adultery can certainly be forgiven and repented of, but being an elder is a position of great honor (1 Tim 5:17) and immense responsibility (Heb 13:17). An elder must not only be faithful now but have lived a life that is above reproach (1 Tim 3:2). Very few conduct themselves circumspectly enough to qualify for the good work of overseeing the Lord’s church (1 Tim 3:1).

Which Way Did He Go?

Friday, August 07, 2015

I have made it my goal to read and study the Bible which has brought up many questions. One of my questions deals with Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Where in the Bible does it address what happened to Him during the three days before He was raised from the dead? Where can I learn more about this, or is this one of God's many great mysteries?

Sincerely, Missing Moments

Dear Missing Moments,

Jesus went to Paradise during those three days in the grave. We know this because Jesus told the thief on the cross that He would be there (Lk 23:43). Paradise is where all the godly go after they die. It is sometimes referred to as ‘Abraham’s bosom’ (Lk 16:22) because Abraham is the father of all the faithful (Rom 4:11). When He died, Jesus went where all the faithful go – He went to be with God.

Taking Attendance

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Is it okay to attend church-sponsored events? Or would that suggest that I accept what they do and their view on what the church is supposed to support and how the church is organized?

Sincerely, Above Reproach

Dear Above Reproach,

Some events are appropriate for a church to sponsor – a Bible class, a work party to repair the church’s building, a gospel meeting, etc. Anything that is performing the work of the church (teaching and preaching {Acts 15:35}, benevolence for needy christians {Acts 11:29}, and worshipping God {Acts 2:42}) is appropriate for a church to sponsor. For the sake of clarity, I am going to assume that your question deals with things the church shouldn’t be involved in.

If a church is involved in doing things that it shouldn’t, you have to consider what it will look like if you attend. Attendance doesn’t necessarily mean you endorse someone’s behavior. If I go to a baseball game where they serve alcohol, that doesn’t mean I condone drunkenness. However, in some circumstances, your attendance would look like endorsement. Paul talked about christians eating in an idol’s temple and how that example would harm others (1 Cor 8:10).

You will have to decide on a case-by-case basis. You must always consider your influence; if your attendance at an event would cause someone else to stumble or get the wrong impression, you should avoid it (Rom 14:14-16). Make sure to live in a way that does not give any appearance of evil (1 Thess 5:22). Watch your influence and always consider that your behavior is honorable in the sight of all men (Rom 12:17) and will glorify God (1 Pet 2:12). Finally, only attend if you can do so with a clear conscience (1 Tim 1:5).

Displaying 211 - 215 of 458

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