Ask Your Preacher
What are the rules for remarrying if you are a widow? If a woman is past child-bearing age and wants to marry again, is this okay?
Mind Your Maritals
Dear Mind Your Maritals,
It is perfectly all right for a widow to remarry after her spouse’s death. In fact, God encourages it. The apostle Paul told widows, especially young widows, to remarry and start a new life (1 Tim 5:14). God wants us to move on after the death of a loved one. Mourning is a very important process that shouldn’t be neglected, but the time for mourning isn’t forever (Eccl 3:4). There are no age restrictions on a widow remarrying. If someone is widowed, death has ended her marriage contract, and she is free to pursue matrimony again (1 Cor 7:39).
I was baptized as an infant in my parents' church. I know that baptism is supposed to be an (adult) individual's decision to follow the calling of God and to repent of an (adult) individual's sin. Still, I can't help but think that my baptism was at least partially valid since it was done in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If/when I get baptized as an adult, could it be a baptism that is done just to make sure I'm saved - so not necessarily to be re-baptized, but as a just-in-case?
Sincerely, Not A Little Kid Anymore
Dear Not A Little Kid Anymore,
There is no authority or example of infant baptism in the Bible. Infant baptism does nothing but get the child wet (and often crabby). The fact that it was done “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” doesn’t make a difference. To do something ‘in the name of God’ is to proclaim that you are doing it by the authority of God. Many people proclaim to do things by God’s authority and yet are completely wrong. Jesus Himself said that many people will say that they had God’s authority and yet will be rejected by God on the Day of Judgment (Matt 7:21-23). Infant baptism is a great example of this principle. God never condones or commands infants to be baptized, and yet (sadly) many, many churches do it and claim that they do it by God’s authority. Infant baptism is a false teaching, pure and simple. It ignores the authority of the Scriptures (1 Jhn 4:6).
Biblical baptism is for those capable of repenting (Acts 2:38). It is an adult decision and is a requirement for salvation (1 Pet 3:21, Mk 16:16). This is the only baptism that can truly be said is done “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). If someone has been baptized in this way, they never need to be re-baptized. If you haven’t been baptized in this way… you never were really baptized into Christ’s baptism in the first place.
A few months ago, I read something I felt was bad about God on the internet. One night, out of nowhere, I had a thought of what I read come across my mind. I asked for forgiveness, and I tried to forget about it. I thought of it again a day ago, and now it is haunting me. Will God forgive me?
Sincerely, Frustratingly Fixated
Dear Frustratingly Fixated,
There is a difference between something popping into your brain and you purposefully dwelling upon an evil thought. Everyone has random thoughts and random ideas entering their mind – it is what you do with those thoughts that matter. The devil placed the thought of betraying Christ into the mind of Judas (Jhn 13:2), but when Judas acted upon those thoughts, he sinned (Lk 22:48).
James explains how sin is conceived in the mind, but then it is brought forth and born when we dwell upon it (Jas 1:14-15). From what you have said, you haven’t sinned yet. However, it is always a good idea to counteract ungodly thoughts with godly thoughts. Do what Paul told the Philippians – dwell upon good things, and the positive will begin to replace the negative (Php 4:8).
If sin, pride, coldness, and self-will are hindrances to walking in the Spirit, why is pride so acceptable among Christians, and should that be okay?
Sincerely, A Humble Heart
Dear A Humble Heart,
In English, we use the word ‘pride’ in three different ways – two positive, one negative. The Bible condemns pride that is arrogant and haughty (Jas 4:6). When someone is “full of pride”, we mean that they are self-willed and unwilling to yield to God’s authority. This kind of pride is always wrong.
In English, we also use the word ‘pride’ as a way of explaining attention to detail. If someone says, “I take great pride in my work,” they mean that they are careful and meticulous to do the job properly. That type of pride is pleasing in God’s eyes. God wants christians to work hard and have an appreciation for doing things properly (Col 3:23).
Lastly, the word ‘pride’ is used to express how we feel about things. When someone is “proud of their child”, they are expressing appreciation… which is perfectly appropriate. Paul constantly showed appreciation for the brethren (2 Thess 1:3). Paul would even single out individual christians, like Priscilla and Aquila, for specific praise and acknowledgement (Rom 16:3-5). This kind of pride is also acceptable.
The word ‘pride’ can be confusing because we use it more broadly in English than it was used in Greek. The context of a situation will tell you whether the word is being used in a moral or immoral way.
Why is it okay when christians kill and destroy, but it is not okay when other religions do the same?
Sincerely, Taking Up Arms
Dear Taking Up Arms,
It isn’t okay for christians to kill and destroy. In fact, it is strictly forbidden (Jas 4:2, Rom 1:28-32). Christ specifically states that His kingdom, the church, is a spiritual kingdom that doesn’t need soldiers to protect it (Jhn 18:36). Christianity was never intended to be spread by the tip of the sword. Throughout history, people have used the Bible and Christ as a reason to conquer nations and attack others, but that doesn’t make it right. People have done all sorts of stupid things in the name of religion. Just because someone says that it is okay for a christian to do this or that does not make it true. The Bible should be the final authority on all issues of right and wrong.
Any religious group that attempts to grow through violence is not from God… even if they call themselves christians.