Ask Your Preacher
I have a friend who, back in January, was possessed by a demon; she growled on the phone with me once, I hung up, I got a message from 'her', and I get scared from the memory! I pray to God every night, and my faith is true. I ask Him to keep my family, friends, and I safe forever; will He? I just want a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ because I don't want to be attacked by a demon.
On The Defensive
Dear On The Defensive,
Evil spirits are real, but they were cast out and their powers greatly reduced by Christ and the apostles. Demon possession ended not long after the days of Christ. Jesus made it clear that one of His jobs was to bind the devil and take His strength away by casting out his demons (Matt 12:28-29). When Jesus’ disciples had come back from their evangelism trips and related to Him that they had cast out many demons, Jesus told them that they were defeating Satan by getting rid of Satan’s demonic minions (Lk 10:17-18). When Jesus and His disciples cast out demons, they did it permanently (Lk 8:30-33) and bound Satan by their acts. We no longer have to deal with such overt attacks by the devil because he has been bound by Christ’s sacrifice (Rev. 20:2). Demon possession no longer exists; the devil must use subtler methods to deceive us now.
I have been a minister (ordained in the Baptist faith) now for nearly twenty-seven years. My wife left me after twenty-eight years of marriage, and I'm currently still the pastor. However, I need a helpmate. I want to date, but all women are scared of dating a preacher. I understand that, too. I don't want to cause a "black eye" on the church, so here is my question:
I'm fifty-one and alone… if I start dating women, should I quit preaching? Not quit serving God, NO! Quit preaching. I think that would look best on God and His church… not a denomination, but the church of all believers of the Son of God. Please give your honest opinion. Again, thanks for your honestly.
Dear Single Baptist,
You say that you don't believe in denominationalism, but you are preaching for a denomination. You've been through a lot, and we cannot imagine the pain you must feel having your wife leave you – tragedies like your divorce are a time to evaluate quite a few things in life. What if we told you that the Lord's church does exist without denominationalism? What if we told you there are groups of people that do just what the Bible says without denominational ordainings, traditions, and hierarchies? After twenty-seven years of preaching for a denomination, would you be willing to consider that the Lord's church isn't part of that world? In the Lord's church, preachers are just men (Acts 14:15) and are treated like all other christians – even when it comes to dating. There is another way; we urge you to read the article "Down With Denominationalism", and if you are interested, we would be happy to study these issues out with you.
We went to a church that believed if you were married more than once you couldn't be a deacon or preacher. This is because the Bible says you can only be the husband of one wife. Is this a correct interpretation?
Dear Counting Criteria,
The qualification you are referring to can be found in 1 Tim 3:12. The phrase ‘husband of one wife’ literally means a ‘one-woman man’ in the Greek. He must be devoted exclusively and faithfully to his one wife. A man who is widowed and then remarried could still be properly described as a ‘one-woman man’ because he was completely devoted to his first wife until her death, and now is fully devoted to his current wife.
The question a congregation has to wrestle with is if a divorced brother has shown the character trait of monogamous fidelity. Why did he get divorced? Was it for infidelity? Was he always faithful to her? Did she leave him, or did he leave her? How does he behave with his current wife? How long has he been married to his current wife? The answers to these questions will help assess whether he is a faithful ‘one-woman man’.
Divorce is a red flag that should make us pause before appointing a man as a qualified deacon, but depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce, the man may still be qualified.
I was in a low place, and I made a promise to God that if He would help me with the situation, I would give up something. I have stayed in the right for a few months now, but I am not sure that I can keep the promise for a lifetime.
I know it is best not to promise if we cannot keep it, but I did make the promise, and I’m conflicted.
Any advice? Will the Lord forgive me?
Dear Promise Keeper,
Jesus tells us that our word is binding and that our ‘yes’ should mean ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ should mean ‘no’ (Matt 5:37). We are warned that we should perform our vows to the Lord (Ps 76:11). Eccl 5:4-5 makes it clear that if we make a promise before God – we need to stick with it. Can you be forgiven if you made a promise and then failed? Yes (1 Jn 1:9), but if you made a promise to God and now simply want out of it because it is more difficult than you thought it would be… that’s a different story. God takes our promises seriously, and we need to as well.
What is the first commandment of God?
Beginning At The Beginning
Dear Beginning At The Beginning,
Jesus said that the first and greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matt 22:37-38). In the Ten Commandments, the first commandment is “you shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex 20:2). The first commandment a child is given by God is “honor your father and mother” (Eph 6:2). Each of these are first commands from God.