Ask Your Preacher
What does you do when you have friends that drink and you are not much of a drinker? I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. My husband and I are not big drinkers, just maybe one every so often, but we met some friends while riding bikes, and they do. What do we do?
Trying Not To Wine
Dear Trying Not To Wine,
Pr. 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Alcohol has caused more problems, deaths, sin, etc. than could ever be fathomed by the mind of man. 1 Cor 15:33 says that we should be very careful with the company we keep because bad company can corrupt good morals. The best thing you can do is make your stand on this issue in a kind way and make it clear that drinking isn’t going to be part of your lifestyle. If these friends are real friends, they will respect your views, and at the least, not do it around you or push you to do it. If they can’t respect that… they probably aren’t real friends.
Will those who are mentally handicapped and cannot grasp the conditions given in the Bible to be saved go to heaven or hell? If all humans are born with the sinful nature and HAVE to trust in Jesus to forgive their sin, how can they have that understanding if they are mentally handicapped?
You aren’t born in sin, and those with mental handicaps would fall under the same rules as children. In order to obey the gospel, we must have the maturity to:
- Take responsibility for our sins (Acts 3:19).
- Hear and understand the Word of God (Rom 10:17).
- Be responsible for our own spiritual growth (1 Pet 2:1-2).
Children and those with mental disabilities do not have that ability, and God only holds us accountable for what we are able to do (2 Cor 8:11-12).
The teaching that we are born sinful is a Calvinist teaching called ‘Total Depravity’. Total Depravity means that Calvinists believe that everyone is born completely sinful and depraved. A totally depraved human is incapable of doing good or pleasing God. This is completely false. All babies are born without sin and perfect in God’s sight (even David recognized that his dead child was going to be in heaven [2 Sam 12:23]). Sin is not a birthright; it is a choice (Gen 4:6-7, Jas 1:13-15). Humans sin when they choose to do wrong; they are not born in sin.
The false teaching of ‘original sin’ is very common in today’s society. If a congregation teaches that you are born in sin, they are false teachers. Sin is a choice we make in life (Isa 7:15-16), and all humans are born upright and good (Eccl 7:29).
I have the most wonderful son in the world; he is seven and has Down syndrome. My question is: after he dies and goes to heaven, will he still have Down syndrome, or will he be like us?
Down syndrome is a body issue, not a soul issue. Your wonderful son is a soul (Gen 2:7); he has a body. When we die, our spirit separates from our body (Jas 2:26). At that moment, your son will never again face the health issues he does now.
I am sick with allergies (environmental and food), bronchitis, and stomach issues that include GERD and IBS. I have also found out that I have chronic ear disease with a hole in one eardrum. I have all sorts of little things going on. My question is: is it something I have done? I want to fix it whatever it is, but I first need to know what it is that I have done. How do I find out if it is my fault?
Sick Of Being Sick
Dear Sick Of Being Sick,
You might be hurting for living unfaithfully… but that is only one of several reasons why people suffer. Here are the two other reasons why people suffer:
- Sometimes bad things simply happen because they happen. Job suffered greatly, and his children died, but it wasn’t his (or their) fault. Job hadn’t done anything wrong, nor had his kids. It all happened because Satan wanted to do evil (Job 1:6). As long as we live in this world of sin, there will be troubles. Sometimes, there isn’t anyone at fault… just time and chance wreaking havoc in a sinful world (Eccl 9:11).
- Sometimes people suffer so that God can be glorified. Jesus’ disciples asked Him why a certain man had been born blind, and Jesus answered, “So that God’s works might be revealed in him.” (Jhn 9:1-3) This man’s ailment provided an opportunity for God to show His glory. There are times that we suffer, so God can teach us and teach others through our pain (Eccl 7:2-3).
You are doing the right thing by examining your life and making sure that you are right with God. If you would like to have Bible classes or need a congregation, we can help you find a faithful one near you (our e-mail is email@example.com), but unfaithfulness isn’t the only cause of suffering.
Recently, I’ve been struggling with my faith. I am eighteen years old. I was wondering... why does it feel like the entire world is becoming atheist or agnostic? Whenever I go on the internet, it seems like there's always some argument about why believing in God is stupid. People bash the Bible all the time at school. I am afraid to go to college now because I feel like I will lose my faith all together. I find it really hard to believe. My brother even told me today that he is "agnostic". I feel very lost right now.
The U.S. is struggling with losing its biblical ties, but it isn’t as bad as we perceive it to be. Statistically, only about 4% of Americans categorize themselves as atheistic or agnostic. That means that the vast majority of the United States believes in God. Sadly, the voices most often heard in media and culture make it sound like only a fool would believe in God.
Ironically, the Bible says the opposite (Ps 53:1). The responsibility that Christians have is to make the evidence of God’s existence clear in a culture that is opposed to God. The evidence of God’s existence is staggering. We recommend you read our articles “Does God Exist?” and “Who Wrote The Bible?” because both of those articles cover some of the evidence that will help you stand firm by your convictions – you might even share some of it with your brother.
Hang in there. It sounds like you could use a faithful congregation, so you don’t feel so alone. The Bible says that is one of the purposes of the church (Heb 10:24-25). Not all churches do this, but we would be happy to help you find a congregation near you that is faithful, gives Bible answers, and will help you to stand strong. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.