Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

RELIGIONS

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Pressure Point

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
     Is it okay for a Christian to participate in a yoga exercise class or even see or become an acupuncturist?

Sincerely,
Ouch!

Dear Ouch,

It all depends on how you do it.  Yoga, tai-chi, and some forms of holistic medicine can have a religious element to them, but they don’t have to.  If a Christian takes yoga purely for the exercise, they are just fine (1 Tim 4:8), but if a Christian begins delving into the spiritual elements such as karma, Hinduism, etc. – that is wrong.  There is only room for one God and one guide in our lives (2 Cor 6:16).

Alone In A Crowd

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
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.

Sincerely,
Disheartened

Dear Disheartened,

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 askyourpreacher@mvchurchofchrist.org.

Guide Dogs

Monday, May 21, 2012
     I love animals, and spirit guides have always intrigued me.  A spirit guide is an animal specific to you that can answer or lead you.  I am a strongly devoted Christian, and I understand the value of praying and asking God for guidance, and I do not feel that I would be worshipping a spirit guide in any way.  By obtaining a spirit guide, is it wrong?  Animals are all God's creation anyway.  If I am wrong, could you direct me to where in the Bible it states this, so I can right my wrong thinking?  Thanks and God bless!

Sincerely,
I Love Animals

Dear I Love Animals,

A “spirit guide” would be considered idolatry.  God should be the only guide for our souls (Jhn 14:6).  By definition, a spirit guide is a guide for your spirit.  Spirit guides are a Native American tradition and a definite form of idolatry.  Rom 1:23 warns against giving animals the glory that belongs only to God.  The Bible is the guide for our lives, and it contains all the instruction that we need for life and godliness (2 Pet 1:3).  God designed the Bible to lead our spirits and discern our character (Heb 4:12).

An Honored Institution

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
     I am a Christian, and I have an old friend who is an atheist.  My friend has been married for seventeen years and last summer came close to a divorce after his wife discovered that he was having an affair.  They have since reconciled but have sought no counseling.  I have even suggested they begin this new chapter in their lives by joining a church.  This suggestion was laughed off.  He and his wife along with my wife and me are going on vacation together in three weeks.  We live 900 miles apart from one another.

Now that you have the background, here's the question.  Yesterday, he asked me to renew his wife's and his vows on the beach!  My knee-jerk response was, "No, I can't do that.  You need a preacher!"  He responded by saying that he doesn't need a preacher, and he just needs someone to do the vows, and who better than his old best friend?  Something is nagging at me.  First of all, I don't think they have taken the right steps to ensure a solid marriage going forward, but there seems to be more bothering me.  Is there something wrong with a Christian renewing the vows of a couple who are not Christians?  Is there something wrong with someone other than a preacher renewing a married couple’s vows?  Thank you.

Sincerely,
An Old Friend

Dear An Old Friend,

No, there isn't anything wrong with you helping them renew their vows – after all, they aren't officially getting married; they did that seventeen years ago.  This is just a couple trying to reconcile and re-embrace a healthy marriage.  God says that marriage is to be held in honor by all (Heb 13:4).  It isn't a sin for you to help any married couple try and renew a sense of honor in their marriage.

Real... For Real Pt. 2

Thursday, May 03, 2012

[This question is a follow-up to “Real… For Real”)

      Thanks for answering my question about whether or not God exists!  I have another question if it isn't too much trouble; well, truthfully, I have a lot of questions, but you said, "It is important that everyone asks this question at some point in their life."

Why is that?  I contacted a few churches with similar questions, and one even told me that he had never doubted it and made me feel as if this wasn't normal.  It isn't that I don't believe as much as I can't help but wonder.  I was raised in church until around the age of seven or eight, and my parents quit going, and I continued to go by myself until I was around ten or eleven.  I haven't faithfully gone to church since, but now at the age of twenty-one, I feel as if God is calling me.  I can't help but have my doubts, well, my anxieties about it.  I have started church again, but I guess my first step is figuring out my beliefs and learning as much as I can and just looking for help/answers.  Thanks so much for your time.  It's an amazing thing you're doing.  God bless!

Sincerely,
Asking

Dear Asking,

The reason it is important for people to ask themselves whether or not God is real is because it is important that we think about what we believe and get real answers from the Bible.  If you don’t look for answers, then you are just being spoon-fed whatever the preacher, pastor, professor, etc. you are closest to says.
God expects us to think through these spiritual questions and study His Word for ourselves.  Php 2:12 says that we must each work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.  In Isa 1:18, God says, “Come now, let us reason together…”.  Far too many churches provide only shallow teaching, and sadly, inaccurate shallow Bible teaching.
Expect more from any church or preacher you talk to than just a superficial answer.  Don’t feel bad for asking questions, and don’t let them treat you condescendingly just because they haven’t got an answer.  After all, 1 Pet 3:15 says that we ought to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us.  If they can’t give you a straight answer… you don’t want the hope they are selling.

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