Ask Your Preacher
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
[This question is in response to “Feminine Ways”]
How do you view Deborah in the Bible? How do you explain why God mentions her at all? She judged both men and women in Israel. I'm not convinced that God will be boxed in to whom He can use at any given time. God Bless.
Thinking Outside the Box
Dear Thinking Outside the Box,
The only rules God is “boxed in” by are His own. The Bible is full of women that taught and shared God’s wisdom… Deborah is just one example of them. Miriam, Moses and Aaron’s sister, was a prophetess (Ex 15:20), and so were Philip’s four daughters (Acts 21:8-9). The problem is not with women teaching; it is the venue in which they do it.
We didn’t make 1 Cor 14:34 and 1 Tim 2:12 – those are God’s laws, not ours. We also didn’t make the qualifications that an elder be a man – the Lord authored Tit 1:5-9 and 1 Tim 3:1-7. The qualifications for an elder restrict women from being pastors, but it also forbids young men, unmarried men, and those without children. It isn’t a matter of the value of people; it is a matter of what God’s law says.
Hello. I thank you for offering information to me in the past. I am wondering if you have a church denomination? If so, what would it be?
Who Are You?
Dear Who Are You,
Our congregation here in Monroe goes by the name ‘Monroe Valley church of Christ’ because ‘church of Christ’ is a Biblical name for a congregation (Rom 16:16), but we aren't a denomination – just a group of Christians who have gathered together to be God's people in Monroe. We worship by singing (Col 3:16), studying the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), praying (2 Thess 3:1), taking communion (only on Sundays – Acts 20:7), and taking up a collection (also only on Sundays – 1 Cor 16:1-2). We teach that you must hear God’s Word (Rom 10:17), believe God’s Word (Jhn 3:16), repent of your sins (Mk 6:12), confess Jesus as your Savior (Lk 12:8), and be baptized to be saved (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet 3:21). We do all these things because they are practices found in the Bible.
There are other congregations like ours scattered across the country and the world. Most of them use the name ‘church of Christ’, but then again, many churches that use that name aren’t faithful. A Bible name for a church isn’t enough to make it faithful. We have helped others, like yourself, looking for New Testament Christianity find faithful congregations in their area by contacting other preachers and christians that we know. We’d be happy to do the same for you. If you feel comfortable, just let us know what general area you live in, and we will try and get you in touch with a congregation that lives like your Bible reads (our e-mail is email@example.com).
We recently had a man from the congregation preach for us, and as he talked, he told the unfortunate story of how his son's life was not in accordance with God's will and how he wished so much that he could even share a meal with him, but because of his sinful state, he could not be around him. Is this the kind of separation the Bible teaches we are to have from those outside Christ? How can we be a light to those not in Christ if we can't speak a word to them?
Dear Seems Harsh,
It sounds like this man’s son became a Christian and then fell away. When that happens, the church is told to show tough love and separate themselves from the wayward brother or sister. We are commanded to “withdraw from” and “have no company with” an ungodly Christian (2 Thess 3:6, 1 Cor 5:1-13). We are to do this for the sinner’s own good, hoping it will bring shame on them, and they will repent (2 Thess 3:14). This is really a loving thing to do even though it is a hurtful and sorrowful act for all people involved. The church is given strict orders to withdraw and not associate with a wayward brother or sister (1 Cor 5:13).
However, the immediate family doesn’t have the same “black and white” guidelines. In fact, we see that in some scenarios, the family is commanded to do the opposite – as in the case of an unbelieving spouse (1 Cor 7:13). Sometimes the family has a greater influence by still associating with the wayward Christian… in other cases, the family finds the best way to help the sinning loved one is to separate themselves. When dealing with immediate family, there are wisdom and judgment calls involved.
It is important to note that when a Christian turns back to a life of sin, the church is supposed to separate themselves from them… but that command only applies to wayward Christians. The apostle Paul specifically tells us that we should try to draw near and affect the lives of sinners that haven’t ever obeyed the gospel (1 Cor 5:9-10). Christians should seek to be lights in the world and examples to those who have never known Christ.
After you get saved, what happens to you if you still commit the same sins? Will I still be allowed into heaven? And how can I know that I am truly saved? A friend told me that when I got saved, it could have been just “a dose of feel-good”.
Dear Feeling Bad,
You can know you are saved if you do the five things that the Bible tells you that you must do to be saved. Read our post “Five Steps To Salvation” for exactly what it takes to be saved. Furthermore, if you don’t know what it takes to be saved, it is likely that you haven’t found a faithful church yet. Heb 10:24-25 teaches that we must assemble with a faithful church to please God; we would be happy to help you find one in your area; just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you are saved, God says that all future sins are dealt with by asking for forgiveness (1 Jn 1:9) and repentance (Acts 3:19). ‘Repentance’ means to ‘change your mind’… literally to make a change in how you think and act. God doesn’t expect us to live perfect lives, but He does expect us to try and turn from sin.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35: I do not understand what this means.
Paul says that women are to keep silent in the church assembly … it is the public teaching done in the church assembly that is being dealt with in 1 Cor 14:34-35. Women are not supposed to serve as public teachers in the worship service because men have the responsibility to lead the church in public teaching. Elders (Tit 1:5-6), deacons (1 Tim 3:12), and preachers (2 Tim 2:2) are all required to be men. 1 Tim 2:12 specifically prohibits Christian women from teaching Christian men in a congregational forum.
However, just because women don’t lead in the public assembly, that doesn’t mean they just take up pew space! The Bible is chock-full of examples of active and vibrant godly women. Lydia was a Christian who took Paul and gave him lodging, food, and financial support (Acts 16:14-15). Priscilla and Aquila were a married couple that taught the gospel to Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). That same Apollos went on to become a mighty preacher… something that would have never happened without Priscilla. John Mark’s mother opened her home for a prayer meeting that saved Peter’s life (Acts 12:11-12). Older women are supposed to be teachers and train the younger women to be faithful wives and mothers (Tit 2:3-5). Younger women have the immensely important task of raising godly children… the next generation of Christians (Tit 2:4). Women have children’s classes to teach, women’s classes to teach, hospitality to provide, others to encourage, and evangelism to do. On top of all those very important and pivotal duties within the church, during the worship services, women have the task of singing and praising God (just like the men – Col 3:16) and joining in the public prayer… just because one man leads the prayer doesn’t mean we aren’t all praying together. When the church assembles, we all are worshipping God, edifying each other, and studying His Word (Heb 10:24-25).