Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

WORSHIP

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Ebola On Rye

Thursday, July 30, 2015

What was God's purpose in specifying unleavened bread as opposed to leavened? Did leavened bread have bacteria in it that could harm?

Sincerely, Health Conscious

Dear Health Conscious,

Unleavened bread was eaten during certain Old Testament feasts (like the Passover) and during the Lord’s Supper for symbolic reasons, not for medical ones. Aside from the days of Unleavened Bread, leaven was allowed in homes during the rest of the year (Ex 12:19). Certain sacrifices even required leavened bread (Lev 23:17). So yeast was not considered bad or good, but it was considered an additive.

The idea of unleavened bread is that it is bread that hasn’t been tainted by anything. Unleavened bread is pure bread. The symbolism of unleavened things representing holiness can be found throughout the Scriptures. The false teaching of the Pharisees was called ‘the leaven of the Pharisees’ (Matt 16:12). Herod’s worldliness was considered ‘leaven’ that could harm godly people by its influence (Mk 8:15). The christian that had fallen into the horrible sin of sleeping with his father’s wife was considered ‘leaven’ that could spoil the whole congregation (1 Cor 5:6). On the other hand, life in Christ is considered unleavened (1 Cor 5:7). Unleavened bread is compared to a life of sincerity and truth… while leaven is compared to a life of malice and wickedness (1 Cor 5:8). Paul compares false teaching to leaven that can destroy the whole church (Gal 5:9).

It isn’t yeast that we need to be wary of. What christians should fear is a world that will tear them away from God’s Word and leaven their lives with corruption (Jas 4:4-8).

Show Me The Money

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I tithe, but at the end of the service, should the leader go on and on, scripture after scripture, telling you that you are cursed with a curse if you don’t give tithes and offerings? Badgering people about this I feel is wrong, and I have an uneasy feeling about this the more I hear it. We are supposed to give out of love and with a cheerful heart. Is it wrong to hold this offering over the congregation’s head and to use Scripture to justify it? What happens if I don’t have the money to tithe? Am I going to be not as blessed as the rest of the congregation? I do believe God wants us to be blessed and prosper, but what about the people who are struggling and not prospering? Does that mean their faith is weak? I’m really troubled by doctrines and people’s perceptions of how we are supposed to be overflowing with prosperity and people are supposed to see that we are more prosperous than the worldly/secular people. Does God really want our bank accounts full when all of it is going to perish anyways? I would like to know if prosperity is truly what Jesus taught and what He emphasized.

Sincerely, Too Much Money Talk

Dear Too Much Money Talk,

Christians don’t tithe; Jews do. Christians also don’t have any guarantees of financial prosperity. Faithfulness doesn’t guarantee financial success. If that was the case, why did Paul end up in prison (Acts 16:37)? Why did Jesus say that He didn’t have anywhere to lay His head (Matt 8:20)? The most faithful people often suffer the most for the gospel. In fact, Christians are guaranteed to suffer for Christ’s church (Acts 14:22). If anything, prosperity is often a hindrance to faithfulness (Lk 18:24).

Tithing is an Old Testament command to the Jews (Deu 14:22). ‘Tithe’ means ‘to give 10%’. Christians are never told to tithe in the New Testament. We are told to be ‘cheerful givers’ (2 Cor 9:7). We are also told to ‘lay by in store’ and plan ahead before we give (1 Cor 16:1-2). We are never told a specific amount that we are supposed to give. Having said that, I think 10% is a good starting point for giving. Don’t let anyone badger you with the “You Have to Tithe” argument, though. Unless you are a Jew, you aren’t bound by the 10% rule.

It sounds like the church you attend teaches something called “The Prosperity Gospel”. The “Prosperity Gospel” is a false teaching that says if you serve God, you will have financial success; if you don’t, you will have financial failure. This is completely false. Job was the most faithful man on the planet in his day (Job 1:8), and he suffered more financial loss than anyone before or since. If the congregation you attend is teaching that… run. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt 7:15) who are teaching that Jesus cares more about money than He does about souls.

What's A Woman To Do?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why can't women become preachers or lead songs for that matter? Would it be a sin?

Sincerely,
A Woman’s Role

Dear A Woman’s Role,

Women have a zillion different roles and responsibilities within the church; leading singing and preaching aren’t on the list. Women are not supposed to be in authority over men within the church (1 Tim 2:11-12). Men are supposed to lead the congregation in teaching and worship when the congregation assembles together (1 Cor 14:34-35). Women and men have equal value in God’s eyes (1 Pet 3:7), but their roles are different (1 Cor 11:8-10). Yes, it would be a sin for a woman to be a preacher. Society doesn’t like that statement, but the Bible makes it nonetheless.

Getting A Rise Out Of Dough

Monday, July 20, 2015

Should communion bread be unleavened?

Sincerely,
Kneading An Answer

Dear Kneading An Answer,

The Bible only uses unleavened bread in the Lord’s Supper, and therefore we should only use unleavened bread. The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ during the Passover when the Jews only ate unleavened bread (Mk 14:12, Ex 12:19). Paul alludes to the unleavened bread used in communion and in the Jewish Passover in 1 Cor 5:8.

If the church disregards the example of using unleavened bread in communion, it might as well disregard using bread altogether. Why not orange juice and bacon? Or potato salad and diet Coke? It is very important, vital even, that we always use Bible examples as our guide (Php 3:17), that we imitate the faithful who have gone before us (1 Cor 11:1). Only when we follow Biblical examples can we be confident that we are God’s church and not just another man-made religion.

The Lost Art of Prophecy

Friday, July 17, 2015

I have two questions regarding the Holy Spirit:

  1. Speaking in tongues: Does this still happen? What are some verses that talk about this subject?
  2. Prophesy: Can we prophesy through the Holy Spirit? Or who does/can?

Please help me answer these questions.

Sincerely, Visions of Answers

Dear Visions of Answers,

Speaking in tongues and prophesying are miraculous abilities that no longer exist because they are no longer needed. The purpose of miracles was to bear witness that Jesus and His apostles were sent by God (Heb 2:4). Both speaking in tongues and prophesying were miraculous abilities that the church needed in its infancy. Speaking in tongues was useful for preaching the gospel to unbelieving nations with various languages; prophesy was useful for teaching the church God’s will before they had a complete New Testament (1 Cor 14:22). Now that the New Testament is complete and has spread to every nation and language, there is no need for such miracles. Paul himself said that miracles were only needed until knowledge of God’s will was perfectly preserved for all mankind (1 Cor 13:8-10).

The easiest way to see that these miracles have ceased is to see how God provided them. The Holy Spirit provided the apostles with the ability to perform miracles on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). The apostles could perform miracles, and they also had the unique ability to pass on miraculous abilities through touch (Acts 8:15-18). Since the apostles were the only ones that could pass on the ability to perform miracles to others, we would need an apostle alive today in order to still have prophesy, speaking in tongues, miraculous healings, etc. The miracles died out with the final person that the last living apostle laid his hands on. Today, we are led by the perfect and complete Word of God (Jude 1:3, Rom 1:16), and those miraculous abilities are no longer necessary.

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