Ask Your Preacher
Should a preacher drink alcohol, and what Scripture backs that up?
Preachers are held to the same standards as all other Christians – so let’s talk about what the Bible tells us all about alcohol. God never specifically condemns all alcohol, but He does condemn ‘strong drink’ (Pr 20:1), drinking parties (1 Pet 4:3), and drunkenness (Rom 13:13). Almost all alcohol that is consumed today would fall into the category of ‘strong drink’ because our alcoholic beverages are artificially fermented to increase their alcoholic content (unlike the wine of Jesus’ day – read “That’s Just Grape” for further details on the wine Jesus drank). We would all do well to heed the words of Pr 23:31-32 and avoid alcohol as much as is possible. It is NEVER okay to get drunk.
This might seem like a stupid question, but I have always wondered when I get to heaven, will I still be a man? Is there still a gender difference in heaven? Or is everyone just spiritual with no gender distinction?
Both men’s and women’s spirits are equally made in God’s image (Gen 1:27), which leans toward an understanding that we are neither male nor female in heaven once we shed our physical bodies. Also, Jesus’ statement that there is no marriage in heaven seems to point out that there is no gender difference in heaven (Mk 12:25). Lastly, Gal 3:28 states that we are neither male nor female in Christ. Overall, the Bible paints a picture that gender probably isn’t a part of our life in heaven.
Any advice on dating a Baptist preacher? He’s a widower, and I’m a divorcee.
Though all things are possible through Christ, someone who has dedicated their life to a religious denomination that follows tradition over truth would have a difficult road to conversion, and it is well worth talking about the differences upfront. We recommend you read our post, “Baptist Bewilderment”, and have a discussion with him about the various Baptist teachings that don’t match Scripture before you press forward with your relationship. You never know; maybe, just maybe, he has never considered these problems before. With an honest heart, anyone can come to Christ.
My daughter says that we have to be baptized to be saved… that a confession is not what saves us. Where does it specifically say in Scripture that it's baptism that saves?
Dear Perplexed Parent,
The most well-documented and clearest doctrine in the New Testament is baptism… yet, it is also the most commonly ignored topic in the religious world. Peter said it best when he said, “Baptism saves you” (1 Pet 3:21). Every person that became a Christian in the New Testament was baptized – immediately. You won’t find a single person in the book of Acts that wasn’t baptized. When the first sermon was preached after Christ ascended into heaven, the apostles told the people that they needed to “repent and be baptized… for the remission of their sins” (Acts 2:38). Paul tells us that baptism is a burial with Christ, and only after that burial do we receive a new life (Rom 6:3-4). Baptism was so important to Paul that he was baptized even before eating or drinking (Acts 9:18-19), which shows how important it is because Paul hadn’t had food or water in three days (Acts 9:9)! Belief is not enough; even the demons believe in God (Jas 2:19). It is only when our belief is combined with obedience that we have living faith (Jas 2:17-18), and the very first command to obey that God gives us is to be baptized in the name of His Son (Matt 28:19, Mk 16:16). We die to sin when we are baptized.
I made a horrible decision when I was eighteen. I had an abortion even though I knew with every bit of my being that it was wrong. I was weak, and I made a decision that has sickened me ever since. The Bible says God will forgive anything if you are truly remorseful, and I am saved and have been baptized, but I struggle with the notion that I do not, and probably will never, feel like I am truly forgiven. Maybe it's the fact that I am so horrified by what I did that I know I deserve hell. I'm assuming I will feel that way for the rest of my life and rightfully so. I'm scared of God's wrath and of hell's fire so much that I have an irrational fear of dying and facing God only to be turned away. I don't want to seem like I have no faith in God's boundless mercy, but can I ever forgive myself? Should I even forgive myself? I just would like your opinion; I am too close to my preacher to bring it up; I'm so ashamed. Thank you.
What you are asking is one of the most difficult things in life – forgiving yourself. Like all things, God is better at forgiveness than we are. Many people hold on to the guilt and shame of sin far too keenly – you are not alone in this struggle. God tells us that there are several things to remember:
- Even if your heart condemns you, God keeps His promises. On the Judgment Day, we will be judged by God’s standards, not whether or not we feel worthy (1 Jn 3:20).
- We can reassure our own hearts that we have been forgiven when we study and live by the truth of the Bible (1 Jn 3:18-20). The more we immerse ourselves in God’s teachings, the quicker we begin to realize that forgiveness isn’t about being worthy… but about having faith in the mercy of God.
- Another way to look at your problem is to remember that saying, “I can’t believe God will forgive me” is the same as saying, “I don’t believe that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough”. That may sound harsh, but our forgiveness is based upon Jesus’ blood (Col 2:14). It is an act of faith in Jesus to accept our own forgiveness.
All in all, self-forgiveness takes time… just like all areas of growth.