Ask Your Preacher
My son is in the military, and one of his platoon mates is a Mormon. My son was told by this young man that he was fasting. When my son asked him why he was fasting, the other soldier said the Bible says to fast every first Sunday of the month. He said it is a sin not to fast. What verse is he using? Is this a verse out of the Mormon Bible? Is it a sin not to fast? When is an appropriate time to fast?
MREs For Me
Dear MREs For Me,
Your son’s platoon mate is referring to a verse in a Mormon book called ‘Doctrine and Covenants’ (D&C), specifically D&C 59:12-13. D&C is one of the Mormon religion’s major holy books and is most definitely NOT part of God’s Word. God condemns any book other than the Bible. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, said that he was a prophet that was guided by the angel Moroni. It is ironic that the apostle Paul says that even if an angel says something different than what is in the Bible, they are to be condemned (Gal 1:8).
Fasting is a Biblical practice, but there are no specific guidelines for when to do it. Fasting is the practice of not eating for a designated period of time. Jesus once fasted for forty days (Matt 4:2). Fasting is often associated with times of grief and difficult decisions (Joel 2:12). Jesus’ disciples were noted for not fasting as often as the rest of the Jewish community (Matt 9:14). There is a time for fasting, but it is purely up to personal discretion.
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
I have been reading over some of these topics such as gambling, drinking, etc. And though I believe these things are wrong if they are abused, how is it a sin to go out with some friends and have a glass of wine (some people drink wine for the taste, not to get drunk) or go to the casino every once in a while for a little fun and entertainment? We go to the movies and spend money on other fun events when we could be putting that money toward the church or saving for the future... I realize that you may be putting yourself in sinful situations as well, but where do you draw the line? Should we just not go out into public because most likely there will always be a sin going on somewhere? You could be at a restaurant where someone is at the table next to you drunk, smoking, or over-eating (causing gluttony). So how can you say it is absolutely wrong to do any of these things without knowing the situation?
And I did read 1 Timothy 6:10, and it’s true gambling can be addictive, but so can almost everything... shopping, eating, smoking, drinking, video games, etc. Don’t you think we just need to use our wisdom in every situation when it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible and be the judge for ourselves if it is wrong or not?
Dear Freedom Fighter,
Your concern that we not overstep the boundaries of the Bible is duly noted, but we fear that you may have ulterior motives in writing in this question because we have never written on the issue of drinking (may it not be the case with you, but we have often found that people “push” the drinking topic out of a desire to legitimize their own pre-existing drinking habits) which makes us wonder why you wrote, “I have been reading over some of these topics such as gambling, drinking, etc.”
When the Bible does not specifically mention something as a sin, we must be very careful not to create laws where none exist. In all of our answers to questions, we try very hard to lay out what the Bible says specifically and what the Bible says implicitly about a topic. Just because the Bible doesn’t specifically mention something doesn’t mean it doesn’t condemn it (the Bible never specifically mentions pornography, and yet pornography is very clearly sinful).
The key to the whole issue is to ask: “What does the sum of God’s Word say on the topic?” (Ps 119:160). Gambling isn’t wrong just because it can be addictive or just because it feeds a sinful culture or just because it wastes money. It is the combination of risks, influences, and errors surrounding gambling that condemn it.
The same goes with the influence and appearance involved with drinking. Yes, you could attend a restaurant where someone is getting drunk, but everyone understands that eating at a restaurant that happens to serve alcohol is very different then going to a bar or tavern. So just because someone next to you at a restaurant can get drunk and someone next to you at a bar can get drunk – that does not make those two places equal.
Christianity is about more than just trying to avoid breaking the rules. We are to flee immorality (1 Tim 6:11) and flee temptation (2 Tim 2:22). Both gambling and alcohol are a part of a culture that emphasizes worldliness. Christians should use wisdom in every situation to discern between habits that are generally beneficial to mankind and habits that are generally destructive. We here at AYP seek to show people all the elements involved in different choices and what God says about those elements… and, yes, sometimes that does make people walk away saying, “I don’t know how someone could ever do that without sinning”.
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
What are God's thoughts on cremation? Not your thoughts, but God's.
Ashes To Ashes
Dear Ashes To Ashes,
This is a question that we are often asked at AYP because it is so important to people that they properly handle their own (and their family’s) final wishes in a godly fashion. Cremation is perfectly Biblical. Your body is a tent that is discarded at death (2 Cor 5:1-4). At death, we leave this ‘tent’ of a body behind (2 Pet 1:14,) and your body will decay and return to dust (Gen 3:19).
We have at least one account of cremation occurring in the Old Testament. Saul and his sons were cremated after they died in battle (1 Sam 31:12). The men that cremated Saul and his sons were later commended by David for their behavior (2 Sam 2:5). That same verse in 2 Samuel shows that David considered cremation a form of burial.
The Bible does not seem to place much focus on how someone is buried. God’s emphasis is upon how we live (Gal 2:20), not what is done with our body after we die.