Ask Your Preacher
I just wanted to say that I’m not an atheist, and I don’t want to challenge religious views or anything. I am curious about Christianity and have a puzzling question. Since I currently don’t believe in any sort of religion and am unsure whether or not there is a god, if I died right now, would I automatically go to hell just because I haven’t accepted the Lord as my savior? I have morals and am generally a good person, so how could God send me to hell to burn forever? Is He really that cruel? Thank you in advance to whoever reads this; I appreciate your time.
Jesus is a very exclusive Savior. He very boldly claims, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no comes to the Father, but by Me.” (Jhn 14:6). If you don’t have a life of faith built upon following Christ, you won’t be saved. We aren't saved by being good people (everybody thinks they are a good person); we are saved by being in Christ (Jhn 10:9). That may sound harsh, but let’s talk about the evidence that God provides to make it possible for a deist to turn into a christian.
First of all, all faith is built upon some sort of evidence. That evidence may be historical data (like when you trust traffic lights to work properly because they have statistically done so in the past), it may be personal experience (i.e. when you trust a friend because they have shown good judgment and loyalty in the past), or circumstantial evidence (like when a jury convicts a murderer based upon the evidence presented to them – even when there weren’t eyewitnesses at the scene of the crime).
Your belief that there is some sort of Supreme Being is probably based upon some sort of basic evidence from the world that you see around you. Rom 1:20 says that God has provided evidence of His existence in the creation around us. From galaxies to atoms, this world shows the signs of design. A design requires a Designer. God’s handiwork is seen in the finely-tuned craftsmanship of the human eye, just like Nikon’s handiwork is shown in the craftsmanship of their cameras. You’ve done well to acknowledge His existence in a general way… but we would beg you to keep digging deeper.
After looking at the general evidence of God’s existence, it is time to look at the specific evidence of the Bible’s supernatural origins. The Bible is a unique book; it is a book that no human could ever write. We would encourage you to read “Who Wrote The Bible?” for a comprehensive list of reasons why the Bible is a book that only God could have written. Once we begin to see the evidence for the Bible’s divine origins, we have no choice but to ask ourselves, “Will I follow God’s Word?”.
God expects us to follow Jesus, and we stand condemned if we don’t, because He has given us plenty of evidence that Jesus is the one and only true Son of God. We would encourage you to follow the evidence – it will lead you straight to Jesus the Christ.
I was in supervision. My job was high-pressured, and I was forced to step down. Now, I feel alone, embarrassed, and I truly feel others were undermining me and disrespecting me. How do I get my confidence back and feel better about working there? God had to break me in order to get my attention.
Dear Feeling Demoted,
A righteous man may fall seven times, but he gets back up again (Pr 24:16). We are defined more by how we accept failures than anything else. The greatest athletes are those that can regroup and rally after a bad game or difficult quarter. Humility is one of the most important traits in life (Jas 4:10). The humble improve. Think of this setback as a chance to focus on what really matters, and count your blessings. We count them blessed who endured hardship when we read about them in the Bible (Jas 5:11). Learn from your mistakes, forgive those who have harmed you, and be a shining light for Christ. As a Christian, your worth is so much more than your job. Christians have their hope of heaven as an anchor for their souls (Heb 6:19).
It is clearly the will of God for local churches to be scripturally organized with elders (and deacons). Is a local church that is not scripturally organized with at least qualified elders still pleasing to God? Is such a church sinful? How can we know (scripturally)?
By The Book
Dear By The Book,
It is definitely God’s desire for congregations to appoint elders and deacons, but if a congregation doesn’t yet have elders, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are unfaithful. In Tit 1:5, Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders in the congregations in Crete, but it is also worth noting that there were already congregations in Crete! The congregations needed elders, but they were already faithful. When Paul and Barnabas preached together, they didn’t appoint elders in the churches of Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch until they were on the return trip (Acts 14:21-23). That means that each of those cities were originally without elders.
A congregation that refuses to put elders in place is fighting against God’s will, but many congregations are too young or too new to have qualified men who meet the requirements for elders found in 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Tit 1:5-9. The question is whether a congregation is working toward an eldership or whether they are disregarding the command.
When we die, will we all be judged by God? I have heard that we will all be judged, and then I have heard that those whose names are found in the Book of Life will not be judged. I’m just confused and would like some clarification please! Thank you!
Is Justice Blind?
Dear Is Justice Blind,
Several verses refer to the saints not being judged, but this doesn’t necessarily imply their sins won’t be made known. Jhn 3:18 and Lk 6:37 clearly state that christians will not be judged. ‘Not judged’ means they won’t be condemned. God is judge of all mankind (Heb 12:23), so everyone will be brought before Him for judgment (Eccl 3:17). When you die, God will judge you (Heb 9:27). When the Scriptures say that christians won’t be judged, it is referring to the painful part of judgment – the punishment. Christians will be spared the punishment that all the wicked must endure (2 Pet 2:9).
The fact that christians won’t have to suffer the punishment for sins doesn’t mean that our sins won’t be made known. Paul tells Timothy that some men’s sins are evident before death, and some men’s sins are made known after (1 Tim 5:24-25). Eventually, everything will be revealed (Lk 8:17, Lk 12:2). Every human’s deeds and intentions, whether good or bad, will be brought to light (1 Cor 4:3-5).
Is the phrase "go to church" a biblical concept? Also, does a local church exist outside of an opening and a closing prayer? Thanks.
Dear Church Goer,
The phrase “go to church” isn’t wrong, but it is often misused. 1 Cor 11:18, 1 Cor 14:19, and other verses use the word ‘church’ to refer to when the church is assembled together. Therefore saying “go to church” simply means ‘going to the church assembly’. Having said that, many people have forgotten that the church is the people, not a building. Many people who say, “I’m going to church” are referring to the church’s building. As long as you understand that the church is the people, then you are fine in using the phrase.
As for your second question, since the local church is the people, they do exist outside of the worship services. The very fact that 1 Cor 14:23 refers to the church in Corinth “coming together” means that they are still the church when they aren’t together.