Ask Your Preacher
How can I live a more stress-free life, so I can move on in my life?
Bundle Of Nerves
Dear Bundle Of Nerves,
A stress-free life is impossible, but a Christian has tools to deal with the ups and downs of life that change everything. We are told that we can pray for a quiet and tranquil life (1 Tim 2:1-2). Matt 6:33-34 says that if we seek the Lord, He will take care of us and care for our needs. Ps 55:22 also teaches that we can cast our burdens upon God, and He will sustain us. And lastly, Rom 8:28 gives us the confidence that God will cause all things to work together for good for those who love Him. Christianity doesn’t mean a stress-free life, but it means a life where we can have peace through the trials (Php 4:7).
If baptism is essential for salvation, what about the thief on the cross ?
Dear Confession Only,
There are four explanations for Christ’s pardon of the crucified thief in Lk 23:39-43. All of them fit in perfect harmony with the necessity of baptism and the New Testament teachings that salvation begins at baptism (1 Pet 3:21, Acts 2:37-38, Mk 16:16, Rom 6:3-4).
- This thief may very well have been baptized by John the Baptist (Mk 1:4) or one of Jesus’ disciples (Jhn 4:1-2). We simply don’t know enough about this thief to say whether he was or wasn’t baptized. It is always faulty to build a doctrine off an assumption. To say that we don’t need to be baptized because that thief wasn’t baptized is an assumption.
- The thief was physically unable to be baptized. 2 Cor 8:12 tells us that God only holds us accountable for what we are physically able to do. That thief didn’t have the capability to get off that cross and be baptized. The argument could be made that he was excused from the law of baptism the same way that a mute man would be excused from the command to “confess Christ with your tongue” (Rom 14:11). This isn’t the best argument of the four, but it is a valid point worth considering.
- While Jesus was here on earth, He had the authority to forgive sins as He saw fit (Matt 9:6). This thief was no different than any of the other people whose sins were verbally forgiven by Christ as He walked this earth (Lk 7:48-49, Lk 5:20). Since Jesus is no longer on this earth… baptism is the only other way to have your sins removed.
- The command to be baptized for salvation is a New Testament command. Those who are baptized become a part of the church (Acts 2:41). If we are being technical (and there is a time for technicalities), the church and the New Testament law didn’t come into effect until after Jesus died and rose from the grave. Until Jesus’ death and resurrection, the laws of the Old Testament would have still been in effect. That thief wasn’t bound to the law of baptism (a New Testament law) because Jesus hadn’t yet died.
No matter which argument seems the sturdiest to you (they all have merit), the thief on the cross example doesn’t negate the necessity of baptism today.
I struggle with the logic of a god. Archeologists have uncovered "Lucy" and other human remains dating back 4+ million years. How do fossils such as these fit into your understanding of human's creation by a god? Do you consider evolution and god mutually exclusive?
Millions Of Contradictions
Dear Millions Of Contradictions,
Atheism isn’t science, and yet, it colors the way people view scientific data. A large portion of the scientific establishment views the world through naturalistic lenses – meaning that they assume everything that is here came through natural, random processes. One paleontologist looks at millions of dead bones piled under dirt, debris, silt, etc. and sees millions of years of decay and evolution. Another paleontologist sees the same fossils scattered in abundance under the same rock layer and sees a cataclysmic event – most likely Noah’s Flood. The difference isn’t the data; it is the way they view and interpret the data. Most of the modern scientific community has chosen to interpret the data through evolutionary lenses. They assume that:
- The world is billions of years old because evolution would need billions of years to occur.
- All rock layers form slowly over time – even though we have great examples of rock forming rapidly. (Mt. St. Helen’s explosion in 1980 is a great example of cataclysmic rock formation). This viewpoint is called “uniformitarianism” and is based off the concept that all things are the same throughout time – if something is happening slowly now, then it must always have happened that way. The Bible specifically says that isn’t the case (2 Pet 3:4-6).
- That nature is all there is. Naturalism assumes that there is no supernatural and that there is no supernatural intervention in the events of mankind’s history or the world’s creation.
These assumptions color the data of a large portion of scientists. It isn’t a conspiracy, but it is interpretation of data based upon their worldview. The Bible agrees perfectly with scientific data, but it often disagrees with scientists. Carbon-14 dating (and other radiometric dating methods) is based off of a naturalistic worldview. We don’t have the space here, but we would highly recommend you read this article, written by a scientist, on the assumptions involved in carbon-14 dating. Once again, the problem isn’t with the carbon half-life measurements… but with the interpretation of the data.
The Bible dwells in perfect harmony with science, but when scientists assume that there is no God involved in the creation of this planet, they often fail to understand the data they are collecting.
I wonder why our gospel preacher, along with several others, think they need to go overseas to preach the gospel. I feel there is a great need here in the United States for preaching also, but he doesn’t do that; he only holds gospel meetings from time to time. I know it is good to let others hear the gospel all over the world, but why not go out into areas in the U.S.?! It seems like a lot of wasted money, and everyone knows the people in the poor nations are always looking for money. Why do so many preachers think they have to do this?
Stick To The States
Dear Stick To The States,
The key to answering your question is in your own words – you said, “I feel there is a great need here…”. God has told us to bring the gospel to all of the world (Matt 28:19), and it is a matter of wisdom and personal preference as to where, when, and how to do that.
Some feel it is more practical to focus on those of their own country because there is a real need right here. Others feel that since we are the wealthiest nation in the world and have the means to preach in foreign lands, we should focus on that. Both are right. There are needs in both America and abroad. There are preachers needed here and elsewhere.
Yes, some people in poor nations only want money and are deceptively listening to the gospel in hopes of a handout… but the same could be said about people here in America, too! Wherever the gospel has been preached, there have been sincere and insincere hearts. Even one of the apostles, Judas, used religion as a disguise for greed (Jhn 12:6).
The best thing we can do is all work to preach wherever we feel we can make a difference and not judge those who put their zeal towards other evangelism fields – we both serve the same Master (Rom 14:4). The problem isn’t that we aren’t preaching enough in the right parts of the world… the problem is that we aren’t preaching enough.
Can Satan read our minds? Does Satan read our thoughts? Is he capable of knowing what we are thinking? Thank You!
What Am I Thinking Right Now?
Dear What Am I Thinking Right Now,
Satan cannot read your mind, but he can attack your mind. The devil is exceptionally cunning and wiley (Eph 6:11). He uses his trickery to deceive us, but he doesn’t know your inner thoughts. On certain occasions, the devil has placed thoughts within minds (Jhn 13:2), but he cannot see into our hearts. If the devil could read minds and hearts, he never would have wasted time tempting Jesus (Matt 4:1).
God is the only one to be noted to have the ability to see into our hearts (Acts 1:24) and read our minds (Lk 11:17). Aside from God, the only one who knows your mind is you (1 Cor 2:11). The devil may be very clever… but he doesn’t know the depths of your soul.