Ask Your Preacher
Why do I get mad often?
Dear Short Fuse,
Uncontrolled rage, like so many sins, stems from within our hearts (Mk 7:21-23). God warns that anger has a way of creeping up on us, and we must rule over it (Gen 4:6-7). Eph 4:26 says that we should make sure that our anger doesn’t control our actions; it is okay to be angry, but it isn’t okay to sin (Eph 4:26). One of the easiest ways to cool your temper is to be quick to hear and slow to speak (Jas 1:19-20). Anger can be controlled by slowing down and listening before jumping to conclusions.
Help me explain how God teaches us, not just by commands and direct statements, but also by examples and "necessary inferences."
Trying To Teach
Dear Trying To Teach,
‘Necessary inference’ is another way of saying that something must logically be true. For example, if you saw a man walking out of a store, you could “necessarily infer” that he had entered the store at some point. A necessary inference is simply using the facts at hand and our reasoning powers to properly find an answer. This is something that God wants us to do.
- In Isa 1:18, the Lord says, “Come now and let us reason together.”
- In Acts 17:2, Paul reasoned with the Jews using Scriptures to prove that Jesus was the Christ.
- Hebrews 5:14 says that we should attempt to discern between good and evil.
All of these passages point out that we have a responsibility to take God’s Word and, using our minds, reach proper conclusions about what is right and wrong. It is important to remember that we aren’t supposed to “jump” to conclusions, but God wants us to take the sum of His Word on every topic and put the pieces properly together (Ps 119:160).
In fact, this is exactly what the apostles did in Acts 15 when they had to decide whether or not to circumcise the Gentile Christians. In Acts 15:7-12, Peter, Paul, and Barnabas gave examples of how God accepted the Gentiles without circumcision. In Acts 15:13-21, the apostles looked at an Old Testament passage that said the Gentiles would eventually be accepted by God. And finally, after looking at these commands and examples from God, they made a judgment that the Gentiles didn’t need to be circumcised (Acts 15:19). This is a perfect example of using sound judgment and necessary inference.
God wants us to use our minds and come up with necessary conclusions to resolve ethical issues and defend the faith (1 Pet 3:15).
How do you survive an unevenly yoked marriage, and if your marriage is unevenly yoked, can God yoke the relationship together?
Dear Just Surviving,
God says that we are ‘unevenly yoked’ when we deeply intertwine our life with an unbeliever (2 Cor 6:14). A prime example of this is marriage. There is no more intimate relationship on this planet than marriage (Gen 2:24), and when a Christian is married to a non-Christian, it can be extremely difficult.
If you are married to an unbeliever, things will be tough, but all things are possible through God (Lk 18:27). Remember that your role is to be a light and sanctifying influence in your marriage (1 Cor 7:13-14). It is your godly behavior that has the potential to lead your spouse to Christ.
Inversely, you must not let your spouse’s attitudes and priorities lead you away from the Lord. Remember that your relationship with Christ comes first. Stand firm in the faith (1 Cor 16:13). Set your mind and purpose in your heart that you won’t skip church services (Heb 10:24-25), won’t compromise your morals for anyone, and you won’t let your love of Christ grow cold (Matt 24:12). If you do that, the Lord will bless you, and your marriage will be blessed.
A loudspeaker system produces "mechanical" music when sound is output through speakers (technically, sound waves generated by mechanical means, not vocal chords). If a church accepts this form of mechanical music by synthesizing its singing through audio speakers, could it accept words produced and synthesized by a sound board? What would the difference be? Ultimately, the sound produced is mechanical, sound waves from an amplifier and not from the voice box.
A loudspeaker system has nothing to do with the music being made – it simply amplifies it. When a speaker system is used, it doesn’t make any sort of music; the saints still have to sing and make melody in their hearts (Col 3:16). If the Christians weren’t singing, the speakers would simply produce silence.
A speaker system is no different then cupping your hands in front of your mouth to amplify the noise. The singing is still the same, just amplified by modern technology. However, if a piece of audio equipment is being used like an instrument to produce music on its own, that would be no different than using a piano or guitar.
I have been reading your posts about deacons, and a recent situation that has come up at our church makes me think you might be able to help. I am not an official deacon at our church. However, I have been serving our elders by using my unique talents and abilities to perform several chores… some of which were done by previous deacons no longer alive.
At a recent elder/deacon meeting, I was told one deacon expressed concern that I was acting as a deacon. He felt that I should discontinue the chores (website help, audio/visual support, etc.) until I am recognized as an official deacon. They all agreed there wasn't anyone better qualified at handling those jobs, but there was apparently still much disagreement on what I could scripturally do, and nothing has come of it. Can I serve the elders even though I'm not an official deacon, and really what is the difference, so I can explain it? Thanks.
Not A Deacon
Dear Not A Deacon,
The key to understanding this issue is to remember that all Christians are deacons, but not all Christians are elders’ deacons. Let us explain. Jesus was called a deacon to the Jews (Rom 15:8), the apostles were told to be deacons (Mk 9:35), and godly Phoebe was called a deacon to the church (Rom 16:27). ‘Deacon’ just means ‘servant’. Every Christian is to be a servant to the church… but only certain qualified men are allowed to be the type of servants that help the elders do their job.
The office of deacon (1 Tim 3:13) is a unique position designed to remove the burden of service from the elders, just like the benevolence situation in Acts 6 placed an added burden on the apostles (Acts 6:2-3). A deacon, under the oversight of the eldership, has the authority to undertake tasks that normally would require an elder. Deacons can deal with sensitive issues like benevolence, worship organization, counseling, and church finances that wouldn’t ever be shuffled off on a “normal” church member due to the task’s importance and delicate nature. These are all areas that an elder would normally have to be very hands-on with, but thanks to deacons, the elders can breathe easier.
There is no hard and fast rule as to what jobs require a deacon and what jobs don’t, but the general principle is: if it requires an elder’s touch, then it can only be delegated to an “elder’s deacon”.