Those Folks are Different

This past week I was having a conversation with a friend who is a member of a denominational church. She mentioned to me that she wanted to come visit us and that she had told her “pastor” that she was going to visit us. Her “pastor” asked who we were and my friend responded, “the church of Christ.” The “pastor” said, “Are you sure you want to do that? Those folks are different!”

There are many members of the church today who would react negatively to that analysis. They would say, “Oh, we’re no different than any of the denominations around us.” To these, it is an embarrassment that they are considered to be different by the denominations. These would want to change the church into just another denomination, to legitimize and acquire instrumental music, to destroy the autonomy of the local congregation, to call the preacher, “pastor”, to get rid of the name “church of Christ,” etc. until the church is no longer distinctive from those around us. However, that would not be the way of God or Christ.

We read in the scriptures that God has always demanding of his people that they be different. In Deuteronomy 14:2, Moses tells the children of Israel that they are different. He says, “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.” The word “holy” means to be set apart, different. God wanted the children of Israel to be a “peculiar people.” The new English Standard Version translates this phrase “treasured possession.” Certainly something that is a treasured possession is different from everything else one has and is set apart.

In the New Testament as well, Peter quotes from this passage in Deuteronomy and applies it toward “Spiritual Israel”�Christians. Peter writes, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). God wants us, as Christians, to be different. Paul writes to Titus these words regarding Jesus, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” Titus 2:14). Jesus died so that we could be different. We read in 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” In order to be God’s children, the church must be separate, distinct, unique, different.

So, are we different? Yes, we are, and I am glad that we are. Today we live in a time when denominations around us are conforming to the world. We hear of denominations who condone abortion, homosexuality, fornication, and adultery. The church of Christ does not condone such activities because God’s word condemns these things. Instead of conforming to the way that the world would have the church, the church ought to be demanding of individuals that their lives be transformed through repentance and renewal of mind. In Romans 12:2 we read, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Are we different? Yes, we are. We are different because we have been transformed by Christ to be a people who are holy, the children of God, separate from that which is sinful; different from the way the world would mold religion in its own image today. It is our differences from everyone else that define who we are as Christians. We should never be embarrassed of that! The world and the denominations may think us “strange” (1 Peter 4:4) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. One day, Jesus will return and all will bow and God will be glorified, not because of our similarities with the world, but because of our differences (Matthew 25:34).

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Should I Marry My Pregnant Girlfriend?

What is the appropriate thing to do biblically if a boy gets his girlfriend pregnant before he is married to her. He is a Christian and she is a baptist.Do they have to get married? He plans on supporting the child.

This is a difficult situation, but the Bible has some principles which can answer this question. Please also engage in prayer regarding this situation, as I am sure you already have (James 1:5).

First, he is the father of the child and he must act accordingly, whether the two get married or not. This means that he has the responsibility to love and support the child and to raise the child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). He will never get beyond that responsibility; it will follow him all of his life.

Second, while it would be ideal for this young man to marry this woman to give the child an ideal home environment, marriage is more than just a place to raise children. For a man to marry a woman is a commitment that he must make for the rest of his life (Matthew 19:6). He must love and cherish her as his own flesh (Ephesians 5:28, 29). She also must be willing to marry, love, and submit to his headship (Titus 2:4, 5). That is a choice that he AND she must make together. The two shouldn’t be forced to marry into a situation where they would not love and care for each other. That will only end in divorce and the latter end will become worse than the former. The only two people who can determine if their marriage is going to work will be these two people themselves. If they are willing to make that lifelong commitment, then they may marry. On the other hand, if they are not, or if they have reservations, then I wouldn’t force the issue. Perhaps they will not marry each other, but in the future one will marry another who is capable of providing a good home life for the child.

Third, You didn’t mention ages, but statistically, more couples remain married if they wait until their mid-twenties. For this reason, if the two are teens, my personal advice would be against marriage. Marriage is difficult enough as it is; it is even more difficult when a child is involved. Teens and even people in their early twenties just don’t have the life-experience to deal with such a situation.

Finally, if he has not already, this young man needs to repent and confess his fault before the church (James 5:16). He has brought reproach upon the people of God by his actions and he needs to be accountable for them. Then he needs to make a commitment not to continue to be involved in such behavior. He may simply be a young man, but if he is old enough to get himself involved in such a situation, then he is old enough to deal with the consequences. If he fails to make the appropriate acknowledgments of his sinful behavior, then the church will have to fulfill its obligations in 1 Corinthians 5.

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Memorial Day

The verse that immediately came to my mind when thinking about Memorial Day was John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This verse is often quoted on Memorial Day and frequently applied (in most cases, correctly) to the men and women who have died to serve our country. Memorial Day, then, is the day that we remember those who have fallen, whether in battle or in peacetime, who have sacrificed all simply for the sake of their fellow man’s freedom. This day, in our culture, comes around once a year and to most, this day signifies the beginning of the summer season and the associated recreational activities.

What will you do on Memorial Day? Some will have backyard cook outs. Some will go to the lake or beach. Some will go to a park for a picnic. Others will attend a parade or some other Memorial Day celebration. But our eternal destiny does not depend upon us doing any one particular thing on Memorial Day.

There is another memorial day, however, that is much more significant than the Memorial Day which we celebrate every year. This memorial day commemorates One who not only gave His life for his friends, but also for His enemies (Romans 5:7, 8). This memorial day is not to remember those who have fallen in battle, but One who was triumphant over death (Colossians 2:15). This memorial day doesn’t begin a single season of the year, but begins every week of the year. This memorial day is observed by those who are faithful Christians upon the first day of the week, every week. What is this day of which I speak? It is Sunday, the first day of the week (Mark 16:2, 9, Acts 20:7), the Lord’s day (Revelation 1:10).

Yes, today is memorial day. The early Christians gathered upon the first day of the week to remember the Lord by partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7). Jesus said in Luke 22:19 “�this do in remembrance of me” and Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:24, 25 reiterated this statement of Jesus in regard to the Lord’s Supper as well. Yes, today is memorial day. When we eat of the bread and drink of the fruit of the vine, we remember the body and blood of Jesus. We remember that He died for us; we remember that He was resurrected to live again (Philippians 3:10); we remember that his physical death gave us spiritual life that we might live in Him each day (1 Thessalonians 5:10). Yes, today is memorial day as well as next Sunday, and the Sunday after that; each first day of the week we observe memorial day.

What will you do on memorial day? Many think that memorial day is a day to stay home and rest, or go to the park, or beach or lake. Yet others believe that we must make an observance of memorial day, but not the full observance by remembering His body and blood in His supper, at His table. We each have a choice this memorial day. We can abide by the instructions of the One who established memorial day and remember Him as He desires, or we can do whatever we desire whether that is not observing the day at all, or only partly observing it. One thing is certain; our eternal destiny will depend upon how we observe this memorial day.

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Is Dancing a Sin?

Is dancing a sin? Is it a sin to go to the prom? Is it a sin to participate in ballet?

This is a question, like so many decisions that we have to make in our personal life, which is not directly answered in the scriptures. In other words, there are no scriptures that say, “Dancing is sinful.” And when it comes to questions such as this one, they are largely answered based upon our attitude toward the word of God. So the first thing that we need to ask ourselves in answer to this question is this: am I going to have an attitude that seeks to avoid any questionable decisions in my life and the appearance of impropriety? Or am I going to have an attitude that seeks to try to get away with as much as possible? If we have the attitude that we are just going to do the minimum and get away with doing as little as possible for the Lord and focus on trying to gratify ourselves then we will not come to the right conclusion regarding this question and toward many questions that will arise in our life. On the other hand, if we have the attitude that we are going to go the extra mile in our service to Christ (Matthew 5:41), to be a living sacrifice for Him (Romans 12:1), and avoid the appearance of evil (1 Thess.5:22), then we will ultimately be better off.

Before we answer the question, let us define what we are discussing when we talk about dancing. I am not speaking about the companionship that a husband and wife may share together in the privacy of their own home. I am not even necessarily speaking about moving one’s body in rhythm with music such as children do or such as an adult might do when he or she is happy about something and is enjoying listening to music. There is nothing inherently wrong with moving rhythmically to music. As I am defining dancing in answer to this question, I am speaking of the modern dance and the circumstances that surround it. The modern dance is a social function. It is an effort on the part of those who organize and participate within it to bring members of the opposite sex together in a social way so as to stimulate sexual attractiveness. The modern dance places a single man and woman together in a very close and intimate way in a very public setting. The modern dance encourages men and women to move in ways that are lewd and suggestive. The attire at a modern day dance usually has young women exposing a large part of their body in a suggestive and sexually attractive way. Also associated with the modern dance is the consumption of alcohol; whether done legally or illegally there is usually someone who will bring it in on the side. In addition to alcohol, the modern dance often leads a young couple to perform more intimate activities subsequent to the dance such as petting and even in some cases, fornication. It is therefore the whole situation about which I am discussing in answer to this question.

Now while the Bible does not come out and directly say “dancing is a sin,” there are some scriptures that indicate that participating in such actions do not become one who would name himself a Christian. Let’s look at a few of these scriptures. The first is in 1 Peter 2:11. There Peter writes, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul�.” Peter was writing to Christians who were being tempted to follow after the ways of the world to fit into society. He tells them that they need to abstain from fleshly lusts. Fleshly lusts are evil desires that come from a love of the world and not a love of God. These fleshly lusts are said to war or fight against the soul. By this we understand him to say that by fulfilling these lusts, these desires, we will put ourselves into a situation where our Christianity will be challenged–where Satan will have opportunity to tempt us and where we will be discouraged from trying to do what is right. Now if the modern dance does not fall into this category, I do not know what does. Those who participate in the modern dance will be challenged in their Christianity, they will give Satan an opportunity to tempt them and they will be discouraged from trying to do what is right. Why would a Christian want to place oneself into such a situation?

Look also at 1 Thessalonians 5:22. In the King James Version we read, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” If it even looks like it might be wrong, then we need to keep away from it. There can be no doubt that some of the movements in the modern dance have the appearance of evil and so we should abstain from it.

Notice also 1 Peter 4:1-4 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” We notice from this passage that Christ ceased from the sins of the flesh so that we might be saved. Would we put ourselves into the presence of the very things from which He ceased in order for us to have a momentary time of pleasure and enjoyment? Peter lists the things that he is specifically talking about. These things include lasciviousness, revellings, and banquetings. These are activities that in the ancient world were associated with sexual promiscuity. The modern dance is also one of those things.

Notice Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” The real interesting item in this list is “such like.” That is, if there is anything in the world that is similar to the types of things that have been mentioned in this passage which Paul says are the works of the flesh, we should not have anything to do with it. Certainly the modern dance places one in a situation where one is tempted to indulge in the works of the flesh and so we should abstain from it.

John writes to the Christian in 1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” The modern dance is a thing of the world and when we demonstrate that we love things of the world more than we love God, God’s love no longer abides in us. Why would we want to remove ourselves from the love of God for an hour or two of worldly pleasure? James 4:4 states “�know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” Why become the enemy of God for a few hours of social interaction?

Finally, we should take heed to the admonition that Paul gives to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived, evil companionships corrupt good morals.” Those in the world who go to and participate in the modern dance go there expecting to engage in something enticing and titillating. They go with evil purposes in mind. The Christian who chooses to go to the dance surrounds himself with these evil companionships. Why should a Christian purposefully want to ignore the inspired words in this passage?

The modern dance holds many dangers for the Christian both young and old. I once knew a Christian couple who would go to clubs with the intent of “picking each other up” at these different establishments. I suppose that they got some measure of enjoyment and a certain thrill out of doing this. However, it was not very long before one of them was engaged in an adulterous situation and the church was moved to withdraw fellowship from this person. Their marriage ended in divorce and their children separated from mother and father. Oh how that couple wishes that they had never gone to such places and participated in such reckless abandon with their Christianity. Let us resolve not to make the same mistake in our lives and avoid the modern dance.

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What is the Perfect in I Corinthians 13:10?

At the time of Paul’s writings, I believe the NT was not yet written, incomplete. The “impefect” I beleive is the miraclious spiritual gifts which ceased. What do you think the “perfect” is in 1 Cor. 13:10?

“The perfect” in this passage is the coming completion of the revelation of God to man in what we have today as the New Testament. It is the “perfect law of liberty” according to James 1:25. Ephesians 4 also speaks about the coming of the unity of “the faith.” So it was not the incomplete revelation, but the coming completed revelation. That is “that which is perfect/complete.”

This makes sense in the context too. What was incomplete? Prophecies, tongues, knowledge. What are those things? They are ways of revealing the truth. Well, when you have all of the truth, then you no longer need those things that reveal the truth to you. Jesus promised that the apostles would be guided into “all truth” (John 16:13). So that is what we must believe that happened.

Paul was speaking at a time when that was not yet accomplished. So, they still needed those prophecies, tongues, and knowledge. However, when that which is perfect/complete is come, then that which is incomplete would be done away.

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