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Questions and Answers

A collection of brief answers to many random questions that have come to us through the website over the years.

What is the “Church of Christ?”


Question:
  Would you consider the Church of Christ a cult?  I know they believe that you can lose your salvation, but does that mean they are under bad teaching or an actual cult? 

 I have a friend who is part of Church of Christ.  In light of 2 John 10,11  “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them.  Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.” is it wise to establish a friendship with this person?

 

Answer:  The Church of Christ is a Christian sect.  It is not a cult.  Cults deny the deity of Christ.  That’s the doctrinal focus of 2 John 10-11, written at the time and in the historical context of the rise of gnostic teaching, which denied the full deity of Christ.

Sects, on the other hand, do not deny the deity of Christ, but sects often have an unbalanced emphasis on some particular “pet” doctrine–such as the 7th Day Adventists and the Sabbath.  The Church of Christ emphasizes water baptism to such a degree that many believe it is necessary for salvation.  There are true believers in the Church of Christ, but those who are trusting in their baptism instead of Christ for their salvation obviously are not saved.   

What is your take on eternal security for believers?


Question:
  I have struggled with the “once saved, always saved” question for many years, and I am curious about your take on it.

 If it’s true “you either have it or you don’t” then what happened to King Saul? He was a righteous king chosen by God, but refused to obey God wholeheartedly. Even worse, he failed to humble himself when the prophet Samuel came to confront him. He was tormented and turned over to evil…   What about Anaianas and Sapphira? They were IN the body of Christ, lied to the Holy Spirit, and instantly destroyed…. and many, many more such examples of those like Esau who sought God for repentance and never found it.

 We really need to see the reality of what it takes to be saved….whole heartedly walking with God. I believe we can be VERY secure if we have this kind of relationship and ENDURE to the end.  But if we don’t, I see it clear in the word that we certainly CAN fall away, as it warns in Hebrews 6…”

 

Answer:  For questions about eternal security, it is very important to distinguish between “falling out of fellowship” and “falling out of the family of God.”

King Saul, Lot, Ananias and Sapphira, and many others (including Moses who did not get into the Promised Land, and David who committed adultery and murder) fell out of fellowship with the Lord – but they did not lose their salvation.  See 1 Samuel 28:19 in reference to King Saul.  The text seems to indicate that Saul would be with Samuel, not just in death, but where Samuel was – and we know that Samuel was not in hell!

The case of Esau is different. Esau never became a believer.  Hebrews 12:16 describes him as “godless.”  Esau never repented of his sin.  Hebrews 12:17 makes it clear that he showed great regret when he lost out on the material blessings of the birthright, but he never turned to God in repentance.

By using Hebrews 6 as a proof text, the blogger must actually conclude that “once lost, always lost” because Hebrews 6:4 says that it is “impossible” to be brought back!  The truth is that Hebrews 6 is describing persons who come close to salvation at some point, but never actually believe, and then turn away.  A hardening process sets in whereby the heart becomes so calloused that true repentance becomes more and more “impossible”!

Why should believers avoid suicide (a quick trip to heaven)?


Question:
  We had a young lady in our church who recently took her own life and the pastor said from the pulpit that she is now dancing with Jesus. I hope that is true.  My greater concern is for the young people who are left and still have to struggle with this life. They too might want to take the easy way out like this young lady, since they too will be dancing with Jesus.  Is this a sound theology? Is this wrong application of scripture?

 

Answer:  Suicide with not separate us from the love of God.  However, all believers will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:12 and 2 Corinthians 5:10), and the sin of suicide will certainly take away from reward for faithful service.

Why isn’t slavery mentioned in the 10 Commandments?


Question:
 My question stems from my reading of Exodus, the Ten Commandments, and all that follows that show us Gods morale standards.  While it is very clear that God tells us “thou shall not murder.” It is not clear to me that thou shall not enslave another human being.  Men seem to be able to get their freedom after 7 years. However, if a father sells his daughter into slavery, it is for life. As if a woman’s life has less value than that of a man.  So my question is that while God finds murder morally wrong, why doesn’t God state that he finds slavery morally wrong with an eleventh commandment?

 

Answer:  Certain wrong practices in the Bible were punishable by death, such as adultery, homosexuality and witchcraft.  Other wrong practices such as polygamy, divorce and slavery were never condoned, but allowed and regulated under the Law.  Also keep in mind that slavery in the Bible was not like the slavery in our country which led to the Civil War.  The abuses were much more regulated, so that it was more like indentured servants, and in many cases, conditions were better than many employer / employee conditions in the workplace today.

Do you have any material on personal evangelism?


Question:
  There are a some people I would like to speak to about Christ before I leave my campus.  I have done personal evangelism so it is not new to me, however, I would like to know what are some effective ways to spread the gospel and what particular bible studies on your website can I listen to in order to better equip myself?

 

Answer:  We don’t have a lot of material on our website about personal evangelism, but the following “Talks” from John by Dr. Dave may be helpful.
http://www.growingchristians.org/talks/john_4a/
http://www.growingchristians.org/talks/john_4b/

Who will reject Jesus during the Tribulation?


Question:
 Recently Dr. Reid was talking on the radio about who would be saved during the tribulation.  He read Scripture concerning those who rejected Jesus before the rapture and therefore, would not be able to accept Him after the rapture. I did not get the Scripture reference for those verses and am interested in knowing where to find them.

 

Answer:  The Scripture Dr. Dave referred to was 2 Thessalonians 2:10 -12.

What are the books of the Zohar?


Question:
 I recently had someone give me a set of books called the Zohar.  They are ancient Hebrew writings only recently translated to English. “They unlock the secrets of the Torah.” It sounds a little Bible Code-ish to me.

 

Answer:  There is a mystical tradition in Judaism known as the Kabbalah.  The Zohar is kabbalistic teaching.  It is not part of the Bible.  There is nothing about the Zohar that directs a reader to the Lord Jesus Christ.  It may be interesting reading for the sake of awareness, but I wouldn’t waste too much time on it.  Study the Old Testament – the Old Testament itself is exhaustless!

Why does 1 Cor 5:5 say “hand this man over to Satan?”


Question:
 In 1st Corinthians 5:5, it says “hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.”  My question is, why should we give people up to Satan?  In almost everything it says to show people the light of God, or God’s gifts, or something else, but never give someone over to Satan.  Why is it saying to give someone over to Satan?

 

Answer:  It is always important to understand the context of a verse, and the subject that s being discussed.  The context of 1 Corinthians 5 is church discipline.  The man being disciplined was guilty of immorality – serious sexual sin.  He was to be put out of the Church, or excommunicated.  At the present time, Satan is the “prince of this world” (1 Corinthians 2:6), so another way of expressing the unpleasant discipline of excommunication is “handing over to Satan.”  That is, the man was to be put out of the fellowship of believers, and into the world.

While this procedure seems tough, in the long run it should have the beneficial effect of driving a true believer to repentance and  back into church fellowship, because a true member of the Body of Christ longs to be back in happy fellowship with fellow-believers.  In this case, it seems that this is exactly what happened.  2 Corinthians 2 appears to exhort the Corinthian church to bring back this man into the fellowship, since he had repented.

“Handing over to Satan” in no way refers to sending a person to the brink of hell, or anything like that.  Remember, Satan is not in charge of hell (that’s cartoon theology!).  Satan cannot send anyone to hell, nor can he do anything to the believer (1 John 5:18).  God is in charge of hell!   Satan will eventually be in hell, but even then, he will not be in command (Matthew 25:41).  God is forever in charge of hell.  So the phase “handing over to Satan” does not mean putting a person under Satan’s control, but putting him out into the world – the realm of Satan at the present time.

Should my daughter divorce her abusive, alcoholic husband?


Question:
 My daughter has married an alcoholic.  She did not know that when she married.  He has now started to physically abuse her, hitting her on three occasions and she has come home to live with me and her mother.  I don’t feel I can send her back into an abusive situation.  Her husband refuses to go for treatment.  Do we recommend divorce to protect her home and assets?  He is living in her home.  Or do we recommend separation?

 

Answer:  The big question here is whether there has been sexual unfaithfulness as well as abuse.  Unless there has been adultery, 1 Corinthians 7 does not appear to allow divorce – only separation, with the hopes and prayers that the abuse will stop and  the marriage will be reconciled.

Can you point me to some information on predestination?


Question:
  Do you have any information on your website that would help in the understanding of predestination? 

 

Answer:  Please visit our website and listen to Dr. Dave’s talks from:
Ephesians 1:3-6
Romans 9:14-24
Romans 9:25-33

You can find these talks at this link:
http://www.growingchristians.org/category/talks-for-growing-christians/

You may also find this devotional written by Dr Dave helpful:
http://www.growingchristians.org/devotions/spiritual-blessings/