May 2013 Questions / Answers
The following questions are taken from emails and are printed below exactly as I received them. Names and contact information has been removed. The answers are in note form (sorry for any of my grammar errors) to be studied through. You’ll have to examine each Scripture below to see the points.
1. “I have a question, i learned that, one must be baptized as a part of salvation. Then my concern is that; i'm not a church member, so does it mean i am not saved because no one will baptize me ? If yes, does it mean salvation is found in a church? Please help me on this matter.”
Š You are correct in that, PART of God’s instructions concerning salvation require one to be immersed in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:36-41, Acts 18:8, Romans 6:3-6, Colossians 2:12, and I Peter 3:20-21).
Š The church of Christ does have a part in your salvation.
o The Lord is going to save His body (Ephesians 5:23).
o His body is His church (Ephesians 1:22-23).
o When you obey the Gospel, the Lord adds you to His body/church (Acts 2:47).
o Baptism is part of the process (I Corinthians 12:12-13).
Š However, your being baptized into Christ does not require the church [the collective body of local believers – I Corinthians 12:27] to be involved (Acts 8:25-39).
Š You do not need to be concerned about finding a faithful church of Christ until AFTER you have obeyed the Gospel and then need faithful brethren to work and worship with (Acts 20:7, I Corinthians 12:14-27, and Hebrews 10:23-25).
2. “There is a woman in the congregation where I assemble that is constantly correcting everything everyone says in classes. She is not correcting false statements. She is correcting the grammar of the people who are answering questions. She knows some have a problem with this. I feel this is out of line and a bit nit picky. What could I say to her from the Bible? I am a concerned man in the congregation.”
Š First, we need to examine if this is a problem. Let’s make it simple. Do the Scriptures teach that we need to correct grammar? The answer, NOT AT ALL (I Corinthians 2:1-5). Thus, you do have a problem in that someone is creating an issue that is not of God.
Š Secondly, you have the problem that this is not a private, but public matter. Thus, Matthew 18:15-17 does not apply fully. The teacher of the class has to take control of this matter (Titus 2:15).
Š Thirdly, you have a woman that is behaving in a manner not befitting a godly woman (I Timothy 2:11-12, Titus 2:5, and I Peter 3:4).
Š Moreover, outside of the fact that she is a female, her attitude of desiring to stir up conflict (correcting those whom she knows doesn't like it on matters that mean nothing to God) is ungodly as well (Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 17:19, and James 3:16).
Š Therefore, she needs rebuked publically (I Timothy 5:20 and Titus 1:10-14). If she does not cease, you have no choice but to practice discipline (I Corinthians 5:6-7) and bring peace to the assembly (I Corinthians 14:33).
3. “I have a question. We are dealing with a lot of tobacco use in our congregation Chewing, smoking, dipping. Some believe that it is nothing wrong with it, and some are against it. I can not find nothing scripturally sound to support or deny it.”
Š There is a lot to say on this subject. Let’s start simple. Where does God say it is okay to use an addictive, harmful drug, for pleasure (Luke 4:4, Luke 6:46, Romans 14:23, Ephesians 5:10, Colossians 3:17, I Thessalonians 5:21, and II Timothy 3:16-17)?
Š God instructs us to care for our bodies (Romans 12:1-2 and I Corinthians 6:20)?
Š In fact, God instructs us to avoid that which appeals to the flesh (Romans 8:5-8 and I Peter 2:11).
Š With all of that, add to the fact that tobacco is addictive. How could you follow Matthew 26:41 while doing something that is knowingly harmful and addictive?
4. “I live in a town where there are two sound churches. There is one problem that has not come about now. We have had to withdraw from an elder for public sins. The elder has no gone to the other congregation and become a member. He has not confessed his sins. When we talked to the other congregation they said what goes on here is no their business and that they are not responsible for following our withdrawing. They said it violates autonomy. Is that right?”
Š For one, if the other congregation in town has accepted someone in sin, why would you call them sound?
Š Disciplining an elder is right if he has sinned (II Thessalonians 3:6 and II Thessalonians 3:14-15), but must be dealt with correctly (I Timothy 5:19-20). I will proceed with the mindset that PROPER discipline has occurred. If such is not right, all that will be shown to follow is not applicable.
Š In regard to the idea of “autonomy”: The statement: “what happens in another congregation is not our business” shows ABSOLUTE BIBLICAL IGNORANCE. What do those people think they’re doing when they read Acts, Romans, I Corinthians, II Corinthians, Galatians, etc.?
o An eldership only has oversight of the local church they are among (I Peter 5:1-4).
o However, that does not come close to meaning that what happens in other faithful congregations is not part of our concern, knowledge, and even work. The Scriptures show direct knowledge and INVOLVEMENT with one congregation to another throughout the New Testament (Acts 14:26-27, Romans 15:26, I Corinthians 16:20, and Colossians 4:16).
Š In regard to one congregation abiding by the disciplinary actions of another… The Scriptures certainly teach such is to occur (Acts 15:1-35 [The previous Scripture reference also PROVES one congregation should be involved in dealing with the transgressions of another]; cf. Romans 16:17-18, I Timothy 1:19-20, and II Timothy 4:14-15).
Š Sadly, as we see here in El Paso (Eastridge - “a” church of Christ), there are false congregations that have become “safe havens” for the disorderly that have been Scripturally withdrawn from. Congregations that make sinners comfortable are not a new problem (Revelation 2:12-28). These false congregations end up strengthening the hands of evil-doers (Jeremiah 23:14).
Š Finally, the following Scriptures apply to every Christian regardless of what local church they assemble with: Psalms 26:5, Ephesians 5:11, I John 1:3-7, I John 4:1, and II John 9-11; cf. Matthew 12:30.
5. “We have a teenager in the congregation that to me is disruptive. This boy doesn’t seem to care about being there. In classes he asks questions just to be difficult. They cause disruptions. An example, he asked if God can do anything could he create another god that is more powerful and wouldn’t that mean he is no longer almighty. Should his questions be allowed?”
Š When you say a “teenager in the congregation”, that implies he is a Christian and a member of that local church. If such is true, he should be dealt with in a scriptural manner (II Thessalonians 3:6).
Š If he is not a Christian, the question is – where are the parents? It is the responsibility of parents to deal with such situations (Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 19:18, Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 29:15, and Ephesians 6:4). The parents need to be held responsible for their children.
Š Questions that are asked with ulterior motives should not be answered (II Timothy 2:23 and Titus 3:9-11).
Š The teacher of these classes should be taking command of the situation (Titus 2:15).
Š All in all, order must be established (I Corinthians 14:40).
6. “Does James 2:24-26 contradict Galatians 2:16?”
Š You must do works to be saved (Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 2:13, James 1:21-25, Titus 2:14, Titus 3:14, and Revelation 22:14).
Š Galatians 2:16 is discussing works of the Law of Moses, which we have been delivered from by Christ (Galatians 2:17-3:29). Thus, there is no contradiction. One just needs to understand the contextual meaning of Galatians 2:16.
7. “God said that you can never see him and live (Ex. 33:20). Does that mean that when we are in heaven we will never see him?”
Š That statement was made in regard to man on earth. To be clear, the answer is no, (Matthew 5:8 and I John 3:2).
© 2013 This material may not be used for sale or other means to have financial gain. Use this as a tool for your own studies if such is helpful! Preachers are welcome to this work, but please do not use my work so that you can be lazy and not do your own studies. – Brian A. Yeager