What does our church teach about homosexuality?
The Bible teaches the right to life, when it says, "Thou shalt not kill." Just as the baby in the womb has the God-given right to life, so too entire nations have the same God-Given right to life.
Here are some reasons why Christians should believe in a young earth ("young" usually being defined as somewhere between 7-8K years old).
1. The Biblical genealogies take you backward to a fixed point in history, and that fixed point is not millions of years ago.
There is no evidence that great gaps of time exist between the names in the Biblical genealogies. In fact, the two New Testament genealogies of Christ (Matthew 1 and Luke 3) show direct successions from fathers to children. And the Luke 3 genealogy takes you all the way back from Jesus of Nazareth to Adam. Jesus' chain of ancestors cannot span backward millions of years.
2. We believe in the Biblical account of creation on the basis of authority, not on the basis of empirical observation. No one, regardless of their convictions about religion, can empirically observe, or reproduce, creation.
Moses wrote the book of Genesis, and Moses was a prophet of God. Being a prophet of God, it was impossible for Moses to err when he wrote. God controlled what Moses wrote, and God cannot err, therefore Moses could not err. There are liberal theologians who claim that human beings are not capable of writing error-free material, but they say this because they don't believe in the miraculous.
The error-free character of Moses' writing means that, if Moses wrote that there were six days of creation, and each of those days were split into binary parts (morning and evening), then that is what happened. It all rides on whether Moses was a true prophet of God.
3. The natural systems of the earth cannot function correctly, or even survive, without each other.
Nature is an intimately-interconnected system of life. Vegetation cannot survive without sunlight. According to Genesis 1:11-13, God created vegetation first. The next day, God created the sun and moon (1:14-19). God also created the oceans before He created the moon (1:6-7); yet tides don't exist without the gravitational effect of the moon. The absence of tides would impact everything else.
It would be impossible for the earth's water cycle to exist without evaporation (which is caused by the sun) and tides (which are caused by the moon). So, to say the creation days were millions of years long would mean there was no evaporation or tides for millions of years.
Similarly, it would be impossible for the vegetation to survive without sunlight for days, let alone millions of years. This is a reason why there could not be thousands or millions of years between the creation-days, because of the inter-connected nature of life.
4. Moses explicitly equated the length of the Jews' Sabbath day to the lengths of the days of creation (Exodus 20:8-11). He used the same word ("yom"), in the same context, speaking about the same thing. There are no reasons present in the context to say that Moses used the word "yom" literally in the first half of the sentence, then without explanation switched to an allegory in the second half.
5. The days of creation being millions of years in length empties the phrase "morning and evening" of meaning. It would force us into a mystical interpretation of "morning and evening", an interpretation which is not in the passage. Doing that then leads to worse troubles, as that mystical method of interpretation infects other passages of the Bible.
The measured age of rocks does not prove that the earth is millions of years old, because that idea assumes a non-miraculous origin to the earth, and also assumes the absence of miraculous divine intervention in natural history.
Genesis explicitly teaches a miraculous origin to the earth. Once you accept a miraculous origin to the universe, the need for a millions-of-years-old earth dissolves.
According to Moses, God created everything already aged. God didn't create seeds, eggs, and fetuses. He created fully-grown forests, meadows, birds, cattle, bacteria, insects, reptiles, fish, and a fully grown human couple. This implies He also created chemically fully-developed fresh and salt water-systems to support all of it, and fully grown geology, which would include molecules already breaking down.
If you accept the book of Genesis and that Moses was God's prophet. there are no solid reasons to believe in a millions-of-years-old earth.
Should the Lord’s Table be open to whomever is attendance in the Lord’s Day service? Some say no. An article by a brother and fellow pastor whom I respect says this:
“In contrast (to what the author calls “close communion”), open communion recognizes any baptism or no baptism, any church membership or no church membership, and makes membership and participation in its responsibilities optional and immaterial. Meaningful discipline is impossible in a church that practices open communion because the church cannot withdraw fellowship when it extends the privilege of communion to anyone who happens to be present. How can a church excommunicate when it has no requirements for communicants?”
My thoughts are these:
We can see the wisdom in this, especially for very large churches like Antioch or Rome. Passover was celebrated in each private home, but the Lord’s Table was to be celebrated altogether as an entire congregation. The father of one family would know who was whom for Passover, but for the ever-growing NT church the burden shifts completely over onto the individual.
For these reasons, I support the Evangelical Free Church’s policy of open communion.
God never causes people to sin. Human moral choices self-originate, except in cases of demon possession.
Even though God is sovereign, that doesn't mean there's only one will in the universe. If we human beings were divinely programmed robots, predetermined by God unto every choice we make, then there is no moral accountability. Accountability for wrong actions would fall back on the invincible programmer, none would fall on the robots. But the Bible is clear that there is such a thing as human moral accountability. Therefore, human beings are not programmed robots.
However we sort out the complicated, difficult relationship between God's sovereignty and man's will, it is clear that God has preserved a degree of free-will in the human race, and that, in the Bible, God speaks to people and deals with them as if their decisions originate with them.
We must avoid a positive, humanistic view of the human will, or else we will underestimate the need for prayer for people's hearts. Here is what I mean...
Don't let humanism influence your thinking. Prayer for non-Christian is a essential part of how we all come to Christ, because we don't have the natural capacity to understand the Gospel or break free from Satan's coils.
It is crucial to have a full view of God’s supreme authority and power, to have the faith to move a mountain.
Belief in ultimate human sovereignty will cause feelings of hopelessness and result in failed prayers. The Bible tells us that...
I have read several statements by various people recently claiming to "lose" their Christian faith. They say things like, "no one has been asking the hard questions for 2,000 years", or that science has refuted Christianity. Or that the problem of suffering, or the existence of Hell, are unsolvable issues that Christian leaders have avoided addressing.
I ask myself, what is going on here?
Did anyone in 25 years disciple them, at any point, ever, about the reasons why we believe in Christ? It sounds like no one did.
Could these apostasies and semi-apostasies be the fruit of mental laziness? In other words, they never exerted effort to seek out and find writers and thinkers like:
Corrie ten Boom,
J. Gresham Machen,
or Francis Schaeffer?
There is apologetics all over the Internet. If you Googler "Christian evidences", the selections spill all over you.
Do the apostates sincerely believe, in 2,000 years of Christianity, that literally no one has wrestled with, and answered, hard questions? It sounds insincere when they say this, considering how obviously untrue it is. It's a little like saying no one has ever seriously wrestled with the meaning of life.
In a few cases I have read, it seemed like someone was choosing a friend over Scripture. Like, they had a homosexual friend, so they decided the Bible doesn't say that homosexuality is sinful, or that it *does* say that and therefore isn't true. But that isn't valid thinking. The question of, "Is Christianity true?" isn't answered by whether my friend likes it.
My gut instinct is to think that
(a) there are some big ministries who do little or nothing to teach the fundamentals of the faith.
(b) Morality + music with a little Jesus thrown in isn't the Gospel, but there are churches where that's what's happening.
(c) We've been letting baby Christians, or false converts, get into positions of public worship & preaching.
People are fascinated by the phenomenon of tongues-speaking. It is important to consult the New Testament, in order to understand what tongues was, and what the miracles meant. Begin first in the book of Acts. Tongues-speaking is described happening three times, over approximately thirty years.
We learn that this miracle of tongues-speaking was predicted by the prophet Joel, in the second chapter of his book. Joel used the word "prophesy", but Peter applies it to the tongues miracle (Acts 2:14-17). This lets us know that these tongues were a direct product of God's prophetic power. These tongues did not originate from inside the speakers, just as the Old Testament prophets' predictions of the future did not originate from them. The Spirit was speaking through them.
We also learn that tongues-speaking was the miraculous, Spirit-inspired ability to pray or sing in a real language foreign to the speaker. Luke says that the 120 prayed and spoke in "languages" (Acts 2:4), which is the meaning of the Greek word glossa. The 120 spoke actual languages, which the crowd understood (Acts 2:7-11). In this instance, no spiritual gift of interpretation was needed. The various members of the crowd simply understood whatever language or dialect was being uttered.
Peter said this miracle was a sign of Christ's ascension (Acts 2:33). Christ on His throne intended to reach out to all language-groups of the world, using all their languages. There is no one language by which every Bible must be translated, or in which the Gospel must be preached. So, Peter tied the miracle as a sign one part of Christ's redeeming work.
It is important to notice that Peter does not promise the crowd the ability to pray in tongues. If they receive Jesus as Savior, God will give them all the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). But the Giver isn't the same thing as His gifts. If any in that crowd of 3,000 who believed ever did pray in tongues, we have no record of it. (In the same way, there is no record of the Samaritan Christians from Acts 8 praying in tongues). Maybe they did, but we don't know because Luke is silent about it.
God gives tongues as a sign a second time, to show the apostles that God accepted Gentiles through Christ. This was how Peter interpreted the miracle God gave Cornelius and his family (Acts 10:44-46, 11:15-18). This was an important sign, to break down the hesitancy Jewish believers in Jesus felt toward Gentile converts.
The third and last case of tongues as a sign happens in Acts 19. Paul meets twelve former followers of John the Baptist. We don't know where they had been all those years, but they were uninformed about Christ. Paul brought them up to date on the person and work of Christ Jesus. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit, but they were unfamiliar with this idea. After baptizing them in Christ's name, Paul laid his hands on them and they were filled with the Spirit and spoke in tongues (19:5-6).
This was a sign of Paul's true apostleship. Years before, a Samaritan named Simon noticed that apostles had the authority to confer the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18), and tried to buy it. Peter rebuked him sharply. This was not something that just anyone could do, let alone buy! Paul's ability to do this was another proof that he was a true apostle of Christ. Paul's apostleship was often attacked, but this incident supported his God-given authority.
So: the three recorded instances of tongues-speaking in Acts were three signs. The first, a sign of Christ's ascension. The second, a sign of Gentile acceptability to God. The third, a sign of special apostolic authority.
Each of these signs were tied to three specific, unchanging historical facts in God's plan of redemption. For this reason, we should not teach these Acts incidents as timeless, universal examples. These are not examples of what all Christians everywhere should experience. That would be a misunderstanding of the miracles' purposes.
These were the signs of tongues. There is more to be learned about the spiritual gift of tongues (which, based on details of the chapter, might be a different phenomenon) from 1st Corinthians 14. Those principles would be more directly applicable to all Christians.