Category Archives: Ask the Pastor

Does God ‘preordain’ people for destruction?

stained-glass-1209475Dear Pastor Charles:

I was reading my Bible the other day and came across a passage that is confusing to me. The passage is John 17:12, “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.” I am assuming that Jesus is referring to Judas here. This sounds to me like Judas was condemned by God before he was even born. What Scripture is Jesus referring to here and was Judas chosen by God to be doomed? Thanks for your help. Curious…

Dear Curious:

Thank you for your question. Jesus is referring to Judas in this passage. The Scripture He is citing is from Psalms 41:9, “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” King David wrote this Scripture Continue reading Does God ‘preordain’ people for destruction?

If God is truly good, why does He allow evil in the world?

stained-glass-1209475Dear Pastor Charles:

I have a basic question that is preventing me from fully trusting God. I realize that this is only a short column but maybe you can shed some light for me. My problem is this: If God is all knowing, all loving and all powerful, then why does He allow the evils of suffering, injustice and tragedy to happen to His creation? Thank you for any help that you might give.

Sincerely Bewildered.

Dear Sincerely Bewildered:  

I sincerely thank you for your question for it is a very good one. In fact, you have touched upon one of the basic questions of theology, called theodicy, the problem of justifying God. The premise is this: Because God is all powerful and because He is altogether good, how can one explain the presence of evil in the world? If God were all powerful, He COULD do something about evil. If He were altogether good, He WOULD do Continue reading If God is truly good, why does He allow evil in the world?

Contend for the faith but don’t be contentious. Jude 1:3

Dear Pastor Charles:

I was reading my Bible in the Book of Jude and a word seemed to stick in my mind that has caused me to doubt some of the things my particular denomination stands for. The word is ‘contend’ and is found in Jude 1:3, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” My question is this: If we are to “contend for the faith” how can a denomination align itself with other religions who deny that Jesus is the Christ? Thanks for your opinion. Wondering.

Continue reading Contend for the faith but don’t be contentious. Jude 1:3

Are there 2000 year old people walking the earth today?

Dear Pastor Charles: I was reading my Bible the other day and came across a verse I do not understand. It is found in Matthew 16:28, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Does this mean that some of the disciples did not die? Thank you for your response. Perplexed.

Continue reading Are there 2000 year old people walking the earth today?

Faith in the Workplace-

Dear Pastor Charles: I am having a difficult problem at work that I hope you can help me with. I am a Christian and I try to take my faith with me wherever I go. I try very hard to give my employer my best effort each day and it has not gone unnoticed as I receive great evaluations and good bonuses for my efforts. My problem lies with some of my fellow workers who constantly hassle me and try to make me look bad to my bosses. I don’t know why they do this to me because I have certainly done nothing to them that warrants this treatment. Perhaps it is because I don’t go out for drinks after work, I don’t know. I just know that it really bothers me to be treated badly when I am trying to do my best. What should I do? Tormented…

Dear Tormented:

You should thank God that you are being persecuted for His name’s sake because it means that you belong to God. Jesus said in John 15:18-21, Continue reading Faith in the Workplace-

Who does the will of the Father? … Good question from a curious reader…

Dear Pastor Charles: In Mathew 21:28-31, Jesus asks the religious leaders of His day which of the sons in His story did the will of his father. First of all, when Jesus spoke in parables, there was always a comparison to real life. What does this parable tell us we should be doing for our Heavenly Father? Secondly, although He never says it directly, He seems to be saying that the son who said “yes”, but failed to do the work, was actually the one who did the will of his father. Is this what Jesus really means, and if so, why? Curious…

Continue reading Who does the will of the Father? … Good question from a curious reader…

How to handle a Pastor who doesn’t meet your expectations

Dear Pastor Charles: I hope you will address an issue for me that has been on my mind for some time. Isn’t it true that a minister’s primary responsibility is to visit the members of his church? Our minister seems to think that the only reason he is paid is to preach on Sunday. What do you think? Disgruntled.

Continue reading How to handle a Pastor who doesn’t meet your expectations

Solutions for a disgruntled church member…

Dear Pastor Charles: I hope you will address an issue for me that has been on my mind for some time. Isn’t it true that a minister’s primary responsibility is to visit the members of his church? Our minister seems to think that the only reason he is paid is to preach on Sunday. What do you think? Disgruntled.

Dear Disgruntled:

    I think that if you really are that dissatisfied with your minister you should ask if you can share some of the load by doing a part of the visitation yourself. He will probably have a heart attack or die from shock. Problem solved!

    The answer to your question is no. A minister’s primary responsibility is to preach and teach the Word of God and to pray. Secondly, he is to provide the leadership, motivation and training for the body of Christ, the church, to assume the majority of the visitation and other tasks.

    The Book of Acts gives us the biblical perspective of the role of the minister in the local church: Acts 6:1-7, “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.”

     A crude paraphrase of this passage today might read something like this: “Today, as the demands in ministry are ever increasing, Sister Bertha is complaining because the minister did not come to see her when she had her toenail removed. He went to see Brother Jimmy in the hospital when he had his heart attack but he just doesn’t seem to care about the way she suffers.” Please forgive this crude illustration but that is sometimes the way it appears to a minister.

    If your Pastor is a true minister of God, he loves you more than you realize and probably spends a great deal of time in prayer for you and others. It is an awesome responsibility to be called by God to faithfully deliver His Word week after week. A minister often wonders whether or not he is reaching those whom he serves.. He studies and prays and seeks Gods guidance for that one time a week that God will be able to speak to them through him. He visits those who are in hospital or are having surgery. He tries to contact the shut-ins as well as the visitors from the previous Sunday. He probably prepares and teaches weekly Bible studies, a Sunday night service, and maybe a week night service as well. He oversees the staff and administration functions of the church. He counsels those with emotional difficulties, hurting marriages and spiritual dilemmas. He is expected to attend every meeting for each committee or board in the church. All to often, he neglects the needs of his own family because of the demands of the church family upon his time. The telephone rarely stops ringing, even when he is supposedly having time off. Yet he still receives criticism because he is not doing enough.

   What I would like to ask you is this: What are you doing for the cause of Christ? How many people have you visited lately? If you have time to criticize the efforts of someone else, then you have time to pitch in and help with the tasks at hand. You see, God has gifted each member of the body of Christ and expects each of us to share in the load of the ministry. There is an old song that says, “My children want to be fed at my table, but they don’t want to work in my fields.”

    My advice to you is to stop judging your minister and ask him how you can help. Pray for him and lift him up. You might be surprised at how effective he can become when he spends his time doing what God has called him to do and you are busy doing the same.

    I pray that you will release this burden of condemnation that you carry towards your minister and remember that he is only a human being, just like you. If you still feel disgruntled after praying for him, I would suggest that you make an appointment with him and share your concerns. Give him a chance to show you his side of the story. You may just be surprised at all the things he does that you are not aware of.

                                       May God bless you as you grow in His grace.
                                                                            Pastor Charles…

Ask The Pastor- “Is God’s forgiveness conditional?”

Dear Pastor Charles:

There are a couple of apparently conflicting Scriptures regarding God’s forgiveness. I know the Bible never contradicts itself, so help me resolve my confusion. In Mathew 6:15 and again in Mathew 18:35, Jesus says that our forgiveness from God is based on how well we forgive others. Then in 1 John 1:9, John says that all we have to do is confess our sins, and God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. If the first method is true, I am in serious trouble. Please help me to reconcile this. Disturbed…

Dear Disturbed:

If the first method is true, we are all in serious trouble. In interpreting Scripture, we must always be careful to put them into their proper historical perspective and be aware of to whom the Scripture is being addressed. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” While Jesus walked upon the Earth He completely fulfilled the Law by living a sinless life. Look at Hebrews 4:14-15, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.” Continue reading Ask The Pastor- “Is God’s forgiveness conditional?”

A Biblical view of ecology in a world of decay…

Dear Pastor Charles: I am writing regarding the protection of endangered plant and animal species. There are some who say we’ve gone too far to protect these species from extinction, and some who say we haven’t gone far enough. I believe the Bible says God instructed man to rule over all the earth. My question is: How shall man rule regarding endangered species? If man allows a species to become extinct has he done wrong in God’s eyes? Thank you. Curious.

Dear Curious:

    Thank you for the great question. In order to answer it we will need to examine the Scripture you are referring to in which God granted to Adam the dominion over His creation. Genesis 1:28, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” It is good to keep in mind that God had just completed His creation and saw that everything He had made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
    God granted to Adam great power and authority over the earth to accomplish what was required of him. It is important to remember that God granted this authority before the fall of man. Prior to the fall, Adam was in close relationship with God as they walked together in the Garden of Eden. Adam’s vision was not yet clouded by sin so he possessed a superior intellect as a result. Adam was far more than a glorified gardener. God intended for him to be the ruler and caretaker over all of creation as he was created in the very image of God. This “dominion” denotes authority in the strongest sense. Therefore, Adam was to be the ruler over the entire earth with only God as his superior.
    What a responsibility that would have been for Adam. Never forget that when God calls someone to perform a task, He always grants the power to complete it. Only a little side note, way back when I was considering full time ministry, I had a family to support, a business to run and employees who were counting on me for their lively hood. I somehow knew that God was calling me but I couldn’t quite understand how those obligations would be met. I sure couldn’t do it on my own without letting a bunch of good people down. I was consulting with one of my spiritual mentors at the time about it and he put it to me this way; “If God places the order, He will write the check to pay for it.” That made a lot of sense to me back then and those words still prove to be true even today.

    If only Adam and Eve would not have succumbed to the temptation of Satan they would still be ruling the earth today. So, as a result of the fall, Adam and Eve lost their clothing of glory, along with their innocence, which led them to realized that they were naked. You know the story, God had to kill an animal and use it’s skin in order to provide for them. Sin was, and still is, a bloody business. At that time, Adam lost the power to completely control his environment resulting from his loss of fellowship with God. He was now subject to physical death as a result of his spiritual death.

    What a sad loss that was for all future generations, including you and I. Before Adam and Eve sinned, they were completely provided for. There was no death and no need for the killing of animals for food. In fact, all of God’s created order were vegetarians. Genesis 1:29-30, “Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” 
    My how much we lost when sin and death came into the world. So, now we struggle to manage God’s created order without the God given wisdom and power that is required to do it. The sin that so easily besets us clouds our vision just as it did Adam after the fall. Yet, we are still responsible to God for the protection of the environment. It is the age old story of having responsibility without having authority. We lost that authority because of sin and it cannot be regained on this side of glory.
    Fortunately, God foresaw this problem and provided for our reinstatement under the dominion of a second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:19, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man {Adam} the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man {Jesus Christ} the many will be made righteous.”  Today, we can be made righteous in the eyes of God through faith in Jesus, but the restoration of nature to it’s original condition will not happen until He physically returns to assume dominion over the entire earth. The first Adam once had it and he lost it. The Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, will restore it. Then and only then will the lion be able to lay down with the lamb. Then and only then will there finally be peace on earth. Then and only then will there be a restored and perfect environment in which there will never again be an endangered species of plant or animal.
    So, my curious friend, it is important for mankind to protect the resources that God has provided. It is also equally important for the highest order of creation to protect the lower orders. However, we must keep things in a proper perspective. The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:10-13, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.”  We should take care of the resources that God has provided for this old earth because she is our only means of physical existence, but set your heart upon the new heaven and new earth that God will one day provide.

    You asked that if man allows extinction of a species, has he done wrong in the eyes of God? May I kindly say to you that sin is wrong in the eyes of God and the extinction of a species is the result. The species I am referring to is mankind, you and me brother. That leaves only one viable option and that is to choose life through faith in Jesus Christ. Set your desires upon Him for Jesus truly is the only hope for the world today.

    Thank you once again for the great question. My prayer for you is that God bless and keep you as you look forward to His coming. I pray that He will come soon.

                                                               God Bless,
                                                                 Pastor Charles…