Cannon Beach Q and A, Part 2
post date: July 10, 2010
But remember this. After God created Eve and brought her to Adam and they became husband and wife, the Bible says that they “were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25). That verse is hard for us to understand because nakedness is the blessing we can hardly bear. But in Eden, before sin entered the world, nakedness did not involve shame. Where there is no sin, there can be no shame.
God is pleased when a husband and wife come together on the marriage bed. Hebrews 13:4 tells us that marriage is honorable and the marriage bed is “undefiled,” meaning that the physical act of coming together as husband and wife pleases the Lord. In the old marriage ceremonies, the husband and wife were said to “worship” in their coming together. Rather than see sex in marriage as shameful, we should see it as beautiful and God-honoring. It is a true act of worship that pleases the Lord who sees and knows all that we do.
What did the churches of Galatia do when they received Paul’s letter? How did they respond to his message?
The book of Galatians ends with the question left hanging in the air. As he writes his final words, not even Paul knows the answer. Having made his argument, the issue now rests with his readers. Will they choose slavery or freedom? It is fitting that the book ends this way, with an unanswered question, because in every generation the church of Jesus Christ faces the same issue in one form or another. Will we choose liberty in Christ or will we succumb to the temptation to return to the slavery of self-effort and lawkeeping as a means of pleasing God? Will we turn away from the gospel of grace or will we embrace Christ and his cross as our only hope of salvation?
Why are there so many churches?
In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “I will build my church.” Note the singular, “my church,” not “my churches.” From God’s point of view there is only one church composed of all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. On earth we divide into various denominations, partly because of tradition, sometimes because of human opinion, and sometimes because we have trouble getting along with each other. Often we divide because of sincerely held disagreements over what the Bible teaches in certain areas. The history of the Christian church reveals a fractured body of imperfect people who keep dividing and subdividing. That’s part of the scandal of Christian disunity that we see all around us.
The answer is not some sort of “super-church” where all the doctrinal differences are put aside. The real answer is spiritual unity among all true believers where we unite around a common confession of faith in Christ even while agreeing to disagree on lesser matters.
What do you say to preachers and teachers who feel they must “name names” and call out certain organizations in order to “protect the flock"?
Sometimes you must be specific when there is a specific attack of false doctrine. Sometimes we must name names in order to be fair to the opposition. If I’m going to criticize a certain person for false teaching, it seems only right that I quote him fairly and give the citation so that others can check out what I’m saying. Paul occasionally named names. Note 2 Timothy 2:17 where he calls out “Hymenaeus and Philetus.»
While calling out false teachers must be done, I personally wouldn’t care to attend a church where that happened every Sunday. I would rather hear positive teaching of the Word of God because that will build my soul and make me strong.
Pastors should name names when they need to, but we’ll do better if that happens occasionally and not as a steady diet on Sunday morning.
See Back to Basics.
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