Vol. 5, No. 1
Since You Asked
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Bro. Rushmore, Again I come to you for some sound Biblical knowledge. Would it be sinful for Christians to sing religious songs being lead by a female Baptist song leader? In Him, Rayford Henderson, Jr.
First, being a female song leader or any other kind of female leader in a religious assembly composed of men and women is biblically impermissible, that is, sinful. Respecting the different roles God gave to men and women in religion and in the home, women are forbidden by Scripture from addressing a religious assembly. "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law" (1 Corinthians 14:34). Women are forbidden in religion from taking an authoritative position over men. "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence" (1 Timothy 2:12). Therefore, it is equally inappropriate or sinful for anyone (and especially Christians) to implicitly approve by his or her participation what God disapproves. The two following passages illustrate the principle that approving of what God disapproves causes the approving one to be likewise guilty of sin. "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1:32).
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 9-11).
Second, the Bible plainly disapproves of apostate Christianity, even if it is within the Lord's church (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; Galatians 1:6-9) and especially if it has evolved into something far from primitive Christianity (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 2:2-5), such as denominationalism. The amount of adding to and subtracting from God's Word (Revelation 22:18-19) is so great in most denominations as to foster little difficulty discerning the difference between New Testament Christianity and a manmade, altered, counterfeit Christianity. The prophet's words and the principle within them are still true today. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3). No! Second John 9-11 applies here as well respecting endorsement of what God disapproves, which is sinful.
Therefore, singing religious songs led by a female Baptist song leader violates definitive, New Testament teaching and is therefore sinful. However, being present in a denominational service as a non-participant (wedding, debate, etc.) or one's only participation being to preach (unfettered to present biblical truth) does not violate New Testament Scripture. New Testament preachers often went among non-Christians, such as pagans and Jews, for the purpose of teaching the Gospel of Christ (Acts 17:16-34).
With respect: I agree entirely that the New Testament apostolic faith plus the guidelines of the early centuries of the Christian Church should define our faith, but I find it confusing that the Mormons should be included in any list of Christians, because they have clearly gone way off the mark with the Book of Mormon and Mormon doctrine which contradict the Scriptures... I wonder why you mention the LDS alongside true historical churches. Would it not be better to keep denominations togerther, but steer clear of sectarian groups? Many thanks for the contact - I await your reflections! Tony Somervell, Paraguayan Anglican Church
First, "the New Testament apostolic faith" about which anyone can read in the Bible constitutes authority in religion (Jude 3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). However, it is not the case that "the guidelines of the early centuries of the Christian Church should define our faith." Jesus claimed all authority for himself (Matthew 28:18, ASV). He delegated authority to his apostles (Matthew 16:16-19; 18:18). The Holy Spirit in the first century inspired additional men to write New Testament books (e.g., John Mark, Luke, James, Jude). No changes were permitted to the Gospel already delivered in the first century (Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 22:18-19).
Second, it is almost laughable for members of any denomination to cite another contemporary religious group as "way off the mark" when all the denominations are either a remake of the apostate Catholic Church or equally distant in organization, doctrine and worship from the church anyone can read about in the New Testament. Only congregations that practice Christianity identical to what the New Testament reveals respecting that church for which Jesus Christ died and over which he is the head can successfully and unhypocritically contrast themselves with an "off the mark" contemporary church.
Third, the reason that some of our articles in Gospel Gazette Online list the Mormon Church when mentioning denominations is because the Mormon Church and denominations share the infamous distinction of being manmade churches. Neither Mormonism nor any other denominational church has a biblical right to exist. Jesus came to establish his church (Matthew 16:18), only one body or church (Ephesians 4:4). It was established in Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago, not in Italy, England, the United States of America or anywhere else at any other time in history. Being an apostate church whose history is lengthier than an apostate church of more recent origin is immaterial; there is nothing to be gained by being a so-called 'historical church.'
It is not my intention to be harsh or even exclusive, but to be all of what and only what the New Testament teaches that every accountable person ought to be. There would be no denominations, including Anglican Church, and no Mormon Church either if everyone would follow the New Testament alone. Aside from denominational doctrine, creeds, dogma, etc. and relying upon the Bible alone, only one church, the Lord's church, over which he is head and for which he will return one day would exist on earth. My prayer is that as many as possible will become Christians only and members of the one true church of the Bible (Romans 16:26; 1 Corinthians 1:2).
Hello, I have read your book "The Spirit Summarized," and I have enjoyed reading it. I have learned much. I am currently in a serious study over "Acts" and currently I am in chapter 10. I have profited from chapter 6 of your book and I have a couple of questions for you. 1. In Acts 11:15 it says, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning." Who is the "us" in this verse? 2. A couple of versus later the text reads, "For as much then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us." Once again, who is the "us" in this verse? Please elaborate on these questions. In Him, Michael Robinson
Pronouns refer to nouns and the correct correlation between nouns and their pronouns must be made in order for language to be properly understood. This is as true in the Bible as in everyday speech or in the newspaper. That is all it will take to satisfactorily address the question of to whom the "us" in Acts 11:15 and 17 refers.
Acts 11 is a reiteration of the events that transpired in Acts 10 respecting the conversion of Cornelius and those who were with him. Without duplicating the entire Bible text relative to this incident in these two chapters and without giving a full narration of the events that are chronicled in these two chapters, nevertheless, references must be made to verses in both chapters to answer the question at hand. If the reader needs more background regarding the events transpiring, he may refresh his memory of them by reading Acts 10 and 11.
In Acts 10:23, the apostle Peter and other Jewish brethren accompanied Peter from Joppa to Caesarea. In Acts 10:45, these Jewish brethren and Peter are mentioned thus, "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter..." Like Acts 11:15, 17, but using the pronoun "we," Acts 10:47 reads, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" The "we" of whom Peter was speaking included himself and the Jewish brethren who had accompanied him to Caesarea. Only one apostle was present, so that the essence of Peter's question to the Jewish brethren who had accompanied him was, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received miraculous power as well as we Jews?"
Acts 11:12 reveals that six Jewish brethren accompanied Peter from Joppa to Caesarea and the house of Cornelius. Acts 11:15 is identical to Act 10:47 where "we" refers to Jews. The only difference in Acts 11:15 is the enlargement of the Jewish audience present. The Jews as a class of people, if not each Jew present in the Acts 10 and 11 references, had received miraculous power. Acts 11:17 is a repetition of the way in which the pronouns "we" and "us" are used in Acts chapters 10 and 11, to represent Jews who had received miraculous power.
The point of noting that the Gentiles as well as the Jews had received miraculous power was to convince the Jews that the Gentiles ought to have the same unfettered access to Christianity, without having to proselyte to Judaism first. The church had been in existence for about 10 years before the Gospel was preached to the Gentiles in Acts 10 and 11. The context of Acts chapters 10 and 11 shows plainly that the apostle Peter went reluctantly to the house of Cornelius with the Gospel message. Acts 11 amounts to Peter's defense among his fellow Jews for taking the Gospel to the Gentiles. The miraculous manifestation at Cornelius' home, necessarily before the Gentiles were baptized, was to validate to the apostle Peter, to the Jewish brethren with him and to Jewish Christians in general that the Gentiles were to be equal in Christ (Galatians 3:28; Genesis 12:3; Isaiah 62:2).
A gathering in Jerusalem again in Acts 15 was necessary to counter the mischief of Judaizing teachers, respecting the equal access for Gentiles to the church through the Gospel. The Judaizing problem was an ever-present nuisance to the infant church, as evident especially from the epistles of the apostle Paul.