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Q. What is hand raising in worship and is it right?

A. In Psalm 134:2, we read, 'Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord.' and in 1 Timothy 2:8, 'I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.' Besides these Biblical commands, hand raising is common in some worship circles and is a symbol or submission to God. It may have originated from the idea of when a little child wants to be held when he is lonely or hurt. He will run to his father with his arms raised up to his father reaching out to be held and comforted. The same is with us as our Father's children. We reach up, in effect, to Him, to show our submission and dependence to Him. Some people are uncomfortable with this and prefer to show it in an inward way instead of the visible raising of hands. This is not wrong either as long as a Christian does not judge someone else who wants to visibly express it.

Q. There seems to be a lot of different views on what is proper dress for church services. What is the Biblical view?

A. How we dress when worshiping God is a matter of culture. We ought not to be focussed on what we (or others) wear as much as focussed on what we are wearing on our hearts. If there are any guidelines, they ought to be put in check by the fact that every culture is different. Some cultures wear robes, some wear very little, some wear suits and some wear what we would call casual dress. Obviously Jesus and His disciples didn't wear a suit to the temple, but in order to show respect for the house of God, we ought to dress in our best, so to speak, and wear something nice whether it be a suit or the a nice pair of pants and shirt. We are worshiping God and it ought not to be a time where we wear street clothes if we have better and act or look like a slob. We should not be focused on our looks though; rather we should be focused on the reason for attending church, worshiping God, and fellowshipping with like minded believers.

Q. Why do some Baptists say they are not Protestants even though it is clear they are not Catholics either?

A. This issue’s roots stem from the Anabaptists who were so named from the fact that they re-baptised Christian converts. According to the Edinburg Cyclopedia this name dates as far back as Tertullian, who was born just fifty years after the Apostle John. By about 1600, however, they were referred to simply as Baptists. Many Baptists do not claim to be Protestant, as this claims a heritage from the Protestant Reformation which came through the Roman Catholic Church, of which the Anabaptists were never a part. However, though many of the Baptist groups do not consider themselves as part of the Protestant movement, they are generally viewed as such by the public at large including several other Baptist sects.

Q. How are we to look different from the world and 'come out of it'?

A. Well obviously we aren't to go around in a suit and tie and a Bible under our arm and shout, 'Repent!' as Hollywood often portrays Christians. Instead we are to come out of the world by not associating with their customs and ways. For instance their attitude and practices like excessive drinking, and music with sinful lyrics are for the world, and not Christians. We are to be a good example and despite the world around us we are to be a light to others by our different actions and reactions to things, listening to uplifting or non-sinful music, and dressing modestly, watching our language and not allowing today's foul language to creep in. These things will show to others and that is how we come out and stand out from the world.

Q. When should I give up on a friend if she is straying from the Christian walk in actions and worldly language?

A. First of all, is she a friend? Do you love her as your friend? If yes, then the answer is simple. Never give up on her. Love is unconditional, no buts about it. Love has been used so loosely that we have to add the term unconditional to it when we mean the real definition of love. Love is an unconditional self sacrificing attitude of commitment and undying care and concern for someone. Whether that person is Christian or not, it is our duty as Christians to be there for the person we have chosen to be our friend. So no matter what, if you love her, do not give up on her. You may have to step back for a time, but always be right there for her when she needs you and if God is working in her life, she will need you as a Christian example of love and persistence to her again.

Q. I'm lonely; I have few friends and no one seems to think of or cares about me unless I’m right there in front of them or texting them to get their attention. What should I do?

A. First of all, always keep in mind that if you are a Christian and one of God's children, you are never alone. But when you desire physical socialization, as God designed us to want and need, try getting involved more in church activities and events. This will throw you into an environment where its hard for others to ignore or not notice you and in time they will start bonding and asking you to come over, hang out, and the like.

Q. What is the correct translation of the Bible?

A. The answer is simple. There is no 100% accurate translation of the Bible since the original languages were Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. However, certain translations are very accurate and for all practical purposes, safe and good for use in teaching and learning. The translations that are the safest are the American Standard, King James Version, NKJV, and English Standard. There are a few others which are safe to say that you would get an accurate understanding of the Bible's teaching. Some to stay away from are the NIV, Living Bible, and other 'loose' translations which distort and misinterpret the Bible to the point where original meanings are warped to where they mean, in some cases, the opposite.

Q. What is the role of women in the church?

A. Well that is a tough one in today's church. I strongly hold to the Biblical view on this in that 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 means what it says and there is no bending the Bible into a Bible of convenience. '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. (35) And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.' That Scripture is plain as plain in any reputable Bible translation. Many people refute that Scripture by saying that 1 Corinthians was written by a man, Paul and it wasn't God talking. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.' This means that every single bit of the Bible ought to be our 'dictionary' for doctrine. That understood, and taking for granted that no part of the Bible contradicts itself, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 is proof enough that women are not to speak or teach in the Christian church. This says nothing about women teaching children (home school etc) or even women discussions amongst themselves, but as far as the church is concerned, the Bible is very clear in that and this saying, women are not to teach men; it is not their place. 1 Timothy 2:11-12 says, 'Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. (12) But I suffer not a woman to teach, not to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. (13) For Adam was first formed, then Eve. (14) And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.' Women have their place, but it is different than the man's place. Women are to be keepers at home... that the Word of God be not blasphemed! This is powerful stuff! (Titus 2:4-5). We must not 'modernize' the Bible in saying certain things don't apply today since culture has changed. Culture HAS changed, yes, but the Bible is God's Word and we are not to change one word of it nor take or add anything! (Revelation 22:18-19)

Q. Do I have to go to church?

A. First, we turn to the Bible for this question. In Hebrews, 10:25 we read, 'not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.' We should not go to church for the wrong reasons, i.e. appearance, tradition, and the like. However we should go to church if we can to worship God, fellowship with like minded believers, and be built up by each other. In some cases, there are no churches that one feels are in line with their core beliefs and doctrines. In this case, a move or formation of a church should be in order. God created us to worship Him and we ought to fellowship and worship as the body of Christ, his church, together. So, in short, you should go to church. Simply worshiping at home or studying the Bible alone, is good, but there will be a large part of the Christian life that is lacking if that is all that is done.

Q. A friend of mine listens to secular rock and adult contemporary music. Is this wrong?

A. In the vast majority of cases, it is the lyrics of the song that count towards the songs value. You could take a Christian song and set it to bad and sinful lyrics and it would be wrong. You could take a popular song by a worldly rock group and set it to Christian lyrics and it would be ok. I'm not condoning this though because the world would see it, very likely, in a wrong light because they would recognise the tune and we would not be good witnesses. In the light of secular light rock and 'AC', it really depends on the song. If the lyrics are speaking of bad and sinful things, then no, the song is not for Christians. However there are songs by groups such as the Carpenters, and the like, which are harmless and don't say much, but at the same time, say nothing harmful either. A new genre rising up recently is called Positive Hits. Though 99% of the songs that our radio ministry (PraiseLight ) plays are Christian, a few songs are classified as Positive Hits. They are songs without any offensive lyrics which have a message of encouragement and or purpose. These and a few secular songs like mentioned above are OK, but you need to be discerning.

Q. Is there a difference of being baptised into church membership and being baptised as a sign of your salvation?

A. Essentially, no. When you are baptised as a public proclamation of your salvation, you are committing yourself to stand for Christ, surrendering yourself to Him, and proclaiming that He is your Saviour. When some churches require baptism into that particular church in order to become a member, you are doing the same thing, only proclaiming it to that church body as well as committing to serve in that church body through thick and thin, thus becoming a member.

Q. What is the Christian approach to dancing?

A. It would depend primarily on the type of dancing we are talking about here. Some modern dance such as those found at dance clubs is morally wrong in public as it often flaunts oneself in provocative ways. I feel that anything with one's spouse cannot be wrong in dancing if it is in private; but as far as public dancing, if a dance does not affect either part towards a sinful desire or nature then it is not wrong. And this can be different for different people. I do not believe it is wrong for a man and a woman to dance, but with guidelines since it is easy for people to do things for the wrong reasons and motives.

Q. I have friends that are girls, but I also have a girlfriend. What is the proper relationship I ought to hold with them?

A. Assuming you desire to have a close relationship with your girlfriend, and you know that you need to be committed solely to her, and then my answer to that would be, 'It is up to her.' It really is whatever she feels is close enough. No girl is going to want her spouse or boyfriend to be with other girls and I strongly feel that a guy should not hang out alone with a girl if he has another girlfriend, unless they are just friends and the other girl is ok with it. The best case would be that she should accompany them because it removes the suspicion and appearance of evil.

Q. Is Sunday the only day to go to church?

A. In today's world, the easiest day to get off work for church services is Sunday; however, this is not the only day we can go to church. In fact we could go to church on Thursday and work every other day. The Old Testament law of keeping the Sabbath Day on the seventh day was abolished at Christ's death on the cross with the doing away of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New Covenant and though we ought to set aside time to worship God with like minded believer's, there is no particular day of the week we must observe. Sunday has become the most common day in many cultures; so most Christians set that day aside.


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