What do I do if my church has wrongly excommunicated me? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Our phone lines are open and we'll be taking calls for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Of course, you can post your question on one of our social media sites, and you can always email us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named John. My question, what about Christian male and female living together, cohabitation and sharing the bedroom? I'd love to hear what you say.
That's an issue with a lot of Christians. Thank you. It's a great channel. God bless you all.
Yeah, thanks for the encouragement. What do I say about Christians cohabitating male and female, not married? I think that that's an issue.
I mean, I would have concerns there specifically, right, just wanting to guard against sexual temptation. I'm assuming you're talking about a boyfriend and a girlfriend or something like that, or even an engaged couple, which we're seeing. Oftentimes, a couple get engaged, and they'll say, oh, we're just a few days or a few weeks or months away from the wedding. We're just going to start living together. I think we need to be wise here. Obviously, what's forbidden in scripture is fornication. That is a sin.
You're putting yourself in a position where you're leaving, I think, the door wide open for that. You have exhortations like the one given to us in Romans chapter 13, verse 13, let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. In other words, we have temptations, natural temptations, sinful temptations as well.
Part of the way we deal with those temptations is by fleeing from them, by giving no provision for the flesh, not putting yourself in a position where you're going to be tempted and where you're going to fall. I think it's just a wisdom issue here. It just seems very unwise to do this.
I know there are people who say, well, how can you really get to know someone and whatnot? First and foremost, we need to honor the Lord with our lives and with our bodies and with our relationships. If you love someone, if you really love someone, you want to be with them, you need to respect them. You need to respect their purity.
You need to honor the Lord with your own body and make no provision for the flesh. Appreciate that question. That's my two cents. Bill, I know that you've thought about this issue as well some.
I'm curious as to what you would add. I've looked at a lot of the research on cohabitation, Adriel. Unfortunately, it's pretty negative. The research would show that if you live together prior to marriage, your divorce rate is about 65% higher than those who don't. And if you get pregnant out of wedlock, there is a very high likelihood that the guy will be gone within two years, leaving the woman to raise the child on her own. Not to mention there's much higher rates of domestic abuse and there's much higher rates of infidelity among those who live together before marriage.
I think a lot of young people don't even know that. Of course, everybody can point to the instances where it's like, well, things did end up working out for us and we praise God by His grace that that can happen, but that's not an excuse for us to act outside of wisdom and to put ourselves in compromising situations. Ultimately, we really have to think about this as, okay, I want to honor the Lord first and foremost. I want to obey Him and follow Him with how I live, and then also wanting to respect this other person.
So that has to be the priority. So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. As you can see, we take calls and questions on a wide variety of issues. So if you've got a question maybe about your Christian life and how it intersects with what's going on in today's culture, we'd love to hear from you. Maybe you have some doubts about the Christian faith. We're open to your questions as well. And of course, if there's a passage in the Bible that really stumps you, you're just going, I don't really get that verse in Leviticus, man. It's confusing to me.
Okay, we are more than happy to answer that question because Adriel loves the book of Leviticus. Here's the phone number to call. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Call now because we've got about 20 minutes or so, and then our program will be ending.
So now's the time to call. Let's go to Bob, who's in Georgia. And Bob, what is your question for Pastor Adriel? If you are unfaithful to your spouse, does the Bible say that you have to confess that to your spouse, or can you confess that to other Christians and to God? Yeah, Bob, I would say as a pastor that you should really, I mean, if this is a situation that you're in, or whoever's in this situation, that individual should confess to their spouse and be honest. We do confess our sins to the Lord, and God is the one who grants us forgiveness, but here there's been a breach in the marriage covenant. And I think that it's important, it's imperative for you to have a conversation with your wife and to say, this is what's happened and to confess. Otherwise, what ends up happening is you're just living this sort of lie in the marriage where things are continuing as though everything is fine, when in reality it's not fine. And frankly, if we keep it concealed, hidden from the other person, I don't think it gets any better. I think there's more room there for temptation.
It really is something that needs to be brought into the light. When we sin against someone, right, we want to go to that person and forgive them, and certainly here this would be a sin against your spouse. First John chapter one, verse five, this is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus, his son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I have seen God heal marriages where there has been infidelity. It's difficult, but that healing can only come through honesty. True repentance, I think, only comes through honesty, honest confession. And when we're trying to conceal, no doubt out of fear, we don't want to hurt this other person more.
We just think, oh man, I can't believe that I did this. I can't be honest about this because it'll hurt this other person so much. But the reality is they need to know the only way that there's going to be real healing in the relationship and restoration is truly possible is through honesty. And let me again just say that there is hope that the grace of the Lord is sufficient and able to bring healing. But this is something, Bob, where I would say there needs to be confession. Thank you for calling us. Thanks, Bob. I appreciate you listening to Core Christianity and we'll be praying for you in that whole situation.
By the way, if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, theology, doctrine, we are open to hearing from you. Here is the phone number to call. It's 833-THECORE.
That's 833-843-2673. Thanksgiving just around the corner. And we have a wonderful free resource that we think will be a huge blessing to you and your family this Thanksgiving. Yeah, the resource is called Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving. And around this time of the year as we gather together, many of us, to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal, it's important for us to give thanks to the Lord for all the gifts that he gives us in our lives. And so this resource is called, again, Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving. It'll help you put into practice that thing that we're all called to in the New Testament to give thanks in all circumstances. And so this is a free download over at corechristianity.com and I hope that you take advantage of it. Just a wonderful resource that you could read with your kids. Read around the Thanksgiving table this coming Thanksgiving.
So check it out by going to corechristianity.com forward slash offers and look for Five Biblical Reminders for Thanksgiving. Hey, we have voicemail here at Core Christianity. You can call us 24 hours a day and leave us a voicemail. So if you can't call during the live program, no fears. You can call any time and leave us your question. Here's the number, 833-THECORE. That's 833-843-2673.
Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Alex. My question is, I was going to Church of Christ and when the pandemic hit, I ended up finding another church that was actually active at that time, which was the Pentecostal Church. And now I'm finding I'm more towards the Pentecostal Church, but the Church of Christ is saying that I left my faith. That's my question. Yeah, thank you for that question. So I mean, I guess you're wondering, did I leave my faith by going from the Church of Christ to this Pentecostal Church?
Well, I would say, no, not necessarily. I mean, the fact of the matter is, are you trusting in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins? Now, it's unfortunate to me, and honestly, I think when churches say, well, just because you're going to a different church, it's not our particular brand, then you must be outside of the faith now. You're condemned. God rejects you because you're no longer coming to our church, the Church of Christ, but you're going to this other church. That's manipulative behavior.
I have a real issue with that. Certainly if you were leaving one church to go to what we would call a false church, that is a church that does not preach the true gospel, and you were embracing that as the truth, then you would be in a very spiritually dangerous position. Say you were in my church and you were saying, hey, I'm leaving, but I really want to join the Jehovah's Witnesses because I've come to embrace that.
I would say, look, your soul is in danger. I mean, if this is what you believe, you're rejecting the gospel, you're rejecting Christ because they don't understand who Jesus is, and that would be a serious issue. But if you were saying, hey, you know, I'm going to go somewhere else, another church that does preach the gospel faithfully, I might say, man, we're bummed to see you go and hope that the Lord blesses you, want to be able to send you to this other church, even if we don't agree with all of the details in terms of the theology, but we could still say you're a brother and we're just grateful that you're going to be in church. Now, with regard to the theology of Church of Christ and with regard to the theology of the Pentecostal churches, there are some significant differences.
I would have differences with both of those churches. But fundamentally, I think what you need to ask yourself is, do I believe the core doctrines of the Christian faith summarize in places like the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed? Do I believe the scriptures, what the Bible says about who Jesus is, the forgiveness of sins, the gospel? That's the essence of the Christian faith, the gospel message. I don't think that you should feel like, well, I'm no longer a Christian because I'm now going to this other church. I think you should ask yourself, what do I believe about Christ? Do I know Christ by faith?
That's the ultimate question. Sorry to hear that you're going through this difficulty, this challenge, but I hope that one, the Church of Christ that you left might extend a little bit of grace to you, and two, that as you continue to grow in your faith, that you'll come into a deeper and deeper understanding of the scriptures, the word of God, and that you'll just grow in your relationship with Christ. Thanks for reaching out. This is Core Christianity, and as Adriel said, it really is about the core doctrines of the Christian faith, what a particular church is preaching. We have a great resource on finding a good church at our website. You can go to corechristianity.com forward slash questions to find that. And we also have a wonderful book on the core doctrines of the Christian faith by our founder, Dr. Michael Horton. It's called Core Christianity. It really was the impetus for this radio program starting in the first place. You can find that at our website as well. If you look for resources again, go to corechristianity.com and look for the book by Dr. Michael Horton called Core Christianity. Let's go back to the phones. Eric is on the line from Iowa Falls, Iowa.
Eric, what's your question for Adriel? Hi, my question is, I've heard several people over a number of times mention the Catholic Church and Protestant churches, and I know there's a difference, but what are the significant differences between Catholics and Protestants? I go to a Protestant church, but I have some friends who are Catholic, and some of them have sort of thought I should become a Catholic, and I don't necessarily want to do that, but I just want to know what the differences are.
Yeah. Excellent, excellent question, and there are so many differences really in terms of piety and worship, that is how worship is conducted, in terms of the doctrine of salvation, soteriology, our understanding of how that works in the Christian life. If you will, also with regard to ecclesiology, that is church government, of course, the Catholic Church has as the head of the church the pope, the Roman Catholic pope, and then you have bishops and cardinals and priests and so on and so forth, whereas Protestants are very clear that the only head of the church is Jesus Christ reigning from heaven. One of the big issues, Eric, that really divided and still divides Catholics and Protestants is the issue around the doctrine of justification. In fact, there was a Roman Catholic council called the Council of Trent that actually condemned the Protestant teaching regarding the doctrine of justification. Is justification what we see in the Bible in places like the book of Galatians and the book of Romans, is it a process that the individual goes through a process of inward renewal that starts at baptism and then increases more and more through God's grace in our lives, and that's the Catholic position, or is it a definitive act in time, not a process of inward renewal, but an act of God's free grace whereby he pardons all of our sins, forgives all of our sins, and imputes, that is, credits the righteousness of Jesus Christ to us solely by faith. That's the Protestant doctrine of justification. That was one of the big things that led to that split between the Catholics and the Protestant church. You have there the question about salvation.
How is it that we're saved? The doctrine of justification, ecclesiology, and then I also mentioned worship. What is guiding us in worship? Protestant churches really saw the reformation as a reformation in worship as well, going back to an earlier, simpler time without a lot of the smells and bells and whistles and all of the things that you see in the Roman Catholic church. Apostolic worship was much simpler, focused upon the word of God, the word of God being central, and the sacraments of grace, baptism, and the Lord's Supper. The Roman Catholic church has over time, I would say, evolved and developed a whole system of worship that I don't think is rooted in what we see in scripture in the Old Testament or in the New Testament. Those are some of the big differences. There are similarities as well in terms of the doctrine of God, our understanding of the deity of Christ, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.
Those are things that we celebrate and rejoice in. I would say that there are many Catholics I think who truly know and have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and I'm grateful for that. But the question is, is Roman Catholic theology rooted in what the Bible teaches, or is it tradition? That's where I would have some serious questions about some of those doctrines that we already mentioned. I would say, grow, Eric, in your understanding of the significant differences, and in your understanding as to why you believe the things that you believe as a Protestant. I think that that's so important. Hopefully, we can put some resources in your hand to help you grow in that knowledge.
One resource maybe we can get into your hands if you stay on the line is the book by Dr. Michael Horton, Core Christianity, which will introduce you to some of those fundamental basic truths and maybe some of the differences as well between Catholics and Protestants. God bless. Hey, Eric, thanks so much for your call. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. Let's go to Troy calling in from Texas. Troy, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, good afternoon.
I really enjoy your program. I want to get your opinion on, you know, the Bible said, you can't liken God unto anything. And I don't believe that God wanted us to worship him under denominations, because there's so many of them, and I know all of them believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. So it looks like denominations is kind of fading out. People are going non-denominational now. So what do you think about that? You know, I just don't believe that God really wanted us to be a part of denomination. Give me your opinion on that.
Yeah, happy to, Troy. Well, first, let me just say, as a minister in a particular denomination, a conservative Christian denomination that values the Word of God and teaches the Word of God. Denominations, there's no perfect denomination. There's no perfect church on earth. Churches, local churches, and groups of churches struggle, and they wrestle against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Think about the churches, you know, that Paul and Peter wrote to in the New Testament.
I mean, they were filled with controversy, with moral issues, with theological doctrinal issues, and continually needing to be pointed back to the Word of God. And so we're never going to find the perfect church, not until we're in the presence of the Lord. I mean, you have the one holy Catholic and apostolic church, Catholic being universal. The church that consists of all those who have faith call upon the name of the Lord together with their children, I would say.
But here on earth, we're struggling. We're the church militant. I think denominations, you know, can be helpful in terms of providing some extra accountability and support.
I think that's really, really a good thing. This is one of the things that I benefit from and get from the denomination that I'm a part of, is that accountability, that support from others who are in the trenches in ministry with me. We shouldn't be isolated and on our own, even as churches, I think. This is clear in the New Testament, in places like Acts chapter 15, where you have churches represented gathering together for the Jerusalem council to think through doctrinal and theological issues and to seek to bless the entire body.
I do think you see some precedent for that in scripture. But again, if we're putting our hope in a particular denomination or group of churches, or even in being non-denominational, that's not the hope. True churches, and I think it's helpful to ask this question, what is a true church? True churches are churches that faithfully preach the gospel, so they're committed to the word of God, faithfully worship as Jesus called us to, administering the sacraments, baptism and the Lord's Supper, have discipline as Jesus spoke about in places like the Gospel of Matthew, where sin is taken seriously.
It's not just a sort of free for all. I mean, Paul rebuked the Corinthians for that. So these are the kinds of things we want to look for in our churches, in the church that we join as Christians, is the word of God faithfully taught, are the ordinances of grace administered according to what Jesus said, is sin taken seriously in the fellowship? Is there a community of believers that is encouraging around the word of God?
That's what we want to look for. And so I appreciate your question and grateful to hear. It sounds like you're a part of a non-denominational church, and I'm grateful that you're in church and pray that you're growing in the Lord every day. We actually have a great resource on this topic. It's one of our core questions. Why are there so many denominations? You can find that at corechristianity.com forward slash questions. We actually have a lot of great questions that are responded to there that will really help you in your Christian walk. Again, go to corechristianity.com forward slash questions.
Look for that one on why there are so many denominations. Well, earlier we had a question about infidelity and the caller asked, should I confess that sin not only to the church and to God, but should I confess it directly to my spouse? And another caller has this question as a follow-up for you, Adriel, and they say in reference to that question asked earlier, my wife cheated on me. She told me, and it actually hurt me a whole lot. How can I begin to heal?
Brother, thank you for opening up about that. And, you know, I would say the first part is the honesty, right? Healing can and does come through forgiveness, but it is a process and it takes time, years even. I mean, it can take so much time, but here's the hope that we have is that through the forgiveness that we have received, that you have received from Jesus Christ, that you can forgive your wife. I mean, it's what the apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 32, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. And so I think the process of healing begins with forgiveness. Now, in the case of infidelity, that doesn't necessarily mean that the person who's been cheated on needs to go back to the marriage or restore the marriage. You know, cheating infidelity is one of the things that Jesus has as a legitimate grounds for divorce. It doesn't mean that you have to divorce because as I mentioned earlier, there can be forgiveness and there has to be forgiveness, but there can also be restoration through the grace of the Holy Spirit. But it starts with forgiveness and then I would say getting help, the help of the church, accountability, support.
Also, there are many therapists who will work with couples who have struggled with this, where there's been an infidelity and they'll also work with building some of those areas of trust back, but it does take time. And so let me just pray for you. Father, I pray for this brother. Would you fill him with your spirit? Would you grant him the grace to forgive and would you lead him on a path of healing in this situation? Would you be with him and his wife, Lord, ministering to them in Jesus' name?
Amen. Thanks for listening to Core Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at CoreChristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program and be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
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