Can we say that Mary is the mother of God? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, I'm 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. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. If you get our voicemail, feel free to leave your question there. And, of course, you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. Well, first up today, let's go to Daniel, who's calling in from Kansas. Daniel, what's your question for Adriel?
Hey there. Well, I could just say what's your take on the Flat Earth, but that's not really the issue. The issue is I have a brother in Christ who I think just basically spends too much time thinking about it, period, and has all kinds of interesting ideas, some of which are that angels are stars, and the stars are angels, and, you know, the four corners refers to four corners of a flat surface, and the firmament is a hard, you know, basically a hard substance that surrounds us, like a snow globe kind of thing, and to me, it just doesn't matter. It's not a core issue, but he perpetually wants to basically go over it. Kind of like the only person would just always want to talk about that. So my question is, what's a good way to deal with this? And is, I mean, if you guys think there's any validity to the perspective, then please help me to be more gracious to him.
Yeah. Hey, Daniel, God bless you, and give you patience as you have these conversations with your friends. Now, I don't want to speak for Bill, so I'll let him answer that last part of your question. It's flat. It's flat. Like your jokes, Bill. Yeah, thank you.
Thank you. No, it sounds to me like what he's doing is he's reading texts in the prophets, like the book of Revelation, the four corners, angels of the four corners, these prophetic passages which are full of symbolic imagery, and I mean, I'm preaching through the book of Revelation right now, so some of these texts are fresh on my mind, and he's reading them sort of literalistically in a way that they weren't meant to be read. And so I would say that's the first problem is just a sort of misunderstanding of a lot of these passages that people will appeal to to say, well, the Bible teaches a flat earth.
No, that's just not the case. And so there's that there. The other thing is, I think of the warning that the apostle Paul gives to Titus. Part of the pastoral epistles is encouraging this brother to grow in godliness, in grace, in the scriptures, and he says in Titus 3, verse 8, the saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.
These things are excellent and profitable for people, but avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. And a lot of times I think when people start spending a ton of time on the internet and get into some of these theories, and it can almost become all-consuming, some of these conspiracy theories, and I've seen this happen, sadly, to believers in Jesus Christ. You have to ask yourself the question, is this helping me to be devoted to good works? Is this what the scriptures, what the doctrine that God has given us, is this what it was meant to do? Get us into these long, drawn-out discussions.
This is all your friend wants to talk about. Sometimes I think a kind and gracious rebuke is in order, saying, brother, you're spending an immense amount of time on this, but is this actually helping you to grow in Christ in the mortification of your sin and seeing the beauty of your Savior more and more? That's what Holy Scripture is supposed to do, and it sounds like it's being twisted or used here, and you're going down these rabbit trails and getting all worked up about this stuff. I think it's really important that we have these conversations, that we have a correct interpretation of the scriptures, that when we're looking at these passages, whether they're in the prophets or in the book of Revelation or elsewhere, that we're interpreting them according to the genre in which they were written and understanding them in light of the fact that, especially in the book of Revelation, we have so much symbolic apocalyptic prophecy, these images that are meant to communicate something to us. So you do want to, I think, be able to come in and talk about that, but then also just an encouragement in saying, how is this helping your walk with the Lord?
Is this really how the scriptures were meant to be used? Are we, are you devoting yourself to good works? Is that what this is producing, or is it producing anxiety, fear, suspicion? My sense is that when people get caught up in a lot of these theories, that that's really the fruit that's produced is that fear, that suspicion, that anxiety. We sort of retract from others, don't serve each other as we should, don't devote ourselves to good works as we should, and I think that the proof is in the pudding. It just highlights the fact that, look, this is not what God intends for us. And so God bless you, Daniel, and may the Lord give you patience and grace and bless your conversations, and I hope that they become edifying and lead to fruitfulness for both you and for your friend.
That's why I won't go on a cruise, because the ship will go off the edge. Yeah, there's one of those flat jokes, Bill, that I mentioned earlier. I wonder if some of it isn't just the fact that for a couple of years, so many people were just kind of cooped up in their home and spending a lot more time on the internet and reading a bunch of stuff.
I don't know, but it just seems like more and more in recent days, a lot of these theories have gained more traction, and so it's unfortunate. It is. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We are open to your questions anytime, 24 hours a day. You can call our voicemail at 833-843-2673. That's 833 to the Core.
David called in from Kansas. He asked this question, regarding the Sabbath, the Catholic Church changed the calendar a lot. Are we just supposed to blindly follow along with what it says? I don't think we should just blindly follow along with what any church says. I think that we want to search the Scriptures and be quote-unquote Berean as we do so, together with the Church, and make sure that whatever we do, especially in worship, is rooted in what God has commanded us to do. Now, I don't think, I don't believe that the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath.
I think Jesus, when he came and lived and perfectly fulfilled the entire law of God in his own life, suffered and died and then rose again on the first day of the week, I think Jesus transformed the way in which we look at the Sabbath command. And this is precisely why, and I've said this before, the apostles of our Lord began meeting together on the first day of the week to worship God. Acts chapter 20, there's evidence of this. 1 Corinthians chapter 16, Revelation chapter 1, John talks about being in the Spirit on the Lord's day, verse 10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, that's Sunday, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches. Now, what's interesting is the book of Revelation, this is one of the most ancient ways of reading the book of Revelation. It's really, you read from beginning to end, it's this heavenly worship service, this heavenly liturgy.
When does it take place? On Sunday, on the Lord's day. And so, you have the disciples of our Lord doing this.
We're following their example, not the example of the Roman Catholic Church or some other church that invented a new tradition. So, we want to make sure that whatever we do in worship, David, is rooted in scripture. I'm saddened by the fact that I feel like a lot of times when churches think about worship, the first question they ask is not, how does God want to be worshipped?
And what is worship according to the word of God? But instead, what do people want? What's going to draw people in?
What's going to attract them? And we sort of set the Bible aside, we set church history aside, we set theology aside, and we begin to say, well, let's just cater. We want people to walk through the doors and the justification is, you know, they're going to hear about Jesus at some point in the service, right? But no, God doesn't just care that he's worshipped, he cares about how he's worshipped. He wants to be worshipped with reverence and awe, Hebrews chapter 12 says as much quite clearly. He's given us these ordinances in worship, baptism in the Lord's Supper, you have the centrality of the word of God and the preaching of the word of God in worship. And we really need to start thinking not about what everybody else wants or what we want, we need to start thinking about what God wants in worship. And we need to order our worship services accordingly. God bless.
So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Well, Christmas coming up, we want to tell you about an excellent free resource that actually answers a common question that we received this time of year. Yes, Bill, every holiday season we hear the claim that Christmas is a pagan holiday. The early church in an attempt to appease the pagan culture mixed pagan festivals with Christian themes and that's how we got Christmas. But is that the true story of Christmas?
Our new resource, Five Reasons Why Christmas Isn't a Pagan Holiday, helps to unravel some of the most common objections and misconceptions about the origins of Christmas. It'll give you an appreciation for the resilience of the church throughout church history and explain why Christians can receive and celebrate Christmas with joy. It's yours for free over at corechristianity.com. You know, there's a lot of misinformation out there on this topic, so this actually would be an excellent resource maybe to send to a Christian friend or relative who tends to be more of a Scrooge this time of year. It's again called Five Reasons Why Christmas Isn't a Pagan Holiday and it's a free download on our website. To get it, just head over to corechristianity.com forward slash offers. That's corechristianity.com forward slash offers.
We'd love to get this free resource to you. Well, let's go to a voicemail that came in from one of our listeners. This is Sela. I just kind of wanted to hear pastor's response or his opinion according to the Bible, how we can handle family members and friends who prayed to Mary, the mother of God. I mean, is that okay? But I guess it's kind of like praying, asking Mary to intercede for us, but I thought Jesus was the only interceder before God. Do we say relook at that? You might want to think about that again, or do we say Jesus is the only one?
Your help is truly appreciated. Thanks for what you guys do. Yeah, so I mean this is something that Roman Catholics do, that the Eastern Orthodox do. There's this tradition of asking the saints, the departed saints, to pray for us, to intercede for us. Now, this is not something I think that you see in holy scripture. I was just talking earlier about how whatever we do, especially in worship, we want to make sure that it's rooted in the word of God, that we're not just making it up. And so while we don't want to minimize the role of the Virgin Mary in the history of redemption, because scripture doesn't, we also don't want to treat her as if it's through her that we have salvation and not Jesus. Jesus is the mediator through whom we approach the Father with a clear conscience, eager to receive his grace because of what Christ has done. Now, we have other people that we can go to here on earth that we say, would you please pray for me, pray for this, that, or the other thing in my life, these circumstances, pray that my walk with the Lord would grow stronger. But again, we don't see examples in the New Testament or anywhere in scripture of God's people praying to those who have gone into glory, asking them to pray for us.
And so I don't think that that's something that we should do because it's not something that we see in scripture. Now, the question about who Mary is, can we talk about her as the mother of God? It might shock you to hear this, it shocks a lot of people, but actually there was a debate in the ancient church about this very thing. Do we refer to Mary as the mother of God or the mother of Christ? Now, I wonder how you would answer that question for yourself, you listening right now. Somebody asked you, is it proper to say Mary is the mother of God or the mother of Christ?
What would you say? Well, interesting to note, the church universally said, the Orthodox said, no, we call Mary the mother of God. Not in that God began to be in and through her, but that the son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity himself assumed flesh from her womb. So that the one who was born of Mary is not something less than, if you will, the second person of the Holy Trinity.
It's God himself who took flesh from the womb of the Virgin Mary, and so really they identified Mary as the mother of God to highlight who Jesus is. Not just some creature come to save us, no, he is the Lord himself. And I think of that beautiful scene that we see at the beginning of the gospel in Luke chapter 1 verse 35. The angel answered her, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the son of God.
Now, the imagery here is really remarkable. That word overshadow isn't used a lot of places in the Bible. It is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in Exodus chapter 40 when the glory of God overshadowed the temple or the tabernacle. It was this picture of God entering his house, if you will, and here the womb of the Virgin Mary is depicted as this new tabernacle, if you will, housing who?
The eternal son of God, the Lord himself who's taking flesh and blood from her womb. And so that's why we use that language, and it's proper to use that language, but I would say it's not proper to pray to her or to ask her specifically for her intercessions. Brothers and sisters, you can go directly to God the Father through Jesus, your great high priest. God bless.
So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive emails here at the Core, and you can email us your question anytime, and we're open to any sort of questions about the Bible or the Christian life, doctrine, or theology. Here's our email question. It's from one of our listeners named Kevin.
He says, Hi, Adriel and Bill. I live with bipolar type one, and I keep it hush hush because I don't want to be stigmatized. I love the Lord and stand on scripture. However, this condition I live with does make life difficult. I take medicine, but I'm unable to get therapy because of the everlasting waiting list I'm on. What does the scripture say in regard to my illness, and can God take it away from me?
I'm tired of living in pain. Thank you for all you do and for your ministry. Brothers and sisters, let's take a moment right now to pray for Kevin, that he's able to get into the therapy that he hopes to get into, get off the waiting list, but also that the Lord would grant him strength in the midst of this trial. Father, we come before you.
Thank you for this email that we received from Kevin. Thank you that you see him. You know him, Lord. I just ask for your spirit to fill him, that through this trial you would draw him closer to yourself. God, that he would not feel guilt and shame because of this condition.
We know that our bodies are weak, that our bodies waste away. We thank you, God, that you sent your Son into the world, Jesus Christ, to restore our bodies and minds and souls through his glorious incarnation, life, death, and resurrection that we also, Lord, look forward to the last day, the resurrection, when you raise us up in perfect health with that perfect mind, if you will, Lord. And give our brother that hope and give him strength now by the power of your Holy Spirit to walk with you and to follow you.
And, Lord, we do pray that you would open the doors for him to get whatever assistance that he needs that will be encouraging for him, that will help him. So please be with Kevin in Jesus' name. Amen.
Amen. The Bible teaches that every single part of us has been affected by sin and corruption, and that's why we have sickness, disease, mental health issues, you know, all of these things, and that Jesus came into the world, assumed humanity to restore our broken bodies, to forgive our sins, to give us the hope of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. And so that is a hope that you have, Kevin, that's yours through Jesus Christ, and God doesn't ever promise to take away all of our ailments right now during this present evil age. You can pray for that, and there's nothing wrong. I would say pray for that. I mean, I think of also what James says in James 5, if anyone is sick, let them call the elders of the church and let them lay hands on the one who is sick, anointing him with the oil, praying in the name of the Lord. We do that in the church where I pastor, and I would just maybe encourage you to pray with others as well. You don't need to feel shame because of this condition.
It's not like you've done something wrong, right? I mean, when we think about mental health issues in particular, this is a part of the fall, and we trust that the Lord gives grace and that he gives you grace, brother, and so you have that grace in Jesus Christ, and may God, as you continue to seek him and grow in him, give you strength and patience and the ability by his mercy, solely by his mercy, to bear up and to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. I know that this is in part your area of expertise in terms of some of the work that you've done, so what would you add for our brother Kevin?
Well, a couple of things. First of all, with Bipolar I, he wants to make sure that he stays on his medication because there's always a temptation for individuals who are bipolar when they're in that manic phase and they're feeling really good and really strong, and I'm going to conquer the world and win the lottery and become the president of the United States, or whatever they're thinking. I don't need this medication because this medication brings me down, and that is a real problem, and so it's important to consistently take your medication so you stay balanced, you stay on an even keel. The other thing I would say to Kevin is, well, first of all, you prayed about this and it's really unfortunate that he's on a long waiting list. I'm guessing that's for some sort of state assistance wherever he is, and there always are those long waiting lists when you're talking about the bureaucracy of a given state or given county. One of the other options is to reach out to a larger church that has a counseling ministry where he can get low-cost or free counseling from someone who is familiar with his particular disorder and can help him. So a lot of times, the church can step in that gap where the government maybe can't meet the need that is really needed by someone. I think that's really helpful, Bill, and Kevin, I hope that that helps you and that you're encouraged, brother. Know that we care for you, and more importantly, Christ cares for you and is for you and has made the way for all your sins to be forgiven, and you have the hope. We all have the hope of that full and final restoration that Jesus has won for us in his resurrection from the dead.
So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We do receive voicemails here at the Core, and you can call us 24 hours a day. Leave your question on our voicemail system.
We do our best to review those each day. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Angel. Hey Pastor Angel. My name is Angel.
I am blind and visually impaired. I just need to know musically, how does a worship service work musically? Because at some churches, you get to sing hymns, and in some churches, you get to sing songs that you hear on the radio, like contemporary Christian music, and there are some churches that usually sing hip-hop or R&B. So I just need to know, what is the right order for people to worship? Okay, excellent question, and I would just say the worship, everything that we do in the liturgy, should match with the reality of what we believe is taking place. We believe that we are entering into the heavenly Jerusalem, if you will, through the preaching of God's word, through the proper administration of those ordinances that Jesus gave, that the Spirit of God and the powers of the age to come are breaking in on us powerfully, mightily, that God is present here with us. And so I think that our worship and the music that we use needs to communicate something of that loftiness, of that power, of that glory.
And so we don't want to do something that's going to take away from what the Bible says is happening in worship. 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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