How can I reach someone who's skeptical of Christianity? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi there.
Happy Friday. 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. Our phone lines are open right now. We'll be taking calls for the next 25 minutes or so. Here's the number, and you might want to jot this down for future reference. It's 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Now, you can also post your question on any one of our social media sites. In fact, you can watch Adriel each day in the studio live on our YouTube channel, and you can also send him a question through YouTube.
And of course, we've always got an email. You can write to us at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, here's a voicemail from one of our listeners in Syracuse, New York. This is Jenny. Hi, Pastor Adriel. I would like to ask you a question. What you will say when at work you cannot say Merry Christmas because you are supposed to be telling about your religion. Thank you. Hey, Jenny. Thank you for that question.
I'm really sorry to hear about this situation. It seems like more and more people, Christians, in the workplace are being faced with difficult decisions. My job wants me to not say Merry Christmas, or they want me to put my pronouns in my bio, or whatever it is. And so there's a big question about what does it look like for us as believers to stand firm and to hold fast to our convictions. Now, with something like this, your job asking you not to say Merry Christmas, I mean, first let me just say it's clear in Scripture that we're under authority. I mean, it's part of the fifth commandment, but that God's authority trumps all things.
And so if we're being asked to do something that runs contrary to the word of God, then we should always obey God rather than men. Now, we're not commanded in Scripture to celebrate Christmas or the season of Christmas or anything like that. And sometimes I think we can get really worked up about this, you know, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. I would say if in your conscience you're really struggling with this, you know, you never want to sin against your own conscience, I wouldn't have an issue if my job was saying, hey, you know, we're just not going to use that language. I mean, I think it would frustrate me, but you just have to ask yourself, well, is that really preaching the gospel or communicating the gospel saying Merry Christmas? But, you know, thinking about it, I guess I would also want to add, it seems to me like there is this pressure that you're receiving, and they're saying we don't want you to be open about your Christian faith, and that's a problem. And so you're going to have to weigh that, and maybe this is, you know, something where you can have a bigger conversation with your superiors there and say, look, this is a part of who I am. The most important thing about me, my faith in Jesus Christ, and I feel like this is being stifled or I feel like what you're doing here is keeping me from exercising that faith.
And so, you know, I don't want to discourage you in that. I guess what I'm trying to say is just saying Merry Christmas isn't preaching the gospel, and I think sometimes we can get really worked up about that as believers, and we don't need to get worked up about that specifically. But if your job is saying we don't want you to be a Christian or you can't be honest about your Christian faith, well then that's a real problem. And as I said, it's an issue that we're beginning to see more and more, and God help each of us in the workplace as Christians to shine brightly, to be salt and light, as Jesus commanded us to be in Matthew chapter 5, to be distinct from the world and to shine for the Lord.
And how we work with integrity, that our good works might shine before others so that they might glorify our Father who is in heaven. God be with you, Jenni, and thank you for giving us a call. Jenni, thanks so much for listening to Core Christianity, and Adriel, thank you for that great response. We'd love to hear from you. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, call us right now at 833-THE-CORE.
That's 1-833-843-2673. Also open to your questions if you have doubts about the Christian faith, we'd love to talk to you as well. Let's go to Sly in Edmond, Oklahoma. Sly, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, I have questions about that in Malachi. You have the tithe to the storehouse, and I hear many pastors talking about their church is the storehouse, and I don't see it that way.
There was a temple at that time. The discrepancy between how the apostles, the early disciples lived and their lifestyle, and pastors now pulling in six figures and maybe seven figures or more in salaries, and does the storehouse equal the ministers in the church? Where's the accountability?
My feeling is, okay, I work part-time now. If anyone thought about where I work, they would understand how much I make, but we have all kinds of ministries asking for money, and there's no accountability. How much does the pastor get? How much is the church getting? How much is being spent actually on ministry? So I'd like to get your thoughts on that.
Sly, I appreciate this question. I think there does need to be accountability, and certainly one of the qualifications for pastors or for elders in 1 Timothy 3 is that they are not to be lovers of money. That's 1 Timothy 3, verse 3. And you're right that there are abuses in the church. I mean, you can turn on the TV and see these prosperity gospel preachers who are just saying, you sow your seed, you need to give to my ministry, and there's question about how those resources are being spent. Is this really going to true gospel ministry, especially if this is the prosperity gospel that we're talking about? I mean, this isn't the true gospel that's being proclaimed.
And so that's fair. I also think that there are a lot of pastors out there. You might think, well, you're a pastor.
Of course you say that. But I think that there are a lot of pastors out there who are trying to raise a family and support their family and do the work of the ministry who aren't compensated like they should be. I think that there's this sense that many people have that pastors are just supposed to be poor, I guess. You mentioned the apostles in the New Testament. Some of them ministering without dependents.
They don't have necessarily a family that they're taking care of as well at the same time. And so sometimes I wonder if we put too much of an expectation and pressure on gospel ministers, men who are really seeking to be faithful to the Word of God and who aren't in it for the money, are wanting to serve, and yet are having a hard time focusing on serving the Lord because they're not being cared for well by the Church. And so that's another issue. I think that that's a serious problem in the Church today as well.
You have these two issues. You have, one, a lack of accountability and pastors who are lovers of money, as 1 Timothy 3 says. But then you also have the other issue of pastors who they're not cared for.
Their families aren't cared for. And so I think we have to watch out for both of those things. You brought up also the question of the tithe and its relationship to New Testament or New Covenant giving. Personally, this is what I think. I mean, it's clear that in the Old Testament, the tithe was a part of the giving to the temple.
It was probably more than 10% when you add up all the figures. And so the question is, well, since the temple isn't a thing anymore, since Old Covenant worship has been abrogated, are we still bound to give 10% not to the temple, but to our local church, to the work of the ministry? And I would say, I don't know that that's the best way of thinking about it in the New Testament. We're encouraged to give generously and with joy because the Lord loves a cheerful giver. This is what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians. And so I think we should be cultivating, each of us in our own hearts, a love for the work of the ministry. And one of the ways we do that is by investing in it. Jesus is where your treasure is.
That's where your heart will be also. If you want to be more invested in your local church, in the advancement of the gospel and evangelism there, one of the ways you can do that is by giving to that. And the hope would be that there is a degree of openness that you do have an understanding of. Okay, this is how resources are being spent at the church, and we're giving X amount or percentage of our budget to missions or to relief efforts or to the cost of upkeep, having a worship space and whatnot.
And so I think there are a number of issues that you raise here, and I think I'm mostly in agreement with you. We want to have transparency. We want to have accountability. We want to make sure that we're not using the resources that God has entrusted to us for things that aren't honoring to the Lord. And we also want to make sure that we are taking care of our pastors so that they can do the work that God has called them to do. Sly, I appreciate you reaching out to us, and God bless.
Sly, thanks for listening to Core Christianity. We'd love to hear from you if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Our phone lines are open. We'll be taking calls for another 15 minutes or so at 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Kelly, calling in from Missouri. Kelly, what's your question for Adriel?
Hi, and thank you for taking my call. My question is, how do I argue against Unitarianism, or is it a Christian doctrine, Unitarianism? Well, the answer to that, very simply, Kelly, is Unitarianism is not a Christian doctrine. Now, some people mean different things when they say that, but I would say across the board, it's not in line with the teaching of the Bible or what the Church has said.
Just to understand where you're coming from, though, Kelly, can you share a little bit when you're thinking about that? Are you talking about a particular church, or are you understanding that as, well, how would you define it, I guess? I was actually just discussing this with a group of people who, I was of the same mind that it was not a Christian doctrine because what they were saying was that Jesus was a divine being, but I couldn't pin them down on, did you believe he died and then rose again? So there was a discussion between the Trinity, except they didn't believe in the Trinity, and I thought that was a problem. So I was trying to make the distinction between God as in three and one, and they believe that it is just God as one person. And I just have a problem on pinning them down on how to best come out of the Bible to show the Trinity, and they say that the Trinity is nowhere in the Bible. Okay, thank you for that.
That's helpful. You know, sometimes people will talk about God being one in the sense of, you know, Jesus is God, the Father is God, the Holy Spirit is God, but they're one person. You have these kind of different modes of their existence, and other times people will say, well, God is one and that the Father is God, and Jesus is a divine being, but he's still a creature.
In other words, he's not truly God. This is what the Jehovah's Witnesses believe, for example. Now, we receive the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, not as a tradition of men, but as the clear teaching of Scripture. Now, the Church received that teaching and, you know, articulated it the way that she did over the centuries, but it's really, I mean, in my mind, it's obvious, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, that when Scripture speaks of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, we're talking about one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory, but three distinct persons. And you said, you know, what's the best way to argue against this false teaching, this heresy, really, because it strikes at the vitals of the Christian religion. We're not understanding the doctrine of God, who God is, how he's revealed himself, or who Christ is, the person of Christ. We can't claim to have any continuity with the apostles of our Lord, with the faith of the Church, and so we're outside of the bounds of Christianity. But I guess it would depend on how the people who were putting forward this doctrine were doing.
I mean, are we talking about, like, the way in which the Jehovah's Witnesses argue, for example, and in that case, I would go to a number of texts in Scripture, places like John chapter one, even though their Bible, they mistranslate John chapter one. I think you can still go there, John chapter eight, where Jesus says, before Abraham was, I am, claiming that he is Jehovah God, Yahweh of the Old Testament. It's one of the reasons why the religious leaders wanted to take up stones to kill him when he said that, and right before that, they say, who do you make yourself out to be? I mean, they're asking him this question, who are you? And he says, before Abraham was, I am. They got the point.
They wanted to kill him when he said that. But so many other passages, proof texts that we might bring up, that clearly emphasize the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. I mentioned, even in the Old Testament, in the Old Testament, the book of Isaiah, unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, Isaiah chapter nine says.
And what is he going to be called? Mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. And so you have, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, a number of passages that you can go to. And it's a tragedy that so often with Unitarians, they misinterpret those texts, and they reject not just the clear teaching of Scripture, but the testimony of the whole Church. And so I just want to go back to you, though.
I appreciate that you're having these conversations, Kelly. Was there a particular passage that they were bringing up, or were they just saying, oh, this is just not in the Bible, it's the tradition of men? It's funny that you say that, because I've brought up John 1. Genesis, almost every one that you said, but somehow they don't accept it as it's written or intended.
They somehow intermix things into it, and it becomes very muddled. And so I think that those Scriptures are the ones that I will stick with, but I just want it to be as edified as I could be when confronting them. Well, I just want to encourage you in what you're doing in being Berean, and in sharing the Word of God. And let me add, pray, because there is a blindness, a strong delusion that can come when we embrace false teaching. And so pray that the Lord would deliver them from that to see with clarity what the Scripture does indeed teach to understand who Jesus is. By the way, this is precisely where the evil one, Satan, wants to deceive us. He wants to deceive us with regard to the person and work of Jesus Christ, because there's nothing more important than that. And so if we can be deceived into thinking, well, Jesus isn't truly God, he isn't equal with the Father, well, then Satan wins. And so this is at the heart of where the battle is, and this is clear even in places like 1 John, where John is talking about the spirit of the Antichrist.
Everyone who denies that Jesus, the Son of God, came in the flesh, that's the spirit of the Antichrist that's at work. It's a confusion about the person of Christ and his work. And so, again, I just want to commend you and say keep on diving into those passages and bringing those texts of Scripture up. Another book that you might consider going to is in the book of Revelation, you know, the vision that John has of our Lord Jesus Christ again and again and again, referring to him as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. I mean, this language is coming from the book of Isaiah, referring to Yahweh God. And so for John to apply these titles to Jesus is to say, this is the Lord, this is God.
And again, this is what, as you said, so many people can reject the clear testimony of Scripture, but continue to pray and continue to point to the Word of God, and may God bless you and open their hearts by the grace of his Spirit. I love Kelly's determination and her heart. It sounds like she's going about it in the right way. She's trying to dialogue with people, doing it in a gentle, winsome way, and yet not compromise on the truth of God's Word.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think we want to encourage all of our listeners to do that. And it sounds to me like she is, like she said she's going to all the right verses.
But what this also highlights, Bill, is that it's more than just having the right answer. We really do need to pray, because true understanding, when it comes to God's Word, that comes through the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it can be right there in front of you, and yet people still close their eyes to the truth. And so we're saying, Lord, have mercy, humble this person, help them to see what your Word really does clearly say, and help me not to question it, help me not to doubt it. And may the Lord be with our sister, and bless her as she continues to have those conversations.
This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. Here we are just a little over two weeks away from Christmas, and we always get calls this time of year from Christians who say, Someone told me, a friend, a relative, somebody at work said we shouldn't celebrate Christmas because it's a pagan holiday. Is that really true? Well, we have a resource that really answers that question. Yes, the resource is called Five Reasons Why Christmas Isn't a Pagan Holiday. So we're not just giving you one reason, we're giving you five reasons. And as a great conversation starter, maybe, this is one of those things that we've said this before. Skeptics and critics of the Christian faith oftentimes around Christmas will say, Oh, you guys are just, you know, you're just taking pagan worship and twisting it and, you know, inserting your Christianity into it.
That's not the case. Get ahold of this resource, Five Reasons Why Christmas Isn't a Pagan Holiday. And the great news is it's free. You can download it over at our website, corechristianity.com. A lot of great resources at our site. You can find some wonderful Bible studies for this time of year or for the new year. Maybe you're leading a small group at church or a Sunday school class.
Check that out at corechristianity.com. Well, we do receive voicemails here at the Core. In fact, you can call us anytime, 24 hours a day. Call us over the weekend and leave your question on our voicemail system. Here's the number. It's 1-833-843-2673.
That's 833-THE-CORE. And here's a voicemail from one of our listeners named Rosemary. My question is, I was saved and became a born-again Catholic Christian two years ago. But my question is, how do I save others when I hear them say, yeah, I don't believe in God? Or how do I evangelize them when I hear things like that? My first thing is to say, well, I'm going to pray for you.
But I also want to say, can we talk about it? But I have been reading the Bible. I'm trying to become more Christian and become more aware. And I do believe in Jesus. And I know that Jesus died for our sins and that I'm repenting every day and asking. But I just wanted to let people know by me walking by faith and showing them, how do I show my family?
How do I show other people? So that's my question. Wow. Rosemary, I love that question. And I want to take a moment to pray for you.
I mean, just listening to you, right? This is the heart that we all want to have, brothers and sisters, to say, God, help me. Help me to communicate what you've done in my life. And not just for me, but for all people through your son, Jesus.
Help me to be able to come alongside of others and point them to you. Rosemary, I love that that's what you want to do. And so let's just pray for our sister. Father, we thank you for your great mercy and grace to us in your son, Jesus.
We thank you for the salvation that you've given to us, that you've forgiven all of our sins through faith in his name and how easy it is, Lord, sadly, for us to take that for granted. Light that fire in our hearts to want to share your great love, the gospel of your son, Jesus, with the people around us, and give us, Lord, wisdom and boldness to do that. And would you give our sister wisdom and boldness and the ability to do that?
Would you make her into a great evangelist, Lord, one who shares your love and who leads others to you through Christ? Would you bless her, Lord, and grant her this desire of her heart, Lord, to testify of your grace? We pray in Jesus' name.
Amen. Well, you're right with beginning and saying, well, I'll pray for you. Prayer is always good and important when we're thinking about evangelism because, again, as I've already stated, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. And you can also pray for boldness. I mean, this is what the disciples prayed for in Acts chapter 2. You think of all the things that they had experienced, as well as Acts chapter 4. You think of all the things that they had experienced, seeing the Lord and yet still needing to say, Lord, be with us, help us, grant us boldness to proclaim your word. I always think, you know, if it was a prayer that was good enough for the apostles, for the disciples of our Lord, it's certainly one that we should be praying to. We need to pray that God would give us boldness and also that he would help us to clearly articulate the truth of the gospel.
And so I think at the heart of your question, you say, how do I do that? I would say, one, recognizing that this gospel message that you've received that has changed your life isn't just for you, but it's for all people through Jesus Christ. We sometimes, you know, when we share Christ, we'll share, you know, Jesus in such a way that we say, this is really good for me. Think about how it changed my life and maybe it'll be good for you too. No, it's not just good for me.
It's good for all people. God commands all people everywhere to repent because he is the Lord and Christ is risen from the dead. And so I would say helping people by communicating with clarity and saying, this is what the gospel is. So many people confuse the gospel with or Christianity with it.
Here are 10 things you need to do or how to live a better life or, you know, add a little bit of religion to your regimen or whatever it is. What we need to help people to see is the gospel is for broken people, for sinners. And it's good news because it's the message of how we didn't perfectly obey God's law. And yet he sent his son into the world to bear our punishment so that we might have the life that he gives freely by faith in his name. God give you boldness and grace to share it. Together.
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