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When Is It Permissible to Change Churches?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
August 31, 2020 1:00 am

When Is It Permissible to Change Churches?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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August 31, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 521 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Key questions answered in today's show:

1. I have a really close friend who I have been sharing my faith with for years. He is very open-minded when I share with him but every time we get into a deep conversation about this, he always gets stuck on all the war and violence that has been attached to Christianity such as the Crusades and slavery in America. How do I respond to my friend in those moments?

2. What is your opinion of the King James Version? I’ve always understood it to be the most accurate as far as the original Scriptures go, but nobody seems to use that Bible anymore. Why do so many people prefer another translation that maybe isn’t as accurate? 

3. How should we pray to the Triune God? It seems like prayer is only ever directed towards God the Father in the New Testament, and never towards Jesus or The Holy Spirit. Should The Father alone be addressed in our prayers or is it okay to pray directly to the Son and Spirit also?

4. Over the last few months, we have been trying to decide whether to leave the church we have attended for the past 9 years. We wouldn’t consider our church heretical, but there are songs and sermons that we believe don’t always line up with the Word of God. We know the importance of being in a solid church that teaches the Bible, and I guess my question is this: Is the search for more solid Bible teaching reason enough to change churches?

Resources

A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship by Michael Horton

What is the Trinity?

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We been trying to decide whether to leave our church is the search for more solid Bible teaching reason enough to change churches.

That is one of the questions will be answering on today's addition of core Christianity hi this is Bill Meyer along with pastor Adria Sanchez and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your question.

At 833 the core that's 1-833-843-2673 and you can email us with your question at questions at core, Christianity.com first step today we have a good news story from Australia to share with you when Melbourne's regional libraries first went into lockdown due to the coronavirus back in March they shut the doors and left the remaining un-borrowed books on their shelves. The library staff members were each sent home with a job to do. They started calling every library cardholder over the age of 70, a total of 8000 phone numbers and they called every one of them head librarian Lisa Dempster says we call them just to say hi to see how they were doing and see if there was anything they needed help with, such as access to services, counseling, support tech help that kind of thing. We would then refer them to the service that would help them. Lisa says what we found is that people are really up for a chat and they love getting that call from a librarian some calls go for five minutes.

Some go for 1/2 hour or more, less sweet. Yeah, that's really sweet.

What a great way to use their time and you know you think about how many elderly people. How many seniors right now are shut in this country and all over the world. And boy they just need that that human touch even if it's a phone call from a librarian. Yeah, I know you're absolutely right and I mean I think many churches have been seeing this is well with my family community are so important to our first question of the day.

This one comes from Marcus, who posted on her Facebook page he says I have a really close friend who I've been sharing my faith with for years.

He's very open-minded when I share with them, but every time we get into a deep conversation about this. He always gets stuck on the war and violence that is been attached to Christianity such as the Crusades, and slavery in America. How do I respond to my friend in those moments had sounds like this is a hangup for him as the source of war or slavery.

American slavery isn't the Christian faith. It's the human heart.

Marcus week. We like to take the good things that God gives to us, even God's word and we twist them for our own evil purposes. And I think you know, we've seen that happen time and time again throughout the history of the church with things like some of these religious wars with things like slavery. The sad reality is that there were many instances where Christians would justify slavery and attempt to justify on the basis of the teaching of Scripture is just crazy but the fact the matter is it's not just them and we to have this propensity to take God's good word of God's good gifts and twist them for our own sinful and evil purposes. So I think one of the things that this highlights Marcus, and you can even tell your friend this is that were messed up.

The goodness is not that we're the ones who save people in the Christian church is not the gospel of Christ is the gospel and what he's accomplished for us in and your friend is right. Oftentimes we can look at Christians in the actions of Christians and think to ourselves oh no, I do know that I want to be a follower of Jesus utmost care just one story with you. I was done years ago talking to a guy in a coffee shop who approached me. He saw me reading.

I guess it was my Bible or Christian books, and he began to have a conversation with me, asking me about where I went to church and so on so forth and I could tell this guy knew the Bible and he is not unlike you grown up in the church you know than the Sunday school thing he was able to quote Scripture to me. Finally when I asked him you know what word you go to church or are you part of the church. He said no I don't go to church anywhere because none of the churches are like Jesus said he knew enough to know that Jesus was good and holy and righteous and pure and looking around at the landscape of American Christianity just felt like I don't see any churches that are like Jesus and so I don't go to church member having this conversation with him and it struck me as Ezra talking.

As I said to him, you know, I actually don't necessarily disagree with you entirely, but I think you look around at the church today and you do see all sorts of sad things, failures, faults, sins, but the beautiful thing about Jesus is this Jesus knows the church even better than you do.

See you see all that all of the blemishes in the church and use that as a justification not to be a Christian not to follow Jesus not to go to church.

Jesus knows even better than you. All of the faults and failures of the church and yet here's the beautiful thing about him. He has not abandoned her. He continues to pursue her key is her salvation. That's the hope that we have the hope that we have moccasins we have to stress your friend is not in Christians is not in the church. It's in Jesus Christ who is the Savior of the church together were sinners were broken. We fail.

But we look to Jesus Megan regarding things like the wars in slavery and reviewed the Crusades were talking about Jesus made it absolutely clear that the gospel is an advanced through coercion or through the power of the sword. I think of a discussion he had with Pilate in John chapter 18 verse 36 Jesus answered Pilate, my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews.

But my kingdom is not from the world.

So were not talking about worldly powers. Here Marcus, how does the gospel advance, not through the sword, not through legislation, it advances by the word of God that's preached the message of the gospel Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit is you're talking to your friend. You have to keep that central in your own mind you're knocking to be able to coerce your friend to be a Christian is that this is like you're trying to do that know it's a work of the spirit you want to make sure that your praying, and that your placarding Jesus front and center before your friend because that's ultimately what draws us to the truth Megan regarding things like slavery, that's another great question.

As I said you know it is true that people use the Bible to try to justify it by me messages absolutely maddening, frustrating, and again we have to be careful because I think we all have blind spots that we need God to reveal to us open our hearts bring us to repentance, but biblically speaking, the Christian faith began in a society where slavery was prominent and it was very different than American slavery. But here's what you need to know Christianity. According to the teaching of Scripture planting the seeds that ultimately led to the destruction of slavery because it emphasized the dignity of humanity that all of us are made in the image of God and the fact that in Christ slaves and free persons were on equal footing. Christianity is against the objectification of people we view each other as image bearers and so I think you want to stress to your friend look to Jesus and not the Christians.

If you want to know what Christianity is about look to Jesus and to know that just because Christians throughout history have done sinful things that attempted to justify them on the basis of the teaching of Scripture.

That doesn't mean that that's actually what the Bible taught actually. So often, Scripture teaches the exact opposite.

With regard to these wars that you're referring to and and even slavery, American slavery, I would say that that's the case, and so thank you and God bless you as you seek to minister to your friend.

You're listening to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez and April. Here's a call that came in at 833. The core guard my name is Richard from Pennsylvania. What is your opinion of the King James version. I've always understood of the most accurate. As far as the original Scriptures goal, but nobody seems to use our Bible anymore. The use of new American Standard new King James or English standard version. They have all changed the wording, but this creditor is what you repented and mother.

King James is and why nobody many people don't use it anymore. Thank you. There's have a good day. Hey Richard, thanks for your call you when I first became a Christian when I was in high school started walking with the Lord. I think I just found the Bible that was lying around my house. It happened to be the new King James version of the Bible. So I spent a lot of time reading that version, especially as a brand-new believer and I really appreciated it and I appreciate the King James version as well.

Having studied original languages and had gone through seven. I don't know that I would say that the King James version is the one that's most faithful to the original text in the sense of maybe being sort of word for word on par with what the original schism in the King James version like any other translation high-strength and it has weaknesses. One of the weaknesses I would say in one of the reasons why a lot of people have stopped using it is just because the languages more archaic. We don't typically use the King James is English anymore and so in terms of being able to stick to read it and to go through them to understand, especially for people who aren't familiar with the Christian faith is already in enough that there having to figure out having to learn. I think it's not very helpful to add the King's English on top of that, and so I personally don't have a problem with the King James version.

I prefer other versions that have been updated like the English standard version or the new American Standard Bible, which I was is probably even more faithful to the original than the King James version, but it really is a matter of preference, you might find that in your own personal devotional life. You really like to read the King James version in and out so that's okay.

As I said, you're gonna find some strength or to find some weaknesses and and all of the translations we want to do is make sure that were at least reading a translation you have a lot of these sort of paraphrases of the Scripture out there that I think maybe take a little bit too much of creative liberty and so I wouldn't treat those as your primary source for reading the Bible are going through your devotions. That kind of thing, but use the King James version. Use the new King James version. Use the ESV or the NASB as you said, I found another thing that that can be helpful is that you're using different translations versions of the Bible there might be some nuance and one translation that helps you understand the text a little bit better and so out they take advantage of those things we really are quite blessed in terms of the number of translations that we have. I think it's a positive thing I think is a good thing.

So thanks for your question it or of following up on that you think it's important for people to get a study Bible, or commentary so that they really understand the context of certain scriptures, especially those that are sometimes taken out of context by by different churches or Christian leaders have billed that is a really good question. I think that a study Bible can be really helpful, especially for getting some of the historical background, and we are so far separated from a lot of what was going on at that time that sometimes you can be reading through a book like the book of Isaiah and think, okay, what exactly is being talked about here unit which is not familiar with the historical setting and so a study Bible or even a commentary can be really helpful for that. I think if you don't have that, though you just want to continue to read the Scripture and you want to read the Scripture in the context of community.

What I mean by that is is read the Bible on our own.

But we shouldn't just be alone. The Christian life was it meant to be lived in isolation, and so as you're studying the Scripture meant ask questions to your pastor and be a part of the worshiping community grow together with other believers who were also studying the Scriptures and learn from them and and learn about. Also, this is another thing how the church is understood the Scriptures and edit particular passages of Scripture for the last 2000 years. You know what the first one to read through God's revelation have been so many faithful brothers and sisters martyrs who have loved and cherished the Bible for thousands of years and they have stuff to say about it and so really we just have this storehouse of riches in the word of God and that also, and in these other resources that we can go to that we can look to really the church in order to better understand God's word. This is core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez. I'm Bill Meyer want to tell you we been giving away our new 100 page softcover workbook for the gospel of John and today may be the last chance for this offer. Yet you want to get them while they're hot or free. Still, that Remi really is a wonderful Bible study because it is a lot of hard work for you, as I've already said it takes the deep truths of John's Gospel and drop them right into your lap so that you can begin to dig into the Scriptures apply the Scriptures to your own life. Each weekly lesson looks at a specific passage highlighting key themes probing your heart with reflection questions and it is really is can be a blessing for you in your walk with the wording of the gospel of John is one of my favorite books and all the Bible and so this study is a fantastic guidance can engage you from start to finish.

The core Christianity.com/offers to get your copy of our unique Bible study what were still offering it for free at its core, Christianity.com/offers. You can also call us for that study, or any one of our resources at 833-843-2673. That's 833. The core federal here's a question that came in from Sean who emailed us and said I'm a relatively new listener from St. Louis and this is my first time writing into the show. My question pertains to how we ought to pray to the triune God. It seems like prayer is only ever directed towards God the father in the New Testament and never toward Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Should the father alone be addressed in our prayers or is it okay to pray directly to the sun and the spirit also a it is okay to pray directly to the sun and to the Holy Spirit.

Also, I mean ordinarily speaking and as you know we were looking at the Bible of the New Testament prayer is typically directed to the father through the mediation of the sun Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit that I think this is really important.

I think one of the reasons why you have this sort of order is to emphasize the fact that we go to God through Jesus we need Jesus to meet our prayers are sanctified through him and it's by the power of the Holy Spirit that we even have the ability to offer a prayers that are honoring to the Lord. And so it really is the sort of Trinitarian act of worship as we come before the father through the sign and by the power of the Holy Spirit, but you do have instances in the New Testament where Jesus is also addressed by the people of God. In fact, in the upper room discourse.

That section of John's Gospel right before Jesus goes to the cross that Jesus says if you ask me anything in my name I will do it. John chapter 14 verse 14 or you think about the book of acts when Stephen after he had been preaching Jesus preaching the gospel was persecuted stoned to death in acts chapter 7.

Remember what Stephen cried out, he cried out in prayer to Jesus Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Acts chapter 7 verse 59 so there you have two examples of prayer offered directly to Jesus, but there are others as well that we find in the Scriptures. From the earliest days of the Christian faith. The church both prayed to and worship Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

This is one of the.

The early arguments was made against false teachers against heretics that denied the deity of Christ and the deity of the Holy Spirit is, is that the church those were faithful to the teachings of Scripture might call them the Orthodox what they appeal to is the fact that from the very beginning we been baptizing in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit. We been praying to the father to the sun, praising God the father, son and Holy Spirit. It was evidence of the fact this is just the way in which the church is always worship what we've always believed on the basis of what Jesus taught and handed down to the apostles is so interesting. One of the earliest depictions of the crucifixion that we have an ancient piece of graffiti essentially that depicts a man bowing before another man who is being crucified and has the head of a donkey you can actually find the image online I think is near the Palatine Hill in Rome and it is was this ancient piece of graffiti that was discovered from I think the second century or something like that and it was probably carved out by a critic of the Christian faith. Someone who is trying to make fun of another Christian.

In fact, there's this little inscription at the bottom of the image that says Alexa Mentos warships. His God again this this picture of a man bowing down before a crucified man with the head of the donkey well is because people realized that Christians worship the crucified Lord Jesus, that they prayed to him as God, that they praised him because they knew who he was on the basis of the teaching of Scripture. And so it's perfectly fine Sean to pray to the sun and to the Holy Spirit to praise them because we understand that there are equal in power and glory with the father that the doctrine of the holy Trinity as we believe in one God, one in essence, undivided three distinct persons, father, son and Holy Spirit equal of worship glory, praise and prayer. Thanks for your question. Your listening to core Christianity with pastor Israel Sanchez them and release road and through our website at core, Christianity.com/radio and she says this my husband and I love listening and learning from your show and we are so thankful forward over the past few months we been trying to decide whether to leave the church we been attending for the past nine years we've been visiting a different church this summer that emphasizes expositional preaching as opposed to more topical sometimes fluffy preaching. We wouldn't consider our church heretical, but there are songs and sermons that we believe don't always line up with the word of God.

We know the importance of being in a solid church that teaches the Bible. I guess my question is this is the search for more solid Bible teaching reason enough to change churches. What a great question and I understand how difficult these decisions can be sometimes because you become a part of a church and you get plugged in and you have relationships friends enough. Sometimes the kids you know get real plugged into the children's ministry or whatever it might be and then you begin to have questions about the theology about what's being taught in the church and and and I think those are good questions to have them and we want to be Parisian like the book of acts describes and in acts chapter 17 examining everything that we hear on the basis of Scripture that at what point this is really a question. Is it right for us to pursue another church and is it okay if were having questions about what's being taught well. I think it is Lisa. You know the sad thing is so many times today people are searching for a church, and the basis that they're looking to to determine where it is that they're going to worship has nothing to do with the theology or the doctrine of the church and everything to do made with the style of the music or the programs at the church and those things are insignificant except those things don't matter. They do matter, but the most important thing is what is being taught is Jesus being preached is the gospel being proclaimed. I do know about you but I need to hear the gospel every day.

I need to be reminded of God's goodness to me in Christ of the forgiveness of my sins. I especially need that on Sunday I need to be nourished by the truth of Scripture exhorted challenged by the word of God and comforted by the word of God and if what I'm hearing on a Sunday morning is not that I'm not hearing the law of God being preached into my heart, exposing my sins really putting me to death and showing me how much I need God's mercy and the gospel of God raising me up again from the dead, establishing me in the goodness and mercy of Jesus Christ than what we do and we gather for church.

We don't gathered here the words of you know, a charismatic speaker.

Something like this on because you know Lotta great stories or jokes to tell. We want to hear from the living God, and Paul told Timothy in second Timothy chapter 4, I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom preach the word be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching for the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

See that's the problem that were sitting all around us today people are keeping up for themselves teachers that simply want to tickle their ears, tell me all the things that I want to hear how God just wants to bless me how I'm already perfectly fine I'm good I'm great I'm wonderful and beautiful give me those sort of affirmations over and over again. That's what I want in a pastor will know that's not the job of the pastor that's out the ministry of the word is about the ministry of the word is about revealing our sin and our Savior causing us to turn away from ourselves and turn to Jesus and to rest in him and I want everyone who's listening to this right now to have that you should long for that because you need that if you're not in the church that preaches the gospel lease that it is okay to ask the hard questions into and to try to determine whether or not is is this the place where we want to be what we want to raise our family because as I said at the end of the day to the power is in the word of God and again as I as I said, I know that these are really difficult decisions especially if you've been a part of this church for nine years and I think that it's something that you do want to approach with humility.

I would say sitting down with your pastor with your elders Darren and raising some of these concerns, asking questions, talking about how much you long for the word of God and you want to hear it preached. I thought I would say don't just sort of up and leave. I would say start having a conversation with your pastor talk to them about where you are as a family and begin to determine whether or not it would be the right thing to try to find another place to worship and it really isn't about. I just don't like my churches use that is not but it's not personal. We want to know Jesus. We want to be nourished by Jesus and by his word, and that's with the church ought to do and frankly that's what we want to do on this program want to proclaim Jesus to you through the Scripture so that you might know him as he is revealed in the Bible and grow in the grace and the knowledge of his name. Thanks for listening to court Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us at court, Christianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33, the court when you contact us. Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time.

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