Frequently Asked Questions
Miscellaneous Christian Topics
If dinosaurs were on the ark, what happened to them?
Why certain species died out instead of others would be speculation on our part, since the Bible does not specifically deal with this topicperhaps because it has little to do with getting right with God. (The Bible is the documentation of God revealing Himself to man. You will notice that the Bible does not read like a story. Rather, it is a brief narrativecompared to what it could have beenshowing all the relevant past events that separated us from God and what He did to help us get right with Him again.) Still, what follows is a possible explanation.
In our Creation Versus Evolution page, we state, It has also been proposed that the Earth used to have much denser clouds than it has now. Such a 'canopy' would create a greenhouse effect, making the climate of the entire world very temperate. Fossil finds indicate that not just the dinosaurs, but all animals, plants, and insects were much larger at one timeindicating a superior climate. We also know that analysis of air trapped in ancient amber has about double the oxygen content of today's atmosphere. This leads us to believe that our atmosphere at one time had about double the oxygen content that it has today. Therefore, we can suggest that there was a radical climate change at some time in the past that affected many dinosaurs' existence. We also know from the fossil evidence that the respiratory capacity of some dinosaurs was less for their size than that of present day animals. If the oxygen content of the atmosphere dropped when the protective canopy collapsed (a reasonable assumption since such an event would have destroyed some of the atmosphere's ability to retain oxygen) any creature with a borderline respiratory system would become vulnerable. We also suspect a radical climate change after the flood (different weatherperhaps the onset of the ice age, along with more radiation), which would also increase the extinction rate for many dinosaurs. (This does not count the living fossils that survived and created an embarrassment for scientists who promote the theory of evolution.) There are probably other factors, but the point should be clear that a reasonable explanation exists that agrees with both the Bible and the scientific data. Also, remember that this effect is not limited to dinosaurs. Even normal animals are presently becoming endangered and extinct at a rapid pace. Other factors like hunting would have taken their toll on dinosaurs, as they have on huge numbers of regular animals, birds, and fish. This is all speculative, of course, but it is not in conflict with either the Bible or scientific findings, so we suspect it is in the ballpark.
If a scientist cloned a human, could that human get right with God?
The Bible does not mention cloning, although it has some passages upon which we can base an answer. That being the case, please understand that what we write is a best guess based on the passages sited below, followed with some logic.
John chapter 1 verse 3, and Colossians chapter 1 verse 16 both reveal that all things were made through Jesus and that there is nothing that has been created that He did not create. That indicates that we should not expect that a human being could truly create life, because Jesus has created all things. This point has been scientifically validated numerous timesyou cannot create life from non-life. Rather, cloning uses existing life and manipulates it (for lack of a better phrase). For more information, see our page Where Did Life Come From?
Therefore, cloning does not create life from non-life, but rather takes what God has already created and amplifies it, extends it, changes it. These scientists would not be able to do this if God had not built that capability into the DNA structure of people in the first place. To assume then that 1) humans created this apart from God, or 2) that this thing cannot therefore have a soul is unwarranted. Humans created nothing here, they have just extended the life that God already created. This same concern was prevalent when test tube fertilization started.
Looking at this another way, if someone who needs a heart transplant is given a mechanical heart, no one believes that people created a live heart. Such a heart, created by people to perform a function (like a carburetor for a car), is not alive. Being alive requires God, since only He can make something live.
Therefore, since human beings just manipulate what Jesus already created, and He was the One that built in the possibility of this happening, it would have to follow that He also has the soul / salvation issue covered too. (Being a loving Father to us, God would have to.) That seems to demand that these clones would be human beings, who are loved by God and need to get right with Him through Jesus.
This issue is like that of discovering heart surgery and its ability to unnaturally extended peoples lives. Some people believe that such advances are playing God, but that is not the case. Using our (God-given) wisdom to help us with healing and health processes just makes sense. For example, we would not accuse someone of playing God for following a nutritious diet and exercising (in an effort to improve their health and extend their lives).
That said, we still must be careful with the ethics by which we utilize these creative abilities that God gave us. For example, we must not use those developed abilities to do things that violate biblical principles, including: abortion, euthanasia, cloning to harvest body parts, cloning embryos for the purpose of mining stem cells, and so forth.
If the government supports war or tries to kill Usama bin Laden, are we murderers?
The Bible reveals that one of the authority structures set up by God is the government. The two passages that most completely reveal this are Romans chapter 13, verses 1-7 and 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 13-17. From these passages, we know that the role of government as designed by God is twofold:
Those agencies that most fundamentally carry out the authority God gives to the government are in the area of defensethe military and police. Reviewing the passages above reveals that the government has the right and the responsibility to impose capital punishment and wage war.
God clearly used and endorsed military force for the right reasons in the Bible. He even used pagan nations to punish His own people when they sinned. (Notice that God refers to the pagan world ruler Nebuchadnezzar as My servant in Jeremiah chapter 25 verse 9, chapter 27 verse 6, and chapter 43 verse 10.) Also, notice John the Baptists response to some soldiers in Luke chapter 3 verse 14. He did not tell them to get out of the military, but rather to justly perform their responsibilities. This would include waging war.
God protects us at every point that He can. We are made in His image and are to be like Him and live like Him. The Bible reveals that He champions the cause of the weak, hurt, poor, suffering, mistreated, and others while calling us to do the same. Many passages tell us we must not hurt the fatherless, widows, or poor, move boundary stones (to steal their property), and similar things. The opposite position is untenable and illogical. It would mean that if there were no authority around to help, you would have to let someone hurt, rape, kill, steal, or abuse yourself, those you love, the weak, and the defenseless. This makes no sense, and certainly does not fit into the love or justice of God. Further, every society (that we are aware of) has legal provisions established by the authorities for self-defense. It is expected and accepted that a human being would and should protect themselves, their loved ones, and even those in need of help or defense. Therefore, it follows from Romans 13:1-7 that the Bible allows the government to take actions against Usama bin Laden and any others.
Of course, since this is not heaven, not all governments are perfect. Therefore, if a government tells us to do something that violates Gods laws, we are not required to follow those instructions. You can learn how people kept from violating Gods laws when instructed to do so by a bad government ruling by reading Daniel chapters 1, 3, and 6; and Acts chapters 4 and 5. After reading these chapters, you should agree that the United States governments hands are not tied in this situation at all. Rather, it is their responsibility to strike back for this unprovoked attack on defenseless civilians.
Can musical instruments be used in church services?
We learn in the Old Testament that people played instruments before God (see 2 Samuel 6:5 and 1 Chronicles 13:8). We also know that the Levite singers (who provided the music, among other things) were told to have instruments accompany them in 1 Chronicles 15:16. The priests and Levites sang and played instruments to praise the LORD in Ezra 3:10, 11 and at a dedication ceremony in Nehemiah 12:27-43. It is also interesting that Psalm 150 repeatedly refers to praising the LORD with various instruments, yet does not mention singing! There are other references, but it should now be clear that using instruments to praise God is OK.
That said, some people state, yes, but the New Testament does not command us to use instruments in worship. How do we know that using them is still OK? (For example, the Bible refers to people singing to God and praising Him in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, but does not state that they used instruments.) Since such passages do not refer to people using instruments, some churches (or pastors of churches) teach that it is wrong to use instruments in church.
Here it is important to clarify two points:
For example, we know that the New Testament does not mention cooking meat or washing clothes. If it were true that only behavior specifically mentioned in the New Testament was acceptable to God, people would be sinning when they cook meat or wash clothes. Although there may be some groups that wish to forbid cooking meat or washing clothes for this reason, it would be a mistake to say that they were actually following the Bible by doing so. (Incidentally, please keep washing your clothes. Your friends will like it better if you do. )
Even after reading this explanation, we realize that some people (for reasons of their own) will feel that it is better to avoid playing instruments in church. For them, this is a matter of conscience (see Romans 14:1-15:6) and they should not personally attend a church that uses them.
Do you believe in pretribulation, midtribulation, or posttribulation rapture?
Here, we humorously call ourselves pro Trib (we are all for it). Due to the popularity of the Left Behind book series, we have been studying this and related issues in depth. After examining three commentaries on Revelation (each with a different interpretation), reading books on the subject, and studying the relevant Bible passages our conclusion thus far is that no one has a satisfactory explanation. Although this is a non-conclusion, the reality is that prophecy has seldom (if ever) been correctly interpreted before the predicted events actually took place. For example, the Pharisees scrupulously studied the scriptures and still did not recognize Jesus Christ when he came. (Of course, there were some exceptions, like Nicodemus.) Among other things, they never realized that the Messiah would come twice. Similarly, we believe that everyone will be surprised to see how the end times play out.
Will our pets be in heaven with us?
This is such an involved topic that we constructed a separate page to address it.
Click here to learn what the Bible says about pets going to heaven.
Why did God condone the wholesale slaughter of people during the conquest of Canaan?
This question primarily refers to the first half of the book of Joshua, which would be a shock to someone who is reading the Bible for the first time. Perhaps a good way to explain the complete destruction of a people is by comparing the inhabitants of Canaan with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis chapter 13 verse 13, the Bible reads But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. Apparently, this went on for some time, for in Genesis chapter 18 we read the following:
21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.
Abraham (a main character in this part of the Bible) then became concerned that the righteous would be destroyed with the wicked. In a series of questions, Abraham asked God to spare the city if it had a small number of righteous people living in it. Abraham concluded these questions at Genesis chapter 18 verse 32:
And He said, I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.
So now we know that the people sinned greatly over a long period of time, and that there were less than 10 people that would be considered righteous. The stories imply that the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah were obsessed with sexual perversion and were willing to kill to get what they wanted (Genesis chapter 19).
Reading on further, we learn that the actual number of righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah was 3 or 4 (depending on whether you count Lots wife or not)and God sent angels to save them. Of course, Lots wife had some second thoughts, and lost her life in the process.
Since God does not change, we believe it would be a good generalization to state that God would have spared a given city in Canaan if there were 10 righteous people living in itor at least save the righteous people as he did at Sodom and Gomorrah. Sure enough, Rahab and her family in Jericho were spared in Joshua chapter 6, although the city and the other people were destroyed. So we can establish that either no one or a tiny handful of innocent people were killed during the course of the conquest of Canaan. Of course, any innocent people would go to heaven (paradise actually) and not be vexed by the wickedness around them, so even that could be considered a deliverance.
Another question that might come up is why kill these wicked people at all? As an answer, let us ask this: if someone in your neighborhood occasionally killed children and sacrificed them on an alter, would you want this person to continue living there? We believe that you would not. For that matter, you might decide that such a person deserves the death penalty. God responds the same way. The fact is that God does find out the truth (read the entire story of Sodom and you will see) and is then very fair in His execution of judgment.
What exactly does He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved mean?
This verse comes from the King James Version of Mark chapter 16, verse 16, which reads He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. You need to read this verse in the context of the verses around it to understand its meaning. In this sentence, spoken by Jesus, the verb believeth means to believe in Jesus and put your faith in Jesus to take us to heaven. That is, to believe that Jesus really is who He says He is (the Son of God, and God Himself) and that He can redeem (purchase through His sacrifice on the cross) all of us who accept Him as Savior from the penalty we should pay ourselves (go to hell for sinning against God). We are also told to demonstrate this belief by being baptized. For a little more on these topics, see our pages Getting Right With God and What Is Baptism?
If the idea of Jesus being both the Son of God and God Himself is a little confusing, see our page What is the Trinity?
If the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) talk about the coming of the Messiah, why dont Jewish people embrace the New Testament?
Actually, many of them didand almost all of the early Christians were originally Jews, either by birth or by choice (see Acts chapter 2). Also, the entire New Testament (with the exception of Luke and Acts) was written by Jews who became Christians. Probably the best answer to this question is that some people (both Jews and gentiles) are not willing to accept that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ), no matter how much evidence exists. To learn more, see our comments regarding the difference between Christianity and Judaism below.
If Noah brought all the animals with him on the ark, how did they get to all of the continents of the world?
The animals were able to migrate around the world because the continents (except possibly Antarctica) were connected at one time. There are at least two references that support this possibility: one in the Bible and one from science. (There may be other explanations also, but we believe that these are enough to prove the concept.)
Why would God allow people (especially children) to be raped and murdered or suffer terrible diseases?
This is a concept that many people struggle withand the subject of a 3-hour seminar, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People, recorded by the Tucson Community Church, available on DVD and VHS video (NTSC format). If you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can get one directly from the church that produces them at the Tucson Community Church website. They also handle international orders. What follows is a brief answer.
We need to understand that the entity who holds the power of death is Satan. We learn this in Hebrews chapter 2, verse 14 (Heb 2:14). How did he get this power? It was handed over to him when Adam and Eve decided to cooperate with him (by disobeying God) in the Garden of Eden. Later, Satan implied that the Earth was his, and Jesus did not contest that fact in Matthew 4:8,9. We also know from 1 John 5:19 that the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
We also know that Satan is constantly looking for someone to hurt or destroy (1 Peter 5:8). From the text, it is obvious that Satan will not only attack good people or Christians, but anyone he happens across. For example, is a roaring lion going to make a moral judgment between some gazelles before he decides which one to eat? No, the lion will grab what is closest or juiciest at the time.
Job chapters 1 and 2 teach us that Satan can hurt people directly. We also know that there are many wicked people in this world who are willing to follow Satan (by accident or on purpose) and do his will. That is where much of this type of suffering and tragedy come from. Of course, the Bible contains assurance that those who are wicked will pay a permanent penalty for their sins (see our Welcome to Hell page). Those that get right with God will go to heaven (see our Who Gets To Go To Heaven? page).
Why does God always receive credit for the good things in life, but not considered responsible for any of the bad?
If this is really your experience, you must hang around with some nice people! Most everyone we know blames God when things go bad (the subject of the question above) and give themselves credit when things go well. We know that God is good and God gives good things. The Bible says so in many passages. For example:God Is Good
God Even Takes the Crummy Stuff in Life and Uses That for Good
Read the story of Joseph, which goes from Genesis chapter 37 to the end of Genesis (more or less) to see how that is possible.
We understand that when someone is going through tough times, it is hard to take what the Bible says at face value. Still, we know we can believe the Bible, because it has been proven to be true. We have many pages that support this, including our page How Do You Know The Bible Is True?
What are the similarities and differences between Protestant and Roman Catholic Holy Communion?
Communion is based on a brief ceremony performed by Jesus in the Lords Supper, recorded in the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. For example:
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.
15 Then He said to them, With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this and divide it among yourselves;
18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
Transubstantiation, a belief of the Roman Catholic Church, states that the bread and juice (bread and cup) actually turn into the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ when a priest performs a certain ceremony. However, this belief is not consistent with other statements made by Jesus in the Bible. For example, in John 6:48, Jesus said, I am the bread of life. Here, it is obvious that Jesus is speaking symbolically. No one reading that verse expects Jesus to be an actual loaf of bread. In John 10:7, Jesus said, Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. Again, Jesus spoke symbolically and did not intend for people to think of Him as a literal door. In John 15:5, Jesus said, I am the vine; you are the branches. No one listening to Jesus thought that He was a literal vine, and that they themselves had become literal branches. There are other examples, but the point has been madeJesus spoke symbolically often and was speaking symbolically at the Lords Supper.
Most Bible-believing Christians celebrate communion by praying, eating a cracker, and drinking a tiny glass of grape juice while thinking about Christs sacrificeas a way of remembering what He did for us. They do not believe transubstantiation takes place, it is considered a symbolic ceremony.
By the way, the new covenant Jesus refers to in Luke 22:20 (above) is getting right with God as Christians do today, rather than by following the Jewish laws laid down by the old covenant recorded in the Old Testament.
Can you comment on the human and dinosaur footprints found together at the Paluxy River site?
The discovery of human and dinosaur footprints found together in sedimentary rock captured a lot of attention. We have seen films and photos of the Paluxy footprints ourselves and they seem real. Still, there is quite a debate regarding whether the human footprints are actually human or some other animalsince they are evidence that humans and dinosaurs lived together. (We believe they did live at the same time, as you can see on our Dinosaurs and the Bible page.) They are not perfect footprints, but if we left our own footprints in wet mud, they may not look human in all respects, either. You can see photos of them as part of the Official World Site of Paluxy River Human & Dinosaur Tracks. (Note: We do not necessarily endorse the viewpoints you can find at this other Web site.)
I know the Y2K bug may bring computer problems and so forth in the year 2000. But many people predict that the rapture will occur or Jesus will return at the turn of the new millennium. What do you think?
For those of us who have been Christians for awhile, it gets to be routine to expect end of the world messages when some big change comes around. The year 2000 is one more example of this. Of course, Jesus could return at any time and we do not presume to say that He could not just because some people expect it. However, Jesus probably will not return next year simply because Matthew 24:36-44 makes it clear that His arrival will be unexpected.
Even if Jesus does not return soon (and we suspect that such is the case), everyone still needs to get right with God as soon as possible, since none of us knows how long our lives will continue. Once someones life ends, they are locked into the decision (or non-decision) they had when they died. (See Hebrews 9:27.)
What is the difference between Christianity and Christian?
Christianity is the belief system (religion) of those people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, according to the teachings of the Bible. Christians means Christ Ones, those people who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. We explain how someone becomes a Christian on our Getting Right With God page.
We hope not! (Several of us have careers as scientists.) The Bible tells us to work (see 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, verses 6-12) but it does not tell us what job to take. As long as your work does not violate Gods laws (such as having a job that requires you to lie), you can choose the job you want. See our Science and the Bible page for more information.
What is Christianitys country of origin?
Christianity started in the country of Israel. You can read about the earliest days of Christianity and the adventures of the first Christians in the book of Acts (in the Bibles New Testament).
What is the difference between Christianity and Judaism?
Christianity came out of Judaism, so we will give you some background information to make the answer clearer. The sacred Jewish writings are called the Tanakh, an acronym representing the three main divisions of the Hebrew Bible (Torah, Neviim, and Ktuvim). They are a group of 39 books written between about 1450 BC and 430 BC. Although the Tanakh arranges the books in a different order, they are the same books that make up the Old Testament section of the Bible. Both the Tanakh and the Bible start with the same 5 books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Tanakh calls these 5 books the Law (Torah in Hebrew).
Judaism follows the Law. The book of Leviticus most resembles a law book, but the most famous laws are the Ten Commandments listed in Exodus chapter 20, verses 3-15 (3-17 in the Christian Bible, where the verses are numbered differently). Most of these laws deal with what you are allowed to eat and touch, how you celebrate special days and so forth. On the Sabbath, their weekly holy day (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday) they do not do regular work. They also worship at their church, called a synagogue.
The Tanakh (Old Testament) contains hundreds of predictions about an anointed one (Messiah in Hebrew) who will arrive in the future. The Messiah will deliver or save all the Jewish people (bring them to paradise or heaven). The Tanakh also states that the Messiah will save all the other people in the world through the Jews. These predictions are referred to as Messianic prophecies, since they are predictions of the future (prophecies) that deal with the Messiah. Jews continue to follow The Law and wait for the coming of the Messiah.
About 4 BC, a miraculous event occurreda boy named Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary. You can read His story in the book of Luke in the Bibles New Testament (toward the back of the Bible). Starting at age 30, Jesus fulfilled more and more of the Messianic prophecies written in the Bible. Fulfilling these prophecies was very spectacular: Jesus gave sight to the blind, made the lame walk, cured those who had leprosy, gave the deaf hearing, and raised people from the dead! These miracles and others were done many times in front of thousands of witnesses for three years. Also, many prophecies (where Jesus was born and so forth) were not in His controlyet He fulfilled them all. Finally, about 30 AD, Jesus was crucified (a prophecy) and died (a prophecy). Three days later He rose from the dead (another prophecy) and was seen by over 500 witnesses. These witnesses, almost all Jews, realized that by coming back to life, Jesus proved beyond any doubt that He was The Messiah (in Hebrew) or The Christ (in Greek). From that time, Jesus has been called Jesus, The Christ or Jesus Christ. You can learn more about the Messianic Prophecies by clicking on this sentence.
So now we arrive at the answer to our question. The basic difference between Christianity and Judaism is that Christians believe the Messiah (Jesus) has already come and that we no longer have to follow The Law to go to heaven. To Christians, salvation has indeed come through the Jews as the prophecies predicted. (By the way, it is impossible to perfectly follow The Law all of your life, and we show that using only the Ten Commandmentsa small part of the rules listed in The Law. See our discussion regarding the Ten Commandments on our going to heaven page.)
Interestingly, the fact that some Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Christ is also predicted many times in the Tanakhtheir own scriptures. The Tanakh states that those who are first will be last. Using many similar phrases it becomes clear that the chosen people, the Jews, will be blinded to the truth until everyone on the earth hears about Jesus Christ. This is good news, since everyone gets a chance to accept the Messiah as their Savior and go to heaven. Once that happens, the remaining followers of Judaism will suddenly realize that Jesus was the Messiah  and can accept Him. Then Jesus will return to the earth to bring those who accepted Him as their savior with Him to heaven. Those who have not accepted Him as their savior will be cast into a lake of fire (hell). The Bible states that this is fair because evidence was given to everyone.
 Romans 11:25-27
I was not raised into Christianity. How would I learn if Christianity is right for me?
We suggest three steps:
Get a copy of the Bible. If you read English, click here for our suggestions. If your first language is not English, click here for our suggestions.
Read your Bible using the plan we have at our site, starting with the book of Mark. You can go to the reading plan by clicking here.
Read our page Getting Right With God. You can go to this page by clicking here.
Who is the founder of Christianity?
Unlike many other religions, Christianity was not founded by a person. The Bible makes it clear that the founder of Christianity is God. Search for the subtitle The Third Type of Plan in our Heaven, Hell, and Salvation FAQ Page for more information.
Is homosexuality the devils work or a chromosome problem?
Who do you know who would believe someone who constantly cheated on their mate, yet claimed the reason for their adultery was because they were born that way? We do not know anyone who would believe such a story. Homosexuality is like adultery, it is not a biological problem, any more than any other sexual sin.
Are there any Biblical limitations to the ways that a woman can serve in the church?
First Timothy chapter 2 verse 8 through chapter 3 verse 13 (1 Tim 2:8-3:13) lists the qualifications of people who serve in the church. It reveals that women with the proper character can serve in virtually any area. They can teach, lead a small group, or direct programs. The only two limitations are:
Remember, men does not mean everyone, teaching is not the only thing people do in church, and you do not have to have authority over a man to carry out many ministries. For example, Timothy had been taught by his godly mother and grandmother (see 2 Tim 1:5 and 3:14,15). Although not teaching men, these women were certainly teachersand raising an important spiritual leader! Paul wrote that the older women are to be teachers of good things to the younger (Titus 2:3,4). In this respect, women can be both ministers and teachers.
Therefore, women can teach and have authority over women and children. In addition, women can serve in any church activity that does not involve teaching men or having authority over them. We hope that more women will get involved in the many areas available where they can serve God in the most effective way.
Technical note: There is a level of service in the church referred to in the Bible as deacon (minister). Two verses reveal the relationship of women to the position of deacon.
The understanding of the first verse, 1 Timothy 3:11, depends on the meaning of the Greek word gunaikaV (from gunhgune). This word can be translated women or wives, so the passage could refer to women deacons or deacons wives. Even if the meaning were deacons wives (which seems the most likely, based on verse 12) the verse would not prohibit women from being deacons. (Remember, not referring to women deacons is not the same thing as stating women can not be deacons.)
The other relevant verse is Romans 16:1, penned by the same writer (the apostle Paul). Here, he favorably refers to Phoebe as a servant of the church. The word translated servant is the Greek word diakonon (deacon). Since she was recognized as a deacon, it is only reasonable that other women of the proper character can be deacons also.
How much does the average person give at church?
We do not know what the world average is, but the average amount in the United States (of all of the people who regularly give money at church) is about $600 a year, or about $12 a week per person. Of course, that is the average. Some people do not give as much, and others contribute tens of thousands of dollars every year. If you have a relationship with God and want to give, the amount is really between you and Him.
What do they mean by a denomination, or for that matter, the term non-denominational?
Denominational churches are affiliated or governed by a larger group or agency located in some other area. The Southern Baptists are an example of such a church. When it begins, a church must decide if it wants to be part of a denomination or not. Being part of a denomination lends credibility to a new church. (This could be compared to going into a McDonalds restaurant and knowing what it should be like, even if it you had never eaten at that particular location before.) Denominational churches pay dues to the governing agency. In turn, the governing agency provides funds that help finance church construction and so forth. The advantage of nondenominational churches is that they are not compelled to support all the beliefs of the governing body, some of which may not follow the Bible. An example of this is the debate that took place in the United Methodist Church in August 1998, discussing whether church guidelines prohibiting same-sex marriages are legally binding. Being part of the denomination, any Methodist church would have to adopt the viewpoint of its Judicial Council, whether they agreed with its decision or not. We recommend evaluating churches on an individual basisnot by whether they do or do not belong to a particular denomination. We list ways you can evaluate a church in our section on churches.
What are the differences in the denominations of the Christian Church?
Unfortunately, the answer is so lengthy that it requires a book. One to consider is the Handbook of Denominations in the United States by Frank Spencer Mead. (Note: the latest editionsfrom the eighth onare revisions by Samuel S. Hill, who authored the book The New Religious-Political Right in America. As a result, the current editions may not have the same perspective as the earlier editions.).
Copyright © 1998-2002 by Clarifying Christianity (SM).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All information contained in Clarifying Christianity is a resource for questions dealing with Christian issues. It is not to be taken as Christian counseling. Seek a qualified Christian counselor for help with all such issues. If you choose to work with a Christian counselor, it is your responsibility to ask pertinent questions before you begin, to assure yourself of their qualities and abilities.1223