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Various Christian Life Questions
In the following e-mail exchanges, the e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
Okay for Christian to Marry a non-Christian?
I thought you gave some very sound advice to that guy who wrote to you about his dilemma of dating a Mormon, and I was also pleased to see you didn't judge the girl in question to be unsaved despite her belonging to the rather dubious LDS Church [see A Mormon and a Catholic Dating].
One of the things you wrote in your response to him was: "There is a reason there is such strong directive in the Scriptures about a Christian not marrying a non-Christian (2Cor 6:14)." Do you think this passage may be in conflict with 1 Cor 7:13-16 - which on the surface seems to be implying that it is alright for believers to marry nonbelievers on the grounds that the latter too become holy as a result of such a union and may even end up being saved by their believing spouse? I've done a fair amount of research (mostly on the internet) about apparent biblical contradictions and have found nearly all of them can be easily reconciled with a bit of thought and common sense; but I haven't come across anything specifically addressing this one as yet, and wondered what your views on it might be.
1Cor 7:13-16 is referring the situation where two unbelievers get married, then later one of them becomes a Christian. The Corinthians apparently thought it would be appropriate for the Christian to divorce the non-Christian, but Paul corrects this misconception.
This situation is different from a believer marrying an unbeliever in the first place.
Views on Tithing?
> Thank you, and may the Lord bless you. You have one of the finest, most enlightening sites I have ever seen! I would like to see your views on ... tithing.<
I would say for the NT economy, the idea is a good guideline, but not to be followed legalistically. If one has the means, then giving more would be appropriate, and if one hits hard times, then less would not be a "sin." But even then, one needs to check their priorities and see why they can't give 10%. Are they wasting money that would be better used serving the Kingdom?
Gambling: Sin or Not?
>A Christian couple, who are friends of mine and my husbands, often go to a casino to relax. The husband believes God is going to use this vehicle to bless their finances although his wife disagrees, he wants to go often.
We have spoken on the earmarks of addiction and the possibility of being fooled by Satan into thinking God could bless this misappropriation of finances. Still our dear friend insists he is hearing clearly and only if we prove God's word is contrary to a blessing coming from this vice he will continue to gamble.
I would like to say we have presented scripture on being good stewards and caring for our families as head of the household and the more abstract concepts of gambling in the scriptures but we have not found anything specific for this man to hold onto and to help him overcome temptation in this area.
Please help us!
God Bless You,
Matt and Denise
There are verses in Proverbs about the folly of trying to get rich quick, which is what gambling usually entails, along with verses that teach the only appropriate way to make money is through hard work and systematic savings. I don't remember all the verse references off hand, but a few are: Prov 13:4,11; 20:21; 28:19-22. If you follow cross references for these verses or take the time to read through Proverbs I'm sure you'll find more.
>Thank you so much brother Gary. You have helped more than you know. My husband and I just needed to get on the right track, you are kind to have responded so quickly; thanks again and blessings!
Matt and Denise
Is Cremation Biblical?
>Do you have any resources on the subject of cremation? Some people are asking me if it's against the Bible. I haven't found that it is, but it's a touchy subject.
I really haven't looked into this subject much. I will say, I know of nothing in the Bible that would forbid cremation. However, it has been the practice of Christians dating back to the Church Fathers to bury not cremate our dead. The reason for this is the idea that burial shows a greater respect for the body than cremation and shows the belief in resurrection of the body.
I believe what happened is that in the early centuries, the pagans generally cremated their dead. They believed that is was only the spirit that matter; the body was considered to be a "prison" the spirit was trapped in, and it was good to have gotten rid of it. So the Christians, wanting to separate themselves from this mindset buried their dead instead.
But, of course, even with burial, the body eventually returns to dust anyway. And it really doesn't matter what had happened to the body after death come Resurrection Day. God will recreated our bodies no matter what happened to the actual body. So my position is that it is a matter of personal preference.
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