With all the problems in churches today, should I still go to church?

Many people give many different reasons for not going to church.  Some claim the building will collapse on them if they enter a church.  Others consider themselves to be too good to associate with the hypocrites that attend.  Others have had bad experiences while at church and some have been hurt by someone in authority. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you have an obligation to attend church. Hebrews 10 commands all Christians to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.” None of the reasons offered by people professing to be Christians justify disobedience to the commands of God.

Yes, there are many problems within churches. No minister is perfect, no church is without flaw.  Every one who attends brings some evil habit, bad attitude or wrong desire with him into the church. Despite these problems (or maybe because of these problems) the Christian needs to be in church. However, the not every problem in a church should be overlooked, there are some churches you simply should not attend. You should not attend a church whose teachings disagree with the Bible, especially if they disagree with the major truths of the Bible about salvation, God, Jesus and Scriptures. You should not attend a church that knowingly allows its leaders to live in sin. While you should try to find the best church you can, you should not expect any church you attend to be free from problems, nor should it surprise you if the church goes through a time of intense troubles. The church is filled with people who are struggling with sins. They may be saved (just because someone attends church is absolutely no guarantee they are Christian), but they are still imperfect. Some of them may be all out hypocrites, who live one way on Sunday and completely different during the week. That’s still not a good reason to not go to church. Refusing to go to church because of the sinful people that attend is like refusing to go to the doctor’s office because there are always sick people there. If you are a Christian, you need the church. You need sound preaching and teaching from the Bible. You need a pastor to care for your soul. You need other Christians to interact with you and help you be more obedient to God’s Word. You cannot live the Christian life apart from church.

The church is far greater than the buildings, the ministers or the people who attend.  The church is God’s only institution designed to strengthen believers and shape believers so that they look like Christ.  Only in the church can we gather with other believers in common worship of God, lifting up together our praise and thanksgiving for His salvation, His Holy Spirit, His grace, His love and His strength which allows us to live lives pleasing to Him.  Only in the church do we find the accountability of brothers and sisters who love us, who want to help us look like Christ and who are willing to invest themselves into us.  Only in the church do you have the ability to create relationships under the authority of the Word of God, the protection of the church leadership, based on the common ground of salvation and brotherhood in the family of God.  God has commanded Christians to attend church.  When we obey that command, we find that God blesses our obedience, giving us a family that is built on the love of God.  Some of the reasons folks give for not going to church are real issues that need to be fixed, but they do not mean you get to disobey God’s command to “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.”  Find a good church that you can attend, get under the regular preaching of the Bible and get involved with the lives of other Christians. Join yourself to a local church that believes, practices and teaches the Word of God.

What are the Differences Between the Old and New Testaments?

In simplest terms, the Old Testament is the part of the Bible that was written before the birth of Christ. It includes 39 books, between Genesis and Malachi. The New Testament is the part of the Bible written after the Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection and return to heaven. It is the 27 books starting from Matthew and ending with the book of Revelation.

More specifically, the Old Testament begins with the book of Genesis which tells about the creation of the world, the introduction of sin and God’s choosing of Abraham’s family to be a special people for Himself. The rest of the Old Testament (except the book of Job), tells about the Israelites, Abraham’s descendants, and God’s dealings with them. The New Testament begins with the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which tell of Christ’s birth, life, execution and resurrection. The rest of the New Testament (except the book of Revelation) is the history of the beginning of the church and letters written to some of the first churches and pastors. The book of Revelation tells of the end of the church age and of God’s final judgments on the world, Satan and all unbelievers.

Of course, with anything as important and influential as the Bible, there are some wrong ideas about the Old and New Testaments that many people think are true. For example, some people think the Old Testament shows a God that is all about wrath and judgment and the New Testament shows a God that is all about love and grace. This idea has gained such strength that some people actually believe the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. This is absolutely not true. The God of the Old Testament is a God of love and wrath, just as is the God of the New Testament. For example, the book of Song of Solomon is a beautiful picture of God’s love for his people. The book of Exodus is all about how God in his love rescued the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt. In the New Testament, an entire book, the book of Revelation, describes the coming pouring out of God’s wrath on mankind. The Bible, though it has two testaments and many individuals books, is one Book telling of the one God and His work to redeem a people to Himself for His glory.

Another wrong idea that people have is the belief that the Old Testament doesn’t really matter anymore. Some people write it off as if it’s nothing more than ancient history, or untrue stories that don’t have any real application for us today. God tells us, through the apostle Paul in Romans 15:3 that the things which are written in the Old Testament are for our learning, that through the Scriptures we will have comfort and hope. The Old Testament really does matter for us today showing us how God deals with His people, teaching us much about the character and work of God, and giving us many examples of how we should live today.

The Old and New Testaments are both equally the Word of God. They are written for our benefit and they teach us about God, His work to save people from their sin and His eternal plans for His glory. The Old and New Testaments are different primarily because of their relationship to Christ, the one before and the other after, and because of the different people being discussed, the Israelites in the Old and the church in the New. Though the testaments are different, they are part of the same story unfolding the great work of God “to the praise of the glory of His grace.”

Did People in the Bible have Last Names

For most of the time period covered by the Bible, people didn’t use last names. If there was a need to distinguish between two people with the same name, they were usually given descriptive titles. We see this in the New Testament with some of the disciples, like James the Less (Mark 15:40) and Simon the Zealot (Acts 1;13). In those days they would also identify someone based upon who his father was. So the other disciple James was known as James the son of Zebedee (Matthew 4:21). Or a person would be identified based upon their occupation. In the book of Acts we read about a man identified as Simon the tanner (Acts 9:43) Sometimes a person would be identified based upon where they were from, such as Mary Magdalene, which means Mary from Magdala. Last names didn’t become common within European families until sometime within the last 1,000 years. In the Bible, people were identified using descriptive, family or occupational references.