Category Archives: Life Decisions Questions

Questions about Life Decisions: What Is the Value in Attending a Christian Camp? Is the Concept of Christian Camping Biblical?

There are many factors that make Christian camping a positive and valuable experience. All of these experiences are found to some extent in the local church and in other types of ministries, but they are strongly present in Christian camps.

First, in most Christian camps, there is an extensive exposure to the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the Bible is living and powerful. A typical day in a Christian camp will have some form of personal or group devotions, an evening chapel service, and a Scripture memorization program. This repeated use of the Word of God over a week’s time is very valuable in letting the Word dwell richly in the lives of the campers and staff (Colossians 3:16). God often orchestrates the various times in the Word to emphasize the same themes from different angles or to offer a variety of emphases that will meet different needs in the different individuals.

There is also the opportunity for campers to observe and learn from godly mentors (counselors, staff, and speakers). Many campers come from broken homes or grow up with less-than-ideal role models because one or both parents are unsaved or weak and immature in their faith. As Paul encouraged others to follow his example as he emulated Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), these godly mentors are able to model loving discipline and the freedom it offers. They are also able to show unconditional love, model how a godly man or woman behaves, and display God-centered living before the campers. Commonly it is God’s written Word that He uses most to affect and change lives, but often He also effectively uses the “Bible” bound in shoe leather—godly mentoring.

A Christian camp is typically sponsored and supported by a number of local churches. These churches commit and encourage their members to systematically pray for the campers, staff, and speakers. God promises that the fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) accomplishes a great deal (James 5:16). God, in His grace, works in response to these praying saints, and it is the campers (as well as the staff and speakers) that receive the benefit of these unseen labors.

Another beneficial factor is what are commonly absent at a Christian camp: TV’s, cell-phones, mp3 players, computers, video games, etc. These distractions serve to busy the mind and keep young people from focusing on the deeper questions of life such as, “Why am I here?” “What will happen to me when I die?” “Does my life have meaning?” While occupied with fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (Ephesians 2:3), young people have little time to ponder such questions. When these mind-occupying distractions are taken away, campers have the time to ponder the Word in a much deeper way than a once-a-week church experience allows. Once distractions are removed, campers find themselves surrounded by God’s creation, an environment that turns their minds to Him and to the eternal and away from the world.

A Christian camp also provides a place for godly young people to grow in serving Christ, both behind the scenes in tasks that Amy Carmichael might have described as “holy drudgery,” but also in learning how to share the gospel, give devotions from the Bible, and pray with others about their needs. God not only works in campers’ hearts, but He is typically busy in the lives of staff and counselors as well.

Another major blessing is that Christian camping allows the broadening of one’s circle of fellowship. For many campers, new friends they meet at camp one year, and continue to see year by year, become life-long friends that they care for, pray for, and encourage in Christ for decades. And it has happened more than once that a camper even ends up meeting his or her future godly spouse while attending or serving in a camp setting. God has greatly used Christian camping in calling out ones to be saved and to serve Him as Lord, whether as missionaries, pastors, or just as importantly, as “full-time Christians.”[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Why Should I Consider Going to a Bible College?

What are the benefits or advantages to going to a Bible college? Does a Bible college environment offer more opportunities and rewards than a secular college? These questions can best be answered with another question. Which institution provides the more effective tool for being a servant of Christ?

One of the key advantages of a Bible college education lies in the fact that the graduates are more mature and experienced. The time spent pursuing their education not only enables them to grow in knowledge and wisdom, but in maturity. This will have a critical impact on their future ministry. Additionally, the individual pursuing the ministry as a career may discover that becoming a pastor or pulpit minister isn’t for them after all.

Secondly, and more obviously, a Bible college education forces students to delve deeper into God’s Word and the study of theology. Their experience in the classroom exposes them to more and diverse insights and ideas that they otherwise may not have ever known. Correspondingly, it enables them to further develop for themselves their own positions regarding certain key doctrines of faith. This will prepare them to better confront controversial issues such as baptism, predestination, suffering, evolution, and the like.

By becoming more steeped in the Word and more assured of their beliefs, this strengthens the students’ faith and commitment. In other words, students become more confident of their faith, enabling them to better deal with the sometimes difficult issues they will invariably face in the church.

Thirdly, in many Bible colleges, students become familiar with others outside their particular faith or denomination. This allows the students to see those ideas and beliefs that differ from theirs and provides a whole new perspective. Such experiences will enable the students to better adapt to relating with those of various religious communities.

Bible colleges also offer advantages to those who may not be considering a career in the ministry, but want to become more knowledgeable of the Scriptures as well as their particular faith. Some Bible college students enroll simply to learn more about how to better incorporate their faith into their workplace, especially those pursuing careers as counselors or teachers. Then again, many students attend Bible colleges to learn more about the Bible itself.

Last, but not least, Bible colleges provide a great environment to learn. Though Bible colleges teach subjects such as theology and church history, as well as the Bible itself, they provide the students with the skills to dig into certain dimensions of spiritual growth and development that may be unknown to them. Such an educational experience and environment provides the student with the opportunities to realize a whole new and greater perception of the things of God. This, in turn, enables the student to develop new sense of growth and maturity not only personally and socially, but more importantly, spiritually.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Is Burial the Only Option a Christian Can Consider?

The Bible doesn’t give instructions on how a body should be handled after death. In the cultures of Bible times, burial in a tomb, cave, or in the ground was the common way to dispose of a human body (Genesis 23:19; 35:4; 2 Chronicles 16:14; Matthew 27:60–66). The most common type ofburial in the Bible was the dead being placed in above-ground tombs, for those who could afford it. For those who could not afford it, bodies were buried in the ground. As we see in Joshua 7:25, the only time the dead were burned in the Bible was as a punishment of the wicked for offenses they committed against God’s commands (Leviticus 20:14). In the New Testament, tombs were still the burial places of the wealthy, which is why Jesus, who had no earthly wealth at all, had to be buried in a tomb borrowed from a wealthy member of the Jewish hierarchy named Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57–60).

Today, obeying the laws of the land regarding corpses is always a significant consideration. Laws vary from country to country and, in the U.S., from state to state. Because Christians are to obey the government authorities over us, laws regarding disposing of a body must be followed. Then there is the question of burial vs. cremation. Neither is commanded in the Bible, but neither is prohibited. In the end, it is best to leave that decision to the family of the deceased.

Whatever method is used to dispose of a body is not nearly as important as the truth that the body is no longer housing the person who has died. Paul describes our bodies as “tents” that are temporary abodes. “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands” (2 Corinthians 5:1). When Jesus returns, Christians will be raised to life and our bodies will be transformed to glorified, eternal bodies. “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power” (1 Corinthians 15:42–43).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Should a Christian be a Republican or a Democrat?

Christians often ask us whether they should be a Republican or a Democrat or something else, but as a tax-exempt non-profit organization, Got Questions Ministries is not allowed to endorse political parties or candidates. What we can do is tell you what the Bible says about political issues and encourage you to make a decision from there. In all actuality, few political issues are truly spiritual issues. As an example, we may prefer lower taxes, but the Bible does not endorse low taxes; all it says is that we are to pay our taxes honestly (Romans 13:6–7; Matthew 22:15–21). Taxes and many other issues (social security, universal healthcare, education funding, prescription drugs, etc.) are not spiritual issues the Bible specifically addresses. As a result, Christians can in good conscience have disagreements on these issues.

An issue the Bible most definitely “takes sides” on is abortion. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God knows us before He knits us in the womb. Psalm 139:13–16 speaks of God’s active role in our creation and formation in the womb. Exodus 21:22–25 prescribes the same penalty of someone who causes the death of a baby in the womb as the penalty for someone who commits murder. This clearly indicates that God considers a baby in the womb as just as much of a human being as a full-grown adult. For the Christian, abortion is not a matter of a woman’s right to choose. It is a matter of the life or death of a human being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26–27; 9:6). Therefore, Bible-believing Christians should strongly support candidates who are pro-life.

Another issue which is most definitely biblical is that of gay marriage. The Bible condemns homosexuality in the strongest terms possible (Genesis 19:1–13; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26–27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Gay marriage is an attack on the institution of marriage that God created to be between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:22–24). Endorsing gay marriage or even civil unions is basically giving approval to a lifestyle choice the Bible condemns as immoral and unnatural. Gay marriage, then, is an issue Christians must consider when they evaluate a candidate.

The Bible teaches that a leader in the church should be a godly, moral, ethical person (1 Timothy 3:1–13; Titus 1:6–9). This should apply to political leaders as well. If politicians are going to make wise, God-honoring decisions, they must have a basic morality on which to base the decisions they are going to have to make. So if there is a clear moral distinction between candidates, as Christians, we should choose the more moral, honest, and ethical of the candidates.

No matter who is in office, whether we voted for them or not, whether they are of the political party we prefer or not, the Bible commands us to respect and honor them (1 Peter 2:13–17; Romans 13:1–7). We should also be praying for those placed in authority over us (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). We do not have to agree with them, or even like them, but we do have to honor and respect them. Politics is always going to be a difficult issue for Christians. We are in this world, but are not to be of this world (1 John 2:15). We can be involved in politics, but we should not be obsessed with politics. Ultimately, we are to be heavenly-minded, more concerned with the things of God than the things of this world (Colossians 3:1–2). As believers in Jesus Christ, we are all members of the same political party—monarchists who are waiting for their King to return (Revelation 19:11–16).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Is it right for a Christian to be involved in martial arts?

It is stated by one of the founders of martial arts, Gichin Funakoshi, “The mind and technique become one in true karate,” By polishing our karate practice, he believes, we are polishing our own spirit or our own mentality. Karate can be a system that is considered to be a “way of life,” merging the spiritual and physical sides of our human existence. A Christian involved in martial arts should have a difficult time finding comfort in the roots of the martial arts. As seen above, they focus much attention on the physical development (which is not a bad thing), but also combine the training with Buddhist or Zen philosophy.

What does the Bible say about the mind? First of all the heart is “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). In the Scriptures, the heart and mind are often considered to be the same thing. Since our hearts and our minds are wicked, we are not able to think clearly about our spiritual situation, and therefore unable to “polish” our own spirits as karate claims it is able to do. We are in need of a Savior to clean our hearts, and develop within us a new spirit. Titus 1:15 gives us insight into the mind of the unbeliever: “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” The philosophies contained in Buddhism, as well as most all of the religions of the world, are developed by flawed men with defiled minds. They do not offer advice suitable for Christians to follow.

The Scriptures teach us what we are to do with our minds. We are not to conform our thinking to the world’s way of thinking, but “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23). The picture in Romans 12:2 is like that of a mold we use for making cakes. The batter is placed inside the cake mold, and when the baking is complete, out comes the cake in the same shape as the mold. In the same way, our minds are not to be shaped by the world’s way of thinking. We are to set our minds on the things above, not on the things that are on earth (Colossians 3:2). We should train our minds in how to serve the Lord and please Him in all that we do.

While the physical side of martial arts is probably a good form of exercise, and many Christians do participate in martial arts, it may be a dangerous activity to allow the mind to become influenced by the philosophies associated with karate and all other forms of the martial arts. The false religious overtones of Buddhism are there whether they are expressed verbally or not. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to separate the philosophies from the activity, and therefore it would be wise for the Christian to use much caution before participating in this kind of activity.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: How should Christians respond to global poverty and hunger?

According to the latest statistics, over 840 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished. Every day, 26,000 young children die due to poverty, hunger, and preventable diseases. With so much of the world’s population in such lamentable condition, what’s a Christian to do? How should the Church respond?

Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with compassion. Having true compassion for the needy, as modeled by Jesus (Mark 8:2), means we are aware of the need, we care about the people involved, and we are ready to act on their behalf. Having compassion on a needy brother is proof of the love of God within us (1 John 3:17). We honor God when we are kind to the needy (Proverbs 14:31).

Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with action. Of course, prayer for those in need is something every Christian can do. Beyond that, Christians should do all they can to alleviate the suffering caused by global poverty and hunger. Jesus said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:33–34). Like Tabitha, we should “always [be] doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36).

The believer who selflessly gives to the poor will be blessed by God. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, / and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17). These divine blessings may be spiritual rather than material, but a reward is guaranteed—giving to the poor is an investment in eternity.

There are several Christian relief organizations that work not only to combat global poverty and hunger, but also to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Groups such as Compassion International strive to meet the needs of the total person, both physical and spiritual.

Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with hope. Believers can act on behalf of the poor with the confidence that they are helping further God’s work in the world: “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor / and upholds the cause of the needy” (Psalm 140:12). Believers labor with the hope that Jesus will return, and “with righteousness he will judge the needy, / with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth” (Isaiah 11:4).

Until that day of ultimate equity, Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11). That being the case, we have unlimited opportunities—and the urgent obligation—to serve the Lord by serving others.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Does God expect Christians to vote?

It is our contention that it is the duty and responsibility of every Christian to vote and to vote for leaders who promote Christian principles. God is most certainly in control, but that does not mean we should do nothing to further His will. We are commanded to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1–4). In terms of politics and leadership, there is evidence in Scripture that God has been displeased with our choices of leadership at times (Hosea 8:4). The evidence of sin’s grip on this world is everywhere. Much of the suffering on earth is because of godless leadership (Proverbs 28:12). Scripture gives Christians instructions to obey legitimate authority unless it contradicts the Lord’s commands (Acts 5:27–29; Romans 13:1–7). As born-again believers, we ought to strive to choose leaders who will be themselves led by our Creator (1 Samuel 12:13–25). Candidates or proposals that violate the Bible’s commands for life, family, marriage, or faith should never be supported (Proverbs 14:34). Christians should vote as led through prayer and study of both God’s Word and the realities of the choices on the ballot.

Christians in many countries in this world are oppressed and persecuted. They suffer under governments they are powerless to change and governments that hate their faith and silence their voices. These believers preach the gospel of Jesus Christ at risk of their own lives. In the U.S.A., Christians have been blessed with the right to speak about and choose their leaders without fearing for themselves or their families. In the U.S.A., in recent elections, about 2 of every 5 of self-professed Christians took that right for granted and did not vote. About 1 in 5 self-professed, eligible Christians are not even registered to vote.

In our day and age, there are many who want to drive the name and message of Christ completely out of the public arena. Voting is an opportunity to promote, protect, and preserve godly government. Passing up that opportunity means letting those who would denigrate the name of Christ have their way in our lives. The leaders we elect—or do nothing to remove—have great influence on our freedoms. They can choose to protect our right to worship and spread the gospel, or they can restrict those rights. They can lead our nation toward righteousness or toward moral disaster. As Christians, we should stand up and follow our command to fulfill our civic duties (Matthew 22:21).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Can a Christian consider a career in acting / entertainment?

This is a hard question to answer because the entertainment business includes many aspects. There is a vast difference between a theatre that presents only classics such as Shakespeare’s plays and TV shows that glorify sex and violence. Both are considered part of the entertainment business and both involve actors and actresses, but the impact on the performers and the audiences is quite different. Christians considering a career in acting or performing must consider the bearing their roles will have on them spiritually, the lifestyle into which they will be entering, and the influence their performances will have on others.

For the Christian actor/actress/performer, involvement in a movie that glorifies sin or the devil’s work is clearly not an option. Because actors struggle to find roles, they often take whatever parts come along, especially when they are first starting out. For unbelieving actors/actresses, the decision to take a part involves little more than the effect it will have on their careers and future roles and the money involved. But for the Christian, there is also the problem of whether the role glorifies God or at least is not actually glorifying rebellion against Him with violence or sex or other evils. Granted the big money is probably with the ungodly roles because we live in a world where the devil has a huge influence on these matters, but the Christian actor should not take parts which promote Satan’s agenda. The overriding principle involved is found in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

In addition, the issue of the lifestyle of performers in general must be a consideration for a Christian. There is an enormous amount of drugs, alcohol, and immoral behavior in the entertainment industry. Young people eager to get the “big break” are often used and abused by those in power. While it may be possible for a Christian to be in this world and not be affected by it, 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ ” If God warns us to avoid bad company so as not to be corrupted by it, we would be foolish to ignore that warning.

Finally, the impact performers have on others must be considered. When unbelievers see professing Christians in movies, TV shows, or live performances that promote ungodliness, they sense the hypocrisy and are given cause to “blaspheme the name of God” (Romans 2:24). There is also a detrimental effect on the faith of other believers, especially young people and those immature in the faith. Anytime a young believer can justify ungodliness by saying, “Well, so-and-so does it and he’s a Christian,” the cause of Christ suffers and the young person is drawn away from truth into sin. Jesus spoke harshly of those who cause “one of these little ones who believe in me to sin” (Matthew 18:6).

Ultimately, the decision to enter into a career in acting or entertainment must be made prayerfully, seeking God’s wisdom (James 1:5) and the counsel of mature Christians, remembering always that “everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2:19).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Can a Christian be a model? Is a modeling career something a Christian can consider?

As Christians, our goal is to please the Lord. So with that goal in mind, we should prepare ourselves for careers that are rewarding to ourselves, beneficial to others, and most especially, pleasing to God. It could be possible that the Lord would allow a Christian to pursue a career in modeling, but generally He has a higher calling for His people. Romans 12:1–2 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The question for the Christian decide is whether modeling is consistent with our command to offer our bodies to God and whether such a career is “holy and pleasing” to Him.

The whole purpose of the book of Romans is for Christians to know the truth of how we should live, the truth about what God expects of us, the truth about God and His judgments of our way of life. The first eleven chapters are about righteousness—the unrighteousness of fallen sinners, our need for God’s righteousness, and His provision of that righteousness through Christ. When we get to chapter 12, the first word is “therefore.” Having built the case that we have been redeemed by God out of our hopeless, sinful state, it is obvious that our calling is to be different from the world and no longer to buy into the lies of image-obsessed cultures.

There are some sad realities in the world of modeling. Many aspiring models work at minimum wage jobs waiting for their big break which, for most, never comes. The lifestyles of fashion models is also a reason for concern. There is a considerable amount of drugs and immoral behavior in the fashion industry. Young women are often used and abused by those in power. The highly competitive nature of the industry leads to greed, dishonesty, and cutthroat tactics. Those whose living is dependent upon the success of a designer, fashion house, or product line are at the mercy of these tactics. While it may be possible for a Christian to be in this world and not be affected by it, 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ ” If God warns us to avoid bad company so as not to be corrupted by it, we would be foolish to ignore that warning.

God is very concerned about how we use or abuse our bodies. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Christians are not to try to look like the world, but rather we are to be a special, purified people (Titus 2:14), people who are set apart as belonging to the Lord. Christians should be well-dressed and appropriately fashioned, not to bring the focus on ourselves, but so that we can go about the work God has for us without being overly concerned about our appearance. Women especially are exhorted to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9) and since only the most successful models are given the choice of which clothes to model (unless the model wants to remain unemployed), it is hard to see how the modeling industry is compatible with a Christian worldview and dressing modestly.

Romans reminds us that Christians are to be set apart from the world, especially aspects of the world which are ungodly. Once we have accepted Christ and pledged our lives to Him, then we are ready to do some real modeling, because there is no greater calling in this world than to model Christ.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Should a Christian exercise? Is exercise something Christians should be focused on?

As with many things in life, there are extremes in the area of exercise. Some people focus entirely on spirituality, to the neglect of their physical bodies. Others focus so much attention on the form and shape of their physical bodies that they neglect spiritual growth and maturity. Neither of these indicates a biblical balance. First Timothy 4:8 informs us, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Notice that the verse does not negate the need for exercise. Rather, it says that exercise is valuable, but it prioritizes exercise correctly by saying that godliness is of greater value.

The apostle Paul also mentions physical training in illustrating spiritual truth in 1 Corinthians 9:24–27. He equates the Christian life to a race we run to “get the prize.” But the prize we seek is an eternal crown that will not tarnish or fade. In 2 Timothy 2:5, Paul says, “Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.” Paul uses an athletic analogy again in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” While the focus of these Scriptures is not physical exercise, the fact that Paul uses athletic terminology to teach us spiritual truths indicates that Paul viewed physical exercise, and even competition, in a positive light. We are both physical and spiritual beings. While the spiritual aspect of our being is, biblically speaking, more important, we are to neglect neither the spiritual or physical aspects of our health.

So, clearly, there is nothing wrong with a Christian exercising. In fact, the Bible is clear that we are to take good care of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). At the same time, the Bible warns against vanity (1 Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 31:30; 1 Peter 3:3–4). Our goal in exercise should not be to improve the quality of our bodies so that other people will notice and admire us. Rather, the goal of exercising should be to improve our physical health so we will possess more physical energy that we can devote to spiritual goals.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.