Question:

Do you think a pastor smoking is a sin? My pastor smokes and I went to him in love; sharing with him that his smoking hurts his testimony as a believer. He preaches on bondage yet he smokes a pack or more a day.He has preached many thingsin the pulpit that were not true. He said that Peter in Acts was talking to the priests not the outside world when saying repent and be baptized.He does not stress baptism, even though it being in the Baptist bylaws of this church. What hurts me is he told me he was not sure Jesus did notsmoke. That really bothered me and still does. I'm the choir director and piano player - I even teach Sunday school. I feel God is using me to stand up for the truth in the church. But I know the Bible says don't sit under false teaching. Several people frommy church tell me they thank God for sending me there. Can you please give me counsel on this. I don't know what to do.

Answer:

Whether something is right or wrong does not depend on whether the person is a religious leader or not. God doesn't give different rules for the leaders of a congregation than the rest of the flock. Leaders do have more responsibilities, and you are correct that they must be concerned about setting a proper example, but that example is what is expected of everyone.

See "What's wrong with smoking?" for details regarding the problems of smoking.

Though the Baptist denomination has roots in advocating baptism, the majority of the various Baptist groups have been teaching that it isn't necessary for almost a hundred years now. But that is the nature of sin; it constantly creeps further from the truth. Instead of discussing what is in a church's bylaws, I would encourage you to start discussing what is in Christ's covenant -- the New Testament. Bylaws are man-made documents and are full of flaws. The New Testament is the inspired Word of God. There is no comparison between the two.

Let me recommend two articles: "Why are there different denominations?" and "Denominationalism is Unnecessary." I suspect that people find your presence refreshing because you have a drive to return to the truth, and it is like a breath of fresh air. Let me urge you not to go just part way, but turn back to original teachings of Christ and his apostles. It won't make you popular with the religious leaders, but it will lead many back into Christ's fold.