Question:

Hi.

Your web site has been very helpful and and I hope that you keep it up. Thank you for putting all the time into it as well.

I am a 16 yearold male (I am saying thisso you understand how I am thinking)and of late I have been taking Christianity much more seriously. As a result I have been questioning a lot of things in my life, and how I should respond to what goes on it. I was hoping that given your knowledge of the scripture that you would be able to answer some questions for me. Also I hope you don't find this overwhelming, but do to the eternal life or eternal death nature of Christianity I felt I had to ask.

Is it wrong for a child to correct his parents? I see my dad sinning regularly, and I am not sure how to handle it. I made an attempt to point out that drinking was wrong and his response was something along the lines of your acting like a parent to your parent and you shouldn't question what I do. Also, my parents are divorced and my mom has begun dating a divorced man. Both of them take up the title of Christian, but I am not sure how seriously they take it. And I don't know if my mom and the person she is dating divorced over adultery or not. I fear that if I tell them they are are in the wrong or may be in the wrong that they will decide Christianity isn't worthwhile and quit. So I am also asking howshould go about correcting them? I certainly don't want to leave them in sin.

While on the topic of correcting others, am I required to correct each and every sin that I see? There are so many going on around me in public places. Also, should I try and convert every single person that I ever see?

On a different subject, is entertainment in general wrong? It seemsentertainment is everywhere in American society and, in case all entertainment iswrong, I have no idea how I would avoid it without becoming a hermit. I am wondering thatbecause we are told to deny ourselves andthat we are told to live our lives asJesus did. Butwould it be wrong for me to say watch a movie or play video games (assuming that the content is "Christian enough ") aftera hard days work? It's normal for us to rest, so would entertainment be wrong while we rest? I also find that entertainment can also be educational in positive ways such as proving a Christian point. So is it wrong? Growing up, I played and still do play video games and most of what I play now is violent. I already realize that playing video games too much is sinful. However, if entertainment is okay, are violent video games okay if I distinguish between murder and killing. For example, I find that in one game that killing enemy soldiers is okay but killing their helpless peasants is murder and therefore wrong. Unless entertainment or violent video games as a whole are wrong, does this seem like an okay way to play violent video games? And I find that the online communities that video games have given me a means to tell others about Christ or at least Christian values such as working together in peace and not cussing each other out when we mess up.

I hope this is my last paragraph before concluding remarks, I don't want to wear you out, but my church does some unscriptural things. I don't know if I should find a different church or try to get the church to change by talking to the leadership. The specific issues arewe have had women act as preachers, I don't want to sound sexist, but I realize that that isn't scriptural. Also I am not sure if women singing during the songs is wrong, but it does happen. Another thing is our songs do all have singing, but they are accompanied by instruments and have small guitar solos, I don't know for sure if this is an issue as long as our main focus is on the words. And perhaps the most important is that the church hardly seems to express the importance of repentance. They certainly talk about turning from sinful behaviors, but they focus on grace and forgiveness so much that it seems like a distorted message of the truth.

I think that covers it. Your input would certainly be appreciated, and I hope that you can answer this soon despite your queue. Thank you for your time and may God bless.


Answer:

Parents

It is how you are trying to teach that is causing difficulty. You are trying to tell your dad what to do by putting yourself in authority over your dad. I know it is not your intention, but just a small change in how you go about it will make a big difference.

An authoritarian way would be: "You shouldn't be drinking dad, it is bad for you." A better way in this situation would be to find a nice calm time and say: "Dad, it bothers me when you come home drunk. Have you ever read I Corinthians 6:9-10?" After he reads the verse tell him that you would like to think of both of you being in heaven after this life is over. The second approach presents the facts, but since the facts come from God's Word, it can't be said that it is just your opinion. You state what you would prefer, but you make it clear that the decision is really his own and not yours to make.

With your mom, it is a similar matter. "Hey, mom I've been reading about Matthew 19:3-9. What do you think verse 9 is saying?" From there go into a discussion about what is or is not allowed in a remarriage. You may not come to an agreement, but at least she is now aware of what God says on the matter. But notice that in doing it this way, you don't make it confrontational or personal unless that person brings up their own actions as an example.

Correcting Sin and Teaching

The hardest lesson many people have is learning that you can't make another person do what is right. You can only point out what is the right way. The decision must remain their own. "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself" (Ezekiel 18:20). The Christian's duty is to teach people so that they will make better, and hopefully proper, decisions. "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul" (Ezekiel 3:17-21).

Thus, you overhear someone in school mention that he had sex with one girl while dating another girl, so you ask: "Do you hope to get married and have children one day?" If his answer is, "Yes." "What would you think of your wife having sex with other guy? Would you be upset?" Most likely he would answer "Yes" again. Then why do you practice the very thing you hate right now? Either he'll get mad at you or it might open the door then or later to a more serious discussion where you can bring in the Bible. And if this was done in front of others, you will have taught more than just this guy. Teaching is far more telling people they are in the wrong. It is getting them to think and to understand why one choice is better than another. You will rarely convert a person on the spot, but if you pick your statements well, your words will stay with people for a long time.

There are going to be times you see or hear something and you have no response. Don't fill in the gap with empty words. "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back" (Proverbs 29:11) That is your signal that you need to go and study the issue better so that you do have an appropriate response. You can say something like, "That sounds wrong to me, but I need to think about why."

Never forget that just by being a good follower of Christ, you are teaching others. "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain" (Philippians 2:14-16).

Entertainment

Entertainment can be either good or bad depending on what it is promoting. See: Are all violent video games wrong? You misunderstand what it meant by "denying oneself." "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age" (Titus 2:11-12). We deny ourselves the pleasures of sin because God said they are wrong. However, God doesn't ask for us to give up things based on our own decisions. In fact, doing so is wrong (Colossians 2:20-23). See Denying Oneself.

Where to Worship

You are correct that God specifically forbids women from taking a leading role in worship, whether it is preaching, teaching, or leading songs (I Corinthians 14:34-35; I Timothy 2:11-12). See Women in the Church. This should not be construed to say that women are not to join in the singing of praises in worship. All Christians, including women, are commanded to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).

Instrumental music is not a part of the worship in the New Testament. See Can Musical Instruments be Used to Worship God?

Changing your current church is not likely to happen. Most people will not seriously consider that they might not following God's teachings. Even when they know that God doesn't command what they choose to do, they will find some sort of justification by telling themselves that God won't care. Therefore, I usually suggest finding a church that stays close to the teachings of the Bible.