All posts by Peter Ditzel

Does Your Church Have Chief Seats?

by Peter Ditzel

Jesus, in warning His disciples not to follow the prideful and hypocritical actions of the scribes and Pharisees, includes in His portrayal of their self-importance the fact that they “love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues” (Matthew 23:6). I want to focus on the “chief seats in the synagogues.” What are they?

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Q. In 1 Corinthians 9:22, Paul says, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Does this mean that we should use any means of evangelizing to win people to Christ?

A. We live in an age when there are now churches that meet in bars and pubs. There are strippers for Jesus, and those who advocate pornography for Christ. Some few preachers now use foul language to appeal to the common man. Less extreme, but now ubiquitous, are Christian coffeehouses with preachers who seem more like stand-up comics, Jesus rock concerts, Christian meetings that resemble three-ring circuses with all of their derring-do and acrobatics, and Christian automobile racing. All of this is done with the aim of reaching people with the message of the Gospel. Is this what Paul meant when he said that he had become all things to all men?

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Q. You say that women are to be silent in the assembly. But weren’t women among the 120 who spoke in tongues on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2?

A. I received this question just recently. It is a good one because it is based on a common assumption. The assumption is that the 120 spoke on Pentecost. Certainly, women were among the 120 (Acts 1:14-15), but women did not speak in tongues on Pentecost because only the twelve apostles spoke in tongues on Pentecost. Here’s why I say this.

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Q. Can you recommend a church in my area?

A.This is certainly one of the most common questions I receive. I suppose it comes from questioners who have come to see that there is a discrepancy between what they see in their Bibles and what they see in the local churches they have attended. Years ago, I used to try to find churches in the person’s area that taught sovereign grace and, if I could find one, also taught New Covenant Theology. For reasons I will explain, I no longer do this. But I do have a recommendation for those who are looking for a church.

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Are there accountability partners in the Bible? Do pastors rule? Authority and Accountability in the Bible

by Peter Ditzel

I used to do some freelance editing for a man who ran a Christian publishing, Internet, and speaking ministry. A few years before his death, he found that he was unable to, in good conscience, continue his membership in the church of which he had been a member and elder. Soon afterward, “Christian” forums had threads about him that went something like this: “Did you hear that so-and-so is no longer under the accountability of a church?” “What? Do you mean that he’s not under a church covering?” “This is outrageous! How can he continue his ministry while being unfaithful?” “Well, all I know is that as long as he’s not under the authority of a church, I’m not listening to him any more.”

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Are You Meeting in God’s House?

by Peter Ditzel

It is common to hear people refer to the building in which the church meets as God’s House or the Lord’s House or something similar. Probably you have heard it: “It’s good to see you in God’s House today,” “We should be in the Lord’s House every Sunday.” Sometimes a loose reference is made to Scripture, such as Psalm 122:1: “Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

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Q. Are church covenants and membership policies biblical?

A. I am sometimes asked to evaluate a specific membership policy or covenant, but the following answer really covers all church covenants and membership policies. First, let’s define our terms. Church covenants and membership policies list certain requirements for membership and/or describe the expected behavior of members. While membership policies might reference a confession or statement of faith as something members are to believe, what I am addressing here are not confessions of faith but policies or covenants that bind the behavior of members.

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Are Christians to Greet Each Other with a Holy Kiss?

by Peter Ditzel

An argument I have been given when trying to explain to people that the Bible teaches that women are to wear a head covering in meetings of the ekklēsia (“church” in the King James Version–see the article, “The Head Covering“) is that, if this is true, then we must also wash feet and greet each other with a holy kiss. I have already addressed washing feet in the article “Did Jesus Institute Washing Feet as a Church Ordinance or Ceremony?” In the present article, I intend to show from the Bible why I believe the holy kiss is not an ordinance or tradition God expects Christians to practice and how the instructions Paul and Peter give concerning the holy kiss differ greatly in structure and intent from those Paul gives concerning the head covering.

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Q. What is the fruit by which we are to know people? (Matthew 7:16)

A. In Matthew 7:16, Jesus says, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” Although Jesus explains in other passages and also right in the immediate context of this verse what He means by “fruits,” that has not stopped people from interpreting “fruits” in imaginative ways. I’m going to briefly list what some of these imaginative but wrong ideas are and then point out from the context precisely what Jesus means by “fruits.”

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