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July 28, 2004

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Q/A's
Q/A Topics:
Children and computers/games

READER QUESTION:
I'm going to be painfully open about my failure. When I allowed Playstation and computer in my teen sons rooms, I opened a floodgate that further cemented their love for secular rock music. We've studied this issue several times but I did not realize I had sabotaged those teachings. A couple of days ago, I admitted defeat in that area. If you have any advice, this humbled mother would be grateful.

VW ANSWER:
Other than hearing the name, I'm not personally familiar with Playstation. But it's been my impression that pretty much -all- the video games promote sex, violence, and the occult. Even the ones that seem to be 'innocent' car/motorcycle racing games include the near-naked race models cavorting around. If I had children, they would not even -have- video games, of any kind.

As for computers, I've read it advised by others, have seen devote Christian families do it, and I would do the same if I had kids.... any computer they have access to, to use, would be located/situated in a 'public' place in the house. -NOT- in their own bedrooms. It would not be their -own- 'personal' computer, but would be a 'family' computer, that they would have access to, with strict restrictions. Perhaps even do like I've seen in one family where everything is password protected (including the screen saver), and if the child wishes access, it requires the adult to go personally type in the password each time.

And I think it should go without saying....there is utterly no reason for a child to have their own TV in their room/s. None whatsoever. Nor Walkmans for music. (You have no way of 'monitoring' what they listen to...besides which, it is too easy for them to turn the volume too high and damage their ears.) And their personal stereos should be closely monitored, and their selections of CDs and cassettes filtered with a fine-tooth comb; and offensive ones thrown out. (yes, if necessary, actually -listen- to everything that's on their CDs...does it pass the grade of decency? If not....throw it out!)

I know this is not the way the world does things, but how else does a Christian parent fulfill the "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (De6:7-9) aspect?


Q/A: Video Roleplay Games?

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Olympics and Christians?

READER QUESTION:
Do you have anything on your website that would help re:

I saw on the Olympics track & field trials where all the women that won some race said they gave the glory to God, etc., etc. It's kinda hard to take them seriously while they're standing there half naked although they sound very, very sincere. I know that athletics aren't necessarily evil but I think I need this area addressed so I can think about it before the games begin. (I think the Olympic games themselves are pagan, but what about the individuals there?)

VW ANSWER:
Well....we've addressed various olympics over the past years, beginning in 1996. But I don't know that we've looked, exactly, at this.

I don't know if it's the same event you saw, I saw it after your e-mail arrived....but it might have been a re-play? (although I thought what I was seeing was 'live') Three women getting on the US team after competing in the hurdles. And at least two of them, one after the other, praising and "thanking" God....and I had to chuckle at the one... she said something on the order of God "showing up" to help her win.

I certainly don't know their individual hearts. And just because they are giving 'praise' to God, doesn't necessarily mean they actually "-know- the Lord". (Heb8:11) Many from the apostate so-called "church" talk about "God". Oprah talks about "god". Just like the old spiritual "everybody talkin' 'bout heaven ain't goin' there"....today we might sing: "everybody talkin' 'bout God don't know Him!" And if the one hopes that God "shows up" to help her win...it wouldn't seem too likely... although she could be a very "baby" Christian, and not know any better

As for them being "half-naked"....at least the games are not done today like they were in ancient times originally....-totally- naked. And in such a context of his day Paul spoke of athletics, about "laying aside every weight" (Heb12:1). When a person considers that races are won sometimes by margins of 'thousandths' of a second, the "wind-drag" of a piece of 'flapping' material can make -the- difference. They pare themselves down to be as stream-lined as possible. When Peter had finished breakfast, Jesus did not chide him (didn't even mention it) for having been "naked" while fishing (Jn21:7)(can you imagine trying to work with a fish net in a boat while wearing long robes and floppy sleeves?); but about the matters that were needful in Peter's heart regarding his "love" for the Lord. Paul nowhere condemns Roman nudity, specifically....but he sure mentions a -lot- of other things. (I wonder what he was wearing when he "fought with beasts at Ephesus" 1Co15:32 when he was "delivered out of the mouth of the lion" 2Ti4:17)

But one thing we -have- addressed in the past is the pagan worship aspect of the olympics, and other things:

Indeed, the Olympics are pagan. All the ceremony of carrying the torch and lighting the caldron....that is all pagan through-and-through. Even the term, "caldron", is often associated with witchcraft.

It would sure seem to me that, due to that pagan worship aspect, a True Believer would not want to participate; for testimony sake. But out of ignorance I'm sure it's possible that there are some Believers here and there as participants. I mean....how many True Believers still celebrate the pagan Easter and Christmas...and they are -truly- God's children....only, they are in ignorance. How many years of my life did I try to exhort people to "put Christ -back- in Christmass"! And easter was a -most- sacred remembrance to me. At the time I did not know any better....! Also, over 14 years ago, when some of the cycling trials were held in the Spokane area (for the Soeul Olympics), I helped out with the motorcycle. At the time I hadn't yet come to understand the pagan aspect, and so I helped ferry officials around within the various races...but I was certainly a Christian.

And so, by the same token, it is -very- 'possible' that some Christians also participate in the olympics....in ignorance. But within my spirit, due to lack of the right "witness"(Rom8:16), I have serious doubts about the women I saw after that hurdle event. But there 'might' be some others.

If the Olympics was merely a 'sporting' event, that would be one thing. Possibly even if history showed it to have had pagan roots, but those roots were ignored today, that might also be one thing. But today's practice is just as Paul says to the church at Corinth, "But if anyone says to you, This was offered to idols..." (1Co10:28) As much as the TV reporters inform us viewers of the full significance of the opening and closing ceremonies, describing in full detail the 'worship' that is going on, I find it hard to imagine that the athletes are not also aware of it. It is proclaimed to billions of the world's population as a worship event to the gods of Mt. Olympus. How can a Christian participate in that?! Paul says of the "meat" of his day, -DON'T- partake! Meat is meat - athletics is athletics. But for "conscience" sake, because it is billed as a pagan worship event, the Christian CANNOT in good conscience participate.

If any True Christians are participating, they are either ignorant of the pagan significance, or they are carnal. Others -claiming- to be "christian"... are not! They are participating 'ecumenically' just as any other religion does...as it is part of the one-world-religion.

And...back to the "half naked" issue: Another aspect of the olympics' 'worship' is the worship, emulation and adoration of the human body. I suspect there would be other suitable ways to be "streamlined" than what many of them do. I guess one of the features of fitness gyms is the huge floor-to-ceiling mirrors, so that people can adore themselves as they work out. Paul says to young Timothy, "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." (1Ti4:8) Nothing wrong with being "in shape"...but is that the prime goal in life? For most athletes, their own bodies and their physical achievements -are- their gods. It is idolatry. Whether athletes worship their own bodies, as you say, "half-naked"...or when the ancient priestesses to Ashtoreth/Ishtar/Isis would go out to meet the rising sun in worship (easter sunrise services), naked....it's the same thing.

In worship to God the priests were to be properly covered...

Ex 20:26 Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.
Ex 28:42 And you shall make for them linen trousers to cover their naked flesh; they shall reach from the hips to the thighs.

Christians, by our position as having bold access to the "throne of grace" (Heb12:16) we have been made "priests to God" (Rev1:6,5:10) Should we not conduct ourselves accordingly!

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Giving to Charities?

READER QUESTION:
When there is a charity drive organised by other followers of other faiths, can believers donate?

If yes, OK (in my present state of mind, I agree).

If no, Why not?

If God does not want us to join with unbelievers to help other unbelievers with financial problems, educational needs, health needs, etc, why then is He still sending them rain, food, clothings, even giving them earth minerals, farms, wealth if He forbade His followers to give. How so? Why donít He simply give NONE to the unbelievers?

VW ANSWER:
I don't know that a Believer would want to make a simple blanket statement regarding -all- charities.

The fact that there -will- be the poor who need help is a given, which Jesus agreed with, "..you have the poor with you always.." (Mt26:11) And the O.T. tithe was to support not only the Levites and poor of 'Israel', but also the "sojourner". (De26:12) Sojourners, by definition, very possibly not being in the Faith of God, as the rest of Israel would have been presumed to be (even though we know they, Israel, weren't 1Co10:5a). At present, until the day of judgment, this earth is set up to support both the righeous and wicked... God "...sends rain on the just and on the unjust". (Mt5:45) A situation that will change during the Millennium. (Zec14:17-19) And even the Church (N.T.) is to be mindful of the poor. (Ga2:10)

What the O.T. tithe was to Israel, modern governments have pretty much taken over by means of the "welfare" system, where collected 'tax' monies are used to help the destitute. And indeed, there are other various organizations that help various categories of the needy: shelters for men, shelters for so-called "battered women", run-away teens, etc.

But I have a real problem with some of these charities AND THEIR EVENTS. (if I may rant a moment) As I'm answering you at this moment, sitting at the store waiting for completion when I go in to work tomorrow, is this huge sign order for a charity golf event. It is a nationally famous organization (which I'm not going to name here, because there are others that function like it). They go around and drum up sponsors, and these sponsors then in turn scramble for -recognition- to gain advantage for themselves in 'advertisement'. This is the third year I've done the signs for this event, and the fellow (who orders the signs) and I kinda wince at each other as he tells the attitudes of some of the sponsors, which dictates how we must be 'careful' about making their signs....to be careful not to 'slight' them, etc.etc. This particular local event has grown this year to where, if I think I heard him correctly, they are also raffling and giving away a brand new Hummer and some other vehicle. (Update: Since writing that, he ordered a couple more signs... those are for the "hole-in-one" competition!)

My 'problem' with this sort of thing I've just described is the very definition of a case-study in what Jesus said, "Therefore, when you do a deed of mercy, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have praise from men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. But when you do a deed of mercy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand does, that your deed of mercy may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." (Mt6:2-4) I know how much these signs are costing them....to me, being a small business, it's a large amount; but I suspect, compared to their overall budget, a drop in the bucket. If they are paying me what they are for the signs, what are they paying for the rest of everything, just to 'run' this event? And what of the Hummer, etc, they are giving away? If people are giving to a charity, 'why' are they being promised "prizes" in return? The concept Jesus spoke of the "trumpet"...announcing the giver's generosity. And if all this given money is used up to 'run' the event, and give away prizes....WHAT PERCENTAGE -actually- ends up going to the 'cause' the event purports to be supporting?

Do you see what I'm saying? If there is a 'cause' worth giving to...why not just 'give' to the cause, and forget all the hoopla!

Another one I shake my head at is these walks, runs and bicycle rides "for charity". By -walking- they are helping? By -riding- their bicycles? Why not just 'give' the entrance fee, directly, and be done with it! These events become nothing more than mutual-admiration-societies as they get TV coverage, and they mutually "feel good" to each other for all that they just did (by running/walking/riding) to help those in need.

OK....so this all is my own personal rant on these things. Now, to my opening caution... questioning "all" charities.

What about giving to things like "aids research"? Well, certainly millions are dying from it....is it -still- considered the #1 world-wide epidemic? So then, what if it is the "Rainbow Coalition" or "Gay Pride" that is hosting the event raising the funds? Where did aids come from? African monkeys? Bio-terror research run amuck and accidentally escaped the lab? Whatever the case, its -primary- form of 'transmission' is through sexual activity. What is likely the #1 world-wide sin today? "sexual perversion" (Rom1:29, 1Co5:1, Ga5:19, Co3:5, Re2:21, etc) In the so-called 'civilized' societies, the statistics show aids transmission to be greatly highest in the so-called "gay" communities. (it was a few years ago...I think it still is?) And what is the "wages of sin"? "death" (Rom6:23) They are "...receiving the retribution within themselves, the pentalty which is -FITTING- for their error." (Rom1:27)

This is my personal attitude on this subject. Certainly -some- 'innocent' people contract aids through 'accidents' in giving aid to an infected person who is bleeding, etc. But -MOST- cases are related to sexual perversion or needles of drug use, etc. Those people have -chosen- their life style....and they are reaping what they sow. Death. Personally, while I might wish they would repent and turn to God, but knowing that they don't and won't, I conclude, "Even so, amen" (Re1:7) I would never knowingly give to such a charity....in the same spirit that Jeremiah was commanded by God to "do not pray for" them. (Jer7:16)

And other charities often also have other questionable alliances. I don't have a list of everything documented...but there are some innocent-seeming charities that are actually fronts to collect monies for that which has taken the place of communism, terrorism, and also many UN-related purposes. back 10-20 years ago much of the giving done through some of the liberal (main-line) churches actually went to help support communist causes around the world, and help fund the weaponization of insergents, etc.

And then, there's also those tear-jerking TV specials (I haven't seen any in a long time, now), to "help the children" in various parts of the world. They will claim that for only pennies-a-day you can support an orphan child, and they will send you a picture of that child you are supporting. etc.etc. Some -may- be legitimate....but I've also seen where some of these investigative shows have actually gone to where these orphanages allegedly existed, only to find empty fields, or somebody's private residence and -no- 'orphanage', etc. And think to yourself... "how much" do those telathons cost? TV time is not cheap!

Thus...yes...'give' to -worthy- causes. But before giving....check them out. See exactly 'whom' they are supporting. Find out what percentage of your giving actually reaches the claimed recipients.

But mainly....do as the Lord directs your heart. But make sure it's God's Holy Spirit tugging....not merely the emotions. There are many "wolves" seeking to rob people of their money, in the name-of-charity. So, be "wise as serpents" (Mt10:16)

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Mentally-challenged and Eternal Life?

READER QUESTION:
There was a family who was very active in the baptist church I attend and then left to attend a non-denominational church {most probably allowing elements of charismania}. The reason they left the baptist church was because their teenage daughter, who has Down's Syndrome, asked our pastor to baptise [immerse] her and he would not..... I have observed this lovely young girl growing up through the years, participating in Sunday School, the children's choir and children's church, etc. And I have observed her parents faithfully bringing her to church for all of these functions. Obviously, they were terribly hurt when our pastor refused, so now they are gone.

I know that the act of immersion is NOT necessary for one's salvation.....

But my question is, what are your thoughts on 'mentally challenged individuals' and salvation?

VW ANSWER:
Dealing with 'special' people is tough to know how to do.

First of all, just because parents bring such children to church regularly, and the congregation is used to seeing them all the time, doesn't necessarily say they are Believers in Jesus Christ. Back (20+ years ago) when I drove "special-ed" school bus, I would have occasion to park the bus and run in to a particular facility that specialized in down's syndrome kids, to check on something-or-other....and I must say, the children greet you with smiles, all friendly, patting you on the hand, etc. But, just because they 'smile' and seem so jovial and 'loving', does that mean they "know the Lord"? (Heb8:11)

What is the purpose of immersion in water? Does it save? In the N.T. accounts it always comes -after- a person's confession of faith. (Ac8:36-37,10:47-48) It is a -symbol- of being "buried with Him through immersion" (Rom6:4) It comes AFTERWARD....otherwise, it would seem to be a "work" of salvation....but salvation is "by grace through faith....NOT OF WORKS" (Eph2:8-9)

There is a religious mentality amongst the unsaved masses, that seeks to "baptise" everybody when they are young....to "insure" their salvation. Some do it as a "christening"....some do it as a pre-requisit to church "membership" which, in turn, is the guarantee of their supposed 'salvation'. In evangelical circles that don't believe in 'infant-baptism', they instead "dedicate" their children. And unfortunately, I suspect that many of them view that dedication the same way the others view christening. The attitude....'we want to get our children dedicated/baptized' ...and while they will not mouth the words, in their minds/hearts it becomes an eternal "insurance policy" on behalf of their children. And this is so, typically, for those who, themselves, do not -truly- know the Lord. They are judging "according to appearance" (Jn7:24) and doing rituals.

When Paul speaks so much of the "sound mind" (Rom12:3, 2co5:13, 2Ti1:7, Tit1:8, 1Pt4:7)....and our worship and prayer being "with the mind" (1Co14:15); when there are people whose minds are 'slow'....how does another know (for sure) past their minds, and into their hearts, to make a reasonable determination whether or not they are saved?

Without seeing the particular situation you have mentioned (not being there first hand), generically speaking, I would also tend to do as this pastor did....and -NOT- immerse such a person. Not immersing does not attach an unwarranted label of "saved" to the person, if they are not....such label then making them 'relax' from the concept that they "need" to be saved. In other words, if a person is wrongfully immersed, when they are not saved, it gives them a mentality that they "don't need" to do anything more (like: repent and believe) because the pastor immersed them. Whereas, if they are NOT immersed, and they are (truly) saved....it doesn't matter....because God knows their heart....but they will not have been given the false sense of 'security' at having been dipped under the water.

Now....the fact that the people got mad and left....to me certainly suggests a 'fruit' regarding their true hearts. If they truly knew the Lord....would they not understand the need for caution? Thus, by their leaving....it would seem the pastor did wisely and correctly... especially, also, when they are now at a 'charismatic' place.

As for the eternal state of those of slow minds....all I can suggest is that "the Lord knows those who are His" (2Ti2:19) and we all stand before God, individually, based on our "own" hearts (Rom14:12)....not based on what our parents did or didn't do in terms of water tanks and ritual incanted magic formulae.

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