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Relationship Between Offices

I have a question for Schuyler–What is the relationship between the office of all believer and the special offices in the church?  If Schuyler gets a pseudonym, I’d like one, too. You can undersign it “Publius.” Thank you! The Relationship Between the Offices Schuyler An office is a position of authority in which a person […]

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Unpardonable Sin

What is the meaning of the unpardonable sin, or the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12, Mark 3, Luke 12)? How does the unpardonable sin relate to the exhortation of Ephesians 4:30 not to grieve the Holy Spirit, and the exhortation of 1 Thessalonians 5:19 not to quench the Spirit?  Thank you! The question of the unpardonable […]

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Death Penalty

Question: Could you clarify the biblical position on capital punishment? Specifically, when is the state permitted to carry out the death penalty? Should it only be used for murder, or may it be used for other serious crimes as well, such as rape? Also, how should we respond to Christians who oppose the death penalty […]

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I John 5:7

Question: “Is I John 5:7 a sufficient source in defending the Trinity?”   Answer: There is more to this question than meets the eye. First, one text is sufficient proof to teach any doctrine. The question is, “Does 1 John 5:7 teach the Trinity, and does it do so sufficiently and clearly to be used […]

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Fellowship with Unbelievers

Question: How would you respond to those who like to have fellowship with unbelievers? They argue that we are called to be the light, and in order to do so we must send our children to public school and fellowship with unbelievers.   Answer: It seems to me that there is confusion here. There is […]

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Question for Schuyler

“What do you believe is the proper way to deal with brothers or sisters who have left our Protestant Reformed churches for another, and in our view lesser Reformed church? I believe that they have sinned by going to a lesser church, but if they are still attending church faithfully and seem to walk a […]

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Child Abuse

“In the Roman Catholic Church, there have been some recent scandals regarding priests who were caught sexually abusing children. The Roman Catholic Church handles these in its own way, but this made me wonder what would happen if this situation were to arise in one of our churches. If a minister were caught abusing a […]

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Organ Donation

“Should I be an organ donor? I feel as if I am not an organ donor, it’s almost selfish to deny my healthy organs to someone who needs them. In addition, if one of our church members needed a life-saving organ donation, we would not refuse it, would we? On the other hand, I feel […]

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Cremation

Recently I received a note from Mr. Ray Kikkert, member of the Protestant Reformed congregation in Wingham, Ontario, Canada. Beacon Lights thanks him for his interest and his comments. He begins with two questions: “Who is Schuyler?” And: “Is it Mark Hoeksema, the editor?” My answer is also two-fold. First, Schuyler’s identity is a deep, […]

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Cremation

“How do we respond to a relative who has decided on cremation?” Two arguments have been used against cremation. First, we are told that it is pagan. While it is true that pagans have cremated their dead for pagan reasons, that in itself does not make the practice pagan. Pagans such as the Greeks cremated […]

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Adopted Children

Are adopted (rather than biological) children in a Christian family part of the covenant? What Bible references can you suggest for your view?   The short answer is, “Yes! Absolutely!” Salvation in neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament is biological. Sin is biological, that is, it is passed from father to son on […]

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Tattoos

What, if anything, does the Bible say about tattoos and body piercings? It seems that you cannot go anywhere without seeing people who have one or the other. I know that the Old Testament forbids tattoos, but many had body piercings. Could there be a connection between the acceptance of tattoos and the end time—“taking […]

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Dancing

Question: Why is dancing an activity in which we do not participate? The world has corrupted dancing, but is there a proper form of dancing, or is it all wrong? If we condemn all dancing, this would seem to contradict the scriptures, which speak of dancing in many places. Ecclesiastes says that there is a […]

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Depression

“How should we treat a friend or family member with depression?” Depression is more than an occasional feeling of sadness. We all have days when we wake up not feeling our best, tired, moody, or irritable. Depression is a debilitating condition in which a feeling of sadness persists for a considerable period of time. Some […]

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Temptation

Question: The devil tempts the righteous, but does he actually tempt the wicked? I can see the rationale behind such a question. If the wicked are totally depraved, and if, therefore, they love sin and hate righteousness, why would the devil need to tempt the wicked?  Do they not sin without his input? We understand […]

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Suicide

What is the proper Christian response to suicide? Can there be any hope of salvation for someone in the church who takes their own life? It is always a tragedy when a person takes his own life. Generally speaking, suicides die “having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12b), and the Bible takes […]

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Christian Patriarchy Movement

Dear Schuyler, I am writing in response to your answer to the anonymous question regarding the “Christian Patriarchy Movement and its dangers.”  I do not disagree with your answer in its entirety, but some parts of your answer concerned me enough that I decided to write. First, I had never heard of the Christian Patriarchy […]

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Prayer Circles

What are “prayer circles”? I have heard of entire congregations getting handed a book on it.  It seems to be growing in groups that I thought were otherwise basically conservative.  I heard it was even used and promoted at a True Woman Conference about a year ago.[1]  What is its appeal?  Should Reformed Christians be concerned […]

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Christian Patriarchy Movement

Question for Schuyler: Will you please give a summary of the Christian Patriarchy Movement and its dangers?   The Christian Patriarchy Movement (CPM) is one about which I had to educate myself by searching online. The main advocates of the CPM (sometimes called Biblical Patriarchy) are R.C. Sproul, Jr., Doug Phillips and Doug Wilson. Recently, Mr. […]

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Reprobate

Question for Schuyler: Does the Holy Spirit work in the reprobate, that is, internally in their hearts and souls and minds, to use them for his purposes, and especially to restrain sin? See John 14:17. See also 1 Samuel 10:6 , 10, which seems to say that the Holy Spirit came upon wicked Saul, in […]

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The World

Dear Schuyler: In 1 John 2:15 we read: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Who/what is the world? If I live the antithesis, does the world become bigger to me? If we may not […]

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Letter to Schuyler

Dear Schuyler,   I must disagree with the September 2013 answer that hell is eternal.  God’s decrees are an eternal word.  God’s decree of reprobation is eternal.  God’s decree of election is eternal.  God’s counsel, the collection of his decrees and words, is eternal.  However, just as Satan is, and likewise just as I am […]

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When Was Hell Created

Dear Schuyler, When was hell created?   The Bible does not answer this question directly. Therefore we need to be sober and circumspect in our answer. Jesus tells us that hell was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). We know that God created all things in the space of six days. We […]

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Seeking a Spouse

Dear Schuyler,             If a Reformed young person knows more than one godly individual whom he/she thinks could be his/her future spouse, how should he/she determine which one God calls him/her to be with? Does the Lord command us to look for other things in a spouse in addition to godliness?   Dating, courtship and […]

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Honor Thy Father and Mother

“Honor thy father and they mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” In what way does obeying this commandment change as one ages? I think we all understand how it applies to small children and teenagers in the home, but what about young adults leaving […]

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