Rev. Jack Howell's Place

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FAQ

Common Questions Asked

  1. Is it alright for ministers to be called "reverend?"

    Absolutely! The word "reverend"appears at Psalm 111:9 and is translated from the Hebrew word yare.In this verse we have a simple statement that God's name is "reverend." Nowhere does it command or imply that that ministers are forbidden to use "Reverend" as a title. This same word is used of the fear of parents (Leviticus19:3) and of God (Leviticus 19:14). It is even used of reverence of the sanctuary, a material place (Leviticus 19:30; 26:2). If God commanded men to reverence a material place as well as parents, how could it be wrong to reverence men of God who are supposed to be holy and reverend as His representatives on earth?

     

    What about Matthew 23:9 you might ask. Doesn't it forbid ministers from using titles? Well, let's take a look at the verse, then see what Jesus was actually saying.

     "But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and youare all brothers. And call no one your father on the earth, for One is your Father in Heaven. Nor be called teachers, for One is your Teacher, even Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he who shall humble himself shall be exalted" (Matthew 23:8-12).

     

    The Greek word translated as "father" is pater which means, generator, nearest male ancestor, founder of a race, or in this case, founder of Christianity..The members of the Sanhedrin were called fathers (Acts 7:2; 22:1), but this was not to be a practice among Christians. It was used of God 244 times and of earthly fathers 140 times. It is used of idolatrous priests (Judges 17:10), and of Abraham, the founder of Israel who was also a great example of faith (Romans 4:11-13. It is also used of one who converts men to God through the Gospel, so this is not the thing that Jesus was condemning (1 Corinthians 4:15). The "fathers" of Matthew 23 were the hypocrites who lorded it over others solely becauseo f religious position and power. Here Jesus condemns all 3 titles that Jewish religious leaders greatly cherished and which fostered their hypocrisy and religious pride.

     

    So Jesus was not prohibiting the use of religious titles by ministers of the Gospel. he was condeming their use by hypocrites who used their titles and positions to lord it over the people and foster their own religious pride.

  2. Which Bible version should I use?

    Use one that you can understand and feel comfortablewith. There are many good modern language versions of the Bibleavailable today such as the New InternationalVersion, New American Standard Bible, Contemporary English Version, NewKing James Version. Stay away from Bible versions that werepublished by specific sects for use by their members, as these oftentend to be extremely biased versions and render key scriptures to makethem appear to support that group's key doctrines. A good example ofthis is the New World Translation ofthe Holy Scriptures, which is a modern language Bible version. Ilove the modern English it uses, but it is a worthless version of theBible, for it robs Jesus of His Deity, the Holy Ghost of HisPersonhood, makes salvation appear to be by works, and renders keyverses to make them appear to support the unbiblical doctrines of thosewho produced it - namely the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society whosemembers are known as Jehovah'sWitnesses. Another one to avoid, even though I also like itsmodern English rendering is the ClearWord Bible. It is a paraphrased version of the Bible thatrenders many key scriptures in a way that makes the Bible appear tosupport the author's views regarding the seventh day sabbath. I wouldalso stay away from Bible versions that claim to be "restored" Bibles,such as those published by the various Sacred Names cults. Use a Bibleversion that was produced by reputatble scholars. When I considerpurchasing or using a modern Bible version, some key scriptures I lookat are John 1:1, John 8:58, Colossians 1:15-16, Colossians 2:9 to seehow they were rendered. If these verses were rendered in such a way asto deny the Deity of Jesus Christ, I do not purchase that Bibleversion, nor will I use it or recommend it to others.

     

  3. Does the Bible contradict itself?

    Many enemies of the Bible have made the claim that theBible is full of contradictions, but the claim is false. The Bible doesnot contradict itself. Many seeming "contradictions" are cleared upwhen scriptures are taken in proper context and words are translatedcorrectly. This is not to say that there aren't difficulties in theBible, for there are, but if scripture is taken in context as well ascorrectly translated from the original languages, the difficultiesdisappear. Many who claim the Bible contradicts itself actually resortto dishonesty to "prove" their claim. They take a couple of scripturesthey think relate to the same event/subject and contrast them againstone another and claim a contradidtion, but when the scriptures areplaced back into their proper context, the claim is proven false. Inother instances, a seeming contradiction occurs when two or morewriters wite about the same event, but from different perspectives,adding or omitting certain details the other writers didn't. This isstill practiced today by jouralists as well as eyewitnesses to certainevents and we do not claim they are contradictory, so why should weapply a different standard to the writers of the Bible? Allow me to recommend to you a very good book on this subject. It is Encyclopedia of Bible Difficultiesby Gleason L. Archer and is available from Amazon.com or you localsecular or Christian bookstore. It is published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. I have found this book to be among the best in this field of apologetics.

  4. Reverend Howell, do you believe life exists elsewhere in the universe, or are we alone?

    That is a very good question! I, as well as many other Christians, do in fact, believe God created life elsewhere in theuniverse. Dr. Billy Graham believes it, Finis J. Dake, author of the Dake's Annotated Reference Bible also believed it and reflects that belief in many of his notes in thereference Bible that bears his name. There are a number of scriptures in the Bible that do allude to life elsewhere in the universe such as:2 Chron. 18:18; Neh. 9:6; Job 25:3; Dan. 4:35; Matt. 22:30; Lk.2:13-14; Eph. 1:10; Col. 1:16; Rev. 12:12; 13:6; 19:14.

    We can also be sure that if these races are also fallen, that God has made a way of redemtpion for them just as He did for us.

    Now, comes the logical follow-up question: "Do you believe we have been visited by these other beings?" It is possible that we have. They could be much further advanced technologically than we are, and thus able to travel vast distances in space, but I think it unlikely that we have been visited by them. If we have, then it could be to study first-hand the effects of sin on a fallen race by a race or races that have not fallen. Mind you, this is pure speculation on my part, and reflects my personal belief on this matter.

  5. Are Genesis chapters 1 and 2 actually two separate accounts of creation?

    This is often alledged by enemies of God's Word, but an honestexamination of the two chapters shows that they are not separateaccounts at all. Chapter 2 is actually a summary of chapter 1.The first three verses of chapter two simply carry the narrative ofchapter 1 to its logical conclusion by using the same vocabulary andstyle as employed in the previous chapter, and sets forth the primalwork of creation and the special sanctity conferred on the seventhday as a symbol and memorial of God's creative work. Verse 4 thensums up the whole sequence that has been surveyed by saying, "Theseare the generations of heaven and earth when they were created, inthe day that YHWH Elohim made heaven and earth."

    Havingthus finished the overall survey of the subject, Moses then goes into more detail than he did in chapter 1 on the creation of man. In his book Ancient Orient, Kenneth Kitchen says, "Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without anydetails, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the center of interest and morespecific details are given about himand his setting. Failure torecognize the complimentary nature of the subject-dictinction betweena skeleton outline of all creation on the one hand, and the concentration in detail on man and his immediate environment on theother, borders on obscurantism*" (Ancient Orient, p. 117).

     

     

    Thus we see that the claim that Genesis chapters 1 and 2present two separate and distinct accounts of creation borders on willful ignorance of the facts and decpetion/dishonesty on the partof those making such a claim.

     

     

    *deliberate evasion of clarity, opposition to the increase and spread ofknowledge - Random House Dictionary.

     

  6. Should Christians Observe Christmas?

    This question comes up quite a lot during the Christmas holiday season.Usually it is raisedby cultists who try to make this nonessential into an essential of the faith once delivered, and who try to make the observance of Christmas into something displeasing to God. They invariably bring up the fact that Christmas has pagan origins and was assimilated into Christianity. They also delight in bringing up the fact that Jesus was not born on December 25th. They tell us that we are not being separate from the world if we observe Christmas.

     

    Is it really wrong to observe the Christmas holiday? As a Christian, I do not believe so. Now, I know there are some Christians who do not observe the holiday, and I respect their decision not to do so, and I expect them to respect my decision to observe it. You see, according to Romans 14 we have liberty in Christ to honor Christ on any day of our choosing. Verse 6 tells us "he that regardeth the day, regardeth itunto the Lord." In verse 5 we are told "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." Thus it is up to each individual Christiant o decide for himself whether or not he or she wants to observe Christmas. We should remember that this is the one day out of the year in which the entire world is forced to acknowledge the incarnation of God the Son, and certainly we should be an example to the world, and show them how to properly honor the birth of the Savior, and in that respect we ought to separate ourselves from the worldly drunken revelries that take place on Christmas. That does not mean that we should avoid observing Christmas. Some will argue that there is no command in the Bible to celebrate the birth of Christ. True, but by the same token, there is no command in the Bible telling us not to either. The apostle Paul, speaking by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, tells us that it is okay to observe certain days in honor of Him if we are fully persuaded in our own minds that it is alright to do so. It is a matter of Christian liberty, and no other Believer has the authority to judge anyone who may or may not choose to observe the day.

     

    If you are not sure whether or not you should celebrate Christmas, pray about it, then do as the Lord leads you.

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