Mailbag #27: What to Do in the Case of an Unbiblical Divorce; How to Respond to the Threat of Violence in the ChurchBy Jonathan Leeman | 01.18.2016
— If a married couple goes through with an unbiblical divorce, what does a faithful pastoral response look like? — What would be the proper response for churches to take when faced with the threat of violence by a person with a gun during a service or some other gathering of members?
Mailbag #26: Discipling the Arrogant; Hiring a Pastor Who Isn’t Convinced on His View of Baptism; Must Only Elders Baptize?By Jonathan Leeman | 01.11.2016
— How should you disciple someone who seems puffed up and arrogant in their perception of the Scriptures and their interpretations? — Must a pastoral candidate be fully convinced on their view of baptism, even if they are willing to submit to the prospective church’s teaching? — What restrictions, if any, should be placed on who can administer the ordinance of baptism, provided the baptism is under the authority of a local church?
Mailbag #25: Thinking through Church Budgets; My Congregation Demands an “Altar Call”; Tricky Membership SituationBy Jonathan Leeman | 12.22.2015
— How do you lead a church through thinking through the budget in a way that obeys God? Further, how do you do this in a way that is “above-reproach” when leading the overall church through polity change? — My congregation begs for me to do a weekly “altar call,” but I am opposed to them. What should I do? — An elderly couple with health problems wants to join our church—but they won’t ever be able to attend. What do you think?
Mailbag #24: What Happens to Infants Who Die; Thinking through Civil Disobedience; Calling Out False Teachers by NameBy Jonathan Leeman | 12.14.2015
— What happens to infants who die? Do they go to heaven? — How should Christians think through the category of “civil disobedience”? — Should pastors call out false teachers by name?
Mailbag #23: Giving Feedback on Bad Sermons; Ratio among Staff and Non-Staff Pastors; Church Covenants and the Regulative Principle; Difference between “Pastors” & “Elders”?By Jonathan Leeman | 12.07.2015
— How do you give your pastor feedback for his sermons, particularly when they are bad? — Jonathan, why did you recommend that your church eliminate the requirement that there must be more lay elders than staff elders? — Wait a second! You’re saying you won’t do baby dedications because of the regulative principle. And then right after that, you talk about reading the church covenant together as a church. Isn’t that a violation of the regulative principle, too? — Does it create two tiers of leadership to always call staff pastors “pastors” and lay elders “elders”?
Mailbag #22: Thinking Through Pastoral Transitions; Loving Those Who Repeatedly Commit Sexual Sin; Declaring Membership BankruptcyBy Jonathan Leeman | 11.30.2015
— What are some best practices for thinking through pastoral searches? — If someone is repeatedly falling into sexual sin, yet repeatedly professes repentance and sorrow, is there ever an occasion to disbelieve them? — I’ve heard of churches deleting their membership rolls so that they can start over and have a membership that better reflects attendance. What do you think of this practice?
Mailbag #21: Must Preachers Be Seminary-Trained?; Baby Dedications; Elders Disagreeing Over CalvinismBy Jonathan Leeman | 11.23.2015
— Should we expect preachers to be seminary-trained? — Do baby dedications violate the regulative principle? — I’m a Calvinist, but does this mean all my fellow elders must be as well?
Mailbag #20: Preaching Suspect Texts; Preaching to Non-Believers; Difficulties with Staff & Lay Elders; Anonymous or Public VotingBy Jonathan Leeman | 11.16.2015
— In the course of preaching through a book, what should I do when I come across a suspect text like John 8? — Should we preach repentance and faith differently to non-Christians than we do to Christians? — How can I tell the difference between what belongs in an elders meeting and what belongs in a staff meeting? — Should votes for church discipline be cast publicly or privately?
Mailbag #19: Baptismal Regeneration; What Makes a Legitimate Baptism; Relationship Between Baptism and Membership; Relating to a Registered Sex OffenderBy Jonathan Leeman | 11.06.2015
— What do you know about the Restoration Movement and their teaching on baptism? — When affirming someone’s baptism, what legitimizing factors do you look for in the baptizing church? — Is it wise to baptize someone without bringing them into church membership? — A registered sex offender wants to join our church. How should we respond?
Mailbag #18: Dealing with Anxiety; Lord’s Supper Question; Christians & Multi-Level Marketing; When A Church Member Moves AwayBy Jonathan Leeman | 10.30.2015
—How do I battle anxiety in my life? —Is it permissible to take the Lord’s Supper in small groups? Wednesday night Bible study? —Should Christians be involved in multi-level marketing organizations? —When a church member moves away, should they automatically be taken off the membership roll?
Mailbag #17: Renting Out Church Facilities; Too Busy to Elder; Transitioning to Closed Communion; Problems with Secret SocietiesBy Jonathan Leeman | 10.14.2015
—How should we think through renting out our church facilities? —Is there ever a time when a man is too busy to be an elder? —Should ministry roles be restricted to members only? —As Christians, what should we think of secret societies like the Freemasons?
Mailbag #16: Dual Membership; Does Marriage Require State Involvement; How Much Agreement Among EldersBy Jonathan Leeman | 10.05.2015
—What should I think about “dual membership”? —If marriage is created by God, does it require state involvement? —Must elders agree on every doctrinal matter? How much agreement is necessary?
Mailbag #15: Officiating Non-Christian Weddings; Meaningful Membership before Establishing Elders; Excommunicate for Not Giving Money; Transfer MembershipBy Jonathan Leeman | 09.09.2015
—Are pastors free to officiate a non-Christian wedding? —What should come first: meaningful membership or a plurality of elders? —Shouldn’t a refusal to give to your church result in excommunication? —Should a church accept transfer memberships from other churches at face value?
Mailbag #14: Discipling without “Picking Favorites”; Tricky Baptism Situation; Churches and Name Changes; Numerical Growth v. Spiritual GrowthBy Jonathan Leeman | 08.31.2015
—How do I encourage people to not “play favorites” with their discipling relationships? —How do I think through this tricky baptism situation? —Must churches have the word “church” in their names? —Is very little numerical growth okay if spiritual growth is taking place?
Mailbag #13: Baptism before Communion; Moderating Members’ Meetings; Cooperating with Other Churches in Church Discipline; How to Transition to Elders and DeaconsBy Jonathan Leeman | 08.24.2015
—Is the Lord’s Supper only for those who have been baptized? —Who should moderate members’ meetings? —What do you do when someone wants to join your church, but they’ve been disciplined by another church? —How does a church transition to elders and deacons?