Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 14, 1967

Questions And Answers

Floyd Thompson

A querist from Tennessee writes —

1. "What is the meaning of 'in the Lord' in scriptures such as Eph. 6:1, and I Cor. 7:39?"

Eph. 6:1 reads, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." It does not seem to me to carry the idea that children have no responsibility to obey one of the parents if that parent is not a member of the church. Nor does it seem that there is a responsibility for children to obey parents who are members of the church if the parents should instruct them to do something contrary to the law of God. Does not the Lord enjoin upon children obedience to parents who demand of them that that is within the realm of God's word? So it seems to me.

The expression in I Cor. 7:39 seems to me to be used in the same way. The passage reads, "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord." Some think this gives the widow a right to marry one, provided that one is a member of the church. But let us look a little more closely. If he were a member of the church, but divorced for an unscriptural reason, could she marry him? NO! But to whom may she be married? She may be married to whom she will, but she must take into account what is in harmony with God's law about marriage. Such to me seems to be in harmony with all that is taught on the subject.

2. "When small children in a congregation are left fatherless (not yet accountable for their sins, who are undoubtedly the Lord's children) whose responsibility are they in case they are needy? May the church help them?"

When children are left fatherless it becomes the responsibility of others in the family to care for them. This seems to fall within the scope of teaching in I Tim. 5:8, "But if any provide not for his own..." Also, the case in Esther 2:7 "And he brought up Hadashah, that is, Esther, his uncle's daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter."

If it should be a very rare case where there is no next of kin to fulfill the responsibility, what an excellent opportunity for an individual to practice pure religion as recorded in James 1:27. If this is done, then the church can do what God has assigned for it to do.

3. "Are all christians ambassadors?" Paul uses the term "ambassadors" in II Cor. 5:20. By reading verse 18 it can be seen to whom Paul referred when he used the term. "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation." To whom was this "ministry of reconciliation" given? To the apostles whom He had chosen. So they, the apostles, are the ambassadors of Christ.