Q. What is the origin of the maypole dance and should Christian parents allow their 5th grader to participate in such a ritual that supposedly has its roots in Paganism?
A. The tradition of dancing around the Maypole originated in pre-Christian times when many people worshiped the Earth. It was an important spring ritual in several pagan religions, but like many Christmas and Easter traditions its meaning was changed to accommodate the arrival of Christianity.
If you’re OK with letting your children practice the pagan traditions associated with Christmas and Easter you probably won’t have trouble with the Maypole, but it’s a matter for your personal consideration.
Q. I thank you for your ministry which I read every day; you have explained so much that I didn’t understand. Part of this week’s lesson was “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Tim. 5:8)” What does God expect from a parent of an adult child who has never worked nor actively looked for a job but chooses to live on assistance? I feel as if I’m enabling her desire not to work if I give her money. Does providing for her child (which I do) fulfill God’s expectation?
A. God typically does not just hand money to people. He provides for us through opportunities to exchange our talents and abilities for the income required to support us. In fact in 2 Thes. 3:10 Paul said an able bodied person who won’t work should not eat. This means we’re not obligated to support those who are capable of supporting themselves.
In 1 Tim 5 Paul was addressing the issue of the church caring for the widows among them. He said only those elderly widows who’ve been left alone and can’t support themselves should become the church’s responsibility. Those who have able bodied children or grandchildren should look to them for support. He was referring to the children of these widows when he indicated that anyone who does not provide for his family has denied the faith.
When Jesus said God would meet our needs in this life if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:31-33), He wasn’t speaking of creating a Christian welfare state. He was promising to provide opportunities for us to earn a living so we would never have to worry about life’s essentials.
Q. Since Mary’s cousin Elizabeth and her husband were both Levites, isn’t it likely that Mary was also related to the tribe of Levi on her mother’s side? Jesus is both King and High Priest (after the order of Melchizedek), but I have wondered about this and wanted to know your thoughts. Somehow I feel that the Lord would not leave out a single detail in his incarnation. Thank you. I find your lessons of great comfort and help.
A. You make an interesting observation. The Bible makes no mention of the tribal heritage of Mary’s mother. But that doesn’t matter. Mary’s ancestor was Judah and Elizabeth’s was Levi. Since the two were brothers, Mary and Elizabeth were technically cousins although many times removed, as we would say today.
Also, in Hebrews 7:6 the writer made the obvious point that that Melchizedek was not of the tribe of Levi, and in Hebrews 7:14 he said Jesus was of the tribe of Judah. These statements indicate that one need not be descended from Levi to be included in the priesthood of Melchizedek. This is how Jesus can be both a King and a Priest.
Q. I understand the Pentecostal movement greatly relies on 1 Cor 13:10 referring to the Second Coming so that they don’t have to deal with the whole context of verses 8 – 13. That being the fact that the whole Word of God is now with us, complete and full and thus there is no longer a need for partial revelation through tongues, prophesies, and knowledge. Since the gender in the Greek of “perfect” in vs 10 in neuter, seems like Paul is referring to God’s complete Word rather than His Son at His second coming. What do you think the Lord is saying in these verses?
A. The opinion that the canon being complete was the fulfillment of Paul’s phrase “when perfection comes” cannot be found in Church history prior to the birth of the Pentecostal movement, around 1900. Mainline denominations including their seminaries were not experiencing the Gifts of the Spirit and had to find a response. What you’ve stated is what they came up with.
While I’m neither Pentecostal nor Charismatic I do have eye witness knowledge of the exercise of Spiritual gifts as well as personal experience of my own and can attest to their continued presence in the body of Christ. Sadly, I also believe there are many counterfeit demonstrations. But the fact remains that if even one bona fide experience occurs then the gifts are operable today.
I don’t agree that “perfection” refers to the 2nd coming. In the context of the passage it has to refer to the rapture, when we’re perfected. Then, instead of seeing a poor reflection we’ll see face to face and instead of knowing in part we’ll know fully, as we’re fully known (1 Cor. 13:12). That’s when the exercise of Spiritual Gifts will no longer be necessary.
Every believer has been invested with at least one Spiritual Gift (1 Cor. 12:11). If you’re not exercising yours it may be due to the fact that this false teaching has caused you to think you don’t have one.