Whether you are new to the area, just passing through or in need of a new church home... we welcome you to join us each Sunday at 9:00 am.
We are located in Fruitport Township, just minutes from the Lakes Mall area. Click here to contact us.
the following is a excerpt from a recent sermon: "It physically makes me sick to think of all those babies being aborted across our country, knowing that the Bible makes no promises of salvation apart from baptism and faith in Jesus, those babies never had that chance!" My question is: Would this include the Christian parents of a miscarriage [spontaneous abortion]? Are all unborn babies, who never had an opportunity to hear God's Word or to be baptized, condemned to hell? If that is so, what Scripture reference is used to make this declaration? Answer: Your question is one that many people ask, and the answer given is one that does not satisfy all people. The reason for that dissatisfaction is that people want answers to a question that the Bible does not specifically answer. Here is what we do know from the Bible. The Bible clearly teaches that all people, from conception on, are sinful and have inherited guilt in addition to a sinful nature that rebels against God. By nature we all stand under God's judgment. The Bible also teaches that only God with his divine love and power is able to rescue us from that horrible situation of alienation from him. He provided a Savior or Rescuer from sin and guilt, namely, his Son Jesus Christ. And he gives us the gift of faith (trust, reliance) in Jesus that personally receives the blessings Jesus earned for us. The Bible also tells us God chooses to create and maintain saving faith in Jesus through the gospel (good news) that he brings to us in the Bible and Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is an instrument that God uses to give people (including infants) spiritual life to replace spiritual death. But what if an infant for some reason dies without being baptized? The Bible does not provide an explicit, direct answer to that question. We are aware of the child's sinful nature, and that might make us pessimistic about the child's future. We also are aware of God's love for that child and his knowledge of the circumstances that prevented baptism. That might make us optimistic. We would not deny that God could have created saving faith in the child aside from the gospel and baptism; God can do anything. But the bottom line does not change, does it? The Bible does not provide explicit information on this subject. And where God has not spoken specifically in his Word, we do well in not speaking for God. We leave this matter in God’s hands.
I'm very confused by all the conflict over Bible translations, especially the issues relating to NIV 2011. Since almost no laypeople know the original languages, we all must rely on one (or more) translations. Given that anyone can take any verse out of context and spin it to suit their purposes, are there any currently available English translations that you would consider to be so misleading as a whole to be faith-destroying? Answer: The kind of translation associated with your question would be The New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses—a “translation” that denies the deity of Jesus Christ. The translations considered for usage in our synodical publications, and debated at last summer’s synod convention, do convey God’s truths: Jesus Christ is the world’s only Savior, and salvation is God’s gracious gift through faith in Jesus. The concerns about translations are in the areas of faithfully relaying the words and thoughts of the original languages and doing so in contemporary, understandable English. Using multiple translations is useful, but consider, if you are not doing so already, using a reliable Bible commentary like The People’s Bible series available through Northwestern Publishing House. A good commentary sheds light on the words and thoughts of the original languages of the Bible.
Pastor Timothy J. Winkel
2651 Shettler Road
Muskegon, MI 49444
Telephone: 231 777 3011