Do not Call Anyone Rabbi, Father, or Teacher


How do you interpret Matthew 23:7-10? Jesus said we must not call anyone Teacher or Pastor as He is our Teacher and God is our Leader.


Dear Friend,

When interpreting the Bible we must always read a verse or verses in context. In other words, we need to understand the entire flow of the passage. When you do that in regard to your question, you will see that Jesus is speaking strong language against pretense and arrogance in spiritual matters. Specifically, Jesus spoke about the Pharisees and the teachers of the law (Matthew 23:1). Jesus said, “Everything they do is done for men to see” (v.5).
Jesus’ followers are not to behave like that.

The critical thing here is not titles but ego. The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were out for themselves. Jesus said, “…do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach” (v.3).

I have known authentic, godly men, who were seminary professors. We called them teachers, because they helped us understand the Bible and the ways of Christ. They sought no title. They desired nothing but to exalt Christ.
Jesus opposed pompous, self-righteous men who used titles as status symbols.

By-the-way, the word translated “teacher” in v.10 (Gk. kathegetes) means in the first place “a guide, one who shows the way; a leader, a conductor” and secondly means “a teacher” (The Complete Biblical Library, Matthew, p. 495). Technically Jesus did not speak against using the word “teacher.”
God opposes pride in all its forms.

~ Pastor Chris

Who are the Evil Angels?


Who are the “evil angels” in Psalm 78:49 (KJV)?
~ John & Pamela, USA


Psalm 78 speaks of the rebellious history of Israel even though God brought His favor and blessings to them again and again. In His anger toward their sin, God brought judgment against Israel in a variety of ways. One of the ways God punished Israel is given to us in v.49.
King James Version: “He (God) cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.”
New International Version: “(God) unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility—a band of destroying angels.”
According to Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew word “malak” used in this verse can mean angel, messenger, or ambassador (Strong’s H4397). The Hebrew word “ra” used in this verse can mean evil, distress, injury, or calamity (Strong’s H7451).
Therefore, technically, both the KJV and the NIV are correct. How, then, are we to understand this verse? If you take the translation “evil angels” to mean demons, then you have a problem because “shed” is the Hebrew word for demon. That is not the word used here. If you understand “evil angels” to mean “angels who bring distress, injury, or calamity” you will be in a better interpretive position. Angels who are carrying out God’s judgment on mankind can be seen as “evil” in the sense that what they are doing hurts. Judgment is painful.
Charles Spurgeon says it this way in The Treasure of David: “The angels were evil to them, though good enough in themselves; those who to the heirs of salvation are ministers of grace, are to the heirs of wrath executioners of judgment.” In his classic commentary on the Bible, Matthew Henry writes this about the angel messengers from God, “…those who to the heirs of salvation are ministers of grace, are to the heirs of wrath executioners of judgment.”
Three examples of angels bringing calamity from God are found in Genesis 19:1-13; 2 Samuel 24:16; and Revelation 15-16. We will do well to make sure that there is no rebellion against God in our hearts.

~ Pastor Chris

How do I receive Jesus into my life?


Dear Pastor Chris,

I’m very happy for affording us this opportunity to ask you questions. I
want to know the process of receiving Jesus into lives because to me I
started by receiving the Holy Spirit before a prayer of salvation. Again I
don’t really believe my salvation because the one who led me to receive
salvation used to practise magic ( removing living insects from my body)
but he preached like all other relevant ministers. Again I didn’t receive
Correct baptism because I was immensed 7 times in water.

Yours sincerely Edson from Zimbabwe


Edson, your salvation depends only on knowing Jesus (John 14:6). The messenger is not important (Philippians 1:15-18).

~ Pastor Chris

Is Christmas Really a Pagan Holiday?

by Hank Hanegraaff, from The Complete Bible Answer Book

Shout and be glad. I am coming and I will live among you. — Zechariah 2:10

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.— Colossians 2:16–17

As we continue our journey to the heart of Christmas, let’s pause for a moment to consider a common concern raised each year regarding the validity of celebrating Christ’s coming — namely, that when Christmas was originally instituted, December 25 was a pagan festival commemorating the birthday of a false god.

In response we should first acknowledge that this is substantially true. As noted by Dr. Paul Maier, eminent professor of ancient history at Western Michigan University, “The Romans of the time not only celebrated their Saturnalia festival at the close of December, but they also thought that December 25 marked the date of the winter solstice (instead of December 21), when they observed the pagan feast of Sol Invictus, the Unconquerable Sun, which was just in the act of turning about to aim northward once again.”

While this is indeed a historical fact, what is frequently overlooked is the reason the early Christian church chose December 25 as their day of celebration. The purpose was not to Christianize a time of pagan revelry, but to establish a rival celebration.

As such, Christmas (from Old English Crīstes +mœ ̄sse “Christ’s festival”) was designated as a spiritually edifying holiday (holy day) on which to proclaim the supremacy of the Son of God over superstitions concerning such gods as Saturn, the god of agriculture, and Sol Invictus, the unconquerable sun god.

While the world has all but forgotten the Greco-Roman gods of antiquity, it is annually reminded that two thousand years ago Christ, the hope of humanity, invaded time and space. But as Christians we perceive an even greater reality. Each year as we celebrate the First Advent of Christ, we are simultaneously reminded of the Second Advent in which the old order of things will pass away and Christ our Lord will put all things to right. As the prophet Zechariah put it,

‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.’ — Zechariah 2:10–11

If you cannot celebrate this, pray tell, what can you celebrate?

Have always been poison in His blood?


Dear Pastor Chris, recently i have been going through a transformation
in my journey with God and and am confused by what God has said to me-
in a dream, God asked me a question which a recall as one about
faith, belief, in Him now that my blinders have been removed, and i
hesitated to answer Him for fear of my doubt i may have had before and
God said’ you have always been poison in my blood’. What does He mean
by saying that i have always been poison in His blood? Any help would
be great, thank-you.

~ Allan



Be careful about believing any and everything you see, hear, or dream. The devil can masquerade as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:5, NIV). He is a deceiver, a liar (Revelation 12:9; John 8:44).

To keep from being deceived we must continually compare any message or dream to Scripture (the Bible). This is what the Bereans did (Acts 17:11).

God will never lie to you. “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie” (1 Samuel 15:22, NIV).

The Bible tells us nothing about anyone being poison in Christ’s blood. The Bible does say that it is the blood of Christ that redeems us (1 Peter 1:18-19) and cleanses our consciences (Hebrews 9:14).

The enemy is lying to you. “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:9, NIV).

~ Pastor Chris

Is it ok to get a marriage license at a later date?


Hello Pastor Chris,

My fiancé and I were wanting to get married now and get a marriage
license at a later date. We want to honor God in Holy matrimony but we
are not sure if He would bless our marriage if we did it this way.
Please let us know what the Bible says.
Thank you and God bless!




There is a secular aspect to marriage and a spiritual aspect to marriage. The secular aspect of marriage has to do with the laws of the state. In Texas, counties issue marriage licenses which make it legal for a minister to officiate a wedding. In other words, the state accepts what a minister does as legally binding for secular purposes. In the eyes of the law, therefore, a marriage license is a type of contract. This is one place where church and state cooperate.

Concerning religious obligations and secular obligations, Jesus said: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21, NIV). Jesus was talking about paying taxes in this verse, but the principle holds true for other applications. A follower of Christ is expected to obey the secular laws of the land (Romans 13:1-2). The exception to this principle is when a secular law comes in conflict with God’s law. In that instance a believer obeys God rather than man (Daniel 3:13-18; Acts 4:18-20).

The spiritual aspect of marriage has to do with two key things: 1. the fact that God Himself brought Adam and Eve together (Genesis 2:18-25); and, 2. the fact that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Spiritually speaking, in a Christian wedding we are remembering that marriage is given to us by God and that marriage is to be lived out in the same way as Christ loves the church, with sacrificial love.

You write: “We want to honor God in holy matrimony.” You will do that in the best way by getting a marriage license to show that you are obedient to the laws of the state (as God expects you to do); and, by having a Christian wedding ceremony that points those in attendance to the God who established marriage and the home. This will show others that you are followers of Christ and will encourage them to follow Him, too.

Pastor Chris

Struggling to Understand Biblical Tithing


Hi Pastor,

I have been struggling to comprehend the issue of tithing from this perspective…
1. when am employed with a monthly salary,then i take a salary loan{i.e to repay from my salary deductions} –am i supposed to give the tithe of the loan before i start business with it?
2. i have been unfaithful in paying my tithe,now i want to repay but
I cannot be able to trace how much money i have robbed God. What should i do Biblically?

Thanks Pastor
from Kenya



Tithing is an important biblical concept. Jesus Himself endorsed it (Luke 11:42). There is no biblical rule about how to calculate the tithe other than giving the first ten percent of our income to God.

I have found that when I pray with an open heart, God will impress upon me what He wants me to do. This applies to all aspects of life (how much to give, where to serve, decisions, etc.). Sometimes God stretches our faith by asking us to do things that seem impossible; and, indeed, they are impossible without Him. But with God, everything He asks us to do is possible (Phil. 4:13).

So, act on what His Spirit impresses you to do. He will give you a prompt from His Spirit that will either convict you if you are falling short of what He wants or will bring joy to your heart if you are obeying Him. I have experienced both.

Pastor Chris

In a Depressed Time

Hi, I found you through Google.
I’m in an extremely depressed time
Of my life and I’m really not sure where to turn.

If I can some how talk with someone who understands then maybe I can have some peace of mind.

If you can help it would be appreciated!

Thank you. Merinna☆





Depression is a difficult thing, not to be trifled with. I have lots of resources on the subject. One of the best is the book titled Happiness is a Choice by Minirth and Meier. I encourage you to talk about your feelings to someone you trust. Your pastor is a good place to start. He can recommend you to a biblical counselor in your area.

Know that many of God’s faithful servants went through times of discouragement and depression. Some of those are: Elijah, David, Paul, Jeremiah, and Moses. You are in good company. They worked their way through those difficult times by pouring their feelings out to God and by keeping their eyes on Him. Many of the Psalms are helpful to see how David poured out his soul to God.

A verse that I recommend highly is Philippians 4:8. Another way to battle depression is to read the 23rd Psalm every day for one month. Read it five time a day that month.

Let me hear again from you. Do not try to battle this by yourself.


Pastor Chris

The House of Virtue: Enter Here

– By Jonathan Conner July 2012

People today enter marriage for many reasons, among which are love, finding one’s “soul mate,” fulfillment, and companionship. Disturbingly, “growing in virtue” never makes the list. For generations marriage was viewed as a house of virtue in which males and females matured. In his book The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller writes, “Older cultures taught their members to find meaning in duty, by embracing their assigned social roles and carrying them out faithfully” (p. 28). This is no longer the case. Today, as Keller explains, “Instead of finding meaning through self-denial, through giving up one’s freedoms, and binding oneself to the duties of marriage and family, marriage [has been] redefined as finding emotional and sexual fulfillment and self-actualization” (p. 28).

Marriage and relationships have, in essence, become a substitute for God. Keller writes that we live with “the illusion that if we find our one true soul mate, everything wrong with us will be healed,” but, as Keller points out, “that makes the lover into God, and no human being can live up to that” (p. 42). Instead of seeing marriage as a sacred institution given by God for 1) the development of character through the conquering of vices and honing of virtues, 2) the procreation of children, 3) the reflecting of God’s nature, and 4) the betterment of society, couples marrying today view marriage as a private arrangement for personal gratification (p. 28).

As a result, they no longer see marriage as an entrance to a house of virtue, but as a continuation of their personal field of freedom. When marriage limits their freedoms or fails to fulfill their personal desires, they divorce. And they are scarcely shaken by the immensity of the act. In their mind their needs simply weren’t being met, so they leave in hopes of something better, scarcely considering the witness they’re making to marriage’s “profound mystery” of which St. Paul speaks in Ephesians 5.

This is made worse by the widespread practice of cohabitation. Hoping to move men closer to marriage, women often welcome the arrangement, but as Keller details, “Cohabitation gives men regular access to the domestic and sexual ministrations of a girlfriend while allowing them… to lead a more independent life and continue to look around for a better partner” (p. 31). Some believe marriage stifles masculinity. True masculinity, however, isn’t demonstrated through independence and self-assertion; true masculinity is learned through interdependence and self-mastery. Keller cites an op-ed piece in the New York Times, which rightly explains, “For most of Western history, the primary and most valued characteristic of manhood was self-mastery. … A man who indulged in excessive eating, drinking, sleeping, or sex—who failed to ‘rule himself’—was considered unfit to rule his household …” (p. 32).

At heart men’s true need is respect (women need self-sacrificial love). Wives who readily respect and admire their husbands through their speech and body language greatly assist their husbands in their mission of self-mastery and loving sacrifice. Husbands who practice the virtue of loving sacrifice greatly assist wives in their virtuous loving submission. At bottom this requires godliness in husbands and wives, the very thing marriage is designed to produce. Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, explains, “Godliness is selflessness, and when a man and a woman marry, they are pledging to stop viewing themselves as individuals and start viewing themselves as a unit, as a couple. In marriage, I am no longer free to pursue whatever I want; I am no longer a single man. I am part of a team, and my ambitions, dreams, and energies need to take that into account” (p. 77). Ultimately, Thomas writes, “We must not enter marriage predominately to be fulfilled, emotionally satisfied, or romantically charged, but rather to become more like Jesus Christ” (p. 96). And surely this is a house of virtue every married Christian couple wants to enter.


Pastor Jonathan Conner of Zion Lutheran Church in Manning, Iowa, serves as Vice President of The Hausvater Project.


Suggested citation: Conner, Jonathan. “The House of Virtue: Enter Here (Marriage).” The Hausvater Project, July 2012.