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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the darnedest, most interesting questions from people in their churches and people they meet. Here are a few that I’ve gotten over the years of my ministry and via email since this column started.

Dear Father Paul: Many churches claim to be the “authentic New Testament church.” Which one is right ... and what should one look for in a church?

— Joyce

Dear Joyce: WOW!! What a loaded question. This answer might not win me many friends, but the (sad) truth is that if the apostles and other early church fathers returned to the earth in 2008, they probably wouldn’t even recognize what passes for “church.” Indeed, in many cases “church” today is nowhere close to what Jesus had in mind when he sent his disciples out into the world to build his church. To the millions of people outside of the church, the church today has become simply irrelevant. Besides the well publicised issues of integrity among priests, pastors and TV evangelists, much of the church today seems focused only on its own institutional health and survival, not upon Jesus being Lord and upon making people his disciples. The church has become so institutionalized that its emphasis is about attracting and keeping large numbers of people, raising millions of dollars and building megastructures. “Let me entertain you,” has become the motto of all too many churches. These issues, plus the church’s involvement in politics over the past few decades has cost the church its ability to speak with strong moral authority and its ability to fulfill its true mission.

Don’t get me wrong. The church still does much, much good and there are still many wonderful churches. The fact is, also, that many of the churches I mentioned earlier are led by really godly people who know that the church has somehow strayed from her roots, but feel they are powerless to change the direction that the church has drifted over the years.

Don’t get discouraged Joyce. The true church is NOT an institution, but a living, vibrant organism quite capable of course correction. We are even today beginning to see the stirrings of what I believe will become a growing flood of positive change in the church ... back to its roots of true worship, building the kingdom of God and ministering to hurting people. Look for a church that does these things and where Jesus is Lord and you won’t go wrong.

Dear Father Paul: Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek.” Doesn’t sound too manly to me. Was he saying that we are to be wimps?

— Clay

Dear Clay: Jesus was a “man’s man.” There was nothing wimpy about him. The word translated as “meek” from Greek ... the language of the New Testament (see Matthew 5: 5) is “praus.” It literally means mild or humble.

Mild people are easy going ... non-agravated ... non-irritated ... unfrustrated ... uncomplaining. They are basically people who don’t get angry and bent out of shape over little things ... or even big things. Jesus was really saying, “Blessed are the unbothered.”

Meekness is a Godly quality to be much sought after, but which is sadly lacking in most of us. Jesus himself was the greatest example of meekness. Isaiah said about him, “He was oppressed and afflicted yet he didn’t open his mouth.”

Philippians 2: 5 and following is a wonderful passage on meekness and humbleness. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death ... even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth. And every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Got a question? Email me at or phone 678-457-3050.

Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross in Fayetteville, Georgia. Looking for a Church? Why not visit us this coming Sunday. Check us out at

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