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Answers to your questions about

life, religion and the Bible

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

Dear Father Paul: I am a married woman who has just ended an affair with a married man. I even left my husband and children for a time ... he left his wife and we lived together. My husband is a saint. He has forgiven me and we are now back together. If only I could forgive myself. I find that I am racked with guilt for what I have done and cringe at even the thought of going back to church. I am so sorry. Can God ever forgive me?
— Deb (not my real name).

Dear Deb: Jesus himself dealt with a similar case in Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John in the New Testament. He was teaching in the Temple when some of the religious leaders brought a woman to him who had been “caught in the very act of adultery.” They said (to try and trap him) “Teacher, Moses’ law commanded that she be stoned to death for her sin. What do you say?”

Jesus knelt and began writing on the ground, but they continued to press him. Finally, without raising up he said, “Let any one of you who is without sin, throw the first stone.” Overtaken with their own guilt, one-by-one they all silently drifted away leaving Jesus and the woman alone.

Jesus then stood up and said, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one Lord.” Jesus replied, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and from now on do not sin again.”

God is not some ancient, mean old man with a long beard sitting on a cloud just waiting for you to screw up so he can zap you and send you to hell. He’s not like that at all. He’s a loving and forgiving heavenly father, who, to be sure, hates sin, but loves sinners. He’s the God of the second chance, and the third, and the fourth, etc., etc.

God sees into your heart, Deb. He knows that you are contrite and that you have repented. And, here’s the good news ... he has already forgiven you.

Isn’t that wonderful? One of my all-time favorite verses in the Bible is in II Corinthians 5: 19, “God was in the world reconciling the world to himself through Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.” (Italics mine.) God loves you, he is not mad at you, he has already forgiven you and he will never leave you or forsake you. Begin to walk in his forgiveness. If he can forgive you, then forgive yourself. And go back to church this Sunday.

Dear Father Paul: What kind of church is the Church of the Holy Cross?
— Robert

Dear Robert: We are a part of the “Convergence Movement” which was begun in the early 1990s by a group of pastors from a number of different denominations, who, by the way, weren’t mad at anybody, but who wanted to see Jesus’ prayer for unity among his followers in John 17 where he prayed that all of his followers “might be one,” come to pass.

They found that today, the Christian church is fractured into thousands of denominations and sects, but the original, ancient, historic New Testament Church was one. It was one river which combined three types of theology and practice ... the “sacramental” emphasizing God the Father and the sacraments, especially baptism and Holy Communion ... the “evangelical” emphasizing Jesus, God’s Son, the Bible and the born again experience ... and the “charismatic” emphasizing God the Holy Spirit and his working today in the world and in men’s hearts.

To be sure, the fracturing of the church over the centuries had resulted in many wonderful churches and denominations most of which emphasize one of these three (now separate) streams.

What Church of the Holy Cross (and several thousand other “convergence churches” around the world) are doing is to reunite (converge) these (now) separate streams once again into one mighty, united river.

For this reason a Roman Catholic, a Baptist or a Pentecostal/Charismatic will feel right at home in a convergence church service. I know it sounds different from “church as usual,” but, trust me, it works.

If God has planted you in a church where you are growing and becoming more-and-more a disciple of Christ, you should stay there and bloom. If, however, you are “looking for a church,” then check out a convergence church. E-mail me and I will send you a list of our churches in metro-Atlanta.

Got a question for the column? Email me at or call me at 678-457-3050.

Do you need prayer? Email me or call me and I will pray for your need.

The next “Healing Sunday” at Church of the Holy Cross is May 11, 2008. Mark your calendar and come for prayer for your healing.

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