I have just spent sometime reviewing your site and it is incredible. I am having some issues right now and was hoping you could help me, not sure where to turn because I don't want anyone in my church to think horribly of me. Anyway, here goes....
My husband and I meet six years ago, when we meet he was a member of the church. He was baptized while he was in college and I was a Baptist at the time we meet. Anyway we date and then married, so about two years after we meet I was baptized. I was so sure I was doing the right thing. Well, we have decided to try to have children, and now I have many doubts that have arisen. When it was just me and my husband I was fine, but thinking about the fact when you have children you, as the parent, are leading them and teaching them. Their lives and precious souls are in your hands as their parent and that scares me. I am having so many doubts that this is the right thing and I need to make sure we as a couple are on the right path before we have children. I do truly believe that Jesus is the way and the truth and I believe he died on the cross to save us from our sins. However I am unsure about other things, is baptism the only way to salvation? When someone is baptized, where is the repentance and the confession? Also what about instruments and I'm not sure how this whole eldership is supposed to be working? But mainly I want to make sure that we can lead our children to Christ and show them the right way. Thank you for your time.
I hope that I can explain the word of God clear enough to ease some of your doubts. You strike me as a person who does not want to begin a task until you are certain you can successfully accomplish it. It is not a bad trait. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it -- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace" (Luke 14:28-32). Jesus used this illustration to emphasize that those who want to follow him must consider the cost both of following and rejecting him.
But there is a danger that we get so wrapped up in trying to cover every possible contingency in advance that we never take a step to begin. We have to admit that most of our lives are in God's hand. "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil" (James 4:13-16). James' point is that if you think you have everything mapped out in advance, then you don't know what life is like. You have deceived yourself into thinking you can control more things than you can.
So what do we do? We figure out things as well we can and then step on in faith knowing that our God cares for us. Remember Abraham? God called him to go where He would lead him. Abraham left, not knowing where he would end up and we honor him for his faith (Genesis 12:1-4). "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised" (Romans 4:11-12).
You are correct that having children is a responsibility. You are loaned souls by God to raise and teach in His ways. Teaching, whether your own children or others, is a big responsibility. "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment" (James 3:1). But don't lose sight that children are a gift and a blessing from God.
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate" (Psalms 127:3-5).
"Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children's children. Peace be upon Israel!" (Psalms 128).
Rather than fear your abilities, put your trust in God and you'll rise to the occasion as each obstacle comes your way.
It appears that the seeds of doubt in one area has spread to undermine your faith in other areas as well. That alone needs to be addressed. "But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:6-8). It is the tossing of the waves that you are feeling. One doubt leading to other doubts.
Certainty, that is faith, comes from one source: "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). So when doubt begins to nibble at the edges of your faith, it is time to pull out your Bible and begin to examine what God has said. Several years ago, I put together two tables that I would like you to go through. Things that Accompany Salvation is a listing of various ideas that God connects to being saved. Examples of Conversion is an examination of all the conversions recorded in Acts to see what Christians did to become saved. I urge you to read all the passages for yourself. Use your cross reference to look at other related passages. See if I left anything out. Then sit back and consider that David said, "The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever" (Psalms 119:160). Many false teachings focus only on one aspect of what God has taught. They drop out parts, but partial truth is actually falsehood.
To cover the use of instrumental music in worshiping God, I would like you to go through the following. Again, make sure you look up and read all the passages for yourself. Check the context and look for related verses.
- Where in the Bible is Instrumental Music Forbidden?
- The Amazing History of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship
- Why Sing?
For the eldership, let me recommend "Our Need for Guidance"