Tough Questions Answered

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If you have any tough questions about Christianity that you would like for us to answer, please submit your question as a comment below.  We can’t promise that we will answer all of these questions (due to time constraints), but it will help us to understand what is on our readers’ minds.  We really appreciate all of you who follow the blog faithfully, and we want to know if we are addressing the kinds of concerns you have.

Thanks so much!!

  • kay

    What I have heard on tv, from a religous channel is that 46 percent of Christians voted for Obama. And then later heard that 50+ percent of Catholics voted for him. How in the world could something like that happen? Think my figures are close to what I heard.
    What is the matter with Christians? Have they taken God completely out of the picture?

    Then heard on same channel that Obama prayed in a mosque while in Turkey. When he came home, he gave a speech somewhere and asks that the cross be covered. And next week goes to Notre Dame.

    Main question is is it wrong for Christians to not support Obama’s agenda? What are the limitations on what we can do or say? I went to a tea party and wish there was something else I could do. I do pray for his salvation and guidance for leading this country. He wants to remake America and I like it the way it is. It just needs to heal and recover a bit. Thanks. k

  • Hein Huyser

    Hi Guys,
    I have been strugling with the following verses (1Pet.3:19 and 1Pet. 4:6) All of the explanations I get from my local sources doesn’t tell me what I read in my Amplified. Please expand on these verses and give us a full explanation if possible. This is genuine and no trick questions will follow.
    Yours in Christ
    hein

  • http://familyoutreachministries.co.za pastor ina dry

    what is a pushpin in satanism?

  • Bill Pratt

    Kay, thanks for the question. See my post entitled, “Christians and Obama.”

  • Bill Pursley

    My Question:

    Is the first prayer that God hears from a person the prayer of repentance?

    Thank You

  • Bill Pratt

    Hein,
    Thanks for the question. Please see my post entitled, “Can a Person be Saved After He Dies?”

  • Bill Pratt

    Pastor,
    Thanks for the question. I am not an expert on Satanism. I would suggest googling this term and seeing what you can find. Here is one link I found that mentions push-pins:

    http://www.cuttingedge.org/News/n1875d.cfm

  • Bill Pratt

    Bill,
    What do you mean by “hears”? I can’t answer this question until I know more about what you mean.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • Mark

    Why do we not see miracles like happened in Old Testament or New Testament times? People will say that someone surviving cancer having been given only a ten percent chance is a miracle. I don’t necessarily see that as a miracle (of course, some people will die having received a 90% odds of survival), certainly not on a par with the parting of the Red Sea, turning water into wine or the Transfiguration.

  • Hein Huyser

    Hi Mark,
    This is from just another laymen, but fellow believer. I personally strongly believes that God inact thousands of miracles on a daily basis, much greater than those that happened in the New Testament.
    Can you inmagine a greater miracle than someone bound and destined for ever to be lost, that gets introduced to the Living Word and Saving Grace of God? When the reconciliation happens and a person gets truly born-again and his/her name gets written in the Book of Life, hey man, nothing can be greater than assisting in giving someone the Everlasting Life in Christ Jesus.
    Thats a true great miracle, if not the greatest of them all.
    True life after death.
    Healing of the mind follows.
    Healing of the physical is guaranteed.
    Healing of broken relationships is ensured.
    Everlasting life and hope is guaranteed.
    Now thats a miracle.
    Shalom
    Hein

  • Tom Howe

    I’ve always believed that man separated himself from God through sin, and God couldn’t just ignore our sin – it needed to be paid for, as He is a just God. It was for this reason that He sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins. I believe strongly that that is a massive declaration of love, and demonstrates how deep he cares for us.

    But the more I think about the cross what I struggle with, is how is the cross a just way of accounting for our sins? Sure, a perfect sacrifice is needed to pay for our sins, but letting sinners kill a perfect man surely just adds to their sin. It seems the opposite of justice, so how can God be just? And if God was not just, why couldn’t he simply ignore our sins in the first place?

    I know that being a Christian is about celebrating the mystery of God, and being prepared to accept a lot of paradoxes, but I was wondering if you could offer me a clearer perspective on how the cross is just?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Tom,
    Please see my post entitled, “Did God Kill His Own Son?

    This post may help explain this issue. Also, make sure you read the comments that follow the post.

    I would also add that God’s justice compels him to deal with sin, but his love compels him to try and save mankind from the results of their sin. In the cross, he accomplishes both. He justly punishes sin, and he provides a way for mankind to be redeemed. This idea is summarized in Rom. 3:21-26.

    One other thing. You said, “Sure, a perfect sacrifice is needed to pay for our sins, but letting sinners kill a perfect man surely just adds to their sin. It seems the opposite of justice, so how can God be just?”

    The cross is not demonstrating the justice of the men who killed Jesus. That is the point. Man will never be just enough or good enough to pay for his sins. God is the one who provided the justice at the cross. God demands justice, because of his just nature, and Christ provided the payment for that demand. That is the beauty of the cross.

  • Tom Howe

    Thanks for your quick reply, but I’m afraid I still don’t understand. You state that “[God] justly punishes sin, and he provides a way for mankind to be redeemed.” This works if you treat man and sin as separate entities (so sin means the devil’s actions, and that way God could punish the devil, but redeem mankind)

    The danger with that, is that we ignore that sin is something that man does – suppose I murdered someone and stood trial before a Judge, the Judge wouldn’t punish murder – he’d punish me. I’m not sure how you can mean God punishes sin, when sin is a property of man. Surely the just thing is to punish man.

    I don’t have any problem with the text on the “Did God Kill His Own Son?” page. Sure, Jesus consensually let himself die for our sins, and I am grateful for his grace in doing that, but I still don’t understand how that is a just solution to the problem of sin.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “demonstrating the justice of the men who killed Jesus.” how do the men *have* justice?

  • Bill Pratt

    I think the mistake you’re making is saying that “sin is a property of man.” Sin is an activity, an action. Free moral agents, such as humans, can commit sins, but they don’t have to. Therefore sin is not a property of man. Sins and sinners are two completely different things – one is an action and one is a moral agent. God’s justice requires that sin is punished, but not necessarily all sinners. The Bible clearly teaches this.

    Suppose you are standing before a judge for a crime that you committed. Instead of sentencing you, the judge steps down and pays the fine for for you. The law has been fulfilled and the fine has been paid. That is exactly what Christ did for us. That is why it is called the substitutionary atonement. He was our substitute at the court of law. He paid the fine for us.

    Keep in mind that Christ’s death for us makes us “legally” innocent of our charges, meaning that God allows Christ to pay the fine for us so that we can spend eternity with God after we die. However, we reap the consequences of our sin while we are on earth. God allows all of us to be punished for our sins temporally. Christ’s substitutionary atonement does not pay the fine for the consequences of our sins while we are on earth.

    Does any of that help?

  • Tom Howe

    Thanks for your time in replying to these. Like most discussions about an infinite God, it seems to bring up more questions than it answers! If this is taking up to much of your blogging time, let me know and I’ll cut down on the questions!

    You’re right that I wasn’t correct in saying sin is a property of man – thinking about it, it is indeed an action, not a property. But an action has a cause though, so you can’t punish an action – you must surely punish the cause (ie the person who sins, not the sin itself). God can’t punish anger, right, surely he must punish the angry?

    I have heard the judge example used before, and while it is a good demonstration of grace, and such a judge that does that for people is worthy of praise, I fail to see how the judge has acted justly in that situation. You say that the law has been fulfilled, but surely that’s only the letter of the law, and not the deeper meaning behind it, which is that the criminal should be punished for what he has done. What makes it harder to understand, is that in this analogy, the judge _made_ the law. Does that mean God made the law with the knowledge that it would never be fulfilled? In which case why did he make it as a barrier between us and God? Yes, the law shows us where our sin is, but why have a method of fulfilling it that costs us nothing and costs him so dearly? How is that just?

  • Tom Howe

    Oops. think I replied to the wrong part. That’s an interesting point on the consequences of sin while we’re on earth – it’s easy to forget that.

  • makayla

    what is the truth about homosexuallity?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Makayla,
    Could you be more specific? What exactly do you want to know about homosexuality?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Mark,
    Please see my post on this topic, which your question inspired. Thanks for asking.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • kay

    Please discuss “once saved always saved”. Thanks.

  • Kate

    I need to know why I am I so blessed? Why am I blessed with health, a great job, perfect children, a wonderful life all around – when so many people in the world are suffering?

    I feel like God has singled me out to be “overly-blessed” in this sinful world. Can you help shed light on this? I don’t understand why I am so BLESSED?!

  • mikeriveraprod

    There are a lot of Churches today (catholics, protestants, born again christians, etc…) but what church did Jesus really made?

  • Hein Huyser

    Mike, I think its wrong to tie Jesus down to one “church” or denomination. Jesus said that the “body” consists of different parts with each his own integral part and function. eg. When kicking a ball, the thumb have got no real function, but try and pick up a pencil without using your thumb. For that moment and action your thumb is a crucial instrument.
    So is the “body” of a singular church made up of many different people each with his/her own crucial part to play, (giftings)and so is the collective “body” made up of many churches. Although, its your responsibility to make sure that you don’t worship at places where crucial truths about God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and the manifestations and work of the Holy Spirit is depressed, or completely ignored.
    Jesus Himself promised us the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us and to tell us the things we need to know about God, Jesus, sin, death, ressurection life everlasting and Himself. For the sinner these things are foolishness, but for the saved the “bread of life”.
    Why the focus on the Holy Spirit? Well it was promised and what was the very first thing what Jesus did for His desciples when He appeared to them the very first time after His ressurection? John 20:22. He gave them the Holy Spirit. Shalom. Hein

  • Luiza

    How do we know when scripture in the Old Testament is a prophecy, and the author is not writing about him self and his current situation. For example Psalm 22… How do we know David is not talking about him self? How do we know that it is a prophecy about the suffering Messiah? Still struggling, Luiza God Bless you!

  • Bill Pratt

    Luiza,
    Excellent question! There is no easy answer to this question. There are many prophecies in the OT that are referring to events that would happen soon, such as the destructions of Israel and Judah by the Assyrians and Babylonians. There are other prophecies that clearly point to a distant future (e.g., the Messianic Kingdom). Then there are prophecies which refer both to events that would soon occur and events that would occur even further in the future.

    One needs to closely study the literary genre of the particular OT passage, its literary structure, and the historical context to figure out what is going on in every case of prophecy. If you don’t have the time or expertise to do that, you go to commentaries or Bible dictionaries, or other references that can help the serious Bible student. I do that all the time.

    In the case of Psalm 22, the Psalmist (some consider to be David) is lamenting his close brush with death that he apparently survived. Christian writers (see Heb. 2:12, 17; Matt. 27:35; Matt 27:46; Matt. 27:42-43; Luke 24:39–40; Matt. 27:39, 47) saw the death of Christ reflected in Ps. 22 and thus quoted several verses from the Psalm and applied them to Jesus. They surely did this because when they read Ps. 22 they saw numerous parallels between it and Jesus’ death. Perhaps even Jesus himself pointed out the parallels to them as he taught them after his resurrection.

    It’s important to note that Ps. 22 was originally applied to the Psalmist (David, if you like), but then later applied to Jesus by the NT writers. It’s not one or the other, but both. So David was talking about himself, but his writing also would apply to Jesus and his death.

    When I read Ps. 22, the parallels seem to be there, and I can see why the NT writers made the connection. I’m not sure that will help your struggles, but I hope I’ve been of some use to you.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Joe Walton

    How does an Old Earth Creationist explain the story of Noah’s Ark and the Flood? Was it just local? Or was it something completely different like an asteroid strike causing a terrible tsunami that seemed like a flood? How would we reconcile that with the promises God makes about not destroying the world with a flood again or the prophecy about “a great mountain” being thrown into the sea? Wouldn’t these make God out to be a liar?

    Trying to get my head out of doubt and wrap my mind around facts and heart around faith.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Joe,
    Old earth creationists generally view the flood as having occurred in the area of ancient Mesopotamia, thus it was a “local” flood in that sense. The flood killed all mankind (all mankind lived in Mesopotamia) except for Noah and his family. With regard to the animals, according to Greg Moore, the ark “only contained certain species of birds and mammals that lived within the reach of the Flood’s devastation and were important to Noah’s short-term survival.” He bases this on the Hebrew words used for the animals – nephesh and basar.

    As far as God’s promise, he said, “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” Clearly the promise has to do with destroying all human life by flood again, and that indeed has not happened, so God is not a liar.

    I hope this helps,
    Bill

  • Sukirtha

    Does God give chance to every human to accept Him? What is a chance, I mean, does it happen like what happened to Saul on the way to Damascus, or could it be merely someone telling the person about God? I am asking this because lot of people ask for signs to prove them the very existence of God? I know it is not right to ask for signs but how else do I convince people? This is especially necessary when I try to convince my friends or someone in my family… I would like all of them to be saved… I cannot give up on them. I would like all of them to have the gift of eternal life that I have recieved

  • W

    you think you are so smart. I read you entry about the Book of Mormon. and your explanation for the Testament which you say and you are right means Covenant.
    my question for you is to help you get this right? and it seems you are smart. so you’ll figure it out.

    If you belief in the New Covenant, out of all those thousands of christian churches that all proclaim to be true and they have the correct doctrine and teachings of Christ. WHICH ONE DO YOU PICK? wouldn’t you agree that one is right for everyone? There is only one Christ and only one Bible. so how come people follow it in different ways? wouldn’t you agree that people twist it there way they want it to be. belief the things they want to belief? anyway, you can think about this.
    thanks
    God bless

  • foolofools

    Been a Christian for 6 years, am born again; sincerely love the Lord and want to follow Him all my life. He changed my life. I struggle with marijuana. Been delivered of it on and off. Recently, I felt like I got a message that if I don’t stop, something terrible will happen to one of my children. Is this a totally irrational made-up mind thing, or could God really be warning me that this could happen? I know I disobey Him every time I take a puff, and what’s horribly worse is that I’ve smoked even after receiving that “message.” I know it’s obvious what needs to be done, but if everything works out wonderfully and my kids live to be 100, I will always wonder if that word was really from God.

  • Bill Pratt

    Please see the post on this topic: Once Saved, Always Saved?

  • Kym Hornak

    I am still a little confused about the 7 year tribulation and how you guys have interpreted the Bible. Do you have a chart that lays out when you think things will happen? I am looking at all thoughts …..pre, mid, post and I am praying that God will make it clear to me what is true. Of course and am taking scripture out of the Bible and looking at that first but for some reason I am still a little confused about when things take place. What do you think may be correct? If you have a chart or can spell it out it would be great! Thank you and God Bless

  • Kym

    First of all, you are not a fool! Change your id to something that God would approve of. ALL of us can make foolish mistakes but can learn from it and be forgiven.
    I lived with a man for 18 years who smoked pot everyday and I know how it can affect your children! I smoked it too a few times, didn’t really like it but still did it to be cool. Maybe it was God or God’s wisdom that you prayed for that told you to stop. I understand feeling and hearing things and not understanding if it is God! All I can say is pray for a sound mind and to stop smoking pot. That will mean telling all freinds or family or neighbors that you are not going to do it anymore and to stay away. It will be extremely difficult for you if you are still around people who do smoke!! YOU have to decide if you are worth it and if you make the right choice, God will be there to get you through it. My ex-husbands smoking eventually led him to meth. It took him 20+ years to get there, but that is where it lead him. It will hurt your children eventually. My daughters are 24 and 26 and they are just now understanding and having to deal with things that happened in their past because of their dad! YOU can do it, but only with the LORD. Remove yourself from all evil (this means certain TV shows, certain music, items in your home) and surround yourself with Christians and good things the Lord will approve of and I promise you can quit. When I first became a true Christian I found a Bible study group at church to go to. It was so boring and I was not really into reading about something that happened thousands of years ago! But I prayed that God would not make it boring and that I would find excitment in studying, and believe it or not I love studying the Bible now. I then slowly started removing the bad things out of my life, giving up bad music, movies and hanging with freinds that didn’t want to respect me. It worked and God and Jesus are still working on me!!Remember, you are worthy and you are beautiful in the Lords eyes!! I will pray for your success. God Bless!

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Sukirtha,
    Please see this post for an answer to your question.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Patsy Hutchinson

    1. Why did God allow pologamy in the Old Testament?
    2. In the New Testament, God had rules for pastors and deacons. Explain what having one wife means? If a pastor’s first wife is deceased, can he re-marry and still be a pastor if his second wife has not been married? In selecting a pastor for our church about four years ago, many who applied for the pastor’s office had been married before. We did not choose one who was married with having a current wife and a divoroced wife. Is this biblical? The Rev. Charles Stanley has divorced, but not re-married, but is still the pastor of his Atlanta based ministry. Is this scriptural?

    Thanks for helping me with these subjects.

    Sincerely,
    Patsy Hutchinson

  • Austin

    Wonderful Site!
    I recently had a friendly yet awkward debate with a co-worker who is still a member of the mormon church and also was a recent missonary.
    I’m not one to really get all amped up over someone elses religion but it struck me when he said
    “People say that were not Christians, and it is an insult because we are.”
    So i went on to ask the simple question do you believe in the bible?
    “Yes as much as it was correctly translated”
    Do you believe the book of Mormon coincides with the bible?
    “Yes”
    Is there more than one god?
    “Yes”
    Then there is a difference then what me and you believe in..I believe as a christian of the bible in ONE.
    He began to explain his take that they are 3 separate beings and some other mormon propaganda.
    However he said “When jesus was on the cross and he yelled to the sky at God..it makes no sense that he was one..because he would be yelling at himself??”
    So please help me further explain to him how the trinity is one GOD.
    Thanks!

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Austin,

    Great question. Discussing the Trinity with LDS can be very tough. The LDS Church does a great job of mischaracterizing it and therefore, causing their members to never even want to listen to anyone who tries to explain it. Bill has done a few posts that might help out some here.

    The one thing that hit me while I was LDS was discovering how clear The Bible is about there being ONE AND ONLY ONE GOD. When I discovered this it rocked my whole paradigm as a Mormon. My suggestion would be to start with a few verses in Isaiah 43-46. Here they are:

    43:3, 10-12
    44:2, 6, 8
    45:5, 6, 18, 21, 22
    46:9

    The thing to try and show them is that God is very clear when He says there is no God before, after, or besides Him. In LDS teaching Jesus is the one speaking these words in The Old Testament (they say Jesus is The God of The Old Testament). Therefore, when considering these verses in Isaiah, LDS are in a quandry for there was a God before and besides the God who is speaking these words – God the Father who they call by the name Elohim. This violates what Jesus is telling us over and over again in Isaiah. Keep in mind that in LDS teaching Elohim had spirit children with his Heavenly Wife. Jesus was the first born among these spirit children and we are among them as well. Jesus is our older brother. The bottom line to try to get at with them is that in their teaching Jesus is a spirit born son of Elohim and therefore, came into existence as a God AFTER Elohim. This is in serious violation of numerous scriptures including the ones cited above.

    Good luck with this. Pray for him, love him, and be patient with him. I was in his shoes several years ago and God brought my family and me out. Miracles can be done. Feel free to shoot me questions here anytime!!

    Darrell

  • Austin

    Thanks for the response darrell.
    This is really as far as ive gotten on a debate with a mormon without them getting upset! I really had to drill down to see the mentality of his thought process, and it almost seemed he had answers that were already “pre-programmed”.
    Alot of answers were “we” believe this or that,as my answers were “I” believe.
    I had him saying yes and no at the same time, witch to me was really interesting.
    It showed me pretty quick that his thought process was almost set in stone,and if the book of mormon said 2+2=5 that’s what “we” believe.He basically pointed out that they use the bible to pick and choose what works for their religion or his terms “As far as correctly translated”,however he still argues the fact that hes christian but chooses what he wants to believe between the bible and the book of mormon. I guess my next question for you is what was it that made that light “switch on” for you coming from a mormon background?
    My logic was as simple as 2+2 but somehow to him it equals 5.

  • Gene Lewis

    I heard a Bible teacher say that the Jewish epistles were not written to Christians. He said they were written to Jews who had never heard Paul’s Gospel of grace but had only heard the Gospel of the Kingdom and who believed JESUS was the prophesied Messiah who would lead them into the soon coming Kingdom of God on earth. I have not mentioned this man’s name because I respect his teachings and he seems to be so correct on so many things. What is your opinion, were the people who received these epistles Christians?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Gene,
    Which epistles are you referring to specifically?

  • Gene Lewis

    James, I & II Peter, I & II & III John, Jude, Revelation

  • Hein Huyser

    Please allow me two pennys worth of comment.

    I for one have battled with the same questions previously and sometimes one must apply just some logic to Gods Word..
    If Noah’s flood were a local flood, why didn’t God simply told Noah to take his family and move away from the area to be flooded? Why did Noah had to take more than a hundred years to build the ark? There was plenty time enough for Noah to move away. Nope, the flood was worldwide, and the rainbow that we see after rains is the covenant sign that God will never let that happen again. Just a scewer-ball here, while we are on this subject. Isn’t it strange that all (most) fossils are found buried under sediment and gravel etc? Wonder how those twenty-ton monsters got to be buried if not swamped by a massive flood, isn’t it? You can believe the Bible. Everything.
    The crucial part though is not where we came from though, its where we will spend eternity, and with whom. Lets get that subject under control and deeply rooted, and the rest will be of little significance. Shalom. Hein

  • Hein Huyser

    I don’t wnat to make it sound like I don’t understand the situation you find yourself in, but please believe me, we all have our struggles, one way or the other.
    Something that helped me a lot in the beginning was when I truly understood Exodus 1:1. I am a total believer in the New Covenant etc. but by realising that if I do, say, use, think, act in any way, or do anything that takes God and put Him in second place in any area of my life, that I have made an idol out of it. This realisation gave me the strength to resist most apparent “little” sins that I saw many fellow believers struggle with every day, and thereby preventing God’s blessings from flowing in and through your life.
    Another double check is to try to pray to God for your family while you do anything you wonder about if its right or wrong. If you get a check from the Holy Spirit within you, you know to stop. And thereby confirming God’s Word that the moment you give your life to Jesus, you are filled with the Holy Spirit.
    With this “Helper” you can overcome anything, and thereby allowing God’s favour to flow in and through you.
    I bet that you are being prepared for a ministry position, and by learning to overcome this seemingly unsurmountable problem, you will be, one day, be able to teach others with this same problem. It worked for me, and it will be so in your life if you realy want it. Shalom. Hein

  • Hein Huyser

    Hi W, I won’t answer for Bill, he will do that in his own good time, and with much more wisdom that what I can muster, I’m sure, but I just want to add my thoughts here, if you will allow me please.
    Have the thought ever crossed your mind that not everybody that calls themselves Christian might not be so very Christian?
    Therefore, not every church that swings a Bible around in the chuch might not be so very much Holy Spirit filled as one would love to believe.
    This very thing you touches on here, the basis of your question, is the foundation of God’s Grace (unmerrited favour) and I pray you see it this way also.
    The mere fact that God doesn’t come down from heaven and Zapp these people and churches into oblivion is proof that God is postponing His wrath through Grace and thereby giving you and I the time to get to the “truth”. Isn’t that the perfect example of Gods grace? We are fortunate indeed.
    That truth is simply this. “Believe and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal Himself within and through your life, in order for you to teach others the message that Jesus came in order for man to be once and for all be reconciled with God, his maker. Shalom. Hein

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Darrell

    Austin,

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. What helped me? Well, all I can really point to is God. He opened my wife’s eyes and my eyes. There is a spirit about Mormonism which binds people to it. It truly is a spiritual battle. It was a long process for me… years in fact. There were several things that God used to help me. However, the two biggest were:

    1) Discovering the unsanitized Mormon Church history. I began to realize that what the Church shares with its members in regards to its history it not very accurate. It shares “faith promoting” white washed history with little regard for historic accuracy.

    2) I started reading my Bible without my “Mormon glasses.” I wanted to find out what God had to tell me. Once I did this and discovered how much Mormon doctrine contradicts The Bible I pretty much knew I could never be a believing Mormon again.

    Hope that helps. God bless!

    Darrell

  • jeff trent

    ive got a pretty good illustration for the trinity as well –we know there are three that bear record in heaven and these three are one or work together as a unit all three god at the same time now imagine god was a government lets say with three oh lets call them branches and lets pretend their called the executive,legislative,and judicial we may chuckle to ourselves at this point because we know that is exactly what the usa govt is notice the similarities
    the father(executive) the word(legislative) the holy spirit(judicial) just thought i would give you something to ponder god bless

  • Hein Huyser

    Hi There, I discovered the following recently and it helped me tremendously. I have forever battled to describe how we “see” everything in the Bible as truth, while others might see it from their own perspective and viewpoint.
    I have discovered that if I do a little math with people wondering about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and if they catch on, a lot of trivial questions dissapear,eg; The way the world sees it as 1+1+1=3 but the Bible explains it as such, 1x1x1=1. I hope this helps. Shalom. Hein

  • Bill Pratt

    Gene,
    I will tell you what Edmond Hiebert’s “An Introduction to the New Testament” says about each. This is the book we use in seminary to study the New Testament.

    James – written for Jewish Christian believers. So yes, the audience was Christian.

    1 Peter – written for both Gentile and Jewish Christian believers

    2 Peter – same as 1 Peter

    Jude – both Jewish and Gentile Christians

    1 John – Christian believers in Asia

    2 and 3 John – Christian believers

    Revelation – Christians in Asia

    In every case, these epistles are addressed to Christian believers, some who have a Jewish background and some who have a Gentile background. I have seen no arguments that these books were addressed to non-believers.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Patsy,
    God allowed all sorts of sin in the Old Testament, but he did not approve of it. He even allows polygamy today, if by that we mean that some believers of Christ have multiple wives. This is the case in some African or Middle eastern communities where missionaries evangelize people that typically practice polygamy.

    Bottom line: God did not approve of it, but he allowed it.

    On your second question, I cannot give you a concrete answer, as there is much debate about what Paul meant in 1 Tim. 3:1, 12 and Titus 1:6.

    We know that the New Testament permits remarriage, so my opinion is that Paul is stressing that the elder or deacon be completely dedicated to his one wife, if he has one. Also polygamy is obviously forbidden. I have a hard time understanding how a man who has previously been divorced, but is now faithfully married to a woman, should be excluded from being a deacon or elder.

    If you have a man that has had multiple marriages and been divorced multiple times, this should be probably be seen as spiritual immaturity and he should be excluded on other grounds. A man’s previous marriage choices should be considered as they are indicative of the kind of man he is, but a complete ban on any man who is married more than once seems unwarranted to me.

    Hope this helped,
    Bill

  • dave botma

    Please comment on the possibility that the U.S.A is the commercial Babylon in the 18th chapter of Revelation. There are many web sites that use pretty wierd interpretations to promote this claim, and I am not interested in these, but the biblical text descibes an entity that very well could be Amarica.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Dave,
    I’m afraid I won’t be much help on this topic. I am a skeptic of claims that we are able to identify modern entities with prophecies from Scripture. There is a long trail of people in the past 2,000 years who claimed they knew that the nations and circumstances in their time period must be what the prophecies in Revelation predicted, and they have all been wrong. Could the USA be Babylon? Maybe, but we just don’t know.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Allyson

    I know this probably isnt a very good question but Im going to ask, and sorry for the dumb question. My friend is a good person and so is her family, they give rather than take and they work at our mission ect., well her mother got cancer and she asked why bad things seem to always happen to the good people more than the bad. I couldnt answer so I ask, Why do bad things happen to good people??

  • Gene Lewis

    Thanks Bill.

  • BRUCE ROLAND

    DID JESUS HAVE A HOME?

  • http://worduncensored.wordpress.com Sukirtha

    Hi Bill,
    Thank you so much for the answer. I just have one more doubt. You said God gives chance to every human to know Him. I pray for ppl around me and I also try to tell few ppl about our Lord. It’s obvious they don’t accept it without hesitation. In fact no one has so far accept Jesus through me. Sometimes I feel my efforts are going waste. Now the question is, does a person accept Jesus by his own will (self desicion) or should God’s will be present for a person to accept Jesus? Can a person become a Christian just by self decision, or does God choose a person to be His child? I ask this question because I see people taking a lot of time to accept Jesus even after they come to know the truth. Is it because God has His own time or is it because the person is not yet ready to accept the truth? I hope I am making my question clear.

  • http://worduncensored.wordpress.com Sukirtha

    What do you think about the Third temple construction? Work has started already. Any comments on that?

  • Bill Pratt

    If your speaking of his time on earth, he certainly grew up in a home in Nazareth and lived there until his ministry started, most likely.

    When his ministry started, he traveled all through Galilee and Judea and stayed with friends and followers, such as Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. He was an itinerant rabbi, so home was wherever he happened to be staying at the time.

    Was there more to this question? I’m afraid the answer I’ve given is fairly simple, so maybe I’m missing something about your question.

  • Bill Pratt

    I’m aware that work has been going on preparing for the eventual building of the third temple, but I am not an expert on it. The John Ankerberg Show has some material on this, so if you’re really interested, you might order something from them. Here is a link for you: http://www.johnankerberg.org/catalog/RT.html

    Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Bill Pratt

    I believe that God must first call a person to himself. Each person, then, has the choice to either receive or reject that calling. Thus God and men cooperate in man’s salvation. God unconditionally offers us salvation, but we must accept the offer. Of course, God knows who will choose him and who will reject him, but this does not change the fact that men are free to decide, once God has initiated the relationship. Man will never initiate contact with God unless God has already called him.

    Don’t be discouraged about those you witness to. We are all seed planters and we will only know how we affected some people’s salvation when we reach heaven. Many people will thank you one day when you reach heaven and they grab you and say, “Thank you for sharing the gospel with me! You never knew what an impact you had on me.” We are like the farmer in Mark 4:26-29. We sow and some of the seeds grow and some don’t. God will bring those to salvation whom he has chosen. They will respond. Our job is to give them the gospel. Once we tell them the truth and answer their questions, we may move on, knowing God is in control.

    You might also want to read some of the posts I’ve written on salvation. They might help.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Allyson,
    This question is best answered by looking at the cross. The only good person who ever lived, the sinless Son of God, was put to death unjustly. Talk about a bad thing happening to a good person!

    But what was the outcome of that bad thing? Salvation for mankind. Without the cross, you and I couldn’t spend eternity with God. So the bad thing of Jesus dying gave all of mankind a very good thing.

    When a godly person suffers, their response to the suffering, if it honors God, can bring many people to Christ. Maybe your friend’s mother will cause people to come to God, whereas if she had never been sick, maybe they would not have.

    God promises in Rom. 8:28 that he makes all things that happen to those who love him work out for their ultimate good. Tell your friend that Jesus suffered and died, so he knows what it’s like to experience pain. God doesn’t sit on the sidelines, coolly watching our pain. He came down and suffered with us. That is a God we can love!

  • Brian W

    Our church is studying various views on the rapture. Three of the views I am very familiar with: pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation and post tribulation. There is a fourth position being explored and studied called the Pre-Wrath Rapture. Authors of such views include: Marvin Rosenthal, Robert D. Van Kampen and Lee W. Brainard. Their position dismisses the idea of the pre-tribulation rapture. Is the the pre-wrath teaching is incorrect? If so, could you provide Scriptural truths that rebut this position? Thank you for your time. I am only seeking truth and harmony with God’s Holy Word and am struggling to reconcile the teachings of the pre-trib and pre-wrath rapture positions.

    Thank you,

    Brian W

  • Bill Pratt

    Brian,
    I am not an expert in this area, although I am familiar with the various rapture views. Below, I have copied a passage out of Norm Geisler’s Systematic Theology Vol. 4 to try and answer your question. Geisler believes in a pre-trib rapture, but he does deal with the other views, as you’ll see below. I highly recommend his book if you are interested in a good overview of all the positions.

    The pre-wrath view proposes that the Rapture will occur sometime between the sixth and seventh seals (Rev. 6:12–8:1). This will be near the end of the Tribulation, just before God pours out His wrath on the earth, prior to Christ’s return. Robert Van Kampen (1940–2000) represents the pre-wrath belief, as does Marvin Rosenthal. Arguments for a pre-wrath Tribulation include the following.

    Argument One
    Pre-wrath proponents maintain a difference between “the Day of the Lord” and “the Great Tribulation.” The Day of the Lord is at the fifth seal (Rev. 6:9–11); the Tribulation begins with the seventh seal (8:1). There is no wrath of God during the Tribulation period and no tribulation during the wrath period.

    Response
    Zephaniah 1:14–15 reveals that the Day of the Lord is both a day of wrath and a “day of trouble” (Heb: tsarah) or “tribulation.”

    Argument Two
    The Bible promises that believers will be delivered from God’s wrath, not from tribulation (2 Thess. 1:5–10). Since the word wrath does not appear in Revelation until after the sixth seal, God’s wrath will not be poured out until the seventh seal; hence, the Rapture is between the sixth and seventh seals.

    Response
    First, again, “wrath” and “tribulation” are not different periods.
    Second, absence of a word does not prove absence of the concept. For example, the word wrath does not appear in Genesis, yet God’s wrath was poured out during the Flood (6–8) and on Sodom and Gomorrah (19).
    Third, Matthew 24:22 indicates that if the Tribulation were longer, all flesh, godly and ungodly, would be destroyed. This would have necessitated God’s wrath also on the godly.
    Fourth, Matthew 24:21 indicates that the Great Tribulation will be unparalleled in human history. This would not be possible without God’s wrath; otherwise, an era with His wrath would be greater than the greatest.
    Fifth, and finally, the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord have other common characteristics (e.g., both have tribulation, entail unparalleled trouble, ensure great trials, and contain Israel’s repentance. See Showers, PWRV, 35).

    Argument Three
    God’s wrath comes only with the seventh seal, so the only wrath in the first six seals will be the wrath of man, not of God.

    Response
    First, the seven seals are all part of the same sequence. The only differentiation between the seals is intensity; they all unleash God’s judgment on the world.
    Second, at any rate, God often uses humans to execute His wrath.
    Third, the warfare involved in the first six seals is an instrument of God’s wrath.
    Fourth, famine, mentioned in the third seal, is not totally the wrath of man.
    Fifth, the fourth seal speaks of famine and the sword, both of which, according to Ezekiel, are part of God’s wrath. The Hebrew word for fury (14:19), hema, which means “anger” or “wrath” (cf. 38:18–19; Isa. 13:6, 9), is also used of the Day of the Lord, which pre-wrath proponents take to mean a day of God’s wrath (cf. Ps. 110:5; Rev. 19:11–21).
    Sixth, the authority to inflict death given under the fourth seal (6:8) will come from God, who alone has that power (1:18; cf. Deut. 32:39).
    Seventh, and finally, even the unsaved under the sixth seal will recognize the judgment as the “wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:15–16). Isaiah speaks of this day as the Day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12, 20–21).

  • Ronnie Jones

    Hey Bill,
    Talked with a friend of mine who is a Seventh-Day Adventist and we discussed why almost all Evangelical Christians don’t still observe Sabbath day worship and he explained why they do still observe the 4th commandment. I thought it might be a good question to discuss on your blog.

    Ronnie Jones
    Greensboro, NC

  • Brian W

    Thank you for the prompt and thorough response.

  • Hein Huyser

    Just a quick thought on this subject. If it only was a local flood, why did’nt God told Noah to move, rather than building an ark and be ridiculed for a hundred of years whilst doing so?

    No, it was a flood that covered the world, and God postponed the flood to give the people of that time, time enough to repent of their wicked ways, but allas, only Noah with his family survived.

    Secondly, if you take the average population growth and work it backwards, you will get to around the time of Noah, not creation, which was well before Noah’s time.

    Lastly, are you aware that all the fossils (or most anyway) that are found, are found to be buried beneath debris and mud and sand. How is it that these monsters that they unearth today got buried under tons of sediment? If all of them just died of natural and unnatural causes without being buried under sediment, don’t your logic tells you that they would have all rot being exposed to the sun and the elements?

    Trust the Authoritave Word of God.

    Hebrews 11:1 –

    Shalom

  • Buddy Collins

    Is it possible to disinguish between the human conscience and the working of the Holy Spirit ?
    How do I know which is “prodding” me ?

  • Bill Pratt

    Great question! I would say that the Holy Spirit works through our conscience, so that it is not either/or. We know that God provides common grace to all mankind and special grace to his adopted children, so the operation of the human conscience can always to be attributed to God, as long as our conscience is prodding us in the same moral direction God would have us go. If our conscience is prodding us to go against God’s nature, then we can safely rule out the Holy Spirit’s role in that case.

    The great thing God has provided for us is Scripture. Whenever we have doubts about whether something in our mind or heart is from God, we can always check it against Scripture. If it disagrees, then we know God is not the source of it.

  • dale

    are forefathers (i believe) desired for our nation to be a christian nation. but most disturbing to me is the fact that a vast number of them were masons as well ,how does that sit with you, i just saw a program on the history channel,which i must say as of lately has been more than happy to show some pretty anti-christian material, had a special on our forefathers. and i’m just wondering was this a more watered down version of the masons or what? how can this be, where they unaware of the way these two line up. i can see the masons being outspoken on this. thank you,, dale bennett

  • terry

    a man and a woman were married in a traditional church with the traditional vows but were not christians. 2 years later, they separated, then divorced. she committed adultry while separated. her ex did not have an affair. the man she had the affair with, she married ( he had never been married). they then became followers of christ. they have been married for forty years. are we committing adultry? we have confessed this sitution to god and have asked for forgiveness. what should we do now? we have not received a definitive answer really from anyone. i guess what i am saying “where do we go from here?

  • Bill Pratt

    Terry,
    Norman Geisler once referred to these situations as “scrambled eggs” because once an egg is scrambled, you can’t really put it back together again like it once was. That is what happened to the original marriage you spoke of. The Bible doesn’t give explicit commands about every single situation that may arise in a person’s life. In cases like this, we use general principles of biblical wisdom.

    My opinion in this matter is that even though sins were committed during the separation, we are now 40 years later. You became followers of Christ after you were married, and if you have confessed your sins of adultery from the past, and you have asked forgiveness from God and the wronged spouse, then that is all you can do. Splitting up your marriage after 40 years will accomplish nothing good. In fact, you will just commit another sin of divorce, thus compounding the mistakes already made earlier in life.

    If you are believers, ask God for forgiveness, ask the wronged spouse for forgiveness, and move on with your lives. Don’t let this cloud hang over your heads, as it is only serving to hinder your walk with Christ.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • http://worduncensored.wordpress.com Sukirtha

    Thank Bill and thanks for those encouraging words. I will keep doing my work faithfully. The rest is upto God and people around me. Thanks again. And good job with the blog. Keep up the good work!

  • George

    I know people who pray then randomly open their bibles and seek answers to their prayers. It seems to me that this could lead to errors in interpretation and may even be a form of divination. Could you please comment on this? Is it right, wrong, harmless, or otherwise?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi George,
    Randomly opening your Bible to to seek an answer to prayer is nothing more than magic, which the Bible forbids. All 66 books of the Bible were written as complete units of literature and each verse only makes sense in the larger context of the chapter and book it is found in. Reading random verses out of context can definitely lead to incorrect interpretations. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I think this practice may be evidence of a spiritual laziness, an unwillingness to read the Bible as it is meant to be read.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Hein Huyser

    Hi Bill,
    Again you are spot onn with this reply. This however, brings me to the “problem” I have with most churches, or let me rather say, leaders of congregations.
    They are the “spiritual fathers” of the people, therefore, it is only correct then that they teach their “children” on how to systematically study the Bible and how to apply the truths therefrom to their own lives.

    Notwithstanding every persons’ own responsibility towards matters of spiritual growth, but because of the lack of our own fathers teaching and training us in these matters, it is the leaders’ task to teach new converts, and those lesser inspired to the right approach.
    Failing which, we get random verse searches and like George have rightly asked, which might start the beginning of the end.

    For most the Bible is nothing more than a book of laws upon laws, and again, if applied without proper leadership and instruction, can be devestating to the new convert or even to some long-time believers.

    I just experience a total lack of guidance and lack of wisdom from a lot of churches in these matters.
    Shalom

  • George

    Bill, thank you for your answer. I’m also very much in agreement with Hein’s comment that most of us were never properly shown how to read/use the bible. I came from an Eastern Orthodox background. Much like, I assume, the Catholic church, we depend on our clergy to do the “heavy lifting.” We’re never taught how to use not only the bible, but other resources like concordances. When some of us come out of those churches and get into churches like Church of God, etc., the pastors probably do not understand the lack of basic religious education we lack and need to be taught.

  • walkinginlove

    I have some questions for you but I would like to do them via email if I could.

    Thanks!

    WIL

  • mgarcia

    Where can I find in the bible explanation for the dinosaurs?

  • Josiah

    The following is a comment from a catholic: For your information, you can find the real Bible without any alteration or removal if you can lay your hands on Dua Version.. In this Bible you have Seven more Books and a chapter of the Bible than what NKJV contains. In the Book of Daniel for instance, you will see Daniel Chapter 13. So if your Bible does not have Daniel Chapter 13, I will advise you to rethink the Bible.

    Please comment and expose this me and many.
    Thanks. Josiah

  • Hein

    Hi Josiah. Very interesting question. As an outsider to all of this I have a comment or two, if you allow me this luxury.

    Firstly, your opening line said it all for me. “from a cathololic”. Sir, they and the Catholic history is but no example to follow, so rather stay clear of any advice coming from that corner, in fact don’t stay clear, run like nothing else. Unless of coarse you can lead them to the “light”, but thats another story.

    Secondly, what more can another twenty/thirty books tell me about the worlds history that will have a profound impact on what we already know from the New Covenant (Testament) and what we need to know about our future with, or without God?

    So what if, a group of people a few hundred years ago hadn’t had access to all the books we have now. All we know, is that by studying the Old Covenant (thats whats its all about’, isn’t it?) in depth, we see and have enough info from our current Bible, as it is, to authenticate the New Covenant.

    Understanding that is enough, and its the future we need to be concerned about.

    Shalom

  • MJ

    I would like to add to the question. I had a friend of mine ask where did Jesus spend his days from age 13 to 30? Someone somewhere suggested to my friend that Jesus had studied in Nalanda university. However I do not believe that story. Is there any scripture that I can point to Jesus’ pre-ministry lifetime?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi MJ,
    Not that I’m aware of. The gospels are interested primarily in Jesus’ ministry and his fulfillment of OT prophecies in early childhood. It was very unusual, from what I understand, for biographies of the ancient world to attempt sweeping coverage of a person’s entire life. Usually they focused on specific events in the life of the person. There were many alleged accounts of Jesus’ younger years produced in the second century and beyond, but they are almost universally regarded as false and legendary. I’m afraid we don’t know much about that time in his life, and I would be very skeptical of anyone who told you that they do.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/ Al Hogan

    I would like to send you an article I wrote on the sanctity of marriage. What is your e-mail for sending attachments?

  • Joseph

    Hi. I’ve been reading through some of the posts, specifically the ones regarding the Age of the Earth and Old Earth Creation. I’ve been looking at Old Earth Creation for awhile, been wrestling with YEC, OEC, and even Theistic Evolution. So far, however, OEC looks like it could fit the best so far with both the Bible and natural science.

    Just some background. Now for the question. :)

    What are your thoughts regarding The Flood? Noah’s Flood? On some of the Forums I’ve been on I have seen multiple views. In particular, people who are OEC and TE tend to believe that Noah’s Flood was local and not global since, they argue, that there would be significant natural geological evidence to confirm it if it were true. However, they argue, the evidence actually points to the contrary.

    Since this area is populated with many inciteful OECs, I was hoping for some thoughts on The Flood and whether or not it was global or local. :)

    Thank you.

  • Caleb

    Hey, well i was wondering why some of the books in our Bible were different tan that of the Catholic Bible. I know that their is stuff like Daniel chap 13 of Psalms 151 and 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras and like you said in an earlier article the gospel of Thomas. I know that it has something to do with the biblical canon and i know that their must be some reason it is not included and i wanted to figure out why.

  • Caleb

    hey i think their are things in job that talk about the levothian and something else that pretty much describe dinosaurs.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Caleb,
    Between the Catholic and Protestant Bible, there are 11 pieces of literature that are different. The Catholic Bible adds seven complete books and four parts of books. They are the following: Book of Wisdom (ca. 30 b.c.), Sirach (132 b.c.), Tobit, Judith, 3 Esdras, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Baruch chaps. 1–5, Baruch 6 (ca. 300–100 b.c.), 4 Esdras, Esther 10:4–16:24 (140–130 b.c.), Daniel 3:24–90—”Song of Three Young Men”, Daniel 13, Daniel 14 (ca. 100 b.c.).

    In practice, Catholics seem to largely ignore these books or at least downplay them compared to the rest of Scripture. Two reasons Protestants dispute these books is because they were written during the 400 years of prophetic silence and are not included in the Hebrew Bible. There are a lot other reasons, but these are two primary reasons.

    The Gospel of Thomas is not in the Catholic or Protestant Bible. It is not recognized by any Christian denomination as sacred Scripture.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Joseph,
    There are several theories about the flood out there. The most popular OEC theory is that the flood occurred in the middle east and was not global. All of mankind and the animals associated with humans (domesticated mammals, for example) were killed in the flood except for those who went on the ark. The rest of the world was not affected by the flood, at least not directly.

    Thanks for the question,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    Josiah,
    For some details as to the differences between the Catholic and Protestant Bibles, please scan down a few comments where I answer the question for another commenter. Bottom line: Catholic Bibles contain additional books and portions of books that Protestants dispute. These disputed portions of the Catholic Bible were not officially recognized by the Catholic Church until the mid 1500’s.

    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    Dale,
    I am not an expert on the Masons, but the John Ankerberg Show has produced some TV shows and resources on the Masons that you would probably find helpful. I have a link to their web page on the main page of our blog site under Blogroll (Ankerberg Theological Institute).

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • Mark Leberer

    Guys,

    I am arguing the ‘christian’ mind-body dualist view on a pilosophy web-site that has proposed a ‘thought experiment’ regarding whether a human clone would be a ‘real human being’.

    I say a human clone would not have a soul…

    The issue of the origin of the sould has come up. Transducianism and Generationalism states the soul derives from the union of the parents.. from the lineage of Adam…

    Others suggest the soul is created by god ex-nihlo for each indivual at the time of conception… or at gods discretion at some point during gestation.

    What is the orthodox christian or biblical view on where the soul originates? I can’t imagine a soulless human… sound frietening…

    Thoughts?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Mark,
    The two views you mention both have biblical support. I have heard the two views called the creation view and the traducian view. As you said, the creation view holds that God individually and directly creates each human soul at the moment of conception or during a later point during gestation of the fetus. The traducian view holds that the soul is created whenever physical conception occurs – so body and soul both begin together. On this view, God is still the ultimate (or efficient) cause of the soul, but the parents are the instrumental (indirect) cause of the soul.

    I tend to lean toward the traducian view as it better explains how original sin is passed on to humankind – through our parents. The creation view seems to have God creating new souls with sin in them.

    If you are a traducian, then I think a human clone would have a soul, since the soul and body go together and would be passed on from the DNA of the clone parent. Cloning is just a form of asexual reproduction.

    If you hold the creation view, then you have to decide whether God would create a soul for someone asexually produced.

    Again, both views have their biblical arguments, but I would say the traducian view is stronger biblically.

    Hope this helps,
    Bill

  • kay

    You have changed this up so hope I am in the right place. Have listened to a different preacher/teacher past few weeks. He says hell is not for eternity — that sinners die and are not tormented forever. He gives scriptures for this. Also, he said last week that when a christian dies, they do not go immediately to be with God. They die, until Jesus comes back. Think the wicked die also, and don’t go to hell until judgment day This is so different from what I have been hearing.

    Also, my Bible study teacher says that a certain person is not saved because they are Morman. Is it impossible for a strict Morman to be saved?

    Thanks. Happy 2010. kay

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Kay,
    There is a final judgment where all who have died (and those still alive) will go before God. Those who have not placed their faith in Christ will be cast into a “lake of fire” and will be separated from God for all eternity. Those who have placed their faith in Christ will spend eternity with him. Anyone who denies the existence of an eternal hell is just not reading the Bible carefully. There are numerous passages that speak of it in the Bible (see Matt 5:29-30; 10:28; 11:23; 13:40-41, 49-50; 22:13; 23:15, 23; 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 12:5; 16:19-31, and so forth).

    Regarding a Mormon’s salvation, I do not know whether he will be saved, although I would have grave doubts. They clearly do not accept the essential doctrines of Christianity. They deny the oneness of God. They deny that Jesus is eternally God. They do not seem to believe that faith alone grants them eternal life, as they seem to teach a gospel of works. Given all of these false ideas about Jesus and the nature of God, it seems unlikely, but only God makes that decision.

    Thanks for the question,
    Bill

  • Joey

    Hello.

    I do not believe in the trinity though I do believe it is in the right direction in a non-essential subject.

    Can you read the high priest prayer and the true vine statements of Jesus in John and answer me this:

    If I said, “When you have seen me, you have seen Jesus. I and Jesus are one.” would that be scripturally correct?

    And, if I am in Jesus and Jesus in me, like he is in the Father and the Father in him, by trinity logic, does that make me Jesus?

    WARNING, I have been told by many Christians that my respectful decline to confess, “Jesus is God, Father is God, and Holy Spirit is God” is loss of salvation and makes me something other than Christian!!! Do you believe this?

    Thank you very much; glory to Jesus and therefore God,
    Joey

  • Hein

    Hi Joey, If you care to look in the book of Mark, you will notice something interesting about the Trinity.
    1) John the Baptist acknowledges Jesus
    2) The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus (after His water baptism)
    3) God acknowledges Jesus by talking and affirming Jesus in an audible voice.

    The Trinity easily explained and seen.
    Shalom

  • Hein

    Hi Joseph, I firmly believes that the Questions about Old and Young earth, Evolution and Creation is the very essence or the root where one start to either believe or doubt God and or Darwin. This is where one decides to go the popular Secular Humanist route or the narrow and less travelled route of following God. I pray you to make an informed decision.

    I have found the following site very helpful and informative and they have studied and argued the fallacies and facts thoroughly, therefore I trust that you will find the information under the “Articles and search links” helfull
    Shalom
    http://www.icr.org

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Joey,
    Thanks for the question. The relationship between you and Jesus is not the same as the relationship between Jesus and the Father. You and Jesus are one inasmuch as you love him, obey him, trust him, and hope in him. But he is God and you are not and never will be. He spoke the creation into existence and you did not.

    Jesus and the Father are one in love as well. But the early church came to understand Jesus as divine, and ultimately as sharing the same nature as the Father. Jesus’ divine nature includes omnipotence, omniscience, eternality, omnipresence, and so forth. Jesus has been worshipped as God since the very beginning of Christianity (just read the Gospel of John where John clearly views Jesus as God), although the concept of what “God” meant certainly developed over time until the fourth and fifth century creeds nailed it down. I have written a series of posts on whether Jesus claimed to be God that you may find helpful.

    Now, as to whether you are a Christian if you deny the Trinity. I believe this definitely places you outside of Christianity, if we are talking about those people who adhere to the essential doctrines that Christianity teaches. The Trinity is one of the most important doctrines of the Christian religion, so anyone who denies it cannot rightly claim they are a Christian.

    But, does this mean you are not saved? That I cannot answer for sure. I do believe that one of the things a person must believe to be saved is that Jesus is God, but I cannot know exactly what your view of Jesus is. I would say that your view is dangerous, if you deny that Jesus and the Father share the same nature, and could represent a denial of who Jesus really is. I would encourage you to look into the traditional Christian teaching of the deity of Jesus more and pray to God for wisdom on this subject.

    I pray for your success on this journey.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Joseph

    Hello Hein,

    Thank you for the concern. While I find that I lean more towards OEC, I don’t really have a main stance at this point. According to scientists the universe looks like its 13 billion years old and the earth looks like its about 4.5 billion. Either it is, or it just looks like it is. Either God made things ready to go, or He influenced them gradually. I don’t know. So far, my quest has led me to be more understanding of those whose views are different than my own. Which is more important, how God did it or that God did it? Which verse is more important?

    Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    The way I see it, it’s probably less of a leap for an Atheist to become a Theistic Evolutionist than a Young Earth Creationist.

    Thanks for the link.

  • Stephen Pugh

    What is the difference between Johns Baptism and Christian baptism?

  • Hein

    Stephen, John baptised with a baptism of “forgiveness of sins, but after the Cross, we see the the Deciples practising a baptism that speaks of “dying with Christ and rising symbolically” with Christ. Romans 6 explains this beautiful.

  • Robert Castor

    In the Old Testament it says that angels saw the woman of earth as beautyful.And they had intercourse with them and produced giants. If angles are created,why would they need reprodutive organs.And why did God allow this to happen,and will it happen again.

  • tajuana

    What did the Old Testament prophets view to be the ultimate apologetic?

  • tajuana

    Did the New Testament writers use apologetics?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hard to say, Tajuana. During the times of Moses, Elijah, and Elisha, God was performing a lot of public miracles to confirm the messages these prophets were bringing. Public miracles would certainly be an apologetic. At other times, prophets would make predictions about the future, predictions they received from God. They challenged their listeners to pay attention to whether the predictions took place. This was a confirmation that God was speaking through them. I’m sure there are other examples, but I’m not sure what the “ultimate apologetic” would be.

  • Bill Pratt

    Yes. There are instances of them commanding us to do apologetics and then there are instances of them doing apologetics. With regard to commanding us, check out 1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Cor. 10:5; Jude 3; Titus 1:9; 2 Tim. 2:24-25. Examples of Paul doing apologetics can be found in Acts 14:8-19; 17:16-34; 24:5-21; 26:1-29.

  • Bill Pratt

    Robert,
    Please read this post where I wrote about this issue.

  • David

    Dear Bill, would you please comment on why the church has rejected the canonization of the Book of Enoch. It’s seems that some of the early church fathers believed that it was inspired. A brother at work is convinced that it should be included in the canon and is enamored with the book. What do you know about this so-called “lost” book?

    Sincerely,
    David

  • Bella

    My friend is not a christian, but I am.. she is into this new thing called scalar energy and wears a round necklace that has the shape of the sun on it.. ( it is suppose to be composed of volcanic minerals from Figi)
    I couldn’t find anything about this being against my belief in Jesus Christ, but I did find a blog that spoke of the symbolism on the scalar pendant.. the blog worried me… (By the way, This pendant is supposed to help your energy in you cells in you body).
    I just have a bad feeling about the symbolism on it….
    Also, my husband is wearing one and I see a difference in him,(but in a good way) he seems happier and more peaceful. (my husband is not a Christian, so he is not worried about the symbol).
    Can you please help???

  • Hein

    Although Bill will give you a reply I thought to give you a link to a blog-site where this subject was discussed. I hope this helps. http://letterdash.com/saamprater/criteria-for-books-to-be-included-into-the-collection-of-books-called-the-bible

  • Hein

    Hi Bella, Personally I think you are correct in being concerned, although a lot of people discard symbols and symbolism and the “spiritual” connotations attached to it, or spiritual matter that goes with certain symbols and symbolism as nonsense.

    It is a known fact that while others ascribe certain reactions to certain stuff merely to a “placebo effect” I am convinced that certain powers accompany certain objects.

    We have ample evidence of this from the Bible, even when Joshua cleaned out the temples of the anti-God worshippers he was told to “not even look upon the relics of the temples”, but to burn it and even the ashes of this stuff had to be taken out and dumped outside the city. As to why, I’m convinced that the spiritual powers placed upon those relics would’ve had an impact on the Israelites seeing and handling it.

    We don’t have to look for the Devil behind every bush, but when Sun worship (a use that stems from Baal) detracts a person from God, or tend to replace God then we have to see the warning signals for what they are.

    There are lots of organisations that survived for thousands of years that have certain symbols and symbolism that are synonymys with certain the Baal worship practices we learn of in the Old Testament, which held the sun as the giver of life etc. It is wrong and its merely man worshipping the created stuff rather than the Creator.

  • Bella

    Thank you so very much for your reply… I truly appreciate it.
    God Bless and Thanks again!!!!!
    Bella

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi David,
    I’m not an expert on this book, but I will point you to a couple places that will give you some information. Wikipedia looks to have a fairly thorough treatment of the Book of Enoch and I would also recommend this article on GotQuestions.org. I hope these are helpful.

    Bill

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Amy

    I’ve been bothered by this for a long time. There are many people who were born into cults. These cults are masters at keeping the truth from its congregations, and often forbids them from mingling with christians or christian churches. Will these people have a last opportunity to learn who Christ is, and what he’s done for them? I was lucky, I was born into a family that weren’t believers but were not in a cult. My Grandmother was a christian, and that’s how I learned. What if I was born into a cult and never learned the truth? I don’t want them to end up in hell because they didn’t learn or understand God’s plan and Jesus’s salvation. I’d appreciate some insight.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Amy,
    I think that the bottom line is that God holds each person responsible for what they know and how they respond to the grace he gives them. I don’t think there’s any biblical warrant for people being given one last chance to believe before they are judged. Our earthly lives seem to be the only chance we have. Please see this post and this post for more information.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Chedza

    how can u continue moving forward when its always tough… i got my test results today and it really hurt because i sppent 2 days studying for that test.. u myt say academics is not my talent but that would mean i dont have any, coz i used to seriously pass, without making that much of an effot, but now, it doesnt happen even when i study like crazy… it seems nowadays NOTHING goes right 4 me, been totally in2 some guy at my school for d past 6 months but he doesnt seem to notice me.. o atleast hz ignoring seeing hw i feel bot him. its painful because i ‘v nvr flt ths way bot any1. i wish God could just take away the feelings coz i NEVER get EXACTLY what i want… its bad.. it feels lyk ma hart z bleeding, nd i cnt do anythng bout it…. PLEASE give me hope… please. thecpain everyday bot everythng z killng ma spirit

  • Bill Pratt

    Chedza,
    There is no way I can give you the hope you need from a blog post. If you are a Christian, please go read Romans 8, and really think about what it’s saying. Go and talk to a close Christian friend, parent, or pastor. Continue praying not that you get what you want, but that you get what God wants for you. There is a big difference. God may be protecting you from some things that may harm you. In all things, continue praying for God’s will, not yours.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Cindy Elder

    Why does God let Satan keep hanging around? Sometimes when I am struggling with negative feelings, people will say Satan is working on me. Does this really happen and if so, why does God allow Satan to have so much power? What is your understanding of Satan?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Cindy,
    Satan was the most powerful and beautiful of all the angels, and he chose to reject God’s leadership and go it alone, so to speak. Satan is certainly permitted to wreak havoc in this world right now, although God has definitely restrained him quite a bit (it could be much, much worse).

    Why is Satan permitted to cause problems? That gets into the question of why God permits any evil at all. The quick answer is that God can use evil to bring spiritual growth in his people. Let’s face it: we grow a lot more when we go through bad times than good times. When Christ returns Satan’s defeat will be completed (the crucifixion and resurrection started his defeat). All those who trust in Christ will never have to deal with Satan again.

    As far as Satan working on you, it is certainly possible, but you need to remember that your own sinful nature is also to blame for your problems. In addition, Satan cannot be everywhere (he is not omnipresent), and I would guess that he spends his time trying to disrupt the truly outstanding Christians of the world (maybe you’re one of them, but I don’t know). I tend to place far more blame on my own sinful nature than blaming Satan for everything. There is no doubt he is out there, but I think I cause most of my problems, not Satan.

    The solution is to rest in Christ, to pray to him, to read the Bible, to speak to wise Christian friends. Seek godly advice and reach out for support. That is what the body of Christ is for.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Barry

    Why did Paul wish that everyone spoke in toungues as much as he? Are there two kinds of toungues: foreign language and prayer language? Are both from the Holy Spirit? What about glossolalia in other religions? Sorry so many questions.

    Barry

  • RD Miksa

    Good Day:

    This is not so much a question as a request. I am a long-time reader of your blog, although not a commentator, and as such, I respect your views and opinions. In light of this, I was wondering if you could take the time to conduct a quick review of an argument for Christianity that I have just developed titled: “The Argument from Evolution: How the Theory of Evolution, as Atheists See It, Actually Supports Christianity.” It is, essentially, an argument that is meant to use one of the atheist’s primary apologetic tools–the claim that evolution removes the need for God and supports atheism–against him, thus turning the tables, and using evolution as a Christian apologetic tool. As a Christian, I thought that you might be interested in this topic.

    It can be found at: www [dot] theargumentfromevolution [dot] blogspot [dot] com – (I have removed the link for e-mail safety purposes). If you could take a look at it, that would be greatly appreciated. If not, than that is obviously understandable.

    In any case, thank you for your time and your great work. It is greatly appreciated.

    RD Miksa
    radosmiksa [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Barry,
    Here are my answers, which I’m sure my charismatic friends would not agree with. Nonetheless:

    Why did Paul wish that everyone spoke in tongues as much as he?

    Paul’s ability to speak foreign languages (tongues) was a sign to unbelievers (see 1 Cor. 14:22) that his message was from God (remember the impact at Pentecost). So if more people could speak in foreign languages, it would be a powerful testimony about the gospel message.

    Are there two kinds of tongues: foreign language and prayer language? Are both from the Holy Spirit?

    I believe the tongues in the New Testament are foreign languages, not private prayer languages. There are many arguments for this position, but the strongest would be that Paul demands that anyone who is speaking in tongues have an interpreter, so that others can understand (1 Cor. 14:27). An interpreter implies that a real language is being spoken, just as was occurring at Pentecost.

    Are both from the Holy Spirit?

    I believe that the only legitimate tongues gift from God is the ability to speak foreign languages.

    What about glossolalia in other religions?

    Glossolalia (speaking in unknown and unintelligible speech) in any religion is not real language, as shown by linguistic analysis. It is a human-manufactured gibberish with none of the necessary attributes of a language.

    I hope these answers help,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    I will take a look and give you some feedback.

  • Andrew

    Hi Darrell,

    We had a conversation last year on the post Do Mormons Worship the Same Jesus as Christians. I would like to ask you a few questions, but can’t seem to find an email address for you. Could you please send me an email so we can converse?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 Mark Henninger

    if kjvese is too foolish to practice outside of god’s house, how much should this bad habit (a secondhand smoke) have a place in the fellowship of christians?

    1- jesus is timely always. 2- jesus is timely sometimes, but it depends on us. 3- jesus shalt never be timely.

    WHAT A CONCEPT!

    When someone accepts God’s living way
    There’s pow’r! There’s pow’r!
    Both saints and the lost will find that they
    Have pow’r! Have pow’r!
    And you’ll be seen if you do deny
    Left behind in days gone by
    When you could have chose’
    To follow God’s living way.

    The angels all will shout with joy,
    “There’s pow’r! There’s pow’r!
    The devil you will help destroy,
    Have pow’r! Have pow’r!
    God’s glory, yes, it shall prevail.
    Please don’t think that you will fail,
    ‘cause we’ll all live well
    To follow God’s living way.”

    Move forward to eternity,
    With pow’r! With pow’r!
    The Lord’s with us in victory
    And pow’r! And pow’r!
    Our crowns we’ll give unto our King
    Whom does deserve our everything.
    Join us in the joy,
    And follow God’s living way.

    (written by me @
    http://forums.christiansongwriters.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=11785)

  • Roger Bennett

    Sir:
    Norman Geisler and Frank Turek say in their excellent book (“I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist”)—they say that there are nine manuscript fragments found in the Dead Sea caves, and these fragments (dated from 50 to 70 AD) might be quotes from New Testament books, but scholars dispute this claim.

    My question is: how compelling is the evidence that these fragments are from New Testament books and why?

    Roger Bennett

  • kay

    Hi,
    What are your thoughts on the immigration problem? A friend just sent me to a religious website that seems to say we should let them stay, I guess he meant give them citizenship. He disagreed with Glenn Beck’s “social justice” and “equal justice”. The progressives have inflitrated so many things, that I don’t know if this person is a progressive or not. In case you don’t watch Glenn, he thinks the ones here should go to the end of the line for citizenship, the companies that hire them should be punished, the border should be controlled.
    Thanks.
    kay

  • Rodney Pelles

    I thought I read a very interesting article on this site concerning the dating of the gospels and/or New Testament some time ago and now I can’t find it. The article dealt with the authenticity if it was written within two to three generations from the event. Do you still have it? If not, where can I get it? It really ministered unto me and I would like to read it again. Thanks for all your time!

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Rodney,
    I think you’re referring to a series of 8 posts I wrote about whether the NT is fact or fiction. Here is the link to the first post in the series. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Bill Pratt

    Roger,
    I will try to answer your question, but it may be several days. I am in the middle of some seminary work right now, but it should be over this week. Thanks for the question!

    Bill

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 Mark Henninger

    any church or denomination is imperfect. and may also be deceived.

    because of faith in the lamb of god, christians of whatever denomination are saints.

    this year is 2010, not 1610. the one church made is the church of today.

    WHAT A CONCEPT!

    When someone accepts God’s living way
    There’s pow’r! There’s pow’r!
    Both saints and the lost will find that they
    Have pow’r! Have pow’r!
    And you’ll be seen if you do deny
    Left behind in days gone by
    When you could have chose’
    To follow God’s living way.

    The angels all will shout with joy,
    “There’s pow’r! There’s pow’r!
    The devil you will help destroy,
    Have pow’r! Have pow’r!
    God’s glory, yes, it shall prevail.
    Please don’t think that you will fail,
    ‘cause we’ll all live well
    To follow God’s living way.”

    Move forward to eternity,
    With pow’r! With pow’r!
    The Lord’s with us in victory
    And pow’r! And pow’r!
    Our crowns we’ll give unto our King
    Whom does deserve our everything.
    Join us in the joy,
    And follow God’s living way.

  • Wade Sikes

    I’ve confronted the whole logic/non-logical thing recently. My thoughts, and the question:

    1. All truth is God’s truth
    2. We live in a universe that quite obviously operates within the rules established by
    the Creator
    3. Adherence to rules of logic are necessary for meaningful dialog to occur.

    The question: since logic seems to be so foundational, is it not possible that logic is a part of God’s nature, just like omniscience, omnipotence, perfect love, etc.? If this is the case, it would seem to eliminate discussions like some I’ve recently observed, where people have affirmed that God CHOOSES not to violate logic, rather than be UNABLE to violate it. If, however, logic is a part of His nature, it makes no more sense to make non-logical assessments of God (the whole He could create that great big rock, but he chooses not to) than it does to say that He could violate His holiness, but chooses not to do so.

    What are your thoughts?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 Mark Henninger

    is kjvese a sin, the second-hand smoke of christianity?

    wwjd? if jesus was quoting obama promoting health care, would words of 2010 or 1610 be used? in similar context, how did jesus quote scripture?

    EXODUS 20:7

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, misuse your name?
    Your bark sounds bigger than your bite.
    Your name counts more than my heart.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I shake in fright.

    Chorus
    More than God, yeah, that’s me.
    My respect do I give Thee.
    More than God, yeah, that’s me.
    A crown of thorns you get for free.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Amen, I say.
    Names are words, don’t mean a thing.
    Hallelu! Impressed, I’m sure.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. My praises ring.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Today’s for me.
    You’re only God, the past’s for Thee.
    Yes, I’m saved eternally.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Me, me, me.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746

    speaking like shakespeare: a bad habit that’s foolish to practice, yet enjoyable even.

  • Bill Pratt

    Roger,
    I found this article which sheds some light on this issue. It seems that the identification of the fragments as New Testament quotes is still hotly debated and inconclusive. The article will give you some details about it.

    Thanks for the question,
    Bill

  • Roger Bennett

    Wade:
    Regarding logic/nonlogic: I agree. Just as the moral law originates in God’s nature, so too do the laws of logic, particularly the law of noncontradiction, because God can’t lie; it’s contrary to His nature. Thus, Aristotle didn’t invent logic; he discovered it.

    So God doesn’t CHOOSE to obey the laws of logic; He is automatically logical because it issues from His nature. Neither does God choose to be moral; morality issues from His nature. By the way, Jesus as the “Word” of God is the LOGOS, the Greek word that can be translated “word, reason, mind, or LOGIC.”

  • Bill Pratt

    Wade,
    You hit the nail on the head. Logic is absolutely part of God’s nature. He does not choose to follow logic any more than he chooses to not go out of existence or not be evil. If you read the comment thread from this post, you will see this point brought out a few times.

    Thanks very much for your question and comment,
    Bill

  • kyle

    i was glancing at the front of my bible in the preface, and it talks about how the bible wasrewritten so we as christians can better interperate what things mean, but in REV 22:19 pretty much says do not change/remove words from this book.my main question is how do we know that whats in a current version of the bible is accually whats was in the original bible.if im just a wondering jew so to speak, feel free to give me a reality check. any answers would be greatly apperciated.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    kyle,

    “how do we know that whats in a current version of the bible is accually whats was in the original bible”

    the original new testament was written in the koine greek which was the common language where written at the time. similary, i’d expect that god told adam not to eat from the fruit of a certain tree in the language of his time. similary, i’d expect that god gave moses the ten commandments in the language of the time of moses. in 1611, the king james’ translators did an excellent job of translating god’s word into the common language of 1611.

    (kjvese) the common language of 1611 is not the common language of today. certainly the kjv translators would frown upon words that are considered foolish for common use.

    for our benefit, god himself came as a common man known as jesus.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Kyle,
    Please see if I have answered your question in this blog post.

    Thanks for the question,
    Bill

  • Abram

    Can a Born-Again believer convert to Judism? Would it be wrong if someone does it? Can a person lose their salvation? What about a person is Born-Again believer struggles with homosexuality and continue to fall into homeosexualti behavior? Would that person lose his salvation?

  • Jean

    Do 7 day adventists worship the God of the Bible?

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Jean,

    In my opinion, yes 7th Day Adventists do worship the God of the Bible. While I may not agree with aspects of their doctrine, the 7th Day Adventists do hold to an orthodox view on the nature of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

    Darrell

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Abram,
    You asked a lot of questions in a short amount of space! Let me take a crack at them.

    “Can a Born-Again believer convert to Judism? Would it be wrong if someone does it?”

    If a born-again believer is someone who affirms that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died for our sins and rose again, and a Jew is someone who denies that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins and rose again, then clearly we have a problem. The born-again believer would be apostasizing by converting to Judaism. What happens to a truly born-again Christian who apostasizes is up for debate.

    My belief is that this person would still spend eternity with God after death, but that they would be judged harshly at the judgment seat of Christ (all believers are judged by Christ) and be denied the rewards and privileges that those Christians who persevered to the end will enjoy in eternity. Other Christians would say that the person who apostasizes was never really born again and that they would be denied entrance to heaven after they die. Still other Christians would say that the person who apostasizes loses his salvation and cannot enter heaven unless they repent and receive the gospel message again in truth. The bottom line is that apostasy is a very serious issue.

    “Can a person lose their salvation?”

    I do not believe a person who truly believes the gospel message will ever be denied entrance to heaven after they die. Some Christians, however, do believe that you can lose your salvation if you commit certain serious sins (like apostasy).

    “What about a person is Born-Again believer struggles with homosexuality and continue to fall into homeosexualti behavior? Would that person lose his salvation?”

    Born-again believers all struggle with certain sins for the remainder of their lives. Homosexuality is not a special kind of sin that causes a person to lose their salvation.

    Hope this helped,
    Bill

  • Grady Fischer

    I was wondering about my three and five year old daughters and the rapture. I have found nothing in scripture that tells me of their fate. Will they automatically go with with us because of the age of accountability or will they be left behind? Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Grady,
    The idea behind the age of accountability is that God will judge no one for what they cannot understand. Since each person is able to understand who God is and what Jesus Christ did for them at a different age, there is no hard and fast rule about this. As long as you are teaching your daughters about their sin, Jesus’ atoning death on the cross, and his resurrection, you’re doing what you should. Leave the rest in God’s hands. He will treat your daughters fairly.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    how much more should it sound like the living word (john 1: 1, 14, nlt: In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.) in christian vs. worldly fellowship? do you care that the belief is orthodox that it doesn’t matter?

  • Farhan Jamal Khan

    Why were so many versions of gospels discarded?

  • Bill Pratt

    Farhan,
    Which specific gospels are you referring to?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    “Why were so many versions of gospels discarded?”

    versions which should be discarded are ones that proclaim jesus as practicing other than the living word which he is (john 1: 1, 14). instead, kjo, king james only, and kjl, king james lukewarm, are among the groups that revere these out-of-context versions.

  • Bill Pratt

    Mark,
    I’m afraid I don’t understand your question. Could you try to rephrase it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    my reply to farhan’s comment “Why were so many versions of gospels discarded?” was not a question.
    expecting you to be kjl yourself, rather than discard, i’d expect you to revere this out-of-context version.

  • Bill Pratt

    Mark,
    I was referring to the question you asked back in June, not your response to Farhan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    bill,

    sorry for my misunderstanding. you appear to be referring to “how much more should it sound like the living word … in christian vs. worldly fellowship? do you care that the belief is orthodox that it doesn’t matter?”

    with “worldly” fellowship, how much kjvese vs. today’s living word is there compared to how much is found in christian fellowship? my online testimony, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746&v=app_2373072738#!/topic.php?uid=78598293746&topic=10017, shows how i was deceived to stumble when i found the world to be more relevant to today than christian fellowship. instead of the living word, christians are led to exhale the secondhand smoke of kjvese.

  • Bill Pratt

    Mark,
    If you are asking my views on the KJV, I don’t prefer to use it. The English is outdated and difficult for modern readers to understand, so I don’t really see how it helps people to understand the Word of God better than more modern versions which use updated English. The primary version I use is the NIV, although I have multiple other versions (NKJV, ASV, Message, ESV, etc.) that range from very literal translations to translations featuring more dynamic equivalence (thought for thought translation). My recommendation to people is to use a few different translations when reading the Bible to get different perspectives.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Vance Marquis

    I am a young earth creationist because I believe that is were the majority of the evidence points to scientifically. My question deals with fallible and infallible when interpreting scripture. I have been taught to ask the 5 basic questions concerning scripture. Who, what, where, when and why. Concerning the book of Genesis. Who is going to read this shortly after Moses has written it down. Why is Moses writing about the creation event. When did Moses write this before or after the twelve tribes had a written language. What was was their understanding of time: example does day and a night mean 24 hours, does God resting on the seventh day mean they couldn’t interpret the 6 days of creation as 6 literally days. Wouldn’t culture norms at that time dictate a lot in how the 12 tribes interpreted the books Moses wrote. I have also been taught to take the Bible at face value. To hopefully avoid the problem of reading into the text culture norms and personnel experiences How do current Jewish scholars interpret the days in Genesis? Thanks for your time in giving me an answer.

  • aaron

    Ive been having mind battles alot and i was wandering is it possible for satan to put a vail or mask over our hearts and trick us into saying lord satan or make us believe that we are saying it from the heart?

  • Boz

    why is hinduism false?

  • Bill Pratt

    Aaron,
    If you think it is a trick, then Satan hasn’t done a very good job deceiving you, has he?

  • Bill Pratt

    Boz,
    Since Hinduism is pantheistic, I will give you two reasons (there are more) for pantheism being false.

    First, it is actually unaffirmable by a person because no finite individuals or selves exist outside of God, who is all. The pantheist says, “God exists but I do not,” but this is self-defeating because a person must really exist in order to make that statement.

    Second, pantheism denies the existence of evil, calling it illusory. Experiencing evil, however, is one of the most widespread and persistent characteristics of being human. To claim that all the pain and suffering we feel is an illusion is simply inadequate to explain the human condition.

  • Wade Sikes

    What are your thoughts about the growing number of Evangelicals (my self among them) who are evaluating the annihilationist position with regard to the fate of the lost? Theologians as diverse as Clark Pinnock and John R.W. Stott have become sympathetic to the annihilationist position, and make good points in its favor. I will admit that I have always struggled with the idea that a person, in the extremely limited duration of a human life, could even in the worst cases (i.e. Stalin, Mao, etc.), do anything that would warrant eternal conscious torment.

  • Bill Pratt

    Wade,
    I am familiar with this position but I have not studied the recent proponents of it (Jehovah’s Witnesses believe this as well). Two things come to mind. First, there seem to be many verses in the Bible that speak of eternal torment (e.g., Rev. 20:10). Second, the position of annihilationism has been condemned multiple times as heresy in the history of the church, and virtually every major theologian in church history has upheld the doctrine of hell (which entails everlasting torment). Could they all be wrong? Certainly, but to go against the entire tide of church history requires a lot of people to have been wrong.

    Still, I’m always open to where the evidence leads. If you have some specific arguments or questions about this issue you’d like to discuss, I can dig into my library and see what I can find.

    Let me know,
    Bill

  • Boz

    Bill Pratt, I wrote the hinduism comment as a possible idea for future articles. I did not expect a response that addressed the question. I will be more clear in future.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Suzi

    I have a question about passages in the NEW TESTAMENT regarding how slaves should behave and be treated. How do Christians explain this unspoken approval of the institution of slavery? I’ve heard explanations that basically boil down to the argument “those passages are only relevant to that time and culture 2000 years ago”… but here’s the problem with that argument: If you can take a given part of the New Testament Bible and say that it’s not applicable to modern culture, what’s to stop you in general from disregarding another section of the New Testament for the same reason? Isn’t this picking and choosing?

  • Kobe

    Bill –

    I saw (on the TV show 60 Minutes) that they found the skull and remains of a fossil that is 1.9 million years old. It makes me wonder how that fits into the Bible? I thought God created the world not that long ago? Can you ease the uneasy feeling in my stomach?

  • chu si

    Hi,
    My question is more personal. I accepted christ in my college days.I know i made a commitment and i felt the conviction of the Holy spirit of my sin and remember asking for forgiveness. Since then its been 10 years and have slowly slipped back into my old sinful ways or maybe even new ones. I struggle with pornography.
    I have prayed about it, i read my bible once in a while. I am not able to study it or i dont seem to have any marvelous revelation from the word like most christians do. I constantly cry out to god to help remove this sin.
    Now i believe in the eternal security of the believer. But sometimes i wonder if i am a believer any more cause paul says if we have tasted his grace, how can we live in sin any more?
    What is the way back. Was i saved at all. I know i am, but i cant explain my behaviour.

  • Bill Pratt

    Kobe,
    I don’t believe the Bible teaches the world was created 6-10,0000 years ago, so a 1.9 million year old fossil doesn’t cause any uneasy feelings in my stomach. I have written quite a bit on the blog about the age of the earth, so please make sure you check the archives.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    Chu Si,
    I wouldn’t waste time agonizing whether you were saved in college. The key question for you is this: are you trusting in Christ alone for your salvation right now? Is he, right now, the one person you are placing all your hope, all your love, all your faith in? If yes, then you are saved. If no, then ask yourself why not. What is holding you back?

  • Bill Pratt

    Suzi,
    I’m working on some posts dealing with slavery in the Bible. I hope you’ll be patient enough to wait on them.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Suzi

    Peter Kreeft’s argument for design isn’t exactly brilliant. The arguments on both sides have been made much more rigorously by many physicists (check out any of Michio Kaku’s books), and it basically boils down to a neutral point. We know so little about the origins of the universe and how it works, that it is in fact quite possible that we are only one of an infinite number of parallel lifeless universes, and all the coincidences that went into making life possible on Earth are only due to the law of averages. There’s really no compelling physical evidence either way – it’s a neutral point if you ask me.

  • Bill Pratt

    Suzi,
    I meant that his presentation of the argument in 7 minutes was brilliant. I guess that brilliance is in the eye of the beholder in this case. I am well aware of the many versions of the design argument, but I really liked Kreeft’s ability to put it all together in a short lecture.

    You said, “it is in fact quite possible that we are only one of an infinite number of parallel lifeless universes, and all the coincidences that went into making life possible on Earth are only due to the law of averages.”

    It is also possible that your blog comment is just an illusion in my brain and that you don’t really exist. It’s possible that brilliant aliens just created our world yesterday and implanted fake memories in us. It’s possible that you are really my alter ego in another universe.

    These kinds of statements get us nowhere. There are all kinds of things that are possible. The theist’s argument is that the universe exhibits design, and therefore common sense tells us that there must be a universe designer. If you invoke infinite universes and the law of averages, you are just saying that the greatest design we know of in existence doesn’t need a designer. That is an extremely odd conclusion, and hardly neutral.

  • Suzi

    Intuitively yes, the most probable explanation for design is a designer. The reason I hesitate to accept a simple intuitive argument for the nature of the universe is that science has already revealed several non-intuitive facts to us about the universe.

    Any physicist can tell you these things: Einstein showed us that time is not constant – that it actually slows down and speeds up depending on your reference frame. Quantum mechanics has shown us that the properties of an object do not exist until you measure them (in a sense – the moon does not exist until you look at it). These are all extremely non-intuitive properties of reality and “odd conclusions”, aren’t they? I wouldn’t be so quick to jump to the intuitive conclusion of “design implies a designer”….

  • Bill Pratt

    Suzi,
    I see where you’re coming from (although I don’t think quantum mechanics teaches that the moon doesn’t exist unless I look at it), but what I don’t understand is why you seem to be only questioning the intuitive conclusion of designer in this special case. I assume that whenever you encounter any other object in your regular life that appears designed, you immediately and automatically think “designer.” Yet when you come to the issue of the universe, you suddenly don’t trust the same intuition that you use day in and day out. My guess is that the reason you don’t trust the intuition in that case is that it has metaphysical implications. I could be wrong about that, but that’s been my experience with other people who have said the things you’ve said.

  • Roger Bennett

    Suzi:
    Here are some points about the hypothetical multiverse:

    [1] The scientific data has not established that even one other universe exists besides our own! Distinguished cosmologist Alan Guth goes so far as to assert that the multiverse is “speculation squared.” The scientific community currently has no way of knowing whether these alternate universes exist or if they differ from this universe.

    [2] Inflating space, the hypothetical multiverse generator, had an absolute beginning in the finite past. Physicists Arvind Borde, Alex Vilenkin, and Alan Guth have affirmed that “…a cosmological model which is inflating — or just expanding sufficiently fast — must be incomplete in null and timelike past directions.” (http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v90/i15/e151301) In other words, any viable multiverse (predicated on inflation) must have had an absolute beginning in past time—the multiverse (if it exists) has not always existed! This “BVG theorem” actually puts an absolute beginning for space and time on a more solid footing than does the “Big Bang” and the space-time theorems of general relativity!

    [3] Since the multiverse had an absolute beginning, a transcendent causal Agent—an uncaused First Cause—must still exist.

    [4] Because of dramatic physical incoherencies, it is apparent that a multiverse cannot be infinite or consist of an infinite number of actual, physical universes; there appears to be no realistic way for actual, physical infinities to exist. (See William Lane Craig’s argument at http://www.leaderu.com/truth/3truth11.html)

    [5] Since the dark energy density is fine-tuned to within one part in 10 to the 120th power, in order for our universe to have a probability of 1—which means that we would fully expect it to exist—then, 10 to the 120th power other universes would have to exist as well, each of which would not have such a highly-fine-tuned dark energy parameter! (Technically, 10 to the 120th power minus 1 other universes would have to exist, but this subtraction of 1 is clearly insignificant!)

    [6] In light of the fact that physical infinities are incoherent, and considering the likelihood of limited inflation, is it reasonable to believe that a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion (i.e., 10 to the 120th power) other universes exist—when scientists don’t even know if one other universe exists besides our own? Is it reasonable to believe in a huge but hypothetical and unsubstantiated multiverse (with 10 to the 120th power other universes in it), or is it reasonable to believe in the cumulative evidence from many diverse disciplines—evidence which points resoundingly to the existence of the biblical God?

    [7] Ockham’s Razor helps us answer this question. The Razor states that, “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.” (See the Wikipedia article on Ockham’s Razor.) Surely one Deity plus one universe are a lower number of entities than a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion universes!

    In calling innumerable universes “many worlds,” renowned theologian and philosopher William Lane Craig commented on this question: “…as a metaphysical hypothesis, the many worlds hypothesis is arguably inferior to the design hypothesis because the design hypothesis is simpler. According to a principle known as Ockham’s razor, we should not multiply causes beyond what is necessary to explain the effect. It is simpler to postulate one cosmic designer to explain our universe than to postulate the infinitely bloated collection of universes required by the many worlds hypothesis. Therefore, the design hypothesis is preferred.” (William Lane Craig, “God Makes Sense of the Complex Order in the Universe,” a section of his article “Why I Believe God Exists” in Why I Am a Christian: Leading Thinkers Explain Why They Believe, 72)

    There are other arguments, but these are my favorite.

    Roger Bennett

  • Shaun

    Hi,
    I have a question that’s been on my mind for 31 years and while I know I shan’t get an answer to that question which will set my mind at 100% ease, it would be nice to hear someones opinion – other than my own which seem to gravitate from one extreme to the other as I play the question over in my head.
    First of all some background.
    I’m a 40 year old guy from England, as a young boy I was extremely close to my grandfather who passed away after suffering from cancer when I was just 9 years old.
    My first memories are of myself as a 3 year old climbing up the 4 steps that lead from the backdoor of his house up onto the big lawn full of daisies and running up the lawn to him as he worked in his garden.
    Everything about that period of my life while I was there spending weekends with him was golden and completely joyful.
    The last time I ever saw him alive was in August 1979, he had been very ill with cancer and my mother took me and my younger brother to say goodbye to him – I can still remember walking into his bedroom and being absolutely terrified of him, the cancer had cut him down to just skin and bone, by far the most horrible day of my life.
    He passed away not long afterward.
    Which brings me on to my question.
    After he died I used to lay awake thinking (believing) that he would somehow appear beside my bed and tell me everything would be ok.
    That never happened.
    I never had any images, visions, appearances or dreams that I could associate with my grandad trying to contact me.
    Now, when I was small I was taught that when we die our spirits go to heaven and have peace and content for all eternity.
    Yet I know that he would have found some way to come to me to let me know that it wasn’t really goodbye and I would be with him again forever at the end.
    After all these years I still have not felt his presence in me or near me.
    Does that mean:
    1. He is unable to contact me.
    2. He is unwilling to contact me.
    3. There is no heaven and we do not have an eternal life after this one.
    I can’t answer this question myself, I’ve looked through the Bible to see what it says but it seems to me that a lot of the Bible can be interpreted in lots of ways.
    Some chapters in Ezekiel for instance seem to me to talk about aliens, and again in Genesis – although someone else may interperet those chapters as having to do with angels.
    I suppose what I’m asking here is: what is your opinion?
    Will I spend eternity with my grandfathers soul/spirit, or will I not.
    And why have I not felt his presence at all?
    I appreciate this isn’t a question that needs answering immediately, you no doubt have far more serious questions to answer, but when you have the time I’d appreciate your point of view.
    Many thanks,
    Shaun

  • Shaun

    The more I think about it, the more I believe it comes down to a question of faith.
    Do I want to spend eternity with my grandfather in heaven?
    Absolutely.
    Do I believe I will?
    I don’t know.
    I’d ‘like’ to believe I will.
    My heart says yes while my head says, “show me proof that the afterlife exists”.
    The problem as I see it is this:
    If someone believes 100% in Jesus and everything associated with Him, then life takes on a completely different meaning.
    You can then lay everything that happens to you as an act of God – I absolutely envy people who have 100% undiluted faith in God!
    But I don’t have that myself – although I’d like to have it.
    I don’t believe the earth was an accident, that this planet was sooner or later bound to occur somewhere in the Universe due to the numbers game.
    I also don’t truly believe that our lives cease completely when we die – if they do then what’s the point of our evolving to become so self-aware of our spiritual side if at the end of life is absolutely nothing.
    Do I believe the earth was created by God?
    I believe the earth was created by something more than the right gases coming together at the right time.
    I go over it in my head but it always comes back to ‘faith’ and ‘proof’.
    If I had some vision or feeling that my grandfather had absolutely 100% contacted me and made me believe beyond any shadow of doubt that he and I would be together again forever at the end – of my life – then I’d have no hesitation at all in devoting myself to following as closely as I could the teachings of Christ in the hope that doing so would give me a clear path to my grandfather at the end.
    As it stands right now I’m not a bad person – I’m pretty certain the good points outweigh the bad.
    Some people have signs, but aren’t these people typically in some sort of stressful situation, a situation where there is a need to cling onto something ‘more’ – longterm prison convicts for example, many people in prison devote themselves to Jesus but isn’t that because part of them needs to, because of their situation?
    Would these same people find God even if they weren’t in prison. I wonder.
    Do you thinking ‘wanting’ to be with my grandfather at the end is enough to ensure it happens?
    Or do I have to have 100% faith that it will happen and until I have that faith I won’t see any sign?
    Complicated stuff.
    Regards,
    Shaun

  • http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/reviews Sara Murphy

    Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) online Reviews section is now updated and expanded, at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/reviews. For anyone interested in religion, archaeology, or Biblical studies, here are expert reviews of important books and other media. The reviewers are the top Bible and archaeology scholars from around the world, with affiliations at the world’s most prominent educational and research institutions. Their insightful commentary doesn’t only speak to the reviewed items, it also provides a deeper exploration of the topics covered in BAR, the only magazine that connects the academic study of archaeology to a broad general audience eager to understand the world of the Bible.

    Book and media reviews have been categorized according to popular topics:
    -Ancient Israel
    -The Bible and Biblical Figures
    -The Dead Sea Scrolls
    -Historical Jesus and Christianity
    -Archaeology, History and Culture
    -Reference

    Readers who are interested in purchasing items that have been reviewed can take advantage of convenient one-click ordering from Amazon.com or from Biblical Archaeology Review’s online store.
    The Biblical Archaeology Society was founded in 1974 as a nonprofit, nondenominational, educational organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about archaeology in the Bible lands. Biblical Archaeology Review is the Biblical Archaeology Society’s flagship publication. Every other month, a quarter of a million people read BAR to learn and to be entertained.

  • Ed Perez

    What does fear of the Lord mean?

  • Sam

    I’m doing some research, and I would ideally like a resource that would give me a list of all modern biblical scholars and exactly what points of the Bible each scholar believes. Do you know of such a resource, or atleast a resource that would just give me a list of modern biblical scholars? (i can’t find it by googling…)

  • Hein

    Hi Ed, Fear of the Lord simply means “reverend respect”. We in modern society have grown up without certain values and thought patterns.
    If we think how we respect the town mayor or even the minister at your church, how much more reverend respect must we not show towards the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.
    Our secular humanist self centred societies detract from showing or having respect to an Almighty being that holds the Heavens and everything in it “in the palm of His hands”, and yet are gentle enough to send His Son to die for us on the cross.
    Now the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you through Almighty Abba Father.
    I personally have learned a lot from a dvd-series by Louie Gigleo on how big our God is and yet have the time for the tiniest details of our lives.
    I hope this helps
    Be blessed

  • Hein

    Hi Sam, that is a difficult question in the sense that nowadays you will fins most scholars to be a specialist on one or two subjects of Biblical matters. I have found a free download called e-sword and the commentaries by Henry etc. to be most insightful. They also feature all the ISBE program (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia) to assist with almost anything you can think of.
    Be blessed

  • Bill Pratt

    Sam,
    There are literally thousands of modern biblical scholars, so you’ll have to be more specific about your request.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Sam

    Hi Bill,
    I want to know which aspects of the “historical Jesus” scholars agree about. Whenever I read any article about the historical Jesus, I see phrases like “most scholars agree that”, or “very few scholars still think”…. what is the basis of these statements? I never see references… how do the authors of these articles know that “most scholars” think this way or that way?

    I want to know how many and which scholars think Jesus was baptized by John, which scholars believe Jesus was crucified, which scholars believe his tomb was found empty, etc…

    Thanks,

    – Sam

  • MJ

    Hi Bill,
    One of my Christian friend seems to be confused after going through some of the Roman Catholic History. He feels the Vatican has hidden many things. He feels that the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Gospel of Philip are true and seems to be drifting away from his original faith. I want to help him with this. I understand that these Gospels are considered apocryphal because they were found centuries after Christ’s death and resurrection. His question is what if they are true despite being apocryphal? How am I to clarify him? How do I handle questions about the origins of Christianity? Is there a way to counter argue my friends claims or should we wait for further archaelogical evidences in the future? I know archealogy is slowly proving the things that are there in the Bible. Please help!

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Sam,
    Historical biblical scholarship is a specialized academic field where thousands of scholars contribute articles, papers, books, etc. to a variety of topics. If you focus on the historical Jesus, the field narrows somewhat, but still contains a large number of contributors. Perhaps the largest organization in the world which most of these scholars belong to is the Society of Biblical Literature, which claims to have 8500 members.

    When someone claims to know what scholars think about the historical Jesus, they are probably basing that on their own reading of the major scholars in this field. If you are an academic, then part of your vocation is to read the scholarly works in your field. By doing so, you will have a good feel for scholarly consensus.

    A couple of ideas of where to look for more info:

    1. There was an interesting article written recently in Christianity Today about historical Jesus scholarship that you may find helpful.

    2. One scholar that has made a thorough analysis of historical Jesus scholarship did so with respect to the resurrection. His name is Gary Habermas and here is a link to one of his articles that you may find interesting.

    I hope this helps.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Suzi

    Bill,

    I read through your posts on slavery, and I thought you did a good job on summarizing the point that OT slavery is completely different from New World slavery. I completely agree – these are 2 very different institutions. But… I am still not convinced that the OT institution is justifiable…

    You said OT slaves were not to be imprisoned for lifetime, but only for a maximum of 7 years, but according to Lev 25:44-46, this only applies to Jewish slaves. Non-Jewish slaves could be kept in bondage for life, and even inherited as if they were property. Am I interpreting this right?

    And according to Christian Thinktank, the Law forbade harsh treatment, but it didn’t forbid it enough if you look at this passage:

    “If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.” (Exodus 21:20-21 NIV)

    This seems to imply that it is ok to beat your slave so severely that he cannot get up for a day or two – is this correct?

    I agree with your main point that OT slavery is completely different from New World slavery, but the OT institution still leaves much to be desired. If, in fact, a modern country decided to implement this OT institution by following this Mosaic Law to the letter, I think they would be charged with any number of human rights violations….

  • Matt

    I am having trouble knowing if masturbation is bad or not…I know the bible says to have no sexual fantasies but what if you dont do it for the sexual fantasies, is it still a sin or not?

  • Bill Pratt

    Suzi,
    Thank you for the comment. I do not have time right now to take on all the issues you’ve raised about OT slavery. I ask that you go read the full Thinktank article where all of these issues are addressed in great detail. If you are not satisfied with the answers provided in that article, there is nothing further I could say to you. I pray that you make the time to dig into this topic.

  • Bill Pratt

    MJ,
    There are numerous books which deal with the origins of Christianity and discuss whether books such as the Gospels of Philip and Mary Magdelene are historically accurate. Two that can get you going are The Missing Gospels by Darrell Bock and The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel.

    The bottom line is that these books were written well after Jesus and his apostles were dead, so they are not historically credible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    mormons – there is the opinion that mormons are not christians. is there an official mormon position on whether or not mormons are christian? why would/wouldn’t you say that mormons are/aren’t christian?

  • Bill Pursley

    The church treasurer confesses to embezzling several thousand dollars from the treasury. Is it biblically right or wrong to file criminal charges? Also, what about civil suits? I know the bible speaks against suing one another but what about the church and an individual such as in this case? Thank you for your response.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Bill,
    I’m no expert on church discipline, but I think this all depends on whether the treasurer is repentant and willing to pay all the money back. If so, then I would not take him to court. If he is unrepentant and refuses to pay the money back, then you may need to take it to court. The point is to give him every opportunity to do the right thing before going to court. Court should be the last resort after you’ve tried everything else. I hope the treasurer’s heart truly changes.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Darrell

    Mark,

    Good questions. Mormons believe their Church to be Christian. In fact, many consider their faith to be the “truest” Christianity on earth today as they believe their church to be a restoration of God’s one and only true Church. However, the nature of God as taught in Mormonism is diametrically opposite of the nature of the God of the Bible. In the past the Mormon Church has taught (1)Jesus is our older brother; (2) God the Father has a body of flesh and bones; (3) God the Father was once a man who progressed to become a God; and (4) God the Father has a God and Savior whom he followed in order to make it to Godhood. As a result of teachings such as these, I do not believe the Mormon Church to be Christian as I do not believe it teaches the God of the Bible.

    For more information, you can check out a series of posts I did on this subject. The first one can be found here.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    the reply about mormons being christian “the nature of God as taught in Mormonism is diametrically opposite of the nature of the God of the Bible” evidences the orthodox belief that i am is properly referred to as thou. therefore, my question now is “does kjvese idolatrously make a perversion of christianity?”

    even in the king james version, Exodus 3:14 does not have god telling moses “it shalt be a great hymn. thus thou shalt say unto the children of israel that thou art hath sent me unto you.”

    today, is jesus always (john 1:1), never (king james only), or just sometimes (king james lukewarm) the living word? isn’t it time to say “hit the road, thou. make room for i am”?

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Mark,

    I’m sorry, I do not fully understand your question. Would you mind clarifying?

    Darrell

  • Rinus

    Is Jesus the other name for Yeshua Ben Yosef? Are these two different people?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    how about “is the nature of god as taught with kjvese diametrically opposite of the nature of the god, the living word, of the Bible”? on may 15, 2010 at 5:11 am, i asked “is kjvese a sin, the second-hand smoke of christianity?”

    perversion/diametrically opposite – sin/foolish, bad habit;
    suppose someone was wise practicing kjvese. then i might well be wrong in calling it a sin or bad habit. enjoy an interview i made with someone who did practice kjvese @ http://bibleversiondiscussionboard.yuku.com/topic/917/t/Ken-Osmond-goes-KJVO.html.

    “is the nature of god as taught with kjvese diametrically opposite of the nature of the god, the living word, of the Bible”? isn’t it time to say “hit the road, thou. make room for i am”?

  • Bill Pratt

    Rinus,
    Yeshua was Jesus’ actual Hebrew name, to my understanding. Jesus is the Anglicized version of the Greek translation of his name.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Mark,

    By kjvese, are you referring to the King James Translation of the Bible?

    If so, what specifically do you believe makes its teachings/doctrines/wording wrong in regards to the nature of God?

    Darrell

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    if you’d have replied in kjvese, you’d have said “by kjvese, art thou …” which was wise for 1610, but it’s foolish to practice in 2010.

    FOREVER GREAT (http://forums.christiansongwriters.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9430)

    My God and Lord, beyond my comprehension,
    You made a plan to glorify your Name.
    It’s bad for me, when I shall stray and wander.
    But even so, you love me just the same.

    Chorus:
    Forever great, your wisdom is supreme.
    How could you choose, a child like me?
    Forever great, your wisdom is supreme.
    The Lamb of God, the Lamb of God.

    The only way, oh yes, there is no other;
    Not anyone, nor an imperfect me.
    Not works but faith, will bring us your salvation.
    So let us boast for all eternity.

    Good news to share, You give to me that honor.
    The first step’s hard, but what a joy I’ll see
    When I proclaim, that You intend,
    It’s more like You, that You want us to be.

    “In the eyes of many, religion has lost its relevance and is little more than a quaint relic from another time.” Billy Graham, Christianity Today, pp. 27-28, December 8, 1997.

    kjvese is certainly for another time. the living word (john 1:1, 14) is for all times.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Mark,

    Other than the fact that the language is somewhat antiquated, what is wrong with using words such as “Thou” to translate scripture or in speaking to God in prayer?

    Darrell

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    EXODUS 20:7,
    http://forums.christiansongwriters.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=10290

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, misuse your name?
    Your bark sounds bigger than your bite.
    Your name counts more than my heart.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. I shake in fright.

    Chorus
    More than God, yeah, that’s me.
    My respect do I give Thee.
    More than God, yeah, that’s me.
    A crown of thorns you get for free.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Amen, I say.
    Names are words, don’t mean a thing.
    Hallelu! Impressed, I’m sure.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. My praises ring.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Today’s for me.
    You’re only God, the past’s for Thee.
    Yes, I’m saved eternally.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Me, me, me.

    GOD JUDGES THE HEART,
    http://forums.christiansongwriters.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=15011

    God judges the heart.
    Our words shalt not matter.
    As long as it’s praise,
    The Lord they shalt flatter.

    Chorus:
    Too foolish to practice,
    At work, school, and home.
    God judges the heart.
    Let’s praise Thee alone.

    Like humans, we know,
    God’s ways sure get olde.
    To witness Him more
    Would be rather cold.

    So when we are with
    Our friends that have faith,
    Practice bad habits.
    Just trust and obey.

    SO PERSONAL TODAY,
    http://forums.christiansongwriters.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=11143

    Thy word is so personal today
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.
    Thy word is so personal today
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.

    When I talk in school
    The kids don’t think I’m cool.
    So, my words deny Thee.
    Oh, I love my cell.
    My party line was hell.
    Please don’t be untimely.

    Thy word is so personal today
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.
    Thy word is so personal today
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.

    I am not a freak
    Nor speaketh like a geek,
    Please give me some enlightening.
    Please Thou be my guide
    Thy word not put aside.

    Guide me all the day.
    Not my will doth I pray.
    So more like Thou I will become.

    Thy word is so personal today
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.
    Thy word is so personal today
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.

    Nothing shalt I fear
    As long as Thou art near;
    Be Thou near me to the end.

    Thy word is so personal today
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.
    Thy word is so personal today
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.
    Not a thorn unto my tongue.
    You’re so personal today.

    I CORINTHIANS 3:15,
    http://forums.christiansongwriters.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=11077

    Third-degree burns, but I’m alive.
    I’m saved , that’s all I care.
    The house burned up, lost everything.
    Nor for my kids, did I prepare.

    Chorus:
    What is it that really counts?
    God changeth not, it’s in the plan.
    So train your kids, don’t be like me.
    Thou shalt like God, thou can.

    Untimely hymns, they’re meant to stay.
    At least the filth it’s not,
    My kid’s hear on their MTV.
    When will they learn, the faith they’ve got?

    They will not hear; what can I do?
    I must stay true to Thee.
    For my reward to not have loss,
    It is Your plan. Oh, let it be.

  • MJ

    Shaun,
    I can understand your question and I can easily relate to your feelings. I recently lost my cousin and I know how it feels to loose someone you love. Let me get straight to your question. Will you see your grandfather again?

    My answer to your question may be a repeat of what you have heard before but still I would like to give you what I have known and heard. I will definitely refer to the Scripture because that is the basis of any argument of a Christian.

    You said your good habits outweigh your bad, so maybe you feel you will reach heaven, if heaven existed. But that cannot happen because Bible tells time and again that God is Holy and nothing unholy can enter His presence. So by the above statements, if Heaven existed and if God has His thrown in Heaven and if God is Holy and if we have bad characters + good characeters, then by Scripture, we cannot reach God’s presence with our bad character (although they may be less than the good character).

    Now, if by our character if we cannot reach Heaven and if Heaven existed, we need a way to get there. Again, the Scripture answers the question – Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. So Jesus who paid the price for our bad characters gives you a chance to accept his sacrifice and get the license to enter His abode.

    Now coming to your grandfather, if your grandfather is in Heaven (assuming he found out the way to Heaven), you too shall enter the place where he lives if you too found the way that your grandfather did.

    Why did not grandfather come in contact with you to tell you the way? You say if only my grandfather would contact me, I would believe.
    The scripture answers that again in Luke 16:19-31. Focus on the verse 31 -“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” . That means if you cannot believe the accounts of the Bible (written by Moses and other prophets and saints) and the account of so many Christians around the world, neither will you believe your granpa who died so many years ago. It takes faith to believe anything that cannot be proven. Christianity without faith is dead. How are so sure that you will believe if your grandfather visited you in a dream? It would again take faith to believe it was a vision from God.

    Do dead people always contact the family members?
    The answer as we all know is No. Dead people do not contact the family memebers however, some members of the close family may get visions of the dead. After my cousin’s death, my aunt recieved dreams and visions about my cousin in Heaven. She would see him with Angels and Jesus. Those dreams and visions greatly consoled his mother. We believe that God chose to reveal to her through dreams because she was unconsolably grieving her son’s death. My cousin died at a very young age and his mother couldn’t be consoled after his death. But these dreams and visions have given her great encouragement that her son is in a better place. It was to console her, not to prove to her that Heaven existed.

    Contacting dead people is a sin as per the scripture. Even having the intention to contact dead people is something dark and grim. You grandfather is where he is supposed to be. Now you need to figure out where you are headed to. The convictions that you have in your heart about the creation and about life is the Spirit of God within you asking you to try to find the truth. Nobody is able to prove how human conscience came into existence through evolution. Conscience is God given gift to find out the right from the wrong. Find out the truth and don’t rest until you find out the truth. I have found out that Jesus is the truth.

    One possible reason for you not getting any visions is maybe you want it as a proof rather than for consolation. You will not get proof of Heaven, no matter how much you search. Science cannot prove Heaven or Hell. But if you seriously want to know where your grandfather is and where you are headed to, humble yourself and turn to the Lord. Ask Him to help you overcome the unbelief. No matter how much you try to find proof for Christ, without faith, all the proofs that you find are a bunch of junk. Faith matters most. If you cannot believe, no amount of proofs will not convince you. It takes courage to believe in Him and have faith.

    I pray that you will find the truth and that you will have the courage to believe in GOD. God Bless You Shaun!

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    darrell,

    “Other than the fact that the language is ‘somewhat antiquated’ …”

    if kjvese is such a foolish, bad habit for ourselves, isn’t it time to repent from this foolishness?

    my first lyrics to the christian songwriters network, http://forums.christiansongwriters.org/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9420, described kjvese as not just somewhat antiquated, but too inferior for ourselves to even consider practicing.

    GIVING GOD

    Writing hymns these days is tough.
    KJVese soothes the soul.
    Only the world has bad habits.
    Another year and Thou’s still great.

    Giving God the inferior.
    It’s the heart that counts.
    Shakespeare’s already dead.
    That’s not the way to be.

    Cain and Abel gave gifts to the Lord.
    “Examples of Mine you shall be.
    Life itself is what I want.
    I’ll provide the perfect Lamb.”

    Giving God the inferior.
    It’s the heart that counts.
    Shakespeare’s already dead.
    That’s not the way to be.

    Accept or reject the living word.
    Our choice is in God’s plan.
    We will reap what we sow.
    We’re intended for the best.

    Giving God the superior.
    Less is not good enough.
    Too many are not yet dead.
    Dead’s not the way to be.

    if kjvese is such a bad habit for ourselves, isn’t it time to repent from giving this foolishness to the lord god?

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Mark,

    I can see why one would say the language is antiquated, but I do not follow your leap to calling it foolish and a bad habit. Would you explain your reasoning?

    Darrell

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    if one would run into kjvese with the worldly media, it’s exceedingly easy to find where words that are living today are broadcast. do you think that the world foolishly ignores the competition? is the church wise to do so?

    many pastors memoirzed scripture with the kjv (as a teen, i did to earn scholarships to church camp. the kjv wasn’t required, but just seemed quite more proper.) so many have a habit of knowing god for years with the “antiquated” word. jesus has an eternity of being the living word. either way, it’s going to be hard to change. whom do you think should?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    In his Answer Book, Rev. Samuel C. Gipp, Th.D., says that it is God’s style to continue to use antiquated words, http://www.chick.com/reading/books/158/158_04.asp?FROM=biblecenter.

    However upon an analysis of 1 Samuel 9:11, God is not using archaic words firsthand. This is a report of people doing so. Yesterday and today and forever, God is and practices the living word.  

    If we’d be reporters, would we give our Editor a story where someone gave a speech with antiquated words when they didn’t? Is it ever right to report Jesus doing so?

  • Derek Bergmann

    I recently read Isaiah 43:10 where God says, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” From this verse it seems that God says he has a beginning and end. However, I had always thought that God was everlasting. What do you think about this?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Derek,
    I think this verse is using anthropomorphic language to talk about God. The Bible uses this kind of language frequently in order to communicate the infinite characteristics of God to a finite audience. Our language necessarily reflects limitations of time, so the biblical authors have no choice but to use words like before and after to describe eternity or timelessness.

    Hope that helps,
    Bill

  • Jerry Twaddle

    I recently watched a program called Ancient Secrets of the Bible concerning the ressurection of Jesus. I know that the Bible states the graves were opened and that saints rose from the dead as did Jesus. The programs said that two weeks or so after the ressurection it is recorded that the Sanhedrin did an investigation concerning two temple priests who had been dead and showed back up at the temple. The priests stated that Jesus had come to them and talked with them while they were dead. If this is true where could I obtain this amazing information from. Hope you can help me.

    Thank You and God Bless
    Jerry

  • Clyde Greene

    Divorce is so prevalent in today’s world that there are many misconception about it.
    In the NT but I am not exact book let alone, chapter & verse; Either Jesus or a disciple came to a town (well) that a woman came to draw from it. IN the following conversation (exchange) the statement was made that she had many husbands. My first perception of this exchange was that there was an implication of her having loose moral character in having sexual relations. Lately, I was reminded of this verse but this time I focused on his words that he had not stated (implied) prostitution nor adultery on her part but in stating she had married many times or had many husbands was or held a certain amount of validation of her marital status?

  • Mark

    I’ve always been confused about the passage in the Bible where Jesus casts out a demon, and in response to the crowd’s accusation that he did it by the power of the Devil he responds “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. I think this is in Matthew 12:22-30.

    It seems to me that it would serve the purpose of the Devil to allow the casting out of devils by a false prophet, because then the the false prophet could convince people he was in God’s favor and mislead many people. It seems logical that the Devil would have power over his subordinate demons, and would be able to expel them from people, but not exercise that power most of the time because he likes his demons torturing people under normal circumstances.

  • Ellice DeForge

    Want to say before asking,I had been listening to a radio program called the wonderfulworldtommorow and thought that it was ok,but till I got one of their books that I ordered and without seeing it for sure before getting it,that it was done by Herber Armstrong,so red lights went up about that name,a name that I had not heard since maybe the 70s perhaps but anyhow,I find now that this is that person that is a cult,and I will not no longer be listening to that station and will toss the booklet that they sent in the trash.I guess this is simply more of a statement than a question but I am sure that you agree with what I am going to do.I know that John Ankerberg and the team as you are have good resources,and are reliable.I searched it on your site and sure enough there it was.Thanks for having a blessed resource place to go to recheck,or reaffirm or even to answer questions that people may have concerning cults and etc.Be Blessed of God!

  • Ellice DeForge

    God Bless

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    “I can see why one would say the language is antiquated, but I do not follow your leap to calling it foolish and a bad habit. Would you explain your reasoning?”

    so if someone goes around speaking like shakespeare today, you’d say that they are wise and have a good habit? for the lord god’s glory, should we be on fire with the living or the antiquated word? is either way wise or is one foolish?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Mark,
    The context of the Jesus’ remarks seems to be that he has been continually casting out demons and that his opponents have continually charged him with getting his power from Beelzebub. In addition, Jesus notes that other Jews are casting out demons as well (v. 27). Jesus is making the point that it makes no sense for Beelzebub to continuously drive out demons from people, because presumably that is the purpose set for the demons by Beelzebub. Jesus’ point makes perfect sense in this context. Basically his opponents are accusing him of something that makes no sense, and he is trying to get them to see that.

  • THIEN C. LE

    Is God of Christianity is the same God of Buddhism?

  • Bill Pratt

    Thien,
    My understanding of Buddhism is that there is no God, so it would be impossible to compare the God of Buddhism to the God of Christianity. Do you believe that there is a God in Buddhism?

  • THIEN C. LE

    Hi Sir,
    Vietnamese Buddhists do believe that there is a God who create the universe but do not agree that that God is ours.
    We do not know how to prove that that God is ours!
    Thanks,

    Thien

  • Bill Pratt

    Thien,
    That’s interesting. So what do you believe about this creator God? Could you give some more details?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    is rev. gipp correct? In his Answer Book, Rev. Samuel C. Gipp, Th.D., says that it is God’s style to use antiquated words, http://www.chick.com/reading/books/158/158_04.asp?FROM=biblecenter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    tabloids don’t even use kjvese for their articles. do you think that they’d be wiser or more foolish if they did? why would there be a difference for the christian faith?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    just noticed my 30/30 dvd that came yesterday and thought about my question from yesterday. should we ever be disciples of what is even too foolish for the most ridiculous worldly publications? why or why not?

  • Derek Bergmann

    I was thinking about this the other day. We know that God is omniscient. Therefore, wouldn’t he know every decision that he makes before he makes it? Wouldn’t this limit him to a type of force rather than an actual thinking being, because if you know what decision you will make before you make it that requires no thought at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    derek/darrell,

    seems to me that besides being omniscient, he’d have to be god in that he planned everything, predestined all, yet with our having free will. that’s too much thinking for a mere mortal. at least for me anywho. 8^)

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Mark, there are some decisions we make that don’t require thought -the issue is simply decided already, in that it arises from our character. My decision to argue, rather than pick up a club in a family dispute is like that.
    In fact, most of the things I have to decide are things where I am not sure of my goals, or not sure of the best means to achieve those goals, not sure as to possible harmful unintended consequences, or not sure if I care which goals are good, rather than simply pleasing to me, or if I even care about that. Almost every other choice falls into that catagory of the choice arising from my character (good or bad)

    I think that, since a perfectly good, wise and omniscient God would be confused about none of those issues, His actions and decisions fall mostly in the catagory of arising from His character.I think, though, that is not realy being under compulsion the way we normally think of it.

    Imagine taking a multiple-choice test, A,B,C,D.
    If I know absolutely nothing about the question, say, it is printed in Farsi, I am totally free to mark any answer on which my pen rests. If it is a subject I know well, and find the answer is obviously A, then one may say that I am compelled to mark A.

    But is the first case realy more free?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Derek,
    Good question. God does not think in sequential time, one thought and then another. All of his thoughts are present to him at the same time, as he exists outside of time (he is eternal). Once you understand this, then the problem of God being trapped by his previous thoughts disappears.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    are both “thou” and “i am” the living word?

  • Thomas

    Hi Bill

    I have commented on a recent post of yours recently – If you do not read all the comments (which is understandable) I would just like to say THANK YOU!!! for this wonderful website and amazing topics and explanations.

    questions I would really appreciate if you could look into and answer as more and more people – Including Oprah are following the author called Eckhart Tolle – And explain in detail, using logic and reason, why his religion is flawed because from what I have read, underneath the surface he is directing people away from Christ and A LOT!!

    Also What is your perspective and understanding on the quote from the ancient Vedas “There are as many ways to find God, as there are rivers, both straight and crooked, that lead to the sea.” ? Can we really claim to have the truth? or are there many truths? How do we prove it?

    The more people I speak to the more people are just looking to get rid of religion and have a set of laws that are set in place for the good of all of mankind, with the outcome being the greatest happiness and peace possible, I of course argue that this is impossible without Christianity and denies some very and much needed points as you dig deeper into Christianity, but what would you say/how would you argue? They seem to think that religions “have caused nothing but trouble and half of them are irrational and unreasonable” which I can agree to for some, but not Christianity – they feel we need the whole world must just give up this religion thing, they do not deny God’s existence, but they want a set of laws that all people, from all religious backgrounds can and must follow, that all nations must become one, that the unionisation of Europe is good and that the world must forget about religion!?

    Here’s a quote from a discussion I was having with a person
    “While you seem to assert that bringing religion to an end is impossible, you need to realize that much of the developed world has nearly accomplished it. Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on earth. According the the United Nations’ human development report (2005) they are also the most successful in other areas including life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate, and infant mortality. Also, the crime problem that is prevelant in western europe is attributed to immigration. 70% of the inmates in France’s jails, for instance, are Muslim. Conversely the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of the United Nations human development index are unwaveringly religious. The united states is the exception, but it is predominantly a nation of Faith, however it boasts uniquely high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease and infant mortality. ”

    Any advice and comments are very much appreciated!

  • Bill Pratt

    Thomas,
    I did see your comment and just responded. Many thanks!

    You’ll find that many of these kinds of questions have been dealt with on the blog over the last 2 years. Make sure you use the blog search and go back through the archives. I think you’ll see a lot of information that you can use.

    Thanks for stopping in,
    Bill

  • Thomas

    Hi Bill

    Read your posts on inerrancy, quick question – if inerrancy is true then which creation story of Genesis is correct? How do you explain that there are two different creation stories? Only one can be correct?

    Another question, I understand the gospel writers were writing for different audiences and wanted to emphasis different points, one has more parables about riches, the other is much simpler etc. When Jesus said his last words on the cross and we know John was the only at the cross during Jesus’ death, then why does Jesus say different things on the cross in every Gospel? Why couldn’t they just ask John and say “what did he say?” John tells them and they all write the same thing?

    I have heard some Christians try to use what Jesus said on the cross to help depict Jesus as the Messiah, here is an example – What Jesus said on the cross was said in Aramaic which was the spoken language of the time and the 5th line ” Eli Eli lama sabachthani” which was the only line Jesus repeated in Hebrew? Why because the high priests where the only people who knew Hebrew at that time – so when they heard that they became shocked as the remembered the psalm 21 or 22 and went over it mentally and realised that exactly what David had prophesised over 1000 years ago had actually come true in front of their very eyes?

    Is it logical to use that reasoning if we know John was the only one present at the cross? Why didn’t they all just write what John told them (If he did tell them, I don’t know) Jesus actually said?

    Have a great day!
    Thomas

  • Curtis

    I was wondering about your views on black hebrew isralites. Someone at work asked me to watch a video which seemed to have scripture support. I did not know how to respond so I am asking for views

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Curtis,
    I don’t know anything about this, but it doesn’t seem very important what color the Hebrews were. What was the point of the video?

  • Bill Pratt

    Thomas,
    I have a blog post coming out Monday morning that will address your Genesis question.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    is the biblical jesus, always, or only when we feel like it, the living word? are thou and i am the same? is one the christ and the other antichrist?

  • Thomas

    Hi Bill

    Writing a blog about my question – I feel privileged, thank you! :) Another thing about Genesis – I have been doing some more researching about it :-)

    Please could you also clairfy about how to view the differences in the accounts?
    E.g. in the one account God made plants before He made man in the next account it says God made plant after he made man? so which one is correct?
    The same applies for when God actually created animals?

    Is it not correct to not interpret these accounts literally, but rather to understand the lessons behind them? – that God created everything, man is in control etc
    If you can take some parts of the bible to be symbolism – such as when Jesus said “I am the Vine and you are the branches” Why can’t you just take Genesis to be an analogy as well? How do you decide between what is literal and what is figurative? Do we take the stories of the burning bush, the people turned into salt etc as literal or figurative? Also the dates of people ages – e.g. it says some people were over 400 + years old? surely you cannot take that literally?

    What effect does all this have on inerrancy?

    Just some things that I have been reading about and am trying to get to the bottom of.

    Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    are versions out-of-context that use kjvese out-of-context? would i be correct in defining that an in-context version would have words that are not foolish to practice by 50 in the entire universe. is 50 too much to ask? how about that an in-context version would have words that are not foolish to practice by 5 less than 50 in the entire universe. how about 5 less?

  • Patricia

    Why Did God but the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in Garden of Eden?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Patricia, Bill and Darrell, the guys who do a very good job running this blog, are presently at a conference. I feel pretty sure that one of them will want to speak to your question when they return.

    In the meantime, just between ourselves, I would like to explore that question just a bit. I find it extremely fascinating, with implications that run deeply into our lives today.
    First, just so I am not sailing under false pretenses, I have no special expertise or training in theses maters. I am a pretty ordinary pew-sitting Christian, who, like you it seems, sometimes wrestle with these kind of questions, as I believe God intends for us to do.

    Now that the disclaimers are out of the way –
    why indeed was there an object of temptation in the middle of the perfect, as yet unspoiled Garden?
    At least that is my angle on your question. I think there are more layers, but that is the part that catches my attention.

    We often think of temptation as a result of sin, or at the least, we are tempted because of our fallen and sinful nature. And yet here, where sin had not yet entered where God had declared everything “Good” and “Very Good”, there exists a source of temptation!

    (You may be thinking of “why is it particularly ‘The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil.’ That is also a very interesting question, but I had to pick only one –my wife says I’m too wordy as it is!)

    I think it relates to God giving to us the power to choose. Rocks do not obey “the Law of Gravity” out of any desire to glorify God, or to love Him by laying down their will to His, it’s just what they do. Geese obey the will of God by flying south for the winter, but not because they read in the Geesely Ten Commandments that “Thou shalt fly south for the winter, that thy days may be long upon the earth.” It’s just what Geese do, and all creation glorifies God in this way. However…

    I think God intends something far greater for this one creation of his, you and me; Love is a choice, and where their can be no choice (rocks and geese have no choice) there can be no true and full mutual love. My understanding would be that God gave us a choice by placing something in the Garden that we would find so enticing (and without something very good indeed, it is hard to imagine how a sinless person would fall for it) that real choice was necessary from, and possible for us. Either my will, or God’s word. In all that perfect garden, what would I have to offer God other than my obedience in this one point? How could I be a true partner in love, without having something to give my beloved; in this case, my choice to lay down this good thing, the tree, simply because God said He wanted me to forbear ? In what other way could I choose to love Him? Without the Prohibition, everything would be doing exactly that which pleased me to do. What is especially loving about that?

    As an aside, I have though much about this point as it relates to marriage. Particularly to the idea that men (and perhaps women, I can’t very well speak for you ladies) are not naturally monogamous. We naturally find women, not our spouses, to be very beautiful, and even sexually attractive. I have heard it said that this is in itself a mark of sin, and the depravity that dwells within us guys. It may be so.

    But even if so, what God has done with that sin is to make faithfulness a choice. If at marriage, other women ceased to have any allure for me, then my faithfulness to my wife would be simply choosing what I myself wanted to do. It would make monogamy simply another word for doing exactly what pleases me to do. As it is, God has allowed me to honor my wife by choosing her every day of her life. Beauty is a good thing, beautiful and good women are especially good ‘things.’ which God has created. And through that good creation, God gives me the opportunity of rejecting all others in favor of my wife, even if it is somehow not “natural”. It is a gift which I can give her. How could I give her (or God) a gift that costs me nothing?

    Eventually (and I’ve been married a long time, and twice –to the same good and beautiful woman ) the idea of cheating on my wife becomes unthinkable. I still see the beauty and attractiveness of other women, but the thought of sexually pursuing one of them in violation of my wife’s trust becomes a thought which my mind simply won’t form. Before, I was a sinner, then made able through grace to resist temptation. Now I find myself to be beyond that temptation, and not able to sin, even though I would still have the freedom to do so. I think this transition is a lot of what we understand by “glorification” –We still have the freedom to sin, indeed, we will have more freedom than we ever thought about in this life, but the idea of using that freedom to violate our lover and our beloved will be simple unthinkable. We will “not be able to sin” not because we have lost some degree of freedom, but because, having by the grace of God made a choice, God will have made it possible for us to live into that choice. We are totally free, but the choice is in the past, and we will have no wish to go there again. It is finished.
    Praise God!

    Blessings!
    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • Elakine

    What was Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” and what is a good resource to use to go back to the original term that was used?
    2 Corinthians 12:7-10

    Thank you.

  • james langley

    i am confused about the role of satan. why would he want to torture and torment souls that go to hell? he should embrase them and flaunt them and their anti-god activities in defiance of god. if he torments and tortures these condemned souls, he is just an instrument of god, punishing souls that are condemned by god. in this respect he is not an enemy of god, but rather a servant of god in charge of torturing condemned souls.

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    James, the psychological analysis of satan is a bit beyond my depth; although I could well understand the idea that “if God created it, I hate it.” I have known people so bitter that ding something “good” even in their own interest, was impossible. Part of my thoughts of hell is of a place just like that, where hatred and bitterness reigns. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” probably gives something of the right tone.

    Your comment that it makes satan “but rather a servant of God” is intriguing. I think you have hit upon a truth here, in that there is nothing made that does not somehow serve the Creator of all. Remember how God used the Babylonians as agents to chasten Israel, but also judged them for their actions. Remember also Judas, if God’s plan of redemption was laid from the foundation of the world, then Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was included as a key point in that plan. Did Judas thus serve the plans of God? I think yes. Somehow, even His enemies serve Him. St Paul wrote in Romans of his own sinfulness, and who it was used to proclaim the Glory and Mercy of God; “What then, may sin abound that glory be increased? “ and a resounding NO. Sin is still sin, and has the consequences of sin. But God uses all, as tools, servants, or sons. Everything proclaims the glory of God, even the fall which was only allowed by His gift of efficacious choice. I think this is p[art of what it means that “Every knee shall bow…” not just the elect, not just “My People” but “Every Knee” the difference is under what circumstances we do so.

    Perhaps part of satan’s own torment will be that recognition; that even in his hatred if God, he has been used as His tool.

    Blessings!
    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • james langley

    thank you very much for your comment on my comment. everyone’s opinion on my comments helps me to understand. i have so many questions that hinder my belief in a caring and loving god. one question that is top on my list is: when god sent the angel of death to slay the first born in the families of the egyptians, many innocent individuals were slain, including babies and young children and adults as well. to me that makes god the greatest mass murderer of innocent people in the history of the universe. to me that is not the action of a caring and loving god. i have asked this question of so many people and have always gotten the same answer–you shouldn’t question the actions of god. why shouldn’t i?

  • Thomas

    HI James/Eric

    Hope I can add in my 2 cents here :)
    Yes Eric, this also confuses me a bit, e.g. the Canaanites – why would God tell them to move in and kill all the children and animals, I understand it is to start a fresh, but why the children, would God really tell them to do such a thing? If so why did God create those children if they weren’t going to live a full life and be killed so young? What’s the point?

    Surely every human on earth is God’s child and an incocent child could do no harm, why would God command them to kill them when they are his own children and have done no wrong?

    Ezekiel 18:20 says “The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son.”

    So why were the children murdered then if God specifically says that they are not responsible.

  • james langley

    if i can’t experience something with one of my 5 senses, then i can’t believe in it. so how can i bellieve in god? i was brought up in a religious home. i was required to go to church every sunday for 22 years. but religion never sunk in. if god exists and he loves his human creations so much, then why doesn’t he appear to each individual person and communicate with them, letting them know that he does indeed exist and that he loves them. personally i don’t think that that is too much to ask of a higher being. it would certainly clear my doubts of his existence.

  • MJ

    James,
    You said if you saw God, it would clear your doubt about His existence. You want to sense Him to believe Him. I believe that you sense Him every day. But you reject Him outright. The Scripture says in Romans 2 “18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

    The creation is the handy work of God and you sense that each and every day. But you doubt if God exists. Let me give you a funny analogy which I read in an email. I don’t know if you ever came across this but it definitely makes sense. It is an answer to people who want to sense God to believe God. Here you go. Do you believe you have a brain? Did you sense it with one of your five senses, I mean did you touch it, smell it, feel it, see it or taste it to believe? No. And yet you believe you have a brain.
    It is the same with God.

    You said, “I don’t think that that is too much to ask of a higher being.” Definitely not. In fact God wants you to feel His presence. He loves to have personal relationship with us humans. The scripture says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you.” He talks to me all the time. I have sensed His presence but not using the 5 physical senses. He speaks to me, He advices me on things but if you ask me to physically prove it, I cannot. Because, that is God. You cannot limit Him inside a physical box. If you want to sense His presence, you too can, but don’t desire His presence only as a proof. Rather desire His presence out of awe and wonder. And trust me, we humans aren’t that great to challenge God. He doesn’t have to yield to us to prove to us something, and yet, He does help us find Him. He is patient with us, waiting to turn to Him with respect and awe.

    I really wish and pray that you would be successful in your search for truth. God is truth and I am a witness for that. I have sensed Him.

    MJ

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    james,

    do you believe that george washington existed? the history of god providing for his chosen people of israel, a country which currently exists, has been accurately (well, god is always the living word, john 1: 1,14/hebrews 13:8, so versions with the kjvese deny god still get alot right) recorded for us in the bible.

    from death he did rise and will come again.
    move on with him now to be ready for then.
    mark

  • james langley

    mark and mj,

    i guess i’m just a lost cause.

  • james langley

    mark and mj,

    would like your comments on my comment on the angel of death sent by god.

  • james langley

    mark, do i believe that george washington existed. what a silly question. i did not come on this site to become a victim of senseless sarcasm. i came here to try to find answers to questions that have plagued me all my life. and mj, yes, i have seen my brain.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi James,
    Please see this blog post I wrote about God taking people’s lives.

    Thanks for the question,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi James,
    I understand your desire for God to appear to you. I sometimes wish the same thing, but this is not the way God reveals himself to most people. Part of the reason is that He greatly respects our freedom. If He were to appear to you in an unmistakable way, you would have no choice but to fall flat on your face in absolute awe (the reaction of many biblical characters). There would be no doubting His existence after that. But in that situation, how can you really be free to reject Him?

    God has given plenty of evidence of his existence through science, history, and the use of reason. We have posted numerous blog posts giving evidences for God’s existence. Christians point to these effects and infer an appropriate cause: God.

    Further, you cannot directly sense my immaterial mind with your 5 senses, but you can infer its existence by looking at the effects of my mind (e.g., my writing this comment, the picture of me and my family). Likewise, you cannot directly observe sub-atomic particles, but most people believe they exist because we see the effects of these particles.

    As a final word on the subject, I ask you to read this blog post where I talk about the limits of science and the 5 senses. It may prove helpful.

    Thanks for your comment,
    Bill

  • Ivan

    Hi Bill,
    I just found your page and I’ve been reading some of your interesting publications. I must apologize for my “not very good english” (I’m from México). Nevertheless, I keep on doing my best to understand what you write about certain topics.

    Now, I see that you are a prepared man and may be you can answer my question: wasn’t Muhammad announced by Jesus? For example, in John 16:7-14 ?

    If you can,of course, look at this page and you’ll have an idea of what I mean about it:

    http://www.answeringchristianity.net/prediction.htm

    A friend asked me this but I don’t know how to answer it…

    Well, thanks for your help.
    God bless you,

    Ivan

  • james langley

    why do christians spend so much money, sometimes in the millions, to build a “fancy” place of worship (church)? why aren’t they satisfied with “adequate”? all that extra money could be used for doing good deeds to help mankind.

  • Edward Cowell

    This is a question
    of God being all good. In the story of King Saul when he is fighting the
    Amalekites, God commands Saul to kill and destroy all men, women,
    infants and property of the Amalekites. My question is, how can God
    order the destruction of infants which are the opidomy of innocence and
    …frailty, and still be considered a good God?

  • james langley

    edward,
    i have been plagued with this question for years. i have concluded that the answer to this question is that there is no answer.

  • Bill Pratt

    Edward,
    I will point you to two places. First, I tackled something close to this issue on one of my blog posts. It’s a short treatment, but may be helpful. Second, if you want a detailed treatment of this particular issue, please go to the Christian Thinktank and read this article. He deals with the question in great depth. I will go ahead and give you this challenge: if you are going to ask an extremely difficult question, then you need to spend the time hearing the answer. The Thinktank article is very long, but very worthwhile. Do yourself a favor and carefully read the whole thing.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    James,
    You have to look at the motives of each church when they build. Are they building because they need more room for their congregation to worship? Are they building because they want more space to educate their people? There are many good reasons to build.

    Just because a church builds a large facility does not mean that they are not helping mankind. In fact, some of the largest churches are the most generous when it comes to helping out the poor. You simply cannot judge by the size of the building. You must look at their budgets before you can know whether they are spending their money wisely.

  • james langley

    bill,
    i wasn’t judging the size of the building at all. i was speaking of the ornateness of the building such as the tremendous expense of stained glass windows, elaborate furnishings, expensive building materials such as marble, granite, etc. inexpensive simplicity should be adequate regardless of the size. .

  • Bill Pratt

    James,
    How ornate is too ornate?

  • james langley

    any orante is too ornate when when adequacy should be the rule of thumb. all the extra money spent on ornate should go to christian causes. i had just soon worship in a tent as an ornate church. but, of course, many people would not be caught dead shopping in walmart. had rather waste their money on the essentially same item in a much more expensive store. same as with churches..

  • Bill Pratt

    James,
    Herein lies the problem. Ornateness may not be something that can be objectively determined. It seems like it would vary from person to person. Again, it depends on the congregation and the culture they are in. As you yourself said, in our culture very few people would attend church in a tent, so it would make no sense in America to build churches as tents. I don’t think the question should be whether we are building ornate churches, but whether we are spending enough on Christian charity. You can do both; they are not exclusive of each other. I would still wager that some of the most ornate churches give away the most money to good causes. I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule, but I would be hesitant to cast stones at a church just because it is beautifully built.

  • james langley

    i agree with you on one point. “christians” in a weathy community would not be caught dead erecting and worshipping in a cement block church. so are those people really christians? what are they worshipping, god or their affluence?

  • Edward Cowell

    Thanks for you response. This question was placed by my son on Face Book. He graduated from a Christian College with a minor in Youth Ministries. I will also refer him to the think tank.

  • Lee Whitcomb

    IF Paul is the Apostle to the Gentile and his letters were the first to be written, THEN how should we apply, to our present Christian lives, the teachings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—a ministry to Israel? Also, how are we to apply the writings (teachings) of Peter (Apostle to the circumcision) along with James, John, and Jude to our present Christian “walk”? Peter offered the forgiveness of sins for repentance and baptism (Acts 2:38). Paul said we are justified (found NOT GUILTY concerning sin) and justification is not associated with anything but FAITH. Justification is a better deal than forgiveness, yet people continue to ask for forgiveness. If we are justified what is there to forgive? John Piper would have us believe that we must restore fellowship with God. Why? if the slate is clean by justifcation and God has begun His process of sanctification? For 10 years I have taught BASIC Gospel to men in jail. You have no idea what frustration is when you are in front of a multi denominational audience mixed with reformed and arminian thinking. RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED

  • Bill Pratt

    Lee,
    You’ve raised a lot of issues in your comment, but I will focus on maybe one area that may help.

    Justification (the legal declaration of our righteousness before God which guarantees our entrance into heaven) does occur because of faith, and faith alone. However, the NT is very clear in saying that this is merely the beginning of our journey, not the end. There are more verses in the NT about our sanctification than our justification.

    Sanctification is the process by which we become more Christ-like. Our sanctification is extremely important because it determines how close to Christ we get in this life and it determines our rewards in heaven. If we continue to sin after we are justified, it negatively impacts our earthly walk with God and it negatively impacts our heavenly rewards. So we must constantly ask God to forgive our sins and help us to become more Christ-like throughout our lives after we are justified, but not because we are afraid of not going to heaven.

    Again, justification determines whether we get into heaven, and sanctification determines how we will be rewarded in heaven. Justification is not the end of the Christian life, but the beginning. If you would like to read a book that lays this out in a brilliant way, I suggest you read Joseph Dillow’s The Reign of the Servant Kings.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Martin

    Hello

    Briefly. Please I am a Christian and fighting pornography addiction. Recently I have started using a tool EFT – emocional freedom technique from Christian Arden see his page please http://wholesomelives.wordpress.com/about-dr-arden-compton/
    I just want to know if I am not play with some new age technique. I want to be free through Jesus anyway and this technique promise to correct my mistakenly programmed subconscious..
    Thank you for answer indeed.

  • MJ

    James,
    In the OT, God gave tremendous importance to how His temple should be built. It is a symbol of reverance to God. Again in NT, a similar situation arises when a woman pours out expensive perfume at the feet of the Lord. At that point the disciples and others rebuke her but Jesus sees her heart. He sees her love for the Lord more than the expenses. It is more in the attitude of the church. Do they build it to show off? If yes, then yes it is bad. Are they building it out of reverance to God, then, no it is not bad because they are giving God what they got from God. They are showing their gratitude by decorating His Holy Temple. Can a church that is built beautifully neglect charity? No. The Bible is clear that love is very important. But should we just build a tent for God? I believe no because God is even more important. Attitude matters most! Build a beautiful church out of love and reverance for God.

  • Tim

    I go to a big church, and sometimes people have tragic things happen to them – like one little 10 year old girl has a cancerous growth on her brain and another woman collapsed while at work from a brain aneurysm. And then the pastor asks everyone in the congregation to “pray for” these people to get healed and get through certain operations ok and etc. etc..

    This just always confuses me – what is the purpose of praying to God for the physical ailment to be healed? God caused the physical ailment right? I understand praying to God to help us cope with whatever circumstances we have to face, but as far as praying for a little girl to get through a cancer-removing operation, I don’t see the point? God loves that little girl far more than I do – and he gave her that cancer, so what is the point of me praying for the cancer to be removed?

  • james langley

    tim,
    one of the problems that i have with prayer and you hear it all the time is: after prayer doesn’t work, those who were praying for a desired outcome always uses the cop out excuse, “well, it wasn’t god’s will and we shouldn’t question him “.

  • Bill Pratt

    Tim,
    Make sure you read our post on the purpose of prayer. But to question something you said, I would dispute your claim that God caused the little girl to have cancer. What do you mean by this? In what sense did God cause the girl to get cancer?

  • Tim

    Bill,
    I did read the purpose of prayer post and I don’t think it addressed my specific question, but maybe we’re not operating under the same assumptions. I always assumed that God is omnipotent, and that where ever anything happens that doesn’t interfere with human free will, it is decided by God’s will. For example, in the book of Job, all of these horrible things happen to Job because God allowed them to happen. By extension I would think that whenever any tragic physical ailment affects a person, it happens because God allowed it to happen – God could have prevented it, but chose not to. In that sense, God caused the girl to get cancer. How do you interpret God’s role in the girl getting cancer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Would you have any problem calling Allah, Baal, etc., a false god? Identified as the living word (John 1:1,14), why would you have a problem identifying Thou as a false god in the true Lord God’s holy Bible?

    If KJVese were living in 50 neighborhoods IN THE UNIVERSE today, Thou may well qualify to be called the living word. If there were 5 less neighborhoods, Thou may well qualify to be called the living word. Even if there were 5 less neighborhoods, Thou may well qualify to be called the living word.

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Mr. Henninger, I am hoping that I have totally missed your point, and that I will feel very foolish when it is explained to me. But in everything I have found that you have either written or to which you have pointed, I find no sense at all, only the corroded remnant of reasonable thought.

     But to briefly address your post –who ever said “Thou” was the, or a. name of God?, The God of the whole Bible, or of any other presumed deity?  “Thou” is a pronoun, not a name! Yes, it is archaic, but quite understandable. It is no name or identifier, but an address used in the second person. Like “you”, but without some of the possibilities for confusion. In more modern vernacular, would anyone expect the word “you” to be the name of God? That is the parallel.   

    As to the astonishingly absurd confusion inherent in your question –Words have meaning. Allah, baal, etc have meanings, particular meanings. (Of course, the word “thou” also has a particular meaning, which seems to have escaped you). If one says “Boat,” no one is going to think you meant what we now call a “car.” But if you say “automobile” or even “motor-carriage” people may think you are a bit odd, maybe even stilted and old-fashioned in your writing, but by no means wrong.

     Even the Tetragrammaton, should we render it in English? is there a particular typeface that is approved, and for how long is that typeface valid? Who decides what is the only au currant style? Would writing it in Hebrew be an abuse of the third commandment? Or even worse, would it be like using the letters baal to refer to the Creator? 

    You see, the new cannot arbitrate the old, if for no other reason than that the new is always changing – it is always becoming old itself. Only the old can validate the new.There is no point in clinging to the old, worshiping it (and like you, I’ve known some KJV only folks to do just that) But you have rejected their idolatry by substituting one of your own.

     If your writings are to be believed, you worship the words describing God, rather than God as He understands Himself to be. You have rightly rejected the ditch on the left, but only by running headlong into the ditch on the right. And your wisdom has become foolishness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Mr. Sawyer,

    Thanks for your attention. You say “your wisdom has become foolishness”. For 2010, words of KJVese are what are foolish to be practiced. The living word is wise.

    In WAS BORN IN A MANGER, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746&v=app_2392950137#!/video/video.php?v=1369782414912&oid=78598293746, I sing the lyrics “Unreal is lord Jesus who talketh this way.” You’re saying that unreal is fine as long as it is understandable?

    Jesus being ONLY the living word is idolatry? If so, I plead guilty. If you disagree, when is Jesus correctly represented as not being the living word? When is a Bible showing Jesus talking as the Shakespeare of his day a version to be accepted?

  • Bill Pratt

    Tim,
    If you are saying that God allows a child to get cancer, then I agree, but that’s not what you originally said. What causes a child to get cancer? Physical defects in her body, maybe the environment, maybe the genes passed on by her parents. There are many physical, or material, causes for cancer, but I don’t think there is a particular person who can be blamed for directly causing a child’s cancer, and certainly blaming God seems unwarranted.

    If we ask why there is disease in the world, the Christian answer is that the fall of Adam and Eve pushed humanity out of Paradise where there was no disease. We live in a fallen world where disease runs rampant and eventually kills every human being who doesn’t die some other way. This is the fault of our human ancestors, who were our representatives.

    But why does God let us live in a world where pain and suffering occurs? It seems that we are in a moral and spiritual training ground. There is no doubt that pain brings out the best in human beings and that without pain, in this world we would be morally and spiritually stunted. So God allows suffering to grow us. Eventually God will put an end to this world, and completely renew it so that there is no pain and suffering any more. This is what Christians have to look forward to.

    But back to the original question. Why pray for healing? Because God commands us to pray to him. God sometimes heals through our prayers. We don’t know what his plan is for each person, as he doesn’t reveal those details, so we work as hard as we can to alleviate pain and suffering in the world. No one can say whether the child’s cancer will be healed or not, but shouldn’t we try, using one of the tools God has given us, prayer? This is what Jesus did when he walked the earth, and so should we.

    Just because God allows cancer doesn’t mean that he likes it. Just because God allows evil doesn’t mean he is pro-evil. He hates sin and he only allows suffering because he can bring a greater good out of it.

    I’m not sure if I addressed your question, so let me know if there is more to what you’re asking.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  • Tim

    Hi Bill,

    I think that the exact physical mechanism of how the girl acquired cancer is irrelevant – whatever happened, God allowed it to happen. God is the ultimate supervisor – no natural occurence happens apart from his will… the formation of the cancer on this girl’s brain was considered by God probably long before she even existed, and God approved it. God could have stepped in anywhere – made a genetic tweak while she was in the womb, or made the cancer simply disappear while it was forming. But he chose not to interfere anywhere. That, in my eyes, is causing it to happen by inaction.

    I understand we live in world of disease, and even that there is some mysterious purpose for this cancer. But I ask why should we pray for the cancer to heal? I think the only appropriate prayer is “God help us cope with whatever happens in this situation, if our daughter dies give us strength to deal with it, if she lives we thank you”
    Whatever is going to happen physically has already been determined by God, and I don’t see how any amount of prayer affects that? I just don’t see God saying “Only 249 people in the congregation prayed for the little girl, and my cutoff was set at 250, so the little girl dies”

  • MJ

    Tim,
    Have you read about King Hezekiah in the Bible. He was doomed to die. But his prayers and his repentant heart save his life and he lived another 15 years. So I believe prayers do get answered. Infact, Jesus tells a parable about a widow who is persistent about asking for justice from a bad judge. The judge gives in because of her persistence.. so Jesus teaches us to pray. Of course, your prayer to ask for strength is valid point to be added in the prayer… however, praying for God to heal a sickness is not wrong – atleast according to the Scriptures.

  • Bill Pratt

    Tim,
    Now I understand your question a little better. You seem to have difficulty reconciling God knowing what will happen in the future with our ability to change the future, specifically through prayer. I wonder if you have considered this idea. Maybe God has determined that the girl will be healed through the freely offered prayers of the congregation. Maybe this was the plan all along. In that case, your prayers are part of what God has planned. God causes things to happen through the free agency of human beings. He is the primary cause and we are the secondary causes. God did not plan out the universe whilst totally ignoring the free creatures he placed in it. His plans include our prayers, include our decisions.

    It is true that our prayers for helping us cope are also important, and I’m not minimizing those prayers. But don’t you see that you can raise your same objection against those kinds of prayers? God already predetermined whether we would be able to cope or not, so why bother praying to change it? By your logic, there is no prayer that would make any sense, because everything is predetermined and we can’t change God’s mind.

    I am saying that this is the wrong way to look at prayer. The Bible teaches that both God is sovereign and man is free. They are both true. The Bible also teaches that we should pray, not to change God’s mind, as that makes no sense (as you pointed out), but to interact with God as he commands. Our interactions with him are part of the plans he has.

  • james langley

    can anyone point out proof that prayer has any validity? is there any single incident that can be proved that prayer works in our modern world. things happen as they happen. sometimes a situation turns out good, sometimes it turns out bad. has nothing to do with prayer. it is just the way things turn out. if it turns out good then everyone gives credit to prayer. if it turns out bad, then it was just god’s will and should not be questioned. is that even common sense? i am not trying to be anti-god, but logic and common sense require that i ask these questions.

  • Bill Pratt

    James,
    There is no way to scientifically prove that prayer works. When we pray, we are communicating with a personal, free being (God) who will do what he thinks is best for his creation. God is not a machine or software algorithm which always spits out predetermined answers depending on the inputs of the prayer request. That’s just not the way it works. Sometimes we will like His answer to our prayers and sometimes we will not. But the ultimate purpose of prayer is not to get what we want, but to get us closer to God.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    If you were a good steward of the Lord God Almighty, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746, would you point out the error of versions of Scripture representing the Lord practicing ways of the dead, KJVese, in favor of the living word? Am I correct or wrong in calling this an error?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Eric,”who ever said ‘Thou’ was the, or a. name of God?, The God of the whole Bible, or of any other presumed deity?  ‘Thou’ is a pronoun, not a name! ”

    What I am trying to say when I say things like “Hit the road, Thou. Make room for I AM.” appears to have been too abreviated.

    Pat Robertson once said “The Ancient of Days is younger than me..” “Thou” represents a god who’d be more interested in practicing ways of the dead than those of the living, not being wise, but (supply your own adjective. Possible choices: foolish, silly, goofy, strange, or …)

  • Elakine

    Did I miss the response to this?

    Elakine says:
    October 18, 2010 at 3:31 am
    What was Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” and what is a good resource to use to go back to the original term that was used?
    2 Corinthians 12:7-10

    Thank you.

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Mark, my overall opinion has not changed, but perhaps there are mitigating circumstances I had not considered. I don’t know much of your part of Pennsylvania, but I do know a little of western PA. I may be criticizing your position based on the fact that the foe you are resisting rarely appears in my part of the world. That foe is the KJV idolater. The sort of people who firmly believe that when one reads “Authorized Version,” it means “authorized by the Holy Spirit;” That if the KJV was “good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”

    Here in the edge of the Bible Belt, such were once fairly common, but have almost disappeared, except to be laughed about, as in the examples above. There error is profound, but it is no longer a threat. Indeed, the threat is more often from the opposite flank, there are now so many versions, translations and editions that it is much harder for folks to hear “thus sayeth the Lord” (excuse me, “God’s Word says this…”) with any authority. There are special editions for students, women, athletes, soldiers, plumbers, bakers and candlestick makers. There are so many “study Bibles” with commentators notes so bound up with the scriptures that the words of John McArthur, R. C. Sproul, or whoever get treated as inspired holy writ if only by association and being bound up in the same volume. Nothing against these commenters and teachers, I’m quite fond of the two I mentioned, but they are not the Word of God, written.

    Oddly enough, just a week or so ago, I was much more on your side of this argument on another (private) web group. The people who radically defend the KJV (only) make arguments that sound extraordinarily like the arguments of thus who opposed translation into the vernacular at and before the time of the reformation. I don’t know but that the same arguments were made when the first translations were made INTO Latin, and away from Greek. I do know they still resonate about the translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek in the Septuagint.

    Further, there are many who prefer KJV because it is the Bible of their spiritual youth, and as such is comfortable and familiar (for me, that role was filled by the NASV).They rightly appreciate its beauty. I think they are not wrong, but those can be code-words for a subtle idolizing of the form of the letters, rather than the eternal Word behind them. Unless I still miss my guess, your position is that this error is very much common, or even universal among these folks.

    If such an error is common in your area, I can understand your fervor in combating it. But I still think that one of the more successful tactics of our common enemy is that of getting us to focus on subordinate issues, rather than the Gospel itself. By focusing on, not the Word of God, written (which is authoritative), but on which particular version is authoritative (none are), our attention is drawn, not to the light, but to an equal and opposite darkness in the idolatry of the present.

    You are of course right that God is the God of now. But He is also the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, in whom all moments are present, not just the one WE call the present! We can’t avoid condemn a golden calf by proclaiming the virtue of a golden lamb.

    Anyway, thanks for the response. I still think there are grave dangers in your approach, but that it is not as unreasonable as I first thought.

    -res

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Nothing against these cementers and teachers, I’m quite fond of the two I mentioned, but they are not the Word of God, written.

    My apologies to the named and unnamed commenters! I cannot spell without spellcheck, and I am therefore vulnerable to some bizarre errors!

    -res

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Elakine,
    You did not miss the answer. Nobody really knows the answer to this question. There are a huge number of theories. What I’ve done below is give you the Greek word that was translated as “thorn” and its common definitions. Then below that, I’ve copied a brief article from a Bible dictionary explaining some of the issues.

    4647. σκόλοψ skólops; gen. skólopos, masc. noun. Something pointed, sharp, as a stake, the point of a hook, a thorn, prickle (Sept.: Hos. 2:6). In 2 Cor. 12:7, “a thorn in the flesh,” something which causes severe pain or constant irritation, probably some bodily infirmity, equal to asthéneia (769), sickness, weakness.

    THORN IN THE FLESH — a reference to some extreme difficulty “in the flesh” that the apostle Paul encountered in his ministry (2 Cor. 12:7). The context of this reference is Paul’s experiences of visions and revelations that came to him from the Lord (2 Cor. 12:1–6). The purpose of this difficulty was to prevent Paul from being “exalted above measure.” The thorn was designated as a “messenger of Satan,” perhaps to indicate that Satan, as an adversary, resisted Paul’s ministry. The Greek word for “thorn” may be used to refer to a stake, on which a person could be impaled.
    Many explanations have been offered about the identity of Paul’s “thorn in the flesh.” If the best translation is “in the flesh,” referring to the physical flesh, the thorn may refer to some physical infirmity such as epilepsy, malaria, or bad eyesight. An eye ailment seems to be supported by Galatians 4:13–15. If the translation is “for the flesh,” referring to our lower nature, the thorn may refer to some painful experience that was spiritual in nature, such as temptation or the opposition of the Jews.

    The purpose of the thorn, however, was to eliminate spiritual arrogance in Paul. Although Paul prayed for its removal, the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Thus Paul could boast in his “infirmities,” because of the victorious power of Christ in his life (2 Cor. 12:9).

    Ronald F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, R. K. Harrison and Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995).

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Eric,

    Let me begin with Illogical Excuse #5 (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746&v=app_2373072738#!/topic.php?uid=78598293746&topic=14171): I’m 73. — Let’s see. You’ve got 73 years of relating to God with KJV words. God has an eternity of relating with the word of the present. Either way, it’s going to be hard to change. Whom do you think should?

    You say “that the foe you are resisting rarely appears in my part of the world. That foe is the KJV idolater.” The foe that I resist is the foe that says that the word of God is not always, yesterday and today and tomorrow, the living word. While KJVO may rarely appear in your part of the world, KJVL (King James Version Lukewarm) is probably fairly evident. How pleased do you think God is that one find that it much easier to find KJV-free worldly media than Christian worship songs and fellowship? Or is this wise for reaching today’s lost?

    You end with “I still think there are grave dangers in your approach…” Satan enjoys the danger found in not following the living word.

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Again, the danger is two-fold:
    1) confusing the Living Word with any particular language system of this or any other time period. It is the Word that is Living, not the language. That of course is not to say that some pretty, “formal” language is better than the language of “the street” that people actually understand. It is not. It is usually far worse.

    But the Word of God is not to be found by properly arranging the contents of any dictionary, ancient or modern. That is a heresy of the same generation as those who could not Jesus as both the Second person of the Eternal Trinity, and as a man walking the hills of Israel.

    2) and I think far more damaging in the short term – it rejects one idolatry by offering to replace it with another.

    3) for the “Baker’s Dozen” reason, this worship of the now (as contrasted with “in” the now) threatens to cut the church off from wisdom of Christians in other ages, whether in Music, preacing or teaching. St. Augustine, Luther or C. Spurgeon didin’t write like I talk, and they can be hard on my ears. But your understanding, even if it doesnot outright reject these men because of their archaic language, still sets a presumed second, third and fourth class, depending on the distance between their language and our own. That is a profound risk for the church.

    No, the answer to idolatry (Overt or lukewarm) must not lie in that path. It can only lie in the path that says that Good mirrors are better than bad mirrors. But in the end, the mirror does not matter one little bit. What matters is the Eternal Word which the mirror is trying to show us.

    That alone leads ot useing the language as God intends, trying to find better ways to reflect what He has said, and to sing His song. But fighting instead over which mirror is acceptable is a trap of the enemy

  • Kellie Bennett

    My son is taking freshman biology in high school. His teacher stated that one of two well-known historical figures who proposed the idea of evolution prior to Charles Darwin was John the Baptist. Where did this come from and how do you suggest my son respectfully refute this statement?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    “fighting instead over which mirror is acceptable is a trap of the enemy”

    Yesterday, and today, and forever, in whatever language, my “mirror” shines that Jesus is ALWAYS the living word, and not words (KJVese) that are too foolish to practice in worship/fellowship/work/home/school. What reason can you possibly have to defend the foolishness of 21st century KJVese?

  • Bill Pratt

    John the Baptist?? That’s a new one on me. What is the evidence for this claim?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Mark, I’ve presented my case. You may reject it as just the sort of thing you are fighting against, but this is the point where the arguement starts to go round and round.

    For good or ill, I’ve said what I have to say about your points.

    Blessings, and may God always illumin your and my paths with the Light of His Word!

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Eric,

    “You may reject it …”

    Yes, I wholeheartedly reject witnessing Jeeus not talking like the living but one who “shalt” talk like the dead. Isn’t this context important?

    Personal to 2010 is just not the hypocritical idol you defend, but dare not practice (of KJVese). Faith that isn’t practiced doesn’t matter?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Isn’t it sinful to give God less respect than we give the world?
    Unreal is Lord Jesus who talketh this way,
    Not like those that live, but died yesterday.
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1542279709&v=app_2392950137#!/video/video.php?v=1369782414912

  • Kellie

    I had R. clarify with his teacher about John the Baptist and evolution. She apparently pronounced “Jean de Baptiste” as “John the Baptist” not making any clarifications in her lecture that this was not the John the Baptist from the Bible. Very confusing for any Christian student. Sorry to have bothered you with this…

  • Bill Pratt

    Kellie,
    No problem. That makes sense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Is it ever in God’s character to be known by an adjective of the dead, Thou? For God’s glory, should this adjective be promoted or rejected in Christian worship/fellowship?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Matthew 22:32, NLT: ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.”

    Am I correct that you interpret this verse to exclude words (of all languages) of the living?

    If God not the God of dead words (which is my interpretation), God would not be a God of KJVese (An aquaintance once wondered if I could give a Spanish Bible for someone to use. The friend who I gave it to told me that it was in KJV Spanish, but she took it saying that when she’d use it she’d update the words. A Japanese acquaintance told me of such Bibles being in Japan, also. English is not unique to this bad habit.)

    Am I correct that you accept versions of dead words (KJV/unrevised NASB, etc.) as being the word of the living God?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    OK, I’ll post one more time than I should on this topic.

    Right Bark, Wrong Tree.

    Am I correct that you interpret this verse to exclude words (of all languages) of the living?

    You would be correct to understand that I interpret this verse to mean exactly what Jesus said it to mean. That our Lord was speaking of men, and of His eternal being in unity with the Father.
    To take this verse as implying a disaproval of older launguage is absurd.
    It takes a valid premise, and makes that premise a rival to God most High
    To take a statemnt of truth. (you shall be like god, knowing good and evil) and evlevating and twisting it in opposition to or replacement of the whole of God’s teaching is the essence of idolatry.

    To be blunt, sir, you are an idolator, and your idolatry is the language of the moment.
    It is but a short step from there to worshipping the philosophy of the moment. You start by replacing God with linguistics about God, and (if that path be continued) end with replacing the eternal Godhead with the spirit of the age.

    I am being more blunt than is usually tolerated on this blog, and Bill and Darren are right to set limits that may exclude this expression. I would not say things this strong except that you hold yourself out as being engaged in Christian ministry amd teaching. Paul does say that there is a higher standard involved for those so engaged.
    I pray that you reconsider your position.

    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Thanks for your attention, Eric.

    ” I would not say things this strong except that you hold yourself out as being engaged in Christian ministry a(n)d teaching. Paul does say that there is a higher standard involved for those so engaged.”

    “I knew someone just like you, but you can’t be him because he died.” She was talking about me, but like Jesus, I am still alive.

    It was the 1970s. It was not the 1670s. Prior, I was very active in the Christian faith, where I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I’d occasionally hear how meaningful that a personal relationship was to have with Jesus. KJVese was just not personal to my life, yet seemed to be okay with Jesus. Not wanting a Lord Who played Shakespeare, I avoided Christian fellowship at college. The partying crowd was ready for me to fellowship with them.

    Maybe from bad habits from the partying crowd, or maybe from just going around a bend too fast, I became comatose for over 2 weeks after my car collided with a tree just weeks after my college graduation.

    As when I left for college, I still take pride in being a follower of the word not foolish to practice. I chose to follow the word that is wise, yesterday and today and forever. Is this consistent or contrary to the God of the Bible?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    … continued

    Are you on fire or barely lukewarm, hypocritical even, with KJVese in your blogs?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    I’m glad to hear in your salvation testemony of your return to our Lord. that does not mean that you have not turned onto a side track. There is no scriptural defense that individuals will not so err, indeed, even on earth that defense is only claimed for one man, the bishop of Rome, and I don’t think it is warranted even there.

    Your testemony does not support a defence from my charge of idolatry.

    I am particualrly sad to note the pride (as I suspected) you take in using modern English. Pride in anything but our Lord is a mighty driving force towards the cliff.

    Again, you have made an identity between the eternal Word with the temporal words. This identity has no warrent in scripture, reason or tradition; the voice of the Holy Spirit no of the fellowship of the saints, spread out through all generations.

    As to you question about “Are you on fire or barely lukewarm, hypocritical even, with KJVese in your blogs,”
    paraphrasing the words of the Revelation of Jesus to St. John does not make them applicable. By using those words, you are trying to make your argument sound “Bible-Based” and Holy via the word choice alone. This is EXACTLY what the KJVonly-ers do. You condemn yourself by your own rhetoric.
    I could barely care less, as long as the Word is in a language acesable to the people. Greek is good to those comfortable with it. “Good news for Modern Man” is fine, if that is the language one can use.

    Again, to protest on more than the basis of accuracy, in either direction, is to make of the text an idol.

    I am not interested in hearing continuing redundant protestations., and will not respond to them. If you should unexpectedly have something new and honest to add, well, that may be a foolish thing for me to say….

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    “There is no scriptural defense that individuals will not so err, indeed, even on earth that defense is only claimed for one man, the bishop of Rome,”

    Romans 3:23, NLT: For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

    Romans 3:10, NLT: As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous — not even one.

    These Scriptures seem to say that even the bishop of Rome errs/sins. What basis is there that he does not?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Mark, the following was written in MODERN Englsh: it is the language I commonly hear, to speak otherwise would, by your assertion, be false. And yet you seem to misunderstand it. I will repost the sentence with some emphasis you may have not understood.

    There is NO SCRIPTURAL DEFENSE that individuals will not so err, indeed, even on earth that defense is only claimed for one man, the bishop of Rome, and I DON’T THINK IT (the claim of infallibility) IS WARRANTED even here.

    You obviously read the scripture accurately, (although I theing there is an important difference between falling short of the NLT’s “God’s glorious standard” v. ” of the Glory of God”

    You are either embarrased by your incorrect accusation of me, or you are not.
    That difference says more than anything I could post.

    Let’s give it a rest, and let other people deal with more profitable issues, OK?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Eric,

    I wondered if you were a Roman Catholic with doubts, claim the Roman bishop not to err while doubting it. Now, I guess that you are not of the Roman Catholic faith, but were asserting the bishop’s claim not to err (and yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to still be incorrect as to what you are saying.)

    There is nothing more profitable than being personal with Jesus. KJVese is personal to nobody living. Is it in context to quote Jesus as the Shakespeare of his day saying things like “Go ye therefore” or is that a lie as to his character?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    I am probably further from Rome than you are, given the simlarity of your errors to theirs.
    As I would expect you to be able to understand, I confirmed the existance of the pontif’s claim, while asserting by disbelief in it.

    My point -which seems to have blown by you completely, is that your experience with God in your conversion by no means suggests that you are on the right track here, or that you have not fallen into serious error.

    For preaching or teaching, I would never use anything close to KJV (unless in historical context), not because it is somehow evil, but because it is usually unhelpful.
    As far as what is an appropriate language for being “personal with Jesus” don’t you find it at least a little presumptuous on your part to say what language is acceptabe?! I should think that this is between Jesus and His particular sheep who knows His voice, whether KJV, modern “street slang” “toungues of men or of angels” or “groanings to deep for utterance ”

    Again, you are seriously off-track, to the point of idolatry. I do not use this term lightly, or as a general term of disfavor. I mean it as a seriously specific statement from one Christian to another, who is in significant danger of becoming something else.

    other than this point, I see no value in continuing this chain. I drop it now. If you have any desire for something more reasonable, I’m not hard to find.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    “As far as what is an appropriate language for being “personal with Jesus” don’t you find it at least a little presumptuous on your part to say what language is acceptab(l)e.

    Lies are acceptable? My previous last sentence asked ” Is it in context to quote Jesus as the Shakespeare of his day saying things like ‘Go ye therefore’ or is that a lie as to his character?”

    You sound like Bill Clinton, “It depends on how you defind ‘is’.”

    How do you define “word” in John 1:1 and 14?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    “defind” unintentionally shows my imperfection.

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    You ask one reasonable question amidst the noise, and since it is the point at which I think you went wrong, I’ll bite.

    The “Word” in John 1 does not refer to any man-made system of language or grammer.

    Our Lord, the Second Person of the Trinity, is the Logos -the eternal expression of the Father. Exactly what that means is very, very far above my ability to understand completely, but at least in part it means that the Son is how the transendent Father is known -both through creation (and as John 1 says the world was made through Him (the Word) and without Him nothing was made) and through His incarnation.

    To confuse this higner sense of “Word” with a more local sense rerering to human language, grammer and vocabulary is understandable from a simple level. But that does not mean it is a tolerable error. It raises human language to the level of the a place in the tTrinity (hence the charge of idolatry) and at the same time devalues the Eternal Word to the status of Webster’s dictionary.

    One might as resonably confuse “the Son” with a “Dennis the Menace” (or Bart Simpson, for a “modern english” version)

    neither error is harmless.

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    “defind” unintentionally shows my imperfection

    LOL I would be the last to complain about some one elses typos!
    especially given the state of my own typing, and even more shameful, my spelling.
    (More ironic in the question at hand!)

    I often give up the security of spell-check, and I should never.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    “The ‘Word’ in John 1 does not refer to any man-made system of language or grammer.”

    Suppose you are a steward employed by CNN to cover Obama’s inaugural speech, http://articles.cnn.com/2009-01-20/politics/obama.politics_1_nation-generation-president-bush?_s=PM:POLITICS. Would you be wise to report that he began this speech “My fellow citizens: I ‘shalt’ stand here…” Is it correct or wrong to say that anyone living seriously communicates with man-made language/grammar common to centuries ago?

    Is the context correct or wrong to testify that Jesus said “Go ye …”, etc? Is it a lie or is it the truth that Jesus communicated/s with man-made language/grammar common to centuries ago?

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    “although I theing there is an important difference between falling short of the NLT’s ‘God’s glorious standard’” v. ‘of the Glory of God’”

    and that “important difference” is? I don’t see how God’s standard is any different, more or less, than God’s glory.

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    It should become clearer if you diagram the two phrases.

    It seems I may have made another questionable assumption.
    I had assumed your native language was English, but you seem to have some trouble with the finer points of the English language.

    At services this past Sunday, it occured to me how comfortably prayer go in Greek, or Latin, that I have been able to pray quite connectedly in Russian, German, and a few others.
    No. other than English I speak very little but some worn-out rusty High-School Spanish.

    But I have sung the music of the people of God (often the words of the Bible) in all the languages I have mentioned. Of course, I had to learn enough to know what I was saying,
    But, even know, the prayers being in that language are no barrier.
    I once tried to learn some of the greek from the new testement. As an exercise, oach student started each practice session by copying out (and each group class by reading) the Prologue from John’s account of the Gospel. We started first by sriting transliterated english characters, then Greek, as we learned.

    It is impossible for me to convey to you the joy and wonder I encountered when I first wrote out “In the beginning was the Word…” in pretty much the same way John wrote them -that he, and Our Lord in the time of His earthly visitation, could have read them. The experience of the communion of God’s saints spread, not across the US, but across 20 centuries was indiscribable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    Could you please diagram the two phrases for me to show the “finer points” of difference? How significant are these points? Will someone be destined for Hades w/o the recognition?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    No, I woun’t do Jr. High School English homework for you.
    THe points are of depth, not essence
    They are not salvific
    Goodby

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 mark henninger

    When is it correct to testify that Jesus would speak with words that we’d find too foolish to practice ourselves? Would it be a sin to show Jesus in this context?

  • Matt Salmon

    Is there a contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2? Genesis 1 says he made plants on day 3 and made man on day 6, giving him the plants to eat. Genesis 2 says that no shrub or plant of the field (possibly specific to cultivated crops) had yet sprouted when He created man. Then later in chapter 2 when Adam is naming the animals (v19) God makes wild animals and birds out of the ground (wait, I thought he finished that before he created man according to chapter 1). Can you clear this up? I’m pretty sure there’s not a contradiction, but it needs a little help in the english translation.

  • Paul

    DOES THE SPECIFIC ORDER OF THE TEN PLAGUES SUGGEST A STATEMENT IN HEBREW LANGUAGE /CUSTOM?

    1.BLOOD – goêl – The blood avenger is here for his kinsman
    2.FROGS- tsephardea /tsaphar- to depart
    3.LICE- kên- to set upright, to establish
    4.FLIES – z ͤbûb- to baalzebub the producer of flies, ruler of the demons
    5.PESTILENCE – deder/dadar- and answer, declare, subdue, destroy
    6.BOILS- sh ͤchīyn- to burn
    7.HAIL- bārād- and bring devine vengeance upon kingdoms and nations
    8.LOCUSTS- ar-beh /rabeh/geb – to exalt, to increase myself
    9.DARKNESS- hōshek- separating them from their god Ra, in ignorance
    10.DEATH- maveth- leaving them in ruin.

  • james langley

    in the case of sybil who had 16 different personalities, which person does god judge?

  • http://rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    James, In Disassociative Disorder (multiple personalities) the idea as the one personality fragments. The whole is the real person.
    Sometimes the internal perpose of that fragmentation is to allow the afflicted person to “judge” certain aspects of his personality, by assigning them to a seperate “person”
    The remainder is then, in some way, not responsible for those dark elements. They are in the same body, but not realy “me”

    The truth is that *Sybil* was all 16 of those personalities.
    Mental health folks talk about being well “integrated.” Sybil was an example of of the opposite.
    But there is an underlying persona. Christians would say that this underlying person is the real Sybil, and that God knows who she is, that He is ready to reconcile and forgive her as a whole, even if she can’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 Mark Henninger

    If something would be a bad habit and is too foolish to practice by Christians when they are in the world, could it be wise for Christian fellowship? How and why? After answering these questions, please substitute KJVese for “something” and answer.

  • james langley

    what about death bed confessions and repentance? why isn’t everyone given this chance?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    James, first, I don’t know that everyone is not given such a chance. The fact that outsiders are not privy to the internal workings of another’s sole does not imply that there are no such workings.

    But other than that, I do know that everyone is given a “last chance” in a string of multiple chances. When does that last chance come? Who knows. But the real question is how come we are given “extra” chances at all? Does God owe them to any of us? If so, why?

    For that matter, why would He owe us any chances at all, other than the chance to not rebel in the first place?

  • james langley

    many people have said that they can feel that they have a soul, that they can feel the presence of god. i have never experienced either. i have never experienced anything spiritual. could it be that i have no soul. i was brought up in a christian home and went to church every sunday but never had a spiritual experience. could it be that i was condemned from the beginning of my life.

  • james langley

    if there is such a thing as a tortured soul, then i am one. if there is such a thing as hell on earth, then my life is a perfect example. have decided that suicide is the only way out. but i don’t want to die yet.

  • MJ

    Hi James,
    I can feel the pain in your cry and you are right at one point… its not yet your time to die. James, I know how you feel… I think you feel like God has turned off His light on you. You feel like you are condemned for life and that your soul can never ever reach God. Hang in there brother, I can share all that I know. Maybe it will help you a little bit. And James, trust me, right now I am praying for you.

    I’ll answer your question about has God abandoned me?
    The answer is a sure no. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” says the Lord.

    Is your soul condemned forever?
    Definite no again. The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9:
    “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone(including James Langley) to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. ”

    and again in Ezekiel 33:11
    Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel/JAMES?’

    That shows that God does not want anyone (including Osama Bin Laden) to perish. Its true.

    Could it be that you do not have soul?
    Definite no again. God gives soul to everyone… although there aren’t any direct scriptures that I can think of about each person having a soul, there are many indirect refereces. Mark 8:36 says “What good is it for someone/anyone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? ”

    James, can you please tell me what kind of supernatural experience you are expecting. Let me tell you my story of how I found God and maybe it will help you. I was born in a Christian family just as you were. I was taught about the God of the Bible right from my childhood. I have never had any supernatural encounter with God (no thunderbolts, no bright lights, no angels, no voice of God, no touch sensation from God). As a child I always thought that God was far away and yet I had to be good to keep Him happy. When I was kid I went through all sorts of problems. I had one health issue after the other. I have knocked at deaths door and have been back. I once told one of the man of God that God doesn’t love me and that He doesn’t care about me. I said that if He loved, He would have helped me(with my health and other issues that I went through as a child). I don’t see God’s face. I think God is angry with me or He has abandoned me. The man of God with a huge smile said, “He has you in His lap and that’s why you do not see His face. He’s got your back. He knows that no matter what, you will come back to Him.” James, I am telling you the same thing. You are super special in God’s eyes. Your soul is already saved. I want to give you this Scripture as a promise for your salvation. I got the Scripture just as I was typing this long message to you.

    It’s a long Scripture passage. Please read it patiently. If possible replace Jeshua with your name and read it out loud.
    Zechariah 3:1-6

    Then the angel showed me Jeshua[a] the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. The Accuser, Satan,[b] was there at the angel’s right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “I, the Lord, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. This man is like a burning stick that has been snatched from the fire.”
    3 Jeshua’s clothing was filthy as he stood there before the angel. 4 So the angel said to the others standing there, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And turning to Jeshua he said, “See, I have taken away your sins, and now I am giving you these fine new clothes.”

    5 Then I said, “They should also place a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean priestly turban on his head and dressed him in new clothes while the angel of the Lord stood by.

    6 Then the angel of the Lord spoke very solemnly to Jeshua and said, 7 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: If you follow my ways and carefully serve me, then you will be given authority over my Temple and its courtyards. I will let you walk among these others standing here.

    James, you are already saved by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. You are searching for truth and Jesus is the truth. Trust in Him. He will never let you down. You’ve got to take a step of faith. I took it and I live today. Its your day today.

    Revelations 3:20
    “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone(including James Langley) hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. ”

    You have to just humble yourself and take a step of faith. Don’t worry that you will fall. You won’t. He has you in His palms. The moment you accept Jesus, you may not feel spiritual (you may not hear the thunders rumbling or God voice or angelic choir), but remember, He has gotten you saved. That’s the starting point of the journey. After you accept the salvation that God is offering you, you need to draw closer to God. Remember the Scripture in James 4:8 “Come close to God, and God will come close to you”. You need to take the first step James. Start reading the Bible. Honestly tell all your feelings to God. You told your wretchedness to people in this forum. God is your father and so have courage to tell Him how bad you feel. Its okay to tell exactly how you feel. I sometimes fight with God and ask Him questions that keep nagging. God understands our fear and weakness. Open your heart out to God. Pour out your tears. Then let God do the rest. The devil may keep telling that you do not have a soul and you do not have eternal life. IT IS A LIE. You are a child of God and no one (except you) can change that. Decision is your’s James. I am praying for you and I am going to ask my prayer group girls to pray for you. James, we are backing you up. DO NOT give in to the suicidal thought. That’s the devil’s attack… flee from it. Let us us know if you need any help. We are here to help each other out.

    Take care James.
    MJ

  • MJ

    James, sorry I ended up posting such a huge post. I did not think I typed this much. Thanks for the patience in reading it.

    MJ

  • Edward Cowell

    I have been in serious doubt about my faith and the exsistance of God. The Old Testament clearly shows God in a very immoral way. Stoning children , killing women and children (even babies), etc. I have been going to a very conservative church and they also think it was immoral to vote for Obama ? You are no better than al qaeda and everything I read from Hitchens , Dawkins, and Sam Harris is true. I was indoctrinated with a belive in a “God” without my consent. I wish I could sue, it has done nothing but brought harm to me.
    Belive in the fairy tale if you like, it’s your choice. I will not be controlled by religion again.

  • http://www.graceinthetriad.com Sterling VanDerwerker

    Bill: As a result of the comment you made at the debate last thursday concerning the literal truth of the creation account in Genesis 1 and the recapitulation in Genesis 2 and the historic narrative of Genesis 1-11, would you give me your response to this recent post at creation.com?

    http://creation.com/challenge-to-churches

    The Christian apologist must explain why one would take a long age position based on evidence that is interpreted through an autonomous secular materialistic worldview in one sentence and then prescribe to the unbeliever a position concerning the Gospel or Sin in another area of the Word of God.

    Taking a position that appeals to evidence above the written revelation of God in a historic narrative is a risk that “Creates” problems of inconsistency that must be addressed to the Glory of God. I recognize the apologetic of VanTil to be consistent with the Scriptures as the most glorifying to our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.

    Perhaps we can have that cup of coffee we discussed some time back when we first spoke on the telephone, and review the solid foundation of the presuppositional apologetic!

    Thanks! Sterling VanDerwerker

  • Edward Cowell

    The Sabbath
    14 “‘Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it is to be put to death; those who do any work on that day must be cut off from their people. 15 For six days work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of sabbath rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day is to be put to death.

    and this sounds like a ” All Loving God” ??? Dosn’t matter to me what “covenant” you justifiy this with, it is morally wrong. How could one possibly feel this is the word of “GOD” ?

  • Darrell

    Edward,

    By what transcendent standard do you judge it as immoral?

  • Edward Cowell

    Darrell,
    How about God of the Bible , if you continue reading Exodus , God then gave Mosses the
    tablets –
    When the LORD finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two tablets of the covenant law, the tablets of stone inscribed by the finger of God.
    One of the Commandments was – Thou shall not Kill ( or murder , depending on the interpolation).
    The standard I now use is the human intelligent standard- Murder or Killing someone because they worked on the Sabbath is morally wrong.
    So Darrell , if you thought God was commanding you to kill me because I worked on Sunday (which I have too at times) would you Kill me?

  • Darrell

    Edward,

    If your basis for judging is a “human intelligent standard,” which human intelligent standard are you using? Not all humans hold to the standard that “killing” is immoral. Not all humans even hold to the standard that “murder” (which is very different from killing) is immoral. So you can’t just appeal to a blanket “human standard.”

    What is your standard and, more importantly, what is the basis by which you judge it as being transcendent to all?

    Darrell

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Sterling,
    There are a large number of conservative evangelical scholars who interpret the days of creation in Genesis as long periods of time (not to mention most Catholic and eastern Orthodox scholars), based on the literal historical-grammatical method of interpretation (John Sailhamer is one very well-known evangelical who takes this view). So, it is not just based on a secular worldview, as you say. I have written on this theme several times in the blog, so make sure you browse around to get more of my thinking on the subject.

    I enjoyed meeting you and would love to get together any time!

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Edward Cowell

    Darrell,
    Even though you didn’t answer my questing , I will answer yours. I will first answer the question of “being transcendent”. God transcends all things–exists beyond our grasp , right ? What proof do you have that anything is transcendental ? To jump to a claim of transcendental is a theory. An unfalsifiable theory isn’t even a theory, and an unfalsifiable argument isn’t really an argument. I could play the same game using any one of the man made Gods or anything else my imagination could come up with.
    As for moral values, it is clear there is no transcendent idea that has prevailed. The Christian ideas has changed from

  • Edward Cowell

    The Christian ideas has changed from 800 BC, 100 AD, 1000 AD, too today. In the churches I have attended over the years I have seen a lot of changes. Also, between the thousands of forms of Christianity , there are large differences in morality. I know many Christians that use contraceptives for example, but the Pope has condemned it use.
    Our moral values “being transcendent to all?” can and will be derived from open discussion, research , and our own ability to reason. I might also add , without guilt and shame that is taught by religion.
    Sweden , a large atheist nation has lower crime rates that the highly evangelical United States. How can this be so ?

  • Edward Cowell

    Bill Pratt,
    I would like to comment on “days of creation in Genesis as long periods of time “. I just read Genesis again and it is very clearly states God made light and dark , and a cycle of light and dark is one earth day. Also, Genesis has the earth and stars being made out of order, if fact, light was made before our star , the sun. We all know this is not true, unless some transcendent being made it that way , but then made every atom and molecule to a very define and logical manner. A way that we can scientifically and mathematically derive consistent laws that govern the universe. Would he do this just to mess with our heads…
    Hope you have great day, Ed.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Edward,

    Given the fact that you do not adhere to the idea of a transcendental source for morality, your claim that the God of the Old Testament is immoral is without foundation. How can He be immoral if there is no such thing as a moral code which transcends all? You may say that His actions violate what you yourself consider moral, but given the fact that your morality is only your opinion and holds no authority over others, you are truly without foundation to make the claim that He was being truly immoral.

    I find it interesting that when this discussion comes up, agnostics/atheists will often appeal to “Christian morals” in an effort to discredit the God of the Old Testament. However, in the midst of their attempt to “pick up the club of Christian morals” to beat Christians up they lack one thing… a true understanding of Christianity. If you are going to criticize the God of the Old Testament using Christian morals, you have to argue from a Christian perspective/worldview. Otherwise you are being disingenious and inconsistent in your argument. However, this is where the atheist/agnostic argument fails, for from a Christian perspective, the God of the Old Testament was not being immoral. To say that He was displays a profound lack of understanding of the Christian worldview. In addition, from an atheistic/agnostic worldview, He was not being immoral either, for no such thing as transcendent morality exists.

    To answer your question: No, I would not try to kill you should you break the Sabbath. From a Christian worldview, the purpose of the Mosaic Law, of which the commandement you speak is a part, has served its purpose. Therefore, God would not command me to kill you for breaking it.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • Edward Cowell

    Darrell,
    How dare you say I can’t perceive a moral perspective without the use of your God and Bible? Anything you submit without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
    I guess all of the hindu , budda , or any of the Worlds religions , past or present can’t claim to know what is moral ? Or, I guess they can because they all claim to know the one true transcendent being…
    I find it amusing remembering how Christians hold the 10 commandments , the teaching in the books like deuteronomy, psalms , proverbs , etc as valid , but invoke the mosaic law when questioned about other laws.
    I have no doubt you believe you god is pure and moral and can justify any of it’s teaching on how to handle slaves, how to treat a wife that was a slave, how to commit genocide, etc. Just like the believers in Islam can justify flying airplanes into buildings, how Protestant and Catholics can justify killing each other in Ireland, how christians killed unbelievers and Jews who refused to convert , how your leaders say 9-11 was gods punishment for homosexuality , how christains show at funerals of our soldiers to protest, ….. do I need to go on ? I can for days… surely a clear sign of a transcendent truth… and how badly we need it.
    Your answer is just what I though it would be and shows the difference between my ability to come to a moral judgment and yours. If we lived under Mosaic law and you were given this command , you would kill me or be in violation of the “law”.
    Myself, I would look god in the eye and tell him I am not his pawn and will not Kill for his sick pleasure…. I choose my right from wrong.
    I am not on a crusade, just a search for truth and I now feel a freedom that is truly peaceful.
    Have a great Day,
    Ed.

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    How dare you say I can’t perceive a moral perspective without the use of your God and Bible?

    I didn’t. I said that because your worldview does not allow for a transcendent moral law, your attempt to judge the God of the Old Testament by your personal moral viewpoint is without foundation and inconsistent to your worldview.

    I find it amusing remembering how Christians hold the 10 commandments , the teaching in the books like deuteronomy, psalms , proverbs , etc as valid , but invoke the mosaic law when questioned about other laws.

    Yes, I can see how you might find it interesting and frustrating when Christians understand their faith well enough to counter a misinformed criticism against it. Personally, I find it refreshing. :)

    I choose my right from wrong.

    Yes, God does allow us to choose. That way, at the last day, we can’t accuse Him of forcing our ultimate destiny upon us, for we chose it.

    I am not on a crusade,

    Your critique of Christianity on this blog seems to testify otherwise.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  • Edward Cowell

    Hi Darrell,
    I have enjoyed our exchange and it continues to gives my empowerment to reject all religions, especially Christianity. You are mistaken or confused when you say I am frustrated, how did you come to that conclusion? Quite the contrary, I was frustrated as a Christian. I am totally at peace now.
    You didn’t counter any of my arguments???
    Like all of the debates I have seen , Christians continue to dance around the immoral writings of the old testament,the killings in the name of God, and the complete lack of evidence for there position. The Bible can’t prove the Bible.
    I find it amusing how all of the so called best theist are slammed dunked by the Hitchens, Dawkins and Sam Harris. Evolution is a fact. It is a fact the earth is older than 6,000 years. It is a fact the Stars came first , therefore light came before the earth.
    It is a fact the science has cured many disease and prayer has never been proven to cure anything. Speaking of prayer, have you ever seen someone have a limb grow back with prayer?
    My mother had cancer and despite all of the prayers of our Church, the prayers of a very large family, she died.
    My sister and two brothers also had cancer, and were cured by science, not prayers.
    Shake and bake all you like, you do not have any evidence to prove any of your assertions.
    Take Care, Ed.

    .

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 Mark Henninger

    Edward,

    1 Corinthians 15:14 (New Living Translation): And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless.

    Yes, Jesus lives today!

  • Edward Cowell

    Hi Mark,
    Jesus also said , according to Matthew 30-
    ‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
    the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]

    30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
    Now Mark, here are the facts-
    The moon doesn’t give off light , it is a reflection off the Sun. Clouds from heaven ?
    A cloud is a visible mass of water droplets or frozen ice crystals suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere above the surface of the Earth or other planetary.
    beyond that is space.
    If the stars fell from the sky ? really , the one’s that are millions and billions of light years away ? If Jesus really knew what his father really created then he would have known some of what appears to be starts are planets and some are whole galaxies.
    If the all of the “stars” would fall from the , or even get close to the earth, what do you think would happen?
    Oh, I know , just like when I believed in this fairy tail , all things are possible with a transcendent , all powerful , all knowing God. Except he didn’t know the moons light is a reflection…

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 Mark Henninger

    Ed,

    The fact is, Jesus lives today!

    If the sun is darkened, do you really expect that there will be light coming from the moon?

  • http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org Darrell

    Ed,

    You didn’t counter any of my arguments???

    I am not sure what arguments you think you have made. I’ve seen several charges, but nothing that I would call an argument.

    I have addressed your charge that the God of the Old Testament is immoral. My counter is that as an atheist/agnostic (not sure which you are), you are without foundation to make the claim, for your worldview does not allow for transcendent morality to which all people are accountable. Therefore, you can continue to level charges of immorality all you want, but your claim is without foundation and is therefore empty.

    Like all of the debates I have seen , Christians continue to dance around the immoral writings of the old testament…

    I would suggest that you either need to see more debates or open your heart and mind a little bit. I think I know which… but I’ll leave it to God to judge.

    Nevertheless, if this is a topic which you desire to research and seek out answers, there are plenty of them out there. Bill has even done a few posts on this topic on this blog. Here is a link:

    http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2010/08/13/does-god-condone-slavery-in-the-old-testament-part-1/

    I’ll give you the last word in this exchange, because I don’t think we’re going to get anywhere.

    God bless you on your journey. Please know He does love you and is there for you should you ever want to return to Him.

    Darrell

  • George

    HI BIll/Darrell – could one of you please provide me with an answer to this question?

    “1. If God exists, then he is perfect.
    2. If God exists, then he is the creator of the universe.
    3. A perfect being can have no needs or wants.
    4. If any being created the universe, then he must have had some need or want.
    5. Therefore, it is impossible for a perfect being to be the creator of the universe (from 3 and 4).
    6. Hence, it is impossible for God to exist (from 1, 2, and 5).

    Premise 3 might be challenged on the grounds that a perfect being, full of love, could desire to share his love with others. Thus, a perfect being could have a want, which would make premise 3 false. I suppose the only problem with this is that if a being wants something that he does not have, then he cannot be perfect, for he would be in a certain way incomplete. Whether or not this adequately defends premise 3 is hard to say. There is a certain unclarity, and perhaps subjectivity, in the idea of “perfection” which poses an obstacle to any sort of rigorous reasoning about the concept.”

    Thanks

  • Edward Cowell

    “1. If God exists, then he is perfect.
    2. If God exists, then he is the creator of the universe.
    3. A perfect being can have no needs or wants.
    4. If any being created the universe, then he must have had some need or want.
    5. Therefore, it is impossible for a perfect being to be the creator of the universe (from 3 and 4).
    6. Hence, it is impossible for God to exist (from 1, 2, and 5).

    Of course he/ it / them do…

    Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, Santa Claus, Cthulu, Karora, Njirana, Nonomain, Ungud, Baal, Bes, Bast, Ceres, Atlas, Artemis, Gaia, Iris, Fenrir, Geb, Frigg, Jesus, Ki, Leto, Neith, Shu, Utu, Odin, Turtles all the way down, Atheism, Zeus, Thor and the tooth fairy.

  • Bill Pratt

    George,
    I would challenge premise 4. God did not create the universe because he was somehow incomplete without it. Most Christian theologians would say that God created out of an overflow of his loving nature. He was sharing himself with a created world. It would be incorrect to say that God needed the creation to share his love, because the three persons of the Trinity have eternally loved each other.

    Does that make sense?

  • George

    Bill

    Yes that makes sense – he created us for our benefit, not his.
    Second question, God has a will, does that not mean he also wants something? will=want?
    How would you argue God can have a will but does not want anything?

    Thanks for the response

  • Bill Pratt

    George,
    You are using the word “want” to mean different things. In your earlier question, you used “want” as a synonym to “need.” Now you are using “want” as a synonym to “will.” “Will” and “need” have two very different meanings. God does indeed will things, but he does not need things.

  • NickyMac

    Do you believe that as Christians we need to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness? In accepting salvation in the first place haven’t we already received forgiveness for ALL sins (past/present/future)?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Nicky,
    We are judicially forgiven for all our sins at our justification (when we first place our trust in Christ), which means God will welcome us to heaven when we die. However, we need to constantly ask for forgiveness for our sins as Christians so that we grow closer to God and strengthen the relationship (during our sanctification). Our sins keep us from relating properly to God. Salvation is far more than entering heaven some day. It is about becoming more and more like Christ, growing closer and closer to him, transforming our mind to think like him. Sin keeps us from accomplishing all these things, so we ask for forgiveness to keep our sanctification headed in the right direction.

  • NickyMac

    I’ve grown up with that idea but there are no indications in the bible that this is so. If you don’t mind hearing out some of my thoughts…
    If we are saved then we cannot be out of fellowship with God. When we sin God doesn’t see the sin (because He chooses not to) because we are credited with the righteousness of Jesus. The only verse that seems to teach confession is 1 John 1:9 but that is talking about initially repenting and admitting you are a sinner before God in order to receive salvation. Isn’t confession a Catholic notion? Isn’t it just our way of reverting back to the law? I’m starting to think that maybe God wants us to focus less on our sins and more about living in the freedom that comes from Him. I believe in sanctification and obviously I feel guilty when I sin and I ask God to help me to resist it but shouldn’t we just get back up and say, “Hey, I’m already forgiven. There is no condemnation in God” ?

  • Charles Kyte

    If sins that are forgiven are thrown into the deepest ocean what is there to judge on Judgement Day?

  • Bill Pratt

    Nicky,
    I don’t really see how asking God for forgiveness of our sins is reverting back to the law. It helps to maintain our relationship him and it’s spiritually healthy for us to stay aware of our sins. I’m not advocating that we obsess over our sins, but I think it is quite biblical to ask forgiveness. We ask forgiveness of our loved ones from time to time when we sin against them in order to repair our relationships. Likewise, why wouldn’t we continue ask God for forgiveness when we sin against him?

  • Bill Pratt

    Charles,
    With regard to our entrance into heaven, our sins are thrown into the deepest ocean, but with regard to our rewards in heaven, we will be judged based on our works – good and bad.

  • james langley

    does god exist? yes, he exists, but only in the minds of humans. god didn’t create man. man created god in his own mind. those who believe in god do so in an attempt to satisfy that “innate need to be” in this life and the supposed “afterlife”. belief in god is a great way to cope with death. if god existed, then there would not be this forever cloud of mystery about his existence. he would constantly mingle with his human creations and rejoice with them in their endeavors in this wordly existence. he would make sure that there was no doubt of his existence. he would put an end to all this useless speculation and controversy of his existence. got to admit, all the speculation and controversy is a great exercise for the human mind. and how did i reach my conclusions. simple, common sense and simple logic.

  • Bill Pratt

    James,
    Do people who believe in God not possess common sense and simple logic?

  • james langley

    of course they do. they just throw it out the window when it comes to god and religion.

  • james langley

    in an earlier post i stated that i was on the verge of suicide and was in obvious need of support. fortunately my statement was untrue, but it was a test for you so-called christians. except for one sincere response, you all failed miserably. you are all so caught up in your own rhetoric and self-indulgence that you ingorned an obvious cry for help from a fellow human being. i suppose that i have been living under the misconception that compasioin and support were a big part of being a christian.

  • http://randyeverist.blogspot.com Randy Everist

    James, you made an assertion which says, essentially, “if God exists, doubt would not exist.” But you provided no support for this assertion. Why should we think that if God exists, doubt of his existence would not exist?

  • james langley

    well, if god was proven to exist by his appearance in some form to each individual, then it would take a fool to believe that he did not exist. and fools don’t count.

  • http://randyeverist.blogspot.com Randy Everist

    What do you mean if God’s existence was “proven”? Do you mean simply a deductive argument with true premises that gains a conclusion of “God exists”? Or do you mean if every person knew with certainty God exists, then they would believe God exists? Or do you mean something else entirely?

  • james langley

    i choose answer #2: if every person knew with certainty that god exists, then they would believe that god exists. if they didn’t believe it, then they would not know with certainty that he did exist.

  • http://randyeverist.blogspot.com Randy Everist

    Well if this is the case, I would just like to point out all that’s been stated is a tautology. For I may ask, “why should we expect, if God existed, that everyone should know with certainty that he exists?” I suspect what you may mean to say is, if God existed he would make his presence known to all individuals–like writing their name in the sky out of M&Ms, saying “From God.” However, there are two problems, one minor and one major. Minor: there’s no guarantee even on this that some people, with technically normal brain function, would not simply choose to accept some other explanation instead. Even the discounting of fools is ad hoc, for then we have only restricted the pool to mean “all those who would accept God do so if he reveals himself,” which entails the turning back of the force of the objection. But let us grant that all such people would in fact believe God exists. Major: There’s nothing indicating God’s primary desire is to see people believe he exists. In fact, on Christianity (and other monotheistic groups), God desires something more. In this case, a relationship. The problem is we’re simply not in an epistemic position to know that any more people would come to a saving relationship with God than do in this actual world.

    A side issue is the issue of certainty at all–one need not be certain in order to be rational, he simply must have justification warranting his claims. So long as one could be rational in embracing Christianity in its core truths, one does not have an excuse for ignoring the light he does have.

  • james langley

    it is evident to me that you don’t have the intelligence to understand simplicity. you have to soar off into meaningless tangents that have nothing to do with the simplicity of the matter, thus making mountains out of mole hills. i have nothing more to say to you on this matter for you wouldn’t understand and only try to turn my comments into meaningles arguments. “flair your pen” on someone else and don’t waste my time.

  • http://randyeverist.blogspot.com Randy Everist

    James, I’m sorry you felt the need to resort to ad hominem attacks. You made an assertion, and thus far have yet to provide any non-fallacious reasoning to back it up. I refuse to insult you, and I rather wish you well in your life’s journey. Please just consider some arguments for theism from the best scholars, and examine what they have to say. Have a good day!

  • Edward Cowell
  • EDWARD COWELL

    LOCAL NEWS-
    Kids beaten for being bad Muslims, caseworker says
    The caseworker testified that the three teenage daughters told her that their mother and stepfather had stripped Mandela and beaten him until he lost control of his bowels.

    Religion Spoils Everything- Chrispher Hitchens

    THINK

  • http://randyeverist.blogspot.com Randy Everist

    Edward, have you demonstrated a necessary link between all religions? The fact that you’re quoting Hitchens leads one to believe you aren’t familiar with the relevant literature.

  • http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=78598293746 Mark Henninger

    Is KJVese wise or foolish to practice, in the world, in Christian fellowship?

  • EDWARD COWELL

    By John Blake, CNN

    first heard of the biblical scholar John Dominic Crossan through a head-turning quote. He said the body of Jesus wasn’t physically raised on Easter morning but was probably taken down from the cross and eaten by stray dogs.

    LOL seems like the Bible Scholars can’t get there stories straight.

    Randy , I don’t claim to be a scholar , just a free thinker. Then one can see link between all religions. I have also read CS Lewis and Ravi Zacharias to name a few.
    I see science as the free inquiry to the natural world that explains the past like the making of the universe, our solar system, earth, etc. Also, evolution is the way we and all of the plants and animals came to be. I am also amused by may religious scholars that now except evolution. These scholars “pray” to your god , and apparently are getting different answers.
    Once you free your mind you can see why and how all religions developed. One can also see why they are loosing ground but still remain all over the world today. Religion is the easist way to control the masses.
    I am very thankfuf for the many scientiest that have solved and cured many disase’s that was once thought to be sent by a god. I am also very thankful for the current reasearch that is taking place. I am very thankful for the atheist movement that has freed my mind and has allowed me to think rationally. It is trully refreshing.
    Take Care and , as always, I wish nothing but the best to everyone. Ed

  • Edward Cowell

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amGXUzw5v2U

    voice of reason if you dare to open your eyes

  • Daniel

    Hello, wanted to know if you knew any infrmation about a group that calls themselves Nuwabians. They oppose the beliefs of Christianity. Also the history of the letter J. Many people feel that the name of Jesus is a pagan name. Wanted to know if you could shed some insight in this topic please. Thank you and God Bless!

  • http://randyeverist.blogspot.com Randy Everist

    Hi Ed. So let me get this straight: one is only a free thinker, and hence rational, if he rejects religious belief? If this is the case, an intense irony is taking place here, as one only thinks freely if he is closed to thinking good about religion!

    Of course, it may be that you simply meant what you call freethought resulted in your current beliefs, but that doesn’t give me any reason to believe your current beliefs (unless you really meant the former definition, in which case it’s either question-begging or logically incoherent).

    There are quite rational people in the field of philosophy of religion, and scientism (the view that says science accounts for everything) is logically incoherent (it cannot account for itself, for example). I encourage you to delve into the deepest levels of current scholarship (I’ll even provide recommendations if you’d like). I think you’ll be surprised!

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Daniel,
    I’ve never heard of Nuwabians, so can’t help you there. When you say that Jesus is a pagan name, what do you mean by that? I don’t understand the problem.

  • Carol Berry

    When did the ascension happen according to the Bible? Resurrection Sunday or 40th Day. or both?

  • MJ

    Hi James,
    I don’t know if you will be reading this.I am the same person who wrote that huge reply believing your false cry for help. I felt a little bad that you were just testing people here. Anyway, I also felt bad that none of them came to help you. So yes, lack of compassion is wrong. I am with you on that. The Bible is clear that love for God and love for fellow humans is key to being a Christian. All this apologetics and proof giving doesn’t really matter in the end. If we do not have love, we have failed miserably.

    But James, I want you to consider this. Why is it people always judge God’s love based on human love. I was genuinely concerned when you said you were in the verge of suicide… and trust me, I got my friends pray for you and they did pray for you. But I am 100% sure that my compassion and the compassion of my friends for you was nothing when compared to that of God’s compassion.

    You said I want proof for God’s existence. You said you want solid proof that will help you get rid of all the confusion. But the reality is, every relationship begins with faith. The first step is faith. The second is building trust. So you first take the step of faith. That is true in any relationship. How do you make friends? Do you first ask for a proof for friendship and then become a friend? No. You first believe that the other person can become a good friend to you and then you start working on the relationship and then when trust builds, you are convinced that you have made the best choice. We never ask for proof when it comes to other relationships but when it comes to relationship with God, we ask for proof. Don’t you think that is unfair in a relationship.

    James, I don’t know the intentions of all the other people in this blog. I have just one intention. I know how it feels to be close to God because I have been there. I have felt Him, heard Him speak. You may call me crazy or say that I am hallucinating (I am not worried about that) but I just can’t see people missing out on the best relationship one can ever have… the relationship with God. I don’t have proof to show you James and I guess God never entertains a relationship that demands proof… I mean, how will you feel if your son came to you and asked you for a DNA match report? That isn’t healthy in any relationship, is it? But once you take the step of faith, God comes closer to you and He is more than happy to mingle with us humans. He is not a distant God trying to shoo everyone away. He loves to come closer to anyone who genuinely wants to be near Him. A straight heart is what God expects, a heart that doesn’t seek God just as a proof of existence but for genuine relationship with Him.

    One last thing James, I really did pray for you and I believe that God will catch you someday. I don’t think I will ever forget your name… if I can’t forget, how much will God remember it. I know He will reveal Himself to you. :) Blessings!!

  • james

    thanks, MJ. you seem like a true genuine and caring person. my life is such a mess that i don’t know which way to turn. if only i could talk with someone on a one on one basis. this site is not the place for such conversations. if you know of any site that might fill my need of private conversations, please let me know. thanks again. james

  • Andrew Ryan

    James, I clicked on your name in case there was a link for me to message you on, but it wouldn’t let me open it.

  • Sara

    Why would God create this world and then ask us to hate it because it will perish one day and all thats in it?

  • Bill Pratt

    Sara,
    I am not aware that God asked us to hate this world. Why do you say that?

  • Sara

    1 John 2:15-17 (New International Version, ©2011)

    On Not Loving the World
    15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

    I feel that God created many beautiful things, and we by nature tend to enjoy these things …nature,music,food, etc….sometimes i feel enjoying these things is pride of life and lust of flesh!

  • Sara

    One more thing…i feel so sad because i asked God to make me feel his love but i never feel it…I also asked Jesus to talk to me but i dont feel like he’s talking to me….i always fear that i make things up and then say that God told me so through the Bible or through a friend….i always have doubts that God really loves me and talks to me…i have doubts i am from the “elect”:((

  • Sara

    and please don’t tell me that this is wut they call “the dark night of the soul” i am no saint….

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Sara, I’m going to leave most of your questions to Bill, as he will probably answer better; best that I don’t muddy what he will try to clear. But one thing you said draws a strong response from me, when you speak your doubts about your election.

    It sounds like you know a good bit about the faith, and so I assume you know something about the doctrine of “election,’ and maybe something of the different opinions Christians have held about it. The branch of Christian thought which takes the most definite view about election tends to be the “Calvinist” or “reformed” tradition. Although my personal views are a little more relaxed than theirs, I think it is a noble and Godly tradition, so that’s where I’ll frame my response.

    I have heard R. C. Sproul (whom you may know of as a prominent reformed theologian and teacher) speak to exactly this problem. First, you know, I assume, that God’s love for you, and His calling, does not rest one degree upon your feeling, but on His word, and on His work in Jesus. I mention this because it was my big hurdle to get over some 35+ years ago, and God has been working that issue with me ever since.

    “But there should be SOMETHING inside me!” is the cry I hear. So I would ask “do you love Jesus with a all your heart?” I would have to answer, no. “Do you love Him as much as you ought?” again, my answer is a firm no. “Do you love Him, Do you have any affection for Him at all?” and the answer is a decided, definite “YES! and may God give me grace to love Him more!”. Sara, that love, as puny as it may be, is a work of the Holy Spirit, and an earnest, a down payment, a seal, toward that which He delights to give you, and which He intends to bring to completion.

    I, too, often do not “feel” His love, and rarely “hear” messages. But I have. And the less I long for His assurance, the more I feel His love. I went for years to a church where the tendency was to evaluate the service by how close to God it made one feel. That was wrong. It was about God, not about me. Since then, I have started almost every worship service with a prayer that God grant it to me to worship Him as He deserves, because He is worthy of my worship. I have found that as I am consistent with that, I very often experience the presence of God in great richness; not always, but more often now that it is an “extra bonus” than I did when I sought to feel that presence, as a sign of His favor with me.

    You are right that God created many beautiful things, along with many I do not find so beautiful, and note that He was the very first to call creation “very good.” I will not argue with Him. Enjoyment of these good gifts is not wrong, but it does work as we were taught about gifts from our Grandmother… for me to play with them without expressing gratitude to my Grandmother, WAS wrong –it made the gift the main thing, not my Grandmother’s love. It was a beginning, miniature version of idolatry, and that is what 1 John is warning us against. He says it so strongly because the tendency to idols is very strong in us. Write thank you notes!

    Remember always that your desire for God is an early result of God’s desire for you. And ultimately, that is what makes the difference. I would advise you to ask less to feel God’s love for you, and instead that you be able to love Him more completely; that you give yourself to as much of the Voice as you discern, and ask for more clarity to follow more accurately.

    As for me, I want the fireworks that come from God doing BIG THINGS in me, that I can tell the world (or convince myself) of His love. In my 37 years as a Christian, I almost never get that! I have learned, that at least for me, that this is an idol, and that I find Him best when I look for what He would have me do, rather than looking directly for Him. I think there are others, natural “do-ers” whose experience is exactly opposite from mine. That is why you should take my recommendations with a bit of caution! But God knows, and it is His intent and good pleasure to bring you home.

    -Blessings!
    R. Eric Sawyer

  • MJ

    Hi James,
    One thing about you is that you are not quiting, you are earnest in your search and I know that those who seek truly will definitly see. If you are really in big trouble (hope you are not testing people again), then my first recommendation is that get personal with God. Get a one on one with Him. If you do not have a Bible, get one (I prefer NLT or NIV) and begin reading from the New Testament Gospels (only because it is plain, easy and answers all the questions related to salvation and grace).

    This website is a good place and I really enjoy being here to get different view points. Each site has a purpose and this site is one of the best in terms of Christian apologetics. If you want to move from apologetics and get into the spiritual side, you should visit sites like CBN. I visit them when I need encouragement. I have been there in the most helpless situation and have stumbled upon amazing articles that has helped me get up and walk. They also have a community where people discuss things (I am not a huge fan because I see people end up in endless arguments). Also, remember that you may meet people who may not be “perfect”. They may not be loving and they may let you down. In my experience, whenever I was in a mess, I hardly had any human help. They all left me just when I needed them the most. But there was someone who always stuck to me – GOD. So if you feel betrayed in any of these communities/forums, don’t feel bad… people are imperfect, like it or not.

    As a final option, if you need to discuss in person with someone, you can write an email to the ID i am going to give you. It is not my id but it is a group email ID. I am also part of that group. We provide pray support, provide help to people in need and provide counselling if required. We do not do apologetics and we can never match with people here in this blog. We provide personal help in terms of prayer and spiritual support. We may not be able to answer all you question but I think we can in most cases. I normally do not give out this email ID in a public forum but because there is no other way to reach out to you, I am putting it here. Hope Bill and company aren’t upset about this(Bill, if this shouldn’t be here in this forum, can you please send a direct note to james providing this email ID to him. I understand that the site could have its own policies and I do not want to bypass them). You can write to worduncensored@gmail.com. If you drop an email, one of the members of the group will answer you. If you want to get to me directly, add “MJ” in the subject line.

    I pray that you will find answers to your nagging questions soon :)
    Blessings!

  • MJ

    Sara,
    There is nothing wrong about enjoying the things God created but as Eric rightly pointed out, making an idol out of it is sin. I have always been reminded by God that loving God more than anything else, seeking His Kingdom first is most important and all the other things will be ad-ons. So don’t feel guilty about enjoying your food or music. Spend time with good friends, take time for yourself, pursue your hobbies but in all this, remember they all will pass away but God never does.

    Just when I was typing this, I remembered this, maybe it will help you put things in perspective. I was recently on a tour to London and I wanted to see Buckingham palace. But before I started to see the palace, I said to the Lord, “Lord I want you in every area of my life, including my recreation. I want to visit all the beautiful places here, but I want You to come along”. Then when I was there in the Buckingham palace, standing before this magnificent gate, I was amazed at its beauty. I kept inspecting the gate when suddenly I heard the still small voice of the Lord, “If you are amazed at this gate, how much more will you be amazed when you see the gates in Heaven.” Right there I felt the presence of the Lord and I knew that He was right there, participating in my recreation. So, God does want you to enjoy life and given a chance, He is willing to be part of your recreation and fun. The Bible says “Rejoice in the Lord always” so being happy is something God expects us to be. Christians should be the happiest people on the earth because they have God here and they know where they are headed to so don’t feel bad about being happy and enjoying the things around you.

    On the other question you brought up, “I doubt if God really loves me?” I bet He does, if not He wouldn’t have chosen to die for you. The question should be “Do I really love God?” I know you do but you have this nagging doubt. God is faithful Sara, I can bet my life on that. He has never once let anyone down. He reaches out to everyone till the very last breath that each of us breathe. But we are never convinced that He loves us. We expect signs and proofs for His love. We want to feel His love. Love is not a feeling, love is a choice. God chose to love you, and you need to choose to reciprocate His love. You are already a part of His Kingdom. Have faith and don’t be hard on yourself.

  • Sara

    R.Eric Sawyer and MJ ,I really appreciate your replies to my questions…

    R.Eric you were saying that Love of God is a choice, so i have taken the decision to follow Jesus,but no matter how much tears i shed every night asking him to speak to me or beg him to tell me that he loves me, i just don’t seem to get a reponse….i really wish he was here and would talk to me face to face…the bible says he’s not far–> “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us”….sometimes i just want to be re-assuered that he really loves me…i’ve read the bible, I don’t see God as a loving and merciful God all the time, there were times when he got angry and stopped listening when “his people” prayed , there were times when he raged against his own creation and there were times when he ordered his people to fight other nations…
    I just struggle alot with my relation with God, how can i love him if i don’t feel him around ,if he doesn’t talk to me….
    I have been surreounded by believers who would say “God talked to me today and told me this and that”…”God is a kind father”….”God healed my heartbreak”…they have touched the love of God up close and personal…
    I would say on many occasions i have felt him near, but not anymore, which makes me think now, maybe it was the perssure of the surrounding enviroment….ii tended to talk like them…i have doubts that just drive me crazy and i feel tortured:(

  • Sara

    To be honest sometimes i get doubts if the bible really is the word of God and if Jesus is really God…it breaks my heart to say that:(((( i just want to have real faith, but i never can:(

  • Andrew Ryan

    Sara, for me, a lot of things fell in to place when I wondered if there was actually no God. It reminded me of when astronomers figured out that maybe the cosmos wasn’t revolving around the earth. BEFORE then, they had to come up with all these really bizarre orbits for the movements of astral bodies around the earth, to fit what they actually observed. Then, when they posited that actually things might be revolving around the SUN, suddenly none of the bizarre explanations were needed any more.

    It’s the same when you consider that there might be no God. Why do bad things happen to good people? Because they’re as vulnerable to disease and accidents as bad people are. Why does so much in the bible strike as immoral? Because it was written by men thousands of years ago when they didn’t think slavery was bad. Why do you not feel the love of God? Because He’s not real. Why do your prayers sometimes get answered and sometimes not? Because sometimes what you want to happen does happen anyway, and sometimes it doesn’t. Why is child birth painful? Well, I’ll let you look up the biological reason for that. Suffice it to say, it makes a lot more sense than ‘it’s God’s punishment for Eve making a poor dietary choice several thousand years ago’.

  • Sara

    Andrew, for me alot of things fall out of place when i wonder if there was really no God…i believe God is real and his existence is not something i need scientific proof for…its a matter of faith!

  • http://apologeticsworkshop.lefora.com/ Gene

    This is one I’m working on myself:

    How can God judge or condemn the outback aborigine or the African tribesman who not only doesn’t know there’s only one God…but who has never heard of the Gospel or Christ’s atoning sacrifice at Calvary? By what metric will those people be judged?

  • Andrew Ryan

    “How can God judge or condemn the outback aborigine or the African tribesman who not only doesn’t know there’s only one God”

    You’d better hope not – or you might end up being judged by the Gods of the Aborigine people!

  • Boz

    an idea for a post – “If Yahweh lied, how would we know?”

  • MJ

    Sara,
    Do you want to see Jesus/feel Jesus as a proof of His existence or is it because you desire to see Him, as a gift. Is it a search for proof or is it search for intimate relatioship. If you clarified on that, may be I can try and answer your question. You said you are doubting the very existence of Jesus, so assume you are asking a proof by wanting to see Him. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  • Sara

    MJ, its very difficult to answer your question, i believe that Jesus is God and that i wouldn’t be saved if it wasn’t for his work of love on the cross ,i thought and thought deeply about it through out my life and i’ve reached to the conclusion that this is the only way out of my own corruption,and that i cannpt trust myself to work a salvation for myself or get to the pother side,its just impossible, but i can tell you this faith is in my mind not yet a deep inside my soul…i just don’t really trust 100% that i have faith….and so i would say it because i desire to see Him, as a gift.
    I know i am really confusing you, but i get the doubts not because i don’t believe he exists but because i don’t feel him close:(
    Thankyou for your patience and forgive my weak english…

  • MJ

    Sara,
    I get it now. You believe in Jesus and you know that He is the only way. Good. So I don’t have to tell you about salvation. You said you don’t have 100% faith. Well, that is okay because, all of us have some fear and doubt and it is ok to have doubts. So not having 100% faith is acceptable to God. So if that is something that is bothering you, then relax, God understands your weakness. Faith as small as a mustard seed is what is required. And I see you have tremendous faith (although you don’t seem to realize). You said you require it as a gift. Gift is something God gives as He chooses. To each one He gives a different gift. Why? Because if all had the same gift, then there wont be any difference and all of us would be doing the same thing. How would the world be if all of us were just doctors or all were just carpenters? So don’t compare yourself with others because they have a different calling. I also understand that you desire to be close to God, a very noble desire. In fact all of us should desire that.

    I will share with you what I have learnt about being close to God. I am not an expert and I am also in the initial stages of being in His presence and hearing Him. I will share what I have learnt so far. Maybe it will help.

    1) Read the Word of God when you do not feel His presence. Instead of reading Christian books or articles or forums, read the Bible. Read it till you either become tired or become satisfied. We sometimes think God speaks through people or through a cloud or through a light. That happened a lot before Christ and still happens very rarely. But the reason it doesn’t happen more frequently is that God’s Words are always with us, through the Bible. So read it. To me, He speaks mostly through Scriptures. I remember that you mentioned somewhere in your previous posts “i always fear that i make things up and then say that God told me so through the Bible or through a friend”. Have faith Sara. Initially, when I learnt to hear God, I used to be so unsure. But then one of my Christian friends (who hears God speak) said unless you have faith, you can never hear of feel God. I could not blindly trust the Scripture I used to get, so I used to wait till I got two or three confirmations. You can do that as well. Tell God you are waiting for another confirmation. By all means, read the Bible and never negate the importace of the Bible. He speaks to you through it.
    2) Try to find a place where you do not have any distractions. When I am busy or doing something else, I don’t hear God or feel His presence. Last one month I have been super busy, and I have rarely felt God’s presence. Take time alone, and wait on the Lord, don’t be in a hurry to get in and out of His presence. Best, fix a time that you are most comfortable with and give that time to God.
    3) You don’t have to beg to God for Him to come closer to you. You are a child of God and You can approach to Him as you would approach your dad. Everytime I try to emotionally blackmail God through begging and self piting, I get a strict warning from God that He isn’t pleased. It is one thing to be humble and approaching Him with reverance and another thing to come to Him with loads of self pity. Go to Him in confidence.
    4) Believe that God has the best interest in His mind. You may think seeing God is the ultimate good that can happen to you. But we never know. If I see God, given the person I am, the possibilities are that I wouldn’t handle it properly. I could become proud, I could become self satisfied and I will definitely slow down and lose focus. Remember that God always thinks of the eternal goodness than the immediate goodness.

    One last thing, I have always wondered why God never showed up to me… but more than once God reminded me that “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me”. God sees your faith as something bigger than the faith of Thomas the apostle. That’s big isn’t it? :)

  • Bill Pratt

    Boz,
    If God lied, he would not be God, so the question would self-destruct. Under the Christian view of God, He is truth and therefore incapable of lying, so your question is nonsensical to a Christian.

  • Benjamin

    This is something a dear friend of mine has emailed me. I would really appreciate some help on this issue. Here it is:
    So, I mentioned that one of the various reasons that I don’t share your religous views is that the abrahamic deity is guilty of genocide. I don’t want to just claim this without backing it up.

    This is the blog post that originally spurred me into thinking about the subject. It is a right-wing, Christian defense of the genocide of the Canaanites and other various groups (it’s from the same people that my mom gets magazines from, so I assume that it doesn’t fall under the category of too fundamentalist or anything like that. It’s a major Christian organization). I presume that they would not take this out of context, and I presume that if there were a defense of the Israelite’s actions, that the author of this post would have found such a defense and written about it. However, the author is reduced to trying to redefine genocide to account for the abrahamic deity’s actions. This is a relevant quote that I believe points to the problem:

    “If God was not behind the conquest of Canaan, then the Israelites were no different than the Nazis and the Hutus.”

    The author is correct, albeit not in a way that he thinks. What the Israelites did was no different than what the Nazis and the Hutus did. All three of them committed genocide, and both the Nazis and the Israelites claimed that the deity of abraham was on their side (see here for info on Nazis/religion). The moral system that can justify the the wiping out of an entire people simply because their deity told them to (even “every city, men, women, and children”!) is not a moral system that I judge to be worthy of consideration.

    One thing the article tries to use to rationalize the genocide is that the Canaanites were sinning. That, I believe, is a example of very lackadaisical thought. The all-powerful, all-knowing deity is unable to help his creation once they wander off from what he wants? The all-wise God of Everything cannot simply lead the Israelites to show by example how wonderful their deity is so that the Canaanites can return to the straight and narrow? The deity that is defined to have every possible option available to him apparently must choose to punish his creation by wiping out everything that breathes, and sending them to eternal damnation? Personally, I find that argument to, if anything, provide evidence against the abrahamic deity being good or perfect. A quote that I read once sums up the situation as I see it nicely: “If there is any kind of supreme being, I told myself, it is up to all of us to become his moral superior.”

    As an aside, one might try to argue that that was the old testament, but when jesus came, he changed everything. This argument also fails to live up to expectations in my eyes. Does this mean that the abrahamic deity has changing moral standards? Then he is not perfect (and arguing that he is perfect is a circular argument regardless, but i digress).

    Of course, it is entirely possible that I am wrong on some aspect of this. If I have erred, or missed something that would illuminate this subject further, I am of course open to being shown wrong on this. Let me know what you think. If you want, I would be perfectly willing to defend this view at bible study against whoever is there.

  • Bill Pratt

    Benjamin,
    It’s worse than you say. God wiped out the entire human race except for 8 people in the Flood. God wiped out the entire cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, God, according to the Bible, is taking every single one of our lives (we all die). Humans were originally meant to be immortal, but God reversed that condition and made sure that humans would be mortal on earth. The killing of Canaanites is the least of your problems with God.

    How is it that God can morally take human life when humans are forbidden to take other human’s lives? Why don’t you think about that question and then tell me how you would answer it, given what you know about the Christian God? If you’ve really thought about and struggled with this issue, I’ll be able to tell by your answer. If you’re merely parroting what you’ve heard from other skeptics, I’ll be able to tell by your answer.

  • Boz

    Boz said: “an idea for a post – “If Yahweh lied, how would we know?””

    Bill Pratt said: “If God lied, he would not be God, so the question would self-destruct. Under the Christian view of God, He is truth and therefore incapable of lying, so your question is nonsensical to a Christian.”

    —-

    You said (paraphrased) that a christian believes that Yahweh is incapable of lying.

    Firstly, a person’s belief/opinion does not limit another entity’s actions. A belief that my boyfriend cannot lie does not restrict my boyfriend’s actions.

    Secondly, this contradicts omnipotence (under the popular definition of “able to do anything that is logically possible.”, which you have used previously).

    —-

    I don’t know what you mean by the question self-destructing. Under the hypothetical scenario of a deity existing, and telling a lie, the question would still exist. ?????

  • Bill Pratt

    Boz,
    The Christian view of God is that it is impossible for him to lie, not just that he is incapable. Why? Because his essential nature is of truth. That which is truth cannot both be truth and not-truth at the same time and in the same sense. So there is no problem with omnipotence as it is logically impossible for God to tell only the truth and for God to tell non-truth at the same time in the same sense.

  • nelson

    comments on pron viewing there is no comments. many are addidicted to this sinfull act.
    self also having problme.

    would be gratefull the see coment son the same.

  • Boz

    Bill Pratt, we are using different definitions of “omnipotent”. I found this one on another article on this site: “X is omnipotent if X able to do anything that is logically possible.” In your previous comment, you are using: “X is omnipotent if X able to do anything that is logically possible for X.”. I am happy to use either, which would you prefer?

    Using the first definition, a lie is logically possible because you and I can do it. So, if Yahweh is omnipotent, it can lie.

    Under the second definition, I think we both might be omnipotent! Boz is omnipotent if Boz able to do anything that is logically possible for Boz. “Able to do” means “Is possible to do”. Boz is omnipotent if it is possible for Boz to do anything that is logically possible for Boz. Does ‘possible’ equal ‘logically possible’? I don’t know, maybe. They look pretty similar. Nevertheless, this shows that the second definition of omnipotent is a bit suspicious.

    Bill Pratt said: “The Christian view of God is that it is impossible for him to lie Because his essential nature is of truth.”

    If all the christians in the world suddenly decided to invert their opinions, we would say: “The Christian view of God is that it is possible for him to lie Because his essential nature is of non-truth.”. Now would this sudden opinion change have any effect on Yahweh’s abilities? We would agree ‘no’. This shows that a person’s opinions have no effect on other entities. Just because your opinion is that X is true, does not mean that X is true. You are confusing the map for the teritory.

  • Rob

    My roommate wants to know if it is okay for his girlfriend to spend the night and sleep on the sofa. Thoughts?

  • Bill Pratt

    Boz,
    One of the things that makes God, God, is his truthfulness. Truth is essential, not accidental to God’s nature. If God had all of his other qualities, but not truth, he would no longer be God. This is the classical Christian understanding of God. For God, it is logically impossible to lie because he only thinks and tells the truth. A being who only communicates truth, by his very nature, cannot lie. A being who lies cannot be God.

    You and I are, by nature, human. Truthfulness is not essential to being human, so a human can lie or a human can tell the truth. A human who lies is still a human, as truthfulness is not essential to human nature.

    Your final comment was strange, because you seem to be saying that my saying God cannot lie is just a Christian opinion about God. But I thought that is what you wanted! I am telling you the Christian view of God, but you are giving me a hard time about doing that. What view of God would you have me give?

  • Boz

    Bill Pratt said: “Your final comment was strange, because you seem to be saying that my saying God cannot lie is just a Christian opinion about God. But I thought that is what you wanted! I am telling you the Christian view of God, but you are giving me a hard time about doing that. What view of God would you have me give?”

    If I asked: “Is psychaitry effective in treating clinical depression”, and the response was: “the view of the Church of Scientology is that psychiatry is a barbaric and corrupt profession, is ineffective and extremely dangrous”, this does not answer the question. This just tells me what someone else thinks the answer is. However, this opinion has no bearing on whether psychiatry is effective or ineffective.

    Similarly with my question about Yahweh lying.

    An actual answer would be: psychaitry is (in)effective because evidence A, B and C, demonstrate that it is (in)effective.

  • Benjamin

    Hi Bill,
    Thanks for responding. I would like to clarify something. I am a Christian. What I posted on here was an email that my dear friend sent me as to why he won’t believe my in my God. Sorry, it’s my fault that wasn’t clear. The help I would like is advice on how to argue this to a non-believer. I do believe that a God who created us has dominion over us, as well as the right to call judgement when he sees fit. In the case of the Canaanites, I know that in Deuteronomy the whole thing was predicted. So, I know that 400 years previously God had already said that this would happen because of their unwillingness to follow him. I believe that everyone will die and face judgement, as to when that is, is up to God.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Benjamin,
    The fundamental question is whether God can rightfully take human life. The killing of Canaanites is just one example of God taking human life. I wrote a post about this question a while back. See if it helps.

  • Boz

    basically, it’s the difference between assertion and argumentaion.

  • Mika Woods

    I’ve been a believer all my life but have recently begun to have doubts. Why does God lay all these temptations in front of me? If he loves me, why does he do it. It’s like me telling my grandson he can’t have a chocolate bar but then putting one right in front of him. It’s cruel and unreasonable. So, why does God do it?

    Also, it has recently occured to me that the world is random and there doesn’t seem to be much order, only chaos. If God is the author of peace and love, why throw his children into this cauldron of hate, temptation, intolerance, injustice and uncertainty.

    I don’t believe a loving God would deliberately cause us so much pain. It makes no sense and I’ve begun to doubt his existence.

  • George

    Bill,

    Please could you do a blog post or explain how a Christian would explain or verify the story of Jephthah in Judges chapters 11 and 12 – He makes a promise to God to burn the first person. surely 1) this is forbidden by the books that came before judges, leviticus, deuteronomy, even exodus etc 2) How is it possible that his daughter conscents to this 3) I understand this is not God’s fault, but i’m just confused as to this story in it’s entirety, perhaps you could spread some light on it for me?

    Thanks

    Mika, the more you come to understand God and the reasons why those temptations are not meant to be acted upon, the more you will understand that they are not really temptations if you wish to ascribe and climb the ladder to the greatest good. As Augustine profoundly demonstrated that even evil is a pervesion of what is good, so temptations are only there when you don’t understand the true good is what you actually desire, not the perversion or temptaion of it. e.g. to steal is to try and possess everything, but onyl God can possess everything etc etc for alll the different temptations. Find out what lies behind it and then realise that you need to get to the “ground level” understand exactly, a) what you are really and truly seeking beneath the surface and b)why you are seeking it.

    Finally, intolerance, injustic, cruelty etc all exist because man chooses not to obey God, it is not God’s fault the world is the way it is. If everyone followed his commandments (which is the only soucre for objective morality and is the only basis upon which you can judge acts to be right wrong, evil etc (besides the natural law)) the earth would be the creation God originally created, i.e. good. We have hope that the future God will have the “last laugh” will fix everything, this no more suffering, evil, injustice etc. There is hope, listen to your conscious and use it to guide you to understand that you are designed/programmed/destined for something better and this cannot be all there is

    I’ll stop there, just thought i’d give you some food for thought

  • Bill Pratt

    Mika,
    I have no idea what temptations you’re talking about, but I wonder why blame God? If you’re concerned about “hate, temptation, intolerance, injustice and uncertainty” then it would only make sense to join with God, as he hates all those things, too, and has promised to eradicate them for everyone that does join him. Denying God’s existence only serves to further all of the problems you mentioned.

  • Bill Pratt

    George,
    Thanks for the comment. I will add the story of Jephthah to my list!

  • MJ

    Mika,
    You said you have been a christian all your life so I believe this should be easy for you to understand. The temptations that come your way (I don’t know what) need not be from God. Infact, read James 1: 13-15,
    “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. ”

    God does not tempt anyone and when someone is tempted God provides a way to escape. It is up to us to make choices.

    Why is the world such a chaos… well as a Christian you must be familiar with the story in the Garden of Eden… when Eve and Adam gave into temptation, evil entered the world and the world we currently live is not the perfect world because judgement was pronounced for disobedience… the natural consequence of sin.

    By the way, sometimes God does put you to test, as in the case of Job. God permitted the enemy to tempt job, it was a test that Job had to pass. Likewise with Abraham, God tested Abraham asking him to sacrifice his only son. What was the purpose?
    Bible says in Psalms 66:10 “For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver.” God tests us to bring out our true character. He is not testing us to criticize our faith… instead He tests us to build our faith so that we can shine like silver.

    Hope that helped atleast a little in clarifying your doubts. Don’t give up your faith. You know the truth and you cannot stray away from it. God bless!!

  • George

    Bill

    Ok great thanks Bill, from what I have discovered it appears to be a copy of an ancient greek story that was fairly well known at the time, The author probably included it to teach people the obvious lesson about promises etc, I look forward to your post

  • Felice

    I stumbled on your website today while looking for a direct queestion. I noticed that the question was not asked, but it led me to a similar question. I have a two part question. 1.) I am an aspiring Christian Apologist seeking to “equip” myself to defend the hope inside me. I am planning on going to seminary school, however right now I am at a community college and far from graduating.(atleast another 8 months) What can I learn right now that will equip me. I seem to be naturally inclined towards Phiosophical Apologetics. Anything I can study right now to build the foundation? 2.) My fiinal question is regarding GOD, and communication. Can Christians talk directly to GOD? As to say is prophecy still being given directly to his children? I believe that his Holy Spirit does lead us, clarify, exposit, and convict us of the truth. However some take that to mean that they hear prophecy directly from GOD. I have a hard time believing that. Thanks for your time and your website. GOD bless

    Felice

  • Kathie

    How do I respond to someone who says, “I can’t worship a God who would send Hindus, Muslims etc. to hell–especially if these people have never heard of Jesus.”?

  • MJ

    Felice, to your second point, I believe the answer is yes. The reason being God loves to talk if we are willing to listen. Most of the times it is through a still voice. But some people do hear God loud and clear. Besides, it is upto God to decide how He wishes to talk. Why do you have tough time believing it? If God is the same yesterday today and forever, the same God who spoke to His prophets in Biblical times can speak even today. Besides, in the Bible we see God speaking to men both in OT and NT. I don’t see a reason why God cannot directly talk to us humans. It is not only possibe but is also Biblical.

  • MJ

    Kathie,
    Which Hindu or muslim or anyone for that matter in today’s modern society hasn’t heard about Jesus? Television, internet, magazines, what not? There is no way that a person hasn’t heard about Jesus, atleast in the developed countries. Well, even if some haven’t heard about Jesus through such media, God reveals Himself to every human in one way or the other. In case of your friend, God revealed Himself through you and yet your friend rejected it. So that was a chance your friend intentionally missed. Your friend could get another chance in a chain of chances or this could be the last chance. The truth is we all get atleast one chance and to accept or reject is entirely to the individual.

    Well, the problem with people is that when we say that Christ is the only way to salvation, they get offended. They tie up Jesus to one single religion, that is Christianity… they see Him as a regious leader. That isn’t true, Christ’s offer of salvation isn’t religious at all. It is an offer extended to all humans across all religions. Once Christ is removed from the religion, things fall in proper perspective and people get less offended. We need to make sure we aren’t preaching religion. Instead tell your friend that it has nothing to do with religion. Tell your friend that Christ is the universal solution to the problem of sin. Maybe that will help your friend to understand that it is not about being Christian or being Muslim. It is more to do with the universal problem – sin and universal solution – Jesus. Christ is the only way to salvation and one who believes in Christ is called a Christian by the world. Christ doesn’t expect your friend or anyone for that matter to change religions. He however, expects all of us to accept Him as the ONLY way to salvation.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Kathie and MJ, here’s a simple way to look at it. Imagine you die and find yourself at the pearly gates, and you’re told you cannot come in because the REAL God is actually the God of the Hindus or Muslims of whatever.

    Would you see that as just? If not, then you have your answer.

  • http://alabamatheist.blogspot.com/ Tim D.

    Kathie and MJ, here’s a simple way to look at it. Imagine you die and find yourself at the pearly gates, and you’re told you cannot come in because the REAL God is actually the God of the Hindus or Muslims of whatever.

    Would you see that as just? If not, then you have your answer.

    I’m sure they would. Muslims and Hindus have been trying to warn them in the same way, using the same logic, using their holy books as evidence of the validity of their gods and their beliefs. So Christians have had their fair chance to accept other true gods, as well. I’m sure they’re well aware of that.

  • Andrew Ryan

    It’s basically like saying that everyone on earth has to read a long complicated whodunnit crime novel, and when they’ve finished reading it they have to say who they think the murderer is. And if they get it wrong, they go to hell.

    There’s lots of different religions. To work out the ‘right’ one, you have to weigh up lots of competing evidence. If you get it wrong, why should that be seen as sinful? No-one’s perfect, perhaps you just failed to weigh it all up properly. You thought you had the right answer, you try to live a good life, you worship the God you believe to be the right one, you keep to His rules. But then you die and find you made a mistake… why should this mean you go to hell? It makes no sense. It is not compatible with a belief in a just God.

  • http://alabamatheist.blogspot.com/ Tim D.

    I agree….I just think that it would be contradictory and oxymoronic for Christians to expect people to accept such clearly unjust terms, and yet refuse to accept the same terms when offered them by other religions.

    Ergo: since Christians expect non-Christians to believe that this scenario is just in the case of Christianity, then I don’t see why they would not readily accept that the same would be true of Islam or Hinduism, in the event that those religions were true.

    This trap is sort of an unfortunate side-effect of making the nature of morality so arbitrary as to be decided by a conscious entity.

  • Nomii

    It says in Hebrews that if you abandon your faith, you cannot be brought to repent again. So if I abandoned my faith, (which I don’t know if I did or not) I can never be a christian again?

  • http://www.rericsawyer.wordpress.com R. Eric Sawyer

    Nomii, There is room for doubt as to whether the passage in Hebrews can be so directly applied to your situation, but whether it can or not, the real question is “what happens now?”
    And even more, it is “what do you want to happen?” Which would be pleasant news: that God, if there is one, will have nothing more to do with you, or that God will restore your faith to you, and will give you the fruit of that faith in abundance?

    Remember that, however Hebrews applies (and I won’t go into that now) John 6:37 certainly applies “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” If you want your faith to be restored, then it has not been abandoned. God will no more cast you out that He cast out Peter, after his denial.

    You sound unsure as to whether you have “abandoned” your faith. I will accept that you mean exactly that, although I, too, am unclear. But let’s see where that leads. Obviously, there are three possible answers:

    1) No you have not abandoned your faith. A married couple can easily go through a period where one person struggles with the relationship, but the covenant of marriage is never in doubt. There may be work to do, but it may be done in safety and assurance.

    2) Yes you have abandoned your faith, and in a sure and settled fashion that brooks no thought of return. Franky, if that were true, I don’t believe you would pose the question. If you were here at all, it would be as one of the folks who wish to vent their anger or disgust at Christianity.

    3) You are in a gray area, not knowing which direction you are heading. The last time you thought you saw clearly, you were trusting in God, but now, all is in mist and fog, and you just don’t know. I have been there!

    In my #3 state, I got to the point of standing on the end of a jetty praying to “whoever’s there, if anyone is”

    Personally, I think that’s a fine way to pray. It took several years to understand the answer. I poured out all the tenents of my belief, and started from zero –“What is it I DO believe?” I discovered (over time) that I believe that God is. That He is good, and that He is not only an abstract “life force” These few steps took about a year. after that, the return to faith in Jesus as God incarnate working to reconcile me to Himself came piece by piece, until I came all the way back (with perhaps a kink or two!)

    But answer my first question, for yourself. That will tell you whether you have abandoned your faith. If your note is accurate, I don’t think you have.

    Blessings!
    -R. Eric Sawyer

  • Paul

    I have always been pro-life, but a few weeks ago while reading through one of the Gospels I came across the passage that the “road to destruction” is wide but the “path to life” is narrow and “only a few” find it.

    Typical Evangelical belief teaches that babies have not yet had the opportunity to sin. Therefore, most of us believe that if a baby dies, it “goes to Heaven.”

    Since MOST babies will end up in hell if they are born – why are we so upset by abortion? The kid is MOST LIKELY (according to Jesus) better off – since “only a few” find salvation. An aborted baby has 100% chance of Heaven!

    I still think abortion is wrong, and I would never recommend personally for a friend to have one, but after realizing that, it doesn’t bother me like it did. I know this seems kind of nuts. But, that’s where I’m at. Abortion guarantees Heaven.

    Being born, growing up – most of the time, that person will end up in Hell. Is that not what Jesus said?

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Paul,
    By this same logic, we should kill all babies so that they can go to heaven. Or, as soon as a child makes a profession of faith in Christ, we should kill them so they don’t change their mind later on.

    All of these ideas rest on faulty logic. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us to kill people to send them to heaven. Murder is a serious sin and God never gave us the green light to use murder to propel people to heaven. We are told to preach, teach, and baptize – not to kill people.

    God has willed that the “normal” course for human beings is to be born, to grow up, to be taught about him, to live for him, to obey him, and finally to die and live with him forever. We are never told to short-circuit this process and skip to the end. If that is what God intended, then there would be no need for him to have created a world for humans to live, learn, and grow in. There would be an assembly line for babies to be conceived and then go straight to heaven.

    If aborted babies end up in heaven, it is despite human sin. It is an act of mercy by God. I am reminded of the devil’s temptation of Jesus where he told Jesus to jump off the temple (i.e., attempt to kill himself) so that the angels would save him. What was Jesus’ reply? “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

  • MJ

    Tim & Andrew,
    You seem to be stuck in the same religion concept although I am not talking about religion at all. Andrew, I do agree one point you made “No-one’s perfect” and from that same point I would like to show how fair it is to claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven (if you believe there is heaven).

    I come from a country where Hindu’s form 80% of the population, Muslims are next (I do not know the exact percentage) and Christians are the minority with approximate 2.5%. I have more Hindu friends than Christian friends and I do have a couple of Muslim friends. I love my friends and I wouldn’t want them to perish no matter what. I also know about each of these religions and I have carefully weighed each religion holds. I was born in a Christian family but never forced to read the Bible or pray (although I was taught to do all this). I out of my own interest have read and understood many religions including Christianity so it would not be fair to say that I am blindly rejecting other religions. Having said that, I feel I can talk more about what Hindu’s preach or what muslims preach and I have more compassion for my hindu and muslim brothers and sister than you could possibly have.

    Now coming to the fairness of Christians reason, first lets look into the fairness of the religion itself. According to Hinduism, you out to be perfect to achieve mukti. Or else you get stuck in the wheel of Karma and you end up living in multiple cycles of birth and rebirth. Perfection can be achieved through multiple ways through practice and one ought to devote once whole life to achieve this perfection. If you fail, you are stuck in the wheel of life and you move on to next life of lower esteem and you need to try to achieve perfection once again. No one can break the what fate has sealed. Not even the gods can help when your fate is sealed. But perfection is mandatory to achieve mukti.

    What does Islam teach? There is one God and no one else but that one God. He is holy and expects perfection. You have a list of DOs and list of DON’Ts. And you enter heaven depending on how many rules you followed. The objective is to achieve perfection. One of my muslim friend says, “I have two angels, one sits on my right shoulder and the other sits on my left shoulder. The one on the right records the right things I do. The one on the left, records the bad things I do. When I die, the list is compared and the size of the good list determines whether or not I enter heaven. I do not know if I will enter heaven or not so I try to be perfect as much as possible. I pray 5 times a day, I fast during Ramadan and I try to be nice to people. Allah will determine if I will reach heaven or not and I cannot know the verdict till I die”.

    What does Christianity teach? All humans are imperfect. God is perfect and He expects perfection from all of us. He knows being perfect is not possible by human effort and so decided to help humans by the sacrifice of Jesus. He decided that if Jesus could pay the penality of sins for the whole of mankind (including muslims and hindus and buddhists and Christians and jains and aethists), he can accept the sinful humans despite their imperfection. He reached out to mankind to help him.

    Tell me which of the 3 listed above is fair? God reached out to everyone through Jesus Christ but He is bound by His righteousness that expects us to respond back. If we say we do not want to reach back to His helping hands, then we are on our own. And because the God expects perfection, and because we cannot be perfect, we end up losing out on Heaven. It is just as simple as that. I don’t think religion plays any role in all this. All that matters is to be perfect as the Creator God is perfect and in our own efforts, as Andrew also agreed, we cannot be perfect and are badly in need of God’s help.

  • Jim

    I posted several questions on a new blog and had hundreds of views, but not one comment or answer. I would appreciate answers to those questions.

    http://ToughQuestionsToday.wordpress.com

    Thanks much!

  • John A

    Why does God require Martyrs?

    Instead of feeling joy when my brother and sister Christians are sent to their heavenly rewards at the hands of their persecutors, I am not filled with joy but anger. From the third world to Collumbine, from Iran to China, why does it seem that the God of life has such cause to rejoice at the blood of his children, not sinners, unjustly spilt? I do not have a problem with the idea of hell, nor a problem with the circumstances of the Garden of Eden and man’s choice to reject God in some form. But rather as Joab said to David,

    “You love those who hate you and hate those who love you… I see that you would be pleased if Absalom (a sinner and traitor) were alive today and all of us were dead.”

    In many ways, the vengeful, law centered God of the Old Testament (an eye for an eye is justice afterall) makes more sense to me than Christ’s message of gleefully surrendering to indignity and death at the hands of our murderers. How is that justice? How does that show love to me? The Bible says even an evil man will not give his son a snake if he asks for bread. So why should I feel guilty for not being thrilled at the prospect of insults, murder and torture for the sake of my loving father?

    It is difficult for me to accept the idea of joyfully suffering for a just God. Was the sacrifice of Jesus insufficent? Is a life spent in peaceful service to God, while rejecting sin not enough? Why must so much of the Bible be focused on what we sacrifice for God instead of what we build for him? It is not enough to shake my belief in a loving, all powerful God, but it bothers me all the same. Any scriptures or advice on this issue would be most appretiated.

    Sincerely,

  • MJ

    John A, a great question and only when you asked this, I started thinking about it so I may be missing points. As I sat and thought about it, this is what I realized.

    Martyrdom isn’t something that God expects but it is the natural outcome when you aren’t part of the majority. John 15:18 says “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” Jesus was killed and because we follow Him, we are in the same road. It is just the natural reaction of the world against you for following Christ. I am not sure where you come from but in many places, persecution is part of the culture. In middle east and in many parts of Asia and Africa, persecution is the natural reaction to a shift in faith. Does it give joy to God? Well, interestingly, God does have compassion when you suffer. He isn’t dancing there up in the Heaven when you suffer. He said pray and keep watch. That denotes urgency, doesn’t it? God doesn’t rejoice when someone persecutes you, but He does rejoice when you stay strong even when you are persecuted. So I don’t see persecution as coming from the Lord, rather as something that is a natural consequence of your faith. Killing isn’t the only persecution. As a believer, you may be persecuted in so many different ways and that is just natural.

    Secondly, about Joab’s comment on hating the enemy… If Jesus had to hate the enemy, He’d have to hate all of us because all of us were sinners. To Him, all of us are precious, isn’t it? Invariably, whenever there is a martyrdom, I have seen stories of spiritual rivival and massive conversions happening. Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, a life isn’t born. It is true. The death of Christ alone is enough but the testimony of a martyr at the point of death has touched millions of souls throughout history. Maybe, it isn’t the death in itself but rather the courage and faith even at the point of death that draw hearts closer to God.

    Third, life is precious, no doubt but more precious is the soul. God longs to give us a blessed a life, an abundant life but if there is ever a choice between life here on earth vs eternal life, I believe God would choose eternal life.

  • Phillip

    This one should be quick and I would be curious as how an engineer like yourself would answer it.

    How will the Christian community respond to scientific community inventing artificial intelligence whenever it happens?

    I know this is very general but it is a curiosity of mine and it would be nice to hear from an engineer like yourself what you believe will happen.

  • Bill Pratt

    Phillip,
    That’s a great question, but I’m afraid I’ve not studied the issue enough to give much of an answer. My guess is that most of the response would be to question what exactly artificial intelligence is. My recollection is that there are gradations of it, from soft AI to hard AI, where the ultimate AI would be indistinguishable from a human being. Personally, I believe that science will get better and better at mimicking the human brain. Obviously the immaterial soul can never be “invented” by science, but certainly the physical parts of the human brain can theoretically be copied, given enough time. I know there have been some good books written in recent years on the topic, and I have them on my to-read list, but haven’t gotten around to it.

  • Troy

    How does one actually love God? I can explain my love for my wife and family, but find it difficult to explain love for God. Respect, gratuity, praise, yes. Love for what Christ has done, yes.

  • Bill Pratt

    Hi Troy,
    Since Christ is God, then it seems that you do love God. Am I missing something?

  • Jitaseret

    If we belief that this earth is a punishing ground for all the living beings . It meant that all the living creatures are sinners.We are punished by the ALL Mighty because of our (karma) activities then a new born child a fresh mind who does not know nothing but he/she emitted the bad activities from the elder ones , so in the future he/she will be punish.Here my question is Do GOD need to punish the child who was initially a pure mind or the elders who guide him or her ?

  • Scable335

    Is there a difference between sin and evil? Can something be one without being the other?

  • libby

    what is gods punishments for teenagers violent rage against parents and parents?what is gods rules for cursing at everyone? what are gods rules for teenager who will not tet her family have one single day of piece?

  • Andrew Ryan

    I’m pretty sure it’s ‘stone them to death’.

    “He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death” — Exodus 21:17
    “For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.” — Leviticus 20:9
    “He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” — Matthew 15:4

    Hope this helps.

  • Anonymous

    Andrew,
    Since you don’t believe in God and you don’t take the Bible at all seriously, I find your answer bewildering. Maybe you’d like to quote other holy books that you also don’t respect?

  • Anonymous

    Libby,
    I’m not sure what to make of your question. I think it’s safe to say that God is displeased with any child who rages against their parents or curses them, but I would also want to know why a child is doing it. The Bible also cautions parents not to needlessly incite their children. Without more information, I’m afraid there’s not much more I can say.

  • Anonymous

    Sin is generally thought of as moral evil. A sin is an act that goes against God’s perfect moral nature. Some people also refer to physical evil, such as earthquakes or hurricanes that kill or injure people. That sense of evil has nothing directly to do with sin.

  • Andrew Ryan

    Why are you bewildered? My own opinions on the existence of God are irrelevant to what the bible clearly says. You offer no agreement or disagreement on the quotes I submitted.

    And who says I don’t take the bible seriously? I take any document seriously that says children should be put to death, particularly one that is followed by so many people.

  • Andrew Ryan

    I could equally say that since you’re not an atheist, why make so many blog posts discussing ‘atheist thought’, or summing up what you believe are atheists’ positions on different subjects?

    “How Does One Atheist Support the Existence of Human Rationality?”

    Would you think it a good response if I posted under the above blog:
    “Bill, since you’re not an atheist and you don’t take atheist thought at all seriously, I find your answer bewildering”?

    I didn’t post that, because I understand that one can challenge a viewpoint on its own terms. There’s another blog here challenging Mormanism. No-one says it is ‘bewildering’ for a non-Morman to do that.

  • Waltbowles

    My name is Walt. I have never been on this site. I liked the healing of the mind. I do not how to conttinue.

  • Gabrielladsmith

    In the process of visiting churches in belgium, we came across a church which said on their website… “WE BELIEVE… The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ as experienced on the Day of Pentecost and referenced throughout Acts and the Epistles.”

    What are your thoughts on this statement?

  • Bill Pratt

    The early church did speak in tongues in some instances, but these tongues were foreign languages and someone was there to translate. I have never seen someone speak in tongues myself, but based on what I’ve heard from people who have, it usually consists of gibberish, meaning it is not authentically of God.

    I would have grave concerns with a church who claims that its followers must speak in tongues to prove the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. It’s not biblical.

  • Oneil66

    i live with my partner ( un married ) i feel a great pull towards the church, if i should accept Christ in my life will i have to give up my relationship with my partner?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    If you truly trust Christ and want to obey him, you will end up changing many things in your life because you WANT TO, not because you are being forced.

  • Ariadne

    I don’t have any question but I just wanted to find a place to uplift you guys. This blog site is so incredibly important and useful. You may already know that but I wanted to say it to you from a outside source. I thank God for open sites like this one and I will be praying to God to give you more strength and more wisdom. Which you clearly already have, but we always need more in such a hostile world against our fellow brothers and sisters. Especially our leaders in this spiritual battle. Praise God for you and may God bless you richly. Ariadne

  • Johnnpatty

    Is Replacement Theology regarding Israel a valid doctrine

  • Heart

    Oneil66, you wouldn’t necessarily have to give up your relationship entirely but certain aspects of it would have to change if you chose to follow Jesus. You could always just get married. But you should only marry if you are sure that is what would be best. I wanted to write to you because I had to give up a 7 year relationship when I chose Christ. I asked my partner to marry me and was given a refusal. In that case you can do one of two things, stop having sex and sleep separately and continue in a pure boyfriend/girlfriend relationship in hopes that in the future your partner will change their mind. Who knows, it’s even possible that with fervent prayer God will call them to him too. Or as last resort, you separate from them entirely. My partner chose to separate from me when I asked for marriage and I also refused to have sex unless we were. It was tragic and very hard at first but over time I became more and more aware of how great it was to follow Jesus. I’m more free than ever before and God has been healing my heart and it’s turning out much stronger.

  • Bill Pratt

    Ariadne,
    Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. Believe me when I say that they are much appreciated and cherished.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Ariadne,
    Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. Believe me when I say that they are much appreciated and cherished.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Ross

    Thanks very much for the commentary on Richard Dawkins’ writings. He seems to attack Christianity at a very superficial level. I would be really interested in what you think about Sam Harris’ views on morality and scince (which are expressed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mm2Jrr0tRXk)

    thanks!,
    Ross

  • ralph

    if there is a god, please explain this. all the time you see on television about some minister molesting kids or raping someone. today i saw where a minister had raped three women. and don’t get me started on the catholic history of molestation. why would god let someone of such character represent him?

  • anonon123

    How do we know God is good, using logical deduction?

  • ralph

    finally someone with some common sense when it comes to god.

  • ralph

    how can someone living under miserable conditions through no fault of their own, worship god, praising him for giving them life? why would a being like god want to be worshipped? to me, the desire to be worshipped is the heighth of conceit. isn’t conceit condemned in the bible? not trying to start an argument. just trying to find some answers to questions that bother me.

  • Don Sciba

    Is it necessary for Christians to fast? And if so, what is the procedure for fasting?

  • Anonymous

    For some time I am struggling with this question. I hope you can help me with it. The question is this: Is Jesus his own father? Thanks!

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    No, he is not. In order to answer this question, you need to understand how Christians view Jesus. Jesus is understood to have 2 natures: human and divine. As a human, he was conceived in a woman (Mary) by a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit (one of the three persons in the Christian godhead, the other two being the Son and the Father). So Jesus, the human, did not have a human father, but a human mother. Jesus, in his divine nature, has always existed, and therefore has no father in that sense either.

    Maybe you are confused by the Trinity? The doctrine of the Trinity says that there is one God who consists in three persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Each person is fully God. The names they have signify their relationships to each other, but are not meant to be taken literally. The Son is not literally the biological offspring of the Father.

  • Darrell

    Don,

    That is a good question, and in order to answer it, I think we would need to clarify what is meant by necessary and which branch of Christianity we are discussing. I think most all branches of Christianity would say that fasting is not “necessary” for hell avoidance. There is nothing we as humans can do to “earn” our way to heaven, so if fasting is looked at as earning something, then, no, it is not necessary.

    However, the Eastern Church and the Roman Catholic Church would both assert that fasting is a necessary component of the Christian life in the sense that it helps us to prepare the soil of our soul to receive more of the presence of God. Fasting, or the ascetic life in general, are not given to us in order for us to earn something from God. Instead, they are given to us to help us to overcome our attachment to the world. We as humans are gluttons to the world – over eating, watching too much TV, being too attached to PLEASURE in general. Through overcoming and separating ourselves from worldly pursuits for a time, we till the hardened soil of our soul and help to make it more receptive to the deifying presence of the Holy Spirit. God wants to enter in… we just have a habit of keeping Him out.

    Many of the Church Fathers describe ascetic pursuits using the analogy of the athlete. As the athlete works out their body to strenthen their muscles for the race, so the Christian pursues ascetic pursuits to strenthen his soul in order to be able to receive more of the Holy Spirit.

    I heard a comment not to long ago that hit me like a ton of bricks…

    “If a man cannot control his appetite for 24 hours, how can he expect to control his eyes when a scantily clad women walks by.”

    Hope that helps!

    Darrell

  • RVPeninger

    Most Christianity sees scripture teaching eternal life after physical death in Heaven, with Jesus being enthroned there. The “rapture” seems to teach Christians being physically removed from earth to “meet The Lord in the air”. The return of Christ teaches Jesus physically dropping down to Mount Olivet and destroying almost all the entire gentile nations. Christ’s 1000 year reign scriptures seem to teach Christ on the earth with humanity (jew and gentaile) in the physical world reigning from a New Jerusalem which drops down from Heaven. Can anyone piece this together for me? Are we all going to be in heaven for eternity, or are we going to be on the earth for 1000 years – or eternity? Are special people going to be in the earth for Christ’s reign, or all the saved? Holy Mackerel, this is a BIG subject!
    thanks RickNPhx

  • Brittany Wall

    Means for divorce:

    I have done so much scripture searching on this question and it says that the only grounds for divorce are if the spouse has been sexually immoral.

    Does this mean that an abusive relationship is still forced to stay together? Or legal separation is okay, but the spouse (who has been a victim of the abuse) finds another girlfriend/boyfriend… is that okay by God?

    I mean I grew up with a drug abusing, and over all abusive, mentally ill mother. And my dad divorcing her honestly saved us kids from a lot of trauma. She was overdosing on purpose, or trying to kill herself all the while “enforcing discipline” on me by beating the crap out of me for no apparent reason. She even blamed me for her suicide attempts.

    so my dad told her to get out. After sixteen years of being married with her, trying to go through counseling with her… she just never really truly got help. And the Christian therapist would say that my mother was my father’s “cross” to bear.

    My father is now happily remarried with my stepmother and she is beyond incredible. Yes she may not be christian and nor is my dad anymore but i feel as though that them being married is entirely just. But there is so much scripture ive seen in the Bible saying quite the opposite.

    If anyone has any answers regarding this topic i would really appreciate it.

    Thanks

  • thosss

    God created reason and logic, and has blessed us with this faculty, so we should use it.

    I am not Christian. But I know Christians to be respectable. Forget what the priest says: what would God say? Would he prefer you staying in an environment in which you children are in harms way, and you yourself are suffering? If your husband/wife is abusing you call the police. I don’t know of any reasonable religion that says that you must stay in an abusive relation.

    God tests us. We don’t need to put tests upon ourselves.

  • thoss

    for your information, I found an answer.

    But not from Christianity.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    What is your answer?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Hi Brittany,
    I see two issues here. One is the issue of having an abusive wife/mother. If your mother was constantly physically abusing your family, then the greater good is for your father to get you all away from that. I think that action was justified, although I don’t know of specific commands in the Bible to that effect (someone else might). That isn’t surprising, though, as the Bible provides us mostly general moral principles to live by, not specific commands for every situation we may encounter.

    With regard to him re-marrying and, in effect, nullifying his relationship with your mother completely, the justification is less clear. The Bible holds up marriage as a sacred institution that should be honored. Every time a person divorces and then remarries, the institution is weakened. As marriage is the bedrock of any civilization, it is of great concern when someone further weakens it, and your father did.

    Obviously your father’s situation was extreme, but my point is that he could have chosen the more difficult road of supporting your mother from a distance as best he could and not getting remarried. Who cares for her today, I wonder?

    You mention your father’s happiness, but that’s not the primary purpose of life. The primary purpose is to know God, and it seems your father has moved further away from God in his search for happiness. In this area, he has made a wrong turn.

  • Anon

    Hallo there.

    Please provide some help, I am a christian, but not learned in theology. I sometimes do not even question certain things, I just accept in my heart of hearts that God does exist, that Jesus walked the earth, died and was ressurected.

    I recently started looking around to try and answer a friend who, how did he put it, “I do not like to label or be labeled, but if you have to, call me a cosmic pantheist.”

    In my research the essential belief seems to be that we are all particles of God and that collectively we all make up God, that humans do not have souls and that there is no life after death, we are simply just recycled back into earth, and that any form of worship then is self worship.

    The ultimate question he has though is “what can create such an awesome universe that spans so far beyond any understanding, that we cannot even explain the magnitude thereof?”

    I know it is God, I know the nature of God, but somehow have difficulty in expressing what he needs to hear.

  • Elkain

    Finances are very tight and I am taking care of my parents in my home because they can no longer support themselves. Sometimes, I feel torn between helping them financially when they ask for money for bills and tithing. Their health/medical bills keep increasing although some of their problems are from debt that they accrued. What should I do scripturally?
    Thank you.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Elkain,
    I can’t speak to the details of your situation, but obviously supporting your mother and father is commanded by Scripture. It’s important enough that it made it into the Ten Commandments in the number five spot! What you are doing is noble and Christ-like. Your parents are fortunate to have a son who takes care of them.

    May God bless you,
    Bill

  • Anonymous

    Elkain,
    I think Bill’s comment (above or below mind, I can’t understand this new format well!) is spot-on, and your parents are indeed blessed through you. That commandment is not on the edges of the law, a minor point; it is right there in the Ten. But just to add a little bit of scriptural support in case it may be needed, you might think about what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Mark 7, particularly in verses 8 through 12.

    I will let you read it for yourself, but it seems that this was spoken exactly to those in, or advising those, in your position. Jesus was more clear here than he was in almost any of the moral issues brought before Him.

    I would say your instincts urging you to help your parents are exactly right. You perhaps suggest that some of their difficulties may come from things they have done wrong, and if so, the answer is in treating them the way Jesus treats us – with forgiveness, grace and mercy –loving them even before they (or we) deserve it. It sounds like that is where you already are anyway (mostly!), so you need reassurance more than advice.

    May you be blessed, as you strive to be a blessing.

  • Elkain

    Thank you both for your kind assurance. I apologize as my question may not have been worded well. Is there a way to know what I should do if I have to choose between paying my tithe or helping my parents when there is not enough money to do both? Mat 15:5

    Elkain

  • Anonymous

    Whether Matthew 15:5 is Matthew telling of the same story as in Mark 7, or is Jesus making the same point a second time, the point seems, at least to me, that the duty to honor one’s parents (in this case through financial assistance) is a higher duty than supporting the religious establishment, even though that is also important.

    A related illustration may be in 1 John 4:20 where John asks how can we love God, whom we cannot see, while hating our brother, whom we can see. At least one of the principal points may be that tangible is better than intangible – the Love of God is best shown by following His Word. When it is impossible to do two things, do the one that He has most directly stated (in this case, in the 10 commandments). If the 2 demands seem equally authoritative, do the one that expresses that love as service to standing-in-front-of-you-people.
    For a multitude of reasons, that is better for your soul, and is God’s means of blessing them.

    Is there contrary thought you are wrestling with?

  • Lynken61

    I live in a small community with a lg college known as a leader in the engineering field. I hold a BS and have applied for over 50 jobs, interviewing for at least 15-20 over the years. I pray before going to any interviews, getting God’s yah first. Why would He have me striving to get on there and then not provide the open door?

  • Wdjarnagin

    God is not the author of confusion. Confusion begins with two or more of anything without exception. Jesus started His church 2,000 years ago. The second church started 600 years later followed by several hundred other churches. Are not all of them of Satan then?

  • Venkatesan

    Solving a mathematical open problem takes a lot of effort by various human beings. Why God has not performed a miracle in this context –
    GIVING A SOLUTION WHICH HUMAN BEINGS HAVE NO WAY TO KNOW
    WITH THEIR PERSENT KNOWLEDGE?
    The truth and eternal aspects of mathematical theorems are very challenging; Why God seems to be indifferent to it?

  • Debdgg

    Yes, I know that there was not ever a letter ( j ) in the Hebrew alphabet, and the letter ( j ) was the last letter added to our English allphabet LESS than 500 years ago.. nor was there a letter ( w ) in the Hebrew alphabet.. I know Yahuah is our Father’s True Name, and I know that Yahushua is the True Name of His only begotten Son. So I am wanting to know why all these preachers are using pagan titles..lord = ba’al, Hosea 2:17 , then god = fortune, je’ sus = Ihsous = hail/hey Zeus = the Beast. The tetragrammaton can not be changed. So I would really like to know how preachers can lay a person in the water and say I baptize you IN the NAME.. when he doesn’t even give the NAMES nor is the Set apart Spirit called holy ghost.. but yet they ( the preachers )are deceiving billions of people.

  • Debdgg

    I would also like to know why preachers, teachers, etc., are teaching that we are to go by Mankinds time and Calendar when Yahuah made it clear that we were NOT to do anything that pertained to what mankind created. Even circes are doing christ= christos, christmas, easter..etc., I just want to know why it is preachers are in with the adversary? Because they are not Teaching that Yahuah did NOT name the yoms (aka days) of the week, nor the months? I am just wanting answers here on why preachers are gaining souls for the adversary?

  • Debdgg

    humbly speaking…probably because they are calling on the adversary’s deities , instead of the True NAMES that was removed from the Scriptures so that the whole world would be deceived by the use of them PAGAN TITLES, lord = ba’al, god= fortune, je’ sus = Ihsous= hail zeus = the beast.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2ZTOHTANNLKFIIKRHG56OXCP4I Carl G

    My wife of 33 years died back in August after battling cancer for 16 years. In the 33 years we were married, I watched her entire family, 6 members, a father, a mother, and four daughters, all die, one member after the other, mostly from cancer, until only my wife remained. Left behind were widowed husbands and grieving children. This was a good family made up of good people, all with dreams, hopes, ambitions, and all held to a faith and belief in God, my wife especially. Right now, I am still grieving her loss. My question is why would a loving God allow such unimaginable tragedy to happen to an entire family, and what good, if any, could come from something like this?

  • Patti

    An atheist recently pointed out to me that Jesus lied about going to the festival in John 7:8-10. I never picked up on this before even having read John many times myself. This seems to be a valid point. How are we as Christians to explain this?

  • Meyerson N.

    What are the facts on Scientology?

  • Whickman00

    Is the Catholic Faith Doctrinally and Foundationally incorrect?

  • Walke275

    I believe god helped in evoultion is it a sin?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    No. Believing that God used evolution to create life is not a sin. I don’t think it’s true, but I can’t see calling it a sin.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Patti,
    I’m writing a blog post to answer this question. Stay tuned…

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    In a nutshell, I believe that Roman Catholicism is a true Christian church because it upholds all of the essential doctrines of Christianity (see my blog post on what those doctrines are). However, I also have disagreements with some teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, some of which are very serious, but these disagreements do not lead me to say that the Cathoic church is non-Christian, as some Protestants would say.

  • Patti

    Thanks Bill. I think part of the problem is how this passage is translated. In many translations verse 8 does not have “yet”. To an unbeliever this would certainly seem to be a “lie”. I started using the ESV about a year ago and was initially surprised by the translation of this passage.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    The word “yet” is found in manuscripts starting in the early third century, which is very early. However, even if the word “yet” was not in the original, I don’t think that deception is a reasonable conclusion. My blog post does not rely on the word “yet” to prove it is not deception.

  • bruce

    hi!
    just have a question, what do you guys think about this: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/11_or_12.html
    i’m a chritian but i just don’t know how to defend my faith regarding this topic.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Bruce,
    I would highly recommend you buy this book by Geisler and Howe.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Davidswife

    This is consuming me.
    I was online setting up an account on a movie website and it was asking you to agree to the terms and after it was “I surrender my soul”. I took this as a joke because of the tone of the webpage, but now I am almost in a panic. Did I surrender my soul by checking this box? I have always believed my soul belonged to God and I always try to please Him, but am I eternally damned now? Could I have taken this as a “joke” and been tricked into surrendering my soul?

  • james

    please release the panic button and quit torturing yourself. if you believed it to be a joke, then in your mind it was a joke and nothing more. you did nothing wrong. forget it.

  • Boz

    Ideas for new posts:

    “Arguments in favour of Christianity that I think fail”

    even better:

    “Arguments in favour of [some other religion, or non-religion] that I think succeed”

  • Elkain

    Is cremation against the bible?

  • barney

    PLEASE consider the following very carefully.

    Going forward – you advance the argument that once an individual Believer is initially saved they will ALWAYS be saved…hence, Eternally Secure.

    Thus, this provokes the preponderance of the germane theological notion and question as defined below.

    Are the ‘potentially’ FUTURE UNCONFESSED/UNFORGIVEN Sins of 1 Jn. 1:9 and Matt 6:15, 18:35, et. al., 100% (absolutely) FORGIVEN as part of the INITIAL Justification (New Birth) package, of which you suggest to be PERPETUAL/Eternal Justification as a consequence of ALL Past/Present/FUTURE Sins being FORGIVEN by God, and therefore that FORGIVENESS automatically IMPUTED to the Believer to include 100% FORGIVENESS for absolute ALL Future Sins as well?

    PLEASE take careful note of Jesus’ and John’s CONDITIONAL “IF”(greek ‘ean’ 1437) stated in each of these below cited Passages.

    1 John 1:9 (KJV)
    9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    Matthew 6:15 (KJV)
    15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
    Matthew 18:35 (KJV)
    35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
    Likewise, PLEASE take careful note that these above cited potentially UNCONFESSED and UNFORGIVEN Sins of the said Believer, subsequent to their Initial Justification are NOT NEW Sins at all, but the SAME IDENTICAL SINS that you suggest are allegedly already FORGIVEN as part of the INITIAL Eternal Justification package (Past/Present/Future) at the New Birth (FUTURE Sins) – and they are just now coming into reality and being committed by the Believer as Sin.

    Therefore, does God then indeed FORGIVE the SAME IDENTICAL “Future” Sin “TWICE” or PARTIALLY FORGIVE a Sin – once at INITIAL Justification and once AGAIN at Post Justification when the said Sin is actually and literally committed?

    Is not SIN just that SIN and it does not matter what heading we choose to categorize or define it under – i.e. Positional, Judicial, Fellowship, Experiential, etc.

    Do you suggest then that a stubborn rebellious subsequent NEW BIRTH Believer who willfully REFUSES to CONFESS his/her Sin(s) before God, will actually be FORGIVEN an CLEANSED of that particular Sin in accordance with the above cited Passages…especially 1Jn. 1:9?

    Where then is the 100% ABSOLUTE FORGIVENESS of ALL “Future” Sins at INITIAL Justification – which Eternal Security/OSAS theologically mandates? PLEASE do the math…

    Returning then to my earlier cited theme of Sin ‘classification’ I submit the following to the attention of your Biblical wisdom for your intuitive clarification.

    If we suggest a DUAL Position for a given Sin respective of 1 Jn. 1:9 and Matt 6:15, 18:35, et. al., then this would be implying that EACE INDIVIDUAL Sin has ‘TWO’ aspects – Positional and Experiential/Fellowship, etc., and that ONE singular Sin would have then TWO ‘required’ FORGIVENESSES before it could be deemed as COMPLETELY FORGIVEN.

    For example, if I declare that I am going to build ONE SINGULAR House with ‘TWO’ distinctive rooms (aspects/parts/A&B). Then, upon the actual completion of ONLY ONE of the TWO required rooms, can I legitimately declare the ONE SINGULAR House ‘absolutely’ COMPLETE/FINISHED?

    Going forward, the potential UNFORGIVEN Sins of 1 Jn. 1:9 are the very SAME IDENTICAL ‘Future’ Sins that is suggested by the theology of Eternal Justification to have been absolutely FORGIVEN as part of the INITIAL Justification package, which as stated INCLUED ALL (absolute) FUTURE Sins.

    Nonetheless, it does not matter under what heading or category we place these potentially UNFORGIVEN Sins – they are nonetheless still potentially UNFORGIVEN Sins…Sin is just that SIN.

    Therefore, to classify a singular Sin as having TWO ‘aspects/parts/features’ of FORGIVENESS would be as defined below:

    1a. – the POSITIONAL FORGIVENESS aspect…accomplished at INITIAL Justification having a PAST/PRESENT/FUTURE determinate (PERMANENT).

    2b. – the EXPERIENTIAL/Fellowship FORGIVENESS aspect…accomplished at the Believers CONFESSION ‘POST’ Initial Justification.

    However, by default this suggested ‘aspect’ classification of the SAME said Sin, then exists in TWO parts A and B and unavoidably mandated as ‘mutually exclusive’ – cannot occur at the same time…One aspect/part (A) occurs at INITIAL Justification and the other aspect/part (B) at POST Justification.

    Nonetheless, BOTH ‘aspects/parts/features’ of the said singular Sin must be cumulatively FORGIVEN before the Sin itself can be considered/qualified as COMPLETELY FORGIVEN?

    It is IMPOSSIBE then for a SIN with two mutually exclusive (cannot occur at the same time) aspects/parts/A&B to then be COMPLETELY FORGIVEN at Initial Justification – BOTH aspects would have to occur together (SIMULTANIOUSLY), but by default ONLY aspect/part A is FORGIVEN, because as stated the aspects are mutually exclusive, the POST Initial Justification aspect part B of this SAME IDENTICAL FUTURE Sin has never come into fruition, and has literally never been CONFESSED by the Believer who has committed it, and subsequently FORGIVEN as Scripturally required by 1Jn. 1:9, for ALL SUBSEQUENT New Birth Sins.

    There is NO WAY possible of making the math work.

    This is what I originally asked, If we declare that 100% of ALL FUTURE Sins have ALREADY been FORGIVEN at INITIAL Justification…Why are the ‘post’ Justification POTENTIAL UNFORGIVEN Sins of 1 Jn. 1:9 NOT included as part of the INITIAL Justification package that is suggested to FORGIVE ALL FUTURE Sins as well?

    barney

  • Chuck

    what is your interpretation of Mark 3:29/the sin against the holy spirit?

  • Elkain

    Dear Davidswife,
    We all have sinned and made mistakes, but God has provided a way out from the grasp of the devil through his son, Jesus Christ:

    Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

    Romans 3:10: “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one.” [Our “good work” alone cannot cancel out sin. ]

    Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” [God sent His only son, Jesus to die on the cross for our death. With this act He conquered death paid the penalty of sin for us. ]

    Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Like any “gift” someone paid the price and we must accept it.]

    Romans 10:9-10: “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your hear that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” [“escape clause” from spending time in hell with the devil. ]

    Romans 10:13: “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” [It’s not complicated.Jesus paid the price of our sin for us. Our response is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. If we do, we will be saved from eternal death in Hell to eternal life in Heaven. ]

    You can pray to God right now and claim the promises of His word as your own.

    •Admit that you have sinned against God and ask Him for forgiveness.
    •Believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God Who died for you on the cross, rose from the dead, and is Lord.
    •Call upon Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior.

    Then read your bible and ask God to lead you to a good BIBLE BELIEVING church.

  • Elkain

    No, but I was getting ready to write my tithe check and mom said he needed money for bills. I just knew I couldn’t do both and felt torn.

    Thank you both for your support and responses.

  • Anonymous

    I have a question. What happened to the “How do we investigate whether a resurrection occurred post”?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    It will reappear on Dec. 22 as one of the top 10 posts of the year. WordPress un-publishes posts when I reschedule them. Sorry for the confusion.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Guys,

    I’ve been investigating Christianity for sometime. I have a question about the beliefs of life after death in ancient world. I know that the Greeks and Romans didn’t think it happened and Jews thought it would happen at the end of time. Although in Mark 6 verse 16 it says, ” But when Herod heard this, he said, John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!” So, it looks like to me that Herod believed that someone could be raised from the dead. So doesn’t this pose a problem for people who use the argument that people in the ancient world just didn’t believe in resurrection?

  • troy

    I have a question regarding the assertion that christian theology evolved from original pagan doctrine. Based on the book a history of God by karen armstrong the YouTuber evid3nc3 says that the early hebrews were pagans; I guess providing the link would be better it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlnnWbkMlbg this video is seriously leading me to question my faith help.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Troy, what exactly is the problem? What information in this video has you questioning your faith? Keep in mind that there are numerous YouTube videos made every day attacking Christianity, and it is impossible for me to watch every one. So, a more productive approach is for you to tell me what is so troubling.

  • troy

    It states using sources that christianity started as a plytheisitc religion but verses were changed. The youtuber has a large following I think it would be worth it to watch this one.He referecnes a histroy of god by karen armstrong.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Troy,
    What evidence is offered to prove that Christianity started as a polytheistic religion? You mention that verses were changed. What evidence exists that verses were changed to make Christianity appear monotheistic instead of polytheistic?

  • troy

    Bill,
    This is showing me that you don’t have enough evidence do you know a better apologetics, I can’t explain it completely without the video. I know you can’t watch every video but this user has a large following and it would be beneficial to me and other Christians if you could debunk it. In the video he references archaeology, the ashaara, the novel a history of God etc..

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Troy,
    I was trying to get you to think through the arguments from the video, as I think they are weak and highly disputable, but it seems you don’t want to do that, so…..below are links to several articles that take on various issues that are raised in the video:

    Is the Bible polytheistic?

    What would an inscription about a consort of Yahweh really prove?

    Was Yahweh a member of the Phoenician pantheon??

    Was YHWH just a pagan solar deity IAO?

    Subject: Ancient Israelite Polytheism?

    A brief note about the Documentary Hypothesis

    Was the Pentateuch “adulterated” by later additions?

  • Fellow coreligionist

    Broadening the scope of Pope Benedict XVI –

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8674951077890290774

  • Fellow coreligionist

    Sorry meant to end that with a question, relating to the last youtube article someone forwarded on to me, why would the leader of the Christian church misrepresent the faith of nearly 2 billion people ?

  • Smitty’s Girl

    I have had an agnostic friend pose the following questions concerning God and the old testament. How could a loving God order the Isrealites to kill not only the soldiers, but the women and children of the countries/cities that they entered, yet leave the virgins for the soldiers? Why would a loving God order the slaughter of a group of people based solely on their race?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Put simply, your friend is grossly distorting what the Bible actually teaches. We have written on this subject a few times on the blog, and there are also some good links to other sites that discuss this issue.

    Here are the links on our blog: What About Genocide in the Old Testament?, Who Did Joshua Kill in Jericho?, Does God Take People’s Lives?.

    Here are a few links to other sites that address this issue: How could a God of Love order the massacre/annihilation of the Canaanites?, What about God’s cruelty against the Midianites?, The “Slaughter” of the Canaanites Re-visited.

    I hope these links will help you.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Bill Pratt

    Put simply, your friend is grossly distorting what the Bible actually teaches. We have written on this subject a few times on the blog, and there are also some good links to other sites that discuss this issue.

    Here are the links on our blog: What About Genocide in the Old Testament?, Who Did Joshua Kill in Jericho?, Does God Take People’s Lives?.

    Here are a few links to other sites that address this issue: How could a God of Love order the massacre/annihilation of the Canaanites?, What about God’s cruelty against the Midianites?, The “Slaughter” of the Canaanites Re-visited.

    I hope these links will help you.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Steve Leahy

    Do Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses fall in the same category when compared to Christianity?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Hi Steve,
    Both Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are non-Christian religious groups, but for different reasons. Their beliefs are quite different from each other, but they both agree that the historical Christian faith is mistaken about who Jesus is. They deny that he is fully God, possessing the same nature as the Father.

  • Noraanngeorge

    Judges 3:24 Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber.
    What does this mean in that day!

  • CaroleDilger

    Do Mormons believe that Jesus Chrisst and Lucifer are brothers? As some people think that. I do not believe that since Jesus is the Son of God and Lucifer was a angel. Please answer if possible. Thank you.

  • Darrell

    Carol,

    Mormon theology teaches that *all* humans are spirit brothers and sisters. They believe in a pre-mortal life in which all of us where spirit born to God the Father. Jesus Christ was the first born of these children and Lucifer was the second born. We all then came after them. So, the short answer to your question is yes, they do believe that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers to each other. In fact, Jesus, in their view, is all of our’s eldest spirit brother.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Darrell

  • Alan Roth

    What do you do if you discover that a leader of a Christian organization claims to be an atheist in private?

  • Lorraine Coopersmith

    What is your feeling on Free Masonry?

  • Ed H.

    Bob,
    My pastor from years ago was an amazing Christian man. He knew the bible inside out, forwards & backwards and taught “by the book”. He believed, and taught, that the earth was only 6,000 years old, a figure I would guess other Christians have arrived at as the result of extensive research of Exodus & many other scriptures. Because of the multitudes of scientific evidence we have that have been carbon dated to be billions of years old, to believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old would be to believe that God created it already billions of years old when it was brand new. Frankly, I don’t believe that God created things to confuse us. How do we, as Christians, account for the existence of things like dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals and numerous different types of prehistoric man, all of which have been determined to be millions of years old, when there’s no mention of any such things anywhere in the bible (at least not that I’m aware of).

  • Primo20251

    I read that the antichrist will be given power over the saints to slay them who are belivers of Christ. Then I also read in Rev. 3:10 that I f we perseverethat the lord will keep us from the hour of trial that will come upon the earth. Iam confuse about rather we as Christian are going to go through the tribulation ‘ and be slain or will we be spared and raptured up. So if we are spared who are the saints that are slain?

  • Melvyn Bertrand

    If the Christians are going to Rule with Jesus, then who is Jesus and the Saints going to Rule Over?

  • Anonymous

    Hi there.
    I’m a fairly recent convert to Mormonism. I’ll spare you the conversion story for now, suffice to say that my entry was more to do with study than prayer. I sometimes find myself in discussions/debates with Christians from my old church, who sometimes decide they want to save me.

    Anyway, I’ve got this argument for the truth of the Book of Mormon that I personally find persuasive, and those who I discus with find themselves completely at a loss to refute it. That’s why I’m here. there are plenty of argument ‘I’e seen other Mormons give which I don’t think are very persuasive and are sometimes downright silly. I’m perfectly happy to change my mind about the persuasiveness of this argument, if someone can explain to me why its wrong, but so far nobody I’ve met seems to be willing to and most of the anti-Mormon sites don’t seem to want to touch it.

    So would anyone here who really believes that Mormonism is false, who is unafraid of seeing arguments against their point of view and who has a bit of spare time on their hands please go to

    http://mi.byu.edu/publications/jbms/?vol=3&num=1&id=46

    And explain why they think its wrong (in particular I’m looking at the if and conjuncts section).

  • Anonymous

    Really… nobody… its been two weeks now. Did somebody read the article only to conclude it was to hard to refute, or did the thought of having to deal with serious scholarship scare you away? Or are you just lazy? If you want to convince me that you guys have the truth and I don’t, why don’t you start acting like you have the truth, because right now you really are not.

    PS in case anybody thinks I might be being hypocritical, then try me. Ask me anything. Ill make sure I check this page every day for at least a week. Since I think I really do have the truth I won’t run away.

  • Darrell

    Anonymous,

    Thanks for the link.

    One of the issues with Skousen’s argument is that it assumes the BOM it a literal word for word translation from ancient Hebrew. Unfortunately, this is not even what Smith himself or the LDS Church today claim. It is supposed to be translated from Reformed Egyptian. I don’t see how attempting to prove a Hebrew basis for the translation really helps the case.

    God bless!

    Darrell

  • Anonymous

    Actually, Mormons have usually claimed that the BoM was written in Hebrew language using a modified Egyptian script. This comes from Mormon 9:32-33

    And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech. And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

    So the author tells us that it was Egyptian script, but he would have preferred to write in Hebrew because the Egyptian is causing imperfections the Hebrew wouldn’t have. Why would Egyptian cause imperfections? The only answer we can think of is that it must be the Hebrew language that’s being written down. Hence Hebrew in Egyptian script.

    You say Joseph Smith said it was Egyptian language. I’m really not sure where you get that from. In his History of the Church 1:71 he describes the Title page of the BoM with: “the language of the whole running same as all Hebrew writing in general; and that, said Title Page is not by any means a modern composition either of mine or of any other man’s who has lived or does live in this generation”

    More importantly than any of that is that you have misunderstood what the point I am trying to make with the article. Skousen isn’t just assuming the BoM is authentic Hebrew and going from there- he is trying to prove that it is authentic Hebrew. It helps my case because if the argument works- if there are genuine Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon beyond what JS could have known about, then that proves that he couldn’t have just invented it.

  • Jeanetta

    Dear Bill Pratt,

    I am writing a text book and would like to use one of your photos. Pleaswe email me privately. I do now wish to post my email address, and am hoping your computer site program will capture it.

    I have not found a contact email for you.

    Jeanetta

  • Worduncensored

    Leave the organization I think? How do you know what he claims in private?

  • Worduncensored

    Ed H,
    These questions have been asked by many people. I have studied about it and each one brings forth a theory of what could have happened. Even evolution theories are theories, not facts. What do we have then, a mix of what could or could not have happened. One very interesting theory (I tried finding that for you but couldn’t find the website) was that carbon dating can be goofed up if a major catastrophe happened. The author believes that the major flood during Noah’s time led to the goof up carbon dating. He scientifically explained of how the dinosaurs could have been extinct and how the varies layers of the earth could have been formed. It was very convincing and I believe that is what happened. Now, can we prove it? I guess not. Can evolutionists prove that we came from Monkey? I guess not. What are we left with, a question of how the world was formed and how we came into existence. Now that we exist, the more pertinent question that the world needs to ask is what next? I gave up a long time back on questions that are trivial and are always up for debate. I have now started focusing on things that matter most. Love, Salvation, Helping people, trusting God.

    … and yes there is a mention of dinosaur like creature and dragon like creature in the Bible. Of course they are not called dinosaurs or dragons because these are terms coined by the English/American? Refer Job 40:15-44 for something similar to dinosaur and Job 41:12-34 something scary like a dragon or some monster.

  • Anonymous

    Your main page states that “Our purpose is to show that Christianity is the most intellectually rich worldview that exists. Why is that? Because it is true.” When you say Christianity I’m given to understand you don’t include Mormonism. So your your statement your claiming that Your actually right and I’m actually wrong. I’m trying to be reasonable and respectful here, but you guys are really not living up to that claim.

    I’ve given what is (or at minimum looks like) really convincing evidence of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon, and all you have offered is an inaccurate assumption about Mormon belief that doesn’t hold up to a Google search. Its also a red herring- if there are genuine Hebrew Constricts in the BoM text beyond the ability of Joseph Smith to have made, then that would show it cannot be a forgery even if the LDS church had traditionally insisted that it came from an Egyptian original.

    1 Pet 3:15 Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

    Well I’m asking. If you really beleive the Bible you will answer. Why on earth should I, as a reasonable rational human being, beleive that you have the truth? I’ve given my evidence, and after two weeks you have given me what is at best an excuse for a reply. How can I consider your belief system even remotely rational when you wont even stand up for it. Come on guys, you call yourselves tough questions answered, at least try to live up to it.

  • Worduncensored

    Carl G, I am not sure if you will read this, as it seems to have been unattended for a long time. But in the hope of someone will find it useful, I am replying.

    Why does God allow such unimaginable tragedy happen to an entire family? I believe there are more than 1 reasons that you may want to consider. It could be one or all of them together. I am not a prophet so I do not want to conclude on what happened to your family but these are general principles you can apply to any death (series of deaths) that happen:

    1) God does not tempt but He does test. The devil tempts, kills, lies and destroys. God builds up, gives life, and what is meant for destruction by the devil is turned around for good by God. Tragedies can be the devil’s work. Job was a righteous man but he incurred severe loss and tragedy. God permitted it to test Job but Satan wanted to destroy Job.
    2) Some tragedies are linked to generational curses. I have heard that said by many powerful godly people and apparently that does exist. SO if a particular family is going through loss after loss, it would be good to pray, fast and seek God’s protection on every individual. It doesn’t mean you have to live in fear. All curses are gone in the name of Jesus Christ and you just need faith to claim the freedom from the curse. This may sound ridiculous, but get help from powerful men of God to pray with the family. Some people anoint houses and family members with oil and pray (anointing oil and praying is very Biblical so don’t be afraid).
    3) Sin may lead to destruction. I have heard families destroyed due to some sin from the past which the family had held on to. Find the area that needs to change and decide as a family to change. Repent and turn to God.
    4) Death is inevitable and everyone dies. It could be that these are just natural deaths and has nothing supernatural about it. Every person has a predetermined time to live and God calls His children to Himself when it is time. Death isn’t tragic, it is an entry in to the next happy world. I am not trying to put down your pain and sorrow. I completely understand how it feels to lose someone you love but sometimes, we have to understand that death is ultimate release from the pain of this world.
    5) Sometimes, you may not get an answer to your whys. I am telling that based on my personal experience. I lost my dear cousin and I haven’t been able to understand why he died so young. But I do know one thing, God had it and has it in control. He can turn around the tragedy to good. We may not see it now. We may not understand it, even if a good came out of it. But that doesn’t mean no good can come out of it.

  • Worduncensored

    Debdgg,
    I understand where you are coming from. I am trying to reply to both your questions in one shot. I think God sees the heart. Why are we using the letter w or why are we celebrating Christmas doesn’t really matter to God. I’ll give you a simple example. Assume you have a 2 year old daughter who can hardly speak. She comes to you and says “dawudee” instead of “daddy”. Would you be angry or would you accept her childlike faith? However, if she called your neighbour “dawudee”, you would try to correct her. Well I believe that is the heart of God. If you celebrate Christmas with Jesus as the hero for the celebration, then God is happy because you are honouring Him. If you Baptising in the name of the Lord, believing Jesus, I believe He accepts it. It is the heart that matters, not the phonetics.

  • Worduncensored

    Hi Venkatesan,
    I can see you are just making fun here. But still, just curious to know what you aim to do by solving the unsolved mathematical problem. I mean, what benefit from it, to people around you, to the world, etc? Maybe that will answer your funny question.

  • DonS.

    Excellent examples in your post, Worduncensored. God does indeed look at the heart of each of us.

  • Worduncensored

    Ralph,
    I read a related article recently and hope to share this with you (I am not sure if you will read this as it seems to be a old question).

    Offering praise and worship is a sacrifice. Scripture defines it as the sacrifice of praise. That means, it is not easy to worship and praise. It requires sacrificing time. Second, God doesn’t need your worship. Third, God is worthy of worship. You worship not because God craves for worship. You worship because He is all powerful, wonderful, awesome and mighty to save. You worship Him because He is the only one worthy of it. Worship is humbly surrendering to God and trusting in His mercy. It is giving control to Him. That pleases Him because He sees you as His child trusting Him. What father wouldn’t be pleased when a completely and absolutely trusts and believes in Him. Worship is all about honouring God and I do not see how it can be called conceit.

  • Worduncensored

    How do you think the men got exposed?? I believe God had a hand in exposing them!

  • Darrell

    Anonymous,

    I understand what you are getting at, but, for many reasons, to me it is unconvincing reasoning. Smith specifically said and the BOM itself proports that the language was Reformed Egyptian. Neither he nor it said anything about it being “Egyptian script of Hebrew language”. Therefore, IMO, it is pointless to try to demonstrate Hebraisms. In reality, I see this as just another in the long line of examples that demonstrate the fraudulant nature of Smith’s prophetic claim.
    He himself SAID it was reformed Egyptian. Now, when it benefits them, the LDS Church claims a Hebrew underpinning for the language. If Smith truly was a Prophet of God, why didn’t he come out and specifically SAY the language had a Hebrew basis? Why did it take nearly 200 years for this to come to light?

    Perhaps it might help for me to explain something. I don’t necessarily think Smith faked the vision. I believe there is a strong possibility that he did in fact have an encounter. I even believe that it is possible that this encounter did lead him to discovering a “book” that he translated. However, where you and I part ways is in the fact that I don’t think there is even a remote possibility that this vision, the book, or the religion that came from it are what they claim to be. I have a mulitude of reasons for believing this, and, if you care to discuss them, I would be happy to do so. Because I believe the vision itself was not front God, showing me that there are possible Hebraisms in the BOM is uncovincing. It is like telling me that “An engineer designed the building we are in in order to convince me that it is a solid structure when it is in the middle of collapsing under our feet”. I just don’t buy it. There is too much evidence to the contrary. Not all visions are from God and spiritual powers can be very powerful.

    Please don’t take any of this offensively. I realize that you believe strongly in the LDS Church, and I respect your right to do so. I did at one time myself.

    God bless!

    Darrell

  • Anonymous1

    I have no historical background on Mormonism and so I decided to learn about it… This is one of the links I got in google for Joseph Smith. I mean no offence but I just couldn’t ignore it.
    http://www.watchman.org/cults/prophets.htm

  • Anonymous1

    I know this is no evidence… but to me testing a person’s intention is more important than whether or not his prophecies came true. If a person claims himself as better than Jesus and says he is the best and equates himself with Jesus, then no matter how many prophecies come true and no matter how many great words he writes… he is fallen. I am not sure if Mormons consider Christ as ultimate saviour, if you don’t then maybe there is no point even mentioning this here.

    Joseph Smith said, “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus(emphasis) ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 408-09).

    Just my two cents…

  • Wayne Tilden

    Our two grandsons have not been raised as Christians. Their father was, but he passed away recently and their mother is an atheist and a scientist. They have been asked to a church youth group and have been attending. We gained permission to send them Bibles and crosses.
    Now their asking the hard questions about God and science, are there any scientists who are Christians? How can you be both? and all those others.
    Since their mother is an atheist and told them she just take things through faith, my wife and I are wondering if you could direct us to some materials we could share with them. They are 11 and 13 in April.

    Thank you for your time.

    Wayne Tilden

  • Anonymous

    “Smith specifically said and the BOM itself proports that the language was Reformed Egyptian. Neither he nor it said anything about it being “Egyptian script of Hebrew language”.”

    I’ve actually given evidence for my view on what Smith and the BoM say , whereas you are just making assertions. I have no doubt you can find instances of smith saying the BoM was written in reformed Egyptian, but can you show me were he said it was necessarily both the script and the language?

    “If Smith truly was a Prophet of God, why didn’t he come out and specifically SAY the language had a Hebrew basis? Why did it take nearly 200 years for this to come to light?”

    Let’s suppose he didn’t, and that he even thought it was Egyptian language on Egyptian Script. The idea that Smith didn’t know about the Hebrew language doesn’t bother me much. Prophets are not supposed to be complete sources of all knowledge about everything. They only know what God decides to tell them. He saw Egyptian on the BoM plates, so he said it was Egyptian. Mormons are told God reveals thing “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little”. We don’t have sealed revelation and the idea of learning knew things we didn’t know before (even if we are learning them via scholars instead of prophets) is hardly an issue. Why should it be a flaw in my argument if Smith didn’t know about it? If anything, I should think that if Smith didn’t know about it it would strengthen my case even more- If he didn’t know there were Hebraisms in the text then there is no way he could have deliberately manufactured them.

    “Perhaps it might help for me to explain something. I don’t necessarily think Smith faked the vision. I believe there is a strong possibility that he did in fact have an encounter … Not all visions are from God and spiritual powers can be very powerful.”
    Are you proposing that all this evidence was just constructed by Satan? Critics of Mormonism normally have to get pretty desperate to explain away the evidence before they will turn there. It’s not that Satan isn’t able to construct false doctrine and false miracles and lead people away from the truth, but he is not some omnipotent super being capable of a) knowing more about ancient Hebrew than any man alive at the time b) knowing the contents of not yet translated or even discovered ancient records or c) knowing the future, and he would have had to do all those to for you to explain all of the evidence away.

    When the apostles preached in the New Testament, they would use their miracles, both the ones they were doing and those they testified had been done, their evidence of fulfilled prophecies, and the sheer experience of the Holy spirit to convert people to Christianity. Some people would hear there testimony and believe, some would not. But not once in the New Testament do we ever see somebody assign the testimony and miracles to the devil and dismiss it on that basis. If that had been a convincing intellectual option for those interacting with the apostles, surely some would have taken it.

    If Satan were powerful enough to fake all the miraculous evidence I am proposing for Mormonism, then he would also have been powerful enough to do it for all the miracles the apostles gave. The entire line of evidence the apostles gave for the Gospel would have been completely compromised. But instead of seeing those being preached to always saying ‘so what, Satan can fake that’ they believed and were saved. The apostles wouldn’t give evidence that wasn’t intellectually persuasive, but they gave their miracles and converted people with it. So apparently the Apostles didn’t think of Satan as being as powerful as you are making him out to be. Absent working naturalistic explanations the evidence I am giving for the BoM is at least as good as that the apostles gave for the NT. Frankly I think you’re trying to use one standard in judging the NT’s claims and another higher one in Judging the BoM’s

    In summary:
    1. The original BoM contains if-and conjuncts such as Helaman 12:13 “yea and if he sayeth unto the earth move and it is moved” which could be the result of a) accident b) naturalistic forgery c) supernatural forgery d) Genuine translation of ancient Hebrew.
    2. At no stage in the English language has and been used where then should go. Any English speaker would instantly know not to do that. If Joseph smith had been faking the BoM he would have know not to do this. Therefore it is not the result of accident
    3. if-and conjuncts do not appear in the KJV Bible (it’s not that literal), which is the only Hebrew translated document Joseph could have plausibly had access to forge the Book of Mormon. Therefore it is not the result of naturalistic forgery
    4.1 If Satan were capable of supernaturally faking Godly visitations, plates, visions in seer stones and detailed Hebrew-English translation information then he is also capable of faking the NT miracles
    4.2 if Satan were capable of faking the NT miracles then the miracles would not have made convincing evidence for the Gospel, in which case the apostles wouldn’t have used it because it would be ineffective evidence and intellectually dishonest.
    4.3 The apostles did use miracles and their testimony of prior miracles as evidence for the gospel, and they convinced many
    4 Therefore the if-and conjuncts are not a supernatural forgery
    5. Therefore the if-and conjuncts and the BoM could only come from one possible source, a genuine literalistic translation of an ancient text.

  • Anonymous

    The facts that David Koresh decided to take this route with his Branch Davidians causing all these ‘parallels’ doesn’t bother me. There have been a lot of cult leaders in the past 100 years and its not surprising if one of them has a lot of superficial parallels to Joseph Smith. Except for 5, the 9 items are all basically what is likely to happen to anybody who tries to start a new society and live apart from a world that is persecuting them. I also would like to point out that if the author of the article were secular he could easily have put Jesus down for:
    1. Claimed to be prophet of God
    2. lacked a formal education (Jesus was a poor carpenter who had been taught enough Greek to read and be familiar, the Septuagint OT, Joseph was a poor farmer who had been taught enough English to read and be familiar with the KJV Bible)
    3. Claimed fulfillment of prior Scripture
    4. Believers shared possessions (Acts 2:44-4)
    7. Prophesied of martyrdom
    10. compared themselves favorably with prior religious leaders (Joseph supposedly compared himself with Jesus, Jesus definitely compared himself with Moses)

    I’m not saying this to claim Jesus was a cultist- I don’t beleive that for a second. I’m merely trying to show you what would happen if you applied the same standard of evidence to Jesus life as you are to Joseph Smith, that 6 of the 10 parallels turn up. I’m sure if you were to go through every cult leader in the last 100 years deliberately trying to find one with parallels to Jesus instead of Joseph Smith you would find someone with a lot more in common. So I think a little more caution is in order when trying to show parallels, lest you find yourself using a double standard.

  • MJ

    Hello Wayne,
    I am not sure if this material is suitable for 11 and 13 year olds but it does discuss about scientists who ask pertinent questions about a Designer, a Supreme Being, Creator behind the the universe and various other scientific things.

    http://www.y-origins.com/

    The footnotes in each article gives you a list of books from where the quotes were picked so it maybe worth giving it a read. Read this yourself before you share it with the kids. Your daughter in law may benefit from this if not your grand children.

  • Anonymous

    There are two comments I would like to make about this quote. firstly, its bantered about on a lot of anti-Mormon websites as proof of his arrogance, but you will never see other quotes like it next to it. Why? Because there are no other quotes. In the hundreds of pages of scripture he is responsible for and teachings he made, you wont find anything else like this.This is really out of character for him. If you find the rest of the quote, you’ll see he is basically screaming at the world and the devil in rage, claiming that as an agent of God their efforts against him are pointless “I will come out on top at last”

    Secondly, look closely at the quote. He isn’t saying he is better than Jesus, merely that in one of the tasks they both had to do he managed to do a better job. I understand why that might offend you, I don’t consider this arrogant boasting simply on the grounds it’s factually accurate. Joseph would regulatory lose parts of his church to persecution, and every time he revealed a new doctrine some would leave, but at no stage did the majority drop away. Jesus, on the other hand, kicked out most of his followers in one go when he announced one must eat his flesh and drink his blood to get to heaven (John 6:52-70)

  • Bol

    I recently read this statement and have a question.
    Death per se is a condition of separation. According to the Bible, there are only two kinds of death. First, there is physical death, which involves the temporary separation of the spirit from the body. In the resurrection, the body is later rejoined with the human spirit. Second, there is spiritual death or the separation of the human body and spirit from God. This condition has no remedy.
    My question pertains to the latter death; or possibly a third condition. Is it possible for a man to have a separation from God’s Spirit and remain physically alive? And if so, would there be a remedy to this condition? For example Jesus made an example of a man being twice dead also white washed tomes, and inside like dead man’s bones. Yet in each case they were at that point still physically alive. David also cried out to God to not take his Holy Spirit from him.

  • Worduncensored

    This particular page is a gem. You may want to read and share with your grandchildren.
    http://www.y-origins.com/index.php?p=DNA8

  • Worduncensored

    … and here are some quotes from astronomers, mathematicians, scientists, physicist,etc – indicating their belief that a supreme being is responsible for the origins.
    http://www.y-origins.com/index.php?p=quotes

  • darrellboan

    Anonymous,

    Let’s look back at the BOM again. . .

    And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

    Given what this says – that it is WRITTEN in Reformed Egyptian – I must respectfully disagree with your claim that all I have done is make “assertions”. No, I am simply going off of what the BOM *itself* says. The BOM does *not* say that it is Reformed Egyptian script of an underlying Hebrew language. I can understand why you might read it that way, but it *does not* say it. Instead, it says that it is written in Reformed Egyptian *instead of* Hebrew because the Hebrew language was too large. Bottom line: You are asserting the truth of your belief and asking me to prove a negative (that the underlying language is not Hebrew). However, logical reasoning deems that it is impossible to prove a negative. Instead, all I have to do is take what the BOM *does* say, i.e., that it is written in Reformed Egyptian. Contrary to what you say, it is actually incumbent upon *you* to PROVE that it *does* say that the Reformed Egyptian characters are from an underlying Hebrew language. . . and you will not be able to do this, because it simply doesn’t say it. : – )

    You said:

    It’s not that Satan isn’t able to construct false doctrine and false miracles and lead people away from the truth, but he is not some omnipotent super being capable of a) knowing more about ancient Hebrew than any man alive at the time b) knowing the contents of not yet translated or even discovered ancient records or c) knowing the future, and he would have had to do all those to for you to explain all of the evidence away.

    A and B are question-begging-reasoning, and C doesn’t have to be true for my claim to stand, because I never said Satan knows the future. Not sure where you get that one from. It is incumbent upon you to prove that Satan could not 1) Know enough about a language that existed 2000 years ago to construct a book with a couple of its characteristics; and 2) Know the contents of some records that were written 2000 years ago and have since been lost by humans. Until you do this, you are simply begging-the-question.

    In my theology, Satan *was* alive 2000 years ago and *is* a VERY powerful angelic being. So, yes, both of these things are *very* possible for him to do. In fact, I would submit that the warnings we get in scripture about false prophets, their teachings, and the things they can and will do tell us as much.

    While I respect your zeal to defend your faith and the reasoning that underlies it, I simply disagree with you. I don’t have to prove how Smith could have known every minute detail that is in the BOM to know that it and the LDS religion that follows it are false. This is faulty reasoning because it conflates 1) making an argument THAT something is true/false with 2) providing an explanation for how it did/did not happen. These are two separate arguments. I did a post on it quite a while ago. Here is a link.

    http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2009/10/27/jeffrey-r-hollands-general-conference-talk/

    God bless!

  • darrellboan

    Yes, when Jesus told the truth, people did flee. Anybody can keep a church together by tickling their ears with lies. I don’t think Smith had much to brag about.

    Claiming to be better than God…. hmmmm… not a good thing to do. Anonymous, I’m really surprised at you. You are actually *defending* your “Prophet” saying this and, worse than that, you are actually saying IT’S TRUE…. Time to hide under the bed. . . Scary.

  • Andrew

    My question(s) is about Jesus’ casting of the demons into the swine which drowned themselves in the lake in Matthew 8:28-34. How are we to understand this?

    If demons do exist, why the pigs?Why did Jesus allow that?Why did the demons want that? Too many questions I just don’t understand.

    If they don’t exist, I can understand Jesus curing an insane person but then what is the point of the pigs, supposedly 2000 of them, dying?

    I just don’t understand this story and any help would be appreciated.

  • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

    Ah, Campus Crusade Bill Bright. That would explain the execretable quote mining.

  • Worduncensored

    Andrew, to me the story is all about Jesus’ love for mankind. He valued the human’s well being more than that of the pigs’. Demons do exist and Christ has power over those demons. That is why the demons begged to be released into the pig. Why did the demons beg to be released into the pig? Because they knew Jesus would judge them and cast them into eternal destruction one day. They wanted to be free for some more time. Why did Jesus grant the demon’s wish? I believe this was a test for the whole town. The whole town rejected Jesus because He drove the demons into the pig. People were more concerned about the pigs than a fellow human who was healed. Did Jesus value human life more than the life of the pigs? Of course, yes. Is that bad? No. Why? Jesus valued the soul of the human and in His eyes, one human soul is more precious than all possessions and wealth and beasts of this world. Animals do NOT have a soul. Besides God created man to be the ruler of animals and not vice versa.
    I am still not sure what is bothering you with this story. If you can be specific, maybe I would be able to help you more.

  • Worduncensored

    Anonymous,
    You don’t seem to understand the parallelism being drawn. It is one thing to draw parallelism and another to prove it. Now… according to point 7, Joseph S prophesied he would be a martyr. So did Jesus. Infact, Joseph borrowed Jesus’ words. But did Joseph really die like a silent lamb? Point 9 says he was Mormans claim he shot in self defence and Joseph Smith possed a gun. I dont see how that is dying like a silent lamb and I don’t see how you can apply that to Jesus.

    My point… a prophet is not a prophet if he fails even one prophecy and acts against the nature of God. This isn’t something I am telling. This is what God told. Read Deuteronomy 18:20-22

    But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, is to be put to death.”
    21 You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” 22 If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.

    And you yourself agreed points 5 and 9 are not likely to happen with every other cult/religious leader. I 100% agree. But what about Joseph Smith. He seemed to have practised polygamy and seems to have involved in a gun battle. Both of these were a no no from Jesus. What do you have to say for that?

  • Anonymous1

    Anonymous, I suggest you read the quote carefully. He seems to “boast” than being better than every other man before him, including Jesus. Do you know John the Baptist from Bible? Jesus gave a witness about John saying ” I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John;” Luke 7:28. John was the greatest prophet according to Jesus. But do you know what John said about himself and Jesus? He said “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am–so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals” – Mark 1:7…. and again he said “He (Jesus) must become greater; I must become less.

    Now that is a true prophet! Joseph Smith to me is just trumpeting about his so called accomplishment.

    And Anonymous, Jesus lost a bunch of people because He spoke the truth. Sometimes truth hurts but truth must be spoken.

  • Worduncensored

    Tildeb, Ah! great sarcasm!

  • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

    Worduncensored wrote indicating their belief that a supreme being is responsible for the origins.

    False.

    What is presented are mined quotes to give that illusion, to lend credence only by reputation of the quoted authors the unsupported claim that they, too, believe in magical POOF!ism.

    This is a criticism is not sarcasm but revealing the dishonesty of the site itself; the quotes do not accurately reflect the honest views of the authors being quoted because some are very clear and do NOT support the origins claim. That is why the site that quote mines to falsely present support where no such support exists in truth is doing what we atheists call Lying for Jesus. If this is the kind of material you think best equips people to teach youth, then I think you need to give your head a shake.

  • Worduncensored

    tildeb what we use to equip children is something you wouldn’t have to worry I believe. Anyway, just as you don’t believe in POOFism, we don’t believe in BANGism. Your scientists themselves agree they are unable to understand the mystery of DNA. If the quotes in the site are wrong (they could be which is why I had mentioned in my comment to verify the books before sharing with the kids), why don’t you share the correct quotes from the books. Simply jumping at every opportunity isn’t very rational, is it? Anyway, my intention here is not argue baseless jumping. I have shared a link that a fellow visitor asked for. I believe he has enough understanding of what should and should not be shared with his grandchildren. If you have any material to help him, please do share.

  • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

    I would prefer to equip them with critical thinking and respect for what’s true as arbitrated by reality. This would serve them well. Magical thinking and a belief in the supernatural only teaches them that it’s okay to fool themselves.

  • Worduncensored

    Was anyone talking about who preferred what? If that is your preference, great, but doesn’t mean everyone should prefer what you prefer? If you think it is foolishness, it is entirely your opinion. You haven’t given any facts to prove the quotes were wrong or foolish. Without you telling us as to why the it has been misquoted, this argument is baseless. I believe that just jumping around at every opportunity, without reasons or proper facts is foolishness too… but that is just my opinion. We all have the right to our opinion but they necessarily do not become facts.

  • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

    If I give you quotes, what will you do with them? For example, Tony Rothman also said “the anthropic principle in any form is completely ridiculous and hence should be called CRAP.”

    Hawking, a well known atheist, said “”There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, (and) science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

    When we find mined quotes to suggest that these scientists have no trouble accommodating the method of science with religious belief when in truth we know they understand the fundamental incompatibility and inherent conflict of methodology between them, then of what value is the web site that attempts to deceive us into falsely thinking that they do? Y-Origins proclaims But Gould’s and Dawkins’ materialistic view does not reflect the opinions of an increasing number of scientists who are seeing fingerprints of design in our universe. Under the word ‘opinions’ is the link to the quote mines that offers us a quote from Tony and a quote from Stephen. This implies that these big brained people see god’s ‘fingerprints of design’. This is a lie.

    And here you are freely and with no apologies offering up this dishonesty as a ‘gem’ that does discuss about scientists who ask pertinent questions about a Designer, a Supreme Being, Creator behind the the universe when there is no such discussion whatsoever; there is a gross misrepresentation to cover up the incompatibility between truth claims made on the basis of religious belief (made up stuff immune from reality) and scientific investigations (informed by evidence based explanations subject to reality).

    So the honest truth of the matter is that what you’ve recommended is that it’s a pretty handy tool for fooling people who also wish to indoctrinate their grandchildren into thinking that these people support superstitious nonsense when they do no such thing.

    Do you honestly think that the grandparents are going to talk to these grandkids about how and why the method of inquiry into reality is not served in any way but impeded at every step by matters of faith?

  • Worduncensored

    Tildeb, I don’t see a reason for apologizing as much as you do not see a reason for apologizing. If you think your views are the only right views, then that is your problem to sort out. Now, you have not given any refute for the scientists who are struggling to find an answer to the DNA mystery. You like it or not, that is the truth. These are quotes spoken by people who worked hard. I do know, and in most cases the y-origin does say that the scientist have gone back to their materialistic thinking. Scientists aren’t becoming Christians but are they shuffling around? Yes, they are. Are they able to give a reasonable answer? Maybe they will in the future. But as we speak, we do not have an answer. We have the quotes from famous scientists themselves, suspecting a finger print of God. Are these quotes all made up? Maybe yes, maybe not. If you say they are made up, as per my previous requests, please do provide proof that these quotes are made up. Till such time, I feel your argument is baseless… and I don’t have anything further to discuss.

  • Andrew Ryan

    “Are these quotes all made up? Maybe yes, maybe not.”

    No-one’s saying they’re made up, but they ARE quoting out of context. Tildeb pointed out that some of the scientists quoted have put themselves on record saying they are atheists who see no evidence for God. Therefore, the quotes on the website are clearly out of context if they are being put forward to represent ‘Scientists expressing opinions that a God is behind the universe’.

  • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

    My argument, Worduncensored, is that you are promoting a web site that intentionally misrepresents real people about what they honestly think. That you are okay with this recommendation – even though I’ve shown it is dishonest – means your moral compass seems to me to be a bit out of whack.

    Why not tell advise the grandparents to be honest with the grandkids… perhaps even tell them truthfully that over 95% of biologists and about nine out of every ten highly respected scientists do not believe in a personal god? Isn’t that curious? Doesn’t it make you want to know why? Wouldn’t the grandkids be better served finding out these answers than being told to visit web sites that misrepresent people and distort their quotes to serve a very specific religious agenda?

  • http://questionablemotives.wordpress.com/ tildeb

    Thank you for your clarity in this matter, AR.

  • Worduncensored

    If they are out of context, then they are bad, but I am still not getting your proof to show it is out of context. Anyway, I feel like we are just beating around the bush with mere personal opinions. By the way, talking about using out of context text… I wish the same principle would be used while using Bible… more and more people use it out of context God goofy and foolish… not that either of you did it… just mentioning it here since we are talking about “out of context” now. Thanks AR and Tildeb…

  • Worduncensored

    Tilbed… I am reading your posts in reverse so sorry for the wrong order of replies… If you are convinced that scientist, 95% believe in no God creation, I am perfectively fine with that. Am I am being convinced without understanding the scientific implications and am I blindly following what I am following.. that is something you don’t have liberty to comment on because I know what I have researched and found to be convinced of what I believe in. Why not tell advise the grandparents to be honest with the grandkids… perhaps even tell them truthfully that over 95% of biologists and about nine out of every ten highly respected scientists do not believe in a personal god? Well, I feel even that is twisting it isn’t it. You are talking about 95% believing it. What about the 5% who do not believe in it? And from the grandparent’s question it is clear that the children are already looking at the 95% and the grandparent had requested for the remaining 5% (which is what I believe I have given). Does giving the website give a grandparent to beat the kid with 5% percent. I feel it actually gives a kids a more unbiased view of the 100%. Why hide the 5%? Aren’t you trying to be biased? Just curious…

  • Sirecha2010

    i’m comfused with the book of Job 1:6-12.
    I don’t understand how comes the devil (satan) joined in heavenly gathering with God and Angels!!
    What happened there? According to the little knowledge i have is that, satan was an angel and refused to obey God as a results he was thrown away from God’s kingdom.
    Please i need your help.

  • Worduncensored

    Sirecha2010: What is the confusion? Is it just confusing that Satan was meeting with God or is there something more to the confusion? If it was just how Satan could meet with God, Scripture has lot of places where Satan meets with God or comes into God’s presence. Satan tempted Jesus and Jesus spoke with him and rebuked him. I am not sure what you are confused about so can you please provide additional information on your confusion?

  • mb

    Sometimes I have problems reconciling the personalities of God the Father and God the Son. Jesus said that they are one in the same. I know that there are differences in the Old and New Testaments, and that we are living in period of grace, not under the law. I think of how merciful Christ was towards sinners, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, etc. I think about Him scolding the Pharisees in Mark 2, telling them that “the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.” But then I look back in Numbers 15:32-36 when God tells Moses to stone a man to death because he was picking up sticks on the sabbath. Can you shed some light on this for me? Thanks.

  • Artie

    I was confronted by a non-believer who said Jesus never spoke against pedophilia, therefore he condoned it.
    My response was, even though Jesus never specifically condemned child molestation, he spoke against adultery and fornication. And he also said that anybody who cause a child to stumble, it would be better for him to have a millstone around his neck and thrown into the sea.
    Can you shed some light on this?
    Thanks in advance.

  • Marc Andrews03

    Sounds like you nailed it, Artie. When you look at the Greek word for “Fornication” it is ‘porneia’ and is a broad term that means any kind of sexual activity outside of the marital covenant. See also God’s standard of perfection for sexuality as shown in the Mosaic law (Lev. 21:9; 19:29; Deut. 22:20, 21, 23-29; 23:18; Ex. 22:16).

  • Marc Andrews03

    MB you are indeed grappling with something that is far beyond our ability to reason through. God is Infinite, we are finite. How can God be ONE God yet eternally existing in three, distinct manifestations? I don’t know – but in all honesty, I would not personally be able to worship a ‘god’ that I can fully understand. Thus, some things we simply accept by faith and worship the Almighty. Here’s a physical example of “3 yet 1″. Think of an atom – the basis of all matter, right? Yet it is comprised of – what? Three things. Yet it’s one atom. Without any one of these it fails to be an atom…it’s chaos. This does not, in any way, explain the Godhead but we see that “3 yet 1″ in numerous examples throughout creation. Indeed He manifests Himself IN creation as scripture says.

    Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  • mb

    Marc A, i agree with you. I know it is impossible to totally understand God this side of Heaven. If I could, he would not be God. It is impossible to explain the supernatural in natural terms. And far too many people dismiss God when they cannot shrink Him down to their size. Thanks for your words.

  • Curious

    I am wondering why the Bible does not treat marriage between first-cousins as incestuous. I know that part of the reason that these marriages were allowed was that they kept inheritances in one’s family-line. But does that really make cousin marriage non-incestuous?

  • Lionel

    What happens to a soul after the body dies and can a person go straight to heaven or hell even before judgement day?

  • Trowbridgemarvin

    How does one reconcile that the ten commandments were given and thou shall not kill was there and the remaining old testament goes on to describe how – with the help of God tribe after tribe was wiped out. The commandment wa not thou shell not kill unless I say it is ok

  • Aster14

    Revelation 20:12 speaks of books being opened and the dead being judged “out of those things that were written in the books.” Usually I have heard people interpret these books as records of the deeds of the dead. Where did that view come from? Isn’t it more accurate to think that these are books of the Law to which the deeds of the dead are compared? For example, when Ezra read and explained the Law and the people repented? Or as in a modern court system where statutes are “on the books” and people are tried for infractions of them?

  • Kelly

    1 Timothy 2:8-11 says that men should pray in a certain way and LIKEWISE women should adorn themselves in a certain way. Both of these sound like ways to control disruptive behaviors and institute a more Jewish style of worship for gentiles who didn’t know how to pray or learn in the Jewish way as Timothy and Paul did. Is it correct to say that men were disputing instead of praying and women were busybodies instead of minding their own business?
    1 Timothy 2:13-15 seems to be emphasizing doing things according to God’s plan for protecting people (especially women) from Satanic attack, so how did it get to be a place-of-women thing?

  • Brian

    I have a question that I can’t find an answer for online. Is there any historical evidence that the 3,000 people baptized on Pentecost went home and planted churches? Of course the Bible tells us that there were Christians in Rome before Paul ever arrived there, but are there any extra-biblical sources that confirm that there were believers in locations around the Roman empire as a result of Pentecost? I am hoping to use this in conversation with Muslim friends online to show them that 10 days after the Messiah ascended to heaven, Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians heard that the Messiah died on a cross for sins and rose again. They then returned to their own “countries” with this message, long before the books of the NT were written. The cat was already out of the bag. The Pentecost message came from the apostles before anyone had the opportunity to corrupt the message, as Islam teaches. Perhaps you could connect me with someone who could help me find such evidence of churches planted around the Roman Empire before the apostles ever arrived there? Thanks for any consideration given to this request.

  • Rolandbooth

    To start out, I am an anglican with a serious question!!! In the Bible, it clearly stated that God made Adam, then used one of his ribs to create Eve. That meaning they share the same DNA, wich makes them brother and sister in my eyes. Then God told them to go forth and multiply. this brings me to problem number two: Brother and Sister multipling is incest. Now Incest is against the Law. so does that mean, that all churches and all religions are in favor of Incest?? I have always been asking my preacher / pastor this question, and all I got is that I should just believe.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Hi Roland,
    Check out this article from the Christian Thinktank. I hope this helps.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Ggodat

    TBM,

    the hebrew word in Ex 20:13 is “murder”. The command is “Thou shalt not murder”. Murder and killing are very different. God ordained the killing of many tribes to keep His chosen people intact and purified. Also, as God is the creator of all life and can and has brought people back from the dead, He is just and holy when he strikes people down.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Hi Brian,
    I am now aware of any extra-biblical evidence directly linking Pentecost to evangelism around the Roman Empire. That doesn’t mean it’s not out there; I just wouldn’t know where to send you to find it.

    Good luck in your search,
    Bill

  • Kelly

    Brian,
    There may be a false premise in your discussion. All the archaeological evidence I have seen indicates that the believers at Pentecost returned to their synagogues, which previously existed. There they gathered new believers as a subset of the synagogue until they began being put out. Maybe you should be looking for synagogues?
    Kelly

  • R. Neesam

    How is it possible for those who are ignorant about Christianity to achieve salvation?

  • Kelly

    Both Luke’s gospel and Acts begin with him addressing a “most excellent Theophilus.” Did Luke’s writing begin as some sort of legal brief or presentation of a defense for a judge?

  • Joseph

    I have a question about 1 Samuel 15. If God is omniscient, why would he regret appointing Saul as a king for Israel? thanks

  • Chris

    I have been interested in apologetics for probably 20+ years, first following and trying to understand from people like Ravi, Lewis, Schaeffer, Greg Kokul and the like. But I must say that some of the most frustrating conversations I have had with people that think differently than I do have not been with atheists nor muslims, nor Hindus etc., but rather my most vexing conversations have been with other Christians who would refer to themselves as liberal.

    Conversing with someone who is a liberal Christian can be so vexing because in one moment I believe I can recognize that I’m speaking with a fellow Christian and in the next moment it seems we are on two completely different planes and there is little resemblance to the Christianity I know.

    A couple of things that I have observed in my interactions with liberal Christians. 1) liberal Christians are by and large better educated than their evangelical counterparts, this I think is to their credit. 2) They generally understand theological concepts and church history better.
    3) Many have reacted to excesses in the conservative/evangelical churches and have come to their conclusions from that starting point.

    I have found some resources to respond to liberal versions of Christianity, but to my mind this is an aspect of apologetics that has been largely ignored. Liberal Christians it seems are Christians because they claim Christ as God’s son and are trinitarian on the whole, but the resemblance often stops there. The Christian story over the ages has never really been one unified story it seems. Should we in fact worry or bother ourselves debating with others who are ostensibly fellow Christians? Perhaps this isn’t even an issue of apologetics, but it seems to me it is because in my discussions with liberal Christians very often there are questions regarding things like the trustworthiness of the scriptures, the resurrection, the afterlife, the exclusivity of Christianity, and many other (seemingly?) important issues.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Hi Chris,
    Discussions between liberal Christians and traditional Christians have more to do with theology than with apologetics. At my seminary (SES), all students seeking Master’s degrees in apologetics are required to take classes on systematic theology, biblical theology, and historical theology. The rationale is the following: you can’t defend Christian teachings if you don’t know what Christian teachings are.

    My guess is that very few liberal Christians are interested in apologetics because they hold their beliefs so loosely. Why defend something that you’re not too sure about?

    If you are looking for resources, I highly recommend Norman Geisler’s four volume systematic theology collection. Not only does Geisler thoroughly articulate traditional Christian theology, he also works apologetics arguments into almost every chapter. I find myself consulting this collection frequently, even after taking the classes several years ago.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • Bernadette

    Hi: Just asking where are Jesus’ writings located?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Jesus’s teachings are recorded throughout the New Testament documents by his followers, but as far as we know, Jesus never left us any of his writings.

  • Bernadette

    Thanks for the reply. As we know, the apostles could write (in their own writing form) so we know Jesus could write. Now, being a great teacher, as he was, Rabbi, even performing great miracles, isn’t it a wonder that Jesus, Himself, wrote nothing. No one since then has ever found not even one note anywhere? I thought that his writings, notes, etc were in a vault some where. Maybe they are deemed as relics, like the shroud of Turin? I’m very dismayed to know that none of Jesus’ writings were ever found.

  • Bernadette

    Thanks for the reply. Since the apostles could write (in their own writing form)& we know Jesus could write, you would think that in all these many years no one has ever found any of Jesus’ writings. Maybe it was deemed a relic, like the shroud of Turin and locked away in a vault some place. Jesus was a great teacher, Rabbi and it’s just so hard to believe that none of Jesus’ notes have been found. I’m very dismayed to learn this. Has any of Jesus’ notes, etc ever been searched for? Bernadette

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Jesus lived in a culture that largely communicated orally, so while he was alive and teaching, there would have been little need for him to write anything down. His followers would have carefully listened to and remembered his teachings. Some of them, like Matthew the tax collector, might have even kept careful notes. It is important to note that some other ancient religious founders also wrote nothing down, two examples being Buddha and Muhammad. So, I don’t really think there is anything strange about not having Jesus’s written notes. We can trust that the words attributed to him by his followers are accurate.

  • Chris

    Bill, you had said: “The rationale is the following: you can’t defend Christian teachings if you don’t know what Christian teachings are.”

    When I converse with liberal Christians this seems to be exactly the point that they are making…that Christian teachings have never been a standard, unified, consistent set of teachings from the beginning that we can point to and say, “here they are.” Even the fundamentalists that tried to reduce Christianity to a bullet-pointed core set of teachings couldn’t do it, because there is nowhere in the bible or church history that we can go to say “Here is the defined laundry list of Christian teaching that is non-negotiable for the faith.”

    It might sound like I’m arguing for the liberal side of theology, I’m not. It’s just that they do seem to be more reserved and cautious (they would say humble) about making theological proclamations than are most conservatives.

    Although liberal Christianity mostly appears to be on the wane, I think it has the potential to be a bigger threat than atheism.

  • tildeb

    Non belief as a threat? Funny word, that. Threatening how? Threatens what? From where I sit, this only makes sense if what is threatened is not true by its own merit (which should be able to stand on its own by being founded on and nourished by reality) but requires belief to prop it up, in which case its demise is inevitable. This sound suspiciously like the kind of christianity unable to be flexible and tolerant in the face of our shifting to a more global moral zeitgeist.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Chris,
    I think that there are essential teachings of Christianity that most orthodox Christians have always agreed upon, at least since the fifth or sixth century after the early church had time to work through these doctrines. I wrote a blog post about this a couple years ago that is worth reading. I have Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox friends that would agree with that post, so to say that there are no agreed upon central teachings of Christianity is false.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Ryan/511764596 Andrew Ryan

    I think the answer is simply that God is defined as being the standard for goodness itself.

  • Bernadette

    When Jesus was baptized, was he baptized in the Christian faith or Jewish faith? Why, in the Bible, was John the Baptist called that, was he a Baptist? If not, then why didn’t they call him John the Baptizer?

  • Jeanie

    Is the Calvary Chapel doctrines and beliefs on solid biblical grounds? I can’t see what the actually believe.

  • Bernadette

    Is the fact that what has to be done to actually repopulate the earth, between a man and woman (sex) the very sin that God warned Adam & Eve about? What I’m asking is that if sin is why everyone dies, then is the act of procreation itself the sin that makes us all die? I was just thinking that the grave sin that everyone commits is probably the sin that sealed our fate. What do you think of this? Even though God made us all human, maybe He wanted to see if any of us could use self control for the good of our souls and respect for God Almighty.

  • sam

    What is the “Kingdom of Heaven” or “Kingdom of God”? What is Heaven? Where in the Bible tells us that Christians go to heaven after they die?

  • disqus_SBlEHn1bfA

    What about the people outside of Israel? The laws were harsh against them. Like the scary one if a man rapped a slave girl he was not put to death. He had to take care of her. Maybe there is a societal gap, but how could that be good for the girl?

  • mickey

    i would like to know if its ok to get married in the catholic church. i am a born again person. please let me know

  • mickey

    can some body answer my question

  • Gill D

    I understand that Unity in the church is extremely important, especially in terms of our witness to the world, but I would be interested to know if there is ever a time when the question of righteousness trumps unity. For example, if there is unrighteous behaviour taking place in a church, which may threaten to split the church, should the unrighteous behaviour be swept under the carpet for the sake of unity?

  • ccmnxc

    I was wondering, is the fine-tuning argument close to useless if we can’t provide a mechanism for it? I’ve read that there are no mechanisms for fine-tuning. Should I find a new favorite argument?

  • Bill Pratt

    You’ll need to explain more for me to be able to help. Which fine-tuning argument are you talking about and what exactly is the problem with it?

  • Bill Pratt

    The maxim I live by is, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty.” In other words, it is OK to divide over essential doctrines, but it is not OK to divide over non-essential doctrines or opinions.

  • ccmnxc

    My apologies. Here is the argument I gave:
    “My humble opinion, but here’s what I think why. There are certain aspects of our universe that are agreeably fine-tuned to suit the existance of life. The ratio of protons to electrons for example. If that ratio deviated by one in ten to the thirty-seventh (1037) most things we use that allow us to live wouldn’t exist. Space would be a lot of cold, black, nothing. To give you an idea of what one in ten to the thirty-seventh looks like, think of it this way:
    Cover the entire North American continent with dimes. Now stack those dimes all the way to the moon, which is about 239,000 miles. Now repeat that on a billion continents the same size as North America. Paint on dime red and throw it in the mix. Blindfold a friend and tell him/her to pick a dime. The odds of them picking the red dime are appx. one in ten to the thirty-seventh.
    That is just one example of fine-tuning in the universe. Prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking side-step this issue by believing in the multiverse theory. The problem is, aside from a few calculations, there really is no evidence, and likely never will be for the multiverse. It is my belief that there is more evidence for God than for the multiverse and I believe people who believe neither are falling back on the very slimmest of chances.
    If you see any flaws in my logic or argument, please feel free to point them out.

    My main source for this: http://www.steubenville.org/topic/blog/686” I was asked for a mechanism that would change the ratio. I did a little bit I research and couldn’t find a suitalbe answer to them. I realize there are also other fine-tuned constants including the cosmological constant and weak nuclear force. Are there ways of explaining why things are the way they are and whether or not these constants can realistically be changed. Thanks.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    OK. I think I understand a little better. Asking for a mechanism that changes the fundamental constants of physics is an interesting question, but does nothing to defeat the argument.

    I can know that something happened without knowing how something happened. In fact, this is a standard response you will get from Darwinists when you ask them to explain the exact mechanism that caused some macro-evolutionary change. They will tell you that the fossil record and molecular evidence are evidence that one animal species evolved from another, but they can never tell you exactly how it happened. There are always major gaps in their mechanistic explanations, but they will still maintain that the aforementioned example of evolution did occur.

    Likewise, we know that constants of the laws of physics are certain values, and that these values are finely tuned to allow for human life. We do not need to come up with an explanation of the mechanism that God or some other force employed to make these constants the values they are. Multiverse proponents also agree that these constants can change in other universes, thus completely altering the laws of physics in those other universes.

    This reminds me of the child who, every time you explain something to them, asks, “How?” At some point, we run out of answers to “how” because we are finite creatures with limited knowledge. If we are required to answer “how” ad infinitum before we can have knowledge, then we can never have knowledge of anything.

  • ccmnxc

    Thank you very much.

  • Don Sciba

    The more science advances the more evidence there is for God and I suspect God planned for science to reveal His presence.
    Yes, there is fine tuning of the universe but the fine tuning of cosmological constants for planet Earth is simply mind boggling.
    The amazing conditions that have been put in place by God to allow for a beautiful planet inhabited by intelligent beings.
    The discovery of these incredible conditions necessary for life on Earth have forced atheists like Steven Hawking into looking for a desperate way out – multi universes. And I suspect Hawking himself knows this theory is rubbish but desperate people do desperate things.
    Let science advance … every Christian should rejoice as every new discovery validates the master creator that God really is.

  • Rand

    Bill, as a serious Bible student have you considered the heretical nature of the idolatrous Orthodox Church in America as well as the spiritual state of those who adhere to its soul-damning doctrines? I am alarmed that you have no qualms in aligning yourself with those who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith He was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace.

  • Bernadette

    Hi Bill: You’ve answered a lot of questions on here so I thought I would ask that if our loved one is taken away suddenly and young,is it because we as a family are cursed by the “dying young” curse that is placed on families? Is it something handed down like a generational curse? I know that I’ve heard in the past a lot of my friends say “They’re cursed” when someone in that person’s family die young. Now, I guess they’re saying that about me & my family. Just thought I’d see what you would think of this. Bernadette

  • http://www.facebook.com/devakumar.bhagavandas Devakumar Bhagavandas

    There are so many interpretations of the Bible on this core subject that Eternal Life with Jesus in Heaven Or Eternal Death like suffering with the Devil could result if it is not clarified… ” Is a person saved from eternal damnation and automatically gauranteed Heaven and eternal exhilaration with Jesus ..if once in his lifetime He accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savior sometime during his life..his past,present and future sins are completely blanked out in God’s eyes…cause he once accepted Christ as his Savior? Since Jesus Christ is Faithful though He ..ie Man is not..Wont He..ie Christ ensure that because He is the advocate before God for mankind ..that the believer will reach heaven..no matter what… On the other hand..is this preaching and teaching Man after accepting christ must mortify his members and offer his body as a living sacrifice and refrain from Sinning any more…that is ..the responsibility of reaching Heaven is entirely his..to live a holy life ..in faith and thus work out his salvation with fear and trembling..thus enter through the narrow gate..which the majority miss..and no assured gaurantees of eternal life in heaven ..jus because he had accepted Jesus as his Savior as a teenager in some convention.. There are convincing sermons for and against both these stands by very popular preachers… What are your views on this subject..Please clarify

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    My position is that if a person once, knowingly places his trust in Jesus’s death and resurrection, that person will go to eternal life (heaven). However, the Bible speaks far more about what heaven will be like for believers based on their faithfulness to Christ after they have trusted him. Those who live a righteous life, a life obedient to God, after placing their trust in Christ, will receive greater rewards and responsibilities in heaven than those who do not.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    There is no such thing as a “dying young” curse in Christianity.

  • Bernadette

    Thanks for the answer, Bill. Also, can you tell me why people keep talking about our free will? When, obviously, we didn’t have a say in our birth, nor death, nor pain, or when someone we love is suddenly removed from our life because of death. Where does this free will come in?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Free will has nothing to do with controlling the external world so that we get whatever we want. What you are referring to is freedom from pain and suffering, which is a completely unrelated concept.

    Free will is the power to make a choice, in your mind, that is not forced on you by an external power. All you have control over is the choice you make in your mind. Your choices may or may not be actualized, depending on the contingencies of the natural world and the choices that other people make and act on.

    For example, you can choose to buy a car. After making this choice, you can actualize the choice by going to a car dealership, picking out a car, and then paying for it. Your choice has been actualized.

    But if you choose to win millions of dollars in the lottery, and then go buy lottery tickets, you will probably never actualize your choice. The power to win the lottery is only partially in your hands, so your choice alone cannot make it happen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patricia.moon.16 Patricia Moon

    I am a long term Christian struggling to understand what God does. I just ask him what he wants me to do, and do that (typically that just involves regular stuff, and is not very complicated). The Bible says people should use the Bible to defend themselves. Being polite and kind to other people isn’t that difficult. The “world” behaves quite predictably and I have been dealing with things by praying constantly to clear my thoughts and to continue to behave like Jesus/as Jesus teaches, etc. For over 10 years, I have been concentrating on thinking, as the Bible says, only of “whatever is good, whatever is lovely, and whatever is beautiful.” The first verse I thought of for “defense” is Jesus telling people they “should rip out their own eyes and chop off their own hands.” I’m curious if you have a view on why he might have said that in the first place?

  • doubtlessthomas

    Bernadette, what you’re suggesting is a works-based form of belief that is unscriptural. What seals our fate is refusing to believe in Jesus, and this is the “work” Jesus referred to in John 6:30

  • doubtlessthomas

    Jesus was teaching the seriousness of sin; not that we should maim ourselves. If He actually meant it literally, we’d all be without eyes and hands and feet.

  • doubtlessthomas

    Perhaps if you asked a specific question, you might get an answer.

  • doubtlessthomas

    Maybe you should ask the catholic church if you can get married outside of it, and let its response answer your question.

  • doubtlessthomas

    Theoretically-if those you mentioned kept God’s law perfectly-they could then “achieve” salvation; realistically-they can only be saved by believing in Jesus. No one ignorant of Jesus will be saved.

  • doubtlessthomas

    What you mention is before the fall.

  • waffleater

    i found a really good one..It is odd to a secular way of thinking that any finite crime would warrant infinite punishment. Any human who proposed to torture other people eternally would be considered cruel and monstrous.

    Some theists claim that there are no finite crimes relative to God; everything humanity does is infinitely worse than what God would do, so every crime is worthy of infinite punishment. But this means that morality is based on a relative standard rather than absolute scale, and it would mean that even supposedly “good” acts which humans perform (such as praying) would also be infinitely evil.

    Yet atheists are not limited to arguing against forms of punishment that must necessarily go on forever. Even finite punishments are unjust because, according to its own doctrine, the theist’s God is, himself, originally responsible for establishing sin and defining transgression to his likes or dislikes. Following the illogical view that God must punish human beings out to its natural conclusion, the atheist comes to recognize some formidable problems:
    1. God was unable to create or develop other systems of punishment/reward that were less harmful to human life and the high value he himself attached to it.
    2. God was bound to a higher standard of morality if he was unable to forgive sin without the blood sacrifice of animals or other divine beings.
    3. God cannot be omnipotent and “wish that none would perish” while declaring that some will perish.
    4. God is a liar if he says he wishes all to be saved yet devises an intricate sorting system that is the cause of those who will perish.
    5.God cannot be Omnibenevolent if he creates people when as an Omniscient being he foreknows that they will end up in Hell.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    None of these are challenges to Christianity.

    1. “God was unable to create or develop other systems of punishment/reward that were less harmful to human life and the high value he himself attached to it.”

    God gave human beings the ultimate gift, free will. He cannot force humans to love him without violating their free will. I have never yet met a single person who would be willing to give up their free will, so God’s punishment of people who reject him exhibits the highest value you can put on a human – it respects their free choice.

    2. “God was bound to a higher standard of morality if he was unable to forgive sin without the blood sacrifice of animals or other divine beings.”

    The atonement of Christ was a voluntary sacrifice whereby the innocent Son of God freely gave his life to ransom a sinful mankind. There is no greater love that could be exhibited by God than this.

    3. “God cannot be omnipotent and “wish that none would perish” while declaring that some will perish.”

    God’s omnipotence cannot accomplish a logical contradiction. It would be a contradiction for God to force a free person to love him. Love cannot be forced; it must be freely given.

    4. “God is a liar if he says he wishes all to be saved yet devises an intricate sorting system that is the cause of those who will perish.”

    The cause of those who perish is their own free choices. To say that God caused people to freely reject him is nonsensical.

    5. “God cannot be Omnibenevolent if he creates people when as an Omniscient being he foreknows that they will end up in Hell.”

    That assumes that a person’s non-existence is better than their existence in hell. But you cannot compare existence to non-existence. That is like comparing something to nothing. It is nonsensical.

  • waffleater

    thats of course first of all if John calvin was right 2 of the expliations cant work that you gave, second of all i would rather not exist to being tortured in a pit of fire for infinity years, for if i do not exist i would not feel pain of any kind, and how did god forgive the people in niniveh with out a sacrifce if he must need blood to forgive sins?

  • waffleater

    and i would rather God strip me of my free will and cast me to hell then having free will and ending up in heaven, for it is a burden i cannot bare!

  • waffleater

    one more thing Why would God trust finite beings with their infinite future? We would not allow a child to sign a legal document or make investments bound to affect the rest of their life, and yet God allows his creation complete control of their eternal soul! This objection is especially pertinent given the number of religions that make similar claims on the individual’s soul. Since no faith appears to have stronger supporting evidence than any of the others, how is it just to punish an individual for making a good-faith effort to follow a different creed and/or philosophy?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    God judges us on the knowledge and understanding we individually have. In addition, God is constantly convicting us of our sin, and calling us to him. if we decide to fight against that call, that decision is ours, and we are held accountable for it.

  • waffleater

    but you havent anwered my question Why would God trust finite beings with their infinite future? We would not allow a child to sign a legal document or make investments bound to affect the rest of their life, and yet God allows his creation complete control of their eternal soul!

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    You are using your free will to complain that God gave you free will. That is irrational.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Are you saying that the decision to love God or reject God is too complicated for us to make? This is not rocket science. It is quite simple. Will you trust Jesus Christ for your salvation or not? I fail to see how being a finite being makes this decision so difficult.

  • waffleater

    no its not, its so dangerous because according to conservaticve christian docterine most people will end up in hell….

  • waffleater

    YES because first of all lots of different faith make the same claim and because of that it is too diffcult to make, also would you give your child a gun?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Will you trust Jesus or not? That is a decision that even a child can make. The fact that you are pretending that it is a difficult decision says more about your will than your intellect. I suspect you simply don’t want to make the decision and are just throwing all these silly questions at me in order to avoid making a decision.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    There is no doctrine that says most people will end up in hell. Instead of worrying about non-existent doctrines, why don’t you make a decision for Jesus right now?

  • waffleater

    This objection is especially pertinent given the number of religions that make similar claims on the individual’s soul

  • waffleater

    Jesus said that the road to life is very narrow….

  • natasha

    I am seeking for God’s word in this problem I am facing. I need to know what I can do as a child of God.

    I am working for one of the big four international professional firms in the world as a Manager.

    In my department, the head of the department is very tough and he discriminates and harrases people alot. He was okay with me until I got married and now he is harassing me. He scolds me making up stories and he tells everyone bad about me and scolds me with juniors to me. Also, he is trying to break down all my contacts with the firm partners and give them a bad impression about me. This activity of his is very normal as to he does this to people as soon as they get married or qualified. No one has ever spoken out to him and neither have I. The reason that no one has out spoken is that this is a third world country and most of the staff members are not financially strong and coming from poor and weak family backgrounds.

    He has cornered me in office and takes over all my responsibilities. Even to take a leave he does not allow. He does not even allow me to come to his room. He does not speak over the phone if I answer and slams the phone to make me feel more harassed. You might think he is acting like this because I have faults in me. But the reality is that there is another lady manager who he is harassing the same way and severe than mine. There are so much information I could say, but which I don’t want to put here to make it too long.

    The bosses above him does not know the situation going on here and I dont think that they will take an action as well. There are two firm partners who I report to. I can speak to them about the situation but I dont wanna make it as a complaint. Also, there is a global ethics hotline whihc is done by a third party and we can write or speak to them about this.

    This is a serious situation. Two lady managers are kept idle at work paying big salary. Will you believe if Ia say that the other lady manager is kept idle at work for ONE FULL YEAR? Being harassed for what we should not get harassed for. If we have done anything professionally wrong, he can take professional action against us. But it is understandable why he is not taking such action because he does not have anything to act against. I have spoken with my close friends and family and all are amazed and wowed for his actions and thinks this is an illness of my boss. Mental illness.

    Please help me to get over this and take necessary action.

  • Frank Keefe

    For Theist evolutionists: when did sin enter the world and by whom did it come

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    That verse does not necessarily mean that most people will end up in hell, but this is a red herring. Even if the verse did mean that most people will end up in hell, what does that have to do with you and your decision?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.jiang.37 Tony Jiang

    Yes it does Jesus said few will find the path to life, and why cant God “save” some one with out being asked? It has to do with my decesion because it shows that Gods “love” really is and how broken the system he created was

  • bernadette

    I was just breaking down the words Cristes maesse, which means Christ’s Mass/death. Which is Christmas. Then why do we say Merry Christmas? Are we saying Happy Christ’s Death? I should really stay off this computer. Bernadette

  • http://www.facebook.com/luann.modica LuAnn Giarratano Modica

    where was lazareth’s soul after he died and before Jesus raised him up from the dead?

  • Charlie Carrel

    As much as I admire Richard Dawkins greatly, I do think that he skips answering the actual question of ‘If there is no god, why be good?’. From what I have read, he has just said that it would be a sad world, if one couldn’t be ‘good’ without a god. This isn’t a satisfying answer, in my opinion. It seems to ironically be an answer that you might expect to come out of a theist’s mouth, suggesting that we should be good without a god because that would be more comforting.
    Am I missing something, and what do you think on the matter?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    I wrote a series of blog posts on this question. Here is the link to the first one:

    http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2011/08/15/if-there-is-no-god-why-be-good-part-1/

  • peacecrusader888

    20121030.0015
    Did you know that Jesus Christ was born on May 23, 33 BC and not on December 25, 1 BC? A holy spirit revealed to listeners that Jesus Christ was born on May 23. I first heard this from old listeners in 1983 . I checked whether there is any ring of truth in it or not in 2004. After two years, I have proven that May 23 is true and correct. The year was 33 BC. You may check the results of my study at http://aristean.org/birthmay23.htm .

  • Bubbaike

    Is there credible evidence that King James was gay?

  • Bubbaike

    Could someone answer this question, “Was King James who commissioned the translation of the KJV Bible gay?

  • don

    what is the difference between allah and
    jehovah

  • Anonymous

    This reply is specific to the number of religions questions you asked. I am appalled when people say all the religions are one and lead to one destination. If you study each of the religions carefully, Christianity stands in stark contrast to every other religion in the world. That should mean something. The problem is people usually skim the subject of every religion and come to a non sensical decision that all religions are one and the same. If a person says he is a hindu, a muslim and christian, it is 100% sure that the person doesn’t understand any of the religions completely.

    If you understand all the religions fully well, then you wouldn’t be posting this question about eternal life through following Jesus alone. While you say that God is mean for asking you to follow Jesus for eternal life… think about the meanness other religions offer.

    Islam claims faithfulness to Allah alone… and you need to fulfill your religious tenets faithfully every single day of your life. That includes praying at set times during the day, penance, fasting at set times of the year, pilgrimage and other religious laws. Despite doing all that, you are not gauranteed to enter heaven. My friend, a muslim says that her good deeds will be measured against the bad deeds and if Allah wills, she will enter heaven.

    Let’s see what Hinduism, jainism, buddhism and sikkism offer. You are stuck in a wheel of birth and rebirth depending on your karma(actions). Till your karma is completely good which can achieved by various religious tenets, you will continue in the cycle of births and rebirths. Basically it says that, unless you are completely pure of any sin, you will continue in a maze of life, death and rebirth, unknown to what the future holds for you. Apparently, some believe that even God himself cannot help you from your Karma and this wheel of births and rebirths. It is upto you to become good and attain Mocsha (heaven).

    Now tell me, how is Christianity mean when compared to others, when God says I will help you by sending Jesus to dye for your sins and giving you the way to reach out to me. How much love must Jesus have had to die like a criminal on the cross so that a sinner like me can live. I do not see any other religion giving me a loving God who would have died, even if I was the only person in the world.

  • Anonymous

    Oh well, if someone was drowning, I could try and pull him out, but if he refuses to take my help, then what can I do??? He’d jump right back into the water even if I helped him out.

  • Anonymous

    One verse of the top of my head – Jesus said “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

  • Anonymous

    When in doubt, stay away. Don’t take it as a project on you to set things right. Read the mission statement and the statement of faith. If they don’t have one, stay away.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.jiang.37 Tony Jiang

    its worse because first of all God man you fall in the first place, and he is saving you from a pickle he created and second of all their are forms of Buddhism and Islam that believe in faith alone so to say, and third of all god is soley judging you on your faith not actions, that is no different than anytime a bigot kills someone because they believed in different things

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.jiang.37 Tony Jiang

    if they refuse your help than help them anyways because that is TRUE love not “laying your life down for a friend” for you see unlike water, you cant see hell or realise how much danger you are in

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.jiang.37 Tony Jiang

    and love can be forced, for lesser beings sometimes dont know what is for their own good, so it must be forced

  • http://www.facebook.com/tony.jiang.37 Tony Jiang

    no its not there are many people who hate themselives because they where born looking “different”

  • jammalamma

    what are you talking about? How does free will and hating your looks have anything to do with each other?

  • sam

    What is the context of the verse “In my Father’s house…” Was Jesus talking about dying or glorifying God? Can we simply equate dying with glorifying? We cannot glorify God by dying as a believer, can we? Rather should we glorify God by “living” as a follower/disciple of Jesus. Believing or converting is only entering the doorstep. We Christians must work hard with mercy and grace from God to make His will be done on earth, and that is “Kingdom of God/Heaven”.

  • tildeb

    Prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking side-step this issue by believing in the multiverse theory.

    Side-step? What a funny way to describe very serious considerations of the fine tuning observation and various explanations by Dawkins and Hawking (who actually wrote a book about this very subject).

    Methinks you like to make broad brush strokes to dismiss that with which you fundamentally disagree as a matter of principle without doing much (remember that we do have access to the internet where a short search reveals the paucity of your assertion) to inform your technique.

  • tildeb

    They will tell you that the fossil record and molecular evidence are
    evidence that one animal species evolved from another, but they can
    never tell you exactly how it happened.

    Sure we can, Bill: it’s called the theory of evolution. This model explains how life changes over time driven by natural selection. This is demonstrable and is the foundational understanding of modern biology.

    At some point, you’re going to have to stop blaming others for your lack of understanding of how biology works. Goddidit is not an alternative explanation; it is an evasion that explains nothing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sam.lau.5439 Sam Lau

    Sounds like Father’s house = Heaven, is that your understanding?

  • http://www.facebook.com/connor.mcginnis.184 Connor McGinnis

    I have yet to watch Dawkins’ video. I will when I have time. However, the only time I see the multiverse mentioned in Hawking’s article is in the second to last paragraph. It mentions it is a culmination of theories in modern cosmology, but he doesn’t go into it specifically. If possible, could you provide the title of Hawking’s book on the subject?

  • tildeb

    Sorry I didn’t make that clearer: the article is from Hawking’s book The Grand Design.

  • sredding

    I have been wondering about Mark 14:32-42, Matt 26: 36-46 and Luke 22:39-46. If Jesus prayed a distance away from Peter, James and John (and they were asleep anyway), how do we know what Jesus prayed? I have heard this as an example proving that the bible is a fabrication since no one was around during His prayer to record it. I don’t know how to respond to this argument.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Why couldn’t Jesus tell them what he was praying about afterward? That seems like a pretty straightforward answer to the question.

  • blueheart56

    Who created the world: “God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth” or the Son who created all things and holds all things together? “Let us create man…” Father and Son?

  • Debra Benson

    I would like your comments on the following I received today please:

    God Remembers Your Sins No More

    Hebrews 10:17 “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

    I don’t know about you, but I would say that Hebrews 10:17 is good news. God sees all our sins — past, present and future — and says, “Your sins I remember no more!” The words “no more” are a strong double negative in the original Greek text. In other words, God is saying, “Your sins I will by no means ever remember!” Has God lowered His standards? No, He is still perfectly holy. He did remember all our sins — 2,000 years ago at the cross. Every sin which we have committed or will commit has been punished to the full in the body of Jesus Christ at the cross. That is why today, God remembers our sins no more. We should, therefore, not be sin-conscious.

    Each time we fall into sin, God wants us to remember the cross and say, “Lord Jesus, you were sentenced for this sin I committed. You bore the judgment, so God will not judge me for this sin. You were condemned for this sin, so God will not condemn me for it.” If you don’t look to the cross, you will become sin-conscious and you will walk around with a certain expectation of judgment. And that expectation of judgment will give the devil a chance to get you thinking that God has something against you because of your sin. You
    must come to the place where you know and believe that all your sins are forgiven, that there is no sin that will ever disqualify you from God’s blessings, that there is no sin that will ever send you to hell, because you are forgiven and saved eternally.

    Hebrews 10:12, 14 says, “But this Man [Jesus], after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… For by one offering He has perfected forever…”

    You and I are perfected forever because of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. We are perfected by God’s full acceptance and perfect delight in His Son’s work that has so glorified His holiness. Beloved, hear God say to you, “I will be merciful. Your sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

    Thank you for your time and comments.

  • Debra Benson

    Hi Bubbaike, I just came upon this sight today. I believe the best answer to your question will be found here: http://www.tentmaker.org/Biblematters/KJV.htm

    God be with you, Deb

  • Kevin McGeary

    1 Corinthians 14:34 ( http://bible.cc/1_corinthians/14-34.htm )
    begs the question: why there are 13 million more adult women in US churches than men? Maybe one of those women will buy that passage about dinosaurs that someone said can be found in Job. (what a stretch).

  • john

    do you know if Mr.Tsiaras is pro-life?

  • Bernadette

    In the Bible referring to Job, why did Jesus tell Satan to “Look to Job, he is the best person on earth, etc. then allowed Satan to bring ruin upon him?” Also, why would Jesus talk to Satan anyway?” Is this part of the Bible true?

  • Bernadette Casselli

    Why did God tell Satan to consider Job because he was a good an upright person. God told Satan to make his life a living hell but not to touch a hair on Job’s head, Why? Does that tell us that the more we love God the worse our life will be? Bernadette

  • latoya

    Great is our God Amen

  • Shane

    Hi, Mr.Pratt. Well, I was arguing against an atheist and there’s two questions that I would be eternally grateful
    if you were to answer them, not just philosophically but Biblically(as in verses).

    1)it would be God’s fault for designing them [people] to be evil (after all, Christianity claims that God created and designed everything).

    2)Why, instead of sending people to hell, doesn’t your God just make everyone who dies suffer all the wrongs they’ve ever done to others, and than allows them into Heaven? That would be a way better plan than eternal punishment.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt
  • David

    I hope you would consider responding to the link below.

    I would like to see someone take this on (i.e, respond to each item), especially the ones that are not just a translation issue (e.g., god creating “evil,” king james):

    http://ffrf.org/legacy/quiz/scripts/bquiz_results.php

  • Jude

    Can you explain how this is compatible with a good god?

    Of the 32,000 virgins that were kept alive as “booty” for God’s warriors, 32 young captives were handed to the priest. The bible brutally sanctifies war crimes against girls and women that continue to this day. Who could possibly respect a dictator who behaves like this?

    “And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was 675,000 sheep, And 72,000 beeves, And 61,000 asses, And 32,000 persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him . . . of which the Lord’s tribute was 32 persons. And Moses gave the tribute, which was the Lord’s heave offering, unto Eleazar the priest, as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Numbers 31:32-41)

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    David,

    It is easy to take a bunch of statements out of context and ridicule the people that supposedly uttered the statements. That is the problem with this link: everything is ripped completely out of context from within the biblical text.

    If you are interested in how Christians scholars deal with some of the most difficult to understand passages in the Bible, I would recommend the following two books to get you started:

    The Big Book of Bible Difficulties

    Is God a Moral Monster?

  • Ghana guy

    I’ve come across so many people who claim to believe in ‘Jesus’ but refuse to accept the bible as divinely inspired.Is this even possible?
    Normally the response is that the bible has been corrupt.

  • rys

    May I disown my mother if she is operating under a Jezebel Spirit?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Since the Bible contains all of the primary eyewitness information we have about Jesus, I’m not sure how a person could say the Bible is corrupted but still believe in Jesus. This seems nonsensical to me. I would ask your friends who Jesus is and how they they know anything about him.

  • Tyler

    1. If human death entered with Adam and Eve sinning, where would all the people have fit if death had not entered humanity?

    2. If Adam and Eve were the first 2 and only people, how didn’t their offspring and all other offspring have horrible genetic diseases and defects? We know incestuous offspring often have these.

  • Chris TM

    My name is Chris. I am a Christian and convinced of my salvation through the sacrifice of Christ. However I have two concerns for which I have never found convincing answers in the traditional teachnigs. First, I do believe that people come to God through faith alone and not by their works. So my question is what happens to people who couldn’t possibly hear of Christ or who couldn’t possibly cross the path of messengers of the Gospel? I live in Africa and I think of my ancestors who lived before missionaries came in.

    My second question is: when the problem of sin will be definitely solved? We have always been taught that Christ came to remove the sin of the world. Yet, since his death and resurrection we still have issues with sin, albeit differently depending on wether one is a christian or not. We read also in the Bible (Revelation 20,7) that after the millenium ,Satan will be released, that he will seduce the nations and that they will wage war against Jesus. This means that even after Christ’s second coming the possibility of falling into Satan’s traps of temptation still exists! I find it very unsettling. Hence my question: how Christ’s death resolved the problem of sin and when sin will totally disappear from the Universe.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Hi Chris,

    To answer your first question, please read my blog post “What About Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?”

    As far as the second question goes, the answer depends on how you interpret the sequence of the end times.

    Premillenialists believe that there will be a thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, and that there will be those who reject Christ during that reign. At the end of the thousand years, however, God will remake the heaven and earth and there will be a final judgment. After this, there will be no more sin among the saved.

    Amillenialists don’t believe there will be a thousand-year reign of Christ before the final judgment. They believe that once Christ returns, there will be a final judgment, the new heaven and earth will be created, and there will be no more sin. Same final outcome as the premillienialists, they just skip the thousand-year reign.

    In any case, all orthodox Christians believe that sin will be completely defeated after the final judgment.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Tyler,
    There is more than enough room on earth for far more people than currently inhabit it. If not, then God could always make a bigger planet. This just doesn’t seem like a problem.

    With regard to incest and genetic diseases, Christians believe Adam and Eve were genetically pure, and so genetic diseases were non-existent. It was only after many, many generations of humans were born that genetic diseases became a real problem, and so the prohibition against incest was introduced later on in human history.

  • Deacon

    I have an adult daughter who contrary to my counsel developed a relationship with a devout young roman catholic and later married him. In the process she converted to Roman Catholicism. I attended the wedding because marriage is given by God for all people and since two Catholics were marrying it was not an unequally yoked relationship. I have a good, loving relationship with my daughter and her husband. The issues that divide us are still on the table and I want to continue our dialog on what is biblical. They are now expecting their first child and I am in a quandary whether my wife and I should go to the Baptism. The RCC believe in baptismal regeneration; teaching that the act done in the RCC by qualified Priests confers saving faith on the infant until mortal sin is committed. As a Baptist with reformed convictions I attend infant baptisms by some of my Protestant brethren but they do not say it confers salvation. Is my presence at the RCC baptism compromising my reformed beliefs and testimony on something I do not have the liberty to do so on?
    Deacon

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Deacon,
    I have attended RC baptisms out of respect for my family even though I do not believe there is anything salvific about the sacrament. As long as they know your stance, I don’t think you are compromising your beliefs by attending the baptism. Since your relationship is good with your daughter, I think your refusing to attend the baptism would be counterproductive and only serve to anger and sadden them.

    We all attend events where we don’t agree with everything being said. There is no way to avoid that, so my advice would be to go to the baptism and possibly use the baptism as a springboard for further conversation afterward. Since you attended the event, they will be more willing to listen to you.

  • SK

    HI,

    has the site addressed below questions noted by Bart Ehrman in his newsweek article (http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/12/09/what-do-we-really-know-about-jesus.html):

    1) .. Joseph and Mary make a trip from their home in Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to register for a census when “the whole world” had to be enrolled under Caesar Augustus. The whole world? Luke must mean “the whole Roman Empire.” But even that cannot be right, historically. We have good documentation about the reign of Caesar Augustus, and there never was a census of his entire empire.
    : Is this – the note that there never was a census by Ceasar Augustus ? – historically correct?

    2) the wise men follow the star to Bethlehem, where it stops over the house
    where Jesus is (why, by the way, is Jesus’ family living in a house, if
    they just came to register for a census?). How is it that a star—or any
    celestial body—can lead anyone to a particular town? And how can it
    then stop over a particular house?

    : Are there any explanation to provide for the above questions from any Apologetics?

  • B.HILL

    DO YOU HAVE TO BE BAPTISED IN THE NAME OF JESUS OR IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, THE SON ,AND THE HOLEY SPIRIT

  • Nishma

    My unsaved husbands ask if the bible says No one can come to the Father except through me.” Will the person of a foreign land that has never learned of Jesus or pure ignorant be tormented in hell. What do I tell my husband who after an alter call this morning from a powerful sermon says this he needs to understand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ExcitedaboutChristJesus Mark Henninger

    The flood. Did it affect the whole world, or possibly just the Israeli area for which the OT was written?

  • Iggi

    Peter Kreeft says the God of Old Testament, New Testament and Islam is One and the same. My question is the God of Islam says ‘Jesus is not begotten and has not resurrected’ so how can both the God of Christian and Islam be the One and the same?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    If Peter Kreeft said something like this, then I’m quite certain he would have nuanced what he meant. In some senses, the God of Islam and the biblical God are the same, and in some senses they are different. They share some of the same attributes, but they differ in other important attributes (e.g., Islam denies the Triunity of God).

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    I believe the flood was not world-wide, but that it was large enough to wipe out all of mankind, which inhabited a small area of the planet.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt
  • Donna

    What do I tell a new Christian to do when she caught her grown daughter kissing her step father. Her husband. I don’t want to send the wrong answer

  • A. Gonzalez

    Hello Sir,
    Love the things I’ve read from you, you have helped me in discussions many times.
    Can you give me your opinion why atheists stand up to the death for Buddhism and try so hard to convince that it is not a religion. I believe it totally is.
    We have the usual ten or so extremely loud and hateful atheists here on our local newspaper letters to the editor that stand up for Buddhism almost as much as they trash Christianity.
    What’s up with that?
    Thank you for your time

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Thanks for the kind words. Buddhism can be understood and practiced as an essentially atheistic religion. You can be a Buddhist and practice meditation and yoga, and other forms of spiritual disciplines, while never believing that any god or gods exist.

    My guess about why atheists stand up for Buddhism is that, for them, it embodies “spiritual” practices without introducing the supernatural.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Donna,
    I’m not a counselor and I don’t have enough information to know what to tell you even if I was a counselor. I’m sorry I can’t be any help.

  • Grace

    1) ” For I have loved jacob and hates Esau” ( I think that’s the verse)

    I realize it could mean love less but isn’t God’s love not partial? Doesn’t he love all is creation equally in his perfect love?

    2) I was reading a story about a man who was a newborn christian who became possessed by a demon after inviting them in. I thought that a christian cannot be possessed by a demon? Was he not a christian and the story false? or is the bible not complete truth?

    3) How do we KNOW the bible is truth? There could be someone 100 percent sure God existed and another person 100 percent sure he didn’t. One of them is wrong, how do we know we are right?

    Please let me know your thoughts. These questions are making me think!

  • Gregory E. Langford

    I am trying to locate one verse somewhere in the Bible where God made a man a leper as punishment for his covetousness. Please help. Thank you. Please reply @ langfordge@yahoo.com

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Do you mean 2 Kings 5:15-27?

  • disqus_8fJlPhvt8d

    What question has the most answers to this question? …What was before
    that?

  • Brenda

    It says ” God will not always strive with man.” Does this mean there is ever a time god quits dealing with a person to be saved?

  • Milly

    Hi there – I just came across your blog whilst searching some big questions that just continually leave me disappointed. I am a scientist and I’m only 24 but the more I study science, how like animals we are, evolutionary beginnings and all these scientific theories that have a lot of evidence behind them, the less excited by life I am. I find it depressing being an Atheist and I’m petrified of dying – but I don’t want to use religion as a crux for that fear. I want to see how, above the bible and church and all of that, that if there is a God – how can this all come together without contradictions? I know we will never have “proof” of an afterlife or a creator etc but I just want something tangible to mirror the tangible, and what I find depressing, scientific evidence that life is just a big happy accident and we will live and die and that’s the end of that. Really hoping to hear back from you with your thoughts – I was raised a Christian so please don’t think I’m bashing your faith at all, but I want to hear from someone educated, intelligent and someone who can take science into account when talking about all of these questions. Thanks so much, Milly

  • Dave

    When I was fourteen I had a bad sexual problem. I masturbated numerous times a day. I wanted to stop so I made a pact with Satan and stated to him if I do this again you can have my soul. …it didn’t take long before I did it again and again and again,,,,,I am now fifty yeasrs old and this has been killing me ..I think about this every day and I have a hard time sleeping. Can I get my souL back so I can serve Jesus the rest of my life or am I already damed to eternal hell fire.
    Please help me… Dave.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Milly,
    This blog is full of posts that provide arguments and evidence for the existence of the Christian God. You should peruse the site and see what you think of these arguments. If you have a particular question about the Christian faith, let me know and I will try to answer.

    I am an electrical engineer, by training, and consider myself to be very scientifically astute. To me, science without God is exactly as you say, depressing. The good news is that you can have both as a Christian theist.

    God bless,
    Bill

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    I do believe that God will not overcome a person’s free will in order to bring them to salvation. So, yes, there may be a time when God stops pursuing an individual.

  • Debbie Insley

    Please share your comments on I Timothy 2:12 re. the subject of women teaching men. My understanding and study of that passage is that women are not to have the authoritative position of pastor-teacher in a public assembly, particularly since many women of Paul’s day came from a pagan background and some were temple prostitutes. Since they didn’t have Sunday School in those days, I don’t believe it’s referring to an informal group of Bible students. Many have told me that the LORD has equipped me with the spiritual gift of teaching, as I love to study His Word and share it with pure Scriptural commentary. My husband Michael and I have recently been rejected by a few churches to team teach a young adult Sunday School class to help them grow personally in the LORD and build the church. I was told that I could not even teach alongside my husband in a mixed setting of both men and women! Another local church told me I couldn’t fill in for the song leader in the morning worship service when he was ill. I’ve taught Sunday School and Precept Bible studies for most of my adult life (I’m almost 60) and feel I have some spiritual wisdom and life experience to share. Since moving out to a more rural area almost 5 years ago, my semi-retired pastor husband and I have had several problems with these small country churches with the women teaching issue and other dysfunctional problems of the pastor and elder/deacons as well. I’m very discouraged and keep praying for a stable (not perfect!) church home/family and a place of ministry with them. I’m feeling disconnected being out of fellowship, except for the devotionals I post on Facebook and communication online with other Christians. Thank you and many blessings to you, your family, and your co-laborers in the LORD! We’ve watched you on TV for many years and appreciate all the resources you’ve made available!

  • Laurel

    When I was 17 I was Catholic. I was invited to a Christian prayer meeting, where I think the Gospel was presented to me…for whatever reason, I cannot remember I didn’t want to pray with them. They prayed for me… I fear I lost my only chance to be saved, that I have committed the unpardonable sin.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    I wrote a post on the unpardonable sin. Please go read it. God bless.

  • james

    How do you reconcile a loving God with eternal punishment? I wouldn;t allow this fate (eternal punishment) on the worst human that has existed in the entire history of mankind if it was in my power to stop it. Simply because from my perspective it is grossly unjust. How then can a God who tells us he loves us more than we do our own children allow such a fate when he has the power to stop it? No matter what my own children ever did to me I would always save them if it was in my power to do so. Even if they hated my guts and spit in my face I would save them. I would not require any “repentance” or “belief” from them in order to do so. I would simply do so as I think most compassionate human beings would.

    Your comments are appreciatted.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    I have written a few posts on the topic of hell. See if they are helpful. Here is the link:

    http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/category/hell/

  • Joe

    Bill, how will you explain the following verse if it were a local flood, assuming you believe in the inerrancy of the Scripture?

    And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered – Genesis 7:19-20

  • Joe

    Emphasis “all the high hills under the whole heaven”

  • http://darkangelights2009.tumblr.com/ darkangelights

    Why do religious people always bash rock and metal music?
    I had no problem with religion, until they started doing that.

  • Sue

    In defense of the Book of Mormon several have told me that the book of Revelation was wrote earlier in time than some of the other books in the bible, but was just placed at the end.

  • sean

    If you could, explain why Jesus dying for our sins means we should get a pass. In the old testament, sacrifice was required, and the new testament is about how Jesus serves as the ultimate sacrifice. I get why he is a better sacrifice, but I don’t understand why the sacrifice is necessary at all, or moral. In the secular morality of today, punishing another in your place hardly serves as sufficient penance for whatever crime one may have perpetrated. However, in the Bible, and indeed, at the core idea of Christianity itself, is that this sacrifice is not only moral, but more or less the ultimate thing of morality. My biggest issue with Christianity is not about the evidence, but this; In order to forgive us of crimes as small as coveting or as large as murder, one must accept the idea that God sacrificed himself to himself in our place so that we can get into Heaven. It would seem to me that a moral God would not see much value in making others suffer for your wrong. A comparable situation, the way I see it, would be that Adam Lanza is found guilty of his truly heinous, but his Father takes the death penalty instead of him.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Sean,
    God is both ultimately just and ultimately loving. God cannot simply look the other way when his creatures sin, as justice must be done. Imagine a judge who let every single person go who committed a crime. Would that judge be worthy of your respect? Hardly.

    So if God must deal with sin, then it is simply a question of how. Jesus, as the second person of the godhead, voluntarily gave his life as an atonement for the sins committed by human beings. God the Father accepted this atonement, with the stipulation that it can only be applied to those humans who desire it to be applied to them by acknowledging the One who provided the sacrifice.

    Surely the decision of an innocent man, Jesus, to give his life for our sins, is the ultimate moral act. Especially given the fact that human beings put him to death. The very creatures he is trying to save are the ones who killed him.

    God the Father did not make Jesus die for our sins. The Bible is clear that Jesus freely chose this path. By doing so, justice is done because sin is punished.

  • sean

    Right, but this is still a transference of the punishment. I don’t think that the decision by Jesus was immoral on his part. That, I can agree with you on. Jesus allowing himself to be sacrificed wasn’t wrong on his part. However, that’s not the problem. One of the, if not the, core idea in the Bible is that sin must be punished. I don’t understand this idea or how it is moral. the sin itself gets punished? The way our secular society deals with crimes isn’t by punishing the crime. It’s by punishing the person who committed it for committing it. This difference is kind of subtle, but important. It means that the punishment is not transferable. If Bob steals apples from Suzie, Bob has to pay her back. Not the act has to be punished or make amends, Bob does. That’s the key issue I have with Jesus as the savior. I go back to my earlier example. In our courts, Adam Lanza (the Sandy Hook shooter) if found guilty is punished. Punishing Jesus who lives down the street instead doesn’t fly in the US legal system, nor should it. And I think that if God is to truly be moral, it shouldn’t fly by him either.

  • John Vesly

    1.Where do we find The concept of trinity in God, in His Existence/being [how he is in Heaven] or in His revelation?

    Why the Question

    A. If Trinity apply in the Existence of God, The Existence/being [how he is in Heaven] of God has not been revealed to the human or it has not be in Bible as He Existed in the Heaven. Job 36:26 Behold, God is great, exceeding our knowledge, Romans 1:20 invisible God, 1 Timothy 6: 15 b & 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, 1 John 4:12, Exodus 33:20 No one has ever seen God. Also see Psalm 145:3, 1 Corinthians 22:10-12, Psalm 139:6, Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33.

    B. If Trinity is in Revelation of God it not only in the form of three but in many ways, forms.(In many separate revelations [[a]each of which set forth a portion of the Truth] and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets,[But] in [a]the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time [He made, produced, built, operated, and arranged them in order].Hebrew 1:1-2 Amplified Bible)

  • Rachel Mercier

    Did you really mean you think we should allow ‘gays’ to join our church without repenting of the act and receiving Christ and becoming a new creation in Christ? I am Baptist and the only way anyone joins our local body is by getting saved, being baptized after salvation or by letter from a sister church.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    We shouldn’t be requiring people to repent of specific sins before becoming a member of our church. The only requirement should be that they have placed their trust in Christ as their Lord, acknowledging his deity, death, and resurrection. Are heterosexuals asked to repent of all their specific sexual sins before we accept them in the church? Clearly not, so why should there be a different standard for homosexuals?

  • sean

    If you think you can make a blog post of it, I’d be curious to see your response to the Euthyphro dilemma.

  • sean

    never-mind, I realized right after I posted this I should check to see if you already had.

  • Kathy

    Where would I find and read your doctrinal statement ? Is there one on this site ? I didn’t see one, yet :) I dont want to sound picky, but I make it a habit with any site I want to trust. Thank you.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Hi Kathy,

    I don’t have a doctrinal statement on my site, but you can ascertain what I believe based on the fact that I am a deacon at a conservative Southern Baptist church and, more importantly, based on a blog post I wrote that spells out the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Here is the link:

    http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2008/12/30/what-are-the-essential-beliefs-of-christians/

  • sean

    I have a question. I have heard many claim that Romans 10:9 means we don’t have to love God to be Christian, since the direct wording there says we just have to believe God did this in order to be saved. We don’t have to love him or appreciate it, and we’ll still be saved. I think we can agree that they are probably taking this out of context, but I’m wondering if you could point me to a good explanation of your thoughts on this or write a post about it. I think you probably know a little more about this than me.

  • Alberto

    Hello Bill.

    Let me ask a question, even though it may be more aimed at someone with scientific experience, and I don’t know what kind of background youh ave, but let’s try :)

    Question: Hello.

    How did it originate? Was it Adam and eve who developed the first communication system? Was it God who imprinted language in them? How did God communicate with Adam and Eve?

    I’ve heard that a baby human cannot learn any form of language if he/she’s not taught by parents, by living with them and learning from experience. Could have Adam and eve developed language then? Or was it miracolously imprinted by God before Adam and Eve were even animated?

    It’s a difficult concept for me to grasp…I cannot immagine how it even began. I hope to get an answer soon.

    With regards,

    Alberto

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    That’s why it’s dangerous to read only one verse. There is much more in the NT on this topic, so to conclude anything from one verse is foolish. I have written on what saving faith is here:

    http://www.toughquestionsanswered.org/2009/04/10/can-i-be-saved-by-a-simple-prayer/

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Since Adam and Eve were specially created by God, I can only surmise that God gave them the ability to speak at the moment of their creation.

  • Hayrullah Aras

    Hi, I’m a Muslim from Turkey. You said that ” We can’t promise that we will answer all of the questions (due to time constraints…). First of all, We have this kind of sites and every quesitons must be answered and there are some times have answered more than 50.000 quesionts. And I see that Religious in Europe and America is about to end. People do not care much about their religious. They do not obey rules in Christianity( instead of having babies, they have pets.) So your population is decreasing, too. I really wonder how do you think to recover this religion? But let me tell you something as Islam is the best way, in England, 5200 people convert to Islam in a year. I want you to inform me about how many people do choose Chris.? And How can Chrisniaty struggle against decreasing population and people that convert to Islam? And Even though The Pope,priest can not get married how do you guys can say Jesus is son of God? Excuse me, I don’t want to be rude, but Were you drunk while saying this?

  • Sjoe

    I can see you are upset for some reason but what exactly are you upset for?

  • SJoe

    I am a baptist too and my Church doesn’t filter anyone out based on their life or lifestyle. The church shouldn’t ask for people to clean up before they come. That wasn’t how Jesus handled sinners. He sat with them and dined. So the church doors are to be open for anyone and everyone to enter. Official Members should have faith in Christ and be baptized in the name of the father, Son and Spirit. A homosexual, who has accepted Christ is like any other Christian brother who has fallen in many other sins like drugs, sexual immorality, pornography or cheating. We need to allow God to minister to them. Also it is biblical to confront the Christian brother of every sin, not just homosexuality in private, then with witness and then with three or four other believers. If that person wouldn’t repent of that sin, we are asked to treat them as non believers.

  • sjoe

    Yes US legal system doesn’t allow it but the legal system does pardon/reduce sentences when the person repents and cleans up his acts. I am not a US citizen and I don’t know all the details of the US law but the country which I come from provides early pardon if the person truly repents and cleans up his act. In some cases, the person is truly removed of all charges. So that’s grace in the broken legal system. If earthly legal system can pardon the perpetrator of the crime for repenting, how much more will the God of all creations be willing to accept the real repentance and trust placed on the Judge (in this case Jesus, who will be the final judge, who also went through the ultimate punishment willingly)?

  • sean

    While I am admittedly not very knowledgeable on this subject I have heard it claimed that the accepted timeline for Luke’s works does not make sense because it would appear that he’s copied Josephus. It would seem to me that it’s quite possible that it just happened the other way around, but I’ve no idea if that’s a reasonable assumption, as I’ve said. I’m curious if you’ve written any on this subject, or if you’d consider it in the future if you’ve yet to address it.

  • sjoe

    Bill,

    I have read your take on the Noah’s flood of whether or not it was global. I think it was global after reading this article. What is your take on this? Do you still think a local flood justifies the various scriptures considered in this article? Thanks!

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab3/flood-global-or-local

  • Jackie

    Just thought you might want to add this site to your apologetics links: http://y-jesus.com/

  • Ihavemanyquestions

    Does satan have a last name?
    Does the devil have a last name?

    Is Jesus the only living spirit with a first and last name?

  • Ihavemanyquestions

    Whenever i get to renouncing satan i have sudden thoughts of Jesus in my mind because of his first and last name. is it a sin to have thoughts of jesus and satan at he same time?

  • Ihavemanyquestions

    Will the 3 days of darkness really happen? when?

  • Ihavemanyquestions

    Does the punishments in hell have any names to them?

  • Ihavemanyquestions

    What is the difference between good power and bad power if both is being used to kill people?

  • MusicFan

    In hell why cant people just do their punishment and then leave like jail? why do they have to stay forever?

  • http://darkangelights2009.tumblr.com/ darkangelights

    Do tell.

  • Alberto

    Hello again!
    Can you please illustrate me the dangers of fortune telling and divination and why is it wrong to practice it? My mother wants to contact a fortune teller, for she is in a difficult situation. I keep telling her it is wrong, but she won’t be convinced. I lack good, convincing arguments. Thank you in advacnce for your reply.
    Alberto

  • Elkain

    Is there any biblical basis for forbiding cremation? I know traditionally the Jews have held burial important, as do some churches, but I have been unable to find any actual verses against it.
    Thanks,

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    I don’t know of any biblical ban on cremation. I have heard some Christians argue that burial is more respectful of the human body, which will, after all, some day be resurrected. But I don’t think this is a knock-down argument against cremation. God can resurrect you with or without your body buried in a casket.

  • disqus_x1K4UX2wDh

    Multiverse theory- is it scientific?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt
  • disqus_x1K4UX2wDh

    Thanks.

    I see you have written a couple of articles on Social Darwinism, which are very good.

    I just have a few general questions about it.

    How do we know morality is a certain way or whether it is there at all? Can it be said to be wrong to not help those who are unfit and weak? Don’t those who can’t make their own way not deserve to be equal to those who can? Like, the strong are strong, by nature, and a completely equal society is unrealistic? Is it necessary for the progress as success was obtained by the rich controlling the weak? Isn’t power obtained by hardworking and “fitness”? Basically, isn’t that how the world functions, and some people are born fit with power and others not?

    So, in other words, even if Social Darwinism is unethical, can it still be said to be “wrong”? Sorry for so many questions by the way.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Does your conscience tell you to not help the weak? Does your conscience tell you to completely ignore those who can’t take care of themselves?

  • disqus_x1K4UX2wDh

    How do we know our conscience is correct, and the same as others?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Well, you can ask others what their consciences say. They will pretty much universally tell you that their consciences tell them to help the weak.

    As to whether our consciences are correct about helping the weak, that all depends on whether you think objective moral values and duties exist, and if they do, what their source is.

  • disqus_x1K4UX2wDh

    But how do we know morality exists?

    And many people would not help the weak. There are many selfish people.

  • sean

    Don’t know if you’re still curious about this subject, but I think you’d find this video interesting:

    It’s from someone who knows physics probably better than Bill (no offense there Bill, you’re just not a student of that science to my knowledge). That’s not to say Bill is wrong. I think mostly, if not entirely this video is in agreement with Bill on this subject. The short answer is that depending on what you mean it could be scientifically verified, but for now it’s got no experimental evidence to back it up.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    We know morality exists through introspection. We feel the weight of moral duties every day of our lives. When we ask other people, it turns out they also feel this weight. Only psychopaths don’t sense moral duties in their consciences.

    The vast majority of people do feel a moral obligation to help the weak. Obviously this sense of obligation varies from person to person and situation to situation, but it is always there in some respect.

    These are just facts about human beings that cannot be disputed. You may say that the sense of moral duties we all have are illusory or accidental byproducts of evolution, but you can’t deny they exist.

  • disqus_x1K4UX2wDh

    I guess, how do we know then our conscience is correct?

    But even if people share a certain belief, it doesn’t necessarily mean it exists and is true, does it? People may also be inclined to do other things, like sin.

    Morality is different in a lot of areas too for some people. For example, homosexuality.

    Some may argue that helping the weak is not selfess behavior but selfish as it brings intrinsic rewards.

    But also, could bringing up God’s will be characterized as the is-ought fallacy?

    Sorry for so many questions.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    The way I know my conscience is correct about a certain behavior is by checking what God says about that behavior in the Bible. The Bible is the standard by which I check my conscience.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt
  • disqus_x1K4UX2wDh

    But by doing that, is that starting to get circular? Like, God is real because we have morals, and morality is true because God is real?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    No. I haven’t argued here that God is real because morals exist. You asked me how I know that my conscience is correct and I told you that I check with the Bible (which is God’s word). I am assuming that God exists. As a Christian, that’s my position.

    If you want me to present arguments as to why I think God exists, then we are on to an entirely different topic.

  • disqus_x1K4UX2wDh

    Well, at any rate, that was just a reference to the argument from morality. I didn’t necessarily say that it was what you argued.

    But could the explanation of an event as God’s will be characterized as the is-ought fallacy?

  • disqus_x1K4UX2wDh

    But also, then wouldn’t it be easier just to say Social Darwinism is wrong because it contradicts the Bible?

    I was thinking during our discussions, the arguments for Social Darwinism also had other branches of why it was wrong.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    The is-ought fallacy occurs when a person who does not believe God exists claims that a certain action ought to be done because this action is found in nature.

    As a Christian, this fallacy cannot apply to me because I believe that oughtness is literally built into the natural world, placed there by God.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    It depends on who I am trying to persuade. If I am trying to persuade a non-Christian that social Darwinism is wrong, then I would need to present arguments that do no invoke the Bible.

    If I am persuading a Christian, then I might use the Bible as part of my argument, if not all of it.

  • Living4HimAlone

    I have been a Christian my whole life, always growing and being sanctified and changed through the years. I have always been a prayer warrior but last night in the middle of the night I was awoken and began praising God out loud and continued in prayer for some time. During this hour or so of prayer I began to “audibly” hear the answers to my many questions. I have been struggling a lot lately with many issues and something changed last night. The strange thing was the answers were not in the first person as my own thougths are. ex. “Lord, am I doing the right thing by using tough love with my grown son?” The reply was immediate, “Yes, all are held personally responsible for their choices. You cannot make his choices for him.” At first I thought these were just my own thoughts but as it continued I began hearing bible verses that I didn’t even know I had memorized. I began testing it and asking why it was happening. The response was that I wasn’t listening to His guidance in the usual sense so now I had no choice but to obey because I couldn’t use “not knowing what the Lord wants of me as an excuse anymore.” Is this possible or am I going crazy. Could this be a demon trying to confuse me? But, even though I know demons can put negative thoughts into our heads can they read our thoughts to answer questions? I am very confused. Please help, I feel this could be a great blessing or something that could be a great danger. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    The crucial test is this. If the communication you receive is clearly backed up by Scripture, then these messages are from God. If they in any way contradict Scripture, they are not from God.

    If you aren’t sure about whether these communications are backed up by Scripture, then find trusted, mature, wise, orthodox Christian friends who can help you find out. Don’t simply rely on your own intuition.

  • MAMMAL

    my son says Easter is a pagan holiday, and we shouldn’t celebrate with easter egg hunt… I told him we celebrate because of resurrection of JESUS. WHAT IS RIGHT??

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt
  • Benita

    Who was Melchizedek and did he die?

  • Dirk

    Judaism teaches that God is the source of both good
    and evil and that there was no original sin. Why is
    the Christian interpretation of the old testament
    different?

  • Nucc3 .

    Are the Parables of the Talents & the Minas about the same incident?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Scholars are split on whether there were two completely parables that Jesus gave on separate occasions or whether these two parables are variants of a single parable that Jesus told. Nobody really knows.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    From the New Bible Dictionary:

    He was the king of Salem (probably Jerusalem) and priest of ‘God Most High’ ’ēl ‘elyôn) who greeted Abram on his return from the rout of *CHEDORLAOMER and his allies, presented him with bread and wine, blessed him in the name of God Most High and received from him a tenth part of the booty which had been taken from the enemy (Gn. 14:18ff.). Abram thereupon declined the king of Sodom’s offer to let him keep all the booty apart from the recovered prisoners, swearing by God Most High that he would allow no man to have the honour of making him rich. The incident is probably to be dated in the Middle Bronze Age. Melchizedek’s name may be compared with that of a later king of Jerusalem, Adoni-zedek (Jos. 10:1ff.).

    In Ps. 110:4 a Davidic king is acclaimed by divine oath as ‘a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek’. The background of this acclamation is provided by David’s conquest of Jerusalem c. 1000 BC, by virtue of which David and his house became heirs to Melchizedek’s dynasty of priest-kings. The king so acclaimed was identified by Jesus and his contemporaries as the Davidic Messiah (Mk. 12:35ff.). If Jesus is the Davidic Messiah, he must be the ‘priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek’. This inevitable conclusion is drawn by the writer to the Hebrews, who develops his theme of our Lord’s heavenly priesthood on the basis of Ps. 110:4, expounded in the light of Gn. 14:18ff., where Melchizedek appears and disappears suddenly, with nothing said about his birth or death, ancestry or descent, in a manner which declares his superiority to Abram and, by implication, to the Aaronic priesthood descended from Abram. The superiority of Christ and his new order to the levitical order of OT times is thus established (Heb. 5:6–11; 6:20–7:28).

    F. F. Bruce, “Melchizedek” In , in New Bible Dictionary, ed. D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard et al., 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 749.

  • Nucc3 .

    Thanks Bill..I was just wondering because I’ve read somewhere that Christ was talking about two different people, Christ being the one in Luke and Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, being the one in Matthew. It’s really a minor issue, for now but I’m just in a personal discussion about the Parable of the Talents and wanted to be sure.

  • SoundOn

    That is correct. It is generally understood that the book of Revelation was written by John while on the isle of Patmos which was before his first epistle

  • SoundOn

    According to John 3:5 “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”. What about those who die without the knowledge of the gospel? Are they automatically damned or can they be saved?

  • Rachel

    I have been seeing a clinical therapist for about three years now. She is not a professing Christian. However, due to the fact that God’s truth tends to permeate all things, much of what she espouses is in fact in line with Christian thought, whether she intends it or not. She has been such a blessing in my life, providing me with tools on how to be more loving toward both myself and others. This, in turn, helps me to live out Jesus’ command to his disciples re: loving one another, among other things. In short, I am able to take the “truths” she speaks and reinterpret them within a Christian context. Admittedly, she derives much of her thought from classic psychotherapy, as well as contemporary cognitive behavioral therapy. I’ve had Christian friends tell me that I should not under any circumstances be listening to her advice and guidance, as she is not a Christian. I argue otherwise based on experience, but I wonder if my position is supported Biblically. Thus, my question:

    Is there Biblical evidence that God can work through, or speak truths through, an unbeliever? I read your article titled “Should Christians Borrow Ideas from Non-Christians?” and I’m wondering if there are any other examples of a less metaphorical nature. For example, did Jesus perhaps use unbelievers in any parables, implying we could learn from them? Thanks in advance!

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    I guess it depends on how you to define “unbeliever,” but in the OT we have the example of Balaam, starting in Numbers 22.

  • Bull

    Can a person be filled with the Holy Spirit and still actively abuse his wife, scream at his kids, curse, etc? Claim to speak in tongues and literally 10 minutes later verbally and physically abuse his wife?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    It sounds like that person is filled with demons, not the Holy Spirit.

  • McKenna

    Is it wrong to consume alcohol as an underage college student? I’m going to Greece as a freshman where it is legal to drink alcohol as an 18, 19-year-old and am planning to drink modestly. But when I come back, am I obligated to wait 2.5 more years to drink, and why or why not? The drinking age is 21 because of Moms Against Drunk Driving, but I will be in college and won’t have access to a car and won’t be providing access to minors. I don’t understand why I’m obligated to follow the law if I’m not contradicting the morale of why the law was imposed. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • McKenna

    Is it sinful to occasionally smoke weed with friends? I’m not talking about buying or selling weed here. I’ve researched this topic quite a bit and am having a hard time with the arguments I’ve found. I’m a slightly left leaning libertarian & support marijuana legalization, so I feel like a lot of the authors of the articles I’m reading are already politically biased because most Christians are traditionally politically conservative. I also have a hard time making the connection between smoking weed and drunkenness because the effects of weed are completely different from the effects of alcohol in that weed is less likely to cause poor decision-making, rash behavior and stumbling. I understand that addiction is a sin, but if I occasionally smoke weed with friends, I’m not becoming addicted. Finally, I have a tough time with the legality thing because what makes one state’s law more divine/right than a neighboring state’s (like WA’s or CO’s) law, and I struggle with that Romans verse about obeying authority because during that time authority was appointed by God, but is authority still appointed by God today? Police typically don’t even deem smoking a joint important enough to act upon. I’ve been praying about this for a few months and have started reading my bible everyday again but am still struggling with this one. Would love some original opinions on this. Thanks.

  • McKenna

    I’m going to Greece for school this fall where it is legal to drink alcohol, and I intend to drink modestly, but I have no experience drinking. Which is worse, illegally drinking underage (but responsibly) in the states with people I trust to practice or potentially making bad decisions under the influence because of inexperience with new people in less secure situations abroad?

  • Tommy

    I was curious to ask if masterbation with lust is a sin?

  • Tommy

    I meant without lust.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    The first question to ask is why is it there are any laws at all about drinking alcohol and smoking pot, or taking any other kind of drug.

    As far as I can tell, the basic reason there are laws are that these substances greatly impair a person’s ability to think and act. When you drink alcohol or smoke pot, you are no longer able to think and act like you were when you were sober. The result of this impairment is that you do stupid or harmful things to yourself and others.

    Drunk people fight each other, have sex with whoever happens to be around, break things, cause accidents, and so on. People that smoke pot have all kinds of effects on their personality that prevent them from thinking clearly. In fact, the whole point of getting high is to not think clearly. It is to alter your mind and distort reality, to enhance and/or escape reality.

    So people who are high can be a real danger to themselves and others, so states pass laws restricting these activities for the common good. I’m sure you can see that a nation without any restrictions on these activities would be a living hell for the sober people.

    Obviously there are grades of impairment that depend on physiological factors and also depend on the kind of alcohol/pot, and the amount that is consumed.

    Most countries allow alcohol consumption at some age because it is possible to drink in moderation so that your behavior is only slightly impaired. It is not as easy to smoke pot or take other drugs in moderation. Impairment while smoking pot happens much quicker than drinking alcohol and the effects can be more profound.

    So, having said all this, here is what I think. It is a sin to break the laws of the country or state you are in. Romans 13 still applies. That is pretty non-negotiable.

    If you are in country that allows for drinking or smoking pot, then whether your behavior is a sin depends on the level of impairment. The Bible does not forbid drinking alcohol, but it does forbid drunkenness.

    In other words, moderate consumption of alcohol that leads to a feeling of gladness and relaxation is not a problem, but drinking enough alcohol so that you cannot stand up, your speech is slurred, your eyesight is completely blurry – that is a sin. Same principles, in my mind, would apply to smoking pot.

    Hope this helped.

  • Bernadette Casselli

    McKenna: Why are you worried if you’re not drinking & driving & only having a couple of drinks? Did you know that MADD was formed a while back when people got into accidents from drinking alcohol to access & driving. However, now most accidents are caused from driving & using drugs. Since 2 pills, not drinks can affect your reflexes. People came to know that police cannot detect drugs on your breath like alcohol so they do drugs now.

  • http://www.jessicadowmeyer.com Jessica Dow Meyer

    If grace is true, God is unchanging, our Father, always good and pure love then will God save every person according to the Episcopal church, since I love their denomination, their liturgy, order of worship and Book of Common Prayer?

    “There are very many who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments.” “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” — Saint Augustine

    “God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

    “I realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34).

    “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

    “all mankind will see God’s salvation” (Luke 3:6).

    “When I am lifted up from earth, I will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32).

    “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).

    “This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning
    of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9b-10).

    “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ is raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (Romans 15:13-14).

    My faith is the risen Christ.

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    Hi Jessica,
    I don’t think any of those quotes or verses support universalism. All of the New Testament writers (and Jesus) repeatedly stated that those who freely reject God will not be saved.

    In fact, I don’t see how God can be all-good and all-loving if he forces people, against their will, to love him. Forced love is rape and God is not a cosmic rapist.

    God will respect the wishes of those who freely choose not to love him.

  • http://www.jessicadowmeyer.com Jessica Dow Meyer

    1 Timothy 2:01-07New International Version (NIV)

    Instructions on Worship

    2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

  • Kathy

    I have a question not a comment. I am married for 33 years, in most of those years I have been abused in one way or another. My husband has always been into pornography and still is. We both are Christians. I am not perfect but I tried in our marriage to live for the Lord the best that I could. After 23 years of marriage I sinned and went over the line and had an affair. I returned to the Lord and asked God to forgive me and He has. My husband is still the same, not living for the Lord, but claiming to be a Christian. He still is into pornography and he still does not treat me well. At first it was physical abuse and now it’s more mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. He has admitted to me that he has hated me for years, but is now trying to love me, but he has a hard time loving me and he is also angry with God for not giving him what he wants. My question is, I was told that what I did is far worse than what he did. He looks at pornography, but never had an affair. He can be very cruel, but he has never had an affair. Even though I am not in that sin anymore, I feel very bad and guilty. Someone told me that committing adultery is a worse sin than anything my husband has done to me. I know God forgave me, but I am also told that any rewards I would have had in heaven now will be gone because of my greater sin. I cannot undue what I did. It’s been years and I am afraid that what I did years ago will come back to hurt the ones I love. My adult children do not know. I never want them to know, but will God have them find out so I will be punished here on earth? I want to let this go, but it haunts me because I am told it was one of the worse sins in God’s eyes.

  • Bill Hendrick

    Good afternoon Billy. Just had lunch with Michael Riccio in Albemarle and I thought of you.

    My question. God instructs Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 to “Be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. Replenish/refill/fill again what? What had been lost that required them to put back? Hope you are doing well. Thanks.

  • Kathi

    Can someone help me explain to my atheist daughter why Duet. 13 says to kill those who try to convert God’s people to another religion?

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    What is the problem? Is it that God commands the death penalty? Or is it that God commands the death penalty for false prophets?

  • Cligie

    If all the following take place (before a person is born again), is that person free to marry again and establish a godly marriage with another Christian or are they under punishment to live alone for the rest of their lives?

    1. Divorces their husband/wife

    2. Marries someone else

    3. Remarries their husband/wife

    4. Divorces them again

  • Frii

    Was the Garden of Eden in Heaven? Is Heaven another planet? Are the two creation accounts in Genesis one of Heaven and one of Earth? Did Adam and Eve come to Earth from Heaven in the form of a seed that change life on Earth to make intelligent humans out of apes?

  • Frii

    I reread Genesis 1-2 and that answers my questions but left me with one. If all souls would made in the beginning in chapter one instantly in a waiting place and then the breathing life into man was from an acted of God by a evolutionary process in chapter two is that the Gap Theory?

  • Ed

    Hello. For the past three years now have been asking the Lord for help with my working conditions. As a Mass Transit Bus Operator it has started to bother my lower back and also my right leg numbs out every now and then. Therefore I have been asking him along with my lovely wife as we pray together every night before going to sleep, that He would allow me the opportunity to continue working, since I’m only in my fifties, but under another capacity, such as an instructor, supervisor, etc. these positions do not require constant driving for eight hours a day. Although I have asked and even fasted about it, there has been no response. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months into another year of working under some very uncomfortable conditions. Any reasons why I can not hear the Lord answer any of our questions, so we can make a predictable and glorifying move to His honor and glory? If He is a mighty and loving God who cares for the people who are called by His precious Name, then why am I still not hearing from Him, at all? I have even applied to other transit agencies, around the country, to no avail. It’s like I’m stuck and no where to turn. Now of course it could be I am incorrect in assuming He has not or will not answer? Sincerely in Christ,
    Ed.

  • jimmy

    i do not believe you can lose salvation, but matthew 10: 22 is a puzzle

  • http://toughquestionsanswered.com Bill Pratt

    The question is what does the word “saved” mean in that verse. It could mean “preserved from physical death” and that would make sense in context. It could also refer to “keeping rewards in heaven,” as rewards are mentioned later in Matt 10. It doesn’t seem like it means “delivered from hell” based on the context. I agree that it’s not exactly clear, though.

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