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Q&A with Alex and Shari

Alex along with Shari Abbott, executive director of Reasons for Hope* Jesus, answer some of life’s many questions concerning the Gospel, faith and God’s word.

Questions & Answers

Apologetics

The Bible claims to be inspired and that means that the words are God’s words, given to man. There are many lines of evidence to support the divine origin of the Bible. Consider the following:
• Manuscripts: No other ancient document comes anywhere close to the Bible in terms of the number and accuracy of surviving copies and they authenticate the accuracy of the Bible through the ages.
• History: Archaeology has repeatedly verified the biblical record. Over the centuries archeological digs have validated peoples, places, and events recorded in the Bible and archaeology continues to unearth finds that offer additional validation of the Bible’s accuracy.
• Authorship: The men who wrote the Bible were known as men of integrity. They were pious Jews, persons of authority, and ones who suffered for the things they wrote. There is no reason to believe that they recorded false accounts of their experiences. Jesus Christ also testified that the Bible comes from God (see Matt. 24:35 and John 10:35, among others).
• Prophecy: There are numerous prophecies of future events recorded in the Bible. A single false prophecy would be enough to refute the Bible’s claim to divine origin; instead, so many have been fulfilled that it supports our certainty that prophecies of events yet-to-happen will one day be fulfilled.
• Power: Since the beginning of time, God has spoken to His people and changed their lives. And with the Bible available worldwide, for centuries we have witnessed the amazing power of the written word to change people’s lives, even to the point of impacting history.
No other book has shaped individuals—and world events—like the Holy Bible the Creator and Sustainer of all things (Gen 1:1, Col 1:17).
No other book has offered absolute truths like the Bible, written by the Absolute Truth Giver (John 17:17).
No other book gives hope like the Bible, the Word of God who is our Redeemer, our Saviour, and our true Hope (John 1:1, Gal 4:4-5, Titus 2:13)
All of these facts support the Bible having a divine (rather than human) origin. Read More: Is the Bible Still Accurate? The Bible: Truth, What makes the Bible so unique? Bible Versions or Translations?

Some Christians will talk about intelligent design and claim that it points to God and proves evolution false, but that’s not really trueIntelligent design, which is sometimes called ID, points to the apparent order in the universe and infers that it could not have come about through random processes, as evolution teaches. ID says that if we see design, it’s logical to infer that there is also a designer. Intelligent Design, however, does not necessarily point to God. It claims a designer but does not name that designer as our Creator God. As Christians, we are creationists. We believe that the Triune God, who is revealed in the Holy Bible, is both Designer and Creator! For interesting information that proves this, read: A Small Piece of Evidence that Proves God as Creator

Yes, from the names of ancient kings and cities to the locations of battles and settlements, time and again the Bible has been supported by archaeological finds. For example, it was claimed that King David of the Old Testament was just a legend until archaeologists found tablets from a neighboring kingdom mentioning David, King of Judah. And the Cylinder of Cyrus, unearthed in 1879, gave evidence of Cyrus’ kingship and his rule. Furthermore, the Dead Sea Scrolls (found in a cave in 1946) are evidence of the truths of the Bible. Archeological finds are one of the great proofs of the Bible. Read more: What makes the Bible so unique?

Yes. There is sufficient evidence to prove God. There are ample proofs in nature that there is a creator, and the truths of the Bible assure us that this creator is the God Christians worship and serve. “Theism” (the belief that a creator exists who not only made the world but who also has acted in this world) is defensible on philosophical, historical, scientific and experiential grounds. Further, all of the possible objections against the existence of God can be sufficiently answered. Based on these lines of evidence and the absence of legitimate counter-evidence, it is rational to conclude that God certainly must exist. Read more: How Can I Prove God Exists?

Living a good life will not get anyone into Heaven. Jesus said that the way to enter Heaven is to be perfect (Mat 5:20, 48), not good. No one can do that. If it weren’t for Jesus, we would be hopeless. But Jesus came to save us. He is God and He came to earth and lived a perfect and sinless human life. He then took our sins upon Himself and died. In doing so, He satisfied/paid the penalty for our sin and opened the way to Heaven. The ONLY way anyone gets into Heaven is to trust in Jesus, and ask His forgiveness of their sins. He is faithful to forgive a repentant sinner, wash them clean, and give them His righteousness. Then, when they stand before God, they are seen as perfect. Read More: The Gift of SalvaTION: Justification & Imputation

Being a Christian means you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.

It means that there was a time when you turned to Jesus in faith. That means you trusted in His work on the cross as the complete and final payment for your past, present, and future sins, and you asked Him to forgive your sins and save you.

If you have done that, He has been faithful to forgive you and wash your sins away. That means He has saved you and given you eternal life.

Now you are free to serve Him. That means you get to know Him better through reading His word, attending church, and fellowshipping with other Christians.

Being a Christian is a positional standing. Acting like a Christian is another thing. Read More: The Gift of SalvaTION: Justification & Imputation

Witnessing to someone who doesn’t know God, or even a Christian who has turned from God, can be more effective when empathy, discernment and listening is employed.

Often rejection of God comes from a hurting heart. It might be a personal tragedy, trial, or even an encounter with a religious person who was a poor example of Christ or a poor witness. The same strategies that are effective when witnessing to the lost apply are effective when witnessing to the wander (a Christian who has turned away from Jesus). In loving and ministering to all people, empathy, discernment, and a listening ear will take the conversation much farther than a data dump of biblical facts.

I suggest five strategies for effective witnessing:

Strategy 1: Ask questions.

Strategy 2: Listen

Strategy 3: Focus

Strategy 4: Pray

Strategy 5: Don’t converse to “win.”

Most Important: Be Bold. Be Kind. Be Wise. Start by asking questions and listening. Then share truth and hope — found only in Jesus.

Read more about these steps here: How Can I Effectively Witness?

Read more about witnessing: Five Steps to Effective Witnessing How Can I Witness if I Don’t Have the Gift of Evangelism? Be BOLD or Be Gentle When Witnessing?

Science reports recent Hubble discoveries that show galaxies millions of light years from earth. If the light we see TODAY is from these galaxies, then that means the light left the surface of the galaxies far beyond the existence of the earth due to the distance it travels. We know that light travels 186,000 miles a second and the earth was created in 6 days.  But if the statements are true, then either light must travel faster than the known calculations OR the galaxies are closer to us than what is reported.

For one thing, we don’t know for sure that the speed of light is constant.  Additionally, photons (light particles) have a drag coefficient and are subject to friction so we don’t know that photons travel at the same speed in deep space.

So let’s answer the question, how do we witness to those who argue what science reports?  The answer: in the same way we witness to anyone.  Don’t spend time arguing scientific facts. Turn the conversation to one of spiritual importance. Briefly address the science issues, but then move on.  Don’t let a debate about science direct the conversation or cloud the importance of the gospel message.  Be bold, be kind, and be wise. Share the love of Jesus and tell of His desire to give salvation to any who repent and trust in Him.  Read more: How Can I Effectively Witness?  How Can I Witness if I Don’t Have the Gift of Evangelism? Fear is A Liar – A Witnessing Encounter; Be BOLD or Be Gentle When Witnessing?

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Bible

This question is often asked because one wonders if, as a Christian, they will have to give up a sin that they enjoy or take on a task they don’t want to do. God has given you a free will, so He will not make you give up anything. However, His Holy Spirit will convict you of your sin and He will work to change your heart. The more you know and love Jesus, the more you will desire to turn from your sin and live in accordance with God’s purpose and plan.

Regarding taking on a task you might not want to do: If God wants you to do something (e.g. witnessing to others) He will equip and empower you. He will also change your desire so that it will be something you want to do and something you will enjoy doing. Trust that God loves His children and desires that they find joy and purpose in all their activities.

Read more: How Can I Effectively Witness? How Can I Witness if I Don’t Have the Gift of Evangelism?

This question is a favorite of skeptics. Cain was a member of Adam’s family. After Cain killed his brother Abel, the Lord put a curse on him and drove him from the land, into the land of Nod, east of Eden, where he took a wife. Since there were no other people on earth at the time, the question becomes where did Cain find someone to marry?

Genesis 5:4 tells that by the time Adam was 800 years old, he had had “other sons and daughters.” One of these siblings would have been the female Cain married.

Yes, Cain married one of Adam’s daughters, making his wife one of his sisters. To read why this intermarriage was acceptable, read the whole article, here

The short answer: God did. God is the author of all Scripture, and the Bible is the collection of that Scripture. Perhaps a better question is this: How were those books recognized and collected?
The collecting of the manuscripts that now make up the Holy Bible occurred as books were circulated among the people of God and recognized as Scripture. Scholars call this canonization (from “canon,” the Latin word for “measuring stick”). The Early
Church leaders did not “choose” the canon. They recognized the books that God had chosen.
Five principles guided this process. Early Church leaders considered these aspects of a given text according to the following criteria:
1. Does it have the authority of God? There may be authoritative claims about how a believer should live or what God has done. There may be an explicit claim: “Thus says the Lord.” In some form, the book will claim the authority of God.
2. Was it written by a servant of God? The author may have been a prophet or apostle, or have been sponsored by one.
3. Does it tell the truth about God? Does its content harmonize with other known Scripture? All Scripture is without error. If a book contained factual errors or contradicted other Scripture, it would fail this test.
4. Does it display the power of God? True Scripture has the power to change lives and build up the people of God.
5. Is it accepted by the people of God? The book had to be accepted by the people of God to whom it was initially given.

 

The Scriptures are clear that those who believe in Jesus will be saved (see John 1:12). But what about those who live in unreached people groups?

First Timothy 2:4 clearly states that God “wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Acts 17:26-27 asserts that God has determined the times and places for everyone to live “so that men would seek him and reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”

Scripture and contemporary missionary evidence support the claim that those who seek God based on the light they have received will be able to respond, even if part or all of the process happens supernaturally. This conclusion has been held by Christian thinkers throughout the centuries. It satisfies the claim that a loving God makes salvation universally available (by revealing Himself to all people), and avoids the problematic claim of inclusivism, meaning people can be saved without knowledge of the gospel.

Regarding those who are incapable of responding to God’s light, we believe God’s mercy is magnified. (Read: Do Babies Go to Heaven if They Die? The Mentally Impaired, Young Children, the Unborn?)

The bottom line is: We can trust that God loves the whole world, and He will act justly in all situations. Our job as Christians is simply to bring the gospel to a world that desperately needs it.

Re-birth is one of the most important doctrines of our faith. When sin entered the world through Adam, the spiritual life of his soul died.

In John 3:3, when Jesus told the Pharisee Nicodemus that he must be born again to see the kingdom of God, Jesus was saying that his soul was in need of regeneration, i.e. being born again.

We know that after Jesus ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to regenerate repentant sinners and give them new birth, new life—eternal life. “You must be born again” means you must turn from yourself and turn to Jesus in faith, and trust in who He is and what He has done to pay for your sins. If you have not done that, read this:What If You Die Today?

Paul said that he was commissioned by Jesus to preach the gospel (see 1 Cor. 1:17) and the gospel message predates Paul, so it could not have originated with him. The gospel message is presented throughout the Bible, from the prophecies of the One to come, to Paul’s writings about the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

Paul’s writings, specifically 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, echoes a creedal statement that scholars date to within mere months after the crucifixion (see The Case for the Resurrection, by Gary R. Habermas and Michael Licona). This creedal statement is an affirmation of what really took place, which Jesus Himself spoke about (Mark 10:32-34; Matt. 20:17-19) and which Peter proclaimed on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2).

Christians do not “substitute the ideas of Paul for the teachings of Jesus.” “The ideas” (the teachings) of Paul affirm and illuminate what Jesus taught in His earthly ministry. Paul’s teachings also include further revelation, given to him by Jesus, to edify and grow the Church. So when Christians preach and teach Paul’s words, they are faithfully sharing God’s words.

This so-called gospel and numerous others like it, such as the Gospel of Thomas, are considered to be false documents because they teach things at odds with orthodox Christianity. Such books often date to many centuries after the life of Christ and they contain teachings that are clearly influenced by Gnosticism and Greek Neo-platonism.

Only the 66 books of the Holy Bible are considered to be God-breathed, “given by inspiration of God and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16)

Read more on this: How Can We Be Certain the Bible was Inspired by God? Learn the Bible: Books of the Bible-Fast, Fun, Short Video Summaries

We can trust on very good authority and evidence that the Bible we have today corresponds to the original texts.

The evidence we have is the thousands of complete and partial Bible manuscripts that date very close to the actual events. Except for minor textual differences, none of which affects a major doctrine, there is remarkable similarity between ancient and modern texts.

The authority we have is God Himself. He has promised to preserve His Word, and what God promises, He is faithful to do.

Read more on this: How Can We Be Certain the Bible was Inspired by God? Learn the Bible: Books of the Bible-Fast, Fun, Short Video Summaries

There is a doctrine called the Immutability of God. It means that God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That means the God revealed in the Old and New Testaments is the same God.

What has changed is the revelation of who God is and the covenant between God and man. With the incarnation, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, God was fully revealed.

God also raised up the apostles to record all the information about who He is, what He has done, and who we are in Jesus. The Bible is a book of progressive revelation about the God of all creation who is eternal, without change.

Read more: How Can We Be Certain the Bible was Inspired by God? Learn the Bible: Books of the Bible-Fast, Fun, Short Video Summaries

We know that the Bible is self-professing to be the Word of God (see Pss. 93:5; 119:89; Prov. 30:5; Matt. 24:35; John 10:35; 2 Tim. 3:16). And when the Bible is studied, it’s divine origin becomes self-evident.

The credibility of the writers, their accuracy and detail, and even their unbiased recording of historical data supports the claims that the Bible makes about being God-given, God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16).

Read more: How Can We Be Certain the Bible was Inspired by God? Learn the Bible: Books of the Bible-Fast, Fun, Short Video Summaries

The determination of which books would be included in the Bible, called the canon, came about gradually. There was some disagreement about a few of the books, but even very early on, the Church and Church Fathers were using the books we find in our Bibles today as authoritative. In AD 367, Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, listed the books he thought should be included in the Bible. His list corresponds exactly to those found in Protestant Bibles today. (The Roman Catholic Church and some Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches include additional books called the Apocrypha. These books are not divinely inspired, not canonical, and should not be considered authoritative.)

 

Habakkuk 1:13a says, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness…” That certainly implies that God cannot look at sin. However, that is not what the verse means.

The next sentence reveals that God does look upon sin: “Why do You look on those who deal treacherously…” (Hab 1:13b). “Those who deal treacherously” would be sinning, so it would be a contradiction if it were true God that can’t look on sin.

The proper understanding comes in reading what comes next. After asking, “Why do You look on those who deal treacherously…” Habakkuk added, “And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he?”

Habakkuk 1:13 is really saying that God’s eyes are too pure to look upon sin and tolerate what He sees. God will judge all sins. But He will do so in His time and in His ways.

This explains how the Holy Spirit can dwell inside Christians who continue to sin. Their sins have already been judged by God, paid for by Jesus, and fully forgiven. In God’s eyes, a forgiven sinner is positionally righteous and secure. However, in continuing to sin, a Christian still needs to confess sins to be cleansed and restored to closer communion with God. The sins Christians commit cannot break their union with God, but will harm their communion with Him. Confess and be cleansed:

Read more:

1 John 1:9 What is the Christian “Bar of Soap?”

What you need to know about Sanctification & Glorification

The resurrection accounts are very consistent and the supposed contradictions that skeptic raise can be explained. It’s true the accounts are different, but they are also complementary and without contradiction.

Unique nuances from each of the Gospel writers contributes to the credibility of each account being true. Only if the four accounts were identical (which they are not) could Matthew, Mark, Luke and John be suspect of fabrication and collaboration. In fact, each writer delivered different details about the same event, based on different perspectives and on the message the Holy Spirit inspired them to write.

Two examples that appear to be discrepancies in testimonies, but are not, include:

  • Matthew, Mark and Luke mention a plural number of women who came to the empty tomb, while John mentions only Mary Magdalene. However, no writer says that only Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. Mention of one woman does not rule out there being more women present.
  • Matthew and Mark mention only one angel in the tomb, while Luke and John mention two. However, Matthew and Mark never say that only one angel appeared, or that only one angel spoke. Similar to the women, mentioning one angel does not rule out there being two.

Neither of these are contradictions. They are simply accounts from two different perspectives with varying details.

Lee Strobel, a respected journalist, legal scholar, and former skeptic, after extensively interviewing New Testament scholars, concluded,

“The harmony among the Gospels on essential facts, coupled with divergence on some details, lends historical credibility to the accounts. The early church couldn’t have taken root and flourished right there in Jerusalem if it had been teaching facts about Jesus that his own contemporaries could have exposed as exaggerated or false.”

Read about another suggested contradiction that is easily explained: Why are There Two Different Genealogies for Jesus?

To understand why the Gospel accounts differ, read: What are the Four Different Presentations of Jesus in the Gospels?

As to whether the events of Matthew 27 could have happened, the answer is “of course.” It was a miracle, worked by God. The fact that we know very little about these people, how or why this happened, or what happened to them, does not make the miracle any less real.

We can’t prove this miracle, but we do have trustworthy testimony from people who witnessed it. There are no accounts from that time period of people refuting what the Gospels claim and the Bible has been proven to be historically accurate in its records of historical events.

So, the question for non-believers should not be if a miracle recorded in the Bible is true. Instead, it should be whether or not the Miracle Worker is real. Non-believers understand that if God exists, then miracles are not only possible, they are to be expected. Non-believers reject the Miracle Worker, who is God. And as long as they desire to reject God, they will cast doubt on His miracles, including the one in Matthew 27. For fun, take a quiz on Five Miracles in the Bible

The miracles of Jesus were not added to make Him look like a wonder worker. They are included in the Bible because they really happened. God worked miracles through Jesus to reveal who Jesus was during His earthly ministry and there is strong evidence that the miracles were recorded very near the time they were performed. Of course, we trust the accounts because the Bible is God-breathed, but even secular historical ancient books and writings, as well as archeological finds, testify to the accuracy of Jesus’ miraculous works. For fun, take a quiz on Five Miracles in the Bible

The Bible is not an ancient codebook. And while there are many literary styles in the Bible, including what the Jews called remezes (hidden meanings), people need to be very careful about looking for hidden codes. All too often, the popular books that claim to have uncoded biblical codes do so with forced reasoning and manipulated evidence. When it comes to Nostradamus, he never claimed to be speaking for God. God’s prophets spoke the words God gave them, and we have those words recorded in the Bible. They are the very words of God. Moreover, Nostradamus’s predictions are highly ambiguous, written in such a way that you can find fulfillment in any number of events. Not so with the Bible. With hundreds of biblical prophecies having been fulfilled with precise accuracy, we have no doubt that prophecies that are yet to be fulfilled will come to pass. For more information on revealed remezes in the Bible, read: A Remez In Psalm 22? A Remez in Psalm 23? The Amazing Remez in the Book of Numbers? A Remez in Revelation 7?

Scripture makes it clear that people are condemned by their actions, their sins, and this is known in one’s heart (see Rom. 2:14-15). In short, no one is ever condemned to hell because of not hearing the gospel. People are condemned for their sin.
God offers a “way out” to all people. No one is unaware that God exists, and the Bible is clear that man is accountable to Him (see Ps. 19; Rom. 1:18-2:12). Whether it is in faraway jungles or urban centers, God sends light to every person. The problem is that people reject the light they have been given.
For a more in-depth explanation, and how to respond when people ask this question, read: What About Those Who Have Never Heard of Jesus? Will They Be Condemned?
God can hear all prayers because He is omnipresent and omniscient. Omnipresent means He is everywhere, so He can hear you. Omniscient means He knows everything, so He even knows your thoughts before you pray.
It’s difficult, if not impossible from a human point of view, to imagine how God can be everywhere and know all things. But it’s also difficult to understand how God could create the universe and all that is in it. Yet we know He did. Both His Word and what we observe all around us testify to HIs creative works. So also, God assures us in His Word that He hears our prayers. (John 5:15, 1 Pet 3:12).
So even though we can’t understand how God hears the prayers of so many people, we can trust that He does hear all prayers and that He does answer. Read more: Why is Prayer Important?Why didn’t God answer my prayers and heal my loved one? What are the various types of prayer? How should I pray?
People sometimes portray hell as a party zone. Many have said, “When I die, I want to go to hell, ’cause that’s where all my friends will be!” But if people understood what Scripture says about hell, they would think twice about saying that. Hell is a place of eternal separation from God. It is a place of great suffering, and it’s the ultimate judgment on a life spent in rebellion to God.
Hell is the final punishment of those who reject God. Hell is necessary because God’s holy and just nature demands that evil be punished. Similarly, the cross was necessary because God’s merciful nature demanded that salvation be offered.
Those who fail to accept Christ’s payment for their sins will go to hell. It is that simple. Whether a person will be in heaven or hell after death will depend on whether he chooses to trust in Christ’s payment for his sins and accept God’s gift of salvation. About this most serious of subjects, it is the Christian’s privilege and duty to proclaim what God has clearly revealed:
Hope is found in salvation through Christ alone.

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Life Issues

While we all hope that our beloved pets will go to Heaven, we must look at what information the Bible gives to answer if it is so. Sadly, we find there is no biblical support to suggest animals (domesticated or wild) will go to Heaven.

We agree that the pain of losing a pet is great. Therefore, the best we can offer in comfort is to remind people to not let go of the memories that will make them smile. A great sentiment to focus on memories, rather than seeing the pet again, is: “No longer by our side, but forever in our hearts.”

Many times people will say, “it WON’T be Heaven if my DOG isn’t there.” That is, of course, not true. It WILL be Heaven because our GOD is there. We certainly wish our pets might be there, but we can only reason from what the Bible teaches. Be a Berean and search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).

If you find anything to support pets going to Heaven, please let us know. We would love to be wrong on this, but for now, we stand on what we have found Scripture to reveal.

For more information and scriptural support, read: Do our pets go to Heaven when they die?

While words are “just words,” every word carries a meaning and an influence that is used to communicate and that’s why words matter.

First, let’s define profanity. Strictly speaking, profanity means taking God’s name in vain—to profane it. Therefore, words that are profanity have meaning that conveys disrespect of God. God commands that we not profane His name because His name is holy and it is to be honored and respected. We are to praise His name (Ps 148:13).

Today, a lot of what is called profanity is actually just vulgar speech. It’s really more a matter of propriety that we not speak in a vulgar, irreverent way. The apostle Paul commands us to avoid foolish speech and coarse joking (Eph 5:4).

Read the full article: Why is it wrong to use profanity? After all, aren’t words just words?

The right church is one that teaches the truths of God’s Word— beginning with Genesis and all the way to Revelation. There are core doctrines that all Christians must believe and all Christian churches must teach (For the core doctrines, read: What is IVDAR? Or IVDARR?). A good church will teach that:

  • God is the Creator of all things, the Saviour of all mankind, and the Sustainer for those who are His.
  • Man sinned and the wages of sin is death.
  • Jesus Christ is God who came in the flesh to pay the price of man’s sin.
  • Jesus freely offers forgiveness and salvation to any who will receive Him by faith.

Look for a church that faithfully teaches the Bible and you’ll likely find one that stands firm on all core Christian doctrines.

Read more: Is church membership necessary?

This is something all Christians experience from time to time, but God has not moved away. It only feels like He has.

The answer to overcoming a perceived distance is to remember that this is a feeling and feelings can lie to us. We must remember what we know to be true. Jesus has promised that He will never leave or forsake us (Heb 13:5).

It’s usually a circumstance, emotional struggle, confusion, or some other challenge or difficulty in one’s daily life that causes one to feel that God is far away. Continuing to seek God in prayer and reading the Bible will increase one’s knowledge of His presence, and restore a closer communion with Him.

Read the promises of God that assure us of His presence with us always: When It Feels Like God Is Far Away, What Can I Do? Read more: What Does It Mean To WALK BY FAITH? To WALK WITH GOD? To WALK IN HOPE?

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Jesus Christ

Indeed, Jesus did claim to be God on multiple occasions. When the Pharisees, who were well educated in the Scripture’s prophecies of a coming Messiah, heard Jesus claiming to be God they accused Him of blasphemy and cried out “crucify Him.”
Read more about how and when Jesus made claims of divinity: What are the Seven “I Am” and “I Will” Statements from Jesus? He is the Great I AM
Read how Pilate proclaimed Jesus to be God: Did Pilate Proclaim Jesus to be God?

There are five core doctrines (teachings) that all Christians must believe. I (Alex) came up with an acronym years ago to make them simple to remember: IVDAR

Each of the letters stands for a doctrine of Christianity.

I — Inerrancy of Scripture

V — Virgin Birth

D — Deity of Christ

A — Atonement

R — Resurrection

For detailed information on each the five doctrines, and to learn about a sixth core doctrine that all Christians should believe, read: What is IVDAR? Or IVDARR?

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Worldview

There is no evidence to suggest there is life on other planets. In fact, there is much evidence to prove that some of the planets are without life. Therefore — “in all likelihood” — the earth is the only planet with life.

We know that God made earth suitable to support the life of the man and woman He created. But we do not know why he chose the earth. He could have made another planet suitable to sustain the life of Adam, but He did not. To speculate would be futile.

What we do know is that life on earth is not how God intended it to be. He created all things perfect, but Adam’s sin changed everything. God in His mercy and grace sent Jesus to redeem man and one day He will restore all things to His intended perfection. Do you know Jesus?

Being spiritual can mean many things? The question is: what spirit are you looking to for correction, direction, and life? And, what makes you believe the spirit is alive, true, and able to guide you?

Why do you need to be a Christian? Because you need your sins forgiven. There is ample proof to claim that the God of Christianity is the only true Spirit, and only He can deliver you from your sins (Read: How Can We Be Certain the Bible was Inspired by God? How Can I Prove God Exists?)

Heaven and a Hell are real places (Read: Where is Heaven? Is Hell Real? What does the Bible say? Sheol, Hell, Torment, Abyss, Tartarus, Gehenna, Fire, Darkness? What & Where Are They?). Being a spiritual person will not get you into Heaven, but refusing God’s gift of salvation will get you into Hell.

All people have sinned, and all need to be forgiven and made new in order to enter Heaven. God provided the way by giving His Son, Jesus, who took all sin, including yours, upon Himself and paid for them. All you need to do is turn to Him in faith and trust in Him. He will forgive you and give you eternal life in Heaven. No other spirit can do that.

(Read: What If You Die Today?)

Christians do care about promoting love and peace, but they also care about sharing the truths of God. When people live or speak in opposition to God’s truths, Christians are called by God to respond with His truth. That is often labeled as intolerance, but it’s not.
Professing one’s personal beliefs is still a protected right of free-speech. The same holds true for non-Christians. They have a right to profess what they believe. Although both express beliefs in opposition to the other, neither is being intolerant.
There will always be differing beliefs and therefore disagreements. How the disagreements are handled determines tolerance or intolerance. A person is intolerant when they are rude, unkind, aggressive, or take forceful actions against someone who believes differently. A tolerant person will speak and act with respect for the other’s right to believe differently. A disagreement is not intolerance.
Christians are called to share who God is and His truths that are found in the Bible without compromise. And they are always to do so with kindness and love.

From before the foundations of the world God purposed and planned to create man in His own image. His purpose was to reveal more of Himself, because only man is in His image (the planets or stars are not). He also wanted a relationship with those in His image, and yet He knew that man would sin and He knew that He would provide a way for man to be forgiven.

Suffering entered our world as a result of sin. So we might want to reframe the question to be, “why would God create man knowing he would sin?” The Bible does not explicitly answer this. However, I (Shari) suggest that before sin entered the world, one of God’s attributes was not evidenced. Without sin in the world, there was nothing for God to forgive and God’s forgiveness demonstrates His mercy. When Adam sinned, God forgave him and magnified His mercy throughout all creation. Thereby God was glorified and His mercy continues to be magnified every time He forgives us for our sins.

For a more complete explanation of this, click here.

God is love, but He is also holy and just. God cannot ignore sin, because doing so would make Him unjust. Therefore, God must judge all sin and the penalty for sin must be paid.

God, in His mercy and grace, sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for us and to open the way for all people to be forgiven of their sins. By trusting in Jesus, a person’s sins can be forgiven and the person will be given eternal life.

Sadly, those who reject Jesus will die in unforgiven sins and will not be worthy to enter Heaven. It is a free-will choice, and only by one’s free-will choice will anyone go to Hell.

God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. They choose to go there by choosing to reject the gift of forgiveness that God offers in Christ Jesus. Tell someone about God’s love and salvation in Jesus today.

Read: What about people who don’t believe in Jesus, but live good lives? Shouldn’t they go to heaven? How Can I Effectively Witness? How Can I Witness if I Don’t Have the Gift of Evangelism?

Actually, these three major religions of the world don’t teach the same things. This generalization is frequently trumpeted within the media, but differences between the major faith systems of the world are well documented.

  • Judaism teaches that the Messiah, from the Jewish line of David, is yet to come;
  • Christianity teaches He has come, in the person of Jesus Christ, who is Lord and Saviour.
  • Islam denies the Christian doctrines Jewish Messiah from David’s line and believes their own Imam (a type of Messiah) will come. Islam also denies Jesus is Lord and Saviour and believe He was just a prophet who will one day return to serve their Imam.

There are many other points on which these religions contradict each other. The important question, is which one is true?

Read: What about people who don’t believe in Jesus, but live good lives? Shouldn’t they go to heaven?

While our language is finite and our God is infinite, we can be certain that our language is adequate to know God personally and to share His truths with others.

  • God has given us His Word and He has told us to study(2 Tim 2:15).
  • God has given us His Holy Spirit to teach us (John 14:26).
  • And in His Word, God has given many literary devices, including metaphors, similes, symbolism, typologies, patterns. These help us in understanding.

Therefore, we can trust that God’s Holy Word and His Holy Spirit are sufficient to enable us, with our finite language, to share truths about our infinite God.

Read: How Can We Be Certain the Bible was Inspired by God? How Can I Understand the Love of God?

It’s true that Christians are no better than non-believers in that they sometimes don’t act in accordance with what they believe and with the ways that God tells them to live (that’s the definition of hypocrisy). The difference is that Christians know this is sin, because it acting against God’s will.

So why do Christians behave in ways that are inconsistent with the clearly defined morals, ethics, and God-honoring behaviors the Bible teaches? Because Christians aren’t perfect and they still sin. But when they sin, God is always present to convict them, forgive them, and turn them back to act in accordance with their Christian faith. And, all Christians have the power of the Holy Spirit to teach them and empower to live according to God’s ways.

All people are hypocritical. Non-Christians also act hypocritically — inconsistent with what they profess to believe. But they have no one to turn to for correction. They have no one to give them power to change. They can only depend on themselves. Plus, their sins are not forgiven. But God, in His mercy, offers them the gift of salvation through faith in Jesus. Tell someone about Jesus today.

Read: How Can I Effectively Witness? How Can I Witness if I Don’t Have the Gift of Evangelism? Be BOLD or Be Gentle When Witnessing?

Religions do not cause wars. It is sin that causes wars. It is man’s self-centered, self-serving nature and his inability to sacrificially love his neighbor and live at peace that causes wars. If all mankind followed God’s will and ways there would be no war. But we know that won’t happen because of man’s sin nature.

So man continues to war with his fellow man and some have used, and still do use, Christianity and other religions as their justification. However, that does not mean that religions are the root cause of wars anymore than we could say politics is the root cause. Religious and political beliefs may influence warring men and women, but it is the people themselves who enter into wars.

War is a choice, and so also is peace. All wars start when leaders fail to chose peaceful methods to mediate the issues between them.

The Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer God of the Bible calls His people to make every effort to live peaceably (Rom. 12:18). And in His Word, God gives directives on how that can be done (Rom 12-16). The Bible’s Judeo-Christian morals, ethics, and teachings, when followed, actually prevents wars. The further away from God’s teachings any person is, the further away the person will be from seeking and finding peace with others.

Changing the hearts of men and women by turning them to Jesus is the only way to stop wars.

“Intellectual checkmate” does not exist between God and His people. There is an answer to the ages-old question about God’s ability to make a rock so heavy He can’t lift it.

First understand that God is omnipotent, which means He is all powerful. There is nothing He cannot do. The earth and the planets certainly weigh more than any rock and God formed those and placed them.

So let’s answer these questions:

  1. Could God make a rock bigger than the earth or planets? Answer: Yes, and He could move it too.
  2. Could God make a rock bigger than the rock He made that is bigger than the earth and planets? Answer: Yes, and He can move it too.
  3. Could God make a rock bigger than the rock He made, that is bigger than the rock He made, that is bigger the earth and planets? Answer: Yes, and He can move it too.

I think you get the idea. No matter how big the rock gets….God is still bigger and more powerful enough to move it.

So although this question tries to suggest there is something God cannot do, it really proves that there is nothing outside God’s power and ability to do.

It really is an illogical question. God doesn’t created things to prove Himself. He created the world and the universe to reveal Himself so man can know Him and love Him.

Read: Can We Really Be Sure That God Exists?

By attributing human characteristics of self-centeredness and conceitedness to God, one is misunderstanding who God is. Three very important points bring clarity to understanding God:

1. God is not human. His ways and His thoughts are higher than man’s. (Isa 55:9) God is not capable of such human behaviors, thoughts, or emotions. Therefore, they cannot be attributed to Him. We don’t need to try to make God more human to be able to understand Him.

2. God did not create the universe to worship Him. The planets and stars reveal God’s creative nature, and thereby bring Him glory, but they do not worship Him.

3. God did create man with the ability to worship Him. But God also gave man a free-will choice. Man is able to choose to enter into a relationship with God through Jesus, and to worship God and pray to Him. But man is also free to choose to reject his Creator.

So while God created man desiring a relationship with him, God will not force that relationship upon anyone. True worship is:

  • a response to God’s love, freely given by God to man.
  • an expression of man’s love, freely given to God by man.

Read more: Who Am I? Am I Really Made in the Image of God?

Not all religions can be true, since they make mutually exclusive claims. The question is really, which truth claims are really true?

There are many reasons why Christianity can be proven to be true. Three important reasons Christians believe and trust in Jesus are:

1. What they believe comes from a reliable book. The Holy Bible is clear, consistent, and complete in recording God’s creation work, history as it has unfolded for more than six millennia, God’s redemptive plan for man, and His restoration plan for all creation. God has promised to preserve His Word and Christians trust that He has done this because He has been faithful to fulfill His promises.

2. There are historical documents and archeological finds that support the Bible’s truths. They give evidence that supports the biblical records of ancient people and their lifestyles and beliefs, ancient places, cultures, laws, and religions, the occurrence of ancient events, etc.

3. Those who have trusted in Jesus have experienced the gift of salvation from God and therefore have a relationship with God through Jesus. They are able to understand God’s teachings because the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truths to them, just as Jesus promised He would.

Yes, it’s true that Christians think the beliefs of all other religions are false. The reason is because every one is in contradiction to what the Bible teaches, and Christianity is grounded in believing God’s Word and finding hope in Jesus. Therefore, because Christians accept the Bible as the true and faithful Word of God, all other religions cannot be true.

Read More: Is the Bible Still Accurate? The Bible: Truth, What makes the Bible so unique? Bible Versions or Translations?

07

A worldview is basically the lens through which you interpret the world around you. It colors everything you perceive, just as colored lenses on a pair of glasses would give a certain tint to everything you see.

A theistic worldview interprets the world with an understanding that God created and is involved in the world. An atheistic worldview is the opposite—no God, no Creator. Atheism sees the world as a collection of random events and ultimately without any purpose or meaning.

Everyone has a worldview whether they realize it or not. The Christian worldview is based on the truths of God. The Bible presents these truths. It gives clear, accurate, and time-proven truths for the world around us and tells of the God who created it. On what is your worldview based?

Read More: Can a Worldview Answer Life’s Questions? 5 Worldviews Defined

Over six decades (late 1910s-1980s), it’s counted that 205 people died in public shootings in America. Contrast that with the early 1980s unto today, in which more than 1,400 people have died in public shootings. From 205 in a span of 60 years to 1,400 in only 30 years. That’s a staggering increase.

So why has there been a 700%+ escalation in public shootings over the last 30-40 years? What has changed?

In the early 20th century, Americans had access to guns, cars, entertainment, and intoxicants (alcohol, opium, heroin, etc.). Today, we have guns, cars, entertainment (including technology), and intoxicants (legal and illegal). In no era is there a shortage of opportunity for vice, but today there is definitely a shortage of virtue.

In the late 1970s, militant secularist agendas had really gained momentum, and since that time those agendas are increasingly felt in our country. In countless university classrooms, professors with activist hearts (many of whom came from the 1960’s anti-establishment ‘wakefulness’ movement) are influencing more young minds than ever before with secularism. Today, the few brave students who speak up for God and country are usually mocked by professors; and we are endlessly told that any mention of God or morality violates the First Amendment.

Sadly, respect for human life continues to diminish in our culture. Belief in God is waning and biblical truths, morals, and ethics are disappearing from our laws, classrooms, entertainment, media, and culture.

The Solution

For evil to decrease, good must increase. And, “what is good?” It’s not “what.” It’s who! Jesus said, “why do you call me good? Only God is good.” (Mat 19:17, Mark 10:18, Luke 18:19) Jesus is God, and truly, only God is good. The solution to the problem of evil in this country is to turn the hearts of the people to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then His Holy Spirit will work in and through them to multiply the good that only He can increase, and thereby evil will decrease.

We grieve over the loss of life in all the mass shootings in our country. We pray for God’s comfort for all who have lost loved ones to such senseless violence. But to those who maliciously work to keep America “free” from Christian morality, ethics, and biblical truths, let it be known that the bloodshed will continue to happen as evil in our country continues to grow.

Pray for our country. Pray that God has mercy on us. Pray that Jesus is seen and received. Pray for a revival. That will change our country!

“The occult” is a very broad label that includes beliefs in the supernatural, the paranormal, and practices such as divination, magic, witchcraft, and alchemy. The word occult means knowledge of the hidden or knowledge of the paranormal, as opposed to knowledge of facts or that which is seen and measurable. So what should Christians think about occultism?

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Politics/Current Events

Religions do not cause wars. It is sin that causes wars. It is man’s self-centered, self-serving nature and his inability to sacrificially love his neighbor and live at peace that causes wars. If all mankind followed God’s will and ways there would be no war. But we know that won’t happen because of man’s sin nature.

So man continues to war with his fellow man and some have used, and still do use, Christianity and other religions as their justification. However, that does not mean that religions are the root cause of wars anymore than we could say politics is the root cause. Religious and political beliefs may influence warring men and women, but it is the people themselves who enter into wars.

War is a choice, and so also is peace. All wars start when leaders fail to chose peaceful methods to mediate the issues between them.

The Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer God of the Bible calls His people to make every effort to live peaceably (Rom. 12:18). And in His Word, God gives directives on how that can be done (Rom 12-16). The Bible’s Judeo-Christian morals, ethics, and teachings, when followed, actually prevents wars. The further away from God’s teachings any person is, the further away the person will be from seeking and finding peace with others.

Changing the hearts of men and women by turning them to Jesus is the only way to stop wars.

Read: What is Happening to Our Country? What Can We Do About It?

Jesus calls us to love all people, so gay people should always be treated with love and kindness. The only thing Christians are to hate is that which God hates—and God hates sin; but He loves the sinner. There are people who would say that Christians have no right to judge homosexuality as sin, but is that true? First, Christians don’t judge homosexuality as sin — God does. God says that any sexual behavior outside of marriage, between a man and a woman, is an abomination, i.e. a sin (Lev 18:22, 20:13). Second, God ordained marriage and sexual union to be between a man and woman. During His earthly ministry, Jesus confirmed that God intended that only man and woman would become one flesh (Matt 19:4-6). So God is the One who defines homosexuality as sin.

As Christians, we are to be loving and kind to all people, even those who engage in any sin. Yet, we are not to condone their sin. While we are not to judge a person’s heart, we can judge their fruits (their behaviors) by what God says in His Word. So when a Christian says homosexuality is a sin, it’s really God’s judgment of the behavior.

In our time, most everyone knows and loves someone who claims to be a homosexual. Love them enough to tell them about Jesus. All of their sins will be judged and they need the Savior to forgive them. However, and whenever, you share the gospel, be kind and loving; but do not compromise by accepting or approving of any behavior that God calls sin.

Jesus calls us to love all people, so gay people should always be treated with love and kindness. The only thing Christians are to hate is that which God hates—and God hates sin; but He loves the sinner. There are people who would say that Christians have no right to judge homosexuality as sin, but is that true? First, Christians don’t judge homosexuality as sin — God does. God says that any sexual behavior outside of marriage, between a man and a woman, is an abomination, i.e. a sin (Lev 18:22, 20:13). Second, God ordained marriage and sexual union to be between a man and woman. During His earthly ministry, Jesus confirmed that God intended that only man and woman would become one flesh (Matt 19:4-6). So God is the One who defines homosexuality as sin.
As Christians, we are to be loving and kind to all people, even those who engage in any sin. Yet, we are not to condone their sin. While we are not to judge a person’s heart, we can judge their fruits (their behaviors) by what God says in His Word. So when a Christian says homosexuality is a sin, it’s really God’s judgment of the behavior.

 

In our time, most everyone knows and loves someone who claims to be a homosexual. Love them enough to tell them about Jesus. All of their sins will be judged and they need the Savior to forgive them. However, and whenever, you share the gospel, be kind and loving; but do not compromise by accepting or approving of any behavior that God calls sin.

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About Alex & Shari

Alex McFarland

Alex McFarland is a well-known and respected Christian apologist, author, evangelist, speaker, and culture and religion analyst. As the organizer of Truth for a New Generation Conferences, he presents timely truths to build and strengthen a biblical worldview.  Alex is the host of TNG Radio and co-host of Exploring the Word on American Family Radio. He is the founder and organizer of Truth for a New Generation Conferences.     Bio for Alex McFarland

Shari Abbott

Shari Abbott, executive director and founder of Reasons for Hope* Jesus, is a Christian apologist, writer, author, and Bible teacher. She is responsible for content development and distribution, ministry outreach, and maintenance and growth of the ministry.  The mission of Reasons for Hope*Jesus is to glorify God by equipping and encouraging Christians to know Jesus better, to love Him more, and by empowering them to be bold and share their faith.  Bio for Shari Abbott