Daily Archives: June 2, 2014

Questions about Apologetics and Worldview: Why Are Christians so Judgmental?

 

One of the most widespread arguments against Christians is that they are “judgmental” or “always imposing their views on others.” Often, this criticism comes in response to Christians who speak out against behaviors and lifestyles that God judges as “sin” and has declared to be an outrage to Him (see Proverbs 16:1). We live in a society where “everyone [does] what [is] right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25)—where people insist that there are no moral absolutes, that each man should decide for himself what is right or wrong, and that we should “tolerate” (meaning “celebrate”) sinful activities. Those who take seriously the biblical warnings against sin and dare speak out against evil are written off as religious fanatics, and all Christians are, ironically, judged as being “judgmental.”

The Scripture that is used the most to support the idea that Christians should not judge is Matthew 7:1, where Jesus says to His disciples, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” It’s one verse that many unbelievers can quote. Another popular saying, taken from John 8:7, is “He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” But when we read these verses in their immediate contexts, it becomes glaringly obvious that Jesus is not warning against every kind of judging but against hypocritical, self-righteous judging (see Matthew 7:1–5; John 8:1–11). In other words, a man should refrain from pronouncing judgment on those who commit the very sin in which he engages, for “with the judgment [we] pronounce [we] will be judged” (Matthew 7:2). This exhortation is similar to the point made by the apostle Paul when he asks, “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:3). These verses are a warning against hypocrisy and, at the same time, an exhortation to right living.

However, hypocritical judging is the only kind of judging the Bible says that Christians should avoid. The Christian must “judge” or discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:14)! We must make spiritual evaluations of the words and behavior of others, not to find fault, but to effectively guard our hearts against error and sin (1 Corinthians 2:14–15; Proverbs 4:23). In fact, immediately after Jesus warned His disciples against hypocritical judgment, He says, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs” (Matthew 7:6). How is the Christian supposed to know who the “dogs” and the “pigs” are unless he or she exercises discernment? Furthermore, Jesus warns His disciples just a few verses later, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15–16). This admonition is given not only with regard to “false prophets” but also concerning anyone who comes in the name of Christ but who, by his actions, denies Christ (Titus 1:16; cf. Matthew 3:8).

According to Jesus, this kind of judgment is considered “right judgment” (John 7:24) and is strongly encouraged. We are to be “as wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16), and wisdom demands that we be discerning (Proverbs 10:13). And when we have discerned rightly, we are to speak the truth, with love being the motivating factor (Ephesians 4:15). Love requires that we gently confront those in error with the truth about their sin with the hope of bringing them to repentance and faith (Galatians 6:1). “Whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death” (James 5:20). The true Christian speaks the truth—not merely what he believes to be the truth, but the truth as plainly revealed in God’s Word. The truth, especially the truth about good and evil, exists independently from what we feel or think (Isaiah 5:20–21).

Those who reject or are offended by the truth simply prove the power of God’s Word to convict the heart of man; for “the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Eternity: Why Does God Send People to Hell?

 

The Bible says that God created hell for Satan and the wicked angels who rebelled against Him, but there are people in hell also (Matthew 25:41). Both angelic beings and human beings are in hell for the same reason, sin (Romans 6:23).

Because God is completely righteous and morally perfect (Psalm 18:30), He always does what is right—there is no “darkness” in God, not the smallest speck of imperfection (1 John 1:5). God Himself is the standard for what is right, good, and moral. If it were not for God being the standard of moral perfection, created beings would have nothing to measure themselves against. In other words, if God is perfectly righteous, then anything that falls short of said perfection is sinful, and every human being who has ever lived, since Adam’s fall from grace, has committed sin (Romans 3:23). Because Adam sinned, the entire human race now has a sinful nature (Romans 5:12). But people do not go to hell because of Adam’s sin; they go to hell because of their own sin, which they freely choose (James 1:13–16).

Since God is eternal, immutable, and infinite, and all sins are fundamentally against God, God has decreed the just punishment for sin must also be eternal (Matthew 25:46). There is another aspect to consider, which is that God also created people to live eternally. So when someone commits a sin against another person, the offended person has also been eternally wronged.

God, therefore, has deemed all who commit sin will go to hell because they have failed to meet His righteous standard; they have broken His Law of moral perfection. If God did not send people to hell for breaking His laws, it could be said that God is not just (Psalm 7:11). A good analogy is a court of law with a judge and a lawbreaker. A just judge will always convict the person who has been found guilty. If that judge did not pursue justice for the crime, he would not be a just judge (Deuteronomy 32:4).

However, the good news is that God is also merciful. In His rich mercy, He made a way for sinners to avoid the punishment of hell by trusting in the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ (Mark 16:16). For Christians, the penalty of sin has been removed and placed upon Christ on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). Because of the sacrifice of Christ, God is still just—the sin is punished—yet He is also merciful to all who believe.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Christianity: What Is Jesus Culture? Is Jesus Culture Biblical?

 

Jesus Culture is a movement that began in 1999 as a youth group and has since expanded to have an international influence. The music and conferences of Jesus Culture are aimed at young people, seeking to lead them “to experience the radical love of God” and send them back into their communities “completely impassioned and transformed” (from the official website). The ministry focuses on revival, worship, the power of God, and the “manifest presence” of Christ in the world. The founder of the movement is Banning Liebscher from Bethel Church, a Charismatic church pastored by Bill Johnson in Redding, California.

There has always been and will always be great variety within the body of Christ. One reason for the plethora of church denominations is that human beings are unique and one size does not fit all. With every generation, there has been a revival of passion that expresses itself through different outlets. In the 1940s it was Youth for Christ; in the 1970s it was the Jesus People; since 1997 we have witnessed the 268 Generation, also known as the Passion Movement. The young people of Jesus Culture are passionate about spreading worship over the globe, and they set about to do it the way that seems best to them.

Bethel Church, from which Jesus Culture emerged, teaches salvation by grace through faith. However, the church also teaches that the positions of apostle and prophet are being filled yet today. The “apostles’ teaching” mentioned in Acts 2:42 is not necessarily the doctrine of Peter, James, and John, according to Bethel. It is whatever the modern-day apostles are saying. Obviously, this doctrine can lead to a downplaying of Scripture and opens the door to spurious teaching.

Indeed, Jesus Culture is sometimes criticized for a lack of depth and biblical teaching at their conferences and concerts. The emphasis is on having an undefined “personal encounter with the love of God” rather than on repentance and faith. Such an emphasis appeals to emotion, and as with anything centered primarily on emotion, those participating often miss the mark. Any time we give preeminence to emotional experience over the clear teaching of the Word, we open the door to potentially harmful doctrines.

Another concern is Jesus Culture’s emphasis on signs and wonders, including visions, healings, and speaking in esoteric tongues. Johnson teaches that believers who are sick have “allowed” the sickness into their lives and that those who are not healed should “realize it’s not God’s fault” and pray for a “greater anointing” (from the official Jesus Culture website).

Within Jesus Culture are many committed believers, and their accent on worship and worldwide missions is commendable. We praise the Lord for anyone who is brought to faith in Christ through their efforts. At the same time, Got Questions Ministries disagrees with their stance on the sign gifts and sees a danger in their promotion of modern-day apostles. First Thessalonians 5:21 commands us to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” As believers, we ought to carefully examine every teaching and practice and compare it to the written Word of God.[1]

 

 

[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

End Times Prophecy Headlines: June 2, 2014

End Times Prophecy Report

End Times Prophecy Report Headlines: Bible prophecy in Today's headlines. Bible prophecy in Today’s headlines.

End Times Prophecy Report
HEADLINES
June 2, 2014

CommentaryAnd OPINION

INTERNATIONAL  

SOUTH KOREA: S. Korea introduces “women only” parking spaces

CHINA: Those who frighten China

RUSSIA:TUNGUSKA: Ancient Meteorite Destroyer Complex in Siberia’s Valley of Death?

EUROPEAN UNION: Sex, Drugs And Accounting In Europe

Europe has a new source of economic growth. In the next few months all European Union countries that do not already include drugs, prostitution, and other illegal and gray-market businesses in their gross domestic product calculations will have to do so.

BRAZIL: Is the World Cup a giant waste of money? – Won’t someone please think of the feelings of the sports fanatics!

BRAZIL: Apparent match fixing casts doubt over World Cup – At some point, the American sports aficionado will have to admit that the professional contests he invests so much of his time in (whether auto racing, football, basketball…

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