Daily Archives: October 9, 2014

Twenty Ways to Answer A Fool [7]

hipandthigh

stakeIs Christianity Cruel?

I wish to return to my critique of Christ-hating anarchist and blues guitar aficionado, Chaz Bufe and his 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity.

With this post, Chaz complains Christianity is cruel. I will lay aside what I have already mentioned in previous critiques, that being how Chaz conveniently ignores the cruelty of secular anarchists in the past century as they attempted to establish their enlightened utopias free from the bondage of religious superstition.

Rather than quoting the entire point, allow me to summarize the two examples Chaz raises when he accuses Christianity of being cruel: sexual repression and burning witches.

Let us begin with the first, the charge that Christians have repressive attitudes toward sex. Chaz lays out an extended citation from William Lecky to illustrate his charge of sexual repression on the part of Christians:

For about two centuries, the hideous maceration of the body…

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Questions about Angels and Demons: What Does It Mean that Satan Is the Father of Lies (John 8:44)?

 

Speaking to a group of Jews, Jesus says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

Satan is the “father of lies” in that he is the original liar. He is the “father” of lies in the same way that Martin Luther is the “father” of the Reformation and Robert Goddard is the “father” of modern rocketry. Satan told the first lie in recorded history to Eve, in the Garden of Eden. After planting seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind with a question (Genesis 3:1), he directly contradicts God’s Word by telling her, “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). With that lie, Satan led Eve to her death; Adam followed, and so have we all.

Lying is Satan’s primary weapon against God’s children. He uses the tactic of deceit to separate people from their heavenly Father. Some of his more common lies are “there is no God,” “God doesn’t care about you,” “the Bible cannot be trusted,” and “your good works will get you into heaven.” The apostle Paul tells us that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), so that what he says and does sounds good and seems reasonable. But it is nothing more than a false appearance.

Many of Satan’s lies tend to perpetuate themselves. This is what happened when Eve convinced Adam to also believe the devil’s lie. Today, Satan still uses people to spread his lies for him. Often, he uses charismatic but foolish people to further his falsehoods, as in the case of false religions and cults.

The Bible has many names for Satan to describe his true nature, including “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5), “deceiver” (Revelation 12:9), “Beelzebub” (literally, “lord of the flies,” the ruler of demons, in Matthew 10:25), and “Belial,” meaning “wicked” (2 Corinthians 6:15).

Satan has told more lies to more people (and even angels) than any being ever created. His success depends on people believing his lies. He has used everything from “little white lies” to huge, pants-on-fire whoppers to deceive folks. Adolph Hitler, a man who learned how to lie effectively, once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

Whether a lie is small or large is not really the issue. Lies are of the devil. If you’ve lied even once, then, unless you repent, you will not enter heaven. The Bible teaches that all liars “will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Proverbs 19:9 also teaches that anyone who lies will be punished.

Avoid this fate by obeying Mark 1:15: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), and He will never deceive you. Those who come to Jesus in faith will find that “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).[1]

 

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

Questions about Relationships: Is it wrong for a couple to live together before marriage? Does God have one specific person for you to marry?

 

The answer to this question depends somewhat on what is meant by “living together.” If it means having sexual relations, it is definitely wrong. Premarital sex is repeatedly condemned in Scripture, along with all other forms of sexual immorality (Acts 15:20; Romans 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 6:13, 18; 7:2; 10:8; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Jude 7). The Bible promotes complete abstinence outside of (and before) marriage. Sex before marriage is just as wrong as adultery and other forms of sexual immorality, because they all involve having sex with someone you are not married to.

If “living together” means living in the same house, that is perhaps a different issue. Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with a man and a woman living in the same house—if there is nothing immoral taking place. However, the problem arises in that there is still the appearance of immorality (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Ephesians 5:3), and it could be a tremendous temptation for immorality. The Bible tells us to flee immorality, not expose ourselves to constant temptations to immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). Then there is the problem of appearances. A couple who is living together is assumed to be sleeping together—that is just the nature of things. Even though living in the same house is not sinful in and of itself, the appearance of sin is there. The Bible tells us to avoid the appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Ephesians 5:3), to flee from immorality, and not to cause anyone to stumble or be offended. As a result, it is not honoring to God for a man and a woman to live together outside of marriage.[1]

 

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

Questions about the Bible: What Is an Epistle? What Are the Epistles in the Bible?

 

The word epistle comes from the Greek word epistole that means “letter” or “message.” Epistles were a primary form of written communication in the ancient world, especially during New Testament times. Since many of the New Testament books were originally written as letters to churches or individuals, they are referred to as the Epistles.

An epistle would have been written on a scroll. Often, it was dictated and then reviewed by the author before being delivered by a trusted messenger. For example, 1 Peter mentions that it was Peter’s letter written down by Silvanus, or Silas (1 Peter 5:12). Timothy was involved in the writing and delivery of several of the apostle Paul’s letters (Colossians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; Philemon 1:1), although Paul signed each one to verify that he was the author (Galatians 6:1).

Epistles also generally followed a familiar format. Most of Paul’s letters begin with an introduction that identifies his name and those of any associates, mentions his audience, and gives a greeting. The introduction is followed by the main body of the letter, and the epistles often conclude with a general blessing and personal notes to individuals within the recipient church.

The Epistles of the Bible are all found in the New Testament. They include 21 of the New Testament’s 27 books, extending from Romans to Jude. Thirteen of these Epistles were written by the apostle Paul: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Within this group of Pauline Epistles is a subgroup labeled the Prison Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon) so-called because they were written during Paul’s two-year house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:30–31). The Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) were written to church leaders and include many teachings regarding practices within the early church.

Following these writings are eight General Epistles (sometimes called Catholic Epistles, since they were written to a “universal” audience) that include Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, and Jude. The author of Hebrews is unknown (though many have historically attributed it to Paul or one of Paul’s associates). James was one of the earliest New Testament writings and was written by James, the half-brother of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:7). The apostle Peter wrote 1 and 2 Peter. The apostle John (the same author of the Gospel of John and Revelation) wrote 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. The short Epistle of Jude was written by Jude, another half-brother of Jesus (Jude 1:1).

All of the known authors of the Epistles are either an apostle (Paul, Peter, John) or a family member of Jesus (James, Jude). Each of these individuals had a unique calling from the Lord Jesus that included writing letters to others. These letters, inspired by the Holy Spirit, are preserved as part of the New Testament’s writings today.[1]

 

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

Self-Righteousness vs Humility

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

23 “ Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law:justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! (Matthew 23:23-24 NASB)

A huge trap that Christians can fall into is self-righteousness. It is a form of idolatry and that always causes spiritual blindness (Romans 1:24-25). Self-righteousness puts all effort towards godliness in the wrong place. It creates a form of piety that is all about outward appearances while putting little or no priority on matters of the heart. It is all about being concerned about appearances and what others think rather than being totally committed to abiding in Christ from within first. The self-righteous are consciously holy. However, that is…

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