• What does it mean to be “called” in the New Testament? Question and Answer

    Romans 8:30

    The New Testament uses the word “to call” in more than one way. We can distinguish among three different ways in which we speak of divine calling. There is the idea of “a calling” we have that is a vocation, where God calls us to a particular task, or a particular ministry, or a particular career. We call that a vocation, which is simply the word for “to call.” We also talk about the distinction between the outward call, or the external call of God, and the internal call of God. The outward, external call is that which is proclaimed … View Resource

  • When God created the world, did He know it would be corrupted by sin? Question and Answer

    Not only did He know it, but He ordained it. God, in His infinite wisdom and His sovereignty, that is, His absolute authority over all things, wills everything that comes to pass in history. He doesn’t do it in a way that turns us into puppets or violates our freedom; nevertheless, it is His counsel and His good pleasure that there would be a fall. God didn’t force Adam and Eve to sin, but from all eternity He knew it, He ordained it, and it was part of His glorious plan of redemption. As hard as it is to imagine, … View Resource

  • Is there evidence of Adam and Eve’s repentance and faith after the fall? Question and Answer

    Obviously, Adam and Eve experienced a profound sense of guilt and shame, which Scripture teaches. Even though they fled from God and hid from God, two things stand out in that narrative. One, the first act of redemption recorded in sacred Scripture was when God condescended to make garments to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. If you look at that whole concept of nakedness from Adam and Eve to Noah and through the whole of sacred Scripture, you will see the motif over and over again that salvation is communicated through the metaphor of covering. On the Day … View Resource

  • What is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? Question and Answer

    Matthew 12:31-32

    THOMAS: Interestingly enough, we talked a little bit about this today in a course that I was teaching here for Ligonier. We talked about the change of view that has taken place since the Puritan period in the seventeenth century. At that time, the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was a definite sin. It was a definite, existential moment in a person’s life when they said “No” to the gospel or “No” to the work of the Holy Spirit. I was pointing out that Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I think in Preaching and Preachers, said that this was what troubled his congregation … View Resource

  • Should fear play a role in our evangelism? Question and Answer

    My mentor, who was an expert on the theology of Jonathan Edwards, once wrote a little chapter in a book called “Justifying a Scare Theology.” Of course, if anybody was the master of scaring people with his theology, it was Jonathan Edwards. Edwards’ sermons on hell would curl your hair. When he gave his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” people actually passed out in the church while they were listening to this terrifying description of God’s judgment. Let me answer this from a biblical perspective. The warnings that accompanied the preaching of Christ and the … View Resource

  • Should we cast lots today to help us make decisions? Question and Answer

    I would say no, because we are not under the direct prescription of God to cast lots as a way of discerning His will. There were strict controls on the way in which that was handled in the priesthood, with the urim and the thummim and that sort of thing in the Old Testament. The same is true of the casting of lots under the direction of the Holy Spirit for the replacement of an Apostle in the book of Acts. We do not have a principle set forth in Scripture that commands—or even suggests—that we do that sort of … View Resource

  • Does the incarnation mean that God has changed in space and time from that point on? If not, why and how do we respond to the question? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: The first part is very easy—He certainly does not change. In His being, He is immutable. In the incarnation, He took upon Himself a human nature. He didn’t stop being God and become a human being. To affirm He did is to fall into the old kenotic heresy that was popular in the nineteenth century, which taught that God gave up certain attributes in order to become incarnate. You hear this kind of thing among evangelicals all the time: “God, in order to understand what sin and suffering are, had to become a man and change His nature to … View Resource

  • What would you say to a Christian who rejects the inerrancy of Scripture? Question and Answer

    I think there are lots of people who are Christians who don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. I think they should. I think they’ve been misinformed. They may retain the essence of the Christian faith, but they don’t have the bene esse, or the well-being, of the Christian church. There is a serious shortfall in the lives of those who fail to come to grips with the absolute authority of the Word of God. When you negotiate inerrancy, you set yourself at sea and are subject to the winds of every doctrine, being blown to and fro. Inerrancy is … View Resource

  • How many days was Jesus in the grave—two or three? Question and Answer

    According to the New Testament, Jesus died on Friday and rose on Sunday, so he was not in the grave three full days. That manner of reckoning was typical among the Jews of the first century, and there’s no real, serious difficulty there. Some have also argued, using a different calendar, that Jesus actually was crucified on Thursday and rose on Sunday. This transcript is from an Ask R.C. Live event with R.C. Sproul and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit … View Resource

  • What does it mean that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38)? Question and Answer

    Acts 2:38

    SPROUL: Baptism is a sign, and it signifies the forgiveness of sins. I don’t think that it automatically carries forgiveness of sins with it, but it’s a central sign of what our salvation is. We’re being washed with water, and the significance of that sign is cleansing, specifically cleansing from sin. There is a dispute about the efficacy of the sacrament; namely whether it happens ex opere operato, which is simply by the exercise of the sacrament, or whether it needs to be accompanied by faith for its efficacy. I would take the latter position. THOMAS: It’s important to emphasize … View Resource

  • If we do not witness and share the gospel will some people not go to heaven? Question and Answer

    Romans 10:14-15

    I had a conversation with the leader of one of the world’s largest evangelistic organizations a few years ago. There had been a dispute in the church, and we were meeting to try to solve the problem. We were able to resolve the problem, and this man leaned over to me and said, “If we hadn’t had this meeting tonight, millions of people would’ve been lost.” And I responded, “If we wouldn’t have had this meeting tonight, not one person would’ve been lost,” because when God, from all eternity, elects somebody to salvation, you can bet the last dollar you … View Resource

  • Is it acceptable to interpret Adam as an allegory, not a historical person? Question and Answer

    Genesis 1-3

    SPROUL: This issue is really becoming hot in our day, and it’s critical. It’s critical not only for the teachings of Genesis, but for the teachings of the Apostle Paul and of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you negotiate Adam’s headship of the human race and try to mix it up with theistic evolution, you’re on a roller coaster without any brakes. MACARTHUR: The question I always ask about this is: Where in the Bible did you come to that conclusion? Where is that in Scripture? That’s not in Genesis. The next question would be, Do you believe the account … View Resource

  • What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the resurrection”? Question and Answer

    John 11:25

    It means that He, in His resurrection, is the firstborn of many brethren (Rom. 8:29). It means that the power of the resurrection is found in Him. He says, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), and then in the Book of Revelation He appears and says, “I am the one who was dead and now I’m alive” (Rev. 1:18). It means that He communicates the power of resurrected life to all of those who are His, and because He rose from the dead, we will as well (1 Cor. 15:20). This transcript is … View Resource

  • Since Jesus took our punishment, why didn’t He need to go to hell forever? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: That’s a question that has been raised many times in church history because the punishment for sin is eternal damnation, and even that’s not adequate. Our rebellion is against God, who is of infinite worth and value, so that our sin is of an infinite variety. Even if we suffer eternity in hell, that can’t really justly fulfill the measure of punishment that is our due. Obviously, Jesus did not spend eternity in hell. The argument that has been given and advanced throughout church history is that Jesus’ atonement was of infinite value. Being of infinite value, it could … View Resource

  • How should we interpret promises in the Psalms that no harm will strike us? Question and Answer

    Psalms 91

    Some of those promises are reiterations of promises that the Lord made to David, which are not necessarily indicative of universal promises that apply to all Christians. First of all, they’re poetic. The Psalms belong to that body of literature in the Old Testament called Wisdom Literature. Wisdom Literature, in the Proverbs, for example, says things like, “Don’t answer a fool according to his folly” (Prov. 26:4), and then the next verse says, “Answer a fool according to his folly” (Prov. 26:5). How in the world do you square that? It’s like in our own proverbial adages that we have, … View Resource