• Is eternal punishment in hell fair? Question and Answer

    The concept of eternal damnation is postulated on the basis that the crime that is committed by transitory human creatures is a crime against One who is infinite in His perfection. In fact, I’m saying that there is almost an ontological, cosmic impossibility for justice ever to prevail, even in hell. Because eternity is not long enough to satisfy the heinousness of the crime that I have committed against my Creator and against my God who is infinitely perfect in every way. And so my guilt remains eternal. So again, it’s not enough. That’s the big problem: how can an … View Resource

  • How do you define a false teacher? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: When is a false teacher a false teacher? It’s when he teaches falsehood. MOHLER: Amen. I would just add that I think there is in the New Testament a clear reservation of that title not just for one who teaches falsely but for one who is uncorrectable and who resists correction. Apollos was a false teacher. But when he was taught how to preach a better way, how to be more faithful to Scripture, he was corrected (Acts 18:24-28). So there’s a difference between a false teaching and a false teacher. Because just about any preacher, especially one who … View Resource

  • What do we say to a mother who has lost her child in infancy when she asks, “Is my child in heaven?” Question and Answer

    2 Samuel 12:23-24

    GODFREY: The Canons of Dort, First Head of Doctrine, Article 17, say that godly parents may believe without doubt that their children dying in infancy are elect and saved. And I think that’s true. DEYOUNG: That is exactly what I was going to say. Everyone up here has faced that question, and pastors can’t avoid that question. It’s not something that the Bible deals with as head-on as we might like. But I’ve always found that 2 Samuel is probably the best case, where David’s child is killed because of the sin with Bathsheba, and he prays. Then he changes … View Resource

  • What is the gospel? Question and Answer

    2 Corinthians 15:3-4

    SPROUL: When I would teach in the doctor of ministry program and I’d have the clergy in there, I would ask them to define the gospel. And if I got ten percent of them to give an adequate answer to it, I would be happy. Because that word is thrown around so much it has died the death of a thousand qualifications. In New Testament terms, the gospel is the proclamation of the person and work of Jesus Christ plus how the benefits of that work can be appropriated to us by faith and by faith alone. So the gospel … View Resource

  • What parts of the law are still relevant to us today? Question and Answer

    Exodus 20

    We make distinctions among the ceremonial law, the dietary law, the civil law, and the moral law. To the Jew, every law commanded by God in the Old Testament was moral in the sense that it had moral significance to it. It is a useful distinction to distinguish the moral law from the ceremonial law, because we know that the ceremonial law has been fulfilled in the perfect work of Christ. And we know that the dietary laws have been set apart. They had a historical significance that differs from the moral law of the Old Testament. We make a … View Resource

  • How can I be assured that I am among the chosen? Question and Answer

    Acts 16:31

    HAMILTON: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. SPROUL: Now the problem is complicated because we have four kinds of people: people who aren’t saved and know that they aren’t saved, people who aren’t saved and don’t know that they aren’t saved, people who are saved and know that they are saved, and people who are unsaved who know that they are saved. That’s where the problem comes in, because you have all kinds of people who have an assurance of salvation illegitimately. Because they don’t understand what salvation requires. Maybe somebody taught them if you raise your hand in an … View Resource

  • What did the Lord do in your life to help you embrace your calling as a battlefield theologian? Question and Answer

    Mainly it was the influence of my studies in seminary as a young man and looking at what God did in the Reformation of the sixteenth century. The magisterial Reformers were world-class academicians, people like Luther and Calvin and so on. But they understood that if you’re going to have reformation you have to take your case to the people. And that’s what I meant by being a battlefield theologian rather than an ivory tower theologian—that you’ve got to make your case before the people and communicate to the people. John Piper said it somewhat like this: Not only must … View Resource

  • Are there distinctions of sin in hell? Question and Answer

    2 Corinthians 5:10

    SPROUL: I think the New Testament makes it clear. There are at least twenty-five references in the New Testament that speak of the various degrees of punishment and/or reward in heaven relative to the degrees of sinfulness of sin. Even though all sin is sin, there is still a clear distinction in the New Testament between those sins that are covered, the multitude of sins that love covers—the Roman Catholic distinction between “mortal” and “venial” is not something that we would hold, but it’s a distinction that we would agree with in part, that at least there is a difference … View Resource

  • Does the Bible preclude the existence of life elsewhere in the universe? Question and Answer

    MOHLER: The answer is no; that’s speculative. What it does make very clear is that the entire cosmos was created for the drama of redemption, as Calvin said. The cosmos is a theater of God’s redemption, of what would take place in here in order to save sinful humanity. We have no reason to believe there is any other story out there. There is nothing in Scripture that says there can’t be some form of life somewhere. But what we are told is that the cosmos was created in order that on this planet Jesus Christ, in space and time … View Resource

  • With the rise of seeker-sensitive churches, how do we understand biblically “seeking” God? Question and Answer

    Romans 3:10-12

    SPROUL: In Acts 17, Paul at the Areopagus quotes some of the pagan poets and talks about people groping after God. They have the statue to the unknown god, and in one sense they’re seeking Him. In the other sense, speaking didactically, the apostle spells out specifically what the natural human condition is. Quoting the psalm and adding to the fullness of it, the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that no one—that’s a universal negative—no one in their natural state seeks after God (Rom. 3:10-12). Thomas Aquinas had to answer this question centuries ago: “Why is it that people … View Resource

  • What does it mean when we confess that Jesus has a reasonable soul? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: When we say that Jesus has a reasonable soul, we simply mean that touching His human nature, He is a duality. He is body and soul, as all human beings are, and that soul is rational. In that sense, the term “soul” is virtually interchangeable with the word “mind,” and God has created us in His image. God Himself is a rational being, and God has planted within the soul or mind of every creature that He has made in His image the capacity for reasonable discourse and thinking. I know we live in a time that is one … View Resource

  • Is it biblical to say God “loves you” to believers and nonbelievers alike? Question and Answer

    Matthew 5:45

    Historically and theologically, we distinguish among three types of divine love. There is God’s love of benevolence, where God has a kind spirit to the whole world. His benevolent will and love fall on everybody. There is also the sense in which the love of God is defined in terms of God’s love of beneficence, which refers not just simply to His attitude toward the world, but how He displays that goodness universally. “The rain falls upon the just as well as on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). So that universal dimension of the love of God is manifest. When we’re … View Resource

  • In Acts 16 Paul encourages Timothy to be circumcised, then later condemns it. Was he being hypocritical? Question and Answer

    Galatians 5:1-6

    I don’t think the apostle was being hypocritical at all. This is a very interesting historical situation that the New Testament records for us. It does say that Paul circumcised Timothy and then refused to circumcise Titus, and this became a major controversy in the early church. Paul’s reasoning behind it, I think, can be ferreted out through a study of Galatians, Corinthians, and Romans. He talks about his concern for ethics and says that there are certain things God prohibits and certain things he commands. Then there are those things that are basically neutral in the ethical sense—those things … View Resource

  • What does the Apostles’ Creed mean when it says that Jesus descended into hell? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:43

    The Apostles’ Creed is used as an integral form of worship in many Christian bodies. One of the more puzzling statements in that creed is: [Jesus] descended into hell. First of all, we have to look at the creed from a historical perspective. We know that the Apostles’ Creed was not written by the apostles, but it’s called the Apostles’ Creed because it was the early Christian community’s attempt to give a summary of apostolic teaching. This, like other creeds in the church’s history, was partly a response to distorted teachings that were present in some communities; it was statement … View Resource

  • What is the biblical basis for human dignity? Question and Answer

    As a Christian I do not believe that human beings have intrinsic dignity. I am totally committed to the idea that human beings have dignity, but the question is, is it intrinsic or extrinsic? Dignity, by biblical definition, is tied to the biblical concept of glory. God’s glory, His weightiness, His importance, His significance, is what the Bible uses to describe the fountainhead of all dignity. And only God has eternal value and intrinsic (that is, in and of Himself) significance. I am a creature—I come from the dust. The dust isn’t all that significant, but I become significant when … View Resource