• Why would a loving and holy God allow a child to suffer through a serious illness such as cancer? Question and Answer

    We usually associate the love of God with the benefits we receive from Him and the blessings that come from His kind and merciful hand. Because His love usually manifests itself in good things that happen to us, we sometimes fall back in shock and consternation when we see a child struck by disease or some other trauma. Before we speak to the question of why God allows children to suffer, we need to ask the bigger question: Why does God allow suffering to happen to any person, whether he’s two years old, two months old, or twenty years old? … View Resource

  • How should Christian values impact business ethics in the office? Question and Answer

    I remember having a discussion a few years ago in the boardroom of one of the Fortune 500 corporations here in the United States. I was speaking to the chairman of the board, the president, and several vice presidents of this corporation on the issue of the relationship between theology, philosophy, and ethics. At the end of the discussion the chairman of the board looked at me and said, “Do I understand you to be saying that ethical issues—that is, policies that we have in our business organization—touch the whole question of ethics, and in turn those ethics touch the … View Resource

  • Does God frown upon interracial marriages? Question and Answer

    Numbers 12:1-9

    Some people insist that the Bible meant for the races to remain pure, therefore prohibiting any kind of interracial marriage. Usually two biblical texts are drawn upon to support that view. One is the fact that Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. As you recall, Shem received a patriarchal blessing, and an enlargement of that was given to Japheth. Ham, because he looked upon his father’s nakedness, was cursed. “Cursed be Canaan” was the malediction that Noah pronounced on Ham and his descendants. Some have neatly contrived from the three sons of Noah, three survivors of the flood, … View Resource

  • What is the significance of baptism? Question and Answer

    Just as an aside, the word significance has as its root the word sign. A sign is something that points to something beyond itself. We all recognize that whatever baptism signifies, Jesus obviously thought it was very important because he gives a command to baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whatever else it is, baptism is the sign of the new covenant that God makes with his people. We do have the clear mandate in the New Testament that Christians are to be baptized. I personally do not believe that baptism … View Resource

  • Are those who have never heard of Christ going to hell? Question and Answer

    Romans 1:18-23

    That’s one of the most emotionally laden questions that a Christian can ever be asked. Nothing is more terrifying or more awful to contemplate than that any human being would go to hell. On the surface, when we ask a question like that, what’s lurking there is, “How could God ever possibly send some person to hell who never even had the opportunity to hear of the Savior? It just doesn’t seem right.” I would say the most important section of Scripture to study with respect to that question is the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. The … View Resource

  • When a person dies, where does his or her spirit and body go until the Second Coming? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:43

    Throughout its history, the church has struggled with the concept of what is called the “intermediate state”—our position between the time we die and the time Christ consummates his kingdom and fulfills the promises that we confess in the Apostles’ Creed. We believe in the resurrection of the body. We believe there will be a time when God reunites our soul and our body, and that we will have a glorified body even as Christ came out of the tomb as the “firstborn from the dead.” In the meantime, what happens? The most common view has been that, at death, … View Resource

  • Has Satan been given dominion over the earth until Jesus returns? If so, why was he given this authority? Question and Answer

    There’s only one supreme Lord over all the world, and that’s God. We are told in the Old Testament that this whole concept of dominion was shared with Adam and Eve. Man was given dominion over the earth to be vice-regents for God, that is, vice kings to represent God’s reign on this planet. Of course, we made a terrible mess out of it, and we were subjected more and more to the power of Satan. That power of Satan was dealt not just a significant blow but a fatal blow by Christ in his incarnation. We’re told, first of … View Resource

  • When Jesus says, “Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,” does that mean we can attain perfection, and should we? Question and Answer

    There are a couple of things we need to understand about this statement. In the first place, the word that is translated “perfect” literally means “be complete.” So often, the New Testament and the Old Testament will describe people as being upright and righteous—not in the sense that they have achieved total moral perfection, but rather that they have reached a singular level of maturity in their growth in terms of spiritual integrity. However, in this statement, it’s certainly legitimate to translate it using the English word perfect. For example, “Be ye complete as your heavenly Father is complete.” Now … View Resource

  • In Numbers 14 it appears that Moses changed the mind of God. How can you explain this? Question and Answer

    Numbers 14:20

    “To change one’s mind,” in the New Testament, means to repent. When the Bible speaks of my repenting or your repenting, it means that we are called to change our minds or our dispositions with respect to sin—that we are to turn away from evil. Repent is loaded with these kinds of connotations, and when we talk about God’s repenting, it somehow suggests that God has to turn away from doing something wicked. But that’s not what is always meant when the Bible uses this word. Using the word repentance with respect to God raises some problems for us. When … View Resource

  • How does one convince a nonbeliever that the Bible is the Word of God? Question and Answer

    Before I try to answer that question directly, let me make a distinction that is important at the outset. There’s a difference between objective proof and the persuasion or conviction that follows. John Calvin argued that the Bible carries both persuasion and conviction in terms of its internal testimony—the marks of truth that could be found just by an examination of the book itself—as well as external evidences that would corroborate that substantial evidence to give solid proof for its being the Word of God. Yet the last thing people would want is a book telling them they are in … View Resource

  • Can you repent at the moment of death and still have the same salvation as someone who’s been a Christian for many years? Question and Answer

    Luke 23:42-43

    That’s a tricky question, but I think it’s a fascinating one and certainly one that many people are concerned about. We talk about foxhole faith, when people cry out in desperate moments of crisis or postpone to their deathbed the moment of committing their lives to Christ. Some people say that it doesn’t make sense for somebody who has been a Christian all their life to be in the same state as somebody who did as they pleased all their life and waited until the last second to get their accounts square with God. There’s a parable in the New … View Resource

  • How were the books of the Bible selected and compiled, and how were the decisions made as to what would be distributed as the Word of God? Question and Answer

    Even though we think of the Bible as being one book, it’s actually a collection of sixty-six books, and we realize that there was a historical process by which those particular books were gathered together and placed in one volume that we now know as the Bible. In fact, we call the Bible the canon of sacred Scripture. Canon is taken from the Greek word canon, which means “measuring rod.” That means it is the standard of truth by which all other truth is to be judged in the Christian life. There have been many different theories set forth over … View Resource

  • Is there a difference between being baptized with the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit? Question and Answer

    At times when we read the New Testament record of those who are baptized in the Spirit or filled with the Spirit, it seems that these terms are used interchangeably, that they refer to the same phenomenon. At other times there’s a little distinction that is not altogether clear in the text. Sometimes it seems that to discern the difference requires a knife sharper than the one I own. Let’s just go back and ask this question: What does the Bible mean by the term “baptized in the Holy Spirit”? In the New Testament there’s a distinction between being born … View Resource

  • Scripture says that Christ stated the unforgivable sin as being blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Can you expand on that, and how should I pray for someone committing that sin? Question and Answer

    Mark 3:28-29

    There’s a lot of confusion over the sin that Jesus says cannot be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come. Some people think that the unforgivable sin is murder because the Old Testament gives us such strong sanctions against murder and says that if a person has committed murder, even if he repents, he is still to be executed. Others believe that it’s adultery because adultery violates the union of two people. As gross as these sins may be, I don’t think they fit the description here because we see that King David, for example, who … View Resource

  • Did Jesus ever laugh? What do the Scriptures tell us about his character and sense of humor? Question and Answer

    I’ve heard some people answer this question in the negative by saying that laughter is always a sign of frivolity and a thinly veiled attempt to make light of things that are sober. They say life is a sober matter; Jesus is described as a man of sorrows. He’s described as one who was acquainted with grief. He walked around with enormous burdens upon him. Add to that the fact that there’s not a single text in the New Testament that explicitly says Jesus laughed. There are texts, of course, that tell us he cried. For example, John 13 tells … View Resource