• What is the role of civil authorities in the Christian life? Question and Answer

    Romans 13:1-7

    The civil magistrate is under the sovereignty of God and is a minister of God. I can remember speaking at the inaugural prayer breakfast for a governor several years ago in the state of Florida where I said: “Today’s your ordination day. God has ordained the church. He’s also ordained the state, and all who are functioning in that role are under the authority of Christ, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” People may declare the separation of church and state, but often they mean by that the separation of the state and God. But, remember … View Resource

  • Can you deny the existence of hell and still be a Christian? Question and Answer

    I would say that a person who denies the existence of hell could certainly be a truly regenerate person. All kinds of Christians have all kinds of theological weaknesses and errors. We always have to struggle with this. So, I don’t just make the automatic assumption that somebody is not a Christian if they neglect a particular doctrine. That being said, to deny the reality of hell in any significant way certainly raises the question of whether or not a person is in the faith because it is such a central, core teaching of Scripture. Jesus taught more about hell … View Resource

  • What is imputed righteousness? Question and Answer

    Genesis 15:6

    We look to the Scriptures and see that when Paul explains the doctrine of justification, he goes back to the Old Testament to Genesis 15. There the Scriptures say of Abraham, “He believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). When Paul develops the doctrine of justification by faith alone, he is saying that when God counts somebody righteous on the basis of faith, it is not because He looks at them and sees that they are inherently righteous. Rather, they have been clothed by the imputation, or transfer, of the righteousness of Christ to that … View Resource

  • What is the doctrine of vocation? Question and Answer

    One of the key doctrines taught by Luther in the sixteenth century was the priesthood of all believers. That is an often misunderstood concept because it sounds as if Luther was saying that, with the advent of Protestantism, the idea of an ordained clergy is no longer necessary. Luther did not do away with an ordained clergy. He understood that there was a particular function established in the New Testament for what we would call full-time Christian ministry or pastoral ministry.What he was saying by the priesthood of all believers is that every believer is called to participate … View Resource

  • How should we evangelize someone who claims they aren’t elect? Question and Answer

    2 Peter 1:10

    The Bible makes it clear that we are required to make our election and calling sure (2 Pet. 1:10). We can have the assurance of being elect. But if I am not yet a believer, that doesn’t mean I will not be tomorrow, or the next day, or even on my deathbed. So I cannot possibly know in this world that I’m not elect. From a practical sense, I assume that every person I ever meet is elect even though I know it’s extremely unlikely that they would all be elect. My working assumption in evangelism and outreach is to … View Resource

  • How can ministers ensure they’re preaching the whole counsel of God? Question and Answer

    I would say one of the most important things you can do as a minister of the gospel is, when you preach, preach through books of the Bible so that you’re not beating your own drum. That way you deal with the whole counsel of God as it is set forth on page after page after page. You discipline yourself to address whatever the text teaches. And it isn’t going to be very long when you’re preaching through any book of the Bible that you’re going to have to deal with those issues that touch on the whole counsel of … View Resource

  • Is evangelism more difficult in a society where truth is considered relative? Question and Answer

    People embrace relativism. That’s the bad news. You notice the book that went to the top of the charts several years ago from a professor at Cornell, even though nobody expected it to—The Closing of the American Mind. He said that 95% of students entering college had already embraced relativism, and by the time they graduated from college and had higher education, it was up to 98%. That was the bad news. The good news is that nobody is a relativist—not consistently. You can’t survive as a relativist for twenty-four hours unless you’re in a padded cell somewhere and under … View Resource

  • What is the biggest issue we face in the church today? Question and Answer

    I think the biggest problem we face in the church today is a very, very serious failure to understand the person and work of Jesus. Christology has been the single most important thing throughout the ages. The great eras of controversy in matters of understanding Jesus were the fourth century, the fifth century, the nineteenth century, and the twentieth century. Here we are, early in the twenty-first century, and the issues that came up in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries about the deity of Christ, His atoning work, and all that He has accomplished didn’t go away when Y2K took … View Resource

  • Can a person be 100% sure of his or her salvation? Question and Answer

    When you talk about “100% sure,” you are asking me if I think something is the case. And I could answer that question in a multitude of different ways. I can say to you, “No.” I could say, “I don’t think so.” I could say, “Absolutely not.” Or I could say, “Yes, maybe,” “I hope so,” or, “I think so.” Or, I can say, “Absolutely certainly.” Those responses indicate various degrees of certainty that are associated with a particular question. And when you ask me the question, “Can a person be 100% sure of their salvation?” I don’t know how … View Resource

  • Were the Old Testament saints indwelt by the Holy Spirit? Question and Answer

    Numbers 11:29

    We distinguish among various different works attributed to the Third Person of the Trinity. For example, regeneration is so vitally important, and the Holy Spirit is the One who changes the disposition of our hearts. Anyone who was a believer in the Old Testament had to be regenerate before they would be a believer. So anyone who was regenerate the Old Testament experienced the work of God the Holy Spirit in changing the disposition of their soul. We also talk about ways in which the Holy Spirit filled people. The first people we read about being “filled” by the Holy … View Resource

  • What’s the difference between regeneration and conversion? Question and Answer

    The difference between regeneration and conversion is a slight difference, but it’s an important one. Regeneration is the work of God the Holy Spirit as He supernaturally and immediately changes the disposition of the soul from spiritual death to spiritual life. Conversion is a result of regeneration. When we are converted, we’re turned around and we move in a different direction. Sometimes we get confused about this, because particularly when people give their testimony, they often say, “I was born again on February the 13th, 1975,” and so on. That person is testifying to a conversion experience. They may have … View Resource

  • Should all Christians pursue missions? Question and Answer

    Matthew 28:18-20

    It is good to hear that there are young people out there pursuing missions because that’s a pursuit the Lord has placed upon the church. We all are responsible for the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20). Whether one is actually going as a missionary or contributing to that endeavor, all of us are responsible to fulfill the Great Commission because Christ is Lord. Because He is Lord, we have to do what He commands us to do. So I would encourage all Christians, not just young people, to make a priority of missions. This … View Resource

  • How important are creeds and confessions? Question and Answer

    From the very earliest time in the history of the church, the church has not only proclaimed the truth of sacred Scripture, but also dealt with distortions and radical departures from biblical truth in the appearance of multiple heresies that have threatened the church. One of the earliest creeds, thought to be the very first Christian creed, was the simple statement, “Jesus is Lord.” This came out of the context of a loyalty oath imposed by the Roman Empire. Christians were required to say publicly, “Kaiser kurios” (“Caesar is Lord”). The Christian church in the first century was quite willing … View Resource

  • Are faith and belief the same thing? Question and Answer

    We use the terms basically interchangeably, but belief can also be used simply to talk about making an intellectual assertion of a particular proposition. For example, “I believe that George Washington was the first president of the United States.” Faith goes beyond that where it involves personal trust in the truth of the Word of God. 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 Ask.Ligonier.org … View Resource

  • Is God present in hell? Question and Answer

    It is one thing to talk about God’s choosing not to be present somewhere. If He ever chose not to be present in any particular place, then He wouldn’t be inherently, infinitely, and eternally omnipresent. The problem with hell is not that God isn’t there. People often think that hell is the absence of God. Everybody who is in hell would do everything that they could to get rid of Him. They would pay any price if it was possible. The problem is that He is there, and He’s there in His judgment. This transcript is … View Resource