• Why did God rest after the six days of creation? Question and Answer

    Genesis 2:1-3

    I don’t know, ultimately, the answer to that. But what I do see in that account is this: after the six days of creation, God rested on the seventh day and hallowed it. This says to me that the ultimate purpose of creation is holiness. We tend to focus our attention on the sixth day, on the creation of human beings. That’s the penultimate purpose. The ultimate purpose is that everything He creates in the first six days will redound to His honor, His glory, and the communion of His holiness. This transcript is from an … View Resource

  • What would you say in response to the doctrine of baptismal regeneration? Question and Answer

    Romans 2:28-29

    I would say, first of all, that I’m not at all an advocate of baptismal regeneration. I don’t think that baptism conveys regeneration either for infants or for adults. Regeneration is a sovereign work of God the Holy Spirit. Now, baptism is a sign of regeneration, but that doesn’t mean the sign is conveyed automatically by the sacrament itself. As a Protestant, I believe that the sacraments are effective by and through faith. In the operation of baptism, God makes a promise to His people and to their seed. If they come to faith (and that would presume they were … View Resource

  • Is all Scripture equally applicable? Question and Answer

    2 Timothy 3:16

    I would agree that all Scripture is equally inspired. I don’t believe that it’s all equally clear. There are some parts of Scripture that are much more difficult to understand than others. I’ll go to the brink of heresy for a second to make a point: it’s not all equally important. Now, Jesus never spoke a desultory word, and everything that God reveals is important. But it’s not all equally important. When He reveals to us that Mary and Joseph went up to Bethlehem, that’s important so we know that it fulfilled prophecy and all the rest. But that’s not … View Resource

  • Does “semper reformanda” mean that the church should always be changing? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: Unfortunately, every heretic appeals to that mantra, semper reformanda, “always reforming.” We mistake novelty with reformation. The point of that motto initially was that, in the sixteenth century, not all of the errors in the church were reformed. Not all of the dirty linen was cleansed. There was still a lot of work left to do. And there’s always a lot of work left to do. But “always reforming” does not mean “always changing.” There are those today who say that the Reformation was a tempest in a teapot, or that it was all a misunderstanding, or that it … View Resource

  • How should we respond to those who say that the Reformation no longer matters? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: One noted British theologian has made the comment in print that the issues of the sixteenth century aren’t the issues anymore today, that all of a sudden the division has been healed, that Rome doesn’t teach indulgences anymore, and that it doesn’t have a treasury merit anymore. What are they thinking? What are they reading? Read the Catholic Catechism of the 1990s and see whether there’s any treasury of merit, indulgences, and the rest. If anything, the issues are greater today, partly because of the impact of nineteenth-century liberal Protestantism. If anything has moved the gospel back in the … View Resource

  • How can I obtain eternal life? Question and Answer

    2 Corinthians 5:21

    SPROUL: The obtaining of eternal life is simple: we put our trust in Christ and in Christ alone for our salvation. Everyone who puts their trust in Christ alone, as the Bible promises, as Jesus promises, has life eternal (John 3:16). There’s no other way to get it except by faith alone. It’s not by our works (Eph. 2:8–9). We can’t merit it. We can’t earn it. We can’t deserve it. We put our trust in Christ, who alone is worthy of the gift of eternal life.In the book of Genesis when Adam and Eve were created, they … View Resource

  • How do we share the truth without being argumentative? Question and Answer

    Ephesians 4:15

    It’s hard not to be argumentative or offensive because, when you disagree with anybody, the tendency is for people to be offended. When you talk about being argumentative, that is a negative description of things. But giving solid biblical arguments is what we are called to do. Now, to make a sound argument to support the truth claims of a position is not necessarily to be argumentative. Argumentativism describes a hostile, mean spirit. So, one doesn’t have to be argumentative to make sound arguments, and I would encourage people to make clear and biblical arguments for the truth. … View Resource

  • 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