• Did believers in the Old Testament have a complete understanding of the Trinity? Question and Answer

    Deuteronomy 6:4

    SPROUL: I don’t think the average New Testament Christian is able to gain a complete understanding of the Trinity. I suppose that what you mean is, “Can you find the Trinity in the Old Testament?” I think you have to be careful about how you understand the Old Testament. The Old Testament, in a progressive fashion, points us to a fuller revelation that comes forth in the New Testament. I don’t think it’s foreign to the Old Testament. It’s the old statement that the New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed. THOMAS: This … View Resource

  • Since Jesus is God, who is a Spirit, how can Christ also be human? Question and Answer

    When we say that Jesus is God, we have to be very careful to qualify what we mean. We mean, when we say that Jesus is God, that Jesus has a divine nature—but He also has a human nature. Obviously, His human nature is not part of His deity; it’s a manifestation of His humanity. There are two problems that arise when we deal with the question of the Trinity and the incarnation. The classic formulation for the Trinity is this: God is one in essence, but three in person, that is, the three persons of the Godhead—the Father, the … View Resource

  • Do Christians go immediately to heaven when they die? Question and Answer

    Philippians 1:23-24

    Historically, classical Christian theology speaks of what we call the status intermedius, or the intermediate state. That has to do with where we go immediately upon death, as distinguished from our state after the final resurrection. This is what the New Testament indicates when Paul says that it was more needful for him to stay here for us, but to depart and be with Christ would be far better (Phil. 1:23–24). He indicates that, as soon as we die, our souls go immediately into the presence of Christ. In the intermediate state, however, we are disembodied souls. We won’t have … View Resource

  • Should Christians study philosophy? Question and Answer

    Colossians 2:8

    When I was a philosophy major myself as an undergraduate in college, I received all kinds of flak from my Christian friends who thought it was a leap into godlessness to busy my mind with “godless philosophy.” There was no end to the citations from the sacred Scripture saying, “Beware of godless philosophy” (Col. 2:8). But I came to the conclusion that you can’t beware of something if you’re not first aware of it.I talk about having been converted to Christ in my freshman year of college. That was the most significant event in my life. I was … View Resource

  • If “no one seeks for God,” why did Paul call his listeners to seek God? Question and Answer

    Acts 17:27

    SPROUL: In the first place, we’re talking about what we ought to do as distinguished from what we actually do. God commands us to seek after Him. God commands us to be perfect. God commands us to be obedient in all things. The assumption is that if God commands you to do something, you must have the ability to do it. This is what created the biggest theological issue in the first four centuries of Christendom—the debate between Pelagius and Augustine over the question of whether we, as fallen human beings, have the moral ability to lead perfect lives.View Resource

  • Am I really a Christian if I don’t feel any different? Question and Answer

    Romans 10:9

    I haven’t written a book like this, but I’ve often thought about writing a book called The Sensuous Christian, describing one who lives and dies by his feelings. It doesn’t matter what you feel—if you’re forgiven by Christ, that’s an objective state of affairs. If you’ve confessed your sins, God has promised to forgive you for your sins. If you confess your sins, then your sins are forgiven. It doesn’t matter how you feel. You may still feel guilty. Conversely, let’s say someone commits a crime, goes to the courtroom, and the judge asks, “How do you plead?” Then the … View Resource

  • Why should Christians study history? Question and Answer

    It’s the old maxim, whether it’s church history or other history: those who refuse to study history are doomed to repeat it. Virtually every heresy we face today is a rehash of some heresy that the church has already had to deal with in history. God has preserved His church through all the centuries, and we hope that by now we’ve learned something. Why did Luke write the book of Acts? He wrote his Gospel, but he also wrote the early history of the Christian church, which was very important for the church to understand its origins, its mission, and … View Resource

  • Do Paul’s instructions about head coverings apply today, since he appeals to creation, not culture? Question and Answer

    1 Corinthians 11:2-16

    If you read almost any commentary on 1 Corinthians, you will see that the commentators look at the life situation in which the epistle was written. They notice that, in Corinth, which was a somewhat loose city, a sign of a prostitute was to go around with an uncovered head. So, the commentators say that, in all probability, the reason why the Apostle exhorts women to cover their heads during church is because they don’t want to have that cultural scandal of appearing like prostitutes. My problem with that is this: If the Apostle gives an injunction and doesn’t give … View Resource

  • Do you think the state will soon require churches to perform same-sex weddings? Question and Answer

    THOMAS: The church is not tied to the state, so the state can’t mandate what the church does, and the state cannot mandate what the church believes. If it came to a point where the state was insisting that individual churches perform homosexual marriages, we would be much further down the line than we are right now. Is that possible? Yes, I suppose it’s possible. But at the minute, unless you’re a church that’s affiliated with the state, such as the Church of England, the Anglican Church, it’s not here yet. In the Anglican Church, Parliament would dictate the rules … View Resource

  • What is the difference between sin, transgression, and iniquity? Question and Answer

    FERGUSON: Sin, transgression, and iniquity are different words in the Old Testament. Most of us are familiar with the Greek term hamartia, meaning “sin,” which conveys the idea of falling short of the mark. We are made for the glory of God, but sin causes us to fall short of the mark. Transgression has the very basic idea of crossing the line. God has given us His law, and we cross the line. Iniquity has the sense in Psalm 51, for example, of “twistedness.” There is a twistedness in us as a consequence of this. All of these words are … View Resource

  • How do scholars estimate when each book of the Bible was written? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: There are different methods. The main method is through external sources, by looking at what the ancient extra-biblical writers would quote. For example, if a text of Scripture was quoted by Eusebius, and you know when Eusebius lived, then that helps to date the book. You also do this by looking at internal references and first-century history to see where the weight of the evidence falls. Of course, this becomes a matter of huge controversy with higher criticism. The higher critics have, for the most part, forced the majority of the New Testament writers into the second century, although … View Resource

  • How should we respond to the hyper-grace movement? Question and Answer

    Romans 6:1-2

    If we’re talking about “hyper-grace” in terms of grace covering everything, there are those in that movement who are basically antinomian. That is, they believe that once we experience grace, we’re no longer under the law in any sense, even in the instructive sense. A person is saved by grace, not by law, and we understand that. Nevertheless, there is the old question that Paul writes, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” And his answer is, “God forbid!” (Rom. 6:1–2). Some people want to make it sound like once you have experienced grace, then basically you can … View Resource

  • What are the essential ingredients of a true church? Question and Answer

    Acts 2:42

    SPROUL: In the sixteenth century, with the rupture of unity in the ecclesiastical situation, there was a huge debate about what makes a valid church because there was such a proliferation of different denominations and so on. The essential ingredients were a place where the gospel is truly preached, the sacraments are rightly administered, and where there is true discipline and government within the church. That’s where you begin. You want to make sure that the gospel is truly being preached. A church that is not preaching the gospel is not a good church—it’s an apostate one. If the sacraments … View Resource

  • Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: One way you could look at it is to say that there is only one God—Yahweh. So, you could say that every form of pagan worship is a worship of the one true God, though a distorted, corrupted style of worship that goes back to the question of idolatry. If you mean to ask whether the content of the theology of Islam with respect to the nature and being of God is the same as you find in the Christian understanding of the being and character of God, I would say that there’s very little resemblance between the two. … View Resource

  • Did King Saul really talk to the spirit of Samuel, or was it a demonic impersonation? Question and Answer

    1 Samuel 28

    The question presupposes that there are only two options—that he was talking to the real Samuel or to a demon. We don’t know the answer to that question. All we know clearly from Scripture is that what Saul was doing was absolutely forbidden by God because it was an example of the act of necromancy, of trying to communicate with the dead. It is not clear whether the witch of En-dor was a magician like some people who do séances today and imitate the voices and figures of those who have passed on, whether it was a demon doing a … View Resource