• How many days was Jesus in the grave—two or three? Question and Answer

    According to the New Testament, Jesus died on Friday and rose on Sunday, so he was not in the grave three full days. That manner of reckoning was typical among the Jews of the first century, and there’s no real, serious difficulty there. Some have also argued, using a different calendar, that Jesus actually was crucified on Thursday and rose on Sunday. 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 … View Resource

  • What does it mean that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38)? Question and Answer

    Acts 2:38

    SPROUL: Baptism is a sign, and it signifies the forgiveness of sins. I don’t think that it automatically carries forgiveness of sins with it, but it’s a central sign of what our salvation is. We’re being washed with water, and the significance of that sign is cleansing, specifically cleansing from sin. There is a dispute about the efficacy of the sacrament; namely whether it happens ex opere operato, which is simply by the exercise of the sacrament, or whether it needs to be accompanied by faith for its efficacy. I would take the latter position. THOMAS: It’s important to emphasize … View Resource

  • If we do not witness and share the gospel will some people not go to heaven? Question and Answer

    Romans 10:14-15

    I had a conversation with the leader of one of the world’s largest evangelistic organizations a few years ago. There had been a dispute in the church, and we were meeting to try to solve the problem. We were able to resolve the problem, and this man leaned over to me and said, “If we hadn’t had this meeting tonight, millions of people would’ve been lost.” And I responded, “If we wouldn’t have had this meeting tonight, not one person would’ve been lost,” because when God, from all eternity, elects somebody to salvation, you can bet the last dollar you … View Resource

  • Is it acceptable to interpret Adam as an allegory, not a historical person? Question and Answer

    Genesis 1-3

    SPROUL: This issue is really becoming hot in our day, and it’s critical. It’s critical not only for the teachings of Genesis, but for the teachings of the Apostle Paul and of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you negotiate Adam’s headship of the human race and try to mix it up with theistic evolution, you’re on a roller coaster without any brakes. MACARTHUR: The question I always ask about this is: Where in the Bible did you come to that conclusion? Where is that in Scripture? That’s not in Genesis. The next question would be, Do you believe the account … View Resource

  • What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the resurrection”? Question and Answer

    John 11:25

    It means that He, in His resurrection, is the firstborn of many brethren (Rom. 8:29). It means that the power of the resurrection is found in Him. He says, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), and then in the Book of Revelation He appears and says, “I am the one who was dead and now I’m alive” (Rev. 1:18). It means that He communicates the power of resurrected life to all of those who are His, and because He rose from the dead, we will as well (1 Cor. 15:20). This transcript is … View Resource

  • Since Jesus took our punishment, why didn’t He need to go to hell forever? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: That’s a question that has been raised many times in church history because the punishment for sin is eternal damnation, and even that’s not adequate. Our rebellion is against God, who is of infinite worth and value, so that our sin is of an infinite variety. Even if we suffer eternity in hell, that can’t really justly fulfill the measure of punishment that is our due. Obviously, Jesus did not spend eternity in hell. The argument that has been given and advanced throughout church history is that Jesus’ atonement was of infinite value. Being of infinite value, it could … View Resource

  • How should we interpret promises in the Psalms that no harm will strike us? Question and Answer

    Psalms 91

    Some of those promises are reiterations of promises that the Lord made to David, which are not necessarily indicative of universal promises that apply to all Christians. First of all, they’re poetic. The Psalms belong to that body of literature in the Old Testament called Wisdom Literature. Wisdom Literature, in the Proverbs, for example, says things like, “Don’t answer a fool according to his folly” (Prov. 26:4), and then the next verse says, “Answer a fool according to his folly” (Prov. 26:5). How in the world do you square that? It’s like in our own proverbial adages that we have, … View Resource

  • Is God disappointed in our mistakes or disobedience? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: My skin crawls when I hear sin described as “a mistake.” That language we’ve been taught to use is the politically-correct language of our day: “I made a mistake.” You make a mistake when you add two and two and come up with five. There are moral implications of that because of the noetic effects of sin, but a mistake does not carry the full, moral weight of a willful act of disobedience against a holy, perfect, and righteous God. We grieve the Holy Spirit, even in our redeemed state, by our sins. I don’t think the Lord is … View Resource

  • Are you hopeful for another spiritual awakening in our day? Question and Answer

    SPROUL: I’m a Calvinist—how can I not be hopeful? I see all kinds of encouraging signs of the revitalization of the church in our own day. At the same time, on the other side of the spectrum, we see dreadful decay in the life of the church. There are so many things being eclipsed that are vital to the truth of Christianity, but you have to have a scope beyond the United States. Worldwide, I see all kinds of resurgence of powerful Christianity, and I’m encouraged by it. THOMAS: I have just read a brand new biography of Luther, and … View Resource

  • May Christians vote for a presidential candidate who denies the Trinity? Question and Answer

    Proverbs 14:34

    SPROUL: If I required real belief in the triune God for the president of a secular state, I really would be disenfranchised. I wouldn’t be able to vote, period. It’s very rare to have an authentic Christian up for election in this secular state. There have been times in the past where I’ve seen believing Christians run against pagans for the highest office in the land, but the pagan’s policies have been more in keeping with biblical policies of government than the Christian’s. So, I look at whether the policies of the candidate are essentially compatible with the fundamental precepts … View Resource

  • How has your book Surprised by Suffering helped you to face your own health challenges? Question and Answer

    Psalms 23

    There are lots of people who’ve suffered a whole lot more than I have in the last year, but I have had some serious health issues in the last year. I have been reminded frequently of my own work in that book Surprised by Suffering, and I go back to my own advice that I gave to others and give it to myself. On a practical level, one of my favorite daily experiences is to pray the 23rd Psalm because I have to remember who I am, who God is, that He is my Shepherd, and therefore there’s no reason … View Resource

  • Does the doctrine of total depravity teach that we have lost the image of God? Question and Answer

    Total depravity teaches that the fallenness of our condition affects the radix, the core of our being. It’s a radical thing. There is no part of our humanity that has not been profoundly affected by the fall and by sin. The mind, the heart, the will, the body—the whole person, in totality, has been radically affected by sin. But that affectation does not destroy or annihilate the image of God. In Noah’s time, God instituted capital punishment for first-degree murder because the person who murders another human being does so to a human being who is made in the image … View Resource

  • Are we living in the end times described in the book of Revelation? Question and Answer

    Matthew 24:34

    Yes and no. Lest you think I’ve fallen into neo-orthodoxy and paradoxical theology, let me explain. In one sense, everything that takes place after the ascension of Christ takes place in the end times. The end times started in the New Testament. We’re still in the end times. Now, I presume you’re asking whether we are at the end of the end times so that we are coming close to the return of Jesus as it was set forth in the book of Revelation. One of the big questions in understanding and interpreting the book of Revelation is tied to … View Resource

  • How can we defend the doctrine of sola Scriptura using Scripture? Question and Answer

    John 7:16

    So often it’s been said that if you argue from the Bible to the infallibility of Scripture, or the inerrancy of the Bible, or the inspiration of Scripture, then you’re caught in the bonds of a vicious circle. We know that circular reasoning is an informal fallacy, which invalidates an argument. If you reason from Scripture this way and say, “The Bible claims to be the Word of God since it is the Word of God,” then the claim that it is the Word of God must be an unassailable truth. That would be traveling in the worst of all … View Resource

  • What does it mean that “by His wounds we are healed”? Question and Answer

    Isaiah 53

    Whether healing is in the atonement is clear in terms of Isaiah 53: it is. But when that healing takes place is a matter of great debate. There are many people who claim this passage to mean that because the atonement has already been rendered by Christ and He’s offered that healing, then we should not, as Christians, ever suffer any kind of affliction or sickness. That is on a collision course with everything the New Testament teaches about the suffering of the saints in this life, concerning both disease and affliction, prior to glory. When we get to glory, … View Resource