QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 45
Hinduism clings on the point that one does not need any Book or another Person to know God. Do you accept this view as similar to "general revelation" in Christianity?
I do not concur with the point that one does not need any Book or another Person to know God. The postulate that no book or person is required to know God presumes one of two things. (1) Either God has clearly revealed Himself independently of writing or a person, or (2) That man with his natural abilities is capable of discovering God. Neither of these views can be supported. The basic premise of revealed religion is that man has fallen, and is therefore in need of a Deliverer, or Savior. Most religions accept this premise, although the resolution to the dilemma is sought in differing, and often contradicting, ways.
To me, it is inconceivable that a person standing in need of Deity, could, on his own, discover that Deity. To me that appears to be contradictory reasoning. That men do require an interface with Deity is confirmed by their own mortality, with all of its accompaniment.
All of this has to do with knowing God, not knowing about God. It is possible to be persuaded there is a God, and that He is eternal and all powerful, from the evidence of creation and the testimony of conscience. That is, however, vastly different from knowing God. Knowing God involves an acquaintance with His thoughts and ways, or manners. Those two things must be revealed to man. They are eternal traits, and cannot be discovered by mortal capabilities.
I am not sure what you mean by "general revelation" in Christianity. If you mean knowing God exists, that is the teaching of Christianity--namely that the existence of God can be known through natural means. It is found in the first chapter of the book of Romans (1:19-32). There, the reality of God is said to be attested by the things He has made--the universe and all that is in it. This is not presented simply as a fact of interest. Rather, it confirms that man cannot grasp the truth of God through this means--a revelation is required. That revelation, we are apprized, is found in the Gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16-17).
There is also a general revelation, or tutoring, that is experienced in Christ Jesus. He personally expounds the truth that has been revealed, opening it to the hearts of believers like a flower unfolds from its blossom. That is taught in Ephesians 4:20-21 and 1 John 5:20. It is the means through which God orients the individual for spending a joyful eternity with the true and living God.
Jesus referred to Old testament scriptures as authoritative. The Gospels may be looked upon as narratives of eye witnesses, reasonably historically reliable.
Jesus referred to the Old Testament Scriptures as not only authoritative, but as an introduction to Himself. They were a preliminary revelation of the coming Savior--Himself (John 5:39-40; 1 Pet 1:10-12). The various laws and ceremonies made known in those Scriptures were not their primary purpose, but were ancillary to the main purpose of testifying of the coming Savior. The Gospels were more than eye witness accounts. They were revealed accounts, given through eye witnesses--and there is a vast difference. The Gospels were written 30-60 AFTER the events they declared had occurred. From a human point of view, that would be an absurd thing to do. Eye witness accounts have their greatest relevance when they are given closer to the witnessed event. But that is not how the Gospels were written. They were directed by the Holy Spirit, who brought the recollections to the minds of their writers, also enabling them to show the relevance of the events themselves. Before Jesus returned to heaven, and following His resurrection, He told His Apostles this is what the Spirit would do for them (John 14:26).
The Gospels were an inspired exposition of the prophecies given by Moses and the holy Prophets. Their prophecies centered in the coming Messiah, and the Gospels announced that Messiah had come, and that the writers had seen Him with their own eyes, and heard Him with their own ears. They also were given to understand the significance of those prophecies.
The reliability of the Gospels cannot be established philosophically or academically. Nor, indeed, is it our moral responsibility to establish such reliability. The proof of their authenticity is realized in at least three ways. First, faith establishes this to the heart, for faith "is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Second, the effects of this Gospel upon the individual substantiate the truth of what they declare: namely the Person and accomplishments of Jesus Christ. Third, in Christ Jesus, believers receive the Holy Spirit, who is brought into a vital association with their own spirits. That Holy Spirit teaches them to recognize the truth of God (1 John 2:20-27). This knowledge is both cognitive and intuitive, bringing a genuine understanding, and the ability to trust implicitly on the Lord Jesus Christ. These experiences cannot be confirmed in the realm of nature, as I am sure you understand.
If natural means were the Divine appointment for confirming the truth and relevance of the Gospels, faith would not be required, nor would Divine intervention.
On what basis can we say that Paul's letters are inspired or have some authority (considering the fact that Paul goes about interpreting a lot more than what Jesus says)?
Again, this is something that cannot be proved in the arenas of philosophy or semantics. The inspiration of Paul's writings is made known in His precise and lengthy delineation of the message of the Prophets, as well as the teachings of Jesus. As one studies Paul's writings, an acute sense of their nature can register upon the soul. Rather than merely giving some ideas about what the Prophets and Jesus meant, he is actually unfolding things that are already resident in the sayings expounded. He is elaborating, not interpreting--and there is a vast difference between the two.
Paul declared he was taught these things by the Lord Jesus Himself (Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 3:10; 11:23; Galatians 2:9; Ephesians 3:3,7,8). The proof of Paul's inspiration can be found in three areas. First, the harmony they have with both the Prophets and Jesus. There is no disparity between his words and theirs in any sense. Second, the Prophets and the words of Jesus become clearer through Paul's writings. This confirms they came from the same Source, and are the appointed means of enhancing spiritual life. Third, Paul's writings are confirmed by the experience of those receiving them. The various results He expounds (joy, peace, love, understanding, wisdom, confidence, righteousness, etc.) are actually experienced, leaving no question in the believer.
God has so arranged things that He cannot be discovered, understood, or experienced, through natural processes. The mind, however astute and disciplined it may be, is too small to discover or contain the truth of God. That condition is what necessitates revelation from God.
It is the responsibility of every person to search for God, and to determine to find Him. This is the appointed vocation of man. Here is how the Scriptures state the case. "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:26-27). The quest to find God will be honored by Him. He makes no appointments without honoring them. Once He is found, He will give a satisfactory resolution to the kind of questions you asked.
How do you teach someone to stop looking at porn pictures on the net or other places. Give me advice I need it my method of teaching is not working can you show me your method.
This is not something that can be taught by man. People cannot be trained not to sin, or given a commandment that will cause them to stop sinning. Someone looks at porn pictures on the net because "by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed" (James 1:14, NIV). Such a person must be told, "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don't be deceived, my dear brothers" (James 1:15-16, NIV). This is a means through which Satan lures people away from God and into hell.
The person must be challenged by the words of Scripture, which is the "sword of the Spirit." One good example is, "Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" (Col 3:1-2). It is evident the heart of a porn-watcher is not placed there. To assist him in the process, perhaps a few questions would be in order. The objective is to jar his mind out of the delusion currently gripping it. Here are a few I would ask.
1. Have you asked Jesus to look at this pornography with you?
2. Is this what you want to be found doing when you die?
3. Is this what you want to be found doing when Jesus comes?
4. Did Jesus die so you could do this?
5. How will you explain viewing pornography when you stand before the throne of God, to give an account for your deeds?
6. Can you share what you are seeing with any truly godly person you know?
7. Do you feel closer or further from God when you are doing this?
8. Do you think this gives the greater advantage to the Holy Spirit, or to the devil?
You can see the drift of these questions, and can probably think of several of your own.
One further suggestion, and it comes from the Word of God. If the individual finds himself unable to stop viewing such things, he needs to forfeit all access to the internet, and do so willingly. This is the very principle taught by Jesus. "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell" (Matt 5:29). It is stated again in Matthew 18:9). Mark gives a more lengthy account of this saying (Mark 9:43-48). In the case of a porn-watcher, his eye is offending him, and hell will be the consequence is something is not done about it.
I wonder do you have a article that handles the fact that the Old Law was not divided into ceremonial and moral -----the ten commandments and the sacrificial------the Law of God and the Law of Moses. This is what the SDA want us to believe and I know the OT uses them interchangeable because it is all God's law that was give on the Mt. but the Israelites ask Moses to let God speak to him only once the first 10 laws were given , they were so frighten of the mountain smoking and quaking and
the "voice of God" being heard.
The sacrificial laws differ from the Ten Commandments in this respect: they were a shadow of good things to come, which is developed extensively in Hebrews 8-10. Secondly, the ten commandments are expressly called "the words of the covenant" (Ex 34:28). The Ten Commandments were a code of conduct for ALL of the people. They also were given that "every mouth might be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God" (Rom 3:19). They were never intended to define righteousness.
The sacrificial system was a provision for the people in which an acquaintance with atonement and redemption were developed. It was performed by a representative of the people, whereas the ten commandments were defined sin (Rom 3:20).
There is no need to make attempt to bring the two systems together, for no such attempt is made in Scripture. Nowhere is it remotely suggested that the Ten Commandments passed with the obsolescence of the sacrificial system. Nor, indeed, is it suggested that because men are not to kill, lie, steal, etc., they are also to keep the Sabbath day. That is the conclusion of men, NOT the declaration of God. The corruption of the Seventh Day Adventists can be approached on a more direct basis.
First, neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever bound the Sabbath day on men. In fact, Jesus affirms man was NOT made for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), a statement that flies squarely in the face of SDA teaching. It cannot be proper to bind upon men something God has not bound upon them. When we consider that the majority of the New Testament Scriptures were written to Gentile believers, it is inconceivable that the Spirit would have omitted such a key thing as the compulsory observance of the Sabbath day, were it compulsory for all men. When the Gentiles were first converted, the Apostles and elders send letters of instruction to them. Their requirements were fairly simplistic: "that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well" (Acts 15:29). Not a word about the Sabbath day, which was unique to the Jews.
Second, the fourth chapter of Hebrews specifically deals with the rest of God, citing "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works" (Heb 4:4). But no place in that remarkable text does the Spirit even mention the Sabbath day. Instead He lifts us up to a higher rest--one that had a greater glory that the Sabbath of the Jews. In fact, we are told the Jews did NOT enter into that rest (4:6). We enter the rest of God, depicted by the seventh day of the creation week, when we believe (Heb 4:3). It is then that we cease from working for our salvation, appropriating what God has provided is in Christ Jesus (4:10).
Here is something the SAD on my list quoted and I am wondering if she only told part of the story? Please let me know if you have knowledge of where she got this?
"I do not believe that the Lord's day came in the room of the Jewish Sabbath, or that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day of the week...Now there is no testimony in all of the oracles of heaven that the Sabbath was changed, or that the Lord's day came in the room of it ...There is no divine testimony that the Sabbath was changed." (Alexander
Campbell, founder of the Christian Church, Washington Reporter, Oct 8, 1821)
Alexander Campbell did reason extensively about the Sabbath day, and it follows the same line of reasoning provided in the quotation you forwarded. His purpose, however, was not establish the need for keeping the Sabbath day, which he emphatically taught was not necessary. His point was that the Sabbath day was not changed from Saturday to Sunday. Rather, God established a new order of things into which the Sabbath day did not readily fit. He repeatedly referred to "the Lord's day" as the first day of the week, and declared it to be the pivotal day for believers. His writings are found in the multi-volume set of The Millennial Harbinger. From the beginning of his ministry to its close, he never once advocated the keeping of the Sabbath day -- nor did Jesus, Matthew, Mark Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, or Jude.
You do not have to prove the Sabbath has passed. The Adventists have to prove Jesus has bound it upon us. It will do no good to infer that such a thing is binding. We must have a word from Jesus or his Apostles on the matter. It cannot be affirmed that every one knew the fourth commandment, and therefore it was not necessary to affirm it, for that was not the case with the Gentiles. The Gentles did not keep the Sabbath day. Although God's law was written upon their conscience (Rom 2:15), yet no Gentile nation advocated the seventh day as the sabbath. If it was not a key issue for them, it cannot be for us. To me, that is a more powerful argument than one based upon research and inference.
The first day of the week is held before us as a central time for believers.
1. Jesus rose on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9).
2. He appeared to Mary Magdalene on the first day of the week (Mk 16:9).
3. Following His resurrection, He twice appeared to His disciples on the first day of the week (John 20:19,6).
4. The day of Pentecost was on the first day of the week (50 days after the Passover Sabbath).
5. The disciples at Troaz met on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
6. The Corinthians were instructed to lay aside their offerings on the first day of the week (1 Cor 16:2).
This is sufficient evidence to confirm the Sabbath day is not binding upon those in Christ Jesus. it has been overshadowed by a greater glory.
Could you please give me your thoughts on "ecumenicalism" as it is so misunderstood today. It is not really union without UNITY in the Word of Christ or the person of Christ who is all TRUTH. How do we answer sincere people who hate division? I have not the way with words that God has given you.
Our purpose is not to make unity, but to "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:1). Ecumenicalism
is the attempt to unite organizations, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is more a fleshly relationship than a spiritual one.
When we come into Christ, we are united with every other person who is in Christ--"the brethren." Our mandate is to love them, and do so fervently. This love is the result of purifying our souls through obeying the truth (1 Pet 1:22). Also, the indication that we have passed from death unto life is that we "love the brethren" (1 John 3:14). They are primarily Christ's brethren, and secondarily ours (Heb 2:11).
Ecumenicalism seeks to unite the dead and the living, and the lukewarm with the cold and the hot. In sharp conflict with this carnal attempt, the Holy Spirit counsels us to "turn away" from those who have a "form of godliness, but deny the power thereof" (2 Tim 3:5).
In the last analysis, our fellowship is with individuals, not groups. God does not save people by groups, but individually. Wherever we find a person who has been born again, we are obliged to love them and recognize them as our brother in Christ. It is folly to attempt unity on any other basis.
vMy son is saved but just told me that he doesn't think that the bible is the word of God completely, that man has interpreted it wrong or the way they want to. What can I say to him to convince him that the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible and he can believe it is the Word of God.
God has spoken concerning the source of Scripture. At the time of this statement, there had been thousands of copies, written by hand, of Moses and the Prophets--and no original manuscripts were available. Yet we read, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3:16-17). If the Bible is not trustworthy, it cannot completely equip the child of God.
Also, we are told that the Lord Jesus maintains and upholds the infinitely complex universe, keeping it in tact and running smoothly. "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col 1:17). "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by his powerful word" (Heb 1:3). The universe is temporal, and will pass away (Matt 24:35), but "the Word of the Lord endures forever" (1 Pet 1:25). It is foolish reasoning, indeed, to imagine God would uphold the universe, keeping it in tact, yet allow His Word to become distorted. He has magnified His Word above all His name (Psa 138:2), and declared we "live by every word of God" (Lk 4:4). To assume God would then allow that Word to become flawed requires a prodigious imagination.
One other thing: I am not questioning the salvation of your son, and do not wish to leave the impression that I am, for that is an area in which men cannot speak with finality. However, what type of salvation is it that leaves a person doubting the Word of God? The Word of God is the means by which we were born again (1 Pet 1:23), and the means by which we are sustained (1 Pet 2:2). To question its authenticity is to question the new birth and the sustaining of the believer. If that is not the case, those who doubt the purity of the Word of God are obliged to give us something stronger than their opinion. They have an
Can a believer be lost?
A believer cannot be lost. Faith, or believing, is what saves the person. We are saved "by grace through faith" (Eph 2:8). A believer is someone who IS believing, not someone who DID believe. Jesus spoke of people who believed "for a while" (Lk 8:13). No hope is held out for such people. Further, believers are admonished, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God" (Heb 3:12).
The warning is to be taken seriously.
Faith is never taken for granted in the word of God. Those who are called God's church and "saints" are told, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?" (2 Cor 1:2-3; 13:5).
1. Can a person who is born again can go to hell ?
As long as we are in the body, our new birth is not complete. We have received a new heart and a new spirit, but our bodies are not yet made new. They will be when the Lord comes again. As it is written, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body" (Phil 3:20-21). Until that takes place, we "live by faith" (Rom 1:17; Gal 2:20). We are solemnly warned that faith does not continue automatically. "But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved" (Heb 10:38-39).
We are "children of God by faith" (Gal 3:26). As long as we believe, keeping the faith, there is no possibility of being lost. Also, as long as we have a vulnerable part (like our bodies, and the "old man" or "old nature" (Eph 4:22; Col 3:9), we do well to fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim 6:12). Like Paul, we can say, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" (Phil 3:12).
It may appear as though I am not answering the question directly, and that is precisely the case. The question "Can a person who is born again go to hell?" is never posed in Scripture.
2. What does being lost mean? Does it mean losing our inheritance?
To be "lost" is to be blinded by the god of this world (Satan). That is the express statement of 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Being lost is being out of the fold of Christ, apart from His protection, and without hope.
Losing our inheritance IS being lost. Salvation consists of the remission of sins and an inheritance (Acts 26:18). Having no inheritance is equated with being excluded from the presence of the Lord (1 Cor 6:9; Gal 5:21; Eph 5:5). All of these passages were written to Christians.
I am a Christian and have been raised in a Christian home. I have been dating a non-Christian for 10 months now. I know I shouldn't see him anymore (according to my Christian friends, etc.) but I am the only person that can get him to go to church. His family is Jewish but he really doesn't believe in anything. I love him very much and I don't want him to die and go to hell. I would actually give my life if it would save him. I know that when I die I will go to heaven and I want him to go to heaven too. I have broken up with him many times because I know God must not want me to date someone that is not a Christian but I have such a burden to lead him to the Lord. So, I ask you, Should I not date a non-Christian? I wish I didn't love him so much. I really need your advice. Please respond.
It is not wise to date a person who is not a Christian, although there is no prohibition of this in Scripture. Of course, the concept of dating is foreign to the setting of Scripture, that is why specific guidelines for it are not provided.
The Word of God does address the matter of widows marrying, saying they are free to marry whoever they will, but "only in the Lord" (1 Cor 7:39). We are told of an unequal yoke, which is a believer and nonbeliever being knit together, as in marriage. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Cor 6:14).
It is good that you carry a burden for the salvation you mention. However, you must take care not to bring an even greater burden upon yourself by culturing a relationship God cannot bless. I suggest you lay the matter squarely before this person, telling him you are not willing to displease the Lord for him. Plead with him to turn to the Lord, or you cannot be with him. If he refuses to do this, then let him go for the Lord's sake. If he turns to the Lord, give the matter enough time to ensure your own heart he did this because he was seeking he Lord, not merely to please you. God will help you discern the right and wrong of the whole matter.
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