Archive for category Q & A
Q: What do you believe about spiritual warfare and its affects on people, including believers? I know it is pretty open ended question and topic but I am not quite sure what type of answer I am looking for. Any input would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
A: Here’s my brief input on the topic of spiritual warfare. Much more could be said — but I thought 7 points was a good start. =)
1. The battle is very real. Satan’s most effective tactic against modern Western people is to keep them disbelieving in his existence altogether. As C. S. Lewis has the senior devil Screwtape say:
“I don’t think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that ‘devils’ are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of something in red tights, and persuade that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.”
2. The battle is rarely overt with outward manifestations (e.g., possession, exorcism, etc). It’s usually more subtle. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a link to one of my all-time favorite resources: Hours of Q & A with Pastor Greg Boyd and Professor Paul Eddy of Woodland Hills Church on all things theological and biblical. Q & A themes include New Age Spirituality, Imaginative Prayer, Letters from a Skeptic Book, The DaVinci Code debate, and recently Heaven & Hell. I could spend many hours listening to these — and recommend you all download some onto your iPod for the drive into work.
I look forward to the day when MainStreet Covenant Church can host our own Open Forums on such topics right here in downtown Mound!
Q: Why is the Bible so strict on prohibiting pre-marital sex? What’s the big deal?
Pastor Greg Boyd sheds some light on the Bible’s perspective on this sacredness of sex and marriage:
Today in western culture people tend to have a rather “recreational” view of sex. It’s just a pleasurable physical activity we engage in. Even people who don’t consciously believe this are influenced by it , since we’re bombarded with this message every day through movies, television shows, radio, magazines, etc. Because we’re influence by this recreational view, we have trouble understanding why the Bible makes such as big deal about this.
I want to help us see what the “big deal” is. I’ll make four points.
1) Jesus and the rest of the Bible teach that when two people engage in sexual intercourse, they become “one flesh.” Jesus says, “they are no longer two, but one” and “what God has joined together, no one should separate” (Mt 19:5-6). Intercourse clearly involves much more than two people getting physically intimate with each other. God himself is involved in creating a new “one” out of the two. This new oneness reflects the love and ecstasy of the Trinity and is the foundational covenant between humans in the Bible. The welfare of couples and of society hangs on honoring and protecting this new “one flesh” reality that God creates.
2) Paul indicates that this “one flesh” reality is created whenever two people have sexual intercourse. “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh’” (1Cor. 6:16). Even when the partners intend sex to be purely recreational – as when one has sex with a prostitute – it still creates this “one flesh” reality! Something profoundly spiritual, metaphysical and foundational is going on, even when the parties are “just having fun.” Read the rest of this entry »
I highly recommend this! I will be attending and hope to bring along with me as many MainStreet friends as possible. This will be a fun, thought-provoking field trip together. -JB
Woodland Hills Church’s next Q&A with Greg Boyd and Paul Eddy is coming up on Tuesday, June 7 at 7:00 p.m. There has been a lot of discussion recently about heaven and hell (especially in Christian circles), so this time Greg and Paul will tackle the topics of “Heaven, Hell and the Resurrection.” We’re hoping that Greg and Paul will dress up in character that night, but we can’t guarantee it :)
For those of you who are unable to attend or don’t live in the Twin Cities, you’ll be able to stream the Q&A live on the Woodland Hills web site that night. Just come to www.whchurch.org around 7:00 p.m. and there will be information on the home page. You’ll also have the ability to submit your questions in real time.
Here’s a great answer from Sandy Richter.
Is understanding the context of the Old Testament essential to understanding the meaning of what Jesus taught?
I certainly believe with all the campus ministries and Four Spiritual Laws and tracts … the simplest presentation of the Gospel message can bring someone into the Kingdom–but … that is just the tip of the iceberg. Who Jesus was, the message he came to bring, the promise he came to fulfill, the lineage that he comes as the final representative–all of these things are Old Testament messages.
I often will joke with my students that if you want to, you can listen to your favorite album on a cheap, one-speaker AM radio, or you can listen to it on Dolby surround sound. Make your choice. You can have one three-step presentation of the Roman Road, or you can come to realize that the last Adam of 1 Corinthians is the typological representation of the first Adam that stood in the Garden, and that the reason Jesus needs to be tempted by Satan in the wilderness is because the first Adam was tempted by Satan; the first Adam failed the test, and the second Adam didn’t.
When Jesus stands on the mountain and declares a new law, he’s not coming up with a new idea–he’s standing on the mountain like Moses did and declaring to a new people, “I am the new lawgiver.” When he breaks his bread at communion meal, he calls himself the new Passover and tells his people, “I’ll put my blood on the lintels of your house and the death angel will pass over.” All of these messages are as old as the hills. We truncate them into this one final expression, and I think it cheapens the message.
Do you ever feel like God has left the building? Ever feel like your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling? Ever desire to rekindle those old feelings of passion and intimacy with God you once felt? What do you do when you just don’t feel like loving God anymore?
Brian McLaren offers some great pastoral counsel to those of us who can identify with such feelings HERE.
Here’s the Q:
The teacher told us the greatest commandment is to love God. I’m afraid that I’m not sure if I love God anymore, and I would appreciate any help you might be able to provide. Read the rest of this entry »
Question: What about the people who were born in the deepest jungles or in some rural African village? They never heard of Jesus, and no one has ever shared with them the “way to salvation” through Jesus Christ. Will they spend eternity in Hell for not believing in something they never heard about?
Answer: There are a few different positions held by Christians on this issue. I will mention just two. Read the rest of this entry »
Question: Don’t all religions offer different paths to the same ultimate reality or destination? Aren’t all religions equally valid sources of spiritual truth and salvation?
Answer: The Bible is very clear that Jesus is the pathway to coming into a saving relationship with the Creator God.“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus alone purchased our eternal reward by paying our penalty by dying on the cross in our place. “There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Since the key problem faced by humanity is a broken relationship with God leading to destructive and disharmonious living; and since the ultimate destiny of God’s children, according the Bible, is to spend all eternity enjoying a beautiful intimacy and harmonious relationship with the one true Creator God, what we humans need for “salvation” is a restored relationship with the one true and living God. Read the rest of this entry »
Our youth group grappled with the tough question last night: “Can someone lose their salvation?” We discussed both sides of the issue while presenting some of the Biblical evidence on each side. The Reformed tradition is quite firm on their doctrines of God’s “Unconditional Election” of certain individuals for salvation and the “Perseverance of the Saints” which says, in essence, those whom God has elected are eternally secure and cannot fall away. There is a strong case for this view and I respect those who hold it.
I lean toward the other side and base my assurance of salvation on my day-to-day faith (or trust) in my Lord and Savior Jesus. My salvation is entirely a gift of God and with the help of the Spirit I have responded freely to my Lord’s invitation to enter into saving, covenant relationship (i.e., marriage) with Christ. My salvation is by grace through faith; not by works, lest I should boast (Eph 2:8-9). Yet, I currently believe just as one freely chooses (by the help of the Spirit) to say “I do” and enter into a “marriage” with Jesus, they can freely choose to walk away from their covenant relationship and jeopardize their future salvation.
The Bible has strong evidence for this view as well. Just a few passages that seem to indicate the possibility of “falling away” include: Read the rest of this entry »
Do you have theological questions and doubts about the Bible and Christian faith? You’re not alone! I want to share a valuable resource for finding well-thought out and balanced answers to many of the toughest doubts and questions faced by both Christians and skeptics.
Please check out the Woodland Hills Church Q & A channel on YouTube featuring hours and hours of Q & A from reputable scholars Dr. Greg Boyd (Woodland Hills Church) and Dr. Paul Eddy (Bethel University). Save it to your favorites and have fun! Here’s a taste: