I recently commented on Facebook that our greatest danger is not from without (Satan, the world) but from within ... and a long-time visitor and commenter on our Facebook page (who holds to synergistic doctrine) critiqued the statement with the following objection:
There is no danger according to your doctrine. All is already predetermined and no one is really at risk of anything. Those that are saved have always been saved [and can never lose salvation] and those that are left to die will die. So what danger?.
Will my teens' faith be strong enough to withstand the tests of college? Will they focus on their studies or squander their free time? Will they form healthy friendships or join the wrong crowd? Dr. Chediak has watched too many college students flounder over these and other issues. Sadly, 44 percent of those who start off at a four-year college will not complete their degree in six years. At a time when college has never been more expensive, too many of our children are failing. What makes the difference? Character, a strong faith, and a willingness to delay gratification. And where is that learned? Ideally, at home.
Visitor: Is it reasonable to you that homosexuality is punishable by death, but rape is only punishable by death in the case that the woman is married or betrothed? Rapists who chose their victims intelligently would pay a fine and have a wife for the rest of their days (Deuteronomy 22:28-29), and homosexuals in consenting relationships should be executed.
If the concepts of right and wrong are simply a matter of personal choice, we must abandon any idea of declaring moral judgments on the ideas and actions of others. A relativist cannot rationally object to genocide, torture, rape, female circumcision, racism, sexism or slavery if those actions are consistent with another person's moral understanding of what is right and good. When they declare some action as wrong we must honestly ask them, what standard is he/she appealing to that makes it binding on anyone else?
Telling others that it is "best for society" to reject these practices is, at best, a personal preference, and therefore it is wildly inconsistent to bind others to a personal standard by stigmatizing their practices as wrong or evil. While relativists can personally believe others are wrong, but such a belief can only be lived out consistently in silence, even though ironically, like a drumbeat or the drip of a leaky faucet, we hear relativists day after day speaking out about the immorality and bigotry of others as if they really believed it were wrong. We are not declaring that it is wrong to make moral pronouncements, or that relativists are somehow less moral people than others... on the contrary, we are demonstrating with clear and irrefutable reason that they cannot account for the morality they wish to make others live by.
Visitor: Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then where does evil come from? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" Why don't we talk about the old testament?. Why don't you explain to me all the stories of the old testament. Oh wait that's right we don't talk about the old testament because it's full of rape, murder, slavery, homophobia, & god murdering people &making people sacrifice their Children. And why is it not in the 10 commandments that we shall not rape or own people as slaves. Please Rape all you want & treat humans & women as if they were dirt but don't say the lord's name in vein or he'll get upset.
Response: Thank you for your comment. Appreciate your participation ...
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Bible Secrets Revealed: The Complete Series by Michael J. Kruger
The following is a short discussion about the texts in which Paul thanked God for the faith of those to whom he was writing. Now, if as some claim, Paul was only thanking God for His part in their coming to faith, then who are we to thank for the part we play? Therefore, I intend to explain why God, not in part, but in whole delivers us from our corrupt estate, and for this, He deserves not part or even most of the thanks, but all of the thanks and glory. Here are some of the passages in question:
"For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe. I Thess. 2:13 (...which effectually worketh also in you that believe.)
Notice that it is man's reception of the Gospel that is the explicit grounds for which Paul is thanking and glorifying God! Paul gives God all the glory for man's initial reception of the Gospel, and correspondingly thanks God for it. In his second letter to the same church Paul reminds them again who deserves thanks for their faith:
"But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Christ is a sufficient Saviour; but what has He done, and what will He do, not merely for the men who were with Him in the days of His flesh, but for us? How is it that Christ touches our lives?
The answer which the Word of God gives to that question is perfectly specific and perfectly plain. Christ touches our lives, according to the New Testament, through the Cross. We deserved eternal death, in accordance with the curse of God’s law; but the Lord Jesus, because He loved us, took upon Himself the guilt of our sins and died instead of us on Calvary. And faith consists simply in our acceptance of that wondrous gift. When we accept the gift, we are clothed, entirely without merit of our own, by the righteousness of Christ; when God looks upon us, He sees not our impurity but the spotless purity of Christ, and accepts us “as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.”
For the last few months Michael J. Kruger has been working through the various episodes of Bible Secrets Revealed from the History Channel. This series challenges a number of popular beliefs and conceptions that people hold about the Bible, and raises questions about the integrity and reliability of the Scriptures. In each of the posts below, he summarizes the main content of each episode and offers an evaluation and response.
This entire series reminds us of two critical truths:
1. Our popular culture is prone to distort and misrepresent the teachings of the Bible. It is striking how sensationalistic and misleading popular-level programming can actually be when it comes to the Bible. Although this series had some good moments, as a whole to see the History Channel offer the standard Da Vinci Code-style approach to the Bible was dissapointing.
2. The church must be equipped to respond to these sorts of critiques. Given the high-profile nature of the History Channel (and similar style programming), the average person we are trying to reach is going to be exposed to this type of material. And we need to be ready to offer some answers if we expect non-Christians to give the biblical message a hearing.
But, the implications are even bigger than this. Even believers are being exposed to these sorts of arguments, and often find their confidence in the Bible shaken. At that point, they need a pastor who can speak intelligently about these issues.
Hopefully, these posts below can play a small part in equipping the church for these challenges: