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Short Answers to Big Questions

Question 1: Should Christians seek political power or should we focus on charity and evangelism?

Short Answer 1Christians should seek political participation and representation as they go about their duties of evangelizing the world. Without this participation and representation, there is no assurance that the freedom to evangelize will remain secure. Read More

Question 2: What is a worldview? What is a Christian Worldview?

Short Answer 2– Speaking somewhat technically, a worldview is a conceptual scheme or intellectual framework by which a person organizes and interprets his experience. Less technically, a worldview is a way of looking at the world and one’s place in the world. It is a perspective on reality.  Read More

Question 3: What does the Bible say about abortion?

Short Answer 3– The Scriptures teach that God “Himself gives to all life and breath and all things”’ (Acts 17:25 NASB) because He “made the world and all things in it”’ (Acts 17:24 NASB).  Understanding this, Isaiah could say, “O LORD, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and all of us are the work of Thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8).  The psalmist could also say, “The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).  Further, the Scriptures teach, “Your hands made me and formed me” (Psalm 119:73) and “The LORD . . . forms the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1 NASB).  God Himself makes the statement, “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine” (Ezekiel 18:4 NASB).  Since all life was created by God and belongs to Him, no one has the right to kill something God has created (Exodus 20:13). Read More

Question 4: Capital Punishment

Short Answer 4 – We are created in God’s image. When a murder occurs, the murderer must be put to death. This is a universally binding principle not confined merely to the Old Testament theocracy.  Read More

Question 5: Why is Same-Sex Marriage a bad idea?

Short Answer 5-We are experiencing a cultural crisis that calls for an informed Christian response. Many people in our society cannot understand why anyone would be opposed to homosexual marriage. They think it hateful, even ludicrous, that in our enlightened age anyone would deny to loving homosexual couples the same rights and privileges that others enjoy. How should we respond? What can we do to prevent the cultural slide to same-sex marriage other than quoting a few Bible verses? In this article, I will spell out four reasons why same-sex marriage is a bad idea and respond to a few objections. It is my hope that the reader will be able to use the argument s in this article to be salt and light during this cultural crisis. Read More

Question 6: Is Homosexuality wrong?

Short Answer 6 – Today homosexuality is considered by many people to be a normal and perfectly acceptable practice.  It is, they say, a legitimate “alternative lifestyle.”  The Bible, of course, says otherwise.  According to the Apostle Paul, homosexuality is the behavior of those who have “abandoned natural relations”; who have “exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones” (Rom 1:26, 27). Read More

Question 7: Whats the big deal about pornography?

 Short Answer 7Pornography attacks the dignity of men and women created in the image of God. Pornography also distorts God’s gift of sex which should be shared only within the bounds of marriage (1 Cor.-1:2-3). When the Bible refers to human sexual organs, it often employs euphemisms and indirect language. Although there are some exceptions (a woman’s breasts and womb are sometimes mentioned), generally Scripture maintains a basic modesty towards a man’s or woman’s sexual organs. Read More

Question 8: Why Global Warming Alarmism?

Short Answer 8 – It puzzles me why so many people, often very well educated, have bought into global warming alarmism hook, line, and sinker. As an economist, I have been skeptical of such doom – saying throughout my career and I see nothing in the current campaign to political action that convinces me that this one is any different than past efforts. When I was an undergraduate student in the 1970s, the alarmists were concerned about global cooling and the depletion of natural resources. However, such alarmism was totally unwarranted. My economics professors then ridiculed such alarmism as based in ignorance and fear and the current global warming issue seems exactly the same. Read More

Question 9: What is Social Justice?

Short Answer 9 – The term “social justice” was and essentially remains a call for government action to intervene in the lives of people to promote the so-called common good as defined by the reformers. In that sense, the movement was based on a utopian vision. This is evidenced by the various phrases these reformers used to promote their agendas. In America the most common label the reformers used to refer to themselves was to call themselves “progressives. Read More

Question 10: Does God Exist?

Short Answer 10 – Atheism: from the Greek a (without) and theos (deity or God). It is a word commonly understood as meaning a denial of the existence of gods. The most fundamental question of religion, of spiritual experience, and of philosophy is: Is there a God? And if there is a God, what difference does it make? And can I know this God personally? Can I know the answers to these kinds of questions?

The Bible affirms the existence of God. It also affirms-and historical observation tends to confirm it-that human beings have an innate and universal knowledge of God.  The Old and New Testaments assume man’s natural, normal state includes the knowledge of God and thus atheism is abnormal. Read More

Question 11: What about those who have never heard?

Short Answer 11 – Today we are told we must be tolerant of other people’s beliefs.  Of course, what this means, in politically correct terms, is that, as a Christian, I cannot claim to have found the “only” truth in Christ.  If I do, then obviously I’m biased and am disqualified from rendering an impartial judgment as to the validity of any religious claims.  The contemporary mindset says that we should “live and let live”, viewing all religions as having been approved by God as “equal access” to Him. Read More

Question 12: Did Jesus rise from the dead?

Short Answer 12 – Did Jesus rise from the dead? Christians, of course, believe that he did. But is there any reason, apart from blind faith, for believing in Jesus’ resurrection? What’s more, it is no secret that skeptics and opponents of Christianity have attacked the resurrection on numerous grounds over the centuries, contending that it is a fabrication of the early church. Can those of us who believe in the resurrection of Jesus rebut these skeptical attacks? Read More

Question 13: What is Postmodernism?

Short Answer 13 – So what is this thing called postmodernism, and is it measurably the strong and growing negative force these and others have claimed? The articles in this journal will expound more on the multifaceted definitions, developments, and implications of postmodernism in the culture and the church. As a brief introduction, however, let us say that postmodernism, as the name implies, is a cultural belief or perspective that follows (as a reaction to) modernism with regards to the category of truth. Read More

Question 14: Is hell real?

Short Answer 14 – The church traditionally has taught that God will send every person to hell to suffer forever who hasn’t trusted Jesus Christ as the only source of forgiveness, mercy, and goodness. Is this really what the Bible teaches?

Could it be that God applies the work of Christ to all when they die, regardless of decisions and actions made before death? Or could God just punish the (really) wicked for a while after they die and then forgive and accept them? Or maybe give them one more chance to repent and believe after they die? Or at the very worst, could it be that God only raises the dead who have followed Him and that He punishes unbelievers by just leaving them as they are, dead and gone, no longer existing? Read More

 Question 15: What about those who have never heard the Gospel?

Short Answer 15 – The objection is typically couched in terms of what one thinks is fair or unfair.  It goes this way:  “It’s not fair for God to send someone to hell simply because they haven’t heard that Jesus is the only way a person can get to heaven.”  Reason tells them that such a person will never have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel.  They will never see a Bible or hear a missionary bringing such a message.  So, how would it be fair for God to judge people by sending them to hell if they haven’t heard?

This concern for justice leads some to adopt inclusivism which tries to open the door of salvation wider through “general revelation” (See Ron Nash’s discussion of inclusivism elsewhere in this issue).  It is assumed that unreached people can recognize a single moral supreme being as their Creator and that they may honor and worship Him according to the light shown them through the world of creation and conscience.  Francis Schaeffer has remarked that such people have been called “noble savages,” people capable of living up to the light that’s been shown to them.^[2]^ Read More

Question 16: Creation or Evolution?

Short Answer 16 – Before the rise of postmodern relativism, if the subject of apologetics came up, the two major areas of focus were inerrancy and evolution/creation. But even with the growth of postmodernism in our culture, there are still plenty of modernists around. After two generations of public school and secular college-university indoctrination in scientism and evolution, the creation/evolution debate continues to be a major and relevant apologetics issue. For this reason, we offer you this issue of Areopagus Journal as a resource for engaging our society on this vital topic. Read More

Question 17: What do we mean by the canonicity of Scripture?

Short Answer 17: What do we mean by the canonicity of Scripture? The term “canon” originally meant “reed,” but later came to be understood as a measuring rod or a standard or norm. Applied to the Christian faith, the term “canon” relates to the collection of books known as the Bible and which serves as the doctrinal standard for Christian faith and practice. The authenticity of this collection is closely related to the question of the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of the Bible. Read More

Question 18: What is the purpose of apologetics in evangelism?

Short Answer 18 – Today as never before, Christians are being called upon to give reasons for the hope that is within them. Often in the evangelistic context seekers raise questions about the validity of the gospel message.

Removing intellectual objections will not make one a Christian; a change of heart wrought by the Spirit is also necessary. But though intellectual activity is insufficient to bring another to Christ, it does not follow that it is also unnecessary. In this essay we will examine the place and purpose of apologetics in the sharing of our faith with others. Read More

Question 19: Does the existence of evil provide a strong reason to disbelieve God?

Short Answer 19 – Evil is often mystifying.  We find it difficult, sometimes impossible, to understand how and why God can allow the pain and suffering that we observe.  And coping personally with tragedy can try the strongest faith.  This article is not intended to answer directly any “why?” questions.  It is not intended by itself to offer comfort in the midst of agonizing sorrow.  The goal has been to answer one philosophical question:  Does the existence of evil (or of certain kinds of evil) provide any strong reason to disbelieve in God?  The answer, quite simply, is no. Read More

Question 20: What should a Christians view be of cloning and stem cell research?

Short Answer 20 – The most compelling reason for banning therapeutic cloning is that it involves deliberately making and destroying human life. The main argument in its favor requires accepting two premises: (1) that some humans are not persons, and (2) that the ends justify the means. Whenever these two arguments have been brought together in human history, they have led to atrocities. Slavery was justified on the basis that blacks were not fully human, and that they and society would benefit from slavery. Nazi atrocities similarly claimed that society would benefit from the removal of those unfit to live. Today, the potential benefits of stem cell therapies are said to justify the killing of human embryos, who are alleged to be less than fully human. Read More

Question 21: Is one school of economic thought better than the other?

Short Answer 21

Is one school of economic thought better than another? Is it important for Christians to understand sound economic principles? What is government’s role in the economy?

It is common for Christians to be relatively uninterested in economics. Within politics, those who are socially and theologically conservative tend to focus on matters of personal righteousness (e.g., gambling), community standards (e.g., prayer in schools), and especially “social justice” (e.g., “life” issues such as abortion). But in such contexts, economics is used as a small component of a broader argument, seen as a side issue, or simply ignored.

In contrast, those who are socially and theologically liberal often focus on economic outcomes, “economic justice,” and economic policy—but ironically, without much knowledge, interest, or concern about economics. The good news is that such “justice” concerns are prevalent in the Scriptures. We worship a God of justice—who defends those who are vulnerable and expects His disciples to do the same. But good intentions are likely to trump good outcomes—especially when there is confusion or ignorance about the means embraced to reach godly ends. In a word, those on the Left often pursue economic policies that are unbiblical and impractical. Read More

Question 22: What is the Word-Faith  Movement?

Short Answer 22 – For most Americans the “American Dream” is the goal that drives their lives. That is, they desire to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Of course, we might expect that worldly standards would have influence in the culture at large and lead to the narcissistic and selfish mentality that is rampant in our society. Yet, the fact is that this materialistic outlook is also operating in the body of Christ among modern-day Laodiceans—those who espouse the “gospel of gain” as typified by the televangelists. Read More

Question 23: Please explain the Trinity Doctrine.

Short Answer 23 – Christian theism affirms the existence of an infinite, eternal, unchanging, and Tri-personal spiritual God. This being is the transcendent Creator and immanent Sustainer of the world and is therefore the sovereign Ruler over all things. Historic Christianity therefore affirms a special Trinitarian form of monotheism (Tri-unity: three persons are the one God). Read More

Question 24: Can Something Be True For You and Not for Me?

Short Answer 24 -It’s all relative. . . .That’s true for you, but not for me. . . .That’s just your reality. . . .Who are you to impose your values on others?” You’ve heard statements like these before. They fit with the relativist belief system, which says truth functions more like opinion or perspective, and that truth depends upon your culture or context or even personal choices. Thus evil actions by Nazis or terrorists are explained away (We don’t like it, but they have their reasons”). Relativism, however, is seriously flawed. Read More

Question 25: How Does One Develop a Christian Mind?

Short Answer 25 -“I want to develop a Christian mind, but I don’t know how.” This attitude is both common and understandable. That we are to develop our minds as Christians is not in doubt. We are admonished to love God with our minds (Mt. 22:37), be transformed by its renewal (Rm 12:2), and give thoughtful answers to questions about faith (1 Pt 3:15).

A mature Christian mind has two aspects to it. First, it is a mind that has formed the habit of being focused on God constantly throughout the day. It is a mind preoccupied with God and directed regularly towards Him in prayer and meditation (Ps 16:8; Is 26:3, Lk 18:1; Ro 12:12; 1Th 5:16-18). The second aspect of a mature Christian mind is one that sees all of life in light of a Christian worldview and is growing in intellectual excellence. Read More

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