Is Drinking a Sin?

Question from a reader:

Where in the bible does it say not to drink alcohol? 

Thank you for your question. It’s an interesting question. I’ve addressed it in my article entitled Is Drinking a Sin?, and here are the highlights:

There are three passages in the Bible that suggest abstinence from all alcoholic beverages. The first is in Proverbs 31:4-5 where “kings” are forbidden to drink because their judgment would be impaired. In those days of monarchies, kings were the ultimate court judges, like one-man supreme courts. The Bible said that they shouldn’t drink because of the important decisions they were expected to make. In the same way, who among us today is not responsible for decision-making to some degree, and unsure when he might have to make a decision?

The second reference suggesting abstinence is 1 Peter 4:7 which tells us that, since the end is near, we should stay sober and clear-minded so that we can pray. How many drinks does it take to distort one’s thinking? Isn’t the mind-altering effect of alcohol one of the major motivations for most drinking?

The third reference is Romans 14:21 where we are charged not to drink if it offends someone else or bruises their spiritual confidence. Even if a Christian has personally searched the Scriptures and decided that he is not violating God’s Word by drinking, he may still choose to abstain to keep a fellow Christian from stumbling; who may not have the same level of understanding. This is where one must be accountable for what he believes and how he interprets scripture. This is one reason why daily Bible study is so important.

Furthermore, the Bible explicitly forbids drunkenness in Ephesians 5:18 and 1 Corinthians 6:10.

However, on the other hand, Jesus partook of wine (Luke 22:20), and He even miraculously turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). We also know that Jesus never sinned, so how could it be wrong to drink? One could argue that none of the above passages explicitly says that Christians must not drink. In fact, some passages even appear to be imperatives to indulge. Consider the following examples:

Proverbs 31:6-7 is directed toward the distraught: “Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”

1 Timothy 5:23 is a comment by Paul to Timothy: “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”

In 1 Corinthians 11:22, Paul tells the believers at Corinth that if they choose to drink, they should do it at home rather than at a church service, implying that this would be acceptable.

Conclusions

Of the six passages referenced above, the former three lean toward abstinence, especially for leaders, and the latter three lean toward indulgence, especially for the distraught. Either way, drunkenness is forbidden. If you’re a Christian drinker, you probably emphasize Proverbs 31:6-7 and 1 Timothy 5:23. If you’re a Christian abstainer, you probably prefer Proverbs 31:4-5 and 1 Peter 4:7.

The deciding factors, however, are the mind-altering effects and the long-term health risks of alcohol (Romans 12:1). If one drinks in moderation without altering his thinking capability to the extent that it affects his decision-making, and his drinking doesn’t present a long-term health risk in his particular case, then he has not violated the Scriptures. If he experiences mind-altering effects when he drinks, so that his decision-making rationale is impaired, he has violated Scripture.

Regardless, we are each accountable for ourselves. In general, a person’s drinking is between him and God. Of course, there can be extenuating circumstances when intervention is required and / or if that person is doing harm to others. However, in most cases, it is nobody else’s business unless that person seek help (1 Timothy 4:11). To be sure, there are many who place too much emphasis on this issue simply because they’re not minding their own business. Too often, the pious abstainer may be displeasing to God by his Pharisaical pride than the indulger is by his drinking.

Thanks,

Owen

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What’s Worse than 32,000 Opioid Deaths?

It is estimated that 32,000 Americans die every year from opioid overdoses. Some of these people were well-meaning patients in pain with well-meaning doctors who sometimes over-prescribed pain killers.  Others were drug user wanting another high, and 13,000 of these deaths were from heroine.  What could be worse than our opioid epidemic?

This year, supposedly well-meaning parents and doctors will kill one million children through abortion.  While the parents believed they had a choice, those children had no choice.  Those children were denied the right to decide whether or not to try to be doctors or lawyers or presidents, or to make right or wrong choices about drugs.  Their lives, which could have included being 80-year-old grandparents, were taken from them before their first breath.

Abortion is the killing of unborn children and it is morally defended on the ground that the unborn are not full persons. The killing is justified on the basis that the unborn are not full persons. The developing child therefore is described as a mere mass of protoplasm in a pre-human state. This ignores the fact that the developing child quickly assumes human form and that it can never become anything but a human being made in the image of God.

How is abortion argued, based upon medicine, science, humanity, and the Bible?  To find out, click Abortion.

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The Cross

Question from a reader:

Is there somewhere in the bible that talks about the two aspects of crosses….meaning the crucifixion side and the symbolic religious side? I mean on one hand crosses have been used for killing people in past history. On the other hand they were (and are) used as a positive symbol for loving God. There seems to be some disconnect there in my mind about that. Does the bible address that issue anywhere? Or what do you think about that?

You have asked some interesting questions on the subject of the cross–the physical aspect vs. the spiritual aspect of the Crucifixion. Unfortunately (as with so many things that we wish the Bible talked about more), I don’t know of any specific Scripture passages that talk about this. However, I believe that we can still construct a Biblical answer to your question by tying some verses together.

However, first of all, I think it’s important to note that the people living throughout the Roman Empire during the time of Christ were well aware of the violent nature of crucifixion. Rome was a powerful world empire, and it used its power to strike fear in the hearts of its adversaries. Rome’s enemies lived in fear of its military power, and its domestic enemies (lawbreakers) lived in fear of crucifixion. Crucifixion was quite common, and Rome proudly displayed the crosses and the broken bodies on them. The idea was that a would-be criminal would think twice before breaking the law if he thought he would end up like that–usually suffering a very slow death over a period of many days, where the cause of death was often dehydration, exhaustion, and / or asphyxiation. The victims were in agony, but not only because of the nails in their hands and feet. The nature of crucifixion also made it difficult for them to breathe. They would hang loosely from their arms for a while, trying to rest their muscles, but causing respiratory distress from the pressure on their rib cage. Then they would muster enough strength to push up with their legs, and take a few relatively clear breaths, until the strength in their legs would give out again. As a result, if the soldiers (and the authorities) took pity upon someone who was crucified, they could break his legs, as this would actually hasten their death.

Incidentally, Christ’s death was relatively quick, and unusual for crucifixion. The soldiers were ordered to break His legs in order to hasten His death (in response to the plea of the Jews that He should not have to hang on the cross throughout the Sabbath Day–John 19:31). However, when they came to break His legs, He was already dead. So, part of the miracle of the Cross is that Christ actually bled to death, due to the wounds in His hands and feet (from the nails), His skull (from the crown of thorns), and His side (from the spear). This is why, in Christendom, the blood of Christ is sacred–the very means by which the only sinless man was sacrificed for those who choose to believe in the gospel message. Leviticus 17:11 says, “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.”

Now back to the Biblical answer to your question, I believe that the following Scriptures apply:

– Acts 2:23 notes that Christ was “… nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” This confirms what history tells us about how gruesome death by crucifixion was.

– Galatians 3:13 says that, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE.” This teaches that the perfect Christ became a curse when our sins were placed upon Him.

– Colossians 1:20 says that Christ “… made peace through the blood of His cross.” Our reconciliation (for our sins) with God was made possible only through Christ’s blood on the cross.

– Hebrews 12:2 notes that Christ “… endured the cross, despising the shame.” Everyone understood that crucifixion was quite something to endure. More importantly, Christ overcame the shame of the cross through His resurrection.”

– 1 Peter 2:24 says that Christ “… bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” This is one of many scriptures explaining that, upon believing this gospel message, we believers know that Christ died for our sins, and we will live with Him in eternity (John 3:16-18).

So, I can understand why you might feel a disconnect between the killing aspect of crucifixion and how we use it in our faith as a symbol for God’s love. However, I believe that this disconnect can really be interpreted as a connection–between Christ’s great sacrifice and how it provided salvation for us when we had otherwise had nothing worthy to offer God.

One other thing comes to mind: I was taught (as a Protestant) to believe that the display of a cross in our day was acceptable as long as it was only a cross; i.e., not a cross with Christ’s body on it, as seen throughout Roman Catholic churches. We were told that, since Christ had defeated the cross through His resurrection, then we should think of the cross as “the empty cross which could no longer hold Him,” instead of the cross that held His dead or dying body. Well, I’m no longer as adamant about this as I used to be. Although it’s my preference to display an empty cross (like on Karen’s “wall of crosses” in our kitchen), I can also understand why one would also want to remember the cross as it still held Christ’s body, re-enforcing the idea of His great sacrifice.

Sorry, I got a bit long-winded there. I truly get excited when I think about Christ’s death on the cross for sinners such as myself.

Thanks,

Owen

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Mapping the Swamp

Today, OpenTheBooks.com released their report on Mapping the Administrative State.  Here are their key findings:

1. The federal government pays its disclosed workforce $1 million per minute, $66 million per hour, and $524 million per day. In FY2016, the federal government disclosed 1.97 million employees at a cash compensation cost of $136.3 billion.

2. Over a six-year period (FY2010-2016), the number of federal employees making $200,000 or more has increased by 165 percent; those making $150,000 or more has grown by 60 percent; and those making more than $100,000 has increased by 37 percent.

3. On average, federal employees are given 10 federal holidays, 13 sick days, and 20 vacation days per year. If each employee used 13 sick days and took 20 vacation days in addition to the 10 federal holidays, it would cost taxpayers an estimated $22.6 billion annually.

4. In FY2016, a total 406,960 employees made six-figure incomes – that’s roughly one in five disclosed federal employees. Furthermore, 29,852 federal employees out-earned each of the 50 state governors receiving more than $190,823.

5. At 78 out of the 122 independent agencies and departments we studied, the average employee compensation exceeded $100,000 in FY2016.

6. With 326 employees at a total cash compensation of $28.8 million, we found a federal agency in San Francisco – Presidio Trust – paid out three of the top four federal bonuses including the largest in the federal government in FY2016. The biggest bonus went to an HR Manager in charge of payroll for $141,525.

7. Together, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employ more than half of the disclosed federal workforce. As the largest civilian employer within the federal government, the USPS employed 32 percent of all disclosed federal employees, totaling 621,523 people on payroll in FY2016. The VA employed the second most employees with 372,614 or 19 percent of the disclosed federal workforce.

8. Only one-third of the 35,000 lawyers in the federal workforce work at the Department of Justice. The entire staff of federal lawyers earned $4.8 billion in FY2016.

9. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employed 3,498 police officers at a total cost of $172 million in FY2016. When asked about corresponding crime statistics, the VA was unable to provide any information on the number of crimes or incidents.

10. There are an additional 2 million undisclosed employees at the Department of Defense and in the active military. Their estimated cash compensation value, combined with $1 billion in undisclosed bonuses and $125 billion in hidden pension data, amounts to roughly $221 billion in undisclosed federal cash compensation per year.

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Did Stephen See God?

Question from a reader:

My boss, who is LDS, and I have frequent discussions about Biblical matters. I was saved by God’s grace out of Mormonism so we’ve had some very interesting conversations (to say the least). 

Today, my boss asked me this question: “Luke is quite emphatic that Stephen saw God with Jesus. If God is without substance, what did Stephen see?” 

Then, he followed with this statement: “Further, if Stephen didn’t see God with Jesus, then Luke’s account is incorrect. Luke is advocating false doctrine, and the Bible is far from inerrant. I would presume that Luke was sincere in his belief that Stephen saw God.”

I know in Whom I believe and I trust the Bible completely. However, my boss is a retired attorney and he asks questions and make statements like the above for which I’m unable to give a succinct reply. I’m just not able to put what I believe into words of explanation. 

Can you, PLEASE, help me with a reply that will make sense to my employer?

Thank you for your question. I believe that one of the best translations to study for this passage is the New American Standard, which describes what Stephen saw as:

“… the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55b)

An even more accurate translation is: “… the glory of God, even Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”

Yes, Stephen was given the unique privilege of seeing God. However, technically, this passage does not say that he “saw God;” i.e., it doesn’t say that he saw God, the Father (the first person of the Godhead). It says that he saw “the glory of God,” and he saw this glory of God through Jesus Christ. In other words, by seeing Jesus Christ, he saw the glory of God, because Jesus is God; i.e., He is the second person of the Godhead (although your Mormon friends may have trouble with this interpretation).

Your boss’s assumption, “… if God is without substance…” may need closer examination as well. John 4:24 does indeed say that, “God is spirit.” If this does mean that God is without substance, then the above explanation still holds, since Stephen saw “the glory of God.” Still, we must be careful with this assumption. For example, Jesus is God, and Jesus has a body, so technically, God (i.e., Jesus, the second person of the Godhead) does indeed have a body (even if God the Father, the first person of the Godhead) does not have a body. Even by this, the above explanation still stands.

Furthermore, we must be careful with any assumptions of what it is like to see things in eternity. In our mortal bodies, we simply cannot understand the eternal things of God which are beyond time and space. Perhaps it was difficult for Luke to describe exactly what Stephen saw. Luke, in his physical body, may not have understood the things that Stephen saw in his unique opportunity, just before death (i.e., entering into the very presence of God).

Still, with any of these reasonable explanations, it is still a fact that Luke is not advocating false doctrine, and that the Bible (in its original manuscripts) is indeed inerrant. God, for whatever reason, has given you the challenge of defending your faith to a Mormon who is intelligent and articulate, and an experienced debater–one who is probably capable of twisting his opponents words and thoughts for the purpose of confusion. I can only encourage you in this awesome task.

Thanks,

Owen

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How is Abortion Argued?

Abortion is the killing of unborn children and it is morally defended on the ground that the unborn are not full persons. It is very important that you should understand that right up front. The killing is justified on the basis that the unborn are not full persons. The developing child therefore is described as a mere mass of protoplasm in a pre-human state. This ignores the fact that the developing child quickly assumes human form and that it can never become anything but a human being made in the image of God.

How is abortion argued, based upon medicine, science, humanity, and the Bible?  To find out, click Abortion.

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What is Our Purpose?

Question from a reader: 

I researched the ‘first cause’ by Thomas Aquinas, and found it to be wanting of a very important nature, purpose. We are all taught that God created us for only one purpose … to worship him … to do his bidding and his will … and if we don’t we get punished for all eternity. God is a dictator … not a loving creator. Because even though we have free will, God doesn’t say that’s O.K. He says that if we don’t do conduct our behavior according to his will, we will be punished. The bible also says that God loves us more than our parents do. That is not true. If we go against our parents’ wishes. They do not punish us for all eternity. Good parents tell their children that they should do as their hearts tell them to. That is real love. Everything that God created, he created for a purpose. Yet what purpose did God have before he created the angels?

Thank you for your question. My perspective is somewhat different than yours, but I hope that I can shed some light on these issues, and maybe learn from each other.

I believe that our purpose is to glorify God. We are a part of His Creation, so everything we do must please Him and bring Him glory–our obedience, our trust, our conduct, etc. (Romans 15:6, 2 Corinthians 5:9). Please see my article on Pleasing God.

We all have the sinful nature of the flesh. We each have sinned, both by committing personal sins and by the imputation of sin from Adam (Romans 5:14-10): Imputation. Yet, since God cannot coexist with sin, there’s nothing that we can do to deserve eternal life in God’s presence, so we have a dilemma. Only God can do anything about this, and He would have been perfectly justified to let us all die in our sins and to separate Himself from us for all of eternity. However, in His love, He instituted a system of grace to solve this problem for us. All we have to do is to believe and trust Him for eternal salvation (John 3:16).

If God is a dictator, then He is a benevolent one. I must simply disagree with you because I believe that God is a loving creator (1 John 4:8, 16). Yes, we have free will, but it is a limited free will (Predestination). God loves us so much that it is only by His plan of grace that there is a solution to our problem. Ephesians 2:4-6 says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

God does indeed love us more than our parents love us. He loved us so much that He sacrificed His own son Jesus Christ for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:5), so that all we have to do is to believe Him for our eternal salvation. (Who among us would be willing to sacrifice our own child for others?) God imputes all of our sin onto Jesus Christ who died for our sins and was resurrected for our eternal life. Christ took the punishment for our sin, if we only believe in Him, so God can now look at each of us believers as being sinless.

Again I disagree where you said, “Good parents tell their children that they should do as their hearts tell them to.” Good parents tell their children that they should glorify and obey God; and, that until they’re old enough to thoroughly understand this, they should obey their parents.

Unfortunately, the Bible does not tell us about God’s purpose before He created the angels. Remember that God is an eternal being, so He is not limited by words such as “before” and “after.” Eternity transcends time and space, so these are not boundaries for God, although we (in our physical being) cannot fully understand these concepts. We can simply be assured that since God created everything, then the purpose of everything (including us and the angels) has always been to glorify Him, and this will always be so.

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

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Killing during War

Hi Owen,

My stepfather is now in his early 80s. He has served in both WWII and the Korean War. During the Korean War, he was in a rice patty where a young Korean boy suddenly popped up in front of him. In a split-second, he had to decide… kill a young boy or be killed. He shot.

To this day, he cannot forgive himself for this in particular above all of the other horrors or war that he has seen and experienced. And, he does not feel that he is worthy of forgiveness by God and Christ for this act.

Are there any Scriptures that you can point to help him gain any sense of peace and comfort?

Thank you.

Thank you for your question.

Many people have misunderstood the Bible on the subject of killing, often because of an incorrect translation in the old King James Version of the Bible. The sixth commandment, in Exodus 20:13, does not actually say, “Thou shalt not kill” as translated in the old King James. A more accurate translation is provided in many of the modern versions, such as the NIV, which says, “You shall not murder.” The Bible forbids the act of murder, which means the unjustified taking of a person’s life (including suicide, abortion, and euthanasia), but it doesn’t forbid all killing. In fact, it is sometimes very adamant that killing is the right thing to do, but it must be justified in God’s eyes.

The Bible tells us quite clearly that killing is not only justified in warfare, but it’s also necessary. It offers many examples where God commands His people to kill their enemy aggressors in warfare. In Genesis 10 through 12 (specifically 10:5 and 11:9), God created the institution of nations, and determined that people would be divided according to national entities. God condemned aggression from one nation against another, and he sanctioned warfare as a means of protection from aggressors. The Old Testament is filled with commands from God to Moses, Joshua, David, and many others, to kill their enemy aggressors. Deuteronomy 20:1 says, “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.”

Sometimes God even commanded the unmerciful annihilation of evil nations. Deuteronomy 2:33-34 says, “The LORD our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them–men, women and children. We left no survivors.”

In your stepfather’s experience in Korea, the nations of North Korea and China were the aggressors. They invaded South Korea which was our ally, so we helped them in their defense against those aggressors. Your stepfather explicitly obeyed the Scripture above that says, “… do not be afraid of them, …” He had been trained to obey orders, and that he did. He bravely fulfilled his duty in killing the aggressors, even when he had some moral questions about it.

Remember also that our armed forces work as a team in defeating our enemies. Consider a particular service man whose sole responsibility was to load the proper coordinates for a 90 MM anti-aircraft cannon, perhaps under a cloudy nighttime sky. After the coordinates were loaded, another man positioned and aimed the gun. Another man loaded a mortar shell, and yet another man fired the weapon. If the artillery (hopefully) hit its target aircraft, it likely killed all of the enemy onboard. In many cases, none of these men even saw the far away explosion, but each was (proudly) a part of the killing of the enemy. The unfortunate thing in your stepfather’s incident is that it took place in such close physical proximity to the aggressor. Even if this is a recurring nightmare for him, he should be proud of the part he played in defense of freedom. In fact, the enemy soldier that he killed may have been destined to kill him, or another American soldier, if he had not done the right thing as he did.

Your story reminded me of the movie, Saving Private Ryan. I love the scene with the American sniper, whose job it was to hide, take careful aim with his rifle, and kill German soldiers. Each time, just before pulling the trigger, he would quote a Scripture from the Bible. In other words, He was demonstrating his obedience to God and to his commanding officers by killing the enemy. Such a man, so learned in the Scriptures, probably also said a prayer for his enemies (Matthew 5:44), while he also thanked God for the opportunity for obedience to Him.

Now, regarding forgiveness, Acts 13:38 says, “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.” Forgiveness of sin is a matter of believing in Christ. If your stepfather is a believer (John 3:16), then, like the rest of us believers, he can simply claim his eternal forgiveness (Romans 4:7), and use the technique of confession (1 John 1:9) to receive temporal forgiveness. However, regarding his specific actions during war, I believe that there is no need for forgiveness in this situation. His was not an act of sin, but of obedience.

For more information on this, please see my article at Killing.

Please be sure to thank your stepfather for the freedom that he provided to me for his faithful service in fulfilling the (sometimes awful) call of duty from God and from our country, in not just one, but two wars. I was never in the military, and, much less, never in his shoes. Because of this, I truly believe that I’ll never be half the man he is. My simple and easy duty is to simply admire and thank him, and it’s my privilege to do so.

BTW, would you allow me to post your question on my website?

Thanks,

Owen

Thanks for your thoughtful response Owen. Yes you may post to the website.

I think the primary struggle is looking the young boy in the face and needing to decide will it be him or me? Shoot a young boy or be killed. Should he have let the young boy live?

Blessings,

Thank you for your reply. I certainly have an appreciation for the fact your stepfather is haunted by that moment when he had to look the young boy in the face and decide what to do. I may not have addressed this issue directly enough. I have never had such a difficult decision, but I’ll try to better explain my view from a biblical and moral perspective.

During those wars, and in all of our wars since then, our enemies have often been terrorists who have been willing to sacrifice the lives of their own women and children by using them as decoys, traps, human shields, and suicide bombers. They quickly learned that American soldiers have compassion for innocent women and children. Unfortunately, our soldiers also quickly learned that they had to be cautious and untrusting in all engagements with enemy civilians. Too often an American soldier came to the aid of such a child only to discover that it was a trap to set off an explosion and kill as many Americans as possible.

Your stepfather suddenly faced a situation where he had to make a split-second decision, and his instincts and military training kicked in. Yes, if he had more time, he might have made a different decision. However, he didn’t have more time. Our enemies intentionally try to cause our soldiers to hesitate by exploiting their compassion and sensitivity as weaknesses. There have been many similar situations where American soldiers tried to help an innocent child, then the slightest move by the child set off an explosion, or a trigger from a nearby enemy sniper. For all your stepfather knew, he was saving American lives by sacrificing the life of a child.

I know it had to be terrible for your stepfather to look the young boy in the face and decide whether to shoot him or be killed. I still adamantly believe that your stepfather did the right thing. I believe that this is obvious by the mere fact that this was the decision at hand–to shoot or be killed. In such (horrendous) moments of battle, our soldiers are taught to do the right thing. They must shoot. They would not further our cause to allow themselves to be killed in such a situation. They are still needed for future battles, and to return home safely.

Note that this does not excuse the war-time murder of civilians such as what some American soldiers did during the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. Killing the enemy in warfare is justified, but intentional murder is an unjustified sin. Unfortunately, sometimes this is a fine line, requiring an instant decision by our soldiers. War is an ugly, but necessary, thing, and part of the ugliness is having to make quick life-threatening decisions.

So, should your stepfather have let the young boy live? I don’t believe so. He demonstrated strength during wartime, making some quick decisions and acting on those decisions. If his training, battle conditions, and momentary decision-making were similar to what I described, then he can take solace in the Scriptures that I have offered. If, for some reason, a sin was committed, then he simply needs to take solace in confession to God (1 John 1:9), as the rest of us do, in order to receive temporal forgiveness.

I hope this helps. Please feel free to reply again if I can be of any further assistance. Meanwhile, I am praying for your stepfather’s peace and comfort in God (Philippians 4:7).

Thanks,

Owen

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Questionable Bible Doctrines

One of the principles of sound biblical interpretation is that one should not build a doctrine based upon only a single verse or idea. Some doctrines, such as the doctrine of justification by faith alone, are stated emphatically and repeatedly in the Bible, as indicated in the article on Justification by Faith. However, throughout the centuries, many have chosen to build various questionable Bible doctrines with little justification from the Scriptures.

For example, what about evangelicals who preach eternal suffering in hell for unbelievers?  Or, the Roman Catholics’ belief in salvation being (partially) by works and water baptism?  Or, Saturday being the “Christian Sabbath,” as touted by the Seventh-Day Adventists?  Or, the Church of Christ which doesn’t allow musical instruments in their worship?  Or, the Amish who don’t believe in the use of electricity?

Read Questionable Bible Doctrines to see where they got these notions, and whether or not they are Biblical.

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Is Trump’s New Tax Bill Good or Bad?

I’m a middle-class worker, and the new bill will cut my taxes by $3,800 in 2018.  But, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the Trump Tax Bill is the worst piece of legislation to ever hit the floor of the House.  And, not a single Democratic Congressperson (House or Senate) voted for the bill.  What ever happened to the Democratic party being the party of the middle class?  Well, see what it will do for you with this simple Trump Tax Cut Calculator.

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