Saints

January 18th, 2022

Matthew 27:52-53 says the saints arose from their graves and appeared to many in the holy city. Is there any more info on this in the bible?

Thank you for your question. This is a tough one, and I’ve often had questions about it. There is a wide range of views on it, and it’s such a difficult passage that many theologians don’t even address it. First, let me quote from various commentaries:

Barnes – “It is probable that they were persons who had recently died, and they appear to have been known in Jerusalem; at least, had the ancient saints risen, they would not have been known, and would not so soon have been credited as those who had recently died.”

Gill – “… these were saints, and such as slept in Jesus; and of whom he is the first fruits that now rose; and not all, but many of them, as pledges of the future resurrection, and for the confirmation of Christ’s, and the accomplishment of a prophecy in Isaiah 26:19. And they rose in the same bodies in which they before lived, otherwise they could not be called their bodies, or known by those to whom they appeared: but who they were is not to be known; some have thought them to be the ancient patriarchs, as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, &c. In the Septuagint on Job 42:17, Job is said to be one of them, and a tradition is there recorded, which runs thus:

‘it is written, that he rose with whom the Lord rose.’

But it should seem rather, that they were some later saints, such as Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, John the Baptist himself, good old Simeon, Joseph the husband of Mary, and others, well known to persons now alive. Some think they were such, as had been martyrs in the cause of religion; and so the Persic version renders the words, ‘and the bodies of many saints who suffered martyrdom, rose out of the graves.'”

Wesley – “… (Perhaps Simeon, Zacharias, John the Baptist, and others who had believed in Christ, and were known to many in Jerusalem,) And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, went into the holy city (Jerusalem) and appeared to many – Who had probably known them before: God hereby signifying, that Christ had conquered death, and would raise all his saints in due season.”

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown – “… These sleeping saints (see on [1377] 1 Th. 4:14) were Old Testament believers, who-according to the usual punctuation in our version-were quickened into resurrection life at the moment of their Lord’s death, but lay in their graves till His resurrection, when they came forth.”

Falwell – “This incident is stated only by Matthew and indicates that the Old Testament believers were resurrected after His resurrection and appeared unto many. It is properly supposed that they were resurrected from ‘paradise,’ or ‘Abraham’s bosom’ and taken to heaven by the Resurrected Christ (cf. Eph. 4:8-9).”

Now, although this is not definitive, I believe that when the Old Testament saints encountered death, their souls were not taken directly to heaven, as is now the case with New Testament believers. Instead, the Old Testament believers were taken to a place called ‘paradise’ (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, Revelation 2:7), or ‘Abraham’s bosom’ (Luke 16:22-23). Then, upon the event of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, these Old Testament saints were resurrected. Today, now that Christ’s resurrection has already occurred, when Christians die, we are taken directly to heaven.

Incidentally, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:23 refers to a place called “Hades,” which is where the rich man was. This seems to be to “opposite” of the place of “paradise” where Lazarus was. This would imply that, in Old Testament times, those who died were taken to one of these temporary chambers, awaiting their transaction: either from paradise to heaven; or from Hades to Hell. This probably also explains the Catholic doctrine of purgatory, which would equate to Hades in this case.

I hope that this helps to answer your questions on a difficult passage. If not, please reply.

Thanks,

Owen

Election

December 15th, 2021

This is why I struggle mightily with election. It would mean that some men, irrespective of the good works they choose to do and irrespective of their sins, are pre-wired to succeed or fail. Some are pre-wired to attain eternal bliss, and some are pre-wired for eternal torment. There are the approved and the disapproved and neither can change their pre-determined judgments. This immutable, predetermined final judgment seems to completely negate the exhortations of the apostles, and all their lessons about self-control, patience, alertness (lest he come like a thief in the night), etc. After all, why bother if the decisions have already been made and the seal of the Spirit on the approved can never be broken no matter how great the sin (even though we are warned repeatedly not to “grieve” the Spirit, lest God remove our lampstand – Revelation 2:5)? And why would the disapproved man care either? Nothing he can do can change his predicament.

Many defenders of election respond: Because we don’t know if we are saved or not. But think about that response for a moment. What kind of loving God would play such a dirty trick on His children? Why would he EVER implore ALL men to seek him, when he already KNEW beforehand some COULD not? Notice I didn’t say WOULD not. Because again, if election is true, and God made all His decisions before man arrived in the garden, and God does not look down the corridors of time to see how men will choose, he has granted only SOME the ability to seek him. Some can, and some can’t, period. Thus, the idea that BELIEF is a decision man can make is a false teaching in the Bible, because again, if some men are pre-wired not to seek God, they certainly would not have the ability to believe in Him. “Whosoever believes” becomes false doctrine. Instead it should read “Whosoever he has pre-wired and pre-selected to believe.”

And what of sin? Your contention is that SIN–NOT God–has condemned the disapproved man, but how can that be so when 1) God chose the elect BEFORE mankind sinned in the garden; 2) God discarded the “disapproved” man before the man was even born and committed his first sin?

If the great election happened PRIOR to sin, and God does not look down the corridors of time, then God based His decision on something other than sin, and thus sin is irrelevant in a discussion about pre-determined salvation and cannot be used as an explanation of why some men are saved and some men are not Once man chose to bring sin into the world, a barrier immediately arose between God and man. Man no longer had a relationship with God because God can coexist neither with sin nor with sinful man. At that point, man was spiritually dead, deserving of hell, and incapable of reconciliation with God since any sacrifice that man then brought to God was stained by sin. It was only because God instituted His plan of grace that man had any hope of being redeemed.

It seems you are suggesting every single man was doomed until Jesus came. I don’t agree based on the relationships Abraham, Moses, Job, Joseph, and many others enjoyed with the Lord. Recall what God said to Satan about Job. Job was declared righteous as was Abraham. Certainly, these great men of God co-existed with him. Clearly, though not perfected, some of these men were heavenly favored by God for their obedience. God loves us, and he wants a relationship with us. However, due to the sin of man, He had to sacrifice His own perfect Son for us, as we have nothing clean to offer Him. So, it was sin (not God) that crippled man’s intellect.

Again, I’m not sure how sin is relevant in a discussion about pre-election. Election maintains God chose, before man existed, who goes to heaven and who doesn’t. And since, by your own admission, His election choices are not based on him “looking down the corridor” at the choices we will make (i.e. choices to obey him or sin), then OUR sins would not be factored in any more than our WORKS are, because the Doctrine of Election holds that God’s grace alone (NOTHING we have done or not done) saves. So, again, sin is something we DO, and since salvation is not based on ANYTHING we do, it seems irrelevant here.

On the contrary, it was the amazing power of God’s love that brought His plan of salvation. If God chooses some for salvation, those chosen are extraordinarily blessed by grace. If He didn’t choose others, those who are not chosen deserve what their sin has brought upon them.

I see a conflict in this theory. On one hand it states God’s grace alone saves, but then on the other hand it states people’s sin condemns.

Re. “a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3): I would argue that Paul was speaking only to believers here (the recipients of his letter to the church at Rome). He was pointing out that each believer has a spiritual gift, and each must use his gift in the context of the church (as explained in the subsequent verses).

Yes, one might be able say that all are capable of being saved; however, all will not be saved. All that anyone has to do is to present himself to God without blemish–with no imputed or personal sin. Since we all have such sin, this is impossible. Only by God’s grace (one might say, by His “election) can any of us be saved.

Yes, we who are among the elect are members of an elite group. However, this privilege is not accomplished through any effort on our part. All that we can do is to thank God for His grace (giving us what we don’t deserve) and mercy (not giving us what we do deserve).

Yes, you are right that my illustrations of God “looking down the corridors of time,” and His creation of the elect “in the past” do seem to bound God by time and space. Although these might be poor illustrations, I still believe that they are among the best that we (who are indeed bound by space and time in this life) are capable of understanding. So, I do not believe that one can reject the doctrine of election because we cannot find an apt illustration for it. In fact, in a way, this seems to strengthen the argument for election. Since it is indeed inappropriate to bound God to “looking down the corridors of time,” then it is likewise somewhat silly to think that an omniscient and omnipresent God was capable of creating man without complete foreknowledge and predestination; i.e., How could God (in eternity) create man outside of the doctrine of election?

Re. Acts 16:30-31: I see no conflict with predestination here. My position is, in fact, that one does need only to believe, by grace through faith. It would be a misrepresentation to claim that I am saying that they must also be pre-selected. I would say it this way: God, in eternity, predestined some to be saved, and those whom He predestined would, in time, believe the gospel message.

Re. the claim of C.S. Lewis that “All may be saved if they so choose:” Whether or not this statement is consistent with predestination depends upon how he meant it. If he meant that “all may be saved if they so choose, but some will not choose because the Holy Spirit hasn’t moved them to so choose,” then it is consistent with predestination. However, if he meant that sinful man, in his limited freewill and through his own efforts and will can choose to be saved outside of the sovereign will, veracity, and integrity of God, then this is inconsistent with predestination.

The doctrine of election can be a difficult one. However, I believe that it is easier to understand and accept once one approaches it with the same humility with which he accepts the gospel message; i.e., once we realize that our salvation is completely God’s doing, and by no merit of ourselves.

C.S. Lewis on Pre-Determinism

November 23rd, 2021

In The Great Divorce, CS Lewis observed: “All may be saved if they so choose.” Is this statement consistent with pre-determinism?

Another question: What of Acts 16:30? How does it fit with the idea of Pre-Determinism? “30 He then brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ 31 They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.” 

The apostles said one only need believe to be saved. But it seems you are saying they must not only believe, but ALSO be pre-selected, isn’t that right? Hence, it would appear that in Acts 16:30 the apostles have only stated half of the proposition. In other words, if what you say is true about pre-determinism, then why didn’t they say something along the lines of: 

“Try to believe in the Lord Jesus, and IF you have been pre-selected, that is IF the Lord has not hardened you and crippled your ability to choose Him, you and the others in your house who have been pre-selected will be saved!”

Thank you again for your questions and comments. You have done a good job of arguing the position of Arminianism (favoring man’s free will over election) against my position of Calvinism (favoring election over man’s limited free will), and you have made me think. Let me first offer some general observations before I speak to the various specific points that you made.

Throughout your arguments, you repeatedly mentioned God’s (supposed) decision of election in chronological reference to various events of mankind:

“… before man ever arrived in the garden” “… before each exits the womb” “… before man even arrived on earth” “… before the existence of man and sin” “… before man sinned for the first time” “… when God made the election decisions”

However, God exists in eternity, beyond the realm of time and space. To us who are limited by space and time, eternity is a great mystery. In eternity, somehow, events don’t occur in chronological order. We can’t even aptly describe this in words. The best we can do is to say that in eternity events all occur at the same “time,” but even then we’ve interjected our limitation of time into our description. To say that one event occurred before another in eternity probably doesn’t even make sense. I too have been guilty of this by referring to “eternity past” just because this is my best notion of this great mystery, but I know that this is inadequate. So, words like “time,” “before,” “after,” and “when” have no place in a discussion of God in eternity. Likewise, the argument that the doctrine of election was established “before” man sinned is a weak argument; and, probably much more so if we were indeed capable of understanding eternity.

Aside from this, you stated that God stamped (or pre-wired) some men as disapproved, and that He thus discarded them before they were born. This isn’t technically true because He did give them life and grace, and thus He didn’t discard them before they were born. Of course, I do understand your point here, and I will address it further below.

Re. the matter of sin: When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, we were in Adam’s loins, so we too were guilty of his sin. All of us have both imputed sin from Adam, as well as personal sins. Even if a person never committed a personal sin, he would still be guilty of the imputed sin of Adam (his federal headship). (Please see my complete article on Imputation.) So, what all of us really deserve is an eternity separated from God. However, God, in His love, instituted the grace plan of salvation where be sacrificed His Son Jesus, who was the only One who lived a perfect live without sin. As a result, God was free to elect whoever He desired for salvation. God is first a God of justice, but through the sacrifice of Christ, God (who is also a God of Love) was able to satisfy His justice in exercising His love for His elect.

As a result there is no conflict in noting that one’s sin condemns him while God’s grace alone has the power to save him. Election does not nullify the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. However, if left to ourselves, we sinners would never be able find God on our own, if it weren’t for His seeking us through election.

Also, I am definitely not suggesting that the Old Testament saints (such as Abraham, Moses, Job, and Joseph) were not saved. They were indeed saved, looking forward to Christ’s sacrifice, just as we today look back in history to His sacrifice.

Although you have made some good points in your arguments, I believe that the final word and truth about predestination is very clearly articulated for us in Romans 8:28-30: “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

I would have to say that I reject the notion that God deliberately cripples the intellect of some men, and thus denies them the freedom to choose to love him and follow his Laws. This is not a valid description of the doctrine of election. I would argue that sin (not God) crippled all men’s intellect in the Garden of Eden.

Before I respond, first let explain what I meant when I said the doctrine of election seems to suggest God cripples one’s intellect. I meant if the doctrine of election is true, and God really chose to save some and not save others—before man even arrived in the garden and sinned for the first time—then some men are pre-wired to seek and come to know Jesus, and others are not. And by pre-wired I mean at birth some have been granted the “ability” to discern, supplicate, repent, etc. and others have not.

So, if election is true, and thus all men are already stamped approved or disapproved before each exits the womb (and before man even arrived on earth), and thus the approved man has the pre-wired “ability” to seek and come to know God and the disapproved man does not, then clearly the disapproved man has been “crippled” — but NOT by sin as you suggest, but by God.

Furthermore, IF the doctrine of election is true, and God approved and disapproved all men prior to the existence of man and sin, and at the same time God does not observe a man’s sins to determine his ultimate destination (i.e. God doesn’t look down the corridors of time to see how a man will choose), then your assertion that sin has condemned man is, quite frankly, impossible.

To be clear: I think we agree that if election is true, it happened BEFORE man arrived in the garden and thus BEFORE man sinned for the first time. Hence, SIN cannot be the explanation and cause of the disapproved man’s condemnation when 1) Sin did not exist when God made the election decisions; 2) God does not look down the corridors of time to see who chose what.

Pre-Determinism

October 22nd, 2021

In The Great Divorce CS Lewis observed: “All may be saved if they so choose.”  Is this statement consistent with pre-determinism?

Another question: What of Acts 16:30? How does it fit with the idea of Pre-Determinism? “He then brought them out and asked, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.

The apostles said one only need believe to be saved. But it seems you are saying they must not only believe, but ALSO be pre-selected, isn’t that right? Hence, it would appear that in Acts 16:30 the apostles have only stated half of the proposition. In other words, if what you say is true about pre-determinism, then why didn’t they say something along the lines of: 

“Try to believe in the Lord Jesus, and IF you have been pre-selected, that is IF the Lord has not hardened you and crippled your ability to choose Him, you and the others in your house who have been pre-selected will be saved!”

Thank you again for your questions and comments. You have done a good job of arguing the position of Arminianism (favoring man’s free will over election) against my position of Calvinism (favoring election over man’s limited free will), and you have made me think. Let me first offer some general observations before I speak to the various specific points that you made.

Throughout your arguments, you repeatedly mentioned God’s (supposed) decision of election in chronological reference to various events of mankind:

“… before man ever arrived in the garden” “… before each exits the womb” “… before man even arrived on earth” “… before the existence of man and sin” “… before man sinned for the first time” “… when God made the election decisions”

However, God exists in eternity, beyond the realm of time and space. To us who are limited by space and time, eternity is a great mystery. In eternity, somehow, events don’t occur in chronological order. We can’t even aptly describe this in words. The best we can do is to say that in eternity events all occur at the same “time,” but even then we’ve interjected our limitation of time into our description. To say that one event occurred before another in eternity probably doesn’t even make sense. I too have been guilty of this by referring to “eternity past” just because this is my best notion of this great mystery, but I know that this is inadequate. So, words like “time,” “before,” “after,” and “when” have no place in a discussion of God in eternity. Likewise, the argument that the doctrine of election was established “before” man sinned is a weak argument; and, probably much more so if we were indeed capable of understanding eternity.

Aside from this, you stated that God stamped (or pre-wired) some men as disapproved, and that He thus discarded them before they were born. This isn’t technically true because He did give them life and grace, and thus He didn’t discard them before they were born. Of course, I do understand your point here, and I will address it further below.

Re. the matter of sin: When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, we were in Adam’s loins, so we too were guilty of his sin. All of us have both imputed sin from Adam, as well as personal sins. Even if a person never committed a personal sin, he would still be guilty of the imputed sin of Adam (his federal headship). (Please see my complete article on Imputation.) So, what all of us really deserve is an eternity separated from God. However, God, in His love, instituted the grace plan of salvation where be sacrificed His Son Jesus, who was the only One who lived a perfect live without sin. As a result, God was free to elect whoever He desired for salvation. God is first a God of justice, but through the sacrifice of Christ, God (who is also a God of Love) was able to satisfy His justice in exercising His love for His elect.

As a result there is no conflict in noting that one’s sin condemns him while God’s grace alone has the power to save him. Election does not nullify the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. However, if left to ourselves, we sinners would never be able find God on our own, if it weren’t for His seeking us through election.

Also, I am definitely not suggesting that the Old Testament saints (such as Abraham, Moses, Job, and Joseph) were not saved. They were indeed saved, looking forward to Christ’s sacrifice, just as we today look back in history to His sacrifice.

Although you have made some good points in your arguments, I believe that the final word and truth about predestination is very clearly articulated for us in Romans 8:28-30: “28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

Thanks,

Owen

Predestination (Faith vs. Works)

September 26th, 2021

I read your piece on predestination. I found it very interesting. The one part of it I cannot reconcile is the idea that God doesn’t grant the unsaved the WILL to turn to Him. Yes, I know the Lord “hardened” men in the Old Testament, but to me, the idea that He would deliberately “cripple” the intellect of some men, and thus deny them the freedom to choose to love him and follow His laws seems inconceivable. We are told in the New Testament that ALL are granted “a measure of faith,” and that “all” are capable of being saved, not just an elite group of pre-determined people.

I also see a conflict in the idea that God “looking down the corridors of time” would mean that He is in time, when in a different place you say the elect was created “in the past.” The “past” would also imply a time bound decision and put God in time, wouldn’t it? Hence, if the time-bound rule stand; that is, that any explanation that puts God in time can be impeached, then it seems the entire idea of “pre” determinism can be impeached, no? …

Thank you for your questions. You have touched upon some difficult issues, but I’ll do my best to try to shed some light on them. Yes, I believe that evangelization includes acts of human effort. However, neither this nor any other human effort is required for one to be saved. If there is any merit in a believer performing evangelism, then he will be rewarded for it at the Judgment Seat of Christ, but it has nothing to do with his salvation.

Yes, I do believe in the doctrine of election (or predestination). Specifically, you asked, “What is the point of evangelicals going out and communicating/preaching to the unsaved that they can be saved, if God alone can choose to save them, and they have no choice in the matter whatsoever?” First of all, the point in performing the evangelism is that we are commanded to do so (Matthew 28:18-20). Also, we do not know which people are among the elect, or even which people are truly saved, since we don’t truly know the heart of any other person. So, we must spread the gospel to everyone.

You also asked, “Why would I go tell an unsaved man that he can repent and believe and be saved, when in reality he can only repent and believe and be saved if he has been pre-determined to be saved?” This, of course, is the more difficult question. I believe that it is technically true to tell an unbeliever that he can be saved if he believes the gospel. However, it’s also a fact that the non-elect person simply will not believe. It’s still true that he would be saved if he believed, but the Holy Spirit will simply never move his will to make him believe. If, on the other hand, the person that we explain the gospel to is among the elect, the Holy Spirit will (at some point) move upon his will to believe the gospel. In some cases, it will be our explanation of the gospel that finally compels that person to believe, and in other cases, it will not be.

For a full explanation of my position on election, please see my article entitled Predestination.

Is America Systemically Racist?

August 15th, 2021

In other words (from the dictionary), does America have policies, practices, or sets of beliefs that have been established as normative or customary such that it favors whites while discriminating against or harming minorities, ultimately serving to preserve the social status, economic advantage, or political power of whites?

We have the largest legal immigrant population anywhere, with 40 million citizens born outside the country. 19% of the world’s immigrants live her, and they make up 13% of our population. Since 1965, our legal immigrant population has quadrupled. That is true of no other country.

Minorities around the world are spending their time and resources; taking risks; and, taking a chance with dislocation to seek a visa; become a naturalized citizen; and, apply as refugees or asylees. Hispanics, Asians, Africans, Russians, and Europeans come in unparalleled numbers. The top origin countries from when they come are (in order): Mexico, China, India, the Philippines, and El Salvador. 28% are from Asia, and many more are from Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, and North and Sub-Saharan Africa.

38% of the 50,000 visas granted in one recent year went to African-born immigrants, which is the most numerous sub-group since 2013. 55% of those coming from Africa are sponsored by an American family or related to an American citizen, so we are encouraging them to seek U.S. citizenship (not discouraging it). 75% of all “out-migration” from Africa to America has occurred since 1990 – not before: not in the 1600s; and, not by slavery or by force. This migrations is about rights, opportunities, education, employment, and security – the American Dream!

Once here, immigrants do not pick states by politics, which they would if they feared discrimination. The top four destinations are Florida, Texas, New York, and California: two Republican states; and, two Democrat states.

African immigrants tend to settle in cities, but over time they migrate to the suburbs for income growth, upward mobility, and aspirations. This shows acceptance of races (by all races).

Two-thirds of Americans are content with the current inflow volume of legal immigrants, or happy to see more. The Washington Post has reported that those who grew up in America are more likely to be more tolerant of foreign-born neighbors than those in other countries.

As of 2021, eight of the richest Black billionaires are American, and 25% of all American millionaires are Black, Hispanic, or Asian. Again, America is the only nation of which that is true.

Black Americans own nearly 125,000 American businesses.

About 40% of the American (voluntary) military is non-white. This says something about both opportunity and patriotism.

We have had a non-white president; vice-president; National Security Advisor; Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff, multiple Secretaries of State; and, a Secretary of Defense, as well as countless cabinet members, senators and congressmen.

Los Angeles police are 70% minority; Chicago 65%; and, Houston 61%. Note that “70% minority” is an oxymoron.

Non-whites didn’t attain their opportunities and dignitary status by themselves. Whites fought side-by-side with them to ensure their civil rights. Even in the Civil War, 360,000 Union men (almost all white) died to defeat the Confederacy and end slavery.

How many minorities migrate to communist China, autocratic Russia, or theocratic Iran, and assimilate into those societies? How many are welcomed by fellow citizens; hired; promoted; admired, or married? How many get rich; invite families, rise in the military; dominate police forces; lead cabinet agencies, advise presidents, or become presidents?

Sources include the Amac magazine.

The True Infant Mortality Rate

August 13th, 2021

I recently perused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics on life expectancy in the U.S., and I was surprised to see that a baby born today is likely to live for only 77.8 years (75.1 for males; and, 80.5 for females). I thought (that with all the medical advances) it would have been higher. However, the Bible is exactly right where, in Psalm 90:10, it says, “As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years.”

Then I happened to notice another statistic: the infant mortality rate. In the U.S., there are 5.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. That means that in the latest reporting year, we had 18,026 infant deaths per 3,605,201 live births.

But wait: We also had 619,591 abortion deaths (which the CDC does not count). When we add these the 18,036 that they do count, we get 637,617 infant deaths per 3,605,201 live births. That computes to a true infant mortality rate of 176.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

It’s hard to believe, but abortion multiplies the reported infant morality rate (of 5.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births) by 35 times (to 176.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births).

What does the Bible say about Tattoos?

July 12th, 2021

What does the Bible say about getting tattoos?

Thank you for your question.  Here are some pertinent Scriptures:

Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:28

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. Romans 6:13

I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. Romans 6:19

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19

Thanks,

Owen

Should I Praying For Healing, or See a Doctor?

June 21st, 2021

I have question about Luke 7:1-10: 

The centurion had great faith in Jesus, and believed that if Jesus would just “Say the word,” his servant (who was sick and ready to die) would be healed. The servant was then cured by Jesus.

Here is my question: Suppose that I become ill with, say, “sinusitis” which causes headache and difficulty in breathing, and possibly will cause loss of vision in the long-run. The doctor’s recommendation is to have a surgery to fix it. Should I pray for Jesus to cure my illness and not to have surgery? Or, should I follow my doctor’s recommendation to have a surgery and pray for the mercy of Jesus to put me in the good care of my doctor?

Thank you for your question. This is a difficult subject, but I will try to be as definitive as possible.

First of all, when we are stricken with illness, I believe that the first thing we should do is to pray for healing, including claiming God’s promises such as in 1 John 5:14-15.

At this point, and throughout this process, we can certainly also see a doctor about our condition if we feel like God might use the doctor as an instrument in accomplishing His healing. Although I do not believe that doctors can do much in the way of true healing, they can often help our bodies fight the sickness and ease our suffering–in short term situations such as with colds and the flu; and, sometimes in more serious long-term circumstances. However, we know that doctors are sometimes wrong, and they can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help, despite any good intentions that they may have. So, since we know our own bodies better than the doctors do, we need to accept the responsibility for making the best decisions about our health (using the common sense and wisdom that God gives us).

If God chooses not to heal us, we should ask others (such as our church leaders) to join us in prayer for our healing, according to James 5:13-15 and Matthew 18-18-20.

If God still chooses not to heal us, we need to review 1 John 5:14 again, and pray specifically about the part that says, “If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us…” We need to think through our situation and ask ourselves whether or not we believe that it is God’s will for us to be healed. This is because there may be something else that God has in mind for us, such as a blessing even greater than being healed; and, perhaps this greater thing can only come about by way of our illness. If we really believe that the illness is God’s will for us (according to Romans 8:28), then we can be satisfied and cease praying for healing. However, if we are not satisfied that this illness is God’s will for us, then we need to examine ourselves to see if there might be some sin in our lives that is inhibiting our healing (James 5:15), or if we perhaps have sin in our lives that we have not confessed (1 John 1:9).

I hope this helps.

Thanks,

Owen

If I were the Devil

May 20th, 2021

Paul Harvey, March 18, 1993:

“If I were the prince of darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness. I’d have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I would not be happy until I had seized the ripest apples on the tree. So, I would set about, however necessary, to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first. I would begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would
whisper to you as I whispered to Eve, ‘Do as you please.’ To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I’d confide that what’s bad is good, and what good is square. And the old I would teach to pray after me, ‘Our father, which art in Washington.’

“Then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors on how to make lurid literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

“If I were the devil, I would soon have families at war with themselves; churches at war with themselves; and, nation at war with themselves, until each in turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

“If I was the devil, I would encourage schools to teach young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions. Just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door. Within a decade, I’d have prisons overflowing, and judges promoting pornography? Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in his own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I’d lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church
money.

“If I were the devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.

“If I were the devil, I’d take from those who have, and give to those who wanted, until I killed the incentive of the ambitious. What would you bet that I couldn’t get folks to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would caution against extremes in hard work; in patriotism; and, in moral conduct. I’d convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, and that swinging is more fun; that what you see on TV is the way to be; and, that I could undress you in public, and lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.

“In other words, if I were the devil, I just keep right on doing what he’s doing. Paul Harvey. Good day.”