Archive for February, 2018

Christian Responsibility in our Country

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Question from a reader:

I have read what you had to say about: The Role of GovernmentHow Can We Please God?The Problems with Voting; and, What Does the Bible Say about Humility? I am working on a topic for discussion that addresses what our role as Christians are according to God. Now I know there are many but it seems that they boil down to live right and share the gospel. Now my question revolves around where we are as a country and how we are moving more and more away from Christian values in this country. The country as a whole seems to be moving in the direction of thinking of Christians as bigots and a negative to be a Christian. Now I know that we have the “Great Commission” to go out and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is it the complete plan of the Lord to gain ground by just individual conversion, and one by one quietly winning the majority or winning the battle against evil or sin? This country is or was a country based on Christian values and we used to have the majority to keep the decency to a degree but little by little we are losing the battle and control of the country. Do we have any other responsibility other than living right and sharing the Gospel? Thanks for your writings and for your consideration of this question that has really been on my heart and mind in a big way lately. I feel like we should do more than most of my Christian brothers and sisters do but I wonder if I am wrong and all I should be concerned about is living right, voting and quietly sharing the gospel. So, again I ask: “Do we have any responsibility other than living right and sharing the Gospel?”

Thank you for your question.

I agree that we are supposed to live right and share the gospel. I further believe that our sole purpose is to glorify God, and I agree that this includes living right and sharing the gospel. Now, “living right” includes a lot of things, as outlined in the epistles. We glorify God by pleasing Him through right living, and this includes sharing God’s grace, being faithful in Bible study and prayer, giving to the needy, etc. Please see my e-Book entitled True Christianity. This covers the doctrines of the epistles, and it offers my views on what I believe “right living” to be.



I appreciate your response but I know what right living involves I just summed it up with living right to shorten my email and to get to the main question which I did not see a clear answer to. Can you answer the question more directly?

You asked, “Do we have any responsibility other than living right and sharing the Gospel?” If “living right” includes glorifying God, then I believe that this is correct. If we believe and share the gospel, and live the Christian life, this will bring the maximum amount of glory to God, so this is the extent of our responsibilities in this life.

So, the way you understand the scripture we are to quietly go about our God Glorifying lives and share the gospel and not fight to keep biblical principles as a guide for our country? I know that we can’t win the day without God but do we do nothing while the country goes down the toilet other than these things we have spoken of or do we do these things plus other things?

No, you have misunderstood what I said. Yes, we are to quietly go about our God-glorifying lives sharing the gospel. However, I do not agree with the rest of your statement, “and not fight to keep biblical principles as a guide for our country.” I said that we could bring the maximum amount of glory to God if we believe and share the gospel, and live the Christian life. I also indicated that the (God-glorifying) Christian life (“living right”) includes a lot of things, and I referred you to my free e-Book entitled True Christianity because it covers the doctrines of the epistles. It offers my views on what I believe “right living” to be; i.e., understanding and sharing grace and faith, pleasing God, being faithful in Bible study and prayer, giving to the needy, etc. Have you read this e-Book to help you answer your questions?

You also asked, “…do we do nothing while the country goes down the toilet other than these things we have spoken of or do we do these things plus other things?” If you are asking what our responsibilities are in the political arena, I believe that I have already covered these as well, in my articles on government and voting, which you indicated that you had already read. We should vote, we should support God-fearing Christian candidates, and we should support the Christian principles upon which the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were founded. For example, concerning social issues, we should not tolerate abortion, and we should insist on our right to arm ourselves.

If you’re asking about civil disobedience, I believe that those believers who feel led to do so should participate in orderly and non-violent civil disobedience, bearing in mind God’s instructions about this in Romans 13:1-7: “1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”



The Book of Life

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

Question from a reader:

Dear Owen, We are having a discussion in our Sunday school class, of course with many different opinions. Can our names be taken off the book of life, if so what would be the reasons? Myself, I believe if we are truly saved it cannot. What I mean by that is that I feel that some ask forgiveness through emotions and are not truly saved. One must know that they are truly saved and walk in a new light and not have to feel saved all the time by an up feeling. What are some scriptures I can read on this subject? Thank you so much. 

Thank you for your question. You are correct that a believer’s name cannot be removed from the book of life. Revelation 3:5 says, “The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.”

The judgment from the book of life applies only to unbelievers. Revelation 20:15 says, “Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Revelation 21 speaks of the “Holy City, the new Jerusalem” (verse 2), and the believers who will inhabit it. Verse 27 says, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

Psalms 69:28 does suggest that it’s possible for a name to be blotted out of the book of life: “May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.” In this context, it could be that the book of life originally contained the names of everyone, and the names of the unbelievers were blotted out.

Throughout the Scriptures, believers are called “children of God” (Philippians 2:14). This fitting analogy suggests the type of relationship that Christians have with God the Father. We are His children–his sons and daughters. Furthermore, just as we are naturally born as a product of our human parents, we are spiritually born as a product of God the Father and His grace. In both cases, the birth establishes a relationship which can never be altered. One cannot undo a physical birth, so neither can he undo a spiritual birth. I can’t decide that I no longer want my parents to be my parents; and, as a father myself, I cannot decide that I no longer want my children to be y children. The eternal security of the believer is thus demonstrated by this analogy of children.

I hope this helps.

Premature and Preventable Deaths

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Many of the premature and preventable deaths in the U. S. include deaths from things such as:  gun violence; unjust wars, like Vietnam; opioid abuse; and, abortion.  Here’s how these deaths appear in graphical format:

The Synoptic Gospels

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Question from a reader:

Could you please help us to answer one of the question below? We often take help from your website in the area of Bible study.

Could you please defend the consistency of the synoptic gospels, including a defense against those who would point to various seemingly inconsistencies. Please give some examples of these in your explanation.

Thank you for your question. I have found the synoptic gospels to be 99.9% consistent in our modern-day translations, and I believe that they were 100% consistent in the original manuscripts. For me, this is amazing consistency, which, rather than dissuading me with a few possible, discrepancies, only strengthens my faith in the canon of Scriptures. The beauty of having the synoptic gospels is that this more completely paints the picture of Jesus for us, through the various viewpoints and writing styles of different men, while the question of writing style one of the most subjective criterion for canonicity. For example, Mark’s writing style manifests itself in somewhat short and choppy sentences, and lacking some elaboration as found in Matthew and Luke. I personally prefer this concise writing style, while others prefer the more expressive styles.

I offer the following two examples of what seem to some as discrepancies across the synoptic gospels:

1) Matthew 10:9-10, and Mark 6:8, and Luke 9:3:

It sounds like Matthew and Luke are saying that Christ told the disciples not to take a staff and sandals, but Mark says they can.

Probable solution: Reading closely, Matthew 10:9-10 says, “… take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals, or a staff; …” Luke 9:3 says, “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic.” While Mark 6:8 says, “Take nothing for the journey except a staff–no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.” Again, the only apparent discrepancies here concern the staff and the sandals. The Matthew passage could be interpreted to mean that no extra tunic, extra sandals or extra staff are to be taken. This would imply that it is permissible to take a staff and to wear sandals, as the Mark passages says, but it would not be permissible to take an extra staff or an extra pair of sandals. Since the passage in Luke does not reference sandals at all, the only remaining discrepancy is that Luke sounds pretty adamant about not taking a staff. I would just have to chalk this one up as a transcription error made by some scribe by misapplying the appropriate grammatical rules of the Greek language concerning items in a list. I feel certain that the original manuscripts agreed.

2) Matthew 20:29-34, Mark 10:46-52, and Luke 18:35-43:

The passage in Matthew says that two blind men were healed, while Mark and Luke say that one blind man was healed (and Mark calls him Bartimaeus.)

Possible solution: These could be referring to two different events.

Probable solution: I lean on my analytical / mathematical argument. I believe that two blind men were healed, but Mark and Luke are only documenting one. Mark and Luke do not say that ONLY one blind man was healed, so (mathematically speaking) if two were healed, then it is also true that one was healed, so there is no contradiction. It is just that Matthew tells us more about the event. So, this doesn’t appear to be a valid discrepancy.

I hope this helps.




Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Comments from a reader:

Here are a few things the bible has to say about slavery: 

It’s OK with God if you slowly beat your slaves to death. After all, they are your money.

And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. Ex. 21:20-21

It’s okay to beat your slaves; even if they die you won’t be punished, just as long as they survive a day or two after the beating (see Ex. 21:20-21). But avoid excessive damage to their eyes or teeth. Otherwise you may have to set them free. Oh well, it’s a heck of a lot better than what would happen to you if you did it to a non-slave. (See verses 21:24-25)

And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake. Ex. 21:26-27 

This is another difficult subject, but my view on slavery is that it is wrong today, and it was wrong in Paul’s day, and he knew it, of course. We should only be enslaved to the righteousness of Christ (Romans 6:19). In 1 Corinthians 7:21, Paul says, “Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you–although if you can gain your freedom, do so.” Paul is saying that he knows slavery is an unjust evil.

However, as in dealing with Onesimus in Philemon, Paul recognizes a more explicit biblical principle. Slavery was in common acceptance by the Roman government under which Paul lived. In Romans 13:1-7, we are explicitly commanded to obey our government. Unjustly freeing a slave was against Roman law, so Paul sided with the governing authorities.

Perhaps the closest analogy today is abortion. Since our government condones abortion, are we entitled to stop paying our taxes? Romans 13:1-7 says no, since God has put that government in place for a reason, and we are explicitly commanded to obey it and pay our taxes. Of course there are some limits at which peaceful civil disobedience is in order. For details on this, please see the article “What is the Role of Government” on the main web page.

The question then arises about passages such as Colossians 3:18-4:1 and Ephesians 6:5-9 regarding slaves submitting to their masters, as to whether or not these scriptures are still relevant today. They are indeed still relevant, but in a different context. First of all, this sounds to me like an employer/employee relationship. Secondly, if we should someday find ourselves enslaved (through a rebellion against the government, martial law, etc.), then these would be directly relevant to us.

God’s Wrath upon the Evil on the Earth

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Question from a reader:

Genesis 6-7 God sees the evil on the earth (However it seems the central cause of this is that the “Sons of God” had kids with the “Daughters of man” (which sounds an awful like angels sleeping with humans.) God decides that the earth is evil, has Noah build an ark, and then God kills everyone on earth with a painful death of drowning (that would include children.) Also aside from the fact that this story is completely ridiculous; so much so that it’s laughable; it is a completely evil act on the part of God AND it never mentions in Genesis 6 or 7 that the people of the earth had a choice to enter the ark (something I bet you didn’t know). 

Also, Genesis 12: God sends a plague on the house of pharaoh because the pharaoh believed Abraham’s lie. 

Yes, in Noah’s day there was much evil on the earth, including the physical union of the “Sons of God” and the “Daughters of man.” God’s wrath against this evil was revealed by the worldwide flood, saving only Noah and his family. In fact, we know from Romans 5 that sin entered the world through Adam, and everyone since then has been guilty of sin–both imputed sin and personal sins. So, even Noah and his family were guilty (Romans 3:23, 6:23), and it was only God’s gift of his grace (John 3:16) to Noah and his family that kept mankind from being completed wiped out. The fact that the people (including children) suffered a painful death is reflective of the fact everyone is guilty and deserving of hell. In fact, if I shared your skepticism, I would be more disturbed by the prospect of living forever in hell separated from God than I would be by that of a painful (but relatively quick) death.

I simply don’t share your view that the story of Noah and the ark is ridiculous and laughable. Rather than an evil act by God, I see it as an act of grace that He saved anybody, and this is also how I view salvation through the saving blood of Christ on the cross.

You made a valid point that we’re not told whether or not the people of the earth had a choice to enter the ark. Regardless, however, God chose to establish His covenant with Noah, and God’s will and decisions are sovereign.

You also cited Genesis 12 where God punished the house of Pharaoh because of Abraham’s sin. To me, this just shows how the devastating effects of sin can spread to others, again remembering that nobody is innocent (free from sin).

Is Trump our 11th Best President?

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

Is President Trump the 11th best president in our country’s history?  Although it’s early in his presidency, he has certainly made a mark.  This is an objective look at the presidents of the United States and how good of a president each one was. Below is a ranking of the presidents from best to worst.

Continue reading…

Other Evil Angels in the Future?

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

I know that God knows everything and that he gives us free choice. So how can you be sure that after Satan is destroyed there wont be other angels that turn evil and rebel against god?

Thanks for your question. The Bible doesn’t give us a definitive answer to your question about other angels rebelling after Satan is destroyed. The Bible addresses what we need to know in the current age. However, please consider the following:

1 Corinthians 15:24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.

This passage says that all enemies and death will be put under God’s feet. All of what makes life imperfect is because of sin and death: Satan rebelled; he tempted man; man sinned; and, sin brought death. In the end, God will have conquered all of these enemies for us, and reconciled us to Himself. This sounds final.

1 Corinthians 15:52b For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

Again, this passage says that death, Hades, and sin will be no more.

Revelation 20:7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where[k] the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

This passage indicates that Satan, the beast, and the false prophet will be defeated forever.

Revelation 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Again, death, Hades, and unbelievers will be defeated.

Revelation 21: 1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John,[n] saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

This passage says that death, sorrow, crying, and pain (the results of sin) will be gone.

I hope this helps.

Love in Christ,